Page images
PDF
EPUB

what they had acquired. But for such acquisitions a more pacific period was requisite. The nation called aloud for independence, and without a free constitution they regarded a free trade as altogether insecure, and, so far, of inferior value.

Lord Carlisle did not assemble the parliament till October, 1781, when it had become notorious that government wished to check and disarm the volunteers, though they were afraid to adopt the measures necessary for success. They had distributed 16,000 stand of arms, and they were compelled to court the power they dreaded. These armed societies had now increased to 50,000 men, regimented and improved in tactics by reviews. In the debate upon the address Mr. Grattan took notice of the cautious oinission of the word volunteers, a wholesome and salutary term, which he wished to familiarize to the royal

Mr. O'Neil then moved, that the thanks of the house should be given to all the volunteers of Ireland for their unremitted exertions, and for their loyal and spirited declarations on the late expected invasion, which, with the exception of Mr. Fitzgibbon and Mr. Scott, who afterwards withdrew their objections, passed with unanimous good will. Various other patriotic measures were introduced, but not always with success. They served, however, to demonstrate the state of public opinion, and the feelings of the time; and indced so rapidly did the enthusiasm spread among

ear.

[ocr errors]

Several popular bills agitated. 31 all parties that the court majorities were gradually diminished, till at last they were fairly beat down upon several great national questions. Among those now brought forward was one for leave to bring in heads of an habeas corpus bill by Mr. Bradstreet, Recorder of Dublin, who observed, that the liberty of Ireland was insecure till an habeas corpus act should take place the same as in England. Sir Lucius O'Bryen called the at, tention of the house to their freedom of trade with Portugal, where goods of Irish manufacture were stopped and not permitted to be sold. Mr. Yelverton also gave notice, that after the recess he should move for leave to bring in heads of a bill to regulate the transmission of bills from that kingdom to England. This was intended to remedy part of the legislative evil arising from the operation of Poyning's law, a detailed character of which we gave in the early part of the first volume, and wbich, as long as it continued, must retain the nation in a state of servile dependency upon England. The necessity of this partial measure, however, was soon removed by a more comprehensive enactment.

During this session Mr. Grattan made a motion for bringing in heads of a bill to explain, amend, and limit an act to prevent mutiny and desertion in the army, which was seconded by Mr. Flood; but it was negatived by a large majority, though some of the ministerial members on this occasion sided with the oppostion. The next effort of this

3

indefatigable patriot related to the finances of Ireland, in which he stated, that their delit, including annuities,' amounted to 2,667,6001. as which,” he observed," had not been accumulated by directing the artillery of their arins against a foreign enemy,' but by directing the artillery of the treasury against their constitution: it was a debt of patronage and prostitution.” He cons cluded by moving for a committee to examine the expences of the nation, and to consider of such retrenchments as should seem necessary. The motion was lost however. 'In this session likewise (on the 13th Dec. 1781;) Mr. Gardiner intiinated his intention of bringing forward a bill for the relief the Roman Catholics, which he hoped to model in such a shape that it would meet with the concurrence of all parties, a thing devoutly to be wished in such a measure. Om the day of the adjournment Mr. Gardiner observed, that as many members had expressed their anxiety to know the purport of bis intended bill for the relief of the Roman Catholics, and as the house had given no orders for printing it, he would have it printed and distributed at his own expence, that gentlemen might have have an opportunity of maturely considering it during the recess.

This was according done, and on the 31st Jan. 1792, he gave notice of his intention to bring in heads of a bill for the relief of the Roman Catholics in Ireland. Leave was given, and on the 5th Feb. Mr. Gardiner being indisposed, Mr.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic][ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »