Lt. Col. Sir Walter Edgeworth Johnstone (1863-1936) - from the National Portrait Gallery
Hello members, contributors and readers to the site, this may seem a strange request, but I am looking for an original or copy of the biographical text that accompanied the Vanity Fair Print of Walter Edgeworth Johnstone
I have an original Vanity Fair Print of W.Edgeworth-Johnstone, Chief Commissioner of the Dublin Metropolitan Police from 1915 - 1923
Caption - "Hard- hitter " by Spy ( the artist Leslie Ward ) 9.7.1896
But try as I may, I have been able to source the text, I am prepared to pay a fair price for an original text or a copy including all postage
I was interested to read that Sir W.E-J was an Irish sportsman and police official, and that he was the 1895 & 1896 Amateur Boxing Association of England heavyweight champion
In my research on Sir W.E-J, I came across a fascinating paper titled -
ARMS, THE DUBLIN POLICE AND THE 1916 RISING By GREGORY ALLEN
An article ( c.5000 words) largely based on a manuscript in the Public Record Office, London, England
Gregory Allen, 193, Upper Kilmacud Road, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland
I would like to serialise the article over the coming weeks for those who find this period of Irish History of interest
Arms, The Dublin Police and the 1916 Uprising
I 1916, the bloody year of rebellion in Ireland, the police in the capital of Dublin, threatening to strike for more pay, stopped a move to arm the men on the beat and also scored a bloodless victory potentially more significant than the Rising itself, being instrumental in changing the traditional sectarian character of the police and constabulary forces on the island. The modest success of their movement for better pay also brought about amendment of their Oath of Allegiance to the Crown and gave to a simple unopposed money Bill in the British House of Commons the status of a landmark in Irish police history
The dust of the 1916 Rebellion had hardly settled in the ruins of O'Connell Street when Dublin Castle decided to arm the Metropolitan Police. Rifles were issued to each of the 24 stations in the Dublin Police district, and urgent arrangements were made to train the force in the use of firearms.*1 This ill-judged move had unexpected consequences for the police in the whole of Ireland.
The attempt to change the traditional character of the police in Dublin as an unarmed force failed when D.M.P. mem, agitating for more pay, found a champion in John Nugent M.P., general secretary of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, and held their meetings in the A.O.H. hall in Rutland, now Parnell Square *2
According to the rules, " The Ancient Order of Hibernians ( Board of Erin ) Friendly Society....... was founded by the ancient princes and chieftains of Ireland "
They were " pledged to forward by every legitimate and honourable means the securing of religious equality and self-government of Ireland... and, to unite the Catholic children of the Irish Race in an organisation for the defence of faith and fatherland, and mutual aid, also providing funds to relieve members, their wives and children during sickness and infirmity " *3
Nugent himself justified the A.O.H. as necessary " to counteract the Ascendancy Party.... The Catholic Irishman must stand on an equal footing with his Protestant fellow countryman: The Castle system is overwhelmingly Protestant and is dominated by the compass and square of the Masonic lodges of Ireland " *4
The A.O.H. were also the grassroots organisation of the Irish Nationalist Party in the British House of Commons. On the 15th August every year they paraded in every town in Ireland, in full regalia with bands and banners, in imitation of the Orangemen's more strident triumphalism on the 12th July
Nugent assisted the D.M.P. in forming their organisation, The Catholic Police Benefit & Holiday Society, which reformed itself in 1917 as the Dublin Branch of the National Police & Prison Officers Union. He went out of his way to create the impression, and succeeded in misleading Dublin Castle into believing that the rebellious policemen were actually joining the Hibernians
In the circumstances, it was not surprising that the Castle authorities were worried when information was received that a police strike, backed by the A.O.H. was iminent, and that the supply of arms to the police on strike was discussed at a secret meeting in the city. The precaution had already been taken on withdrawing the rifles from the police stations, an inevitable response to the imagined threat from the A.O.H., but also welcomed by the rank and file in the force as a return to sanity
When the A.O.H. connection was raised in the House of Commons later in the year during the debate on the Constabulary and Police ( Ireland ) Bill, Nugent deliberately confused the issue for the government by encouraging the belief that what they were up against was attempted subversion of the Force by the Hibernians, and rejection by the DMP of their Oath of Allegiance
From 1836 the D.M.P. & Royal Irish Constabulary had sworn identical oaths to the Sovereign. As an undertaking to discharge their duties impartially the Oath was impeccable down to the final clause, which contained an unfortunate qualification.
" I ( A.B.) do swear......that I do not belong to, and that......I will not join or belong to, any political society whatsoever, or any secret society whatsoever, UNLESS THE SOCIETY OF FREEMASONS. So help me God " *5