Imatges de pÓgina

“ May 'it please your Majesty, we your, &c. " in Parliament afsembled, conceive the repeal “ of the sixth of George the First to be an ex“ tremely wise measure, and therefore it is so " plain, (and follows so inevitably from the pre“ miffes,) that the connexion between the coun“ tries should not be placed, by mutual confent,

on a permanent foundation, that we fhall not " trouble your Majesty, by stating so obvious a' “ conclusion, or by more explicitly rejecting the “ second Resolution, which has been proposed for

our consideration." Such logick might be parliamentary; but I doubt its being Aristotelian.

But I am digressing from my subject : for though you should have succeeded, às completely as you have failed, in supporting your position, that the Irish Parliament had rejected the second Resolution of the British Houses, yet this would not disprove Mr. Pitt's assertion, that further measures were in the contemplation of the Government of that day ; nor would it diminish the weight of that evidence, which the English address and answer, and the second Resolution, abundantly supply in support of his assertion. It would at most prove only this, that the temper of Ire. land, and the silence with which their Parliament passed this resolution over, made it necefsary that Government, content to appease the jealoufies of the Irish nation, and conciliate their affections by liberal concession, should arrest the grand


[ocr errors]

imperial settlement in its career, and postpone its confummation to a more favourable moment.

And what a generous foundation did England lay! By the first resolution, the registered her consent that Ireland should be independent; and submitted the second to the new tribunal, which she had thus liberally erected. She first made us a high contracting power; and then folicited us to treat on equal terms. Consistently with the tenor of that forf British resolution, which had renounced all pretensions to legislate for Ireland, the second admitted that the connexion between the countries could not be placed on a folid foundation, unless by mutual consent.

The Irish Parliament did not reject the second resolution ; but, under the influence of some of the party which then prevailed, tacitly postponed entering, as the filter country had recommended, on measures that might be calculated to strengthen the connexion. They withheld that confent, which the liberality of Britain had but just then rendered requisite or efficacious; and preferred inhabiting the ruins of the fabrick which they had demolished, to building a firm imperial establishment in its room: whilst the sister country on her part, respecting the independence which she had conferred, acquiesced in the delay of that consum. mation which the desired. The regency, and commercial propofitions followed : the contagion of french principles foon after got amongst us; and separatists have been long demonstrating the truth of that opinion, pronounced by the British Le.



gislature in 1782, (and to which it is your boast that our Parliament paid no attention,)“ that the 66 connexion between the countries ought, by " mutual consent, to be placed on some folid and

permanent foundation."

A few words more on this part of the subject, and I have done.

After mentioning that passage in the Irifh Address, where it is said that " we conceive the “ resolution for the unqualified, unconditional

repeal of the sixth of Geo. I. to be a measure 66. of consummate wisdom," you add that you 66 drew that address; and introduced those words “ expressly to exclude any subsequent qualifica" tions, or limitations, affecting to clog or restrain “the operation of that repeal, and plenitude of

the legislative authority of our Irish Parliament."

This paragraph in your speech I consider as very well deserving of attention.

The object, you tell us, of this Irish address was to negative the second of the British resolutions ; and with this especial view was that passage introduced, in which the wisdom of repealing the declaratory act is extolled.

What then, (on your statement,) was the qualification which you were desirous to exclude, and which you were apprehensive might clog the operation of the repeal ? The placing the connexion between the countries, by mutual confent, on a solid and permanent foundation.

This was the limitation which you were so anxious to exclude: this was the clog on Irish

independence, independence, which you feared : this was the abridgment of Irish legislative authority, which you were so studious to avoid.

To place the connexion between the countries on a firm and permanent foundation-is, by your account, to restrain the efficacy of the repeal of the sixth of Geo. I. and abridge the legislative authority of Ireland.

Sir, you may have advanced these doctrines rashly, or I may have mistaken the tendency of your positions :' but if this be not the case, if you have deliberately made the assertions which I attribute to you, and have acted the part which you describe, then to me you appear to have spoken the language, and (inadvertently I presume) further’d the cause of separation.

Those who regarded the Independence which we acquired in 1782, not as their end, but as their means,--who valued it not as a grant of freedom, but prepared to wield it as an instrument of separation,-will naturally oppose all measures which tend to strengthen the connexion ; and must abhor Union, as utterly destructive of their hopes : to them, the act of annexation will seem a clog on the plenitude of Irish legislative authority; and while they declaim on the finality of the adjustment to which we have been alluding, they will in fact agree with the minister, in considering it as preliminary and defective : the only difference between them will be this,that while he may value it as a step towards


Unioti,--they will efteert it as a stride towards' separation.

I call not upon such men : 1 address not tħofe, who represent the present connexion of the countries as a state of smothered hostility, and mutual ititimidation : who derive the security of Ireland from her power of annoying Britain; and vaunt our cordiality, in forbearing to strike the blow, which however they would have continually to impend. I speak not to thofe, who mingle such bitter and repulsive doctrines, with their wheedling rants about standing or falling with Great Britain. I address myself to a very different description of persons : I call upon the well affected men of Ireland, the loyal opponerits of the measure now proposed, to attend to the language of their new allies, and resist, if they can, their arguments for Union.

I now proceed to disprove the charge which you have brought against Mr. Pitt, of " denying a " recorded act, and disclaiming the final ad

justment of 1782 ;"—and in order to preclude controversy as to facts, and to shorten discuslion, 1 shall keep my promise of taking, as my premises, the statement which you have made.

Where are we to look for that disclaimer, which you have so dítectly ascribed to the British Minifter? In the language which he has used, or in the conduct which he has pursued ? If I examine his expressions, I am so far from discovering there, any denial of Irish Independence, that on the contrary I find it explicitly acknowledged, and even


« AnteriorContinua »