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jealousies between Protestants and Ro- adjustment, as it had been termed, of the manists would cease for ever, and it would year 1782. The one called in question not be necessary, for the safety of the the nature and extent of the authority of empire at large, to curb Romanists by any the parliament of Ireland; the other soexclusive law whatsoever."
lemnly appealed to the good faith of the On the supposed surrender of the rights parliament of Great Britain. In viewing of the parliament of Ireland, and the sa- the question of competency, he said, it crifice of its independency, he was not appeared to him that new doctrines of the disposed to dwell; the futility of the ar. present day were on the one side, and the guments on which those objections were sound principles, the theory and the pracfounded, was, in his opinion at least, fully tice of the British constitution, on the developed on a former occasion : he would other.
The highest legal authorities afonly say, that if a uniform coincidence firmed the extent and the supremacy of should take place between the two legis. the power of parliament. It was sufficient latures, the independency of one or the to refer to the names of sir Edward Coke, other would be liable to be called in ques- sir Matthew Hale, sir William Blackstone, tion; and that without such a coincidence and many others, who, to say the least, the interests of the empire, and eventually have never been charged with a bias the connexion between the two countries, against the constitution and liberties of might possibly be endangered.
their country. That the functions of the Mr. Speaker said, he was not inclined legislature should be exercised on all octo take up the time of the committee by casions, and particularly on one so solemn a reference to the particulars of the union and important as the present, with the utwith Scotland, to the consequences which most circumspection, would be readily followed that measure, or to the arguments and universally allowed. It must also be which they suggested on the present oc- admitted, that parliament possesses the casion. These topics had been already power, and the right, when called for by discussed, in a manner which could not the obligation of providing for the public fail to make a forcible impression on the security and welfare, to new-model the House. He would only remark, that the constitution, and to alter the succession animosity between the two nations, im to the crown, and the established religion mediately previous to the union, was such of these kingdoms : and he would then as to have led them to the verge of hos. ask those to whose objections he was retilities; and that the grounds of distrust ferring, where, if not in parliament, the and complaint were thereby entirely done means of carrying into effect such an araway. He also observed, that there were rangement as that which is now in concircumstances tending to facilitate an in- templation, however necessary, and howtimate connexion between this country ever approved, could possibly be supand Ireland, and to incorporate the peo- posed to reside? Not in the constituent ple of those kingdoms, which did not be body, for it would hardly be said that they long to the relation in which England and had delegated a trust to their representaScotland stood to each other. It would tives, with a reservation in particular be recollected, amongst other illustrations cases : not in the people at large, for such of this observation, that here, and in Ire a supposition would imply the dissolution land, there was the same code of civil and of the government; as it is an established criminal law; the same forms for the ad. truth, that, while the constitution exists, ministration of justice; and for the pur- the only legitimate sanction of public opi. poses of legislation, the same succession nion, and its only efficient authority, to the crown; and the same established must be derived from the proceedings of religion.
parliament. “ This is the place,” sir WilHaving stated a few of the many con- liam Blackstone observes, “where that siderations which, in his opinion, recom- transcendant and absolute power, which mended this measure, he thought it in- must in all governments reside somewhere cumbent upon him to notice some of the is entrusted by the constitution of these objections that had been made to it. of kingdoms." these there were two, either of which, if The attempts to preclude the discussion valid, was fundamental and insuperable. of the present subject, by the denominaThe first was to the competency of the tion of a final adjustment, which had been parliament of Ireland to accede to this bestowed on the proceedings of the year measure : the second relied on the final | 1782, struck him with more astonishment than even those which he had read and mean the fluctuating and Meeting impresheard against the sufficiency of parliament sions of the day, but those which were itself. If any importance were to be at the result of information and reflection) tached to those words, he should have ex. had their due influence, and were there pected to find them solemnly recorded in fully and accurately expressed. He could acts of the respective legislatures, as the not, therefore contemplate without anxiety basis of the new relation which then took the possible effects of such an alteration place between the two countries : what, as the measure in question would produce. however, was the fact ? They are men- He was not, however, inclined to oppose tioned in a message from the king, and a conjectural and contingent evil to that noticed in the addresses of the British which was positive and immediate; or if parliament, and of the House of Lords in he did, he must compare one, as cautiously Ireland ; but in the address of the House as he could, with the other, and strike the of Commons of that country, these words balance. His apprehensions on this subare not to be found. He observed, that ject would be greater, were it not for the as it had been the practice (and a judi- experience which has been afforded by cious one it was, where there is a general the union with Scotland: but the pressing concurrence of opinion), that the address evils, which it was the duty of the House, should accord with the speech or the if possible, to avert, were uppermost in message from his majesty, the omission his mind; and he was convinced, that was remarkable. All, however, that had every other remedy which had been sugbeen said upon this part of the subject, gested was fraught with consequences inappeared to him to be a dispute about finitely more injurious than any of those words; for he was ready to acknowledge, which even this circumstance, objectionthat the British parliament would justly able as he allowed it to be, was capable of incur the imputation of a gross breach of producing. Of the danger to the comfaith, if they were to aim, either directly mercial interests of this country, which or indirectly, at the resumption of the had been adverted to, but which had not power and supremacy which were then been much insisted upon, he said he ensolemnly renounced: that the adjustment, tertained no serious apprehension. It was as far as the independency of the Irish not true that Great Britain would necesparliament was concerned, was really and sarily lose what Ireland would gain. He absolutely final and conclusive ; but if the knew, besides the liberality and the good argument, which was meant to be founded sense of the merchants and manufacturers on these words, could be expected to of this country, if Ireland should cease to avail, it must not only pass over the mea. be a separate kingdom, they would not ensure which took place in the subsequent tertain a wish to withhold from her inhayear, and the resolution which immediately bitants a fair and equal participation of succeeded the act for the repeal of the the advantages which were enjoyed by sixth of George ist, but it must con- themselves; and they were fully aware, tend that the true import of those words that whatever contributed to promote in. was so binding and peremptory, as to bar dustry and to produce tranquillity, in Irethe possibility of adopting any ulterior ar- land, had a tendency to give additional rangement of the nature of that to security and stability to the trading intewhich they might be supposed to apply, rests of Great Britain. however called for by the obvious in- It had been asked, why, if this measure terests, and the wishes of the inhabitants was brought forward with such obvious of both countries. Such a proposition advantages, the adoption of it had not could not be maintained, and if not, the been sooner recommended ? To which argument with which it was necessarily it had been justly and forcibly answered, connected, must, in his opinion, fall to the that it should not be wondered at, if those, ground.
who are convinced that this close connecMr. Speaker said, that some objections tion between the two countries is essential had been urged, the force of which he to the welfare of both, should be particuwould by no means deny. He was tho Jarly solicitous to strengthen and confirm roughly convinced that the House of it, when the dissolution of that connexion Commons, as at present constituted, was is the avowed object of the intestine traia true and faithful representative of the tors in Ireland, and of the common enepeople of Great Britain ; that there their my of the two kingdoms. He was, how. opinions and their wishes (he did not ever, concerned to think, and to acknowledge, that precautionary wisdom had very itself with the parliament of Ireland, it was little influence on the conduct of indivi- | impossible not to be aware of the opporduals, or of nations; an evil must in ge- tunity and scope which would be afforded neral have been painfully experienced be- for misconception, suspicion, and misrefore measures are taken to remove it, or presentation. He trusted that we should to guard against its return : the abuses of adopt such resolutions as would rather power led to that establishment of our
tend to appease than to inflame : such as rights, and that security to our liberties, would be a pledge of our liberality and which took place at the Revolution. The our justice: that we should mavifest the weight of the public debt was becoming, earnestness and sincerity of our wishes to at least in the opinion of many, intolerable communicate to Ireland a full participation to the subjects of this country, before ef- of all the advantages we enjoy; that we ficacious measures were adopted for its should prove ourselves desirous of consi. diminution; and it was not until public dering the inhabitants of the two councredit was seriously reduced, and the ob- tries as one people, connected together by jections to the plan of raising the supplies the closest ties under the same constituof the year, by the ordinary practice of tion, the same parliament, and the same loans, became almost insuperable, that king. the system of the present session of par- He had understood, that, if the resoluliament was adopted; which, however tions which had been opened should be burdensome, was a subject of general ap- agreed to, it would be proposed that they probation, and a source of pride, of satis. should be carried to the foot of the throne, faction, and of confidence to a great ma- accompanied by an address to his majesty. jority of the people... To this want of In that address he hoped, and was perpromptitude to provide against remote suaded, that no sentiments or expressions and contingent evils, one exception, in would be introduced which jealousy might deed, presented itself to his recollection: misinterpret, or malice pervert: that it was, the measure adopted by the parlia- there would be no indication of a wish on in 1791, which provided, that in case of our part to press the consideration of it future loans a farther sum should be upon the legislature of Ireland; and that borrowed to be applied as a sioking fund, no impulse would be given to it, but what for the purpose of gradually redeeming it might derive from the free and unbiassed the addition thereby occasioned to the opinions, and dispassionate judgment of funded debt. Too much could not be the parliament and people of that kingsaid in commendation of the provident dom. The subject, he was convinced, wisdom and justice of that measure, which would makes its way. To Ireland he was is constantly employed in diminishing the satisfied that greater advantages were now pressure upon public credit, which arises held out, than had ever been afforded by from an increasing accumulation of the any single measure to any country; that debt contracted since the commencement it would greatly augment the resources, of the war ; and in effecting an entire re- and place upon a rock that would be imlief from its burthens perhaps to ourselves, pregnable, as far as that term could be but certainly, and at no distant period, applied to any human establishment, the to our descendants.
strength and security of the British emSome gentlemen bad entertained an pire. He would, however, acknowledge opinion which, he acknowledged, was en- that his views and hopes extended still fartitled to serious attention and covsidera- ther, as he was thoroughly persuaded, tion; that, as the proposed measure had that whatever had a tendency to consolibeen discountenanced by the House of date and maiutain the power and the inCommons in Ireland, to persist in the dependence of these kingdoms, was of the discussion of it here, would be to add to deepest importance to the best and most the irritation which unhappily prevails in valuable interests of mankind. From that country
Such an effect he should these considerations, he gave the resolusincerely lament, and should be sorry to tion his most cordial support. have any share in producing. There were The 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th Resolu. other consequences, however, which it tions were then agreed to. The question was of the utmost importance to avert. being put upon the 6th resolution, which If the parliament of this country were to goes to grant an equality of privileges in abstain from declaring the conditions upon trade and navigation, &c. to Ireland, which it would be disposed to incorporate Mr. Pitt said, it was the duty of every [VOL. XXXIV.)
member to attend to the peculiar interests forward for the sake of maintaining the of his constituents ; but there was a para established constitution? Would they not mount duty which called upon them still think it an act of the basest ingratitude, more forcibly to consult the general pros. to be called upon to surrender that esta. perity of the empire at large. When this blished constitution, for which they had subject was duly considered, it would ap- been ready to lay down their lives ? What pear that it was indifferent in what part would be the effect of such a system on of the empire any given manufacture flou. the minds of the reformers of Ireland ? rished, especially if it was established in a He meant not those hypocrites who, place where it was most likely to flourish; under the pretext of a parliamentary reand he was particularly happy in being able form, really aimed at a revolution, but to say that the trade and manufacturers of those who knew the value of their indethis country were far from being in such an pendent parliament, admired the true unprosperous condition as to make the spirit of the constitution, and only wished preseni resolution' give the least umbrage to correct those abuses which had crept to the manufacturers of any great town. into its practice. Such would, by the The only objection which he thought it system of a union, find their prospects blastliable to was, that it referred to a distant ed, and consequently feel great aversion to period what ought immediately to result the measure. With respect to the Cathofrom a complete union.
lics, who consisted of three-fourths of the Mr. Carew, when the 7th resolution population of the country, they, of all was proposed, objected to it as not pre-others, must suffer most in consequence cisely expressing that an identity of taxa- of a union. Many of the penal laws tion should take place between the two against them had, indeed, been repealed, countries.
but degrading incapacities, to which no Mr. Pitt said, that however proper it man ought to be subject, until his opimight be to fix at some distant period nions, of whatever nature they were, had after the union such an identity of taxa- shown themselves in overt acts of mistion, yet for the present it would be wise chief, still remained. The elective franand politic not so far to offend existing chise had, indeed, been granted to them, local prejudices as to require immediately but the right of sitting in parliament had an equal portion of burthens to be sus- not been ceded, and thus the object they tained by Ireland, but to exact for the long had in view, and the attainment of present only that proportion which treo which carl Fitzwilliam afforded them land hitherto paid in time of peace and strong inducement to expect, would be
entirely defeated by a legislative union. The several Resolutions were then Was it not obvious then, that by all these agreed to, and ordered to be reported to different classes of men a union would be the House.
received, not merely with dislike, but in
dignation? Surely ministers, instead of Feb. 14. Mr. Douglas reported the bringing it forward, might have profited said Resolutions to the House. On the by the experietice of what passed in the question, “ That the said report be now year 1759, when a report was circulated brought up,”
that a union between the two countries Mr. Hobhouse rose to explain the mo- was intended. He had looked into Dodstives which governed his vote that night. ley's Annual Register for that year, and When he first heard that ministers were there he found it stated, that, upon the employed in forming a scheme of union surmise of a projected union, “a mob of between Great Britain and Ireland, it was many thousands assembled, broke into no small degree of surprise to him that they the House of Lords, insulted them, would should have resorted to an expedient, which have burnt the Journals if they could have went to the destruction of the rights of found them, and set an old woman on the the Irish nation, and could not but meet throne; that not content with this, they with the opposition of people of all classes, obliged all the '
members of both Houses except such as wished for a separation whom they met in the streets, to take an between the two countries. How praise- oath, that they would never consent to worthy had been the exertions of the peo- such a union ; that many coaches of obple and parliament of Ireland in the sup- noxious persons were cut or broken, their pression of civil discord. Had not the horses killed, &c.; that one gentleman in yeomanry of that country bravely stood particular narrowly escaped being hangod,
a gallows being erected for that purpose; 1 parliament of that country had shown that the horse and foot were drawn out itself inadequate to the task of suppressing on this occasion, but could not disperse disturbances, and repelling attacks upon them until night; and that the next day its constitution ? He would ask, whether addresses to the lord lieutenant were a legislature acting upon the spot, and agreed to, and a committee of inquiry ap. tremblingly alive to every danger, were pointed.” If such disturbances were not more likely to discover treasons and caused by the mere report of a union, and conspiracies than a legislature in a distant when Ireland, not being in possession of country. It was contended also, that the an independent parliament, would not government of reland was extremely have had those sacrifices to make which vicious, and contained in itself the seeds she had at present, how much stronger of separation; that the government being would be her objection now! At that pe in the hands of the Protestant minority, riod the illustrious father of the right hon. and the honours and emoluments of the gentleman (lord Chatham) was at the church being in the possession of the head of affairs, and in the zenith of his same minority, the mass of the people popularity; and from his wisdom and pru- must be always discontented; that there dence it might be inferred, that, had such must be a continual contest between the a measure been really intended then, he minority and majority. All this ha would not have persevered for a moment, was ready to allow: but he could not see if he had seen such an opposition to it as how a union with this country was likely that which appeared on the present occa- to remove the evil. How were the Casion.-Surprised as Mr. H. was at the tholics to be materially benefited ? If measure, he was still more so at the mode they were only to be allowed to elect of proceeding. Would it not have effec- Protestant representatives in the imperial tually prevented all possible altercation parliament, they would have less power between the two parliaments, to have tried than before; for they now have a share first how far it was agreeable to the Irish in sending 300 members to parliament; nation? Had the parliament and the coun. but then they would be confined to a far try spoken in favour of it, then, and not inferior number. If it were intended until then, should it have been submitted to give them the liberty of choosing repreto the consideration of the British parlia- sentatives of their own religious persuasion, ment. But the right hon. gentleman had still that was short of what they looked to, not only proposed it in England on the and had been encouraged to expect; which same day that it was brought forward in was, to elect Catholics to serve in the parlia. Ireland, but pledged himself that no con- ment of their own country. They would sideration whatever should divert him also see, that by this measure the estafrom his favourite object. Was not this blislied religion was still to remain in the an imprudent declaration ?-But the per- hands of the minority, and be hurt by severance of the right hon. gentleman was comparing this with what took place at still more extraordinary. As the par- the time of the union with · Scotland, liament of Ireland had expressed its where the majority of the people had determination not even to enter upon their will granted to them, as far as the discussion, why persist in the mea respected religion. Would not the Casure? What did it signify to state terms tholics of Ireland naturally hold this lanto those who would not listen to them ? guage?" It is evident that in the forHe, for one, thought, that no such change mation of your religious establishments, as that pow proposed ought to be adopted you are not governed by your opinion of unless it should appear to be called the truth of the doctrine ; for if that were for by a crying necessity. The argu- the case, you would not have permitted ment insisted upon to show that peces- two different religious establishments, the sity was this-that domestic traitors, one in Scotland, the other in England. aided by foreign force, had laboured, and By what principle, then, are you acstill would labour, to destroy the con. tuated ? By the will of the majority. nexion between the two countries, unless Why then are the Catholics of Ireland they were more closely cemented; that not to enjoy the same privileges, as the nothing would be effectual to that end, Presbyterians of Scotland ?" This would but a union. No man more than himself be a fresh source of discontent; and thus the deplored the late calamitous events in grounds for religious jealousies and feuds, so Ireland; but he would ask, whether the far from being weakened by this measure