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Sir, a learned gentleman of our sister kingdom, whose tract against the Union is certainly the performance of a man of abilities*, has, however, a very curious way of arguing on the fact, which he admits, that the Union has not occasioned emigration and non-residence in Scotland; but the analogy of which, in regard lo what there may be reason to expect in the case of Ireland, he will by no means allow. The fact he admits in these very strong terms: 4 Can there be adduced five instances
* of men of rank in Scotland, however powerful and ex1 tended their English connexions, whose chief or least 'temporary residence is not in Scotland t?' And again:
* A Scotch absentee is only a political or commercial
* speculator, who will in the end enrich and adorn his
* native country: his money, acquired where it may be,
* and after absence ever so long, centers there J."
But this, it seems, is all the anomalous effect of a peculiar nationality in the Scotch §, which a similarity of circumstances has no tendency to produce in any other people, and especially not in the Irish; though many of the inhabitants of one part of that country are not very distant descendants from Scottish ancestors, and most of the rest throughout the kingdom are probably either sprung from one common Celtic stock with the Highlanders, or else of that Saxon or Teutonic race who appear, in the early ages of the Christian æra, to have over-run and settled themselves in all the low country of Scotland as well as ol England.
An Irishman, it seems, is a being of a different fort. • Scarcely an instance,' it is faid, 'occurs of the wealth 'and influence obtained by Irishmen in England, pro'ducing advantage to Ireland: they seem ashamed of the 'name, and eager to divest themselves of all pretensions 'toitt.'
Alas! Sir, it is painful to see that men of understanding can resort to such grounds of opposition, or suffer themselves to fall into reasonings and opinions scarcely fit for the most vulgar minds, and entirely unworthy of the cultivated sense which seems to belong to this gentleman, and ought to be the attribute of all who prosess themselves either lawyers or statesmen.
'Is the difference in the general conduct of the Irish and Scotch were really as notorious as he has persuaded himself it is, the experiment of the effects of an Union upon the former has not been tried, and he does not appear to have made any inquiry how the case stood as to absentees from Scotland previous to 1707. He found an easier solution of the supposed difference in the hackneyed imputation or praise of Scotch nationality; he fays it is a praise \, and when duly regulated I think it is, though I verily believe not more due to the Scotch than, where ciicumstances happen to be similar, than to the Yorkshire, Cornish, or Welsh man ; or indeed to Frenchmen, Swedes, Danes, Germans, or Italians.
I imagine this gentleman would take it very ill, I think with reason, if a stranger were to pronounce so
t A Reply, &c. by Richard Jebb, Esq. p. 49.
• s unjust unjust a judgment as he has done upon his countrymen. Unjust I certainly think it is; I myself could mention various striking instances to the contrary of what he has alleged. I could select from many others the example of a respectable Nobleman of that country, who, after filling with great honour and credit some of the principal offices of government here, retired to Ireland, and successfully devoted the remainder of his days to the improvement of that part of the kingdom where his chief property lay; having ever been, through the course of his political lise, a watchful guardian of the interests and well-being of the whole. I mean the late Lord Hillsbsrough, whom I mention wiih the more pleasure, because he who understood the affairs of Ireland so well, is known to have been always a strenuous and anxious advocate for a legislative Union. Sir, I could in like manner specify examples of Irish gentlemen in other walks of lise, who having by their talents and exertions in remote countries, in the East and in the West, acquired eminence and fortune, have returned to their native land, and, vesting their riches in purchases there, have become active and useful magistrates, able commanders of the national troops, and members both of the one and the other House of Parliament.
. But even if it were true, that such instances have been more rare in Ireland than in Scotland, would it be any very extravagant conjecture to suppose, that the real reasons have been the greater tranquillity which prevails in the one in consequence of a Union, and the more turbulent and unsettled state of the other for want of it? Would not those indisputable circumstances of difference account for such a difference in the conduct of the natives of the two countries, more fatisfactorily than supposed distinci tions tions of national character, which may serve to amuse in a farce, or occasion merriment or quarrels in a cofseehouse, but can never be entitled to hold a place in grave discussion or serious debate?
But, Sir, the Gentlemen who in this place have resisted the progress of the business now again brought before us ;—as well those who object to the competency and general expediency ;—as well the very sew who I think have gone the length of declaring a rooted opinion, that the Union never can, at any time, or with any sort of consent, be advifable ;—as those who prosess, some a belief, others even a wish, that it may at some future period be adopted;—all appear to concur in contending, that the present time and occasion are unfit; that the people of Ireland are not prepared; that they have not been habituated to the contemplation of the measure, as those of Scotland had been for above a century; that they have inveteraie prejudices against it, which have now univerfally manisested themselves, and which ought to be first by gentle and gradual means removed: whereas, as has also been alledged, it was always the favourite project of Scotland Lastly, two other plans have been propounded,—plans widely difserent the one from the other,—by which it is supposed that those disorders and misfortunes of Ireland which a legislative Union would only exaggeiate, might be cured, and the dangers which are apprehended even to Great Britain from such a Union, prevented.
As to the time, I difser so much from those Gentlemen, that if on other occasions the measure would have been wise, I believe it has now become necessary. In support of which opinion, I cannot imagine a more convincing
s 2 arguargument than the avowed, the long avowed, sear of a Union, among that too numerous class of men in Ireland, who have now openly prosessed their plan and object to be, a Separation. I need not again mention the declarations of Tone, or the consessions of Emmet, M'Nevin, and others. The proof is deeply engraven on all our memories. It has been written in characters of blood over the whole face of that desolated island. But when I know that the associates of those very men by whom the arms were forged which were intended for the destruction of the true independency, liberty, and constitution of their country, and who prepared that moral and political poison which was to corrupt and extinguish every virtuous and religious, every British principle, in the minds of their countrymen, are full of trembling apprehensions, lest this falutary antidote should be administered in time—can I, aware as I am of the profound no less than wicked views, and the no less extraordinary than perverted talents of some of those men—can I withstand such strong confirmation of the opinion, which on other, and more general grounds, forces itself so powerfully on my mind, that we are come at last to that only alternative, speedy Union, or early Separation?
As to those other and more general grounds to which I have once before alluded, I wish I could, consistently with the orders of the House, reser to the strong and demonstrative reasoning concerning them, which some of us may have had an opportunity of hearing delivered elsewhere *. They are among the most important branches of the subject, but are too copious and extensive for me to enter upon at present.
* Lord M'into'% Speech in the House of Lords, nth April 1799, lince printed.