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a critical proportion or exact limitation, was not to be expected, if indeed it could be desired. He had stated formerly two considerations upon this point; one was, that we could not exactly foresee how many persons holding offices should be elected members of parliament for Ireland under the Union; the other was, to guard against any jealousy that might by possibility be entertained upon that subject. It was to do this, that he proposed this clause; but it had no reference to a permanent regulation; it might be altered by the united parliament, to which he thought it would be wise to allow a certain share of discretion. This clause did not state how many members should hold places; but a given point beyond which the practice should not be carried. What was the ground of the alteration proposed? Nothing more than that by possibility the number of Irish members holding places might exceed the ratio of those who now hold places under the crown and seats in the British House of Commons. This was a nicety of proportion which the subject did not call for; and this would appear more clearly, when it was considered that the British House of Commons had by no means the whole number of placemen it might legally have; nor did he think it suitable to the candour, liberality, or dignity of the House to be too scrupu lous in this particular, for it might possibly have the effect of making a person who had been advanced for a virtuous exertion of his talents, and who might be returned to sit in the united parliament, believe he ought either to resign his office, which was the reward of his virtue, or vacate his seat, which was the pledge of his patriotism. The hon. gentleman had stated, that 116 members who held offices under government had voted for the union: upon this subject he had thought fit to make inquiry; and he could inform the House, that the hon. gentleman had precisely doubled the number: the number altogether was 60; of which two voted against the union.
Mr. Bankes said, that notwithstanding this disposition of the crown, he feared much for the independence of parliament from the admission of so many Irish members. He did not know the amount of places tenable in Ireland; but he was confident the number was such as to leave the due proportion of placemen under 20, and therefore he could see no objection to the proposition for reducing them. An
hundred members in the commons of the united parliament were more than Ireland was fairly entitled to; and as he thought the influence of the crown would be alarmingly increased by such an addition, he conceived it a reason for restraining them to a fair proportion. The union with Scotland was stated as the great example, not only with regard to the principle, but the mode of carrying it into effect. To be consistent, the comparison should have been made with Scotland, and not with Great Britain. Now, Ireland and Scotland were nearly equal in superficial extent. The population of Ireland, indeed, was greater, but not in the propor tion of 100 to 45. With respect to the peerage of Ireland, he admitted it to be extensive; but still it had no right to be made double that of the Scotch peerage in the united parliament, as proposed to be done. Now, of the 32 peers thus intended to be introduced from Ireland, four were bishops, to be elected by rota tion of sessions. What possible advantage was to be derived from the four itinerant bishops, was a question which he was unable to resolve. Why the representa tion of the Irish peerage should be double that of Scotland, and the number of her commoners in the proportion of 100 to 45, he was at a loss to discover.
Mr. Windham said, that the subject resolved itself into two questions; 1, What should be done finally? and, 2, what should be done in the first instance? Now every body would see the propriety of reserving the first point for the consi deration of the united parliament; and indeed, it was impossible to follow any other course, as there was not the neces sary information, for an immediate deci sion. The second question it would be better to leave unsettled. If, indeed, from the description of persons who would probably constitute the 100 new members from Ireland, there was a chance of such a number of placemen as might influence the number to be finally settled, it might be necessary to use some precaution; but when it was known that the number would be too small to excite such apprehension, he thought it was due to delicacy to reject all guard whatever. It was merely to meet the present situation, that the proportion was struck, and on this ground it had his approbation. The population of Ireland was double that of Scotland, and therefore the proportion of the members in the present instance was right;
but, further the contribution of Ireland was more than double; and as these two points combined formed the basis of the proportion, it would be found to come as near the truth as possible.
Mr. Harrison expressed his fears that when these 20 Irish members came over, with their places on their backs, some of the remainder of the 100 might procure a share of those latent offices which were said that night to be compatible with a seat in that House. Now, whether these 100 were to be limited to 20 placemen among them, or whether that number might not be increased to any extent by the grant of places here were questions which he wished to have decided. In the latter event, he thought this body of 100 members would be the channel through which would flow the destruction of the country and the constitution.
Mr. Pitt said, that it could not be supposed but that when 100 members came from Ireland, they would, like every other member of the united parliament, be eligible to any office which could be held by any member. It was of the essence of parliamentary representation, that all its members should be equally capable of being nominated to any office by the crown which a member of parliament may hold. As to the subject of close boroughs, he never considered them, either in theory or practice, a real grievance in this country; still less did he think so of the state of parliamentary representation in Ireland; the selection, however, upon that subject, rested with the parliament of Ireland. He considered the nature of the place to be represented as a point of more importance than the mode of election: for he hoped it was not to be understood that the members of a close borough were indifferent to the local interest of their constituents; any more than they are careless of the general interest of their country; there were abundant instances of the representatives of such boroughs being careful of both, and of showing themselves as careful of the particular interest of the place they represented, as the members who were returned for any of those boroughs which were vulgarly called potwalloping boroughs, and which, under all the openness of their election, were often more liable to rational objection than the close boroughs. With regard to Ireland, of those boroughs which were to be retained there were not above four or five that were close. On the subject of bishops
from Ireland, whom his hon. friend had jocularly called "itinerant bishops" he begged leave to translate the word "itinerant" into "travelling," and then it would follow, that an Irish bishop coming to London, was no more an itinerant bishop than the bishop of Durham was an itinerant bishop; and as to the rotation, it appeared to him to be most favourable to the local purposes for which it was intended.
Mr. Buxton was not apprehensive that the measure would augment the influence of the crown; he was rather inclined to think it would throw an additional weight into the democratic part of the constitution.
General Walpole said, it had been stated by lord Castlereagh, that it was in contemplation to make a pecuniary compensation to those who might be supposed to sustain any loss by the disfranchisement of the boroughs in Ireland. He wished to know from what fund that compensation was to be paid.
Mr. Pitt said, there was no intention to bring forward any such proposition.
Dr. Laurence said, that as the population of Great Britain was estimated at ten millions, and that of Ireland only at three, Ireland ought not to be allowed to send so many members as 100, while Great Britain sent only 558. He particularly objected to that part of the article which allowed Irish peers to sit in the House of Commons and stated the bad effects which this permission would produce.
Mr. Hobhouse said, that lord Castlereagh in his prefatory speech to the articles had stated, that those English commoners who had accepted Irish titles, were to continue to sit as commoners upon waving their privileges as peers of Ireland; but the article itself allowed every person holding an Irish peerage, now subsisting, or hereafter to be created, to serve for any county or borough in Great Britain, but not in Ireland. Thus an Irish peer, or a native of that country, having large estates and many connexions, might be elected to serve for Great Britain, of which he could have but little or no knowledge; and not for Ireland, with whose interest he must necessarily be well acquainted. Thus an immense number of Irish peers would neglect their own country, and spend all their time in Britain, endeavouring to cultivate a parliamentary interest, and to find a way into the imperial House of Commons. As no
other road to such distinction was open to them, this would be the inevitable consequence; and thus would the list of absentees be considerably increased.
Mr. Grey's amendment was negatived. After which the fourth resolution was agreed to.
April 28. A considerable number of petitions were presented by Mr. Wilberforce, Mr. Lascelles, and other members, against the resolution which went to permit the exportation of British wool. The petitions were referred to the committee on the king's Message respecting an union with Ireland. The House having resolved itself into the said committee, Mr. Law was heard at the bar in behalf of the petitioners, and a number of witnesses were examined.
April 29. Further witnesses were examined; after which Mr. Plumer summed up the evidence in behalf of the peti
April 30. The House went again into the Committee, when the fifth and eighth Resolutions were proposed by Mr. Pitt, and agreed to.
May. 1. The House having again resolved itself into the Committee,
Mr. Pitt said, he had listened with attention to the evidence brought forward by the petitioners, but had not been convinced that the exportation of wool to Ireland would so far endanger the woollen manufactures of this country, as to interfere with the general policy of the measure. He was desirous of hearing what impression the evidence had made on other gentlemen. All he should do at present was, to move, that the sixth resolution be agreed to.
Mr. Peel said, that he also had attended to the evidence; and he so much respect ed the grievances of the manufacturers in the woollen trade, that he should be happy to see them removed, if it could be done without endangering the general plan of the union. He would observe, that the cotton manufactory in Ireland had to boast an equal importance with the woollen manufactory of this country. There was a rivalship between them, not of an invidious, but of a friendly nature. In 1785, he had, at the bar of the House, expressed his fears of the cotton manufactures of Ireland interfering with this
country, from the circumstance of the low price of labour in Ireland. He equally deprecated such interference with respect to the woollen manufactory; he considered it as likely to destroy the good effects of a union. He had hoped that it would be the means of bringing the two countries together by a closer connexion, of producing an advantageous cooperation between the manufacturers, and of rendering the manufactures of each country cheaper, and the supply more permanent; but he saw prejudices in the way. This country, aware that the low price of labour in Ireland was favourable to the exertions of industry was apprehensive that, by the introduction of machinery to assist that industry, Ireland would outvie us in our own manufactures; while Ireland, on the contrary, was apprehensive of an intercourse with England. That apprehension had unhappily been increased by an expression of a member of parliament in that country, Mr. Beresford, who had asserted, that a weak country always stood in need of protection against a rich one. Nothing could be more fallacious than such an observation. It was like a poor family shutting the door against a rich and benevolent man who came to their relief. England was in want of no aid to enable her to secure her independence; it therefore could not be supposed that she was actuated by sel fish considerations. He should have hoped that the union would have been adopted on terms reciprocally advantageous. Ireland was in possession of a valuable staple manufacture; but he was well assured that it would not have been in so prosperous a situation, had it not been for the assistance it had received from the manu
factures of this country. Yet, with all the advantages Ireland received from England, she refused to admit our calicoes with a duty of 50 per cent. What he complained of was, that there should be such a want of friendly intercourse be tween the two countries. He was satisfied that the restraining clauses in the agree. ment for the union would make them more separate than ever. He had promised himself, that the effect of the union to Ireland would have been, that huts would be changed for comfortable habitations; that its commerce would increase; that the agents of sedition would in vain en deavour to alienate the people: that it would impart such strength to the two countries, as one entire empire, that
France would be obliged to give up the contest, and that we should no longer struggle in arms, but in arts. The measure, however, had his support; though far from being carried into effect on the system he wished to have seen it.
Mr. Wilberforce said:-The hon. gentleman has stated, that the commercial arrangement in the articles of union, is highly partial to Ireland in the instance of the cotton manufactory, and that he is himself likely to suffer materially from that partiality: but that such is the sense he entertains of the importance of the measure of union, that he is determined, rather than endanger it, to wave the claim of himself and his brother manufacturers, however just, and at whatever personal expense to himself and them. It is no more than due to the hon. gentleman, to believe him sincere in thus sacrificing his own interest to the general well-being of his country. I willingly pay to the hon. gentleman that tribute of respect, which the uniform liberality of his conduct have so justly merited: but may I not be permitted to suggest without offence, when the hon. member appears to intimate, perhaps undesignedly, that the woollen manufacturers would also do well to act in the same spirit of liberality, that the two cases are not exactly parallel. By the blessing of Providence on superior talents, industry, and exertion, the hon. member has attained to a situation of the greatest opulence; but I am this day to address you in behalf of a vast body of men, many of them of a very different description-men, who state that their all is at stake, that they now can scarcely maintain their families, and that the measure which they oppose, is to them big with ruin. Such being the difference between the case of those valuable men, and that of the hon. member, I must say the hon. member appears to me to be a very dangerous ally; and it is my duty to guard the House against indulging their generous feelings to the irreparable injury of those industrious men whom it is their duty to protect. The learned counsel has justly stated the magnitude of the interests which now claim the attention of the House-the prodigious capital, the immense numbers employed, the established policy of our ancestors respecting the woollen manufacture, which is interwoven in some sort with the constitutional and patriotic feelings of Englishmen, and is venerable for its antiquity, as well as re
spectable from the vast extent to which it is carried on. But, it is not merely for the interests of a single manufacture, however great, that I am now contending. It is not merely as a Briton, nor with aa eye to British interests only that I am addressing you; but to those of Ireland also, and the empire at large. The landed, no less than the commercial interest is in question; the well-being of Ireland as well as of Great Britain. When the preservation of such a capital limb of our body politic is in question, as is endangered by the measure now proposed, every member of the empire is interested in preserving it entire and uninjured, much more than in obtaining some little partial, local benefit which it might derive from its loss. If Ireland shall be made an integral part of the British empire, the prosperity of Great Britain will be her prosperity; and as a part interested in the well-being of the whole, she cannot but suffer, in consequence of any injury sustained by such a material branch of our commercial system: she can gain nothing but what she might equally obtain by other means; she may lose that which can no otherwise be compensated.-I shall state distinctly, what it is to which I object, and what I wish to retain. I do not mean to ask that our woollen manufacturers after the union should continue to enjoy all the advantages they now possess, however in some sort secured to them by compact, and purchased by more than a fair equivalent. At present Irish wool is importable into Great Britain, but British wool is not importable to Ireland. All that the woollen manufacturers desire, is not to continue things on this unequal footing, but that each country should henceforth enjoy the use of all the wool it may produce. The ground of which proposal is this, that we now manufacture all the wool Great Britain produces, and should work up more if we could get it. But what is the system proposed in the articles? not merely that our wool should be exportable to Ireland, though whatever quantity should be so exported, would be so much taken away from the manufacturers of this country, but that, in order to encourage the Irish to work it up, protecting duties should be continued against our manufactured woollens. Surely this is unjust and inconsistent. At one moment you say, Ireland is to enjoy a free participation in all our natural advantages; the next moment you forget
your own principle; you recognise an manufacture. Mr. Hustler, a wool-stapopposition of interests, and take measures for protecting and fostering the Irish woollen manufacture against the competition of its British rival. But, I cannot suffer to pass unimproved this opportunity of doing justice to the liberality of our woollen manufacturers. Had they viewed Ireland in the jealous spirit of commerin cial hostility, they would have complained of this protecting duty. No such thing. They only complain that this should not be thought enough, without forcing them to give up their raw material. They consent to give up the privilege of importing Irish wool; but why should Ireland import theirs?-But if this were all-if it were merely speculative injustice, it would not be necessary to spend so much time in exposing it. The numerous and respectable body of men engaged in the woollen manufacture of this kingdom, apprehend from it the greatest evils. The main ground on which these fears are founded is this, that the quantity of raw material wool, is in its nature limited; that the ordinary commercial maxim of the supplies proportioning itself to the demand does not apply to it, at least in any thing like the same degree as to other commodities. That the British woollen manufacture is now such as to require more wool than Great Britain produces, and that therefore, whatever Ireland may take from us will be taking the means of employment from our manufacturers. Wool, it must be remembered, is peculiarly circumstanced; it is an appendage to another article of more value to the farmer than itself. The farmer will naturally look to the carcase more than to the fleece for his reimbursement; a very minute difference in the price of meat is a source of far greater gain or loss to him than ever so great a difference in the value of wool. The high price of wool, therefore, will not have the same effect in increasing its production, as it will in increasing the produce of mines, or fruits of the earth, or any article which is not so connected, and dependent on another as wool is. Various reasons may also be assigned why inclosures and bringing into cultivation our waste lands, must tend to diminish the quantity of cloathing wool especially. It has been proved beyond dispute, that, for some time past, wool has been gradually becoming more and more scarce, till at length, in several parts, enough cannot be obtained for the purposes of
ler of superior intelligence and extensive dealings, states in his evidence that he has applied lately to farmers and agents in different parts of the kingdom, who informed him that there was no wool left in their part of the country: that he never but once before experienced any difficulty buying the quantity he wanted, but that it was then bought up on speculation. Mr. Rawdon states, that he has been under the necessity of returning orders for the manufactured article from not being able to procure the raw material for the fabrication of it. Mr. Lumb states, that he has been in the habit of making journies annually to purchase wool, and that for several years past he has found increasing difficulty in procuring the desired supply. Mr. Fisher came up to London for the purpose of purchas ing wool, and could only buy 70 packs instead of 2 or 300, which he wanted. Mr. Willis's evidence is strong to the same point. That of Mr. Naylor and of Mr. Gott confirms the opinion, that we now work up all the wool we grow, and that but for the increased importation of Spanish wool our manufactures could not have increased to their present extent. But, notwithstanding the decisive proof hereby afforded that, from whatever causes, the supply of wool has been disproportionate to the demand, and that whatever we should export would be taken from our manufacturers, it is stated, that our woollen manufacture has increased, greatly of late years, and that this increase is to be no otherwise accounted for, than by the increase of the raw material. Much stress is laid on this argument, and, therefore, before I go any farther I will do it away. It is stated in evidence, that about 1784, there was a stock equal to three or four years growth in the hands of the wool growers. The truth is, that from 1784 to the present time, our manufacturers have been gra dually expending that accumulation, together with the produce of every intervening year, till at length they have not only exhausted all their old hoard, but have encroached upon the stock which it is customary to keep in hand, and have used their wool in a premature state There has, besides, been a considerably increased importation of Spanish woo within the last ten years which also, in part, accounts for the increase of ou woollen manufacture. I ground the pro