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Chap, class of men fit for voluntary enlistment, without loss vj^ll^ to the national industry. Some individuals, unable to pay, sustained the seizure and sale of their goods; and some for expressions of discontent were committed to prison. To alleviate, by dividing the burthen, subscriptions of money for the raising of soldiers were generally adopted, which were for a time a heavy tax on peasants, citizens, and men with large families. The recruiting for this defensive army would have been far easier if the common people had relied on the faith of government. A regiment, hick-named the Green-linnets, enlisted, in the American war, under a promise that they should not be sent on any service Out of Ireland, had been in breach Of compact forcibly transported to America; and now apprehensions were entertained of a like dishonourable treatment of the militia. By the grievance of the a6t, rendered more grievous by misconception, and in some places by abuses in its execution, some riots were occasioned, particularly at Athboy in the county of Meath, where some lives were lost, both of the soldiers who attacked, and Of the insurgents, who dispersed without having been defeated. Schemes of tn the parliamentary session of 1794, an attempt,
parliament- : 1 i - ■; M I * »»i * . ^»* cnt
»ry reform, which had been made in the preceding year, to procure a more equal representation of the people in the house Of commons, was renewed on the fourth of iVlarch. ,The bill, presented to the house by "William Brabazon Ponsonby, and ably supported by Grattan and Sir Lawrence Parsons, was rejected by a
great great majority. The efforts lately made Uy the Chap. minority in parliament, for the promotion of thisw^w plan, had not heen seconded by the nation, in petitions or addresses, as formerly. Of this change of the public sentiment, from ardour ta indifference, on the subject of reform, three principal causes seem assignable. The admission of the catholics to the elective franchise had alarmed the adherents of protestant ascendency, who regarded the boroughs as a barrier against the encroachment of these religionists. The dread of revolutionary principles, emanating from France, had damped the zeal of many for political innovation, and excited others to resist, as dangerous, all attemps of this nature. The scheme of national representation, formed by the society of united Irishmen, evidently on principles of democratic revolution, rendered the idea of reform unpalatable to many friends of genuine liberty. Grattan pronounced in parliament a just invective against this plan, a plan of annual dissolution of the house of commons, and extension of the privilege of voting in the election of its members to all males of the legal age without the least regard to property.
Arrests and trials caused at this time some agi- Prosecu
tation in the public mind. Archibald Hamilton 1794, Rowan was in 1794, on the twenty-ninth of January, brought to trial, in consequence of an information filed against him in the preceding June by the attorney general, on a charge of a seditious libel, a manifesto of the united society of Irishmen men
z 2 tioned
Chap, tioned in the foregoing chapter. He was condemned *—-y-—/ to a fine of five hundred pounds, imprisonment for two years, and the giving of security in four thousand pounds for his good behaviour during seven years after his enlargement. Though his trial seems not to have been fair or strictly legal, he afterward gave a proof of self-condemnation. On the arrest of an English clergyman of the established church, named William Jackson, for a treasonable correspondence with agents of the French government, Rowan, who appears to have been implicated in this business, escaped from prison on the first of May, and fled to the continent. Thither also had retired from prosecution James Napper Tandy, a citizen of Dublin, a violent agitator of democracy, forfeiting his recognizance for his appearance at Dundalk, when informed of the weight of evidence against him. A third fugitive in like manner was Theobald Wolf Tone, a lawyer of uncommon abilities, the principal framer and agent of the united Irish society. Jackson, brought to trial on the twenty-third of April in the following year, and condemned on evidence not unexceptionable, yet probably true, expired in the bar of the court by a dose of poison, which he' had swallowed to avoid the ignominy of a public execution. Fitxwiiiiam Previously to Jackson's trial a measure had been
1798. adopted by a British cabinet, from which a general
conciliation of the people of Ireland, particularly
the catholics, was expected by many. In the furi
. ous war, into which the British kingdoms had been
drawn drawn by ministry, against the French republicans, c u A P. many members of that great and respectable body of v—vTM* whigs which was called the Rockingham party, having lost by death their leader, the marquis of Rockingham, had seceded to the tories. Earl Fitzwilliam, who had succeeded to the estates of the marquis, was one of the seceders. Among the arrangements consequential to this coalition, was the appointment of this nobleman to the lord-lieutenancy of Ireland. In a letter, which he afterwards published in his own vindication, addressed to lord Car-" lisle, he positively averred, that in his acceptance of this government no restrictions had been imposed upon him, but that he had been left fully at liberty to take measures for the tranquillizing of this kingdom, and the attachment of the mass of its inhabitants to the British government; and that ministry had determined on catholic emancipation.
Arriving in Ireland on the fourth of January, he commenced his exercise of authority by displacing, with compensation in pensions for their loss of office, such servants of government as he judged unwilling or unfit to co-operate in his plan. The alarm thence excited rose to a decisive pitch on the removal of the right honourable John Beresford from his place at the board of revenue. In his speech to parlia^ ment, at its meeting on- the twenty-second of January, the viceroy alluded to the expediency of liberal supplies for the war, and of the united zeal of his Majesty's subjects of every description in the present dangerous condition of European states,
% 3 assuring
Chap, assuring them (if his sovereign's most cheerful concur
XLl • •
r rence in every measure adopted for this purpose, and his own cordial inclination to promote it. In moving for an address to the monarch, Henry Grattan in his florid style applauded this recommendation of conciliatory acts. "The king," said he, "recommends national harmony: he hids perpetual peace to all your animosities: he touches with the sceptre those troubled waters which have long shattered the weary bark of your country, under her various and false pilots, for ages of insane persecution and impious theology. He spreads his paternal wings over all his children—discerning with parental affection and a father's eye, in the variety of their features, the fidelity of their resemblance."
Two days after its meeting, petitions were presented to parliament, from the catholics of Dublin and Clare, by Grattan and Vandeleur, for the-repeal of .all remaining disqualifications; and others of like import followed from almost every part of the kingdom. On the twelfth of February leave was given, with only three dissentient voices, at the motion of Grattan, to Hrtaroduce a bill conformable to these petition's; but, before the affair could be brought to a decision, a determination of the British cabinet to recall Fitzwilliam, was rumoured and accomplished. This determination is believed to have been effectuated by the interest of Beresford. Alarmed at the news of the intended recall, the catholics of the metropolis, assembling at their chapel in Francis-street, on the twenty-seventh of February,