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It is faid, we ought to wait for a moment of peace and general tranquillity. If by this is understood general internal tranquillity in Ireland, I am afraid, to judge of the future by the past, the adjournment must be, as my Right Hon. Friend t described it, ad Grœcas Kalendas. But are we to wait till the general peace of Europe shall be restored? Alas! there seems at present no very near or distinct epoch discernible for that happy event. And in the mean time, our enemies, in directing their arts and their arms to their favourite object of wresting from us our sister kingdom, are to enjoy the advantages accruing to them, both from the want of a true political consent of parts in the present complex, and ill-constructed machine of our imperial legislation, and from the cunning industry of their revolutionary allies in Ireland, who even now are endeavouring to obtain the co operation of some of the men who have hitherto been their most determined foes, and the most zealous friends of Great Britain, by working on their blind and unfounded jealousy of the British Parliament, and entrapping those infatuated persons into a conduct which, if not counteracted, may enable them to accomplish the fatal end of their detestable conspiracies.
Was the Union in Scotland undertaken or carried into efsect in a time of external or domestic peace? Far otherwise. But then it is faid, that when it was negotiated and completed, the arms of Great Britain and her allies* were triumphant. In answer to this, it need only be observed, that the treaty must be considered as
•f Mr. Wmdbam.
* The success of his Majesty's allies, fince the time when this was stated, has fortunately rendered the parallel more exact in that particular than it could then have been contended to be.
having been commenced and in progress from the very beginning of the reign of Queen Anne, and when affairs abroad wore a very gloomy aspect. As to those at home, they must have cast a very careless, or a very partial eye, on that period of our history, who do not perceive, in the circumstances of a disputed succession, the yet recent concussion of the Revolution, the numerous adherents of the exiled family in both kingdoms, the jarring interests of the two countries, and the dissensions between them on account of religion and commerce, a complication of political difficulties as great, though of a different nature, perhaps much greater, than any that exists at present.
In truth, though at first fight it appears reasonable to think that times of tranquillity are best adapted to the discussion and accomplishment of great political arrangements, this speculation, on closer attention, docs not seem to be warranted, either by the nature or history of mankind. On the contrary, I believe it will be found, that men and nations are too indolent for great exertions, * enterprises of pith and moment,' while in the undisturbed enjoyment of quiet prosperity; and that to all their most memorable efforts of that fort, they have been stimulated by the urgency of personal or national calamity, or at least of private or public difficulties and embarrassment.
I admit that the idea of a legislative Union was long familiar in Scotland; but I deny that it now comes unawares, and by surprise, upon Ireland. I am, on the contrary, well persuaded, that such a plan for that country must have been uniformly present to the minds (I will not fay always in the intention) of every minister, every % statesman, statesman, every politician, every enlightened member of Parliament, every man, in short, in that kingdom, qualified and entitled to judge of such questions, for a space of time considerably longer than what elapsed between the Union of the Crowns and that of the Parliaments of this country. I will endeavour to prove this to the satisfaction of the House, by a deduction of clear, his. torical facts.
To fay nothing of the actual, though impersect and illegal incorporation under the Usurper, you know, Sir, that in the reign of Charles II. by a Report of the Council of Trade in Ireland to the Lord Lieutenant and Privy Council there, dated the 25th of March 1676, that Board expressly recommended, ' That endeavours 4 should be used for the Union of the kingdoms under 4 one legislative power, proportionably, as was here
* tofore done in the case of Wales.' I cite the very words of the Report, which is stated to have been drawn by Sir William Petty, and who, in his treatise called 4 The Political Anatomy of Ireland,' written, I believe, a sew years before, had delivered his individual opinion to the fame purpose. 4 If,' fays he, 'both
• kingdoms were under one legislative power and 4 Parliament, the numbers whereof should be pro4 portionable in power and wealth of each ttation, there 4 would be no danger such a Parliament should do any 4 thing to the prejudice of the English interest in Ire4 land; nor could the Irish ever complain of partiality, 4 when they shall be freely and proportionably repre4 sented in all Legislatures *.'
* Petty's Political Anatomy of Ireland, p. 31.
In the year 1798, Mr. Molyntux, in that passage of his famous pamphlet called ' The Case of Ireland,' which was mentioned by the first authority in this House in the Commiiiee on ihe Resolutions t, clearly points to a representation of Ireland in a united Parliament as a most desirable arrangement for that country. His words are these:
* If, from these last-mentioned records, it be con
* eluded that the Parliament of England may bind Iie
* land, it must also be allowed that the people of Ireland
* ought to have their representatives in the Parliament of
* England. And this I believe we should be willing 'enough to embrace: but this is an happiness we can 'hardly hope for %.'
And here I cannot help noticing a very singular fraud, or negative sort of forgery, committed in an edition of Molyneux's work, which was printed in Dublin in the year 1783. In that edition the words 4 and this I 4 believe we should be willing enough to embrace: but
* this is a happiness we can hardly hope for;' were totally omitted. This circumstance I first faw pointed out in a note to a very able pamphlet lately published, entitled, 'Reasons for adopting an Union between Great Britain 'and Ireland.' I have since been favoured by the author of that pamphlet with a copy of the castrated edition, the publisher of which could not have proved so strongly, in any other way, at once his own hostility to the measure of a Union, and the sense he justly entertained of the
t Vide Mr. Addingtoris Speech, p. 18.
\ London edition in 1770, p. 74. There is a preface to this edition, reported to have been written by the late Mr. Flood, with which it was republistted in Dublin in 1773.
Vrergnt of such an opinion in its favour as that of Mi* iyneux, the able and learned advocate of Irish independency.
But, Sir, in 1703, at the time when a similar measure was so particularly in the contemplation of the English Government with regard to Scotland, a legislative Union was in a manner sued for, and sued for in vain, by the Parliament of Ireland. This appears sufficiently from the Journals of the two Houses of that Parliament; but I have had an opportunity also of seeing the correspondence at that time of the Duke of Ormond, then Lord Lieutenant, and of his Chief Secretary Mr. Southwell, and the Lord Chancellor Cttx, with the Government here, from which it is still more manifest tha* many of the leading characters in the country, the Chancellor particularly, Mr. Brodrick the Speaker, and I think even the Secretary himself, were very desirous of the measure, but that the Lord Lieutenant was lukewarm, and the ministry in England totally averse to it.
That Parliament met on the 21st os September, and on the 1st of October the Lords voted an address to the Queen', which concluded with these words: 'As we are 'sensible our preservation is owing to our being united * to the Crown of England, so we are convinced it 'would tend to our farther security and happiness to 'have a more comprehensive and entire Union with that 'kingdom *.' I shall show immediately the answer sent from England to this address.
As it appears not to have been the intention of the Administration here to listen to such a suggestion for the
* Irish Lords'Journals, vol. ii. p. %.