ORANGEMEN, an association of Irish Protestants, originating and chiefly flourishing in Ulster, but with ramifications in other parts of the United Kingdom, and in the British colonies. Orangemen derive their name from William III., but neglect the example of that tolerant prince. They are enrolled in lodges, and it is said that the initiated can always recognize each other. Much may be learned from their toasts, about which there is no concealment. The commonest form is " the glorious, pious, and immortal memory of the great and good King William, who saved us from popery, slavery, knavery, brass money, and wooden shoes," with grotesque or truculent additions according to the orator's taste. The brass money refers to James II.'s finance, and the wooden shoes to his French allies. The final words are often "a fig for the bishop of Cork," in allusion to Dr Peter Browne, who, in 1715, wrote cogently against the practice of toasting the dead. Orangemen are fond of beating drums and flaunting flags with the legend "no surrender," in allusion to Londonderry.
Orangeism is essentially political, and may be useful in so far as it reminds Irish Protestants of their origin and of their common rights under the British crown. But its original object was the maintenance of Protestant ascendency, and too much of its spirit still survives. By repeating irritating watchwords, and publicly keeping anniversaries painful to their neighbours, Orangemen have done much to inflame sectarian animosity ; if their celebrations were private, little could be said against them. The first regular lodges were founded in 1795, but the system existed earlier. The Brunswick clubs, founded to oppose Catholic emancipation, were sprigs from the original Orange tree. The orange flowers of the Lilium bulbiferum are worn in Ulster on the 1st and 12th July, the anniversaries of the Boyne and Aughrim. Another great day is the 5th of November, when William III. landed in Torbay.