Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

dent of this country. True it is, that the of the parliament of Ireland-without any parliament of that country was declared security that the parliament of that counindependent of this. It had what was try and of this would never differ essentisupposed to be, sovereign power ; it has ally upon any point in which the happithe power of dictating to the executive ness of the British empire may be involved, authority upon the questions of war and to show it, and upon the hon. gentleman peace, in the same controlling manner as who moved this amendment, as much as the parliament of this country has : but any one, for he took an active share in what security is there that they will both the parliamentary proceedings to which I agree upon all questions hereafter, in have just alluded. which the general interest of the British How stands the case in point of experiempire is involved ? It is a difficult thing ence? Is there a probability, or is there to suppose a case in which they may not, that the parliaments of the two counclash, and become perhaps as hostile to tries may differ upon a point that may be esone another as any two independent sentially interesting to the British empire? bodies politic in Europe? I have no dif- I say you have a guide upon that subject, ficulty in saying that such a case might You may profit by experience-I mean possibly happen, nor do I think that much by the case of the regency. The hon. was gained by the declaration of the in- gentleman says that there was no differdependence of that parliament, or ever ence between the two parliaments as to will be gained to the British empire, until the regent. Why, no, Sir, there was no there is some security that both legisla- difference as to the person who was to be tures will go on harmoniously together regent; but there was an essential differupon all questions in which the general ence as to the principle on which that interests of the British empire are in person was to be regent: the Irish parliavolved. Neither do I much admire the ment decided on one principle, the Engphilosophy of that person who thinks he lish parliament on another, and their hayhas completed a beautiful new fabric when ing agreed on the person was accidental; be has only completed the destruction of and upon the distinct principles on which an old one ; who calls that destruction the iwo parliaments proceeded, they “the most stupendous fabric of human might as well have differed upon the wisdom that ever was exhibited to the person who was to be, as on the powers world.” When I find such a man, after to be granted to, the regent. Now let the act was passed which declared the in any man tell me that this is not an independence of the Irish parliament, as- stance of an essential difference upon a senting to the principle of a resolution of point that was essential to the welfare of a committee, stating that the connexion the British empire : and let any man show between the two countries should be esta- me what security there is that an essenblished by mutual consent on a solid and tial difference upon some other object permanent basis, and when I find that may not hereafter occur between the two such a resolution was carried to the parliaments. That they have not hitherto throne, as I have said already, and when differed in the great and momentous I reflect that nothing was afterwards done events which have been agitated before upon that resolution to carry it into effect, parliament, is a good fortune which has I have the authority of that person and arisen from one general cause, that of all his friends, that what was done in declar- descriptions of persons having united ing the parliament of Ireland independent, against one common enemy, with the exwas defective in a point which is indis- ception only of a few, whose counsels, pensable for the happiness of the people happily for both countries, and for the ciof Ireland, and indeed of both countries. vilized part of the world, have lost all I think then I may say that the onus is upon their influence. But will any man tell those who oppose the measure now be- me, that such difference as was manifested fore us to show its bad tendency, rather in the time of the regency

will never occur than upon us to show its probable good again ? Will any man tell me, when we effect, for their own conduct proclaims come to treat for peace, for instance, or the absolute necessity of something being to consider any subject of alliance with done; it is incumbent upon all those who any foreign power, or upon any question took a part in the discussion of that sub- of trade or commerce, that then the local ject, and who approved of the measure prejudices, I say prejudices for they have the childish measure of the independence great influence, may not occasion a dif

erence between the legislatures upon in my power to give ; but however ac. points that may be essential to the welfare ceptable to the one or to the other side of of the British empire ? No matter what the House, however acceptable or otherthe cause of the difference may be, it is wise to those whom I respect on the other enough that there may be such a differ side the water, my sentiments upon this ence. A party in England may give to subject may be, my duty compels me to the throne one species of advice by its speak thein freely: I see the case so parliament; a party in Ireland may ad- plainly, and I feel it so strongly, that vise directly opposite, upon the most es- there is no circumstance of apparent or sential points that involve the safety of probable difficulty, no apprehension of poboth-upon alliance with a foreign power, pularity, no fear of toil or labour, that for instance ; upon the army ; upon the shall prevent me from using every exernavy; upon any branch of the public ser- tion which remains in my power to accomvice ; upon trade; upon commerce; or, plish the work that is now before us, upon any point that might be essential to and on which I am persuaded depend the the empire at large. Let any man tell internal tranquillity of Ireland, the interest me, what would have been the conse- of the British empire at large, and, I quence to both England and Ireland, had hope, I may add, the happiness of a great the dissensions in Ireland been the same part of the habitable world. in point of force against the executive go- The Amendment was negatived withvernment in parliament, since the com- out a division, and the motion for the Admencement ofthe present war, as they were dress was then put and carried. * at the time the Irish propositions were re- Jan. 31. The order of the day being read jected? Had these men who were at the for taking into farther consideration his head of opposition either in that country Majesty's Message of the 22nd instant, or in this, possessed the confidence of any Mr. Pitt rose, and spoke as follows: considerable part of the public, will any Sir; When I proposed to this House, the man tell me, that any minister would have last time this subject was before them, to been able to save this country or Ireland fix this day for the further consideration from destruction ? But happily for us, hap- of his majesty's message, I certainly inpily for every part of the civilized world, the dulged the hope that the result of a simiiniquity of the common enemy united us lar communication to the parliament of all; else all the evils which I have already Ireland, would have opened a more fastated, together with the poison of Jaco- vourable prospect than at present exists, binism, would have come upon us, and of the speedy accomplishment of a measuch a complication would have soon sure which I then stated, and which I still completed the ruin of our empire: but consider to be of the greatest importance fortunately, I say, the counsels of those to the power, the stability, and the genewho favoured such principles were rejected ral welfare of the empire; to the immediwith disdain by the good sense of mankind ate interests of both kingdoms, and more at large. But when that cement by which particularly to the peace, the tranquillity, the two legislatures have been held toge- and the safety of Ireland : in this hope, I ther, shall cease to operate, what security am sorry to say, I have for the present is there for the continuance of cordial co- been disappointed, by the proceedings of operation ? None whatever : the proba- the Irish House of Commons, of which bility of its continuance is more than we have been informed since this subject doubtful; for I do say, for the reasons I was last under consideration. have alleged already, that the present I feel and know that the parliament of state of society in Ireland, as well as its Ireland possesses the power, the entire representation, which partakes of the competence, on the behalf of that counnature of that society, is radically defec- try, alike to accept or reject a proposition tive.

of this nature-a power which I am by no I am aware, Sir, that I have spoken at means inclined to dispute. I see that at a greater length on this subject than might the present moment one House of parlia. have been expected in its present stage. ment in Ireland has expressed a repugI have thought a great

deal
upon

this subject, and what I have said has been no intelligence was received by the British go

* A few days after this debate took place, thing but the result of my own observa- vernment, that the proposal for a Union, tions. I am bound to convey to this which had been laid before the Irish parliaHouse every information which it may be ment, had been rejected.

nance even to the consideration of this, tion, should be of that opinion, I should promeasure. Feeling, Sir, as I have already pose that its determination should remain stated, that it is important, not only as it recorded as that by which the parliament tends to the general prosperity of the em- of Great Britain is ready to abide, leaving pire of Great Britain, but (what, under to the legislature of Ireland to reject or every situation, must always be to me an to adopt it hereafter, upon a full considerobject of the greatest moment); feeling ation of the subject. that it was designed and calculated to in. There is no man who will deny, that, in crease the prosperity and ensure the safety a great question of this nature, involving of Ireland, I must have seen with the in it objects which, in the first instance, deepest regret, that, at the very first are more likely to be decided upon by moment, and before the nature of the passion than by judgment;-in a question measure could be known, it was so re- in which an honest, but, I must be allowed ceived.

to say, a mistaken sense of national pride But whatever may have been my feel is so likely to operate, much misconstrucings upon this subject, knowing that it is tion and misconception must inevitably the undoubted right of the legislature of happen. It therefore becomes the more Ireland to reject or to adopt such mea- necessary that the intentions of the gosures as may appear to them injurious or vernment which proposes the measure, beneficial, far be it from me to speak of and the principles of the measure itself, its determination in any other terms but should be distinctly understood. But, those of respect. Let it not, therefore, be Sir, in stating that intention and those imagined that I am inclined to press any principles, I look to something more than sentiment, however calculated it may ap- a mere vindication of government for havpear to me to benefit every member of the ing proposed the measure. I do enterempire, in any manner which may lead to tain a confidence, even under the appahostile discussion between two kingdoms, rent discouragement of the opinion exwhose mutual happiness and safety depend pressed by the Irish House of Commons, upon their being strictly and cordially that this measure is founded upon such united. But while I admit and respect clear, such demonstrable grounds of utithe rights of the parliament of Ireland, I lity, is so calculated to add to the strength feel that, as a member of the parliament of and power of the empire (in which the Great Britain, I also have a right to exer- safety of Ireland is included, and from cise, and a duty to perform. That duty which it never can be separated), and is is, to express, as distinctly as I can, the attended with so many advantages to Iregeneral nature and outline of the plan land in particular, that all that can be ne. which, in my conscience, I think would cessary for its ultimate adoption is, that tend in the strongest manner to ensure it should be stated distinctly, tempethe safety and the happiness of both king- rately, and fully and, that it should be doms.

left to the unprejudiced, the dispassionate, While I feel, therefore, that as long as the sober judgment of the parliament of the House of Commons of Ireland view Ireland. I wish that those whose interthe subject in the light they do at present, ests are involved in this measure, should there is no chance of its adoption, I do have time for its consideration-I wish not think that I ought on that account to that time should be given to the landed, abstain from submitting it to the consider to the mercantile, and manufacturing ination of this parliament; on the contrary, terest, that they should look at it in all its I think it only the more necessary to ex. bearings, and that they should coolly exaplain distinctly the principles of the mea- mine and sift the popular arguments by sure, and to state the grounds upon which which it has been opposed, and that then it appears to me to be entitled to the ap- they should give their deliberate and final probation of the legislature.

judgment. If parliament when it is in possession of I am the more encouraged in this hope the basis upon which this plan is founded, of the ultimate success of this measure, and of its general outline, should be of when I see, notwithstanding all the preopinion with me, that it is founded upon judices which it has excited, that barely fair, just, and equitable principles, calcu- more than one half of the members that lated to produce mutual advantages to the attended the House of Commons were adtwo kingdoms-if parliament, I say, upon verse to it; and that in the other House full explanation, and after mature delibera- of parliament in Ireland, containing, as it does, so large a portion of the property of it to his majesty's wisdom to communicate ibat kingdom, it was approved of by a them to the parliament of Ireland, when large majority. When I have reason to ever circumstances should appear favour"believe, that the sentiments of a large part able to such a measure. I shall therefore, of the people of that country are favourable Sir, proceed as shortly as I can to state to to it, and that much of the manufacturing the House the nature of the resolutions, and of the commercial interest of Ireland, and of the address which I shall propose are already sensible how much it is calcu- to accompany them, if it should be lated to promote their advantage, I think the pleasure of the House to adopt them. when it is more deliberately examined, Having now, Sir, explained to the and when it is seen in what temper it is House the mode I mean to pursue, and here proposed and discussed, that it will my reasons for persisting, under the prestill terminate in that which can alone be sent circumstances, in submitting this a fortunate result.

measureto the consideration of parliament, It would be vain indeed to hope that a I will endeavour to state the general proposition upon which prejudices are so grounds on which it rests, the general argulikely to operate, and which is so liable ments by which it is recommended, and to to misconception, should be unanimously give a short view of the outline of the plan. approved. But the approbation I hope As to the general principle upon which for is, that of the parliament of Ireland, the whole of this measure is founded, I and of the intelligent part of the public of am happy to observe, from what passed that country. It is with a view to this upon a former occasion, that there is not object that I think it my duty to bring a probability of any difference of opinion. this measure forward at present; not for The general principle, to which both sides the sake of urging its immediate adoption, of the House perfectly acceded, is, that a but that it may be known and recorded; perpetual connexion between Great Brithat the intention of the British parlia- tain and Ireland is essential to the interests ment may be known, in the hope that it of both. The only hon. gentleman who, will produce similar sentiments among our when this subject was before the House countrymen in Ireland, With this view, on a former day, opposed the consideration it is my intention not to go at present into of the plan altogether, stated, in terms as any detailed statement of the plan, be strong as I could wish, the necessity of cause, should it ultimately be adopted, preserving the strictest connexion 'be. the minuter parts must necessarily become tween the two countries. I most cordithe objects of much distinct discussion; ally agree with him in that opinion; but but to give such a general statement of I then stated, that I do not barely wish the nature of the measure, as will enable for the maintenance of that connexion, as the House to form a correct judgment tending to add to the general strength of apon it.

the empire, but I wish for the maintenance I sball therefore, Sir, before I sit down, of it with a peculiar regard to the local open to the House a string of resolutions, interests of Ireland, with a regard to every comprising the general heads of this plan. thing that can give to Ireland its due It will be necessary for me, for the pur- weight and importance, as a great mem. pose of discussing those resolutions with ber of the empire. I wish for it with a regularity and convenience, to move that view of giving to that country the means the House should resolve itself into a com- of improving all its great natural remittee. And I have already stated, that sources, and of giving it a full participait is not my intention then to press the tion of all those blessings which this councommittee to come to an immediate deci- try so eminently enjoys. sion upon the resolutions; but if, upon full Considering the subject in this point of and deliberate examination, the resolutions view, and assuming it as a proposition not which I shall have the bonour to propose to be controverted, that it is the duty of and which contain as much as is neces- those who wish to promote the interest sary for an outline of the plan, shall be and prosperity of both countries, to mainapproved, my opinion is, that nothing can tain the strongest connexion between contribute more to obviate any doubts them, let me ask, what is the situation of and dissatisfaction which may exist, then affairs that has called us to the discussion that parliament should adopt those reso- of this subject? This very connexion, lutions, and that it should then humbly the necessity of which has been admitted lay them at the foot of the throne, leaving on all hands, has been attacked by foreign [ VOL. XXXIV.]

[S]

enemies, and by domestic traitors. The These circumstances, I am sure, will dissolution of this connexion is the great not be denied; and if upon other grounds object of the hostility of the common we had any doubt, these circumstances enemies of both countries; it is almost the alone ought to induce us, deliberately and only remaining hope with which they now dispassionately, to review the situation of continue the contest. Baffled and defeat- the two countries, and to endeavour to find ed as they have hitherto been, they still out a proper remedy for an evil, the existretain the hope, they are still meditating ence of which is but too apparent. It reattempts, to dissolve that connexion. In quires but a moment's reflexion, for any how many instances already the defeat of man who has marked the progress of their hostile designs has been turned to events, to decide upon the true state and the confirmation of our strength and se- character of this connexion. It is evicurity, I need not enumerate. God grant dently one which does not afford that sethat in this instance the same favour of curity which, even in times less dangerous Divine Providence, which has in so many and less critical than the present, would instances protected this empire, may again have been necessary, to enable the eminterpose in our favour, and that the at- pire to avail itself of its strength and its tempts of the enemy to separate the two resources. countries, may tend ultimately to knit When I last addressed the House on them more closely together, to strengthen this subject, I stated that the settlement, a connexion, the best pledge for the hap- which was made in 1782, so far from depiness of both, and so add to that power serving the name of a final adjustment, which forms the chief barrier to the civi- was one that left the connexion between Jized world, against the destructive prin- Great Britain and Ireland exposed to all ciples, the dangerous projects, and the the attacks of party, and all the effects of unexampled usurpation of France! This accident. That settlement consisted in connexion has been attacked, not only by the demolition of the system which before the avowed enemies of both countries, but hell the two countries together. Let me by internal treason, acting in concert not be understood as expressing any regret with the designs of the enemy-internal at the termination of that system. I distreason, which ingrafted Jacobinism on approved of it, because I thought it was those diseases which necessarily grew out one unworthy the liberality of Great of the state and condition of Ireland. Britain, and injurious to the interests of

Thinking, then, as we all must think, Ireland. But to call that a system in itself, that a close connexion with Ireland is es- to call that a glorious fabric of human wissential to the interests of both countries, dom, which is no more than the mere deand seeing how much this connexion is molition of another system, is a perver-attacked, let it not be insinuated that it sion of terms, which, however prevalent is unnecessary, much less improper, at this of late, can only be the effect of gross misarduous and important crisis, to see whe. conception, or of great hypocrisy. ther some new arrangements, some fun- We boast that we have done every thing, damental regulations, are not necessary, when we have merely destroyed all that to guard against the threatened danger. before existed, without substituting any The foreign and domestic enemies of these thing in its place. Such was the final ad. kingdoms have shown, that they think justment of 1782; and I can prove it to be this the vulnerable point in which we may so, not only from the plainest reasoning, be most successfully attacked : let us de. but I can prove it by the opinion ex. rive advantage, if we can, from the hosti- pressed by the British parliament at that lity of our enemies ; let us profit by the very time. I can prove it by the opinion designs of those, who, if their conduct expressed by those very ministers by whom displays no true wisdom, at least possess it was proposed and conducted.' I can in an eminent degree that species of wis- prove it by the opinion of that very godom, which is calculated for the promo-vernment who boast of having effected a tion of mischief. They know upon what final adjustment. I refer for what I have footing that connexion rests at this mo- said to proofs which they will find it very ment between the two countries, and they difficult to answer-I mean their own acts, feel the most ardent hope, that the two which will plainly show that they were of parliaments will be infatuated enough not opinion that a new system would be necesto render their designs abortive, by fixing sary. that connexion upon a more solid basis. But, Sir, I will go farther—I will also

« ZurückWeiter »