« PreviousContinue »
made of their delinquency. The disapprobation of BOOK that house must and ought to sweep ministers be- 4 fore it; and whenever his day of account should come, he declared himself ready to meet it without fear.
The amendment was in the result negatived by 233 voices to 134. On the 6th of December, a resolution of cen-Earl of
Ossory's sure on the ministers was moved in the house of motion
respecting commons by the earl of Upper Ossory, relative to Ireland. the affairs of Ireland. This nobleman possessed large property in that kingdom, and was moreover distinguished by a general candour and liberality of conduct, which gave peculiar weight to his present animadversions. His lordship observed, that “ the ministers seemed totally to have abandoned the government of that country to chance. They neither felt for its distresses nor provided against its resentments. The present state of Ireland, his lordship said, was truly alarming, and seemed to portend a sudden dissolution of the constitutional connection which had so long subsisted between the two coun. tries. To the shameful inattention and criminal neglect of the ministry, who inight in the early stages of the miseries of that kingdom have granted the Irish nation substantial relief, was the present spirit of resistance wholly imputable. To what had the conduct of ministers led ? Either to an unreserved acquiescence in every proposition which Ireland in
BOOK her present distempered state might think proper to
demand, or the horrible alternative of a civil war while engaged in the present unequal contest with France, Spain and America." This motion was powerfully supported by Mr. Dunning, a lawyer and speaker of
eminence both in the house and at
of Dublin, burnt Cork, and reduced Waterford to ashes? Why had they not prohibited all popular meetings in that kingdom, and destroyed all popular elections ? Why had they not altered the usual mode of striking juries, as was done by the Massachussets Bay charter bill? Why were not the Dublin rioters brought over to this country to be tried by an English jury? Why were not the principal leaders of the Irish armed associations pro
scribed, and the whole kingdom declared to be in BOOK rebellion? The answer was plain and direct. The ministry dare not. Sad and dear-bought experience had even taught them the folly as well as impracticability of such measures. The danger of the present awful moment had made insolence and arrogance give way to fear and humiliation. The motion was opposed in an elaborate speech by lord North, who dea clared his intention to bring forward certain resolutions respecting Ireland in a few days, which he trusted would meet the ideas of gentlemen on both sides of the house. It was negatived by 173 voices to
A similar motion of censure in the house of peers by the earl of Shelburne was negatived by 82 to 37 voices. In the course of the debate which arose on this occa- Humiliasion, the late lord president Gower asserted his tis.coop entire conviction that the censure now moved had a just and adequate foundation. sided,” his lordship said, “ some years at the council-table, where HE HAD SEEN SUCH THINGS PASS, THAT NO MAN OF HONOR OR CONSCIENCE COULD
The tiines were such as called upon every man to speak out; sincerity and activity in our councils could alone restore energy and effect to our government.” On the day previ- Lord ously fixed, lord North brought forward his propo-proposisitions respecting Ireland, which were substantially tions re
specting the same with those originally moved by lord Nugent Ireland.
" He had pre
ANY LONGER SIT THERE.
Estimate of the national force.
Book in the session of 1778, but accompanied with several
additional concessions, particularly the very important one that Ireland should be allowed the free exportation of her woollens. These resolutions passed unanimously, and were received in Ireland not only with satisfaction but exultation, from the flattering and delusive expectation of deriving from them an effectual and immediate relief to her distresses.
The attention of the public in England was not a little attracted by the estimates of the army and navy, which were about this time laid before parliament. Eighty-five thousand men had been at an early period of the session voted for the sea service, and before the recess the secretary at war moved, “ that one hundred and eleven thousand men be voted for the land service, exclusive of militia, amounting with the additional volunteer companies to forty-two thousand. The foreign troops in British pay were calculated at twenty-four thousand, and the artillery at six thousand. The entire aggregate of this formidable force, therefore, fell little short of two hundred and seventy thousand men, without including the troops serving upon the Irish or Indian establishments. To support this vast force twelve millions were raised by way of loan, in addition to the permanent means of supply; and those who most deplored the incredible and enormous folly which had reduced the nation to a situation so cri. tical and dangerous, could not but view with plea
sure and astonishment the power, the riches, and BOOK the spirit now displayed in defence of all that was dear and valuable to a free and independent people. The opposition in parliament had been for some time past gradually acquiring strength ; and the nation at large, notwithstanding their original predilection for the war, began at length to be seriously alarmed at the magnitude of the contest, and the prodigious and ruinous expense with which it was attended. The undisguised and unexampled profusion which pervaded every department of government could not but strike the most careless observer : and, on a sudo den, Economy became the prevailing and popular cry throughout the kingdom.
Early in the new year, 1780, public meetings Petitions to were convened in most of the principal counties, on the suband petitions to parliament were framed, with the lic econolaudable and express view of establishing a system founded upon principles of strict and disinterested frugality. The county of York, with great propriety and effect, took the lead on this occasion. In their petition tothe house of commons they earnestly requested, “that, before any new burdens were laid upon
measures might be taken by that house to enquire into and correct the gross abuses in the expenditure of the public money; to reduce all exorbitant emoluments; to rescind and abolish all sinecure places and unmerited pensions ; and to appropriate the produce to the necessities of