From The Nation, 8 November, 1845.
What hideous rumours are these, which begin to affright the land, which are planting suspicion amongst neighbours, suspicion of each other and of the Government which ought to protect and not to ensnare them, which make men wear masks and breathe an atmosphere of lies, and look on each other with an evil eye. Over what pit-falls are we walking? While famine is scowling at our doors are there enemies watching our every footstep?
Read the letter we publish elsewhere from a person named FLINT, an ex-Inspector of Police, to the Freeman’s Journal. He is a dismissed officer; and, so far, his information is suspicious. Yet, if it be true – and whether it be or not the People shall know – if such things, indeed, be – then dismissal is the test of an honest Policeman; then truth and honour cannot abide under those blue coats, far less under the uniform of their superiors, the Police Commissioners.
Think what are the charges made here. That a villain, named MULLINS, cherished and rewarded for his villainy, was in the year 1842 sent to the North of Ireland, to make Ribbonmen, that he took (in the discharge of this “special duty”) the Ribbon oaths, and induced others to take them (having previously sworn, as a Policeman, not to take the oath of any Secret Society) – that he afterwards prosecuted and transported his own Ribbonmen – that his absence in the North was concealed by an official lie, which was written in the order-book of his division – that when he returned from his campaign he was rewarded in proportion to the criminals he had made and punished – that this, and similar “special duty,” is constantly imposed on the Police, and that they are always rewarded in proportion to their success.
Horrible suspicions of this kind have been growing in the public mind. CARLETON’s dreadful story of “Rody the Rover,” has strengthened and extended them. The People are beginning to fear that the Irish Government is merely a machinery for their destruction; that for all the usual functions of a Government, this Castle-nuisance is altogether powerless; that it is unable or unwilling to take a single step for the prevention of famine – for the encouragement of manufacturers or providing fields for industry, and is only active in promoting, by high premiums and bounties, the horrible manufacture of crime!
Is this true? Will the Commissioners say whether all this “special duty” system exists – whether it exists with their knowledge and sanction; and, if yea, then will the Irish Secretary speak out and tell us if this be really the business of his office?
In any case, through some channel or other, the People must know, ought to insist upon knowing the truth or the falsehood of these charges. From the Commissioners, from the secretary, we hardly expect any voluntary explanation. Possibly some Parliamentary enquiry may extract it from the Government; if not, some popular agency will surely drag it forth, perhaps too roughly, to the day-light.