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England, and governed by the same laws, the said Earl being deputy in that realm, to bring His Majesty's liege subjects of that realm into a dislike of his Majesty's government, and intending the subversion of the fundamental laws and sett.ed government of that kingdom, and the destruction of His Majesty's liege people there, did declare and publish that Ireland was a conquered nation". Thus spoke the English House of Commons. What said the English Parliament? The bill of attainder is before you. "Whereas the knights, citizens, and burgesses, have impeached Thomas Earl of Strafford for endea vouring to subvert the ancient and fundamental government of England and Ireland, and to introduce an arbitrary and tyrannical governinent against law in the said kingdoms; be it enacted that he shall suffer the pain of death". Thus did the Parliament of England act on this question with regard to her minister. How has she acted with regard to her King? I know it will be said that she revoked the act of attainder: true, she revoked the attainder, but did not restore the doctrine of conquest; on the contrary, in the face of the law of conquest, she resolved as follows: "that there is an original compact between the King and the people; that James the Second had broken that original compact, and that the breach of compact, with his other offences, was an abdication of his crown": and she deposed him accordingly, and she called on the Irish to aid her in the deposition. Eng land called on the Irish to shed their blood, and they shed it accordingly, in deposing James the Second for having broken his compact with England. And will she now break her compact with Ireland, and set up here the law of conquest? Has she attainted the Irish for the treason of aiding James, who broke the original compact with England? and will she punish the Irish for not aiding England in breaking the compact with themselves? will she employ her King who owes his crown to one compact to break the other? will she confiscate the property of James's abettors in Ireland on the principles of compact, and seize on the liberties of the whole realm on the principles of conquest, and commit herself that very crime? A proligy in the annals of mankind incredible, and an exhibition of the thirst of power in the frenzy of the human race unimaginable! Commit herself that very crime for which she beheaded her minister and deposed her king!
This brings the claim of England to a mere question of force: it is a right which Swift, I think it is Swift, has explained—the right of the grenadier to take the property of a naked man. I add, this man bis now gotten back his arms, and begs to get back his property. Thus the question remaining is a question of ability; and in consider
ing this, you are not to contemplate alone the difficulties in your front; you are to look back too on the strength in your rear. The claim by Conquest naturally leads to the subject of the volunteers. You have an immense force, the shape of a much greater, of different religions, but of one political faith, kept up for three years defending the country; for the government took away her troops and consigued her defence to the people ;-defending the government, I say, aiding the civi power, and pledged to maintain the liberty of Ireland to the last drop of their blood. Who is this body? the Commons of Ireland! and you at the head of them: it is more-it is the society in its greatest possible description; it is the property-it is the soul of the country armed. They-for this body have yet no adequate name—in the summer of 1780, they agree to a declaration of right; in the summer of 1781, they hear that the French are at sea; in the heat and hurricane of their zeal for liberty, they stop; without delay, they offer to march; their march waits only for the commands of the Castle: the Castle, where the sagacious courtier had abandoned his uniform, finds it prudent to receive a self-armed association: that self-armed asssociation this age has beheld: posterity will admirewill wonder. The delegates of that self-armed association enter the mansion of the government, ascend the steps, advance to the presence of the Lord-lieutenant, and make a tender of their lives and fortunes, with the form and reception of an authenticated establishment. A painter might here display and contrast the loyalty of a courtier with that of a volunteer; he would paint the courtier hurrying off his uniform, casting away his arms, filling his pockets with the public money, and then presenting to his sovereign naked servitude; he would paint the volunteer seizing his charters, handling his arms, forming his columns, improving his discipline, demanding his rights, and then, at the foot of the throne, making a tender of armed allegiance. He had no objection to die by the side of England; but he must be found dead with her charter in his hand.
Stationed as you are, and placed as you are in relation to the community and these great objects, how do you mean to proceed? submit, and take the lead in the desertion? impossible! The strength which at your back supports your virtue, precludes your apostacy; the armed presence of the nation will not bend; the community will not be sold; nor will a nation in arms suffer the eternal bessing of freedom and renown to depend on the experiment, whether this villain shall be a pensioner, or that pickpocket shall be a peer. Before you decide on the practicability of being slaves for ever, look to America. Do you see nothing in that America but the grave and
prison of your armies? and do you not see in her range of territory, cheapness of living, variety of climate, and simplicity of life, the drain of Europe? Whatever is bold and disconsolate, sullen virtue and wounded pride; all, all to that point will precipitate; and what you trample on in Europe will sting you in America. When Philadelphia or whatever city the American appoints for empire, sends forth her ambassadors to the different kings of Europe, and manifests to the world her independency and power, do you imagine you will persuade Ireland to be satisfied with an English Parliament making laws for her; satisfied with a refusal to her loyalty of those privileges which were offered to the arms of America? How will individuals among you like this? Some of the gentlemen whom I now sce in their places, are the descendants of kings; the illustrious gentleman on the far bench [Mr. O'Hara]; my illustrious friend near me [Mr. O'Neill]-will they derogate from the royalty of ther forefathers, bow their honoured heads, or acknowledge the crown of their ancestors, or more than regal power on the brow of every fortyshilling freeholder in England, or on any front except that of His Majesty? Are the American enemies to be free, and these royık subjects slaves? Or in what quality does His Majesty choose to cortemplate the Irish hereafter? His subjects in Parliament, or his equals in congress? Submission, therefore, will not do: there remains, then, but one way; assert the independency of your Parliament. What do you wait for? Do you wait for a peace til the volunteer retires, and the minister replies by his cannon ?—the Stag frigate is now in your harbour. Or do you wait for more cala. mities in the fortunes of England, till the empire is a wreck, and the two countries go down together? or do you delay till Providence, beholding you on your knees, shall fall in love with your meanness, and rain on your servility constitution like manna? You go to the house of God when you want heat or moisture, and you interfere with God's providence by your importunities. Are the princes of the Earth more vigilant than the Almighty, that you should besiege the throne of mercy with your solicitations, and hold it unnecessary to admonish the King? Or do you wait till your country speaks to you in thunder? Let me conclude by observing, that you have the two claims before you; the claim of England to power, and of Ireland to liberty and I have shown you, that England has no title to that power to make laws for Ireland; noue by nature, none by compact, none by usage, and none by conquest; and that Ireland has several titles against the claims of England;-a title by nature, a title by compact, and a title by divers positive acts of parliament,
a title by charter, and by all the laws by which England possesses her liberties; by England's interpretation of those laws, by her renunciation of conquest, and her acknowledgment of the law of original compact.
I now move you,
That an humble address be presented to His Majesty, to assure His Majesty of our most sincere and unfeigned attachment to His Majesty's person and government.
To assure His Majesty that the people of this country are a free people.
That the crown of Ireland is an imperial crown, and the kingdom of Ireland a distinct kingdom, with a parliament of her own, the sole legislature thereof.
To assure His Majesty, that, by our fundamental laws and franchises (laws and franchises which we on the part of the nation do claim as her birth-right), the subjects of this kingdom cannot be bound, affected, or obliged by any legislature, save only by the King, Lords, and Commons of this His Majesty's realm of Ireland, nor is there any other body of men who have power or authority to make laws for the same.
To assure His Majesty, that His Majesty's subjects of Ireland conceive that in this privilege is contained the very essence of their liberty, and that they treasure it as they do their lives, and accordingly have with one voice declared and protested against the interposition of any other parliament in the legislation of this conutry.
To assure His Majesty, that we have seen with concern the ParHament of Great Britain advance a claim to make law for Ireland; and that this anxiety is kept alive, when we perceive the same Parliament still persists in that claim, as may appear by recent British acts which affect to bind Ireland, but to which the subjects of Ireland can pay no obedience.
To assure His Majesty, that, next to our liberties, we value our connexion with Great Britain; on which we conceive, at this time nost particularly, the happiness of both kingdoms intimately depends, and which, as it is our most sincere wish, so shall it be our principal study, to cultivate and render perpetual: that under this impression, we cannot suggest any means whereby such connexion can be so much improved and strengthened, as by a renunciation of the claim of the British Parliament to make laws for Ireland—a claim useless to England, cruel to Ireland, and without any foundation in law.
That with a high sense of the magnanimity aud justice of the British character, and in the most entire reliance on His Majesty's paternal care, we have set forth our rights and sentiments, and without prescribing any mode to His Majesty, we throw ourselves on his royal wisdom.
TRIUMPH OF IRISH INDEPENDENCE.
April 16, 1782.
Mr. GRATTAN rose, and spoke as follows:
I am now to address a free people: ages have passed away, and this is the first moment in which you could be distinguished by that appellation.
I have spoken on the subject of your liberty so often, that I have nothing to add, and have only to admire by what Heaven-directed steps you have proceeded until the whole faculty of the nation is braced up to the act of her own deliverance.
I found Ireland on her knees, I watched over her with a paternal solicitude; I have traced her progress from injuries to arms, and from arms to liberty. Spirit of Swift! spirit of Molyneux! your genius has prevailed! Ireland is now a nation! in that new character I hail her! and bowing to her august presence, I say, Esto perpetua!
She is no longer a wretched colony, returning thanks to her governor for his rapine, and to her king for his oppression; nor is she How a squabbling, fretful sectary, perplexing her little wits, and iring her furious statutes with bigotry, sophistry, disabilities, and leath, to transmit to posterity insignificance and war.
Look to the rest of Europe, and contemplate yourself, and be satisfied. Holland lives on the memory of past achievements; Sweden has lost liberty; England has sullied her great name by an attempt to enslave her colonies. You are the only people-you, of the nations in Europe, are now the only people who excite admiration, and in your present conduct you not only exceed the present generation, but you equal the past. I am not afraid to turn back and look antiquity in the face: the revolution-that great event, whether you call it ancient or modern I know not, was tarnished with bigotry the great deliverer (for such I must ever call the