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Union has had considerable effect in pro- | liament being pledged to them. It is said ducing it. I say, it is not disrespectful to that we abused the Irish parliament: if the parliament of Ireland for us to pro- gentlemen allude to the statement of there ceed: we have a right to lay the measure being 116 placemen in it, that assertion in the view of that country, that it may was made in the parliament of Ireland.decide upon it, not by passion, but by I really do not see that the advantages cool deliberation. The House certainly is which the measure holds out are likely to not bound, in vindication of its character, compensate for the danger that may
result to proceed; but if it entertains an opinion from it. Much has been said of the adin favour of a union, I think it will act vantages it holds out to the Catholies. All wisely in going into a committee upon the that you can now give them is, the privi. resolutions. It is true that the resolu- lege of holding certain places, and of sittions might be made known to Ireland ting in parliament: but the latter would without their having been agreed to by be a very trifling privilege; for such is the the parliament of England; but is there distribution of property in that country, not a material difference between having that in fifty years, fifty Catholics would them published in a pamphlet, and their not get seats in parliament. I do not being agreed to by the parliament of Great think that the measure would prevent the Britain Gentlemen have not shown us attempts of the enemy, nor put an end to in what this disrespect consists; but if we intestine troubles; for we now see that its merely state the grounds upon which we effects would be to create still greater dihave agreed to the measure, and then add, visions than exist at present in that unthat we have only agreed to it as conceiva happy country. It has been said, that ing it to be beneficial to Ireland, I cannot there are many instances in which the conceive how it can be considered as dis- competence of parliament has been tried, respectful to that country.—The hon. gen- and the Union with Scotland has been al. tleman has gone into an argument upon
luded to; but that does not appear to me the general competence of parliament. to be in point, for I think the parliament On this subject I should have no objection can do every thing but destroy themselves, to enter into a discussion with him, if this and in the case of the Scotch Union the were a proper time. I, however, per parliament of England did not destroy fectly agree with the opinion advanced by themselves; and this is, I think, a very my right hon. friend, that there is no such obvious distinction. It is said, that something as a sovereign power in abeyance in thing must be done for Ireland; and then the people. Whether there may exist any we are told, that these resolutions are not moral right which may be exercised in to be acted upon : if so, I should be glad extreme cases, is another question; the to be informed what is to be done for Ireimagination of man can conceive such a land. No doubt, the people of Ireland moral right, but I am convinced re is vill treat the right hon. gentleman's resono such political right. I am sure the lutions as they have treated his speechbon. gentleman will not find any thing at that they will paste them on the walls as our Revolution, or connected with our arguments against the union. If this were constitution, which will justify such a doc- all, I should not mind it; but if you agree trine; but, on the contrary, the greatest to the motion, it will not be the ministers, pains to prevent any idea of that kind be- but the parliament of England that is iming established.
plicated. If you persevere, every step Mr. Tierney said :-Sir; I never thought you take will be looked upon with suspithe right hön. gentleman would have cion. If you send over more troops, the brought forward a measure like this, with object may be misrepresented. One of out having examined, in the first instance, the strongest reasons against this measure whether or not it was likely to be accept is, that there is no necessity for its immeable; nor did I think, after what has diate adoption. I am, by no means, conpassed, that he would have persevered in tending, that it is radically a bad measure, it. He has, however, thought proper to or that we ought to abandon it for ever, persevere, and he must take the conse- but after the opinion which has been exquences. What advantages can be gained pressed in the Irish parliament, and by a union, which cannot be obtained throughout that country, against it, the without it? I am clearly of opinion, that minister ought, at least for the present, these resolutions would produce the same to abstain from pressing it. It is said, effect if they were sent over without par that the parliament of Ireland may change their opinion upon this subject. I am prove the propriety of not doing it, they by no means inclined to think so; but I have entered very fully into that discus. am sure there is much less probability that sion. They say, we think the measure the people of Ireland should be brought to you have proposed is wrong; and we also change an opinion which they have almost think you ought not to have an opportuunanimously expressed. Considering this nity of showing that it is right by going subject in another point of view, I cannot into the committee ; we are not pledged but recollect that I stand here represent to adopt the propositions. The arguments ing commercial people, and I think I against your leaving the chair are three: should betray their interests, if I pledged In the first place, that it is not a proper myself unnecessarily to resolutions by time for the measure, because, in the prewhich they may be ultimately affected. I sent situation of Ireland, the free assent cannot conceive upon what principle I, of that country cannot be obtained. The as a British member of parliament, should second was, that the Irish parliament could pledge myself to certain resolutions, when not give their assent; and the third, that the parliament of Ireland refuse to pledge after what has passed in that country, the themselves to any thing. I cannot con- discussion is unnecessary and improper ; ceive why we should pledge ourselves to unnecessary, because it can have no effect; give up a part of our constitution, while and improper, because it may tend to in. the parliament of Ireland have declared crease the animosities that now exist in they will not give up any part of their's. that country. With respect to the first If, however, we are to have these mem- objection, that the Irish parliament is in bers from Ireland, they ought at least to that situation that it cannot give a free be purified before they come here. I do assent, that objection has been answered not refer to any idea of parliamentary cor- by an hon. gentleman on this side of the ruption, but to a statement of Mr. Cook's, House ; because, if it be admitted that who says that they are chosen in Ireland they can give a free dissent, it follows merely for the purpose of keeping out the that they had the power of assenting if Catholics. On what principle is it that they chose. But the hon. gentleman says the number of spiritual peers is to be in- No; because their assent may be creased in the other House? It cannot forced.” This argument implies that we be said that the reverend bishops are in. are to employ force to obtain it. But if attentive to the interests of the church, it appears that you do not employ force, and that we must have some from Ireland, then the argument falls to the ground. in order to secure the Protestant ascend. If there was any reasonable ground for ancy. As Ireland has rejected all consi- supposing that the deliberations of the deration of the subject, why pledge our parliament of Ireland were influenced or selves to resolutions which we may find governed by force, then indeed the hon. hereafter extremely inconvenient ? I am gentleman might say that it could not afraid the truth of all this is, that the right give a free assent; but is there any thing hon. gentleman's pride has been hurt. I in the situation of Ireland which shows have heard that he has not yet forgiven that they were not perfectly free to decide the parliament of Ireland, for their con. this question in any manner they thought duct upon the propositions; but all I ask proper? He undertakes to assert, that of him is, that we should not be made par. Ireland is not free, when Ireland herself ties to his resentment. If he is deter- asserts that she is. As to the competence mined to play Guy Faux towards the par- of the parliament of Ireland to adopt this liament of Ireland, let him do it, if he measure, I can only say, that if that parpleases, but let us not furnish him with a liament cannot do it, there exists no cloak and dark lantern. Deprecating, as power that can. This question about the I do, the farther progress of this measure, competence of parliament, is one that adI implore the right hon. gentleman and mits of much discussion; and perhaps the House not to persevere in it at pre. when we had done, it would be found that sent.
there was not much real difference of Mr. W. Grant said :- The object, Sir, opinion between us. It might be found, of those gentlemen who oppose your leav- perhaps, that I was thinking of moral, ing the chair is, to prevent the discussion while others were thinking of legal comof these propositions, because, they say, petence. Parliament is morally incomthe discussion of them at present may be petent to do any thing that is wrong; but productive of mischief; and, in order to parliament is legally competent to do any
thing. Parliament may do that which that we ought not to consider it after what the people at large may do for themselves. has passed in Ireland, because it would This is my idea of the competence of tend to inflame the passions of the people parliament But the arguments of the in that country-this I consider as not hon. gentleman go to show, that there is treating the parliament of Ireland with no remedy for an evil which is admitted respect; it is rather treating them like to exist ; for if there is no competence children than as men of rational underin parliament, it does not exist any standings; but if the gentleman conwhere. It may be said, that compe- tends, that hy persisting in this measure tence resides in the people at large; but we shall treat the parliament of Ireland how can you collect the sense of the with disrespect, he reduces us to a curious people? Would you assemble them in dilemma. "If this measure is ever to be convention on Salisbury plain? If you passed by both countries, it must be passed lay down rules by which their sense is to on the same day, or on different days : if be determined, then you influence their it be passed on the same day, the consedetermination : besides, if the question is quence must be, that it must be passed in to be decided by the people at large, the dark, because neither can know what what right have you to make rules for the other will agree to: if it be passed on them at all ? How is it to be decided different days, then we are open to this who shall have a right to assist at the objection, that we ought 'not to pass the determination, whether persons of twenty measure until we know whether the Irish years of age shall or shall not have that parliament will accept of it or not, and right? But the hon. gentleman seems to consequently the objection will be eternal. think, that the assent would be good if It seems to me, that as the vote which the electors agreed to it. I should be has passed in the Irish House of Commons glad to know why, if the parliament is in was, that the subject should not be taken competent, the electors are competent? into consideration, that it is more incumThey themselves exist like the parliament, bent upon ministers to bring forward the only in consequence of the constitution, propositions, and that the House should and the body of the people might say to agree to them, if upon consideration they them, “ You, the electors, can do no think they ought to do so. It would be more constitutionally than what the par- highly improper in us, wishing that a liament could, and consequently must re- union should take place, to leave them in sort back to us." I have already shown, ignorance of the terms we meant to prothat, arguing upon first principles, the pose; we owe it, therefore, to the people suffrages of the people can never be taken; of Ireland to state them: we owe it also and the consequence then must be, that particularly to those who, in that country, there exists no mode whatever by which a are in favour of the union. The consenation, either collectively or through its quence of keeping back the propositions representatives, can give its assent to a will be, that every man who is inimical to measure of this kind ; so that if every the union will have an opportunity of reman in the two kingdoms were perfectly presenting them just as he pleases. If agreed as to the beneficial consequences this were a case of two hostile nations of the measure, by this mode of reasoning, opening a negotiation with each other for they would be rendered perfectly helpless, a peace, and the one found the other unand unable to effect an object which they willing to listen to the first general overknew was for their common good. For ture for negotiation, then it might not be even if you could suppose that every prudent to produce the terms meant to be man's vote could be taken upon the ques. Orfered, because the continuance of the tion, yet that would not be sufficient, un- contest might produce a change in our less every man voted for it; because you situation ; but between two nations, have no right to say that the majority situated as Great Britain and Ireland are, shall determine the question, for the first surely it is the most generous, open, and point they would have to discuss would liberal policy, to state candidly the terms be, whether the majority should or should we meant to propose. If ministers had not decide. The hon. gentleman has al- adopted a different line of conduct, and luded to the case of the Revolution, but had dropped the resolutions without I do not think it has furnished him with making them known, gentlemen would any argument in support of his opinion.. have condemned it as a piece of close poWith respect to the last objection, namely, licy, and would have said, that ministers [VOL. XXXIV.]
kept their propositions secret, with the Laurence, Dr. Sheridan, R.B. intention of varying them as circum- Leicester, sir J. St. John, hon. St. A. stances altered. It is stated, that this is North, D.
Wilson J. an attack upon the independence of Ire- Plomer, W. land: it cannot be necessary to enter into Pulteney, sir W.
Grey, c. any arguments to refute this proposition, Russell, lord J. Tierney, G. because the measure itself is founded Russell, lord W. upon a recognition of its independence. The parliaments of the two countries are Feb. 11. On the order of the day beput upon an equal footing, and nothing ing read, for the House to resolve itself can be done without the mutual consent into a Committee to consider further of his of both. How, then, can this be consi- majesty's Message, dered as
an attack upon her inde. Mr. Sheridan said, it certainly was not pendence? The first two men that entered his intention to say any thing more into society were independent of each against going into the committee, but he other; but if one of them proposed to understood that some hon. friends of his come to some agreement for their mutual meant to take occasion of doing so this night, benefit and safety, it could not be consi- having hitherto had no other opportunity; dered as an attack upon the independence at the same time he would fairly own, that of the other. With respect to the settle- whatever had the effect of delaying this. ment of 1782, I think it can in no sense measure, was in itself far from being rebe understood as precluding the two par prehensible, and would, if duly consiliaments from treating with each other. dered, be received by gentlemen on the can it for a moment be contended, that other side as a boon. He now rose, beby that measure the parliaments of the cause he felt it incumbent on him to protwo countries disabled themselves for pose an instruction to the committee. ever from making any propositions, how. This he knew it was in his power to move ever calculated to their mutual advan- in the committee itself by way of resolutage? Without entering into the views tion, but he considered this to be preferof the persons by whom that settlement able to that mode of proceeding. The was made, it is only necessary to say that question had been twice discussed, and at there was nothing at that time finally each discussion it had been decided that settled. There was indeed something the Speaker should leave the chair upon unsettled, and nothing substituted in its the measure now before the House ; but place.
the House had as yet not made itself Mr. W. Smith did not think the union responsible for the project of the right absolutely a bad measure, but contended, hon. gentleman, and therefore any other that having been rejected by the Irish member might, with strict regularity, parliament, we ought not to persevere in bring forward whatever measure he might it at present.
think fit. The proposition which he had The House divided :
to make had for its object the putting an Tellers.
end to those religious feuds which were S Lord Viscount Belgrave
so much: complained of by the right hon. Yeas
149 Mr. Sargent
gentleman, as existing in Ireland. He did
not mean that any steps should be taken Mr. Grey Noes
24 for that purpose which should have the Mr. Tierney
least appearance of trenching upon the The House then resolved itself into the independence of the Irish parliament; he said Committee; Mr. Douglas in the had taken care to word bis motion so, as chair. Mr. Pitt moved the Resolutions to avoid any such construction. He inpro formâ; after which the House re- tended that its operation should be left sumed, the chairman reported progress, entirely to the force of example, which, and asked leave to sit again.
aided by the stronger necessity that exList of the Minority.
isted for its application in the unhappy cir
cumstances of the sister kingdom, would, Barclay, G.
Denison, W.J. Biddulph, R.
he had no doubt, speedily incline the inDundas, hon. L. Bird, W. W. Hobhouse, B.
dependent legislature of that country to Cavendish, lord G. Jeffries, N.
its spontaneous adoption. He did not Cooke, Brian Jekyll, J.
conceive that the right hon. gentleCombe, alderman Jones, J. T.
man would contend that the time was im.
proper for such a measure. Whether its or it would be incumbent on him to show fitness at the present crisis would or very strong reasons for suddenly abandonwould not be disputed, it possessed this ing a measure, which he admitted to recommendation at least, that it was con- be of more service to the British emsidered by his majesty's ministers in 1795 pire than any thing that could happen to be a measure of prudence, safety, and short of union. The primary object of indispensable necessity. [Here Mr. She lord Fitzwilliam's administration was, the ridan read an extract from earl Fitzwil. complete emancipation of the Catholics. liam's Letters to lord Carlisle, stating the It was known by every member of the agreement of the duke of Portland and Mr. Irish parliament, and to every man in the
Pitt in the opinion that the emancipation country; It was equally well known that of the Catholics was necessary for the it constituted the avowed ground of his preservation of Ireland, and that though recall : and yet so far was it from exciting it was thought more advisable to delay their displeasure, that there never was a the measure until a period of greater lord lieutenant who left Ireland with testitranquillity, yet that, if brought forward, monies of more general regret for his dehe was authorized to give it a handsome parture. The right hon. gentleman had support on the part of government. ] broadly stated, that it was frivolous Thus the measure which he wished to be to assert that the settlement of 1782 was given in instruction to the committee was final, or to suppose that it was then inthen considered by the gentlemen oppo- tended that the connexion between the site to be consonant to the principles of two countries should be entirely left upon sound policy and justice. He would be that footing, that the evils which had glad to know, whether the events which since arisen could be no otherwise radi. had since happened in that distracted cally cured than by a union, and that this country, and all of which had been pre- remedy, if not adopted now, might be put dicted by earl Fitzwilliam, were not such off ad Græcas kalendas. Was it to be inas to induce the right hon. gentleman to ferred from this, that abandoning all idea Tegret, from the bottom of his heart, that of the necessity of the free consent of the he had not permitted the measure to be Irish nation, and considering their represenbrought forward at that time. If he tatives as worthy of being put in straitshould say, after witnessing the melan- waistcoats, he would proceed at once to choly consequences of the recall of that cram it down their throats? He had nobleman, that he still felt no regret at said, that he wished to wait for a moment the proceeding of the British cabinet, the of calm, when the irritation occasioned House and the whole country would cer- by the first view of the measure should tainly hear that avowal with astonish- subside, and its many advantages could ment. Considerations of much weightier be impartially considered ; yet his conduct importance than any that could arise from was in direct contradiction to this prinmere curiosity, required that the right ciple, for he loudly talked of the necessity hon. gentleman should explain the mo- of an immediate remedy. There was an tives of that sudden change in his senti. opposition between his professions and pro
His present gestures seemed to ceedings which was apparently inexplicable. indicate that there had been no change. If the right hon.gentleman would avow that The natural inference then was, that he designed to carry it by coercion, his when he appeared to countenance the anxiety to have his resolutions carried scheme of emancipation, he never enter- would then excite no surprise. But if it tained any idea of carrying it into execu- was his real intention to wait for the result tion, and that he sent over lord Fitzwil of calm and temperate discussion in the liam merely to dupe the Irish Catholics for Irish parliament, what security could he a time, to suit his own purposes. To this give that the adoption of it would not conclusion, however, it was not very pro equally be put off ad Græcas kalendas ?bable that the right hon. gentleman | The remedy of an union was, then, conwould accede, for it would incur a much tingent and precarious; but that which stronger imputation on his character his motion contained was of present than an acknowledgment that he had use, and whether applied by the British changed his mind upon the question of or the Irish parliament, in the first emancipation, in consequence of unfitness instance, would be productive of the most of time, or change of circumstances. But beneficial effects. The right hon. gentleeither he must submit to that imputation man expressed a hope, that the Irish