Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

this accordingly was done, and ther to be done. A certain class the act 6 of George I. was re- of the people had long been held pealed. A paramount jurisdiction in degradation : and was it not the had existed in their lordships, and duty of the house to call upon those appeals were brought before them who had the authority to remove in their last resort. Upon this oc- the grievances which yet remained ? casion, their lordships very proper. The people of Ireland were, alas ! ly passed an act renouncing in fu- reported to be tranquil and happy. tore all such right, and enacting Was it a proof of this, that acts of that parliament should be restrain- indemnity had been passed in the ed from entertaining any bill which Irish parliament, for proceedings pretended to bind the inhabitants of " beyond the law," which must Ireland. Now it seemed they were have been called for by a conduct called upon to interfere in a point not very consistent with tranquillimost exclusively relating to its in- ty? If no circumstances of disorternal state; such an interference der appeared, why were whole pawas obviously improper : it was al- rishes, baronies, and even coun. 50 impossible for them to proceed ties, declared to be out of the with sufficient information, which king's peace! It was likewise stated lay much better within the reach of that they were disarming the their own legislature.. As to the people in certain districts, from general proposition, therefore, he which it was evident they had been hoped they would be aware of the in arms. Was this tranquillity? danger of adopting it: with regard Was this a state of things by which to the happiness of Ireland, it was this country was in no danger of an object to which no one could being affected ? Connected with be indifferent. But the whole sub- each other by the ties of individual ject was out of its place; instead friendship, and by a common pubof remedying discontents, it would lic interest; was it beyond the pro. inflame them, and induce the Irish per sphere of consideration in that to imagine their own legislature was house, to address his majesty to emcareless of their welfare. As they ploy his paternal care to quiet the had given to their country a free minds of the people, and to restore constitution, the best way to fix the inhabitants of Ireland to happia their attachment to it was to en. ness? This was a period of awful gage their confidence in its fa- portent; dangers and storms im« your.

pended, and it was their duty to allay Earl Fitzwilliam said, he never every discontent to which wisdom could concur with the noble secre« could extend, and to fortify the tary, that this country ought not country by every resource which to give any opinion upon the pubpolicy could secure. lic situation of Ireland. Such in- The earl of Liverpool gave it as terference for the purpose of avert. his opinion, that the motion was ing evils from both was proper, improper, whether intended to inand the right was clear. What bad duce them in their legislative cabeen said concerning the improved pacity to interfere in the affairs of state of the Irish was certainly true: Ireland, or to advise his majesty to but whatever circumstances might exercise his executive authority in a have contributed to that prosperity, particular way over that branch of there still remained something far. the empire. Granting even, for the 1797.

N

sake sake of argument, that all the evils ties, had been put out of the peace complained of really existed, still of the king ? Did they recollect, he would contend, they ought to that in the county of Down the be remedied by the Irish parlia- whole of the inhabitants bad been ment, not by the British legislature, declared out of this peace ; that a whose interference was calculated general disarming even of the proto aggravate not remove discon- testapt subjects had taken place ; tents. The motion was as mis- that military parties had been sent chievous in its tendency as it was, in the night to various parts of unconstitutional in its principle; that county to effect these purand the first magistrate in that poses; that these military men country had in one of his speeches were empowered to act with a vialluded to the bad consequences gour beyond the law, and were told resulting from motions of the same that they were not to wait for the kind.

aid of magistrates, but to use force The earl of Moira, after granting for their purpose, if force was that the legislature was indepen- found necessary ? Lord Moira aldent, maintained, that the British lowed that the secretary had a legislature had a right to interfere strong reason as an individual to where the common interest was object to the motion, as it went to concerned. The noble secretary convey a censure on the king's had entered into a long detail of servants :—but at this awful conthe advantages enjoyed under the juncture were their lordships met present reign, which he justly stated to compliment ? No. And he trustto be numerous and great : buted that the house would overlook was he not informed that the catho- all private considerations, and lics of Ireland insisted upon their adopt measures must conducive to right of being elected members of the safety of the empire. This the legislature, upon the ground would be best effected by giving that, it they had some of their body the people of Ireland confidence in in parliament, the persecutions their sovereign, and inspiring that which had existed would not have activity to the tender and paternal taken place ? Perbaps it would be disposition of his majesty, which said that he was speaking of perse- had been only and unfortunately cutions as vaguely as he had done suspended by the advice of his miof discontents, and that the one nisters. had as little foundation as the The earl of Guilford said, that other. He knew, however, of the argament of the secretary went ninety one householders who had not to protect the independence of been banished from one of bis own the Irish parliament, so much as to estates, after being plundered of secure ministers from responsibi. their property, and many of them lity. Neither the British cabinet wounded in their persons. The nor an Irish lord-lieutenant were discontents were not confined to responsible to the Irish parliament; one sect only; they were common and if they were exempted also to the protestants as well as the from the controul of the British catholics. Did the lords wbo ar- parliament, to whom were they regued against his motion recollect sponsible ? He could not admit that that district after district, parish af- ministers had shown any attention Ser parish, at the last whole coun- to the interests of Ireland since lord

Eitzwil

Fitzwilliam was recalled, whose ad- tions of men in Ireland : the first ministration gave such universal sa- were well known for their daring tisfaction. If the advice therefore spirit: there were not wanting pera was not necessary to the king, of sons among them celebrated in whose concern for the people he arms, in arts, and in literature; entertained no doubt, it was highly they were men over whiom courts requisite to his ministers. He con- could never have any influence, cluded, therefore, with giving his and who were to be led, not driven; hearty assent to the motion

such were the men in the north. The marquis of Lansdowne ob- Those in the south were cha. served that the lord-lieutenant of racterized by unruly passions, which Ireland, as a minister, was accounts were always the prominent features able to the British as well as the of men unemployed. What the Irish parliament, and therefore event might be, it was impossible they had a right to watch over to saj-he warned them however the measures of his administration, that it might be such as to shake and to censure or advise him as the empire to its centre. The they might deem proper: An ela- motion now in question was couchborate display had been made of ed in terms so wise, so prudent, the advantages which Ireland had and so moderate, that he could enjoyed under the present reign: scarcely have supposed it would but had not these immunities been have met an objection. What was fully justified by their consequen- its purport? It said to his majesty, ces;-and that too, after they had Sire, you have by a happy conduct been resused by their own legisla- attached the people of Ireland to ture? It was in every body's re- your family and government: there collection that, upon a petition is but one small cause of disconpresented to the Irish parliament tent remaining, and it is only ne. by a aumerous and respectable cessary that you follow up those body of that kingdom, the prayer wise and salutary meastires which of it was rejected with something you have hitherto employed, to relittle short of indignation ; but move that also. when deputies were sent over to If the grievances of the catholics this country, they were graciously had been redressed last year, the received, and their mission was at- 'cause would not have heard of re. tended with its desired effect. He form. Next year perhaps other did not profess to have such accurate points might be urged, and the information as some of their lord- breach would grow wider. Mr. ships, but he had heard that the Erskine had wisely said in this pamcatholics had formerly been perse- pblet, “Give the people of Irea cuted by the protestants in a horrid land their rights, and you will nei. manner; that the former had been ther require feéts or arniies to pro. driven by a small number in the tect them. Three millions of loyal north, but were now returning; people would defy the power of and that the protestants were re- France ;” and he begged it might be building those houses that had remembered, that, if they were been destroyed, and a union was united, they might defy the strength forming between them which might of other countries too! The exam, be productive of the most fatal ef. ple of Genoa was before them. fects. There were two descrip. The marquis of Townsend

N2 though! thought his majesty needed not the motion evidently pointed to the advice of their lordships to en- the emancipation of the cai bolics, tertain a tender regard for the inte as the means of ending discontents. resis of his subjects, and therefore He opposed it upon the grounds dissented from the motion.

that the situation of Ireland did The marquis of Lansdowne ad- not call for it, for there never was mitted there had been considerable a time when all descriptions of men iniprovements in the regulation of were so well satished with adminithe internal affairs of Ireland, · The stration as at present. Discontents having ten sessions in the year, in there might be among a certain destead of four, for the trial of offen- scription of people, but by no ces, he looked upon as a great means amongst the general mass good. Mnrders had been too fre of the people, on whose behalf the quently committed in that coun-: popular cry of catholic emancipatry, and the bringing to justice the tion was supposed to bave been perpetrators of such horrid acts raised, through in fact it was made was the duty of the executive go- use of for a very different purpose vernment; and it was also the by persons who had no interest in duty of every individual to support the cause of the catholics, but government in that respect. He as it served to cover the designs had heard it said, “ property was of subverting the government. the creature of law:" this was so The discon ented were not the far from true, that law was rather poor catholics of the south, who the creature of property. He saw had shewn such attachment to the necessity of doing much in fa- their country, but the rich inhavour of the poor people of Ire- bitants of the north, who had maland. It was a fact well known nifested a very different spirit. Bethat there was a great quantity of sides the great body of the Irish caland wbich produced nothing there, tholics, the lower orders of the but which might be productive of community never could be intemuch; and that there was a great rested in the question, having renumber of people who had no- ceived every indulgence. For these thing to do, who might be well reasons be gave his negative. employed in the cultivation of The duke of Bedford confessed, these lands. He should be glad to that, but for the assurance which join in any plan, either in or out of the noble lord had given, it would parliament, for public utillity. Pers have been to him a matter of wonhaps it might be promoted by di- der that the catholies were conviding a large estate into separate tented, because it was extraordina. properties: he had written abroad ry that they should be so, when with a view to some scheme of proscribed all benefits of the state this kind; but it ought to be vo- under which they lived; where luntary, for he had no idea of they were marked with disgrace, force in the distribution or manage- and put entirely into the hands of ment of any man's property--nor the executive government. But it indeed could any benefit accrue to seemed they gave an instance of the lower classes of society, till an their attachment to government in end was put to this disastrous the late threaiened invasion; was war.

this the proof that was to be given The earl of Darnley observed, as a reason that their complaints

should should be passed without notice? to them the man whom they have Had we shown any inclination to tried, and whom they admire; act reward this generous attachment? on the principles on which he act. Quite the contrary! He had often ed, and discontents will cease. If observed the conduct of ministers you do not, heaven only knows in all public affairs; he had seen what dreadful consequences, await how they evaded all questions you. which could lead to discussions Lord Grenville, evidently exasbearing hard upon themselves. perated at the remarks of his grace, But of all their attempts to screen rose he said chiefly for the purthemselves, the present was the pose of doing away the impression weakest; they had not used one they might leave: he was far from argument; they had only made endeavouring to shield himself bea few assertions, and pretended to hind the virtues of the sovereign; found them on the principles of our he only paid his majesty that triconstitution. The secretary of state bute which all the world knew to be had endeavoured to protect hiin his due: he ascribed no part of self by a shield which was in that merit to himself or to any aditself impenetrable, but which the ministration. He had said, and he secretary was not entitled to use. contended for the truth of it, that He meant the sacred character of the interest of the people of Ire. the sovereign upon the throne. land had invariably been a princiThere existed not one person more pal object with the executive godisposed than himself to pay all due vernment of this country. The reverence to that: but although he noble duke proposed to do the very knew he was treading on delicate thing which he seemed to dread, ground, yet he must perform his namely, to create a disturbance in public duty. Many of those acts Ireland ; for that must necessarily which had the sovereign's name to be the tendency of recalling the sanction them ought to be consi- present lord-lieutenant of that dered as the acts of ministers who kingdom. If his talents, virtues, advised them, and were called so and exertions could not preserve in the language of common sense. tranquillity, he believed it would be It was to this source we might out of the power of any individual trace the distresses we had sustain- whatever, ed; to this was owing the loss of The duke of Bedford in return thirteen flourishing colonies, the accused the noble secretary of misdisaster of the present national representation. He said, he bad bankruptcy, and those discontents answered his remarks, as if he had in Ireland which it was the object called upon the house to address of the motion to remove. There his majesty to recall the present was a character in that house, well lord lieutenant; he had done no known to their lordships, and to such thing. He professed as high both countries, of whom he could a veneration for the sovereign and say much in commendation, (though his character as any lord could Do praise could exalt him) — feel, but he must add, that, notwere he not present. To ministers, withstanding all his own good acts bowever, he would offer this ad. and good intentions, his ministers vice-restore to the Irish the per- had contrived to counteract them on you have recalled; give back so effectually, that England was in a

state

« ZurückWeiter »