a letter from Mr. Addington tendering his resigna- 1801. tion of the office of speaker, which had been rendered incompatible with the new duty imposed upon him by his Sovereign. Mr. Pitt communi. cated his Majesty's pleasure, that the house should proceed to the election of a new speaker. Sir John Mitford, (now Lord Redesdale) was chosen on the next day. It was not till the 17th of the month, that Mr. Pitt took an opportunity of publicly professing his grounds for retiring. They ran in unison with those of Lord Grenville, and leave not a shade of ambiguity about the preconcerted system of raising*

the Irish, and that it was truly said. « That crown law made the solicitor fat, the Attorney General lean and melancholy,

acquitted assassins and assassinated the witnesses.” Then by way of inducing capitalists to settle in Ireland, he drew the following sketch of his country within three months after the vnion. Every night, said he, that he retired to his chamber, he retired to an Armoury: every day, when he went out *** of his house, his servant as regularly handed him his pistols, as “ his hat. Noble Lords would then bave some idea of the tran. " quillity of Ireland, at least no small impression of the neces.

sity of continuing martial law there. If any Noble Lord “ doubted him, he wished him but the gratification of a solitary

evening's tide there, and his doubts would very soon vanish. Or if any Noble Lord were desirous with more effect to gratify " his knowledge and establish his conviction on these points, he « should have a villa gratis from him as long, as he should like u to try the experiments."

* Mr. Pitt had in 1800 made a very elaborate speech in favour of union, in which he artfully laboured to prove, that it was the readiest and surest measure for prolucing Catholic emancipation. Ten thousand copies of it were distributed by Government to inculcate that idea.

1801. and in the same moment defeating Ireland's expectation of being emancipated.

" I and some of my colleagues did recommend a measure, which “ under the circumstances of the union we thought “ of great importance to the completing of that

measure, and the full attainment of all those

advantages, which we expected to derive from " it. We felt that conviction so strongly, that “ the measure appeared to us to be indispensible. " But finding we could not propose it from Go

vernment” we thought it inconsistent with our “ duty and our honor to continue in office. "*

* Mr. Pitt in his speech against Mr. Grey's motion to go into the consideration of the state of the nation gave a much fuller explanation of the grounds of his resignation. He observed, that since resignation and mystery had in his regard been coupled together and the name of the King been brought into the question; and although he knew of no call upon him to give the reasons, why 'he resigned, yet by way of hypothetical illustration, he spoke a language intelligible to all. Supposing the opinion of the Sovereign to be one way, and that of his Minister the other, had not his Majesty a right to dismiss the “ servant so differing “ from him from his councils." He enlarged much upon this topic. He took that opportnnity of disclaiming the term Catholic emancipation : denying, that the Catholics had ever been in that situation, which justified the application of it to them. Mr. Fox in answer to that and some other parts of Mr. Pitt's speech, in which he had tauntingly charged him and his friends with jacobinism, thus spoke. “ I say Sir I believe in the original

rights of man. He who does not, is unworthy of the benefit of " mankind. I think a Catholic man and a Protestant man ought úr alike to have the original right of man.

Are all benefits to be abandoned, because the Right Honourable Gentleman has

not the sanction of some persons ? I respect the monarchy of " the country : but the monarch has nothing to do with the


On the same day in the Lords an interesting 1:01. conversation took place between Lord Holland and Ministerial Lord Auckland. The former wishing to throw to mention light upon the mysterious secession of all the etti- Catholic

emancipacient Ministers, had before noticed his intention of tion, calling for copies or reports of the Communications passed between the Catholic Cominittee and the agents of Government; to which Lord Auckland urged insuperable objections. All those, who re. mained in, or who expected to become members of the new administration, systematically deprecated every recurrence to this sore and important subject; such also was the feeling of Mr. Pitt and Lord Grenville*. In as much as Mr. Pitt chose to conmit the character and reputation of himself and such of his colleagues, in whose efficiency and talents he placed any confidence, to a question vital to Ireland, historical justice requires as full a disclosure of every circumstance affecting it, as can be supported: Lord Holland's view in calling for the communications between Government and the Catholic Committee in Ireland tended principally to authenticate, what was then spoken of as the Minister's written pledge to the Catholics for granting their emancipation. It afterwards became niore generally knowi), and a copy of it, was soon after produced in the House of Commons, of which Mr. Pitt thus spoke on another occa

private opinions of any Member of Parliament. He is to chase “ his Ministers, and to give or refuse his assent to measures.”

Viz. on 25th March on Mr. Grey's motion to take into consideration the state of the nation.


sion. *

" The Honorable Gentleman had asked if any assurances had been given to the Catholics, " and had read a paper said to have been published

by Lord Cornwallis. The substance of that paper Mr. Pitt avowed, and that he wished it

to be known, as soon as possible to the Catholics " and to the country, and had therefore purposely “ written to Lord Cornwallis. As to the particular “ expressions in the paper he knew nothing of

them, having never seen it before it was pub“ lished. He denied, that any pledge had been

given to the Catholics, either by himself, Lord “ Cornwallis or the Noble Lord near him (Castle

The Catholics inight very naturally “ have conceived a hope, and he himself had

always thought, that in time that measure would “ be a consequence of the union, because the diffi+ culties would be fewer than before.”

“ reagh).

* Although Lord Grenville tenderly avoided any discussion of the question of Catholic emancipation, yet he more frequently and more explicitly mentioned his opinion upon it, than Mr. Pitt. His words on the 20th of March in the debate upon the state of the nation were pointed. « Without " that point (viz. Catholic emancipation) attained, he thought o the vnion would be a base lifeless measure : and not being “ able to bring it forward in the way, which he conceived essential to its success, he thought in common with his col

leagnes, that they should retire from situations, which they " could not fill in their own opinions to the advantage of their

country." There cannot be a stronger argument for repealing the Act of Union, than that for the first ten years,

life blood of that measure has been drawn off, and the body consequently paralyzed or inflamed. Such was the consistency, such the sincerity of the men, who in the same breath pledged their

the very

Impenetrable was the obscurity, which hung 1801. about this transaction. It remained mysterious to Mr. Pitts all, who could not consider the causes assigned for the Cathoresignation adequate to the effect. The pride of Mr. Pitt, the sympathies of some and the fears of others of his friends cautiously restrained them from touching upon the real causes of their abdication, despondency and apprehension. The written document speaks for itself. It was never contended, that the original paper was in the liandwriting of Mr. Pitt. He is said to have dictated it to Lord Castleréagh. But Mr. Pitt's avowal of the substance and Lord Cornwallis's assertion, that he received it from Mr. Piit, settle the substantial authenticity of its having been a written communication between Government and the Catholics of Ireland. Although Mr. Pitt, and Lord Grenville in Parliament and Mr. Dundas (now Lord Melville) perhaps more cantiously out of Parliament, proclaimed their inability to carry the Catholic question, as the true and only cause of their resignation, yet they were too experienced in political intrigue, not to resume the grand coup de spectacle for that theatre, on which the delusion was principally intended to be played off. Mr. Pitt and Lord Castlereagh committed to paper, and concerted with Lord Cornwallis, that he also should express in writing the pretended sentiments of the leading friends to the Catholic claims, in order,

own and called upon their Peers for their support of Ministers, who professed implacable hostility to the question of Catholic emancipation.

« ForrigeFortsett »