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of his predecessors, for he had not at all increased them. The army had been mentioned as an instance of profusion, but would any man lay the blame of a vote of parliament at the door of a lord lieutenant? As to any scheme of systematic reduction, it was impossible, from the shortness of Lord Northington's administration; but they should not forget, that no objection had been made from him, when the expence of collecting the revenue was proposed to be reduced; formerly it was objected to: but with this symptom in his favour, they could not condemn him for not having time to carry a scheme of retrenchment into execution.
As to commercial advantages, he would state a duty on foreign beer, which must operate powerfully in favour of their own breweries and of tillage. When that was announced to the house, he recollected the honourable baronet rising, and laying his hand upon his breast, to return thanks for so great a favour.
Another advantage was the duty laid upon calico, in favour of Irish manufacture. The duty on sugar, that had been conceded that session, was formerly thought an object of the first magnitude in that commerce.
As to constitution, an idea totally new and unsolicited was introduced into their admiralty bill, that is, to cut off any appeal to the British admiralty, by which all that foolish supposition of any power of external legislation for Ireland remaining in Great Britain was for ever done away.
Mr. George Ponsonby approved of the noble and disinterested manner, in which his excellency had refused the additional 4000l, a year.
But as his excellency did not employ newspapers, their puffers did not blazon it forth, with half the assiduity they were known to use on much more trifling occasions. The question being then put, there appeared for the amendment 5, against it 109.
When the house met, according to their last adjournment, on the 26th of February, Mr. Gardiner moved a congratulatory address to the Duke of Rutland, which was unanimously agreed to.; and on the 1st of March the same gentleman communicated his Grace's answer to the house. On the same day thirteen several petitions from counties and populous boroughs were presented to the House of Commons by their respective representatives, praying a reform in the state of the representation of the people in parliament.* Amongst other motions on this
• 2 Parl. Deb. p. 389, namely, from the county of Armagh by Mr. Brown. low, from the county of Meath by Sir Herc. L. Rowley, from the county of Londonderry by the Hon. Edward Cary, from the freemen and freeholders of the city of Dublin by Mr. Hartley, from the county of Carlow by Sir Richard Butler, from the county of Louth by Mr. Foster, from the county' of Dublin by
day, which was properly the first meeting under the Duke of Rutland, Mr. Annesley Stewart moved, that the proper officer should lay before the house the grants of looms and wheels made that year by the trustees of the linen board, and an account of the particular persons, to whom they were ordered to be delivered. When General Cunningham said he was sure there was something rotten at the bottom in the management of that board: he had improved as much as any man in the kingdom, and helped manufactures, by establishing manufactories, and assisting poor manufacturers, yet could never obtain a loom, unless he would accept of it as a particular gift to himself, which he declined doing. The trustees of the linen board did not consider themselves, he said, as trustees, but proprietors, some of whom appropriated thirty looms to themselves.
Mr. Foster wished for the enquiry, as he was convinced nothing would come to light but what would be to the honour of the members of the linen board; and the motion was agreed to unanimously.
The nation now was in the height of a political fever: elated with what they had obtained ; soured at their disappointment in being refused what they were taught to believe, was still wanting to complete their freedom; the public attempts both of parliament and government to discredit and dissolve the volunteers; the failure in the attempts of the opposition to procure a reduction of the military establishment at the return of peace, all tended to foment jealousies between the citizen and the soldier. A riot had lately happened at Island Bridge, where the outrages of the soldiery had exceeded the rules of military discipline or even common humanity. This exasperated the populace, and in vindictive retaliation, they had recourse to the barbarous practice of houghing the soldiers, whenever they found them straggling and off their guard.
* General Luttrell, (afterwards Lord Carhampton) therefore acquainted the house, that he had a motion to make, for the prevention of a robbery of the worst nature, the robbery of life and limb, by a cruelty practised there in the 18th century, that would have astonished the barbarians of the 14th ; it was the inhuman practice of houghing men for no reason but their Sir Edward Newnham, from the county of Cork by the provost, from the county of the town of Drogheda by Mr. William Ogle, from the county of Longford by Colonel Gore, from the county of Leitrim by Mr. Peter Latouche, from the county of Sligo by Mr. Owen Wynne, from the county of Sligo from Mr. O'Hara. 'And on the 5th of the month a similar petition was presented by Mr. Rowley from the county of Antrim, and another from the inhabitants of Belfast. A like petition was presented from the county of Down by Mr. Ward and a counter petition by Mr. Annesley. A like petition was presented by Mr. Leslie from the county of Monaghan.
• Parl. Debates, p. 419.
being soldiers, by the people of the trade and mystery of butchers, whose qualifications were a strong arm, a sharp knife, and a hard heart.
He said, that such acts were sufficient to exasperate men against the civil authority, if the officers of the army had not been watchful to prevent any evil consequences. In the instance of the Island-bridge riot, the civil power vindicated its authority; that inmediately after that event, the whole garrison of Dublin had been drawn upon the parade, (he was himself on duty by order of General Baugh) the offended inhabitants were encouraged to appear on the parade, to pitch on such of the soldiers, whose persons they could identify, and the offenders were, 'in the presence of the high sheriffs, both for city and county, given up to the civil power, and committed to Newgate.
He was the last man in the house, who would get up to excuse the soldiery in that instance, and he mentioned the provocation in mitigation of those proceedings; for he thought a reverence for the laws of civil society, and a peaceable demeanour towards their fellow subjects, was the best part of military discipline.
He quoted the statute of the 5th of Edward VI. whereby persons, who were only suspected of being guilty of offences less horrid than the act of houghing, were liable to have their heads cut off by the parties aggrieved, and the vicinity mulcted into the bargain; but he observed, that the redress was as barbarous as the crime.
That individuals might be urged to retaliation, he asserted, and as a proof, he alluded to a commanding officer of a regiment of dragoons, who declared to them aloud in terrorem, that if a man of them were houghed in Dublin, and they did not the next morning bring him a butcher's head, he would flog them all; but this was as an additional argument to prove, that the gratitude for protection ought to supersede the idea of revenge.
He then moved, that leave be given to bring in a bill to give better protection to soldiers, and others, against the barbarous practice of houghing. Which was ordered.
On the 13th of March, Mr. Flood who had lately been over to England, mentioned to the house, that when he last did himself the honour of moving that house for leave to bring in a bill for a more equal representation of the people in parliament, it was the pleasure of the house to negative the proposition by anticipation, and to declare they would not suffer the bill even to be brought in. The subject was sent back to the people, where it had been discussed with excess of application. The
approbation it met could be only equalled by the ardour, with which it was adopted. The more examination it underwent, the more
it appeared founded in right; and the unanimous and persevering spirit, with which it came back to that house, proved it too firmly riveted in the hearts of the people, to be easily erased by an abrupt and unusual mode of refusal. It contained not his sentiments alone, but the sentiments of the nation, declared both publicly and privately in every capacity. He was therefore anxious to return to that kingdom, that he might be in his place, in order to stand forward in promoting the measure. He admitted, it would be thought by certain gentlemen injurious to their private interest, if the constitution were restored to its original security ; but they must also admit, that it was contrary to every principle of right and justice, that individuals should be permitted to send into that house, two, four, or six members of parliament, to make a traffic of venal boroughs, as if they were household utensils. It seemed a point agreed upon in England, that a parliamentary reform was necessary; he should mention, he said, the opinion given by Lord Chatham, upon whose posthumous fame the present administration so firmly stood defended by the nation, though that great and illus trious man had been neglected for ten years by the public, and so large a portion of his valuable life suffered to be lost to the community. What were his sentiments on that important matter? His words most strongly enforced its necessity : in his answer to the address of the city of London, in which he said, that a reform in parliament was absolutely necessary, in order to infuse fresh vigour into the constitution, and that rotten boroughs ought to be strucken off. A decision in England had established that doctrine.
Lord John Cavendish, the late Chancellor of the exchequer, supported it; and the borough of Shoreham's measure was intended to be made general.
Much argument had been drawn against the measure from the people's overawing that house; but he asked gentlemen, if they had not known many benefits to have resulted from the people's interference with their representatives ? Let them go back to Lord Carlisle's and some other administrations before him; was not parliament, in direct opposition to the sentiments of the people ; and had not they reason to change their opinions in subsequent administrations, when the sentiments of the people without doors overturned those of people within. They recovered your authority, continued he; do you restore them their priviliges.
They were a body of men, that ought always to be mentioned with respect in that house, while it continued to enjoy the consequence it had acquired from their exertions. That he would endeavour to give a concise account of what the nation expected. That the people should have a real, and not a nominal re
presentation. That the unjust privileges of boroughs should be abolished. That the election of their representatives should be in the body of the people. And that corruption should be checked in the elected as well as the elector.
It was to be expected, from the natural impetuosity of the Irish, that the volunteers should violently engage in every pur. suit, that tended to keep up their consequence, and extend the cause of liberty, which they had long identified with the necessity of arming. The generality of them unquestionably were sanguine for a reform of parliament. They were spirited up by Mr. Flood, and his friends, loudly and strongly to urge their claims of reform : and were on the other hand buoyed up
with the conviction, that parliament dared not to refuse or resist them. The great contest, was on the second reading of Mr. Flood's bill on the 20th of March, 1784. Mr. Monk Mason began the debate, and in a set and able speech, drew together all the general and particular objections at any time made against attempts at reforming the popular representation in parlia
Sir Boyle Roche said, the design of the bill was to transfer the franchise of election from the few to the many; or, in other words, to deprive the present possessors of the patronage of boroughs, and give it to another set of men: while they were endeavouring to gratify one set of men, they should not act as tyrants to another. This bill would be a proscriptive act against the Roman Catholics, who would be all turned out of their farms to make room for forty shilling freeholders. The Roman Catholics were a brave and loyal people; their loyalty had been proved in the fire of adversity; they required only that portion of liberty, which the legislature should deem consistent with the happiness of their fellow subjects. But if the constitution were to be broken up, and a new one to be formed, they had as much right to an equality of representation as any other set of men. He would, therefore, make an amendment, , " That Protestants be expunged from the bill, and the words
persons of any religious denomination, inserted in their “ stead.”
The Speaker informed them, that the amendment, till the question before the house, “ whether the bill should be committed," was decided, was premature.
This objection to the bill was also urged by Major (now General) Doyle, who said, “ But, Sir, the greatest objection to " this, is the grievous oppression, that will be thrown upon
* In order that the reader may have before his eyes at one view the grounds of opposing this attempt at reform, Mr. Mason's speech is given at full length in the Appendix, No. LXXI.