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Secession of Grattan from parliament. 243 this, but the motion was carried, and a committee of 15 appointed. They reported on the 10th of May, and the substance of their report was, that an alarming conspiracy to overturn the constitution, confiscate property, and extinguish the possessors of it, did exist, and that the strongest measures became indispensibly necessary to meet the evil that threatened them.

Meanwhile, Mr. W. B. Ponsonby, brought forward his motion on parliamentary reform, concluding it with submitting five resolutions, comprehending the usual topics of redress and

argument. The debate that ensued was warm and aniinated: the ministry of course triumphed, for many persons, not unfriendly to the general principle, thought it unwise to concede it at that particular time. Mr. Grattan took a conspicuous share in the discussion and concluded a very able speech, in the following words.

“ We have offered you our measure ; you will reject it; we deprecate yours; you will persevere; having no hopes left to persuade or dissuade, and having discharged our duty, we shall trouble you no more, and after this day shall not attend the house of commons.

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CHAP. IX.

Proceedings by government Proclamation of Ge

neral Lake Rebellion begins to manifest itself -Organization of the Irish union-Its accredited negotiations with the l'rench directoryMemoir of the rebels falls into the hands of government-Parliament dissolved - Lord Castle reagh succeeds Mr. Pelham as secretarySeizure of some of the delegatesTime for the insurrection approaches-Lord E. Fitzgerald apprehended--The rebellion bursts forth-Details of it.

A PLAN of subjugation was now openly pursued by the agents of government. Many per: sons in respectable circumstances were imprisoned on secret inforınation or suspicion, without benefit of trial. Several districts in the north were proclaimed, and numbers of the lower sort sent on board the royal navy. General Lake, chief military command in the northern province, was, by a letter from Mr. Secretary Pelham, dated March 3, 1797, authorised to use the troops for the prevention of disturbance according to his discretion. The general, on the 13th, issued a

Military force employed.

245 proclamation *, commanding a surrender of arms, and promising inviolable secrecy and rewards to informers. The troops were 'so disposed as to search all suspected places, and to prevent unlawful assemblies, especially after a certain hour in the night, when all persons found abroad without authority were liable to punishment. The irritation produced by these proceedings was greatly inflamed by the following circumstance.

The newspaper called The Morning Star, published at Belfast, was the only paper into 'which seditious matter, calculated to feed the spirit of tumult, could find its way. The proprietors of it had been committed to Newgate under the suspension of the habeas corpus act. The persons who then conducted the paper having been required, refused to insert a paragraph in it which reflected on the loyalty of the people of Belfast;: and the next morning a detachment of the military issued from the 'barracks, attacked the printing-office, and utterly demolished every part of it. This, if true, was undoubtedly a proceeding not to be justified by any plea of policy or expediency; but in the clamour and perversion of civil discord it is diffi cult to prevent a'large mixture of falsehood froin incorporating with the relation of every important transaction.

It was thought necessary to proceed to still fur, ther extremities. On the 17th of May a proclama

Seg Appendix, No, VI, for the letter and proelamation.

tion from the chief governor was issued, declaring the civil power insufficient; the most effectual orders were sent to the military officers to use their utmost exertions for the suppression of treason; and the king's most gracious pardon was tendered to all such as, on or before the 24th of June, should surrender to the magistraţes, take the oath of allegiance, and, if bạil should be required, en ter into recognişance for their future good behaviour. This proclamation was followed by Lord Carhampton, the chief commander, directing the military officers to act without waiting for any authority from the civil power. The inevitable consequence of this crisis of affairs was, that many excesses were committed, many cases of extreme hardship gceurred, and many innocent persons, perhaps, suffered. But to attribute these evils to the wilful perversity of government, and not to the calamitous conjuncture of affairs, which permitted little opportunity for discrimination, betrays eitber folly or malignity.

The origin of the Irish union is described by a fontemporary writer.

“The association consisted of a multitude of societies, linked closely together, and ascendįng in gradation like the component parts of a pyramid or cone, to a common apex or point of union. The lowest or simple societies consisted at most of twelve men each, as nearly as possible of the same neighbourhood, subject to ihe inspection one of another. An assembly of five secretaries, severally elected by five simple

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Their organization.

2.17 societies, formed a lower baronial committee, which had the immediate superintendance of these five societies. Ten delegates, elected one from each of ten baronial, composed an upper baronial committee, which in like manner directed the business of these ten lower committees. With the same superintendance over their constituent assemblies, delegates from the upper baronial, one deputed from each, formed, in the counties, couns try committees, and in populous towñs district committees. The provincial committees, one for each of the four provinces, were composed of delegates from the district, and county committees, two from each, in some cases three. The suprenie command was committed to an executive directoryj. composed of five persons, unknown to all except the four secretaries, of the provincial committees ; for they were selected by ballot in these committees, the secretaries of which alone exa mined the ballots, and notified the election to none besidecthe persons themselves on whom it fel.

The orders of this hidden directing power were conveyed through the whole organised body by not easily discoverable channels of communica, tioni" By one member only of the directory were carried the mandates to one member of each proviucial committee, by the latter severally to the secretaries of the district and county committees in the province, by these secretaries to those of the upper baronials, and thus downward through the Igwer baronial to the simple societies

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