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lish in proof of their accuracy of statement, have been obtained by ourselves from the high-minded victim of the story; whose honourable reluctance to publish them on his own behalf, at the time that the events took place, cannot surely be misconstrued by any heart that appreciates a soldier's feelings.
In 1807, Colonel Bird, a Catholic gentleman, of a house illustrious in Henry's persecutions, obtained through Mr. Windham, then holding office in the Grenville ministry, an appointment to the office of Deputy Colonial Secretary at the Cape of Good Hope, with the promise of promotion at the first vacancy of the principal post in that department. He was avowedly sent to that colony as a compensation for a higher appointment in Ireland to which he had been recommended, but which he could not hold without first taking the Protestant oaths of office; it having been soundly considered, that even supposing an obnoxious or penal law to have any force in our colonies in general, which, though within the dominions, are without the realm of Britain, it could at least be contended, that within a colony conquered from the stranger long after the enactment of that law, and possessing, no less by express capitulation, than by the unalterable principles of international jurisprudence,* its own old laws and usages, no such law could have any operation, even though astutely strained and twisted for that purpose by a Sir John Scott at the bar, or a Lord Norbury upon the bench. Moreover the patent of Lord Charles Henry Somerset himself has satisfactorily settled this question. After reciting the possible expediency of “certain offices and places” in the colony being filled by persons, “ observing other evangelical modes of worship than that of the Church of England,” it proceeded to direct, that in such cases the Canada oaths should be “duly administered to them in lieu of all other tests and oaths whatsoever.” The vacancy in the chief-secretaryship which occurred in 1818, first raised Colonel Bird to that high office in Lord Charles Henry Somerset's government. Similarity in political feelings, for both were Tories of the first water, had cemented a private friendship of as firm a nature, as it was competent to that nobleman to contract with any living man; and it lasted till he quitted for a time the colony, leaving, as acting governor in his stead, the late Sir Rufane Donkin. Towards that gallant soldier he had no friendly feeling, because, as was alleged and believed, his appointment had frustrated a mercantile arrangement of some pecuniary profit, which Lord Charles had been previously contracting for with another aspirant to the office, who had offered a larger per centage upon the salary of the place than the regulations would have allowed his lordship to exact. Consequently, he expected that his colonial secretary would never lose an occasion of embarrassing the obnoxious Sir Rufane by every means which a practised man of routine could employ against his inexperienced principal. Faithful to one of the Canada oaths, however, the secretary thought otherwise, and did his best to deserve public pay by promoting public service, even under Sir Rufane Donkin. Lord Charles Henry Somerset's absence from the colony began in 1819, and ended in 1821. On the 21st December 1820, he addressed a letter from Paris to Colonel Bird, which was the first expression of his schoolboy vexation at his cordiality with Sir R. Donkin, the acting governor. On his return to the colony, he took instant steps to gratify the spleen he felt, by the total ruin of its object. A wretched Orangeman from Cork, named Parker, who had failed in a speculation which he had set on foot in the Drostdy of Clanwilliam and district of Worcester, and had taken it into his head, that not himself, but the colonial secretary was answerable for his failure, was the fit instrument employed by Lord Charles Henry Somerset upon this occasion. His long and frequent conferences with the governor led to the private examination of a reverend parson, named Dennis, for the purpose of proving to the satisfaction of Lord Bathurst, that the colonial secretary never attended Protestant service," and had even “ declined attending certain meetings of the Capetown Bible Society"! Their next attempt, in conjunction with the obsequious Sir John Truter, knight, and Dutch chief-justice under his English conquerors, was to get up, at that gentleman's house, a meeting of the colonists to address the king, with thanks to his majesty for having permitted “ that truly Protestant nobleman, Lord Charles Henry Somerset,” to return to the colony, and with prayers for the removal of the colonial secretary, “who was a papist”! No respectable persons being found who would sign this document, the meeting adjourned sine die. While Mr. Parker's and Mr. Dennis's valuable evidences of Popery were still under Lord Bathurst's pious investigation in Downing street, nothing more could be done against Colonel Bird for the time; and so the governor turned his arms against
* See Fabriges r Mostyn, Cowper's Reports,
the solitary priest who was then at the Cape. Sir Rufane Donkin had granted to the Rev. Mr. Scully a salary of 1001. per annum, for his spiritual attendance upon the Catholic soldiers, who formed more than a third of the castle garrison. This salary Lord C. H. Somerset at once withdrew, and he told Mr. Scully, in the conference upon the subject which followed, that he would willingly walk a thousand miles barefooted, to effect the extirpation of every papist in the colony !" Soon afterwards there arrived a dispatch from Lord Bathurst, acquainting Colonel Bird, with much phrase of compliment, that it would gratify the secretary of state very much, if he could consent “ to put a stop, by some act of conformity,” to the injurious imputations afloat against him, “of evincing sentiments hostile to the Protestant establishment.” Colonel Bird of course declined so tempting an apostacy, in a letter which, though intended for Lord Bathurst's eye, the governor had the meanness to suppress, wherein he relied upon the grounds above referred to for his exemption from the Popery Act of Charles the Second. To counteract any proceedings which his victim might resort to in Downingstreet, the Orangeman Parker was sent home at the government expense, and instructed to appear in public as a suffering saint and confessor of the Reformed faith under a Popish colonial secretary. Sir Rufane Donkin, being then in England, disabused Lord Bathurst as to this fellow's pretended claims for redress; but from the graver charge of popery in place there was no retreating. The zealots in both Houses beset the Tory chiefs with loud murmurs on the subject, and five of the lords who wear sleeves of lawn, threatened the ministry with loss of souls and of their own right reverend votes, if they retained any longer Colonel Bird in place. Accordingly the following despatch from Lord Bathurst was soon after obtained by Lord Charles Somerset.
“ Colonial Office, London, 20th June 1823.”. “ MY LORD,—Representations having been made to this department, in which it is alleged that Colonel Bird has not qualified himself for office, by taking the oaths which are required from persons appointed to offices of trust upon the civil administration of the Cape of Good Hope, I have to desire your lordship would direct an inquiry to be made on this subject, and, in the event of its appearing that this prescribed regulation has not already been complied with, I have to instruct your lordship to cause an intimation to be given to Colonel Bird, that it is necessary he should no Jonger delay to complete an act which, in conformity with general
" No. 62.
usage, should have preceded his entering upon the duties of his office ; and I have at the same time to direct, that, in communicating to me the result of your inquiry, your lordship would cause a statement to be transmitted, explaining the circumstances under which the usual proceedings, with regard to administering the customary oaths of office, were omitted upon the occasion of Colonel Bird's assuming the direction of the office of Secretary to the government of the Cape of Good Hope. I have the honour to be, &c. • To the Lord Charles Somerset.”
“ BATHURST." If the British minister was guarded in the language of his mandate, the governor was uncompromising in the fulfilment of it. No time was lost in forwarding this despatch enclosed in an autograph letter to Colonel Bird, of which the following is a copy, verbatim et literatim. We cannot help the phrase and style of the slipslop writer, for whom the cabinet was never so congenial a scene of occupation as the turf or the prize-ring
“ Newlands, September 23, 1823." “ SIR,-In transmitting to you Earl Bathurst's dispatch, dated 20th June last, I beg you to inform me if you are prepared to take the oaths prescribed by the 3d clause in His Majesty's instructions to me as Governor of this settlement, viz.— The oath mention'd in an act pass'd in the first year of the reign of George I, as alter'd and explain'd by an pass'd in the 6th of Geo. II ; and also, make and subscribe the declaration mentioned in an act made in the 25th of Charles II. Upon receiving your answer in the affirmative, I will appoint a time when I will administer to you the above oaths in presence of the chief-justice. I remain, sir,” &c.
“ CHARLES HENRY SOMERSET.” “ To Colonel Bird, Colonial Secretary.”
Colonel Bird's reply stated, that on reference to the oath book at his office, there would be found an entry of his having taken and subscribed “all customary oaths;" but that in further compliance with Lord Bathurst's orders, he begged to forward to him through his Excellency, the chief-justice's certificate of his having on that very day (the 24th September), taken and subscribed “the customary oaths therein specified.” These were the Canada oaths.
At the same time, discovering the duplicity of the governor in having kept Lord Bathurst in the dark as to the grounds on which he rested his omission to take the Protestant oaths of office, he forwarded the complete statement of his own case to Downing-street, having obtained the support of a friendly nobleman of high rank who regularly attended there, and pressed the matter upon the secretary of state. However, the law officers of the crown, who in general take the precaution of sifting the inclinations of their puissant clients before they give opinions, having been consulted on the question of the patent, advised strongly against its legality, and against the right of Colonel Bird to claim the exemption which he sought. In May 1824, his signature ceased to appear at the foot of the governor's proclamations and ordinances; and his successor was soon appointed. Nor was this all. As if the irretrievable ruin of one who, in war and peace, had honourably, for thirty-one years, served his sovereign and his country, were not sufficient to content the malignity wherewith heresy pursues the children of God,on the 19th of June 1824, and therefore after he had ceased to be answerable as a public officer to any tribunals but the constitutional courts of law, Colonel Bird received from the Commissioners Bigge and Colebrooke, then in the colony, a list of charges which they had been ordered by the secretary of state, Lord Bathurst, to compile against him! These two men had been invested by letters-patent under the privy seal, in the previous year, “ with full power and authority to inquire into all the laws, revenues, regulations, and usages, prevailing in the colony; and into every other matter in any way connected with the administration of the civil government; the state of the judicial, civil, military, and ecclesiastical establishments, revenues, trade, and internal resources thereof." It may as well be mentioned here, that to their recommendations is due the only slight check which now exists upon
the governor's enormous power in the appointment of a legislative council. It will be seen from these letters-patent, that it was Lord Bathurst's duty, if sincerely anxious to discover the justice or injustice of the case of Colonel Bird, to have ordered this investigation before he decided the question for himself, by removing him from his office. After that decisive step was taken, while further inquiry was but a fruitless mockery of truth, to conduct it before commissioners, so appointed as these were, was an illegal measure, insulting to the ordinary courts of law, and deserving the impeachment of the minister who resorted to it. Yet Colonel Bird waived his right of protest, and submitted his case to their jurisdiction. The list of charges” consisted of those only, and none other, which, two years previously, had been urged against the colonial secretary by the man Parker; and he was now called upon to answer them for the first time, because they were supported by Parker's