« AnteriorContinua »
"to ftrengthen the connexion between the two "countries."*
Towards difproving the truth of your denial, and demonftrating that Mr. Pitt was warranted in his pofition, I will ask of any candid and intelligent man-whether the following short statement would not fuffice?
The only grievance complained of by Ireland, which it was the province of England to redrefs, (all the reft being matter for our own internal regulation,) was that which confifted in the claim of the British Parliament to make laws for this country. This claim was given up, in the way in which Ireland herself prescribed, by the repeal of the fixth of George the First ; † and after it had been fo furrendered,-after the fingle link of our dependence had been thus cut," an ad"drefs to his Majefty was moved and carried, praying him to take fuch further measures as to "him feemed proper, to ftrengthen the connex❝ion between the two countries:" to which addrefs" his Majesty's most gracious answer, ftating that he would take fuch measures as might "be neceffary for that purpose, was delivered to "the House by a gentleman, who then filled" (an high office of trust in administration, viz.) “ the "office of Secretary of State."
*See Mr. Pitt's speech on Thurfday January 31, 1799. + And was afterwards to the fatisfaction of the moft fquezmish, furrendered by the act of renunciation.
Mr. Pitt's fpeech.
If the above enumeration of indisputable facts, (facts" public, registered and recorded," as any on which you can rely,) does not fuftain the British Minifter's affertion, that after the grievances which Ireland complained of had been redreffed, after her difputes with the fifter country had been adjusted, it ftill "was in "the contemplation of the British Government "of that day, to adopt fome further measures proper to ftrengthen the connexion,"-I for my part cannot conceive what is demonftration.
The fophiftry is vain and paltry, which infinuates that a fettlement may not be completely final to one intent, at the fame time that it is strictly initiative to another it is an abuse of reafon, as well as of language, to infer that what concludes past controverfy, must thereby preclude all future negotiation. The valetudinarian, who by medicine has brought one malady to a conclufion, is not precluded from changing his regimen to improve his constitution; and prevent his being attacked by another dangerous disease: the recovery which a man fuffers in our courts of law, or the fine which derives its very name from its finality, is final and conclufive to bar a former entail, while it is preliminary to the further fettlement, in contemplation of which it has been made, and which is to provide for the future comfort of the fettlor, and his defcendants.
I dwell the more upon this topick, because I would prevent the poffibility of its being attributed to those whofe opinions I efpoufe, that they
* Mr. Grattan's words.
doubt the fettlement of 1782 to have been final. It would be equally falfe, and mifchievous, to deny that fettlement to have been a final and irrevocable adjustment of all preceding difputes between the countries but it is no lefs fophiftical and pernicious, to pervert this finality into an ob ftacle to further measures, which the legislature may deem neceffary for fecuring the permanence of the connexion: meafures which, fo long as they do not impugn the principle which Ireland then afferted, are compatible with the settlement that took place in 1782; and in no degree impede, or reftrain its operation: measures which that fettlement was, in my opinion, rather calculated to fmooth the way for, than obstruct.
I fhall not defert the strong ground of fact which I have taken, by fhewing the probability which there was, that the British government fhould have in contemplation that, which the minifter fays they had. If I did, I might enquire
any rational man whether, confidering the fituation of the two countries, it was not likely that the English miniftry, having finally adjufted the question of Irifh grievance, fhould proceed to the important queftion of British connexion, and adopt measures that were calcu lated to ftrenghten and fecure it? whether they were not the more likely to do fo, if the control, which had been juft renounced, (however offenfive it might be to this country,) yet tended, with all its faults, to confolidate the empire, and therefore when relinquifhed, required to be fucceeded by the substitution of a system, more compatible with Irish honour, and equally conducive to с
the interefts of Britain?-But this would be to wander into fuperfluous investigation, by fhewing that to be probable, which I had already demonftrated to be fact.
But with refpect to this, as with refpect to the other branch of your accufation, let me fee how the cafe ftands, even on your own statement.
"The first tracts," you fay, " of the adjuftment of 1782 were two meffages, fent by "his Majefty to the Parliaments of the different "countries:" in other words, the fettlement of 1782 originated, by your own admiffion, with the advisers of the crown; that is to fay, with the British administration. Now one would fuppofe that, towards afcertaining the measures of which any plan was intended to confift, we should examine the conduct of the perfons who contrived it; and if we do fo in the prefent cafe, the ad-dress and answer which have been already noticed, and which were both pofterior to the repeal of the fixth of Geo. I. will evince the truth of the Minifter's affertion, that further measures were in the contemplation of the Government of that day.
But again, fuppofing (according to the truth) that the British Houses of Parliament were parties. to this tranfaction, then what appears from your own ftatement? that having determined to furrender their claim to legiflate for this country, the British Parliament, in the fecond place, refolved" that the connexion between the countries "fhould by mutual confent, be placed on a "folid and permanent foundation." *
* Mr. Grattan's words.
Let any candid man attend to the import of this refolution, and fay whether he can contradict the statement of Mr. Pitt, that it was in the contemplation of government in 1782, towards ftrengthening the connexion between the countries, to adopt meafures of the nature of that which is now propofed.
But you tell us that the addrefs of the Irish Parliament, upon the confideration of these two refolutions, expressly rejects the fecond.
To fupport the statement which you have fo boldly made, you should be able to read from this addrefs, what I confefs would be a very extraordinary paragraph, viz. that it was the humble opinion of his Majefty's most dutiful and loyal fubjects, the Irish Lords and Commons in Parliament affembled, "that the connexion between the countries fhould not be placed, by "mutual consent, on a permanent foundation." Such a paragraph, I admit, would have supported your position, that the addrefs expressly rejected the fecond British resolution.
But you are so far from fhewing an express rejection, that you are utterly unable to produce an implied one. The Irish Parliament, you fay, expressly negatived the fecond refolution; for they said that" they conceived the Refolution "for unqualified, unconditional Repeal of the "fixth of Geo. I. to be a measure of con
fummate wifdom."* The connexion between your premise and your inference, I confess, I am dull enough not to difcern plainly.
*Mr. Grattan's words.