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Chap, and unanimously resolved,, that the exportation f\rom
XXXVIII . . '*
v^X/this kingdom of its woollen and other manufactures to all foreign places would materially tend to relieve its distresses., and thereby advance the common strength of the British empire; and that a liberty to trade with the British settlements abroad, in like manner as commerce was conducted between GreatBritain and these settlements, would be a most affectionate mark of the regard of Great-Britain for this country, and give new vigour to the zeal of the Irish to stand forward in support of his Majesty's person and government, and the interest and dignity of the British empire. In the same spirit also they passed a resolution, by a majority of a hundred and seventy against forty-seven, that the granting of new taxes would at that time be inexpedient. Relaxation Such an effect was produced on the government °ifalc"TMmer'and people of Britain by the resolutions of the Irish Umrn'a parliament, the declarations of the armed bands, and the general agreement for the non-importation of British manufactures, that, in the Novembervof 1779, the prime minister, lord North, laid before the British commons, unopposed, three propositions for the freedom of Irish commerce. These were in substance the same with those which had been moved by earl Nugent in the spring of the foregoing year, except that those of lord North contained still greati er concessions, particularly the free exportation of woollens. Bills were introduced, founded.on two of the propositions, which were, without difficulty, passed into laws. The final discussion of the third, 2 concerning
concerning a trade with the British plantations, was Chap.
- - , , ... „ . XXXVIII.
deferred, as more complex, till alter the recess at i ^ »
Though trade, where it has been so ruined as to Demands of
. n an indepen
leave little or no capital, cannot till after a lapse of dent legisiayears, be effectively revived, much joy was at first iiso. produced in Ireland by these concessions. But, since the wanton tyranny, exercised by the English par- * liament on Irish industry, could not be immediately forgotten; and since, to gain the acquiescence of. British traders* lord North had represented the concessions as a boon'resumable at pleasure; distrust pervaded the public, and an opinion daily gained ground, that without a legislature of its own, totally independent of the British parliament, the privileges of a free commerce, granted to this kingdom, would be quite precarious. Declarations to this purpose were published by the volunteer bands, whose detached companies coalesced into battalions, and assembled occasionally in larger bodies to be reviewed by general officers appointed by their suffrages. Among such declarations was that of the Dublin volunteers, who on the ninth of June 1780, with the duke of Leinster, the premier nobleman, in the chair, as president, resolved " That the king, lords, and commons of Ireland only were competent to make laws binding the subjects of this realm; and that they would not obey, or give operation to any laws, save only those enacted by the king, lords, and commons of Ireland, whose rights and privileges, jointly and severally, they were determined to support,with their lives and fortunes."
Ch A p. On the nineteenth of the preceding April, a mo
c '.tion had been made in the house of commons, by of°"rena-nss Henry Grattan, for their agreement to thisresolu""rso t*on' "^iat no ?0,rff on carth, scat the king, lords, and commons of Ireland, had a right to make laws for Ireland." This motion, after a most interesting debate, which lasted till six o'clock in the morning, ♦ was withdrawn by the mover, without entry on the journals, at the instigation of Henry Flood, who knew that a ministerial majority stood engaged to reject it. To shew their gratitude for commercial indulgences, the commons voted the supplies for eighteen months longer, and made provision for the borrowing of six hundred and ten thousand pounds, and for an increase of the revenue to the amount of a hundred and fifty thousand pounds a year. Two bills transmitted to England, were returned with alterations by the British cabinet, and passed into laws "by the Irish parliament, much to the general dissatisfaction of the public; one for the punishment ©f mutiny and desertion in the army, which, instead of being limited to a year, as it had been originally framed, according to the mode always practiced in Britain, was by the alteration rendered perpetual.; the other for the imposition of a duty on refined sugars imported into Ireland, for the purpose of encouraging at home the refining business, which bill was so modified by the British cabinet as to reduce the duty. The discontents of the nation were expressed in the resolutions of several volunteer bodies, and other publications, against some of which, contained
tained in newspapers, of a most libellous nature Chap.
• „ it u c e XXXVIII.
against the house or commons, a vote or censure^, j-vi.f was passed by that house, without any apparently direct application to the then formidable associations of armed citizens. By a prorogation, on the second of September, an end was put to the session, protracted to an extraordinary length, with augmented unpopularity, since, beside other proceedings of an unpleasing kind, two very popular bills had been rejected, one introduced by Barry Yelverton for a modification of Poyning's law; the other by John Forbes for the independence of the judges.
In the place of the earl of Buckinghamshire, whoPl.oceedi 'was imagined by the British cabinet to have tooj^TMpassively permitted the growth of the volunteer1781"1783, system to a dangerous force, the earl of Carlisle was appointed lord lieutenant at the end of the year 1780. This nobleman found not less difficulty than his predecessor in giving any effective check to the spirit <fi volunteering, by which the armed societies increased to fifty thousand men, regimented, and improved in tactics by reviews. In one of these exhibitions at Belfast, five thousand four hundred men in one body displayed their evolutions, with a train of thirteen pieces of artillery. Among the attempts made to weaken the associations was^ a scheme of disunion, the raising of companies by officers who were dependants of government. But this would have proved fallacious, if such a calamity should have happened as a war between the royal army and the volunteers, as in that case the soldiers of these
Chap, companies would have elected new officers, or have
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v^-y-w/ deserted to other leaders. A pleasing testimony, however, was given of the universal attachment of the volunteer bands to the British government, by the offers of their service to the new viceroy in 1781, when an invasion from France and Spain was apprehended. But, with not less determination, than on the defence of their country against the foreign foe, their original motive of arming, were they resolved on the attainment of objects which had afterward arisen successively to their view, a free commerce, and the .security of it by a free legislature. At a meeting of the officers and delegates of the first re* giment of Ulster, commanded by the earl of Charkmout, at Armagh, on the twenty-eighth of December 1781, resolutions were unanimously voted, and published in the newspapers, in which, after some severe animadversions on parliamentary corruption, an invitation was given to all the volunteer associations in Ulster to send their delegates to a central town of the province, to deliberate on the state of public affairs.
Resolutions This meeting: of delegates, dreaded by the best
of Dungan- . ° ° ...
non. friends of Ireland, as a measure fraught with peril,
particularly by the earl of Charlcnaont himself, toot place, according to the invitation above-mentioned, at Dungannon, on the fifteenth of February 1782. This amiable and truly patriotic nobleman, unable to prevent, digested resolutions and proceedings for, this formidable assembly, with the help of some friends, particularly the two great orators of the