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might be consistent with the security of country during the awful suspension of the state and the establishment ? Was the executive power in 1788. It was by there any one who knew the blessings of accident alone that the executive authothe British constitution, but must wish rity was vested in the same person; and those blessings to be extended to every though by good fortune this circumstance | rank and sect of his fellow subjects. It took place, yet it was to be observed, that might be asked, whether the measure to the tenure of the power given by the one which he had been alluding, might not be legislature was essentially different from adopted as well by a separate as by an that which proceeded from the other. Diffeimperial legislature? That question should rent limits were actually set to the power of be answered by the Irish themselves. Six the executive government in each counweeks had not elapsed since the question try; and it was even a perfect matter of was brought under the consideration of chance that two independent executives the House of Commons of Ireland, and had not been established in one and the same met with the support of precisely three empire. He would mention another point individuals !-A great deal had been said which would also expose the absurdity relative to the adjustment of 1782. If of the arrangement of 1782; and the that adjustment had at that time been complete inadequacy, and even pernici. considered final, he never could have ousness, of two independent legislatures, admitted that circumstance as a conclu- and of the whole imperial connexion as sive argument against a union at pre- then established, and now subsisting, sent; but the fact that those persons most between the two countries. He alluded concerned in its completion did not con- to what happened when the commercial sider it as final, afforded a strong argu- propositions were brought forward in ment in favour of the present measure ; 1785. He did not say in this case as in inasmuch as the measure of itself created the regency, that the very existence of the succedaneum which was confessed to the empire was endangered by the disbe absolutely necessary at that time, and tinctness of the two legislatures, but that which was wanting to supply the place of this distinctness operated most materially that system, and that power which had to the prejudice of Ireland; for the fourth just then been annihilated. He grounded proposition having been considered by the his assertion relative to the opinions held parliament of that country as interfering upon this adjustment by those who con with its legislative independence, and cluded it, upon Mr. Fox's speech on the having been, with the others, on that accommercial proposition in 1785. Mr. count rejected by them, it was clear that Fox then expressly declared, that “ the the legislative distinctness was the real resolution of the House of Commons of cause which had ever since deprived the 17th of May 1782, in no way referred Ireland of the immense commercial adto arrangements of commerce, but solely vantages which were offered to her by and exclusively to objects political and those propositions.-In scholastic dispuimperial.' Now it was no small recom- tations, or in abstract and theoretical dismendation of the present measure, that cussions, it might be sufficient to urge the persons by whom the adjustment of objections, without substituting any thing 1782 was concluded, thought that their in the place of that which was opposed. own work was not sufficient, and that a Such reasoning might be fair in these succedaneum was necessary to replace cases, but he never could allow of it in the power which they had annulled. At practical questions of the nature of that any rate, let the opinions have been what then under consideration. It might not they might, by no principle of reason therefore be unfạir to ask the poble lords could that adjustment have been consi- who opposed the measure of union, what dered as final. Even during the short other measure they would substitute in space of time which had elapsed since its the place of it? From their speeches it conclusion, the absurdity of considering certainly appeared that their opinions, as it as final had been sufficiently demon- to the present unfortunate state of the strated by the facts which had happened. sister kingdom, in no way differed from Every one of their lordships must recol- those entertained by the supporters of lect the discordant proceedings which the present measure; and the same sentiwere adopted by the legislature of each ment as to the necessity of attempting
some amelioration must naturally follow. * See Vol. 25, p. 966,
But, did they think that confidence and
tranquillity were likely to be re-established cumstances which ought imperiously to in Ireland without some great measure of have deterred us from the prosecution of empire, and by the limited powers of a it.- The moment of civil disturbance and local and separate legislature? Did they division, when the necessity of military think a general concession to the Catho- law is alleged by ministers, and acknowlics would tend to convey confidence and ledged by parliament, seems ill calculated security to the great body of proprietors? for ensuring the full and unequivocal conDid they think a radical reform in the re- sent of the Irish people, without which, presentation would tend to assimilate the even the supporters of the measure must Irish to the British constitution, and confess it to be illusory and dangerous in thereby fasten the tie of connexion be the extreme. And to commit the parliatween them? Did they recommend the ment of Great Britain to the wisdom of a renewal of the attempt at compact, and project which the Commons of Ireland conceive that the spirit which led to the have rejected, and to which the inhabirejection of that which was attempted in tants of that kingdom are disinclined, 1785, no longer existed ? In short, during appears to us a whimsical expedient for the whole of these discussions, in both securing the connexion of the two councountries, he had not heard of one singlein- tries, and consolidating the strength of dividual proposing anyone single plan which the empire. he
gave it as his opinion would have the 2. “Because, as no jealousy or divi. effect of restoring peace and tranquillity sion has existed between the two legislato that divided country. The measure of tures, the present dangers and discontents union, though it had to combat much in Ireland cannot be attributed to the indeprejudice and much violence, certainly pendence of parliament, but must rather enjoyed a superiority to which no other be considered as the bitter fruits of a could pretend, since it had already re- coercive system of policy suggested by ceived the decided support of one of the his majesty's advisers, and enforced two houses of the legislature, and of near under the sanction of the executive one half of the other. And it was impos- power with unconstitutional and wanton sible for him to observe the comparative severity. moderation of the latter debates in the 3. “Because, though the possibility of House of Commons, nor the addresses a different will in the two separate legislafrom Antrim, Galway, &c. without in- tures cannot be controverted, yet possible dulging a hope, that, hy persevering with inconveniences in remote and extreme firmness and moderation until the pas- cases from supposed legislative measures, sions of men should have somewhat sub- or possible instances of additional embar. sided in that country, truth would triumph rassment to the executive government, over prejudice, and patriotism over cla- are no arguments for the subversion of a mour. But if Ireland was determined to system in which no such inconveniences reject the plan offered to her, the presen- have been experienced, and no such diffitation of the proposed address was essen- culties encountered. For the consetial for the purpose of making known to quences of such reasoning would lead us her and to the world what were the con
on- to consolidate into one the different ditions on which we were willing to unite branches of our own excellent constituwith her.
tion; to remove all the checks which the The question was then put upon the jealousy of our ancestors have imposed on Address, and agreed to,
the executive government; to condema
whatever theory might suppose difficult, Protest against the Address relative to a though practice had shown it to be easy; Union with Ireland.]. The following and to substitute hypothesis and speculaProtest was entered on the Journals : tion for history, fact, and experience. “ Dissentient.
4. Because the notion that a legislative 1. “ Because, the measure of a legisla- union will either conciliate the affections tive, union between Great Britain and of the discontented in Ireland, or furnish Ireland, the policy of which is highly more effectual means for defeating the dequestionable, and the importance of sign of the enemy in that country, seems which demạnds the most calm, dispas- unsupported by reasoning, and in direct sionate, and deliberate 'examination, is contradiction to analogy and experience. persisted in and urged forward in compli- Were we to admit the beneficial conseiment to his majesty's ministers under čiro quences of a union, yet, the benefits which according to such hypothesis, are Scotland, and that two rebellions broke likely to result to Ireland from the mea- out in that kingdom, subsequent to its sure, are, at least, progressive and distant, accomplishment. Farthermore, from what and can furnish, therefore, no reasonable information we have been able to procure hope of allaying immediate discontent, we observe with the deepest concern and suppressing actual rebellion, or defeating alarm, that its discussion in Ireland has designs already on foot. If, indeed, the already been attended with the most fearenemies of the connexion endeavoured to ful symptoms. From the increased effectuate a separation of the two king- powers with which it has recently been doms, by sowing jealousies and dissen. deemed necessary to arm the executive tions between the two parliaments) as power, we cannot but infer, that the proswas the case in Scotland, immediately pect of an incorporating union has failed previous to the union) the measure pro. to conciliate the minds of the disaffected ; posed would manifestly be an effectual, it and from the ferment occasioned by its might be represented as the only, remedy discussion, it is evident that all other par. for the evil : but if it be true that their ties in Ireland are alienated or divided, and object is to disseminate jealousy, and fo- the means of resistance, in case of insurment discontent, not between the distant rection or foreign invasion, thereby matelegislatures and governments of England rially weakened. We thought it there. and Ireland, but between the people and fore more prudent in this moment of parliament, between the governed and alarm to desist from the prosecution of a government of that country; and if | measure, which might become a fresh by representing their legislature as the subject of complaint, and a new source of corrupt agent of British ministers, and discontent and division. And we were slavish engine of British tyranny, they more disposed to seek for the re-estahave succeeded in alienating a large por- blishment of mutual confidence in the tion of his majesty's subjects; and if it be adoption of conciliatory laws, in the farther true, as stated in the report of the removal of odious disabilities, in the recommittees of secrecy of the Irish parlia. dress of grievances, and the operation of ment, that the misrepresentations of a few a milder system of policy on the affecindividuals have been found sufficient to tions of the Irish people, than in any seduce the allegiance of one whole pro- experiment of theory and nominal union vince in Ireland; we are indeed at a loss of
governments. to conceive how the danger of such de- 5. “ Because at a time when the danger signs is to be averted, or the force of of innovation has been deemed a sufficient such misrepresentations diminished, by a pretext for the continuation of abuses, the measure, which reduces the number of re- suspension of improvement, and the prepresentatives of the Irish people, transfers servation of a defective representation of the legal organ of their will out of the bo- the people, we cannot regard without jeasom of their own country, and annihilates lousy and alarm an innovation of direct all independent and exclusive authority in contrary tendency, viz. the introduction that kingdom. An examination of the im- of a number of members into the British mediate consequences which the union for- parliament, from a legislature, one branch merly produced in Scotland, and a con- of which has acknowledged the imperfectemplation of the recent effects of its dis- tion of its own constitution ; and against cussion in Ireland, suggest yet stronger the other branch of which the sale of reasons for doubting its efficacy either in peerages have been publicly alleged, and healing discontents, or furnishing the as publicly offered to be proved. And, means of resistance to any attempt of the however invidious it might be to cite any enemy. We learn from the most authentic example in confirmation of such opinion, documents of those times, that in Scotland we are not so blind to matters of notoits agitation produced disorder and tu- riety, or so deaf to the lessons of experimult; that six years after it passed, ence, as not to apprehend from a measure nearly all the Scotch peers voted for its of this nature an enormous increase of the dissolution, and founded that vote on the influence of the crown; neither could we discontents it had occasioned; that it re- perceive, either in the present temper of mained for a long period a subject of sul. the Irish people inflamed by civil animo. len discontent; that a promise of its dis-sity and exasperated by recent rebellion, solution was consideredby the agents of the or in the general moderation of his mapretender as advantageous to his cause in jesty's present advisers, any thing to allay our apprehensions or relieve our jca. Some of those objections may have lousies, and we were unwilling to give our scemed plausible for ingenious; scarcely consent, at a period when new burthens any, I think, have been weighty or subare every day imposed, and new sacrifices , stantial; none, I am sure, of sufficient every day required of the people, to a weight to counterbalance the numerous measure which must supply additional benefits which there is such reason to exreasons for doubting the adequacy of their pect from the adoption of the measure. representation, and suspecting the inde. But they have been frequently suited to pendence of parliament.
meet those passions and prejudices, which (Signed)
« HOLLAND naturally exist, or have been artfully ex" THANET cited in our sister kingdom; and, if we 6 King,"
feel it our duty, to recommend the pro
posed incorporation to our fellow subDebate in the Commons on the Address jects there, we owe it to them and to our. relative to a Union with Ireland.] April selves to spare no pains in the endeavour 12. The Address of the Lords was com- to remove, by dispassionate reasoning and municated to the Commons at a confer- cool deliberation, such obstacles as may ence, and ordered to be taken into consi- have appeared to them, or any number of deration on the 22nd.
them, to stand in the way of what most of
us here, I believe, consider as material for April 22. The House proceeded to our interests and essential to theirs. take the said Address into consideration. To those who have attended to the va. The Address having been read twice, rious modes of resistance to the proposal Mr. Pitt moved, “ That this House doth of a union, which have been resorted to agree with the Lords in the said Address by different persons, two circumstances to be presented to his Majesty." Upon must have occurred as very remarkable. which,
One has been so well expressed in the reMr. Sylvester Douglas rose and said : solutions of the grand jury of the county Mr. Speaker --I took occasion on a former of the city of Cork, that I should do it inday to express my humble hope, that if a justice not to introduce the mention of it regular opportunity should again occur, in the very language they have used ; the House would permit me to lay before “ Whilst we lament,” say they, “ that them some thoughts on this great subject, any difference of opinion should exist in which have appeared to me worthy of this kingdom upon so important a ques. their attention ; and to explain some of tion, we cannot but remember how unathe grounds on which my opinion has nimous the rebellious and traitorous enebeen formed in favour of a union with mies of the country are in their reprobaIreland. Nobody to whom I am known, tion of the measure.” The plan of the will, I am persuaded, impute to me the United Irishmen, with the assistance of presumptuous folly of imagining that I the inveterate foe of the British empire have it in my power to improve on what and constitution, is, to effect a separation those men of transcendent talents, and between Great Britain and Ireland. It is eminent political wisdom and experience, natural, therefore, that they should-dread who have taken the principal share in the nothing so much as any measure which former debates, have advanced on the they must look upon as fatal to that fa. leading points of this question. But it is vourite object. That separation is their a question of such extent, that it may favourite object, we have many incontesfairly be thought that even yet several tible proofs, but it is sufficient for me now important topics remain for consideration, to refer to the declaration of their founder, and some new views of those which have Tone, subjoined to the Report of the Sebeen already discussed. It has been for cret Committee of the Irish House of Lords a considerable length of time before the in 1797 ; and the detestation of a union, public in both kingdoms : it has given which on that account the same class of rise to various arguments in both Houses men have always expressed is equally no of this and the other parliament: and torious. The furious declamations of upon every fresh occasion, additional M-Nevin, Lewins, and others, have been lights have been thrown upon it, and new more than once referred to in this place: difficulties and objections have been and within not many weeks from the preraised, by the fertility and eagerness of sent moment, some of those self concontest and opposition.
victed traitors have contrived to publish to the world new libels on the government constituent body, or the electors, have no and constitution of their country,* their such authority; they have not, by the pracmain view in which has manifestly been, tice or true theory of our constitution, to co-operate to this particular end with any power of deliberation on any question those who, though of a very different whatever ; their only business as electors description, and acting undoubtedly from being that of selecting and nominating motives of mistaken patriotism, have those whom they think the fittest persons exerted their talents and influence to to exercise that share of legislation which counteract and retard that happy conso- is vested in the third estate of parliament: lidation of the empire which bis ma- the act of the election is the beginning jesty's paternal goodness has recom- and end of their functions ; the latent poo mended to the consideration of both his litical rights of the people at large, whatparliaments.
ever they may be, bave not been deleThe other circumstance is, that the gated to them; and those gentlemen, on opposers of union have almost all endea- the other side, who are the most strenuous voured to convince us, that the case of advocates against a union, would, I the incorporation of Scotland and Eng- should think, be very unwilling to devolve land in 1707, is not in any degree appli- that authority which is denied to the cable on the present occasion. I think elected, on the elective body, as now conthere is considerable dexterity, though stituted; since, in their opinion, they ought perhaps not a great deal of candour, in to be deprived of the very elective franthis attempt. In all great political opera- chise itself, by what they call a reform of tions, experience and historical precedent parliament; the scheme of such reform are the best and safest guides. Those being, in many instances literally, and gentlemen have, therefore, justly thought virtually in all, to deprive the present they should have a better chance of gain. electors of that franchise. ing their end, if they could induce us to But if the electors cannot deliberate shut our eyes against history, and wander and decide on such a measure, much less with them in the obscure mazes of theory can the people at large; who never, I beand speculation. Their ingenuity might lieve, in the smallest state, or most comthen, perhaps, bewilder and perplex us; plete democracy, bave exercised, in fact, whereas, if we recur to that memorable by universal individual suffrage, delibeevent, its similarity to what is now pro- rative, judicial, or legislative authority. posed, both in principle and in all its Yet to maintain that the constitutional most characteristic features, is so great, legislature of a country has not the right that they naturally feel it furnishes, by its of doing certain acts, however clearly becomplete success, after the trial of a cen- neficial to that country, without a previous tury, the strongest and most irresistible special commission from the mass of the refutation of their arguments.
nation, leads immediately to the false and In the first and preliminary point, for mischievous principle of the direct sove. instance, of the question of union, that reignty of the people, and to that equally transaction is most especially applicable, mischievous fiction to which it has given being the direct case of a national de- rise, viz. that an original compact between cision on the right and competency of the governors and governed is the only parliament. I will not enter at large into lawful foundation of government. Indeed, the general argument concerning the ex- to resort to the elementary parts of a natraordinary powers of the supreme legis- tion, the numerical aggregate of indivilature of a country. It has been amply duals composing it, for authority to form and ably treated in several of the prior an union, would be a complete admission stages of the present business, in this of such sovereignty; as the terms and House. If the parliament, in our repre conditions with which this numerical mass sentative government, is not competent might choose to accompany that delegato treat of, and conclude an incorporated tion of power, would be an exemplificaunion, there is no authority which is; and, tion of such original compact. But what consequently, a legitimate union, in such sort of philosophy is that, which traces governments, never could take place. The the foundation of all political phenomena
to a fact which no history shows ever to * Arthur O'Connor's Letter to lord Castle. have existed, which the consideration of reagh.--Demonstration, &c. ascribed to Dr. the human character, and the daily trans. MI-Nevin.
actions, and past and present situations et