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commodities, the delegates would not consume any wine of the growth of Portugal, and that they would use all their influence to prevent the use of the said wine, excepting what was then in the kingdom, until such time as the Irish exports should be received into the kingdom of Portugal. 11. Resolved, with only two dissenting voices, that they hold the right of private judgment in matters of religion equally sacred in others as in. themselves; and that they rejoiced in the relaxation of the penal laws against the Roman Catholics, as a measure fraught with the happiest consequences to the union and prosperity of the inhabitants of Ireland.
WHILE these proceedings took place at Dungannon, the ministry carried all before them in parliament. In a debate concerning the exclusive legislative privileges of Ireland, a law member, speaking of the arbitrary acts of England, asserted, that“ power constituted right;" and a motion that the commons should be declared the representatives of the people, was carried in the negative. These scandalous proceedings could not but hasten the ruin of their cause. The resolutions entered into at the Dungannon meeting were received throughout the kingdom with the utmost applause. A few days after, Mr. Grattan, whose patriotism has been already taken notice of, moved in the house of commons for a long and spirited address to his majesty, declaring the rights of the kingdom, and asserting the principle which now began to prevail, that Ireland could legally be bound by no power but that of the king, lords, and commons of the country; though the British parliament had assumed such a power. This motion was at present rejected by a large majority ; but their eyes were soon enlightened by the volunteers.
These having now appointed their committees of correspondence, were enabled to communicate their sentiments to one another with the utmost facility and quickness. An association was formed in the name of the nobility, representatives, freeholders, and inhabitants of the county of Armagh, wherein they set forth the necessity of declaring their senti
ments openly, respecting the fundamental and undoubted rights of the nation. They declared, that in every situation in life, and with all the means in their power, they would maintain the constitutional right of the kingdom to be governed only by the king and parliament of Ireland ; and that they would, in every instance, uniformly and strenuously oppose the execution of any statutes, excepting such as derived their authority from the parliament just mentioned ; and they pledged themselves to sur'port what they now declared with their lives and fortunes.
This declaration was quickly adopted by all the counties, and similar sentiments became universally avowed throughout the kingdom. The change in the British ministry in the spring of one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two, facilitated the wishes of the people. The duke of Portland, who came over as lord lieutenant in April that year, sent a most welcome message to parliament. He informed them, that “ his majesty, “ being concerned to find that discontents and jealousies were “ prevailing among his loyal subjects in Ireland, upon matters 66 of great weight and importance; he recommended it to par“ liament to take the same into their most serious consideration, « in order to such a final adjustment as might give mutual satis* faction to his kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.”.
Mr. Grattan, whose patriotic efforts had never been slackened, now ventured to propose a second time in parliament, the address which had been rejected before. On the 16th of April he began a speech to this purpose, with an elegant panegyric on the volunteers, and the late conduct of the people. The Irish, he said, were no longer a divided colony, but an united land, manifesting itself to the rest of the world in signal instances of glory. In the rest of Europe, the ancient spirit was expired; liberty was yielded, or empire lost; nations were living upon the memory of past glory, or under the care of mercenary armies. In Ireland, however, the people, by departing from the example of other nations, had now become an example to them. Liberty, in former times, and in other nations, was recovered by the quick feelings and rapid impulse of the populace. But in Ireland, at the present period, it was recovered by an act of the whole nation, reasoning for three years on its situation, and then rescuing itself by a settled sense of right pervading the land. The meeting of the delegates at Dungannon was an original measure; and like all of that kind, continued to be matter of surprise, until at last it became matter of admiration. Great measures, such as the meeting of the English at Runnymead, and of the Irish at Dungannon, were not the consequences of precedent, but carried in themselves both precedent and principle; and the public cause in both instances would infalli-, bly have been lost had it been trusted to parliament. The meeting at Dungannon had resolved, that the claim of the British parliament was illegal ; and this was a constitutional declaration. The Irish volunteers were associated for the preservation of the laws, but the conduct of the British parliament subverted all law. England, however, had no reason to fear the Irish volunteers; they would sacrifice their lives in her cause. The two nations formed a general confederacy. The perpetual annexation of the crown was a great bond, but magna charta was still a greater. It would be easy for Ireland to find a king; but it would be impossible to find a nation who could communicate to them such a charter as magna charta; and it was this which made their natural connection with England. The Irish nation were too high in pride, character, and power, to suffer any other nation to make their laws. England had indeed brought forward the question, not only by making laws for Ireland the preceding session, but by enabling his majesty to repeal all the laws which England had made for America. Had she consented to repeal the declaratory law against America ? and would she refuse to repeal that against Ireland? The Irish nation were incapable of submitting to such a distinction.
Mr. Grattan now found his eloquence much more powerful than formerly. The motion which, during this very session, had been rejected by a great majority, was now agreed to after a short debate, and the address to his majesty prepared accordingly. In this, after thanking his majesty for his gracious message, and declaring their attachment to his person and governinent, they assured him, that the subjects of Ireland are a free people; that the crown of Ireland is an imperial crown, inseparably annexed to that of Britain, on which connection the interests and happiness of both nations essentially depend : but
the kingdom of Ireland is distinct, with a parliament of its own; that there is no body of mencompetent to make laws to bind Ireland, except the king, lords, and commons thereof; nor any other parliament that hath any power or authority of any sort whatsoever, in this country, except the parliament of Ireland. They assured his majesty, that they humbly conceive, that in this right the very essence of their liberties did exist; a right which they, on the part of all Ireland, do claim as their birth-right, and which they cannot yield but with their lives. They assured his majesty, that they had seen with concern certain claims advanced by the parliament of Great Britain, in an act intitled, • For the better securing the dependency of Ireland ;” an act containing matter entirely irreconcileable to the fundamental rights of the nation. They informed his majesty, that they conceived this act, and the claims it advanced, to be the great and principal cause of the discontents and jealousies in the kingdom. They assured him, that his commons did most sincerely wish, that all the bills which become law in Ireland, should receive the approbation of his majesty under the seal of Great Britain; but yet, that they conceived the practice of suppressing their bills in the council of Ireland, or altering them any where, to be another just cause of discontent and jealousy. They further assured his majesty, that an act intitled, “For the better accommo“ dation of his majesty's forces,” being unlimited in duration, and defective in some other circumstances, was another just cause of jealousy and discontent. These, the principal causes of jealousies and discontent in the kingdom, they had submitted to his majesty, in humble expectation of redress; and they con-, cluded with an assurance, that they were more confident in the hope of obtaining redress, as the people of Ireland had been, and were, not more disposed to share the freedom of England, than to support her in her difficulties, and to share her fate.
To this remarkable address a most gracious answer was given. In a few days the lord lieutenant made a speech to both houses ; in which he informed them, that by the magnanimity of the king, and wisdom of the British parliament, he was enabled to assure them, that immediate attention had been paid to their representations, and that the legislature of Britain had concurred in a resolution to remove the causes of