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Refle&ions on the American war— Miscellaneous transabJions—Knights of Saint Patrick—Abortive sclwme of a Genevan settlement—Proceedings of the volunteers—Defects of tlic national representation—Meeting of a neiv parliament—National convention — Miscellaneous transactions—Out rages—
. Addresses—Congress—Commercial propositions— Miscellaneous transactions—Rightboys— Wrctcliedness of the peasantry—Death of the duke of Rutland—Clmnge of manners by his example—Reflections on late hours—Enormous peculation dctected by Buckingham—Offer of regency to the prince of Wates—Reinstatement of affairs—Fitygibbon— Proceedings of the oppositionists—Parliamentary transa&ions.
1 He councils, by which the British cabinet had Chap. been influenced to enter on a -war with the British v^s^J colonies in America, were hardly more impolitrc^jj*°TM than those by which that war was conducted. Be-"TMTM' peated offers of conciliation, with augmented concessions in each new proposal, were made, in the midst of hostilities, to the revolted states; but never tiN it was too late; when the condition of affairs had become such as to cause them to be rejected; 1 .. while
Chap, while many of the instruments, employed to subdue* "n -'• the colonies, were more fitted to procure the hatred than the submission of the colonists to the British government. Tribes of savages, American Indians, useless in battle, butchered the unarmed in their transitory incursions. The German mercenaries, too slow for American warfare, and regarding spoil as their primary object, marked every where their progress with merciless rapine. Even the British, the only effective troops employed on this lamentable occasion, were not so observant of salutary discipline, but that in places, where they were at first received as friends by the inhabitants, they were afterwards opposed and detested as enemies. Of the acts of devastation and massacre in this war the most atrocious recorded was committed at Wyoming, a new and most delightfully flourishing settlement of about a thousand families on the river Susquehanna, which was reduced completely to a desert by a body of Indians and American royalists, denominated tones, under two leaders named Butler and Brandt, who put to death all the inhabitants of every age and both sexes by various kinds of torture. The resentment of the Americans, fired by such atrocities, was so ably directed by the admirable George Washington, a leader not less cautious of affording advantages to the enemy than alert to seize opportunities in his own favour, that the independence of the revolted states was established by arms, and explicitly acknowledged by the British court in a final treaty of peace in the beginning of the year 1783. ConducT:2 ed ed to .its completion with a spirit of order glorious Chap. to the character of the Americans, this revolution, \ .) when we except the expences of the war, was ultimately advantageous even to Great-Britain; since, rapidly augmented in wealth and population by an admirable system of government, these colonies afford a more gainful market than ever to British traders, without expenditure of British revenue for their defence. Their subjugation might have involved the ruin of British liberty, together with their own impoverishment and decay.
Of the American revolution the emancipation ofMiscc,,ane
- ous transac
the Irish legislature was a consequence, acquired bytionsinIn>
. . land.
the exertions of the volunteer associations, exertions 1783. so far glorious, but like all human affairs, liable to be carried beyond the limit which true policy would prescribe. If, after the attainment of their great object, these patriot bands had resigned their arms, when, on the conclusion of a general peace, they were no longer necessary, they would for ever have stamped their past transactions with the seal of honour. But, misled by designing or mistaken men, and influenced by the example of some very eminent persons in England, who afterwards proved recreant, they turned their attention to a new objeet, a reform of parliament, or a more equal representation of the people in the house of commons, an object indeed desirable, in Britain, but of extremely difficult adjustment, and doubtless in Ireland of problematical utility. After the commencement $>f a discussion op this subject, two events occurred
Chap, of little importance, yet perhaps not omissible with xxxix. * propriety.
Knights of To gratify the Irish by a mark of national consequence, a new order of knighthood was instituted, the illustrious order of Saint Patrick, of which the king is always to be sovereign, the viceroy officiating grand master, and the archbishop of Dublin chancellor. Among the knights were prince Edward, the duke of Leinster, and the earl of Courtown. On the eleventh of March they were invested at the castle; and on the seventeenth, the festival of the tutelar Saint, the ceremony of installation was magnificently performed.
Genevans. From the preponderance of the aristocratic faction in the little republic of Geneva, through the interference of the neighbouring potentates in its favour, many of the popular party emigrated in discontent, and sent commissioners to negociate for a settlement in Ireland. The commissioners of a people suffering in the cause of liberty were treated with the most respectful attention by the volunteers of Leinster; and the project of a protestant colony of industrious, wealthy, and highly civilized artizans, was eagerly embraced by the government, who ordered fifty thousand pounds from the treasury for the forwarding of the scheme, and a town to be built, called New Geneva, for the reception of the emigrants, in the county of Waterford, near the united stream of the Barrow, Nore, and Suir, where a tract of land was shortly to revert to the possession of the crown, and intended to be appropriated in fee to the new colonists. But as the emigrants insisted
sisted not only on being represented in parliament, Chap. but also on being governed by their own laws, the,, treaty was interrupted, and the projected settlement never took place, except that some few came into Ireland, who liked so little their new situation that most of them in a short time left the kingdom.
To earl Temple, whose too short administration Proceedings had been of singular utility in the making of cecono-,°^^ mical reforms in the different offices of the castle, 178* sacceeded the earl of Northington on the third of June 1783, when a ferment prevailed in the nation on account,of an expected dissolution of parliament, which accordingly took, place on the fifteenth of the following month. By an assembly of the delegates of forty-five volunteer companies of Ulster, convened at Lisburne, in the connty of Antrim, on the first of July, to deliberate on measures for a parliamentary reform, a committee was appointed for corresponding with other societies, and a general meeting of the delegates of the province was requested at Dungannon on the eighth of the next September. This provincial assembly, convened as thus recommended, consisting of the delegates of two hundred and seventy-two companies, published resolutions concerning the representation of the people in parliament, and elected five persons to represent each county in a national convention, which they appointed to be held in Dublin on the tenth of the following November, to which they intreated the volunteers of the other provinces to send like