“May 10, 18—. My dear Spinageberd—–Feeling, as I did, exceedingly anxious to make myself acquainted with the true principles of the Orange institutions which have spread themselves so rapidly over the country, I need scarcely say to you that I left nothing that was fair and honorable undone, on my part, to accomplish that object; or, in other words, to ascertain whether their private principles, as a political body, harmonize with their public practices. It is but fair to render justice to every party, and consequently it is only right and equitable to inquire whether the violent outrages committed by the low and ignorant men who belong to their body, are defensible by the regulations which are laid down for their guidance.
“On looking over the general declaration of the objects of the institution, one is certainly struck by the fairness, and liberality, and moderation, joined to a becoming avowal of attachment to the Protestant religion and the throne, which it breathes. Here, however, it is, verbatim et literatim, in its authentic shape, with all that is good or evil in it laid clearly before you. I deem it right, however, to preface it by the greater portion of a short but significant Report, to which are prefixed the following memorable names:—
“’At a meeting of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, November 29, 1798. Present:—Thomas Verner, Grand Master; J. C. Beresford, grand secretary; R. C. Smith, jun., deputy secretary; H. A. Woodward; J. S. Rochfort; T. F. Knipe; Samuel Montgomery; Harding Giffard; William Richardson; John Fisher; William Corbett; W. G. Galway; Francis Gregory. Harding Giffard and S. Montgomery, Esqrs., reported as follows:—
“’Having been honored by the Grand Lodge with instructions to revise and select a proper system of rules, for the government of Orange Lodges, we beg leave to make a report of our progress.
“’We are happy in being able to say, that in our duty upon this occasion, we received the greatest assistance from the experience of the Grand Master of Ireland, and his Deputy Grand Secretary, who did us the honor of imparting to us their sentiments.
“’Encouraged by their help, we have ventured very materially to alter the shape of the confused system which was referred to us preserving the spirit, and, as much as possible, the original words, except where we had to encounter gross violations of language and grammar.
“’The general, plan of our proceeding has been this, we have thrown what are, in our opinion, very improperly called the six first general rules, into one plain short declaration of the sentiments of the body.
“’Next in order we have given the qualifications of an Orangeman, selected from the Antrim regulations, and the rather, as it breathes a spirit of piety which cannot be too generally diffused throughout an institution, whose chief object, whatever political shape it may assume, is to preserve the Protestant Religion. ******