Imatges de pÓgina


For many of those who are on the Anti-Union fide, I feel the most sincere respect ; and look on them to be such staunch friends to British con. nexion, 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 separatists have raised their voices, to a man.

I do not censure, 1 applaud, the generous facrifice which they make, in not withdrawing that support which they think due to a just cause, though contaminated by the suspicious advocatism of treason. But I warn them, they are mistaken: the cause to which they are inadvertently lending their affistance, is the same which they have so lately defeated in the field. If they doubt me, let them look to the allies whom they have gained : let them ask themselves if the zeal which their new confederatés evince, could be excited by any prospect short of separation ?

These refledions have insensibly led me away ; though not into topicks which can be deemed foreign, or irrelevant : I shall now enter, without further preface, upon the task · which F have undertaken, and proceed with my

examina. tion of your printed speech, together with such matters as appertain to it, and to my subject. But before I engage in that free discussion which is before me, it may be right that I should disclaim all intention of giving you personal offence. I have nothing to do with your motives or designs ; and your friends have my permission to balance,


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if they can, whatever mischief you may have dong, with the good which you intended : I shall merely indulge in those animadversions on the tendencies of your political conduct, to which every publick man is acoustomed to submit.

You open your attack on the measure which I fupport, with a multitude of assertions, which, as they are utterly unsupported, I persuade myself that it will not be difficult to put to rout. “ The British Ministero

us, " clares his intolerance of that parliamentary 6. conftitution of Ireland, which he ordered the “ feveral Viceroys to celebrate : now pronounc

ing that eftablishment to be a miserable imper

fe&ion, in defence of which he recommended " the French war, and to which he swore the


Sir, this is not for Mr, Pitt is so far from dedaring his intolerance of that constitution, which he has concurred in commending, that he seeks, 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 expressly 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 proposal: infomuch that though we fhould take so narrow a view of the subject, as to look to no part of the constitution of Ireland, but


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that which regulates its relations with Great Britain, we should yet be justified in asserting the consistency of Mr. Pitt ; and insisting 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 indepen. dence which we acquired in 1782.

But the British Minister has at no time applauded the distinctness, 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 settlement of 1782; and left it to more depraved statesmen to celé. brate its defects: he admired in it the blossom which Ihould' ripen into union; while others praised the canker which threaten'd separation. So far from commending the brittleness of our connexion, I firmly believe that the British Mi. nister 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 destroy. They contrasted 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 deserving of celebration, than if it

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were considered as preliminary to the measure which is now proposed for our acceptance.

That establishment, which was the real objet of the Minister's panegyric, he is so far from now pronouncing to be a miserable imperfection, that on the contrary the events which have lately passed in Europe bave büt served to encrease its title to his admiration. He has seen the leffons of

ages compressed 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 lustre of our establish. ment 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 stand between that loyal body and the good of their country. Those who have not taken the obligation, may be excused 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 Legislature of this country: that the acts of this assembly are the law of the land; and that by the principles of that Conftitution, which as yeomen and subjects they are sworn to maintain, the fovereign Parliament, (however dissimilar the two statutes may be) is as competent to enact an union, as a road-bill,

Following in your steps, and pretending to no better arrangement than that which the speech that I am answering has prescribed, I now attend you to a subject 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 secondly, with maintaining that this adjustment was no more than an incipient train of negotiation.

The first branch of your accusation I hold to be unfounded; and as to the assertion 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 accomplifh the refutation of


first charge, without controverting the statement which you have yourself made, it will be a point gained : for by agreeing on facts and premisses, we shall narrow the discussion, and prevent a waste of time. This is therefore what I shall at.

tempt to do.

But I fhall in the first instance examine, and endeavour to get rid of, what I conceive to be the least relevant and conclusive part of your argument, viz. that which consists 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 some further measures, proper


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