Sayfadaki görseller

vance: your spirit did not depend on the concession of England; it was an inherent quality of the mind.

Thus have you sealed a treaty with Great Britain. On the one side, the restoration of the final judicature, the extinction of the le gislative claim of her privy council, of her perpetual mutiny bill, the repeal of the act of legislative supremacy: on your side, satisfaction: and thus are the two nations compacted for ever in freedom and in peace.


October 28, 1783.

Ir was said "that the pen would fall from the hand, and the fœtus of the mind would die unborn",* if men had not a privilege to maintain a right in the Parliament of England to make law for Ireland. The affectation of zeal, and a burst of forced and metaphorical conceits, aided by the acts of the press, gave an alarm which, I hope, was momentary, and which only exposed the artifice of those who were wicked, and the haste of those who were deceived.

But it is not the slander of an evil tongue that can defame me. I maintain my reputation in public and in private life. No man, who has not a bad character, can ever say that I deceived; no country can call me a cheat. But I will suppose such a public character. I will suppose such a man to have existence; I will begin with his character in his political cradle, and I will follow him to the last state of politi cal dissolution.

I will suppose him, in the first stage of his life, to have been intemperate; in the second, to have been corrupt; and in the last, seditious: that, after an envenomed attack on the persons and measures of a succession of viceroys, and after much declamation against their illegalities and their profusion, he took office, and became a supporter of Government, when the profusion of ministers had greatly increased, and their crimes multiplied beyond example; when your money bills were altered without reserve by the council; when an embargo was laid on your export trade, and war declared against the liberties of America. At such a critical noment I will suppose this gentleman to be corrupted by a great sinecure office to muzzle his declamation, to swallow his invectives, to give his assent and vote t the ministers, and to become a supporter of Government, its measures,

*Mr. Flood's expression.

its embargo, and its American war. I will suppose that he was suspected by the government that had bought him, and in consequence thereof, that he thought proper to resort to the arts of a trimmer the last sad refuge of disappointed ambition; that, with respect to the constitution of his country, that part, for instance, which regar ed the mutiny bill, when a clanse of reference was introduced, where by the articles of war, which were, or hereafter might be, passed in England, should be current in Ireland without the interference of hr Parliament; when such a clause was in view, I will suppose this gentleman to have absconded. Again, when the bill was made perpetual, I will suppose him again to have absconded. But a year and a half after the bill had passed, then I will suppose this gentleman t have come forward, and to say, that your constitution had been de stroyed by the perpetual bill. With regard to that part of the con stitution that relates to the law of Poynings, I will suppose the gentleman to have made many a long, very long, disquisition before, O took office, but, after he had received office, to have been as £ cut on that subject as before he had been loquacious. That, whe money bills, under colour of that law, were altered year after year, as in 1775 and 1776, and when the bills so altered were resumed and passed, I will suppose that gentleman to have absconded or acquiesced, and to have supported the minister who made the alteration; but when he was dismissed from office, and a member introduced a bill to remedy this evil, I will suppose that this gentleman inveighed against the mischief, against the remedy, and against the person of the introducer, who did that duty which he himself for seven years had abandoned. With respect to that part of the constitution which is connected with the repeal of the 6th of George the First, when the adequacy of the repeal was debating in the House, I will suppose this gentleman to make no kind of objection; that he never named, at that time, the word renunciation; and that, on the division on that subject, he absconded; but, when the office he had lost was given to another man, that then he came forward, and exclaimed against the measure; nay, that he went into the public streets to canvass for sedition, that he became a rambling incendiary, and endeavoured to excite a mutiny in the volunteers against an adjustment between Great Britain and Ireland, of liberty and repose, which he had not the virtue to make, and against an administration who had the virtue to free the country without buying the members.

With respect to nimerce, I will suppose this gentleman to have supported an embargo which lay on the country for three years, and almost destroyed it. and when an address in 1778, to open her trade

was propounded, to remain silent and inactive; and with respect to that other part of her trade, which regarded the duty on sugar, when the merchants were examined in 1778 on the inadequate protecting luty, when the inadequate duty was voted, when the act was recommitted, when another duty was proposed, when the bill returned with the inadequate duty substituted, when the altered bill was adopted, on every one of those questions I will suppose the gentleman to abscond: but a year and a half after the mischief was done, he out of office, I will suppose him to come forth, and to tell his country, that her trade had been destroyed by an inadequate duty on English sugar, as her constitution had been ruined by a perpetual mutiny bill. With relation to three-fourths of our fellow-subjects, the Catholics, when a bill was introduced to grant them rights of property and religion, I will suppose this gentleman to have come forth to give his negative to their pretensions. In the same manner I will suppose him to have opposed the institution of the volunteers, to which we owe so much, and that he went to a meeting in his own county to prevent their establishment; that he himself kept out of their associations; that he was almost the only man in this House that was not in uniform; and that he never was a volunteer until he ceased to be a placeman, and until he became an incendiary.

With regard to the liberties of America, which were inseparable from ours, I will suppose this gentleman to have been an enemy decided and unreserved; that he voted against her liberty; and voted, moreover, for an address to send 4,000 Irish troops to cut the throats of the Americans; that he called these butchers "armed negotiators", and stood with a metaphor in his mouth and a bribe in his pocket, a champion against the rights of America, the only hope of Ireland, and the only refuge of the liberties of mankind.

Thus defective in every relationship, whether to constitution, commerce, toleration, I will suppose this man to have added much private improbity to public crimes; that his probity was like his patriotism, and his honour on a level with his oath. He loves to deliver panegyrics on himself. I will interrupt him, and say: Sir, you are much mistaken if you think that your talents have been as great as your life has been reprehensible; you began your parliamentary career with an acrimony and personality which could have been justified only by a supposition of virtue: after a rank and clamorous opposition you became on a sudden silent; you were silent for seven years: you were silent on the greatest questions, and you were silent for money! In 1773, while a negociation was pending to sell your talents and your turbulence, you absconded from your duty in parlia


ment, you forsook your law of Poynings, you forsook the questions of economy, and abandoned all the old themes of your former declamation; you were not at that period to be found in the House; you were seen, like a guilty spirit, haunting the lobby of the House of Commons, watching the moment in which the question should be put, that you might vanish; you were descried with a criminal anxiety, retiring from the scenes of your past glory; or you were perceived coasting the upper benches of this House like a bird of prey, with an evil aspect and a sepulchral note, meditating to pounce on its quarry. These ways-they were not the ways of honour-you practised pending a negotiation which was to end either in your sale or your sedition: the former taking place, you supported the rankest measures that ever came before Parliament; the embargo of 1776, for instance. 660 fatal embargo, that breach of law and ruin of commerce!" You supported the unparallelled profusion and jobbing of Lord Harcourt's scandalous ministry-the address to support the American war-the other address to send 4,000 men, whom you had yourself declared to be necessary for the defence of Ireland, to fight against the liberties of America, to which you had declared yourself a friend ;—you, Sir, who delight to utter execrations against the American commissioners of 1778, on account of their hostility to America;-you, Sir, who manufacture stage thunder against Mr. Eden, for his anti-American principles;-you, Sir, whom it pleases to chant a hymn to the immortal Hampden;-you, Sir, approved of the tyranny exercised against America;-and you, Sir, voted 4,000 Irish troops to cut the throats of the Americans fighting for their freedom, fighting for your freedom, fighting for the great principle, liberty; but you found at last (and this should be an eternal lesson to men of your craft and cunning), that the King had only dishonoured you; the Court had bought, but would not trust you; and having voted for the worst measures, you remained for seven years the creature of salary, without the confidence of Government. Mortified at the discovery, and stung by disappointment, you betake yourself to the sad expedients of duplicity; you try the sorry game of a trimmer in your progress to the acts of an incendiary; you give no honest support either to the Government or the people; you, at the most critical period of their existence, take no part, you sign no non-consumption agreement, you are no volunteer, you oppose no perpetual mutiny bili, no altered sugar bill; you declare that you lament that the declaration of right should have been brought forward; and observing, with regard to prince and people, the most impartial treachery and desertion, you Justify the suspicion of your Sovereign by betraying the Govern

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ment, as you had sold the people: until at last, by this hollow conduct, and for some other steps, the result of mortified ambition, being dismissed, and another person put in your place, you fly to the ranks of the volunteers, and canvass for mutiny; you announce that the country was ruined by other men during that period in which she had been sold by you. Your logic is, that the repeal of a declaratory law is not the repeal of a law at all, and the effect of that logic is, an English act affecting to emancipate Ireland, by exercising over her the legislative authority of the British Parliament. Such has been your conduct, and at such conduct every order of your fellowsubjects have a right to exclaim! The merchant may say to youthe constitutionalist may say to you the American may say to you —and I, I now say, and say to your beard: Sir, you are not an honest man.

Mr. Flood rose to reply, but after having proceeded some length in his defence, he fell so much out of order, that the Speaker interfered. He declared how much pain he had suffered in permitting this contest to proceed, and that nothing but the calls of the House to hear the two members, should have made him sit so long silent. He requested Mr. Flood would sit down, with which request he complied, and shortly after retired. The speaker issued his warrant to apprehend the parties, and Mr. Flood was shortly after taken into custody. The House then directed that search should be made for Mr. Grattan; and the parties were bound over. It was then moved that the motion of Sir Henry Cavendish be taken into consideration, immediately after a report be made froin the committee of accounts; and it passed in the affirmative.


August 12, 1785.

HOWEVER, lest certain glosses should seem to go unanswered, I shall, for the sake of argument, waive past settlements, and combat the reasoning of the English resolutions, the address, His Majesty's answer and the reasoning of this day. It is here said, that the laws respecting commerce and navigation should be similar, and inferred that Ireland should subscribe the laws of England on those subjects; that is, the same law, the same legislature. But this argument goes a great deal too far: it goes to the army, for the mutiny bill should be the same; it was endeavoured to be extended to the collection of your revenue, and is in train to be extended to your taxes; it goes

« ÖncekiDevam »