William Godwin's Diary


A House of Commons debate on the impact of the Orange Lodges and the membership of them by members of the armed forces, despite an order from the king to his Commander in Chief that members of the military who attended an Orange Lodge should be liable to be tried for court martial. The principal offender was the king’s brother, Ernest Augustus (1771-1851), duke of Cumberland and King of Hanover, who held a formal title of military command and was the Grand Master of the Irish Orangemen. The debate ended accepting Lord John Russell’s motion that his Majesty take such measures for the effective discouragement of Orange Lodges and generally of all political societies (excluding persons of different religions), using secret signs and symbols, and acting by means of associated branches. On 26 February 1836, the House of Lords discussed the Commons motion for the abolition of the Orange societies. The Duke of Cumberland called upon them to disband voluntarily, while suggesting that he would remain faithful to the principles on which the societies had been founded.

See The Times, 24 and 27 February 1836 and Hansard Third Series vol. 31, 4 February to 7 March, cols. 779-861 and 930-939.