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"same; that a responsibility bill had been introduced; and a *« bill to account for the public money by new checks, and in a "constitutional manner had been introduced by persons con"nected with that government; that it was in contemplation «' to submit for consideration some further regulations for the '* better accounting for the public money, and for the better *f collection of the revenue." But not a wojd of reform in parliament, of a repeal of the convention bill, or of a mitigation of the strong measures by which the former administration had coerced the people. Indeed Col. Stewart (since Lord Castlereagh) deprecating such measures, explicitly asked whether the late ministers, had they remained, would have supported a parliamentary reform, or a repeal -of the convention bill; and Mr. Archdali said, that every body knew it was Lord FitzwilUam's fixed determinatip.n to oppose every tendency to what was called parliamentary reform. Such queries and observations being suffered to pass without reply, it was clear that these measures, to which many considered that administration as bpund, were never in it* contemplation. The objects which it proposed to accomplish, were urged as proofs, that jt was. the best government Ireland pould possibly hope for, in the present order of things: and those to which its professed principles would have seemed to lead it, but which, notwithstanding apparent pledges, it was forced by the very nature of its subordinate situation, to, relinquish, were coupled with the measure, in which it was thwarted and perhaps duped, to shew to persons who wished to advance no further than reform and constitutional redress, that those things were rendered absolutely unattainable fey the connexion with Great Britain.
Mr. Jackson's trial for high treason came on upon the 23d of ^rVpril, and he was convicted on the evidence of Cockayne: he, did not, however, suffer the penalties of the law; for a few days after, previous to his being brought up to receive sentence, ha contrived to swallow a large dose of arsenic. The firmness with
whick which he bore the excruciating pains of that poison, was very remarkable. A motion in arrest of judgment was to be made; but it is manifest he entertained no hope of its success, and only wished it might continue, until he should have escaped from all earthly tribunals. He concealed the pangs he was suffering so well, that when he was called upon to know what he had tQ say, why sentence should not pass upon him, though at the time actually unable to speak, with a smiling and unembarrasedj air, he bowed and pointed to his Counsel. His fortitude did not fail him to the last; for it was scarcely suspected by the spectators that he was ill, until he fell down in the agonies of death, in the midst of his Counsel's argument,
This man possessed distinguished talents and acquirements;
and the following anecdote shews that he entertained a high « sense of honour. While he was preparing for his trial, and was I fully apprised of what would most probably be its ultimate
issue, a friend was, by the kindness of the jailor, permitted to „ remain with him until a very late hour at night, on business. . After the consultation had ended, Dr. Jackson accompanied ( his friend to the outward door of the prison, which was locked,
the key remaining in the door, and the keeper in a very profound, , sleep, probably oppressed with wine. There could have been no 4 difficulty in his effecting an escape, even subsequent to the depar
♦ ture of his friend, and without his consent—^but he adopted a different conduct: he locked the door after his guest, awoke the keeper, gave him the key, and retired to his appartment. During his imprisonment, he wrote and published a learned and able answer to Paine's Age of reason; and after his death, various prayers and homilies of his own composition were found in his
• pocket. His funeral was attended by numbers, even of a respectable rank of life, who, though they had been unconnected with
. him while living, dared to give this presumptive proof, that they were friendly to his mission.
The publicity which this trial gave to the scheif e's of the French, coincided aptly with the extension of the new United Irish system. From the very outset of that organization, a French invasion was deemed by its members, if not absolutely necessaryi at least very adviseable, to the accomplishment of their objects. That trial reminded them afresh, that such a measure had been contemplated, and they imagined it had become more easy, after Jackson's arrest, by the conquest of Holland in the intermediate winter, and by the possession of the Dutch fleet.
The United Irishmen were at this time beginning to spread very rapidly in the counties of Down and Antrim j and the effects of their system might easily be traced by the brotherhood of affection, which, pursuant to the words of their test, it produced among Irishmen of every religious persuasion. Men who fcad previously been separated by sectarial abhorrence, were now joined together in cordial, and almost incredible amity. Of this perhaps, no instance more remarkable can be conceived, than the conduct of the covenanters, a sect still numerous in those two counties. By all the prejudices of birth and education, they appeared removed to the utmost-possible extreme, from any kind of co-operation or intercourse with catholics. Their adherence to the solemn league and covenant, bound them to the accomplishment of the reformation in England, and Ireland, "according to the word of God, and the exam"pie of the best reformed churches;" while the traditional notions which they inherited were, that the reformation could only be brought about by coercion and penal laws. They were, however, lovers of liberty, and republicans by religion and descent; their concurrence in the general system was, therefore, not unimportant. To this effect, it was laid before them, that persecution in itself unjust, had been also found insufficient for reclaiming catholics ; that the desired reformation could only be accomplished by the efforts of reason, which would be best promoted by mixing with the misled, and gradually convincing
them therti of their errors) that affection worked more strongly Upon ignorance and obstinacy than hatred; and that in doing justice to those men, by permitting to them the enjoyment of all their rights* the object of the solemn league and covenant would not be in the least counteracted, and the cause of liberty (for •which an almost equal enthusiasm was felt) would be exceedingly promoted. Arguments so appropriate and just were too strong for prejudice. Covenanters in numbers became United Irishmen, and the most active promoters of the system. After this had gone on for some time among them, Quigley, a cathotholic priest, (whose name is since well known from his trial and conviction at Maidstone) went to a part of the country where they were settled* and was introduced as a fellow labourer in the common cause. The affection which those poor men shewed to one whom, shortly before, they would perhaps have regarded a* a dcemon, was truly astonishing. Intelligence was dispat«hed to every part, of his arrival, and from every part they crowded to receive and caress him. But when they learned that this Romish priest was so sincere a lover of liberty, as to have been actually fighting at the capture of the Bastile, their joy was almost extravagant.
Such were the effects of this new system, as far as it had extended, while the zeal of it's members was over-coming every other obstacle, and establishing it in every direction. It was almost entirely destitute of funds, by which mercenary assistance could be procured; but numbers were found ready to quit their daily occupations, and go on missions to different parts of the North.
As secresy was one of its vital principles, care was taken, from the very beginning, to guard against large meetings, by an arrangement, that no society should consist of more than thirty-six, and that when it amounted to that number, it should split into two societies of eighteen each, the members to be
drawn drawn by lot, unless in country places, where they might divide according to local situation: they were connected together and kept up their occasional communication by delegates. As they were now become very numerous, particularly in the county of Antrim, it was found necessary to form a general system of delegation, on a scale sufficiently large for their growing importance, and even capable of comprehending every possible increase. Accordingly, delegates were expressly appointed from almost every existing society, and the representatives of seventy-two met, for that purpose, at Belfast, on the 10th of May, 1795. In addition to what they found already established, respecting individual societies, they framed a system of committees, and thus completed the original constitution of the new United Irishmen; a brief abstract of which is as follows.
It first states the object of the institution to be, to forward a brotherhood of affection, a communion of rights, and an union of power, among Irishmen of every religious persuasion, and thereby to obtain a complete reform in the legislature, founded on the principles of civil, political, and religious liberty. It then proceeds to the rules of individual societies, such as the admission of members by ballot; the raising of a fund by monthly subscriptions; the appointment of a secretary and treasurer by ballot, once every three months; the election by ballot of two members from each society, who with the secretary were to represent it in a baronial committee, the regulation of some minor internal affairs; the taking of the test by every newly elected member, in a separate apartment, in the presence of the persons who proposed and seconded him, and of a member appointed by the chairman; after which he was to be brought into the body of the society, where he was again to take it publicly; the splitting of every^society amounting in number to thirty-six, into two equal parts—the eighteen names drawn by lot were to be the senior society, and its delegates * ■were to procure from the baronial committee a number for the Q junior