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vention should be almost ideal, and visionary plans of reform were followed by imaginary proscriptions of family electors.
“ Those shadows having passed over the scene in very solemn and ridiculous order, the eyes of the spectators were at length tired of such mock heroic visions, and all turned towards Lord Charlemont. An enemy to ostentation, and always averse to public speaking, he had hitherto remained silent. But he found it necessary now to say something. . ' My determination,' said his lordship,' to sacrifice to the public that borough, which I have ever held in trust for the people, was I thought, sufficiently declared, by my acceptance of a seat at this meeting. That trust I have at all times endeavoured to execute, to the
public advantage; and I can assure this assembly that I have never felt so much real satisfaction in the exercise of those powers which, as a trustee for the people, have been confided to me, as I pow do in resigning them. The convention, and indeed, all bis auditory were to the utmost gratified by this declaration, and applauded it as the language of sincerity and true patriotism: Flood's plan of reform having now passed the -ordeal of the two compittees, was finally reported to the convention, where the bishop of Derry
* This singular character, who, to his episcopal title, joined that of Earl of Bristol, was the son of Lord Hervey, well known from the sarcastic lines, and still more sarcastic letter which Pope addressed to him. (See Epist. to Dr. Arbuthnot,
Character of the Bishop of Derry. 99 again brought forward his proposal in favour of the Catholics, and was supported by several of the delegates. Lord Charlemont and his friends opposed bim strongly, and left him in a minority. The point was warmly discussed. These repeated differences did not contribute much to the esta. blishment of any cordial amity between the noble prelate and the earl. The former one day, while the convention was employed on something unimportant, ventured to hint to Lord Charlemont, as they sat for some minutes apart together, " that his conduct was by no means generally approved of,” (alluding, it is presumed, to the catholic bu
the character of Sporus and the third vol, of Warton's Ed. of Pope, p. 339.) Granger, in his Biog. Hist, vol. II. p. 272, says the Bishop of Derry, was lineally descended from the brother of that William Hervey, whose death Cowley so feelingly la« ments in his Elegy beginning,
“ It was a dismal and a fearfal night." The eccentricities of the Earl of Bristol, are well known. He had talents, but they were shewy, 'not solid, and he had benevolence, but it displayed itself in whim and caprice. Yet he was sometimes consistently correct. His distribution of church livings, among the old and respectable clergy of his diocese, deserves to be remembered to his honor. He was ambitious, and disappointed in his ambition, he became factious. It is said he applied for the bishopric of Durham, and then for the lord lieutenancy of Ireland, both of which were refused him. Hinc illæ lacryme. During the volunteering system, he assumed all the external parade of a military bishop; he might frequently be seen escorted by a body of dragoons, and seemingly proud of the martial splendour, he exhibited. He vás, however, hospitable and generous.
siness) " and that he was considered as rather lukewarm in favour of reform." To this
suggestion, Lord Charlemont replied, as may be supposed, with some warmth. A short, and somewhat unpleasant conversation took place, not at all necessary now to detail, but in the eourse of which Lord Charlemont declared, that in the attainment of reform he was determined not to go the length of hazarding the public, peace. A wise resolve, which shewed that he contemplated the measure with the eye of a statesman and a patriot.
“ After three weeks sitting, the labours of the convention seemed to draw towards an end. The commencentent of the convention was inauspici. ous but the conclusion was agitating, beyond anyu period in its history. It is not to be forgotten that parliament had met, the end of October, and was at this time actually, sitting. To the astonishment of the greater. part, Flood arose in the convention about four o'clock in the afternoon of Saturday, Nov. 29; and proposed that he, accompanied by such members of parliament as were then present, should immediately go down to the house of commons, and move for leave to bring in a bill exactly correspondent in every respect to the plan of reform, which he had submitted to, and was approved of by, the convention. To this proposition he added another, " That the convention should not adjourn, till the fate of the motion was ascertained.” A more
Extraordinary conduct of Flaod. 101 complete designation and avowal of a delibera. tive assembly, co existing with lords and concions, and apparently of co-extensive authority, could scarcely be made. It was, in truth, like bringing up a bill from the bar of one house of parliament, to that of another. Both inotions were acceded to. That the gentlemen who adopted Mr. Floodis proposition, did not see its impropriety and imprudence, or, seeing its real coinplexion, did not abandon it, may be partly attributed to the ascendency which Flood at this time obtained over most of them, as well as to that extreme ardour which, pursuing a favourite object, overlooks or contemns all obstacles. Flood would not, perhaps, have brought it forward at all, certainly not then, had he not been impelled by particular personal motives. His great ambition was to take the lead in this business of reform; and, as he at that time looked to a seat in the British house of commons, (which he soon after obtained) his views would, as he imagined, be most powerfully aided by his splendid exertions, in the convention, as well as the Irish parliament, and enable him to aspire to superior rank and authority among the reformists in England as well as those in Ireland. The time, however, pressed and he was obliged to go to London, in a very few days. To relinquish the honour of moving the question of reform to any one, he could not think of, and the eagerness of some delegates co-operating with his own personal convenience,
he hurried it into the house of commons.' Thus is their a secret history in all public transactions, and that history not always the most brilliant.
“ Parliament now became the theatre of popular exertion. Whoever was present in the house of commons, on the night of the 29th Nov. 1783, cannot easily forget what passed there. I do not use any disproportionate language, when 1 say
that the scene was almost terrific. Several of the minority, and all the delegates, who had come from the convention, were in uniform and bore the aspect of stern hostility. On the other hand, administration being supported on this occasion by many independent gentlemen; and having at their head very able men, such as Mr. Yelverton, and Mr. Daly, presented a body of strength not always seen in the ministerial ranks, looked defiance to their opponents, and seemed indeed almost unassailable. They stood, certainly, on most advantageous ground, and that ground given to them by their adversarics, Mr. Flood, flushed with his recent triumphs in another place, and enjoying the lofty situation which hịs abilities always placed him in, fearlessly led on the attack. Mr. Yelverton *, answered him with great animation, great strength of argument, and concluded with a generous, dignified appeal t to the
At that time Attorney General, t“ Į lament Sir," said he, “ for the honour of my co’intrymen, that they should have chosen this period for introducing innovation, or for exciting discontent. What is the