« ÖncekiDevam »
Dillon presented it. A debate ensued, in the course of which Mr. Fitzgibbon stated his alarm at what he considered to be the tendency of the bill, and advised that a delay should take place, that due time might be afforded for considering it in all its bearings. This was acceded to, and after it was committed, an early day was fixed for: its further consideration.
The volunteers now began to take a more decided part in the political transactions of the day. They had arms in their hands, and in their minds they had indefinite but enthusiastic notions of liberty. They assumed a leading station in the affairs of Ireland, and their history is altogether so curious that the history of their transactions shall be given here with some minuteness. The officers of the southern battalion of Lord Charlemont's Armagh regiment was the first that gave movement to the important proceedings of the volunteer army. They met, and came to the following resolutions, which they published throughout the province of Ulster and in Dublin *.
"First Ulster regiment, commanded by the Earl of Charlemont.
"At a full meeting, holden at Armagh on Friday the 28th day of December, 1781, of the
* These resolutions, which were their first, deserve to be commemorated, as they gave rise to all their future opera
officers and delegates of the southern battalion of the said regiment, consisting of eleven companies, pursuant to adjournment,
"FRANCIS EVANS, Esq. in the chair,
"The following resolutions, were unanimously agreed to, and ordered to be printed in all the newspapers, and published within the province of Ulster, and in the Volunteer Journal of the city of Dublin:
"Resolved, That with the utmost concern, we behold the little attention paid to the constitutional rights of this kingdom by the majority of those whose duty it is to establish and preserve the
"Resolved, That to avert the impending danger from the nation, and to restore the constitution to its original purity, the most vigorous and effectual methods must be pursued to root out corruption and court influence from the legislative body.
"Resolved, That to open a path towards the attaining this desirable point it is absolutely requisite that a meeting be held in the most central town in the province of Ulster, which we conceive to be Dungannon, to which said meeting every volunteer association of the said province is most earnestly requested to send delegates, then and there to deliberate on the present alarming situation of public affairs, and to determine on and publish to their country what may be the result of said meeting.
"Resolved, That as many real and lasting advantages may arise to this kingdom from said intended meeting being held, before the present session of parliament is much further advanced, Friday, the 15th day of February next, at ten o'clock in the forenoon, is hereby appointed for the said meeting at Dungannon as aforesaid.
"Resolved, That as at said meeting it is highly probable the idea of forming brigades will be agitated and considered, the several corps of volunteers who send delegates to said meeting are requested to vest in them a power to associate with some one of such brigades as may be then formed.
"FRANCIS EVANS, Chairman."
It may easily be supposed, that in the present temper of the Irish nation, and under circumstances such as existed when the preceding resolutions were issued, the meeting convened by them would be numerously attended. The castle took the alarm, but found it impossible to do any thing to check the evil they dreaded; nor was it government alone that felt uneasy. Persons of all descriptions and all parties manifested their deep concern in the event. But astonishment and regret were equally vain: the day approached: it arrived: the meeting was formed at Dungannon. It consisted of the representatives of 143 corps of the volunteers of Ulster. Colonel William Irvine took the chair. They were all per
sons of most respectable property. Many of them possessed considerable estates. Their loyalty and patriotism were equally known and acknowledged. Among them were Lord Charlemont, Mr. Flood, Mr. Grattan, Mr. Stewart (member for Tyrone), and Mr. Dobbs, a barrister. Their demeanour was peaceable, and such as became the cause that had assembled them. They passed the following celebrated resolutions.
"Whereas it has been asserted, that volunteers, as such, cannot with propriety debate or publish their opinions on political subjects, or on the conduct of parliament or public men
"Resolved unanimously, That a citizen, by learning the use of arms, does not abandon any of his civil rights.
"Resolved unanimously, That a claim of any body of men other than the king, lords and commons of Ireland, to make laws to bind this kingdom, is unconstitutional, illegal, and a griev
"Resolved, (with one dissenting voice only,) That the powers exercised by the privy council of both kingdoms, under, or under pretence of the law of Poynings, are unconstitutional, and a grievance.
"Resolved unanimously, That the ports of this country are by right open to all foreign countries, not at war with the king, and that any burthen thereupon, or obstruction thereto, save only by
the parliament of Ireland, are unconstitutional, illegal, and a grievance.
"Resolved, (with one dissenting voice only,) That a mutiny bill, not limited in point of duration from session to session, is unconstitutional, and a grievance.
"Resolved unanimously, That the independance of the judges is equally essential to the inpartial administration of justice in Ireland as in England, and that the refusal or delay of this right to Ireland, makes a distinction where there should be no distinction, may excite jealousy where perfect union should prevail, and is in itself unconstitutional, and a grievance.
"Resolved, (with eleven dissenting voices only,) That it is our decided and unalterable determination to seek a redress of these grievances; and we pledge ourselves to each other and to our country, as freeholders, fellow-citizens, and men of honour, that we will, at every ensuing election, support those only who have supported us therein, and that we will use every constitutional means to make such our pursuit of redress speedy and effectual.
"Resolved, (with one dissenting voice only,) That the right honourable and honourable the minority in parliament, who have supported these our constitutional rights, are entitled to our most grateful thanks; and that the annexed Address be signed by the Chairman, and published with these resolutions,