CHAP. VII.] THE DEBATE IN THE LORDS. 213 which it was heard by all your friends. The giant and barefaced corruption which had for a course of years pervaded the Government of Ireland, he strongly animadverted upon, and the mention of Beresford's name drew up Lord Townshend to give his testimony in favour of that gentleman, which he did, shortly stating him as a man of honour, integrity, and so forth ; but, previous to his short speech, Lord Westmoreland went into a defence of his own administration, and what he meant as attack upon Lord Fitzwilliam, the whole delivered in so awkward, incoherent, and disgusting a style, and tone of voice, as to make considerable impression in the house utterly to his advantage. Lord Fitzwilliam replied to him, with great force, great dignity, and great effect, marking very distinctly the impropriety of Lord Westmoreland's embarrassing the succeeding Government previous to his departure, and continuing the same conduct, by his own avowal and confession, upon his arrival in this country. The popularity which, on various occasions, in and out of Parliament, had so uniformly manifested itself towards the King's Government under his administration, he ascribed to the notoriety of his having placed his confidence in you, and the Ponsonbys, and in your connexions, and in his having withdrawn it from it from those who had enjoyed the confidence of the administration to which he succeeded, and on your popularity, on the use you had at all times made of that popularity, on your views, on your character, and on your abilities, he expatiated, with an ease and eloquence that seemed to flow from the nature of the subject and the justice of the

The length of Lord Grenville's speech, which was merely upon the impropriety of inquiring into a dismissal, -the futility of Lord Buckingham's, which was merely a eulogy upon Beresford, and Hamilton,-or Lord Spencer's, which was expressive only of his satisfaction from the conduct of Mr. Pitt towards himself, I need not enter into. But Lord Lauderdale's was in a strain that I cannot pass over; the comparison he drew of the speeches of the two Lord-Lieutenants was masterly in the highest degree, and his animadversions upon Lord Westmoreland's most severe; who, when he was declaiming against Lord Fitzwillian's profusion in making arrangements, claimed the reversion to Wolfe as his own act, and who, when finding fault with his disclosing private communications, had the


folly and impudence himself to state conversations that had passed between himself and Mr. Pitt (whom he named without any circumlocution) on the subject of the Catholic measure, which Pitt told him was not to pass, and on the subject of the removals, which Pitt told him were not to take place !!!! Excuse me to the Ponsonbys for not writing to them, by shewing them this letter. I wish I may do you the same justice on Tuesday, that Lord Fitzwilliam did you yesterday. We hear of Pelham's declaration with astonishment. Yours ever,

MILTON P.S. How the Duke of Portland should have escaped the debate will appear as extraordinary to you as it does to me. Accusations of general duplicity were thrown out, but nothing particular against him. He said a few words at the close of the debate.


Conduct of the Irish on the recall of Lord Fitzwilliam, March, 1795-Ad

dresses to Mr. Grattan, and his answers—Error of the Opposition in joining the Duke of Portland-Arrival of Lord Camden-Mr. Grattan's remarks as to British cabinet and connexion--Sensation in the House by his spirited conduct-Motion on the state of the nation-rejected Separation between Protestant and Catholic-Rejection of Catholic question-Remarks of Mr. Grattan-Result of change of government -Defenders and Orangemen-Persecution of Catholics-Lord Gosford and the Armagh resolutions-Spread of Defenderism and United Irish— Illegal conduct of Lord Carhampton-Parliament meets, January, 1796—Indemnity and Insurrection Bills—Speech of Lord Edward Fitzgerald-State of peasantry-Motion of Curran and JephsonWhig Club report on the poor of Ireland-Invasion apprehended

dParliament called in October 1796–Mr. Grattan's amendmentMessrs. Fletcher and Curran-Habeas Corpus Act suspended-Mr. Grattan's proposition in favour of the Catholics—His declaration as to the Government measures- -Yeomanry called out.

The Irish people did not remain silent or passive spectators of the duplicity practised upon them by Mr. Pitt. Oppressed by penal laws, they had long submitted to unmerited injury. Now they were called on to submit to unwonted insult. They justly felt, that though the former might be atoned for, yet the latter admitted of no compensation; and if they tolerated such indignity without a murmur, they would be lowered in their own esteem, and in the opinion of every lover of justice and freedom. Accordingly, Protestants and Catholics alike assembled, and addressed Lord Fitzwilliam and Mr. Grattan, deprecating the departure of the Viceroy, and the loss of the public measures which he and Mr. Grattan had supported. Petitions were presented to the King, complaining of the conduct of his minister. The counties of Tipperary, Galway, Wexford, the Queen's County, the Catholics of Dublin, the Protestants of Londonderry, some of the minor Corporations of Dublin, the Students of the University, addressed Mr. Grattan on the occasion, and expressed, in spirited and patriotic terms, their sense of the ill-treatment which the country had received. Mr. Grattan's replies merit attention, as well for the principles they contain, as for the sketch of Irish affairs which they delineate. No history of these times would be complete without them.

[ocr errors]


To the Right Hon. Henry Grattan. SIR,—We are instructed by the Catholics of Dublin to offer you their humble tribute of thanks and gratitude, as well for the eminent services which you have rendered to this kingdom on various occasions, as for your able and generous exertions in their cause. It is not easy to do justice to a man whose name is connected with the most brilliant events of his time, and who has already obtained the highest of all titles,--the deliverer of his country : but though it is impossible to add to your fame by any terms we can employ, it must be grateful to you to learn that you have a place, not only in the admiration, but in the affections of your countrymen.

To be thus loved and admired is surely an amiable distinction. It may not, perhaps, be sufficient to preserve or purchase station and power at court, but to a well-formed mind it is a source of purer satisfaction, than the favour and protection even of monarchs or their ministers. Few men have had it in their power to do so much for their native land as you have done for Ireland. When you first entered into public life, garrison habits, and provincial prejudices, were opposed to Irish interests and feelings, and, what was still more discouraging, the different descriptions of people in this country, far from being ready to meet in a common point for their mutual advantage, were kept asunder by perverse and unintelligible antipathies of a religious nature. Into this chaos of contradiction you infused your spirit, and brought order in some measure out of confusion. The first effort of your eloquence was to rouse the Irish parlia



217 ment to assert its own independence; and, notwithstanding the habits of subjection which particular causes had induced, you were successful. At present you are engaged in a pursuit equally honourable to your head, and still more to your heart. As mover of the Catholic Bill, you are endeavouring to inculcate the necessity of moderation and justice, where you had before inspired courage: and urging

: men who triumphed over foreign supremacy, to an act of much greater dignity and difficulty,-a sacrifice of the prejudices of their youth and education.

In this work, so full of genius and public spirit, and which

goes to the creation of a people, as your former exertions went to the forming of a constitution, you have already made considerable progress; and when you and your illustrious friends were called to the councils of a virtuous viceroy, we looked with confidence to the accomplishment of your patriotic intentions. Some enemy, however, to the king and to the people, has

, interposed his malignant and wicked suggestions, and endeavoured to throw obstacles in the way of our total emancipation. But we are far from giving way to sentiments of despondency and alarm.

We feel the justice of our pretensions, and we are persuaded that what is fittest will prevail over the arts of perfidy and falsehood.

What gives us the most sensible satisfaction, is the general union of sentiment that pervades all ranks and descriptions of Irishmen on the present occasion. Never did Ireland speak with a voice so unanimous. Protestants and Catholics are at this moment united, and seem to have no other contest but who shall resent most the outrage that has · been offered to Irish pride in the intended removal of a patriotic viceroy from the Government, and you and your friends from the councils of this kingdom.

(Signed) By order, &c. &c.

MR. GRATTAN'S ANSWER. GENTLEMEN ;-In supporting you, I support the Protestants. We have but one interest and one honour, and whoever gives privileges to you, gives vigour to all. The Protestant already begins to perceive it. A late attack has rallied the scattered spirits of the country from the folly of religious schism, to the recollection of national honour; and a nation's feuds are lost in a nation's resentment. Your emancipation will pass ; rely on it, your emancipation

« ForrigeFortsett »