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the object of the associations, and whose creation has not yet taken place. I have no objection to an association, if monarchy is in danger, or even if there should be a doubt, I think it incumbent on every man to rally round the throne.
It is the felicity of these islands, that · however we may require to reform abuses, we are not now to seek for a constitution. On the militia I have already observed; the augmentation of the army, I know precisely what it is; it may be very proper, it may be trifling, it may be illegal, but every measure necessary to order I will support.
We have a monarchy, the best form of government for rational and durable liberty; it is a fortunate circumstance attending that monarchy, that the title of the family on the throne is interwoven with the assurances of our title of liberty, and now the King himself comes as the second deliverer of his people; and it may perhaps be considered as another circumstance not inauspicious to the duration of liberty, that the characteristical properties of the family on the throne, very opposite to encroaching ambition, should be distinguished by honesty and hereditary courage.
We have to advise and limit monarchy, and to exercise legislative power; a parliament consisting of a senate, without which no country was ever temperately or securely conducted; and a commons, without whose existence the people cannot be free, for such a system who is there that would not associate ? But it is for its blessings, and not its abuses. I would associate for our present constitution on principles directly opposite to those on which it has been administered in Ireland. I would associate, because I do not think it is a monarchy, the exercise of whose authority depends on selling the honours of one house of Parliament, to buy the honesty of the other; because I do not think it is a senate whose honours should be sold, and because I do not think it is a house whose votes must be periodically bought for a million or half a million. To associate, therefore, for our constitution as administered in Ireland, would be an association for abuses, an association for grievance, an association for such mischiefs, that if not speedily abolished must destroy our most excellent constitution, and therefore would be an association, not for our constitution, but its destruction. Do you mean to say we are sensible of the virtues of the King and Constitution, and they may add, of the wisdom of the Earl of Westmorland. With government do you mean to embody the virtues of the King with the offences of his offi and to make the association as a ridiculous mockery of His Majesty, and a false certificate for a bad servant; that is to say, we are so very fond of our
most excellent constitution that we do not care how much it is abused; it is to profess one thing, and to associate for another; to profess the constitution, and to combine for its abuses. But association is merely a palliative; unless the remedy goes along with it, what is the remedy? Settle the great question with our Catholic brethren; settle it on principles of liberty, of unanimity, and of extensive freedom.
What is the other remedy? It is a word will find in the books. The lawyer peruses the description daily. It is a Parliament; a free and independent Parliament, chosen by the people. Whether the people have that at present, I need not debate, but I repeat it, the radical cure is a free and independent Parliament, chosen by the people.
I shall amend the address; that part of it which relates to His Majesty is cold and impolitic; his interposition to heal our religious animosities, is an act of distinguished wisdom ; as such it should be marked, particularly at a time when attempts have been made on the thrones of princes; at such a time I would mark to the Catholics the King as the deliverer of his people. I would distinguish him from his ministers. I would mark that monarch who had rescued his people from the hands of those ministers, that however we may abhor their proceedings, we shall, if necessary, unite to rally in support of the throne, keeping clear of leaning to any French politics, or any wishes in favour of that nation now on the eve of a war with a country with whom we are by the Crown, by the law, by interest, and by every political tie, for ever to be connected.
1, therefore, inove, that the following amendment be made in the address, after the word “ Constitution," in the ninth paragraph.
- We admire the wisdom which at so critical a season has prompted Your Majesty to come forward to take a leading part in healing the political dissensions of your people on account of religion. We shall take into our immediate consideration the subject graciously recommended from the throne; and, at a time when doctrines pernicious to freedom, and dangerous to monarchical government are propagated in foreign countries, we shall not fail to impress Your Majesty's Catholic subjects, with a sense of the singular and eternal obligation they owe to the throne and to Your Majesty's Royal person and family."
" Mr. Denis Browne, Mr. Hardy, Mr. Egan, and Mr. Serjeant Duquery, expressed their strong approbation of that part of the speech which recommended the case of the Roman Catholics to the consideration of Parliament. Mr. Serjeant Duquery said,
that the times did not admit of the refusal of just and moderate demands; and if government persisted in refusing a redress of grievances, his connexion with them would cease: he was ready to resign his situation; it was conferred without solicitation, and would be returned without murmur or regret. He censured the conduct of the government towards the Roman Catholics in the last session; treating them then with such contempt and now retracing their steps, showed a want of judgment and public care. Mr. Hobart (secretary), Dr. Duigenan, Mr. Barrington, and Mr. Sheridan, defended the conduct of government; and maintained that they had not acted towards the Roman Catholics, in the preceding session, with any disrespect. Mr. Hobart said, that when the Roman Catholics had applied to him in the session of 1790, on the subject of their petition, he gave them no en. couragement, because he was not warranted to do so. Subsequently, when a relaxation of the Popery laws took place in Great Britain, he had communicated with them, and recommended to them most strongly to adopt a conciliatory line of conduct, as the only ground on which they could hope for indulgence from Parliament.
Mr. Grattan then agreed to withdraw his amendment, until the report on the address should be brought up from the committee.
On the ensuing day, the committee reported the address, when Mr. Grattan's amendment was proposed. It was warmly supported by Mr. Conolly, Mr. Forbes, Major Doyle, Mr. Curran, Mr. Serjeant Duquery, and Mr. Hardy. Mr. Conolly said, that during thirty-three years that he had sat in Parliament, he could not recollect so awful a moment as the present: the expenses and debt of the country were great, and the corrupt extravagance of administration were equal to both. He rejoiced that liberality towards the Catholics had been recommended from the throne; but he disapproved of that part of the address which thanked His Majesty for continuing the Earl of Westmorland in the government of the country.
Mr. Forbes wished that the acknowledgments to His Majesty for having recommended the Catholic claims to Parliament had been conceived in more forcible terms. He objected to the thanks returned for continuing Lord Westmorland in the government of Ireland ; and, with respect to the passage where the words “ Our excellent constitution” were inserted, he could not but observe, that the corrupt practices of the government had impaired its freedom and its excellence. The Lord Lieutenant had 110 pensioners in the House of Commons, and, for the tranquillity of the country, it was absolutely necessary that he should cease to be the chief governor.
Mr. Curran drew a very humorous picture of the political traffic resorted to in Parliament. Observe the progress and the profit of this traffic: Sir Francis sells his estate and buys a seat; brings Madam and Miss to a town, where, I dare say, they are likely to make many edifying discoveries ; is introduced to a minister, who, as the right honourable secretary says of himself, and, I am sure, justly, knows not how to be uncivil to any man. Well, Sir, Sir Francis takes a squeeze for a promise, and, full of future place, comes down and speaks for the good of the nation. He soon finds he has unluckily neglected one necessary preparation, – the learning to read; his eloquence cannot live long upon “ hear him!” he finds he is better any where than on his legs; he therefore betakes himself to his seat, pops his chin upon his stick, listens and nods with much sapience, repays his “ hear him!" and walks forth among the ages with good emphasis and sound discretion. Thus he works on for seven sessions, and at last gets, not one place, but three places, - in the stage-coach, - for himself, and Madam and Miss, to go back to a ruined farm, with ruined healths and ruined morals; unworthy and unfit for the only society they can have; a prey to famished want and mortified pretensions ; with minds exactly like their faded Castle-silks, the minds too feeble to be reformed, and the gowns too rotten to be scoured.
Mr. Duquery replied to an attack made by the Solicitor-general (Mr. Toler). He has described me as as a man dejected in spirits; he has held me forth as a trumpeter; and, last of all, he has placed me behind the counter, opening a shop of grievances. With regard to the first charge of being low in spirits, I can assure the honourable gentleman that he is totally mistaken. I do not think that I ever found myself in better spirits in my life; and possibly the cheerfulness of my mind may result from a consciousness of discharging my duty as I ought; however, I by no means pretend to be possessed of that happy vivacity with which that honourable gentleman so peculiarly abounds. He is blessed with spirits that can scarcely be depressed by any event. On one occasion, however, I recollect the natural cheerfulness of his mind had almost forsaken him. When he beheld the royal sun, whose cheering beam had shone upon him for many years, verging, as he conceived, towards its final setting, and a new luminary rising in the political hemisphere, to which he had not yet paid his adoration, then, indeed, for the first time, his lively spirits left him, and they sunk in proportion to his much dreaded loss of emolument; for with some men the true barometer of their spirits is the security of their office. Fortunately, however, our gracious Sovereign was restored to his health, and the honourable gentleman recovered his spirits. The station of a trumpeter, which the honourable gentleman has with so much kindness conferred upon me, I should accept with pleasure, if, like him, I could blow forth the virtues of viceroys and their ministers; yet ever unpractised as I am in Hattery, I shall be happy to become his trumpeter, if he be so good as 'to say what notes I can sound in his praise, which will be grateful to the ears of the people. The last respectable station which he has been pleased to allot me, is that of opening a shop of grievances; if, by that elegant expression, he means that I have stated to this House with deep concern the sufferings of the people, I shall readily admit the charge he has so handsomely made upon me; but whoever may open a shop of grievances, that honourable gentleman can best inform the House who has furnished that shop with all its materials.
Mr. Hardy vindicated Mr. Duquery from the charge of having abandoned his party. An honourable and learned gentleman has thought proper, among other things which he was pleased to mention of my honourable friend, to say, that last night he was in low spirits, and most musical, most melancholy.” It is the first time I ever heard that he was either the one, or the other. But since my honourable friend has this night retired from the ministerial side of the House, will the learned gentleman allow me to do that which he did not do himself, that is, to quote the whole couplet alluded to by him, and then my honourable friend may be thus addressed :
6 Sweet bird, that shun'st the noise of folly,
Most musical, most melancholy." Mr. GRATTAN observed -- Sir, I did not say, as the right honourable gentleman seemed to conceive, that government had packed juries to vote resolutions against the Catholics, but I did say, and I repeat it, that the confidential minister of the Crown in England took a very forward and early part in inciting grand juries to enter into the most violent l'esolutions against the Catholics, and I add, that those servants of the Crown did thereby give the Protestants false hopes and false alarms; and I say also, that this country has been saved, by the personal interposition of the King, from the religious war, promoted by the violence of those ministers. A member has said that the minister could not have influenced a majority to vote in the last session for the Catholic pretensions, on the terms then proposed; supposing such an exertion of influence to be possible, it is my opinion it would have been successful; but I must think it very extraordinary in ministers to have represented in the last winter the impossibility of carrying that question, and in autumn to have tried to secure that impossibility, by promoting grand juries to pledge themselves and fortunes against such question. Such a discovery proves on the other side of the water a liberal disposition, and an intolerant disposition here of men intriguing in the mongrel capacity of minister and country gentleman, to render that liberality abortive; and the result of the transaction tends to sink the Irish ministry, and to exalt the King. A right honourable gentleman has observed, that the ministry has become unpopular from the efforts of opposition; one would have thought their own efforts had been sufficient. I have mentioned their conduct towards 3,000,000 of subjects, whose voice must constitute a considerable part of the people. But what was their conduct in other relationships ? their conduct in rejecting