Графични страници
PDF файл

of Ireland, that they should receive all countenance, favour and protection from his royal influence for the encouragement and promotion of the linen manufacture, to all the advantage and profit of which that kingdom should be capable.” That the condition of this countenance was complied with by giving up the woollen manufacture of Ireland, was evident. But notwithstanding this, discouragement, riwalship and restriótion had been experienced by them in their sailcloth, in their printed linen, and in their linen manufacture of different species. And now the Irish secretary came forward, and proposed the restitution of part of that ceded manufacture, the sail-cloth manufacture, as an inducement for -Ireland to treat with Great Britain. Was not this first to rob them, and then attempt to bribe them with their own 2. But if in a transaction that would have becn dishonourable between two private merchants, the successive parliaments of Great Britain had so obviously broken their former engagements, what must they think of a proposal to confide to her present declarations not only their commerce but their constitution ? * * * Mr. Burgh alluded to the arguments which had been employed in Great Britain against ceding any advantages to Ireland. They were not to be allowed commerce on account of the cheapness of their labour. And from what did that cheapness of labour arise From the want of employment, and the consequent misery of the people. What was the cause of that mifery? The restrictions laid on their manufactures and trade by Great Britain. Another argument against their being admitted to commerce was taken from the goodness and

- -

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

Mr. Grattan was much more coious upon the second division of {...}. which bore upon its face inequality of duty as well as inequality of trade. This related in the first place to the raw material of the woollen manufacture. The proposition indeed, stipulated that there should be flo new prohibition. But every prohibition beneficial to England was laid before, and none in favour of Ireland. Ireland till 1779 was a province ; and, before the provincial regulations were superseded, this arrangement estblished a principle of uti poffortis, that is, Great Britain should retais all her advantages, and Ireland all her disadvantages. But there were instances of more striking inequali. ty; they were to give a monopoly to the present or any future East India company during its existence, and to the British nation for ever after. This was not a furrender of the political rights of the constitution, but of the natural prerogatives of man; not of the privileges of parliament, but of the rights of nations. They were not to sail beyond the cape of Good Hope, and the straits of Magellan. An awful interdićt . Other interdićts extended to a determined period of time; but here was an etcrimity of restraint : Other interdićts extended to particular placca for local reasons; but here were neutral regions forbidden, and the bounties of providence denied in the most opulent boundaries of creation . It resembled ather a judgment of God than an act of the legislature, whether they measured it by immensity of spice, or infinity of duration, and had nothing human about it except its presumption From their fituation in the East Mr. Grattan proceeded to confider their situation in the West. They

[ocr errors]

But without enlarging upon this circumstance Mr. Grattan called the attention of his hearers to one article in the settlement, which could accompany no settlement, which must be fatal to any treaty, and tear asunder the bands of faith and affection. The article he intended was that which opened afresh the settlement of the free trade, and the colony trade in 1779. The present system took from them the power of selection, so that the whole covenant hanged on each several branch ; and took from them their option of the produce of foreign plantations, and of America. . It was a revision in peace of the settlements of war; it was a revocation in peace of the acquisition of war. Mr. Grattan conceived those arrangements to be sacred. They might make other arrangements with the British nation, but they would never make any so beneficial as these. They were the result of a conjuncture, miraculously formed, and fortunately seized. From the confideration of these settlements he was naturally led to that part of the subječt which related to compensation. Compensation certainly could not apply to the free trade of 1779, or the frce constitution of 1782, first because they were already adjusted, and could not be revoked; and secondly, because they were points of unalienable right. Freemen would not pay for the recovery of their rights; payment derogated from the nature of the claim, and so it had then been understood. It was then thought, that to have amnexed subfidy to constitution would have marred an illustrious experiment on the feelings of the nation. Then was exhibited the bolder policy, the happy art, which saw hew much might be got by compulsion, and how much might be

left to honour; which yielded them their claims unstipulated and unconditioned, and made a bold push for the hearts of the nation. Let them see then what they obtained without compensation. A colon trade, a free trade, the floo. ency of their judges, the government of the army, the extinétion of the unconstitutional powers of the council, the restoration of the judicature of their lords, and the independency of their legislature. Let them see now what they obtained by compensation; a covenant not to trade beyond the Cape of Good Hope and the Straits of Magellan; a covenant not to take foreign plantation produce, not to take American produce, but as Great Britain should permit; a covenant not to take British plantation produce but as Great Britain should prescribe; a covenant never to protećt their own manufactures, never to guard the primum of those manufactures; these things accompanied, he acknowledged, with a covenant on the part of England to disarm the argument for protećting duties, to give the English language in the aët of navigation the same construction in both countries, and to leave the linen market without molesłation. One would think some God prefided over the liberties of that country, who made it frugality in the Irish nation to continue free, and annexed the penalties of fine as well as infamy to the surrender of the constitution From the confideration of commerce Mr. Grattan proceeded to a uestion much more high and ines. timable, before which the ideas of protećting duties, of reciprocal duties, of countervailing dutics, vanished into nothing, and by the tendencies of which the prudence of every head and the energies of every - heart

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ПредишнаНапред »