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“ to the endeavours of the people in England. The people of “ the two nations, united in pursuit of the same important “ object, must be not only powerful, but irresistible.

“Thé enclosed papers, which we request you may peruse, “ will shew how far this country has already gone in determin“ing to procure a more equal representation; the unanimous “resolutions of about fifteen thousand volunteers, already de“ clared in a very few weeks, assure us the resolves of the dele. “ gates of Ulster, who are to assemble on the 8th of September

next, will be no less unanimous; and we well know, that what “ the volunteers (vast numbers of whom are freeholders) shall “ determine on, the other freeholders and people in general, “ who are not volunteers, will adopt and support, by every “ means in their power: the aged fathers cannot differ from their

sons, respecting a matter, on which depends every thing, that “either hold dear for themselves or their posterity. “ That

you may see the very depraved state of our representation, it is necessary to observe, that out of three hundred “ members, of which our House of Commons consists, about

two hundred and twenty are returned by boroughs. Those

one hundred and ten boroughs are divided into three classes : “ 1st. Those, where the right of election is vested in the Pro“testant inhabitants at large : 2d. Those, where the right of “ election is vested in the chief magistrate, burgesses, and free

men: 3d. Those, where the right of eclection is confined “ to the chief magistrate and burgesses, frequently not ex"ceeding five or six in number, and seldom above ten or “ twelve.

“ Almost all the boroughs are either venal and corrupt, or implicitly obedient to the arbitrary will of their respective landlords, who dictate to the electors in the most absolute manner. Those landlords claim by prescription a kind of property in those boroughs, which they transfer by sale like

an estate, and receive from eight thousand to nine thousand " pounds for a borough, and a seat for a borough is generally “ sold for two thousand pounds; so that every seven or eight

years the borough brings in four thousand pounds to the

patron. Unhappily for Ireland, our counties are also too “ much governed by our peers and great men, whose influence " over many of their respective tenants is very great. This “ consideration has given rise here to a doubt in the minds of “ some well-meaning men, as to the propriety of adding to the * number of knights of the shire, as generally now, two great « families endeavour to divide between them the seats for the “ county, the others remain neutral, or join the independent “ interest. It is alleged, were there six seats for the county, " six great families would divide them, and that to such a com. “ bination, the independent frecholders would not be able to “ make any effectual opposition.

“ May we now intreat, as a most important favour conferred “ on us, and on this kingdom, that you will favour us with your “ sentiments and advice, as to the best, most eligible, and most “ practicable mode of destroying, restraining, or counteracting “ this hydra of corruption borough-influence; that we may be “ enabled to lay your opinion before the provincial assembly “ of delegates at Dungannon: and as our last meeting for “ arranging business previous thereto, is fixed to be on the 20th

of August, we hope you will be obliging enough to forward your reply, so as to be with us about that time. “Many apologies are due for this long address, and for the very great trouble we have requested you to take; but we are

young in politics, and wish for information from men of more “ wisdom, experience, and abilities. This however we may

venture to assert, that if we can only be directed to the best “ mode, the mass of the inhabitants of Ireland is so completely " alive and sensible to the necessity of a well-digested reform, " that there cannot remain a doubt that what it attempts, in “ conjunction with the virtuous part of England, must be effec

46 tual.

“ The several matters on which we have requested your opinion are thrown into one view in the following queries.

"In order to the purity of parliament, and to restore that « constitutional control, which the constituent body should have “ over the representative,

“ 1st. Is it necessary that the boroughs, where the elective suffrage is vested in a few, and which in general are at “ the absolute disposal of one or two persons, should be disfran“chised, and in their place the county representatives in66 creased?

2d. “ The Protestant inhabitants consist of near one mil. “ lion, who return three hundred members; would it be wise

to increase the number of representatives for the nation at “ large?

“ 3d. A plausible objection, mentioned before, has been made

against an increase of county representatives; has that argu“ment much weight, and if it has, is it remediable ?

“ 4th. Should suffrage be extended; and if it should, who “ are the proper objects of such extension?

“ 5th. In order to guard against undue influence, would it be “ wise to have the members returned by ballot?

“ 6th. Would not a limitation of the duration of parliament,

to a shorter terin than eight years, have excellent effects; and 6 should it be less than triennial ?

" 7th. If the abolition of the enslaved boroughs is necessary: “ would it be equitable or expedient that they be purchased by " the nation ?

“ 8th. What specific mode of reform in the representation of “ Ireland best suits your own ideas, considering the situation of “ this country; and what are the steps, which you conceive “ best adapted to effect that reform?

“ You will be so obliging as to direct your reply to our chairman, Lieutenant Colonel Sharman, at Lisburn.

Signed by order,

“ H. Joy, jun. Secretary.” As soon as the delegates had come to unanimous and strong resolutions upon the necessity and nature of some parliamentary reform before the members were all returned, in order to influ. ence the electors in their choice, and the elected in their obedience to the call and wishes of their constituents, on the 8th of September, 1783, the following resolutions were published, and rapidly and gratuitously circulated throughout every part of the kingdom.


At a meeting of two hundred and seventy-two companies of the Volunteer Army of the province of Ulster, by their delegates held at Dungannon, on Monday the 8th of Septemtember, 1783, Colonel James Stewart, of the Tyrone regiment in the

chair, The following resolutions were unanimously entered into:

1. “ Resolved unanimously, That freedom is the indefeasible "birthright of Irishmen and Britons derived from the author of “ their being; and of which, no power on earth, much less a “ delegated power, hath a right to deprive them.

II. « Resolved unanimously, That they only are free, who " are governed by no laws, but those to which they assent, either

by themselves in person, or by their representatives freely “ chosen, subject to the control, and frequently returning into " the common mass of constituents.

III. “ Resolved unanimously, That the majority of our House “ of Commons is not chosen by the people, but returned by the “ mandate of peers or commoners; either for indigent boroughs, “ where scarcely any inhabitants exist, or considerable cities " and towns, where the election franchise is vested in a few, " who are thus suffered to place the highest trusts of society

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“ against the interest and will of the many, in the hands of men, “ who seldom act as if they considered themselves accountable “ for their conduct to the people.

IV. “ Resolved unanimously, That by the ancient constitu“ tion of parliaments, elections of representatives were for cen. “ turies annual, and in many instances more frequent; and the “ exercise of suffrage among freemen universal.

V. “ Resolved unanimously, That every approach to those “ fundamental principles, tends to a renovation of, not an inno“ vation in the constitution.

VI. “ Resolved unanimously, That the elective franchise “ ought, of right, to extend to all those, and those only, who are " likely to exercise it, for the public good.

VII.“ Resolved unanimously, That the present inadequate

representation, and the long duration of parliaments, destroy " that balance, which by our constitution should subsist between “ the three estates of the legislature, render the Commons “ House independent of the people, procure certain majorities “ in favour of every administration, and threaten either an ab“solute monarchy, or that still more odious government, a ty“ rannical aristocracy.

VIII.“ Resolved therefore, That the present imperfect repre“sentation, and the long duration of parliaments, are unconstitutional, and intolerable grievances.

IX.“ Resolved unanimously, That as the voice of the commons of Ireland is no less necessary for every legislative purpose, than that of either the king or lords, the people have a just and inherent right to correct the abuses of representation, " whenever such abuses shall have so increased, as to rob them “ of their constitutional share in their own government.

X. “ Resolved unanimously, That it is the interest of parlia" ment itself to effect a substantial reform ; as the


existence “ of that assembly must become precarious, when it shall lose " the confidence of the people, to whom originally it owed its “ creation, and from whom alone its powers were derived.

XI. “ Resolved unanimously, That we solemnly pledge ouro selves to each other and to our country, to seek a speedy and “ effectual redress of these our grievances, and to co-operate “ with our fellow subjects, in every exertion necessary to obtain “it. We call for the aid of every upright senator, of every

man, whether in Ireland or Great Britain, who bears or wishes “ to acquire the title of a freeman.

XII.“ Resoloed unanimously, That we have attended with “ admiration to the noble, though hitherto ineffectual efforts, “ of those illustrious characters and virtuous citizens who, in " England and Scotland, strenuously labour to procure redress “ of similar grievances. May the examples of the sister na« tions mutually animate the inhabitants of each to persevere “ with unremitting ardour, till the glorious labour bc finally “ completed.

XIII. “ Resolved unanimously, That a committee (of five persons from each county) be now chosen (by ballot) to re

present this province in a grand national convention, to be “ held at noon in the Royal Exchange of Dublin, on the 10th

day of November next; to which we trust each of the other “provinces will send delegates, to digest and publish a plan of

parliamentary reform, to pursue such measures as may appear “to them most likely to render it effectual, to adjourn from “ time to time, and convene provincial meetings if found necessary.

“ The following gentlemen were accordingly chosen by bal“ lot, viz.


Major Crawford
Colonel O'Neill

Colonel Pat. Savage Lieutenant Colonel Sharman Captain Gavin Hamilton Colonel Rowley

Captain W. Todd Jones Colonel Irvine
Colonel T. M. Jones

Colonel Sir Arthur Brooke

Captain A. C. Hamilton
Earl of Charlemont

Jason Hazard, Esq. Lieutenant Colonel Brownlow Captain James Armstrong Sir Capel Molyneux

Londonderry. Lieutenant Colonel Sir Walter Lord Bishop of Derry Synott

Col. Right Hon. Thomas CoCaptain James Dawson

nolly Cavan.

Colonel Right Hon. Edward Lord Farnham

The Hon. J. J. Maxwell Captain Leckey
Captain Francis Saunderson Captain Ferguson
Colonel George Montgomery

Captain Henry Clements Col. Charles Powell Leslie

Colonel Francis Lucas Colonel Alex. Montgomery

Colonel John Montgomery Colonel John Hamilton Captain William Forster Lieutenant Col. A. Stewart Colonel James Hamilton Colonel Robert M'Clintock

Lieutenant Colonel Charles Colonel Stewart

Lieut. Colonel Montgomery

Colonel James Alexander
Colonel Robert Stewart Lieut. Colonel Charleton
Captain Matt. Forde, jun. Captain Eccles.

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