Page images

« it may be founded on the surest basis of a liberal and consti“tutional connection with your sister kingdom.”

In order to gratify the public mind, and to draw it from speculative questions, it was thought adviseable to institute a new order of knighthood, that should give additional lustre to the national consequence, which at this time appeared to be the favourite object of all ranks of people. Letters patent were accordingly passed for creating a society, or brotherhood, to be called, “ Knights of the Illustrious Order of St. Patrick," of which his majesty his heirs, and successors, were appointed to be sovereigns; and the lord-lieutenant for the time being, was to officiate as grand master. The following were appointed knights companions of the order, viz. His Royal Highness Prince Edward, his Grace William Robert Duke of Leinster, the Earls of Clanricarde, Antrim, Westmeath, Inchiquin, Drogheda, Tyrone, Shannon, Clanbrassil, Mornington, Courtown, Charlemont, Bective, and Ely. The Archbishop of Dublin for the time being, was appointed Chancellor ; and the Dean of St. Patrick's, in like manner, Register; and Lord Delvin, Secretary.

On the 11th of March, the Knights were invested with due solemnity before the lord-lieutenant at Dublin Castle ; and on the 17th of the same month (being the festival of St. Patrick, tutelar Saint of Ireland,) they were installed. And the ceremonial of the installation was conducted throughout with the utmost regularity, order, and magnificence.

Various speculations had at different periods been set on foot in Ireland for peopling the country by an influx of foreigners, at times when cruelty was inventive to check the population of the aboriginal natives of the soil. But the ill-judged policy of listening to the distresses of foreigners, whilst the more piercing cries of their own subjects were unheard or unheeded, though frequently attempted, has generally failed.

Disputes and dissensions had long subsisted between the aris. tocratic and democratic powers in the republic of Geneva, which had finally terminated in favour of the former, through the interference of the kings of France and Sardinia, and the cantons of Zuric and Berne. In consequence of which, a number of the citizens of the popular party resolved to quit a country, in the government of which their weight and authority had been totally extinguished.

On this occasion they turned their eyes upon Ireland, and commissioners were accordingly sent by them to Dublin, to consult and treat with that government in relation to their reception into that kingdom. The commissioners, on their arrival, received the greatest personal attention from the people in general, (then all alive to every claim of civil liberty,) but more especially from the different corps of volunteers in the province of Leinster, into several of which, as a mark of respect paid to the cause they came to solicit, they were chosen as members.

Their request, with respect to the admission of their countrymen into Ireland, was eagerly complied with by government, who, with a degree of avidity, offered them an asylum in that country. Accordingly, the names and numbers of the emigrarts from Geneva having been laid before the privy council, they fixed upon a place for their residence at Passage, near to the confluence of the rivers Barrow and Suir, in the county of Waterford, in which district a very considerable tract of land was then shortly to revert to government; and this it was resolved should be appropriated and granted in fee to these Genevese settlers, and the place named “ New Geneva.*

The following warrant was issued by the lord lieutenant on that occasion : To the Earl of Tyrone, the Right Hon. John Beresford, the Right Hon. John Blaquiere, K. B. the Right Hon. Henry Theophilus Clements, the Right Hon. John Foster, the Right Hon. Luke Gardiner, the Right Hon. William Wyndham Grenville, the Right Hon. James Gaffe, David Latouche, Esq. jun. Andrew Caldwell, Esh. Traven Hartly, Esq. Alexandra Jaffray, Esq. and Messciurs G. Ringler, E. Clavier, Du Roveray, E. Gase, Grenus,'and Divernois.

Whereas the Sieur Divernois did, by his memorial of the 27th of September last, represent unto us, that, in consequence of certain alterations, which had taken place in the political constitution and government of the state of Geneva, a considerable number of the citizens and inhabitants, attacheel to the blessings of a free government, were disposed, umder assurances of the enjoyment of certain privileges and protection, to settle themselves in this kingdom, to bring with them their property, and to establish here those manufactures, which had rendered the citizens of that state so wealthy; and that the sum of fifty thou. sand pounds sterling, British money, would be necessary to enable the first thousand emigrants to effect their purpose, of which a sum, not exceeding one half, to be applied to defray the expences of their journey, and the carriage of their effects; and the remainder to be applied in the building, or providing houses for their reception: and whereas we did lay the said memorial before the lords of lois majesty's privy council, who, by their resolution of the 27th day of September last, expressive of the importance of the object, and the adyantages to be secured to this kingdom by the accession of a body of respectable citizens, and to its commerce, by the introduction of a manufacture so extensive and beneficial, and hy the immediate acquisition of a very material addition to the national wealth, did unanimously request, that his majesty would be graciously pleased to take the same into his royal consideration, and to adopt sich measures in this case, as to his majesty's great wisdom should seem meet: and we having transmitted the said memorial and resolution to be laid before the king, bis majesty liath been graciously pleased to signify his royal approbation of the design aforesaid, founded upon principles so truly interesting to justice and humanity: and of his royal disposition io induce the said merchants, artists, and manufacturers, citizens, or inhabitants of Geneva, to settle in Ireland, under the conviction, that by their civil and religious principles, their industry, and their loyalty, they would materially contribute to the arivantage of this kingdom.

These arc, therefore, to pray and to empower you to consult together, and to report unto us what agreements, regulations, warrants, and authorities, will, in your opinion, be necessary and proper for carrying his majesty's gracious intentions into execution, under the lieads following, viz. .

The terms insisted upon by the Genevese, previous to their becoming subjects of a new state, were, 1st. That they should be represented in parliament; 2dly. That they should be

1st. For the grant of a sum of fifty thousand pounds to certain state officers, and to certain of the nobility and gentry of this realm, together with the six commissioners now in this kingdom from the Genevans ; the said sun to be granted to them in trust for the use of the Genevans settling in this country, whereof a sum, not exceeding one half, is to be applied to the charges of their journey, and the carriage of their effects, to be distributed by the said commissioners, in such proportion as they shall think equitable, upon the consideration of the circumstances, the character, and the talents of each emi. grant: and the remainder to be expended in the building a town, and settling them thercin.

2dly. To consider the rights, privileges, franchises, and immunities to be granted to the inhabitants of the said new intended town; and so soon as the general system shall have been submitted to, and approved of by us, then to prepare a draught of a charter, which will be referred to the consideration of his majesty's law servants for their opinion, and afterwards submitted to his majesty for his royal approbation, granting to the said citizens of the New Geneva, the establishment of magistrates, councils, or assemblies, with powers for regulating their internal concerns, in such mavner as shall be most agreeable to the laws, under which they lived happily in their own country, and as shall be agreeable to the dispositions of the people, observing nevertheless, that, in no instance whatsoever, such municipal laws, or regulations, be repugnant to the laws of this kingdom; and, in case that it should be necessary to apply to parliament for farther powers for carrying such charters, or purposes, into execution, then to prepare a draught or scheme of such bill or bills, as may be necessary to be submitted to the legislature.

3dly, to consider in what manner a sufficient portion of land shall be secured to the said citizens of Geneva, to examine and recommend with all expedition a situation for their new town, and to consider and prepare every arrangement which may expedite the construction of it, and to report by what mode the persons arriving in this kingdom, shall from time to time be accommodated, until the new town, or a sufficient portion thereof, shall be erected for their reception : as also in what manner the said houses shall be distributed to individuals, or a sufficient portion of ground to those, who may wish to build at their own expence ; and in what manner the freedom of the new town shall be secured to such persons having been citizens or inhabitants of Geneva, and possessed of those qualifications of conduct and of morals, upon which the success of this establishment must depend, (as are not yet arrived or naturalized) so that, upon their arrival and naturalization, they shall be enti. tled to the benefits of the body corporate aforesaid.

And whereas young persons of rank and fortune, from all parts of Europe, resorted to the city of Geneva, to profit from the system of education established there, under professors of eminence in useful and liberal studies and accomplislıments; and whereas a school or academy, formed upon the same principles in this kingdom, would forward his majesty's gracious dispositions for the encouragement of religion, virtue, and science, by improving the education and early habits of youth, and would remove the inducements to a foreign education; and being conducted with that attention to morality and virtue, which liath distinguished the establishments in that city, may attract foreigners to reside in this kingdom for the like purpose, we do farther pray and empower you to consider and digest a plan for a school and academy of education, to be established in the new colony, and to make a part of the constitution bereof, under such institution and regulations, and with such privileges as may best contribute to the ends hereby proposed.

And we do pray and empower, that, after having given these subjects in general the fullest consideration, you do report unto us a particular detail of what shall be thought most fituing to be granted and ordered for the advan.

governed by their own laws. The first of these conditions might have been a matter of opinion, and subject to discussion ; but the two last were holden to be incompatible with the laws and the constitution of Ireland, and as such totally rejected.

This disagreement between the parties on leading points stopped all further procedure in the business. Some of the Genevese, however, transported themselves into Ireland; but they soon found by experience, that nothing was gained by changing their situation; and most of them, after a short stay, quitted the kingdom.

The reciprocal advantages, which might have accrued to Ireland and the Genevese emigrants, from the proposed settlement, even had it taken place to the fullest extent, could never, it is presumed, have equalled, or been in any degree proportionable to the sanguine expectations some men had been led to form on this subject. It should be considered, first, that the Genevese are, for the most part, mechanics, and that therefore they must have been but ill-suited, from their former habits of life, to the toils of agriculture; next, that they were to be settled in tage and encouragement of the Genevans settling in this kingdom aforesaid, and for the welfare and prosperity of the new colony, that the necessary representations thereupon may be laid before his majesty without loss of time; so that every facility may be given to the adoption of every measure calculated to give the said citizens of Geneva the fullest proofs of his majesty's royal protection and regard.

Given under our hand and seal of arms, at his majesty's castle of Dublin, the 4th day of April, 1783, By his excellency's command,

S. HAMILTON. The following letter was soon after received by Mr. D'Ivernois, from Mr. Se. a part of Ireland where their support must have arisen from their daily labours on the soil, and from their having but few wants of their own to gratify, more than from their ingenuity in forming and constructing a variety of ornamental articles, which the luxury and riches of populous and trading towns can only create a market for. Whether or no this measure of government, had not in fact proved abortive as it did, it is very ques tionable whether it would ultimately have been productive of any real advantage to that kingdom. Certain, however, it is, government at this time must have entertained the most implicit and unqualified confidence in the steady attachment of the volunteers and people of Ireland to the constitution of their country, or otherwise they never could have levied the large sum of 50,000l. upon a very distressed country, to purchase the probable introduction of turbulent and democratic principles, with a thousand self-exiled martyrs to democracy, from the An. tibazilican school of Geneva.

cretary Hamilton. SIR,

I am commanded by my lord-lieutenant to acquaint you, that he has signed a warrant to the proper officers to make out the draught of a commission, to be submitted to his majesty for his royal signature, appointing the several noblemen and gentlemen who are to be entrusted with the settlement in this kingdom of the colony of Genevans, as also the draught of a royal letter, granting the sum of 50,0001. to those commissioners for that purpose.

His excellency has also given farther directions to the prime serjeant, attorney and solicitor general, to prepare a draught of a grant of a charter of incorporation for the said colony, and draught of such bills to be laid before the parliament at their next meeting, as shall be requisite for effecting the several purposes clesired.

His excellency has at the same time commanded me to assure you of his corlial disposition to the new settlement, and of his intention to forward every measure which shall be necessary for the protection and encouragement of the colony, with as much dispatch as the necessary forms in a business of so much importance will admit. I have the h-nour to be, with great regard, Sir,

Your's, &c.


Lord Temple did not quit the government till the 3d of June, 1783, when he was succeeded by the Earl of Northington. The reports of an immediate dissolution of parliament, which in fact took place on the 15th of July, 1783, had thrown the whole nation into a new political fever. The armed body of volunteers assumed to themselves, rather than allowed credit to their representatives for having acquired a constitution at least similar to that of Great Britain. They considered, that it would be a disgrace to quit their arms, whilst any benefit to their country could be still obtained by them; and they now generally bent their thoughts to the improvement of the state of representation of the people in parliament. They had been much encouraged in this pursuit by the spirited addresses of the county of York and of other counties to the commons in favour of reform, as well as by the persevering efforts of the Duke of Richmond, Mr. *Pitt, and other then popular members, to

* On the 7th of May, the day after the call of the house, Mr. William Pitt made his promised motion respecting the reform of parliamentary representa. tion. As the mode of proceeding by a committee, proposed last year, had formed one of the principal objections against the reform itself, he thought it more adviseable to bring forward some specific propositions : these were,

1. “ That it was the opinion of the house, that measures were highly neces. "sary to be taken for the future prevention of bribery and expence at elec« tions.

2. “ That for the future, when the majority of votes for any borough shall "be convicted of gross and notorious corruption before a select committee of “ that house, appointed to try the merits of any election, such borough should be disfranchised, and the minority of voters, not so convicted, should be en" titled to vote for the county in which such borough should bé situated.

3. “ That an addition of knights of the shire, and of representatives of the

metropolis, should be added to the state of the representation.” He left the number to future discussion, but said he should propose one hundred.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »