Imatges de pÓgina

for, at the period when four were to go out and four to come in by rotation, it was poffible that they might procure eight votes in favour of any measure they were anxious to carry. The peerage of Ireland was put on a totally feparate footing from that of Great Britain. By the ftanding orders of the house no peer could interfere with the election of the commoners. Was an Irish peer, then, to be stripped of the privilege of his peerage from the moment he became a candidate for the house of commons? Or at what period was he to change his character, fo as to render it legal in him to put himself in competition with the other candidates. The doctor made feveral other remarks nearly to the fame effect; after which he concluded by moving, "that the farther con"fideration of the fubject be poft"poned till that day three months."

Mr. Morris vindicated the conduct of minifters on the prefent occafion; and declared that the learned doctor's arguments tended only to corroborate more ftrongly the neceffity and wifdom of the union.

[blocks in formation]

of confiderable magnitude; but at the fame time of fmall moment, when compared with thofe refpective fituations which made it 'improper for Ireland to coalefce with us, and for us to coalefce with her. The Irith members would come here in the firft inftance on terms of equality in point of qualifications, and every other refpect as the reprefentatives of Great Britain; and would take the ufual oaths of allegiance and abjuration, which, he faid, muft operate as an exclufion of Roman-catholic members. But it had been stated, that the union would promote the commerce and agriculture of the country, and by that means confiderably improve the condition of the people: If this was a benefit, he said he would ask, Did the Roman-catholics afk it? or were they even willing to receive it when voluntarily offered? After enlarging upon this and other topics, he concluded by faying, that, under the prefent arrangement, the mass of the Roman-catholics had nothing to expect, though every exclufion fhould be removed by the united parliament.

Colonel Wood and fir R. C. Glynn fupported the general prin ciple.

Sir William Young replied to the last speaker.

Mr. Nicholls fooke in favour of the meafure; and the queftion being called for, the houfe dividedFor the amendment 26, against it 208.

The firft refolutions were then read and agreed to. The house adjourned till the Monday following. On that day, viz. May 5,

The order of the day being read, on the question that the fourth refolution be read a fecond time,

Dr. Lawrence moved a very long
K refolution

refolution relative to the reprefentation, altering, in fome degree, every part of it as it then ftood. The chancellor of the exchequer oppofed the amendment.

miting future parliaments, and this fubject in particular certainly ought to be left to the difcretion of the united parliament. The amendment was negatived without a divifion.

Mr. Grey fupported the latter part of the honourable gentleman's amendment; he meant that part which required the Irish members to vote feparate on queftions where taxes were to be laid upon Ireland, and the fame as to the English members. He alfo fupported the amendment relating to the creation of peers. Mr. Grey then moved a refolution, by way of amendment, to be inferted, viz. "Provided that, "by an act of parliament of Ireland, "the right of voting fhould be regu"lated according to the population "and wealth, in fuch a manner as to "fecure the people a full, fair, and free reprefentation in parliament," which was oppofed by the chancellor of the exchequer.


Sir William Dolben moved an amendment to the following effect: "Provided that his majefty, and his "royal fucceffors, be empowered to "demand from each peer, before his "appointment, a fettlement out of "his own lands, to be unalienably "attached to the faid peerage dur"ing its existence."

The chancellor of the exchequer objected to this amendment as totally unneceffary.

Sir William Dolben did not give his amendment to the fpeaker: no queftion arofe therefore upon it.

The fifth article was agreed to without an amendment.

Mr. Grey then moved his fecond amendment: "That if an act should "pafsin England to reduce the mem"bers of the British houfe of com"mons, the Irish house of commons "fhould be reduced in the propor❝tion that one hundred bears to the "whole number of the house of "commons of Great Britain."

On the motion that the fixth article be agreed to, Mr. Tierney moved, that the clause respecting the exportation of wool be re-committed. He faid he muft ftill be of opinion, that a duty of ten per cent. fhould be laid upon that exportation. This, he contended, would prevent the pernicious effect of any fudden fhock upon the woollen trade.

The chancellor of the exchequer alfo objected to this.

The chancellor of the exchequer made a fhort reply.

Mr. Grey then faid, that the other amendment he had to propofe was merely provifory. He then moved

Mr. Wilberforce promifed to fupport the motion of his honourable friend (Mr. Tierney).

"That nothing contained in the "articles of union fhould be under"stood to bar the right, or limit the

After a few words from Mr. Eftcourt, Mr. Hobhouse, and Mr. Lafcelles, the houfe divided-Ayes 19


competency, of the united parlia--Noes 111. The refolutions on 66 ment, to reduce the number of the other articles were then agreed "Irish members, provided there to, upon which "fhould be a reduction of thofe in "the English houfe of commons."

The chancellor of the exchequer faid, it was abfurd to think of li

The chancellor of the exchequer congratulated the house on the wifdom, and almoft general unanimity, with which the different articles had been

[blocks in formation]

of the most effectual means for confirming and strengthening the connexion between Great Britain and Ireland, which was ordered, and the houfe adjourned. The rest of the proceedings we have already detailed, as far as the house of lords co-operated in the refolutions and addrefs: A bill to the effect of the refolutions was foon after introduced, which, however, produced no debate till the 24th of June, when

The chancellor of the exchequer moved the order of the day for the third reading of the union bill, which being done,

Mr. Tierney faid, that he wished to introduce a clause, embracing one of the objects fought by the refolutions. What he alluded to, was the number of members intended to compofe the united parliament, which, being not lefs than 658, could not fail to caufe much inconvenience; he wifhed, therefore, that a claufe fhould be added to the bill, enabling the united parliament to reduce the number, if that should be deemed expedient.

The chancellor of the exchequer faid, that the claufe mentioned by the honourable member was new matter, and could not be even entertained for difcuffion without creating great delay. The bill was therefore paffed without further debate, and fent to the lords; and on Wednesday, July 2,

The fpeaker went to the house of lords, accompanied by feveral mem bers, to hear the royal affent given to the bill for a legiflative union with Ireland; and, being returned, he acquainted the houfe, that his majefty had been graciously pleafed to fignify his royal aflent to the said bill.

[blocks in formation]


Debates on the Dutch Expedition-In the Houfe of Commons-In the Honfe of Lords.-Debate on the Bavarian Troops-In the House of Commons. On the Subdies to German Princes. On the Sufpenfion of the HabeasCorpus A.


N the intervals of the important business which we have already mentioned as occupying the attention of the British parliament, feveral debates incidentally took place on other topics. One of the moft important of these refpected the late unfortunate expedition to Holland. This fubject was introduced into the house of commons by Mr. Sheridan on the 10th of February. He began by remarking, that, upon the extraordinary meeting of parliament on the 24th of September, a bill had paffed to enable minifters to profecute this expedition; and though he then difapproved of it, as a dangerous violation of our great conftitutional defence, the militia fyftem, he did not think it proper, in the peculiar circumfiances in which we were placed, to oppofe the measure. We had received accounts of the battle at Berghen; our troops were in a critical fituation; and, feeing no other means by which re-inforcements could be procured, he was unwilling that any thing fhould be left undone which might lead our gallant army to fuppofe they were for a moment abandoned by a British parliament. On that occafion, indeed, he prefumed minifters acted upon the most authentic information of the favourable difpofitions of the Dutch. But he then ftated that the executive government incurred great refponfibility. Hav.

ing done this, it would be fhrinking from his pledge, did he not now endeavour to make them answer for the confidence which they had obtained, and for the courfe which they had purfued. When the news arrived of the total failure of the expedition, (a failure fo difaftrous, fo difgraceful, fo humiliating to thofe by whom it was planned, while no blame attached to the officers and men,) the univerfal clamour was, that an inquiry fhould be inftituted by the house into the caufes of this ignominious event. The minifter did every thing in his power to prevent any investigation, whilft the difgrace was recent, and the feeling of the country warm: parliament was adjourned, inquiry rendered impoffible, and the retentment and mortification of the public were left to die away, or to be diverted by fresh occurrences.

It was, however, a queftion which in the highest degree interested the glory of the country. As members of the house they were called upon to investigate a tranfaction which had been attended by the most difaftrous confequences-a wafte of blood and treafure. In treating on this fubject, he should not found his arguments on private information, but on the recorded accounts of minifters themfelves in their own gazettes. The lord-lieutenant of Ireland (marquis Cornwallis) had indeed informed the Irish parlia ment,

ment, that the expedition to Holland had prevented an invafion of Ireland. He had spoken as if the main object of our policy had been, not the deliverance of the Dutch from the yoke of France, not the restoration of the house of Orange to their rights, not the protection of religion, or the defence of focial order, but the capture of a few Dutch hips of war!-as if for fuch an acquisition we had fubfidized the mercenary magnanimity of Ruffia, drawn forth our military ftrength, and drained our financial refources. What other advantage had we gained in fact from this famed fecret expedition? Secret it had been called till the term became ridiculous-never had there been an undertaking conducted with fuch oftentatious myfterynever did an object attract fuch univerfal notoriety; and the only thing concealed yet was, the favourable difpofition of the Dutch towards us; a fecret fo well kept indeed, that to the prefent hour it had not been discovered.

But fome gentlemen on the oppofite fide were of opinion, that this capture was not the only advantage we had gained: it was an expedition of difcovery, and not altogether unfuccefsful in that view; and indifputable it was, that thefe notable discoveries had been made; first, that no reliance could be placed on the chancellor of the exchequer's knowledge; fecondly, that Holland was a country interfected by dykes, ditches, and canals; and, thirdly, that the weather was not fo good in October as in June: this information, however, had been purchased dear, if we confidered the number of lives which had been loft, and that the tenth of every man's income had been fquandered. Nor did he rate the

acquifition of the Dutch fhips very highly: we had taken poffeffion of them in the name of the ftadtholder: were they to be manned with the mutinous crews who furrendered them, and employed in the name of the ftadtholder? If so, they were no addition to our navy. Nay, it was of the most perilous example, He trembled to fee a deliberating navy in the face of the naval force of England; a navy deciding upon the caufe of their country, instead of fighting her battles. It was dangerous to behold mutiny recommended to our feamen by any example. He wished to fee the fpirit of Blake prevail, who told his failors, that it was their duty to fight for their country in whatever hands the government might be. This was found reason, these were fafe maxims, nor was it wife or politic to encourage any other. If minifters promoted a spirit of mutiny amongst the Dutch navy, they ill understood the interefts of their country; they departed from an univerfal principle of right to ferve a particular purpofe, and, for a partial advantage, introduced a moft dangerous precedent. We knew, by fatal experience, that artifices might be fuccefsfully employed to delude even our own failors into a conduct which the nation disapproved; and what were the means employed to produce the revolting spirit of the Dutch, to which we owed the capture of their fleet? Were they fuch as could be avowed and juftified? Suppofe admiral Story had refifted this fpirit of mutiny and disobedience, and afted as De Ruyter would have acted in his fituationendeavoured to maintain his authority, and perished in the attempt-would we have permitted our feamen to welcome the Dutch

failors, imbrued with the blood of K 3


« AnteriorContinua »