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alluded to in public assemblies merely for the purpose of rhetorical excitement. Why then should not that gentleman support the present resolution, the principle of which he so strenuously maintained at that time? If the union was then indissoluble, surely it must be still more so now when the disabilities affecting the Roman Catholics of Ireland had been altogether removed.
It had been alleged that injustice had been done to Ireland by the act of the union, inasmuch as the proportion contributed by her to defray the expenditure of the kingdom was too high. That rate, however had been fixed by the Irish parliament itself; and as to any stipulation that the surplus revenue of Ireland should be spent in that country, it would be well to ascertain where such surplus was to be found, and to remember that the revenues of the two countries had been placed upon one common system.
encounter real and not imaginary dangers. It was only necessary to refer to the spirit of hostility to England and English connexion, which was breathed throughout the speech by which this subject had been introduced, to foresee the ruinous consequences of a repeal of the union.
While he did not pretend to deny that the evil of absenteeism existed to a great extent, he could not see how that was to be cured by a repeal of the union. It was to be attributed entirely to the baneful system of agitation, which, by embittering all the sources of society and exposing property and life to danger, induced every man, who had the means of securing to himself the comforts of life, to withdraw himself and family from that unfortunate country. A separate legislature could not alleviate the poverty of Ireland. Not withstanding the vigilant administration of the poor-laws, distress was to be found even in England.
Were such a measure as the one proposed to be adopted, the Protestants of Ireland would have to
The establishment of a really independent legislature in Ireland would lead to incalculable evils in the administration of the affairs of the country. The one executive and parliament of the empire would be continually coming into collision with the other. In consequence of the evils arising from such a constitution in America, it had been found necessary to establish a general representative congress for the determination of all questions affecting the union; while local affairs were left in the hands of the respective legislatures. It could not safely be left to Ireland to fix her own proportion of the public burthens of the two countries; and, on the settlement of the commercial system or on the subject of foreign relations, the very existence of two independent legislatures would involve both countries in inextricable difficulties. These apprehensions had been more than once realized. One dispute occurred between the legislative assemblies of the two countries in the year 1785; and this was followed by another on the subject of the regency, which involved the fundamental principles of all civil government. There had been but two occasions on which the English and Irish parliaments could quarrel, and on both they did quarrel. It was true that by statute whoever was de facto king of England was de jure king of Ireland; but
while William III. was de facto king of England, James II. was the chosen monarch of Ireland. And were matters of such national importance to hang upon the peculiarities of any case, or the changes of any British cabinet?
The spirit, which pervaded the speech by which this debate had been opened, was to him sufficient ground for resisting the measure of repeal. He could have no security for the protection of law, property, or individual liberty, so long as the slightest degree of influence was exercised over the ignorant population of Ireland by one who had lately volunteered to strengthen by his counsel the physical force of the metropolis. The British parliament had always endeavoured to hold the scale of legislation equally between the two countries; and supposing the connexion to be broken, he would prefer a complete separation to the system that existed before the union. In truth, he entertained serious doubts whether, if the union were to be repealed, it would not be the better course to consent at once to a separation, and thus absolve England from the responsibility which would otherwise attach to her.
The union had now endured thirty-three years, within which period the events of centuries had been crowded, and Great Britain alone, of all the European powers, remained safe from foreign aggression, her armies joining in one common exertion, and glorying in one common, victory. During that period the legislature was guided by the wisdom of Pitt and Castlereagh, of Fox and Grattan; and the British army was under the command of Wellington, who with his back to the sea, on the VOL. LXXVI.
rock of Lisbon, saw Europe in dismay; and never ceased from his glorious labours till the whole continent was emancipated. How then could the house listen to such a speech as that by which the motion had been introduced, conceived in a spirit so mischievous and having for its object the dismemberment of the empire? A separate parliament in Ireland would amount to a disbanding of society; and new relations having sprung up since the incorporation of the two countries, to retain Ireland, after a dissolution of the union, within her proper orbit in the system of the empire, would require the might of that omniscient and omnipotent power by which the harmony of the planetary system had been arranged and was sustained.
Mr. O'Callaghan acknowledged that he stood pledged to support a repeal of the union on all possible constitutional grounds.-Mr. Sergeant Perrin thought that no man who heard the conclusive speech of the member for Tamworth could expect to carry the proposed measure but by violence. Sir Robert Bateson and Mr. Lefroy said, that the great majority of the rank, wealth, and intelligence of Ireland were hostile to repeal-that any serious attempt to effect it would prove ruinous to the established church, and terminate probably in a civil war-that the measure, in short, before the house was disclaimed and disavowed by all the moral weight and influence of the country.
Mr. R. C. Fergusson and Sir Hussey Vivian contended that, if the union were dissolved, the sperity of the empire would be at an end; and Mr. Hume could give his assent neither to tle amendment, nor to the motion,
which however innocent in itself, had been supported by very dangerous doctrines on the part of
the member for Dublin.
grievances, and at variance with those principles which this House, as representing the great body of the people, is called upon to support," but this amendment was immediately withdrawn.
Lord Althorp felt anxious to state in a single sentence the grounds on which the question ought to be decided. The simple question was, whether a repeal of the union would be, at present, beneficial to Ireland or to the empire at large. Now the increased value of land proved that agriculture had advanced since the union. The single circumstance of sixteen millions of funded property having been transferred to Ireland since the union, proved that the measure had been highly beneficial. Repeal would lead either to total separation, or to the utter degradation of the legislature of Ireland. He should, therefore, support the amendment, which declared, that, while the imperial parliament had already given much attention to the affairs of Ireland, it was still prepared to do all that was necessary for promoting the interests of that country.
The amendment was carried by a majority of 485-there being 523 votes for the amendment, and 38 for the original motion. The minority, with one exception, consisted entirely of Irish members. Mr. Mullins moved an amendment, "that it is the opinion of this House that an address to his majesty, having for its object the suppression of any question consistent with the principles of the free constitution of the British empire, without a previous inquiry into, and report upon its merits, by a committee of this House, would furnish a precedent highly prejudicial to the interests of any portion of his majesty's subjects respectfully seeking for redress of
On the 30th of April, the Commons, in a conference, communicated to the Lords the address which they had voted. The address was the following,-a blank having been left, which the peers filled up with the words "Lords Spiritual and Temporal."
"We, your majesty's most duti ful and loyal subjects, the Commons in parliament assembled, feel it our duty humbly to approach your majesty's throne, to record in the most solemn manner our fixed determination to maintain unimpaired and undisturbed the legislative union between Great Britain and Ireland, which we consider to be essential to the strength and stability of the empire, to the continuance of the connexion between the two countries, and to the peace, security, and happiness of all classes of your majesty's subjects.
"We feel this our determination to be as much justified by our views of the general interests of the State, as by our conviction that to no other portion of your ma jesty's subjects is the maintenance of the legislative union more important than to the inhabitants of Ireland themselves.
"We humbly represent to your majesty, that the Imperial parliament have taken the affairs of Ireland into their most serious consideration, and that various salutary laws have been enacted since the union for the advancement of the most important interests of Ireland, and of the empire at large.
"In expressing to your majesty our resolution to maintain the legislative union inviolate, we humbly beg leave to assure your majesty, that we shall persevere in applying our best attention to the removal of all just causes of complaint, and to the promotion of all well-considered measures of improvement."
The peers, after a few observations from earl Grey, the lord Chancellor, the duke of Wellington, the marquesses of Londonderry and Westmeath, all in one spirit, unanimously concurred in it. It was then presented to the king as the joint address of both Houses, and his majesty returned the following answer :—
"It is with the greatest satisfaction that I have received this solemn and united expression of the determination of both houses of parliament to maintain inviolate the legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland, which I en
tirely agree with you in considering as essential to the preservation of the integrity and safety of the British empire.
"You may rely, therefore, upon my discharging with fidelity and fearlessness the sacred duty which I owe to my subjects, in exercising those powers which are invested in me for their protection against attempts, which, if successful, must necessarily produce a separation of my dominions.
"In thus expressing my concurrence in the determination which you have so justly stated, I look back with satisfaction to those salutary laws which since the Union have been passed for the advantage of the interests of Ireland, and I shall at all times be most anxious to afford my best assistance in removing all just causes of complaint, and in sanctioning all well-considered measures of improvement."
State of the Cabinet on Irish Ecclesiastical questions-Mr. Ward's Motion for a Reduction of the Irish Church Establishment-Schism in the Ministry on the subject of the appropriation_of_Church Revenues Resignation of Mr. Stanley, Sir James Graham, the Duke of Richmond, and Earl of Ripon―The King's Declaration in favour of the Church—Commission issued to inquire into the Irish Church-Debate on Mr. Ward's Motion--Discussion in the House of Lords regarding the Issuing of the Commission-Resolutions by Government concerning Tithes in Ireland, proposed-Opposition of the Agitators Bill founded on the Resolutions brought in-Debate on the Second Reading-Alterations made in the Bill to conciliate the Irish Opposition-Debate on Motion, by Mr. O'Connell, to appropriate Church Revenues to purposes of Public Utility-Farther Alterations introduced into the Bill-Debate on the New Resolution proposed by Government.
N opposing an open and de
demand of the Irish agitators for a repeal of the union, ministers carried along with them the sense and feeling of the people; that was a question on which no man differed from the government, except O'Connell and his followers. The questions connected with the Irish church stood in a different situation. The agitators supported the repeal of the union, not more as being a measure which would tend to perpetuate their own domination, than as one which would secure the downfal of the Protestant establishment. Many, likewise, who resisted repeal, demanded changes and curtailments in that establishment, which they considered to be the principal cause of all the turbulence and misery that disfigured
but because it was a religious establishment, inveighed against what they termed the unhallowed connexion between church and state, and the practical injustice of compelling men of one belief to contribute to the support of the institutions of a different creed; and they were ready to attack the revenues, or even the existence, of the church of Ireland, as the first step towards assailing the churches of England and Scotland. Union in the cabinet, with an honest resolution not to be driven farther than they would themselves have been inclined to go, would have rendered the ministry sufficiently strong to resist successfully these destroying reformers; but the cabinet unfortunately was, on this question at least,