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to the arts of an incendiary ; you give no honest support either to the Government or the people ;-you, at the most critical part of their existence, take no part; you sign no non-consumption agreement; you are no volunteer ; you oppose no perpetual mutiny bill, no altered sugar bill; you declare that you lament that the declaration of right should be brought forward; and, observing with regard to prince and people, the most impartial treachery and desertion, you justify the suspicion of your sovereign, by betraying the Government as you had sold the people; until at last, by this hollow conduct, and for some other steps, the result of mortified ambition, being dismissed and another person put in your place, you fly to the ranks of the volunteers and canvass for mutiny ; you announce that the country was ruined by other men during that period in which she had been sold by you. Your logic is, that the repeal of a declaratory law is not the repeal of a law at all; and the effect of that logic is, an English act affecting to emancipate Ireland, by exercising over her the legislative authority of the British Parliament. Such has been your conduct, and at such conduct every order of your fellow-subjects has a right to exclaim. The merchant may say to youthe constitutionalist may say to you—the American may say to you—and I, I now say to you, and say to your beard, Sir,—you are not an honest man.'
Bitter as this invective was, it did not avail to stem the pertinacity of Mr. Flood's opposition; the people too were dissatisfied with its tone, and finding himself thus embarrassed in the completion of his great projects, he abstained from political controversy in disgust. It is, perhaps, unnecessary to state, that Mr. Flood's party never succeeded in their object. Grattan, however,still retained his seat, and was soon provoked to activity. In 1785, a commercial arrangement between England and Ireland was brought forward, through which the ministers aimed an insidious blow at the newly acquired independence of the latter country. It was proposed that the Parliament of Ireland, in consideration of being admitted to participate equally with Great Britain in all commercial advantages, should, from time to time, adopt and enact all such acts of the British Parliament as should relate to the regulation or management of her commerce, &c.” To this measure Grattan offered the most strenuous and enlightened
resistance :---he successfully contended that such a proposition would degrade the Parliament of Ireland into a mere register to the British legislature, and the Government was forced to abandon the design.
These masterly exertions fully reinstated him in the confidence of the people, and taking the lead of the country party in the House of Commons, he also headed the Irish Whigs. Proceeding on to those questions which were strictly his own, we find him next engaged in an endeavour to calm those disturbances which have immemorially taken place in Ireland, in consequence of the aversion with which the Catholic population paid tythes to the Protestant Clergy. The plan was rejected-an ill merited fate, which also befell a bill he introduced with the view of promoting the cultivation of waste land, by exempting it from tythes for seven years after the time it should be first reclaimed.
In 1790, a general election took place, and he was returned to the new Parliament with ease and celebrity for the city of Dublin. But he soon lost all favour with his constituents: for beginning his labours in the great work of Catholic Emancipation, he now proposed to admit the members of that religion to the elective franchise; and an outcry, the most infamous and astounding, was raised against him by every bigot and placeman in the island. How little a man of his sense and spirit was affected by this treatment may be easily conceived; conscious of his own integrity, and convinced of the impolicy of enforcing political disqualifications on the mere score of religious differences, he proceeded steadily in his object, and succeeded-gradually and partially, it is true, in restoring the majority of his countrymen to many violated rights. Hopes were at first entertained that the whole question would be granted ; a French war occurring, the greatest troubles prevailed not only in England but in Ireland, and the British Cabinet was reduced to an extremity. Appearances of conciliation were therefore assumed ; the Earl of Fitzwilliam was invested with the Vice-royalty of Ireland, and a general understanding prevailed, that his Lordship was instructed to appease the discontents of the country by conceding the Catholic Claims.
But no sooner was a supply voted, than the liberal Viceroy was recalled to England, and with his presence every prospect of improvement vanished. The most violent
passions were excited by this treatment, and Grattan feeling it vain to oppose the corrupt policy of the Government, seceded from Parliament, and lived awhile in retirement. Events, however, of the most vital importance arose.
Mr. Pitt proposed the Union between Ireland and England, and Mr. Grattan was sent back to the House of Commons as member for Wicklow to head the able body of men who opposed it. That opposition was vigorous, pathetic, and brilliant beyond example, but utterly vain. In the year 1800, the Irish Houses of Commons and Peers merged into the Parliament of England.
At first Grattan refused to accept a seat in the new legislature ; but the entreaties of the Catholics, and his political associates, induced him to become a member for the borough of Malton, in Yorkshire, during the year 1805. A summary of his public life from this date may be briefly made. Maintaining his superior character and influence undiminished, he was again elected member for Dublin, and continued to advocate every motion, whether for retrenchment in the revenue, or reform in the Parliament. He concurred in the propriety of our wars with France, but made the Catholic Question the main labour and chief glory of his career. Undeterred by a relentless opposition, and not discouraged by repeated defeats, he carried it with greater splendour to higher majorities in the House of Coinmons than it had before received or has since attained, and delivered the most powerful speeches by which it has ever been recommended. Whenever the final concession of those great claims shall take place, to him, above all others, shall the country owe a weighty debt of gratitude never to be diminished or forgotten. For that question alone, be seemed to live, and for it he in a manner died. Early in 1820, when he had advanced to his 70th year, and declining health almost entirely incapacitated him from exertion, he took the petition of the Irish Catholics, and crossing the Channel to Liverpool, proceeded up to London by the canal, with a resolution of again submitting the cause to the legislature. But he had scarcely concluded the journey to Town, when his strength was exhausted-he died on the 14th of May. It was at first determined to convey his remains back to Ireland, and deposit them amongst the people whom he had so nobly served; but the most distinguished members of the legislature prevailed upon his family to permit his interment
in Westminster Abbey. He was accordingly buried in the south cross aisle, where a plain stone, inscribed “HENRY GRATTAN, JUNE 14, 1820," marks the site of his grave.
Mr. Grattan married early in life, a lady named Fitzgerald, by whom he had thirteen children. This notice presents a most inadequate outline of his life, but even from the statements thus presented, it is evident that he flourished without an equal. Never courting power or office, he stood superior to pensions, places, and peerages, and accepted but one honour, a seat in the Irish Privy Council, during the Vice-royalty of Lord Fitzwilliam. He vindicated the liberties of his country, and was the only man who ever carried such an achievement not by arms and bloodshed, but by pure wisdom and eloquence. As there was nothing temporising or dubious in his politics, so his memory is stained by no tergiversation. Grattan was always consistent—a special distinction acquired by no second statesman. “ The purity of his life,” as Sir James Macintosh observed, “ was the brightness of his glory.” In oratory his style was peculiarly original, and may principally be distinguished for concentrated argumentation and didactic energy. Delighting in brevity, he abounds with antithesis and epigram ; of irony and satire he had a far greater command than any of his contemporaries; but possessing a taste highly cultivated, and most discriminative judgment, he never diverged in figurative radiancy, or sacrificed elegance to passion. His speeches have been edited by his second son, the present Member for Dublin. To this character it can only be added, that in private life he was a warm friend and a determined enemy, and in his familiar moments was remarkable for that simplicity which so greatly endears genius.