Page images
PDF
EPUB

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 balf 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

[blocks in formation]

both, and such a criminal and corrupt use to have been made of that bill by its contrivers and abettors; and if on the last election such attempts did not succeed, it was because the virtue of the citizens of Dublin was superior to that of those persons who had pretended to frame bills for their regulation.

That we beg leave to mention, that this bill has cost since the establishment of the Police, about 20,000l. a-year, and we leave it to our fellow subjects whether the protection received from said Police has been adequate to the expense thereof. We beg leave also to mention, that notwithstanding the various extravagant and criminal charges proved to have been made under colour of said bill, no one Commissioner nor divisional Justice has been discharged by Government, but has continued, they to give their votes for Government, and Government to give them every countenance and approbation, notwithstanding said scandalous expenditure of the public money,

That, however inadequate the Police Bill has been to destroy the free representation of the city, it has proved fully equal to the purpose of securing a part of the corporation to all the purposes of the Minister, and if that Minister shall succeed in destroying the right in the commons, to reject an Alderman elected Mayor by the board, in that case, the Minister (having a majority at the board) does in truth and in effect appoint the Lord Mayor for the city of Dublin.

That we do acknowledge that tests were taken and circulated, relative to said Police, that in consequence thereof, different corporations have been threatened with the loss of their franchises; their books sent for, and their freemen examined, in order to find out criminal matter to subject the corporation to the loss of franchise; so that we have reason to apprehend this attack on one particular privilege, to be but a beginning, and that there is an intention, if not speedily checked, of a more general seizure of the franchises of the city.

That we apprehend, if tests and associations against the corrupt purposes of power are punishable, that every association, and particularly those some years since entered into the Non-consumption, and the Nonimport Association; and likewise the Volunteer Association, may be held á ground for criminal prosecution; and we fear also, that every test proposed to candidates for a seat in Parliament, and every resolution touching their election or conduct, may be held illegal and criminal, nor do we know of any description of men, who have taken a part in the business of the public, that may not be included in said crime.

That it is now above one hundred years since the Charters of the subjects of Great Britain and Ireland were attacked ; that we are not conscious of giving any pretence for reviving such desperate practices; that so little are we conscious of giving such a pretence, so convinced are we of our innocence, and the innocence of those tests which have been taken, that we do, with much humility, adopt and repeat them, and we accord

[blocks in formation]

ingly declare, that we approve of the conduct of the Commons of the Common Council, in withholding their approbation in favour of any police Magistrate; and further, that in every capacity in which we shall be, we will endeavour to procure the repeal of that mischievous Act of Parliament. And further, as we conceive the corruption and violence of Ministers have not been confined to the city, but have extended to the kingdom at large, to defend the same we solemnly declare,

That we will not vote for any person who will not support a place bill, a pension bill, a bill to make bis Majesty's Ministers responsible; a bill to disqualify revenue officers from voting for members to serve in Parliament; a repeal of the Police Acts; nor shall we vote for any person who does not support the redress of grievances; viz , the war charges imposed by the late Lord-lieutenant, and continued by the present; the sale of honours; arbitrary and illegal imprisonment; arbitrary and illegal demands of bail; infringement of the privileges of the commons of the city of Dublin. Finally, we declare, we will not vote for any person who does not promise that be never will assent to the misconstructions of statute the 33d of George II., whereby no person can be the Lord Mayor of Dublin, who is rejected by the Commons.

Resolved unanimously, that this meeting do most heartily concur with the report of the committee, and do submit the same to the consideration of our fellow subjects at large.

Resolved unanimously, That the warmest thanks of this meeting be presented to those respectable personages, his Grace the Duke of Leinster, the Earls of Charlemont and Moira, and other members of the Whig Club, for their manly, spirited, and constitutional support of the laws of the land, and the privileges of the citizens of Dublin; and we cannot avoid expressing our concern, that anything disrespectful should have been offered to them in the discharge of their duty to their country.

Resolved unanimously, That the thanks of this meeting be voted to the independent jury who refused to find TRUTH a Libel, on the late prosecution of a printer.

Sir Edward Newenham, at the request of the meeting, baving taken the chair,

Resolved, That the thanks of this meeting be given to our worthy and respectable chairman, Archibald Hamilton Rowan, Esq., for his spirited and proper conduct in the chair.

Mr. Rowan having resumed the chair.

Resolved unanimously, That the report of the committee, and the proceedings of this day, be published in the public papers, and that this meeting do now adjourn.

Signed by order,

Matt. Dowling, Sec.

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

REQUISITION AGREED TO AT A MEETING OF THE INDEPENDENT DUBLIN VOLUNTEERS, 17th October, 1791,

ARCHIBALD Hamilton Rowan in the Chair. We, the undersigned Protestant members of the corps of Independent Dublin Volunteers, have seen with infinite regret, a publication, in which a reward is offered for the conviction of Roman Catholics found under arms in this country.

That a part of those laws which discredit our ancestors' memories, should be enforced instead of being repealed, in these enlightened days, must be a matter of astonishment; and the more so, as France, a country of Catholics, has opened its arms to the religious of all persuasions, and with that justice which is inseparable from wisdom, have declared every man to possess equally the rights of citizenship, among which, that of bearing arms is most essential.

We therefore call upon our brother Protestants of this corps, to join us in expressing an abhorrence of those statutes, under the sanction of which such publication has appeared, and to assure our Catholic brethren, that while we honour and will support the individual and the magistrate who distribute impartial justice, we execrate those characters who would enforce laws, which, in our opinion, disgrace the statutes of the nation, October 11th, 1791.

Signed by 21 Members. We, the Protestant members of the Independent Dublin Volunteers, having assembled in consequence of the above Requisition, do sincerely and unanimously join in opinion with those members who have called us together, and, admiring the liberality of the sentiments contained in a proclamation of Louis XVI., King of the French, do adopt them as

our own.

“ Louis, by the grace of God, and the constitutional law of the States King of the French, to all citizens, greeting : “Let every idea of intolerance be abandoned for ever.

Let religious opinions no longer be a source of persecution and animosity. Let all who observe the law be at liberty to adopt that form of worship to which they are attached, and let no party give offence to those who may follow opinions differing from their own, froin motives of conscience.” At a Meeting of Delegates from the Protestant Members of the Asso

ciated Corps of the City of Dublin, 23d October, 1791: It was unanimously resolved, That we perfectly concur in opinion with our brothers the Independent Dublin Volunteers, in their proceeding, of the 7th instant, respecting a late transaction, and adopt, as they do, the liberal sentiments of Louis, the King of the French; sentiments which dignify human nature, add lusture to a throne, and adorn the monarch of a free people; and while we admire the philanthropy of that great and enlightened nation, who have set an example to mankind, both

of religious and political wisdom, we cannot but lament, that distinctions injurious to both have too long disgraced the name of Irishmen; and we most fervently wish that our animosities were entombed with the bones of our ancestors; and that we, and our Roman Catholic brethren, would unite, like citizens, and CLAIM THE RIGHTS OF MAN.

James Napper Tandy, for the Liberty

Artillery, and Donore Union.
JOHN EDWARDS, P. Horse.
Thomas Bacon, Goldsmiths' Corps.
James Riddal, Liberty Volunteers.
William Smith, Dub. Leg.
J. T. ASHENHURST, Dub. Rangers.

III.

PETITION OF THE ROMAN CATHOLICS OF

IRELAND.*

INTENDED TO HAVE BEEN PRESENTED TO PARLIAMENT BY

[ocr errors]

MR. O'HARA, IN FEBRUARY, 1792. Sheweth,-We your petitioners, being appointed by sundry of his Majesty's subjects professing the Roman Catholic religion, to be agents for conducting applications to the Legislature for their relief, in our own and their names, beg leave to approach this high court of Parliament, with an unfeigned respect for its wisdom and authority; and at the same time, with a deep and heartfelt sensation of our singular and deplorable situation. And first of all we implore (and for this we throw ourselves on the indulgence of Parliament) that no irregularity or defect in form or language, should obstruct the success of these our most ardent supplications. The circumstances in which we stand deserve consideration. For near a hundred years, we and our fathers, and our grandfathers, had groaned under a code of laws, (in some parts already purged from the statutes) the like of which, no age, no nation, no climate ever saw. Yet, sore as it were from the scourge of active persecution, scarce yet confirmed in our minds, and but lately secure in our persons and in our houses from the daily alarm of search-warrants and informers, we come before Parliament for the first time; and we come to ask an alleviation of burdens, under which we can only find consolation in the melancholy comparison of former times. In this state of recent apprehension and troubled anxious hope, with minds unadapted to the precise observances of decorum, we rest upon the simple merits of our case. of our calamities, that we do not know how to tell them with * Prepared by Mr. Burke.

It is a part

« PreviousContinue »