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which resulted in England from the overthrow of Strafford We must limit our view to the effects produced in Ireland. Grievances were multiplied : some of them were substantial—others were inventions. We have a curious record, however, of the political, legal, and constitutional state of Ireland in a tract not often read, but well deserving the notice of the antiquarian and the lawyer.
The Irish Parliament, copying the example set by the great Parliamentary agitators in England, prepared a list of grievances; and in order to ascertain whether the practices which they asserted to prevail were in accordance with the constitution, drew up twenty-one queries, which were, by order of the Commons, and in their name, presented to the House of Lords, with a request that they should be submitted to the Irish Judges for their consideration and formal reply. The Lords did as desired; and the Irish Judges very reluctantly, in May, 1641, sent in their cautious and elaborate replies. The answers, of the Judges were not relished : the Commons desired a conference, and appointed a Mr. Patrick Darcy, a lawyer, one of their body, to manage the conference on their part: he did so with signal ability-dissected the Judges (or rather their arguments), exposed their logic, denied their law, and proved, clearly enough, how imperfectly an Irish Parliament had succeeded in fixing constitutional liberty in this kingdom. I observed this curious tract amongst the books of a celebrated Chief Justice offered for sale, and secured it. The learned proprietor seems to have noted the profound arguments of Mr. Patrick Darcy; and I must avow it excels in ability the more highly-praised discourse of Molyneux in the “ Case of Ireland Stated.”
The whole of this proceeding, although very instructive, was unusual and unconstitutional. The Judges now would refuse to answer such questions propounded in such a manner; a pamphlet would be answered by a pamphlet; and neither, perhaps, would be read.
Formerly a cleverly-written essay was received with great indignation,—we read that within two or three years after the Darcy disputation, a treatise was written by one Sergeant Mayart, in reply to a powerful argument by Bolton, the Chancellor, asserting the independence of the Irish Parliament and its laws. The argument and the reply will be found in a book entitled, “Harris's “Hibernica,' or Two Treatises Relating to Ireland,” containing—“1. A declaration setting forth how, and by what means, the laws and statutes of England, from time to time, came to be of force in Ireland; said to be written by Sir Richard Bolton, Lord Chancellor of Ireland.
6 2. The answer of Sir Samuel Mayart, Serjeant-at-Law, and Second Judge of the Common Pleas in Ireland, to a book entitled, “A Declaration setting forth how, and by what means, the laws and statutes of England, from time to time, came to be of force in Ireland,' concludes with these remarkable words :
“ It is again to be remembered, that which was formerly touched in this answer, what a derogation and diminishing of the King's authority and power, and what an alteration of his government would happen to him, if the law were not so, as is proved by this treatise ; for though the law be, that the King and Parliament in England may make laws to bind Ireland, yet his Majesty may summon Parliaments in Ireland, and have such laws made there as he and his Councils of England and Ireland may think fit, according to the statute of the 10th of Henry VII., and the 3rd and 4th of Philip and Mary, without relation to the Parliament of England, and as, since the making of those statutes, have been usually done. But if the Parliament in Ireland should be refractory, and would not pass such laws as his Majesty should think fit for them, though they were never so profitable, honourable, and just, both for the king and them, there were no means to make them receive such laws, if the Parliament of England had not power over them; but they refuse and reject all laws proffered to them, though never so good and wholesome for them. But the King and Parliament of England, having power over them to give them laws, if they should be obstinate, and refuse good laws, his Majesty hath thereby a lawful means to make such laws for them as shall be thought fit by him and his Parliament of England; which power of his, by the author's opinion and discourse, would be wholly taken away from his Majesty, though, as by this treatise appears, the kings of England have always enjoyed and used the same.'”
In this controversy, we have it broadly asserted by a very learned judge, that if the Irish Parliament should become refractory, the King and English Parliament could, and often did, overrule it. Mayart's essay made a noise, and attracted the notice of Parliament ;—the argument of Bolton, afterwards Lord Chancellor, on the opposite side, is very able. Whoever will study the tract by Molyneux, the Judges' answers to the queries, with Darcy's criticisms thereon, and the very learned controversy between Bolton and Mayart in Harris's Hibernica, will gain a fund of knowledge on this subject. Touching the pamphlet of Molyneux, it enraged the English Parliament. “The ponderous foxhunters” of the Lower House were indignant with a treatise they could not answer; and, finding the Case of Ireland well stated, they ordered the Essay to be burned by the hands of the common hangman! A severer punishment awaits certain pamphleteers of the present day; their essays are not burned, but they are never read.
- A Session of Parliament would, in Ireland, sometimes last only for a few days
“Little said—soon mended;
A subsidy granted—Parliament ended.”
Charles I. succeeded to the Crown 1625; but no Parliament in Ireland was called by him till 1635; after that, not till 1640. Some sessions were held subsequently before his death. The massacre—the civil war—the horrid confusion which well nigh dissolved society in Ireland during the contest between King and Parliament—do not belong to my subject. I would wish to say of those dreadful scenes—Let darkness hide them, oblivion bury them; and may a bright and happy future compensate for the gloom and misery of the past.
Cromwell's government of Ireland deserves particular attention; it forms an epoch in the constitutional history of our country. When he had waded through slaughter to a throne, and trampled down all opposition in Ireland, he had to consider how he was to rule the empire he had usurped. His capacity for government was of the highest order: he decided on having one Parliament, and one only, as he had reduced the state to one commonwealth. He does not seem to have comprehended the possibility of governing three kingdoms by three independent Parliaments; therefore, as his instrument of government, one Parliament was summoned, in 1654, to meet in Westminster, for the three kingdoms; the number of members allotted to Scotland being twenty-one, and to Ireland thirty. I do not find any Representative Peers. Considering the ruined and depopulated condition of Ireland at the period, it does not appear to have been unfairly represented. We have, therefore, the indisputable fact that the three kingdoms were united in 1654,
and that one Legislature represented them during a considerable part of the two Protectorates of Oliver and Richard Cromwell, in one Parliament, till near the Restorationa curious and significant fact, overlooked in our Parliamentary history, but consistent with, I believe, an early practice. I found the list of names of the gentlemen who represented Ireland in Cromwell's Imperial Parliament in the Appendix to the second volume of the work so full of interest by Lord Mountmorres; and on searching for the member for Fermanagh, discovered the name of my friend, John Cole, then a Colonel. He has only this day changed from the County to the ancient and loyal borough of Enniskillen. If it be the same individual who has been sitting ever since, the longevity of members of the Irish Parliament exceeds my expectations. I apprehend, however, my friend is another John Cole, of the same race, spirit, honour, and courage of the best of his ancestors. The Irish Protestants are shown, by such a fact as the one I have mentioned, to adhere to old friends and old principles with more consistency and a higher political morality than any other people on the face of the earth.
The principle and policy of a union of the three kingdoms were thus exemplified by Oliver Cromwell's legislation.
After the Restoration, that is, in the year 1661, 8th May, a Parliament was called by Charles II. in Ireland. The great business of the Parliament and Government was to carry the national measure called the Act of Settlement, essential to the tranquillity of Ireland, and afterwards to maintain it by the Act of Explanation.
I remark, that from the beginning of this delicate affair, it was felt that the real power lay in England, because, on the 30th June, at a conference, the House of Commons made a proposition for sending Commissioners to England, to represent the