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XIX. That every representative should, on taking his seat, swear that neither he, nor any person to promote his interest, with his privity, gave, or was to give, any bribe for the suffrage of any voter.
XX. That any representative, convicted by a jury of hav. ing acted contrary to the substance of the above oath, should be for ever disqualified from sitting or voting in parliament.
XXI. That parliaments should be annual.
XXII. That a representative should be at liberty to resign his delegation, upon giving sufficient notice to his con. stituents.
XXIII. That absence from duty for should vacate the seat of a representative.
The Society of United Irishmen of Dublin to the People of Ireland.
People of Ireland—We now submit to your consideration a plan for your equal representation in the House of Com, mons. In framing it, we have disregarded the many overcharged accusations, which we hear daily made by the prejudiced and the corrupt against the People, their independence, integrity, and understanding. We are, ourselves, but a portion of the People; and that appellation, we feel, con. fers more real honour and importance, than can, in these times, be derived from places, pensions, or titles. As little have we consulted the sentiments of administration or of opposition. We have attentively observed them both, and, whatever we may hope of some members of the latter, we firmly believe, that both those parties are equally averse from the measure of adequate reform. If tee had no other reason for that opinion, the plan laid before parliament, in the last session, under the auspices of opposition, might convince us of the melancholy truth. Thus circumstanced, then, distrusting all parties, we hold it the right and the duty of every man in the nation to examine, deliberate, and decide for himself on that important measure. As a portion of the People, (for in no other capacity, we again repeat it, do we presume to address you,) we suggest to you our ideas, by which we would provide to preserve the popular part of the legislature uninfluenced by, and independent of the other
two parts, and to effectuate that essential principle of justice and our constitution, that every man has the right of voting, through the medium of his representative, for the law by which he is bound: that sacred principle, for which America fought, and by which Ireland was emancipated from British Supremacy! If our ideas are right, which we feel an honest conviction they are, adopt them; if wrong, discussion will detect their errors, and we, at least, shall be always found ready to profit by, and conform ourselves to, the sentiments of the People.
Our present state of representation is charged with being unequal, unjust, and by no means calculated to express your deliberate will on any subject of general importance. We have endeavoured to point out the remedies of those evils, by a more equal distribution of political power and liberty, by doing justice, and by anxiously providing, that your delibe. rate will shall be, at all times, accurately expressed in your own branch of the legislature. If these are not the principles of good government, we have yet to learn, from the placemen and pensioners that flit about the Castle, in what the science of politics can consist. But we know they are; and, we are bold to say, that the more a government carries these principles into effect, the nearer it approaches to per. Section.
We believe it will be said, that our plan, however just, is impracticable in the present state of this country. If any part of that impracticability should be supposed to result from the interested resistance of borough proprietors, although we never will consent to compromise the public right, yet we, for our parts, might not hesitate to purchase the public peace by an adequate compensation. At all events it rests with you, countrymen, not with us, to remove the objection. If you do not wish the accomplishment of such a reform, it will not take place; if you do, we cannot believe, that Ireland is yet sunk to that state of misgovernmenr, in which it may be truly said, that although the great body of the people seriously feel the justice of a measure, and are seriously determined on its attainment, it is, nevertheless, impracticable.
To you, among our countrymen, for whose welfare we have peculiarly laboured from the first moment of our institution, and the contemplation of whose prosperity, will more vOL. Iv. 3 G
than compensate us for the sufferings we may hare endured^ for the calumnies with which we are aspersed, and for those which the publication of this unpalatable plan will call down upon us: to you, the poorer classes of the community, we now address ourselves. We are told you are ignorant; we wish you to enjoy liberty, without which no people was ever enlightened. We are told you are uneducated and immoral; we wish you to be educated, and your morality improved, by the most rapid of all instructors—a good government. Do you find yourselves sunk in poverty and wretchedness? Are you over.loadcd with burdens you are but little able to bear? Do you feel many grievances, which it would be tedious, and might be unsafe to mention? Believe us, they can all be redressed by such a reform, as will give you your just proportion of influence in the legislature, And By Such A Measure Only.—To that, therefore, we wish to rivet all your attention. Let those men, who wrangle about preserving or acquiring power, catch at popularity by their petty regulations to check the progress of these growing evils; do you deliberate, in the retirement of your hearts, upon their only adequate remedy. Desist, we entreat you, from those distur. bances, which are a disgrace to your country, and an injury to yourselves; which impair your own strength, and impede your own cause. Examine peaceably and attentively, the plan of reform we now submit to you. Consider does it pro. pose to do You justice? Does it propose to give You sufficient protection? for we have no fears but that the rich will have justice done to them, and will be always sufficiently protected. Hang this plan up in your cabbins; think on it over and over again; do not throw it by in despair, as being impossible to be carried into effect, For Nothing, We Hope, Is Impossible That is Just.—January 25, 1793.
The existence of war with France was shortly after announced. Messages from the lord lieutenant, on the 13th of February, acquainted parliament, that war was declared against his Majesty and Holland, bythe assembly then exercising the powers of government in France; that he had taken the necessary steps to maintain the honor of his crown, and the rights of his people; and that his Majesty relied on their firm and effectual support, and on the exertions of a brave and loyal people, in prosecuting a just and necessary war, &c. Addresses of the most zealous co-operation, were unanimously voted, in defence of his Majesty's crown and rights.
The provincial convention of Ulster assembled at Dungannon, on the 15th of February. Antrim, Down, Donegall, Londonderry, Monaghan and Tyrone, were fully represented, and the delegates chosen directly by the whole people; but several districts in Armagh, Cavan and Fermanagh, had failed to meet, or appoint delegates. After two days deliberation, this body came to a decision in favour of the absolute necessity of a radical reform, including the unqualiBed aud immediate admission of the catholics. A resolution was also entered into, declaring, in very pointed terms, the protest of that province against the war with France; and another expressing disapprobation of the militia establishment, as tending to supersede the volunteers.
Meanwhile the catholics having found it necessary to make the extent of their wishes fully known to the Irish administration, the sub-committee deputed some of their body to wait on major Hohart, and acquaint him, that the object and expectations of the catholics were, the entire repeal of the popery laws. This declaration the secretary received with perfect politeness: but without implicating his responsibility by an indiscreet reply. Some days after, a second interview on ths lame subject having been judged necessary, (he subcommittee, feeling that it was called upon to be precise and specific, desired its deputies to read to Mr. Hobart, on its part, the same declaration reduced to writing. When this was accordingly done, Mr. Hobart addressed himself to Mr.Keogh, one of the deputation, and asked, did he not think, that if government went for the elective franchise, and the repeal of the catholic laws relating to juries, with some minor circumstances then stated, enough would be done.— Mr. Keogh replied, that as one of the deputation, he could only answer, it would not content the catholics, and that there he had no right to deliver any opinion. " But it is your private opinion I request to know?" rejoined the secretary.— "Why then," said Mr. Keogh, "if I was to give my private opinion, I should say, they are substantial benefits." " It is not in government's power," directly answered the minister, " to grant more." Some vague discourse was then carried on with others of the deputation, as if it was possible to negociate on the footing of partial emancipation. When this conversation was reported to the sub-committee, it was exceedingly irritated, and, hoping to retrieve what was past, instantly sent a new deputation, consisting of different members, to reiterate the declaration in stronger terms: but the secretary had taken his ground.