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ADDRESS PRESENTED TO HIS MAJESTY, AT ST. JAMES's, BY
THE LORDS AND COMMONS ON THE 29TH OF JULY, 1785. PAGE 124.
MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN,
WE, your majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the lords spiritual and temporal, and commons of Great Britain in parliament assembled, have taken into most serious consideration, the important subject of commercial intercourse between Great Britain and Ireland, recommended in your majesty's speech at the opening of the present session, and the resolutions of the two houses of parliament in Ireland, which were laid before us by your majesty's command, on the 22d of February last.
After a long and careful investigation of the various ques. tions necessarily arising out of this comprehensive subject, we have come to the several resolutions, which we now humbly present to your majesty, and which, we trust, will form the basis of an advantageous and permanent commercial settle. ment between your majesty's kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.
We have proceeded on the foundation of the resolutions of the parliament of Ireland ; but in considering 'so extensive an arrangement, we have found it necessary to introduce some modifications and exceptions, and we have added such regulations and conditions as appeared to us indispensably necessary for establishing the proposed agreement, on just and equitable principles, and for securing to both countries those commercial advantages to an equal enjoyment of which they are in future to be entitled.
Your majesty's subjects in Ireland, being secured in a full and lasting participation of the trade with the British colonies, must, we are persuaded, acknowledge the justice of their continuing to enjoy it on the same terms with your majesty's subjects in Great Britain.
This work having encreased under the author's pen to so large a bulk, the debate intended to have been here inserted, which is very long, is omitted, and the reader is referred for it to the 18th volume of the Parliamentary Register, p. 546 to 592.
And it is, we conceive, equally manisest, that as the ships and mariners of Ireland are to continue in all time to come to enjoy the same privileges with those of Great Britain, the same provision should be adopted in Ireland as may be found necessary in this country, for securing those advantages exclusively to the subjects of the empire. This object is essentially connected with the maritime strength of your majesty's dominions, and consequently with the safety and prosperity both of Great Britain and Ireland.
We therefore deem it indispensable, that these points should be secured as conditions necessary to the existence and duration of the agreement between the two countries; they can only be carried into effect by laws to be passed in the parliament of Ireland; which is alone competent to bind your majesty's subjects in that kingdom, and whose legislative rights we shall ever hold as sacred as our own.
It remains for the parliament of Ireland to judge, according to their wisdom and discretion, of these conditions, as well as of every other part of the settlement proposed to be established by mutual consent.
Our purpose in these resolutions is to promote alike the com. mercial interests of your majesty's subjects in both countries; and we are persuaded, that the common prosperity of the two kingdoms will be thereby greatly advanced; the subjects of each will in future apply themselves to those branches of commerce which they can exercise with most advantage, and the wealth so diffused through every part will operate as a general benefit to the whole.
We have thus far performed our part in this important business; and we trust that in the whole of its progress reciprocal interests and mutual affection will insure that spirit of union, so essentially necessary to the great end, which the two countries have equally in view. .
In this persuasion' we look forward with confidence to the final completion of a measure, which, while it tends to perpetuate harmony and friendship between the two kingdoms, must, by augmenting their resources, uniting their efforts and consolidating their strength, afford your majesty the surest means of establishing, on a lasting foundation, the safety, prosperity, and glory of the empire. To which his Majesty made the following most gracious
MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,
I RECEIVE with the greatest satisfaction these resolutions, which, after so long and diligent an investiga
tion, you consider as affording the basis of an advantageous and permanent commercial settlement between my two kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. Nothing can more clearly manifest your regard for the interests of both my kingdoms and your zeal for the general prosperity of my dominions, than the aitention you have given to this important object. A full and equal participation of commercial advantages, and a similarity of laws in those points, which are necessary for their preservation and security, must be the surest bond of union between the two kingdoms and the source of reciprocal and increasing benefits to both. The same spirit, in which this great work has begun and proceeded, will, I doubt not, appear throughout the whole of its progress; and I concur with you in thinking, that the final completion of it is of essential importance to the future happiness of both countries, and to the safety, glory and prosperity, of the empire.
SPEECH OF MR. GRATTAN ON THE EAST INDIA TRADE.
Mr. Grattan.... Sir, I can excuse the right honourable member, who moves you for leave to bring in the bill. He is an Englishman, and contends for the power of his own country, while I am contending for the liberty of mine; he might have spared himself the trouble of stating his own bill. read it before, I read it in the twenty resolutions, I read it in the English bill, which is to all intents and purposes the same; and which he might read without the trouble of resorting to his own. His comment is of little moment ; a lord lieutenant's secretary is an unsafe commentator on an Irish constitution ; the former merit of the right honourable gentleman in pressing for the original propositions and contending against the present, which
now supports, may have been very great, and I am willing to thank him for his past services; they may be a private consolation to himself. No more; I differ from him in his account of this transaction. He was pledged to these eleven propositions;
his offer was the propositions ; ours the taxes ; he took the latter, but forgets the former. I leave both, and come to his system. Here it becomes necessary to go back a little : I begin with your free trade obtained in. 1779 : by that you recovered your right to trade with every part of the world, whose ports were open to you, subject to your own unstipulated duties, the British plantations only excepted; by that you obtained the benefit of your insular situation, the benefit of your western situation, and the benefit of your exemption from intolerable taxes. When these advantages might be, no man could say, but any man who had seen the struggle you had made during a century of depression, could foresee, that a spirit of industry operating upon the state of liberty in a young nation, must in the course of time, produce signal advantages : the sea is like the earth; to non-exertion, a waste, to industry, a mine; this trade was accompanied with another, a plantation trade: in this you retained your right to trade directly with the British plantations in a variety of articles, without a reference to British duties; by this you obtained a right to trade with the British plantations directly in each and every other article, subject to the rate of British duty ; by this, you obtained a right to select ; so that the general trade should not hang on the special conformity ; and by this, you did not covenant to affect, exclude, or postpone the produce of foreign plantations. The reason was obvious : you demanded two things, a free trade and a plantation trade; had the then minister insisted on a covenant to exclude the produce of foreign plantations, he had given you a plantation trade instead of a free trade (whereas your demand was for both) and his grant had been inadequate, unsatisfactory and inadmissible. These points of trade being settled, a third in the opinion of some remained ; namely, the intercourse with England or the channel trade. A successful political campaign, an unsuccessful harvest, the poverty of not a few, together with the example of England, brought forward, in the year 1783, a number of famishing manufacturers with a demand of protecting duties; the extent of their demand was idle, the manner of conveying that demand tumultuary; but not being wholly resisted nor yet adequately assisted, they laid the foundation of another plan, which made its appearance in 1785, opposite indeed to their wishes and fatal to their expectation ; this was the system of reciprocity ; a system fair in its principle, and in prod cess of time likely to be beneficial, but not likely to be of any great present advantage, other than by stopping the growth of demand, allaying a commercial fever, and producing settlement and incorporation, with the people of England; this system was founded on the only principle, which could obtain between two independent nations equality, and the equality consisted in si
milarity of duty; now as the total abatement of duties on both sides had driven the Irishman out of his own market, as the raising our duties to the British standard had driven the Engglishman out of the Irish market, a third method was resorted to, the abatement of British duty to the Irish standard: but then this equality of duty was inequality of trade: for as the Englishman with that duty against him had beaten you in the Irish market, with that duty in his favour he must keep you out of the English: so that under this arrangement, the English manufacturer continued protected, and the Irish manufacturer continued exposed, and the abatement of duty was no more than disarming the argument of retaliation. Had the arrangement stopped here, it had been unjust indeed: but as Ireland was to covenant, that she would not raise her duties on British manufactures, England on her part was to corenant, that she would not diminish her preference in favour of Irish linen, and the adjustment amounted to a covenant, that neither country in their respective markets would affect the manufacture of the other by any operative alteration of duty ; however the adjusta ment did not stop at the home manufacture, it went to plantation produce, and here you stood on two grounds, law and jus. tice ; law, because you only desired that the same words of the same act of navigation should have the same construction on one side the channel as they have on the other ; how they had ever borne a different one, I cannot conceive, otherwise than by supposing that in your ancient state of dependancy you were not entitled to the common benefit of the mother tongue ; the answer to this argument was unsatisfactory, that England had altered the law ; but if England had so altered the law, it ceased to impose the same restrictions and confer the same advantages, and then a doubt might arise whether the act of navigation were the law of Ireland, so that you seemed entitled to the construction or free from the act; now it is of more consequence to England, that you should be bound by the act of navigation, than to Ireland to have the benefit of the fair construction of it. But you stood on still better ground....justice ; was it just that you should receive plantation goods from England, and that England should not receive them from you? here if you do not find the law equal, you may make it so: for as yet you are a free parliament.
I leave this part of the subject; equality of duty, but no present equality of trade. I come to that part of the adjustment which is inequality of both ;....and first, that part which relates to the primum of your manufactures. When the original propositions were arguedo gentlemen exclaimed, “ England re
serves her wool, and Ireland does not reserve her woollen yarn," it was answered, “ Ireland may if she please.” What