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each Legislature, though for the time it centred in the sarr£ person, was so far from being inseparably mixed, so as to form one indivisible whole, that a law actually existed", by which its separation, at no distant period, into two (listinct sovereignties, was expressly established.
It were to be wished that Gentlemen would explain what that essential part of the constitution of Ireland is, which the incorporation of its Lords and Commons with ours will annihilate. It has always appeared to me that in two principles is comprehended the essence of ours and of the Ir'fh constitution, which, with the exception of certain abuse?, real or imputed, of different sorts, tobe found in each kingdom, is one and the fame. How often have I heard Gentlemen in the Irish Parliament boast that they enjoyed, howosten read in the published harangues and essays of Irish politicians, their exultation in the possession of the British constitution! I fay, I have always conceived that the most essential principles of that constitution are two; I. That it is composed of three independent estates or branches, forming checks each, upon the other two. 2. That no law can pass, affecting the lise, the liberty or property of the subject, without the concurrence of a representative body chosen from among the people, in a mode formed on the consideration of property and franchise, and consisting of an adequate number of persons; and of such a mixed desciiption, as to bring to the legislative assemblies competent knowledge, both of general and local concerns, and a sympathy of interest in regard to every thing that can affect their constituents and the nation at large,'
• The Scotch act of Anne, called the Act of Security, ifl Parliament cf Q^een Anne, 2d ses', c. 3. p. 713.
Now, Sir, if this description is in any degree true, how can it be faid, that the combining into one supreme Imperial Council a just number of the representatives of both nations for one House, and of the Peers for the other, will be the annihilation of the constitution? The Legislature of the empire may, in my opinion, in one point of view, and that perhaps the most enlarged and the soundest, be considered as one great political machine ; consisting of one and the fame supreme head, both executive and legislative ; to which are attached, or linked and knit, two separate members, while each of those two is subdivided again into two analogous parts: the one member, the Lords and Commons of Great Britain, empowered to prepare for the Sovereign's deliberation, fanction, or rejection, whatever may seem necessary for Great Britain, and for the empire at large: the other, the Lords and Commons of Ireland, possessing only, but exclusively—as far as such exclusion is consistent with the idea of an unity of empire, either on the present or any other possible frame of such a machine—the fame power as to the kingdom of Ireland. Let me ask, whether this machine, considered theoretically at least, would not be simplified, its structure improved, and the two essential objects I have pointed out, better secured, by blending and incorporating, in a fit proportion, the two separate members into one?
But, Sir, after making the best stand they can on this quickfand of incompetency, the Gentlemen proceed to the real merits of the question, and expressly deny that Ireland will reap any benefit from the measure; meaning, I suppose, also to deny, that it will prove beneficial to this country, or to the empire at large. I suppose they mean this, because I cannot think that any man of good sense, or who is a real friend to Ireland, can disjoin her interests from those of this kingdom, and of the other parts of the British dominions, or contend that any great arrangement is unadvisable and unjust, which shall tend to the general advantage of those other branches of the empire, merely because no particular advantage may accrue to Ireland, provided that country is not thereby exposed to some detriment or danger.
Let us therefore examine a few of the most prominent circumstances of advantage which may be reasonably expected to flow from a Union, in the first place, to Great Britain., and to the refi os his Majefty's dominions,; but, secondly, to Ireland;—considering the subject in a general view of legislative and executive government, of commerce, manufactures, and agriculture, of internal peace, civilization, and prosperity: under which heads we may also discuss some of the principal objections which have been relied on, either here or in the sister country.
With regard to this country, its legislative and executive councils would no longer be liable to be perplexed in consequence of the distinct machinery of a separate
Irish Parliament, nor the general government cominne in constant danger of mifapprehension and disputes, and subject to the inconveniences which inevitably arise from circuity of communication, and the impediments and embarrassing modifications to which jealousy or ignorance on the one side or the other will so often give occasion (while things remain as they are\ in many of the most important concerns of the empire.
In other respects it may be difficult to foresee any immediate advantage to Great Britain; to her manufactures, her agriculture, her trade, or general prosperity. Some people, indeed, rather apprehend danger to British, commerce and manufactures ; and that supposed migration of capital and skill to a cheaper country, to a country possessing a superiority of situation as to many branches of business which has been often the subject of public discussion, is argued upon as a too probable consequence of a Union *. To this it might be a sufficient answer for the statesman to fay, that if what one part of the united kingdom shall lose another will gain, there will be no public detriment to the whole. But that answer, I own, sounds harsh to my ears. I think you ought not, on such general considerations of policy, to overlook the seelings and interests of the numerous individuals and classes of men, who have, as it were, localized their ingenuity, their industry, their wealth, and their habits of lise, under the countenance and implied faith of preexisting laws and institutions. There is a better answer, I believe, in the fact, that capital and industry so localized are not easily influenced at once to change their situation, by such temptations. The attempts which have been made, at various times, to transser, by some sudden effort of speculation and enterprise, Eng* Mr. Peek's Speech.
Iifil lish money and credit, and English art and skill; M cheaper and more eligible places in Scotland, Wales, and even Ireland, have rarely been successful, or persevered in; and it is no inconsiderable illustration and proof of this position, that, even with regard to external trade, which is certainly more locomotive than manufactures, those towns and ports where accident at first, and a long series of causes afterwards, have operated to establish it, are seldom or ever out-rivalled, or their com,. merce drawn off, by any exertions however powerful in favour of situations better adapted by nature for carrying it on.
Gradually, however, after a Union, Ireland will undoubtedly attract much wealth, capital, and credit from this country, not only by the circumstances of advantage to which 1 have alluded, but also, more especially, because an uniformity of laws and legislature will give greater confidence to those who may be dispoied to embark in enterprises of speculation, or place their money on commercial or landed securities in that kingdom. This, one should think, would be a strong and reason^ able argument with Ireland (of which afterwards); but such gradual benefit to be reaped by her, will not affect the interests of individuals now engaged in business here, and will unquestionably, from the known principles and history of public wealth, tend in its progress, by multiplying intercourse, and the returns of profit in and between both countries, to increase the riches of both, and of the whole empire.
Let us now give a moment's consideration to the effects of the proposed Union on that empire, as an aggregate