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The question being then put on the amendment, it was negatived without a division.

On putting the fourth resolution, vide note in page 142, Lord Beauchamp moved to leave out all the words from "Great Britain and Ireland." His lordship's amendment was negatived. Mr. Eden moved to insert a provision for extending the proposed adoption by Ireland of certain laws to be originated in Great Britain, to English acts of parliament, " concerning seamen.”

Mr. SHERIDAN rose as the question was going to be put; and said, that as the persevering silence of ministers made it impossible for him to guess whether they meant to admit the amendment or not; and as they had pursued the same conduct in rejecting the amendment moved by the noble lord near him, which he had the honor of seconding; he would take that opportunity of speaking to the resolution generally as it had been framed, and defended by the minister, before it should become still more objectionable, by extending the powers it was to lodge in Great Britain over the sister kingdom. This, at least, Mr. Sheridan said, was a question on which gentlemen were no longer to hear the desires and wishes of Ireland urged as arguments for their concurrence; it was a matter wholly and entirely new. It was so far from being any part of the offer made by Ireland, that it had not even been hinted at, or alluded to in the Irish parliament; it never had been once glanced at by Mr. Orde; it formed no part of the consideration recommended to the attention of the parliaments of both kingdoms in His Majesty's gracious speech from the throne;-it was not to be found in the questions referred to by the investigation of the committee of privy council; and the right honorable gentleman himself (Mr. Pitt) in opening this business to the British parliament, had not uttered one word which tended to shew that this proposition was essential to the settlement proposed between the two kingdoms. The question then was, whether the new proposition now in debate, contained mat


ter fit to be proposed from the parliament of this country to the parliament of Ireland? In his conscience, he thought it did not. It was injurious to make the offer, and it was folly to believe it could be accepted. It was not enough to say, that the parliament of Ireland ought not, or dared not agree to it: they had not the power to accede to it;-it would be a concession beyond the limits of their trust; they would betray the confidence reposed in them; and the Irish nation would spurn at the bondage which their degenerate representatives had no authority to engage they should submit to.

Much had been argued on a former day relative to the extent and spirit of this proposition. The event and conclusion of all those arguments from both sides of the house, warranted him now in asserting, that this resolution went, in the fullest extent, to a complete resumption of the right of external legislation, so lately exercised, but so solemnly renounced, by Great Britain over Ireland. It was unnecessary to repeat those arguments; no person would again attempt to maintain, that this was a measure of experiment, or that it was in the power of Ireland to possess herself of the greatest present benefits from this country, which so many gentlemen contended she would immediately obtain, as a transfer of British capital, and the establishment of British manufactures; and then, by refusing to place upon her statute book some act of this legislature which she was bound to have adopted, void and annul the whole of this settlement, and revert unmolested to her present situation. A full expla-' nation had been given on this subject; the conclusions from which went distinctly to this, that the present settlement was final and perpetual. That the contracting parties in this momentous business being presumed to act with perfect foresight of the' consequence of their irrevocable engagements, neither party could depart from any article stipulated, without breach of faith. Such an infraction in the

stronger power would be an act of despotism and oppression; and would justify the utmost extent of resistance in the weaker. It would be a direct attempttod is engage herself from all connection with, or relation to, the empire; and would authorise the rigor of coercion. This was the footing upon which the two countries must in future be understood to be united. Upon this view, it would be an imposition on common sense to pretend, that Ireland could in future have the exercise of free will or discretion, upon any of those subjects of legislation on which she now stipulated to follow the edicts of Great Britain; and it was a miserable sophistry to contend, that her being permitted the ceremony of placing those laws upon her own statute book, as the form of promulgating them, was an argument, that it was not the British but the Irish statute which bound the people of Ireland. For his part, if he were a member of the Irish parliament, he should prefer the measure of enacting by one decisive vote, that all British laws, to the purposes stipulated, should have immediate operation in Ireland as in Great Britain; choosing rather to avoid the mockery of enacting without deliberation, and deciding where they had no power to dissent.Where fetters were to be worn, it was a wretched ambition to contend for the distinction of fastening our own shackles.

If this was a fair construction of the purport and necessary consequences of the resolution, was it a slight and trifling consideration, when we reflected on the solemn and decisive manner in which the faith of the two countries had been engaged on this subject? Whether Great Britain should insidiously, by surprise, and collaterally, as it were, make a proposal which would argue in her a repentance of the bounty, or rather of the justice, which she had done to Ireland; and which, if not accepted, would necessarily destroy for ever all confidence in that country towards Great Britain, on those great con

stitutional questions which she had shewn were so near to her breast, and so valued above all other advantages she had either claimed or acquired? It had been solemnly stipulated between the two kingdoms, that "The right claimed by Ireland, to be bound in all cases whatever, only by laws made by the king, lords, and commons of Ireland, should never more be questioned, or questionable." This resolution did not question that right. No, certainly it did not; it only offered to bargain for it; and proposed conditions on which the right was to be relinquished for ever by Ireland. But who are the parties negociating; and under what circumstances is the treaty carried on? A final commercial arrangement is declared to be necessary to the future good understanding between the two countries: and by this final arrangement, it is declared_by Britain, to be an indispensable condition, that Ireland should give up all legislative authority in matters of trade and navigation; and this condition is not fairly put forward in the outset of the treaty; but Ireland is treacherously encouraged to demand a benefit, and then a price is exacted greater than any favor Britain can bestow; whilst by the manner of stating it, Ireland is at the same time given to understand, that there can never be peace or cordiality between the two countries till she acquiesces in the sacrifice.

When a strong power, conscious of its superiority, treats with a weaker one upon such terms, it may not question, indeed, the right to the possession wished for; but it does more;-it hints à menace on the consequence of withholding it: the letter of the compact is not infringed, but the spirit of it is violated. Here, Mr. Sheridan said, he would not enter into a discussion, whether it was not reasonable in any administration, at any time, to entertain an apprehension, that great difficulties might arise in the government of two countries, each possessing an independent legislature, especially in matters of

commerce and navigation. To argue theoretically on such a situation, undoubtedly many apprehensions might be justifiable; but what had been the event? It had not proved them to be well founded; but whatever fears were entertained on the subject, this he was sure of, that the only mode of treating with Ireland, in a point of such magnitude, was by fair, explicit, and ingenuous plain dealing. If the British government really thought it essential to the future good understanding, and to the common interests of the two kingdoms, that the power of legislating to particular objects should be lodged in one kingdom, only for the common benefit of both, and of consequence in that kingdom which was the head of the empire; it should have been distinctly so stated in the first overture made to the Irish parliament, as the basis of a permanent agreement. If then upon due deliberation, and full communication with their constituents, and with the country at large, the parliament of that kingdom had thought it advisable, and had been authorised to treat for the surrender of those rights which they had so lately deemed the only safeguard either of their commerce or their constitution; and which they gloried so much to have obtained by their own virtuous and spirited exertions; then undoubtedly, whatever he might have thought of their prudence, he should not have held himself at liberty to make the same comments on the proceeding. Instead of this, all had been delusion, trick, and fallacy: a new scheme of commercial arrangement is proposed to the Irish as a boon; and the surrender of their constitution is tacked to it as a mercantile regulation. Ireland, newly escaped from harsh trammels and severe discipline, is treated like a high-mettled horse, hard to catch; and the Irish Secretary is to return to the field, soothing and coaxing him, with a sieve of provender in one hand, but with a bridle in the other, ready to slip over his head while he is snuffling at the food. But this political jockeyship,

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