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presented as an act of necessity not of choice ; that when that necessity no longer existed, the British Parliament might recall the benefits it had granted, and again fetter the Irish trade, by restrictions perhaps even more oppressive than before; and that to secure the advantages of a free trade, it was necessary that the kingdom should enjoy the protection of a free constitution ; for this the people, looked up to the Volunteer companies ; and the idea of having such a glorious object in their power, augmented their numbers; and many who had formerly scrupled to connect themselves with this body, now pressed forward to enter their lists. Hitherto these bodies having acted only in detached companies, knew not their own strength; they found it necessary for their grand object, to form themselves into regular battalions, and establish a system of com-, munication with each other; long had the original cause of the volunteers arming in self defence, against a foreign enemy, been sunk into the more interesting object of asserting their constitutional rights, and procuring liberty for their country. .
Lu the beginning of the year 1780, they entered upon the plan of general organization ; they appointed reviews for the ensuing summer ; they clad and armed themselves voluntarily ; they cheerfully learned the use of arms, and freely submitted to the most exemplary disci. pline; they chose their exercising officers, and reviewing generals; and thus the foundation of Irish union was laid. They now openly declared
" Government could afford none !"_Thus Go: vernment, with respect to national defence, was abdicated; and the people at large perceived that they alone were to rescue their country from the approaching destruction which seemed to threaten her ;-their spirit soon supplied the defects and imbecility of Administration ; they instantly armed themselves--every city poured forth its armed citizens-every day bé. held the volunteer institution expand, and a neble ardour was every where diffused ;-the spirit. stirring drum was heard through every province, not“ to frighten the isle from its propriéty," but to animate its inhabitants to the most sacred of all duties-the defence of their liberties and their country.
Government beheld, with unavailing regret, the effects of its own immediate work; to dis. unite the volunteers was beyond their power, though it was the secret object of their wishes and attempts. As a body, the volunteers, at that hour of generous enthusiasm, were unassailable to any bribe that could be offered them; neither were they to be intimidated; to disarray them, Government, agitated by contending terrors, invasion on the one hand, volunteers on the other, did not dare. This patriot army were at length no longer molested, and men of all conditions and opinions enrolled themselves in its ranks with enthusiasm.-That Irishman must be cold indeed, who can look to those days without a lively satisfaction, and a noble elevation of mind; when the spirit of his country rose
superior to her distresses; when trade revived, and a constitution was restored.
The exertions of Mr. Grattan in the senate tended, in a very powerful degree, to animate the spirit of the volunteers, by whom he was looked up to, with a respect bordering on adoration. By leading the mind of the public, and even of the legislature itself, to the consideration of national rights, and the actual situation of their common country, with respect to England, he was clearing the way for that measure which he meditated-a declaration of the Legislature in favour of national independence. By obtaining freedom of commerce for his country, he had already done much towards the attainment of the great object; for he had removed the key-stone of the arch, and thus weakened the cohesion of the fabric.--He had taught the people to think, and the legislature to feel their power. His eloquence, of a style more warm and animated than either Parliament, or the people, had usually felt, and exerted upon subjects respecting which the human mind is susceptible of the greatest degree of enthusiastic fervor, was gratified by complete success; directed by a sagacious understanding, which could catch the moment propitious to exertion, and proportion his zeal to its object, bis Parliamentary speeches taught a subjugated nation to paot for independence; while the public voice highly animated on this subject, and seconded by the loud assent of 80,000 men in arms, (for to so many did the volunteer association amount!) kindled, even in the cold bosom of Parliament itself, a desire to assert its dignity, and rescue its authority from the gripe of British usurpation. Of this sentiment, so novel in an Irish legislature, that had long forgotten the pride