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lord Fitzwilliam, and the recall of lord cast;- the sun should hide his head; and Fitzwilliam produced the rebellion accord- then, in the darkness that would cover ing to them. Undoubtedly, he did recall their land, they should acknowledge the lord Fitzwilliam. Fortunately the world anger of the offended deity, whose miniswas not now in ignorance as to the causes ter and messenger he was. It could of that recall. Lord Fitzwilliam was sent hardly be necessary to inform the House, to Ireland with instructions not to bring that Columbus was enabled, by the aid forward the Catholic question nor to allow of his pocket almanack, to foretel an it to be brought forward at that time, if eclipse, of which the Indians, not being he could prevent it. The Catholic ques- provided with any similar almanack, were tion was brought forward:-and lord Fitz- wholly unapprized. And it could scarcely william was recalled. Undoubtedly, too, be necessary to add, that upon the eclipse there were those who, at the time of that taking place, as Columbus had foretold it, transaction, predicted all sorts of evils to the Indians, convinced of his more than Ireland from the recall of Lord Fitzwilliam. mortal power, hastened to make their peace Many evils had, in truth, happened since; with him, and to offer every atonement but nevertheless he was not inclined to for their former impiety.
Now, Sir, said allow that the prediction was fulfilled. Mr. Canning, I conceive that it required He was far from meaning any thing dis- not much more knowledge of moral than respectful either to the worthy and en- Columbus possessed of physical causes, lightened nobleman whose name was thus to discover in the situation of Ireland, in brought in question, or to his friends. the distribution of the different classes of But when other causes of such dreadful society, in the state and temper of the efficacy were manifestly operating in Ire- lower orders of the people, materials, land precisely as they had operated in which, if a spark from the dreadful conother parts of Europe, be could not com- flagration of the French revolution should pliment so outrageously and so unseason- fall upon them, would presently burst into ably, as to ascribe the distractions of that explosion: for the sagacity which enabled country to any thing personal to an indi them to foresee and foretel this, I give vidual, however highly he might respect those who did foretell it full credit. him. He could not read the confessions But as to the connexion of this event with of those self-convicted traitors, who had, the recall of lord Fitzwilliam, I confess I as it were, with their own hands, admi- believe that lord Fitzwilliam's recall was nistered the poisoned chalice to their not more immediately the occasion of the country, he could not read their confes- rebellion, than the displeasure of Columsion that French principles and French bus was the cause of the eclipse. intrigue were the ingredients of that in- But then, Sir, be the causes which fectious draught, and yet continue to have led to the present situation of things consider the recall of lord Fitzwilliam as in Ireland what they may, there is another the only cause of the malady by which origin assigned by gentlemen on the oppoIreland had been convulsed and almost site side of the House for this frantic mea. destroyed.
sure of a union. It originates, we are With regard to the predictions which told, from the intoxication of power, the were referred to on this subject, they re- wildness and wantonness of uncontrolled minded him of a prediction once very suc- authority in my right hon. friend; a power cessfully employed by another great vice and authority which no minister before roy; a man with whom it would be no him ever possessed, and which, it seems, disparagement to the talents and political is an object of peculiar and watchful jeasagacity of the respectable nobleman in lousy to such of those gentlemen as have question, to be compared—he meant Co- not yet wholly abandoned their parlialumbus. Columbus, as every body must mentary duty. Sir, how far the power remember to have read, when the people which my right honourable friend is sup. of Hispaniola, growing weary of their new posed to possess may exceed that of guests, resolved to drive them away from former ministers, I shall not inquire: bot their coast, and with that view refused to that the degree of power possessed by a furnish them with any more provisions- minister in this country, grounded as it Columbus addressed himself to the chiefs, must be on the confidence of parliament and with an unusual solemnity of tone and and of the people, growing only with that deportment, informed them, that on a confidence, and ceasing with it, is in all certain day the heavens should be over- cases to be considered as matter of suspi.
cion and of danger, I cannot allow. It is , what is it that most marks and distinnot for the degree of his power, but for guishes the last eighty years, the period the use which he may make of it, that a which has elapsed since the happy estaminister is arraignable before the bar of blishment of the present family upon the that public opinion which, in fact, con- throne, from almost any other period in fers, and which most effectually controls the history of any nation of the world? its exercise. But if a minister does find It is, perhaps, that during a period the himself, from the enlarged confidence of most flourishing and the most happy with the country, or from the peculiar con- which any nation ever was blessed, in juncture of the times, in possession of a which the civil and political rights of the greater sway and authority than has be- subject have been better understood and longed to ordinary governments at ordi- more uninterruptedly enjoyed, in which nary times, such a minister is, indeed, the government has been more powerful bound to consider himself as placed in a and respected abroad, foreign commerce most high and solemn trust; to consider more abundant, peaceful industry more what has been entrusted to him, not as a effectually protected, and private wealth good to be enjoyed, but as a duty to be and comfort more generally diffused performed. He ought to take good heed, throughout the country, than at any the that if his power exceeds and abounds proudest period that the mightiest embeyond what is necessary for carrying on pires of the antient or modern world can the every-day business of the country, boast: there is yet less proof left to posthat excess and that abundance does not terity of the wisdom or splendor of that run to waste. For the use of the ordinary period—there is less of public institution, power which belongs to bis situation, he of permanent establishment, which dates is answerable to the sovereign who em- its origin within that period—there apploys, to the parliament who trusts him, pears to have been less done for posterity and to liis contemporaries, whose interests during that period—than in many periods are committed to his care; for the use of of the history of many nations, which the surplus beyond what the ordinary ad- could by no means vie with it in happiness ministration of affairs requires, he owes, or in glory. Is it because there has been and if he be worthy of his character and a dearth of great talents, or eminent quahigh station, he will feel, a responsibility lities, in the statesmen that flourished no less binding ;-he owes it first to his during those years? Certainly not. Some own conscience, and then, vot to his own of the names which grace these annals age only, but to parliaments of future might be enrolled with the greatest names times, and to generations of men yet un- of any age, or any country of the world. born.- If we looked to the history of Ire- I would venture therefore to ascribe this land, Sir, perhaps we might find that no particularity to the constant struggle for small part of the unsettled and compa. political power, to the conflict and balance ratively unimproved state of the country of parties, which prevailed almost unimight be traced to the want of some more versally during the whole of that time. steady and effective power in the govern- If any person were to dispute this theory, ments which have succeeded each other they would naturally quote the long adin that kingdom: each of which, from the ministration of sir Robert Walpole as an shortness of its duration, and from the instance of pretty secure preponderance, necessity (consequent upon frequent and of power sufficiently established to change) of employing the whole of its have enabled him to attempt and carry influence and authority to secure support into effect any plans of lasting utility. to its measures during its own temporary But how stands the fact upon this subexistence,-has been strong, indeed, for ject? Twice only does that minister apthat purpose, strong for the ordinary ad- pear to have carried his views beyond his ministration of the affairs of the day, but own time, and to have felt an ambition wholly inadequate to the entertainment of to establish institutions that should conlarger views, to the founding of more nect his name with advantages to be encomprehensive systems, for remote im- joyed by posterity: and in both these inprovements, and for permanent advantage stances he was foiled-1 allude, Sir, to to the country. And this, Sir, I conceive the sinking fund, which he had at one to be one of the main evils which the time been proud to consider as the lasting union is calculated to remedy.
monument of his fame, but of which, with If we look to the history of this country, his own hands, he began to undermine the
foundation: and to the well-known excise advantages that will result from it. For scheme, of the benefits of which he to the do not let us be led to imagine, that the last declared himself firmly and immove- Irish, however spirited and quick in feel. ably convinced, but which was overborne ing are creatures of passion only; that by the popular clamour excited against they are not capable of appreciating real it by his political antagonists. That he benefits, or of being convinced by a fair was sincere in his endeavours to carry the appeal to their understanding. Such an latter measure, and that he was most re-appeal it is the business of this address to luctantly forced to abandon it, cannot be secure. If the union shall be found upon doubted; and with regard to the sinking examination to offer solid and permanent fund, though he was not driven to the advantages to that country, let us not be violation of it by a parliamentary opposi- apprehensive that the proposal of it by tion, yet his defence of himself for so weak Great Britain can long be construed into and impolitic a resource was grounded on insult or unkindness. Fear not, Sir: if his apprehension of the opposition which from this root shall spring and thrive the would have been directed against any peace, the prosperity, the happiness of other method of raising the supplies of Ireland, the affections of the Irish people
After his failure in these two will grow and flourish with them they instances, sir Robert Walpole contented will be engrafted on the same stock, and himself with applying whatever power he confirmed with the same strength: “ Crespossessed to the carrying on, as smoothly cent illæ, crescetis amores!" In the conas he could, the ordinary business of the fidence that this will be the case, I discountry. I am not praising or blaming charge by my vote for the address this sir Robert Walpole for his conduct, either night what I feel to be a divided duty. in these instances, or in general, I am As a member of the British parliament, merely stating the facts. And I would I give my hearty concurrence to a mea. ask, what is the inference to be drawn sure which will consolidate and augment from them? If it be excusable in a minis- the strength and resources of the empire : ter who has, or fancies himself to have, but as connected with Ireland by many ties barely sufficient power to maintain himself of blood and of affection, I contend still in his station, to rest satisfied with doing more anxiously for what I conceive to be the duty of the day, and leaving the involved in the issue of this question, the country exactly where he found it, safety and future prosperity of Ireland. 'does it follow, that it is matter of accusa- Lord W. Russell thought the settlement tion and criminal charge, or matter of of 1782 was the solemn recognition of a sober and founded suspicion and jealousy right which we could not call upon the against another minister, whom other Irish to abandon. It was said that no times and other circumstances may have kind of force was to be used; but how furnished with more extensive power, that did this correspond with the conduct of his views for the good of his country ex- ministers in removing all the servants of pand in proportion to his capacity for the crown in Ireland who presumed to serving it ; that he looks beyond the rou- differ from them on this question? tine of his official duty, beyond the mo- Mr. Pitt said, that after the full discusmentary necessities of the day in which he sion which the subject had undergone, he lives; and that he lays the foundations of should only say a few words upon a subject a fabric which may endure for ages, and upon which he had been so unfortunate which may afford to united nations a last- as to differ from a right hon. gencral. ing shelter and security ?
What had fallen from that right hon. geI beg pardon of the House, Sir, for neral had completely proved, that that having suffered myself to be led into a which was called the final adjustment of discussion of this nature, and for having 1782, was not considered by those by detained them so much longer than when whom it was effected as a final adjustment I rose I had any intention of trespassing between the two countries; but that, on upon their attention. I have but one the contrary, the ministers of that day word more to say. We are cautioned that were fully convinced of the necessity no union but that of affection can be last of adopting some farther measures to ing or advantageous. Sir, I know it. strengthen the connexion betwen the two And to argue whether or not the union countries. The right hon. general, after now proposed will be such an union, is to having seen the papers alluded to, had argue the whole qħestion of the probable admitted that the duke of Portland had entertatned the propriety of adopting some The House then agreed with the Lords farther measures after the final adjustment. in the said Address, and the blank therein The right hon. general seemed to think that was filled up with the words “ and Com. it was only an opinion which the duke mons.” had slightly entertained, and soon gave up. In answer to this he would read to
April 26. Both Houses attended his the House some letters, which would majesty with their joint Address ; to which prove that it was not an opinion only his majesty gave this Answer : cursorily entertained either by the duke
“ My Lords and Gentlemen; I receive, of Portland, or by the king's ministers. with the greatest satisfaction, the delibeMr. Pitt then proceeded to read a variety rate opinion of my two Houses of Parlia. of extracts from letters which passed be- ment on this interesting subject; and you tween the duke of Portland, lord Shel. burne, and the marquis of Rockingham, favourable opportunity of communicating
may depend on my embracing the first upon this subject.*
to my parliament of Ireland the proposi
The following are Copies of the said
subject for discussion. I need not inform your Letters :
lordship that they will find precedents in the No. I.-From the Duke of Portland, Lord first volume of the Journals of their own
Lieutenant of Ireland, to Lord Shelburne, House of Commons, of Committees or Agents Secretary of State.
being sent to England to represent their Dublin Castle, 6th May, 1782. grievances and obtain redress.-As every My Lord; The confidence I find reposed letter your lordship has received from me has in me is certainly extremely flattering. I progressively received the hopes I first held will meet it as it deserves, by continuing to out to you, it will be natural for you to exwrite without any reserve.
Under the im
pect that I should assign a reason for súppression of the unavoidable necessity of con- posing that the plan which I have submitted ceding all the points required, for the sake of to you will accomplish the event we desire. deriving any real advantage from the posses- All I can say is, that, in my apprehension, it sion of this country, I do recommend that ought to accomplish that event. In my positive assurances be given, that the altera- apprehension, proposals, such as I have tion of the Mutiny bill, and the modification stated, cannot be resisted in parliament with of Poyning's law shall be conceded to them any effect. They so directly correspond with in the form required by their address; that the wishes of the public, that I conceive that the 6th of Geo. 1st shall be repealed, and no artifice could induce them to support an that writs of error shall no longer be received opposition to them; the refusal to accede to by our_court of King's-bench; but that, as them, or to appoint commissioners for a final Great Britain by these concessions, is desirous adjustment, on the grounds of their own adnot only of satisfying the expectations of the dress, when they should be assured that perIrish upon all constitutional points, but of sons were properly authorized for that purpreventing every possible source of future jea- pose, would be such an indication of sinister lousy and discontent, she does not doubt of designs, as would warrant your directions to receiving an unequivocal testimony of a me to throw up the government, and to leave corresponding disposition on the part of Ire them to that fate which their folly and trealand, and is persuaded that the parliament of chery should deserve. If such should be the this country will co-operate in the most sentiments of the king's servants, after using effectual method, either with the king's every endeavour to bring them to a true confidential servants,
sense of their condition, and of the consesioners appointed by the parliament of quences of such a refusal, I should hesitate as Great Britain, or through the medium little to order the yacht, and to leave them to of the chief governor of the kingdom, to be the victims of their own insanity, as I settle the precise limits of that independence should to say that it would be useless to atwhich is required, the consideration that tempt to coerce them, and that the country should be given for the protection expected, upon such terms would not be worth posand the share it would be proper for them to ( sessing.-Suffer me, my lord, once more to contribute towards the general support of the repeat my most earnest instances for a speedy empire in pursuance of the declaration con- determination. There are passages in the tained in the concluding paragraph of their two last letters I had the honour of receiving own address. The regulation of their from you which make me think that there is trade is a subject, which, I think, would very little or no difference in our opinions upon properly make a part of the treaty, and which, this unhappy subject; and let me add, that from the dissatisfaction expressed bymanycom- unless a negotiation can be entered into with mercial persons at the delusive advantages of persons properly authorized by the parliathe free trade, would be a very fit and necessary ment of this country, and that the object is (VOL. XXXIV.)
tions which you have laid before me, as I and Irelmd. Such a settlement, estabcalculated to form the basis of a complete lished by mutual consent, and founded on and entire union between Great Britain a sense of mutual interest and affection, to go fairly to the bottom of the busiwes will admit. Nor, indeed, am I disinclined to and to form a new system of relation between recommend it; for the passions of this nathe two countries, upon the basis of their tion do not appear to me as yet to have suffimutual interests, the character of the present ciently subsided to let the gratitude which is administration will be lost, and the English felt, pass quietly and confidentially through government must be prepared to renounce that channel which can alone direct it to the all pretensions to respect or influence in this reciprocal advantages of both kingdoms.country. I am, &c. &c. PORTLAND. There is no doubt of government being able No. II.-To Mr.
to stop any mischief; but I cannot so readily Castle, 26th May, 1782.
take upon me to answer for the immediate
attainment of the benefits which the liberality Sir;-I should be very glad to hear that lord of Great Britain entitles her to expect. UnCharlemont was inclined to accede to any part, less, therefore, one very great measure, which or even to the idea of such a plan, as you have I will make the subject of a separate letter, been so obliging as to communicate to me. I can be obtained, I submit to your lordship the should consider it as a material step to propriety of coinciding in the wishes of the that situation in which I am sure it is the in- parliament, by putting an end to the preterest of both kingdoms to be placed, being sent session, as soon as may be after the re convinced, that whatever is most like turn of the bills from England. union is the most probable bond of connexion
No. V.-From the Duke of Portland to the to restore and perpetuate the harmony and prosperity of the two countries. I am, &c.
Earl of Shelburne; dated Dublin Castle, PORTLAND.
6th June, 1782. No. III.-Extract of a Letter from the
My lord ;-The measure which I stated to Marquis of Rockingham to the Duke of your lordship, in my letter of last night, as a Portland, dated Wimbledon, 25th May, gation of parliament, is of so delicate a nature,
sufficient inducement for deferring the proro1782.
and requires so much secrecy, and manageThe essential points on the part of Ireland ment, that I think it unadvisable to trust the now acceded to, will, I trust establish a perfect communication of it to any hand but my own; cordiality between the two countries; and as and as it is possible that the event may not jus there can no longer exist any grounds of con- tify the hopes I entertain, it would perhaps, test or jealousy on matters of right between be more prudent to withhold the intelligence the countries, the only object of both will be, which I am now about to give you, until I how finally to arrange, settle, and adjust could transmit the plan properly authenticated, all matters, whereby the union of power and for the consideration of your lordship, and the strength, and mutual and reciprocal advantage, rest of the k---'s confidential servants. Howmay be best permanently fixed. I observe ever, as I feel that I have a right to take in lord Shelburne's letter to your grace, dated credit for my endeavours, and that the mithe 18th May, he states more reluctance to nisters in England equally partake of my rethe idea of commissioners than I should judge sponsibility in the administration of the af. to be a general opinion of his majesty's ser fairs of this country, I am as anxious that they vants: the measure may be a doubtful one; should share anyénerit that can be derived but if it appeared to be the inclination among from our joint conduct, as that they should be the leading gentlemen of Ireland, I should liable to any blame to which the adoption of think good would ensue.
iH-advised or inconsiderate measures may exNo. IV.-Extract of a Letter from the pose them. I shall therefore acquaint your
Duke of Portland to the Earl of Shelf lordship, that I have reason to hope that I burne; dated Dublin Castle, 5th June, may be shortly enabled to lay before you the
sketch or outlines of an act of parlianient, to 1782.
be adopted by the legislatures of the respecI have now stated to your lordship every tive kingdoms; by which the superintending matter that I can think likely to come before, power and supremacy of Great Britain, in all parliament, and have farther to add, that the matters of state and general commerce, will desire which is generally and emphatically be virtually and effectually acknowledged; expressed for a speedy conclusion of the ses- that a share of the expense, in carrying on a sion, will very forcibly tend to unite gentle- defensive or offensive war, either in support men in discountenancing any attempt to of our own dominions, or those of our allies, bring on questions of any sort at this season shall be borne by Ireland in proportion to the of the year. I presume your lordship will be actual state of her abilities; and that she will of opinion that it is not desirable to oppose adopt every such rogulation as may be judged the wishes of this country respecting as early necessary by Great Britain, for the better a prorogation as the business before them ordering and securing her trade and commerce