When we reflect how often the Freemen and Freeholders of Dublin have been convened, humbly to express their grievances to Parliament; — how often they have solicited the enaction of good, and the repeal of bad laws; — how often, for successive years, they have petitioned against the obnoxious and unconstitutional Police Act; — and how often all these applications have been treated with the most perfect contumacy and contempt — when these facts are brought to recollection, is there an Honest Man will say, that the House of Commons have the smallest respect for the People, or believe themselves their Legitimate Representatives? — The fact is, that the great majority of that House, consider themselves as the representatives of their own money, or the hired servants of the English Government, whose Minister here is appointed for the sole purpose of dealing out corruption to them — at the expense of Irish Liberty, Irish Commerce, and Irish Improvement. This being the case, it naturally follows, that such Minister is not only the representative of the English views against this country, but is also the Sole Representative of the People of Ireland. To elucidate which assertion, it is only necessary to ask, whether a single question in favour of this Opressed Nation can be carried without its consent? And whether any measure, however inimical, may not, through his influence, be effected?
In this state of abject slavery, no hope remains for us but in the sincere and hearty Union of All the People, for a complete and radical reform of Parliament; because it is obvious, that one party alone, have ever been unable to obtain a single Blessing for their country; and the policy of our Rulers has always been such, as to keep the different sects at variance, in which they have been but too well seconded by our own folly.
For the attainment then of this great and important object — for the removal of absurd and ruinous distinctions — and for promoting a complete coalition of the People — a Club has been formed, composed of all religious persuasions, who have adopted for their name — THE SOCIETY OF UNITED IRISHMEN OF DUBLIN— and have taken as their
That of a similar society in Belfast, which is as follows:
“IN the present great era of reform, when unjust governments are falling in every quarter of Europe; when religious persecution is Compelled to abjure her tyranny over conscience; when the rights of men are ascertained in theory, and that theory substantiated by practice; when antiquity can no longer defend absurd and oppressive forms against the common sense and common interests of mankind; when all government is acknowledged to originate from the people, and to be so far only obligatory as it protects their rights and promotes their welfare; we think it our duty, as Irishmen, to come forward and state what we feel to be our heavy grievance and what we know to be its effectual remedy.
“WE HAVE NO NATIONAL GOVERNMENT — we are ruled by Englishmen, and the servants of Englishmen, whose object is the interest of another country, whose instrument is corruption, and whose strength is the weakness of Ireland ; and these men have the whole of the power and patronage of the country as means to seduce and subdue the honesty and the spirit of her Representatives in the Legislature. Such an extrinsic power, adding with uniform force in a direction too frequently opposite to the true line of our obvious interests, can be resisted with effect solely by unanimity, decision and spirit in the people, qualities which may be exerted most legally constitutionally and efficaciously, by that great measure essential to the prosperity and freedom of Ireland, AN EQUAL REPRESENTATION OF ALL THE PEOPLE IN PARLIAMENT.
“We do not here mention as grievances, the rejection of a Place-Bill, of a Pension-Bill, of a Responsibility-Bill; the sale of Peerages in one House, the corruption publicly avowed in the other; nor the notorious infamy of borough traffic between both; not that we are insensible of their enormity, but that we consider them as but symptoms of that mortal disease which corrodes the vitals of our constitution, and leaves to the people, in their own government, but the shadow of a name.
“IMPRESSED with these sentiments we have agreed to form an Association, to be called, THE SOCIETY OF UNITED IRISHMEN; and we do pledge ourselves to our Country, and mutually to each other, that we will readily support, and endeavour by all due means to carry into effect the following resolutions:
- RESOLVED, That the weight of English Influence in the Government of this Country is so great, as to require a Cordial Union among ALL THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND, to maintain that balance which is essential to the preservation of our Liberties and the extension of our Commerce.
- THAT the sole constitutional mode by which this influence can be opposed, is by a complete and radical reform of the Representation of the People in Parliament.
- THAT no reform is practicable, efficacious, or just, which does not include Irishmen of every Religious Persuasion.
“SATISFIED as we are that the intestine divisions among Irishmen have too often given encouragement, and impunity to profligate, audacious and corrupt administtrations, in measures which, but for these divisions, they durst not have attempted; we submit our Resolutions to the Nation as the basis of our Political Faith.
“WE have gone to what we conceive to be the root of the evil; we have stated what we conceive to be the remedy.— With a Parliament thus reformed, every thing is easy ; without it, nothing can be done : And we do call on and most earnestly exhort our Countrymen in general to follow our example, and to form similar Societies in every quarter of the kingdom for the promotion of Constitutional knowledge, the abolition of bigotry in religion and policies, and the equal distribution of the Rights of Man through all Sects and Denominations of Irishmen.
“THE people, when thus collected, will feel their own weight, and secure that power which theory has already admitted as their portion, and to which, if they be not aroused by their present provocations to vindicate it, they deserve to forfeit their pretensions FOR EVER..
ORDERED, that the former be printed for the Use of the Members,
JAMES NAPPER TANDY, Secretary.