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countries closer together. The union | side in this kingdom, thus leaving behind now proposed, appeared to him admirably them a majority of that order of people calculated to answer all the purposes re- most prone to insurrection and revolt. quisite. So obvious were the great be- He must give his dissent to the measure, nefits that must result from it, that he as carrying in it the seeds of separation was surprised at the opposition it had met and disunion. with.
Earl Camden said: - Some words Earl Fitzwilliam said, that nothing but which have dropped, and some allusions a sense of duty could have induced him which have been made, by the noble earl to oppose a measure, which seemed to who has just sat down, make me pecumeet the wishes of so many of their liarly desirous of trespassing for a few lordships; but when he was called upon moments on your lordships time. I am to agree to a union with Ireland, at the particularly desirous of alluding to that same time that no man was more ready part of the noble earl's speech, in which to admit that a perfect and complete he speaks of the great advantages which union was of all things the most desirable, the executive power in Ireland received he felt himself bound to examine whether from the parliament of that kingdom the articles proposed, carried in them sen- during the rebellion; and argues from timents of unison, or whether they did that example upon the impolicy of renot contain the seeds of disunion and of moving it. When I allude to that event separation. To form a real union with and to that parliament it is impossible for Ireland, a free and open participation of me to express the gratitude I feel toadvantages of every description between wards them. It is my duty to do ample the two countries was indispensably ne- justice to their firmness, their spirit, and cessary. Was that the case in this mea- their wisdom, upon the trying occasions sure? Look into the articles, both com- in which they had opportunities of evincmercial and financial; in every part im- ing those qualities. But, much as I feel pediments to real union presented them- the merit of that parliament; I cannot selves. In the commercial article, innu- shut my eyes to the advantages which merable were the clogs and shackles put will accrue to the empire in general, and upon the commerce of Ireland. In the to Ireland in particular, by consolidating financial article, the taxes and contribu- that parliament with our own. tions of the people of Great Britain and been said, that Ireland will suffer much Ireland were distinct and different in an in her consequence and independence by essential degree. In the article of a le- this measure. If I did not think that the gislative nature, a direct and violent in- interests, feelings, and consequence of fringement was made on the constitution that country were most amply considered, of this country. And no satisfactory ex- I should not have concurred in the meaplanation had been given why it was ne- sure. As long as the countries continue cessary to remove the seat of legislature upon their present footing, there must be from Dublin to London. Under the Irish that sort of English influence in the goparliament the trade of Ireland had flou- vernment of Ireland, which might really rished, and that country had grown rich wound the feelings of an independent naand prosperous. In a political view, also, tion, whereas, by the union they will be the residence of her legislature had proved completely admitted into all the discusadvantageous. During the late unfortu- sions and deliberations in which the imnate rebellion, which he considered as a perial parliament is concerned, and will rebellion chiefly of the lower orders of be engaged in all those important conthe people against the government of Ire- cerns, instead of having to deliberate land, government, backed by the parlia- upon mere local questions. In alluding ment of Ireland, were able to suppress to the Catholic question, I beg to say, it. Why, then, after such recent proof that I think even a non-acquiescence in of the advantages of a resident parlia- these claims from the imperial parliament, ment, was Ireland to be deprived of would be considered by that body as the reaping the same advantages in a similar effect of their deliberate judgment; emergency, should any such occur? By whereas a similar conduct in the Irish parthe removal of the legislature, the num-liament would be construed into the effect ber of absentees would be greatly increased, and the gentlemen of property more generally induced to come and re
of prejudice and pique. I think these claims could never have been conceded by the Irish parliament under the present
circumstances of the country. If, therefore, these claims could not be conceded there, and if the subject can be brought forward for more deliberate discussion here, merely as far as this question is concerned, the union of the two parliaments is desirable. I have always been a friend to this measure; but, considering the many prejudices which were to be overcome, I did not look with confidence to its accomplishment till the present
tholic claims could also be finally settled by a united parliament, which circumstance would tend much to paralize the strength of the disaffected party. As Catholic emancipation was one of their pretexts, and proved a strong engine in their hands, so would it be with the hacknied topic of parliamentary reform. On this head, with respect to the idea that ministers, after making such an innovation in the constitution as would be done by the union, could not consistently set their faces against a parliamentary reform, if hereafter proposed, he denied the application of the argument, that the constitution in such a case would be innovated, and declared it to be his opinion, that the great bulk of the people were averse to parliamentary reform. His lordship contended, that the present distracted state of Ireland required some strong, decisive, and efficacious measure, for its removal; and that none could be so aptly applied, as an incorporate and legislative union. With respect to increased ministerial influence resulting from the union, he denied that it was likely to take place: he inclined to think rather the contrary. In support of its necessity, he quoted the opinion of De Lolme, who stated, that one of the great reasons why England preserved its liberty after the decay of other governments, was, that its constitution admitted but of one parliament, representing all the people; whereas those upon the continent, in the latter constitutions, had assemblies consisting of distinct estates, and with contending interests.
Marquis Townshend thought the union would prove a beneficial measure to both countries, but more especially to Ireland. The industry that it would introduce would necessarily carry civilization with it, and give security to property; the consequence of which would be, the more constant residence of the landholders and men of property, and that would not only lessen the number of absentees, but entice the clergy to more constant residence on their cures, by which means the morals of the people would be improved, and the pernicious influence of the vagrant Catholic priests would be in a great measure done away. As men of property became residents on their own estates, they would get rid of their middle-men, who diminished the profits of the land-owner, while they ground down the poor tenant. The Earl of Westmorland declared himself decidedly in favour of the union. He took a general view of the distractions religious and political, which for some years past had agitated Ireland: those he thought were almost unavoidable under the existing system of government in that country, and, of course, to be finally re- Lord King widely differed in opinion moved only by the expedient of a legisla- from the noble earl. He considered the tive union. No small portion of this measure in question, carried as it had been was to be attributed to the successive rather as a species of conquest in Ireland, change of chief governors-men often of where not only the means of corruption very different views and principles, and were used, but intimidation also. The who of course were actuated by them in precedent of the Scotch union was much their respective administrations. He ad- talked of; but it had little bearing on the mitted that a respectable party in Ireland, present question, either in point of anaand a number of well intentioned persons, logy, or as an argument as having amewere hostile to the union, but the greater liorated the state of that country. That part of this hostility proceeded from pre- Scotland had improved since that period, judice, want of information, or the influ- could not be denied; but this could not ence and exertions of the evil minded and be attributed to the effects of the union. designing; but all the traitorous and dis- At the time of its passing, it was a vast affected in that country were to a man accession of power to the minister of the opposed to the union, and for an obvious day. The creation of twelve peers about reason that it would render all their de- that period, strengthened the ministerial signs abortive. That consideration alone influence; and on one occasion, one of the should be a strong recommendation of the ministers stated the cause of their weakmeasure. The great question of the Ca-ness to be the accidental absence of some
of their friends, and the circumstance that "the waters being out, the Scots lords could not get to town." That the influence of the crown had much increased within the present century was notorious. The introduction of the 32 peers and 100 commoners into the united parliament, would materially increase the influence of the minister, which would also be strengthened by the circumstance of the Irish exchequer and establishments being kept separate.
bers. This appears to have something like necessity, or at least of expediency, to justify it; it would indeed, according to my view of the subject, be extremely hard to deprive of their seats a number of Engglish gentlemen, who have long been at the same time Irish peers and members of the British House of Commons, and who for years, and some of them even for generations past, have been accustomed to look to such a privilege. On this ground I am disposed to tolerate a temporary innovation in the constitution, but, by perques-petuating a distinct Irish peerage, you perpetuate also this inconvenience, whatever its magnitude may be. However, according to all constitutional analogy and principle, if you must preserve to the king the prerogative of creating Irish peers after Ireland shall have ceased to exist as a separate kingdom, you ought to preserve it inviolate, and, not without a shadow of necessity to justify you, establish what I cannot avoid thinking a dangerous precedent of innovation in the constitution. Impressed with these considerations, I lament the little weight and authority with which I am able to urge them; and I appeal to an illustrious duke whom I now see in his place, and who may possibly in the course of nature one day wear the crown of these kingdoms, and ask him whether he can consistently with his duty to that crown, sanction by his vote this unnecessary violation of its rights?
The Earl of Darnley said :-My lords, before I enter upon the general tion now before the House, allow me to'repeat those objections to a particular part of the plan of union, which the more I consider, the more I wish to see altered. I am very ready to admit, that in a great and complicated arrangement of this nature, a deviation from established principles may be absolutely necessary; and on these grounds I give full credit to those who framed the articles of union, which appear as little exceptionable as the nature of the case will admit, except in that particular point to which I allude in the 4th article, which enables the king to retain a limited prerogative of creating Irish peers. In my opinion there is no reason for deviating from the precedent of the union with Scotland in this particular instance, but every possible reason for adhering to it. It is true that the two cases differ in this respect, that whereas the Scotch peerages are many of them descendable to females, the Irish are almost universally limited to heirs-male, on which account they will be more speedily extinguished: but I confess this appears to me rather in the light of an advantage, than of an evil: for, by the gradual and certain operation of time, it would do away every trace of separation and distinctness between the two countries in respect of the peerage, and so far produce that identity which we hope will result in every other instance from this measure of union. In so difficult and complicated an arrangement, I am well aware of the impossibility of steering clear of all objections which may be made on constitutional or other grounds, and that a necessary choice of difficulties must sometimes occur. On this account, as I do not see the objections to it in the very strong point of view in which it has appeared to other noble lords, I am willing to admit that part of the article which allows Irish peers to sit in the House of Commons as British mem
Having stated these objections, which the more I consider them, the more forcible they appear to my mind, in the hopes that they may still lead to some alteration in this part of the articles of union, I shall not offer any thing farther which may appear in the most remote degree in the light of opposition to the measure, which with this simple exception in all its details, as well as in its general principle, meets with my most cordial approbation: and though some of its provisions appear more or less objectionable, they are notwithstanding justified by the necessity of the case.
The objections which have been made in this country have neither been formidable in point of number, nor urged with any degree of correctness or success. One of the most prominent is that which the noble lord who spoke last has dwelt so much upon; namely, that the constitution of the House of Commons will be materially altered, and the influence of the crown increased to an alarming
degree, by the addition of one hundred Irish members to the present House of Commons. In answer to which it may be fairly stated, that, admitting, as you necessarily must, that no union could take place without the introduction of some representation for Ireland, no possible plan that could have been devised would have been so consonant to popular principles, and so little likely to give any thing like undue influence to the crown, as that before the House, which selects from the present Irish House of Commons all the members for counties, with the addition only of a few for the principal cities and towns, and which, together with the election of the peers for life, secures the independence of the Irish representatives as completely as the nature of the case will admit.
where the woollen manufacture first flourished in England, and which is now without it, and will ask such of your lordships as are best acquainted with that county, whether it exhibits at this day any symptoms of such a loss, or whether it is not at length as rich and flourishing as any other part of England. If, therefore, it could be proved satisfactorily that the probable consequences of that part of the union which allows the importation of British wool into Ireland was likely in the course of time, to transfer the manufacture to that country, we ought by no means to be deterred, by such a consideration, from passing the article as it now stands, and thereby admitting Ireland to a fair and equal participation of all the advantages which a community of interests with this country can give her.
The next considerable objection which And now, my lords, I trust I shall be has been made on this side of the water, permitted to take up some of the time of comes from the woollen manufacturers, the House, in stating, as concisely as I am who have endeavoured, by great legal able, what appear to be sufficient answers ability and most respectable evidence at to the objections which have been urged your bar, to establish a case; but, in my to this great measure in the sister kingopinion, and I believe in the opinion of dom, I am impelled to do so, not only the House, with very little success. It by the great importance of the subject to does not indeed appear that their alarms every person interested in the general are well founded, or that Ireland is likely welfare of the British empire, but also besoon to deprive them of their great and cause it appears to me that such noble flourishing manufacture by the free lords as, in common with myself, are more importation of English wool. Whatever immediately and locally interested in the advantage she may derive from this source welfare of Ireland, are in some degree it would be highly impolitic and unjust to called upon in this place to prove, to deprive her of it; at present there does the best of their ability, that in differing not appear any reasonable ground for be- from a great and powerful party in that lieving that the woollen manufacture is country on the subject of the union, we likely to be transferred to Ireland, and are actuated by motives, and influenced by therefore we are by no means called upon reasons, which to us at least appear suffi to accede to the wishes of that very re- ciently urgent to induce us to give our spectable body of men who have petition- most hearty concurrence to a measure ed against this part of the articles of the which they so earnestly deprecate, and union. But I will go farther, and declare that in doing so we are persuaded that we my opinion, that even if they had suc- promote the real and substantial interests ceeded in establishing their case as much of Ireland. I am ready to admit that the as I think they have failed, legislating as party to which I allude is still, in point of we are, for the great and permanent numbers, industry, and ability, extremely interests of the whole empire, we ought formidable, and, in many of the individuals not to have been thereby induced to who compose it, highly respectable; what favour them, at the expense of any possi- proportion it may bear out of doors to the ble future advantage which might accrue majority of unprejudiced and uninfluto Ireland. How often has their manu-enced Irishmen, who appear favourable facture in particular, as well as many to this measure, I will not attempt others, been transferred from one part of to decide. It is sufficient for my present this island to the other, without any permanent inconvenience, or mischief of any sort? Nay, instances of the truth of this observation might be adduced; but I will instance only the county of Kent,
purpose that a considerable majority of the parliament of Ireland have sanctioned by their concurrence this measure, which the House of Commons last year refused even to entertain. Your
lordships may recollect that I then declined entering into the discussion, because it appeared to me less likely to promote the object in view, than farther to irritate and inflame the Irish nation against it. The case is now materially altered, and it is become the duty of every man to endeavour to obviate those objec tions which have been raised and urged with so much force and violence against what he conceives to be essential to the security and preservation of Ireland in particular, as well as to the general and permanent interests of the British empire. The first grand objection, and which appears on all occasions to have been placed in the front of the battle, as best calculated to excite the feelings of national prejudice and mistaken national pride, is, that a union with Great Britain will be a surrender of Irish independence. To appreciate fully the weight of this objection, it will be necessary, in the first place, to consider whether this boasted and favourite independence be real or imaginary, or whether, if it be real, it is also beneficial. For this purpose I shall not tire the patience of the House by going back to the early periods of the connexion between the two countries, or enter into the details of a history which must be familiar to your lordships. Suffice it to say, that the policy of this country towards Ireland, for a course of centuries, was neither liberal or enlightened. Ireland was always treated as a subordinate, and ever as a conquered country. The necessary consequence of which was, that, never attached by the bonds of mutual interest and affection, she took every opportunity of manifesting her impatience under the yoke, and at length, during the American war, when Great Britain was depressed and humbled, seized that opportunity of extorting from her a participation in the advantages of her commerce, which, in sound policy, she ought long before to have freely granted. Having then felt their strength, the patriots of Ireland (as they were called) did not stop here, but proceeded farther, to claim, and finally to obtain, from the British government, their boasted settlement of 1782, and the idol or rather phantom of an independent constitution, which they have ever since adored. That the independence so acquired never has and never can have been real, appears to me capable of the most positive proof. The British parliament,
it is true, ceased to legislate for Ireland. The British government no longer supported and maintained the necessary connexion between the two countries by open and avowed control, but was obliged to resort to less direct though perhaps equally efficacious means of governing this independent parliament, and rendering it subservient to its purposes. It could not indeed have acted in any other manner, for every practical assertion of independence on the part of the Irish legislature, if it did not dissolve, must manifestly have endangered the connexion between the countries; and I will defy any man to prove, that, in any great imperial question of peace, war, or the like, or indeed in any question except of a local nature, this boasted independence can ever be exerted without producing, or at least tending to absolute separation. Irish independence and British connexion never can really and practically exist together; the one or the other must necessarily fall. The connexion has, however, hitherto subsisted; by what means, those who are most conversant with the history of the Irish independent parliament are best enabled to judge, and none better than those noble lords who have spoken in this debate, from the practical knowledge on this subject which their former situation of chief governors of that country has given them. They can, and have in a great measure informed your lordships what Irish independence really is, or rather what it was their duty to make it, in order to enable them to carry on the government with which they were intrusted, and maintain the connexion between the two countries. One of them indeed (lord Westmorland) has entered fairly and fully into the subject; and no man has had better opportunity of appreciating the real value of Irish independence than that noble lord. There was, however, one part of his speech applicable to my present purpose, which I confess a little surprised me, as coming from him. The noble lord stated, and fairly stated, as a cogent argument for the union, the probable change of system and opinion which took place in Ireland when any change of lord lieutenant occurred. He might have added, from his own experience, that a change of system and opinion sometimes took place in the same lord lieutenant, and, in the particular instance to which I allude, with the most fatal consequences, When the Catholic question was first