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great alarm, but French invasion was a cause of aların still more immediate; and yet no other troops had ministers to oppose to invasion than this formidable volunteer army, with whom, or without whom, they now did not know how to live. America bad drained both kingdoing of their forces, and, for the raising of a militia, government had no money and the volunteers no inclination. They looked around for succour, but they looked in vain * In little more than a year their numbers amounted to 42,000 men. The Duke of Leinster, the Earl of Clanricarde, Lord Charlemont, not to mention other noblemen and gentlemen of the highest stations, commanded them in different districts.
Having thus briefly related the origin of these celebrated associations, it will remain to be developed, in the regular progress of this history, what share they afterwards took in the political events that affected their country.
After a long recess, the Earl of Buckinghanshire convened the parliament on the 12th October, 1779. Mr. Grattan opposed the speech of the lord-lieutenant, as containing nothing explicit,
# The only expedient that was had recourse to, in order to divide the volunteers, was to propose to some of their officers in the south to get commissions from the crown, or take them out at first, as for form's sake merely; because, said they, in case of an invasion, and your being taken prisoners, such commissions alone will entitle you to an exchange. At that very moment a noble English army was captive in Amo, rica.
nothing satisfactory. The interests of Ireland were neglected by the ministry; no system of amelioration, no plan of improvement was suggested. She seemed to be deserted, and no redress offered itself, but what sprung from the people themselves. But was it wise, was it politic, to force the people upon the amending of their own wrongs ?
Mr. Grattan moved an amendment, which depicted in vivid colours' the distressed state of the country, and maintained that the only resource left to support their expiring trade was to open a free export trade, and to let his majesty's subjects enjoy their natural birthright. Not only the leading patriots on this occasion, but even several of the immediate servants of the crown, were for the amendment. Mr. Hussey Burgh, who was then prime serjeant, acting with a view to ministerial finesse, and in order to deprive Mr. Grattan of the honour of carrying his annendment, moved, in lieu of it, one exactly similar in spirit, and which was unanimously assented to * This was, that “ it is
* Mr. Hardy, who seems to have had minuté knowledge of all the various springs that regulated the political measures of the last thirty years, gives the following history of this famous and operative resolution :
“ To counteract Mr. Grattan's amendment the ministerial speakers introduced much general expression as to the trade of Ireland, but the opposition could not be so deceived. It was resolved, that a positive unequivucal requisition lo be restored to our commercial rights should be preferred by the house of communs.
Mr. Grattan's amendment was prefaced
Thanks voted to the volunteers.
not by temporary expedients, but by a free trade alone, that this nation is now to be saved from impending ruin." This address was carried by the speaker to the viceroy amid the thundering acclamations of the populace, between two lines of Dublin volunteers, commanded by the Duke of Leinster, in arms and uniforms, which extended the whole way from the parliament-house to the castle. So perfectly correct as well as spirited had the conduct of the volunteer army been throughout the kingdom, that the house of com. mons, almost as soon as it met, voted their unani, nous thanks to them. In the upper house a simi
by a preamble, stating the necessity and justice of our claims. Mr. Burgh, at that time prime serjeant, approved of the amendment, but condemned the preamble, and suggested oné short simple proposition. Mr. Flood whispered bin across the benches, State a free trade merely.' Burgh instantly adopted the words, and moved, that nothing but a free trade could save the country from ruin. Mr. Grattan at first objected to the withdrawing the preamble, as he not only considered it a necessary adjunct to any motion that could be made on the subject, but was afraid, by dividing the proposition, to make room for some adroit and successtul parlamentary manæuvre which would get rid of the whole. However, when Mr. Connolly, the brother-in-law of the lord lieutenant, and who, from that connexion, as well as his rank and situation, might, in the fluctuating state of the house, have commanded a majority, not only expressed himself strongly in favour of a free trade, but against the preamble, Mr. Grattan withdrew it, stating, at the same time, that he did so in the full and entire expectation that the resolution as to a free trade should be unequivocally supported. Mr. Burgh's amendment was then put, and carried unanimously."
lar vote passed with only one dissentient voice, and that was Lord Chancellor Lifford's who honestly stated as a reason, that “ he could never join in a vote of thanks, as a peer of parliament or a lawyer, to any set of men, be their motives ever so laudable or patriotic, who were acting in a military capacity against law.”
One consequence of this determined aspect of the Irish parliament was, that in the English house of peers Lord Shelburne moved, that his majesty might be addressed to take into reconsideration the two motions for procuring relief to Ireland, which in the preceding session bad been rejected by large majorities, and that his majesty would be pleased to direct effectual redress to his suffering people; but though supported by the Earl of Hillsborough, Earl Gower, Lord Camden, and several other noblemen of weight and jinportance, the question was negatived by a majority of 82 against 37. The same subject was debated with more warmth in the commons, but with the same result. Lord Upper Ossory inoved, by way of resolution, the substance of what had been moved by Lord Shelburne in the peers.
All parties agreed that Ireland was in a state of extreme distress, all concurred in opinion that her distresses should be relieved ; but while, all were agreed, nothing was done. The physicians consulted about remedies while the patient was dying for want of them.
It was during the debate upon the motion of Lord Upper Ossory's that Mr.
Mr. Fox's opinion of the volunteers. 9 Fox delivered the following sentiments respecting the volunteer associations of Ireland.
“ They had been called illegal,” said he," but whether legal or illegal, he declared he entirely approved of them. He approved of that manly determination which, in the dernier resort, flies to arms, in order to obtain deliverance. When the last particle of good faith in men is exhausted, they will seek in themselves the means of redress; they will recur to first principles, to the spirit as well as letter of the constitution; and they can never fail in such resources, though the law may literally condemn such a departure from its general and unqualified rules. Truth, justice, and public virtue, accompanied with prudence and judgment, will ever bear up good men in a good cause, that of private protection. God knew that he sincerely lamented the cause which produced this sad, he could not but say, this perplexing and humiliating alternative. He most heartily lamented that any cause had been administered which seemed to justify violence or resistance.; he dreaded the consequences, however justifiable in their origin, or moderately or judiciously conducted; but, whatever the effects might be, he was ready to acknowledge that such a power was in. herent in men; as men and citizens it was a sacred trust in their hands, as a defence against the possible or actual abuse of power, political treachery, and the arts and intrigues of governinent: and