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Exclusive of the declaration of rights, the volunteers, or in another word, Ireland, had called for an habeas corpus act, which as it was proper she should have, had not been opposed; and now it was part of the law of Ireland. They had called also for an act to make the judges independent of the crown, by making them hold their commissions quamdiu se bene gesserint; this was a reasonable demand, and had consequently been complied with; for a bill was brought in to that effect; and it was now in its progress through parliament. An alteration of the mutiny bill was another thing which they looked for; he must needs say, he could not see the danger, which the enemies to what was called the perpetual clause in that bill, apprehended from it; however, as he made no doubt but the people of Ireland would be ready to adopt such regulations as the parliament of England might from time to time make for the army, so he fiattered himself that the ground of apprehension, lest the regulations in England and Ireland for the army should be different, would be removed: he saw no reason, why the wishes of the latter should be any longer opposed on this head; nay, he thought they ought not to be opposed, since new jealousies had lately been excited on that subject by a transaction in England. It was understood in Ireland that the name of that kingdom should no longer be inserted in the English mutiny bill; and still, when that bill was brought in, the word Ireland, as usual, stood part of it: It had indeed been since struck out, and the bill passed without it; but the minds of the volunteers were not easy on the subject. A modification of Poynings' law was another object, which the Irish had greatly at heart: On that he would nut enlarge ; but gentlemen would see that it should be granted; England had nothing to fear from the increased power of the Irish parliament, as the consent of the king would still be necessary to sanctify all their acts.
Having made these, and various other observations, he moved for leave to bring in a bill to repeal so much of the act of the 6th of George I. aş asserted a right in the king and parliament of Great Britain to make laws to bind the kingdom and people of Ireland. He did not wish to precipitate matters ; but gentlemen must see the necessity of doing something speedily, and without the loss of a moment, to prevent those consequences, which it was not for him so much as to think of: they all knew that the parliament of Ireland was to meet to-morrow se'nnight, and Mr. Grattan would on that day propose to the House of Commons, a vote for a declaration of rights. Would it not therefore, says he, be expedient to anticipate the wishes of Ireland on that head; and, to convince her of our sincere intention, give her every security in our power for the permanency of her constitution, and of that trade, which she is so anxious to preserve? As for himself, he must set out on his return for Ireland, either that night or to-morrow morning, and he should be happy to have it in his power to carry over with him the agreeable tidings, that the parliament of England was ready to give the Irish every satisfaction they could reasonably re. quire.
He did not desire that the bill which he moved for should be immediately passed; all he looked for was a kind of pledge from that house to carry over with him to Ireland, that the English parliament would not oppose the favourite wish and determined resolution of the Irish: the bill might lie over, until it should be known whether it would satisfy the Irish parliament or not: if it should, then it might be passed into a law; if the partial repeal he proposed should not please the Irish, then he would advise the total repeal of the 6th of George I. But if neither partial nor total repeal would satisfy them, then he certainly should leave the law, as it now stood, without any alteration whatever.
Mr. Courtenay rose, and said he would second the motion; Lord Newhaven rose to do the same thing, and Colonel Luttrell was not willing to give up the point to either of them. After some dispute for the priority in speaking, the chair decided in favour of Lord Newhaven, who said that no man was less connected with the present administration than he was ; and yet he thought it would have been proper to have given the new administration a little more time to turn their thoughts to the affairs of Ireland: however, as the motion had been made, he rose to give it his most hearty support: because he was perfectly satisfied that the measure was now become absolutely necessary.
Colonel Luttrell said, that when he rose to second the motion, it was under the idea, that such a measure as was then proposed, would give general satisfaction to Ireland; if he thought it would not, he certainly would not second such a motion; because he would not consent to the repeal of the 6th of George I. unless in case of such emergency as the present, when he thought by such a repeal, he might quiet the minds and conciliate the affections of the people of Ireland ; and therefore he called upon the right honourable gentleman, who made the motion, to tell the house, whether he thought such a measure as he had just proposed, would produce the salutary effect that was expected from it.
Mr. Eden could not undertake to say, that the measure proposed would give complete satisfaction to Ireland; and therefore would not pledge himself, that it would ; but he knew that so critical was the situation of that country at present, that if the motion then before the house should be rejected, he would not answer for the consequences. The speaker read the motion from the chair.
M. Secretary Fox then rose, and claimed the attention of the house in a particular degree. He said he never was more astonished than at the proceedings of the house upon that day, and at the manner in which the right honourable gentleman had acted. For first an honourable gentleman had risen, and restated to the house what he had mentioned before the recess, without making any motion whatever, relating merely the cir. cumstances of the country of Ireland, and the necessity that there was for serious and speedy measures being adopted for quieting the jealousies subsisting in that kingdom. Upon this another right honourable gentleman, without any previous communication, or having consulted with any person whatever, rises up, and, after many observations on the circumstances and state of the kingdom of Ireland, concludes with a motion for declaring Ireland to be totally independent of the legislature of Great Britain. The right honourable gentleman said, he hoped it would not be expected that he should give an answer to all the observations that had been made; they had been truly cu. rious; and especially as they were thrown out, and the house moved upon the very day when the new servants of the king met the representatives of the people in parliament, and before they could have it in their power to propose any measure what. ever with respect to Ireland. The hurry of the right honourable gentleman was such, that he came down to the house, and moved this proposition, which was to divide the kingdom of Ireland from the legislature of Great Britain, without giving his majesty's ministers any time to act in their new situation, or come to parliament with such plans as would in their opinion quiet the disturbances, and restore harmony to both nations. The right honourable gentleman had come over from Ireland to this country; and it was no secret that he had brought with him a letter of resignation from the lord lieutenant. His majesty's ministers had scarcely done reading that letter, when they re. ceived another from the right honourable gentleman himself, informing them that he declined communicating to the confi. dential servants of the crown any knowledge which he might possess relative to the circumstances and state of Ireland, to tell them any facts, or to state any opinion upon them whatever. In the letter of resignation the Earl of Carlisle had said, that he did not give any account of the situation of the kingdom of Ireland, because his right honourable secretary was coming to England, who would be able to give them the most complete information of every particular. But the right honourable secretary chose to withhold this information from his majesty's ministers, and to come to this house without communicating with any one, without taking any advice, and without giving any time to the new ministers to move for a repeal of the 6th of George I. He had believed that the purpose of the right honourable gentieman's visit to this country, was to give his majesty's ministers that information, for which the lord lieutenant referred them in his letter of resignation; but now the true purpose of his journey was discovered. It was not to give information to government, but to come to that house, and, on the first day after the recess, to make a most unseasonable and unwise motion, which, he no doubt imagined would considerably embarrass the king's servants. If this were the sort of opposition, which they were to meet with in that house, he had too good an opinion of the candour of parlianient to fear it.
The disposition of the king's ministers towards Ireland, he believed, was sufficiently understood; and that disposition which they had expressed, when out of office he sincerely believed they would now maintain, and would take the speediest and most likely means of giving complete satisfaction to the people of Ireland. The motion came with singularity from the right honourable gentleman, who was one of those persons who had constantly talked in such high language of " the unity of the “ British dominions,” and who thought proper to resist every claim that was made both by the people of Ireland and the people of America to that just liberty, and those rights and privileges they inherited under the constitution. If the administration, of which he had been a member and a partisan, had been as ready to yield to the pretensions of Ireland, when those pretensions were conveyed in terms of most respectful regard, the house would not have been insulted on that day with a motioa from one of the men who had constantly and uniformly denied every request, and withheld every boon that was either sought or wished for by our sister kingdom. But the right honourable gentleman seemed yet to have the principles of his late friends, and to act entirely upon their plan ; he seemed to wish to divide the two kingdoms; and like them, after talking of the unity of the British dominion, to strive to dismember the British empire. He had come post from Ireland for the purpose, as it should seem, of moving this repeal of the 6th of George J. in the House of Commons; and this he thought it his duty to do, though he did not conceive it to be his duty to give any account to government of the state and condition of Ireland. The nature of his journey was now perfectly manifest. He had come in this very great hurry....had contrived to come on the very first day of the meeting after the recess....on the very first day of the ministers taking their seats in the house....to propose a thing which demanded the most serious enquiry, the most deliberate investigation, that the wisdom of this country and of Ireland could give it. If his late friends had had a twentieth part of his hurry, if they had had a twentieth part of his
present disposition to yield to the requisitions of Ireland, we should not now be brought to the distress in which we are at this moment. If the late ministry had conceded when they might concede with grace, if they had given an extension of commerce, as was the right of Ireland, as well as it was for the benefit of England, when that extension was decently called for, and they had taken that occasion finally to settle the relative situation of the two countries, it might have been done without difficulties, and all our present embarrassment, with its consequences, would have been avoided. But they never looked beyond the present instant, they never provided for what was to come, they did things neither effectually or finally, and the right honourable gentleman seemed still to partake of the same quality; for he was only inclined to do one thing, without take ing time to consider, or seeming to care whether what he did would be sufficient, whether it were all they desired, and whether, when they had procured the repeal of one part of the act of the 6th George I. they would not afterwards think that the other parts of that act should also be repealed. He was sincerely of opinion, that this was not the way of settling the jealousies, or of restoring tranquillity to Ireland. His majesty's ministers, he could assure the house, had not lost a moment in bringing forward the subject. Out of the short time that they had been in office, they had employed a considerable part on the affairs of Ireland. He wished to God that their predecessors had been as active, and that they had lost as little time as those who were now entrusted with the government of this country. If the right honourable gentleman had given the proper communications to government, perhaps the ministers would have been prepared this day to have brought forward a proposition; as it could say, that before many days elapsed, before many hours, the subject would come before the house in a regular way. His majesty's ministers, when out of office, declared their opinion with respect to the claims of Ireland. They had said, that those restrictions, with regard to commerce, under which they laboured, were exceedingly impolitic as well as cruel; and that it would be for the benefit of England as well as of Ireland, that there should be such an extension of trade, and such settlement of connection, as would quiet the jealousies of the one, without hurting the interest, or lowering the rank of the other.
It was therefore to be presumed, at least, that they would act up to their former declarations; he sincerely believed that they would do so; and he could assure the house, for his own part, that he was entirely disposed to heal the sore minds of our fel. low-subjects, and to prevent the unhappy consequences of division and tumult.