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nature that I should almost be ashamed of mentioning it in this place, or of taking up any part of the time of the House: in endeavouring to confute it, if I did not know that it had made a deep and serious impression on the other side of the waterI mean the absurd idea which prevails there, that the union is a scheme of the minister's to alleviate the burthens of this country, by oppressing Ireland with a load of taxation beyond what she is able to bear. Now, my lords, not to argue on the absurdity of the proposition, that a very rich country stands in need of the assistance of a very poor one to enable her to bear the burthens, or to suppose that any man can seriously contend that under their present relative circumstances Great Britain could possibly draw any real assistance of this nature from Ireland, I contend, that it is utterly impossible that the minister should entertain such an idea, or that, if he did, he could induce the united parliament to concur with him. I will not rest my argument on any questionable ground of good faith, generosity, liberality, or the like, which may be considered, in great public and national transactions, as but frail securities to the weaker party-but upon the clear, manifest, and direct interest which both the minister of this country and the parliament will have in the welfare of Ireland, as soon as the union shall have taken place. Hitherto the interests of the two countries have been separate and distinct, a legislative union will make them one and the same; and it is as absurd to suppose that the interests of Ireland will be less impartially considered in the united parliament, than those of Scotland, Wales, Devonshire, or any other part of the united kingdom which have furnished long and practical experience of the truth of this assertion; and, considering the situation in which Ireland stands, so very inferior, in point of riches, industry, and every species of improvement of which a country is capable, to Great Britain, it will be as much the interest of ministers and parliament, as it will be their duty on every principle of sound policy, and future advantage to the empire at large, to favour and protect, instead of attempting to draw resources from her which she does not possess.

agitated in the summer of 1792, all the Protestant friends of government throughout Ireland, by grand juries and county meetings, pledged themselves to oppose the Catholic claims in the most solemn manner. In less than six months after, in the beginning of 1793, I happened to be in Dublin, and, to my utter astonishment heard that noble lord, in a speech from the throne, recommend to the Irish parliament to grant what they so lately had refused with so much indignation and contempt. The independent parliament immediately obeyed, and consented, not only to eat their own words, but, in my opinion, as a necessary consequence, to entail on their country all the horrors and calamities which she has since experienced. My lords, I see this transaction, on the nature of which I shall not invidiously expatiate, in so strong a point of view, that, if all other arguments and induce ments were wanting to impel me to consent to the union, I should think this alone perfectly conclusive, and declare with confidence that such a system of government cannot too soon be destroyed. This transaction alone is sufficient to place in a stronger point of view, than any possible argument that I can use, the real nature of Irish independence; and, speaking with the feelings of genuine pride, which should belong to every real friend to his country, I should, as an Irishman, reject such independence with indignation and contempt. But what will the present measure substitute in the place of it? Degradation! humiliation greater than what I have described, and what positive facts sufficiently prove-a surrender of real independence! No, my lords, but an exchange of a shadow and mere mockery of independence, for the greatest and most substantial independence which the world is capable of affording; an identity of interests, a participation of advantages, which this country so eminently enjoys; in a word, a full and equal share in the trade, the manufactures, the wealth, the power of the most commercial, the most industrious, the richest and the greatest nation upon earth. This is my idea of real and substantial independence -This is what all good Irishmen ought to look to with the veneration and enthusiasm of true patriotism-This is what I trust and believe will at length make Ireland, what she never yet has been, a flourishing and happy country.

The next great objection, is of such a 11

The next great popular objection to this measure in Ireland, and perhaps the most plausible of all, is founded on the opinion, that the union will materially and injuri

riously increase the number of absentees, objections which have been urged against already considered as a great injury to the union; but although, in endeavouring that country. On this subject, my lords, to answer them, I have incidentally I have always thought that the evil which touched on some of the great advantages has existed has been grossly exaggerated, which it presents to both countries, but and I think the probable increase of it has more particularly to Ireland, there are been equally misrepresented. Whatever some great and essential benefits to that it may be, if the advantages to Ireland country to be expected from it, which which I expect from the union really take deserve our particular consideration. I place, it will every day be less and less am not disposed, nor indeed will it be felt by that country. At present it would proper on this occasion, to enter into the be idle to attempt to deny that some emi- question of Catholic emancipation, as it gration will take place after the union, is called. On this subject, however, I but I by no means sincerely believe to the must contend that a legislative union extent that has been imagined and confi- presents this great and permanent advandently predicted by the opponents of the tage, that the question will be discussed measure. A certain number of country in the imperial parliament with candour gentlemen will undoubtedly be induced to and liberality; and whatever the alternate prefer London to Dublin, as a town re- decision may be, it will neither be gosidence, in consequence of the removal verned by party prejudice and animosity of the parliament from the latter place; on the one hand, or by the apprehension their numbers however will be inconsider- of consequences on the other. To this able, and it by no means follows that they may be added, that the only chance which will be less inclined to reside upon their now remains of composing the civil disestates in Ireland than heretofore, but sentions, the party violence, the religious rather the reverse, on account of the ad- animosity with which that unhappy counditional value and security which the union try is distracted, is this very measure will give to their property. But whatever against which such an outcry has been their number may be, and however res- raised. But this is by no means the only pectable they undoubtedly are, I cannot advantage which the union promises to but consider them as unproductive capi- Ireland. We all know the inferior situatalists, for every one of which, who are tion in which that country unfortunately induced by the union to leave Ireland, I is with respect to Great Britain, in secuconfidently expect that ten industrious rity of persons and property, in habits of merchants or manufacturers from England industry, in submission to the laws, in will be induced to carry their productive agriculture, commerce, and manufactures. capitals to that country, as soon as the ad- On the other hand, nature has been most vantages which it has so eminently re- bountiful to her; and no country upon ceived from nature are superadded to earth presents such means of improvethose of good government and security ment, such fertility of soil, such excellent of persons and property, which have never ports, harbours, and navigable rivers. In hitherto existed. That the merchants and a word, Ireland is in want of nothing but manufacturers are themselves of this opi- what this measure is so well calculated nion is well known; and if other evidence to give her, and which I confidently exwere wanting, the speech of that most pect will be the necessary result of it. Το respectable gentleman (Mr. Peel), pub-every purpose of imperial greatness, to lished last year in the form of a pamphlet, the common strength and security, as would of itself be conclusive: and if such well as to the consolidation of the intershould really be the consequence of this ests of the two countries, it appears great arrangement-if it restores tranquil- directly and necessarily to tend: and I lity, order, and submission to the laws-if hope and trust, that the Almighty, who it creates habits of industry, where they has hitherto so eminently favoured the have never yet existed-if it facilitates inhabitants of these islands, will not in such means of improvement, civilization this instance, by any unforeseen dispenand wealth, as have hitherto been looked sation of his providence, frustrate the for in vain-let me ask any real friend to speculations of human wisdom, but perIreland, whether he can for a moment mit this union to take its full effect in hesitate in giving it his most cordial sup-producing those blessings and advantages port? which we expect from it!

These appear to me to be the principal

The Earl of Westmorland rose merely

to assert, that the government of Ireland had never authorized grand juries to give any promise that Catholic emancipation should be granted.

Lord Holland commented upon the observations made by two noble earls who had spoken in favour of the measure, and had held high official situations in Ireland. In regard to the consideration advanced by the first of these, that the parliament of Ireland did not possess the confidence of the people, it was most true: but how would the union remedy that evil? The idea, that the Catholics, in the event of a refusal to allow their claims, would be less hurt by their rejection coming from an united parliament, than from the present parliament of Ireland, was a most curious one, particularly when regarded as a principle of conciliation; it reminded him of the old rustic address to entice the pigs to come to their owners:-" Piggy-wiggy, come and be killed!" With respect to what had fallen from the other noble earl, he had candidly acknowledged, that there was a respectable party in Ireland against the union, but asserted that all the traitorous and disaffected were against it; and had added, that Catholic emancipation was one of the pretexts of this latter description of persons. To this he would say, why not deprive the disaffected of this pretext, by acceding to the well-founded claims of the Catholics? Even on the ground argued by ministers, that the great majority of the landed interest and persons of property in Ireland were loyal and well affected, and those of contrary principles were chiefly to be found among the lower and middle classes, the union must operate most injuriously, as it must naturally cement a great number of the former into permanent absentees, and cause them to live the greater part of the year out of their country. Upon the whole, the union was a measure which, while it impoverished Ireland, would endanger the constitution of England.

The Earl of Hillsborough observed, that, until the epoch of 1782, he had thought favourably of a union; but the measures then adopted, as well as their consequences, had entirely changed his opinion upon the subject. At that period he was a member of the Irish House of Commons, and understood the minister of that day to declare in his place, that every thing with regard to legislation or political constitution was then arranged, [VOL. XXXV.]

and that nothing but commercial regulations remained finally to adjust the situation of Ireland with respect to Great Britain. From that period till the present, Ireland had flourished in a degree beyond all former precedent. He was therefore clearly of opinion, that any thing which would trench upon or disturb the Irish constitution as adjusted in 1782, would end in mischief to Ireland, and in destruction to both countries. He would speak as an Irishman, and declare his conviction, that the great body of the people of that country were determined to stand or fall with Great Britain; they acknowledged the supremacy of the latter, and were happy to be called her sister kingdom. That they would preserve their connexion, at the expense of their blood and treasure, had been abundantly proved throughout the present disastrous war; and the circumstance of her freely adding 17 millions to her debt to support Great Britain, was an additional proof of her attachment. Then why abofish her parliament, or abrogate her constitution? Why were the parliament or people of Ireland suspected of a wish to separate from this country? There existed no ground for such a suspicion; but the measure in question, if pressed, might eventually lead to separation. He trembled at the probable consequences. The taking away so many of the principal residents of Ireland, men of influence, property, and friends of British connexion, as was required for the legislative representatives, would be highly injurious to Ireland. For his part, he would not remain in that country after the measure was passed, to see it dying and pining away, after having so anxiously contributed to its prosperity and aggrandisement.-Passing then to the consideration of the most prominent parts of the plan of union, he objected to them as impolitic, unequal, and likely to produce disturbance and disunion, instead of union and concord. In many provisions the principle of union was violated, and the interests of both countries kept as distinct as ever. He regretted that the prayers the people of Ireland should be deemed so little worthy of attention. Twentysix out of thirty-two counties had petitioned against it; of these twelve were unanimous; and ten great corporations had set their seals of office to petitions against the union. After this, to persist was little better than to force the measure [0]


down the throats of the Irish. The members of the Irish House of Commons who opposed the measure, were men of the first talents, respectability and fortune; while those who supported it were men notoriously under the influence of the Crown. These were his real sentiments upon the question. He had no other views than the happiness and welfare of his country, the glory and honour of the king, and the general good of the British empire. He despised what had been done against him. He had rejected proffers, and laughed at the efforts of personal malice to disturb his peace. He, in this instance, felt himself called upon by his sense of duty to oppose a set of men with whom he had acted seventeen years. He respected them, and on other points they should have his support as before.So far as an Irishman. He would now speak as an English peer, and declare his opinion, that the introduction of 28 members into the upper, and 100 into the lower House of parliament, was pregnant with danger to the constitution: it would add much to the ministerial influence, and even trench upon the prerogative. Were Ireland suffered to remain under its present constitution and government, he had no doubt of its speedily recovering its recent shocks, and becoming as prosperous as ever. Were the measure in question persisted in, he feared it would lead to misery and resistance, and end in attempts at separation, and eventual dismemberment of the empire.

Lord Grenville said, that not a single year had passed since 1782 which was not marked with outrage and disturbance. Hence, in addition to those who resided out of Ireland from choice, many persons of fortune had abandoned it from fear. To arrest the progress of this evil, there was no remedy but a union; which would give security to property, and transfer wealth, industry, and civilization to that country. He ridiculed the idea of any undue influence as likely to be produced by such a measure. Was it to be supposed, he asked, that a House of Lords, which had provided so effectually for the prosperity of the country, forgetting all their interest in its welfare, would be guided in their choice of twenty-eight of their body to sit in the imperial parliament, merely by the influence of the crown? Was it to be supposed that these twenty-eight, when so elected, would cease to be inspired with the same senti

ments they now felt; and 100 commoners would cease to be actuated by the motives which now regulated their conduct? As to the disposition of the people of Ireland, he was certain it was friendly to the measure. Much pains had been taken to inflame their minds; but he rejoiced to find they had produced so little effect. His lordship expressed his long and inva riable predilection for the measure; and hoped, now that it had proceeded so far, that nothing would stand in the way of its final completion.

The House divided: Contents, 55; Proxies, 20; Not-Contents, 7. The Not Contents were, the earl of Hillsborough, Fitzwilliam, earl of Carnarvon, and Buck inghamshire; and lords Dundas, Holland, and King.

Joint Address of the two Houses respecting the Union with Ireland.] The following is a Copy of the said Address:

"Most Gracious Sovereign;

"We, your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons, in parliament assembled, humbly beg leave to acquaint your majesty, that, in conformity to your majesty's gracious message, laying before us the Resolutions of the Lords and Commons of Ireland, we have proceeded to resume the consideration of the great and important subject of a legislative union between Great Britain and Ireland; and it is with unspeakable satisfaction we have observed the conformity of the said resolutions to those principles which we humbly submitted to your majesty in the last session of parliament as calculated to form the basis of such a settlement.

"With the few alterations and additions which we have found it necessary to suggest, we consider these resolutions as fit to form articles of union between Great Britain and Ireland; and if those alterations and additions shall be approved by the two Houses of the parliament of Ireland, we are ready to confirm and ratify these articles, in order that the same may be established for ever by the mutual consent of both parliaments.

"We offer to your majesty our humble congratulations upon the near prospect of the accomplishment of a work, which your majesty, as the common father of your people, has justly declared to be so near your heart; concurring, as we do with your Houses of Parliament in Ireland, in the full conviction that, by in



3. "For the reasons contained in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th reasons of a protest, entered the 11th of April 1799.* (Signed) "HOLLAND, "KING."

corporating the legislatures, and consolidating the resources of the two kingdoms, we shall increase the power and stability of the British empire, and shall at the same time contribute in the most effectual manner to the improvement of the commerce, the security of the religion, and the preservation of the liberties of your majesty's subjects in Ireland."

The concurrence of their lordships to the said Address, and also to the Resolutions together with the several amendments made thereto, were ordered to be communicated to the Commons at a conference. The Commons agreed to the amendments, and on the 12th, the Address was presented to his majesty.

The King's Answer to the Joint Address.] To the said Address his majesty returned this Answer:

Debate in the Commons on the Poor Removal Bill.] March 17. Mr. Baker said, that it would be highly expedient, if, for a time to be limited, parishes were obliged to maintain the casual poor residing in them, although they have no legal settlement. The practice of removing them was extremely vexatious and highly impolitic. He knew one parish which, during the last year had expended 2001. in removing the poor from it who had no settlement there: and in the ensuing summer, the number of persons liable to be removed, would be greatly increased. The disputes and litigations "My Lords and Gentlemen; would be endless, if the practice were "It is with the greatest satisfaction not for a time prohibited. He hoped that I receive, from my two Houses of therefore that no objection would be Parliament, this dutiful and loyal address, made to his motion. The poor laws stood expressing their concurrence in those re- generally in need of revision, as they solutions which have been proposed by contained the greatest absurdities. For the Lords and Commons of Ireland, as instance, a strong healthy man who had the articles of a legislative union between lived four or five years in a parish, and my two kingdoms. I shall, without delay, enriched it by his industry, did not accommunicate to my parliament of Ireland quire a settlement in it, while a boy did the sentiments and the declarations con- who had served as an apprentice in it for tained in this Address; and the disposi- forty days. Mr. Baker concluded with tions which have been manifested by my moving, "That leave be given to bring parliaments in both kingdoms, afford me in a bill to prevent, for a time to be lithe best pledge of the speedy and pros-mited, the Removal of casual poor, notperous conclusion of this great measure: withstanding they may have received an event to which I look forward with the parochial relief."-Leave was given. most anxious expectation, as tending, above all others, to secure and perpetuate the happiness of all my subjects."

March 31. On the motion, that the bill be now read a second time,

Protest against the Joint Address respect-be
ing the Union with Ireland.] May 8.
The following Protest was entered on the



Mr. Baker said, that the bill would of the utmost service to those industrious men who were generally able to support themselves by the fruits of their labour, but who were reduced to depend upon parochial aid from the present un1. "Because the Resolutions them- precedented price of provisions. selves prove the impracticability of a from being expensive, it was the most complete union in the present circum-economical plan that could be devised, stances of the two countries, inasmuch and would be no less advantageous to as they do not provide for the identity of those who paid poor-rates, than to those the two countries, in the important con- who were supported by them. He did not siderations of peerage, taxation, and mean that every vagrant who came into commercial intercourse. a parish should be maintained by it, nor that any one who had not a settlement in a parish should have a right to demand support. The only object of the bill was,

2. "Because we believe the measure of a legislative union is against the sense of the people of Ireland, and therefore unjust in its principle, and dangerous in its consequences.

*See Vol. 34, p. 824.

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