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desired admittance; the door-keeper desired to know what place he represented—what place? why I am an Irish member! Oh, dear Sir, we are obliged to be extremely cautious, for a few days ago, Barrington, the pickpocket, passed as an Irish member. Why then, upon my soul, I forget the borough I represent, but if you get me Watson's Almanack I'll shew you.
Mr. Corry professed himself friendly to a reform, and moved the house to resolve, in lieu of Mr. Grattan's motion, " that this house will, on this day three weeks, resolve itself into a committee of the whole house, to take into consideration the representation of the people." To this Mr. Grattan acceded, and it passed in the affirmative without a division.
The apparent sincerity with which ministers concurred in approving and discussing this measure, is one of the features of Pitt's machiavelian policy, who alternately wheedled the protestant ascendancy and the catholics, the friends to reform and the oligarchy, whispering one thing to one, the opposite thereof to another, until he agitated and convulsed the nation by his doubleworking policy, alternately acting on the hopes and fears of each adverse party, until his grand object, the union, was effected.
The expectations of the Irish, however, at this time, were very high, that the invaluable boon, parliamentary reform, would be conceded; as will be seen from the following Address from the Friends of the Constitution, Liberty and Peace, from their meeting at the King's-arms tavern, Fownes'a street, the Duke of Leinster in the chair. To the People of Ireland.
In the present eventful and auspicious crisis of affairs, we feel a sensible pleasure in offering our congratulations to our countrymen.
In our first address we declared it to be one of the peculiar excellencies of our constitution, " that its abuses might be corrected without violating its essence, or even slighting its forms."—The events now passing before our eyes, verify that tribute of applause, which we paid to the inherent virtu* of our constitution.
The claims of three-fourths of the subjects of this country, supported by the wishes of the whole, have reached the throne. The monarch has announced himself the father of his people, by recognizing those claims, and he has antici. pated your demand of a Reform, by recommending to parliament the adoption of such measures, as might unite all his subjects in an attachment to the constitution of their country.
Under the influence of this benignant suggestion, even the body which is the object of Reform, has become the organ of its own reformation, without sedition, without violence, without disturbing public order, or convulsing public opi. Dion; the faction, which affected to govern us, has been sub. dued, and rational and peaceful freedomjs placed within our grasp. The wise and gracious interposition of our Sovereign has added a further sanction to the loyalty of Irishmen; it has forbidden the constitutional medium of political benefit* to remain any longer closed against the people. The corrupt mist, which obtruded itself between us and our Sovereign, is now dispelled; the unconstitutional influence, which debauched the parliament from its constituents, is now for a moment dormant. We call on the Irish people to seize this fortunate crisis of unrestrained communication, and to state, in the free language of freemen, the nature and extent of their demands.
The intervention of the people to legislate, or by their own mere act to make, or to reform a constitution, is, we admit, the death of establishment, and we have already warned you against the miseries of anarchy. But the interposition of the people to declare their wishes to the Iegisla. ture, is at all times their constitutional right, and when the question vibrates to the frame of the constitution itself, it becomes not only their right, but their exclusive interest, and their bounden duty. The proudest parliament must be pleased to learn the sentiments of the nation on any measure sincerely adopted to gratify the nation; and, if it were possible to conceive you indifferent to the success of such a measure as is now depending, the reproach of those who have said you are too corrupt to be free, might be considered as no calumny; and it would, perhaps, be the duty of a patriotic citizen, to diminish the operation of your vices, by circumscribing the sphere of your privileges. We cannot entertain so degrading a sentiment respecting our fellow. citizens; their temperate and firm exertions co-operating with the virtue, wisdom, and talents of their patriotic leaders, gave them a constitution. They have a right equally strong, and are called upon by a duty equally cogent, to protect and to reform that constitution. For the purpose, therefore, of empowering and stimulating the parliament, of instructing and admonishing the Irish government, and of manifesting to our Sovereign the loyalty and gratitude of his subjects,
We earnestly recommend it to you, to assemble in your respective counties, to declare your sense of the necessity of an immediate, radical, and effectual reform in the representation of—the people—to lay before the throne your gratitude for his Majesty's gracious interposition on behalf of his Catholic subjects, to state your acknowledgments for what has been done in parliament, and your anxious wish that it may proceed, without intermission, in accomplishing the great work it has undertaken. But, whilst we feel the utmost confidence in the affection and justice of our Sovereign, and whilst we place all due reliance on the wisdom and liberality of parliament, the public sentiment must not slumber.
We must give information to our real, and take away excuse from our pretended friends; we must strengthen the sincere, and animate the luke.warm; and, above all, we must deprecate half-measures: and let the government of this country know, that no palliative will be suffered to feed ami keep alive the present morbid system of representation. We do again recommend the formation of societies, for the purpose of investigation and conference. The difficulties of thil arduous business will the less obstruct its piogress, wheu the talents of the nation are every where exerted in surmounting them; and we doubt not, that the united exertions of the people of Ireland, will, even within this session, with the co-operation of parliament, accomplish Reform, which, for ages, may withstand the decay of time, and the inroads of corruption. Signed by order, &c. R. Griffith, Sec.
Even the peaceable free-masons, who studiously avoid political and religious controversy, yielded at this time to the sacred impulse of brotherly love and patriotism; as appears from the sentiments, truly evangelical, addressed by the lodge of Dungannon to all the masons in Ireland.
To the Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland.
Brethren—Affected only by the sacred influence of those holy bonds which unite us to you and our brethren encircling the globe, we address you. Reluctantly do we speak on political subjects. Convinced that " unanimity is the strength of society," we view with abhorrence the insidious attempts that have been in our native land made, to introduce discord where harmony should reign, to call up the spirit of the first. born Cain, and make brother draw the murderous sword against brother: "divide and govern," is a maxim as old as tyranny itself. We will not be divided as masons; for, hold. ing sacred the right of private judgment in all matters what. ever, the virtuous brother, however he may differ from us in religious or political opinions, shall ever be received with the cordial embrace of fraternal fellowship. We will not be divided from our countrymen; our interests are in common with theirs. Whilst we view with pleasure the rapid progress of liberty in France, supported by reason and philosophy, and founded on the grand principles of our institution; whilst we glory in the reflection, that our illustrious brother Wash. ington, and the masons of America, were the saviours of VOL. Iv. . 3 F
their country, and the first founders of the temple of liberty^ are we to see the Irish masons made the tools of corruption, and they to be instruments for oppressing their already borne-down countrymen? Brethren, in embracing the duties of masons, we have not relinquished any of our rights as men; we are, from our souls, sincerely loyal; but ours is not the loyalty of slaves, it is that of masons; masons, who know their rights, and are determined to die or be free. We are no advocates for passive obedience and non-resistance; fealty to our Sovereign does not require us to support corruption. So long as the vices of man render government necessary, it ought to be framed for the good of nations, not for oppreslion to the many, and the aggrandizement of a few. Ah! how could any of you, whose benevolence should be as extensive as the habitations of man, behold two-thirds of your countrymen miserable, oppressed, and naked, literally feeding on potatoes and point, labouring under sanguinary penal laws, taxed without being represented, unable in sickness to procure assistance, obliged in herds annually to desert their hovels at the approaching ravages of the hearth-collectors, who, merciless, too often rob their bed of heath of its only covering. Could you behold these, and say, the people are happy, rich and prosperous? Could you behold almost the whole of what are called the nation's representatives, arbitrarily appointed by a few individuals, for a long number of years, and not accountable for their conduct; places and pensions multiplied for the purposes of corruption, and often bestowed on man without principle, and woman without virtue; the privileges of the crown infringed, the honours of the peerage sold, innumerable taxes wrung from the people, and the nation involved in debt for the purpose of corrupting parliament, no responsibility required from the great officers of the state, the subject deprived of the trial by jury, in consequence of the game and revenue laws, fiats and attach. meats? Could any of you, generous brethren, behold these and numerous other grievances, and declare yourselves enemies to those who will attempt to reform the system of iniquity which occasions them? We believe, that the people not having their due weight in the legislature, is the cause of all our grievances; and that a real, radical reform in the re. presentative branch thereof, can alone secure the interest,