Abbildungen der Seite

whereby distinct nations have been united, sent situation such concessions would not I will presume to say, these will be found be productive of advantage. Without an impracticable, or of very little use to us. incorporated union, they would be of no But to put that matter in a clear light, avail; for the strength and resources of these queries ought to be duly examined, both countries must be consolidated, in whether a federal union be practicable order to enable Ireland to reap the full betwixt two nations accustomed to a mo- advantage from such concessions. It is narchical government? Whether there from the confidence in the strength of gocan be any sure guaranty projected, for vernment, that a communication of capital the observance of the articles of a fæderal and other advantages can alone arise. And compact stipulated betwixt two nations, this consideration recalls to my mind, a whereof the one is much superior to the proceeding which took place before the other, in riches, numbers of people, and an union with Scotland, which put the inextended commerce? Whether the ad- terests of that kingdom and Ireland in a vantages of fæderal union do balance its sort of issue. It happened early in the disadvantages? Whether the English will reign of Charles 2nd." From the period of accept a fæderal union supposing it to the crowns of both kingdoms being united be for the true interest of both nations ? in the person of James 1st. Scotland enWhether any federal compact between joyed several important commercial adScotland and England is sufficient to se- vantages derived from England, until the cure the peace of this island, to fortify it reign of Charles 2nd, when they were against the intrigues and invasions of its done away by the provisions of the naviforeign enemies? And whether Eng- gation act: the Scots remonstrated against land, in prudence, ought to communi- what they called an injustice, and comcate its trade and protection to this pa- missioners were appointed to take cognition, till both kingdoms are incorporated zance of the matter. In the course of into one ?"

these proceedings, the Scots, as already Thus spoke Mr. Seton, of Pitmadden, * stated, loudly complained that they were at the time when he had no resources, treated with less indulgence than the Irish. from which to draw his conclusions, but This complaint was answered by the Engthose of his own enlightened understand. lish commissioners as follows:-" And ing, and the view he could take of the whereas your lop’ps (lordships) doe in existing state of the other nations of the severall places give hints at Ireland, and world. But his reasoning was solid, and seeme to make it a ground why this and I would injure it by adding more to the other privileges should be granted to Scotparticular points he has so ably treated of. land, because granted to Ireland, the anI shall, however, add one fact, which, in swere is most cleare and obvious, (viz.) my conception, proves, beyond a doubt, that Ireland is not onely under one king that the rapid progress of prosperity in with us as Scotland, but belongs to, and Scotland arose from the union of the two is an appendix of the crown of England, kingdoms. Where did the prosperity of and laws made in the parliament of EngScotland make its first appearance, and land doe bind them; and no law can be its most early progress? It was in enacted by the parliament of Ireland, but the western parts of the kingdom, owing what passeth the privy counsell of Eng. clearly to the circumstance of those ports land, and orders of the counsell of Engbeing locally best situated to take the be- land, and the great seale of England, doe nefit of the colonial trade, then opened take place in Ireland; yea, the treasurer to the enterprise of Scotland.

and other great officers of state in EngA question has been triumphantly asked land, have jurisdiction and superintend. by an hon. gentleman—" Why not give ency in Ireland; by all which it is abso. all those advantages to Ireland without a lutely in our power, when we grant priviunion?” The best way I can answer this leges to them, to compell and keepe them is, by another question-If Great Britain up to the restrictions of them; all which should communicate these indulgences or is quite otherwise in relation to Scotland.” opportunities to Ireland, could she, under These were assigned as reasons to the her present constitution or government, Scotch commissioners, why Ireland, in its take the advantage of them I am con- then existing connexion with England, was vinced she could not, and that in her pre- considered as entitled to a degree of in

dulgence superior to that allowed to their Sec Vol. 6, Appendix p. cxxxyi. nation; matters are now totally reversed; and in the present very much altered state | Indeed, I might call it, on his part, as of the relation between Great Britain and fighting with a shadow. The question at Ireland, a similar answer may be given to issue, Sir, I must again repeat it, is the question, “ Why not give these ad- between the benefits and advantages, take vantages to Ireland without a union?"- them all in all, derivable to Ireland from In addition to this it might be observed, her present separate legislature, or those that the English government, consistent from an incorporated union; and I must with the duty they owe to their British again protest against the idea, that any fellow subjects, could not make such con. thing in the present proceedings is any cessions to Ireland under its present con- ways hostile or derogatory to the acknowstitution and separate legislature ; so that ledged independence of Ireland. The very the very circumstance of Ireland enjoying mode of putting the present question to what is called an Independent Legislature, their parliament, implies its legislative inis the means of depriving her of a partici- dependence. pation in those commercial benefits. Con- Much, if not the chief stress of the cessions of such a nature, I contend, can. arguments urged by those who oppose this not be safely granted until the superin- measure, has been laid on the opposition tendance of an imperial parliament pos which has been made to it in the parliasesses the control over the resources of ment of Ireland. But when circumstances the empire at large, and the power of ap- are attended to, I cannot refrain from plying them to imperial purposes. In- stating, that this view of the subject is deed, the answer of the English commis- given in very erroneous colours. Two sioners, as I have just recited, is one of estates of the parliament of Ireland, the the best that can be given to the repeated king and the lords, have pointedly exquestion I have already mentioned. pressed their desire, that the subject should

With respect, Sir, to the fate of the be entertained and considered; and the propositions in 1785, so much spoken of, contrary opinion has been carried only by the commercial benefits then tendered to a very narrow majority in the House of Ireland were rejected, on the same mis- Commons. Under such circumstances, taken grounds that the House of Com- it is idle to talk of this as a solemn decision mons set their face against the present of parliament. But if it had been entitled measure-They thought that the fourth to that appellation, it would not have alproposition encroached upon their inde- tered my opinion as to the propriety of pendence, and in consequence refused this House considering the question, and great commercial advantages. This con- taking the most effectual means of bringsideration, I think, brings the question ing it again and again under the considerbetween the two countries to a fair issue. ation of the Irish nation. Sound reason Is Ireland to be considered in a better and good sense will ultimately prevail; situation with her present separate legis- and I cannot help auguring well to the lature, and deprived of these manifold ultimate success of the measure, as essencommercial advantages; or with her le- tial to the happiness of Ireland, when I gislature incorporated with that of Great contemplate the clamour and violence by Britain, with the full enjoyment of all which the consideration of it has been those commercial benefits, and the various resisted. These are not the weapons by other advantages in a view of power, con- which truth and solid reasoning maintain sequence, and respectability, as must re- their empire over the hearts and undersult to Ireland, when thoroughly united standings of men. Cool consideration, with Great Britain? This is the true and sober reasoning, are the arms by question to be considered by the Irish: which the cause of truth is supported; for my part, I have not a doubt upon the and I have not a doubt that these weapons, point-the latter situation would be de- properly used, will ultimately succeed cidedly to the advantage of Ireland. against all the clamour and prejudice that

Great stress, Sir, has also been laid, by can be adduced against them. an hon. gentleman, on the settlement in I believe there is no candid and rational 1782, which has been called a Final Ad- man who is at present disposed to dispute, justment. I shall not cavil about words, that a system of excise is the least exbut I contend that much of the argument pensive and most effectual mode by which founded upon that proceeding, as used a great revenue can be collected in any by the hon. gentleman, was thrown away, country. But it is in the memory of living as inapplicable to the present question, men, and within the reading of us all,

with what obloquy the first authors of their characters and fame on the shortthat great system were loaded on its first lived clamours of the day, and it ought introduction. But the solid understanding to afford a heart-felt consolation to those of mankind at last prevailed. In this, as who have the magnanimity to disdain such in almost every other part of this subject, mean and paltry arts, trusting that their I must refer the recollection of the House real patriotism, founded on a considerato what passed in Scotland on occasion of tion of the true interests of their country, the union of that kingdom with England. will not fail ultimately to secure to them When gentlemen pretended to think lightly that solid and permanent fame which is of the sacrifices of Scotland compared alone worthy of possessing. with those of Ireland, let them recollect, Another argument, Sir, I wish to subthat Ireland had not, for many centuries, mit to your consideration in favour of the been free or independent of England, but Union. If it be true, as insisted upon by that Scotland never was completely sub- Mr. O'Connor, in his evidence, that the dued, or under the control of England ; people of England, according to their that Scotland gave up, what Ireland can- present form of government, have no not give up, an independent parliament of cause of complaint, when compared with King, Lords, and Commons; and that the state and sufferings of the people of Scotland gave up, what Ireland cannot Ireland, then it consequently follows, that give up, an independent and separate a union between the two nations, founded Crown! The Scots undoubtedly surren- on principles of common freedom, and dered these honours at the time with re- common interest, will at once remove luctance, and evinced the greatest hosti- every cause of grievance on the part of lity to the union, until experience had the people of Ireland. By the participamade her acquainted with its blessings. Ition of the freedom of Britons, by the full cannot, Sir, help noticing the vast unpo- enjoyment of all the privileges attached pularity of the duke of Queensberry and to a member of such an honourable comOther commissioners in favour of the union, munity, the government of this country while the zeal and activity of the duke of endeavours to destroy the hopes of the Hamilton and lord Belhaven were the enemy, and to strengthen and consolidate theme of every tongue. The duke of the interests of the empire. If it be true, Queensberry, the nobleman who took the as generally acknowledged, that the poor most active part in carrying the measure of Ireland experience all the miseries coninto effect, and was her majesty's com- comitant to a state of want and wretchedmissioner for the purpose, narrowly es- ness, then it follows, that their participacaped, in several instances, with his life. tion of the privileges of Britons, will rouse The duke of Hamilton, the patriot of that and animate to laudable exertions that day, the most violent opposer of the mea- useful description of our fellow subjects in sure, was applauded to the skies for his the sister kingdom. That liberty which conduct by the populace-they regularly awakened the commercial enterprise of chaired him from his apartments in Holy- Scotland-that liberty which expanded rood-house to the parliament house, just its genius in the most honourable puras the Dublin mob lately did the speaker suits--that liberty which confirmed every of the Irish House of Commons, exclaim- sentiment which can dignify human naing, in their mad career-" God bless ture, will, Sir, I am sure, have the same your grace!" But those who had been happy influence on the people of Ireland,

$0 much reviled, and had so nobly with connected with us by the dearest recipro* stood the storms and tempests of the times, cal obligations.

had the consolation to live and witness the There are certain gentlemen, who had popularity of that measure for which they the hardihood to maintain, that the advowere condemned. The Union soon be cates for a union were enemies to the came so popular, that the Pretender, hav- peace of Ireland; but sure I am, Sir, that ing pledged himself to a repeal of the Act no arguments can be more futile or absurd. of Union, excited such a fermentation The introduction of that freedom into the against him, that he was obliged to ex- various classes of Ireland, which was the punge this promise from his manifesto !- admiration, and seemed the panegyric of This change of sentiment happened in the all Europe, was no indication of the hosyear 1715, eight years after the Union; tility of the government of Great Britain : and it ought to afford a salutary lesson to it would be a partnership, which would those false patriots, who choose to rest diffuse and extend its political and commercial advantages to the remotest corners | the situation in which Ireland would then of the globe-it would soon dissipate all stand, might have afforded an argument idle and illiberal jealousies—it would allay against the present measure, because then the apprehensions of the real friends of the sister parliament could not, in strictboth countries; and, by an equality of Dess, be said to treat fairly; but its inderights, infuse into the imperial spirit that pendence, at the present time, gave it noble emulation of mind which is the source the same competency to treat, that was of every excellence.

possessed by the parliament of Great BriThere are no sinister arts, as some ma- tain. lignantly insinuate, adopted for the attain- If, however, upon reflexion, the Irish ment of the grand object of our discus- legislature should not be convinced of the sion. There are no measures of compul- utility and necessity of the projected sion, as the enemies of the measure affirm, Union, there was an end of the plan, and in the contemplation of those in power. I it must retain that degree of independence wish, Sir, to convince, not to intimidate, which it preferred to the numerous and the people of Ireland. The system of important advantages which were held out terror, so often enforced by the common to it. The division in Ireland, I admit, enemy, thank God, is no part of the policy was hitherto so apparently hostile to the of the British government. Adopting ex. proposal, that it was nearly decided that pedients of lenity and persuasion, we ad. it should not be even entertained or disdress ourselves to the liberality and wis. cussed. But gentlemen seemed to insidom of the Irish nation. They know the guate an apprehension, that it was to be sincerity of our friendship; they know also intimidated and bullied into it. The adthe bitter malignity of that foreign po:ver, ministration of this country, in the most which, like the rattle-snake, first endea- full and unqualified manner, disclaimed vours to charm and then destroy. But, the idea of any such intentions. WhatSir, I thought that the eyes of every Bri- ever might be the general opinion, or the tish subject were at last opened to the prejudice against it, now in the heat and treachery of the common enemy of man- violence of the moment, arising from não kind; and sorry am I to find, that the tional pride, and a variety of other movery enemy now so generally execrated, tives, I make no doubt but, were the meacompliments the people of Ireland, by al. sure adopted, in less than eight years that leging, that there is a spirit of credulity country, like Scotland, would be fully rein the Irish system, which will admit of conciled and convinced of its utility. the grossest deception from those who Among other arguments against the have sworn to overthrow any government Legislative Union, was an appeal to the founded in justice and humanity.

national pride of Ireland. By those streWith regard to the final adjustment of nuous opponents of the measure, it was the year 1782, it was a misapplication of alleged, that the parliament and people terms to call it final. It was also to little of Ireland would be degraded. Here purpose to recur to the opinion of Mr. again I must refer, Sir, to those stubborn Grattan, or the sentiments he expressed facts recorded in the page of history. By on the subject of that arrangement, and a happy combination of wisdom and huthe debates that preceded it. Mr. Grattan, manity, the heptarchy was overturned, on that occasion, was known to have been and an empire established on principles of only the mouth-piece of the volunteers. sound policy. The prince who accomThe whole of the business was evidently plished this grand object, certainly merits done in a hurry, and could only be consi- the highest encomium for the operations dered as a temporary expedient to serve of justice and humanity. But I wish, Sir, the purposes and exigencies of the mo- to put it to the conscience and feelings of ment, not as a matter to which stability those conversant with history, if they or permanency was likely to be attached. think that the various interests were in. However that might be, the parliament of jured or degraded by the appellation or Ireland had afterwards succeeded in ob- privileges of Englishmen? The people of taining every thing it desired; and he was the Seven United States or Nations were so far from denying a particle of its inde- neither debased nor enslaved by the consopendence, that he admitted it in its fullest lidation of their interests under one impe. extent, and even founded upon it no small rial management or direction. The Welchpart of his present arguments. Sir, had man, a brave and generous character, the adjustment in. 1782 not taken place, neither feels himself enslaved por degraded by a consolidation of interest and freedom; , mons, an attempt was made to carry a reand sure I am, Sir, that the Scotchman is solution for setting the question aside al. actuated by too noble and generous prin- together by an hon. member (Mr. G. ciples to entertain for a moment such an Ponsonby), whose motion the House opinion. From these facts, I hope, there- thought proper to reject [It was here fore, I may assume, as a natural conclu- remarked across the table, that the mosion, that as former parts of the empire tion was not rejected, but withdrawn]. found neither injury nor inconvenience This difference in the term, Sir, makes in a union, that Ireland, as soon as pre- but very little alteration in the state of judice and passion have subsided, will be the fact; for it is very well known, that equally harmonious to the happiness of the gentlemen, warmly embarked in strong community: Such a state of union would party questions, are not very likely to appear invincible to the common enemy, withdraw them, unless the disposition of who, in the career of his conquests, not the House indicates that, if pressed, they only robs individuals of their property, will be rejected—such, no doubt, is the but perverts and destroys the salutary in case in the instance alluded to. The stitutions of the nation with which he pre- hon. gentleman succeeded in his oppotends to fraternise. A national mind, united sition to the address, but he failed in the according to the principles now recom• motion with which he attempted to folmended, and a public force thus concen- low it. trated, would be capable of repelling the All that is at present proposed, I again attacks of the most formidable enemy, state, is, to give the people and parliament however strongly impelled by the new of Ireland time and opportunity to know doctrines, and however animated by the and consider what the English parliament fertile genius of innovation.

is willing to share with them, without I have already had occasion to advert, attempting the smallest interference witly in one point of view, to the argument, their independence. Many objections, that we should proceed no farther in the Sir, have been made to the time of bringbusiness after the House of Commons of ing forward these propositions, as if it Ireland had expressed its repugnance to were the worst and most unseasonable it in so unequivocal a manner. I have that could possibly be selected. It is, only farther to say, that no decision of however, agreed on all hands, that the sithat House shall deter me, and the go-tuation of Ireland is truly alarming ; that vernment of Great Britain, from telling it is threatened with the greatest dangers ; and explaining to the people and parlia- and that to avert them requires the fullest ment of Ireland, in as much detail as attention, and the utmost exertions of gopossible, what the proposals were which vernment. The only difference of opinion, we were desirous to submit to their cool therefore, is, with respect to the means and dispassionate consideration. The by which the evils be remedied. The Irish House of Commons have expressed admivistration of this country proposes what they think of a union: and it is our a union, as the only sure and effectual business to tell what we think of it also ; means of affording it tranquillity at home, for this reason it is, that I strenuously and security from external attacks. On contend for going into the committee, the other side of the House, though a that the whole people of both kingdoms union was objected to, no other remedy may know what is the real basis on which has been offered. For my part, I conwe wish to treat. In this way only can ceive that there is a peculiar propriety in we hope to baffle the various misrepre- bringing forward the proposal at this very sentations which are industriously propa- critical time, when the reports of both gated on this momentous business. ` I am Houses of parliament in Ireland afford irthe more desirous of it, because I contend refragable demonstration, that there still the hon. gentlemen, who lay so much stress exists amongst them a deep and formidaon the decision of the Commons of Ire- ble conspiracy to separate that kingdom land, carry the conclusion from that cir. from Great Britain, and totally destroy all cumstance much farther than they are friendly connexion between them. What warranted. Even the Irish House of Com- then are the best means to meet and de. mons have not said that they will never feat the ends of this conspiracy, and dis. agitate the business again; it would, in- appoint the hopes of those by whom it is deed, have been strange if they had done so. supported and fomented? I know of no After the decision in the House of Com- mode of effectually doing so, but to ceVOL XXXIV.)

[? B)

« ZurückWeiter »