A Chosen Few - Talks on the History & Impact of the Independent Loyal Orange Institution

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THE INDEPENDENT ORANGE INSTITUTION is the smallest, and youngest, of the Loyal Orange Orders. It is rooted in radical Unionism.

Its history brings together the themes of Belfast workers’ rights, the rights of tenant farmers, the rise of Presbyterianism and evangelical Protestantism.

It was the first organisation to effectively challenge the status quo within Unionism and its use of the Orange Order for political advantage. By 1906 it could boast of 2 Westminster MPs.

Later challenges to the Unionist Party owe much to the courage and determination of the early leaders of the Independent Orange Order.

This book describes those early leaders and the battles they engaged in. Orangeism and Unionism is, today the richer because of these men of independent thought.

At last there is a history of the Independent Loyal Orange Institution in print! Taken from the seminars delivered during the Centenary period this book charts the history of the Independent Movement through the lives of its key founders and influences. Never before has such a work been published.

It is an invaluable reference for those who know the Institution and those who are coming to it for the first time. Well known local historians such as Alec Blair, Gordon Lucy and David Hume, join with George Dawson ML A (Grand Master) and others to piece together, from many sources, the dramatic events of the early years of the Independent Order.
As well as dealing with the individuals (Johnston, Sloan, Crawford and Boyle) key events and controversies are dealt with – these include the often criticised Magheramorne Manifesto and its influence in the early 20th Century.

One quote from the book will paint a flavour of its content:

“Sloan had achieved the impossible. He had taken on the establishment, the Unionist machine and he had beaten it. He had proved that one party did not have a monopoly on ‘the flag’ or Protestant interest. Politicians in Unionist parties outside of the UUP may, today, remain members of the Orange Order; without Sloan and the Independent Orange Order that would not have been possible. Their parties and their Orange membership can only thrive because of the success in the early twentieth century of Thomas H Sloan.”

Alongside the historical characters, there are a number of occasional talks also given during the Centenary period, including one by the late Bro Rev Hillis Fleming PIGM entitled “Protestantism and Liberty.” Bro Fleming, in his usual characteristic and unique manner tackles this important subject, and leaves the reader wanting more.

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