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wool was cheaper in England, Ireland, by | port a manufacture than it was to establish purchasing here, must render the price one in a country differently circumstanced of that article the same in both countries, with regard to capital. It had been and consequently the inequality in point stated, that in order to carry on this maof price, which was so much dreaded, nufacture, which produced near twenty would be done away.-Another argument millions annually, there was a capital of which had been urged, had very much 6,000,000l. actually sunk. What temptaastonished him; namely, that from the tion, then, had the manufacturers to transgreat cheapness of freight, wool might be fer all the manufactures of this country to sent at less expense to Ireland than it Ireland? Why, in the first place, they could be from one part of England to must give up the six millions they have another. With respect to all the places sunk in England; and before they can from which Yorkshire drew its supply of establish it in Ireland, they must sink six wool, the communication between them millions more there. He stated this to and Yorkshire was much more easy than show, not that Ireland would derive any adbetween them and Ireland.-The next vantage from this regulation, but that there argument was, that the cheapness of wages was not the least reason to apprehend that in Ireland would enable her to manufac- sudden transfer which could give a shock ture cheaper. It was stated, that as wages to the vested capital.-The next part of and taxes were lower in Ireland, she must the subject was that which related to the beat England, where wages and taxes state of skill and machinery in the two were higher. This was assuming a prin- countries. There was much difficulty in ciple which contradicted the experience finding the extent to which our manufacof the world, that a country which was turers had benefited by the improvement taxed more lightly, was better able to car- of machinery; that it had done much, ry on manufactures than a richer country however, was perfectly clear. There was labouring under heavier taxation. If that a difference in the statement of the degree proposition was true, would the manufac- in which the manufacture depended upon tures of Great Britain have risen to such machinery; but take it either way, and an unexampled height under such a weight the conclusion was the same. If little of of taxation? The calculation which the the manufacture was carried on by malearned counsel had made upon the sub-chinery, then most of it must depend upon ject, was most inapplicable. He had taken the whole of the taxes of the two countries, and divided them by the numbet of the inhabitants, and had stated the result as the amount of each contribution. It was astonishing how such a calculation could be made. How many parts were there in this country in which the taxes had no effect upon the price of wages? Did the land-tax, did the assessed taxes; did the stamp duties increase the price of wages? Did all the taxes upon articles of luxury increase the price of wages? He did not believe that Ireland was taxed in a lighter degree than England. He also differed from the learned counsel in considering the nominal price of wages as the standard. In speaking of the wages given to a manufacturer, two considerations occurred: it was undoubtedly true that agricultural labour was cheaper in Ireland; but in various branches of manufactures, the wages were higher in Ireland than in England.-The next and most important question was that respecting the capital. Where capital was in such a commanding state as it was in England, it was much easier to continue and sup
human skill and ingenuity; if that was so, it was not the day-labourer, but the skilful manufacturer that was wanted, and then Ireland would have no advantage, for the reasons he had before stated. If, on the other hand, most of it depended upon machinery, then all the argument about the cheapness of labour in Ireland fell to the ground, for machinery was as dear in one country as it was in the other. Taking the question, therefore, in either point of view, Ireland would not have the advantage over this country. The next argument went to show, that if this exportation were allowed, Ireland, from her situation, would have an advantage over us, on account of her ports being more favourable to fit out for the West Indies, America, or almost any part of Europe, and having the same means to obtain Spanish wool. Now, upon the subject of Spanish wool, and also upon that of their own linen, how stood the fact? Had they rivalled us in Spanish wool; had they not even exported their own linen through Great Britain? It appeared that, upon the subject of the Spanish wool, they bore no resemblance to us, and that, as to their
tendency to the multiplication of sheep, must have a tendency to an increase of the growth of wool.-The next question was, Whether an increase of the price of wool would contribute to the increase of the article? The growth of wool must have increased considerably within these ten years. This would be manifest, from the very cause which the manufacturers assigned for its diminution. By the statement of these manufacturers, it appeared that, in 1792, they experienced the same scarcity as they do now, and the demand was the same then as it is now. Was he not then justified in saying that the whole of the wool was worked up at that period? His hon. friend said, No; that the then apparent scarcity arose from a partial demand for clothing the French army. The whole export was only 150,000l. to France; this exceeded the usual annual export by no more than 60,000l., which upon the amount of 18,000,000l. was next to nothing, and could not possibly have been the cause of the scarcity of wool. What, then, was the conclusion from all this? Why, that the whole was worked up as it is at present.-The next point was, whether an advance in the price of wool would increase the quantity of that article? He felt the probability of an advance in the price; but that it would not tend to injure the manufacture, while the advance was moderate, the manufacturers themselves admitted; and that an increase in the price had a tendency to increase the quantity was obvious, since wool, like every other article, must depend, in a great measure, on the encouragement that was given to its production.-But, to say no more upon that subject, he would ask the committee to examine what was likely to be the effect of the union in the view of the operation of capital? Would not the effect of a redundancy of capital in Ireland be to improve the infant agriculture of that country? Who could doubt that that which happened to Scotland after the union, would happen to Ireland? Who could doubt, that although, by this allowance of importation, we conveyed a part of our wealth into Ireland, yet that we should be amply repaid by the increase it would create in the agriculture and commerce of that country, without materially affecting ours? For these reasons he should support the resolution.
own linen, we had exported more of it for them than they had been able to export for themselves. Did not these facts amount to an answer to that part of the objection to the exportation of wool to Ireland? And how did this arise? What was the reason why the linen of Ireland came to London, for the purpose of being exported again, under all the inconveniencies that were inseparable from such a course? What was it that brought such a trade here? What, but the capital and the assortment that were peculiar to this metropolis? That capital and assortment would create trade at any time: it was a capital, and it was an assortment, not to be equalled in any part of the globe. The result of all this was, that there did not appear any probability, that Ireland could rival us, in any considerable degree, in the foreign market. Now, with regard to the home market, which, in several points of view, was more important than the other; considering the subject with reference to skill, to capital, and assortment, the advantage was clearly in favour of Great Britain; nor was the advantage we had in the article of fuel, of slight import. The case being thus, there was not the least injury to be apprehended from allowing this exportation. He now came to the question of the raw material. If he had shown satisfactorily to the committee that the part of it which was likely to go to Ireland, must, from the nature of things, be limited, it followed, that the evil resulting from it must be limited also: upon which he felt himself entitled to say, that there was, in the whole consideration of that part of the subject, nothing to justify a deviation from that liberal principle of free intercourse which was the basis of the union between the two countries. Upon what ground the produce of wool was to form an exception from all the other produce of the earth, or the traffic of the world, he was at a loss to decide. It had been stated, that the growth of wool could not be increased; and particularly, that the growth of fine wool was confined to a few spots, and to a particular breed of sheep. Now, it had appeared in evidence, that in Hampshire, by the introduction of the South Down sheep, the breed which produces the finest wool, had greatly increased. With respect to the assertion, that the practice of inclosure tended to diminish the quantity of wool, the fallacy of it must be obvious upon the first view; for whatever had a
Mr. H. Lascelles conceived, that a great advantage would result from the
union to England, but a much greater to Ireland. He was, however, of opinion, that Ireland would be sufficiently benefited without this sacrifice, which we were called upon to make of our native produce, by exporting it out of the country.
Dr. Laurence considered this article as by no means necessarily connected with the question of union itself. It seemed to have been given as a boon to Ireland, and in this light it had been represented by Mr. Beresford, in the Irish House of Commons. It was stated by him, as an acquisition of great importance, particularly as wool was dearer in Ireland than in England; and, according to that gentleman, Ireland was then able to cope with us in the market, and was to gain so much additional advantage by this regulation. Dr. L. contended, that the demand was already greater than the supply, and that this article would tend to diminish that supply still farther.
The Committee divided: Yeas, 133; Noes, 58. The House resumed; and the report was ordered to be received to
May 2. The Resolutions were reported, and read a first time. On the motion, that they be now read a second time,
. Dr. Laurence said, that as it was his opinion, that these resolutions, if adopted, would be pregnant with the greatest evils to both countries, he thought it his duty to give them his decided opposition. As perpetual reference had been made to the union with Scotland, he wished to have some part of the articles which formed that union read. The 4th and two others being read accordingly, the learned member said, that from these articles it clearly appeared there was a firm, equal, and honourable union between this country and Scotland; but that in the present case it was altogether the reverse. He begged the House to consider that they were now about to determine finally on a measure not of a common kind-not a measure which, if found to be wrong, could be remedied by any act of that House: it was not like a declaration of war, or a treaty of peace, which that House might sanction in one instance, or put an end to in the other. This was a treaty of that description, that, if once ratified, no alteration in it could take place. Here the learned member went through the several articles, commenting
at some length on each resolution. He said it was his opinion, that there was no necessity for the measure, and that, above all, the most essential ingredient to the success of it was wanting; namely, the consent of the people of Ireland, without which all union would prove but a rope of sand. Besides, no proofs had been adduced why we should adopt this measure under the present circumstances. The Scotch union was pretended to be the grand foundation; but there was not the smallest similarity in fact. The commercial arrangement was not made on any fixed principle of liberal and equal union, but merely protected one set of manufacturers against another. The learned gentleman then adverted to the peerage, which was the most anomalous system he had ever heard of. He ridiculed the idea of a person being at one and the same time a peer of the united kingdom, and sitting also in the House of Commons. He might do an act as a member of the House of Commons, for which he could not be tried by his peers; but while in fact he was a peer, he must be tried as a commoner: whilst he was a peer only, he was entitled to his peer's privileges; but when he became a commoner, though he was still a peer in fact, yet he was depriv ed of all his privileges as a peer. How were they to dispense with the standing orders of that House? By one of them, all peers are interdicted from interferenc at elections. How, then, are these Irish peers, when formed by creation into peers of the whole united kingdom, to be elected members of the House of Commons without interfering in such elections? As the order now stood, it would be dangerous to couple them with any other candidate, for the interference of a peer actually set aside and made void the election. They seemed therefore to be peers and no peers at the same moment; an anomaly highly absurd on the first blush of it. He then touched upon the constitution of the House of Commons, and the consequences to be apprehended from adding 100 members to it from another kingdom. He strenuously contended, that a small body acting with a larger, in circumstances similar to those in which the two countries would be placed by the union, unless they supported the measures of government, could not protect effectually those by whom they were de legated. He wished the House to call to mind the influence this might throw into
at heart, were warm advocates of the present measure.
Mr. Ryder said, that the whole of the learned doctor's argument was directed to prove that the union with Ireland was not a perfect union. This was admitted. The question chiefly was, whether these imperfections were to be put in comparison with the benefits that would result from such a connexion? As to the measure in a commercial view, whatever objections were made would easily be obviated by the wisdom of the imperial parliament: With regard to the principal of finance it was likely to be highly advantageous to the two countries. The income and expenditure of both would be more accurately ascertained, and the equal proportions more easily defined. The parallel between the Irish and Scottish parliaments was inapplicable. The peers were differently constituted. There were persons who had been honoured with Irish titles, who had not the smallest connexion with the country; they had been invested with those distinctions as a mark of royal favour for eminent services; and surely it would be unjust to deprive such men of the privilege of serving their country in that House. The salutary effects of the union would very soon be experienced on both sides of the water.
the hands of the Crown, which he thought, with his late right honourable and illustrious friend (Mr. Burke), had increased, was increasing, and ought to be diminished. He compared the pension lists of the two countries. In this, it amounted to 120,000.; but in Ireland, besides the civil list of 104,000l.; there was also a pension list amounting to 110,000.; and all these, added to what was already at the disposal of the Crown, made him dread throwing any farther weight into a scale which preponderated too much to the side of influence already. The learned member also expressed his apprehensions for the order of the House, even under the good government and authority of so excellent a chairman as the present Speaker; hinted at a recent and other duels, which were too common; and viewed the addition of members from that country as contrary to the principles of the constitution of this House of Commons, which had wisely limited its number to 558, as the best adapted for all parliamentary purposes, and particularly for a deliberative assembly. The learned gentleman then took an extensive view of the state of the Irish parliament at the time it consented to the union; which, he said, rendered it unfit to be the organ of the wishes of the people. The present measure could be productive of no advantage to this country; but would spread discontent, distraction, and division throughout Ireland. He heartily prayed Almighty God that it might never pass: but if it should unfortunately be adopted, he would as heartily pray, that that Being, who called order out of confusion, harmony out of discord, and light out of darkness, who, from jarring elements, created the fair fabric of the universe, would avert the evils which the union was likely to bring down upon the British empire, and turn to its prosperity what was calculated for its ruin.
Mr. Bankes said, it was putting the question to the fairest issue possible, to determine whether it would be for the advantage of the empire to decline these propositions, or to accept them with all their imperfections on their heads. The incidental questions respecting commerce, revenue, and representation, were in themselves, no doubt, of considerable magnitude but at the same time of small moment, when compared with those respective situations which made it improper for Ireland to coalesce with us, and for us to coalescewith Ireland. That country was inhabited by two distinct classes of people, Mr. Morrit said, that the learned gen-hating and hated by each other. There tleman had used his utmost endeavours to dissuade the House from the measure; but all the arguments which he had advanced tended only to corroborate more strongly the necessity and wisdom of the union. The Scotch union had experienced much opposition when first proposed; but those who had been reviled on the occasion, had lived to receive the thanks of their countrymen for such proofs of uncommon sagacity. Those who had the real interest of both countries [VOL. XXXV.]
prevailed amongst them a want of cultivation, a degraded peasantry, a frequency of horrid murders, and scenes of confusion disorder, and rebellion. We should, iu his opinion, have some security to be free from the unfortunate cause of those calamities, before we made one cause with them. The mass of the people of that country had claims which they would never forget, upon every acre of land forfeited by the revolts and frequent rebellions of their ancestors. The rigour of the laws [L]
that the mass of the people was not always ready to advance and renew its claims whenever an opportunity offered. Every thing proved that they were a very dan. gerous set; at present our intercourse with them was a slight one; but by a legislative union we should commit ourselves altogether, and could not perhaps afterwards get rid of them. What was the grievance of which Ireland had so long complained? It complained of having a parliament which was always acted upon by an English faction. Surely, then it would be no remedy for such a grievance to put that nation under the immediate control of that very faction whose influence it deprecated. A noble lord, whose talents, firmness, and eloquence, had made him the object of just admiration (he meant the lord chancellor of Ireland), had delivered a memorable speech upon the subject, in which he did not disguise his disgust at, and expressed something bordering on a great contempt of the proceedings of the Irish parliament. That parliament, his lordship said, could offer no guarantee for the security of the state: and he instanced the regency to show how little safety there was in a legislature so constructed. In fact, the jealousy of that parliament had been strongly exhibited in what was called the final arrangement of 1782: it broke out again in the Irish propositions in 1785; and became more manifest in the question of the re
against the Roman Catholics had been gradually relaxed, without producing any sensible or practical effects upon their disposition. In fact, so much had the coercive system subsided, that the Roman Catholics were already in possession of every privilege they had to claim, except the right of sitting in parliament, and an exclusion from certain considerable offices in the state, not more in number than from thirty to forty. From their general situation in life, the privilege of sitting in parliament could be of no great consequence to the bulk of the Roman Catholics; but in the hands of crafty and designing men, it always offered the means of stirring them up to sedition; and unhappily these means had seldom been employed in vain. It was not his business now to give any opinion on the methods which might more properly be employed, if indeed any could be effectual, to conciliate these people; but what they called emancipation, was an indulgence which he could by no means recommend. Before, we were called upon to unite ourselves with Ireland, it would be highly necessary for that kingdom to put itself in a state of internal tranquillity; but it did not appear that the Irish parliament had taken any steps for that purpose. The Irish members would come here, in the first instance, on terms of equality in point of qualifications and every other respect, as the representatives of Great Britain; and would take the usual oaths of allegiance and abjura-gency, when the empire was liable to be tion, which must operate as an exclusion of Roman Catholic members. So far no advantage was granted to that description of persons; nor did he see how the scheme could tend to remove the fears which the Irish Protestants were known to entertain of their Roman Catholic brethren. But it was stated, that the union would promote the commerce and agriculture of the country, and by that means materially improve the condition of the people. If this was a benefit, he would ask, did the Roman Catholics ask it, or were they even willing to receive it when voluntarily offered? There was no manifestation of any such disposition on their part, nor did the majority of them look to any thing so much as the revival of their old pretensions. It was in vain to judge by a momentary calm. Never, from the days when the Roman people retired to the sacred mountain, to the time when the Irish volunteers mustered their force in Dublin, was it proved by any tranquil suspension,
placed in the anomalous situation of having a regent of both kingdoms, under limitations in the one, and totally unlimited as to the other. That, however, was a very singular case, and, had the great seal been put to the bill in this country, might have soon been accommodated. But a more serious difficulty arose two years ago, fomented by the political opinions of designing men, and finally terminating in a
religious war. It was true that few persons of property took any part in that unfortunate rebellion; and so far from its being assisted by the respectable Roman Catholics, many pikes fell from the hands of the rebels by the fire of the militia and yeomanry of that persuasion. But, viewing the cause of that rebellion in all its bearings, he would, ask whether, if this union had been in force at that time, it would have prevented it? Would it afford us any security, that, if the French could land a considerable force in that country, they would not be joined by