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informations in my hand, I shall submit them to the House, and whether it was possible to strain an indictment out of them.
"This is the information of Daniel Duggan, sheriff's bailiff, who acknowledges, that on the evening of Monday the 15th of June, returning
home to Cloyne, he had occasion to stop — ..
He further confessed, that he was then overtaken by two men, one of them a slender man in black clothes, who asked his name and where he dwelt; which being told, he asked if he knew Nick Dalton, John Ahem, and William Power? He said he did; on which he desired him to go and tell them, captain Right would be with them on Saturday night. He bid the man in black go himself, who said, if he did not go, he would make an example. Being therefore in dread of his life, he went to the house of Dalton, and delivered him the said message; afterwards meeting Ahern on the road, he delivered him his said message: and further sayeth not
The next is the information of Catherine Ahern, wife of John Ahern. She swears, that she came up to her husband, on the road between Cloyne and her house: that, on her coming up, her husband told her Duggan had a summons for him from the whiteboys: that Duggan made no reply: that deponent and her husband returned home; and that the man in company with Duggan never spoke one word.
The next information is that of John Ahern. In substance the same as Catherine Aheru's.
Now, I am bold to say, that upon these infor
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motions it would puzzle all the crown lawyers in the three kingdoms to form an indictment, and if I had been in the place of the learned and honourable gentleman that was sent down to prosecute, I should not have hesitated a moment to have superseded the committal, and discharged the man without bail.—A man pulls out papers, which in the night, another man believes to be summonses, and for this he is to be sent to gaol, and prosecuted for high treason. The learned gentleman very properly rejected the information as insufficient; in so doing, he did honour to his judgment, and to the discernment of those who employed him, and who could not possibly have selected a man whose head and whose heart more eminently entitle him to trust and to confidence. If any gentleman entertains a doubt concerning the facts I have referred to, I am ready to lay the proofs upon the table. But they are of too great notoriety; therefore, to detain the committee no longer, I move you, and it was agreed, "That it is the opinion of this committee, that some further provisions by statute are indispensably necessary to prevent tumultuous risings and assemblies, and for the more adequate and essential punishment of persons guilty of outrage, riot and illegal combination, and of administering and taking unlawful oaths."
The supineneness of the magistrates, similar to the conduct of the northern magistrates, furnishes a clue to the authors of these disturbances. The attorney-general endeavoured to find another cause for it, in the wretchedness of the Munster peasantry. It is true, he accuses the magistrates of inattention! But were they deprived of their commissions, or punished, in any manner, for their neglect of duty? Alas! all, who have seen that province, must agree with his melancholy picture of the deplorable misery of the Munster peasantry, starving on as rich a soil as any in the world; but this intolerable hardship was not the sole cause of their tumultuary proceedings. If that were the case, their tumults would be as incessant as their misery. Gad-fly emissaries fretted their sores, pointed out combination and rising out as the remedy, and promised the patronage of some great men unknown. Allowing, that nothing can be done for them, or the poor laboucers of Ireland in general, while the country remains in a state of anarchy, to which add dysarchy, encreased ferocity of criminal law, was a wretched redress for the wretchedness he laments; or rather feigns to lament. The extremes of no government, or bad government, can administer no relief: so far Mr. Attorney-general is right.
The petition of the Presbyterian Clergy was rejected, praying for aid to establish an academy for educating their youth for the sacred function, under the superintendence and direction of the General Synod of Uster.
The speech of Mr. Ogilvie, in the debate on the commercial treaty between France and England, as affecting the latter, but, principally, as affecting the interests of Ireland, abounds with good sense and sound argument. His observations, as affecting England, may be reduced to two propositions: that the mercantile and monied interests had acquired an ascendancy in Britain, in the direction of foreign affairs, and the formation of treaties: that every state, in which these avaricious classes obtained such ascendancy, did thereby perish, instanced in Carthage and Holland. While the Hamilcars and Hannibals were at the head of the nobility and gentry, the victorious arms of Carthage menaced imperial Rome. When Hanno and the mercantile interest prevailed, their armies were beaten, their generals disgraced. Carthage fell, after a delusive peace, victim to the avarice of her mercantile and monied men. "Nor is the present situation of Holland, a less striking example of the truth of the above observation. While the princes of the house of Orange, at the head of the nobility and landed interest, directed the government of the States, they were able, even in the infancy of their existence, not only to stem the encroaching violence of the French arms, but to tear the triumphant laurels from the brow of their haughty monarch, Louis XIV. But how dreadful has been the reverse, since their government has fallen into the hands of the democracy and the mercantile interest! They have formed leagues of friendship and treaties of commerce, with their former enemy; their fleets and armies have been neglected, their honour and dignity sacrificed to their avarice. And from the dignified situation they once held in the scale of Europe, they have dwindled into an insignificant province, under the protection qf that very kingdom whose arms they formerly resisted with success. The first part of the parallel, in both instances, applies strictly to the history of Great Britain, with respect to France; and while similar causes continue to produce similar effects, I can see no reason to expect an extraordinary interposition in our favour."
Mr. Ogilvie entertained much apprehension from the consequences of the commercial treaty with France; such as lulling Britain into a fatal security to the neglect of her fleets and armies. The event has not justified the prediction. England has lapsed into the opposite extreme, and is become more obstinately belligerent than ever.
During this session of parliament, an ineffectual attempt was made to limit the pension list. This was on the increase, as well as the national debt, notwithstanding an increase of taxes, professedly granted to equalize the revenue and expenditure. The nation was likewise amused with Orde's system of education,which came to nothing. Parliament was prorogued on the 24th of July, 1787; on the 24th of October, his grace the duke of Rutland died, and on the 16th of December, his excellency George Nugent Grenville Temple, marquis of Buckingham, succeeded to the vicegerency of Ireland.
The session of 1788 was chiefly distinguished by the powerful but unsuccessful exertions of the Right Hon. Henry Grattan, to ease the country of the burden of tithes.
The year following, 1789, his Majesty's indisposition excited public attention, and parliamen