Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

That when we consider the peculiar situation of this kingdom, with the annual drains of money from it by persons possessing property in it who don't reside, to the estimated amount of at least two millions annually, when we advert to the further inevitable drain of a million a year by the public revenue to be re. mitted to Britain for the annual charges of our public debt, and that to countervail these great and tremendous issues of money, amounting to three millions, we have only our general balance of trade not 600,000l. a year to balance against them; we look with dread on a measure which must on the one hand, necessari. ly add to those drains by adding a new and large portion of our wealthiest fellow-subjects to the present absentees, and which must, on the other hand, decrease that balance by encouraging and promoting new imports of manufacture in the room of those which will decline here.

We look to it with the more dread, because, notwithstanding the great loans from England to the amount of six millions in the last three years, we have not been able to counterbalance the existing drains from hence and the exchange has been and still continues regularly and uniformly against us.

And further, because our inability to raise the necessary loans with this kingdom, even to the small extent that has been ex, pected, is unfortunately now too evident; and the continuing to supply our treasury by loans from Britain, though it may afford some temporary relief, will regularly increase the evil.

Your majesty's ministers, therefore, if they promise to themselves, or to the British nation, any easement to their own taxes from the supposed accession of power over our wealth and over our resources, will find themselves most thoroughly disappointed; and if the difficulty of remittance shall increase, the manu. facturers of Britain who have hitherto supplied this kingdom will find the demand for their goods decrease in proportion as that difficulty shall arise.

That we understand one benefit which they hold out from the proposed measure is what your ministers affect to call tranquil. lizing Ireland, but that when we look to our parliament, and see with what efficacy and promptness it has contributed to put down the late unfortunate rebellion, how inadequate a parliament not resident would have been ; when we reflect that in a kingdom containing four and a half millions of people, a resident parliament must possess the quick and authoritative means of giving energy to the executive, which a parliament in another country cannot have; that the removing the parliament tends to remove with it from the kingdom those men of large property and influence, of talenis and respectability, whose presence is at all times essential to tranquillity, and may at some conjuncture be alone capable of preserving it; that their absence will leave

room for political agitators, and men of talents without prin. ciple or property, to disturb and irritate the public mind

i; we tremble for the consequences of that measure at once the most rash and unnecessary that ever was brought forward by any ministers, and at a time most fitted to produce every evil dreaded, and least fitted to promote any one benefit held forth.

That when we consider the time chosen to introduce such a measure we feel additional repugnance, it being the moment of our weakness and distress, when the country is of course less free to deliver its full and heart-felt sentiments against the illiberality of such an attempt; peculiarly mortifying to those your majesty's subjects who had recently exerted themselves in defence of that constitution which they are now called upon to surrender, and at a time too when the spirit of innovation is abroad and likely to be much encouraged by the example of your majesty's ministers in this their proceeding against the ancient liberties of the people, who may be rendered an unprofitable or dangerous part of the British empire, whether in conse. quence of this Union they become slavish and abject, or restless and dissatisfied.

That when we reflect on the great value of the acts for trying controverted elections, how eminently and effectually they have been framed for preserving the purity of election, without which purity of parliament cannot exist ; and when we see that

your ministers, well knowing the value we set on them, have proposed various means to continue those benefits to us in the few elections which will remain to be held here after the Union, and have withdrawn them all from their inefficacy and insufficiency almost as soon as they were proposed, and have now abandoned all hope of framing any; we foresee and dread the formidable power which the measure of Union will give to the minister in all Irish elections, by destroying the beneficial operation of these acts ; for the expence, trouble and delay of trying controverted Irish elections in London, will deter many candidates, entitled to be returned, from seeking redress; the sheriffs, who are all appointed by the minister, will, in fact, nominate the members, and many of them having already obeyed the wishes of the minister in endeavouring to stifle the constitutional voice of the people, give us too sure an omen of the conduct which may be expected from them in elections.

That whether we rest on this incontrovertible and self-evident truth, that no parliament in another kingdom can have the local information or knowledge of the manners, habits wants or wishes of the nation, which its own parliament naturally possesses, and which is requisite for beneficial legislation, nor can be supplied with the necessary information, either as promptly or accurately; or whether we look to the clear proofs of that truth which the progress of this measure has afforded, by your ministers having called to their assistance in London the great officers of this kingdom most likely from their station to give full information for framing their measure; and though all their talents and all their own information, and what they obtained by letters while it was pending, were employed for months there, yet when they brought it back, a few hours, or rather a few minutes enquiry on the spot in Dublin, forced them to alter their project in very many articles, complete and perfect as they thought it : we have strong additional reason to feel and to represent the manifest and irreparable injuries which this kingdom must sustain by the want of a resident parliament, and the impossibility of legislation being carried on for it as it ought to be. Therefore, inasmuch as the measure of a Union an unnecessary innovation, and innovations, at all times hazardous, are rendered peculiarly so now by the awful situation of the times ; inasmuch too, as far from being an innocent experiment, it is replete with changes injurious to our trade and manufactures and our revenues; inasmuch also, as it destroys our constitution which has worked well, and substitutes a new one, the benefits of which we cannot see, but the numerous evils and dangers of which are apparent, and which in every change it offers militates against some known and established principle of the British constitution; inasmuch also, as it so far endangers the constitution of Britain, as not to leave us the certainty of enjoying a free constitution there when our own shall be destroyed;

Inasmuch as it tends to impoverish and suisjugate Ireland, without giving wealth or strength to Britain ;

Inasmuch as it tends to raise and perpetuate discontent and jealousies, to create new and strengthen old distinctnesses of interest in our concerns of trade, manufactures, revenue and constitution; and instead of encreasing the connection between the two kingdoms, may tend to their separation, to our consequent ruin, and to the destruction or dismemberment of the empire;

Inasmuch as it endangers instead of promoting or securing the tranquillity of Ireland, as it degrades the national pride and character, debases its rank from a kingdom to that of a dependant province, yet.leaves us every expense and mark of a kingdom but the great essential one of a parliament;

Inasmuch as it has been proposed and hitherto carried against the decided and expressed sense of the people, notwithstanding the improper means resorted to, to prevent that sense being declared, and to misrepresent it when known;

Inasmuch as it is not grounded in all its intricate and momen. tous parts on that solemn and full investigation which ought to

attend every measure of great moment, and has been introduced and conducted with various delusions and impositions, and with an unbecoming and suspicious haste ;

Inasmuch as it provides for sending one hundred of the present representatives to legislate in another kingdom, though elected only to sit in the parliament in this, and does not give the people an opportunity, by a new election, to exercise their dis. cretion in a new choice of persons for such a new, altered and increased trust;

Inasmuch as it leaves to be determined, by the chance of drawing lots, the choice of thirty-two members to represent as many great cities and towns, with a levity which tends to turn into ridicule the sacred and serious trust of representative ; and while it commits to one person the office which the constitution commits to two, of speaking the voice of the people and granting their money, it does not allow the electors to chuse which of the two they will entrust with that power;

And inasmuch as means the most unconstitutional, influence the most undue, and bribes openly avowed, have been re. sorted to, to carry it against the known sense of the commons and people during the existence of martial law throughout the land :

We feel it our bounden duty to ourselves, our country, and our posterity, to lay this our most solemn protest and prayer before your majesty, that you will be graciously pleased to extend your paternal protection to your faithful and loyal subjects, and to save them from the danger threatened by your majesty's ministers in this their ruinous and destructive project, humbly declaring with the most cordial and warm sincerity, that we are actuated

therein by an irresistible sense of duty, by an unshaken loyalty to your majesty, by a veneration for the British name, by an ardent attachment to the British nation, with whom we have so often declared we will stand or fall, and by a determina. tion to preserve for ever the connection between the two kingdoms on which the happiness, the power and the strength of each irrevocably and unalterably depend.

The question being put on the foregoing motion, the house divided, Tellers for the Ayes, who went out, Lord Visc.

77 Corry and Mr. Saurin, Tellers for the Noes, who stayed within, Right

Hon. Mr. Attorney General, and Mr. Robert 135

John,
It passed in the negative.

}

CXXI.

PROTEST OF THE IRISH PEERS AGAINST THE UNION,

(PAGE 316.]

DissENTIENT,

1. BECAUSE the measure recommended by our most gracious sovereign was a complete and entire Union between Great Britain and Ireland, to be founded upon equal and liberal principles. We cannot help observing, that the terms proposed in the said bill are inconsistent with those principles, and are totally unequal. That Great Britain is thereby to retain entire and undiminished her Houses of Lords and Commons, and that two-fifteenths of the Irish peers are to be degraded and deprived of their legislative functions, and that two-thirds of the Irish House of Commons are to be struck off.

Such a proceeding appears to us totally unequal, both in respect of numbers, and the mode of forming the united parliament; and we cannot suggest any reason for reducing the number of members of the Irish houses of parliament, which does not apply with more force to reducing the number of the members in the British houses of parliament, whose numbers so greatly exceed that of the members of the Irish houses of parliament.

2. Because the measure recommended by his majesty, was a complete and entire Union between Great Britain and Ireland, by which we understand such an Union as should so perfectly identify the two nations, that they should become one nation, and that there should not exist any distinct interest between them.

When we consider the provisions of the said bill, we find that although its professed object is to form a perfect Union between them, it does not in any sort effect it. It unites the legislature, but does not identify the nations. Their interests will remain as distinct as they are at present. Ireland will con. tinue to be governed by a viceroy, assisted by an Irish privy council. Her purse, her revenues, her expenditure, and her taxes, will be as distinct as they are at present from those of Great Britain, even their intercourse of trade inust be carried on as between two separate nations, through the medium of revenue officers. Such distinctnesses of interest prove that they

« PoprzedniaDalej »