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comprised in the resolutions, did not originate with the Irish nation. That a stranger had been sent thither to offer a nostrum of his own invention for the relief of a disordered state. For the irritation and ill humour existing in that country, ministers were responsible. The violences which they committed in Ireland merited the most decisive and general reprobation. Their attacks on the liberty of the press ; their endeavours to prevent legal meetings, for the purpose of deliberating on the best means of reforming the pational representation; their proceedings against men by summary attachment, were measures which might well be supposed to inflame the minds of the people of Ireland. That now imprudent insult was to be compensated by imprudent concession. But let the house beware of a design so insidious and so ruinous as that of a commutation of English commerce for Irish slavery. The propositions, as they were even now modified, were far too complicated and extensive to be voted by the majority of the members of that house, on any other ground than that of confidence in the minis. ter: and surely the right honourable gentleman had sufficiently demonstrated, that implicit confidence in him was as dangerous as it was absurd; that infallibility was no more his prerogative, than that of others.
On the other hand it was argued in favour of the system, that it was a measure of absolute necessity, in order to put an end to the discontents, which prevailed to so alarming a degree in the sister kingdom. That if the present propositions were not passed into a law, all that had already been done in favour of Ireland would prove nugatory, as it was clearly inadequate to the expectations of that country.
That with respect to the fourth proposition, it was a condition, which the safety of our own navigation laws made it necessary to annex to the boon granted to Ireland. That it was unfair to infer from thence, that the British legislature had any views of trenching on the independence of Ireland, since it left to that kingdom the option of taking, or refusing the advantages holden out to her, subject to such a condition. That the condition itself was such as had frequently been adopted in the negotiations of independent states; as in the late treaty betwixt this kingdom and France, when the latter bound herself to publish certain edicts, as soon as other acts stipulated on our part, were made known to that country.
With respect to the disadvantages, which it had been supposed our manufacturers would have to encounter from the comparative small price of labour in Ireland, it was said, such a supposition arose from a misconception of facts. That the wages of artizans and manufacturers, although not of common labourers, were higher there than in this country, and therefore
there was little likelihood of their being able to undersel us on that ground. Nor could our commerce be in any danger from the reasons, which had been alleged, since the provisions and restrictions contained in the propositions, were sufficient as well to prevent any clandestine importation of foreign goods into Ireland, as to insure the duties payable on all such as might be legally imported.
The great contest upon these propositions, was on the 12th of May, when the house, at eight o'clock in the morning, divided, 125 for the question of adjournment, and 249 against it.* Notwithstanding this triumph of the minister, Mr. Pelham
* It is impossible, and perhaps unnecessary, for any historical purpose, to follow the different speakers through the long, animated, and often instructive debates and conversations upon these propositions. In one of them (on the 19th of May, 18 Parl. Debates, p. 333) Mr. Burke, after a most grateful apostrophe to this country for the signal favours and honours heaped upon him, gave this just and beautiful picture of the relative superiority of this over his own country...." To consult the interests of England and Ireland, to unite " and consolidate them into one, was a task he would undertake, as that by " which he could best discharge the duties he owed to both. To Ireland, « independence of legislature had been given ; she was now a co-ordinate, “ though less powerful state ; but pre-eminence and dignity were due to “ England; it was she alone that must bear the weight and burden of the “ empire ; she alone must pour out the ocean of wealth necessary for the “ defence of it: Ireland, and other parts, might empty their little urns to “ swell the tide : they might wield their little puny tridents ; but the great “ trident that was to move the world, must be grasped by England alone, and “ dearly it cost her to hold it. Independence of legislature had been granted “ to Ireland; but no other independence could Great Britain give her, without “ reversing the order and decree of nature : Ireland could not be separated “ from England ; she could not exist without her; she must ever remain “ under the protection of England, her guardian angel.".
On the same occasion Mr. Fox gave the following historical account of these propositions, (18 Parl. Debates, p. 296)...." In the administration of “ which I made a part, their legislature was declared to be independent ; " and in addresses from both houses of parliament, they professed themselves so “ entirely content, as not to consider it possible that any subsequent question " of political division could arise between the two kingdoms. Yet, in the very “ next session, they gave indications of new dissatisfaction, and farther con“ cessions were made. How are we then to argue from these facts? One “would imagine, that the most effectual and satisfactory method of quieting “ the apprehensions, or relieving the exigencies of a distressed country, would “ be that of appealing to their own testimony for a knowledge of their cir. “ cumstances; to collect information from themselves; to desire them to “ state, in their own persons, the measure of their calamities, and the best “ expedients for the relief of them. This was precisely the way pursued “heretofore. The concessions were granted on the declarations of the best s informed men in the land ; men, the best qualified to know the state, the “ wants, and the expectations of the kingdom; Mr. Hussey Burgh and Mr. “ Grattan ; names which no man could mention but with the sincerest and “most cordial respect, were the authorities on which England proceeded, and “ on which she relied. But this, it seems, however specious and natural, “was not the proper method of ascertaining the wants, or wishes of another " kingdom. The true and only means of finally concluding all disputes with “ Ireland, is to send a stranger there, and order him to address himself to “ tain.”
again divided the house, but with the like effect, on an amendment, seconded by Lord Surrey, for inserting after the words commercial advantages in the second resolution, the words," as
far as may be consistent with the essential interest of the manufacturers, revenue, commerce, and navigation of Great Bri
The propositions, after having been agitated upwards of three months, with unusual warmth on both sides, and after having received a variety of amendments and alterations, finally passed the House of Commons by a large majority, on the 30th of May, on which day they were carried up to the lords. Here again they became the subject of much laborious investigation, and were strongly contested, and received some amendments, though none of a material nature. Lord Stormont, (afterwards Earl of Mansfield), and Lord Loughborough, (now Earl of Roselyn), were the most forward on the part of opposition. Lord Camden spoke very strongly in favour of the measure, as appearing to him, after the most comprehensive view of the matter, salutary and political, and which would be productive of many valuable benefits to the empire at large. His lordship spoke strongly in support of the protecting superiority of Great Britain, which must ever necessarily attend her situation in relation to Ireland. In the course of the business, Lord Shelburne, who had been recently created Marquis of Lansdown, though ultimately for the proposition, said, he would not permit any party bias or political connection to mislead his judgment: he entered into a masterly view of the whole subject, in his usual manner of treating every great political question. He differed from those, who had preceded him in their opposition to the “ their senate in such language as this : .... Hear me, ye men of ignorance • and credulity! you know nothing of what you want, what you wish, or what would be good for you: trust yourselves to me, I am perfect master of all your infirmities; here is the specific that will cure you, the infallible nostrum for all ailments.' It seems that this is the only conciliatory expedient for " administering to the relif of a disordered state, not to suffer the inhabitants “ to speak, but to send a man amongst them ignorant at once of their exigen“ cies, their grievances, and their policy, to propose wild schemes of extrava“gant speculation, and prescribe for the disorder without the painful tedi. “ ousness of trying to understand it.' In compliance with this new idea, Mr. “ Orde, an English gentleman, the secretary to an English nobleman, the lord “ lieutenant for the time, rises up and proposes a set of resolutions, which hc “ pledges himself to carry into complete execution. These resolutions are • brought to England, and after two months discussion, are completely and “ fundamentally altered. Upon these resolutions the right honourable gen. • tleman thinks himself warranted to say that the system will be final. The “ right honourable gentleman said, he must have a fund of credulity who be. “ lieved all the evidence which the manufacturers had given at the bar. In “ like manner, I say, that he must have a fund of credulity indeed, who can measure: for if one-tenth of their allegations were founded in truth, Great Britain should not only shrink from the arrangement, but Ireland should tremble at the acceptance. It had been brought to a mathematical certainty, that whatever benefits Ireland received from this country, so deeply was she drawn into the vortex of our good or evil, the share she took in our subsequent misfortunes, was more than sufficient to counterbalance the precedent advantages: and he witnessed the miseries she was still suffering from the calamities of the American war.
believe on such premises, that the Irish will be content with this system, * or that the general interests of both couatries can be promoted by its esta. “ blishment."
With respect to the arrangement before the house, he said he should not enter into any discussion of the interests of Ireland, as that care more properly belonged to her own parliament. He would give every indulgence to ministers, who, if they were not infatuated, would give that attention to it, which a business of so much importance demanded. No man respected the manufacturers more than he did; they were sensible, enlightened, clear headed, and provident. No men were better informed on all the subjects, with which their trade was connected, than that body; and ministers must always find it their interest to consult with them, and to take their advice. But the manufacturers were men with prejudices, subject to err, particularly where they were blinded by personal interest.
The Chamber of Manufacturers he considered as an institution, which might be productive of much good, and give a partial assistance to ministers: though he confessed he was an enemy to people assembling, and giving to themselves what names they pleased; publishing manifestoes, edicts, and he knew not what to call their papers. Some noble lords seemed to apprehend, that Ireland having an unlimited trade, would soon be able to beat England out of the foreign markets; but a country without a capital could not be a rival, and capital was required to carry on both the carrying trade and the depôt trade. It had been said, a stipulation to receive Irish linens
free for ever, and continue the duties on foreign linens, might be attended with bad consequences in a future negotiation with some foreign powers; but he would never believe, that any foreign power would act so improperly, or so indecently, as to take offence at privileges bestowed on fellow-subjects of one common sovereign. He laughed to scorn all such impotent menaces of apprehensions: there was not a power in Europe whom a look from this country would not deter, or suddenly bring back from any resolution that they might hastily give into from pique. The material distinction between this country and the powers on the continent, was: they all must sacrifice their commercial to their political interests; whereas, such were the peculiar circumstances, and such the good fortune of England, that she could at all times make her political yield to her commercial interests. The objection that was made to the system on account of its finality, was with him its praise : the fundamental principles he hoped would be established on the most permanent footing; but these did not comprehend the detail of the system. Let the two nations understand one another in the first place ; let them fairly meet on fundamental principles ; and having acquired mutual confidence in each other by the faithful settlement of the foundation, all the subsequent considerations might be easily and gradually discussed and determined: then these countervailing duties, which all sides acknowledged to be of dificult adjustment, but which nobody would assert to be impracticable, might be regularly settled at the discretion of the two parliaments; and they might always be adjusted to the circumstances of the times, and be changed as occasions and necessities might require.
When noble lords objected to the system's being final, because it might prevent an union between the two kingdoms, did they for a moment consider the practicability of an union? There were several circumstances, that distinguished the cases of union with Ireland from that of Scotland. He mentioned some few, but there were many obstacles, which lay in the way
an union. Before an union was talked of, ministers should know the temper of the people of Ireland. High minded and jealous of their liberties, ministers, must first learn whether the Irish nation would consent to give up their distinct empire, their parliament, and all the honours, which belonged to their own royalty and state. Apprehensions had been conceived, that the three thousand men, that Ireland lent annually to England, and paid out of her own exchequer, might be recalled and disband. ed; it should rather be reflected with satisfaction, that instead of three thousand, Ireland might now whenever the exigencies of England should require it, send out her whole military establishment, being herself secure from hostile invasion, through the numbers, discipline, and spirit of her volunteer army: Ireland was in little danger of becoming an object of a descent in any future war; for she had convinced all Europe, that she was able, with her volunteer forces only, to repel the attack of the most powerful nation in Europe. No people in the world had a more animated generosity, or effusion of heart, than Ireland ; this had ever been their national character and their pride ; nothing would be lost by trusting to it; and if Ireland had ever done wrong, it had been for the want of a good leading, or by the misleading of England. Here alone had been the grievance, and not with the generous Irish.
To let things remain as they were, would, of all expedients, be the most dangerous. We had raised the hopes of the Irish