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dice without, petitions and counsel at the bar, and to be at length overborne by numbers within the house. It was then evident, that the house was at those times averse to the affording of any favour to Ireland, which could neither interfere with our trade laws, or affect certain branches of our commerce or manufactures; nor did it signify, whether this temper proceeded from the common prejudice, or from the attention which they paid to the desires and wishes of their constituents, the operation and effect in either cafe were just the fame. Tims, he said, ministers were fully exculpated from two of the principal charges brought againtt them. It was demonstrable, tEat they had no share whatever, in drawing on the calamities of Ireland; and it was as clearly evident, that it was not in their power to have afforded that timely redress to her grievances, a supposed or imputed neglect in which, has been made the ground of so much ingenious, but unfounded and therefore unjust invective.
The two main pillars of the motion, he said, were, first the charge against ministers, of not effectively following up the address of the 11 th of May, by continuing the sitting of the Britilh parliament until redress was afforded to Ireland; and secondly, the charge of negligeuce since the prorogation, in their nut having framed a proper plan for that purpose during the interim, so as to be ready immediately to lay it before parliament at the meeting. To these, he. said, a number of answers were al hand, a few of which would be fully conclusive. The British parliament did not rile until the 3d of
July, after a sitting of more than seven months. Nobody can have yet forgotten the alarming and dangerous state of public affairs during the last summer. The gentlemen in opposition have already taken care sufficiently to remind us, that the enemy were, for a great part of the time, masters of our coasts and of the channel. Descents and invasion were every day expected, and long threatened. A very great number of the members of both houses must of necessity have been drawn away to join their regiments, and to act in the defence of their country. Those even who held no commands in the militia or army, would have deemed their presence indispensably necessary, in those places where their fortunes and interests lay. Could it then have been consistent with propriety, with reason, .or with safety, to have kept parliament sitting at such a period?
But if this necessity, arising from danger and the state of public affairs, had not even existed, still it would have been highly unfitting, and might have been attended with obvious ill consequences, for the British- parliament to have at all entered upon the affairs of Ireland, until they were properly informed, what the nature of her wants and the extent of her demands were j as it was from these circumstances only, that any true judgment could be formed, as to the measure of relief which it would be sitting to afford to that country. .Now as this knowledge could only be pro-> perly obtained from the Irish parliament, which every body knows was not then sitting, every shadow of blame against the ministers, with respect to the prorogation, vanishes
of of course. The same statement of facts and arguments, goes equally to the overthrow of the second principal charge laid against the ministers, of negligence with respect to Ireland during the recess, as likewise to that other, of their not having assembled the British parliament, previous to the meeting of the Irish. For if it was unfitting (which surely would not be denied) for the British parliament to enter upon the affairs of Ireland, until they were in possession of those data, which were necessary to re gulate their measures, and to afford matter for establishing their judgment, it must have been much more so for his majesty's servants to venture in the dark upon a business of such magnitude and importance} and the assembling of the British parliament before the Irish would have been absurd, when they must necessarily wait for the proceedings of the latter.
But by convening the Irish parliament first, the sentiments of that people, properly conveyed through the medium of their representatives, was now fully understood. The question of policy with regard to that country, and brought forward under the most unquestionable authority, was now laid fairly within the cognizance of the British legiflature; and all they had now to consider was, how far it would be advileable to comply with the requests made by Ireland; and with what terms and conditions it might be thought proper to charge the favours granted. The temper and disposition of the people of this country had undergone a great and happy change with respect to that; prejudice had worn off both within doors a.nd with
out; and parliament could not now confer any mark of favour upon Ireland, which would not meet with general approbation.
Upon the whole, he drew from the various premises which he stated, the following conclusions— That the present ministers, instead of being inimical to Ireland, or inattentive to her interests, had been her best and warmest friends— That they had done more for her than all their predecessors during a century past. That not only the nation at large, but parliament, were, until now, adverse to the granting any concessions to Ireland, which could afford her either content or redress—And that consequently, if any blame was due for not affording more early relief to Ireland, it was imputable only to the prejudices and temper of the people and parliament of this country, and not by any means to the ministers; who, as they had no share in the causes of her distresses, were equally guiltless as to their continuance.
This state of things, and the arguments arising from, or by which it was accompanied, were opposed, and attempted to be invalidated by the opposition. They reprobated in terms of high indignation the imputation of prejudice laid to that house; by which ministers, they said, according to their now establilhed, but daring practice, attempted to father all their own blunders and misdemeanors on parliament. They laughed at the pretended weakness and inefficiency with respect to the transactions of that house, which ministers now affected, in order thereby to shield their own neglect with respect iq Ireland. The minister upon thi«
[El 2 Qceafion occasion is represented as a man of straw, a creature destitute of all consequence and efficacy, who only attends as one of the officers of the house, merely to hear and receive with reverential awe the decrees of parliament. The noble minister has not assumed any part of this delicacy upon occasions, when it would have been highly becoming in him, and of infinite advantage to his country. In such cases, he has paid as little regard to popular clamour or censure without doors, as to reason or argument within. If a scheme is meditated for depriving all the freeholders in England of the noblest portion of their birthright ; if the chartered rights of the greatest commercial company in the universe are to be violently invaded, ^nd all parliamentary faith at one stroke annihilated; or is a great quarter of the world, if thirteen nations, are to be at once stripped of all that is worth the consideration and value of mankind, of all thole rights which they inherited from their ancestors, and even of the means of existence; on any, and on all of these occasions, the ministei stands forth in all the fulness of his power. He leads on his majorities of two or three to one, in all the ealy pride and conscious triumph of assured victory. He boalisof them as appendages to his own inherent merit; and tells you gravely, that government could not subsist, without such an overruling influence, and so decisive a power. But if the nature of the service is changed, and that he is called from the successful works of destruction, to the salvation of one kingdom, by the preservation of another, he sinks at once into no
thing, and has not authority or influence left, sufficient for the opening of a turnpike gate. So that in fact it appears, as if the powers of government only existed in their contact with evil, but instantly lost their efficacy when applied to any good purpose.
They, however, absolutely denied, that the minister had been passive, neutral, or inefficacious, with respect to the affairs of Ireland; and on the contrary severely ■ charged him, with having, very unfortunately for this country, taken a very active part in that business in the preceding session. For a bill having been brought in to afford some relief to Ireland, by admitting the direct importation of sugars for their own consumption, and he, as they said, having for a time suffered things to take their natural course in that house, the bill was accordingly (as all matters ever would be under the fame circumstances) coolly and deliberately canvassed and debated in all its parts; and without being overwhelmed by those extraordinary prejudices which are now pretended, and without its being supported by any powerful influence, worked its way, by the strength of hi own intrinsic merit, through repeated divisions, until it had nearly arrived at the last stage of its progress. Eat at that inauspicious morfent, the minister having by loirymeans been rouzed from his slwnber, most unhappily resumgi his activity; and departing at once from that neutrality which he had hitherto professed, came down in all the power, and surrounded with all the instruments of office, in order to defeat the measure. He accordingly succeeded
in throwing out the bil!; but, as a proof bow little prejudice had to do in the business, his majority upon this occasion was so totally disproportion ed to those which attended his steps upou others, that a victory upon such terms seemed some sort of degradation. It was tn be acknowledged, that the bill in itself, was not of much value, and would have afforded but a scanty measure to Ireland of that relief which she wanted; but the time, manner,' and circumstances of a savour, frequently stamp a greater value upon it than it inherently possesses; and the passing of the bill at that time, would evidently have produced very happy consequences, and, in a great measure, if not entirely, have prevented all the mischiefs and dangers which have since taken place with respect to that country. But, on the contrary, when the people of Ireland saw that the minister had thus openly set his face directly again(t them; and found alter, that every effort in their favour was rendered abortive by his influence or management, until they saw themselves at length totally abandoned by the rising of the Bri-" tilh parliament; it was no wonder then that they should become desperate; and that they should seek in themselves for the means of that redress, which they found denied both to favour and to justice. The only matter of admiration now, and which does them the highest honour as a people, is, that thev have not yet proceeded to still greater extremities, and that their demands are not abundantly more exorbitant than they yet appear. But their demands must be rejected with the fame degree of scorn with
.which those of America were treated, before they can think of following that example.
Ministers, they said, boasted, that the distresses of Ireland had not originated with them. It would be readily admitted that st>e was not without grievances, previous to the fatal period of their adminitirntion; but her immediate calamities sprung principally from the grand source of all our evils and dangers, from their own American war. By that Ireland, like England, lost a valuable part of her commerce, with less ability to support the loss; and the corrupt expences of a feeble government increased, as all the means of supplying them diminished.
But if ministers, said they, did not administer relief to Ireland themselves, they may with justice boast, that they instructed her ia the means of obtaining effectual redress. In fact, they taught Ireland by example, from their own conduct and that of America, every thing (he had to do. They had convinced her, that no extent of affection or service to this country could entitle her either to favour or justice. But they mewed her at the fame time, in a striking instance, the benefits to be derived from a bold and determined resistance. They taught her to dictate to the crown and parliament of England the terms of their future union. America, for her revolt, had a profusion of favours held out to her. Every thing short of nominal independency had been offered. Such was the reward of rebellion. The reward of loyalty, and of long forbearance under accumulated oppression and internal distress, me had herself just expe[£] 3 rienced, rienced, in the refusal of so small a favour as the importation of her own sugars. Ireland, accordingly, profited of the example; and determined not to render vain the wisdom, nor to disappoint the good intentions of ministers.
She also enters into her commercial and military associations. She also, adhering strictly to the line in all its parts, holds the faith and integrity of government in exactly the fame degree of contempt, which has been so long and so repeatedly expressed and stiewn by the Americans; and which indeed was hitherto prevented, and seems still to (hut out the possibility, not only of any reconciliation, but even of peace, with that people. The Irish parliament accordingly, to shew her total distrust of the good faith or honesty of the British government, departs from her own established rules and mode of action, and instead of making a provision for two years as usual, passes a sliort money bill for fix months only; thus telling you, in plain mercantile language, that your character is so bad, that you cannot be trusted for more than six months credit; and pointing out at the fame time the inevitable consequences which must immediately attend your refusal to comply wlih her demands.
Thus, said they, Ireland has filled up every part of the system on her side, but there seems a strange deficiency on that of the ministers, They have yet neglected to hurl the thunders of the cabinet against that kingdom, as they had done before against the continent of America. Dub
lin has had her mob and riot, as well as ill-fated Boston; yet neither her port has been shut up, nor the rioters brought over here to be tried by an English jury. No alteration has even taken place in the usual mode of trials in that country; their popular meetings and popular elections are not interrupted; no proscription has been issued against their leaders, nor has that kingdom been declared out of the king's peace; we see that Corke has still escaped the flames, nor do •we hear that Waterford is yet reduced to ashes. Whence then this wonderful departure from the grand American system? The answer, they said, was plain and obvious. This change of system proceeded neither from lenity, humanity, a more enlightened policy, nor from any real accession of wisdom. It proceeded from the tremendous appearance, and the real dangers of the present aweful moment; these had compelled insolence and ignorance to give way to fear and humiliation. Ministers were overpowered, agban^ and astonished, in the horrors of that tempest which they had themselves raised; and this drove them to such lengths, as to defend and to represent as prudent and constitutional, those things, which they considered as causes of war with America, snd which they would consider as acts of rebellion even in England.
In this severe and sarcastic manner, and with these bitter parallels, was the whole of the ministers defence treated by op. position. But no part was handled with more spirit, than the