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lectors—in short, the whole tribe of the revenue, from sitting in Parliament; acts which disqualify all pensioners during pleasure from sitting in Parliament, all pensioners during years from sitting in Parliament; acts which disable the Crown from exceeding a certain sum in grants of pensions; acts which disqualify from voting at clections the whole tribe of the revenue. Let them further recollect that there are in England certain counteracting causes; and first, the majesty of the people, a great, authoritative, and imperious public—their voice interferes, their instructions overawe, not the deliberations of the body, but frequently the deliberations of that individual of the body that hesitates between his vote and his venality. Let them recollect that there is in England such a thing as responsibility : the public malefactor there cannot always retire from public mischief to triumphant impunity. Let them recollect further, that in England there is a check in great connexions, formed on a public, creed; party founded on principle, supported hy ambition, cemented by honour, and exalting the component parts above the dominion of salary and the impulse of famine—political famine—of too many in this country the epidemic disease. This has served as a secondary cause of public safety, and whether you call it a higher order of infirmity, or a lower order of virtue, has helped to preserve the life or prolong the euthanasia of the British constitution. How far al thesc causes actually at this time flourish in England I shall not pretend to decide, but I fear they do not exist, or are in danger of being lost in Ireland. First contemplate your staie, and then consider your danger. Above two-thirds of the returns to this House are private property ; of those returns, many actually this moment sold to the minister ; the number of placemen and pensioners sitting in this House equal near one-half of the whole efficient body; the increase of that number within the last twenty years greater than all the counties in Ireland. The bills that do exist in England, and should have shocked you back to your original principles, and are necessary to purge the public weal, and to defend you not only against the minister, but yourselves- a pension bill, a place biii. and others—are systematically resisted. The corruptions these laws would guard against, in a most extraordinary manner resorted to by the present ministers of the Crown, and not only resorted to, but made the sole instrument of their government. The laws which depart from the first principles of the constitution-excise, riot act, police bill —readily adopted and obstinately maintained ; the counteracting clauses--the responsibility of the minister-a shadow ; she majesty of the people, like the constitrition, frittered out of yow
court. Soine of the populace have gone too far; the court availed itself of popular excesses, to cry down constitutional principles; they began with a contempt of popularity, they proceeded to a contempt of fame, and they now vibrate on the last string, a contempt of virtue; and yet these were checks not only in a constitutional public, but in certain connexions ; these generally supported the minister, and occasionally checked his enormities. Against this refuge. against the power of the Irish community in general, and this force in particular, is the present policy directed—it is a policy wlich. would govern this country by salary distinct from power, or by power distinct from responsibility-no sturdy tribunes of a constitutional public, no check in an independent nobility.
The runner, the scribe, the stipendiary, the political adventurer, or where the confidential list ascends, men amiable in their manners, and in their private life not only amiable, but even respectable, but men who have no public mind-men somewhat too ready to support any government—men whose characteristic it is to stand by any government, even though that government should stand against Ireland men who have been, not only the supporters of the minister's power, but the instruments of his passion, his violence, his venality,
and his revenge.
The advocates for undue influence, who have appeared in Eng land, have admitted it to be a defect, but a defect that would mix with the constitution. The ministers of Ireland have made that de fect the only engine of their government; our ministers bave picke:] up from the British constitution nothing but the most corrupt part of her practice, and that they have carried into the most daring
No constitutional bills to heal; no popular bills to pacify The currency, the pure poison unmixed, unquenched, unqualified or if qualified, tempered only with revenge. On this principle did the ministers take into their venal and vindictive hand the table of proscriptions; on this principle did they remove, not because the place was unnecessary—they have made unnecessary offices; on this principle did they deprive, not because the pension list was overburdened--they have augmented that list; but because the placemen 80 removed, and the pensioners so deprived, had voted against the will of the minister in question, wherein that minister was pronounced to be unconstitutional, and convicted to be corrupt. . On the same principle did the ministry try the paltry arts of division, holding out the aristocracy to the people as the old accomplices of the minister, and to tho country gentleman, as the monopolizers of
emolument; as if by tho spoil of the aristocracy the minister conld bribe away the independency of the country gentlemen, and rob tha people of that small, but respectable support, and sink that body into the herd of the Castle. On the same principle did the minister attack the dignity of the peçrage, by the sale of honours, and the dignity of this House by the application of the money to purchase for the servants of the Castle seats in the assembly of the people. On the same principle did they attack the purity of this House by the multiplication of office, and division of establishment.
I will not say the ministers went into the open streets with cockades in their hats, and drums in their hands ; but I do say, they were as public, and had as openly broken terms with elecorum, as if they bad so paraded in College Green, with their business lettered on their forehead.
Such has been their practice; and such practice has been defended. Merciful Heaven! defended ! We have been taught to believe the Irish viceroy is not to be affected iu lzis situation by the sense of the people of this country. The English minister stands in a different situation with respect to his own. We have been told, that he has been an excellent governor :- a friend to this country; that he would defend it from a destructive cabal, who are leagued together for their own selfish purposes; and to do this, it is contended, that he should resort to the treasury to buy the people with their own money. We bave been taught to believe, that in order to keep his station, the Irish viceroy may resort to any measares, and that having lost the support of Parliament by offences, he may strive to regain it by corruption; and this doctrine has been extended to the case of a viceroy leaving the government, and employing those .ro ments to gratify his corrupt affection, or to extend his corrupt influence; and the deputy so employed, with his accomplices, have been called the government; and those who would shield the country from such a dark and desperate cabal, have been called a faction ; and on this principle it was, that the ministry resisted a pension bill and a place bill, contending for in precept, and committing in practice, all the corruption those bills would guard against. They have laid on us an establishment of very extensive corruption; they contend for in argument the indefinite power of corrupting, that, if constitutional and popular questions, such as the regency: address, the pension and place bills, the repeal of the police bill
, should occur, and find support in the united strength of the nobles and people, in such e case the servants of the Castle should have a power, under colour
of new offices, to resort to the treasury, to rob the people, in order to buy the gentry to sell the community, and so defeat popular and ccostitutional bills by bribery and corruption.
Such a policy and principle I will not call criminal; I will not call it repugnant to the doctrines of all the great authors that ever wrote on government; but it is that very policy, and that very principle, which all of them have pronounced to be the destruction of liberty, and one in particular, such a crime is to amount to a breach of trust, tending towards a dissolution of the state. Never were the excesses of the mobs of 1783 and 1784 mcre condemned by the Castle, than this Castle principle and practice are condemned by every respectable anthority that ever wrote on government; nor were those excesses of the mob against law, in point of danger, to be compared to those excesses of the court; in reference to these they were trifling offences. You then told the populace they jostled parliament, and attacked the laws. They will now reply to you in your own language: you have jostled parliament, for you have questioned its privileges, and defied its resolutions. You have attacked the law, for you have attacked the law-maker, and therefore have attempted to poison the source of the law; and whatever advantage that assassin who takes off by poison has over that other assassin who takes off by the dagger, such, and such only, in their present policy, have the ministers of the crown over the dregs of the people. Thus some of the people may retaliate upon our court.
I will only say this, that if their principles had existed at a former period, the great events from which these islands derive their liberty could not have taken place; and if their principles prevail and propagate, the blessings which this island derives from those events must be the victim.
Sir, gentlemen have called on us to specify the charges against the administration. We will specify, and begin with the appointment of two additional commissioners. Sir, this measure posts itself 01 ground uncommonly hollow and defective; against it there are three resolutions of this House, and those resolutions have three aspects : 1st, That seven cominissioners were sufficient. 2dly, That the House will not assent to render practicable the multiplication of the
er, or the division of the boards. 3rdly, That they who advised the increase of the number and the division, advised a measure against the sense of the House. After this, it was necessary that some great and solid inconvenience should be felt; that the people should generally acknowledge the insufficiency of the old number of commissioners; that the commissioners themselves should report the
difficulty to government; and that government should lay the whole before this House, before such a measure as this should be resorted to. On the contrary, no such complaint, no such report, and no such reference have existed; and this no complaint, and this no report, and this no reference, is a proof that government knew that the cause assigned was a vile pretence, too flimsy to be stated, and too ludicrous to be discussed.
A further argument, that additional trouble was the pretence, not the motive, will be found in the direction of the choice of the minister to members of parliament, so that the two tables of commissioners, who have hardly time, it seems, to do the business of the revenue, can, however, sit every day in this House to do the business of the minister ; and it is a further proof of the insincerity of this pretence, that, if the minister was to employ none but members of parliament, there were two other persons, extinct commissioners, who now receive each a pension of £600 compensation, capable surely of discharging the business of the revenue, if the business of the revenue, and not the influence of the minister, had been the object. It is a further refutation of this pretence, that the public complaint was not the delay of the commissioners, but the great balances in the hands of the collectors, which this appointment does not go to prevent; and also the great expense in the collection of .the revenue, which this new appointment goes to increase.
Sir, the argument urged in support of this measure is decisive against it. It is urged, your taxes have increased; but this argument would seem a sarcasm, as if the bounty of the nation was to be made a means of influence and an instrument of destruction ; bu the case is stronger. Part of these taxes have their specific officers, as post-office and stamps ; part of these taxes are additional on the same old subject matter of tax, and can be collected at the same time and with equal ease. The case is still stronger : a principal part of these taxes were granted on an express public stipulation, that the boards of customs and excise should be united, and the vumber of commissioners reduced to seven. It was in 1773, when the minister wanted new taxes and also a tontine : there were great grievances on the part of the country, and great wants on the part of government. The minister proposed to redress that grievance which was the most prodigal and profligate—the division of tre boards of customs and excise: this was the public stipulation. “The biennial excess is above £170,000 : give us taxes to equalize, give us £265,000 tontine, including the arrear of a fifth half-ycar, aud we, on our part, entitle ourselves to such confidence by uniting the