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and consistent; and if any new objections have been urged by us, they are attributable to the novelty of the propositions which the right honourable gentleman has produced without any previous notice to this House. It were, indeed, a hardship and injustice, if because we combated the defects of a new scheme, we were liable to the charge of shifting our ground against an old scheme, no longer the object of discussion. And here I cannot help observing, that if it be true, that ingratitude is the worst of sins, I can see no light in which the right honourable gentleman appears, but that of the worst of sin, ners. What a pernicious scheme would this have been, unpurged by our amendments ! and what a return does he make us! But there are proud and sullen souls enveloped in fastidious admiration of themselves, and haughty contempt for the rest of the world, upon whom obligation has only the effect of enmity, and whose hatred is best secured by redeeming them from danger and dishonour.
There remains one charge to be noticed, which is more singular, if possible, than the former, because it is more palpably groundless. The right honourable gentleman affirms, that now, for the first time, an objection is made to the fourth proposition; and he infers from my silence this night that I have no arguments to oppose to it. How any man, with the smallest faculty of recollection, with the slightest feeling of shame, can hazard such an assertion, is, I confess, to me perfectly unaccountable! I do not believe there is one man, not merely in this House, but in this country, who reads a newspaper, that can be ignorant, that I have uniformly reprobated this fourth proposition from the first moment of its introduction that we divided the committee upon this very clause of the system ---and that our minority was a very small one. The very arguments I shall now urge against it, will demonstrate the falsehood of the accusation, for they will only be a repetition of what I have said before; and, when the House recollect that I am charged with having never before objected to this proposition, they will, I trust, excuse the tautology. · Here Mr. Fox went over the ground of his objections to this part of the system. He said, he had no doubt the fair construction of the fourth resolution would appear to any man of common sense, to be virtually to make laws for Ireland, and would be to renovate rashly and wantonly the jealousies of the whole Irish nation, upon a point of the most peculiar tenderness and delicacy. In vain were attempts made to assimilate this surrender of the legislative independence of Ireland, with the case of treaties between two sovereign states. In the latter case, one state bound itself to VOL. III.
do something defined and specific when the other adopted some defined and specific measure. Here was no condition of servitude and obedience, but a mutual agreement to accomplish something understood and particularised by common consent, for their common advantage, upon a certain contingency. To make the cases similar, an instance should be produced (which instance, Mr. Fox affirmed, could not be found in the history of mankind) where one independent state bound itself solemnly to do any thing undefined, unspecific, and uncertain, at the arbitrary demand of another state, Precisely such a demand would be made upon Ireland; and if this proposition was adopted, no man would be simple enough to deny, that England would make laws, for Ireland; for what would be the passing of a bill under the operation of this member of the proposed system through the parliament of Ireland but a legislative mockery? For not a single change could be made in it afterwards, and fair discussion and free agency would, from that moment, be utterly extinguished. · Thus incontestably stood the matter in point of reasoning and in point of fact. He could conceive many possible cases, where the concurrence of the Irish parliament might be required to arrangements absolutely destructive of the interests of Ireland: suppose an English act of parliament restrained the trade to the colonies to particular articles in which England flourished, and which Ireland dealt in little or nothing: suppose an English act of parliament prohibited all foreign trade in ships of a certain description, and in which description alone Ireland now carried on her trade. Many other cases would cccur to gentlemen, if they would take the trouble of reflecting upon the possible operations of the fourth proposition. This system once adopted, Ireland, without breach of faith, could not refuse to register the English law into her statute book; and numerous instances might occur hereafter, where the parliament of that kingdom must rest upon this desperate alternative, either to violate the faith of the nation, or to betray and sacrifice its dearest interests. This consideration, Mr. Fox said, even independent of its insidiously resuming a power most solemnly renounced, would persuade him to the rejection of the proposition; and in this, as well as in a thousand other points of view, he saw the whole of the proposed plan, as the infallible source of eternal discontent, animosity, and ill blood, between the two kingdoms, though we were captivated with the flourishing and fanciful pictures of the harmony and concord that were to cement the sister nations, according to the right honourable gentleman's predictions.
Ireland : supposlonies to particulare alt in little or nofore
The right honourable gentleman had adopted a mode of recommending the fourth proposition, perfectly suited to the capacity and turn of those who proclaimed their confidence in him, as the principle that procured their support to a system, of which they made no scruple to avow themselves perfectly disqualified from judging. But unless he thought all the members of that House were blinded by the same scandalous ignorance; unless he was weak enough to persuade himself that the nation was possessed with the same bigotted enthusiasm and inveterate idolatry for him, why would he venture upon such nonsense ? The argument was -As well might England complain of surrendering her legislative independence, because she was bound by this treaty to similarity of trade and navigation laws with Ireland; that was, that England, who was to make the law, might as well complain as Ireland who was to obey the law. This was the right honourable gentleman's argument; and let no one imagine that he employed such rank folly from want of abilities: the right honourable gentleman's abilities were very considerable, and if the cause admitted of a better defence, the right honourable gentleman would certainly make it. When England should agree to be governed by trade laws originating in the Irish parliament, the right honourable gentleman's reasoning would be forcible; but with all the partiality of that House for him, even he would not dare to give utterance to such a proposition within those walls. Why he thought the Irish were more insensible to the blessings of their constitution than the English, Mr. Fox said he knew not.
Although the right honourable gentleman charges upon me, (concluded Mr. Fox) that I have not heretofore opposed this proposition, he might surely have recollected, that a noble lord near him (Lord Mahon) had attempted to ridicule me when this question was before under discussion, as being now an English, now an Irish patriot; and to that ridicule, impotent and aukward though it fell, I beg leave to plead guilty. I wish to appear what I really feel, both an English and an Irish patriot; only let it be recollected, that I am not so now merely for the exigency of the moment. Let it be recollected, that if, in defending the liberties of Ireland, and discovering a jealousy for her constitution, I deserve the name of an Irish patriot, to that honour I am entitled ever since the , first day of the session, when I could not foresee the events of the present day, and long before I knew that any commercial treaty with Ireland had ever been talked of. I embraced the first opportunity afforded by the meeting of this House, to declare my execration of the conduct of the king's ministry in their proceedings in Ireland, where I saw the fun
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ofeman would confier who surround every day,
damental and most sacred principles of the constitution daringly overturned, and doctrines advanced and measures adopted, in my judgment, utterly subversive of every trace of civil liberty; and all this in the zeal of the right honourable gentleman to suppress the reform of parliament in Ireland.
Upon the opening of the proposed arrangements in this House, I repeated the same arguments, and was convinced that Ireland never called for this system, nor ever thought of it, but was seriously occupied with other objects, I added, that I considered the whole plan as a lure to divert the Irish from constitutional points, by throwing the trade of England at their feet; and to reconcile them to the violation of the laws of the land and of the constitution, by the enchanting prospect of the commercial benefits held out by this system. In this opinion I am strengthened every day, and the eager part acted by those who surround the right honourable gentleman would confirm to me that my fears for the constitution of Ireland were not ill founded, had this fourth proposition been to this hour withheld from England, as it has been studiously concealed from Ireland. If this conduct, Sir, constitutes an Irish patriot, then am I one; and if to struggle to save the trade of England from annihilation, gives any claim to the appellation of an English patriot, I possess that claim. I did not incite the merchants and manufacturers to an opposition to this scheme. If I were capable of making them instruments in this business, they were incapable of becoming my instruments: they did not follow me; I followed them.
To the right honourable gentleman's government they were exceedingly partial; and not quite recovered from the insanity of the times, they were absolutely prejudiced against me and my friends. They are as discerning and respectable a body of men as any in Europe, and merited, I think, better treatment than they experienced from the right honourable gentleman. No man was ever more indebted to the protection of the people than that right honourable gentleman; and no people I believe ever so soon began to repent of their predilection. Every act of his government has tended to open their eyes; they are, I believe, completely cured of the popular in. fection, but I fear their conviction comes a little too late. , I shall now relinquish this subject, perhaps for ever, with repeating a sentiment that I have before thrown out during the discussions upon this business: I will not barter English commerce for Irish slavery; that is not the price I would pay, nor is this the thing I would purchase.
excebe times, they are as disa merited,
The Resolutions were then passed and ordered to be carried up to the House of Lords. They here again encountered a consi.
derable degree of opposition, and received several amendments. The propositions as finally agreed upon by both Houses were as follow :
• Resolved, 1. That it is highly important to the general interest of the British empire that the intercourse and commerce between Great Britain and Ireland should be finally regulated on permanent and equitable principles, for the mutual benefit of both countries.
2. « That it is consistent with the essential interests of the manufactures, revenues, commerce, and navigation of Great Britain, that a full participation of commercial advantages should be permanently secured to Ireland, whenever a provision, equally permanent and secure, shall be made by the parliament of that kingdom towards defraying, in proportion to its growing prosperity, the necessary expences, in time of peace, of protecting the trade and general interests of the empire.
3. “ That, towards carrying into full effect so desirable a settlement, it is fit and proper that all articles, not the growth or manufacture of Great Britain or Ireland, except those of the growth, produce, or manufacture of any of the countries beyond the Cape of Good Hope, to the Streights of Magellan, should be imported into each kingdom from the other reciprocally, under the same regulations, and at the same duties (if subject to duties) to which they would be liable, when imported directly from the country or place from whence the same may have been imported into Great Britain or Ireland respectively, as the case may be; and that all duties originally paid on importation into either country respectively, except on arrack and foreign brandy, and on rum, and all sorts of strong waters not imported from the British colonies in the West Indies, shall be fully drawn back, within a time to be fixed, on exportation to the other; but, nevertheless, that the duties shall continue to be protected and guarded, as at present, by withholding the drawback until a certificate from the proper officers of the revenue in the kingdom to which the export may be made, shall be returned and compared with the entry outwards.
4. “ That it is highly important to the general interests of the British empire, that the laws for regulating trade and navigation should be the same in Great Britain and Ireland; and therefore that it is essential, towards carrying into effect the present settlement that all laws which have been made, or shall be made, in Great Britain, for securing exclusive privileges to the ships and mariners of Great Britain, Ireland and the British colonies and plantations, and for regulating and restraining the trade of the British colonies and plantations (such laws imposing the same restraints, and conferring the same benefits on the subjects of both kingdoms) should be in force in Ireland, by laws to be passed in the parliament of that kingdom, for the same time, and in the same manner, as in Great Britain.'
5. “ That it is farther essential to this settlement, that all goods and commodities of the growth, produce, or manufacture of British or foreign colonies in America, or the West Indies, and the British or foreign settlements on the coast of Africa, imported into Ireland,