« PreviousContinue »
wards Mr. Griffith moved an address to his majesty, which spoke more dubiously of the lord lieutenant's exertions to second the calls of the country for the improvement of manufactures and other commercial advantages, which was so moderate and so transcendently true, that Mr. Foster, fearing to permit it to go to a vote, artfully compromised the matter, and brought over Mr. Griffith to the treasury bench, where with the alteration of some few words, which Mr. Griffith did not consider very material, such an address was settled as should meet with no opposition. Mr. Griffith in concluding a very warm and impressive speech, before he moved his original address, added these emphatical words. He hoped,“ that no map would “ be bold enough to move the previous question upon it, the “ previous question, that political bowstring, with which the
mutes of the Castle strangle every honest subject, which they “ dare not openly arraign." The address amended and settled by Mr. Foster, which was voted unanimously, was, " That his « faithful commons humbly begged leave to approach his ma“ jesty's throne with hearts full of gratitude for the many bles
sings they enjoyed under his wise and benignant government: “ and at the same time to express to his majesty the deep concern “they felt for those distresses, which affected many of the “ lower ranks of manufacturers in that kingdom. That his faith“ ful commons begged leave humbly to represent to his majesty, " that his majesty's subjects in Ireland had always been a loyal
people, and had, on every occasion, manifested the warmest “ attachment to his majesty's royal person and family. That as
“ We reflect with true pride and satisfaction upon the solid adrantages, " which have been obtained for this country within a very short period. We “ are aware of the situation of the empire, and the peculiar circumstances, « which have prevented the adjustment of some points, which concern our “ trade and manufactures, and we rely upon the readiness of your Grace's • liberal and benevolent assistance for the furtherance of such practical mea.
sures as deliberate wisdom and generous policy may adapt to our real “ necessities and general interests.
“ As guardians of the rights and safety of our fellow subjects, as well as " assertors of the national honour, we have felt ourselves called upon to ex
press our abhorrence of tumult and of seditious publications ; zealous to “ uphold the true spirit of the constitution, we have made it the object of our “ unanimous resolution to defend its genuine liberty against the attacks of “ licentiousness,
“ We have not suffered to escape our grateful observation the early anxiety, " which your Grace manifested to remove every apprehension of party preju“ dices or partial charges in the councils or measures of government. We “ feel and acknowledge the benefits arising from such a principle; we have “ studied to shew a sincere disposition to confirm them, by a liberal imita. « tion; and we shall be zealous to concur in diffusing throughout every part of “ the kingdom the successful influence of so happy an example. Convinced " as we are of the importance to this kingdom of a steady and permanent " administration, it is our ardent wish, that his majesty may long continue “your Grace in the government of Ireland.”
they were deeply impressed with his majesty's paternal care “ and affection, they entertained the warmest hopes that the “ interval between the close of the present session and the “ beginning of the next would afford sufficient opportunity for * forming a wise and well digested plan for liberal arrangement “ of commercial intercourse between Great Britain and Ireland
to be then brought forward. That his faithful commons “humbly begged leave to assure his majesty, that such a plan, “ formed upon the broad basis of reciprocal advantages, would W be the most effectual means of strengthening the empire at “ large, and cherishing the common interest and brotherly " affection of both kingdoms.”
The parliament was prorogued on the 14th of May, 1784, and the lord lieutenant concluded the session with a *speech appropriate to the important and critical situation of the kingdom. That was the first time the Duke of Rutland had personally addressed the parliament. The difficulties of the session were greater from without, than from within the walls of the senate. It appears from the efforts of some of the members upon the armed associations when the session was over, that attempts were made to carry the questions lost in parliament by a majority out of it. After the prorogation the discontent and violence of the *My LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,
“ IN addressing you for the first time in parliament, at the « close of the session, I embrace with pleasure the occasion, which is afforded me of returning you my affectionate acknowledgment for the cordiality of
my reception, and the early assurances of your confidence. And I am at “ the same time highly gratified in being authorized to communicate to you “ the sentiments of perfect satisfaction with which his majesty approves of your exertions for the public welfare.
" GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, “I am happy in obeying his majesty's commands, to thank you for the “ cheerfulness with which you have made provision for the exigencies and " honour of his government. Let me assure you, on my part, that the readi
ness with which you have granted supplies stimulates my utmost atten. “ tion and care, that they shall be managed with sconomy, and applied with “ prudence.
“ MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN, “ You will have much satisfaction in reflecting, that the various objects " which, in consequence of the acknowledged independence of the legislature, “ were recommend d for your deliberations, at the opening of this session, “ have been diligenily pursued and accomplished.
“ You have wisely given your sanction to the extraordinary expedients, “ which it has been necessary to employ in order to preserve the kingdom " from famine ; and I feel great satisfaction in the prospect, that they will be “ prevented for the future, by the new and judicious arrangement of your corp " Jaws, and the iniproved extension of your agriculture.
"I see with pleasure the exertions of an humane and liberal principle, " which has prompted you to give encouragement to the national industry, by " favourable regulations and well directed bounties. I have warmly at heart
people rather increased than diminished. The populace frequently assembled, and committed unjustifiable outrages; they attacked the houses and persons of shopkeepers, who were suspected of not favouring the non-importation agreement, and in some instances they proceeded after the American fashion to the desperate measure of " tarring and feathering. Some of the most daring received punishment: and the mob once proceeded to such extremities, that one of the high sheriffs, Mr. Kirkpatrick, in endeavouring to suppress them, received a severe wound in the head, and matters would have proceeded to more serious consequences, had not a party of the military, headed by another magistrate, fortunately came to the sheriff's assistance.
As the principal objection to the introduction of Mr. Flood's bill for a parliamentary reform was, that it originated with an armed body, it was now thought expedient to attempt the measure in some way less exceptionable. The sheriffs and chief magistrates were therefore called upon to convene the inhabitants of their respective counties, fully to discuss that measure; and such a meeting having been convened at Dublin on the 7th of June, 1784, at which the high sheriffs presided, the following resolutions were agreed to, viz. o the advancement of your trade, and the success of all your manufactures, “ and I'shall not fail either to consider, or to represent those instances where. “ of the peculiar circumstances of the empire have hitherto prevented a “ full investigation, and which shall be found to require a further adjust. “ Resolved unanimously, That the present imperfect represen
“ The useful regulations proposed to be introduced into the collection and management of the revenue ; the security of private property, and exten“ sion of national credit, by depositing in the bank of Ireland, the money of « suitors in the courts of chancery and exchequer; the plans for improving “ the metropolis, calculated not more for ornament and splendour, than for “ health and convenience; your unanimous determination to defend the free« dom of the constitution against the attacks of licentiousness; and your « attention to the support of charitable institutions, are all unequivocal testi" monies of your wisdom, humanity, and justice.
“ I have not failed to convey to our sovereign the satisfaction you have so
decidedly expressed in the blessings of that happy constitution, which you " enjoy under his majesty's auspicious government. Sensible as you are of " those eminent advantages, it can hardly be necessary for me to desire, that you
should be attentive to impress them on the minds of others, over whom your
superiority of rank and information must and ought to give you a just « and benevolent influence.
" I have a sure confidence, that during your residence in your respective " counties, you will seek to direct and encourage the industry of your neigh“ bourhood, in the pursuits best adapted to their situations, and by which “ the community at large may be most effectually benefited. You will point « out to them the real resources of a free and fertile country, under the bles“sings of peace, and the mild protection of the laws; and you will not suffer « misapprehensions to perplex, or false informations to misguide them.
“ It is my bappiness and pride to reflect, that our united attention has been, « and is directed to the same objects, of maintaining and advancing the rights, • the dignity, and the prosperity of Ireland, and the general interests of the “ empire."
tation, and the long duration of parliaments, are unconstitu“tional, and intolerable grievances.
“ Resolved unanimously, That the voice of the commons of “ Ireland is no less necessary for every legislative purpose, than " that of either the sovereign or the lords; and therefore the “ people claim it as their just, inherent, unalienable privilege, to “ correct abuses in the representation, whenever such abuses “ shall have so increased as to deprive them of their constitu“ tional share in their own government.
“ Resolved unanimously, That the people of Ireland have, “ and always had a clear, unalienable, and indefeasible right to “ a frequency of elections, as well as to an adequate and equal “ representation, founded upon stronger grounds than that “ of any act or acts of parliament; and that the attainment “ of those constitutional important objects, is the most effectual “ expedient for restoring and securing the independence of par" liament.
“ Resolved unanimously, That the present inadequate repre“sentation, and the long duration of parliaments, destroy that “ balance, which by our constitution should subsist between the « three estates of the legislature, render the members of the “ House of Commons independent of the people, procure de“ termined majorities in favour of every administration, and " threaten either an absolute monarchy, or that still more odious government, a tyrannical aristocracy.
“ Resolved unanimously, That the majority of the House of " Commons is not chosen by the people, but returned by the “ mandates of peers of the realm and others, either for indigent
boroughs, where scarce any inhabitants reside, or for con. “ siderable cities and towns, where the elective power is vested " in a few.
“ Resoloed unanimously, That the venality and corruption of “ the present House of Commons evinced by the many arbitra
ry acts passed in the last session, and the contempt and indig,
nity, with which they treated the applications and petitions of “ the constituent body, oblige us now to request the people at “ large to unite with us in the attainment of a more adequate
representation, and in petitions to the throne for a dissolution “ of the present parliament.
“ Resolved unanimously, That the strength of a nation con" sists in the union of its inhabitants.
“ Resolved (with one dissenting voice), That a participation " in general rights must for ever engage mankind to operate “ most effectually for each other.
" Resolved therefore (with one dissenting voice), That to ex. “ tend the rights of suffrage to our Roman Catholic brethren, " still preserving in its fullest extent the present Protestant go“vernment of this country, would be a measure fraught with " the happiest consequences, and would be highly conducive to " civil liberty.
“ Resolved unanimously, That a committee of twenty-one “ gentlemen be now appointed to prepare an address to the peo
ple, requesting their co-operation with us; and also, a petition “ to his majesty, stating our grievances, and praying a dissolu“tion of the present corrupt parliament, in whom we cannot “ place any trust or confidence, and that they report the same “ to this body on Monday the 21st of June instant.”
The committee having at a future meeting made their report, the following address to the people of Ireland was agreed to and published by that meeting.
“ FRIENDS AND COUNTRYMEN, “ Permit us, the inhabitants of the city of Dublin, with all "the affection due to fellow subjects, and that anxiety which
every citizen must feel for his native country, to address you on "the most important subject, that ever engrossed the attention " of a free people.
Long and painfully have we endured, in common with you " all, the miseries arising from the abuse of power, and the well “ known defects in the present state of representation in the " Commons House of parliament; defects tending to the total " annihilation of our boasted form of government, and produc“tive of the highest oppression to the inhabitants of this loyal " and independent nation.
" It is with reluctance we find ourselves compelled to enter “ into a detail of grievances, which being felt by all, cannot be “unknown to any. But whilst we consider it prudent to justify
our proceedings to the world, we must intreat your indul. gence,
if we state particulars, which might otherwise be thought unnecessary.
“ Perfectly sensible must you be of that aristocratic influence, " which has rendered the representation of the people merely " nominal, and destroyed that equal balance in the three estates “ of the legislature, on which alone depends the existence of " our glorious constitution. You have beheld the charters
granted to divers boroughs in this kingdom, entitling the bo“ dies thereby incorporated to a return of representatives, “ abused and perverted to the most destructive purposes, inso“much that the intention of the crown in establishing these bo“rough towns, has been frustrated by the artful practices of “ designing men; and persons returned to parliament from de