Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

1

" to strengthen the connexion between the two " countries."*

Towards disproving the truth of your denial, and demonstrating that Mr. Pitt was warranted in his position, I will ask of any candid and intelligent man--whether the following short statement would not suffice ?

The only grievance complained of by Ireland, which it was the province of England to redress, (all the rest being matter for our own. internal regulation,) was that which consisted 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 so surrendered, after the single link of our dependence had been thus cut, -" an ad“ dress to his Majesty was moved and carried,

praying him to take such further measures as to “ him feemed proper, to strengthen the connex“ ion between the two countries :" to which address “ his Majesty's most gracious answer,

stating that he would take such measures as might be necessary 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.”I

If

* Sec Mr. Pitt's speech on Thurfday January 31, 1799.

+ And was afterwards to the satisfaction of the moft fquca mish, surrendered by the act of renunciation.

# Mr. Pitt's speech.

If the above enumeration of indisputable facts, (facts“ public, registered and recorded," as any on which you can rely,) does not fuftain the British Minister's affertion, that after the grievances which Ireland complained of had been redressed, after her disputes with the fifter country had been adjusted, it still " was in “ the contemplation of the British Government “ of that day, to adopt some further measures

proper to strengthen the connexion," _I for my part cannot conceive what is demonstration.

The fophiftry is vain and paltry, which infinuates that a settlement may not be completely final to one intent, at the fame time that it is strictly initiative to another : it is an abuse of reason, as well as of language, toinfer that what concludes past contro. versy, mult thereby preclude all future negotiation. The valetudinarian, who by medicine has brought one malady to a conclusion, 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 suffers in our courts of law, or the fine which derives its very name from its finality, is final and conclusive to bar a former entail, while it is preliminary to the further settlement, in contemplation of which it has been made, and which is to provide for the future comfort of the fettlor, and his descendants.

I dwell the more upon this topick, because I would prevent the possibility of its being attri. buted to those whose opinions I espouse, that they doubt the settlement of 1782 to have been final. It would be equally false, and mischievous, to deny that settlement to have been a final and irrevoca. ble adjustment of all preceding disputes between the countries ; but it is no less fophistical and pernicious, to pervert this finality into an ob stacle to further measures, which the legislature may deemi necessary for securing the permanence of the connexion : meafures which, so 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, of restrain its operation : measures which that fettlement was, in my opinion, rather calculated to smooth the way for, than obstruct.

doubt

Mr. Grattan's words.

I shall not desert the strong ground of fact which I have taken, by thewing the probability which there was, that the British government fhould have in contemplation that, which the minister says they had. If I did, I might enquire of any rational man whether, considering the situation of the two countries, it was not likely that the English ministry, having finally adjufted the question of Irish grievance, should proceed to the important question of British connexion, and adopt measures that were calcu. lated to strenghten and secure it? whether they were not the more likely to do so, if the control, which had been just renounced, (however offenfive it might be to this country,) yet tended, with all its faults, to consolidate the empire, and therefore when relinquished, required to be fucceeded by the substitution of a system, more compatible with Irih honour, and equally conducive to C

the

1

the interests of Britain ?-But this would be to wander into superfluous investigation, by shewing that to be probable, which I had already demon. ftrated to be fact.

But with respect to this, as with respect to the other branch of your accusation, let me see how the case stands, even on your own statement.

6. The first tracts;" you say, “ of the adjust6. ment of 1782 were two messages, fent by “- his Majesty to the Parliaments of the different “ countries:" in other words, the settlement of 1782 originated, by your own admission, with the advisers of the crown; that is to say, with the British administration. Now one would suppose that, towards ascertaining the measures of which any plan was intended to consist, we should examine the conduct of the persons who contrived it; and if we do fo in the present case, the ad. dress and answer which have been already noticed, and which were both posterior to the repeal of the fixth of Geo. I. will evince the truth of the Mi. nister's affertion, that further measures were in the contemplation of the Government of that day.

But again, fupposing (according to the truth) that the British Houses of Parliament were parties to this transaction, then what appears from your own statement ? that having determined to surrender their claim to legislate for this country, the British Parliament, in the second place, refolved that the connexion between the countries “ fhould by mutual consent, be placed on a a solid and permanent foundation." *

Let

[ocr errors]

* Mr. Grattan's words.

Let any candid man attend to the import of this resolution, and say whether he can contradict the statement of Mr. Pitt, that it was in the contemplation of government in 1782, towards strengthening the connexion between the countries, to adopt measures of the nature of that which is now proposed.

But you tell us that the address of the Irish Parliament, upon the confideration of these two refolutions, expressly rejects the second.

: To support the statement which you have fo boldly made, you should be able to read from this address, what I confess would be a very extraordinary paragraph, viz. that it was the humble opinion of his Majesty's 'most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Irish Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled, 66.that the connexion be

tween the countries should not be placed, by “ mutual consent, on a permanent foundation." Such a paragraph, I admit, would have supported your position, that the address expressly.rejected the second British resolution.

But you are so far from thewing an express rejection, that you are utterly unable to produce an implied one. The Irish Parliament, you say, expressly negatived the second resolution ; for they said that " they conceived the Resolution “ for unqualified, unconditional Repeal of the 6 fixth of Geo. I. to be a measure of con66 summate wisdom."* The connexion between your premise and your inference, I confess, I am dull enough not to discern plainly.

May * Mr. Grattan's words.

« AnteriorContinua »