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AGGREGATE MEETING OF THE CITIZENS OF DUBLIN, Held at the Royal Exchange, on Tuesday the 3rd day of August, 1790, pursuant to adjournment. ARCHIBALD HAMILTON Row AN, Esq., in the chair. The Report of the Committee appointed to draw up a state of the case of the citizens of Dublin, having been read by the chairman, which is as follows:— That it appears that the citizens of Dublin at large, had originally the election of its magistrates, until ousted by a bye-law. That in the reign of Charles II., when the revenues were surrendered to the Crown for ever, the power of making regulations for the different corporations was given to the lord-lieutenant and council, and certain new rules were made accordingly. That by one of those rules the right of electing a chief magistrate for the city of Dublin, was given to the board of Aldermen, subject to the approbation of the lord-lieutenant and council. That in the latter part of the reign of Queen Anne, the use which the lord-lieutenant and council made of this power, was an attempt to introduce disaffected men into the magistracy, and to exclude men of Whig principles, and well affected to the constitution and the present royal family, and in their place to introduce men devoted to the then administration. That this constitution, which had not proved sufficient to secure to the magistracy proper and safe men, was the cause of great discontent among the citizens, to remedy which a Bill in the 33rd year of the late King passed into a law. That by this Bill no man can be mayor who is rejected by the commons of the common council. That on certificate of that rejection, the board of aldermen must send down another person; and so on, from time to time, until the commons shall approve. That there is no restriction in the Act on the rejection by the commons save only that they must approve of some one aldermen.
That if the board of aldermen or the commons offend against the requisites set forth in the Act, the body offending loses, for that turn, the right of election, if the board of aldermen; and of rejection, if the commons; and the other body that has conformed to the law acquires the absolute right of choosing the lord mayor. That notwithstanding these clauses, an opinion has been advanced by the board of aldermen and their council, which supposes that the commons cannot reject any alderman without assigning as grounds for their rejection, some corporate or legal disability. That we have examined the Act, and can find no such clause. That we have examined precedents, and we find that there is no precedent for any such thing; on the contrary, the precedents are against it. That in 1763, soon after the making the Act, the commons rejected Alderman Barre, and assigned no reason. That they rejected him a second time in the said year, and assigned no reason; and that the board of aldermen submitted, and sent down Alderman Forbes, who was approved of, and was lord mayor. That in this year the commons, in April, rejected Alderman William James, and the board sent down another and another Alderman, without demanding reason. That the Council act under words the same as those under which the commons proceed, save only that there are some further clauses and stronger expressions in favour of the right of the commons, and yet the Council did in the year 1711, repeatedly reject the Lord Mayor of Dublin, without assigning reasons; that they rejected in 1763, the Lord Mayor, sent up by the board on one part, and by the commons on the other, and assigned no reasons. That in the present year, they in May rejected both Alderman James and Alderman Howison, and assigned no reasons. That in June they rejected the same, and assigned no reasons; that they have now rejected Alderman Howison, and assigned no teaSon. That if the commons must assign as ground for their rejection, corporate or legal incapacities in the person so rejected, the commons receive from the clause in the Act, no power or authority whatsoever. That we cannot find the cause of this construction in the Act, and must look for it somewhere else;—that we apprehend the citizens have given offence to his Majesty's Ministers, and particularly those who at present direct the Government of this country. That we have examined our conduct and our hearts, and we declare to God and our country, that however conscious we are of coming under the displeasure of those men, we are not conscious of having deserved it. That we do acknowledge, that for the last ten or eleven years, the citizens of Dublin did take an active part for the liberty of their country
that in 1780, they supported to the utmost of their power, a declaration of right, which those who now principally direct the Government of this kingdom resisted, but that we do not repent the part we then acted; on the contrary, we rejoice in it, and aver, with all humility, but with truth, that if the people of Ireland in general, and the citizens of Dublin in particular, had not taken an active part on that occasion, we do conceive that the abilities and exertions of those who now principally direct our Government, and enjoy a superior degree of power and profit under tha free Constitution which they opposed, would have prevailed against the liberties of their country. That we acknowledge, in 1785, when those very persons proposed to give back that liberty, in a scheme, consisting of twenty propositions, the citizens of Dublin did take a very decided part against said system and bore their share in the honour of defeating and confounding that wicked attempt, and though they might have given cause by that conduct to the resentment of the abettors of that project, and also to certain low and insolent expressions at that time pronounced, yet we do not repent of our conduct. We had rather suffer in common with the rest of our countrymen, under any description of abuse, however opprobrious and petulant, than under the stings of our conscience, reproaching us for supporting that most disgraceful surrender of our rights, which was proposed in said twenty propositions. That on the late question of the Regency, the citizens of Dublin took an humble and dutiful, but a firm and constitutional part, and made their protest against those dangerous and slavish doctrines, which affected to say that the British Parliament could make a Regent for Ireland, and that his Majesty legislated in Ireland, not as King of Ireland, but as King of Great Britain, and that the great seal of England had powers in this country superior to the Imperial Crown thereof. That in protesting against such doctrines, we conceive we only did our duty, and we now repeat our entire approbation of those principles, on which his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales was called upon, by the two Houses of the Irish Parliament, to take on himself the Regency of this country, without unconstitutional and capricious restrictions; and in opposition to the above mentioned unconstitutional and arbitrary notions,—notions tending to prejudice the dignity of the Royal Family, and at the same time to deprive this country of a proud opportunity of exercising the powers of her free Constitution, and also of manifesting her affection and loyalty. That we do also acknowledge to have expressed our approbation of the conduct of the minority of the two Houses of the late Parliament in the last session, and so far to have taken a part in condemning the attempts on the liberty of the press, and on the personal liberty of the subject, by holding him to arbitrary and illegal bail—attempts made by the Ministers of Justice, and screened from enquiry by those of the Crown;— 448 APPENDIX.
we also acknowledge, by that approbation, to have taken a part in condemning the late corruption and profusion practised by our Ministers, in the creation of useless offices, salaries and pensions, and likewise in the sale of peerages, in order to buy seats in the House of Commons, by selling those in the House of Lords. That the citizens appear justified in entertaining such a conviction, viz., That those measures had no other view, meaning, or object, save corruption only. First, because said measures bespoke nothing else; secondly, because the nation was told so by the highest authority, in a threat, signifying that Members of Parliament should be made victims of their vote, which accordingly was the case; and afterwards again told by another very high authority, in a declaration, which averred, that in order to defeat an opposition in Parliament, this nation had been, in the administration of his late Excellency the Marquess of Townshend, bought by the Government, and sold by the Members of Parliament for half a million, and that if opposition continued to the present administration, this nation must be bought and sold again. That under such authority we could not but think ourselves warranted in expressing our approbation of those who resisted such a wicked practice; for we cannot conceive a stronger challenge or summons to the people than such a declaration. That we do acknowledge the freedom of the city of Dublin refused to his Excellency the Earl of Westmoreland, was refused because it was perceived that the measures, the men, and the principles which had disgraced his predecessor, were countenanced and continued under his Government; and in those disgraceful circumstances of his Government, it was imagined that any testimony of approbation would not have given credit or dignity to Lord Westmoreland, but would have lessened the character of the city. That we do not deny that many among us did, on a former occasion, favour the scheme of protecting duties, but we utterly deny and disclaim having any share in approving of the outrages which followed that proposal; nor can we imagine how our approbation of laying protecting duties can, without great inconsistency, render us obnoxious to his Majesty's Ministers, seeing that the person who was the author of the attempt, and the cause of what followed it, has since received the encouraging marks of Royal favour and bounty. But that the chief cause of the displeasure of his Majesty's Ministers seems to be our opposition to the corruption intended by an Act, entitled, An Act for the better regulating the Police of the city of Dublin. That we do solemnly declare it to be our sincere opinion, that the great object and design of the contrivers of the Police Bill was to extend, over the city of Dublin, corruption both in the corporation and among the citizens thereof; and we are authorized in entertaining such an opinion, because we know such corrupt influence to have been exercised over