Sayfadaki görseller

liament, which was at all times competent to alter it. On what foundation then did the succession rest? It was regulated by the act of annexation: the Irish parliament was independent, and might vary the tenure as well as that of Great Britain. Hence it was necessary for the general interests of the empire, that some measures should be taken for strengthening this connexion. In the adjustment of a scheme of this nature the local interests of Ireland claimed particular attention; and indeed the proposed plan would consolidate and extend those interests. The evils of that kingdom obviously called for a speedy remedy. The present government unfortunately had not grown up with the habits of the people. The English connexion was begun among them by the worst of all conquests, one that was incomplete and partial. At different times the invaders. made occasional progress, and renewed hostilities kept alive the flame of animosity.

His lordship then went into an historical disquisition of the progress of that country to civilization and its present state. The good consequence of Union would quickly appear in the progress of civilization, the prevalence of order, the increase of industry and wealth, and the improvement of moral habits? The Hibernian protestants would feel themselves secure under the protection of a protestant imperial parliament; the anxiety of the catholics would be allayed by the hope of a more candid examination of their claims from a parliament not influenced by the prejudices of a local legislature. A free admission of the catholics. into the Irish parliament might lead to a subversion of the constitution; but all fear of their preponderancy would vanish under a general legislature, as they then would be far numbered by the protestants. The animosities of these rival parties would be allayed, and a tranquillity which Ireland had rarely enjoyed would be the pleasing result. He then touched upon the real point in dispute. It was ab


surd to suppose, that the independance of Ireland would be sacrificed in the event of an Union. It would still remain, and even derive fresh vigour from being consolidated with the proudest and most solid independance that ever was enjoyed. Before the Union which took place in 1707, England and Scotland were, in fact, less independant than when they afterwards composed the kingdom of Great Britain. By this Union each kingdom had become more independant of foreign nations, and more independant, if he could so speak, of human events; each had become more powerful, and had increased in prosperity. In like mans ner, if this legislative Union should take place, no indivi dual would suffer in dignity, rank, or condition; but, in ą national view, all would receive an addition, When the Union with Scotland was in agitation, loud clamours arose against it; but time had shewn that they were ill-founded, It was promotive of the general interests of the empire to consult the interests of every component part of it; and, as this had proved true with regard to Scotland, in conse quence of an Union with that country, so he was persuaded a similar measure would operate with respect to Ireland. Nothing could be adduced as a more powerful motive to Union than that both countries were assailed by a common enemy, whose aim was to destroy, Great Britain by making Ireland the medium of that mischief. Before the Union with Scotland, it was the chief aim of the French to render that country subservient to their insidious designs. At present the chief hope of resistance to the tyrannical power of France seemed to rest on Great Britain and Ireland, in her weak and disordered state, could look to this country alone for support. Her independance was essentially involved in her connexion with Britain; and if she should shake off that tie, she would fall under the French yoke,


No. IX.

The Articles of Union.


Resolved, 1. That in order to promote and secure the essential interests of Great Britain and Ireland, and consofidate the strength, power, and resources of the British empire, it will be advisable to concur in such measures as may best tend to unite the two kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland into one kingdom, in such manner, and on such terms and conditions, as may be established by the acts of the respective parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland.

Resolved, 2. That for the purpose of establishing a Union, upon the basis stated in the resolution of the two houses of parliament of Great Britain, communicated by his Majesty's command in the message sent to this house by his excellency the lord lieutenant, it would be fit to propose, as the first article of Union, that the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland shall, upon the first day of January, which shall be in the year of our Lord, one-thousand eight hundred and one, and for ever after, be united in one kingdom, by the name of the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; and that the royal stile and titles appertaining to the imperial crown of the said united kingdom, and its dependencies, and also the ensigns, armorial flags and banners thereof, shall be such as his Majesty, by his royal pro

mation, under the seal of the united kingdom, shall be pleased to appoint.

Resolved, 3. That for the same purpose, it would be fit to propose, that the successsion of the imperial crown of the said united kingdom, and of the dominions thereunto belonging, shall continue limited and settled in the same manner, as the succession to the imperial crowns of the said kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland now stands limited

and settled, according to the existing laws, and to the terms of the Union between England and Scotland.

Resolved, 4. That for the same purpose it would be fit to propose, that the said united kingdom be represented in one and the same parliament, to be stiled the parliament of the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Resolved, 5. That for the same purpose it would be fit to propose, that the charge arising from the payment of the interest and sinking fund, for the reduction of the principal of the debt incurred in either kingdom before the Union, shall continue to be separately defrayed by Great Britain and Ireland respectively.

That for the space of twenty years after the Union shall take place, the contribution of Great Britain and Ireland respectively, towards the expenditure of the united kingdom in each year, shall be defrayed in the proportion of fifteen parts for Great Britain, and two parts for Ireland; that at the expiration of the said twenty years, the future expenditure of the united kingdom, other than the interest and charges of the debt to which either country shall be separately liable, shall be defrayed in such proportion as the said united parliament shall deem just and reasonable, upon a comparison of the real value of the exports and imports of the respective countries, upon an average of the three years next preceding the period of revision, or on a comparison of the value of the quantities of the following articles consumed within the respective countries, on a similar average, viz. beer, spirits, sugar, wine, tea, tobacco, and malt; or according to the aggregate proportion resulting from both these considerations combined, or on a comparison of the amount of income in each country, estimated from the produce for the same periods of a general tax, if such shall have been imposed on the same description of income in both countries, and that the parliament of the united kingdoms

shall afterwards proceed in like manner, to revise and fix the said proportions according to the same rules, or any of them, at periods not more distant than twenty years, nor less than seven years from each other, unless previous to any such period, the united parliament shall have declared as hereinafter provided, that the general expences of the empire shall be defrayed indiscriminately by equal taxes, imposed on the like articles in both countries.

Resolved, 6. That for defraying the said expences, according to the rules above laid down, the revenues of Ireland shall hereafter constitute a consolidated fund, upon which charges equal to the interest of the debt and sinking fund, shall, in the first instance, be charged, and the remainder shall be applied towards defraying the proportion of the general expence of the united kingdom, to which Ireland may be liable in each year.

That the proportion of contribution to which Great Britain and Ireland will by these articles be liable, shall be raised by such taxes in each kingdom respectively, as the parliament of the united kingdom shall, from time to time, deem fit; provided always, that in regulating the taxes in each country, by which their respective proportion shall be levied, no article in Ireland shall be liable to be taxed to any amount exceeding that which will be thereafter payable in England on the like articles.

Resolved, 7. That if at the end of any year, any surplus shall accrue from the revenues of Ireland, after defraying the interest, sinking fund, and proportioned contribution, and separate charges to which the said country is liable, either taxes shall be taken off the amount of such surplus, or the surplus shall be applied by the united parliament to local purposes in Ireland, or to make good any deficiency which may arise in her revenues in time of peace, or invested by the commissioners of the national debt of Ireland in the funds, or accumulated for the benefit of Ireland, at com

« ÖncekiDevam »