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For many of those who are on the Anti-Union fide, I feel the most fincere refpect; and look on them to be fuch ftaunch friends to British connexion, that I am perfuaded there must be moments when they doubt the expediency of an oppofition, in which the worst enemies of Ireland concur moments, when they almoft recognize the falutary tendencies of a measure, against which separatifts have raifed their voices, to a man.
I do not cenfure, 1 applaud, the generous facrifice which they make, in not withdrawing that fupport which they think due to a just cause, though contaminated by the fufpicious advocatifm of treafon. But I warn them, they are mistaken the cause to which they are inadvertently lending their affiftance, is the fame which they have fo lately defeated in the field. If they doubt me, let them look to the allies whom they have gained: let them afk themselves if the zeal which their new confederatés evince, could be excited by any profpect short of separation ?
These reflections have infenfibly led me away; though not into topicks which can be deemed foreign, or irrelevant: I fhall now enter, without further preface, upon the task which F have undertaken, and proceed with my examination of your printed fpeech, together with fuch matters as appertain to it, and to my fubject. But before I engage in that free difcuffion which is before me, it may be right that I should disclaim all intention of giving you perfonal offence. I have nothing to do with your motives or designs; and your friends have my permiffion to balance,
if they can, whatever mischief you may have done, with the good which you intended: I fhall merely indulge in thofe animadverfions on the tendencies of your political conduct, tó which every publick man is accustomed to fubmit.
You open your attack on the measure which I fupport, with a multitude of affertions, which, as they are utterly unfupported, I persuade myself that it will not be difficult to put to rout. "s de
"The British Minifter" you inform us, clares his intolerance of that parliamentary "conftitution of Ireland, which he ordered the "feveral Viceroys to celebrate; now pronouncing that establishment to be a miferable imper"fection, in defence of which he recommended "the French war, and to which he swore the "9 yeomanry.
Sir, this is not for Mr. Pitt is so far from declaring his intolerance of that conftitution, which he has concurred in commending, that he feeks, by the proffered union, to protect it against the intolerance of those, who might prefer an establishment on the French model: nay he more than endures the independence, which makes a part of that constitution: he has exprefsly recognized it, and acted on this recognition: he has repeatedly and explicitly acknowledged the incompetence of the British Legislature to bind this country to an union, and the competence of our Parliament to reject the propofal: infomuch that though we fhould take so narrow a view of the subject, as to look to no part of the conftitution of Ireland, but
that which regulates its relations with Great Britain, we should yet be juftified in afferting the confiftency of Mr. Pitt; and infisting that the conduct of the English Government, with respect to union, has not only amounted to a to'lerance, but to a strong affertion of the independence which we acquired in 1782.
But the British Minifter has at no time applauded the diftinctness, which he now recommends us to abolish. His eulogy applied to principles which union will leave unimpaired: to theories which union will reduce to practice. He extolled the excellencies of the fettlement of 1782; and left it to more depraved ftatesmen to celébrate its defects: he admired in it the bloffom which should ripen into union; while others praised the canker which threaten'd feparation. So far from commending the brittleness of our connexion, I firmly believe that the British Minifter had it in contemplation, at that period, to attempt the rendering this connexion lefs precarious. Meantime he did not call on us to rejoice that we were distinct; but, being distinct, to be thankful that we were independent.
If our Viceroys celebrated the Constitution of 1782, it was not for any qualities which union will deftroy. They contrafted it with that degrading fyftem which had gone before; not with the preferable arrangement which is to come: and perhaps in no point of view would it have been more deferving of celebration, than if it
were confidered as preliminary to the measure which is now proposed for our acceptance.
That establishment which was the real object of the Minifter's panegyric, he is so far from now pronouncing to be a miferable imperfection, that on the contrary the events which have lately paffed in Europe have but ferved to encrease its title to his admiration. He has feen the leffons of ages compreffed into the narrow period of a few years, and mankind enabled to learn that from their own experience, which it had heretofore been the province of history to teach. The foil of anarchy has made the luftre of our establishment more apparent; and, as in 1793 the French war was undertaken in its defence, in 1800 the Union is recommended for its protection.
Fear not, my good Sir, that the oath of the yeomanry should ftand between that loyal body and the good of their country. Those who have not taken the obligation, may be excufed if they are ignorant of its tenor and effect. Those who have, do not require to be informed that the King, Lords, and Commons form the Legiflature of this country: that the acts of this affembly are the law of the land; and that by the principles of that Conftitution, which as yeomen and fubjects they are fworn to maintain, the fove-.. reign Parliament, (however diffimilar the two ftatutes may be) is as competent to enact an union, as a road-bill.
Following in your fteps, and pretending to no better arrangement than that which the speech.
that I am answering has prefcribed, I now attend you to a fubject on which you are entitled to be heard: I mean the final adjustment of 1782.
You make two charges against the British Minister first you charge him with disclaiming the settlement of 1782;-and fecondly, with maintaining that this adjustment was no more than an incipient train of negotiation.
The firft branch of your accufation I hold to be unfounded; and as to the affertion which, in the second place, you have`ascribed to the Minister, I am disposed to think it is one, in which the facts will bear him out.
If I can accomplish the refutation of your firft charge, without controverting the statement which you have yourself made, it will be a point gained for by agreeing on facts and premiffes, we shall narrow the difcuffion, and prevent a waste of time. This is therefore what I fhall attempt to do.
But I fhall in the firft inftance examine, and endeavour to get rid of, what I conceive to be the least relevant and conclufive part of your argument, viz. that which confifts in a denial of Mr. Pitt's affertion, that the fettlement of 1782 was a mere (though most important) step in negotiation : a mere article in the intended treaty of perpetual amity and connexion; and that "it was in the " contemplation of the British Government of "that day to adopt fome further measures, proper