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opposed by some, but not by all of the opposition. Of all the gentlemen, who ultimately opposed them, Mr. Grattan appears to have entertained the most favourable opinion of them in the first instance. “ I am anxious," said he, to say a few words, both " on the new resolutions and the plan. The resolutions I think “ absolutely indispensable. They have a threefold principle. * " The first is, after the expences of the nation are paid, to “ contribute to the general expence of the empire. The second " is, that by making the surplus not applicable to the general "expence till all expences are paid, it interests both the British question of 1753; they establish Irish economy; they maker " the British ministry a guarantee to the integrity of this house, " and the economy of Irish administration. The plan is open,
and the Irish ministers in Irish economy. The third is, to
subject that surplus to the control of the Irish parliament. If “ the other resolutions had not past, these ought still to be sup
ported. They put an end to debt; they decide the great
" additional duties, should be hereafter imposed in either kingdom, on the “ importation of any article of the growth, product, or manufacture of the “other, except such additional duties as may be requisite to balance duties " on internal consumption, pursuant to the foregoing resolution.
" 7th. Resolved, That for the same purpose, it is necessary farther, that no “ proliibition, or new or additional duties, should be hereafter imposed in " either kingdom, on the exportation of any article of native growth, product, “ or manufacture from thence to the other, except such as either kingdom “ may deem expedient, from time to time, upon corn, meal, malt, flour, and “ biscuits ; and also except where there now exists any prohibition which is “not reciprocal, or any duty which is not equal in both kingdoms, in every “which case the prohibition may be made reciprocal, or the duties raised so " as to make them equal.
“ 8th. Resolved, That for the same purpose, it is necessary, that no bountics “ whatsoever should be paid, or payable, in either kingdom, on the exportation " of any article to the other, except such as relate to corn, meal, malt, four, " and biscuits, and such as are in the nature of drawbacks or compensations “ for duties paid, and that no duty should be granted in this kingdom on the “ exportation of any article imported from the British plantations, or any " manufacture made of such article, unless in cases where a similar bounty " is payable in Britain, on exportation from thence, or where such bounty is “ merely in the nature of a drawback or compensation of, or for duties paid " over and above any duties paid thereon in Britain.
“ 9th. Resolved, That it is expedient, for the general benefit of the British “ empire, that the importation of articles from foreign states should be regu6 lated from time to time, in each kingdom, on such terms as may afford an “ effectual preference to the importation of similar articles of the growth, ,“ product, or manufacture of the other.
• 10th. Resolvet, That it is essential to the commercial interests of this “ country to prevent, as much as possible, an accumulation of national debt, “ and therefore it is highly expedient, that the annual revenues of this king“ dom should be madle equal to its annual expences.
“ 11th. Resolved, That for the better protection of trade, whatever sum the gross hereditary, revenue of this kingdom (after deducting all drawbacks,
repayments, or bounties, granted in the nature of drawbacks,) shall pro“ duce, over and above the sum of 65 01. in each year of peace, wherein “ the annual revenues shall be equal to the annual expences, and in each year “ of war, without regard to such equality, should be appropriated towards the " support of the naval force of the empire, in such manner as the parliament " of this kingdom shall direct.”
fair, and just, and such as the British minister can justify
to both nations. He gave to England what she had a right “ to expect, and perhaps they could not give her more.”
When all the resolutions had been agreed to, the chancellor of the exchequer moved for an address to his majesty, expres. sive of their gratitude to his majesty for the gracious recommendation of the plan to the consideration of the house, and of their sanguine hopes of the happy effects thereof. On the same day (12 Feb. 1785) the resolutions and the address were sent to the lords, and unanimously agreed to. On the 22d of the month, the eleven resolutions agreed to by the Houses of Lords and Commons of Ireland were read in a committee of the British House of Commons, when Mr. Pitt opened the business by calling upon the committee to debarass their minds of all bias and prepossession, which so much pains had been taken to create and diffuse throughout every part of the kingdom. In treating that important question, he would beg leave to recal their attention to what had been, and what was the relative situation of the two countries. They would recollect that, from the Revolution to a period within the memory of every man, who heard him, indeed until these very few years, the system had been that of debarring Ireland from the enjoyment and use of her own resources; to make the kingdom completely subservient to the interests and opulence of this country, with out suffering her to share in the bounties of nature, in the industry of her citizens, or making them contribute to the general interests and strength of the empire. This system of cruel and abominable restraint had however been exploded. It was at once harsh and unjust, and it was as impolitic as it was oppressive; for however necessary it might be to the partial benefit of districts in Britain, it promoted not the real prosperity and strength of the empire. That which had been the system, counteracted the kindness of Providence, and suspended the industry and enterprise of man. Ireland was put under such restraint, that she was shut out from every species of commerce. She was restrained from sending the produce of her own soil to foreign markets, and all correspondence with the colonies of Britain was prohibited to her, so that she could not derive their coinmodities but through the medium of Britain. This was the system, which had prevailed, and this was the state of thraldom, in which that country had been kept ever since the Revolution. Some relaxation of the system, indeed, took place at an early period of the present century. Somewhat more of the restrictive laws were abated in the reign of George II. but it
was not until a time nearer to our own day, and indeed within the last seven years, that the system had been completely reversed.*
It was not to be expected but that when Ireland, by the more enlarged sentiments of the present age, had acquired an independent legislature, she would instantly export her produce and manufactures to all the markets of the world. She did so, and this was not all. England, without any compact or bargain, generously admitted her to a share in her colonies. She gave her liberty to import directly, and to re-export to all the world, except to Britain, the produce of her colonies. Thus much was done some years ago ; but to this moment no change had taken place in the intercourse between Great Britain and Ireland themselves. Some trivial points indeed had been changed; but no considerable change had taken place in our manufactures exported to Ireland, or in theirs imported to England. That, therefore, which had been done, was still viewed by the people of Ireland as insufficient : and clamours were excited, and suggestions published in Dublin and elsewhere, of putting duties on our produce and manufactures, under the name of protecting duties.
Having thus far relaxed from the system, which had been maintained since the Revolution; having abandoned the commercial subserviency, in which we had so long persevered, and having so wisely and justly put them into a state, in which they might cultivate and profit from the gifts of nature; having secured to them the advantages of their arts and industry, it was to be observed, that we had abolished one system, and had established another; but we had left the intercourse between the two countries exactly where it was. There were, he said but two possible systems for countries situated in relation to one another like Britain and Ireland. The one, of having the smaller completely subservient, and subordinate to the greater, to make the one, as it were, an instrument of advantage, and to make all her efforts operate in favour, and conduce merely to the interest of the other. This system wo had tried in respect to Ireland. The other was, a participation and community of benefits, and a system of equality and fairness, which, without tending to aggrandize the one or depress the other, should seek the aggregate interests of the empire. Such a situation of com. mercial equality, in which there was to be a community of benefits, demanded also a community of burdens; and it was
These mclancholy truths, so strongly stated by Mr. Pitt, of the degraded and distressed situation of Ireland, under the ancient system of its government, are so many consolatory reasons for the Irish finding in an incorporate union the impossibility of their repetition.
this situation, in which he was anxious to place the two countries. · It was on that general basis, that he was solicitous of moving the proposition, which he held in his hand, to complete a system, which had been left unfinished and defective.
Mr. Pitt, after having fully passed in review the different benefits lately granted to Ireland by the British parliament, observed, that the concessions now proposed to be made to that kingdom, in order to put the two countries on a fair and equal footing, he should reduce to two heads :
First, The importation of the produce of our colonies in the West Indies and America through Ireland into Great Britain.
Second, A mutual exchange between the two countries of their respective productions and manufactures, upon equal terms.
With regard to the first, he allowed it had the appearance of militating against the navigation laws, for which England had ever had the greatest partiality. But as she had already allowed Ireland to trade immediately and directly with the colonies, he could not see how the importing of the produce of those colonies circuitously through Ireland into Great Britain could injure the colonial trade of this country, which was a direct one, and therefore to be made at a less expence and risk, than that which was circuitous.
In return for these concessions on the part of Great Britain, he proposed, that Ireland should agree to the payment of a certain stipulated sum yearly out of the surplus of her hereditary revenue, towards defraying the general expences of the empire. He then concluded a very elaborate speech with moving the following general resolution : “ That it was highly important “ to the general interests of the empire, that the commercial “ intercourse between Great Britain and Ireland should be final“ ly adjusted and that Ireland should be admitted to a perma“ nent and irrevocable participation of the commercial advan“ tages of this country, when her parliament should perma
nently and irrevocably secure an aid out of the surplus of the " hereditary revenue of that kingdom, towards defraying the “expence of protecting the general commerce of the empire in a time of peace.”
Although the committee were not called upon that night to give any opinion upon the resolution, Lord North, Mr. Fox, and several of their friends spoke upon the subject, lest their silence might be interpreted into consent or approbation..... Whereas they much doubted, whether any system of intercourse were at that time necessary to be arranged between Great Britain and Ireland : and if so, whether the system, of which thę right honourable gentleman had given the outline, were such as policy, expediency, and good sense required to be adopted.
Mr. Fox entered more into the detail of the necessary effects of the resolutions, and concluded therefrom, that the whole tendency of the propositions appeared to him to go the length of appointing Ireland the sole guardian of the laws of navigation, and grand arbitress of all the commercial interests of the empire; a trust he felt no sort of inclination to párt from out of our own hands, not even to delegate to Ireland, of whose generosity, loyalty, and gratitude, no man entertained a higher opinion.
A fortnight elapsed before the subject again made its appearance; during which time a report, prepared by a committee of the board of trade and plantations, was laid by the minister upon the table of the House of Commons, to assist its deliberations. This report was stated to be founded upon the declarations and opinions of some of the principal manufacturers and merchants in the kingdom, who had been examined by the above-mentioned committee, and its particular object was to prove the expediency of that part of the system, which related to the reduction of the duties payable upon the importation of Irish produce and manufactures into Great Britain, to what the same sort of articles were charged with in this country.
In the mean time the merchants and manufacturers, who had been examined before the committee, joined by great numbers of others from every part of the nation, met together for the purpose of taking the Irish propositions into their consideration. During the course of their proceedings it appeared, that the opinions of the former were in direct contradiction to the inferences, which had been drawn from their examination in the report laid before parliament. Whether this were occasioned by any change, which upon a fuller consideration had taken place in the minds of the merchants and manufacturers themselves, or whether the committee of the board of trade and plantations had strained and perverted their declarations, it is not easy to determine. However, the consequence was, that it threw a considerable degree of discredit upon the report itself, and seemed to point out the necessity there was for the House of Commons to examine the different commercial and manu. facturing bodies concerned, at their own bar. This mode of proceeding gave the first check to the system in its progress through the house, whilst without doors it became more unpopular, in proportion as it became more thoroughly investigated; yet it must be allowed, that its unpopularity generally arose from different grounds.
During the months of March and April, and even until the middle of the month of May, the house was occupied in receive