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be agitated during what he might call a ministerial interregnum; it was a bill that ought to have the marked countenance and support of administration.
Earl Nugent replied, that there was nothing farther from his wish than that the bill should be carried through parliament by ministerial influence; nothing could do more honour to this nation, or give more satisfaction to Ireland, than that the bill should originate, and be carried through in a conviction in the minds of the people of England, that the bill was founded in justice, policy, and equity: the people of Ireland could have but little reason to deem the bill a security to their constitution, if they should be by any means led to think that it had been carried by the influence of administration, against the wishes of the people: nothing could satisfy the people of Ireland, but the idea, that the people of England with one voice agreed to the passing of this bill, from a conviction that it was fit it should be passed, and without being biassed in their judgment by ministerial influence: it was not upon floating administrations, that stability could be founded; and therefore it was to the people of England, not to ministers, that Ireland appealed; and the people of England represented by that house, could alone give permanency to measures, they never could derive it from the insecure tenure of ministerial influence : ministers had nothing to do with the business; the people were concerned; and their representatives in that house might therefore proceed with the bill without giving themselves any trouble about ministers; he cared not who were, or who were not ministers; he was under no obligation either to those who were in, or to those, who, from report, he understood were likely to be their successors; the bill concerned the nation, and the representatives of the people, who were most intimately concerned in it, ought to proceed in their own business without waiting for ministerial arrangements, for if they did, an idea might go forth, which ought to be crushed, that the bill was to be supported by the influence of administration.
On the 2d of April, 1783, it was announced to the British parliament that a new* arrangement was formed; when Mr.
The following is a List of the Coalition Administration.
The above seven persons to form the cabinet. Lord Loughborough, Sir William Henry Ashhurst, and Sir Beaumont Ho. tham, Lords Commissioners for the custody of the great seal.
Pitt moved the order af the day on the American trade bill. Lord Sheffield violently opposed it as one of the most ill-managed and ill-considered bills ever brought before that house. In the course of his speech, he adverted to what he had said some few days before upon the subject of that bill's affecting Ireland.* That kingdom received as a right every advantage she had lately acquired, except the participation of the WestIndia monopoly; for that she was thankful, and in return passed the act, which lays the same duties as Britain on imported sugars, and other West-India articles, and lays prohibitory duties on similar articles from foreign islands. By this bill that monopoly would cease ; deprived of the advantage, Ireland would think, that Britain had done away the consideration, which induced her to shut her ports against foreign sugars. The Irish act laying prohibitory duties was biennial, and would ex. pire next Christmas ; and it was not to be supposed under these circumstances she would continue it. Her redress would be to take foreign West-India goods, at least she would not think it necessary to charge her own consumption of sugars with higher duties, than were required from America. She would expect to have West-India goods on as good terms as the American
The Earl of Surrey, Frederic Montagu, Esq. and Sir Grey Cooper, Lords of the Treasury.
Hugh Pigot, Esq. Lord Viscount Dungannon, Hon. John Townshend, Sir John Lindsey, William Jolliffe, Esq. and Whitshed Keene, Esq. Lords of the Admiralty.
The Earl of Hertford, Lord Chamberlain.
Richard Brindsley Sheridan, Esq. and Richard Burke, Esq. Secretaries to the Treasury.
Honourable Mr. St. John, and Honourable Colonel North, under Secreta. rics of State.
The Earl of Sandwich, Ranger and Keeper of St. James's Park and Hyde Park.
The Earl of Jersey, Captain of the band of Pensioners.
States, now become foreign. West-India planters should consider, whether a direct trade to the American States would recompense them for the loss of the Irish consumption; and parliament should consider what would be the state of smuggling from Ireland into this country, if Ireland should become the depôt for foreign West-India goods, or of our own, under low duties.
The Irish judicature bill, which had gone up and been once read in the lords, had been suspended in its progress from the moment the change in ministry had been spoken of; and Lord Thurlow publicly avowed in a conversation upon that bill's standing for the order of the day, that he had been the person, who advised the noble lord, who had moved the first reading of the bill, not to move the second, but to let the bill remain till his majesty's present ministers chose to take it up. His lordship further observed, that the bill then before the house had been concerted with the advice of the present lord lieutenant of Ireland ; a noble lord, of whom both in private and in public he had heard sufficient in praise to convince him, that he was a man of great abilities, of great wisdom, and of great integrity. Advice coming from such a man, and it being considered what a great stake that noble lord had in both countries, too much attention could not certainly be paid to the nobie lord's suggestions. For these reasons, he hoped, and most anxiously hoped, that the noble lord was not to be recalled, but was to remain where he was, and where he had conducted himself in his high capacity, in a manner that redounded so much to his own honour, at the same time that it was productive of infinite advantage to the interests of both kingdoms. His lordship reasoned upon this for a considerable time, and said, that if unfortunately the noble earl were to leave Ireland, and any body else were to be sent thither, it would become a noble Duke (of Portland) more particularly to inform the house in the fullest manner, how the present bill would suit that wisdom, which the administration of that day meant to pursue, that the house might judge of the propriety, practicability, and policy of the whole, before they darkly and blindly gave their sanction to one part only. Then the Earl of Mansfield
put the question, “ that the bill be read a second time “ on Monday next, and the lords be summoned ;” which was ordered accordingly; and on the 14th of April, 1783, Lord Aberdeen made a very long and able speech upon the bill then under the contemplation of the house: He had seen with infinite pleasure, that what Ireland had required of England, had been in all its extent acquiesced in by his majesty's ministers. He had seen an act of parliament no less offensive to the constitution of this country, than subversive of the right of Ireland, repealed and expunged from our Statute Books. But he had also seen,
that although this had been done at the instance and requisition of both houses of parliament in Ireland, Ireland was not satisfied with it; and seeing that, as the true friend to both countries, he endeavoured to draw that line of relation betwixt the two, which the interest of each seemed to call for and require, and in which he felt himself upholden, maintained, and supported by the constitution of England.
In considering the subject, two things occurred to his observation; one the right, which this country had exercised of inter. nal legislation over Ireland; the other, the right, which this country possessed of external legislation over Ireland, so far as that legislation regarded the navigation and commerce of that kingdom. With respect to the first, the right of internal legislation, it was clear to him, that no right so manifestly in the teeth of the constitution of this country, however it had been exercised, could on principle be maintained; for as it was a fundamental principle of the constitution, that legislation and representation were inseparable, therefore inasmuch as Ireland was not represented in the British parliament, Ireland could not be subject to the legislature of the British parliament; but of the right of external legislation, so far as it respected the navigation and commerce of that kingdom, his opinion and judgment were the very reverse : that right being founded on the right to the dominion of the sea, was a common law right, a fundamental right coequal with the constitution of this country, he found it so laid down passim in all our common law books, as well as expressly declared in the statute of the 20th of Henry VI. chap. 9. to wit:
“ The parliament of England cannot bind Ireland, as to their lands, for they have a parliament there ; but they may bind them as to things transitory, as the shipping of wool, or merchandise, to the intent to carry it to another place beyond sea." An authority, which whilst it maintained the rights of external legislation quoad the commerce of Ireland, it defeated the right of internal legislation, for the reason given, namely, “ for that “ they have a parliament there.”
He asked if the people of Ireland wished to remain subjects of the crown of England? If they did, the moment that bill passed, they were no longer so. For the subjects of the crown of England must be, and are, of continual necessity, under the legislative authority of this country. The crown itself is under the legislative authority of this country, and of course those, who are dependant upon this crown, so far as the constitution admits of it, must be so too. That they may be subjects of the king of England, is true, and so they will be ; and so are the people of Hanover subjects of the king of Eugland; but does
Ireland wish to be upon the footing of Hanover with this country? and yet the case must and will be so. Suppose an act of parliament were to pass, restraining the prerogative of the crown in any given instance with respect to Ireland, would not Ireland be bounden by that act of parliament? Must not Ireland submit to that act of parliament? For how could Ireland oppose or resist it but by an act of rebellion, if the people of Ireland be the subjects of the crown of England, and the crown of England be subject to the legislation of England? Do the people of Ireland wish to have seats in the British parliament? This bill incapacitates them from being members of the British legislature. It was by acts of parliament, that the right of sitting in the two houses of parliament was regulated; and the people of Ireland not being to be bounden by acts of parliament, they are in so much aliens, quoad their claim to this right. From the moment that act did pass, the Irish were no longer our fellow subjects. If that right be in us, that right is delegated to us, and no delegated right is, or can be in its nature transferable. This is sound constitutional doctrine, and not to be opposed; besides, at best this is but an act of parliament, and all acts of parliament are repealable ; and then the right reverts to its fundamental source. Let the Irish remember, that the 6th of George I. has been repealed.
The Duke of Richmond said, that in many respects he agreed with the noble earl, and must do him the justice to say, he never heard a series of arguments better digested. His grace went over much of the old ground, and amongst other things their lordships would be pleased to consider, that not only in regard to peace and war, in regard to rivalship in commerce, in regard to ecclesiastical matters, the separation created by the present bill would be materially alarming 'to England. Suppose that England should have occasion to go to war, and Ireland should find herself disposed to remain at peace, should refuse to give aid, and furnish her quotas to the cause of the empire ; suppose that in negociations for peace, the terms agreed on by the English ministers, should be objected to by the Irish ; suppose that in regulations and treaties of commerce with foreign states the Irish should contend with the English, in these and a thousand other possible suppositions, was it possible that this total separation could be submitted to by the people of England? But there were other most important dangers to be apprehended. All these arguments powerfully bore upon the ultimate neces. sity of an incorporate union, without which the two kingdoms must be constantly exposed, to these monstrous anomalies and mischiefs in government. These were reasons that made it indispensably necessary for their lordships to enquire whether this was to be followed by any other measure, and whether the