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LIST OF PLACEMEN.
Henry Stewart-Accountant General of Post-office.
State and Miscellaneous Officers.
PENSIONERS, who are not placemen.
300 Sir John Stewart Hamilton
300 Hon. John Massey
400 Sir Richard Johnston
800 Thomas Nesbit
500 Sir James May
36 19 38 9 7
Placemen and pensioners
Irish Parliament meets, January 1794–Mr. Grattan supports the war
against France-Sir L. Parsons's motion opposed by Mr. GrattanHis reasons 5—Mr. Ponsonby–Reform Bill-Mr. Grattan's speech in favour of Bill-Rejected— Parliament prorogued-Death of Richard Burke-Edmund Burke's advice to the Catholics—His letter to Mr. Grattan — Proceedings of United Irishmen and Defenders Mr. Hamilton Rowan-Mr. Tone - Mr. Jackson - Conduct of Government~Mr. Grattan applied to, to form part of new administration and refuses—Letter of Lord Fitzwilliam--Goes to England—Interview with the Duke of Portland-Dinner with Mr. Pitt-Denis Daly-W. G. Hamilton and Serjeant Adair's opinion of Mr. Pitt -- His interview with Mr. Grattan-He agrees to grant the Catholic question -Letters of Mr. Grattan and Lord Fitzwilliam-Accepts office of Lord-lieutenant-Mr. Grattan's interview with the Duke of Portland -Jobs complained of—Breach of faith-King's levee-Conduct of Mr. Pitt.
The session of 1794 opened on the 21st of January, with a congratulation from the Throne, on the successes abroad,* and the suppression of disturbance at home. This was accompanied by declaration, that the King had full reliance on the loyalty and attachment of the Irish in supporting him against the unjust aggressions of France. On this occasion, Mr. Grattan adopted a line of conduct most likely to prove advantageous to Ireland, but which was not wholly approved of by some of the opposition, who were not so decided in their opinions as to the extent
* On the 8th of March 1793, the Duke of Saxe Coburg defeated the French, relieved Maestricht, and drove them beyond Aix-laChapelle. On the 17th Clairfait defeated Dumourier at Neerwinden, which decided for this year the fate of the Low Countries; and on the 23rd of May the allies and the Duke of York attacked the French camp at Famars, killed their general, and defeated their army. They then in ted Valenciennes, which on the 26th of July surrendered to the Duke of York.
CIIAP. VI.] SIR L. PARSONS' MOTION.
145 that Ireland should go in the war against France. Mr. Grattan took a different view of the question from some of his friends, as he did at a subsequent period in 1815, and thus expressed himself:
“With respect to the principle of conduct which should always actuate Ireland, I have ever had, and shall ever continue to have but one opinion,- that Ireland should improve her Constitution, correct its abuses, and assimilate it as nearly as possible to that of Great Britain ; that whenever Administration should attempt to act unconstitutionally ; but above all, whenever they should tamper with the independence of Parliament, they ought to be checked by all the means that the Constitution justifies. But that these measures, and this general plan of conduct should be pursued by Ireland with a fixed, steady, and unalterable resolution to stand or fall with Great Britain. Whenever Great Britain, therefore, should be clearly involved in war, it is my idea that Ireland should grant her a decided and unequivocal support, except that war should be carried on against her own liberty.
On the 5th of January, Sir Lawrence Parsons moved that copies of the conventions and treaties with the different powers relative to the war, should be laid before the House. His motion was supported by Serjeant Duquery, Doctor Browne, Messrs. Tighe, Curran, Egan, and Stewart (Lord Castlereagh). Mr. Grattan opposed this motion, conceiving it tantamount to telling France that Ireland had not made up her mind as to the war, and inducing her to intrigue with the people, and make a descent upon the country. Mr. Grattan added, that on the subject of the war, Mr. Curran's sentiments coincided with his own. The motion was rejected by 128 to 9.*
The Bill of Reform that had been proposed by Mr.Wm. Ponsonby, in the last session, was read a first time on the 4th of March. It added thirty
one of the
* Colonel Arthur Wesley (Duke of Wellington) was tellers on this division. VOL. IV.
four Members to the representation, and enlarged the boroughs to an area of twenty-four miles in circumference, thereby taking them from the aristocracy, and opening them to the people. Unfortunately, however, this useful and necessary measure was not destined to pass. Arguments against it were adduced from the disturbed state of affairs abroad, and from the danger of giving more power to the people. Accordingly, the Bill was opposed by Sir Hercules Langrishe, who moved that it be read a second time on the 1st of August. The amendment was supported by Mr. (afterwards Sir Jonah) Barrington, Mr. Fox (afterwards Judge Fox), and Sir John Parnell, Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was opposed by Curran, Jephson, Tighe, Browne, Parsons, Ponsonby, and Conolly. Mr. Grattan strongly supported the bill. He said, that freeholders, leaseholders, and all trading interests, were now only spectators of the parliamentary Constitution, but under this bill they would become parties; at present they returned only one-fifth of the House, but by the bill* they would have the entire return,
* Each county was to return three instead of two knights of the shire; cities of Dublin and Cork to return three members each.
Districts of cities and borough towns to be enlarged to a radius of four miles, or a circle of about twenty-four miles in circumference.
£10 freeholders within such district of any city, town or borough to have a vote, provided they held their freeholds for one year, and registered six months previous to election.
No freeman of any corporation elected such after passing this Act to have a right to vote unless seised of a freehold of 51. yearly value, on which he or his family shall have resided for one year previous to election; this not to extend to those who are freemen or have a right to be so previous to the Act.
Every person who has served five years at any trade within the districts shall have a right to vote.
Member before he takes his seat in Parliament shall declare on oath that it has not been procured by bribery of any kind.
Act not to extend to cities of Waterford, Kilkenny, Limerick and Londonderry, they shall retain their rights as usual.
This was a much wiser plan of Reform than that adopted in England in 1831 by Lord Grey and Lord John Russell, which was so clogged by forms of registry, payment of rates and taxes, and tenancies at will, that the beneficial result of the measure was in a great degree frustrated.
CHAP. VI.] MR. GRATTAN SUPPORTS IT.
147 and become proprietors. His speech was remarkable for its comments on the British Constitution, on the proceedings in France, and the danger of suffering popular abuses to accumulate to such a height as they had in Ireland ; but he very wisely expressed his disapprobation of the plan of personal representation, and the extravagancies which some of the popular societies in Ireland had indulged in, and which he cautioned the people to beware of.
“My right honourable friend* says, Why agitate the people now? We have not created; we have found the agitation of this subject, and therefore the question now is, not whether we shall agitate or abandon this subject; and sure I am that we should agitate the people much more by renouncing than by pursuing their great objecta more equal representation of the people. We should then leave them at large on this subject to their own despair, or to those desperate suggestions which every seditious bungler may propose, while the abuses of your representation, abandoned to such bands, make every quack a doctor, and every fool a philosopher. Sir, it is the excellence of our constitution, that it contains within itself the seeds of its own reformation, and to this excellence I attribute its duration. Other countries have preserved abuses until they accumulated, and were finally levelled but by the establishment themselves, by the deluge of anarchy, instead of being removed by reformation.
“. But,' says the right honourable baronet, · France ! take warning from France.' If France be a lesson, take the whole of that lesson ; if her frantic convention is to be a monitress against the vices of a republic, let the causes which produced that convention be an admonition against the abuses of monarchy. France would reform nothing, until abuses accumulated, and government was swept away in a deluge—until an armed force redressed the State, and then, as will generally be the case, united on becoming the Government. It was not a progress from reformation to innovation, but from one modification of a military government, that is, of one anarchy to another.
* Sir Hercules Langrishe.