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law of nations and of the most positive ftipulations of treaty, and have fince, on the most groundless pretences, actually declared war against his Majesty and the United Provinces. Under the circumstances of this wanton and unprovoked aggression, his Majesty has taken the necessary steps to maintain the honour of his crown, and to vindicate the rights of his people; and his Majesty relies with confidence on the firm and cffectual support of the House of Commons, and on the zealous exertions of a brave and loyal people, in prosecuting a just and neceffary war, and in endea, vouring, under the blessing of Providence, to oppose an effectual barrier to the further progress of a system which strikes at the security and peace of all independent nations, and is pursued in open defiance of every principle of moderation, good faith, humanity, and justice,

« In a cause of such general concern his Majesty has every reason to hope for the cordial co-operation of those powers who are united with his Majesty by the ties of alliance, or who feel an interest in preventing the extension of anarchy and confusion, and contributing to the security and tranquillity of Europe.

- W."

Lord Hillsborough afterwards in consequence of this meffage, presented from the committee appointed to prepare it, the following address to his Majesty, which was unanimously agreed to.

Mojt gracious Sovereign, “ We your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Commons of Ireland in parliament afsembled, beg leave to approach your Majesty with our unfeigned thanks for the message which has been sent to us by your Majesty's command, acquainting us that the assembly now exercising

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the powers o government in France have, without previous potice, directed acts of hoftility to be committed against the persons and property of your Majesty's subjects, in breach. of the law of nations, and of the most positive stipulations of treaty; and have since, on the most groundless prea tences, actually declared war against your Majesty and the United Provinces.

We assure your Majesty that, whilst we feel the utmost indignation at the circumstances of this wanton and unprovoked aggreffion, we are happy in being assured that your Majesty has taken the necessary steps to maintain the honour of your crown, and to vindicate the rights of your people.

• Your Majesty may rely with confidence on the firm and effectual support of your faithful Commons, and on the zealous exertions of your Majesty's brave and loyal people of Ireland, in prosecuting a juft and neceffary war, and in endeavouring, under the blesling of Providence, to oppose an effectual barrier to the further progress of a system which strikes at the fecurity and peace of all independent nations, and is pursued in open defiance of every principle of moderation, good faith, humanity and justice.

« We assure your Majesty, that we learn with the utmost satisfaction, that in a cause of such general concern your Majesty has every reason to hope for the cordial co-operation of those powers who are united with your Majesty by the ties of alliance, or who feel an interest in preventing the extension of anarchy and confusion, and contributing to the security and tranquillity of Europe."

A bill having been introduced to prevent appointment of conventions or unlawful assemblies, under a pretence of preparing or presenting public petitions or other addresses

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to his Majesty or the parliament,-it was read a second time, when Mr. Grattan said, the convention bill is a false declaration of law. I call on the lawyers to say, whether the mere appointment of delegates, or representatives, for the purpose of petitioning the King or parliament, is alone sufficient to make an unlawful afsembly. I call for their authorities; where are their statutes, their adjudications, their opinions ? There are none, they know there are

The law never said, that the mere appointment of a representative for a legal purpose, was an illegal act, or that the preparing a petition to the King or parliament for the redress of a grievance, was an illegal purpose ; will examine their authorities. An unlawful assembly, says Lord Coke, is where three or more assemble in a body to commit a riot, and do not do it. An unlawful assembly, says Blackstone, is where three or more affemble to do an unlawful act, or to pull down inclosures, and part without doing it. An unlawful assembly, says Hawkins, is not only an assembling to do an act, which, if done, would make the assembly a riot, but it is the meeting in great numbers, with such circumstances of terror as cannot but endanger the public peace, as where great numbers, complaining of a common grievance, mcet armed in a warlike manner, to consider of the means of recovering their intereftsDoes a deputation, not armed in a warlike manner, nor in any manner, and appointed to do a legal act, come under all or any of these definitions? Does (I recite the substance of the bill) the appointment of any assembly to represent any description, or number of the people, for the purpose of preparing or presenting petitions relative to any public concernment, come under any one of these definitions ? No lawyer can say so, because no lawyer could lay so without forfeiting his character as a lawyer.

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I rely upon it therefore, that the declaratory part of this bill has not been, and cannot be supported by law, but that it is a gross and ignorant misrepresentation of the law of the land, which it affects to declare. It is not supported by law, and it is in the face of daily practices. What was the committee of commerce in this country, but such an affembly as is here pronounced illegal ? What the delegates from the different counties in England, in 1780, to promote a reduction of the expences of the state ? What the conventions in England, in 1782, for the purpose of the reform of parliament? What the delegates for the procuring the repeal of the test act ? What the Presbyterian fynod? What the delegates of the Quakers ? What the convention in England, for the purpose of reftoring Charles the Second ? What the convention in Ireland, for bringing about the revolution in 1668; a convention stiled a northern affociation and general council, to direct the operation of associated bodies, united for the purpose of religion and liberty ? But I cannot omit one convention to which the present family owes its crown, and which, if this bill is law, was an act of rebellion: I mean that glorious and immortal assembly purporting to represent the people of England, that placed the crown on the head of William and Mary ; this assembly comes under every clause in this bill, descriptive of illegal afsembly ; had such a bill as this been the Law of England, and been executed, Lord Somers and the leaders in the revolution must have been apprehended. I have read much of the proceedings of the Catholics at the time of the revolution, but I never before read their justification in the Chape of an act of parliament ; for it this declaratory bill be law, then the convention of 1688 was against law, and all its proceedings of course, and amongst others the settlement of the crown, illegal, and the resistance of the Catholics to that fettlement warrantable by law. Who would have.

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thought that the Catholics would have found in the defamer of their loyalty, an apologist for their rebellion ; who would have thought to have found in a bill, profefling to be a strong measure in favour of power, the feed of a principle which impeacheth the fucceffion of the crown in the present illustrious family ; but so interwoven, fortunately I think it, is the title of the King with the liberties of his people, that no man can be the notorious and intemperate and blafted enemy of the one, without at the same time suggesting a question against the other. Such melancholy and gross ignorance does this act betray of the hiftory of both countries, and such a total and shocking disregard to every trace of found conftitutional principle, without which no man can be a fafe lawyer, or a good citizen. Blackstone speaks of this law of redress; the law of redress ascertained as at the revolution, and the law of redress unafcertained, as in those cafes where the governing powers betray their trust, and conspire against the common weal. such as the modesty of the law will not fuppofe, and therefore against which it does not provide a remedy, but leaves the redress open to the exigency; and it is this which Lord Bolingbroke means, when he says the constitution of Great Britain cannot be destroyed, even by parliament. Kings, like James the Second, may abdicate ; parliaments, like his parliament, may betray their trust, but the resources of this constitution are such that the

people cannot be enslaved, until they themselves are universally corrupt : how then are they to redress themselves when they are betrayed by parliament; how in such a casehow ? but by resorting to what this bill makes a mildemeanor, the appointment or delegation of some body or bodies, who may confer and communicate. This bill, I therefore submit, is not only as a declaration of law false and ignorant, but highly criminal and mischievous, as a provision against those popular resources which Ireland

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