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and other respects, solely under those | supply of that market. In confirmation
put down the
make it appear, 1st, that Ireland takes gainer by carrying the East and West from Great Britain to the amount of India articles required for the consumption 14,000l. a year more, under the first head, of Ireland. But could Ireland, all cir. than Great Britain does from her ; 2nd, cumstances considered, obtain those artithat she supplies Britain with an excess cles so beneficially in any other way? of raw materials, including articles of Her own tonnage is not equal to the prime necessity, to the amount of no less carriage of her own produce and manufacthan 2,463,4771.; and, 3rd, that the excess tures to this country ; and in the present of the foreign articles exported from this state of things, even the rest of Europe is country into Ireland, over the similar almost entirely supplied by Great Britain, imports from thence into this country, is notwithstanding the protection the naval 1,366,3091. This is a very different me- commerce of several other states derives thod of stating the case from what has from their neutrality. When to these been usual. I have endeavoured to as considerations we add the immense variety certain whether, the right clue might not of channels of a more advantageous nature, be found to this seeming refutation of the in a mercantile view, in which it is well hitherto received opinion, that the profit. known that the British capital vested in able balance is very greatly in favour of this branch of her carrying trade might Ireland. I think it may, and I will attempt be employed, we shall not easily be perto explain myself in regard to it, in the suaded to place whatever gain arises from best manner I can. 1. To the amount of it to the credit side of Ireland, in settling British manufactures taken off by Ireland, accounts between that country and this. which, by Mr. Irving's tables, is but 2. Under the general head of raw ma1,640,1951. have been added all the arti-terials, &c. exported from Ireland, have cles brought either from our American been included, by the description of articolonies, or the East Indies, the value of cles of prime necessity, beef, butter, which is not less than 970,0001. “Much pork, corn, and other provisions; Irish of this,” we are told, " is real manufac. linen yarn is also classed under this head ; ture, and that the rest may be deemed so, while cheese, fish, such as cod and on account of the employ of labour in the herrings, &c. and raw silk and cotton colony, and of the shipping.” [Mr. Fos- 1 yarn, are articles classed as manufactures ter's speech, p. 80]. But surely it can among the British exports. But in comnever be intended seriously to maintain, parisons of this sort, the expression of that Great Britain profits as much by the raw materials” has been generally used industry, skill, and labour employed by to signify matters which constitute the the people of the East and West Indies in basis of a manufacture, and contribute manufacturing for the use of these king: thereby much more to the wealth of the doms their own raw materials, as Ireland country to which they are carried, and where does by those of her inhabitants engaged they are worked up, than in their rude state in ber domestic fabrics. Indeed, as to they had done to that of the country supplythe British West Indian and American ing them. In this sense, beef, corn, &c. colonies, it seems to me, that since a full cannot with any propriety be ranked under participation in the trade with them has that description ; they add nothing to the been opened to Ireland, the opulence wealth of the country importing them; acquired by manufactures or otherwise in they continue just worth the price at first those parts of the British dominions, in as paid for them, and in the case under our far as it is not to be considered as merely consideration, if not obtained from Irelocal, merely West Indian or American, land, the same capital would probably is to be reckoned not British more than procure them elsewhere, or might be Irish, but imperial; and this is also true directed to the production of them at as to the East Indies, supposing the Irish home. act of 1793 (33 Geo. 3, c. 31) to have 3. Although the sum of 970,0001. by secured to Ireland as great a share of the title of colonial goods, had been added commercial intercourse with that country under the first of these three heads to the as she had in any way the means of carry amount of British manufactures exported ing on; a supposition more than warrant- to Ireland, it is here retained to make up ed by the little, or rather, I believe, no the gross sum of 1,468,1731. as the value use she has made of the privileges since of foreign articles taken by Ireland from she obtained it. With regard to the Great Britain, and is thus twice charged shipping, undoubtedly Great Britain is a against this country: this has clearly happened! by mistake, though it makes a sound policy, and by the operation of most material difference indeed in the various causes, on the natural frailty of result. But it is said, “ the excess of human counsels and conduct, adopted gain to Great Britain must appear prodi- measures at once injurious to themselves gious, if we consider that of all that gross and to their neighbours? or is wisdom of sum of near a million and a half, only conduct to be the possession in perpetuity 407,0001. is East India trade; and that the exclusive riglit-of all the successive what remains, to the value of above a administrations and parliaments which, in million, is open to be imported direct to all times to come, are to hold the reins Ireland, were she obliged or inclined to of government, and exercise the functions import it so. [Mr. Foster's Speech, p. 81.] of legislation in Great Britain ? Should Undoubtedly it is open to her ; but if she the principles which now prevail on comcould do it to advantage, will any man mercial subjects lose their influence ; who knows the nature of trade suppose should disputes, prejudices, passion, and that she would not have the inclination, animosity, ever take their place in adjustbut would suffer Great Britain to gain ing the relations of trade between the two from her what she does by thus acting as islands; and to what bindivg laws, to what her carrier? The truth is, she wants inviolable treaty can Ireland appeal? or shipping and capital, what she has, being what will then avail towards compelling necessarily occupied to better advantage, the admission of her commodities into the or for more necessary purposes ; and such British ports and markets, or the exporbeing the case, can we in fairness be tation of what she may want from thence, required to set this down as a benefit her own parliament, the supposed adewhich Great Britain holds at the good quate guardian of her trade, its vigilance, will of her sister kingdom ?
its regulations, and its bounties? Will Thus, sir, I think we must still retain the independence and distinctness of that the belief hitherto so prevalent with the parliament be able to ward off the blow, generality of those in both countries, who which on such a supposition may be aimed have most deeply considered such matters, at her prosperity, when she shall have that in their commercial intercourse the shut her ears to that warning voice which balance between them is greatly in favour now calls upon her to listen to the saluof Ireland, and it follows, of course, that tary measure by which alone she can be Ireland, in the present relative situation really and completely secured against the of the two kingdoms, must depend entirely possibility of such an evil? on the policy and wisdom of the British We are, it is true, too apt to think, parliament for the continuance of whatever when we think superficially, that our despart of her general prosperity she derives cendants will never relapse into errors from that source. This indeed is some similar to those of our forefathers, from times admitted : it is admitted that Great which we have escaped ; and that what Britain, by what is called a war of duties appears right and wise to us, must be and prohibitions, might injure Ireland for thought so by them. But does experia time; of this America, it is said, affords ence confirm this opinion? Those who ample proof; but that Britain herself must have attended to the great and numerous suffer in such a contest, and that her fluctuations of system in our national po. wisdom, her liberality, and her own licy, foreign and domestic, will, I believe, interest will forbid her entering into such decide otherwise : hostilities. I entirely agree in the position “We think our fathers fools, so wise we grow: that it is not only liberal, but wise, and Our wiser sons, no doubt, will think us so—" for her own advantage, that the present is the sensible, though perhaps not very. system should be persevered in by this poetical reflexion of a great and sagacious country, though I regret that America poet. Have we not heard the obsolete should have been unnecessarily mentioned, notion of making Ireland a British garand this at the very time, and as it were rison, revived in this House, and from a with the same breath with which the right most respectable quarter? On the prehon. gentleman who has proposed an sent occasion it was indeed, I think, a union was in my opinion most unjustly single, and if the hon. gentleman will paraccused of holding out threats to induce don the expression, a singular opinion ; Ireland to accede to it. Alas! Sir, have but a change of time and circumstances we, then, no instances where the wisest may perhaps render it less so. I dread nations have eparted from the line of to reflect on the possibility of its ever
becoming reasonable; those, however, regulations of 1782 [Mr. Foster's Speech, who will have to determine, may think it p. 109]. so, when the sentiments of none of us can Some admit that there are commercial have any share in the deliberation. What benefits still left for Great Britain to was the case of Scotland ? every body bestow; that a perfectly free commumust now admit that, being under the nication between the two islands, a comsame king, who was also head of both plete interchange of commodities of all parliaments, and with the rules of succes. sorts, without the charge of any kind of sion to the crown (till the Revolution) duty in their transit from the one to the the same in both kingdoms, it would have other, would greatly redound to the adbeen the interest of England to have en- vantage of Ireland; that she would then couraged the trade of Scotland, and con- send more manufactured goods to Great ferred upon her every favour that could Britain than she yet does, and receive a have tended to increase her prosperity. greater quantity and variety of raw mateBut how different was the conduct she rials from thence. But then it is asked, actually held to her! Was the parliament why should not this country complete her of Scotland less independent than the system of liberality to the sister kingdom? Irish parliament has been since 1782, and That is in one moment called liberality, does it not appear from history, that which in another is described as mere Scotland was to the full as desirous, had selfishness, or an unwilling ransom exshe had the means of establishing a na- torted by intimidation. Why should she tional commerce, and rivalling in her not grant to Ireland, without the condiproportion the trade and manufactures of tion of a union, what by benefiting her the neighbouring kingdom, as Ireland can must also benefit herself? Others, hownow possibly be to retain and augment ever, tell us, that if the British minister those which she at present possesses ? In were to ask them what farther trade could 1785, those persons in Ireland who, in my be opened? what new manufactures proopinion had the best knowledge of her moted ? their answer would be “ You interests, did not think the advantages she can give us nothing, and our only request then enjoyed from her commercial con- on the part of Ireland is, that you will let nexionwith Great Britain, were sufficiently us alone.” [Mr. Foster's Speech, p. 77.] safe under the shield of British acts and Bri- Both these grounds are taken by different tish policy; “ they wished to have the se- persons in arguing against a union, and curity of a legislative compact” [Mr. Fos. for the purpose of proving that Ireland ter's Speech, p. 87], and this country was either ought to obtain, or if she has aldesirous to give them that security, in as ready obtained, ought for ever to be perbinding and permanent a form as was mitted to possess every possible benefit compatible with the existence of distinct of trade she can derive from this kinglegislatures. The mistaken jealousy of dom, without our proposing that she speculative independence defeated the should agree to that measure; that is, plan. It is now proposed to give them a agree to a settlement which, while it legislative security of a much more bind would afford the only permanent security ing nature, one as indissoluble as human for those benefits, would, in my opinion, wisdom can devise or imagine ; but we at the same time confer others of a still are now told by some of the strongest more important nature than any commeradvocates for the much more imperfect cial advantage whatever, both on that measure of that year, even in respect to country and on this. With that opinion. commerce, that a compact by union to : I do not scruple to say, in regard to such dissolve which, no legitimate authority commercialboons as may still be left in the would any longer exist in either country, power of Great Britain, that I would not would be a measure pregnant with dan- be hasty to part with them, if there were ger and mischief to Irish trade and manu- any chance that a belief that they can factures. With what success, the con- only be acquired through a union, might sistency of these sentiments has been con- work in its favour on the selfish tempers tended fur, I shall leave to others to de- of those who overlook the many more termine; it is now, it seems thought weighty political reasons for its adopsafest solely to trust to “a connexion
tion. rivetted on the interests, the sentiments, As to the advantages which have aland the affections of both nations, and ready been granted, though it may be, those rivets closed and kept firm, by the and undoubtedly is, true, that, in contributing to the prosperity of Ireland, found in Ireland, and which will always they also promote that of the whole em- render them so much cheaper in the pire, of which she forms so material a former country, that the Irish consumer part; what if the machinations of foreign will rather import them from thence, and domestic enemies,--the suggestions than buy them as made at home. 2nd. of ill-directed national vanity,—the ex. Neither will a union induce the English aggerated and mistaken principle of inde. capitalist to establish such manufactures in pendence, and the restless and prosely Ireland for exportation to foreign markets, tical spirit of democracy, should succeed because those foreign markets have been in tearing asunder this mighty limb from long as open to Ireland as they can be the imperial body: would it, in such case, after a union, and yet no such establishbe still for the interest of Great Britain to ments have taken place. 3rd. As it will continue the laws by which those advan- not carry over English capital to establish, tages have been bestowed ? Sir, I do not either for Irish consumption or foreign like to pursue this train of reflexion : export, those manufactures in which Bribut I am satisfied, that those causes are tain excels Ireland; neither will it attract at this moment operating with such in- it to that manufacture in which Ireland uncreasing energy, that if a union does not dersells Great Britain, namely, the linen ; soon take place, a separation, unfortunate" for though that manufactory has been to Great Britain and ruinous to Ireland, free and prosperous in Ireland for these certainly will.
ninety years, and bas afforded many great I have alreally mentioned my persua fortunes to the industrious who have ension, that the people of Ireland will in gaged in it, yet hardly any British capital time, after a really final settlement of the has settled in it" [Mr. Foster's Speech, connexion and relations between the two p. 75]. countries by an incorporating union, ex- Permit me, Sir, to examine shortly perience the advantages of a communica- how these different points are made out. tion of English capital and credit. This “Iron and pottery," it is said, “ depend position has been treated as “a foolish, so totally on plenty and cheapness of absurd, futile, and unsupported asser- fuel, that they exist only in the coal tion" [Mr. Foster's Speech, p. 68.76]; countries, and have never been known, but I think the assertion may be consi- even in England, to make what can be dered as approaching as nearly to a pre. called a settlement at any distance from diction of the truth as any thing can do, a plentiful colliery. In the pottery too, which mere human foresight may conjec- the flint and clay which are so abundant ture concerning future consequences and in England, have not yet been found in events. Is much argument necessary to any quantity in Ireland, and in fact there convince us that monied men will be more is not a single pottery in Ireland. It is ready than at present to lend their capi- self-evident, therefore, that these manutal on landed security, or to pledge their factures never can travel from the country credit by partnerships in trade and manu- which has coal, to that which has it not factures in that country, after it shall pos. - from Britain to Ireland ; and the same sess a steady uniformity of government, facility of fuel must give to Britain a -the same legislature with themselves, decided preference in all manufactures an established conformity of legal deci- where steam engines cheapen the price of sions to those whereby their property is labour. Woollens, though established for regulated and secured at home, – internal centuries in Yorkshire, have never trapeace and habitual industry?
velled in any direction ten miles from the But a detail is gone into to show that coal country, and they are manufactured English money is not likely to be trans- there to such advantage over Ireland, ported to Ireland and vested there, either that England supplies her to the value of in trade or manufactures. If I understand near 600,0001. a year, though burdened the general scope of that detail, it is this : with an important duty of more than 8 Ist. A union will not carry over English per cent. And as to cottons, machinery capital to be employed in the manufactory being more used in this manufactory than in Ireland of any of the great articles of in the others, the Irish cannot, even on consumption with which we now supply the eastern coast opposite the British that country, viz. woollens, cotton goods, collieries, make cotton twist within at iron, and pottery, because England has least 20 per cent as cheap as Britain can advantages for those fabrics not to be supply them. In Britain, during the con