Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

parliament did not receive their validity Not till it had been some days under the from the great seal of England, delibe- consideration of parliament. Was it unirately put or withheld by the advice of versally unpopular? By no means. The ministers resident and responsible here, convention of burghs directly instructed but from the touch of the Scottish scep by the burgesses, was nearly divided, but tre, in the hands of the royal commissioner, (setting aside the capital) the minority a Scottish, not an English nobleman. For which was for the union paid much the centuries, the two nations had waged cruel larger share to the public contributions, wars: for centuries England had never and contained much the more numerous sent forth her armies to combat her fo- population. Several addresses in favour reign enemies, but her borders were wasted of the articles were signed, but kept back by the incursions of her northern neigh. by the prudence of ministers, who bours. This afflicted island had seen half wished not to agitate and distract the peoa million of her children perish by mutual ple. Much laudable grief was excited in slaughter. There appeared no option but the populace, by invitations to them to a union, or a renewal of those horrible take a last view of the scepter that gave scenes, probably with increased animosity them laws, and the other ensigns of royal and fury. The two countries seemed to authority, which, since the person of the stand on the slippery brink of a bloody sovereign had been withdrawn from them, gulf. The parliament of Scotland had re- were regarded by them with fond venerafused to recognise the succession of his tion. Their consciences also were surmajesty's illustrious house, unless their prised and ensnared. Some were alarmed commercial grievances were previously re- for the fate of their presbytery, in a pardressed. The parliament of England had liament where only sixteen Scottish peers equipped a Aeet to cruize against the were opposed to twenty-six English pretrade of Scotland. But when had Ire lates; and others, more scrupulous, doubtland threatened us with invasion ? When ed whether they could innocently consent had she struck at our domestic security? to the establishment ofepiscopacy, though When had she not largely recruited our in another part of the united kingdom. armies and our navies from her popula- But while the sense of the people at large tion? Where had we conquered, that was thus various, that of their parliament, she had not fought and bled by our side ? summoned to consider that very measure, At what period of their history were the was clear and unequivocal. It was deparliaments of the sister-kingdom so ad. clared not merely by a considerable maversely committed ? Had not the parlia- jority of the whole assembly, but a mament of Ireland repeatedly bound the na- jority of every separate order in the state; tion to stand or fall with the fortunes of a majority of the nobility, of the barons, Great Britain ! And far from kindling, of the burghs. On the other hand, what had not that parliament just extinguished was the history of the present measure in a civil war? Sensible of her natural in- Ireland, where there existed no symbols feriority in strength and all resources, ex- of royalty to be surrendered, no diffecept her courage, Scotland had always renee of church establishment to disquiet willingly entertained the proposal of union, the weak minded? It was short, indeed, whenever there was an opening for it in but it was full. On the first hint of the the accidental circumstances of the two design, grave merchants and rich bankers, kingdoms. But when was the notion of branded it in a public declaration of una union ever started in Ireland, that it qualified resistance ; it had been patro. did not raise an immediate ferment? nized only by a single city, seduced proWhenever a new lord lieutenant was to be bably by the hope, possibly by the prorendered obnoxious, was it not the hack. mise, of partial and local advantages; the neyed artifice of faction to propagate the doors of the House of Commons had been rumour of such a project? The trade of shut against it by a majority, less respectScotland was nearly annihilated, by what able in numbers than in the names of must be allowed to have been the illiberal which it was composed, and the class of jealousy of England : she had much to representatives by which it was distinguishgain, and little to lose. Ireland was ed. Was there any thing common even thriving fast: she had much to lose by this in the conduct of the business before the doubtful experiment. Let us now look parliaments of the different kingdoms? more closely into the treaty of 1706. At The articles of union with Scotland were what period did it become unpopular? first submitted to that parliament which

}
}

was to make the chief sacrifice of consti- sent animosities, alienate the affections of tution : that of England, which was only those who were our most zealous partisans to accept or refuse, what might be freely in the sister kingdom ; and for a time inoffered, was for that purpose kept back vite with new encouragement, the almost by short prorogations to a period which is desperate attempts of foreign enemies and marked as almost portentously late, in the domestic traitors. pure practice subsequent to the revolution;

The question being put, “That the it was kept back to the beginning of De- Speaker do now leave the chair," the cember. What is there, then, which can House divided : furnish a common inference in any of the

Tellers. circumstances connected with the two

. unions, that which was happily accom

YEAS

181 plished in the beginning of this century, and that which has been unhappily at

General Fitzpatrick
Noes

19 tempted in the present year? What ra

Dr. Laurence tional man, who considers things and not The House then resolved itself into the words, could confide, that if a union said committee, when it was moved to reshould be finally carried in the two parlia- port progress, on an understanding that ments, the dissatisfaction of Ireland would the House would the next day go at once be as transitory as that of Scotland ? Yet into the committee. even in Scotland that measure, desired as it often had been, demanded then by

List of the Minority. great and respectable bodies of people, Bird, W. W. Pulteney, sir W. and passed in a manner so directly bind- Cooke, Bryan Richardson, J. ing on all orders of the state, drew after it Combe, alderman Ridley, sir M. W. a peril which, we are told, the hand of Cavendish lord G. Sheridan, R. B. Heaven alone singularly averted.

Our Dundas, hon. C.

St. John. hon, St. A. enemies were employed with all their

Denison, W.J. Tierney, G.

Grey, c. power and diligenceto recruit their troops, Jones, T. T.

Tufton, hon. H.

Wilson, R. and repair their recent disgraces and de, Leicester, sir J. feats; they were beset and embarrassed Lloyd, J. M. Fitzpatrick, general . on every side, and had no leisure to look North, D.

Laurence, Dr. this way; God," (it is emphatically said), “ had tied their bands." Now, in his in- Feb. 12. On the order of the day being scrutable dispensations, he has let the read, for going into a committee of the

hands of our sameenemies loose to scourge whole House, to consider further of the , the world. They had not yet run their King's Message,

career of injustice and violence; nor was Sir John Sinclair said, he had been detheir monstrous force half so terrible as sirous of delivering his sentiments rethe secret_mining of their craft and in- specting the project of a union with Iretrigue. In Ireland, we too well knew, land, if it bad not been understood that that they had active and bold confederates no farther discussion was to take place who went about seeking by every pretence previous to the Speaker's leaving the to debauch the multitude; who, under the chair. specious semblance of patriotism, might Mr. Sheridan said, he was not aware inflame a cry against union, when they that any such understanding existed. It dared not avow that of separation. In was true the minister had deprecated any such a situation, he rested in a settled con- further discussion that might prevent the viction, that he could not better discharge House from going into the committee. his duty to his country, than by resisting He had indeed paid a singular compliment the farther progress of a measure, which to both sides of the House, for he had he did not think in itself essentially ne- said as much as if from this side of the cessary ; which he did not think produced House nothing like argument was to be in a manner that could ever lead to a fa. expected, and from his own friends novourable termination, which had been re- thing that could pass for an answer. He jected in that kingdom where it ought to had endeavoured, indeed, to muzzle his have the free consent of both parliament majority, but perhaps there might arise a and people ; and which, while it offered spirit of independent loquacity that would only speculations of future and distant disappoint his anxiety for going into the benefits, would embitter and spread pre committee. There were two points, how

TELLERS

ever, on which, being misunderstood, he The House then went into a committee wished to give some explanation. He not on the Resolutions ; Mr. Douglas in the only opposed the union, at the present chair. time, but he did not think the union at Mr. Bankes contended, that Ireland all necessary; on the contrary, he consi- was not in a condition to coalesce and dered it to be pregnant with danger to the unite with this country from the state of liberties of both countries. It had been her religious discords and political feuds. said too, that nobody had denied the com- To remove those disorders a union was not petency of the Irish parliament to con- the proper way. He rather thought that clude a treaty of union. The fact how the Irish parliament was the proper meever was, that from the distinction taken dium through which they should be remeupon this side between the power to make, died. The

source of them lay not in the and the power to accept the contract, it government of Ireland, but in the prevawas unnecessary to argue that point. It lence of English faction and influence. was his opinion, at the same time, that He was supported in this position by the the Irish parliament had not, and could unanimous testimony of all people there. not, have the right to adopt any measure He would appeal to the Catholics, to Dr. so important as å union. Of the power he M'Nevin: even the United Irishmen themsaid nothing, but they could have no selves joined in that opinion. Throughright. What would have been the feel out that country English faction was exeing of an English parliament, if it had been crated. The Catholics of Ireland might proposed at any former period to incor- hope hereafter to see a reformation in the porate England with another power? representation of Parliament, and through What would have been thought if when that medium looked to a participation of Philip 2nd succeeded to the crown of honour and emolument, or, at least, to this country, the English had been required an alleviation of their burdens; but if the to send their parliament to Madrid; or, measure of union took place, all those had prince George of Denmark lived to hopes must be cut off, as by the united succeed queen Anne, they had been called parliament, the door of redress must ever upon to send Lords and Commons to Den- be shut upon them, especially as a test mark? Would they not have said that they was one point to be established. The pohad no right to do such a thing, that it licy with which Ireland had been treated was a measure beyond the intent and ob- for many years was barbarous and narrow; ject of the trust confided to them? Having for three centuries the people had been already expressed his opinion on the ten stationary in civilization. Before Ireland dency of the measure, it was not his in- could be tranquil, before she could be tention to attend the discussion in the brought to a state in which this country committee, but when the Speaker left the could coalesce with her, we should be chair, le should leave the House. He obliged to alter the system on which we likewise gave notice, that it was his in. had for some time past shown a dispositention on some future occasion to bring tion to act. We must retrace our steps. forward a proposition respecting the doing He wished those who were for doing away away of the civil disqualifications in Ire- all religious distinctions were present now. land arising from religious distinctions. It was his fixed opinion that it was neces

Mr. Martin said, he should have ob- sary to found our policy upon those relijected to the Speaker's leaving the chair gious distinctions, instead of totally abanhad he not been convinced that there was doning them. Yet he believed there was no intention to force this measure upon something in the Catholic cause that might the Irish people. He thought the present be united to the Protestants. Numbers was perhaps ihe only opportunity of saving of Catholics were in the yeomanry, militia, Ireland. With respect to what was called and other military corps. He thought a the final adjustment of 1782, he could distinction might be made between the not see how that adjustment could at all Catholics who were loyal, and those who tie up the two nations from voluntarily stirred up and fomented rebellion. He coming to some farther agreement by thought that instead of a general sweeping mutual consent. If he conceived any overthrow of religious distinctions, a line thing like force was intended, he would might be drawn between those who had oppose the question ; but he hoped that shown themselves worthy of confidence, farther discussion would render the sub- and those who had proved themselves injeot better understood.

veterate foes ; and he thought that those

cause.

who could produce certificates of good posing the measure carried with the unaconduct might gradually be admitted to nimous consent of parliament, he couldshare the privileges of the Protestants. not see its efficiency, or bow it could preHe had the authority of the committee of vent the Catholics from joining the French the Irish parliament' for stating, that the three months after its adoption, if an opRoman Catholic priests were the most portunity should occur: but the agitation active instruments of the late rebellion. of the question in the present state of the Notwithstanding the conduct of the French country might be attended with much: to the pope, and to all religions, particu- mischief. It could not diminish the numlarly the Catholic, these priests were so ber of enemies, on the contrary, it mightinveterate in their animosity to British make foes of those who were now our connexion, that they were ready to pro- friends, and of course could bring no admote the views of France for its destruc- ditional force or energy to the common tion. It was not religion then, but dislike of the English name, by which they Mr. Speaker Addington rose. He said, were actuated. Such men, therefore, that the occasions were few on which he ought not to be suffered to nourish ani- was disposed to take any other part in the mosity and to perpetuate rebellion. For debates and proceedings of the House, this, and the other intestine evils by which than that which was called for by his offiIreland was distracted, a union was not cial duty; on the present important ques-the remedy, as it did not go to any inter. tion, however, he thought it incumbent nal regulations. He did not attach to the upon him to express his opinion by his argument of the frail connexion that on the vote; and exhausted as the subject had present fouting, subsisted between the two been, he hoped for the indulgence of the countries, that importance which some committee, whilst he stated the grounds had given it. Ireland could not, under the upon which that vote would be given. present system, neutralize her ports, as His view of the subject was, indeed, very had been contended; the prerogative of different from that of his hon. friend, who the executive power to declare peace and had declared it to be his opinion, that the war increased the influence of government situation of Ireland was such as to render on the legislature, and afforded no incon- it not only inexpedient, but unsafe, to coasiderable security against any difference lesce with her. Now it was upon the sibetween the two countries in political tuation of that country, at the present mo. questions of importance. It was to be ment, that he founded his conviction, not considered too, that Ireland was unable merely of the expediency, for of that he to stand alone, and for aid she could look had long been satisfied, but of the urgent only to two powers, France and England. and pressing necessity of the measure in Was it possible, after what she had seen question; which, though considered by of the conduct of France, that she could his hon. friend as in no degree tending to expect more security under her auspices, remedy those evils, which were univerthan under the fostering care of Great sally acknowledged, he was convinced Britain? The apprehension appeared so would, in the first instance, palliate, and groundless, that he should not pursue it ultimately eradicate them; would at once farther. There was another circumstance, have the effect of allaying irritation and however, on which the House should animosity, and ere long, he trusted of expause before it came to a determination. tinguishing them for ever. He had opposed the proposition formerly His hon. friend was also disposed to made for infusing, as it was called, fresh think, that the legislature of Ireland wasblood into the veins of the constitution, fully adequate to the redress of those by the addition of new knights chosen grievances which require parliamentary infrom the counties of England. If he was terposition, and to the restoration of inadverse to the admission of men of such ternal tranquillity. The supposition unfora description as they must have been, on tunately was not warranted by experience: account of their numbers, he must be much to the redress of some of the grievances more hostile to the admission of a still complained of, and to the removal of some greater number, chosen from among those of the causes of irritation, the Speaker who constituted the Irish House of Com- said its adequacy could not be doubted;

Such an accession would tend but there were radical and inherent evils, only to render the House of Commons closely interwoven with the state and contumultuous and disorderly.--Even sup- dition of Ireland, and with the temper, the

mons.

feelings, and the prejudices of the great | battle of the Boyne, and the surrender of body of the people, which, though they Limerick (though the articles of capitulawere not occasioned by the separation of tion in the latter instance prove, what the two legislatures, he was convinced an was, indeed, manifested by the whole teincorporation of those legislatures could nour of his conduct, that a spirit of intoalone effectually remove. It was a melan- lerance and persecution made no part of choly, but, he feared, an incontrovertible the character of king William); the code truth, that the state of Ireland bad, at no of Popery Laws, which, however necesperiod of its history, with which we are sary for the security of persons of one acquainted, been such as to afford satis. persuasion, must be admitted to have opefaction to any mind, that could justly ap- rated with great severity on those of the preciate the blessings of a well ordered, a other: all these circumstances could not Aourishing, and a happy condition of civil fail to recur forcibly to the minds of the society. The bounty of Providence had, Catholics, to keep alive the sensations indeed, been displayed in that country by which they successively excited, and to a fertile soil, and by abundant means of make them look with irritation at power, internal improvement and prosperity; its when they saw it lodged in the hands of inhabitants had not been less uished those whom they considered as their than those of Great Britain, in correspond- oppressors ; whose religious opinions they ing stations of life, for eloquence, for li. conceived to be heretical, and who were terary and scientific acquirements, and for in possession of that property which the those talents and exertions which have es- Catholics supposed had been unjustly tablished the naval and military renown wrested from their ancestors. On the of the British empire. Their form of go- other hand, the horrible excesses to which vernment was the same as our own, but it the vindictive fury and bigotry of the Cawanted its true characteristics; it did not tholics were carried in 1641 ; the dreadlike ours, bestow and receive general con- ful use they made of the power, which they fidence and protection : for it was not, acquired upon the usurpation of James 2nd like ours, connected by ties, which he (for the government of James 2nd in Iretrusted were here indissoluble, with the land was an usurpation after he had abdi. obvious interests, the feelings, and the sen- cated the throne of England): the forfeitiments of the great body of the people. tures, the sequestrations, and and the at.

The truth was, that, in contemplating tainders which then took place, had nethe state of Ireland, even at a period of ap- cessarily engendered those sentiments of parent tranquillity, it was impossible not apprehension and distrust in the Protesto discover those seeds of animosity, which tants of that country, which occasioned, have unhappily been matured by circum- and appeared to justify, the code of pestances into insurrection and rebellion. To nalties and disabilities which was enacted account, in a great degree, for this animo. at the commencement of the present censity, it might, perhaps, be sufficient to tury. Such, he feared, was a true represtate, that a large majority of the people sentation of the state and temper of Irewere Catholics, and that four-fifths of ihe land; and he was convinced ihat no reproperty was in the hands of Protestants, medy could be effectual, but such as would who are alone legally competent to hold strike at the root of the evil, would abate the high offices of state, and to perform the struggles for power, would remove the the functions of legislation. Hereditary impediments to civilization and internal feelings and resentments had, besides, con- improvement, and by which the Protestributed to keep these elements of internal tant and Catholic inhabitants of the two discord in almost constant agitation. The countries would become one people, unextensive confiscations which took place der the superintending authoriiy and proat the commencement of the last century, tection of a united and imperial parliawhen, after the suppression of the rebel. ment. lion by lord Mountjoy, almost the whole Mr. Speaker then stated, that about the province of Ulster became forfeited to the year 1778, a material change of system crown; the creation of numerous boroughs iook place : the extinction of the hopes of by James 1st; which, in effect, transferred the House of Stuart, and the peaceable the legislative authority from the Catho- demeanour of the Roman Catholics, led ·lics to the Protcstants'; the Act of Set- to a repeal of the penal code, which bore tlement, and explanation : the severities upon them with peculiar hardship, and exercised by Cromwell; the event of the they obtained from the justice of the (VOL. XXXIV.]

12 G]

« ZurückWeiter »