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law of nations and of the most pofitive ftipulations of treaty, and have fince, on the most groundless pretences, actually declared war against his Majefty and the United Provinces. Under the circumftances of this wanton and unprovoked aggreffion, his Majefty has taken the neceffary steps to maintain the honour of his crown, and to vindicate the rights of his people; and his Majefty relies with confidence on the firm and effectual fupport of the Houfe of Commons, and on the zealous exertions of a brave and loyal people, in profecuting a juft and neceffary war, and in endeavouring, under the bleffing of Providence, to oppose an effectual barrier to the further progrefs of a fyftem which ftrikes 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,
"In a cause of such general concern his Majefty has every reafon to hope for the cordial co-operation of those powers who are united with his Majefty by the ties of alliance, or who feel an intereft in preventing the extenfion of anarchy and confufion, and contributing to the fecurity and tranquillity of Europe.
Lord Hillsborough afterwards in confequence of this meffage, presented from the committee appointed to prepare it, the following addrefs to his Majefty, which was unanimously agreed to.
Moft gracious Sovereign,
"We your Majefty's most dutiful and loyal fubjects, the Commons of Ireland in parliament affembled, beg leave to approach your Majefty with our unfeigned thanks for the meffage which has been fent to us by your Majesty's command, acquainting us that the affembly now exercising
the powers o government in France have, without previous notice, directed acts of hoftility to be committed against the perfons and property of your Majefty's fubjects, in breach of the law of nations, and of the most pofitive ftipulations of treaty; and have fince, on the moft groundless pretences, actually declared war against your Majefty and the United Provinces.
"We affure your Majefty that, whilft we feel the utmost indignation at the circumstances of this wanton and unprovoked aggreffion, we are happy in being affured that your Majefty has taken the neceffary fteps to maintain the honour of your crown, and to vindicate the rights of your people.
"Your Majefty may rely with confidence on the firm and effectual fupport of your faithful Commons, and on the zealous exertions of your Majesty's brave and loyal peo-` ple of Ireland, in profecuting a juft and neceffary war, and in endeavouring, under the bleffing of Providence, to oppose an effectual barrier to the further progress of a system which ftrikes 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 affure your Majefty, that we learn with the utmost fatisfaction, that in a caufe of fuch general concern your Majesty has every reason to hope for the cordial co-operation of those powers who are united with your Majefty by the ties of alliance, or who feel an intereft in preventing the extenfion 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 affemblies, under a pretence of preparing or presenting public petitions or other addreffes
to his Majesty or the parliament,-it was read a fecond time, when Mr. Grattan faid, the convention bill is a falfe declaration of law. I call on the lawyers to fay, whether the mere appointment of delegates, or reprefentatives, for the purpose of petitioning the King or parliament, is alone fufficient to make an unlawful affembly. I call for their authorities; where are their statutes, their adjudications, their opinions? There are none, they know there are none. The law never faid, 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; I will examine their authorities. An unlawful assembly, says Lord Coke, is where three or more affemble in a body to commit a riot, and do not do it. An unlawful affembly, fays Blackstone, is where three or more affèmble to do an unlawful act, or to pull down inclosures, and part without doing it. An unlawful affembly, fays Hawkins, is not only an affembling to do an act, which, if done, would make the affembly a riot, but it is the meeting in great numbers, with fuch circumftances of terror as cannot but endanger the public peace, as where great numbers, complaining of a common grievance, meet armed in a warlike manner, to confider of the means of recovering their interefts. Does 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 thefe definitions? Does (I recite the fubftance of the bill) the appointment of any affembly to reprefent any defcription, or number of the people, for the purpofe of preparing or prefenting petitions relative to any public concernment, come under any one of these definitions? No lawyer can fay fo, because no lawyer could fay fo without forfeiting his character as a lawyer.
I rely upon it therefore, that the declaratory part of this bill has not been, and cannot be fupported by law, but that it is a grofs 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 fuch 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 ftate? What the conventions in England, in 1782, for the purpofe of the reform of parliament? What the delegates for the procuring the repeal of the teft act? What the Prefbyterian 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 ftiled a northern affociation and general council, to direct the operation of affociated 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 affembly purporting to reprefent the people of England, that placed the crown on the head of William and Mary; this affembly comes under every clause in this bill, descriptive of illegal affembly ; had fuch 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 juftification in the shape of an act of parliament; for if this declaratory bill be law, then the convention of 1688 was againft law, and all its proceedings of course, and amongst others the fettlement of the crown, illegal, and the refiftance of the Catholics to that fettlement warrantable by law. Who would have
thought that the Catholics would have found in the defamer of their loyalty, an apologift for their rebellion; who would have thought to have found in a bill, profeffing to be a strong measure in favour of power, the feed of a principle which impeacheth the fucceffion of the crown in the prefent illuftrious family; but fo 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 fuggesting a question against the other. Such melancholy and grofs ignorance does this act betray of the hiftory of both countries, and fuch a total and fhocking difregard 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 redrefs afcertained as at the revolution, and the law of redrefs unafcertained, as in thofe cafes where the governing powers betray their truft, and confpire 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 redrefs open to the exigency; and it is this which Lord Bolingbroke means, when he fays the conftitution of Great Britain cannot be deftroyed, even by parliament. Kings, like James the Second, may abdicate; parliaments, like his parliament, may betray their trust, but the refources of this conftitution are fuch that the people cannot be enflaved, until they themselves are univerfally corrupt: how then are they to redrefs themselves when they are betrayed by parliament; how in fuch a casehow? but by reforting to what this bill makes a mifdemeanor, the appointment or delegation of fome body or bodies, who may confer and communicate. This bill, I therefore fubmit, is not only as a declaration of law false and ignorant, but highly criminal and mischievous, as a provifion against thofe popular refources which Ireland