Abbildungen der Seite


Rot ter dam , Sept. 13, 1782.
Friend G. .

THE date of my last letter scarce admitted of its 1782.
being mentioned, that admiral Keppel was created
a viscount, and Mr. Dunning baron Ashburton, and
afterward made chancellor of the dutchy of Lancaster.

On the 9th of April, Mr. Fox brought a message April from his majesty to inform the house, " That being concerned to find discontents and jealousies prevailing among his loyal subjects inTreland, on matters of great importance, he earnestly recommended to the house the "taking of the same into their most serious consideration, in order to such a final adjustment as might give mutual satisfaction to both kingdoms." A like message was delivered to the house of lords.

Administration proceeding in this weighty business in confprt with the parliament of Ireland, a message conceived in the fame terms was sent by the duke of Portland, the lord lieutenant, to the commons of that kingdom, on the 26th, immediately after his arrival to take upon him the government. The address to the king in, Consequence of it, was moved by Mr. Grattan, the great and eloquent leader of the popular party. This address, after a full and explicit assertion of the independent rights of the kingdom of Ireland, proceeded \o state the causes of those jealousies and discontents

S 2 which

.which had arisen in that country, viz. the act os the sixth of George I; the power of suppressing or altering bills in the privy council j and the perpetual mutiny bill. On the ground of this address, Mr. Fox moved in the British house of commons on the 17th of May, "i. That leave be given to bring in a bill for the repeal of the act, 6 George I. cap. v.:—2. That it be resolved, that it is necessary to the mutual happiness of the two countries, that a firm and solid connection should be forthwith established by the consent of both.—3. That an address be presented to his majesty, that he may be gracioufly pleased to give directions for promoting the latter resolution." These motions passed without any opposition. In return for this liberal procedure of the British government, in relinquistiing established claims without any stipulation whatever, the parliament of Ireland voted ioo,oool. for the raising of 20,000 Irish seamen to serve in his majesty's navy. The sum of 50,0001. was also voted, "for purchasing an estate, and erecting a mansion thereon, to be settled on Henry Grattan esq; and the heirs of his body, as a testimony of their gratitude, for the unequalled benefits conferred by him on that kingdom." On the nth of June, Mr. Fox brought in a bill for the repeal of the aforementioned act, which passed without a word of opposition. By that act, " the king's majesty, by and with the advice of the lords spiritual and temporal and commons of Great Britain in parliament assembled, hath had, aud of right ought to have, full power and authority to make laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the kingdom and people of Ireland; and that the house of lords of Ireland have not, nor of right i 1 ought ought to have, any jurisdiction to judge, affirm, or re-1782. verse any judgment, sentence, or decree, given or made in any court within the said kingdom; and that all proceedings before the said house of lords upon any such sentence or decree are, and are hereby declared to be utterly null and void to all intents and purposes whatsoever." The bill received the royal assent by commission on the 1st of July. It must be noted, that before the bill was brought in, the duke of Portland went in state to the Irish house of peers on the 30th of May, to announce the concurrence of the king and parliament of Great Britain to the independent rights claimed by Ireland. On the 18th of June, the delegates of the volunteer corps of the four provinces, at their general meeting held in Dublin, resolved unanimously—" That the addresses of the Irish parliament having disclaimed any power or authority, of any sort whatsoever, in the parliament of Great Britain over this realm, we shall consider a repeal of the 6th of George I. by the Britishparliament, made in pursuance of the said addresses, a' complete renunciation of all the claims contained in the said statute; and as such we will accept it, and deem it satisfactory." On the 18th of July, it was moved in the house of lords—" That this house, having the fullest confidence in the answer to their address to his majesty of the 27 th of April last, cannot entertain a doubt but that. the independence ofthe legislature of this kingdom, both as to internal and external objects, will be inviolably maintained." This motion was means as an • explicit declaration of the total independence of the Irish legislature ©n that of Great Britain in all cases whatsoever, and passed without a negative. " Thus have the

S 3 patriots

1782. patriots of Ireland, by their judicious, steady, and temperate conduct, made the war with the United States of America subservient to the establishing of their own independency without bloodshed and devastation. Had rights somewhat similar to those which were conceded to them, been early granted to the Americans, the union of the latter with the mother country had been continued; and the enormOus expences of war, and all its \ concomitant miseries been avoided. When the duke of 'Portland put an end to the session on the 27 th of July,. he observed to both houses with satisfaction, that they had provided for the impartial and unbiassed administration of justice, by the act for securing the independence of the judges; that they had adopted one of the most effectual securities of British freedom, by limiting the mutiny act in point of duration; that they had secured that most invaluable of all human blessings, the personal liberty of the subject, by passing the habeas corpus act; and that they had cherished and enlarged the wise principles of toleration, and made considerable advances in abolishing those distinctions which had too long impeded the progress of industry, and divided the nation.

While measures were pursuing for establishing harmony between Great Britain and Ireland, administration applied themselves to the perfecting of those plans of œconomy and reform, for the execution of which they were pledged to the public. The bills for disqualifying revenue officers from voting in the election of members of parliament, and for rendering contractors incapable of sitting in the house of commons, passed the lower house after a feeble opposition; and though strenuously


cbmbated in the upper, were carried by very large ma- ^t* jorities, and received the royal assent.

Mr. Burke, while the bills were pending, brought forward afresh the great plan of reform in the civil list: expenditure, which he had submitted to parliament two years before. This object, in which were combined the principles of future ceconomy and the abolition of great influence in both houses of parliament, was introduced by a message from the king. In the beginning of May, Mr. Burke was called to the chair of the committee, and was directed to move the house for leave to bring in a bill, to enable his majesty to pay off the debt on the civil list, to prevent the like in future, and to carry into a law the retrenchments which his majesty hadgracioufly proposed to make in his household. A number of offices, usually held by members of parliament, were abolished; and the annual saving arising from the reform, which would be yearly increasing, amounted to 72,368 k He apologized for the bills not being more extensive; and engaged to obey their call, whenever it appeared to be the general sense of the house and of the people, that he should undertake and go through with a more complete system of reform.

The gentleman's magazine for May, gives you in the May historical chronicle under Monday 6, the particulars of the reform; and immediately under it the following extraordinary article of reform in the house of commons— This day the entry on the journals of the house of commons of the 17th of February, 1769, importing, "that John Wilkes esq; was judged incapable of sitting in. that house," was, on motion, ordered to be expunged, 115 to 47.—Thus has Mr. Wilkes triumphed at last in the

S 4 cafe

« ZurückWeiter »