Resolved, That in order to promote commercial equality, it is necessary that the manufactures of Ireland should be admitted into Great Britain on the same terms on which similar manufactures of Great Britain are now admitted into Ireland.

That the raw produce should be permitted to be exported from Great Britain into Ireland, on the same terms on which similar produce is permitted to be imported from Ireland into Great Britain.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer replied to Mr. Grattan. He contended that, by the bill, Ireland was enabled to profit by the trade with India as much as the ex-chartered subjects of Great Britain ; and the best way was first to begin under the auspices of Great Britain ; that the circuitous return from Asia, through the port of London, was an inconvenience more than compensated by the low price of freightage: he concluded by moving the order of the day. Mr. Grattan's motion was opposed by Dr. Duigenan, Mr. Burton Conyngham, and Mr. Hobart. It was supported by Mr. Duquery, Mr. Vandeleur, and Mr. Forbes, who entered at great length into the merits of the question; an exclusive charter, he maintained, was injurious to trade, and a free intercourse would be more beneficial to Great Britain ; in support of this was Mr. Dundas's letter to the court of proprietors, stating, “ That, in his opinion, the grant of an exclusive commerce to India is not very material, either to the interests of the company or the public. By opening a trade with China, Ireland would derive great advantages; she is at present obliged to purchase tea from the Company in London, who do not take her manufactures; whereas, by a direct intercourse with China, she would find a market for them in that quarter of the globe; the bill was therefore objectionable, inasmuch as it allowed an export, but no import in return; if it therefore established what it professed to do a perfect commercial equality, it should confer privileges as well as impose restrictions. The motion of Mr. Grattan, he thought, should be adopted. Mr. Grattan, however, agreed to withdraw it, on condition that it would be brought forward again in the course of the session,




July 16. 1793.

N the 19th of February, Mr. Forbes had obtained leave to bring

in a billa." to secure the freedom and independence of the House of Commons, by excluding therefrom persons holding offices under the Crown, pensions during terms of years, or during pleasure." It was presented, and read a first time, and on the 7th of March it was read a second time, and moved to be committed.

Mr. Forbes, on that occasion said, that officers of the army and navy, were specially exempted from exclusion; the house. hold of the Lord-lieutenant were excluded, and properly excluded, from seats in that House; but it was competent for all the principal officers of the state to sit in the House, subject to re-election on the acceptance of office. This was and salutary, parliamentary reform; for eight years he had laboured in the pursuit of this object, and the arrival of the bill. to a committee, was to him a matter of great satisfaction.

Mr. Hobart supported the principle of the bill, as did Mr.' Maxwell, Mr. Dunn, and Mr. Ponsonby. It was opposed by Sir Boyle Roche, Mr. Denis Browne, Mr. Barrington, and Mr. Beresford.

a safe

Mr. GRATTAN said: it is now time to consider the commercial and constitutional state of your country: in point of commerce we are unequal; the navigation act construed, so as to admit one country, and exclude the other; our Eastern trade, by our own law, checked and discouraged; in short, our trade is neither equal nor reciprocal, in reference to Great Britain; while we are incurring more, perhaps, than our proportion of expence in a war declared against England. Our constitution is also defective; we have not the blessings of the British constitution; we have not a pension bill, nor a place bill, nor any responsibility in the ministers of the crown. Our pension list is indefinite and disgraceful; the number of placemen sitting in Parliament, so numerous as to bear down all chance of weight, which the people ought to have in their own house of Parliament, As to responsibility, you have no such thing; the servants of the crown in Ireland are not placed on the principles of the British constitution; nor has your constitution herein any similitude with that of Great Britain. If, then, gentleinen mean to give this country the blessings of the British constitution, which we are entitled to by our services and our exertions, let them accede to these measures. I do not presume to say, that I know any thing of the sentiments of the British cabinet, but I am convinced, that a resistance to such concession will not proceed from them. The speech from the throne is a proof that the ministers of England are better disposed than those of Ireland to unite all ranks of men in the support of the government, by taking into consideration the condition of the subject. There are two other measures which I

persist to press, but I have not mentioned ; a bill to disqualify the officers of the revenue from voting for members of Parliament; and a bill for the repeal of the police act. I think them both of consequence, and the latter indispensable. As to reform, I understand leave will be asked on Saturday to bring in a bill for a more equal representation of the people. This should be added to those concessions which we deem necessary to unite all men in cordial and active support of the British constitution. In this particular we are differently circumstanced from the English ; for the people of Ireland are not represented here as well and as fully as the people of England are in the Parliament of Great Britain.

Having considered what this country wants, I will remind you of what she has given, - a great militry force, a great supply, and bills of extraordinary and unexampled power entrusted to His Majesty's ministers; and perhaps she is now on the point of granting additional force and aids. I, therefore, take this opportunity to put in a claim, on the part of the people, for their redress and satisfaction. I implore, I demand those measures of His Majesty's ministers; I desire that they may be substantially acceded to; and however ministers may think they are strong from the grants we have made, let me tell them, their great strength can only be given by themselves, that is, by a timely concurrence in such a system as can unite and satisfy.

It was carried that the bill should be committed, and that the House should resolve itself into a committee on the 20th of April. The House, however, adjourned over that day, and on the 10th of June, the question, that the bill be committed, was lost on a division. On the 16th of July, Mr. Forbes moved, that the committee be empowered to receive a clause, to disqualify persons employed in the management of the revenue, from sitting or voting in Parliament. It was opposed by the ministerial party, who defended the necessity of the influence of the Crown, and denied it to be a principle of the constitution, that a person should be excluded from Parliament because he held an office under government.

On this occasion, Mr. Grattan said : Mr. Speaker, I cannot agree that it should ever be laid down, as an abstract principle of the constitution, that the Crown should possess a certain degree of influence in this House; but I know, that though the theory of the constitution rejects such influence, the practice is otherwise; and it is the great secret of government, and the great duty of Parliament, to avoid and prevent the abuse of this influence; otherwise it would

grow to such a size, as to crush and overwhelm Parliament. As, therefore, it is the duty of Parliament to resist and controul the growth of this influence, so also it is the duty of ministers, when it becomes offensive to Parliament and the people, to submit to have it checked and limited: for, if you do not allow this latitude to ministers, without incurring the charge of inconsistency, they never can accede to any question which they have once opposed. Upon this principle, I do not see any inconsistency in their supporting a place bill now, though they opposed it in the year 1790; besides, since that time, the quantity of influence has very much increased; not only by individual new appointments, but by the establishment of a treasury-board; an establishment which the present bill, in a great measure, corrects; and, upon the whole, I think that opposition should rather return administration thanks for conceding this measure, than charge them with inconsistency, because they had formerly opposed it.

In excluding from this House the officers pointed out by the bill, it is not because they are unworthy that they are excluded, but because their business lies in other places; because, if they attend faithfully to their other duties, they cannot discharge their duty to their constituents; and, because we have the experience derived from the British act, that, in England, the measure has been attended with most salutary effects.

It has been proved, that you cannot govern this country by patronage; when you do not want the support arising from influence, you will have it; but you will not have it when you do want it: therefore, the system of my honourable friend, places government on a broader foundation the favour of the nation, the affection of the people, which the merits of a good government will never fail to excite.

As to the question of a landed qualification, I shall not press any opinion upon the House. I think it was right to put it into the bill; for, abstractedly, it is certainly right, though, practically, it has its inconveniences; for if it had been strictly carried into effect, it is certain it would have excluded from the British Parliament some of the greatest statesmen that ever served their country: it would have excluded Lord Somers, Lord Chatham, Mr. Pitt, Mr. Fox, and many others. The theory is one way, the practice another; it would exclude a great many most excellent lawyers. I love to have able lawyers near me in Parliament. We have to

record but one disgraceful instance of their being excluded: Lord Coke calls the Parliament Parliamentum indoctum, and it is what we should not wish to see repeated.

I am not very fond of speaking of myself; I will, however, say, that, though the public have been pleased to give me a qualification, yet I must not forget, that, when I laboured most for the service of my country, I was, according to the provisions of this bill, not qualified to sit in this House.

The clause was negatived without a division. The bill then went through its several stages. It was much altered from its original form, and ultimately passed both Houses, and received the royal assent; and the influence of the Crown, in the House of Commons, was considerably lessened.


July 17. 1793.

N the 8th of June, the Lord Chancellor (Clare) moved in

the Lords, for leave to bring in a bill, to prevent the election or appointment of conventions, or other unlawful assemblies, under pretence of preparing or presenting public petitions, or other addresses to His Majesty, or the Parliament. It passed through the House very speedily; only three Lords, Leinster, Charlemont, and Arran, voted against it. On the 13th, a message was sent to the Lower House, stating, that the bill had been passed; it was accordingly received, and read a first time, and on this day (17th) the order for the second reading being called for,

Mr. GRATTAN said: Mr. Speaker, I rise to oppose the principle of this bill and its clauses. The bill does not go to accomplish the end which was proposed; but goes to raise those jealousies which were intended to be removed. I oppose this bill, Sir, with peculiar concern, coming as it does from that august assembly which i highly revere. With peculiar concern I oppose it at this time, when a treasonable idea has gone abroad, levelling nobility with the dust. But, while I possess my respect for the persons, and my attachment to the institution of that august body, I cannot help withholding my assent from this bill. The preamble sets forth as law that which I deny to be law; it states that assemblies of delegates, purporting to represent the people for certain purposes of petitioning, &c. are

« ForrigeFortsett »