« AnteriorContinuar »
tive; if the former be not carried, the latter is inevitable. He is, Therefore, alike earnest and consistent, as a friend to both countries, in supporting the measure.
He draws a lamentable, but a true, picture, of the present state of Ireland, both as to the dispofition of the people, and the system of government, the latter of which he represents as radically, yet necej. jarily, vicious ; that is, its vices are so interwoven with the bonds which unite the two countries, that destroy the one, and the dissolation of the other must follow. For the train of reasoning by which the author explains and upholds this doctrine, we must refer the reader to the book itself.
That the concessions made to Ireland in 1782, or the Independence of her Parliament, have contributed to increase the difficulties which are opposed to an Union, will not be denied ; into the policy, wis. dom, or justice, of these concessions it is now needless to enquire ; but the danger of acceding to any demand preferred by an armed force is so evident as to require no argument to enforce. The author's obfervations on the transactions of that period are particularly just :
• The extent and multiplied demands of the war in which Britain was then engaged had much reduced the military establishment in Ireland; and her coat having been more than once insuked by the enemy, the Government could not but applaud the voluntary exertions of those who caine forward in the public service. Nothing, however, can few more the want of Strength, or the want of wifdom of the Government at that time, in suffering a large military force to rife in the country, totally independent of its authority. Long experience has shewn, that the best institutions of human wisdom are subject to abuse, and that good and evil arc so intimately compounded, and fo infendibly diftributed in all the allotments of human life, that nothing can be said to be ablolutely good which may not partake of evil; and no measure to be fo convenient, from which mischief may not refult. Had the volunteers of Ireland adhered to their first principles, and kept in view the object of their association, their conduct would have been beyond all praise. Whenever the neceflsies of our country oblige us to assume a military character, it should be well understood, and never for a moment forgotten, thai the cxercise of civil rights is fufpended; it is for their final prefervation that the Foldier is created, who inay be called the great executive of the Itate, while it is the citizen who legislator; and as these two great powers of will and action, of command and performance, cannot combine in the state without delpotism, neither can they concentrate in the individual without producing anarchy. No principio of the British conítitution can be fo clearly proved, none is more suitable to its wisdom, and certainly nonc, in its application, contributes more to the tranquillity, to the liberties, and to the happinels of the itate.
The volunteers of Ireland, from soldiers became politicians, and formed a military convention, in perfect mimicry of the forms of Parliament, at the very rament when the lawful government was in the exercise of its functions. ich was the ftate of public attais: the intended effect was produced, and the British Parliament renounced all dominion and authority within the kingdom of Irea land." Pp. 69–72.
The author next traces the consequence of this concession, and Mews what effect it had in encouraging that difpofition to separation which, he muntains, has ever existed, in a greater or less degree. He thus briefly sums up his argument, and concludes an able and difpalljonate dillertation, by recommending an Union, as the only means of preferving Ireland to the Bririth Empire ! "After the review wliich las been taken of the history of Ireland, and the
particular facts which have been adduced, the supplement of evidence which is furuished by the late rebellion, establishes, beyond all doubt, that a great degree of restletkness and dilquict has long prevailed in Ireland ; that her lower clafles of people have been uniformly turbulent and untractable, qualities which indisposed them to the dominion of England, from the peaceful habits and subordination it would produce; that religious difference and the jealoulies of property forfeited by rebellion, and transferred to English settlers, have promoted and inflamed their prejudices; and that they are igaocent, perfidious, and credulous. It appears, alló, that the American war, and the revolution in France, have produced a trong disposition for change, and for new-modelling established governinents ; that this fpirit has had extentive influence in Ireland; that the American war separated Ireland from the English Legillature; that the conduct of the Irish Parliament in 1989 endangered the only connection which remained, that of the executive; and that, in the present war, the dependency of Ireland on the English Crown has been preserved by force of arms only". Pp.78, 79.
i The two
ART. XV. The Consequences of the proposed Union with refpe&t to
Ireland, considered, in a Second Letter to the Marquis Cornwallis. By James Gerahty, Esq. Barrister at Law. 8vo.
Pp. 60. Price is. 6d. Stockdale, London. 1799. IN N this letter Mr. Gerahty pursues his enquiry into the beneficial
consequences of the Union to Ireland, and shews, in a more parcicular manner, how its political power and commercial prosperity will be affected by it. He also confutes some of the objections ad. vanced against the measure by its opponents. In fhewing the fallacy of those arguments which tend to prove the incompetency of Parliament to consent to an Union, he falls into an error so gross, that we cannot conceive how a man of his sound principles and legal know. ledge could be so egregiously mistaken on such a point. Houses of Parliament,” he says, “in notion of law, and on the genuine and pure principles of the English constitution, stand in place of the whole nation, and are considered as that very nation, with complete investiture of every right, and devolution of every power, which the people, in their original capacity, if individually collected, could poffefs and exercise.” Most certainly the two Houses poffefs no such power as is here ascribed to them; that power is only vested in the Parliament, consisting of the King and the three eftates of the Realm, the Lords Spiritual, the Lords Temporal, and the Commons. The mistake, however, does not affect the
argument, and, indeed, it evidently arose from the conversion of an in. sulated case into a general principle. The author had just adverted to the Revolution in 1688, but he had neglected to observe that the first step of the two Houses, after the arrival of William, was to have their actions legalized by the necessary fanction of the Royal fiat. Besides, this is a case that should never be quoted as a prece. dent; it was an extreme case, and could only be defended on the paramount principle of self-preservation. Of the power and of the duties of Parliament, properly to called, Mr. G. entertains very just notions. This subject is discussed in p. 56. and the three following pages.
ART. XVI. Neceflity of an Incorporate Union between Great Bri,
tain and Ireland, proved from the Situation of both Kingdoms ; with a Sketch of the Principles upon which it ought to be formed, 8vo. Pp. 132. Price 2s.6d, Wright, London, 1799, "HIS writer has evidently paid the closest attention to the im
portant subject which he undertakes to discuss; and, unwarped by prejudice, unbiased by passion, he considers the question in all its bearings and tendencies, with an earnest defire for the discovery of truth. He sets out, indeed, with an affirmation that is incorrect, but its incorrectness has no effect upon his argument. He asserts, that the idea of an Union originated, not with the Government, but with the public. The reverse of this is the fact; but it is a matter of no moment, nor should we have noticed it, but that it seems to imply a preference of political arrangements which originate with the people over such as originate with the Government; whereas it is the peculiar duty of the Government to watch over the interests of the State, and to devise schemes to remedy any defects that may arise, (and some defects must arise in all hụman institutions,) and to fecure and extend the profperity and happiness of the nation.
It is the object of this publication to prove, that the present connection between England and Ireland is insufficient to promote the prosperity, and ensure the tranquillity, of the Empire ; and, that an incorporating Union), forming the two nations into one kingdom, subject to the fame laws, and governed by the fame legislature, is the only means to accomplish these falutary'effects.
In his able attempt to demonstrate the insufficiency of the fubfifting connection, he alludes to a probable difference of opinion, between the two Parliaments, on questions of primary importance, a diffe. rence which has once occurred, and which may occur more frequently hereafter :
“The spirit which appeared at the regency may start up and haunt us in ten thousand thapes. That example will proclaim, to a reflecting mind, the danger of separate Legillaturca, as strongly as ten thousand inttances.
*" Another may be put more likely to occur, and not less likely to agitate the passions of party, than the choice of a Regent, namely, the choice of a Minister. When Mr. Pite was placed at the head of Administration, the House of Commons addrested the Crown to remove the Ministry, as not poslefling the confidence of Parliament. The Monarch appealed from this judgement to that of his people. The people sanctioned his choice, and returned representatives, who have favoured that Cabinet with their confidence to the fullest extent. An independent Parliament in Ireland had the fame right to address this language to their Sovereign, as a British House of Commons had to their's: No man should preside in the councils of an Irish Sovereign, unless he possesses the confidence of the Irish Parliament.' Had this taken place, and, after a similar appeal, the Parliament of Ire. land continued to refuse their confidence to Mr. Pitt, the Crown and the Empire must have been confused and distracted between two Cabinets, or the kingdoms have been committed in the choice of a Minister. Need we be referred to the contest, comparatively trifling, between the English Lords and Commons, in the time of Charles II. to estimate the consequences ? To render fuch mischiefs even possible, is to place a new and heavy fetter upon the will of a Sovereign, in the choice of his Ministers." Pp. 19, 20.
Our teaders must have seen, by the extracts which we gave, in our last number, from many of the tracts which have been written against the Union, that there is, undoubtedly, a party in Ireland who wish for the separation of the two countries; and, indeed, the existence of such a wish was proved by the evidence delivered before the Committee of the Irish House of Lords, last year. To this description of men the author undertakes to demonstrate that a separation, were it practicable, would not only be prejudicial to the interests of Ireland, but absolutely destructive of her independence. His reasoning on this head is able, and, we think, conclufive ; it occupies ten pages, from 35 to 45.
The advantages that would result from an Union are placed in a strong point of view, and, we have no doubt, will have their proper effect on the minds of the Irish, as soon as the heat of party, Thall have fubfided, and the mists of prejudice be dispelled. On the principle on which an Union between the countries hould be conducted we fully agree with the author :
* Countries like Ireland and Great Britain cannot conduct this arrangement upon a narrow principle of chaffer, and a petty truckle of paltry equivalents. They must come to negociate, not in the spirit of demand, but in that of selfdenial; not asking what they may be allowed to retain, but how much they are to surrender for the common interest
. Disarming suspicion, by a noble competition in liberality, and giving a sure pledge of lincerity in the unbounded exchange of reciprocal confidence.” 2. 129.
We do not, however, concur with him entirely as to the conduct that Great Britain should observe respecting the Catholics, either in the event of an Union, or in the case of its rejection. We neither think that “ the entry of the Roman Catholics into the entire fran. chises of a British Subject might follow as a direct consequence of the Union ;" nor that, if an Union should not take place, Great Britain would • stand excused for taking part with” the Catholics against the Protestants. The first point deserves much serious confideration, and is, indeed, more difficult to decide than any of the subjects which the author has discussed : and, on the second point, we differ from him toto cælo, being firmly convinced that such a line of conduct would neither be sanctioned by wisdom nor justice. The following observation on the proceedings of the Irih Volunteers in the last war, is, to say the least of it, injudicious. “ Ireland armed in defence of the Empire, and wisely demanded her freedom as a recompence."
With these qualifications, and some draw-backs on the style, which is frequently harsh and turgid, we can recommend this tract as one of the most able, in point of reasoning and information, that has yet appeared on the subject. Art. XVII. Thoughts on au Union. By Joshua Spencer, Esq.
Barrister at Law. 8vo. Pp. 31. Price is. Stockdale, London, 1798. N our last number, (P. 191,) we reviewed an Answer to this pam.
phlet, which we had not then seen. Mr. Spencer is decidedly adveríc to an Union, but he contents himself with itating his opinion
on the subject, and with advancing aferrions, without taking the trouble of supporting the one by argument, or the other by proof. He affumes as a fact, that an Union “ whilft Ireland groaned under the rettrictions on her commerce, would have been rejected by her best and wifeft statesmen ;" on what he founds this affumption we cannot conjectore ; for all the recorded opinions of Irish Statesmen which have fallen under our obfervation expressly contradiet him. Did he ever read Molineux ? Or has he heard of the sentiments of Forster, even after those restrictions were removed?
Mr. S. argues upon false grounds, in fuppofing that the Union is considered as exclusively advantageous to England, and that some recompence is due to Ireland for the sacrifice of her Independence. Inasmuch as it will tend to increase the prosperity and strength of the Empire, it will certainly be beneficial to England; but, most assuredly, it will be productive of infinitely greater advantages to Ireland ; and this, we can assure the author, is the general conviction in this country. Mr. S. denies the competency of Parliament to consent to an Union ; but this, and all his orher positions, have been completely overthrown by the advocates for the measure, whose works we have before reviewed.
Art. XVII. Letters on the subject of Union, addressed to Meffrs.
Sanrin and Jebb, in which Mr. Febb’s “ Reply” is considered.
By a Barrister. 8vo. Pp. 79. Milliken, Dublin. 1799. THE THE two Gentlemen whose opinions on the subject of the Union
are here controverted, are Barristers of eminence at the Irish Bar, of confiderable talents, and most respectable characters. They are accordingly treated by the author with due deference and decorum, but at the same time with that freedom and occasional severity, which, in political controversy, are not only allowable, but, mostly, una. voidable. The Letters are seven in number, three of which are ad. dressed to Mr. Saurin, and four to Mr. Jebb. The author regards the idea of considering the question of an Union in the abstract as ridiculous. “I do confefs, that I can feel no more extacy or abhor. rence, in contemplating the abstract idea of an Union, than I could do in contemplating the abstract idea of a square or a triangle.” Here he is fed to consider an Union as eligible or objectionable, according to the terms and stipulations which the plan may contain ; of course, he waits to see the plan before he will speak with decision on the subject. His arguments, therefore, are chiefy confined to the confutation of the objections which have been advanced, and to certain positions which have been brought forward in support of those objections. On the unfitness of the times for the discussion of the question, he observes, “ when we have just emerged from a cruel and defolating rebellion, into which long-gathering animofities and discontents at length burit forth, it is deemed most untimely, and imprudent to