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ON FREE TRADE.
If the great nations of the world perceive that this country — this commercial country — this free country, which has long entertained liberal notions, has come to the decision that restriction and prohibition are the best maxims of commercial policy, they will quote the example for their own guidance — their manufacturers will quote it for their own regulations, and those of the people under them; and restriction and prohibition will thus become the rule of all the intercourse in the world. Now is that for your advantage—is that for the advantage of the world? I say for your advantage it certainly is not; for as a great commercial and manufacturing nation, your plain policy is to promote the extension and diffusion of commerce and manufactures. No more is it for the advantage of the world — because my belief is, that the more free and unrestricted is intercourse, the more the nations of the world are mingled together by the ties of peaceful commerce; the farther you carry your bales of goods and cases of hardware, the more widely will you diffuse that general knowledge, and the maxims of civilization and Christianity, which belong to a nation standing in the front rank for these qualities. You must observe that, though you now stand in so proud and prominent a rank in this respect, you are liable to those vicissitudes which may alter your position. You do not stand like Rome—
"Rome, it is thine alone with awful sway
we are, on the contrary, among several nations of great power, of great civilization, with institutions some of them as free as our own, many of them having advanced to great wealth, and competing with, and rivalling us, in the arts of peace and in the productions of commerce. Give them a right example, and you will still stand, not only their equal, but the foremost amongst them. Take a contrary course, and say that this is the day upon which you have resolved on restriction and prohibition — tell them that your merchants of the East Indies, your traders to the West Indies, your timber merchants of North America, and the landholders of your own soil, have raised monopoly as the standard under which they mean to march, and by which they will abide, and you will rapidly spread your example; then, when you may wish to retrace your steps, you will find the lesson you have taught too well appreciated ever to be forgotten.
ON FREE TRADE.
The question is not, as some gentlemen seem to suppose, whether capital should be employed in any trade in a certain way or not, but whether ministers, by the course they proposed to pursue, did not run the hazard of giving a fresh impetus to slavery; and in doing this, whether they would not depart from the high position in which they had attempted to place themselves. This country claimed the right to use high language to other nations on the subject of slavery and the slave trade, notwithstanding we might be such extensive consumers of slave-produced cotton; and this country does so, in consequence of the sacrifices she has made in promotion of the abolition of both slavery and the slave trade, and held out her conduct as having been perfectly disinterested in the course which she had pursued. If, then, we pursue this course, must we not cease to hold up the example of England to other countries? Lord John Russell, the other evening, compared England to Rome, and stated that the circumstances of the two states were different, and that arms were no longer the means of influencing the world; and then proceeded to quote a paraphrase of some beautiful lines by Dryden. The lines quoted by the noble Lord were :—
"But Rome, 'tis thine alone with awful sway
The noble Lord's position, now that circumstances are very different, and that from the competition of other countries, we cannot expect to rule mankind by physical force, or dictate to other nations by means of our military power. I thought, until now, that this country exercised an awful sway; and had even hoped that we might "rule mankind and make the world obey" by the example of beneficial acts, and by sacrifices in the cause of humanity; and that amongst such disinterested sacrifices, we might refer with satisfaction to the abolition of the slavery of the negroes in the West India Islands. The noble Lord then might have continued his quotation—
"To tame the proud, the fettered slave to free,
This was the majestic course to pursue; and, not looking to the promotion of our interests by the adoption of peace or war, dispose other countries to follow in our path, and to pursue our example by the furtherance and promotion of the interests of humanity.
ON THE TRIAL OF O'CONNELL, AND OTHERS.
A Prosecution was not instituted against the great conspirators of l782. The English minister had been taught in the struggles between England and her colonies a lesson from adversity; that schoolmistress, the only one from whom ministers ever learn anything, who charges so much blood, so much gold, and snch torrents of tears, for her instructions. In reading the history of that time, and in tracing the gradual descent of England, from the tone of despotic dictation, to the reluctant acknowledgment of disaster, and to the ignominious confession of defeat, how many painful considerations are presented to us? If in time — if the English minister in time had listened to the eloquent warnings of Chatham, or to the still more oracular admonitions of Edmund Burke, what a world of wo would have been avoided! By some fatality England was first demented, and then was lost. Her repentance followed her perdition. The colonies were lost; but Ireland was saved by the timely recognition of the great principle on which her independence was founded. No attorney-general was found bold enough to prosecute Flood and Grattan for a conspiracy. With what scorn would twelve Irishmen have repudiated the presumptuous functionary by whom such an enterprise should have been attempted. Irishmen then felt that they had a country. They acted under the influence of that instinct of nationality which, for his providential purposes, the Author of Nature has implanted in us. We were then a nation — we were not broken into fragments by those dissensions by which we are at once enfeebled and degraded. If we were 8,000,000 of protestants— and, Heaven forgive me, there are moments when, looking at the wrongs done to my country, I have been betrayed for a moment into the guilty desire that we all were — but, if we were 8,000,000 of protestants, should we be used as we are? Should we see every office of dignity and emolument in this country filled by the natives of the sister island? Should we see the just expenditure requisite for the improvement of our country denied? Should we see the quit and crown rents of Ireland applied to the improvement of Charing-cross or of Windsor Castle? Should we submit to the odious distinctions between Englishmen and Irishmen introduced into almost every act of legislation 1 Should we bear with an Arms Bill, by which the Bill of Rights is set at nought? Should we brook the misapplication of a poor-law? Should we allow parliament to proceed as if we had not a voice in the legislature! Should we submit to our present inadequate representation? Should we allow a new tariff to be introduced without giving us the slightest equivalent for the manifest loss we have sustained? And should we not peremptorily require that the imperial parliament should hold a periodical sessions for the transaction of Irish business in the metropolis of a powerful, and, as it then would be, an undivided country? But we are prevented by our wretched religious distinctions from co-operating for a single object by which the honor and the substantial interests of our country can be promoted. Fatal, disastrous, detestable distinctions! Detestable, because they are not only repugnant to the genuine spirit of Christianity, and substitute for the charities of religion the rancorous antipathies of sect — but because they practically reduce us to a colonial dependency, make the union a name, convert a nation into an appurtenance, make us the footstool of the minister, the scorn of England, and the commiseration of the world! Ireland is the only country in Europe in which abominable distinctions between protestant and catholic are permitted to continue. In Germany, where Luther translated the Scriptures — in France, where Calvin wrote the Institutes; ay, in the land of the Dragonades and the St. Bartholomews—in the land from whence the forefathers of one of the judicial functionaries of this court, and the first ministerial officer of this court, were barbarously driven — the mutual wrongs done by catholic and protestant are forgiven and forgotten; while we, madmen that we are, arrayed by that fell fanaticism which, driven from every other country in Europe, has found a refuge here, precipitate ourselves upon each other in those encounters of sectarian ferocity in which our country, bleeding and lacerated, is trodden under foot. We convert the island that ought to be one of the most fortunate in the sea, into a receptacle of degradation and of suffering: counteract the designs of providence, and enter into a conspiracy for the frustration of the benificent designs of God.
If the imperial parliament held its sittings at intervals in Ireland, this city would appear in renovated splendor. Your streets would be shaken by the roll of the gorgeous equipages in which the first nobles of the country would be borne to the senate-house. The mansions of the aristocracy would blaze with that useful luxury which ministers to the gratification of the affluent, and to the employment and the comforts of the poor. The sovereign herself would not deem the seat of her parliament unworthy of her residence. The frippery of the vice-regal court would be swept away. We should look upon royalty itself, and not upon the tinsel image. We should behold the Queen of England, of Ireland, and of Scotland, in all the pomp of her imperial regality, with a diadem—the finest diadem in the world —glittering upon her brow, while her countenance beamed with the expression of that sentiment which becomes the throned monarch better than the crown. We should see her accompanied by the