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SPEECHES

OF THE

RIGHT HONOURABLE

HENRY GRATTAN,

80.8c.

UNION.

LORD CASTLEREAGH MOVES FOR LEAVE TO BRING IN TIIE

UNION BILL.

May 26. 1800.

ON the 21st of March the report of the committee on the Union

was received, and a debate took place, in which Sir Laurence Parsons, Mr. Goold, Sir John Freke, Mr. O'Donnell, Mr. Charles Bushe, Mr. Dawson, and Mr. Edgeworth, severally spoke against the measure. They strongly reprobated the idea of granting compensation for boroughs, as being contrary to the principles of the constitution, and a mere measure of corruption; it was making the nation

pay

for the extinction of its own independence. Mr. Edgeworth said, that within the last fortnight he had been offered 3000 guineas for his seat; and that it was by such proceedings alone, that the measure of Union was carried.

The resolutions were put by the Speaker from the chair, and agreed to ; and a message was sent up from the Commons to the Lords: a debate there ensued, and Lord Farnham objected to the measure in toto ; he conceived the clause respecting the number of Peers to be a mockery of representation. On this clause there was a division, Ayes 51, Noes 17. The measure received the support of Lord Chief Baron Yelverton.

The articles were agreed to; and on the question, that a message be sent to the Commons, informing them that the Lords had agreed to the resolutions, the House divided, Ayes 72, Noes 22. Majority in favour of the Union 50. The two Houses then greed that an address, together with the resolutions, should be presented to His Majesty; and they then adjourned to the 8th of May.

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This address was as follows:

“ We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to acquaint Your Majesty, that we have taken into our most serious and deliberate consideration, the great and important subject of a legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland, which was laid before us in his Excellency the Lord Lieutenant's message to both Houses of Parliament, on the fifth day of February last, accompanied by the resolutions of the two Houses of the Parliament of Great Britain, proposing that great measure, and the earnest and solemn recommendation of Your Majesty,

“ Deeply impressed with the necessity of rendering the con. nection of Great Britain and this kingdom indissoluble, and truly sensible of the repeated efforts which have been made by foreign and domestic enemies to shake that connection, and to effect their entire separation, we fully approve, and cordially embrace, the principle of incorporating Great Britain and Ireland into one kingdom, under Your Majesty's auspicious government, by a complete and entire union of their legislatures.

06 We do consider the resolutions of the two Houses of the British Parliament as wisely calculated to form the basis of such a settlement; we have adopted them as our guide in the measures we have pursued, and we now feel it our duty to lay before Your Majesty the resolutions to which we have agreed, which resolutions, we humbly submit to Your Majesty, may form the articles of Union between Great Britain and Ireland, and which, if they shall be approved by the two Houses of the Parliament of Great Britain, we are ready to confirm and ratify, in order that the same may be established for ever by the mutual consent of both Parliaments.

We doubt not that Your Majesty and Your Parliament of Great Britain, will consider these resolutions as the most unequivocal testimony of our zealous loyalty to Your Majesty's sacred person, family, and government. And as an unalterable pledge of our attachment to the British empire, we offer them in the full conviction, that by incorporating the legislatures, and by consolidating the resources of the two kingdoms, we shall increase the power and stability of that empire; and that by uniting ourselves with Your Majesty's subjects of Great Britain under one parliament, and under one government, we shall most effectually provide for the improvement of our commerce, the security of our religion, and the preservation of our liberties."

This address, together with the resolutions, was, on the 2d of April, laid before both Houses of the British Parliament, accompanied with the following message from His Majesty :

" G. R. “ It is with the most sincere satisfaction, that His Majesty finds himself enabled to communicate to this House the joint address of his Lords and Commons of Ireland, laying before His Majesty certain resolutions, which contain the terms proposed by them for an entire Union between the two kingdoms." His Majesty is persuaded that this House will participate in the pleasure with which His Majesty observes the conformity of sentiment manifested in the proceedings of his two Parliaments, after long and careful deliberation on this most important subject, and he earnestly recommends to this House, to take all such further steps as may best tend to the speedy and complete execution of a work so happily begun, and so interesting to the security and happiness of His Majesty's subjects, and to the general strength and prosperity of the British empire.

G.R.” These documents were referred to a committee. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Pitt) moved the Union resolutions in the Commons; Mr. Grey moved an amendment, “ That an humble address be presented to His Majesty, praying that he will be gra. ciously pleased to direct his ministers to suspend all proceedings on the Irish Union, till the sentiments of the Irish people respecto ing that measure can be ascertained.” This was supported by Dr. Laurence, Mr. Sheridan, and Mr. Tierney. It was opposed by Lord Carysfort, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Nichols, Sir G. P. Turner, General Loftus, and Mr. Dundas. On a division, there were for Mr. Grey's motion 30, against it 236; majority 206. On the 2d of May the report was brought up, when Dr. Laurence moved to postpone the consideration of the subject for six months, which on a division was negatived by 208 to 26. In the Lords the measure was introduced by Lord Grenville, the Union resolutions were adopted, and both Houses agreed to the following address to His Majesty :

“We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons, in Farliament assembled, humbly beg leave to acquaint Your Majesty, that, in conformity to Your Majesty's gracious message, laying before us the resolutions of the Lords and Commons of Ireland, we have proceeded to resume the consideration of the great and important subject of a legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland, and it is with unspeakable satisfaction we have observed the conformity of the said resolutions to those principles which we humbly submitted to Your Majesty in the last session of parliament, as calculated to form the basis of such a settlement.

" With the few alterations and additions which we have found it necessary to suggest, we consider these resolutions as fit to form articles of Union between Great Britain and Ireland, and if those alterations and additions shall be approved by the two Houses of the Parliament of Ireland, we are ready to ratify and confirm these articles, in order that the same may be established for ever by the mutual consent of both parliaments.

“ We offer to Your Majesty our humble congratulations upon the near prospect of the accomplishment of a work, which Your Majesty as the common father of your people has justly declared to be so near your heart, concurring as we do with your Houses of Parliament in Ireland in the full conviction that, by incorporating the legislatures and consolidating the resources of the two kingdoms, we shall increase the power and stability of the British empire, and shall at the same time contribute in the most effectual manner to the improvement of the commerce, the security of the religion, and the preservation of the liberties of Your Majesty's subjects in Ireland.”

On the 8th of May the Irish Parliament met, pursuant to adjournment, and on the 10th, the following message was delivered by Lord Castlereagh from the Lord Lieutenant.

16 CORNWALLIS, “ I am commanded by His Majesty to return to this House the resolutions upon the great and important subject of a legislative Union between Great Britain and Ireland, which you desired me to transmit to His Majesty, together with your address of the 27th day of March last.

* The few alterations and additions which have been suggested therein by the two Houses of Parliament in Great Britain, to whom, in consequence

of

your request, they were communicated by His Majesty, are in such strict conformity to the spirit of the resolutions you agreed to, that they may be justly considered as essentially the same. I am, therefore, to congratulate you in His Majesty's name, upon that identity of sentiment which had been so conspicuously manifested in both his parliaments for the adjustment of this great measure ; and I am to express the confidence which His Majesty feels, that you will persevere in those zealous exertions which you have hitherto displayed for its speedy and entire accomplishment.

“ His Majesty will feel it as the proudest day of his reign, when he can consider all his subjects as one people, united under the common protection of the same government and the same legis. lature, and all participating in the full enjoyment of those blessings which the British constitution is so eminently calculated to confer.

“ I am also commanded by His Majesty to communicate to you the joint address of the Lords and Commons of Great Britain of the 8th instant, which they communicated to His Majesty upon laying before him the said resolutions."

of C.” In the House of Commons, on the motion of Lord Castlereagh, a Committee was appointed to enquire into the alterations in the resolutions; and the committee having reported on the 21st, he moved for leave to bring in a bill to unite the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. This was opposed by Major Osborne, Mr. O‘Donnell, Mr. George Ponsonsby, Mr. Ogle, Mr. Charles Ball, Sir Laurence Parsons, and Mr. Goold, who concluded a speech of great energy in the following words, “I know the ministers must now succeed, but I will not go away with an aching heart, because I know that the liberties of the people must ultimately triumph. The people must at present submit, because they cannot resist 120,000 armed men; but the period will occur, when as in 1782, England may be weak, and Ireland sufficiently strong to recover her lost liberties.” It was supported by Mr. Holmes, Mr. David La Touche, Sir H. Cavendish, Sir B. Roche, Mr. R. Martin, and Dr. A. Browne. On a division the numbers were Ayes 160, Noes 100: majority for leave to bring in a bill 60.

The bill was then read a first time, ordered to be printed, and read a second time on the 26th. On the 22d, a message came from the Lords stating, that they had agreed to an address to His Majesty expressive of their concurrence in the articles of Union, as altered in Great Britain, and desiring the concurrence of the Commons, and on a motion to that effect the address was carried by 67 to 37. The address was as follows:

« Most Gracious Sovereign, “We, Your Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Lords spiritual and temporal, and Commons, in Parliament assembled, beg leave to acquaint Your Majesty, That we have agreed to those alterations and additions which have been made by the two Houses of the Parliament of Great Britain, to the resolutions which we submitted to Your Majesty, in our joint address of the 28th of March last, as proper to form the articles of Union of the two kingdoms; that we have seen with the most cordial satisfaction that entire correspondence of sentiment, which has been manifested by the two legislatures in the arrangement of this important subject, and we doubt not that by a continuance of that friendly disposition, the work which occupies their joint attention will be speedily and happily completed:

“ We beg leave at the same time to lay before Your Majesty a statement of these countervailing duties which are agreed upon as necessary to be imposed on articles, the growth, produce, and manufacture of Great Britain imported into this kingdom, which we humbly request Your Majesty will communicate to the two Houses of your Parliament of Great Britain for their concurrence."

On the ensuing day, Lord Castlereagh moved, That the Chan. cellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Corry), Mr. J. Beresford, and the Attorney General (Mr. Toler), should meet the Lords next day at the Castle, and attend his Excellency with the address ; upon which Mr. O'Donnell moved by way of amendment, that all the general and staff-officers, the place-men and pensioners, (members of the House) should present the address. The motion was as fol. lows, that after the words “ Attorney General" the following words be inserted:

Member for John Staples

Antrim Examinator of Customs, and who

has a pension William Arthur Crosbie Trim

Steward of the Household, Cus

tomer and Comptroller of Wexford, Commissioner of Stamp

Duties Sir Boyle Roche

Old Leighlin Gentleman Usher George Miller

Castlebar Gentleman of the Bed Chamber Sir Chichester Fortescue Trim

Ulster King at Arms Edward Cooke Old Leighlin Under Secretary to the Civil De

partment, Keeper of the Phoenix Park, Customer of Kinsale, and in reversion of the place of

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