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nostrils an unconstitutional existence, steal to their dark divan to do mischief and make nonsense of bills, which their Lordships, the House of Lords, or we, the House of Commons, have thought good ind fit for the people. No; those men have no legislative qualifica tions; they shall have no legislative power.
1st, The repeal of the perpetual mutiny bill, and the dependency of the Irish army on the Irish Parliament.
2nd, The abolition of the legislative power of the Connei..
3rd, The abrogation of the claim of England to make law for Ireland.
4th, The exclusion of the English House of Peers, and of the English King's Bench, from any judicial authority in this realm.
5th, The restoration of the Irish Peers to their final judicature. The independency of the Irish Parliament in its sole and exclusive legislature.
These are iny terms. I will take nothing from the Crown.
That an humble address be presented to His Majesty, to return His Majesty the thanks of this House for his most gracious message to this House, signified by His Grace the Lord-lieutenant.
To assure His Majesty of our unshaken attachment to His Majesty's person and government, and of our lively sense of his paternid care in thus taking the lead to administer content to His Majesty's subjects of Ireland.
That, thus encouraged by his royal interposition, we shall beg leave, with all dnty and affection, to lay before His Majesty the causes of our discontents and jealousies. To assure His Majesty that his subjects.of Ireland are a free people. That the crown of Ireland is an imperial crown inseparably annexed to the e hwn of Great Britain, on which connection the interest and happ ness of both nations essentially depend: but that the kingdom of L oland is a distinct kingdom, with a parliament of her own-the sole legislature thereof. That there is no body of men competent to make laws to bind this nation except the King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland; nor any other parliament which hath any authority or power of any sort whatsoever in this country, save only the parliament of Ireland. To assure His Majesty, that we humbly conceive that in this right the very essence of our liberties exists; a right whieh weg on the part of all the people of Ireland, do claim as their birth-right, and which we cannot yield but with our lives.
To assure His Majesty that we have seen with concern certam claims advanced by the Parliament of Great Britain, in an act enti
tled “An act for the better securing the dependency of Ireland”: an act containing matter entirely irreconcilable to the fundamenta! rights of this nation. That we conceive this act, and the claims it advances, to be the great and principal cause of the discontents and jealousies in this kingdom.
To assure His Majesty that His Majesty's Commons of Ireland do nost sincerely wish that all bills which become law in Ireland should receive the approbation of His Majesty under the seal of Great Britain ; but that yet we do consider the practice of suppressing our bills in the council of Ireland, or altering the same anythere, to be another just cause of discontent and jealousy.
To assure His Majesty that an act entitled “An act for the better accommodation of His Majesty's forces”, being unlimited in duration, and defective in other instances, but passed in that shape from the particular circumstances of the times, is another just cause of discontent and jealousy in this kingdom.
That we have submitted these, the principal causes of the present discontent and jealousy of Ireland, and remain in humble expectation of redress.
That we have the greatest reliance on His Majesty's wisdom, the most sanguine expectations from his virtuous choice of a Chief Governor, and great confidence in the wise, auspicious, and constitntional councils which we see with satisfaction His Majesty has adopted.
That we have, moreover, a high serse and veneration for the British character, and do therefore conceive that the proceedings of this country, founded as they were in right, and tempered by duty, Rust have excited the approbation and esteem, instead of wounding the pride, of the British nation.
And we beg leave to assure His Majesty, that we are the more confirmed in this hope, inasmuch as the people of this kingdom have uever expressed a desire to share the freedom of England, without declaring a determination to share her fate likewise, standing and falling with the British nation.
July 19, 1782.
On the 17th Mr. Flood expressed himself dissatisfied with what had been done regarding the independence of the country. He said that his object was to obtain legal security; he gave notice that he would bring forward a question on the subject on the 19th, and this day he made his promised motion. He recapitulated the arguments that he had used before, and considered that legal security was the best security that could be obtained. The crowus of the two kingdoms were already united by an Irish law, declaring that whorver wore the imperial crown of England should also wear the imperial crown of Ireland: his object now was, to secure the rights of Parliament as well as those of the Crown, as he thought the late transactions totally inadequate to the security of the rights of Ireland: the 6th of George the First was a declaratory law; and a declaratory law only stated what the law previously was, but did not enact a new law, and therefore left the law as it stood before: he accordingly moved, “That leave be given to bring in heads of a bill for declaring the sole and exclusive right of the Irish Parliament to make laws in all cases whatsoever, internal and external, for the kingdom of Ireland". This was supported by Mr. English, Mr. Brown, and Mr. Walsh; it was strongly opposed by Mr. Bagenal, Mr. Brownlow, Mr. Ogle, Mr. Bushe, Mr. Hartley, and Mr. Yelverton; they said that Mr. Flood had very properly called it the shadow of English legislative authority, and that his bill would go to admit, that the right to legislate for Ireland had existed in England, and to deny that the right of self-legislation was inherent in Ireland. The ablest lawyers were of opinion that the repeal of the 6th of George the First was sufficient; Mr. Flood himself had admitted it by his votes of the 16th of April and 27th of May; that it was idle to call for the renunciation of a power that was abandoned; the bill which he suggested was a most injurious measure; it went to excite discontent and create doubts when the people were satisfied, when a universal joy existed throughout the country, and after they had obtained all that England could give, and all that Ireland had demanded.
MR. GRATTAN rose, and said: I wish the subject had not been renewed. Whatever was the original question, that question exists no longer; to renew it makes this House the theatre of envy, ostenta, tion, and egotism, and wastes the public time by reviewing a subject which liberty does not determine, because liberty did not excite, and which is continued by the passions that engendered it—rancour and disappointed ambition.
i enter on it, therefore, with peculiar reiüctance, but with this justification, that, were I to decline the question, I should betray the defence—the defence of myself and others, who took an early, active, and uniform part in the recovery of your liberties, when those woc eave been clamorous of late were silent.
I will state why this House and the whole nation did at first exa pect that Great Britain should relinquish her claim of legislative supremacy over the kingdom of Ireland, by the repeal of the act wherein that claim was advanced, namely, the 6th of George the First, because this act contained the principle expressly, because the act of course put the claim in issue, because the repeal was then tho natural and technical manner of doing away the claim.
Gentlemen will please for a moment to recur to four very important periods, first, when Mr. Eden, in the British House of Commons, moved for a repeal of the 6th of George the First, without a preamble, and with a reserve of that part which went to the judica
Mr. Eden was in fact no longer secretary; his friends were no longer ministers: he went to England to give to the fallen, and to take from the new ministry the glory of relinquishing the legislative supremacy of England over Ireland; and what method did he take? - Repeal without preamble.
It has been said, that the repeal was not argue or the principle. The assertion is totally unfounded : almost every man of every party spoke on that day who speaks on any day; and they argued the motion on the principle only. “He is come over post (they said), to cede the dearest rights of the British nation”. How? By the repeal—repeat without preamble. Nobody then said it was doing nothing; no man on either side said so: the proposition was received in the British House of Commons, as the account of it was received by the Irish nation—as a proposition to cede the legislative power of England over the kingdom of Ireland: the principle was thus .conceived to be put in issue.
The next period to which I refer was a few weeks after this motion; the 16th of April, 1782. I remember well the debates of that day: I ventured to recite a certain list of measures; I have that identical paper now in my hand, from Olse tittle of which I have not departed. Such a modification of the law of Poynings as took from one Council the power to suppress, and froin both the power to alter Irish bills; a mutiny bill limited to two years, with the articles of war recited, and the declaration of right prefixed; the restoration of final judicature, both at law and equity; the repeal of the 6th of George the First in toto. Did any man then say that the repeal would do nothing ? Has any man who sat silent then, a right to tell us, that the repeal did nothing ? but of all, that man who afterwards said, “the repea] liberated the hands of the king”, -expressly in so many words “liberated the hands of the king"? Has any man a right to sit on the watch, and wait the event of measures with a malignant reserve.
if measures fail, to condemn their extravagance; and if they succccal, to exclaim at their inadequacy? Did any man then talk of renunciation ? Had any man then said that an express renunciatiou was necessary, why then, indeed, some further clause might have becu pressed—not to give you liberty, but to prevent such a man froir giving you discontent, after others had given you liberty.
But no such objection was made ; the repeal was stated then as the mode of doing away the c!aim of England; and in that mode there was a most entire acquiescence.
I come now to the third period, the 17th of May. When the repeal was proposed by Mr. Fox in the House of Commons, it was a general debate, and every man admitted that repeal was a dereliction of the power. . Those who had before in high strain asserted the authority of the British Parliament over Ireland, read their recantation then : Mr. Fox was much misrepresented; he argued on the principle entirely; he ceded the authority as entirely, in as express terms as the declaratory act had maintained it: he did not reserve external legislature : he said no such thing: he said that the Parliament of England might have so exercised its legislative authority over Ireland in external cases to serve the empire at large, but had abused her power in external as well as internal cases : he never made two distinct rights, one internal and the other external; nor conceived external cases as any else but the exercise of one and the same principle of legislation, which, he said, was not founded in natural right. I have heard accounts of the debate from many of the Irish then present, and all have united in the account I have stated.
Mr. Fox published an address to the freeholders of Westminster about the time of the repeal, and defending the propriety of acknowledging the independency of America, he writes: "See the advantage you have reaped from acknowledging the independency of the Irish Parliament: she gave you 20,000 seamen”. Mr. Fox, in his speech on the Jurisdiction Bill, asserted the same principle.
Lord Loughborough spoke also in this debate: he opposed the repeal; he gave his reason, “because the authority of the British Parliament fell by it”. by it fell the act of navigation, and several others formerly enacted by the British Parliament over the Irish realm. I do not state these as records, but as facts; and I am the more warranted to state theso debates, because they have been misstated as facts, and then argued from as records, and conclusions drawn as impudent as the stating was disingenuous; but if debates are an illustration at all of law, that Nostration should arise from a true, not a fallacious account of them