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CONSTITUTIONAL
OBJECTIONS

TO THE

GOVERNMENT OF IRELAND

BY A

SEPARATE LEGISLATURE,

IN

A LETTEK

TO

JOHN HAMILTON, ESQ.

OCCASIONED BY HIS REMARKS ON A MEMOIRE ON THE

PROJECTED UNION.

Br THEOBALD M-KENNA, Es

DUBLIN

PRINTRD BY HI FITZPATRICK 2, VPPER ORMOND-QWAY,

1799

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P R E F A CE:

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ERHAPS it is not more allowable to plead assitudein any other circumstances, than when the mind has been for some time engaged with a question of controversial politics. I must acknowledge that I send these papers to the press, without having completed my original design. Although this division of the argument has become more tedious than I could poffibly have conjeured.

I propose, at a convenient time, to return to the fubject, with a view to insist more fully on the inefficacy of the several projects for internal regulation, which have been propounded in this kingdom; to enforce what appears to me, by no means unimportant in the present state of the public mind, that to be a member of the British empire is indispensable to the good of Ireland : I think it will follow, as of course, that a state of general incorporation is the form of connection, most eligible and advantageous. I shall endeavour to examine and aflign the real causes of our relative prosperity for some years back; relative to the degree from the effects of the civil wars; but in

here recovered in no wise relative to the degree of prosperity she might have attained, under a system of universal regulation more congenial to the people. The North of Ireland I must put out of the question, as its peculiar circumstances exempt it from the per

; nicious distribution of powers, and application of

authority

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authority. Trade has been pursued with advantage in the kingdom of Bengal, and at Cairo and Alexandria : Does it therefore follow, that the

Tas

of society in these countries is

perfect ? Fortunes are accumulated at Cadiz and Oporto : Is it impracticable to correct the discipline of Government in Spain and Portugal?

Whilst the profits of trade in Cork and Dublin are at thousands per annum, the rate of labour within forty miles .of either city, is at fix-pence the day, or, which is a more exact criterion, the people within half that distance are abject and comfortless.

If any man were to impute the state of manners and industry in England, not to the suppression of villanage, and early abolition of feudal jurisdi&ion; but to two pence bounty upon woollens, and three farthings upon cotton; he should reason just as thofe do, who suppose this nation to have thriven merely by parliamentary encouragement, and who make no account of the repeal of the popery laws, which turned the industry of millions to the cul. tivation of the country. The English reign of *Henry VII. appears to me very much to resemble

government of George III. in Ireland.

Most Sovereigns give bounties, but only the British ftate affords a gentle and protecting government to the lower people,

I'must admit, tħat unless the supreme administration be decided in its views of favour, and judicous conciliation to this country, the projected change of conflitution is scarcely prudent." Under the present forms, there are more resources for an evil government; and a greater number of in. terests may be collected to keep the people in subjection.

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I considered it superfluous to add any thing to the very ample discussion, which the competence of parliament has already, received. Still this most fútile of all objections is dignified with the notice, even in the very last debate, of men of talents. From Mr. Foster's high character, and just pretensions to political estimation, one would have expected him to examine every part of the question, rather as a statesman, who feeks to warrant his conclusions by truth and policy, than as a partizan, endeavouring to give his cause the most favourable exterior. That gentleman has condescended to mention the powers of Parliament.

The Parliament of Ireland has altered the lawa,

manners, religion and property of this island. Was it competent to change the essentials of civil society, and has it no discretion over the forms ? Or will it be proposed to bring all these former acts into botcbpot, and look for a new distribution?

It is essential that there be in every ftate, a sovereign power, because no limited authority can

embrace all the cares upon which the welfare of the people requires a decision. Is the Irish Parliament that sovereign power? If it be not, where does it reside? If it is that sovereign power, it must be competent to determine, whether any proposition submitted to it, be for the good of its subjects ; and in case of approbation, to carry the design into effect. There would otherwise be a deficiency of legislative provision, which is just as preposterous and absurd, and inadmissible, as in ordinary cases would be a failure of distributive justice.

Suppose the French constitution to be the bane of the people, and that the sole hope of salvation is to fùbmit to a Monarchy, is the fovereign power in pofseffion inadequate to make that fa

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