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as a true Englishman; but if it were surely the principles on which English in-
propositions are indisputable: first, when Among the great and known defects of the conduct of the Catholics shall be such Ireland, one of the most prominent fea- as to make it safe for the government to tures is, its want of industry and a capital ; admit them to the participation of the prihow are those wants to be supplied, but vileges granted to those of the established by blending more closely with Ireland the religion, and when the temper of the times industry and the capital of this country ? shall be favourable to such a measureBut, above all, in the great leading dis- when these events take place, it is obvitinction between the people of Ireland (I ous that such a question may be agitated mean their religious distinctions,) what is in a united, imperial parliament, with their situation ?- The Protestant feels much greater safety, than it could be in a that the claims of the Catholics threaten separate legislature. In the second place, the existence of the Protestant ascen- I think it certain that, even for whatever dancy; while, on the other hand, the period it may be thought necessary, after great body of Catholics feel the establish union to withhold from the Catholics ment of the national Church, and their the enjoyment of those advantages, many exclusion from the exercise of certain of the objections which at present arise rights and privileges, a grievance. Be- out of their situation would be removed, tween the two, it becomes a matter of if the Protestant legislature were no londifficulty in the minds of many persons, ger separate and local, but general and whether it 'would be better to listen only imperial; and the Catholics themselves to the fears of the former, or to grant the would at once feel a mitigation of the claims of the latter.
most goading and irritating of their pre
of sent . ligious distinction is a dangerous and deli- How far in addition to this great and cate topic, especially when applied to a leading consideration, it may also be wise country such as Ireland, the situation of and practicable to accompany the measure which is different in this respect from that by some mode of relieving the lower orders of every other. Where the established from the pressure of tythes, which, in religion of the state is the same as the ge- many instances, operate at present as a neral religion of the empire, and where great practical evil, or to make, under the property of the country is in the proper regulations, and without breaking hands of a comparatively.sınall number of in on the security of the present Protespersons professing that established religion tant establishment, an effectual and adea while the religion of a great majority of quate provision for the Catholic clergy, the people is different, is not easy to it is not now necessary to discuss. It is say, on general principles, what system sufficient to say, that these and all other of church establishment in such a country subordinate points connected with the would be free from difficulty and incon- same subject, are more likely to be pervenience. By many I know it will be manently and satisfactorily settled by contended, that the religion professed by a united legislature, than by any local the majority of the people would, at least, arrangements. On these grounds I conbe entitled to an equality of privileges. I tend, that with a view to providing an efa have heard such an argument used in this fectual remedy for the distractions which House; but those who apply it without have unhappily prevailed in Ireland, with qualification to the case of Ireland, forget a view of removing those causes which
have endangered, and still endanger its se-sion of English manners and English incurity, the measure which I am now pro- dustry, necessarily tending to ameliorate posing promises to be more effectual than her condition, to accelerate the progress any other which can be devised ; and on of internal civilization, and to terminate these grounds alone, if there existed no those feuds and dissensions which now other, I should feel it my duty to submit it distract the country, and which she does to the House.
not possess, within herself, the power But, Sir, though what I have thus either to control or to extinguish. She stated, relates most immediately to the would see the avenue to honours, to disgreat object of healing the dissensions, tinctions, and exalted situations in the geand providing for the internal tranquillity neral seat of empire, opened to all those of Ireland, there are also other objects whose abilities and talents enable them which, though comparatively with this of to indulge an honourable and laudable inferior importance, are yet in themselves ambition. highly material, and in a secondary view But, independent of all these advanwell worthy of attention.
tages, I might also answer, that the quesI have heard it asked, when I pressed tion is not what Ireland is to gain, but the measure, What are the positive advan- what she is to preserve; not merely how tages that Ireland is to derive from it? she may best improve her situation, but To this very question I presume the con- how she is to avert a pressing and immesiderations, which I have already urged, diate danger. In this view, what she afford a sufficient answer. But, in fact, gains is, the preservation of all those blesthe question itself is to be considered in sings arising from the British constitution, another view ; and it will be found to bear and which are inseparable from her consome resemblance to a question which has nexions with Great Britain ;—those blesbeen repeatedly put, by some of the gen- sings, of which it has long been the aim tlemen opposite to me, during the last of France, in conjunction with domestic six years, What are the advantages which traitors to deprive her, and on their ruins Great Britain has gained by the present to establish (with all its attendant misewar with France ?
ries and horrors) a Jacobin republic, To this, the brilliant successes of the founded on French influence, anil existing British arms by sea and land, our unex. only in subserviency to France. ampled naval victories over all our ene- Such, Sir, would be the answer, if we dimies, the solid acquisition of valuable terri- rect our attention only to the question of tory, the general increase of our power, general advantage. And here I should the progressive extension of our com- be inclined to stop; but since it has merce, and a series of events more glori- also been more particularly askcd, what ous than any that ever adorned the page are the advantages which she is to gain, of our history, afford at once an ample in point of commerce and manufactures, and a satisfactory answer. But there is a I am desirous of applying my answer, another general answer which we have uni. more immediately and distinctly to that formly given, and which would alone be part of the subject; and as I know that sufficient; it is, that we did not enter into the statement will carry more conviction this war for any purpose of ambition ; our with it to those who make the inquiry, if object was not to acquire, but to preserve; given in the words of the right hon. genand in this sense, what we have gained by tleman, to whom, and to whose opinions, the war is, in one word, all that we should I have had more than one occasion to adhave lost without it; it is the preservation vert in the course of this night I will read of our constitution, our independence, our you an extract from his recorded sentihonour, our existence as a nation. ments on the subject, in the
In the same manner I might answer the on this same memorable occasion of the question with respect to Ireland. I might commercial propositions. Speaking of a enumerate the general advantages which solid and unalterable compact between Ireland would derive from the effects of the two countries, speaking expressly of the the arrangement to which I have already peculiar importance of insuring a continureferred the protection which she will ance of those commercial benefits, which secure to herself in the hour of danger; she at that time held only at the discretion the most effectual means of increasing her of this country, he says, “ The exportacommerce and improving her agriculture, tion of Irish products to England amounts the command of English capital, the infu- to two millions and a half annually; and (VOL. XXXIV.]
the exportation of British products to Ire- stands the case now? The trade is at
Such was the reasoning of the Irish land. Articles which are essential to her chancellor of the exchequer, which I con- trade and to her subsistence, or serve as sider to have been perfectly just. With raw materials for her manufactures, are reference to his late opinions, I do not sent from hence free of duty. It is exthink I can more forcibly reply to a per- pressly stated, on the same authority, son who signs his name to propositions that all that we take back from Ireland which declare, that the ruin of the linen was liable to a duty in that country on trade of Ireland is likely to be the conse- their exports. The increasing produce of quence of a union, than by opposing to the chief article of their manufacture, and him his own opinion. I shall be able to four-fifths of her whole export trade, are strengthen the former opinion of that gen- to be ascribed, not to that Independent tleman by stating, that the progress that Legislature, but to the liberality of the has been made in commercial advantages British parliament. It is by the free adto Ireland since 1785, has been such as mission of linens for our market, and the to render his argument still more applica- bounties granted by the British parliable. What is the nature of that com- ment on its re-export, that the linen trade merce, explained by the same person in has been brought to the height at which so concise and forcible a manner, that I we now see it. To the parliament of this am happy to use his own statement ? He country, then, it is now owing, that a does not confine himself to the gross market has been opened for her linen to amount, but gives the articles in detail:- the amount of three millions. By the “ Britain," he says, “ imports annually bounty we give to Ireland, we afford her a from us 2,500,000l. of our products, all, double market for that article, and (what or very nearly all, duty free, and covenants is still more striking and important), we never to lay a duty on them. We import have prevented a competition against her, about a million of her's, and raise a reve- arising from the superior cheapness of the nue on almost every article of it, and re- linen manufactures of the continent, by serve the power of continuing that reve- subjecting their importation to a duty of
She exports to us salt for our thirty per cent. Nothing would more fisheries and provisions; hops, which we clearly show what would be the danger to cannot grow; coals, which we cannot Ireland, from the competition in all its raise; tin, which we have not; and bark, principal branches of the linen trade, than which we cannot get elsewhere; and all the simple fact, that we even now import these without reserving any duty." foreign linens, under this heavy duty, to
I will not tire the patience of the House an amount equal to a seventh part of all by reading farther extracts; but the right that Ireland is able to send us, with the bon. gentleman's whole speech, in like preference that has been stated. By this manner, points out the advantages of the arrangement alone, we must, therefore, commercial propositions (at that time be considered, either as foregoing between under consideration) as a ground-work of seven and eight hundred thousand pounds a compact between the two countries, in per annum in revenue, which we should 1785, on commercial subjects. But how collect if we chose to levy the same duty
on all linens, Irish as well as foreign; or, more free and complete commercial interon the other hand, as sacrificing, perhaps, course with this country. And while I at least a million sterling in the price paid state thus strongly the commercial advanfor those articles, by the subjects of this tages to the sister kingdom, I have no country, which might be saved, if we al- alarm lest I should excite any sentiment of lowed the importation of all linen, foreign jealousy here. I know that the inhaas well as Irish, equally free from duty. bitants of Great Britain wish well to the
The present measure is, however, in its prosperity of Ireland; that, if the kingeffects, calculated not merely for a con- doms are really and solidly united, they firmation of the advantages on which the feel that to increase the commercial person, to whom I have alluded, has in- wealth of one country, is not to diminish sisted. It is obvious that a fuller and more that of the other, but to increase the perfect connexion of the two countries, strength and power of both. But to jusfrom whatever cause it may arise, must tify that sentiment, we must be satisfied produce a greater facility and freedom of that the wealth we are pouring into the lap commercial intercourse, and ultimately of Ireland is not every day liable to be tend to the advantage of both. The be- snatched from us, and thrown into the nefits to be derived to either country from scale of the enemy. If, therefore, Ireland such an arrangement, must indeed, in a is to continue, as I trust it will for ever, great measure, be gradual; but they are an essential part of the integral strength not, on that account, the less certain, of the British empire! if her strength is to and they cannot be stated in more forcible be permanently our's, and our strength to language than in that used in the speech be her’s, neither I nor any English ministo which I have referred." Gentlemen ter can ever be deterred, by the fear of undervalue the reduction of British duties creating jealousy in the hearts of Englishon our manufactures. I agree with them men, from stating the advantages of a it may not operate soon, but we are to closer connexion, or from giving any aslook forward to a final settlement; and it sistance to the commercial prosperity of is impossible but that in time, with as good that kingdom. climate, equal natural powers, cheaper If ever, indeed, I should have the misfood, and fewer taxes, we must be able to fortune to witness the melancholy moment sell to them. When commercial jealousy when such principles must be abandoned, shall be banished by final settlement, and when all hope of seeing Ireland permatrade take its natural and steady course, nently and securely connected with this the kingdoms will cease to look to rival country shall be at an end, I shall, at least, ship, each will make that fabric which it have the consolation of knowing, that it can do cheapest, and buy from the other will not be the want of temper or forwhat it cannot make so advantageously. bearance, of conciliation, of kindness, or Labour will be then truly employed to of full explanation on our part, which profit, not diverted by bounties, jea- will have produced an event so fatal to lousies, or legislative interference, from Ireland, and so dangerous to Great Briits natural and beneficial course. This tain. If ever the overbearing power of system will attair its real object, consoli- prejudice and passion shall produce the dating the strength of the remaining parts fatal consequence, it will too late be perof the empire, by encouraging the com-ceived and acknowledged, that all the munications of their market among them great commercial advantages which Ireselves, with preference to every part | land at present enjoys, and which are against all strangers !"
continually increasing, are to be ascribed I am, at least, therefore, secure from to the liberal conduct, the fostering care the design of appearing to deliver any par- of the British empire, extended to the tial or commercial opinion of my own, sister kingdom as to a part of ourselves, when I thus state, on the authority of a and not (as has been fallaciously and person the best informed, and who then vainly pretended) to any thing which has judged dispassionately, both the infinite been done, or can be done, by the inimportance to Ireland of securing perma. dependent power of her own separate lenently the great commercial advantages gislature. which she now holds at the discretion of I have thus, Sir, endeavoured to state Great Britain, and the additional benefit to you the reasons, why I think this which she would derive from any settle- measure advisable; why I wish it to be ment which opened to her gradually a still proposed to the parliament of Ireland, with temper and fairness; and why it appears , which we now sit and deliberate here as a to me entitled, at least, to a calm and dis. House of Parliament: of course, he must passionate discussion in that kingdom. I deny the validity of the adjustment of am aware, however, that objections have 1782, and call in question every measure been urged against the measure, some of which he has himself been the most forwhich are undoubtedly plausible, and ward to have enforced. This point, Sir, have been but too successful in their in- is of so much importance, that I think I fluence on the Irish parliament. of ought not to suffer the opportunity to these objections I shall now proceed, as pass, without illustrating more fully what concisely as possible, to take some notice. I mean. If this principle of the incom
The first is, what I heard alluded to by petency of parliament to the decision of the hon. gentleman opposite to me, when the measure be admitted, or if it be conhis majesty's message was brought down; tended, that parliament has no legitimate namely— That the parliament of Ireland authority to discuss and decide upon it, is incompetent to entertain and discuss you will be driven to the necessity of rethe question, or rather, to act upon the cognizing a principle, the most dangerous measure proposed, without having previ- that ever was adopted in any civilized state, ously obtained the consent of the people -I mean the principle, that parliament of Ireland, their constituents. But, Sir, cannot adopt any measure new in its naI am led to suppose, from what the hon. ture, and of great importance, without apgentleman afterwards stated, that he made pealing to the constituent and delegating this objection, rather by way of deprecat- authority for directions. If that doctrine ing the discussion of the question, than as be true, look to what an extent it will entertaining the smallest doubt upon it carry you. If such an argument could be himself. If, however, the hon. gentle set up and maintained, you acted without man, or any other gentleman on the other any legitimate authority when you created side of the House, should seriously enter the representation of the principality of tain a doubt on the subject, I shall be Wales, or of either of the counties palaready to discuss it with him distinctly, tine of England. Every law that parliaeither this night or at any future opportu. ment ever made, without that appeal, nity. For the present, I will assume that either as to its own frame and constituno man can deny the competency of the tion, as to the qualification of the elecparliament of Ireland (representing as it tors or the elected, as to the great and does, in the language of four constitution, fundamental point of the succession to the
lawfully, fully, and freely, all the estates crown, was a breach of treaty and an act of the people of the realm,") to make laws of usurpation. to bind that people, unless he is disposed If we turn to Ireland itself, what do to distinguish that parliament from the gentlemen think of the power of that parparliament of Great Britain, and, while liament, which, without any fresh delegahe maintains the independence of the tion from its Protestant constituents, assoIrish legislature, yet denies to it the law- ciates to itself all the Catholic electors, ful and essential powers of parliament. and thus destroys a fundamental distincNo man, who maintains the parliament of tion on which it was formed? God forbid Ireland to be co-equal with our own, can that I should object to or blame any of deny its competency on this question, these measures! I am only stating the unless he means to go the length of deny- extent to which the principle, that parliaing, at the same moment, the whole of the ment has no authority to decide upon the authority of the parliament of Great Bri- present measure, will lead; and, if it be tain-to'shake every principle of legisla- admitted in one case, it must be admitted tion-and to maintain, that all the acts in all. Will any man say, that (although passed, and every thing done by parlia- a Protestant parliament in Ireland, chosen inent, or sanctioned by its authority, how- exclusively by Protestant constituents, ever sacred, however beneficial, is neither has, by its own inherent power, and withmore nor less than an act of usurpation. out consulting those constituents, admite He must not only deny the validity of the ted and comprehended the Catholics, who union between Scotland and England, but were till then, in fact, a separate comhe must deny the authority of every one munity) that parliament cannot associate of the proceedings of the united legisla- itself with another Protestant community, ture since the union ; nay, Sir, he must go represented by a Protestant parliament, still farther, and deny the authority under having one interest with itself, and similar