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the sea forms a geographical separation the Mediterranean, or even of those in between them, which did not exist in the her own immediate neighbourhood, in St. case of England and Scotland; but, on George's Channel, or on the western the other hand, Dublin is nearer to Lon- coast of France. Is any one so ignorant don than Edinburgh is; and the journey, as not to perceive how materially such renotwithstanding the sea passage, 'is, I be- gulations may affect the commercial and lieve, in general, performed in a shorter political interests of Ireland ? On the time; Cork, Limerick, and Londonderry, admission of her representatives among are nearer to it than several of the princi. those of this island, she will immediately pal towns in the north of Scotland; and acquire her proportionate share in all no part of Ireland is so far removed from those great concerns; a voice in the legisthis city as the counties of Sutherland and lative government of Great Britain, and Caithness; not to mention again the Ork- of every part of the British dominions. ney and the Shetland islands. Besides, This is not all; Ireland will not only have it is to be observed. that Great Britain is this share of general legislation through the only neighbour of Ireland, and that, the influence and suffrages of her own while the eastern coast of Scotland is open immediate representatives : she will also be to a near and easy intercourse with other represented and entitled to speak through countries, Great Britain intercepts almost the influence and suffrages of every one of entirely all direct communcation between the 513 members chosen in this island. Ireland and the continent of Europe, This was ably pointed out in a former dewhile the immense expanse of the Atlantic bate, by a gentleman (Mr. Peel), who, divides that island from all other parts of on that occasion, discovered the most enthe globe. If we add to these considera- larged and liberal views of general policy, tions the many and important facilities, united to the soundest speculative as well or rather invitations, to a more thorough as practical knowledge of commerce and incorporation of England and Ireland manufactures. and which now must comprehend Scotland And here we may perceive the gross that did not exist in the former case; fallacy of the idea which so often mixes the same system of laws, civil and com- itself in these debates, and bas, as we mercial; the same rules of property; si- have seen, been founded on in the argumilar tribunals ; corresponding forms of ment of incompetency, viz. that the conlegislature; a common origin; extensive cerns of Ireland will be solely and excluconsanguinity, and intermarriages; the sively attended to, and this too on a pringreat number of those who, by succession ciple of opposition and hostility, by or acquisition, are daily becoming owners the smaller number of members which of land in both kingdoms; the same esta- she will have to choose. It will, on the blished religion; the same course of edu. contrary, be then the duty, and on all cation, &c. &c. ;- if we consider all these great points will, I am satisfied be the circumstances, that of absolute territorial desire and the true interest of those contiguity seems to be infinitely out- elected here, to give their due weight to weighed, and, as it were, totally to vanish the interests, general or local, of Ireland, from our sight.
in their deliberations and in their votes ; Having incidentally cleared away, as I, and in cases where they do not, I am apt flatter myself I have, this objection of the to believe, what respects Ireland will be want of immediate juxta-position, I shall wholly left to the decision of the Irish not, for the present, revert to any farther members, as I have already observed to examination of more general, or, as they have happened so generally in regard to are often called, imperial considerations: the Scotch members of the British parliabut will now proceed to take a view of ment, when the subject before the legislasome of the peculiar benefits which I ture has merely related to Scotland. Nathink Ireland would derive from the pro- tural and fair reasons for this, and equally posed arrangement. At present, she has applicable to Ireland, might easily be no share whatever in the legislation of stated; but it is enough here to appeal to Great Britain, nor in that of the empire. the fact, which has been so notorious, Her parliament can take no part in the that when my right hon. friend asked in a regulations necessary for the government former debate, whether Scotland had, in and administration of our foreign posses- consequence of her comparatively small sions in the East and West Indies, in number of forty-five members, been opAsia, Africa, or America, of those in pressed or taxed beyond her proportion since the union? the mere supposition, improve, have not the means of acquiring so contrary to experience, forced a smile such an habitual and detailed knowledge of from the gentlemen on the other side of the characters, circumstances, and interests the House.
of that kingdom, as would have been But, as I have just said, every indivi- necessary to enable them to have judged dual in the united parliament will, in with sufficient certainty of thejustice or poprinciple, and as a duty, have vested in licy of such measures. I do not mean here him a portion of British and also a to refer to those persons in that kingdom portion of Irish representation, and this who have borrowed from the phraseology in the ratio of the comparative weight of their predecessors in Scotland the inand importance of the two countries in Aammatory and inapplicable terms of fothe general scale; and do not let gentle- reign government, foreign cabinet, foreign men pay so poor a compliment to the ministers, &c. I speak of many men candour and wisdom of British legislators firmly attached to the connexion with as to think they will either supinely, or Britain and the interests of the empire, partially shut out from their minds”im and who consider Irishmen and Britons portant objects which may more immedi- not as foreigners to each other, but as ately concern Ireland, but the decision on friends and countrymen living under the alwhich cannot but also affect the welfare legiance of the same sovereign, and entitled of the whole united kingdom. Many, inreciprocally to all the privileges—I was deed, chosen for Great Britain will feel going to say of citizenship, but that word even personal motives as strong or stronger has been profaned,—of natural born-subfor looking to the advantage of Ireland as jects, in either kingdom. Men even of for consulting that of this country. Have that description are not unfrequently we, for instance, any reason to suppose heard to say, “ The government in Engthat the hon. member for Stafford (Mr. land is unacquainted with the concerns Sheridan), if he should happily fail, as I and the people of this country. They trust he will, in the object of his present seldom interfere without doing harm. mistaken zeal, and the union should be Why do they not leave us to ourselves.” established, will be a less vigilant guar. It is needless to argue the obvious indian of the privileges and interests of his admissibility of the conclusion thus drawn native land, than of those of the country from premises concerning the truth of he has thought fit to adopt? Or will a which it is not my business to inquire. native of Great Britain, if he happens also The administrators of the supreme super. to be a merchant principally engaged in intending government of the empire, in Irish commerce, and looking to that all its parts, must reside near the person country as the source of his wealth and of the sovereign. But though we cannot fortune ; will the opulent English mort- give way to the principle, it does not folgagee of an estate in Ireland (of which low that the facts may not, in some indescription some, I believe, have now stances, have proved more or less true. seats in that House), will men of that Now, Sir, the incorporation of the legislasort, members chosen for British seats, to tures would, I think, by the frequent prethe united parliament, be apt to overlook sence of the Irish peers and commoners that part of their duty which they will at the seat of general government, afford owe to the sister island ? Such gentle a perfect cure to this evil. Men thomen are even now prompt enough, and I roughly acquainted with all the affairs of mention it to their honour, to speak as if that kingdom ; natives, probably, of all or they already represented Ireland here. most of the different cities and counties; But, as matters stand, they can hardly do persons possessing property, engaged in so constitutionally, and certainly not (trade and manufactures, or exercising effectually. If a union take place, professions over the whole extent of the such a conduct will be at once reconcile country, would be then, during the sitting able to their inclination, their rights, and of parliament, ready on the spot to repretheir duty.
sent to the ministers, or even submit diSir, it has been a very common objec- rectly to the sovereign: and when the tion in Ireland to measures affecting that occasion called on them, in the different country undertaken by the government stages of any measure, or on the first here, that ministers in London, with all pressure of any emergency, would have it the opportunities their stations may fur- in their power to bring before the eyes of nish, and their sense of duty urge them to the impartial legislature itself, and support in both Houses, by their weight, | luerim veris offendere quam placere their talents, and their suffrages, what. adulando.” Is, then, a parliament indeever their duty to their country, or to pendent, whose proceedings cannot retheir immediate constituents, might seem ceive the force of law without the act of to require.
persons not members of that parliament But the most seducing topic with the in any of its branches, and who, in acting vulgar, and with some also in Ireland of a or refusing to act in that respect, are higher class, who possess a stronger sense themselves responsible to another parliathan understanding of national dignity and ment? Yet that this is the very condihonour, has been the independence of tion and state of the Irish parliament is their country. This is represented as so clear from the statute book of Ireland; inseparably connected with the parliament and, indeed, its being so, is fondly consithey now enjoy, that when the mode of dered by some of the most able opposers their legislation shall be changed, and of a union, as essential to the happy they shall cease to have this parliament connexion of that country with this. exclusively their own, they imagine the “ The statute [Irish St. 20. & 22. Geo. nation must cease to be independent, and 3rd, c. 47.] enacts, that no bill shall pass that they will become a debased and de- into a law in Ireland, unless it be returned graded people. Sir, when such a change under the great seal of Great Britain ; as is proposed is considered as a degrada- thus not leaving the connexion of the two tion and debasement, it certainly must kingdoms a bare junction under one arise from some confusion in the ideas sovereign, but securing the continuance annexed to those words. If Ireland and its of that connexion, by making the British parliament shall be incorporated with the minister answerable to the British nation. British nation and parliament, they will -if any law should receive the royal asundoubtedly lose their distinctness, and sent in Ireland which could in any way identity. They will no longer have a se- injure the empire, be incompatible with parate political existence; they will be- its imperial interests, or tend to separate come, but so will Great Britain and her Ireland from it.” [Mr. Foster's speech, parliament, parts only of the united p. 24]. whole; and in as far as a part cannot be To analyse this matter more in detail. said to be independent of the other parts, The great seal of Great Britain cannot be Ireland will, in that sense, become depen- put to an Irish bill but by the chancellor dent on Great Britain, but so will Great or lord keeper of that seal, who will selBritain on Ireland. If after this it shall dom execute this duty of his office withbe contended that the lesser part is more out the concurrence of those other minis. dependent than the greater the argument ters of state, members of the British will be found to resolve itself into what council, who constitute what is called the we have already discussed, namely the ef. cabinet. Every act so done, though fects of the disproportion of numbers be- under the command of the king, is an tween the Irish and British members of executive, not a legislative act, which the the common parliament.
minister advises and performs at his peril, May I, however, be permitted to ask | liable to be called to account for it by imwhether the Irish parliament, even since peachment in this parliament. His mathe boasted revolution or constitution of jesty's personal expression of his assent 1782, is, or ever can, in its separate, yet to an Irish statute is perhaps as purely connected state, be totally independent ? legislative as that by which he assents to I know, Sir, that this may be reckoned a British law; but every public act done delicate ground, but it has been resorted by a subject, except his speaking and to by the enemies of a union, and I but voting in parliament, is in its nature exefollow them in entering upon it: and be- cutive, and that for which he is responsible. sides, I feel too strongly the ties of duty | In the sentence I just now repeated, there and affection by which I hold myself to seems to be implied some suggestion that be connected with that country as well as the responsibility of the British ministers this, to avoid any part of the argument, is confined to the case of Irish statutes which has been rendered necessary to a affecting the empire at large, or tending sound decision, merely because if ill un. to a separation of the two kingdoms. The derstood, what I may say upon it may Irish act referred to, says no such thing. prove unpopular in the neighbouring It is indeed very common to hear a dis. kingdom. ' In such circumstances " ma- tinction made between acts of the Irish
parliament, concerning the local policy of some middle way, suggested by good and interests of that kingdom, and those temper and good sense, so as not to alarm whose objects are imperial. In a popular the dignity of Ireland, or commit the imsense, and in extreme cases such a dis- perial authority resident here. But more tinction no doubt exists. A road or es- than once, even since I have had my attate bill in Ireland can hardly, by any tention directed to Irish affairs, situations possibility, concern the empire at large; have arisen in which the English ministry and it might be folly in a British chan have thought it their duty to exercise, cellor or cabinet to exercise any judg. without such a temperature, an immediate ment, or apprehend any responsibility, in controlling authority in Ireland. Now, regard to it. But the law draws no line, Sir, whenever this has happened, they and in every Irish statute of any consider | have incurred more than the hazard of able moment, the empire must be more rousing the jealousy, and affronting the or less concerned. Who is to judge of high spirit of some of those persons in the degree in which it is so, or of the pro- that kingdom who had been accustomed priety and safety of advising his majesty to a leading share in the measures of her to receive or reject any such statute ? government, and may think they are conwho but the minister or ministers who may scious to themselves of a superior knowbe questioned for giving that advice and ledge of her affairs. Here, then, is a carrying it into effect. Does not this dilemma which has already occasioned prove that there still remains a real and many difficulties, and which, unless some substantial subordination or dependence of remedy can be applied, will, I fear, be the Irish on the British parliament; a de- the source of growing embarrassment to pendence or subordination inherent in both governments, and much ill blood the very nature of the present mode of between the two countries; nor can I see connexion between the two countries.- the possibility of any alteration which can With regard to th: 2 executive government, have the effect of a remedy whilst the its subordination is still more obvious. present system remains. His majesty, in The king's solemn commands, to be exe- order to exercise his legislative and executed in Ireland, are either communicated cutive functions, must either go to Ireto the lord lieutenant when he enters land; or he must exercise them through upon his office, by his commission and the medium of servants, responsible and general instructions under the seals of impeachable here; or Ireland, by its reGreat Britain, or by king's letters, trans- presentatives, must come to England. mitted from time to time, and counter- The first of these plans would only resigned by one of the secretaries of state, move the difficulty as to Ireland by throwor, in revenue matters, by the lord trea- ing it upon Great Britain ; and besides. surer, or three of the lords of the Treasury. the residence of the king of the British
What is the consequence of all this? | dominions any where but in Great Britain Ireland is still jealous of her indepen- will hardly be proposed. The second we dency. We are told by many, that she have shown to be incompatible with the conquered that independency, and will real independency of Irish legislative and maintain it by the sword; she therefore executive government. The third, thererevolts at the practical exercise of powers fore, only remains; i. e. such, a legislaconstitutionally vested in the parliament tive union and incorporation, as that the and ministers of this country. The go. Irish nation shall be represented in this vernment here, partly from the fear of country by an adequate number of lords renewing former or exciting new animosi- and commoners, returned to serve at ties, partly from other causes, are sup- Westminster in a common or united parposed in general cases to leave matters to liament. Then, indeed, it will be no the Irish parliament, and the ministers of longer true of Ireland, that she “must that country. From time to time, how tamely follow Great Britain with submisever, points will occur where there may sion and subserviency;" then she will be appear cogent reasons for their exercising no longer “ gens quæ juxta, jacet, dubiæ their own discretion, and this perhaps in a libertatis ;" the country and its legislation manner contrary to the sentiments pre- will then, by their identification with this, vailing with the servants of the crown in be truly independent. They never can Ireland. In such cases the difficulty may be so otherwise, unless Ireland will sepaoften be surmounted by the prudence of rate herself from Great Britain, and can confidential intercourse, and the adoption trust to her own strength and means in resisting, or to the liberality of our enemies tract, by which, for a valuable considerin not attempting to impose upon heration, England became bound to grant the yoke of a government really foreign and maintain it. The valuable consider
Having said so much on the topics of ge-ation was, the relinquishment by Ireland neral policy, in respect to legislation and of her woollen export trade, in which she executive government, I will now examine had or might have become a dangerous this question of union, as it may affect the rival. England had grown jealous of this interests of Ireland in her trade, manufac- rivality ; her manufactures and her partures, and agriculture; interests which, liament had urged king William to check when rightly understood, mutually assist it; he had consented, and had expressed each other, and which may be considered that consent in terms justly offensive to together, being liable in most instances to Ireland; a negotiation ensued, and acts be improved or injured by the same of each of the two parliaments passed, by causes. The advocates against a union which Ireland engaged to withdraw from have used much subtilty, though, in all competition as to woollen goods, on general, little method or order, in arguing the condition that England would give this part of the subject. They seem to that preference and assistance which she contend, that Ireland is now in a most does to the linen manufactory of Ireland; flourishing situation, and in a state of pro- in consequence of this treaty, the woollen gressive improvement; that she owes this, fabrics, of which she at that time exin the first place, to a compact under ported to the amount of 110,000l. a year, which her linen trade has been cultivated were abandoned; they cannot be resumed; with the most happy success; and in the and therefore Great Britain cannot recall next, to that more solemn compact with or cancel that obligation by which she Great Britain, “ the glorious constitution engaged herself to promote, in the manof 1782," which enabled her to legislate ner alleged, the linen trade of that for herself, and secure, protect, and che country.” Such is in substance the staterish by her own vigilant attention to the ment made. great objects of her prosperity, that trade, It is extraordinary, but true, that since and all the other branches of her com- these debates began, many persons, not merce, her manufactures, and her agricul. ill informed in matters of this sort, have ture. These compacts they treat as avowed their ignorance, and unsucessful binding and complete. They cannot be endeavours to obtain the knowledge of departed from, and nothing farther is the documents and acts in which this supwanting to the growing prosperity and posed compact is contained, of its date, safety of Ireland. But a union would particular clauses and provisions, and of annul them, would shake or destroy every the sanctions, whether of a statutable or security which they have established, diplomatic nature, by which it was and would substitute in their place, the guarded. But what I have to add, is capricious, selfish, and despotic will of an still more extraordinary, and equally true, unjust, narrow minded, and rapacious namely, that, such as it was, it no longer rival. These, perhaps, are not the words, exists, but was totally and entirely rebut I think they express, and do not ex. pealed and made void, many years ago, aggerate the meaning of what has been at the instance of Ireland herself; and frequently and very recently insisted that the advantages which Great Britain upon.
still confers on the linen trade of Ireland, Let us, therefore, a little inquire, how are, on her part, at the present hour, these different allegations stand in point merely gratuitous, whatever may be the of fact. And first, as to the supposed motives of generosity, policy, or selfcompact concerning the linen trade. It interest, which induce her to continue is admitted that Great Britain is the great them. For my own part, I know of no customer of Ireland for that her staple satisfactory evidence of agreements or commodity: that we receive it for our compacts between nations, except what home consumption free of all duty; and are to be found in their diplomatic or leencourage its re-exportation from hence gislative records. I have accordingly to foreign parts by the same bounties endeavoured to trace the history of the which we bestow on our own manufacture. business I am now discussing, in those This, I say, is admitted ; but, it is stated, sure, and only sure, repositories of the “ That this encouragement to the Irish national transactions of both countries linen trade is the effect of a special con with each other-their respective statute