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purpose the parliament was instituted; and, as an union was calculated for such an object, without violating the principles of the constitution, the denial of competency might justly be exploded. Mr. PLUNKET, from the desponding looks and feeble voices of those gentlemen who sought to annihilate the parliament of Ireland, conceived strong hopes of the failure of their attacks. He was confident that the majority would spurn at a proposition which tended to degrade and enslave the country. Every unprejudiced observer, he said, would see it in its true light, and would reprobate the unwarrantable means to which the government had resorted for the promotion of an “abominable measure.” Its supposed advantages were very disputable, while its disadvantages were certain. Even if an act should pass in its favor, it would be “a mere nullity, and no man in Ireland would be bound to obey it.” If the constitution should be much less altered than it would be by a conjunction of the two legislatures, the representative trust would be violated, and the people, in the sanctuary of whose will the parliament was enshrined, might resume their original rights. This was not an unauthorised suggestion, but was a doctrine which might be found in the records of the Revolution. Mr. OGLE considered it as the duty of a delegate not to disobey the instructions of his constituents, on questions of great moment, and declared that he would resign his seat rather than vote for an union against the inclinations of those who had deputed him to parliament. On the present occasion, his opinion was correspondent with the sentiments which they entertained. He approved the constitution of the year 1782, and would not consent to its surrender; and he protested, protested, that, if the new scheme should not find an early grave in the spirit, the honor, and the integrity of the Irish parliament, he would oppose it in all its

stages with inflexible perseverance. Mr. HARD Y censured the proposal of union as illiberal, base, and wicked ; condemned the political chemistry of those who, endeavouring to extract a deadly poison from the fairest and most healthy subjects, could see nothing in the freedom acquired in 1782, but the power of surrendering it in 1799; denied the competency of the parliament to give sanction to an act so glaringly ... unconstitutional; and declared that he could only foresee misery and servitude to Ireland from the completion

of the scheme now recommended. Mr. CoRRY, the new minister of finance, observed, that, if the house should by its address agree to take the royal speech into consideration, no member would be pledged to a particular opinion or decision upon any of the subjects which it mentioned. The idea of a legislative union was honestly avowed; but every one would remain at full liberty to oppose it. Perhaps the silence of the greater part of the nation might proceed from a desire of hearing the opinion of this enlightened assembly: why then should the house adopt an amendment which would preclude the knowlege of its sentiments He then panegyrised the English constitution, and expatiated on the advantages of that consolidation of Ireland with Great-Britain which would admit the

former country to all its blessings. Mr. Ponson BY, in replying to the advocates of the ministerial scheme, denied the applicability of the case of Scotland (which had been triumphantly adduced as a precedent), as the inhabitants of that country, when an union was offered to them, were subject to an arbitrary

arbitrary parliament which they had no interest in supporting, and were, in other respects, in such a state that they could not be injured by the measure. He combated various arguments of the unionists with spirit, if not with complete success; and conjured the house to adopt no arrangements but those which would secure the honor and independence of Ireland. Many other speeches were delivered in the course of this debate, the duration of which exceeded twenty hours. The contest was so close, that only a majority of one appeared against the amendment, the numbers being 106 and 105; and, when the question was put for agreeing to the address, the ministry had 107 votes against Ios. During this spirited debate, the avenues to the house were crowded with people, who long remained on the rack of suspense. When the result was known, it was hailed as a victory on the part of the anti-unionists; and the metropolis resounded with acclamations. The leaders of opposition, elevated with hope, prepared for another conflict, which, they did not doubt, would give them a decisive superiority. The address was reported two days afterwards*; and, when that part which related to an union was read, sir LAURENCE PARsons strongly opposed it. He hadhoped that the opinions lately expressed in the house would have occasioned a dereliction of the proposal; but, as the ministry resolved to persist in it, he was glad that such pertinacity afforded an opportunity to those gentlemen who had supported the measure on a former night, to retrieve their characters from the disgrace which they must have incurred by a conduct so hostile to the honor and the liberties of their country. The *

* on the 24th of January.


proposal, he said, arose from a wish on the part of England to recover that dominion over the Irish which she had lost in 1782, and to obtain a power of taxing them without their own consent for the support of the general expences of the empire. The agitation of such a question, he was convinced, would produce more mischief than benefit: it might even prove fatal to British connexion; but he trusted that the ill consequences with which it was pregnant would find an antidote in the spirit and virtue of the house. Two considerations ought to regulate the adoption of any public measure : one was, whether it was intrinsically good; the other, whether it agreed with the temper and disposition of the people. Were these principles included in the present measure ? Even if it were a good scheme, it would be impolitic to press it in opposition to the general will; and, if it were bad, the consequences of persistence in it might be dreadful. But, exclaimed the baronet, “it cannot be carried into effect; for every gentleman in Ireland will sooner part with his life than give up the independence of his country.” [the house re-echoed with cries of hear ! hear !] ‘ Let then the scandalous and irritating measure be relinquished; and let the country, panting from its recent struggles and its present alarms, repose at last in tran

quillity.” He then replied to some arguments which had been urged in recommendation of an union. It had been said, that financial poverty rendered the Irish unable to maintain their independence; but this assertion was contradicted by the speech lately delivered from the throne, which had asserted the increase of the wealth and prosperity of the country. A nation which, for more than 600 years, had maintained, while very poor, a resident parliament, surely would not lose by an a CCunnu

accumulation of wealth the ability of supporting its legislature.—It had been affirmed that the want of protection from a British armed force rendered an union, desirable, and that gratitude for former assistance of that kind called for an acquiescence in the measure. An English force had certainly defended the Irish against foreign enemies: but it was not indisputably manifest that their neighbours had given them any protection against internal foes ; and it might be alleged, that Hibernian troops had frequently assisted the English in their wars, so as to render the balance of aid at least equal, if not to make it preponderate in favor of Irish services. As some had argued, that the commerce of Ireland would be greatly promoted by an union, he contended that its only existing restriction was in the channel trade, which was of little importance; that this had been repeatedly promised without the expectation of such a sacrifice as was now demanded; and, if ministers had any regard for their honor, it would now be granted without an union. That the evil arising from an increase of the number of absentees would be more than compensated by the influx of British merchants and British capital, and the consequent establishmept of a middle class, he did not believe. He saw no inducements for such a transfer, no grounds for expecting such an advantage beyond those which had existed for the last sixteen years; and, in that time, the ascertained rights and increasing commerce of Ireland had not produced these effects. It had been asserted, that Ireland had sent its representatives to the parliament of England for three successive reigns. If that assertion were strictly true, it

would, he said, have no weight in the determination E of

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