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of the present question. In the reign of Edward III. indeed, the peers and commons of Ireland were desired to attend their sovereign in England; but they did not send a deputation before they had unanimously declared that their compliance with this request should not in any respect derogate from their rights. How could this behaviour be construed into a surrender of independence 2

It was represented as incongruous and inconvenient that there should be two independent legislatures under the same crown; but the risque of discordancy was not very alarming; and he was confident that the parliaments of the two countries would ever retain a sufficient share of good sense, and a sufficient regard to their

common interests, to agree on imperial questions. He was astonished at the eagerness of Great-Britain for the ruin of the freedom of Ireland, after the sacrifices already made by the latter kingdom—sacrifices which had given to the former a great extent of influence and authority. Having mentioned the successive attempts of the English government for the complete subjection of Ireland, he remarked the coincidence between the state of that realm at the time of those efforts and on the present occasion. Weakness was, in each instance, the incitement to usurpation.—He concluded with giving his most decided negative to that part of the address which would leave ground for a renewal of attempts on the independence of parliament and the liberties of Ireland. Lord CastleREAGH, without following the baronet through his wide range of observation, made some remarks on the subject. He allowed that ministers did not intend to relinquish the measure, while they had any hope of success: if they should, they would be - unworthy unworthy of the situations which they filled, and might be accused of a disregard to the interests of their country and the empire. The parliament, he hoped, would have too just a sense of its own character, to dismiss a question of such importance without a sober and deliberate discussion. The measure ought not to be sacrificed to the clamors of faction. It was perhaps the first virtue of ministers to maintain a dignified firmness against faction ; and, if they should be influenced by cabals, and by wretched round-robins of petty-foggers, the country might be lost. The dismissal of those who were unfriendly to an union, he added, could not justly be condemned: it was a part of the king's prerogative to determine who should be his servants; and all who endeavoured to counteract a salutary measure deserved to be discarded.—The opposers of the scheme, he said, did not appear to be guided by motives of patriotism or public virtue: party spirit was more prevalent in their minds. . Of what members did the phalanx consist? Did they agree in political sentiments Of what description were the leaders of the body ? Some were the abettors of French principles; and with these disaffected men many loyal characters had stooped to a coalition. Such an unnatural confederacy, he trusted, would be unsuccessful. The assertions of such a party respecting an intention of employing the British militia in enforcing the union, and other illiberal charges, might be easily refuted: and no obloquy or calumny should deter him from the prosecution of a beneficial scheme. Mr. GEorce Ponsonby, in a spirited manner, defended the anti-unionists against the attacks of the secretary, and asserted the uprightness of their intentions. He allowed that men of different political prinE 2 - ciples ciples were to be found among them : but was the constitution of Ireland to be surrendered, because a difference of opinion on some questions subsisted among persons who were unanimous on this Did it argue a factious zeal to resist an attack upon the independence of the country Could the respectable members who opposed such an attempt submit to the imputation of a party spirit from a young man, who had nothing to shield him from their contempt but the office which he abused —He then strongly advised a dereliction of the measure, alleging that not only a sense of patriotism, but also the improbability of success, ought to induce the ministry to renounce it. The energy of public virtue, which had been manifested both in and out of parliament, would, he trusted, baffle the intrigues of the court; but he would not leave it in the power of a minister to renew the practice of unconstitutional arts for the promotion of the scheme. He appealed to these members who had supported the proposition, whether their true interest did not call upon them to retract their assent, and oppose the discussion of a question which violently agitated the public mind. Though he did not believe that the nation would suffer such an unjust scheme to be carried into effect, he wished for a formal and full renunciation of it on the part of government. : Mr. John BEREsford professed his desire of an union, as he thought it the best remedy for the miserable condition to which Ireland was reduced by conflicting interests. Mr. Dobbs wished that the measure might not be discussed, as it appeared at the first glance to be one which no terms could qualify. It would leave every man discontented who was so at present, and add to


the number those who seemed now to be satisfied. There were undoubtedly faults in the system of Irish administration ; for what but radical errors in the government of a country could prompt 400,Coo men to take an oath against its constitution? These errors, however, might be corrected by the existing parliament. It was the duty of the house to search for them, and devise a speedy remedy. This conduct would tend to perpetuate the constitution, which, on the contrary, would be annihilated by the new project. He earnestly exhorted the house to pursue such a course; for he loved the English constitution, though he hated English tyranny, and was a friend to Irish freedom, though he detested sedition. Mr. J. M. O’Don EL inveighed in warm terms against the ministerial scheme, as degrading and injurious to Ireland, likely to protract discord and embitter the evils of the country, and tending to reduce it to the helpless state of a British province.—The speech of this member was very long; but it did not abound with cogent arguments. Mr. FitzGERALD spoke chiefly in defence of the Irish professors of the law, whom, he thought, lord Castlereagh had treated illiberally. Not content with drawing from his lordship a declaration that he did not mean to derogate from the honor of that profession, he continued to panegyrise the gentlemen of the bar, and affirmed that they had been highly instrumental in procuring for their country the advantages which she enjoyed. Mr. EDGE worth also vindicated the conduct of the gentlemen of the bar, and particularly denied the applicability of the expression of round-robin, which, he said, implied ‘ a mutinous demand made by men - E 3 ashamed ashamed to avow themselves the promoters of it.” Was this true, he asked, of the individuals who attended the meeting —Of an union he had at first conceived a favorable idea ; but, when he had heard some strong arguments against it, and found it obnoxious to the majority of the nation, he thought it his duty to oppose it. Ireland, he added, was under great obligation to the minister and his friends on this occasion; for by their means it had been shown that she possessed an honest, spirited, and independent bar, and that she had a parliament which, though its members might sometimes be diverted from the strict discharge of their duty, could rouse itself to her defence at an interesting crisis, The spectacle of this night, he trusted, would show, that, whatever defects there might be in the national character, the people of Ireland had warm hearts and sound heads, and that, without an excess of refinement, they possessed good nature, good sense, and

stanch honesty. Sir John PARNELL thought it degrading to the parliament to entertain a question whether it should put an end to its own existence. He animadverted on the absurdity of pretending, as some had affirmed, that it was inconsistent or presumptuous to declare against an union without knowing the terms or understanding the true nature of the question. Could any man, he asked, be so weak as not to know what the question was It was well known to be this—whether the parliament of Ireland and the independence of the nation should be given up for ever ? As the ministers would not bind themselves by a promise to preserve these great objects, the parliament, he hoped, would determine the point, by voting that it would never surrender the legislative independence of the realm. - Ireland had - abundant

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