Abbildungen der Seite

compensation worthy of notice, than that sary appendages of our independence, of seeing such of their representatives as at least before the union of the crowns, were parties to this spoliation, rewarded when we had a predatory enemy within by British peerages, which were to make ten miles of us; we behold, I say, without them independent in future, of the favour mortification or concern, those badges of or resentment of their injured consti- imperial dignity mouldering, and in ruins tuents. This measure, as your lordships on our rocks, while we can see the plains must see, was, at the same time, the most below covered with crops, which he who flagrant violation of the union in some of sows is 'now sure of reaping; and while its most fundamental articles, and could we can extend our views of national not fail of exciting general disgust, and greatness and dignity, and all our public alarm throughout Scotland, by breaking feelings, whether of pride or of affection, so wantonly the integrity, and shaking not only beyond the little range of hills the security of that solemn treaty. The that we look upon, but to the remotest exbill was accordingly debated with great tremities of the habitable globe, I will ven. warmth, at great length, and I think, with ture to declare for my country, that with much ability in both Houses of parlia- the exception of those false Scotchmen, ment; and I have troubled your lordships whom the enemy has been able to corrupt with these particulars, for the purpose of or to delude, and who, I trust, for the ho. observing, that throughout those debates, nour of Scotland, are both few and conon a subject sufficiently offensive and temptible ; but with that exception of the irritating to Scotland, there was not partizans of France, I will venture to prodropped from the lips of a single indivi- nounce, that there does not at this hour dual, an intimation of any such wish for live a Scotchman of any degree or condiseparation, as had been expressed in the tion, from Berwick to the Orkneys, whose proceeding of the year 1713. A certain British patriotism would not be more ofproof that such a wish could not be gene- fended, and certainly much more reasonral in either country, and a pretty conclu- ably, by a proposal for separating these sive argument that it was not professed or kingdoms, than the patriotism of Fletcher, entertained by any considerable party or of Saltown, or Lockhart, of Carnwath, description of men then known in England could be at the beginning of the century or Scotland. On this review of the pe- by the proposal for uniting them. riod immediately succeeding the union, I I have dwelt somewhat longer on this might, without much prejudice to my ar- topic, than perhaps I ought, principally gument, concede all the noble lord can for the purpose of showing what the naclaim from the motion of 1713, though I ture and value of that object is, for which am far from making that admission in Ireland has been persuaded to renounce fact; but if I were to grant that in the year and reject with anger, the greatest and 1713, some indications of indisposition most evident advantages that were ever and alienation between the countries re offered to a nation. It is, in the first place, mained ; that six short years of union had then, a sentiment, or feeling, which it is not completely appeased and obliterated difficult to define, and not perhaps easyeven the animosities of four centuries, but that to conceive distinctly. In the next place, six years more had been sufficient for that this sentiment, such as it is, is so limited purpose; that after the lapse of six years in duration, and so obsequious to events, from their union, no trace of unkindness that it is not enough to say that it expires. was discernible, and, that in twelve years It actually changes sides-and the very after that union, the strongest provoca- sacrifices we would make to it at one petion had failed in exciting it, I do not siod, will, at a subsequent point of time, think, I say, that for the purpose of the and from thence ever after, prove as much present argument, I shall have made a in contradiction with, and as offensive to concession of much value or importance, this very feeling, as it might be welcome and with this remark I shall pass forward and grateful to it before. What then is to times of which I am entitled to speak this mighty object to which such sacrifiwith the confidence of personal know- ces are required? It is an airy unsubledge. I will venture then to assure your stantial sentiment; it is a transient, lordships, and to speak for my neighbours evanescent, metaphysical point, to which as well as myself, that at this day, we see we are called upon to sacrifice not only without humiliation or regret, those towers the substantial, but the permanent and and beacons, which were very neces- perpetual interests of two great nations,

I confess I cannot persuade myself to But let us yield even this principle for rank a sentiment so subtle, and subject to a moment. Let us subscribe to that so many refined and delicate modifi- strange incomprehensible duty which I have cations, with that sound and genuine heard proclaimed, with a sort of triumph, affection, for I can class it only as a sub- ev

even in this House, and by which it is reordinate mode of that plain and manly quired that in a question such as this, the passion, which has deserved, by excel legislature should banish from their lence the style and dignity of patriotism. thoughts and contemplation every conTrue patriotism will, I think, be found to cern for the interests of the nations which rest on the solid basis of some rational they represent, and that the decision of and useful principle, which will keep it this mighty question should be founded uniform and uninfluenced by time or cir- on any thing but its influence on the nacumstance, and which may serve as a cri- tional advantage or security. Let us terion to distinguish its own genuine and admit the insignificance of Irish prospesteady course, from the capricious and rity and happiness, and the exclusive title irregular motions of some of its many of what is called distinctness and dignity, counterfeits. The love of our country to our solicitude; I still say that even may be rational or fantastical as that of these objects are provided for, by rejectany other object; and, I must consider ing the present measure: for the choice patriotism as partaking sufficiently of the does not lie between the present condition nature of general affection, to acknow- of Ireland and union. We are not igno. ledge it for genuine, only when it is rant that the alternative is, according to evinced by solicitude for the welfare of its every moral probability, union or separaobject. I fix on this as the distinctive cha- tion; that is to say, union or ruin ; union racter of sincere affection, whether for our with Great Britain, or slavery to France. country or for any other object of regard. If this measure be not adopted, we know Public love is founded in utility, and by that the distinctness of Ireland must exthat mark alone may challenge its descent pire: that her political extinction must from heaven. The rest is all spurious, be accomplished; that she must undergo and to be viewed rather with caution than a change a thousand fold more degrading, respect. On this clear principle, then, as well as destructive, and more fatal to shall we not say, that a true patriot pro- her independence and dignity by means poses to himself before all things, the which no mistaken patriotism can prefer : prosperity and happiness of those who in- I mean by subjection to a foreign conhabit his country? He may set a value, queror, or at best by a debased and if he pleases, on the distinct existence, and slavish dependance on the general tyrant individuality of that country; but if his and task-master of Europe. Instead of love be well regulated, and all its modes preserving her present independence, or and affections be in due subordination, he acquiring new accesssion of importance will prefer the solid and real happiness of and dignity, by her association with the his country to its metaphysical identity. British empire, Ireland is in danger of It is to this chaste and disciplined patriot- dropping into that common sepulchre of ism, that I would appeal on the present nations, which has already buried the question, against the noisy and clamor- very names and memories of so many ous pretence which would usurp its seat, states and kingdoms, now no more. Will and bear away the decision by acclamation the identity or the dignity of Ireland be and tumult, before a sober and enlight, preserved, when after being first the dupe ened judgment, founded on the solid basis and the servile tool of France, she beof public utility, can silence this importu- comes her real and effective slave, under nate and delusive feeling. To sum up some ridiculous or antiquated nick-name, my argument on this point, in plain, but invented or revived, for the very purpose I think satisfactory terms; if a separate of obliterating her own? political existence is contrary, nay fatal Let us consider this question in one to the real interests of the people of Ire- view more, and setting aside both the real land; and if a perfect incorporation and interests of Ireland, and the chances of union with the British empire, must be separation with its attendant calamities, productive of security, aggrandizement let us only compare the present condition and happiness to Ireland, such a union of Ireland in mere dignity, with its future should on this single but, decisive ground, condition, in that single respect, after be the first wish of every Irish heart. the union; for we shall find the opposers of the union, mistaken in the means of but, on the contrary, have recent grounds, consulting even barren dignity, when they very honourable to Ireland, for believing prefer the present situation of Ireland to that she will be ready to furnish extraorits incorporation with the British empire. | dinary exertion, and aid, to repel extraIn what does the dignity of a nation truly ordinary danger on this side of the water, consist? Is it merely in its separate, or in if such'occasions should arise. its independent existence ? If Ireland, I must also dissent from another topic from the very nature of things, is and al- which I have heard used, as indicating a ways must, while it is a separate kingdom, nationa Idependence of Ireland on Great remain, in some respects and in some de- Britain. I mean the advantages which gree, dependent, subordinate, inferior: she derives from the extensive commerce and the day after its union with Great without, and the prosperous manufactures Britain, becomes altogether independent, within, which are supposed to flow, and sovereign and equal, low is its dignity which I believe, really do flow, in a great better assured by the former condition part, from a free participation in the imthan by the latter? We must inquire then perial greatness of Great Britain, and from what the present situation of Ireland truly encouragements which she might withhold is, in point of independence.

if so advised. Here again, I think, IreAlthough I should wish to be perfectly land may accept, I will not say, without frank and explicit, in pointing out those gratitude, but without humiliation, as circumstances of necessary and unavoid- Great Britain ought to bestow without able subordination which really exist, I pride. When the question has been stated would by no means insist on others, which between entire separation and union, these I have heard enlarged upon; I think, with considerations are very pertinently suba false pride on our part, and perhaps mitted to the prudence of Ireland, as they with reasonable offence to the national have been, with great ability, by the noble feeling of Irishmen, and which, at the lord (lord Auckland) who preceded me; same time, do not appear to me ge- for the advantages alluded to, would, no nuine tokens of subordination in any res- doubt, be withdrawn with perfect justice, pect. Of this description, I consider the and indeed, by indispensable policy, if necessity under which Ireland labours of all connexion between us were dissolved. claiming, in times of danger, whether But when the question is placed on the from foreign or domestic enemies, the footing of the present argument, that is protection of the British navy, and mili- to say, on a view of our present imperial tary, as well as pecuniary aid from this relation, I then feel, that considering the country. I conceive Ireland to have a importance of that relation to Great Briperfect right to this friendly and brotherly tain, as well as to Ireland, the communico-operation, on two grounds, which seem cation of these imperial advantages seems to me to preclude altogether, either a more to belong to the very nature of the case, tifying humiliation on one hand, or an of- and to flow naturally from the sentiment fensive pride on the other. First, the of fraternity and reciprocal kindness which preservation of Ireland is an English in. should accompany such a connexion. terest, and is a concern sufficiently pre- These favours seem to be prompted, cercious to call for these exertions, even on tainly by a liberal, but at the same time, a distinct and separate view of our own by a wise policy; they are the gifts of an advantage. In the next place, Ireland is elder to a younger brother: not the wages entitled to this support, from an empire paid by a superior to a dependent. They to which she is associated, and to the ge- ought to excite gratitude, and to improve neral service and security of which she is as well as to secure affection between us ; herself contributing, cheerfully, and at but they need not either exalt the pride all times, in every branch of public ser- of one, or humble that of the other ; vice. Her seamen, her soldiers, and her and, to say the truth, I cannot help feelrevenge all augment the general stock of ing that the pride of Ireland may be very British resources. And if peculiar and well reconciled to an obligation, for which temporary emergencies have, at this, or she has the consciousness of returning in any other particular period, increased the the reciprocal blessings of imperial conlocal demands of Ireland on the exertions nexion, an ample and corresponding equiof the empire, we must recollect, that the valent. I erase, therefore, such topics scene of danger may at other times be as these, from my argument of Irish subshifted; and we have no reason to doubt. ordination. They appear to me not more inconclusive to that point, than somewhat must, and ought to follow in the wake of removed, perhaps, 'from that liberality Great Britain. Here then is onc authentic which ought to characterize such discus- and signal badge of real subordination. sions, whether between individuals or na. But how is this necessary acquiescence of tions ; and if these obligations of Ireland Ireland to be ensured? For it stands as to Great Britain are ever enlarged upon, yet on discretion and prudence, not on I confess I should see it with more pleasure positive provision. May not an interval in Ireland, than in this country.

of passion, or the spleen of some contenThose real indications of subordination, tious moment, or the influence of some on which I mean however to rely, appear popular leader, persuade Ireland, in an to me such as ought not to mortify Ire- evil hour, to assert her right of separate land; because they are derived from the and independent deliberation in the com. very nature and constitution of human mon concerns, and to vindicate that right affairs, and especially from one cause, by setting up an opinion of her own, difwhich must afford, I conceive, rather gra- ferent from that adopted in England? tification than disgust to national feeling, Against this misfortune, which would, I mean the imperial connexion which otherwise be pretty sure of happening, makes Ireland a member of the noblest the constitution of our connexion with empire of the globe. For what, after all, Ireland has provided some securities. In is this imperial connexion in the necessity the first place we have the same king. of which we are all agreed? If it be any The king of Great Britain is, in virtue of thing more than a name, and if it afford that crown, king also of Ireland. Ireland any substantial advantage, does it not is content to follow the fortunes of England consist in securing a conformity, or rather in that great point; and this I state as perfect uniformity and unity, in the coun- another circumstance of dependence. But sels of the two countries on affairs of im- there are other still more sensible tokens perial concern ? Such are, in some res- of practical subordination- The whole pects the regulation of commerce; the executive government of Ireland is admitransactions and intercourse with foreign nistered by a viceroy, appointed indeed states; the declaration of war; the conduct by the sovereign of Ireland, but not with and direction of war: the negociation and the advice of an Irish cabinet. He is apconditions of peace. These are the prin- pointed, in effect, by a British minister; cipal, if not all the points of imperial or he is subject to instructions from a British common concern; and in these it is ad- secretary of state, and responsible for mitted, and it is manifest that, for common every part of his administration municipal safety and advantage, the two countries as well as imperial, not to the Irish parmust be governed by one mind, and di- liament, not to the Irish laws, but to the rected by one will, to the same end. Now British parliament and its high tribunals. let me ask in what manner is uniformity Even this is not all: for all this may be to be ensured on points so much subject to thought inseparable from the nature and doubt in themselves, submitted to a judg- frame of our connexion. There remains ment, I mean that of the human mind, a point which was not so much the unathe variety and uncertainty of which is voidable consequence of the imperial conproverbial, and especially where some de- stitution, but was thought subject to such gree of temporary and occasional opposi- a moral and political necessity, as to have tion, both of feeling and interest, may been deliberately assented to and retained be looked for in particular seasons and by the most enlightened and ardent pacircumstances--I need not go about to triots of Ireland, even in the jealous review prove by any tedious argument, what is of her constitution, which took place at always conceded on this point, por need I that period of enthusiasm and triumph scruple to assert what the best Irish pa- which is become the grand aera of Irish triots, and warmest partizans of Irish freedom and pride, I mean the year 1782. independence have always freely acknow. The circumstance I now allude to is this. ledged, that unity of counsels can be The legislative functions of the sovereign brought about and preserved, only by of Ireland can be performed only under leaving the lead to one of these pations in the great seal, not of Ireland," but of those points on which it is necessary that Great Britain. Notwithstanding the exthey should agree. Every sensible and treme and jealous tenderness of the Irish enlightened Irish statesman, has, I think, nation, on all that could remotely, or admitted that in imperial concerns, Ireland ven in the refinements of political sub, tlety, affect the independence of their | reignty, is wholly wanting in that of Ireparliament, although that parliament is the land. "If we were asked to define, or at shrine on which the nation itself is, it seems, least to describe an independent sovenow to belaid a victim; that Irish parliament reignty, should we err much by saying, was left, and remains at this hour, dependent it is a state which can make war' and for the validity of every one of its legislative peace, which can acquire dominion by acts, first on the chancellor of England, and conquest, and which can plant colonies, through his responsibility, on that very and establish foreign settlements? And if parliament of England, an equal partici- we would describe a subordinate and depation in the authority of which is thought pendent country, could we do it better so degrading to Ireland. God forbid that than by saying, it is a country which Ireland should change her mind on these must contribute her quota to all the wars points of voluntary subordination, or that of a neighbouring kingdom, must incur all her pride should 'supersede her wisdom, the risks of those wars and partake in all and a false dignity take the place of her their disasters; while all that is acquired substantial interest, at least in these par- | by their success falls, like the lion's share, ticulars. For such are the few slender to that country with which it claims to be threads which yet hold together these pon. co-ordinate and co-equal? I will insist derous bodies, and whenever they are no farther on this ungracious topic. broken we part for good. There is yet What I have said, was necessary for my one other circumstance which not only argument, and if I have demonstrated the indicates inferiority, but is so wholly irre- real subordination of Ireland, it was cerconcileable with every notion of equality, tainly not for the disingenuous pleasure of and appears to me such a singularity in gratifying the vanity of one nation, at the the condition of any country claiming the expense of another, but only to observe character of independent sovereignty, that that subordination must be the constant I must add it to the list before I quit this companion of an imperial connexion with topic. Ireland must take her part in all a more powerful and more considerable the wars of Great Britain. She must bear state, and that pride can fly only to one her share of their burdens, and incur all of two remedies, I mean, total and absotheir hazards She may lose a province, lute separation, or a perfect, incorporator may become herself a province of the ing and equalizing union. enemy. Yet Ireland cannot, by the ut- This argument is often conducted as if most success of the war acquire an acre the question lay between distinct exis. of new territory to the Irish dominion. tence and total extinction. This is a Every acquisition made by the forces of fale view of the alternative. If Ireland the empire, however great her share may foregoes her separate individuality, it is have been in the danger or exertion, ac- not to perish : but still preserving in full crues to the crown of Great Britain. If life and vigour, her own existence, she an island were taken by regiments raised becomes identified with a larger whole; in Ireland, and composed wholly of Irish- and so far from the pretended annihilation men, and by ships manned altogether by with which our adversaries would alarm Irish seamen, that island is a British con- her, she appears to me to acquire new quest, and not an Irish one. Ireland claims extension. I would ask in what manner no sovereignty in any one of the foreign is an inhabitant of any province or county possessions or provinces of the British em- of Ireland degraded, when he is enabled pire. She pretends to no dominion in to say that he is an Irishman, and that he India, in Ceylon, at the Cape of Good is besides a citizen of the united empire of Hope, at Martinique, Trinidad, or Mi. Great Britain and Ireland; and when in

The Irish parliament has never stead of admission, as it were, by courtesy, asserted or conceived the right of legis- to an indirect and circuitous advantage lating for

any of the conquests of the king from the greatness of another country, to of England, that is to say of the king of which he himself claims to be in some Ireland. They are all subject ipso facto, sort a stranger, he can assert as clear a to the legislature of Great Britain. Ire- title and as positive ownership and proland has planted no Irish colonies, but perty in the glory and prosperity of the has furnished planters to all those of Great empire to which he will belong, as any Britain. In a word this whole class of so- native of Great Britain can do at this movereign rights and capacities, however ment?-I cannot better describe the coninherent in the very nature of sove- dition of Ireland after the union, or better


« ZurückWeiter »