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The activity of the Castle to ensure a majority in the Parliament, kept pace with the ardour of patriotism; and accordingly, when Mr. Grattan, on the 19th of April, 1780, moyed to have it entered on the journals, 6 that no power on earth, save the King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland, had a right to make laws for Ireland," and though only one man denied that right, still, if the motion had been put, it would not have been carried.
The following is the best report extant of Mr. GRATTAN's speech on that occasion :
6 Sir, 6 I have intreated an attendance of the House on this day, to protest against the usurpations of the Parliament of Great Britain, and to join with me in lifting up their hands and voices against such usurpations. Two millions of people out of doors were to be satisfied, and had I a son, I would like the father of Hannibal, bring him to the altar to swear the sacred maintenance of the people's rights. I would move them to as full and ample a declaration as could be done without shaking the pillars of the state, It is impossible to stop the voice of millions--the public mind was not at ease-enough was not done. You are the guardians of the public liberty, you owe your country that liberty, and she calls upon you to restore it- she calls upon you to make Great Britain revoke the injustice of her laws, and to restore your political as she has your commercial freedom. In passing the bills for liberating your trade, the British minister has made use of the words, that it was expedient to allow Ireland to export her own products. Expedient is a word of great reserve. Expedient is a word fatal to Great Britain ; by such a word she lost America, and plunged her country in scenes of blood. By this reservation your trade is in the power of England, whenever she may think proper to take it away. We were allowed a moment of satisfaction, but not a relief from slavery. God has afforded you an opportunity to emancipate yourselves and your posterity; wait not the issue of a general peace, when the direction of her power on this fated island may again lay you in bondage. For the honour of your
country--for the honour of human nature-by the memory of your sufferings—by the sense you feel of your wrongs—by the love you owe your posterity-by the dignity and generous feelings of Irishmen-I beseech you to seize the auspicious occasion, and let this be the hour of your freedom! The doctrine of parliamentary supremacy Great Britain now finds to be nonsense-parliamentary supremacy has been the bane of Great Britain. Her enemies are on all sides pouring in on her. The sea is not her's; the honour of her councils and arms is tarnished. She has no army-no fleet--no admirals-no generals—A supineness pervades her measures-and distractions attend her councils. Parliament is the only spring to convey the native voice of the people; never did this or any other country behold a senate possessed of so much public confidence. There is an ardent combination among the people, a fire which animates the nation to its own redemption.- A sacred enthusiasm, unconveyed in the language of antiquity, and which only belongs to the natural confidence of freedom. Forty thousand men in arms look up to the result of this day's deliberation.--Let the lovers of freedom rejoice at that martial spirit, which has operated to national happiness. If you refuse to comply with the resolution of this day, you belie the desire of your constituents. A providential conjunction and the hand of God seem to demand and direct it ; grasp at a blessing, which promises independence and happiness. Yesterday the servants of the Crown were asked, whether a standing army of fifteen thousand Irishmen were to be bound in this kingdom by English laws; and the servants of the Crown have asserted that they shall. -The servants of the Crown have dared to avow that they shall be bound by English laws—This is the consequence of your rejoicing at a partial repeal of the laws which oppressed you-your exultation betrayed your rights. The courtier may have his salary—the landed gentleman may have his rent—you may export the commodities of your country, and bring the returns of another but liberty-liberty, the consummation of all trade, is wanting. The superstructure is left without a base you have commerce without a full trade, and a senate without a parliament. When I found a prohibition upon glass, and other commodities, when I found an act of the 6th of George the 1st, which expressly claimed a power of binding this kingdom, the king, without its parliament, enacted a law to bind the people of Ireland, by making laws for them ; it was time to call the authority of England a rod of tyranny. I call upon the judges of the land, the justices of the peace, and officers of the army, to say whether they do not act under the direction of English statutes! A present and explicit declaration of rights must remove all this. Three millions of people must feel how necessary it is to be as free as the people of England. They must behold, with veneration, a parliament superior to every other, and equal to that which passed the bill of rights.-A senate composed of men that would do honour to Rome, when Rome did honour to human nature.
The enemies of Ireland may call the efforts of the people the proceedings of a mob.-A mob stopped your magistrates in their obedience to English laws, and vindicated your abdicated privileges. I shall be told this was the turbulence of the times; and so may every effort for freedom in the history of mankind be called. Your fathers were slaves, and lost their liberties to the legislature of England ;-the kingdom became a plantation—the spirit of independence was banished–The fears of parliament made it grant, in a strain of trembling servility, whatever was demanded: Men of overgrown fortunes became the very jobbers of corruption; they voted an embargo, which brought bankruptcy on the prince and misery on the people. The people saw nothing but starving manufacturers, a corrupt senate, and a military combination. The courtier was glad to petition for a free trade, and England to grant it; but the unconstitutional power of an English Attorneygeneral, and an English parliament, still remains--Eighteen or nineteen counties deserving to be free, and who are your legal constituents, have petitioned for this redemption. You may lull the public with addresses, but the public mind will never be well at ease until the shackles are removed. The maxims of one country go to take away the liberties of another-Nature rebels at the idea, and the body becomes mutinous-there is no middle course left; win the heart of an Irishman, or else cut off his hand: A nation infringed on as Ireland, and armed as Ireland, must have equal freedom; any thing else is an insult. The opportunity prompts--the spirit of the people prompts-the opinion of the judges prompts. No arguments can be urged against it, but two; one is, the real belief that the British nation is a generous one, witness the contribution sent to Corsica, and the relief afforded Holland ; and the other, their uniform hatred of an administration that brought destruction on the British dominions? If England is a tyrant, it is Ireland made her so, by obeying-The slave makes the tyrant-What can prevent the completion of our demands ? It is not in the power of England to resist. Can she war against ten millions of French, eight millions of Spaniards, three millions of Americans, three millions of Irish ? England cannot withstand accumulated millions, with her ten millions ; with a national debt of 200 millions, a peace establishment of 21 millions,-can she pretend to dictate terms. She offered America the entire cession of her parliamentary power, and can she refuse the Irish the freedom of fellow-subjects ? Every thing short of total independence was offered to the Americans--and will she yield that to their arms, and refuse it to your loyalty? Nothing but a subjugation of mind can make the great men of Ireland tremble at every combination for liberty. When you possess this liberty, you will be surprized at your situation, and though jobbers may deem your ardour phrenzy, it will be a fortunate madness ; a declaration will be the result. Your constituents have instructed and they will support you; for public pride and public necessity will find resources. What will your judges and your commissioners, who have refused to abide by English laws, say? Will you abdicate, will you bring them into contempt? Eighteen counties have declared against it, and no man in this house dare defend the claims of the English. It is the sense of this side of the House, not to give an assent to the money bills until we obtain this declaratory act. The moek moderators, who go about preaching peace, are the really factious, and the worst enemies of this country. Have you been for a century contending against the power of an English Attorney-general, and dare not conquer, though lying at your mercy ? --The great charter has not been confirmed, as often as our rights have beerr violated. You may be told indeed you are ungrateful.--I know of no gratitude which can make me wear the badge of slavery. Insatiable—we may be told we are, when Ireland desires nothing but what England has robbed her of. When you have emboldened the judges to declare your rights, they will not be afraid to maintain them. His Majesty has no title to his crown but what you have to your liberty; if your exertions in that cause are condemned, the revolution was an act of perjury, and the petition of right an aet of rebellion. The oaths made to the House of Stuart, were broken for the sake of liberty, and we live too near the British nation to be less than equal to it. Insulted by the British Parliament, there is no policy left for the English, but to do justice to a people, who are otherwise determined to do justice to themselves. Common trade and common liberty will give strength to our constitution, and make both nations immortal; the laws of God, the laws of nature, and the laws of nations, call loudly for it. Let not that supremaey, which has withered the land, remain uncontroverted. Do bot, by opposing the present opportunity, give that destructive blow to the balance of the constitution which shall weigh it down beyond the power of recovery. Do not let the curses of your ehildren, and your reflections in old age, weigh you down to the grave with bitterness. Forgetful of past violation and present opportunity, let no body say the parliament was bought by a broken ministry and an empty treasury. That having made a God of selfinterest, you kneeled down to worship the idol of corruption. Your exertions now will be the basis for erecting a temple to liberty. By the inspiration of the present opportunity--by the affection you owe posterity-by all the ties which constitute the well-being of a people, assert and maintain the liberties of your country. I have no design, I ask for no favour, but to breathe in common in a nation of freedom; but I never will be satisfied as long as a link of the British chain is clanking to the heels of the meanest peasant." Mr. Grattan then moved that the House resolve, "That the King's most excellent Majesty, Lords, and Commons of Ireland, are the ONLY powers competent to make laws to bind this kingdom."