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land; 4,000,000l. from the former, and 800,000l. in interest for public money lent; and near 2,000,000). in rent from the latter: this 2,000,000l. is to be taken from the imports and and exports of Ireland, and to be added to those of Britain, which will make a proportion not of ten to seventy-three, but of about eight to seventy-nine: - thus it follows, that whatever difficulty you may have in pronouncing the proportion of contribution, you can have no difficulty in pronouncing that the contribution you have ascertained is unjust and fallacious; and you can discover its injustice and fallacy by the very papers on which you have formed it; those papers ascertaining the proportion you have voted, by the omission of 6,000,000). of British annual income. Thus has this House, under the direction of the minister, overcharged this country in contribution; having no sufficient evidence to estimate its contribution, but having complete evidence to impeach that contribution which it now imposes. And what is this contribution ? It is valued at about 4,300,000l. in war, in addition to the interest of your debt, which is 140,000l. per annum; that is, equal to the charge of your establishment, four times greater than any past war establishment; a charge equal to the support of 128,000 soldiers, which is near eight times as much as you paid in former wars; so that you are to multiply your charge for the loss of your Parliament; or rather, you are to pay the tribute of the slave; before this, you raised the supply of freemen; - a charge, I say, which, if for troops to be kept in the country, establishes a military government as complete as in Russia; and which, if for troops out of the country, will not leave you a guinea ; which will, therefore, render you a slave, or a bankrupt; a military province of England, or a beggar — indeed both: for though I do not think the means of this country are unequal to every necessary expense, yet I do think they are inadequate to that contributory expense which the Union stipulates. I do think they are unequal to a war contribution of 4,800,000l. per annum; and I think the attempt will exhaust this country, at the same time that it enslaves her. Colour it as you please, she will pay more than she is able; and she will pay for a force, not to protect, but to enslave.
Do we know that the balance of our trade with all the world is but half a million in our favour, and that this half million is to supply the absentee drain of above two millions, which is to be greatly increased by the operation of the Union, by which we are to pay not only absentee representation, but absentee establishment? Do we know that even now, when we borrow about 3,000,0001. per annum from England, the exchange is greatly against us? Do we know,
that at this very moment, the revenue has fallen 800,0001.?
As to commerce, the terms are short and simple, - to abate those duties which you thought necessary for the protection of your manufactures; that's all! Are the manufacturers of glass, of iron-ware, - are the brewers, the hosiers, the sadlers, the manufacturers of cotton, obliged to you for that? Did
they petition Parliament for it? have they not petitioned Parliament against it? Who is it then that calls for it? The Irish manufacturer? No: - The Irish consumer? No: - The Irish Parliament? No:- Who then? The British minister, who does not indeed petition, but exacts it of the Irish Parliament; who, at the same time, are called on to surrender themselves, their power, and their being. All duties below ten per cent. to be taken off; all duties above it to be reduced to that standard for twenty years; and then to be abolished in toto. Callico is respited for a few years : Why do you deprive callico of the advantage of being unprotected for those few years? Why; but because it is of no advantage, but the contrary; and you have thought it a matter of mercy to let the persons engaged in that trade gradually withdraw. Here is the commercial benefit; the commerce which we are to get for our constitution ; for you do not say, that it is a material privilege to be permitted to export to England our cotton and woollen cloth. Would it be a great privilege to permit England to export Burgundy into France ? Even the privilege of importing wool, the British minister has told you, will be of no use to you ; he is, I believe, right; there is nothing he gives, there is nothing in trade which he can give, that will be of any use to you.
I do not pretend to decide, whether these advantages will prove the ruin of
your manufacturers, but I do venture to decide, that they will not be of any use to them. Besides, what are the commercial terms? Such as you could give yourselves without an Union, if you did not think them mischievous; what, then, are the terms financial and commercial? The increase of your taxes of incumbrance, and the abatement of your duties of protection ; a surrender, not a compensation ; evidences of conquest; such terms as a nation must expect that surrenders her constitution.
From the bad terms which attend the Union, I am naturally led to the foul means by which it has been obtained dismissals from office — perversion of the Place-bill — sale of peerage — purchase of boroughs — appointment of sheriffs, with a view to prevent the meetings of freemen and freeholders, for the purpose of expressing their opinions on the subject of a Legislative Union — in short, the most avowed corruption, threats, and stratagems, accompanied by martial law, to deprive a nation of her liberty; and sọ very great and beneficial have been the efforts, that His Majesty's ministers have actually resorted to a partial dissolution of Parliament, at the very time they declined to resort to a general election ; the sense of Parliament and people was against them: they change, therefore, the Parliament, without recurring to the people; but procure a number of returns, exceeding their present majority, from private boroughs, vacated with a view to return a court member, who should succeed a gentleman that would not vote for the Union; here, then, is a Parliament made by the minister, not the people; and made for the question. Under these circumstances, in opposition to the declared sense of the country, has been passed a measure, imposing on the people a new constitution, and subverting the
The good consequences of this measure have been boldly prophesied; I own I see them not. Tranquillity arising from the suppression of Parliament; manufactures flourishing from the want of protection, these excellent consequences are, at best, but problematical; the ceasing of political topics with the ceasing of the assembly wherein they might be regularly, or decorously deliberated, is an expectation very pious perhaps, but very fond and very presumptuous. Do you seriously think that when you take away the forms of liberty, you take away the spirit of liberty? Do you think, for instance, that the Catholic will become insensible to the privileges of a free constitution, because a Protestant Parliament has renounced them? Do you think Protestant and Catholic will become insensible to the necessity of representation, because they lost their freedom by the want of it? Do you think that a minister, that any set of men in league with a minister, can, with the institution, sink, smother, and put out the very essence, soul, and light of liberty ? It may be so; I do not believe it. Recollect again, that this tranquillity and this commerce predicted to follow the Union, are, at best, paradoxical and remote; but that the evil consequences predicted, are immediate and certain, namely the war contribution of near 5,000,0001. the diminution of your landed capital, the absence of landed proprietors, the abatement of your protecting duties, the surrender of a solid revenue, the increase of your
benefit by a borough loan, and the subversion of your constitution. Those gentlemen, who, for what they call tranquillity, and tranquillity in their speculations, are ready to sacrifice the labours, the honour, and the freedom of their country, may find that they have lost the liberty, but have not secured the repose. Let me add, that the most decided friends, who deserve respect, have not gone farther than to say, that its consequences cannot be foreseen.
The minister of Britain (Mr. Pitt) has spoken again in its favour. His first speech is a record of inanity; the merit of his second is, to have abandoned the defence of the first. The
inundation of capital from the increase of absentees, the visit of British manufacturers from the increase of taxes, the abatement of protecting duties, and the diminution of the number of consumers, civilization arising from the absence of the gentry, from the corruption of the higher orders, (never was minister more profligate), from the debasement of the lower order by the application of terror, civilization arising from the regular practices of administration to destroy public virtue, and to render the evils base and false of every order and degree. The political blessings arising from these causes, which overflowed in the first speech, have, in the minister's second speech, prudently and considerately, like any other folly of the day, vanished and evaporated. Argument seems to have taken a
new post; tis no longer industry of the manufacturer, tis now a more pleasurable plan; luxury and consumer; such has been the turn of talk and trifling here.
England will furnish every thing for money; she will take your rent, and supply manufactures for your accommodation; what signifies which country supplies the article, since you are one people?” In the same way tis said, “what signifies the number of Irish representatives, since you are one people," and therefore let them be so few as to be merged in the representation of Great Britain ? Again it is said, “ what signifies where the army is quartered, whether in Britain or in Ireland, since you are one people," and therefore let the troops be in Ireland, and the manufactures be in Great Britain ?
The advantages predicted in revenue, like those in commerce, vanish also; the magnificent million of the speech of the Irish Secretary, does not appear in the second oration of the British minister. He had indeed assumed a certain air of astonishment at the surmise, that Britain sought to obtain revenue from other countries. He suffered his minister here to go a little farther, and to teach us to think that England was impatient to get rid of revenue; that her turn now was to buy up constitutions; that she had become a chapman and dealer in liberty, and was willing to pay Ireland for her Parliament, half a million in peace, and one million per annum in war. I doubted the fact, for I had not forgotten the American war; I had not forgotten the American Stamp Act; I had not forgotten Mr. G. Grenville's pamphlet, containing a proposal to tax Ireland as well as America; I had not forgotten the proposal of the present minister of England, contained in one of the propositions of 1785; namely, that the surplus of the hereditary revenue should go to England: when, iherefore, the same minister, in a state of tenfold distress, disclaimed revenue, and when the minister. here averred that England was to pay a contribution to Ireland, I did not be