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in Ulster and the capital, all professing to revive the decaying principles of wbiggism.
Tbis year happened the memorable revolution of France, which had such a fatal influence on the destiny of Ireland. Overturning all the established orders and ranks of a powerful kingdom, an ancient and potent monarchy, a numerous and powerful aristocracy and hierarchy, it shook all the neighbouring countries like an earthquake of the moral world.
The year following the earl of Westmoreland opened parliament on the 20th of January. The address contained nothing remarkable. The conduct of government occupied the attention of the patriots, during this short session. The increase of the pension list; the grants of pensions to members of parliament; the sale of peerages, to procure returns to parliament, &c. Mr. Grattan challenged them to go into the inquiry, which they prudently declined, alleging, that common report was not sufficient ground for inquiry.
Mr. Magee, proprietor of the Dublin Evening Post, had been a great sufferer by the persecuting fiats issued against him by the chief justice. Different individuals made affidavit of having suffered losses to the amount of £7,800 by his statements of their conduct in his paper. On these, fiats were issued, and the defendant imprisoned. On the trial of one, that of Mr. Daly, patentee of the theatre, the jury assessed the damages at £200; the fiat was issued at «f?4,000. To so oppressive a practice the commons were called upon to set bounds. Mr. George Ponsonby, in a committee appointed to inquire into this subject, moved the following resolution, " That the issuing of writs from the courts of justice, in actions of slander or defamation, where the sum of damages could not be fairly ascertained, and holding persons to special bail in excessive sums, is illegal, and subversive of the liberty of the subject." It was rejected; but the discussion terminated this oppressive practice.
A place-bill, pension-bill, one for disqualifying revenue-officers from voting at elections, and a responsibility-bill, were rejected. The prostitute proved irreclaimable. All bodies in a state of putrescence are hastening to dissolution. The incorrigible corruption of the Irish parliament in a few years afterwards occasioned its extinction. Parliament was prorogued on the 5th of April, and soon after dissolved. The elections for the new were chiefly remarkable by the spirit displayed by the corporations of Dublin. After a contest of some days, between the government candidates, aldermen Exshaw and Sankey, and the patriotic, the Right Hon. Lord Henry Fitzgerald and Mr.Grattan, the corporations marched from their halls, preceded by bands of music, and appropriate banners, and decided the election. Grattan and Fitzgerald were drawn triumphantly through the city, followed by the corporations. The guild of Merchants, on their banners, bore "no aldermauic influence—the rights of the people—the voice of the people—a ship, and may the gales of freedom fill our sails;" the Tailors
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bore " virtue triumphant;" the Smiths, "the men who dare be honest in the worst of times— Fitzgerald and Grattan, the men of the people;" the Barber-surgeons, " responsibility-bill;" the Carpenters, " independence supported with virtue—Fitzgerald and Grattan;" the Chandlers, "light to the cause of independence, and obscurity to the Police institution;" the Weavers, "no bounties, but protecting duties to the manufactures of Ireland—no unconstitutional police;" the Cutlers, "the assertors of liberty—Fitzgerald and Grattan, the men of the people—freedom to those who dareeontend for it;" theHosiers, "real, not sham hosiers, who, by long perseverance, freed the corporation from corruption—shame and confusion ever attend the attempts to divide the free sons of Hibernia;" the Joiners, "independent—we despise corruption and the corrupted." The slaves of the enslaved were now soliciting, by their acknowledged organ, the Catholic committee, a further diminution of their shackles. This committee consisted of lords and gentlemen of rank and fortune, who sate in their own right, and delegates from towns and cities. Addresses of congratulation and loyalty to every viceroy, humble applications to his secretary, and occasionally to parliament, for relief, hitherto limited their exertions. But, at the close of this year, they were emboldened, by the growing liberality of the times, to prepare a petition, praying that the situation of the catholics might be taken into consideration. They waited on the secretary, major Hobart, intreating the countenance of governwent; H was denied: they then determined to apply to parliament, but not a member could be induced to present it.
The hostility of the government to further concession, was strongly marked by earl Westmoreland, in bis southern tour. On his arrival in Cork, the catholics were acquainted, that an expression of their loyalty would be acceptable. An address was accordingly prepared. It concluded with a hope, that the penal code would be relaxed. But, submitted to his excellency before its formal protestation, hope, the last refuge of the wretched, was denied to the catholic! It was returned, that the clause expressive of hope should be expunged. This they refused, and no address was presented.
The session of 1791 exhibits the same measures brought forward, supported with renovated vigour, and uniformly rejected by large majorities; such is the ascendancy of a bribe over truth, justice, patriotism and eloquence.
The catholic committee continued its exertions. It met in February, and resolved that application should be immediately made, and continued, in the most submissive and constitutional manner, for a mitigation of the restrictions and disqualifications under which the catholics laboured. Twelve gentlemen were appointed to carry this into effect. They disagreed. The committee again met. Lord Kenmare, who never attended, sent his disapproval of their proceedings, and his determination not to co-operate. Lord Fingal, then in the chair, coincided with his lordship. The committee, however, adhered to their resolutions. In April, the sub-committee reported, in substance, that they had been constantly thwarted by lord Kcnmare; that the members of administration had approved of the loyal and constitutional steps they had adopted; and, that yielding to the recommendations of the friends of the catholics, they had postponed the intended application.
The catholics soon after appear to have perceived, that benefits were not in the gift of an Irish executive, an Irish parliament; that they were to be considered mere machines, impelled by the British minister; for we find Mr. Keogh delegated to the cabinet of St. James's. This discovery was rewarded, after three months solicitation, with the information, that catholics would no longer be excluded from the profession of the law, the duties of grand jurors, and that their restoration to the elective franchise would be taken into consideration.
These concessions, however, are not solely to be attributed to the rendering the subserviency of the Irish parliament manifest. The torrent of irreligion, bearing on the church of France, produced something of a counter-current in the rival nation, exciting, if not respect, at least, pity for the victims. The persecuted clergy were received with more than professions of hospitality, and supported by contributions. Sometime after an alliance was made with the pope, and English troops were sent to guard his holiness. An English secretary, in the Irish commons, lamented the decay of papal power; and Edmond Burke