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it was contended that this was an improper time for proposing the measure; yet, if an union would quiet the agitations of Ireland, why should the remedy be delayed? If two combatants could be parted, it would be wrong to postpone the interference till all the mischiefs of the battle should have taken place. Why should the parliament of either country suffer the efforts of traitors to be continued, by neglecting the only measure that could effectually counteract them : Would it be proper to wait till the French should attempt another invasion; or would it be prudent, from a spirit of delicacy, which might wish to avoid an interference between national parties, to neglect an opportunity of securing Ireland from the grasp of France The present time seemed particularly proper for the scheme of union; and one of the effects that would speedily result from it would be the removal of a considerable part of that armed force which excited the jealousy of the last speaker. That the deliberations of the Irish legislature had been influenced by the terrors of that army, or that the freedom of speech had been taken away, Mr. Canning was unwilling to admit. No evidence of such intimidation, he said, could be adduced; nor could it be supposed that a parliament vested with constitutional power would proceed to the discussion of the question under such an influence.—Adverting to the alleged dismission of officers of the crown for being unfriendly to the union, he justified the conduct of the ministry towards sir John Parnell, whose opposition to . a measure of such importance would render him a very unfit associate, and might excite doubts of the sincerity of the court. He also obviated a comparison which had been drawn between the proposed union and the French mode of incorporation. In what feaG 3 tures,

tures, he asked, did the pretended resemblance consist? Did the formation of a common cause between nations similar in laws, in language, in manners, and in habits—connected by the ties of blood, and bound together by commercial benefits—resemble the practice of French fraternity ? No; it was of a very different stamp, and was particularly calculated to promote the prosperity of the inferior nation, not to oppress it, as had recently been the case in the principality of Piedmont, which the fierce republicans had wrested from the hands of its persecuted sovereign. Mr. Canning added, that the state of Ireland rendered ..an union expedient for her security, as by such a scheme the assistance which she required would be more conveniently and effectually, afforded than by any other plan. The offer, at least, merited the deliberate notice of the Hibernian parliament. It ought to be considered, that some of the principles of the French revolution had made a great impression upon the inhabitants of Ireland, poor and uncivilised as the generality of them were, and distracted by religious feuds; and that the enemy still hoped to profit by the favorable dispositions of a part of that nation. To extinguish such hopes, to put Ireland out of danger, both from her foreign and domestic enemies, and in every point of view to improve her condition, were the objects of the proposed union. It was not the fault of the people that the country was in such a situation; they wanted commerce, they wanted capital, they wanted a particular class of men to connect the highest and the lowest orders of society, so as to harmonise the whole. But it was not a mere act of parliament that would accomplish these great and beneficial objects: it was only a con. nexion with a country which had capital, which had commerce, which had a respectable middle class of

commerce,

men, that could effect the desired change. As not only the time of the offer was disapproved by Mr. Sheridan, but also the manner in which it had been brought forward, Mr. Canning observed, that, if this proposition had followed a series of attempts on the part of England to injure Ireland, it might then have some appearance of unfairness; but, he asked, was that the case? was this the first remedy that England had proposed, or had she ever refused assistance to Ireland It had been said, that for the space of three hundred years we had oppressed Ireland. He had not been long in parliament, and consequently had little of the guilt of that oppression to answer for; but for the last twenty years the conduct of England had been a series of concessions. The Irish wanted an octennial parliament; it was granted. They wished for an independent legislature; and they had their wish. They desired a free trade; and it was given to them. A very large body of the people of Ireland desired a repeal of a part of the penal code which they deemed oppressive ; and the repeal was granted. The honorable gentleman had spoken as if nothing had been done for Ireland but what she extorted, and what she had a right to demand; he seemed to think that past favors were no proofs of kindness. But it might be proper to ask that gentleman, whether an independent country could demand a trade to our colonies as a matter of right, or could claim the liberty of sending her commodities into this country, in order to be re-exported with English bounties, as a point of right? It was undoubtedly expedient that these advantages should be given to Ireland, because her prosperity is the prosperity of England; but they G 4 - Were were not privileges which she could claim as matters of right. Mr. Canning concluded with recommending a strict attention to his majesty's proposal, as the only great and comprehensive view that had ever been taken of the affairs of Ireland, and with declaring his opposition to Mr. Sheridan's amendment, as it would debar the Irish from obtaining that relief which their necessities and their danger demanded. Mr. Jones objected to the proposal of union on various grounds. It was, he said, an unseasonable measure, while the rebellion was yet unquelled, as it seemed likely to promote the distractions of the country. Being unsolicited by the Irish, who were the best judges of its expediency, it was ill calculated to allay their discontent; and, if it should be adopted, it might inflame the contest by exposing its adversaries to military vengeance. It resembled French fraternisation, rather than amicable or cordial union: it was contrary to the genuine principles of justice and to the true rights of man. After Mr. Sheridan, in explanation, had briefly supported the opinions which he had delivered, Mr. Pitt offered himself to notice, as a defender of the address, and of the general principle of the proposed union. The address, he said, would only pledge the house to take into serious consideration a subject which was earnestly recommended to its notice, and which was closely connected with the interest of the British empire. The mover of the amendment, however, had deprecated all deliberation upon the subject, and even insinuated that the Irish parliament had not the power of carrying the result of its deliberations into effect, if it should determine in favor of an union, without an appeal to the people. This position, if true, would be applicable to the parliaments of both countries, the rights and privileges of both being the same; and it would thence sollow, that the English legislature had no authority to settle the union with Scotland—an union under which the laws of both countries had been improve , property had been protected, and the prosperity of Great-Britain had been highly augmented. Such a position would invalidate the acts of the last ninety years, and tend to an annihilation of the authority of parliament.—To say that the ministers wished to surprise the house into this measure, was also an ill-founded assertion; for they had rather been scrupulous in the opposite extreme. An address merely general had been proposed; a day had been mentioned for a communication of the outline of the plan; the discussion of particulars would be postponed; and the parliament would not be requested to determine upon the measure before ample time should have been allowed for deliberation. The question therefore was, whether the house should proceed in this grave and solemn manner, or should, without examination, pronounce the union to be unnecessary, dangerous, or impracticable. If the honorable gentleman had the least expectation of persuading a majority to agree with him, he ought to prove, either that the present state of Ireland required no remedy, or that, if some remedial attempts should appear to be requisite for curing the disorders of the country, an union would not accomplish that desirable, purpose. That gentleman and his friends had, in the course of many years, loudly complained of the mismanagement of the affairs of Ireland, expatiated on the deformity of its constitution, and lamented the miseries of its in

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