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Oar Society should at first be very chaste and cautious in the selection of Members, shunning equally the giddiness of the boy, and that sullen indifference about the public good, which comes on with decline of years, looking around for those who are competent, and with respect to themselves content, yet zealous and persevering; not venal, not voracious, not confined in their manners and their morality to the pale of a profession; not idle philanthropists, who fidget round the globe with their favourite adage; not those who are bound down by obedience to that wizard word, Empire, to the sovereignty of two sounding syllables; but honest, honourable Irishmen, of whatever rank, of whatever religion, who know Liberty, who love it, who wish to have it, and who will have it. Members should be admitted only by an unanimous ballot, and perhaps once a year there should be a general re-election.
"The external business of this Society will be, 1st, Publication, in order to propagate their principles and effectuate their ends. All papers for this purpose to be sanctioned by the Committee, and published with no other designation of character than—One Of The Brotherhood.—2dly, Communication with the different towns to be assiduously kept up, and every exertion used to accomplish a National Con. vention of the People of Ireland, who may profit by past errors, and by many unexpected circumstances which have happened since the last Meeting.—3dly, Communication with similar Societies abroad, as the Jacobin Club in Paris, the Revolution Society in England, the Committee for Reform in Scotland. Let the nations go abreast. Let the interchange of sentiment among mankind concerning the Rights of Man be as immediate as possible. A Correspondence with distinguished men in Britain, or on the Continent, will be necessary to enlighten us, and ought to be cherished. Eulogies on such men as have deserved well of their country until death, should be, from time to time, delivered by one of the Brotherhood, their works should live in a Library to be formed by this Society, and dedicated to Liberty, and the Portraits of such men should adorn it. Let the shades of the mighty dead look down and consecrate our Meetings. The Athenians were accustomed to fasten their edicts to the statues of their ancestors.—Let our Laws and Liberties have a similar attachment, taking heed always to remember what has been always too much forgotten—that We are to be ancestors ourselves; and as our bodies moulder down after sepulture, merely to pass into new forms of life, let our spirits preserve a principle of animation to posterity, and germinate from the very grave.
"What is the time most applicable for the establishment of this institution? Even NOW. "Le grand art est dans 1'apropos." Why is administration so imperious? Because the Nation does not act. The Whig Club is not a transfusion from the People. We do not thoroughly understand that Club, and they do not feel for us. When the Aristocracy come forward, the People fall backward; when the People come forward, the Aristocracy, fearful of being left behind, insinuate themselves into our ranks, and rise into timid lead. ers, or treacherous auxiliaries. They mean to make us their instruments. Let us rather make them our instruments. One of the two must happen. The People must serve the purposes of Party, or the Party must emerge in the mightiness of the People, and Hercules will then lean upon his club.
"On the 14th of July, the day which shall ever commemorate the French Revolution, let this Society pour out their first libation to European Liberty, eventually the Liberty of the World, and with their hands joined in each other, and their eyes raised to Heaven, in his presence who breathed into them an ever.living soul, let them swear to maintain the rights and prerogatives of their nature as men, and the right and prerogative of Ireland as an independent People. "Dieu et mon Droit!" is the motto of kings. "Dieu et la Liberte!" exclaimed Voltaire, when he first beheld Franklin his Fellow-Citizen of the World. "Dieu et nos Droits!"— let Irishmen cry aloud to each other. The cry of Mercy— of Justice—and of Victory. June, 1791."
A feu-de joye in Stephen's-green, by the remnants of the Volunteer corps, commanded by Napper Tandy, a partial illumination, and a few public dinners, feebly commemorated the French revolution. Not so in Belfast. There the volunteer corps, infantry, cavalry and artillery, the Northern Whig Club, and the principal inhabitants, convened by public notice, paraded the streets, displacing emblematical figures: one represented Hibernia reclining, a hand and foot in shackles, and a volunteer presenting to her a figure of liberty, supported by an artillery-man resting on a piece of ordnance, with the motto, " For a people to be free, it is sufficient that they will it." They drew up at the White Linen-ball, fired three feu-de-joie, formed a circle, adopted, and announced with cheers, the following Declaration, to be transmitted to the National Assembly.
"Declaration of the Volunteers and Inhabitants at large of the town and neighbourhood of Belfast, on the subjectof the French Revolution, unanimously agreed to at an assembly held by public notice, on the 14th of July, 1791. Colonel Sharman, president.
"Neither on marble, nor on brass, can the Rights and Duties of Men be so durably registered as on their memories and on their hearts. We, therefore, meet this day to commemorate the French Revolution, that the remembrance of this great event may sink deeply into our hearts; warmed, not merely with the fellow feeling of townsmen, but with a sympathy which binds us to the human race in a brotherhood of interest, of duty, and of affection.
"A Revolution of such moment to mankind, involving so many millions, embracing so great a country, and completed in so short a time, is apt to confound and perplex by the magnitude of the object, and the rapidity of its motion. We, therefore, think it best to attach our minds upon one simple sublime Truth, where our opinions may centre, and our judgments And stability. We are men of plain, and, we hope, sound understanding.—We will disentangle ourselves from those bewitching bonds, with which an enticing and meretri. cious eloquence has, of late, vainly endeavoured to tye down the freedom and the strength of manhood; and neither so. phisticated by genius, nor rendered miserable by refinement and mystery, we will think and declare our thoughts, not as Politicians, but as Men, as Citizens, and as Volunteers.
As Men, therefore, we think, that Government is a Trust for the use of the People—the People, in the largest sense of that misapprehended word.—We think that the Public Weal is the end of Government, and that the forms of Government are merely the mutable means for obtaining this end; means that may be modelled or changed by the real Will of the Public; a Will supreme paramount to all other authority.
"As Citizens, we think that no people can promise unconditional obedience; and that obedience itself ceases to be a duty when the Will of the People ceases to be the Law of the Land.
"As Volunteers, we think that the force of the people should form the guarantee of Freedom, and that their Freedom is the only sure guarantee of public happiness.
"Here, then, we take our stand; and if we be asked what is the French Revolution to us? We answer Much.
"1. Much as Mem. It is good for human nature, that the grass grows where the Bastile stood. We do rejoice at an event, which seemed the breaking of a charm, that held universal France in a Bastile of civil and religious bondage. When we behold this mishapen pile of abuses, cemented merely by custom, and raised upon the ignorance of a prostrate people, tottering to its base—to the very level of equal liberty and common-wealth, we do really rejoice at this resurrection of human nature; and we congratulate our Brother, Man, coming forth from the vaults of ingenious torture, and from the cave of death. We do congratulate the Christian world, that there is in it, one great nation, which has renounced all ideas of conquest, and has published the first glorious manifesto of humanity, of union and of peace. In return we pray to God, that peace may rest in their land; and that it may never be in the power of royalty, nobility, or a priesthood, to disturb the harmony of a good people, con. suiting about those laws which must ensure their own happiness, and that of unborn millions.—The French Revolution is therefore much to us,
"4. As Irishmen. We too have a country, and we hold it very dear—so dear to its Interest, that we wish All Civil And Religious Intolerance annihilated in this land—so dear to us, its Honour, that we wish an eternal stop to the traffic of public liberty, which is bought by one, and sold to another—so dear to us, its Freedom, that we wish for nothing so much as a Real Representative Of The National Will, the surest guide and guardian of national happiness.
Go on then—great and gallant People!—to practise the sublime philosophy of your legislation; to force applause from nations least disposed to do you justice, and not by con. quest, but by the omnipotence of reason, to convert and libe* rate the World—a World, whose eyes are fixed on you; whose heart is with you, who talks of you with all her tongues. You are, in very truth, the Hope of this World; of all except a few men in a few cabinets, who thought the human race belonged to them, not they to the human race; but now are taught by awful example, and tremble; and dare confide in armies arrayed against you and your cause."
To this the ensuing answers appeared in the public papers, in the month of September.
"The Society of the Friends of the Constitution at Bour. deaux, to the Volunteers and Inhabitants of the Town and Environs of Belfast, in Ireland.
"Friends and Brethren! Yes, generous Irishmen!—receive this appellation, which we have hitherto granted, exclusively, to Frenchmen, true friends to our Constitution.—— Receive it, notwithstanding the distance which separates us; the difference of our idioms, and of our manners. Men in. spired by a love of the human kind, and the spirit of liberty, are mutually attracted, however distant their situations;— there is nothing intermediate between them, were they placed
at different extremities of the globe. The Citizens who
agreed to the Declaration concluded on at Belfast, on the 14th July, 1791, are then, all, our Brothers, and our Friends.
"Your Address, read the 12th of this month, at one of the public sittings of our Society, and frequently interrupted by universal bursts of applause, has filled our souls with sentiments of delight; in contemplating the purity, the compass, and the energy of your maxims, respecting the natural and