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does a corrupt Government betray more weakness,
ing to Mr.
After the fruitless efforts of nine years revoluPitt's retir- tionary warfare, Mr. Pitt could no longer disguise
ing from office.
to his wounded pride the aggrandizement of his
acquittal of Mr. Arthur O'Connor of the charges, for which he
Minuteness of detail has been necessary to develope this part of the system. But can or ought that system to stand, which for the accomplishment of its ends has recourse to the practice and encouragement of so much baseness and depravity?
enemy, in proportion to the exhaustion of his own The British people tired out with the still unfulfilled predictions of the total ruin of the enemy, began to direct their longing eyes to the blessings of that peace and prosperity, in which he found the nation, when he was first entrusted. with the reins of her Government. The sullen pride of that Minister would not descend to an avowal, that his plans had failed and a besotted people even after such sore experience was bullied into a belief, that for the furthering of his projects one half of their property was necessarily to be immolated, for the preservation of the other. If any thing could bespeak the real consequence and importance of Ireland in her relations to the British Empire at large, it was the conduct of Mr. Pitt in making her his stepping stone for descending from his lofty station. In no part of his Majesty's dominions had he more prodigally indulged his lust for arbitrary rule, than in Ireland. From his entrance into office in 1784, he distinctly marked his disposition towards Ireland, by the successive rejection of the popular measures of Parliamentary Reform, the reduction of the army establishment, the retrenchment of the expenditures in the civil departments, the protecting duties, by discrediting and dissolving the volunteers; by forcing upon the City of Dublin the unpopular paving bill of Sir John (now Lord de Blaquiere) without hearing counsel at their bar or receiving the petition of the inhabitants at large against it; and by passing two other bills brought in by gentlemen highly obnoxi
ous to the people; viz. the bill for protecting the soldiery, by General Lutterell (now Earl of Carhampton) although the soldiers had been the aggressors in some inhuman atrocities at Island Bridge, and the bill for restraining the liberty of the press by Mr. Foster the speaker (now Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer.) Some newspapers had reflected upon that gentleman, and the House of Commons ordered their Serjeant at Arms to take the Publishers and Printers out of the custody of the civil power, and hand them over to the ruder and less responsible discipline of a military escort.* The Irish people ill relished these beginnings of Mr. Pitt's Irish Ministers. Even the Irish House of Commons in the next year, steeped as it was in servility, made a stand against the ambitious dictator, and threw out his commercial propositions. An inexpiable offence, for which he never ceased to punish Ireland by every variety of national affliction, which insulted pride and baffled malice could devise. That inexorable enemy to Ireland
Vid: History of Ireland, by the Author, 2. Vol: 256. That outrageous conduct of the Irish House of Commons, when martial law had not been proclaimed in the country, happened, whilst Mr. Foster was their speaker. It was tamely submitted to by the Irish people, notwithstanding the outrage upon their rights and feelings were greater and more alarming, than the circumstance, which occa ioned the issuing of Mr. Abbot's warrants to apprehend Sir Francis Burdett and Mr. Gale Jones in the last Session of the Imperial Parliament. In Ireland too frequently and systematically did dragooning supersede the forms and tardy process of the law. This was not the only oc casion, on which more forbearance was practised by a Dublin, than a London mob.
was not sati fied with having exerted his utmost efforts to weaken and depress her, but he insulted her by drawing his apology for retiring from power from the very act of perfidy, by which he prevented that emancipation, by the prospect of which he duped her into the union. So barefaced was his duplicity throughout the whole negociation of that fatal measure, that whilst he and his agents were tempting the Catholics to give it support, in order to obtain their total emancipation, they were seducing the orangemen to exert their best energies to forward it, as the only effectual means of blasting the Catholics' hopes for ever. The Ministerial Agents even openly and from avowed authority assured the Orangemen, and the whole of the ascendancy party, that "by the union the Catholic question would be for ever set at rest; that its "agitation would never again interrupt the public repose, and that for any sacrifices Ireland might make, the tranquillity founded on the extinction "of the Catholic claims would be a liberal and
It is singular, that out of the complicated Further variety of embarrassments, under which Mr. Pitt Mr. Pitt's found himself compelled to retire from the helm, the only transaction, which furnished him with a plausible or popular ground for resignation, was the Catholic question, which that crafty Minister and his followers have so frequently used as a most powerful engine for the worst of political purposes. Within very few days after the meeting of Parliament, he made no secret of his resignation.
Great were the surprize and consternation, which attended the report. Few indeed gave credit to the alleged cause of the resignation: namely his inability to carry the Catholic question, which was imperiously necessary for the safety of the state. He was too fond of power, his influence in the country was too imposing, Ireland was too insignificant to have caused such an important change in all the departments of the state. Abstracting from the merits and justice of the ques. tion, and from the expediency or necessity of its being then propounded and carried, neither Mr. Pitt's friends nor opponents could bring their minds to believe, that an administration, which had established itself in spite of the House of Commons; which had baffled and at last subdued a most formidable opposition; which had maintained itself upon new courtly principles for 17 years, and still commanded a decided majority in the cabinet and senate, should have been thus broken up from the premier's inability to carry so simple and just a measure, as that of an equal parti cipation of constitutional rights amongst all the King's subject.
Other causes of
Besides those differences in the cabinet, to the Mr. Pitt's account of which Mr. Pitt's friends most anxie resignation. ously laid the abdication, it was generally believed, that some differences with the Duke of York, as commander in chief of his Majesty's forces, contained more of the real grounds for