Montreal Daily Star, 12 July 1877, page 2
The Twelfth – Last Words
This is the Twelfth of July, the recognized anniversary of the Orangemen. They intend commemorating it in a quiet, unobtrusive manner, by going to church and hearing a sermon. They have made every concession asked of them by the public, and will display no insignia whatever. They will offend, directly or indirectly, the prejudices of none and we therefore warn whoever may, in spite of all that is done, be criminal enough to attack them, that the consequences will not be light. We warn all persons disposed to violence, to beware of breaking the peace.
Montreal Daily Star, 13 July 1877, page 2
The Events of Yesterday
Upon the calmest consideration of the events of yesterday, and in view of the enormity of the disgrace cast upon the fair name of Montreal, it is hard indeed, to coolly review the shameful disorders perpetuated under the very eye of authority, we cannot too strongly condemn the inaction which was observed from the first, by those in whose hands was reposed the care of the public safety. Ample warning was given of the probabilities of the day, but no preparatory action, calculated to keep the streets clear and obviate the chances of a collision, were taken. The Police force, as a fact was held back until after murder had been committed, and the mob held possession of the streets, and even then, when representative citizens waited upon the Mayor, and asked him if he had made any further arrangements for preserving the peace of the city, they were told “We are doing all we can to have good order preserved by the duly appointed civic force, the Police,” and when the Chief of Police, an officer whose hands appear to have been tied all day, stated positively that he needed military force to assist his limited organization, he was told by the Mayor that he was not inclined to call out the military. The deputation was treated cavalierly, the Police Superintendent snubbed, and all that was done was to send out a detective to see if the crowd were still in the streets.
The Mayor could not pretend that the elements of disorder had not been apparent from an early hour in the day. It was made plain that the gangs of roughs who congregated in the streets were bent upon mischief, and waited only the first pretence of a cause to commence trouble; and upon the slightest demonstration of a color, not borne by Orangemen, but by unprotected women, they broke out, and the result was the murder of poor Hackett, and the thrashing of Mr Henshaw within an inch of his life. No precautions appear to have been taken to avoid a collision such as there was reason to expect, even with the Orangemen giving up their intention of walking; on the contrary, every latitude was given the disorderly, and despite the volume of force actually at hand to repress disturbance, it may be said that the mob was wantonly allowed to take possession of the city and work its nefarious will unopposed. The citizens of Montreal will not, we are sure, allow such trifling with an immense responsibility to pass unregarded, but will call to a proper account whoever is chargeable with the prolongation of a period of disorder.
The Orangemen fulfilled their obligations to the letter. They refrained from any act which might be construed into a demonstration. They attended divine service, but not in procession as a body, and when it was over they withdrew in the same way. Their path to and from the church was surrounded by roughs hungrily watching an opportunity of strife; while in the church hostile crowds were around the edifice, but the Orangemen offered offence by word, look, gesture or deed to none, and they must be held blameless. The conduct of those who sought occasion of molesting them and devoted a day and a night finding it carries its own condemnation. Henceforward, if party processions are to be longer tolerated, it will not be for good citizens to turn Orangemen from their design of parading, but to assist them, and teach those who seek to oppose them the sternest of lessons.
The mob held the streets yesterday, must never be permitted to repeat the outrage, be the cost what it may.