Sayfadaki görseller

be sedulously pursued though

way. Without this they would not have been pacified. The following resolutions were therefore proposed and most warmly and unanimously adopted.

though in a different

"Resolved unanimously, That it is highly ne cessary for the delegates of counties, cities, and towns, in conjunction with the other freeholders of their several counties, to forward the plan of reform agreed to, by this convention, by conven ing county meetings, or whatever other constitutional mode they may find most expedient; and that they not only instruct their representatives to support the same in parliament, but also request the members of the several cities, towns, boroughs and manors, within their county to aid in carrying the same into effect.

"Resolved unanimously, That the necessity of a parliamentary reform is manifest, and we do exhort the nation, by every constitutional effort, to effectuate such reform."

This in some measure satisfied them; but, as they had been violently aspersed by some members in the house of commons who had gone so far as to impeach their loyalty-not perhaps without just cause, they thought they could not separate without some public declaration of their motives and sentiments. By the influence of some moderate men among them they adopted the dignified mode of an address to the king, expressive of

their loyalty and unalterable attachment to the crown and constitution of the realm, and concluding, with these words: " and we implore your majesty that our humble wish to have certain manifest perversions of the parliamentary représentation of this kingdom, remedied by the legislature in some reasonable degree, may not be imputed to any spirit of innovation in us, but to a sober and laudable desire to uphold the constitution, to confirm the satisfaction of our fellow subjects, and to perpetuate the cordial union of both kingdoms."

After this address was carried, Lord Charlemont, who was duly aware of the danger of an armed convention sitting any longer in its deliberative capacity, and, at the same time, conscious that it had accomplished all its original purport, finally adjourned it. This was a wise step, and thus ended this celebrated meeting. That it would have been better, had it never assembled, is probable; and yet it gave an opportunity to the parliament of asserting its right and privilege against the factious usurpation of those reformers, which was of the utmost importance in a constitutional point of view. Nor should it be forgotten, among the benefits that counterbalanced the evils of this assembly, that its meeting was the imme. diate forerunner of the decline of this now ambiguous body. The reader, who may not remember the days of this military convention, will be

naturally anxious to inquire what sensation its downfall excited? None. It had previously began to decay, and its extinction, (though partially kept up for some years afterwards) was viewed: with indifference.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]


Flood's departure for England.



Flood goes to England-Mr. Curran makes a motion against a right assumed by the house of lords-Dissolution of the coalition ministryPitt appointed prime minister-Lord Northington resigns, and is succeeded by the Duke of Rutland meetings are held to obtain a reform in parliament-Grand congress of delegates appointed-Vigorous proceedings of government-Both the parliaments of England and Ireland engaged in considering some commercial regulations between the two countriesMr. Orde's propositions, and debates upon them.

SHORTLY after the settlement of the question of reform in the commons, Flood, the great leader of the opposition, departed for England, where he obtained a seat in the British legislature. After his departure, however, some popular motions were made. Mr. Molyneux proposed an absentee tax, but it was lost by a great majority; and Mr. Brown moved certain resolutions expressive of the miserable state of Ireland, the necessity of retrenchment in the expences, and the evil of an accumulating debt. This was lost too. The next measure that occupied their attention was a motion of Mr. Curran's, on the 16th December,

[ocr errors]

1783, in consequence of two strong resolutions passed by the house of lords against the practice of the commons tacking to money bills, clauses for the granting of monies for the reward and encouragement of manufactures, arts, and inventions, and for carrying on public works. The lords considered this practice as unconstitutional, and declared their determination of rejecting any future bill of aid and supply to which any such clause, foreign to its main import, should be added. Mr. Curran regarded this as a direct violation of the undoubted right of the commons to originate and frame money bills in any way they thought proper, the lords or the king having the power of only rejecting in toto, but not of modifying or altering. The house was but thinly attended, and the motion * was lost.

Great and important ministerial changes took place at this time in England; changes which, in their remote operation, are still felt by this country, The coalition ministry had, in its first formation, the seeds and principle of disunion, and an event now occurred which separated the component parts, never more to reunite. We allude to Mr. Fox's India bill, which, on the 8th December, 1783, passed through the commons by a small

It was as follows: "That it is the sole and undoubted privilege of the commons of Ireland to originate all bills of supply and grants of public money in such manner and with such clauses as they shall think proper."

« ÖncekiDevam »