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equalled, (they could not surpass) the integrity of his public conduct: and of whom it might best be said, nil Box laudandum out dixit, nut sen4, ant fecit. He named Mr. O'Connor; adding, that when such men became the objects of hatred and fear to government, it was not difficult to ascertain the nature of tbe government. He ended with declaring there was but one way of saving Ireland—of saving England: and that was, by divesting the present minister of the power be had so long and fatally abused, and calling him to a strict account at the tribunal of his country.
Mr. Pitt expatiated on Mr. Fox's" considerations, in a speech too long for the limits of this work to detail. The substance of his answer was, that the parliament of Ireland was considered to be the natural source of legislative arrangements in that country, whose peculiar interests were entrusted to its care: nor could any interference be admitted after the concession of tJS'i, by which we had declared the parliament to be independent, and placed it utterly out of our controul. Nor could we, under pretence of advising his majesty, induce him to give effect to measures, which constitutionally could only owe their effects to the Irish legislature.—He asked Mr. Fox if we could say to the parliament, " You are an independent legislative body; but we, the parliament of England, shall at the end of fourteen years rai/ise and examine, and direct how you shall exercise your functions, and afterwards feel it our duty to tell the Irish people that you are no longer entitled to their confidence, no longer possesed of those unalienable
rights to independent legislation which we conceded to you."
The right honourable gentleman, he said, had taken notice of the demands of the catholics in the south, and of the dissenters in the north with a view of proving that farther concessions would be prudent and even absolutely necessary on our part. He was himself quite of another opinion: no remedy could be rendered serviceable to them, by a measure which would operate as»an entire alteration of the form of the parliament—an alteration too, which, as far as it would arise from the remaining claims of the papists, and the wishts of the presbyterians, would be particularly dangerous. The remedy hinted at, though not so high in point of legislation, was one which could only fall within the province of the parliament of Ireland—he meant an alteration of the laws; which might not only affect the right to a large mass of property, but the practice of the church as to the present established mode of worship. This was the principle by which under the term "lenient measures," he supposed Mr. Fox meant to lay the foundation of the future peace of Ireland. At the commencement of his majesty's reign, the catholics were prevented from voting: they laboured under many disabilities, all of which had been removed by his majesty: nor could it fairly be brought forward, that no pledge had been given by the crown, to extend to that people the benefits enjoyed by the other parts of the community. But it had been asserted, that it was possible to satisfy the catholics: if it were, it might be made the subject of advice to the executive government. The right honourable gentleman tleman (Mr. Tox) would satisfy them indeed, by giving them the privilege of sitting in parl:ament. But this could not be done, without reversing the whole of us pie.-,ent form, aud new- modelling the constitution from the beginning to the end; and to make this change when such principles were abroad in the world, and were even prevalent in the country where we lived, would be attended (and he appealed to the house if it would not) with the most pernicious consequences. He would not enter into the subject respecting the wishes of the catholics and dissenters iu the north, to change the form of the Irish parliament; as it would lead to discussions which, whether they were to be decided upon those old English principles which Mr. Fox admired, or on the new French ones of modern liberty, might be dangerous- If, indeed, they included the doctrine of the sovereignty of the people, it was contrary to the duty of parliament to give the least sanction to the measure. He stated, he said, all his reasons, trusting that the English house of parliament would not for a moment hesitate in rejecting a motion calculated to alter the fundamental principles of the independence of Ireland.
Mr. W. Smith contended, that the address could not interfere with the independence of tlie parliament of Ireland; and as he was unconvinced by auy thing which he had heard, he was called upon in duty to the public to vote for it.
Colonel Fullarton asked whether we» were or were not on the eve and in the crisis of impending invasion and commotion respecting Ireland. If we were not, he had nothing to say, but beg pardon 5nd sit down; if we were, how
preposterous was the conduct sf those who wanted their precious moments in idle and pernicious words, instead of dedicating all their powers to purposes of preparation or precaution? It was time, he said, to put an end to palliatives and selfdeceptions, and to place these kingdoms on a footing ol impervious defence, whilst the delay of the French still offered us the opportunity.
General Hoche would find in the province of Lister alone 50,000 Irishmen united, with pikes in their hands, and arms concealed, busily employed in secret discipline, in order to qualify themselves to reinforce the trench army. This was no secret, except in London. These people had long since communicated their force, their numbers, their intentions to France; and unless we conteracted their schemes by a speedy peace with the common enemy, we were mutually lost. „
Lord Wycombe declared it as his opinion, that the present situation of Ireland was owing to the coi.duct of our ministers towards that country. The disturbances which had taken place in it, proved a manifest disaffection to the British government: conciliation instead of rigour ought to have been tried, for it was time enough to employ force when mildness failed. He could have wished, that the Irish parliament .had been left to themselves to settle this, but that he knew they had entirely lost the confidence of the people, and therefore the minister's observations on the independence of k were thrown away. Indeed, he had quite omitted to prove (for it was impossible to prove) that the Irish parliament was independent: the truth was known to be, that a majority of it was at the will of
tfie cabinet of England. As to the fear of the religions sentiments of the catholics, it was singular such a fear should be entertained, when every body knew that religion to be on the decline all over Europe. He more dreaded, that, if we did not interfere, we should lose Ireland altogether, which would be moie severe to us than the loss of America.
Lord Hawkesbury re-echoed the sentiments of Mr. Pitt, and was convinced, he said, by the arguments so ably alf-ged, that its government was capable of managing the concerns of the nation, and that there was no necessity of our interference, supposing (which he knew was not the case) that it could be done with propriety.
Mr. Curwen said, it was not the notion of his right honourable friend, but the observations of the chancellor of the exchequer, which were really mischievous. It was &r from wise in him to fix a charge of jacobinism upon any body of his majesty's subjects. So fer, indeed, was the preseut motion from being mischievous, that even the discussion would do good, inastauch as it would show the Irish nation that there was a part at least of the British parliament who were mindful of their interests.
Mr. Courtenay adverted to colonel Fullarton's account of Jthere being 50T00O men in the province «f Ulster, with arms in their hands, ready to receive the French; he believed that there were; but not to support them—on the contrary, they were prepared to resist an invasion, if ever it should be attempted. The people in that province had a strong spirit of liberty, and •ere attached to the popular, or •hat had been called the republican, branch of the constitution. But
was this a reason to stigmatize then* as jacobins—a banditti without laws, without principles, without order! Mr. Couitenay stated, that many most respectable persons had been arrrested at Belfast, and were now languishing in gaol without being brought to a trial. And why > Because government dared not, knowing they could not establish their guilt; and their acquittal might disconcert the plan on which they were proceeding.
Mr. Fox again rose: he thought the discontents in Ireland might be quieted by his majesty removing from places of trust many persons now at the bead of public affairs; men who libelled the character of a nation, at a moment when its zeal, patriotism, and courage were most eminently displayed; men, in short, whose adminstration might be considered as the source of those calamities with which the country was afflicted. The chancellor of the exchequer had affirmed, that the principles contended for respecting liberty were not English, but French; if they were also Irish, they were worthy the attention of government. But even allowing them to be French (and he certainly would not recommend such in this country), still it was better to overcome them by conciliation than to go to war with them. Was the house prepared to begin another four years' war, to squander millions of treasure, and to shed rivers of blood? If it was, he bade them go on with their noble enterprize; he would, however, warnthem, that, by literally fighting against French principles in Ireland, they might in the end be introduced into Great Britain itself. Unfortunately he had been a long time deprecating coercive measuresHe had deprecated the adoption of
them them against America, in 1774; he deprecated them against France, in .1793; and he now deprecated the same system in Ireland. Though his advice had not been followed, it was a consolation to him, individually, that it had not been withheld. Measures of coercion had proceeded from' the same source; war had been preferred to negotiation, and force to conciliation; because, instead of regulating our plans by a mild and enlightened policy, we had acted Upon the maxims of bar
barous times. He concluded wittf the works of Cicero, recommending them to the serious consideration of every person to whom the important task of legislation was assigned:
Ceruw esse eivibvs, bene de repvblica mereri, luudari, coli, diligi, gloriosum tst; mettii vero et in odio esse, invidiosum, dctestabile, intbecillum, caducum.
For the motion, 64 ; against it, 220.
Popular Meetings for the Purpose of petitioning for the Dimission of Ministers. Motion to that Effect in the House of Lords—in the House of Commons. The Duke of Bedford's Motion on the State of the Nation. Mr; Grey's Motion on a Parliamentary Reforin.
IN the course of the spring seve* ral popular meetings were held agreeably to the restrictions of the new act, the avowed object of which was to petition his majesty for the dismissal of ministers. In most of these meetings the petitions were carried unanimously, particularly in the cities of London and Westminster, the borough of Southwark, and the country of Middlesex. The petitions contained heavy charges against the ministry, but that of the city of Westminster was fuller than most, and equally Strong with any. It commenced with charging the ministers with having wantonly involved the na-_ ti'on in a ruinous war, in consequence of which they had squandered upwards of One Hundred
AND THIRTY MILLIONS OF MO
NEY; and laid on taxes to the amount of six Mil Lions And A Half, annually. The lives which
they had sacrificed, and the sum they had added to human misery, it was added, were incalculable. The petition proceeds—
"We humbly represent to your majesty, that in the hands of those ministers nothing lias succeeded.
"Instead of restoring monarchy in France, they have been compelled to recognize the republic there established, and to offer proposals of peace to it. Instead of dismembering the territories of that republic, they have suffered it to add to them the Netherlands, Holland, and great part of Italy and Germany; and even a part of these kingdoms, which the fleets of that republic have insulted, has only been preserved from the calamities of an invasion by the accidents ot the seasbns.
"In their negotiations for peace, they have been equally unsuccessful :—-it was to be expected. When
they they asked peace, they were abject, but net sincere; they acknowledged their impotence, but not their errors. They discovered the most hostile dispositions towards France, at (be very time they proved their utter inability to contend with her.
"When they wanted to "obtain our consent to the war, they assured ui that it was necessary for the safety of our commerce. At this moment, most of the ports of Europe are shut against us; goods to an immense amount are lying upon the hands of our merchants; and the manufacturing poor are starving by thousands.
"They assured us the war was necessary for the preservation of property and public credit. They have rendered every man's property subject to an order of the privy council, and the bank of England has stopped payment.
"They assured us that the war was necessary for the preservation of the constitution. They have destroyed its best part, which is its liberty, by oppressive restrictions upon the right of petitioning, and upon the freedom of the press; by prosecuting innocent men under false pretences; by sending money to foreign princes withuut the consent of parliament; while, by erecting barracks throughout the kingdom, they give us reason to suspect their intention of finally subjecting the people to military despotism.
"They assured us the war was necessary for the preservation of the unity of our empire. But they have so conducted, and are still so conducting, themselves in Ireland, as to alienate the affections of that brave, loyal, but oppressed and persecuted nation, and to expose the most
flourishing of its provinces to all
the horrors of lawless military violence.
"These are no common errors. They are great crimes; and of these crimes, before God and our country, we accuse your ministers. Our affections to your majesty's person, our loyalty to your government, are unabated:—your majesty's virtues are a pledge for the one; the constitution which makes you king, for the othet. But duty to our follow contrymen, and to our posterity, which is but another name for that affection and loyalty, impels to us to represent to your majesty/ that your ministers are defrauding us of the benefit of those virtues, by destroying the channels through which they flow. They have tarnished the national honour and glory; they have oppressed the poor with almost intolerable burthens; they have poisoned the intercourse of private life; they have given a fatal blow to public credit; they have divided the empire; and they have subverted the constitution."
Thus far we have thought proper to insert; because from the substance of one, the reader will be able to judge of the general tenor of these petitions. The success which the petitions experienced in the public meetings, and the general clamour and dissatisfaction at the conduct of ministers, which appeared to prevail throughout the nation, encouraged some of the leaders of opposition to bring forward motions to the same effect in both houses of parliament. The first of these motions was made on the 27th of March, when the earl of Suffolk addressed their lordships on the subject which, he said, it was the duty of every Englishman to discuss. The present situation of the> country was become truly alarm