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Mr. GRATTAN then rose amidst loud cheers, and said, “ Sir, it is not my intention to trespass, at any length, on the patience of the House. I shall confine myself to a few sentences, as I do not wish to give a silent vote, circumstanced particularly as I am now. I shall vote for the committee on the same principle upon which I have often voted before; but I do not pledge myself to the resolutions which my honourable friend has exhibited. I will go farther, and say, that for some of the resolutions I could not vote. In considering the Catholic question, it is not sufficient to dwell on what is strictly necessary and just : we should also have regard to the feelings of men, and the reflection of what is possible and practicable. I condemn those applications for unqualified concession. I am

I am sorry that in doing so I have offended some gentlemen ; but my conviction is, that such a proposition cannot pa

When they desire emancipation without conditions, they ask two things — first, that they should obtain their object; and secondly, that they should not obtain it; for they put their demand in a shape which must insure its rejection. If I had flattered the Catholics, and told them, “ You have a right to make this demand; urge it, and you will succeed,” I should have deceived the Catholics. I have supported their question with a desperate fidelity. I do not mean by desperate, that my zeal would lead me to any unworihy or unconstitutional compromise, but that it has always sustained me, even where there was no hope of Unless the Catholics come to the House in a spirit of conciliation, I say they will not succeed. I told them so before. I will go farther, and say, that conciliation is not only necessary to their interests, but essential to their duty, to the duty which they owe to the state, and the duty which they owe one another. If they do not succeed, it will not be owing to any illiberality in the Protestants, but to a want of moderation in themselves. If they do not succeed, their want of success will arise from their want of discretion. I regard the Catholic body with sentiments of strong attachment. The warmth of minds may have betrayed some of them into errors, which I regret, as injurious to their cause; but unless.conciliation is adopted, nothing else can be of use. I shall vote for the committee, and the sentiments I shall carry into it are those which are registered on the rolls of Parliament.”

Mr. Gráttan sat down amidst great applause both from the opposition and the government side of the House ; the House then divided. For the committee 147, Against it 228 ; Majority 81. Tellers for the Ayes, Sir H. Parnell and Mr. Maurice Fitzgerald.

Noes, Mr. Long and Mr. Bankes.


young minds




April 26. 1816. SIR JOHN NEWPORT, in consequence of the notice which

he had given, made, on this day, his promised motion. He entered into a historical account of the state of Ireland. He stated, that the reason why the two countries had not assimilated in manners, customs, or habits, was that Ireland had been habitually misgoverned; that no regard had been paid to the administration of the law; that, in old times, if a man was murdered, it was enquired on the trial whether the deceased was of Irish or English descent; if the former, the accused was fined five marks ; if the latter, he was condemned to death. He quoted Sir John Davis, to shew that no nation upon earth was more desirous to obtain just and equal laws than the Irish. He quoted an extract from the letters of primate Boulter, to shew the system that had been pursued towards Ireland ; in which, the writer expresses his fears, lest, by the measures of government, the people should become united. He then alluded to the conduct of Ireland in 1779 and 1782; at.which period, by means of internal union, she not only baffled a foreign enemy, but secured and obtained her own independence. He mentioned the union ; since which period she had contributed sixty-seven millions in taxes, and augmented her debt from twenty-five to one hundred and fifty millions. He took a review of the disabilities under which the Catholics laboured ; and censured the existence of Orange Societies, that were contrary to law, and that served but to divide the people. He concluded with moving,

“ That an address be presented to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, humbly to represent, that the necessity which we have found of providing a force of 25,000 men, in a time of profound peace, to secure the internal tranquillity of Ireland, obliges us to consider the state of that great, valuable, and highly interesting portion of the United Kingdom, as most distressing and afflicting to the legislature, and dangerous in an extreme degree to the well being of the empire.

2. “ That we feel ourselves imperatively called on by a sense of public duty, to direct to the consideration of this important subject our earnest and undivided attention. That we therefore pray his Royal Highness may be pleased to order that there be laid before us, with all convenient speed, such documents as may put us fully in possession of the extent and nature of the evil which demands the temporary application of this great military force, and may enable us to proceed with active and unceasing energy to the investigation of them.

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3“ That we have armed the executive government with all the means required to suppress tumult and punish outrage; and we would now apply all our powers to a deliberate examination of the existing evils, and the causes from whence they originate, as the surest foundation for our affording to his Royal Highness the cordial and active concurrence of this House, in such measures as shall be proposed to it for their effectual removal, and for adopting such other wholesome and efficacious remedies, framed in the spirit of British constitutional legislation, as may appear to our dispassionate judgment most adequate to effect the extirpation of those evils with which Ireland is afflicted, and to rescue that fair portion of the empire from its present depression and degradation.”

Mr. Peel opposed the motion. He stated, that the country was in general tranquil

, though, in some counties, very atrocious acts had been committed. The Orange Societies alluded to, were discountenanced by government; and a general order was issued to the yeomanry to prevent any assemblage of corps except when on duty; and to request that party-tunes should be avoided as much as possible: he alluded to the state of the elective franchise, which, he said, was greatly abused. He stated, that it was the intention to recur to a new mode of appointing sheriffs, which would not leave the appointment solely to the Lord-Lieutenant ; and concluded by moving the following amendment : “ That an humble address be presented to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, expressing our deep regret, that the internal state of Ireland in a time of peace renders it necessary to maintain a large military force in that country for the present year, for the purpose of assisting in the execution of the law, and in the

preser ation of the public tranquillity, and entreating that his Royal Highness will be graciously pleased to direct, that there be laid before the House a statement of the nature and extent of the disturbances which have recently prevailed in Ireland, and the measures which have been adopted by the government of that country in consequence thereof."

Mr. Plunket was of opinion, that if an improvement did not take place in the state of affairs in Ireland, 40,000 men would be insufficient to perform the duties for which 25,000 are now thought necessary. With respect to the Catholic freeholders, any idea of disfranchising them (if such was the idea of the honourable member, Mr. Peel,) would create an explosion more terrible than any heretofore felt. The evils which affected Ireland, whatever they were, would not remain stationary;, they must be put down, or they would progressively increase. If it was intended to maintain a force of 25,000 men permanently in Ireland ; if the insurrection act was to be continued ; if the people of that country were to be subjected to domiciliary visits in the night, liable to be imprisoned, and even transported, not by the verdict of a jury, but by summary commitment ; if all those miseries were to be inflicted by the aid of the bayonet, he would say, that the House would not only neglect, but would grossly abandon its duty, if


they refused to enquire why such things were necessary, and how they might be avoided. · Lord Castlereagh stated, that the House was always ready to attend to any subject regarding Ireland; that, for the administration of the affairs of that country, it was necessary that all religious prejudices should be abandoned. Mr. Vesey Fitzgerald and Mr. Ponsonby stated the policy and necessity of acceding to the claims of the Catholics.

Mr. GRATTAN said, The evils of Ireland may be reduced to four heads; 1st, Religious animosity; 2d, financial embarrassment; 3d, pecuniary distress; and 4th, the prevalence of a banditti in different parts of the country.

As to the religious animosities, the cause is to be found in the penal laws, and the remedy in the repeal of them. Till that is done, the inhabitants of the empire can never be identified, and the empire itself never in full strength. It is a proposition which you cannot deny; for the first evil then, you have in your own hands the remedy. The 2d, namely, financial distress, arises from the excess of the expenditure over the revenue, which excess Ireland cannot supply. Her debt is 150 millions, her interest above six, her revenue somewhat above five; thus she appears not to have an income to pay the interest of her debt, still less her home expence, and her imperial contribution, that is, her financial distress. You must assist her, that is the 'remedy; there must be a new arrangement of finance; the cause of her financial distress is her inability to pay the whole of her expences, and the remedy must be your assistance. The 3d, is the pecuniary distress that arises from the time, the transition from war to peace, and a consequent change of price in the market; that evil is temporary

Ireland has her commercial and her agricultural difficulties at the present moment; but I think they will pass away, and the sooner, if you give her a decisive preference in your own markets. You will observe, that Ireland takes your manufactures, and gives them a decided preference. You take her provisions, and should give them a decided preference. You have, in a great measure, done so. The great principle that should regulate the commerce between the two countries, was laid down in the journals of Parliament at the time of the Irish propositions; that the trade of the two countries should be extended on principles for the mutual benefit of both. We take your manufactures, you take our provisions, and we should both concur in preferring ourselves to other nations. As to the 4th head, namely, the

prevalence of public disturbances, it is not easy to say from what causes they proceed; but it is obvious, that, if the other three causes are removed, they cannot be formidable; in that case they can have no grievance in the laws, and they cannot now have any hope in foreign assistance. I consider them as a banditti, and not as any part of the nation :- it is a disorder upon the surface, and is not taken into the circulation of the blood; they will be put down by the exertions of government, and the removing real causes of public complaint. But to return to the financial state of the country; Ireland has increased her debt, in the course of the last war, above 100 millions; at the close of the seven years' war, the debt of England was 145 millions, and the debt of Ireland is now 150. · And at that time, a very able statesman, in a pamphlet supposed to be published under his direction, gave it as his opinion, that England was ruined. Thus Ireland has come to that very state of debt now which was thought 40 years ago to be beyond the resources of Great Britain. Does she repent of this ? — No. She does not come to your bar to murmur; she is too high to repine at her past exertions; it is for you to consider them, and to recollect, that by relieving Ireland, you relieve England. You will recollect further, that by her exertions she has carried into practice the great principle of empire, that Ireland will stand and fall with Great Britain, and thus has deprived foreign nations of any speculation upon the estrangement of Ireland from England, and given you a complete answer to any local interest or description of men who may interfere with our trade or pretensions.

It is very true, the difficulties of each country are great, but they will help one another out of them; and recollect, that if your difficulties are great, your consolation is not inconsiderable; you have recovered the British empire, you have procured the deliverance of Europe, you have decided the rivalship between France and Great Britain, and you have made a treaty of Peace which gives for all these things physical security. For that treaty I should most cheerfully have given my humble vote, with this conviction, that these islands, Great Britain and Ireland, had risen to the head of Europe, and that the change which had taken place in the foreign relationship of these countries, was a matter not merely of wonder, but thanksgiving.

The House then divided : For the amendment 187, against it 105; Majority 82.

Tellers for the amendment, Sir George Hill and Mr.Robert Ward.
Against it, Mr. Calcraft and William Smith.
Sir John Newport's motion was consequently lost.

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