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Now, in some cases, it seems that the Ribbon oath directed against Protestants has been used for swearing in Whiteboys, or at any rate has been combined with the Whiteboy oath, so that hostility to Protestants has been added to hostility to land-jobbers.
There appears to have been a considerable variety in the oaths used by different bodies of Whiteboys in different parts of Ireland. One form of oath, unlike any other subsequently used, and merely relating to obedience and discipline, is preserved in the Gentleman's Magazine, as having been used by the original Whiteboys of 1762*. In the county of Leitrim, in 1806, the Thrasher's oath is stated to have been,-“ To keep secret; to attend when called upon; to observe the Thrasher's laws; not to pay tithes but to the rector, and to pay only certain fees to their own clergy." For the county of Longford it is given in similar terms, viz., —"To be true to Captain Thrasher's laws, to attend when called upon, not to prosecute Captain Thrasher or any of his men, and to meet them the following night of."
In more recent instances a distinction is pointed out between the Whiteboys' oath and the Ribbon oath.
“ Have you had any opportunity of discovering any distinction between the species of oath which was introduced into the county of Clare from the county of Galway, from the illegal oath which you had known taken in the south, on your first introduction into that county ?-I think the Ribbon oath was different from the Galway oath.
* Vol. XXXII., p. 183. It is reprinted by Plowden, Hist. Rev., vol. i.,
• In what did it differ from the Galway oath ?-I consider the Ribbon oath more a political oath; I think the other was more for local objects.
" In which of those oaths was there mention made of Protestants ?—Principally in the Ribbon oath.”—H. C. 1824.
Mr. R. Cassidy, with respect to the Whitefeet of the Queen's County.
“ You have not seen their oath ?-I have seen, and I have endeavoured to ascertain what the oath was; I have seen what was reported to be their oath.
“ Did it contain any clause pointed in its hostility to Protestants ?-One of the oaths I have seen was distinctly pointed against the Protestants; but in other instances where I have endeavoured to ascertain what the oath was, I have never been able to find that it was levelled against persons of any religious persuasion in particular.”—H. C. 1832. Nos. 5981-2.
Two oaths are produced by the witnesses before the Committee of 1832. The first is avowedly a Ribbon oath, and was obtained from a Ribbonman by Mr. Hugh Boyd Wray, who gives it in evidence.
“ Ribbon Oath, as given me by approver, J.-~Re, 10th Jan., 1832:
Here, in the presence of God, and sign of the Cross, I certify and swear on oath, at the hazard of my life, to be true to all orders and regulations made under the Duke of Ostridge and his committee.
*** Here follow the regulations, which are also sworn to:“ No. 1. To be true to the Ribbon Acts.
11 2. Never make a Ribbonmen without the consent of seven, and presence of three brothers.
« 3. Never let bishop, priest, or deacon, know, but in gaol confession, the man that made you.
“ 4. Never spare, but persevere and wade knee-deep in Orange blood.
“ 5. Never have carnal knowledge of a brother's wife, sister, or first cousin.
“6. Never have a shilling, but you'll give half to a brother to save him from death or transportation.
“7. To be ready at twenty-four hours' notice to walk from one to ten miles, or ride from ten to twenty miles, when called upon by a brother.
“S. To give money when called upon, to purchase arms and ammunition.
“9. Never strike a brother, and know him to be one. “ 10. Not known. “11. Never make a man without sanction of the man who
“ 12. Bear to have your right arm or left cut off from your body, and nailed to the gaol door of Armagh, before you waylay, betray, or give evidence against a brother.
“ 13. Never aid nor harbour a robber in company, and know him to be one.
“ 14. Pass-word, . What does the three L. L. L. stand for?' Answer, Louth, Longford, and Limerick.'
“ N.B.- In a former oath had from a private informant, the Ribbonman swore not to serve His Majesty unless compelled by hardship; and that when the day comes, to fight, and wade knee-deep in oppressors' blood, and that neither the groans of men nor the moans of women shall daunt him, for the ingratitude shown to his brothers of the Catholic church.
“ And furthermore, a man acting contrary to his oath, to be put an end to as soon as possible.”—H. C., 1832. No. 3998.
The second, which agrees in substance with the first, bears on its face the confusion of Ribbonism and Whiteboyism just adverted to. It is furnished by Mr. Myles O'Reilly, who states, that “it is a rough copy of a Whitefoot's oath, as it was then practised in the Queen's County, and over all Ireland.”
« Oath of a Whitefoot.
"1. I solmly sware to be loyall and true to this New Ribbon Act.
“ 2. I sware, I will to the best of my power, Cut Down Kings, Queens and Princes, Duks, Earls, Lords, and all such with Land Jobin and herrisy.
“ 3. I sware that I will never Pity the moans or groans of the Dying, from the Cradell to the Crutch, and that I will wade Knee Deep in Orange Blood.
“ 4. I sware I am to Bear My right arm to be Cut of and trow over the left shoulder and nailed to the traples Door of Armagh before I will way lay or betray or go in to any Court to Prosecute a Brother, known him to be such.
66 5. ) sware I will go ten miles on foot and fifteen Miles on horse Back in five minutes' warning.
“6. I sware I will give Money to Purchase and repair fire arms ammunition and the Like, and every other weapon that may Be wanting
7. I sware I never will tell the man's name nor the man's name that stood By making me a Ribbonman or whitefoot to any one under the Cannopy of heaven, not even to Priest, Bishop, or any in the Church.
“8. I sware I will not stand to hear hell or confusion Drank to a whitefoot or Ribbonman without resisting the same or quitting the Company.
“9. I sware I never will Keep a robber's company Nor harbour him, except for fire Arms.
10. I sware I will not make foul freedom with a Brother's wife or Sister Known them to be as such.
“ 11. I sware I will not Keep the second Coat or the Second Shilling and a Brother to Be in want of relief, Known him to be as Such.
“ 12. I sware I will not Be present at the Making of a ribbonman or Whitefoot without Praper orders from our Captain.
In pursuance of this spirituall Oblagation So Healp mee God *.”-H. C., 1832. No. 5834.
The latter oath was proved by a witness at the assizes at Maryborough, whose credit is called in question by some of the Catholic clergymen examined by the same committee.
Rev. Nicholas O'Connor.
“You stated you never heard that a portion of the Whitefeet oath was a sworn hostility against members of the Established Church?-I never did, and I am very sure it never
"You never heard of any evidence to that effect having been given at the assizes at Maryborough?—I did, but I do not believe the woman; I am very sure she told a falsehood. I have consulted other clergymen upon the subject, and they have all disbelieved her; their hostility is directed against Catholics as well as Protestants who take their ground.
Against the well-disposed Catholics ?-Yes, that abhor their conduct.”—H.C., 1832, Nos. 3250-2.
Rev. Michael Keogh.
“Was there any part of the oath levelled against the Protestants ?—No; I heard of that at Maryborough, but I never believed it.”—H.C., 1832, No. 4669.
* The following is given as the proper Ribbon oath, by Colonel Verner, in his evidence before the Committee on Orange Lodges (No. 228):
“I, A. B., in the presence of Almighty God, and this my brother, do swear that I will suffer my right hand to be cut from my body and laid at the gaol door at Armagh, before I will waylay or betray a brother; that I will persevere, and not spare from the cradle to the crutch, and from the crutch to the cradle; that I will not pity the moans or groans of infancy or old age, but that I will wade knee-deep in Orangemen's blood, and not do as King James did."
It will be observed that the formulas in the text agree so nearly with the above oath, as to make it evident that they are derived from this model.