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against superstition, bigotry, and disloyalty, and therefore should not affect the well meaning and loyal Catholic of the present day. It was proper, therefore, that some declaration should be made on which the Catholics of the latter character might depend, and it was his sincere wish that this declaration might be made in the most open, fair, explicit and candid manner possible. Without such a declaration, he could not see how it was possible to secure the cordial acquiescence of the Irish Catholics in the proposed union.

and population. It was, however, high time that something should be done to alleviate the miseries of the bare footed, half-starved peasants of Ireland. In many parts, thousands of acres of land were appropriated to pasture, by persons whose rapacity was so great, that they would bardly allow a poor peasant a single acre for a potatoe garden: nay, they dealt out the miserable scraps of land by ounces and half ounces. His lordship expressed his earnest wish that government might go as far as possible in acts of conciliation and liberality towards the people of Ireland; and he would make it is business, as often as an opportunity was afforded him, to tell them that their security, their prosperity, and their happiness depended on a close and friendly connexion with Great Britain. The Earl of Liverpool said, that the motion related to a subject which involved a complexity of considerations and interests. It ought, therefore, not to be introduced collaterally, but to be met directly, with the aid of the various information that might be expected from the imperial parliament. The two acts to which the noble mover had alluded, were the main foundation upon which rested the present establishment in church and state. As to the legislative union, far from being liable to the objection often urged against it, that it would increase the influence of the crown, it was calculated to check that influence, and to lean to an increase of popopular influence, by the manner in which the Irish representatives were to be chosen.

Lord Mulgrave thought the question could be entertained with propriety only in the imperial parliament. It was unseemly to agitate it at present, when the Irish parliament, who were so deeply interested in its decision, had no opportunity of expressing their opinion. Much better information could surely be gathered from the whole of the Irish members in the united parliament, than from a few lords at present, who might be interested in the view they took of the question.

Lord Hobart said, that if the Irish Catholics had been anxious to stir the present question, they had advocates in the Irish parliament who might have brought forward their claims. It had often been insinuated that government had held out promises and expectations to both parties in order to gain the acquiescence of both in the proposed union. That to the Catholics they had given to understand that their interests would be better consulted in the imperial parliament, while at the Earl Fitzwilliam said, that as the ques- same time the Protestants were assured tion now stood, it could only give room that their interests should in no manner for uncertain and anxious conjecture, with- be encroached upon. Had any promises out affording the least ground of satisfac- of this nature been held out to the Cathotion to the minds of the Irish Roman Ca- lics, they could not escape his (lord H's) tholics. In every thing that was connected knowledge, and it was to remove this suswith the measure of a union, their lord-picion of duplicity or insincerity in the ships should proceed in the spirit of peace, and conciliation, and that this spirit should manifest itself in a due regard to all the classes of the community. He must beg leave to differ from a noble earl respecting the nature of the two acts, upon which that noble earl conceived the present establishment to rest. It could never be The Earl of Moira entered into a vinintended that these acts were to remain dication of the consistency of his conduct, in force for ever, without any regard to which, he said, could not be accused of the changes in opinion and conduct inconsistency, though he voted by proxy which time and emergencies might pro- against the union in the Irish house of duce. They were framed against a par-peers, while he had since withdrawn his ticular description of persons which now opposition to it in the British House. ceased to exist: they were directed The measure appeared to him to be libe

conduct of ministers that he had risen. They had made use of no lure towards either party: and if at any future time a question in favour of the Catholics was agitated it would not be in compliance with their claims of right, but merely as matter of indulgence.

ral in almost all its details, and he made no doubt but it was entered on by ministers for the good of both countries, and for the general prosperity of the empire. It was his wish that the opinion of the people had been ascertained upon a broader basis; and that something more distinct had been held out to the Roman Catholics. It was because the opinion of the people had not been fairly collected at county meetings, that he had opposed the measure in the Irish parliament. As to the present motion, he was sincerely anxious that his noble friend should withdraw it not that he was sorry the question had been discussed, for the liberal manner in which it was treated by those who opposed it, must afford a pleasing prospect to the Irish Catholics of what they might expect from the liberal disposition of the British parliament, but that he felt some disagreeable effects might result from pressing the question to a division.

The previous question was put and carried.

May 7. The resolutions being reported to the House, were this day taken into consideration. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd resolutions were read and agreed to. In the fourth, lord Grenville moved several alterations, and when the House came to the proposition: "That any person holding any peerage in Ireland, now existing, or hereafter to be created, shall not thereby be disqualified from being elected to serve for any county, city, or borough of Great Britain, in the House of Commons of the united kingdom, unless he shall have been previously elected as above, to sit in the House of Lords of the united kingdom; but that so long as such peer of Ireland shall so continue to be a member of the House of Commons, he shall not be entitled to the privilege of peerage, nor be capable of being elected to serve as a peer on the part of Ireland, or of voting at any such election; and that he shall be liable to be sued, indicted, proceeded against, and tried as a commoner for any offence with which he may be charged,"

The Earl of Carnarvon said, that he could not help, in this last stage of the proceedings, endeavouring to call their fordships' attention, to the fatal conse. quences of a legislative union founded on the basis of the fourth article. I was willing (said the noble earl) to hope that

an union advantageous to both countries, and particularly to Ireland, would (as it easily might) have been established, if nothing had been sought in this union but the joint interests of both countries: I was willing to shut my mind to apprehensions (though certainly of an alarming nature) for the trade of Great Britain, the dimi nution or transfer of which, our enor mous separate debt could not well bear; and I was prepared to welcome a union with Ireland on the wise principles of the Scotch union, corrected as it seemed to be intended, by peers elected for life, and not exposed to apprehensions for their future elections, influenced by the crown. But, my lords, I do not feel myself disposed to purchase this union, desirable as it may be, at so great an expense of the constitution, as will be produced by the resolutions in their present form. The interest of England, Scotland, and Ireland, required that the principles on which the Scotch union was framed, should in every other point (except the periods of election) be followed; but the united in. terests of the three nations have not had sufficient weight to counterbalance the secret motives which have operated to the subversion of the constitution on most essential points, under the mask of a necessity which does not exist; and under the pretence of conciliating Irish interests, which are clearly repugnant to the means employed. It is obviously not the interest of the people, nor of the component parts of the legislature of either country, that the ancient barriers which secured the liberties of the people should be thrown down; or that the distinctions between the several parts of the legislature should be confounded. It cannot be individually the interest of the Irish peer, that the body of Irish peers should be perpetuated by subsequent creations, for the sole purpose of preventing the honours of his posterity ever merging completely into the British peerage, with an hereditary seat in the legislature. It can never be his interest, or the interest of Ireland at large, that subsequent creations (which will probably fall more on English favourites than on native Irish residents) should transfer the elections from the original Irish peerage to their numerous English colleagues of subsequent creation. The beautiful structure of our constitution will become an inexplicable mass of incongruities, an impolitic confusion of all orders, ranks, and interests: no prin

ciple upon which our limited monarchy has turned for ages will be delivered down to our posterity as we received it from our ancestors. The commonalty of Great Britain will no longer be represented solely by delegates from their own body: peers of Ireland will sit in the House of Commons with Irish commoners, partaking of the same privileges and of different interests; and, as British peers, will represent British boroughs. There will no longer be an hereditary peerage assembled with the baronical heads of the church, as a fit counterpoise to the elective and fluctuating body of the Commons. This new system establishes for ever (not for a time, as in the Scotch union) an elective body of peers, in a House whose constitutional principle is that of being an hereditary and permanent barrier between the crown, and the sudden impulse of popular and elective prejudices. The very deviation from the Scotch union, by an election for life, instead of a shorter period, which is more consonant to elective principles, is an admission by the framers of the present union, that an elective principle was incongruous to the true spirit, and genuine constitutional purpose of the House of Peers; but this seeming respect for ancient and approved principles is only the flowery decoration of the victim for the altar where it is to perish. This elective principle, admitted with such apparent caution, is intended, without the slightest grounds of public utility, to be for ever grafted on an hereditary stock, and there perpetually to disown its unity with the tree in which it is incorporated, by bearing different fruits. Continued creation of Irish peers is to take place after the extinction of a separate Irish legislature, for the sole purpose of being represented in the united legislature, and of keeping alive the disunion of the two countries by inextinguishable marks of their former separate interests; thus will the two branches of the legisla ture lose the distinct principles of their existence, which have hitherto preserved within fixed bounds their respective energies, as a constitutional balance between the several orders of the state: this subversion of all distinct interests is not necessary to the union, if any necessity could justify it, and it can have no motive, unless there exists a secret wish to destroy the force and protecting energy of the constitution against the increasing power of the crown. The liberties of the coun

try may be safe in the virtues of the prince on the throne; but if the union shall take place on the proposed plan, we shall no longer derive our security from the strong and peculiar virtues of our constitution. These principles we have been taught to consider as fundamentally inherent in the constitution; we have been taught to consider them as our birthright; we have read with enthusiasm the struggles of our ancestors to maintain unviolated a government limited by three distinct orders of the state, from the time of the Magna Charta till this moment, when parliament is called upon by his majesty's ministers to surrender it. I have heard much of the omnipotence of parliament; I respect and venerate its power, from whence our security is derived; its limits, if it has any, should not be made the topic of discussion, because it is of difficult and dangerous definition; but this attempt will force the inquiry: it is not easy to support the affirmative or the negative, as a universal proposition in an assertion, that parliament is competent to make any change whatever in the constitution; I cannot deny that many important changes may be made, and that such power is of the essence of parliament, without which it would be nugatory; but I am not ready to admit as a corollary, that there is no irremoveable basis on which the liberties of this country are fun. damentally fixed beyond the reach of the delegated power of parliament. I can, however, boldly affirm, that there is no existing power which can, by its legal authority, extirpate the fundamental principles of three distinct orders of the state, which may not by the same legal authority, and under the same influence, surrender the whole existence of both branches of the legislature, and the liber. ties of the people, at the foot of the throne. I have never been a friend to speculative reforms, by which the ancient frame and texture of the constitution would be changed; too much good has been derived from it, to incline me to expose it to the danger of new theories and fanciful experiments. The framers of this new system have been at different times, and in different situations, promoters and enemies of a parliamentary reform. They find it difficult to reconcile their opinions on the present subject with their latest doctrine, but consistency is not a parliamentary virtue, and opinions ought to give way to subsequent expe

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crown and people. His lordship concluded with moving to leave out the whole of the proposition.

The Earl of Kinnoul spoke in the warmest terms of the measure of an union, generally considered. He had not the smallest doubt but that it would prove a source of the greatest advantage to both countries, by consolidating the strength of the empire. He gratefully acknowledged the increased prosperity which Scotland had enjoyed in consequence of the union, but he thought the suffering the peers of Ireland once chosen to sit in that House, to hold their seats for life, a great improvement over that part of the union of Scotland, by which the Scotch peers were only to sit for a temporary period, and to go back at the end of each parliament to a new election. The question under consideration certainly appeared to him to be a violent infringement of the constitution.

The Earl of Romney said, he had in the committee divided for the resolution as it stood, but from what he had that day heard, he really thought the danger to the constitution so great, that unless his noble relation would assure him that the parliament of Ireland deemed the propo

rience; yet it is somewhat difficult to hold opposite doctrines at the same moment, and to maintain that parliamentary reform is both right and wrong. If parlia mentary reform be dangerous, this new system must be so, for it certainly goes far beyond the most incoherent dream, or wildest frenzy of the most enthusiastic reformer. The mixture and confusion of all orders of the state, is an avowal of the principles of Jacobinical reform, and will enable the enemies of our form of government to argue from the present change, an admission that a distinct hereditary branch is not essential to the freedom of the country, and encourage them to force the new doctrine into complete effect, by abolishing all hereditary distinctions as invidious, and declared useless by the present reform, and substitute one popular assembly, elected from all classes of the community, reduced to one state of equality; how long monarchy will survive such change time may show; but it may be reasonably doubted whether a monarchy can be limited by, or exist with one popular elective assembly, unbalanced by another of hereditary aristocratic interests. The collision of powers and interests so widely distinct as monar-sition absolutely necessary, and would not chical and popular, will probably soon agree to the union without it stood a part produce the destruction of one or the of the article, he was inclined to vote for other. The crown has never been more the amendment. powerful than since the period of the Revolution, when the present constitution was with jealous care revived and confirmed, and the encroaching prerogatives of the monarch reduced within legal bounds. The love and affection of the people for their limited government increased with its augmented value; and they have reposed in confidence on the powerful security derived from our constitution, and looked to the crown as an object of affection, no longer of fear and jealousy: all that tends to weaken their attachment and reliance on this security must revive their jealousy and diminish the real power and security of the crown. The indifference marked at this time to the constitution of the country, which is openly treated as an old prejudice or the idle dream of a visionary brain, will soon place us in such a distempered and irritable state, that nothing but a dangerous and hazardous fever will extricate us: ages of trouble may succeed the age we live in, to force the recovery of our mortgaged security, which has for the last century cemented the interest of the

Lord Grenville said, that, in the formation of so great a measure as the union, it was impossible to proceed a single step without trenching upon the constitution; that scarcely any legislative measure could be accomplished without in some degree violating the constitution; however, the true policy was, to violate it in no greater extent than absolute necessity required. In the present case, the union with Scotland was the precedent studiously held in view; but were that measure now to be brought about, with how much greater force, might not his noble relation exclaim against the violation of the constitution, which that union involved! By the union of Scotland, the hereditary peerage of that house was broke in upon, and an elective and representative, peerage introduced and mixed with them; and yet all the great statesmen who carried that measure into effect thought it the most expedient means of putting it in execution. In the proposed union with Ireland, that error was corrected, because the 28 peers of Ireland, once elected from among their own body, were to hold their seats

by the same tenure as their lordships did, viz. for their lives. With regard to the English gentlemen who had been favoured by his majesty with the honour of an Irish peerage, in proportion as the situation of the peers of Ireland who were to sit in that House by election, was improved, and rendered preferable to that of the Scotch peers, so was the situation of the EnglishIrish peers deteriorated; because the English-Irish peers stood no chance of being elected to represent the peerage of Ireland; and it would be hard to exclude them from all exercise of legislative functions. With this view it was that they were to be suffered to remain capable of election to the House of Commons as they were at present; nor could he see, how their being continued to sit in that House was more likely to prove dangerous to the constitution, or give it more weight of peerage than had as yet been the case. With regard to confusion that it was imagined would ensue from letting peers of the realm sit in the House of Commons, such apprehensions might have applied if the peers of Ireland were to sit there, and still exercise the rights of peers, as had been the case in France, when the Tiers Etats assembled, which was made up of a motley mixture of individuals holding and exercising different rights and different privileges; but in the present proposition provision was made to guard against the danger of such an unnatural and heterogeneous assembly of roturiers and noblesse; since those Irish peers who were to sit in the House of Commons, if chosen by British constituents, were to sit there as commoners, and to exercise only the capacity of commoners during their holding seats in that House. He wished every noble lord, therefore, who felt the same objection as had been started by his noble relation, would bear in mind, that it became indispensably necessary, on principles of justice, in framing the union, to take care that such Irish peers as were not chosen representative peers of Ireland, and thence entitled to seats in that House, should not be utterly excluded from the possibility of becoming legislators, but might have the chance of enjoying that honour, if they chose to accept it on the conditions provided in the article.

The Earl of Romney said, that in consequence of this explanation, he should continue to vote for the resolution as it stood.

After some further conversation, in [VOL. XXXV.]

which the amendment was supported by lords Mulgrave and Holland, and opposed by the lord chancellor, lord Bolton, and lord Hobart, the House divided on the question, whether the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question: Contents, 48; Not-contents, 12. Several other amendments were proposed and negatived, after which the resolution was agreed to, as were also the remaining resolutions. It was then ordered, that the Address delivered by the Commons at the conference on the 6th instant, be taken into consideration to-morrow.

May 8. The order of the day being read, for taking into consideration the said Address, lord Grenville moved" to agree with the Commons in the said Address, by filling up the blank with Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and' "

Lord Bolton said, that many important advantages, he was persuaded, would result from the union, not only to the general interests of the empire, but to Ireland in particular. He spoke with the greatest confidence on the subject, as he had been enabled to form a tolerably correct opinion of the internal situation of Ireland, from the official situation which he had the honour to hold in that country under a noble duke, whose virtues in private life were not more universally admired, than his abilities as a public man were acknowledged and revered by all who had the honour and the happiness to have business to transact with him. A more judicious and enlightened mind lodged not in the breast of any man, than in that of the late duke of Rutland. During that noble duke's administration, the commercial propositions were sent over amended by the British parliament, and he had the honour to move them in the Irish house of Commons. Those propositions had failed; but their failure was in a great measure to be ascribed to their having been brought forward at the commencement of the noble duke's administration, before he was sufficiently known to the people of Ireland, to have acquired that confidence which was afterwards reposed in him. From the moment the commercial propositions failed, it became evident, that matters of a political nature could not stand upon their then footing, and every year, and almost every month, that had elapsed since the rejection of the propositions in 1785, had afforded additional proof of the necessity of drawing the two [N]

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