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for more than twenty years, a complete prostration of all constitutioual rights.

As these were the remote consequences, so the more immediate effects of the union were not less fatal to the interests of Ireland. It could not be denied that absenteeism was a national evil, that this evil had been, at least, beyond measure aggravated by the union, and that the most melancholy predictions of the calamities that would thence befal Ireland had been in every point amply fulfilled. Taxation was increased, capital was depreciated, much less wealth was circulated among the middling and lower classes of the community, and the people, broken in spirit and distrustful of the future, were under the necessity of seeking for the common support and usual comforts of life by emigrating to distant parts of the British empire. Nothing again could be more fallacious than to suppose, that the commerce of Ireland had flourished since the union. The improvement was merely apparent. The export of raw material, and the import of manufactured goods, by no means proved the existence of a profitable trade. According to this mode of reasoning, it might be demonstrated that Newcastle was more prosperous than Liverpool, because the former could boast of more annual tonnage than the latter. The apparent increase of shipping arose simply from the multiplication of voyages by the same vessels with the same cargo; and this was, in no sense, an evidence of mercantile prosperity.

Looking at all these circumstances, he dreaded the probable consequences of a continuance of the union, Ireland felt strongly on the subject. Let, then, her

comparative bankruptcy was cer tainly no proof of any important advantages having been bestowed on Ireland by the union. Besides, five millions had been added to her taxation, and her revenue had been thus rendered less productive than before; and, therefore, when it was taken into consideration that the amount of revenue did not necessarily increase with the rate of taxation, Ireland did not, as had sometimes been erroneously supposed, obtain a bonus of thirtynine millions in consequence of the difference between the British and Irish rates of duty. Nor ought it to be forgotten, that, absentee rents not having been taken into consideration for the purpose of diminishing the amount of taxation to be borne by Ireland, additional burdens were thrown upon her, while, at the same time, the revenue of England had progressively increased by the very means which could not fail to impoverish the sister country. There was no fair and equitable proportion observed between the reduction of the war expenses of England, and those of Ireland. This injustice was only surpassed by the legislative terms of the union. Looking to the amount of the profits of her commerce and her revenue, she was entitled to return one hundred and sixty-five members to parliament, and yet these had been at once, and without any good reason, reduced to one hundred and eight. By one act of the British parliament, power was given to distrain for tithe or church-rate in Ireland; and by another, she had been summarily deprived of the blessings of the British constitution. By an unbroken succession of insurrection acts, martial law, and coercion bills, there had been in Ireland,

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Commons should be communicated to the peers, in the shape of an address to the crown, that their sentiments on this question might be confirmed by the answer of the king. This was the proper and constitutional mode of giving to any proposition, which had for its object the dismemberment of the empire, a decided, distinct, and unequivocal opposition. He did not mean to refer to periods of barbarism, nor did he think it necessary to justify, by argument, a right of domination on the part of England,-a_right which had been claimed and exercised without dispute, and without intermission. A federal union existed between the two countries, in the year 1782; they were, at that time, connected only by the link of the crown, and each enjoyed the advantage of the wisdom and counsel of its own parliament; but so ill adapted was the working of the system for the practical purposes of civil government and national security, that, while Eng land remained at peace, Ireland was on the verge of being plunged into a war with Portugal, and the proceedings of her domestic legislature were over-awed and controlled by a violent assembly out of doors, with lord Charlemont and Mr. Grattan at its head.

It had been denied that the Irish parliament had a right to pass the act of union; and if this were true, it followed that Ireland could not be bound by the enactments of the British house of Commons; that the Roman Catholic relief bill was null and void; and that not a few Irish members ought to be excluded from the seats which they now occupied as representatives of the people. Before the concession of

bitter recollection of the past be for ever effaced by the restoration of her people to their inalienable rights. He advocated repeal, that he might prevent separation, which, he thought, would be a measure fraught with incalculable mischief to both countries. He desired the federal connexion of the two kingdoms, that, in the hour of common danger, they might afford protection to each other. But let her own parliament be once more restored to Ireland. The British parliament had never been competent to legislate for Ireland; the union had been carried by a train of unparalleled crimes; the financial and legislative terms on which it had proceeded were impolitic and unjust; Ireland had been deprived of her constitution, her people stripped of the means of existence; and final separation might, ere long, be the result of obstinate resistance on the part of England. The connexion between the two countries might still be established on principles of international right and justice. Ireland had been hitherto governed not by constitutional law, but in the spirit of despotism; and, therefore, he demanded at the hands of England a restoration of her national legislature.

Mr. Spring Rice, having made a few explanatory remarks, said, that he intended to move an amendment declaratory of the importance of maintaining the connexion between Great Britain and Ireland, and that the united parliament, having hitherto devoted anxious attention to the interests of Ireland, was determined to persevere in the course which they had already adopted. He should likewise propose, that the resolutions agreed upon by the house of

the Catholic claims, Mr. O'Connell was anxious to carry that measure, that the union between the two countries might be rendered cordial, perpetual, and complete; and the motion now before the house, was the proof which he offered of his political honesty, consistency, and gratitude.

They were not called upon to defend the means by which the union had been originally accomplished: the only question was, ought it to be repealed? It was not true, that rebellion was fomented for the purpose of affording an apology for the union. The object of all the discontents during the rebellion was not dissimilar to that which was contemplated by the present system of agitation a dissolution of the connexion subsisting between the two countries. It was absurd to suppose that the rebellion was secretly encouraged for the purpose of justifying the union. Authentic history disproved the statement; human nature falsified the supposition.

Instead of having passed only insurrection acts, the imperial parliament had removed the grievances, and by legislative measures had protected and encouraged the industry of Ireland. The free trade in corn which had been granted was, of itself, an incalculable advantage to that country. Under the first Irish parliament, she was dependant for corn on a regular importation from year to year; but now she did not merely maintain herself-she had a convenient and certain market for the disposal of her surplus produce. Her trade had been disencumbered of many vexatious regulations; her banking system had been improved; her fisheries and mines

had been encouraged; her public credit supported; the tithe commutation bill amended; her courts of law reformed; her public charities patronized,—all national benefits, which the member for Dublin had either forgotten, or intentionally had declined to notice. This part of the case might be made to rest on the point of education alone, which, prior to the union, was prohibited at home, and made penal, if received abroad. Since that period a board of education had been appointed; charities had been founded; prisons had been erected; labourers had found employment in the improvement of the crown lands; and large sums of money had been at once liberally and judiciously distributed. The natural conse quence of all these measures was, that trade and navigation had comparatively flourished, and the general prosperity of the empire had increased. Prior to the union, on the other hand, there were petitions from all quarters of Ireland praying parliament to devise and adopt measures for the revival and re-establishment of manufactures. A repeal of the union would necessarily be followed by a speedy return to the former restrictive system of commerce, which would prove destructive to the manufacturing interests of Ireland. The annual houserental of Dublin had increased by a very large amount since the union, and national distress had increased neither in severity nor extent. Indeed all the evidence that could be collected on the subject attested the steady and rapid progress of Ireland in every thing that constituted the prosperity of a state.

He did not consider this a con

test for victory: a more valuable stake was at issue. On this question there had been no compromise, and there should be none. He had said enough to justify the vote which he called upon the house to give in support of the plain and permanent interests of the two countries. To repeal the union and at the same time hope to maintain a profitable connexion with Great Britain was contrary to all experience and the principles of all government. A constitutional monarchy would be overthrown and speedily succeeded by a fierce democracy. The people of Ireland were not prepared for a domestic legislature. Power would be abused, party spirit would increase in rancour, and the rash measure would be followed by the entire subversion of the empire. He moved, therefore, that an address be presented to his majesty, expressive of the fixed and steady determination of the house of Commons to maintain inviolate the legislative union between Great Britain and Ireland, a determination justified not only upon general grounds, but for reasons of special application to Ireland; and that, while the house should endeavour to remove all just causes of complaint alleged by the people of Ireland, it would, at the same time, promote all well-considered measures of rational liberty.

the union. He anticipated, likewise, from this debate, a decline in the amount of the tribute; because the Irish peasantry would not continue to pay for pursuing an object that was unattainable, and it would be found that as money failed, agitation would subside. The advocates of repeal left all the details and calculations to its opponents, and indulged in unmeaning declamation, while they ought to have proceeded on facts and according to evidence.


Ireland, it had been affirmed, enjoyed before the union unprecedented prosperity, which entirely attributable to the legislative independence of her domestic parliament; and from this it had been inferred that the present evils of Ireland had originated in the dissolution of that parliament. Now, he maintained, in the first place, that the evils, which at present afflicted Ireland, might be traced to causes that were in operation centuries before the union, and that, the Irish parliament never having been independent, the prosperity attributed to that supposed independence either did not exist at all, or was referable to other causes; and, secondly, that Ireland, since the union, had enjoyed a degree of national prosperity and improvement, which she never could have attained under any other circumstances. Ireland was by nature dependent in her interests and fortunes on other countries, and rose or fell according to the policy pursued by them. A close connexion between England and Ireland was thus essential to the welfare of the latter, and a community of fortune was now indispensable to the security of the British empire. England, aware of the

Mr. Emerson Tennant seconded the amendment, which he thought well calculated to elicit a full and fair examination of the merits of the question; and the result of a calm and dispassionate inquiry would be such as to convince all, who were capable of reasoning, of the absurdity of entertaining for a moment the idea of a repeal of

importance of this object, did not fail to pursue it, and the result was the conquest of Ireland by Henry II. The connection thus commenced could be perpetuated only by one or other of two expedients either by coercion, or by such a modified constitution as left to England a controlling check over the Irish legislature. The former system was rigorously pursued till 1782, when the people of Ireland, with arms in their hands, demanded and obtained an amelioration of their condition. But although the British parliament resigned the right of making laws to bind Ireland, her legislature remained as fully under the control of the English ministry as before. That ministry had indeed resigned the privilege of opposing the introduction of any bill, but retained the power of a veto when it had passed. At the very moment when the Irish legislature was asserting its independence on the principle, that the king governed Ireland, in his right to the Irish crown alone, it was enacted, that the great seal of England should be appended to each act by an officer of the English cabinet, amenable to, and impeachable by, an English parliament alone-an expedient intended to prevent any public or local act being passed in Ireland, which might be incompatible with English interests or might lead to the separation of the two countries. But not only in those measures in which the Irish parliament was allowed to legislate at all was she thus amenable to a superior power; she was, likewise, completely excluded from all external legislation. She was compelled to register the acts of Great Britain, however prejudicial these might be to her interests.

Possessing the right of dissenting from the general policy of the empire, she dared not assert her privilege, as the result might possibly have been hostility with England. With the outward parade of independence, she was controlled by a British cabinet, and she dreaded English policy; her control over the Irish exchequer was annihilated; the viceroy was responsible for his administration to the British parliament alone; the elements of free representation had disappeared amid crowds of placemen and the nominees of patrons; and surely such a system of political imbecility could never be mistaken for national independence. Ireland relied, at that time, on British credit for the security of her supplies; her commerce was indebted to a British navy for its protection, and to British treaties for its extension.

The internal prosperity of Ireland called on her to foster a close connexion with England, which could afford an ample home market for her agricultural produce, and open up to her new channels for the extension of her commerce. Amid the conflicting interests and awakened jealousies of the two countries, a union was found to be the only expedient to allay all apprehensions, to reconcile all differences, and combine the prosperrity with the constitutional rights of both countries. The progressive improvement of Ireland between the years 1782 and 1800, though not equal to the advancing prosperity of England or Scotland during the same period, was to be attributed entirely to the general prosperity of the empire, and not to the imaginary influence of her constitutional freedom, or to the dignity and in

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