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was formed; but when he heard that measure. The decision of the House of talked of as.“ a final adjustment," he Commons of Ireland, who refused even to really was at a loss to comprehend what hear what the terms of the proposed union was meant by the expression. It was, as were, was certainly rashly and premahe understood it, an adjustment calculated turely formed, because it did not become to remove the grievances then felt, and reasonable men, legislatively assembled, complained of by Ireland ; but how two to prejudge a great national measure, beindependent countries could make any fore they even knew upon what grounds adjustment to be deemed final and con- that measure rested. He had reason to clusive, and to preclude their power of believe, that already some of the most agreeing at any future period, and under violent against hearing a proposition that other circumstances, to any farther ar related to a union stated to them, had rangement, he could not conceive." At begun to think it was not very wise to dethe time he was persuaded that the two cide so irrationally. The noble marquis countries did not intend to bind posterity, had treated the parliament of Ireland with and legislate for future generations. a severity, which he could not suffer to From the nature of things the power of pass unnoticed. That parliament did not being competent to make new arrange- deserve the sort of animadversion which ments, as events and circumstances might the noble marquis had bestowed upon it require, must remain ; it therefore ap- so lavishly. Parliamentary reform and peared to him to be absurd to main- Catholic emancipation were used merely tain that the adjustment of 1782 was as watch-words, and words of hue-and-cry, final. But noble lords said, that as one by those who meditated the subversion of House of the Irish parliament had re- the constitution of Ireland, and its disjected the proposition for a union, the union from Great Britain. Catholic emanmatter ought to have slept there. Did cipation, unaccompanied with parliamenthey think that nothing was due to this tary reform, every man who knew any country? Did they forget that there thing of the subject must know, would were two parties, whose interests were not only be an ineffectual, but a danger. implicated in the measure ; Ireland on the ous measure; but neither the one nor the one side, and Great Britain on the other ? other was in the contemplation of those, Had the people of this country no right who were most clamorous for both; and to know in what manner it had been pro- in this opinion he was supported by the posed to take care of their interests on authority of Mr. Arthur O'Connor, and the occasion ? And he must be allowed the rebels and traitors now in confineto say that something was due also to the ment. The petitions from the Catholics minister himself, who had brought forward were not treated in the harsh manner the measure, as a part of that system stated by the noble marquis, nor did the which he had pursued for the advantage parliament of Ireland ever lend a deaf ear of the country for some years, and in to what they alleged to be their grievwhich he had met with the cordial support ances; on the contrary, they were always of parliament. That gentleman had a ready to listen to the language of comfair claim to be heard in his own defence. plaint, and, if possible, to administer an He trusted the noble marquis would agree adequate remedy; but in the instance rewith him, that if the union should pro- specting Catholic emancipation, the ques. duce the desirable effect of ameliorating ! tion was, whether the Protestant ascendthe condition of the Irish peasant, making ancy should or should not be upheld? him feel an interest in his existence, The moment it was over-balanced in the rescuing him from the sullen despair in scale, the existence of the government which he at present held his miserable would necessarily be endangered. With being, and converting him into the child of regard to the arrangement of 1782, he hope and expectation, so as to put him on was astonished to hear it said that it was a footing with every description of British final. He presumed, that no noble lord subjects, it would be a measure the most who made a part of the administration politically useful, that human invention of that day, would declare he considered could have devised.
it as final. What they did could only be The Earl of Westmorland said, he la considered as preliminaries to some future mented that several of his most valuable proceeding: they repealed the act of friends, on the other side the water, dif. George ist, and thereby repealed Poyofered from him in opinion respecting the ing's law, and they restored the appellant jurisdiction to the Irish House of Lords. grievances of that country, at the time
The cords of connexion thus cut asunder, complained of, with an adequate remedy, would any noble lord, a member of that and that he certainly considered the mea. ministry, venture to assert, that they sures then adopted as amounting to such meant to leave the affair in that loose and remedy; but he neither at that time, nor unsettled state? He appealed to the at this, imagined, that the adjustment poble marquis, whether farther measures was to preclude any farther arrangement were not in contemplation to cement the between the two countries, that different two kingdoms in their relative friendship circumstances might require; much less and interests. He called upon the noble that it was to be relied on as an unanmarquis to declare, whether an idea was swerable argument against the proposed not entertained of sending over commis- union, which he thought to be, of all sioners to this kingdom, to superintend others, the measure best adapted to bethe interests of Ireland ? He had reason nefit Ireland, and to promote the general to believe, that that idea was not only interests of the empire. suggested, but even proceeded on to a The previous question being put, certain extent. Sure he was, that the “ Whether the said question shall be now arrangement left the two kingdoms in
put,” it was resolved in the affirmative. state so very little short of absolute dis- The Resolutions were then read and connexion, that there was an absolute agreed to, and their lordships were sumnecessity of some farther arrangement to moned for the 4th of April. draw the connexion closer, and combine their strength; and after the maturest re- Debate in the Lords on the Address reflexion, he was convinced that removing lative to a Union with Ireland.] April the seat of legislation from Dublin, and 11. The order of the day being read, creating an imperial parliament to be held Lord Grenville said, that after the very here, while it gave industry, commerce, able and full manner in which the subject prosperity, and wealth to Ireland, would of that evening's debate had been already essentially benefit the general interests of discussed, it would be quite unnecessary for the empire.
him to take up one moment of their lordThe Marquis of Lansdown said, that, ships time. He should therefore content called upon as he was by the noble earl, himself simply with moving the following he could only reply, as he had done be- Address : fore, that in 1782 the adjustment was con- “We, your Majesty's most dutiful and sidered to be conclusive as to the question loyal subjects
, the Lords spiritual and of the independence of the Irish parlia- temporal," and in parliament' assembled, ment; and after the address to his ma- humbly beg leave to assure your majesty, jesty was carried to the throne, request that we have proceeded with the utmost ing his majesty to desire the parliament of attention to the consideration of the imIreland to state their grievances; and the portant objects recommended to inessage of the king to that effect was your majesty's message, respecting the
condelivered to the Irish parliament, and pro- nexion between this country and Ireland. ceeded on by their address, it was consi. “ We entertain a firm persuasion that a dered as a completion of the remedy then complete and entire Union between Great necessary. Certainly, once it had been Britain and Ireland, founded on equal in contemplation to appoint commissioners and liberal principles, on the similarity of to superintend the interests of Ireland in laws, constitution, and government, and this country, but that was in an early on a sense of mutual interests and affecstage of the business, and the noble duke, tions, by promoting (the security, wealth, at that time lord lieutenant of Ireland, and commerce, of the respective kingdoms after the parliament of Great Britain had and by allaying the distractions which satisfied the sister kingdom upon every have unbappily prevailed in Ireland, must material ground of complaint, wrote over afford fresh means of opposing at all times word that he thought the measure of ap- an effectual resistance to the destructive pointing commissioners no longer neces- projects of our foreign and domestic enesary.
mies, and must tend to confirm and augThe Duke of Portland said, that having ment the stability, power, and resources the honour to hold the government of of the empire. Ireland in 1782, he had no scruple to de. “ Impressed with these considerations clare, that his wish was, to meet the we feel 'it our duty humbly to lay before
your majesty such propositions as appear change being made in the system of Irish to us best calculated to form the basis of government; and I do not believe that such a settlement, leaving it to your ma any noble lord will maintain, as an unquajesty's wisdom, at such time and in such lified proposition, that the union of the manner, as your majesty, in your parental two kingdoms, accomplished on grounds solicitude for the happiness of your people satisfactory to each, would not promote shall judge fit, to communicate these pro- the tranquillity, civilization, and prospepositions to your parliament of Ireland, rity,of Ireland, and eventually the strength with whom we shall be at all times ready to and security of Great Britain, and of the concur in all such measures as maybe found British empire. I assume accordingly, most conducive to the acccomplishment that a union is desirable, if it can be reof this great and salutary work. And we conciled to the opinions and goodwill of trust that, after full and mature considera- both the contracting parties. tion, such a settlement may be framed and The time was, my lords, when the obestablished by the deliberative consent of jections would have originated in this the parliaments of both kingdoms, as may kingdom ; and we cannot wonder that our be conformable to the sentiments, wishes, ancestors seemed* to wish to avoid a meaand real interests of your majesty's faith- sure, the immediate anıl most obvious beful subjects of Great Britain and Ireland, nefits of which were always in favour of and may unite them inseparably in the full Ireland. It is now, however, well underenjoyment of the blessings of our free stood, that national wealth may be shared and invaluable constitution, in the support and extended without lessening the prosof the honour and dignity of your majes. perity of the country which gives the party's crown, and in the preservation and ticipation ; and the good sense and enlightadvancement of the welfare and prospe- ened liberality of our countrymen would rity of the whole British empire." at present induce them to rely cheerfully
Lord Auckland, said :-My lords; I and confidently on their parliament, both rise with earnestness, and with pecu. for the expediency of a union, and for liar satisfaction, to give my support to an the adjustment of the conditions. But the address to the revered sovereign of the consent and co-operation of Ireland are two kingdoms, for the purpose of commu- still wanting. Ireland, my lords, must nicating our Resolutions to the Lords and Commons of Ireland. This measure will
• The Report made in the Irish House of hold out to the Irish nation a most solemn Commons in 1703, by the committee on the pledge of the liberality, affection, and wis state of the nation, concluded with a resoludom, of the British parliament; and will tion, that her majesty be moved," that through explicitly record the motives and princi- her favourable interposition her subjects of ples by which we are guided in our endea- this kingdom may be relieved from the calavour to consolidate the legislatures and mities they now lie under, by a full enjoyunite the interests of Great Britain and of ment of their constitution, or by a more firm Ireland. I feel no regret, my lords, that I was voted by the House. The address of the
union with England." This representation have waited in silence to the close of our | Irish House of Lords, 1st October, 1703, conproceeding. I willingly reposed myself cluded thus, “As we are sensible that our on the superior abilities of others, for preservation is owing to our being united to the discussion and explanation of the the crown of England, so we are convinced it leading and general topics. It may still would tend to our further security and happihowever, be possible to throw new lights ness, to have a more comprehensive and enupon a question which involves the future tire union with that kingdom.” The answers
returnedwere in general terms, and not encougovernment and well-being of the great raging. On the 4th March, 1104, the Speaker est empire now existing. Such a subject in presenting the bills, referred pointedly to is inexhaustible. The portion of it which the representation above-mentioned, as harI now propose to offer to your attention, ing had the unanimous voice and consent of a is dry and of much detail.' I undertake it full House, and prayed the lord lieutenant's only from a sense of duty, and it is an support to carry it into execution. On the encouragement to me to think that our 9th July 1707, the Irish Commons in their debates are contributing to the removal address to the queen, entreated her“ to add of many ill-founded notions and misrepre- yet more comprehensive union.” The address of
greater lustre and strength to the crown, by a sentations, which were prevalent in the the Irish House of Lords on the 15th of July, sister kingdom. Few indeed are those 1707, was expressed in terms still stronger in who now deny the necessity of some great favour of a union.
form her own decision, she must decide | 1782; but however perfect the indepenfor herself, through the medium of the dence may be in principle, it must at all deliberate wisdom of her parliament. I times and in the nature of things be muam aware, that the proposition at its first tilated, and most imperfect in practice. opening, has not had the apparent assent We cannot shut our eyes against the of the Irish House of Commons. A small truths presented by the map of Europe, majority of the members who were present and by the notoriety of the relative situadeclined the consideration of the measure, tion, size, and population, of the two and some individuals refused even to know islands. what it was. I will not attribute such a What, then, in point of fact, is the indeconduct to interested views, to false alarms pendence of a country which has no to fabricated clamour, to unthinking pre- means of defence, or security, or selfcipitancy, or to a false punctilio and a preservation, but through the aid and promistaken sense of national pride. I wish tection of its more powerful neighbour ? to avoid, and I disclaim, every sentiment If two countries so circumstanced take and every expression that may be harsh or adverse lines of conduct, a struggle must invidious: but I must be permitted to say ensue, and either the weaker of the two and I say it with satisfaction, that I know must be over-ruled, or confusion, and all enough of the theatre of action, and of the the evils of war must follow. If, on the principal actors upon that theatre, to do other hand, there should prevail between them the justice to believe, that their re- the two a uniform system and uniform sistance will give way to the commanding principles of conduct, in leading points of voice ofreason and of truth. Letit be shown common concern, the weaker must be by our dispassionate deliberations, that presumed to have thus far sacrificed, virthe union of the two countries will be at tually and habitually, its exercise of indetended with many benefits to Ireland; let pendent power. Let us, my lords, apply it be recorded that we are disposed to this dilemma to the known and principal confer those benefits to the utmost extent objects of national independence! Has compatible with our own essential inter- Ireland, or can she have, the power of ests. Let this be done :- the calm hour of negociating, controlling, or even of rereflection will convince Ireland that the objecting treaties, notwithstanding that those jections so hastily urged on her part are treaties may involve the most essential unsound and fallacious.
interest of the British empire, of which I do not think it necessary, my lords, to she forms a part ? Has she the means of attempt the examination of those objec- protecting her own commerce, or of estations. They have been amply confuted blishing colonies, or of making and holdboth in this country and in Ireland. The ing conquests? Has she any property, or unconstitutional doctrine which denies direct concern in the acquisitions made by the competency of parliament to effect a the fleets and armies of the sovereign? union, and to operate what (by an in- Has she, or can she have, any naval force ? ference falsely conceived and idly expres- And is not the direction of her military sed) is called " its own extinction," was force necessarily conformable to the opiexploded even in the beginning of this pion of British ministers responsible only century. It has been revived in the schools to the British parliament? Has she, in of modern democracy by the admirers of short, or can she have, any control whatthe sovereignty of the people, and ac- ever, or any interference, or even any cordingly has the strongest claims to con. concern, otherwise than in a visionary and tempt and rejection. I propose, however, abstract claim, respecting the imperial before I proceed to the commercial con transactions of peace and war, alliances, siderations, to examine the nature of that and confederacies? Has she, even in the independence, which, as some advisers of exercise of legislation, any access to the the people of Dublin assert, will be sub- royal sanction, otherwise than through Briverted and destroyed by the consolidation tish ministers not amenable to her parlia. of the two legislatures. I think it im- ment, and under the great seal of the portant to ascertain the value of what | British chancellor ? Ireland is told she will lose, before I pro- But I wave all these considerations ; ceed to appreciate what it is that she will though they ought to be strong inducegain. I recognize that "independence of ments to Ireland not merely to accede to the Irislı legislature, abstractedly consi- the proposed union, but to seek and solicit dered, as secured by the arrangement of it. I wave them all, and will suppose Ireland to have every advantage possessed British parliament still continued to assert by Great Britain, and in an equal degree. and to exercise the claim to make laws for I will suppose the two islands to be simi- Ireland, as “ being subject to the imperial lar, in size and population; in wealth, cul- crown of Great Britain." Ireland at that tivation, and commerce; in conquests and time held the functions of legislation more in colonies; and to be placed upon the in ceremony than in substance. Her laws globe within a few leagues of each other. originated in the privy councils of the two Still, however, with one executive power; kingdoms, and were prepared and apand with separate and independent legis proved by the English attorney general. latures. Will any individual of sound And even when a law had passed through mind assert, that the entire union of two the Irish parliament, it was still liable to countries such as I have described would be corrected, changed, or suppressed by be degrading or detrimental to either? | the British cabinet. Ireland was then also And by what line of reasoning shall a as subordinate in judicature as in legisladifferent inference be drawn when the two tion. We made her laws, and we intercountries thus nearly adjoining, happen to preted them. Appeals from the decisions be utterly unequal in size and in force? I of her judges were to the courts of Westcontend that the inferior of the two, so si- minster and to this House. It may also tuated, never can retain its connexion, and be recollected, that at the time to which I at the same time possess either real inde refer, the hereditary revenue of Ireland pendence or an uncontrolled and safe was almost sufficient for the support of prosperity, otherwise than by uniting with government ; and the Irish army was its more powerful neighbour'; and that its established under the British Mutiny wish for union ought to increase in pro- bill; and afterwards under a Mutiny bill portion to its inferiority in force. I might passed in Ireland, but made perpetual. I rest this assertion on the experience of was not sorry that such a system should Ireland herself. For it is not true that cease. It certainly did not allow to Ire. whilst Great Britain has gradually ad- land more than the name of the British vanced in civilization of manners, and in constitution, or more than the semblance every art, science, and improvement, and mockery of a free government. But, which can give happiness, honour, and my lords, I was not so short-sighted as to security, to nations and to individuals ; persuade myself that, because the Irish Ireland possessing the same climate, a freedom, as it was called, took place, Irish fruitful soil, and excellent ports, and a prosperity would be the consequence, numerous people, to whom the Common unless much more could be done. The Parent of all gave great acuteness and in- law of Poyning, degrading and galling as genuity, has nevertheless been at all times it might be, nevertheless united the laws involved in comparative disorder, poverty, and constitution of the two kingdoms; turbulence, and wretchedness? I might and the appellant jurisdiction of this add, without exaggeration, that in the 600 House, justly and greatly respected by years since the reign of Henry and there the Irish themselves, assimilated their juhas been more unhappiness in Ireland, risprudence to ours. When those links of than in any other civilized nation, not ac- connexion were broken, it was evident tually under the visitation of pestilence, or that Ireland must soon suffer disadvantages of internal war. And all these evils may much greater than those which had so be traced to the disjointed and jarring long depressed her. Neither prosperity action of two unequal powers, closely ad- nor tranquillity, nor safety were to be exjacent to each other, possessing the same pected from a government founded in the interests, and subject to the same crown, pretensions of a small part of the commubut with separate legislatures.
nity to monopolize the representation, paBut why should I confine myself to trenage, and resources of the whole. The times in which a persecuting policy was insufficiency of such a system had been avowedly exercised against Ireland, upon felt and lamented for a century, even principles of commercial jealousy? Let whilst it was controlled, directed, and supus now look to a period within the memory ported, by the Protestant parliament of of most of us ; the period immediately this Protestant kingdom. Now that it was previous to the attainment of what Ireland ceasing to be connected with that parwas pleased to call a free trade and a free liament, it became more than ever unsaconstitution. Many of your lordships tisfactory to the bulk of the Irish nation, were members of this House, whilst the and utterly incompetent and unsafe with