In this hasty and imperfect sketch we cannot enter into the details of that cruel disregard of Irish rights which was manifested by a Reformed Parliament, convoked, to use the language of William IV., ‘to ascertain the sense of the people.’
It is perhaps enough to say that O'Connell
's indignant refusal to receive as full justice the measure of reform meted out to Ireland
was fully justified by the facts of the case.
The Irish Reform Bill gave Ireland
, with one third of the entire population of the United Kingdoms, only one sixth of the Parliamentary delegation.
It diminished instead of increasing the number of voters; in the towns and cities it created a high and aristocratic franchise; in many boroughs it established so narrow a basis of franchise as to render them liable to corruption and abuse as the rotten boroughs of the old system.
It threw no new power into the hands of the people; and with no little justice has O'Connell
himself termed it an act to restore to power the Orange
ascendancy in Ireland
, and to enable a faction to trample with impunity on the friends of reform and constitutional freedom.1
In May, 1832, O'Connell
commenced the publication of his celebrated Letters to the Reformers of Great Britain
. Like Tallien, before the French
convention, he ‘rent away the veil’ which Hume
had only partially lifted.
He held up before the people of Great Britain
the new indignities which had been added to the long catalogue of Ireland
's wrongs; he appealed to their justice, their honor, their duty, for redress, and