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of forty thousand foreign troops was in the country, and military law scarcely suspended, that the people were to be asked, whether they would give up their constitution, and transfer to another country their legislative power? He concluded with moving the following resolution, “ That the measure of a legislative union of this kingdom and Great Britain is an innovation, which it would be highly dangerous and improper to propose at the present juncture in this country.'
The resolution was opposed on the principle that it prematurely forced a discussion for which the meeting had no certain and authentic grounds of information, and a notion was made for des ferring the consideration of the resolution for one month. · The friends of the adjournment argued, that an union would at once destroy parliamentary corruption, an upstart aristocracy, and an orange faction; that it would augment national opulence, improve the manners of the great mass of the people, and that it was in fact the only mode of saving Ireland from the fatal effects of revolutionary principles, which had already produced so many horrors and calamities.
It was on the other side maintained, that Great Britain had nos thing to concede to Ireland which could be considered as a compensation for the surrender of her independence, and that the idea of a melioration of morals and manners in consequence of the measure, was little less than a chimera. It was even urged, that. á legislative incorporation was calculated ultimately to produce a separation ; that it would infuse new vigour into the rebels, weaken the zeal of the loyal, and render the parliamentary reformist totally indifferent to the connection of the countries and to the con stitution, by depriving him for ever of the hope of seeing the at. tainment of his favourite pursuit.
The question on the motion of adjournment was negatived by a majority of 168 to 32, and the original resolution was agreed to without a division.
This proceeding of the gentlemen of the bar led to others still more decisive on the part of other public bodies of great weight in the country. At a post assembly of the corporation of the city of Dublin, two resolutions were agreed to by ihe court of Aldermen, and unanimously adopted by the commons, which threatened a formidable activity of opposition. They stated, that by the spirited exertions of the people and parliament of the country, its trade and independence had been placed upon such a liberal and salutary basis, that the general property had rapidly increased; and ihat having boldly and successfully stood forward in defence of the constitution, in king, lords and commons, against secret and avowed rebellion, the corporation would equally oppose any a t'empt to surrender the free legislation of the kingdom. Of the spirit which dictated these sentiments, an accurate opinion may be formed, from the fate of an amendment made to introduce the word legally into that part of the resolutions, where a determination was expressed of resisting any attempt to surrender
the free legislation of the country. It was rejected with one voice, and the resolutions passed in their original form.
The decisions of other meetings held about the same time were not less hostile to the measure of legislative union; but it will be sufficient to state the resolutions entered into by the merchants and bankers of the metropolis:
“ RESOLVED, “ That since the renunciation of the power of Great Britain, in the year 1782, to legislate for Ireland, the commerce and prosperity of this kingdom have eminently increased.
“ That we attribute the blessings under Providence, and the gracious power of our beloved sovereign, to the wisdom of the Irish parliament.
“ That we look with abhorrence on any attempt to deprive the people of Ireland of their parliament, and thereby of their constitutional right and immediate power of legislating for themselves.
“ That impressed with every sentiment of loyalty to our king, and affectionate attachment to British connection, we conceive, that to agitate in parliament a question of legislative union between this kingdom and Great Britain, would be highly dangerous and impolitic."
The great object which the enemies of the question of union had in view was, to intimidate by prompt and vigorous efforts, government from submitting it to the discussion of parliament; but the British cabinet continued unmoved, and looked with confidence to the issue. The members of it, and in particular the premier, had, however, miscalculated their strength, and they were soon convinced, that although they might be justined in entertaining sanguine hopes of ultimate success, they had been betrayed by the too zealous assurances of their friends and supporters in Ireland, into a momentary error, which was not very honourable to their acknowledged judgment and general character for sagacity.
The measure was at length brought forward with some address in the following paragraph, with which the Lord Lieutenant concluded his speech on the opening of the parliamentary session, the 22d of January, 1799.
“ The unremitting industry with which our enemies persevere in their avowed design of endeavouring to effect a separation of this kingdom from Great Britain, must have engaged your particular attention ; and his Majesty commands me to express his anxious hope, that this consideration, joined to the sentiment of mutual affection and common interest, may dispose the parliaments in both kingdoms to provide the most effectual means of maintaining and improving a connexion, essential to their common security, and of consolidating as far as possible, into one firm and lasting fabrick, the strength, the power, and the resources of the British empire."
The propriety of taking a concise review of the debates which took place on the occasion in the parliament of Ireland, but more particularly in the commons, on the usual motion for the address of thanks to his Majesty, must be obvious. Such a sketch will at once show the state of the public mind, illustrate the subject in its various and opposite views, and render fruitless any recapitulation of, or allusion to, the subsequent discussions of that branch, of the legislature, when the question of union was finally carried.
The speech from the throne certainly did not in an open and direct way avow the measure of legislative union between Great Britain and Ireland; but the most subtle and wary sophistry could not deny that the principle was strongly recommended by all the energy that was to be derived from the power of metaphorical expression. But whatever doubts might have been started upon that subject, they were all prevented by the candid and manly declaration of the chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. Lord Castlereagh who filled that office, declared soon after the address of thanks was moved, that although there was not in the address any specific pledge to a measure of union, yet it was clearly implied in the wish expressed in the speech, to consolidate, as far as possible, the strength, the power, and the resources of the empire; and he had no difficulty to state in the most unqualified terms, that he thought the only means of definitively settling the miseries and distractions of the country, and of securing to it permanent tranquility and happiness were to be found in a legislative union. Sincerely impressed with that conviction, he felt it his duty at that carly stage of the business, to acquaint the house, that he intended soon to submit to their consideration a specific motion on the subject.
This avowal both exempted the enemies of the incorporative system from the trouble of proving that the words of the address could mean nothing but a legislative union; and evinced the determination of government, and its friends, to meet the question immediately without evasion and subterfuge.
The opposition to the address which was moved by Lord Tye Fone, was led by Sir John PARNELL, a gentleman of large landed property, great influence, and respectable talents, who had lately held the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, and was dismissed from it in consequence of his disapprobation of the union, when first discussed in his Majesty's councils. He observed, that the house was called upon to determine the permanent and essential intesests of the country for ever. The question involved their constitution, trade, property, the feelings of the public at that awful crisis, connected with the surrender of their constitution, an affrighted commerce, and a diminished property. It would form a solid ground for growing discontent, not pronioted by declamation or irritation, but every hour acquiring by the peculiarity of its nature consistency and strength. It was absurd to say, that the constitution would not be changed ; for the representa tion of the people of Ireland, founded on the first forms of
their constilution, and ratified by the deliberate consideration of
The local interests of the latter were different from those of the
Mr. G. PONSON BY supported Sir John Parnell, in a speecla distinguished for manly eloquence and great ingenuity of argument. Having observed, that the candid avowal niade by Lord Castle reagh, exempled him from the trouble of proving that the words of the address could mean nothing less than that the house should entertain and discuss the question of annihilating the Irish parliament, he boldly maintained the principle, that the legisla
ture possessed no such right. The crown or the peers had evidently no such power, and the representatives of the people were appointed to make laws only. They were not vested with permanent and unlimited authority, and therefore could not decide definitively on the rights of the people. The deposition of James the 2d, the bill of rights, which declared the deposition or abdication of that monarch, as resulting from his violation of the original compact with the people, established that doctrine. Were it even possible to collect in an accurate manner the sense of the people; and were that sense in favour of the measure, he would still hesitate to admit, that they could deprive their posterity for erer of their right to the benefits of the constitution, and the full possession of civil liberty. That the legislature with all its defects was adequate to every great object, he inferred from the speech itself, and that the prosperity of the country had considerably encreased, and would not be improved by the disfranchisement of the legislature, he proved by referring to its former situation, when the Irish parliament was subordinate to that of England. The proposed union would, in his mind, instead of adding strength to the imperial force and resources, materially tend to impair them. There was a time when Great Britain directed the affairs of Ireland, and during the whole of that period it was her constant practice to limit, if not to monopolize, the trade of Ireland. The minister expected that the question would be discussed with temperance, but when the minister himself refused to leave men to the free exercise of their understanding, and disa missed the best and oldest servants of the crown, because they would not prostitute their conscience ;-when the terrors of dismissal were held out to deprive members, holding offices, of the freedom of deliberation, with what propriety could he talk of cool discussion? He concluded with moving an amendment, that after the passage which declares the willingness of the house to enter on a consideration of what measures may best tend to confirm the common strength of the empire, should be inserted, “ maintaining, however, the undoubted birth right of the people of Ireland, to have a resident and independent legislature, such as it was recognized by the British legislature in 1782, and was finally settled at the adjustment of all differences between the two countries."
WITH A PLATE.
NNEXED is a view of Butcher-Row, taken froin TempleBar in June 1796. Those who recollect the wretched appearance which that part of the Strand then exhibited, will, we have no doubt, acknowledge the accuracy of the representation. It will enable the curious observer of public improvements to draw a faithful comparison between that spot, as it formerly was, and as it may hereafter present itfelf, when the plan for making a spacious and elegant thoroughfare through one of the most freg ented quarders of the Metropolis shall be completed.