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In all connections between free kingdoms advantages must be reciprocal. It must be the interest of both to preserve the connection ; or that kingdom' who finds herself hurt by the alliance, will infallibly quit it the moment it is in her power. Interest is the grand spring of action even amongst men, though a few individuals may gloriously deviate from it; but between nations it is, it must be the ruling principle.
My lord, it is my wish, and I hope and believe it is the wish of every good man in this kingdom, to form an alliance with Great Britain, which nothing can disturb. I conceive this can only be done by a fair and candid enquiry into the natural rights of each kingdom. If Great Britain treats with Ireland under the idea of giving as little as she can, and that little from necessity, Ireland can neither be thankful nor satisfied. You yourselves will say that Ireland, from particular situation, has got more than you intended for her; and when that situation ceases, you will naturally endeavour to recal what you have so granted. On the other hand, Ireland looking for an establishment of rights, cannot conceive herself obliged by what is given from expediency. Whilst the great question of right remains unascertained, mutual jealousies and distrusts must affect the peace of both kingdoms. Irishmen cannot seriously wish the prosperity of a country which they conceive to be oppressing them ; and England cannot be cordially our well-wisher, whilst she considers us as a people she has wronged; as a people she must suppose anxious for an opportunity of procuring justice.
It may be said, that finding fault is easy, but that it will be difficult to point out a mode of relief more satisfactory than the one your lordship has adopted; I shall, therefore, in a few words, lay down what I believe would be satisfactory to my countrymen; what I know would be satisfactory to my countrymen; what I know would be satisfactory to myself.
Let England declare she has no right to bind Ireland by British acts of parliament, and entirely repeal all laws hitherto made for that purpose. It has been my endeavour to prove that England in doing this, would only do justice; suppose it done, Ireland would have a right to trade with all the world, but all the world would also have a right of choosing upon what terms, and in what instances, they would enter into commercial alliances with Ireland ; Great Britain of course would have a right to say, you
shall not trade with us, but on such conditions as we shall think proper to require. The colonies would have the same right; and at this moment Ireland would have less than what your propositions, and the law founded, and to be founded on them, would give us; but then, my lord, the matter of right would be adjusted; whatever wealth we acquired would be the wealth of freemen, and could not be taken from us but by our own legislature; then that frightful spirit raised in the reign of George the First would be laid, and the fears and apprehensions of Irishmen, with the Ghost, would vanish.*
If, my lord, we are admitted to trade with Great Britain and her colonies, s, as an Irishman, think we should make a suitable return. If your fieets protect us, protect our trade. I think we ought in proportion to that protection, in proportion to that trade, contribute to their support. These, my lord, in my humble apprehension, ought to be the subjects of treaty between the two legislatures ; then rights and favours would be distinct; a distinction which must give universal satisfaction here. If Great Britain really means to give us a permanent Free Trade, what can be her objection to being fully explicit? My lord, the consequence would be, that industry would diffuse her blessings over this heretofore devoted land ; then, my lord, the merchant would plow the ocean, and the farmer his land with satisfaction and security ; then Ireland would become the cheerful and powful supporter of Great Britain.
My lord, I cannot expect you will take either my word or opinion for the sentiments of my countrymen ; but, my lord, it is surely worth your lordship's attention to enquire how far I am right in my opinion; if by that enquiry, you find that the people of Ireland, almost to a man, deny the right in a British parliament to bind them; if you find that they acknowledge no power on earth but their king, lords, and commons; and will not, if they can help it, pay obedience to the laws of any other; I submit it to your lordship, whether it would be wise in the British legislature to voluntarily declare the statute of 6 George I. c. 5. no longer in force, so far as relates to Ireland, and that it was made on the mistaken idea, that England had a right to bind Ireland. This, my lord, would heal every dissension, would banish every jealous idea from our minds.
Many other things relative to Ireland croud upon my imagi. nation, but as they are in general things that ought to be looked to at home, and as I wish to confine myself to the one great question, I shall not longer intrude on your lordship.
In the course of this letter I have endeavoured to steer clear of the least offence to your lordship. I have endeavoured to argue without passion or prejudice, and I trust I have in some degree succeeded.
I feel the fullest conviction, that an explanation of the matter of right is essential to the welfare and prosperity of both king
* The law declaring a right to bind Ireland in all cases whatsoever.
doms, and it is from that conviction I have thus ventured to address your lordship.
No. LXVII. a.
RESOLUTIONS OF DIFFERENT CORPS OF
To the Right Hon. and Hon. the Minority in both Houses of
Mr LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,
We thank you for your noble and spirited, though hitherto ineffectual efforts in defence of the great constitutional and commercial rights of your country. Go on....the almost unanimous voice of the people is with you; and in a' free country, the voice of the country, the people, must prevail. We know our duty to our sovereign, and are loyal. We know our duty to ourselves, and are resolved to be free.
We seek for our rights, and no more than our rights, and, in so just a pursuit, we should doubt the being of a Providence, if we doubted of success.
These proceedings were generally approved of.... the spirit of the Dungannon meeting was diffused throughout the kingdom, and its resolutions were seconded by almost every volunteer corps in Ireland.
On the 17th of February, the corps of Independent Dublin Volunteers unanimously agreed to the following resolutions and preamble :
Natural justice and equity having established the universal rights of mankind upon an equal footing, the inhabitants of Ireland have a claim to a free trade with all nations in amity with Great Britain ; yet their ports have been kept shut, their trade has been monopolized, and their industry has but served 80 aggrandize the proud traders of a neighbouring kingdom.
Necessity, which compels to ingenuity, has lately led up that trade, dignified with the spacious name of free: yet trade, which enriches industrious nations, serves but to impoverish the natives of this kingdom, because they have purchased at an high, price, an illusion; defrauded thus of their birthright, there is nothing but economy as a counterpoise. This unsubstantial freedom of commerce, having originated from the united spirit of the people against the use of foreign manufactures, the same spirit which procured the fallacious grant, may yet, by a perse. vering unanimity, establish a real, permanent, and substantial trade.... Therefore resolved, that these our thoughts and opinions be laid before our countrymen, reminding them at the same time, that not only they, but their posterity are interested in the event;, and that to do away effectually the yoke of monopoly, a non-consumption and non-importation agreement should be entered into without delay:
Resolved, That for the more effectually furthering this great national point, the several corps (as private citizens of this city be requested to send each a delegate to the Royal Exchange, on Monday the 25th inst. at seven o'clock in the evening, and the foregoing resolutions be published.
The following Resolutions were passed a few Days afterwards
at a full Meeting held by the Lawyers' Corps. Resolved, That we do highly approve of the resolutions and address of the Uister volunteers, represented at Dungannon on the 15th day of February instant.
That as citizens and volunteers, we will co-operate with the several corps, whose delegates met at Dungannon, in every constitutional mode of obtaining a redress of the grievances mentioned in their resolutions.
The Address published by the Committee of the Ulster Volunteers. To the Electors of Members of Parliament, in the Province
DELEGATED by the volunteers assembled at Dungannon, we call on you to support the con
stitutional and commercial rights of Ireland ; to exert the important privileges of freemen at the ensuing election, and to proclaim to the world, what you at least deserve to be free.
Regard not the threats of landlords or their agents, when they require you to fail in your duty to God, to your country, to yourselves, to your posterity. The first privilege of a man is the right of judging for himself, and now is the time for you exert that right. It is a time pregnant with circumstances, which revolving ages may not again so favourabiy combine. The spirit of liberty is gone abroad, it is embraced by the people at large, and every day brings with it an accession of strength. The timid have laid aside their fears, the virtuous sons of Ireland stand secure in their numbers. Undue influence is now as despised as it has ever been contemptible : and he who would dare to punish an elector for exerting the rights of a freeman, would meet what he would merit, public detestation and abhor
Let no individual neglect his duty. The nation is the aggregate of inaividuals, and the strength of the whole is composed of exertion of each part; the man, therefore, who omits what is in his power, because he has not more in his power, and will not exert his utmost efforts for the emancipation of his country, because they can, at best, be the efforts of but one man, stands accountable to his God and to his country, to himself and to his posterity, for confirming and entailing slavery on the land which gave
him birth. An upright House of Commons is all that is wanting, and it is in the power of the electors to obtain it. Vote only for men whose past conduct in parliament you and the nation approve, and for such others as will solemnly pledge themselves to support the measures, which
and the nation approve.
Do your duty to your country, and let no consideration tempt you to sacrifice the public to a private tie, the greater duty to a less.
We entreat you, in the name of the great and respectable body we represent; we implore you, by every sociable and honourable tie; we conjure you as citizens, as freemen, as Irishmen, to raise this long insulted kingdom, and restore to her her lost rights. One great and united effort will place us among the first nations of the earth, and those who shall have the glory of contributing to that event, will be for ever recorded as the saviours of their country.