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nately opposing every attempt to purify the Augean stable. The people still persevered; and, as the principal objection to Flood's bill was, that it originated from an armed body, the sheriffs and chief magistrates were now called upon, to convene the inhabitants of their respective counties to discuss this important measure. For this purpose, a meeting was convened by the high-sheriffs of the city of Dublin, on the 7th of June, 178+, at which the high-sheriffs presided, and the following resolutions entered into.
Resolved unanimously, that the present imperfect representation, and the long duration of parliaments, are unconstitutional, and intolerable grievances.
That the voice of the Commons of Ireland is no less necessary for every legislative purpose, than that of either the Sovereign or the Lords; and, therefore, the people claim it as their just, inherent, and unalienable privilege, to correct abuses in the representation, whenever such abuses shall have so increased as to deprive them of their constitutional share in their own government.
That the people of Ireland have, and always had, a clear, unalienable, indefeasible right to a frequency of election, as well as to an adequate and equal representation, founded upon stronger grounds than that of any act or acts of parliament; and, that the attainment of those constitutional important objects, is the most effectual expedient for restoring and securing the independence of parliament.
That the present inadequate representation, and the long duration of parliaments, destroy that balance which by our constitution should subsist between the three estates of the legislature, render the members of the house of commons independent of the people, procure determined majorities in favour of every administration, and threaten either an absolute monarchy, or that still more odious government, a tyrannical aristocracy.
That the majority of the house of commons is not chosen by the people, but returned by the mandates of peers of the realm and others, either for indigent boroughs, where scarce any inhabitants reside, or for considerable cities and towns, where the elective power is vested in a few.
That the venality and corruption of the present house of commons, evinced by the many arbitrary acts passed in the last session, and the contempt and indignity with which they treated the applications and petitions of the constituent body, oblige us now to request the people at large to unite with us in the attainment of a more adequate representation, and in petitions to the throne for a dissolution of the present parliament.
That the strength of a nation consists in the union of its inhabitants.
Resolved (with one dissenting voice,) That a participation in general rights must ever engage mankind to operate most effectually for each other.
Resolved therefore (with one dissenting voice), That to extend the right of suffrage to our Roman catholic brethren, still preserving in its fullest extent the present protestant government of this country, would be a measure fraught with the happiest consequences, and would be highly conducive to civil liberty.
Resolved unanimously, That a committee of 21 gentlemen be now appointed to prepare an address to the people, requesting their co-operation with us; and also, a petition to his majesty, stating our grievances, and praying a dissolution of the present corrupt parliament, in whom we cannot place any trust or confidence, and that they report the same to this body on Monday the 21st June inst.
At a future meeting, the committee having made their report, the following Address to the people of Ireland was agreed to and published.
Friends and Countrymen, Permit us, the inhabitants of the city of Dublin, with all the affection due to fellow-subjects, and that anxiety, which every citizen must feel for his native country, to address you on the most important subject that ever engrossed the attention of a free people.
Long and painfully have we endured, in common with you all, the miseries arising from the abuse of power, and the well-known defects in the present state of representation in the Commons House of Parliament—defects, tending to the total annihilation of our boasted form of government, and productive of the highest oppression to the inhabitants of this loyal and independent nation.
It is with reluctance we find ourselves compelled to enter into a detail of grievances, which being felt by all, cannot be unknown to any.— But whilst we consider it prudent to justify our proceedings to the world, we must intreat your indulgence, if we state particulars which might otherwise be thought unnecessary.
Perfectly sensible must you be, of that aristocratic influence, which has rendered the representation of the people merely nominal, and destroyed that equal balance in the three estates of the legislature, on which alone depends the existence of our glorious constitution. You have beheld the charters granted to divers boroughs in this kingdom, intitling the bodies thereby incorporated to a return of representatives, abused and perverted to the most destructive purposes: insomuch, that the intention of the Crown, in establishing these borough towns, has been frustrated by the artful practices of designing men: and persons returned to parliament from depopulated places, where scarce any inhabitants exist, or for considerable cities and towns, where the elective franchise is confined to a few. Nor is it less notorious that the proprietors of the soil, where such depopulated boroughs once stood, have dared to usurp a power of selling seats to members in the present house of commons, and, by such unwarrantable and corrupt means, have those purchasers become illegal representatives of the people.
Convinced by dear-bought experience of the many evils from hence arising, we have joined iu every measure to obtain redress, which has hitherto been pointed out to us by the complaining voice of an injured and insulted kingdom—but unhappily we have as yet found every attempt ineffectual to restore the constitution to its pure and primitive principles.
In vain did the noble assertors of liberty, composing the volunteer army of Ireland—(arrayed and embodied at their own expence, the unexampled protectors of their country against foreign foes and domestic usurpation,) adjust by their delegates, agreeable to the desire of this nation, a more equal representation, solemnly and deliberately agreed upon. In vain did the united voice of the electors of this kingdom, through every free county, city, and borough, declare itself in favour of such plan of reform, and instruct their several representatives to support the same. In vain was an attempt made by the real friends of their country to introduce such plan into parliament, and obtain it the sanction of a law. The baneful influence of corruption and venality prevented any success; and with equal folly and audacity, were the justifiable demands of the people treated with ignominy and contempt.
Had the persons thus obtruded into the parliament of this kingdom, considered it with a due degree of justice and moderation, possibly the legality of their title to a share in its legislature might have remained unexamined, or at least, uncontroverted. But when usurpation is followed by injury and insult, that nation must be com