« PoprzedniaDalej »
Sir John Newport's Motion on the State of Ireland.- Various Proceedings of
Parliament connected with the Question of Catholic Emancipation.
We have already seen, from the state. After rapidly sketching the earlier ment of the military force demanded history of Ireland from the time of its for the service of Ireland, that, in the first annexation to the crown of Eng. opinion of ministers, the unhappy dis- land, down to the period of those sentions among the inhabitants of that bloody measures which deformed the country had not yet been entirely al- annals of Charles I., Cromwell, and layed. At a subsequent period of the James II., he went on to the epoch session, a great body of information re. of the revolution, 1688.
66 With the specting the affairs of the sister island revolution,” said he, “ came honour, was brought before the House, on oc. glory, and independence to Britain'; casion of a motion of Sir John New but to Ireland no such bright prosport. This gentleman professed to pects ! The victors treated those whom have no object in view but that of re- they subdued, and those who aided questing documents to be laid before them in the conquest, with the same the House which might enable him. revolting indifference. The era which, self and others thoroughly to under. succeeded to the revolution was in Irestand the grounds of keeping up an land marked by the sordid characters army of 25,000 in time of profound of illiberal exclusion and monopoly peace, in Ireland, and, more generally, within and without-its interior con. of attracting a due share of public at- cerns abandoned to the exercise of a tention to the affairs of that kingdom. vindictive provincial tyranny by its These simple requests he prefaced English masters, who covenanted for with an elaborate speech, of which we
the surrender of its external and com. sball insert the most material parts, mercial concerns to British monopoly first, because in itself it contains much a barter disgraceful to both couninteresting information concerning the tries, and involving the complete sahistory of Ireland, compressed into a crifice of national and commercial very short compass; and, secondly, rights. The protestant interest, as it because it called out, in the reply of was then called, became the object to Mr Peel, a mass of information re- which
other consideration gave specting the actual state of that king. way, and every measure which was al. dom.
leged to contribute to it, secured by
that allegation, the unqualified support tillage through so great an extent of of the Irish parliament, whilst they the country, increasing in an enormous passively acquiesced in the destruction and disproportionate degree, the inof their woollen manufactures, Then comes of the parochial clergy, resident arose that code of penal law which has and non-resident. been designated by the Chancellor, “ The temper with which the Irish Lord Camden, as a monstrous monu- parliament legislated, was manifested ment of folly and oppression, which even in the least important of their was sufficient to demoralize the coun. proceedings. When a petition was try, and which had completely fulfilled presented complaining that a Roman that purpose.' In Primate Boulter's Catholic coal-merchant employed por. Letters, we find in every page from ters of his own persuasion, it was reone of her governors, evidence of the ferred by the House of Commons to corrupt and petty artifices by which the committee of grievances. Was it the system was supported. In the then surprising that a parliament thus case of Wood's halfpence, he says, completely severing its interests from • the measure was much to be lament. those of the body of the people, should ed, as it generally interested the peo. possess no solid strength, or that the ple, liad extinguished their divisions, English minister should be encouraged and tended to unite the whole country.' by that disunion to attempt a measure In a letter to Lord Carteret, he says, which, if successful, would have sealed
that although to prevent a recurrence the death-warrant of parliaments in of scarcity approaching to famine, he Ireland ?--I allude to the proposition had forwarded a bill obliging the oc- of voting the supplies for twenty-one cupant of lands to plough five acres in years, which failed only by a single every hundred occupied, yet it does vote. The parliament of George II. not encourage tillage by allowing any sat thirty-three years, outliving all conbounty to exporters which might clash nexion with the constituent body, and with British interests.' The act was possessing but one solitary virtue, that passed in the year 1729, but was in. of economy. It paid off the debt of efficacious ; for during forty years, the country, and accumulated a surfrom 1732, with the exception of one plus in the Exchequer of 200,000). io year, the import of corn was constant; ihe year 1753, both rescued from the it was probably counteracted by that factions who contended for its possesmonstrous vote of the House of Com. sion, and transferred to England by mons of 1735, which stripped the a king's letter. It is a most extraor. clergy of Ireland of a large proportion dinary effect on the human mind of of their provision, and declared the this provincial misrule, grounded on tithe of agistment to be “grievous, what was termed protestant ascend. burthensome, and injurious to the pro- ancy, that Dean Swift, calling himself, testant interest.' In this manner did and looked up to as an Irish patriot, these champions of protestantism assert expressed himself delighted with the the rights of a protestant church. prospect of beggary being the certain I'rom this vote, and the consequently lot of the Irish Roman Catholics, and insufficient provision of the clergy, more than insinuates a wish that the arose the practice of uniting parishes, Protestant dissenters were in the same 80 as to deprive them of spiritual assist. state. Henry Boyle, the first Earl of ance from their pastors, the protest- Shannon, too, who, as one of the lords ant population during that period, and justices, was in the government of Ire. since the conversion of pasturage into land more than twenty-five years, in a
Sketch of Ireland, written in 1747, has in return testified her ardent gra. states a principal cause why so great titude. His exertions awakened us to and fruitful a country produced so a sense of our rights, and hence the little, and advanced so slowly towards brightest page in our annals of glory. improvement, to be the penal code, Having asserted her independence, • discouraging the labour and industry little was wanting to its continuance ; of the papists, though three-fourths of but here she failed! Those who had the arts, industry, and labour of the gained a victory over others did not country must be necessarily carried on possess sufficient virtue to extend that by their hands,' and adds, until some conquest to themselves. The Prohappy temper can be fallen upon as testant population, the leaders in this to make our apprehensions from the struggle, had not public spirit enough papists consist with our interest to to share the fruits of victory with the employ them, Ireland can advance but great body of the people, and thereslowly in improvement.' And yet to fore they fell. I trust their fate will measures of this nature Mr Boyle could afford a salutary lesson to every counnot reconcile himself! So difficult is it try, and impress on them the convice for men of even superior minds to dis. tion, that by complete consolidation engage themselves from the fetters of of interests alone, can they avoid a si. prejudice and bigotry! I may, by the milar calamity. I ought to add (what way, add, it appears from this paper, indeed is most deserving the attention that nearly every fourth year from the of the House,) during this triumph of revolution had been a year of scarcity, Ireland in the absence of military force, and in that interval nearly five millions and whilst she thus nobly exerted her. were paid for imported corn and four self to take her rank amongst the na. to feed the inhabitants of that fertile tions, the laws were better obeyed island.
than during any period of her history. “ The septennial bill, passed in 1767, Every one lent his willing aid to ensecured to a certain extent the con- force their execution. What a great Bexion between the electors and elect- lesson is to be drawn from this! Place a ed. With this exception, Ireland felt country in a stateof concord with regard little change in her situation till the to itself, and the laws will be obeyed ; year 1778. In that year the reverses no longer seek to govern by disuniou, of the American war left Ireland with. or by sacrificing one class of the com. out a military force, and here com- munity, and the laws will be obeyed. menced the era of her glory. She was Why has not this memorable lesson of told to protect herself, and she did so. the weakness of that policy which She protected herself from her enemies' would exclude from the full benefits abroad, and from her enemies at home. of a free constitution, the great body The gallantry, the concord, and the of the people, produced its tuli effect? heroism of her sons, placed her in a si- Why has not Ireland resumed that tuation to command respect, and she happy situation? Why is not the spiwas respected. Till she respected her- rit of her government assimilated to self, Britain did not respect her ; Ire that of England ? Here every mani, land then first took her station amongst however huible his condition, what. the nations of the earth, when it cea. ever his political tenets, feels an inte. sed to be a divided nation. I discharge rest in the laws, and contributes to a debt of justice due to him who sits their execution, for they efficaciously beside me (Mr Grattan)-to him Ire. protect him, and neither rank nor land owes much; and to whom she power can violate them with impunity. “I cannot draw such a happy picture “ Subsequent unhappy changes of the state of Ireland. This brilliant dashed the cup from the lips of the period of her history was transient; people when they were about to taste those who had been borne down by it, and led to all the dreadful consethe unanimity and spirit of the people, quences which ensued. Over that ca. soon commenced their efforts to weak. 'lamitous period I would, as bound in en the principles which they could duty, draw a veil, and proceed to the not resist, and the war against inde legislative union under which we are pendence was renewed, which sought here assembled. The pledge neces. by disunion to degrade the people. sarily, and indeed specifically involved Addresses from grand juries, bigotted in that measure was, that of effectual and inflammatory, whatever could inquiry into, and redress of the evils revive dormant animosities, and cherish affecting Ireland, -redress which it was forgotten jealousies, was urged with alleged an Imperial Parliament was active and too successful industry by more competent to afford, and likely . the satellites of an old and corrupt to extend, than a local legislature. On monopoly of power. I wish to speak what other principle could any but the of these times with as much modera. most corrupt have acceded to such a tion and temper as possible ; but I can compact, involving the surrender of not trace the lamentable effects to their national independence? I might on causes, without stating my opinions to this head refer with safety to the noble the House unreservedly ; and whether lord in the blue ribbon. "Look to the I speak of the dead or living, will records of parliament from the union, anxiously abstain from crimination and see how few the acts of grace or where public duty will allow. I come favour to Ireland! then turn to the to the act of 1793, an act of paramount page of history and count the sacriimportance, but i will not blend the fices she has made in finance, in exer. vital subject of Catholic emancipation tions, and in blood ! She has fought with this discussion; it well deserves, by your side through every danger to and I doubt not will receive, the undi. which you have been exposed, with a vided attention of the House. Thus gallantry and a self-devotion never surmuch, however, I will here say of that passed by any nation. She has con. act, it is perfectly certain that Mr tributed, too, from her pecuniary rePitt and Lord Melville would have sources, far beyond her due propor
extended its provisions much farther, tion. Sixty-seven millions have been · could they have obtained the concur- paid into the Exchequer by taxes since
rence of the Irish government; but the Union, at the annual rate of four they worked with unwilling instru- millions and a half, whilst in the fifteen ments. How otherwise account for preceding years her taxes did not ex. the anomalous nature of that statute, ceed one million and a half. She has, and the capriciousness of its relaxation therefore, trebled her taxation, and and exclusion? Why the road to dis- made exertions exceeding her strength. tinction closed totally to the bar, and In proof of this assertion, look to the opened largely to the army? Can this various measures proposed by her be traced to any other cause than the finance ministers. Had they answered powerful influence of a great legal cha. the estimates of their authors, the taxracter, who, inimical to all concession, ation of Ireland would now have ap. claimed that at least the honours of proached ten millions, instead of five his own professidn should form an ex. and a half. They over rated the abi. ception.
lity of their country. The debt, too,
has swelled in this period from 34 to have grown those resources which she nearly 150 millions. If Ireland has has largely poured forth for common thus fulfilled her part of the contract, defence. Lord Castlereagh must know -if her money and her blood have the danger of delay, and feel that been thus largely contributed to her many desirable arrangements might utmost means, may she not claim in heretofore have been more efficacious return, from the Imperial Parliament, than even at present ; each year's dea completion of the compact, that lay diminishes their efficacy, and, I some inquiry should be instituted into will add, their safety. And here let her state that a country possessing me ask, Why are Orange associations six millions of inhabitants, an active still suffered to divide the land? Why and an intelligent race of men, placed still permitted to agitate the public in the most temperate climate of the mind by the insulting badges of exglobe, with every blessing of nature clusive loyalty and party triumph? largely poured out on it, may no long. When their introduction here was at. er remain a source of alarm to the em- tempted, the noble lord, the member pire, but become a pillar of strength for Liverpool, all sides of the House Why is this? Can the tranquillity of proclaimed their illegality, and reproIreland be less an object than that of bated the attempt. Much is to be any portion of Great Britain ? Will forgiven on all sides, and the veil, the you-can you-continue to rest for salutary veil of oblivion should not be security in Ireland on a garrison of drawn aside by every rash intruder 25,000 men? I acquiesced in that who would mark the great body of measure, expressly as one of tempo- the people as disaffected to the state. rary necessity, to put down outrage Illicit distillation is a source of much and crime, but not permanent. Were evil to Ireland, demoralizing her peosuch a system permanent, not 25,000 ple, and encroaching on her scanty rebut 50, not 50, but 100,000 men sources of taxation. It is, as I fear, would be insufficient to keep down too much protected by individuals of Ireland. They have fought in the rank and power, and largely practised ranks with you, and you know their by the professors of exclusive loyalty. gallantry, and their spirit such as No man, however high in station, would never brook this undeserved should be allowed to protect his detreatment. It is the duty of parlia. pendents in a course of disobedience ment to take care their blood has not to law, nor should alleged loyalty sebeen shed in vain ; and that as they cure any class of the community from have shared with you in your triumphs, sharing the burthens of the state. they shall share the fruits of conquest, Parliament has indeed contributed to internal tranquillity, and peace. They the extension of this ruinous course, claim it from your justice ; not as a fa- by that monstrous act which, remitvour, but as a right.
ting penalties incurred to highly of “What has been the history of the fending districts, sanctioned that shockstatute-book since the Union, but a ing principle, that in the enormous catalogue of habeas corpus suspensions extent of his offences the delinquent and insurrection acts ? On one head, should find his best security. The indeed, the Imperial Parliament has office of high sheriff, here accounted made an exception, and done ample burthensome, is in Ireland a cause of justice to the expectations of Ireland political contest, and the appointment - mean the relaxation of commercial and means of attaching powerful indijealousy; and with that relaxation viduals to the government of the day,