« PreviousContinue »
Cannot but think highly probable, who can be so much interested in its occurring peaceably as you are; in any tranquil change, you will retain your properties, and the immense influence,which , attaches to property j in such a situation, you .would necessarily have a considerable share in the management of affairs; and I cannot conceive how a revolution, effected in such a manner, would much confound the order of society, or give any considerable shock to private happiness.
Speaker. Don't you think the people would be dissatisfied with any reformed parliament which would not abolish the church establishment and tythes?
lilac Neven. I have no idea of a reformed parliament that would not act according to the interest and known wishes of the people. I am clear that tythes ought to be suppressed, and have no doubt the church establishment would follow.
A member. Would you not set up another?
Mac Neven. Most certainly not; I consider all church establishments as injurious to liberty and religion.
Mr. J. C. Beresford. Will you tell me what you understand by a free house of commons I
Mac Neven. One which should be annually and freely returned by the people, and in which their interests, for the most part, should direct the decisions,
Mr. J. C. Beresford. What do you think of Potwollopping boroughs—they afford a specimen of universal suffrage?
Mac Neven. I know some adversaries of reform who have less reason to be displeased with them than I have, but they are
Jf f 2 a proof a proof how useless would be any partial reform, and that a thing may be noxious in a detached state, which would form a valuable part of a good system.
A member. It seems we are reduced to the unfortunate situation of not being able to content the people without a reform, which would overthrow the church establishment, and break the connexion with England?
Mac Neven. If you be in that situation, give me leave to tell you, it was brought on by the perseverance with which every species of reform has always been refused, and the contumely manifested towards those who petitioned for it.—Discussion was provoked by this treatment, and resentment excited: the consequences of which are now, that the people would probably exercise to its full extent whatever privilege they acquired, though if timely granted, they would stop far short of the length to which it might be carried; this is the nature of man; but, sir, I see no necessary connexion between the fall of the establishment and a separation from England.
Speaker. Sure if the head of the church was removed, the connexion would be broken?
Mac Neven. It might be preserved through the king, if the Irish thought proper to retain it. As the parliament now exists, with two-thirds of it (if I may be allowed to speak frankly) the property of individuals in the pay of the British cabinet, the connexion is indeed injurious to Ireland, and it is rendered so by the parliament; but if we had a free parliament, there might be a federal connexion advantageous to both countries.
Sir J. Parnel. Under that federal connexion, Ireland would not go to war when England pleased.
Mac Neven. I hope not. Were the connexion of this nature, it would probably have preserved England from the present war, and rendered her the same kind of service which might he expected from a free house of commons, if she had one.
A member. What has hitherto prevented the French from
invading this country i
Mac Neven. Nothing, I am sure, but inability ; this, however, will not always last; and I have not the least doubt but, when it passes off, they will invade it, unless by a change of system you content the nation, and arm it against them; it will then defend itself, as it did before by its volunteers,
Speaker. What system?
Mac Neven. A system of coercion, and a system of injustice; to be replaced by a system of freedom.
Sir J. Parnel. Would you not be disposed, as well as other gentlemen who may have influence with the people, to exert it, in order to induce them to give up their arms, without the intervention of force?
Mac Neven. I cannot answer that question, unless I am told what equivalent is meant to be given them for such a surrender.
Sir J. Parnel. Pardon.
Mac Neven. They never considered it a crime to have arms, nor do I ; on the contrary, they have been taught, and know it is a right of theirs, to possess them. If any attempt is made to take from them their arms, they will mistrust the motive, and
Chink, think, not without reason, that it is intended by such conduct to leave them naked, at the mercy of their enemies.
Sir J. ParneL Pikes are horrible weapons, and I don't know
but a law might be passed against them.
Mac Neven. I am sure I have seen as strange laws passed without any difficulty; but one might equally as well be made against muskets and bayonets.
Sir J. ParneL But pikes are not in the contemplation of the law which gives the subject the right of possessing arms.
Mac Neven. I believe, Sir John, the law which declares that right to belong to every freeman, was partly obtained by the pike,
Speaker. It was Magna Charta.
Lord Castlereagh. What is likely to be the effect of the insurrection that has been just put down?
Mac Neven. It will teach the people that caution which some of their friends less successfully endeavoured to inculcate; and I am afraid it will make them retaliate with a dreadful revenge the cruelties they suffered, whenever they have an opportunity.
Lord Castlereagh. Will they, do you think, rise again?
Mac Neven. Not, I believe, till the French come; but then most assuredly, wherever they can join them.
Speaker. Will the people consider themselves bqund hereafter by the oaths of the Union?
Mac Mac Neven. I suppose they will.
Speaker. Would you?
Mac Neven. I, who am going to become an emigrant from my country, am dispensed from answering that question; yet J acknowledge, were I to stay, I would think myself bound by them; nor can I discover any thing in what has passed, to make it less my duty.
Speaker Aye, you consider a republican government more economical. . ,
Mac Neven. Corruption is not necessary to it.
Speaker. How did you mean to pay the loan from Spain; I suppose from our forfeited estates?
Mac Neven. Rather, sir, from your places and pensions. If I only take the pension list at :6100?000 (it has been considerably higher, and I believe is so still) that alone would be sufficient to pay the interest of four timesthe half million we meant to borrow. I need not tell you that money can be got, when the interest can be regularly paid. We conceive also there are several places with large salaries, for which the present possessors do no other service than giving votes in parliament; another considerable fund would, we imagine, be found by giving these sums a different application.
Speaker. Do you remember Mr. Grattan's motion about tythes—was not that a short cut towards putting down the established church i ,
Mac Neven. If the stability of the established church depends on the payment of tythes, the church stands on a weaker