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for Scotland must have been the only persons in the contemplation of the electors of the new Scotch Parliament, if those electors had exercised any judgment, as such, on the subject of the proposed Union, never came to any conclusive treaty or agreement. Their meetings were finally adjourned on the 3d of February 1703.
The new Scotch Parliament did not meet till the 6th cf May 1703. On the 9th of September 1703 they voted, that the commission of Parliament, as they called it, was terminate and extinct; and that there should be no new one without the consent of Parliament.
In February 1704-5 the English Parliament passed a new act, empowering the Queen to appoint commissioners, when a similar act should have passed the Parliament of Scotland*. On the 5th os April 1705, that first English Parliament of Queen Anne was dissolved, and the new one met on the 27th of October.
In the mean time, after a great deal of angry proceedings in the Parliament of Scotland, during their first and second session, in the third, which began on the 28th of June 1705, an act also passed, authorizing the Queen to appoint commissioners t.
Under these two acts new commissions issued; that for Scotland on the 27th of February 1705-6, and that for England on the 10th of April 1706. The commissioners met at Whitehall on the 16th of that month; on the 22d of July the articles were executed ; on the 16th of January 1706-7, they were (with several alterations) ratified by an act of the Scotch Parliament; and on the 6th of
* 3 and 4 Anne, cap. 7.
t Scotch Aits 1st Parl. of Q^ Anne, 3d session, c. 4. p. 776.
March March os the fame year, by the English statute of ttH Anne, cap. 8. and the Union took efsect on the ist of May 1707.
Sir, I did in a prior debate*, declining at that time the argument, which was in much better hands* advert to the authority of several eminent persons in Ireland on this question of the competency of their Parliament, and reserred to a debate in the Irish House of Lords, in which the Lord Chancellor, the two Chief Justices, and the Chief Baron had voted, and three of them spoken in support of its competency. What I then said has been misunderstood. I have been supposed not only to have asserted what I have just mentioned, and (which I also admit I did) that Mr. Foster and Sir John Parnell had avoided giving their fanction to the contrary doctrine, but to have added, with some triumph and exultation, that there had nobody been found to maintain it but M'Ncvin and Lewins. Sir, that is not what I stated. I did perhaps discover the fatisfaction I selt from the consideration that the distinguished characters I have mentioned had supported that side of the question which I thought was necessarily connected both with the general principles of government and those of the British Constitution; but I never faid, or meant to fay, that no opinion had been delivered of an opposite sort, by any body in Ireland, except M'Nevin and Lewins. I merely observed, that the names of those who, at the different county and other meetings which had then taken place, had come to resolutions denying the competency, did not appear; and that I thought it right, in contrast with the learned Noblemen to whom I had
* Monday, nth February 1799.
reserred, to mention two notorious personsin that kingdom, who had in their own names and characters pronounced boldly, and without hesitation, theirauthoritative opinion to * 'that efsect. It was therefore unnecessary to question me whether I did not know in particular that three considerable lawyers, and Members of the Irish Parliament, had denied this competency j and whether I doubted of their legtl learning and abilities? I dare fay they have denied it. I have indeed read in a printed letter, to which the name of one of those gentlemen is subscribed,'That the Parliament * of Ireland> true to itself and honest to its country, will 'never assume a power extrinsic of its delegation *.' Similar sentiments may have been delivered by the other two, and by others in the sister Parliament; and as to the le,gal abilities and acquirements of those gentlemen, far he it from me to express or entertain any opinion to their disparagement. One of them 1 have the pleasure of knowing; and that government, to which I had the honour of belonging when in Ireland, though so corrupt and wicked according to some of the Honourable Gentlemen on the opposite side of this House, had the advantage of receiving from him a most strenuous and spirited support. I do not recollect the other two. I believe they were not in Parliament in my time, but I understand they are also men of talents and eloquence. But, Sir, I am persuaded those gentlemen themselves would not think it implied any disrespect to them, as members of the prosession to which I once had the honour to belong if I were now to fay, that the opinions of barristers, however able or eminent, are not, in point of authority, to be put in the balance, on a great constitutional, point, with those of the heads of his Majesty's supreme tribunals, the
• Mr. Barrington's Letter to Mr. Saurin, dated 2oth January '79y.
E fathers fathers and oracles of the law; especially when those great judicial stations are so filled as they at present are.
But, is it true, that, with a disproportion of members, such as it may be supposed will be settled between the two countries, Ireland would only give, and Great Britain only acquire P I speak now of legislative authority. In my judgment, quite otherwise. There would be a reciprocal, and, having regard to the respective weight of each in the scale of empire, an equal communication of power. The Lords and Commons of Great Britain would indeed acquire a direct share in the legislation of Ireland, but so would the Lords and Commons of Ireland in that of Great Britain. Mutually they would relinquish, or, if Gentlemen like a more exceptionable word better, would surrender, the exclusive jurisdiction over their respective countries; but each would obtain a share, commensurate with its relative importance in the united state, of the supreme dominion over the whole; and, therefore, as to the distinction attempted on the question of right, how can it be contended that the British Parliament may lawfully receive within its bosom, fay 80, too, or 120 strangers, vesting them individually with the fame authority as its original members individually possessed, if the I rish Parliament cannot, on the condition of participating, according to due proportion, in the government of Great Britain and the empire, lawfully admit the legislators of this island and of the empire to a share, adjusted by the fame rule of proportion, in the local government of Ireland? The idea that inequality of numbers would vitiate the tranfaction on the side of the weakest country, leads to this (as was well remarked by a Right Honourable able Gentleman, in one of the more early debates*), thai there could never be a lawful Union, unless the numbers in the united legislature were made correctly and arithmetically equal on both sides. If so, had England agreed to the unreasonable demand, during the last century, on the part of Scotland t, of joining the two Parliaments according to their then existing numbers, or were Great Britain now to receive into her House of Commons, all the 300 representatives of Ireland, and to unite together the two Houses 9s Peers as they now stand, the tranfaction would still have no legal solidity; the Scotch Parliar ment formerly, and the Jrish Parliament now, would still have betrayed their trusts.
But this junction of the Parliaments, this identification or incorporation of the two Houses of each, in analogy to the identity which already exists as to the third estate, is treated as a destruction, an extinction, an utter annihilation of the constitution of Ireland. The fame terms were mifapplied in Scotland to the Union of that country with this; for, ingenious and inventive in arguments on most subjects as some of our opponents are, they will give me leave to fay, that on many of the points of this question, they appear to me mere plagiarists, to 3 degree of servility, not only of the topics, but, in general, even of the very language and expressions which were then employed. Of this any mail may convince himself by comparing the late debates here and else- . where, with the History of £)e Foe, and the Memoirs of Lockhart..
In the case of Scotland and England the mifapplication was not so great. In that case, the third branch of
• Mr. D. Ryder. t In 1670.
E 2 each