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fered this to the resistance of America, and will | my country from being free; no gratitude which she refuse this to the loyalty of Ireland ? But, should oblige Ireland to be the slave of England. though you do not hazard disturbance by agree- In cases of robbery or usurpation, nothing is an ing to this resolution, you do most exceedingly object of gratitude, except the thing stolen, the hazard tranquillity by rejecting it. Do not im- charter spoliated. A nation's liberty can not. agine that the question will be over when this like her money, be rated and parceled out in motion shall be negatived. No! it will recur in gratitude. No man can be grateful or liberal a vast variety of shapes and diversity of places. of his conscience, nor woman of her honor, nor Your constituents have instructed you, in great nation of her liberty. There are certain inimnumbers, with a powerful uniformity of senti- partable, inherent, invaluable properties not to ment, and in a style not the less awful because be alienated from the person, whether body pol. full of respect. They will find resources in their itic or body natural. With the same contempt own virtue, if they have found none in yours. do I treat that charge which says that Ireland Public pride and conscious liberty, wounded by is insatiable; seeing that Ireland asks nothing repulse, will find ways and means of vindication. but that which Great Britain has robbed her of You are in that situation in which every man, --her rights and privileges. To say that Ireevery hour of the day, may shake the pillars of land is not to be satisfied with liberty, because the state. Every court may swarm with ques- she is not satisfied with slavery, is folly. tions of right, every quay and wharf with pro- I laugh at that man who supposes that Ireland hibited goods. What shall the judges, what the will not be content with a free trade and a free commissioners, do upon such occasion ? Shall Constitution; and would any man advise her to they comply with the laws of Ireland against the be content with less ? claims of England, and stand firm where you have I shall be told that we hazard the modification trembled ? Shall they, on the other hand, not of the law of Poynings, and the Judges Bill, and comply; and shall they persist to act against the the Habeas Corpus Bill, and the Nullum Temlaw? Will you punish them, will you proceed pus Bill; but I ask, have you been for years beg. against them, for not showing a spirit superior ging for these little things, and have you not yet to your own ? On the other hand, will you not been able to obtain them? And have you been punish them? Will you leave your liberties to contending against a little body of eighty men, be trampled on by those men ? Will you bring in Privy Council assembled, convocating them. them and yourselves, all constituted orders, ex- selves into the image of a Parliament, and minecutive power, judicial power, parliamentary au- istering your high office; and have you been thority, into a state of odium, impotence, and con- contending against one man, an humble individ. tempt; transferring the task of defending public ual, to you a leviathan—the English Attorney right into the hands of the populace, and leaving General, exercising Irish legislation in his own it to the judges to break the laws, and to the person, and making your parliamentary deliberpeople to assert them ? Such would be the con- ations a blank, by altering your bills or suppresssequence of false moderation, of irritating timid- ing them; have you not been able to quell this ity, of inflammatory palliations, of the weak and little monster ? Do you wish to know the reacorrupt hope of compromising with the court be- son? I will tell you ; because you have not fore you have emancipated the country. been a Parliament, nor your country a people. I have answered the only semblance of a solid Do you wish to know the remedy? Be a Par
reason against the motion. I will now liament, become a nation, and those things will Less import ant objection try to remove some lesser pretenses, follow in the train of your consequence.
some minor impediments; for instance: I shall be told that tithes are shaken, being first, that we have a resolution of the same kind vested by force of English acts. But in answer already in our journals. But how often was the to that, I observe, time may be a title, but an Great Charter confirmod ? Not more frequently English Act of Parliament certainly can not. It than your rights have been violated. Is one sol, is an authority which, if a judge would charge, itary resolution, declaratory of your rights, suf- no jury would find, and which all the electors ficient for a country, whose history, from the be- of Ireland have already disclaimed disclaimed ginning unto the end, has been a course of vio- unequivocally, cordially, and universally. lation ?
Sir, this is a good argument for an act of title, The fact is, every new breach is a reason for but no argument against a Declaration of Right. a new repair; every new infringement should My friend, who sits above me, has a bill of conbe a new declaration, lest charters should be firmation. We do not come unprepared to Paroverwhelmed by precedents, and a nation's rights liament. I am not come to shake property, but lost in oblivion, and the people themselves lose to confirm property, and to restore freedom. The the memory of their own freedom.
nation begins to form—we are moldering into a I shall hear of ingratitude, and name the ar- people ; freedom asserted, property secured, and gument to despise it. I know the men who use the army, a mercenary band, likely to be deit are not grateful. They are insatiate ; they pendent on your Parliament, restrained by law. are public extortioners, who would stop the tide
5 A bill to be immediately introduced on passing of public prosperity, and turn it to the channel the Declaration, by which all laws of the English of their own wretched emolument. I know of Parliament affecting property were to be confirmed no species of gratitude which should prevent by the Irish Parliament.
Never was such a revolution accomplished in so this land, which has no foundation in necessity, short a time, and with such public tranquillity. In or utility, or empire, or the laws of England, or what situation would those men, who call them the laws of Ireland, or the laws of nature, or the selves friends of constitution and of government, laws of God. Do not suffer that power, which have left you? They would have left you with- banished your manufacturers, dishonored your out a title (as they stole it) to your estates, with peerage, and stopped the growth of your people. out an assertion of your Constitution, or a law Do not, I say, be bribed by an export of woolen, for your army; and this state of private and pub- or an import of sugar, and suffer that power, lic insecurity, this anarchy, raging in the king- which has thus withered the land, to have existdom for eighteen months, these mock-moderators ence in your pusillanimity. Do not send the would have had the presumption to call peace. people to their own resolves for liberty, passing
The King has no other title to his Crown than by the tribunals of justice, and the high court of Appeal to the that which you have to your liberty. Parliament; neither imagine that, by any formapresenciple Both are founded, the throne and your tion of apology, you can palliate such a commistion of 1688. freedom, upon the right vested in the sion to your hearts, still less to your children, subject to resist by arms, notwithstanding their who will sting you in your grave for interposing oaths of allegiance, any authority attempting to between them and their Maker, and robbing impose acts of power as laws; whether that au- them of an immense occasion, and losing an opthority be one man or a host, the second James portunity which you did not create and can nev. or the British Parliament, every argument for er restore. the house of Hanover is equally an argument Hereafter, when these things shall be his. for the liberties of Ireland. The Act of Settle- tory, your age of thraldom, your sudmento is an act of rebellion, or the sixth of George den resurrection, commercial redress, the First an act of usurpation. I do not refer to and miraculous armament,? shall the historian doubtful history, but to living record, to common stop at liberty, and observe, that here the princharters, to the interpretation England has put cipal men among us were found wanting, were on those charters (an interpretation made, not awed by a weak ministry, bribed by an empty by words only, but crowned by arms), to the rev. treasury; and when liberty was within their olution she has formed upon them, to the King grasp, and her temple opened its folding doors, she has established, and, above all, to the oath fell down, and were prostituted at the threshold ? of allegiance solemnly plighted to the house of I might, as a constituent, come to your bar Stuart, and afterward set aside in the instance and demand my liberty. I do call upon yon by of a grave and moral people, absolved by virtue the laws of the land, and their violation ; by the of those very charters; and as any thing less instructions of eighteen counties; by the arms, than liberty is inadequate to Ireland, so is it dan inspiration, and providence of the present mogerous to Great Britain. We are too near the ment—tell us the rule by which we shall go; British nation ; we are too conversant with her assert the law of Ireland ; declare the liberty of history; we are too much fired by her example the land ! I will not be answered by a public to be any thing less than equals; any thing less, lie, in the shape of an amendment; nor, speak. we should be her bitterest enemies. An enemy ing for the subjects' freedom, am I to hear of to that power which smote us with her mace, faction. I wish for nothing but to breathe in and to that Constitution from whose blessings we this our island, in common with my fellow-subwere excluded, to be ground, as we have been, jects, the air of liberty. I have no ambition, unby the British nation, bound by her Parliament, less it be to break your chain and contemplate plundered by her Crown, threatened by her ene- your glory. I never will be satisfied so long as mies, and insulted with her protection, while we the meanest cottager in Ireland has a link of the returned thanks for her condescension, is a sys- British chain clanking to his rags. He may be tem of meanness and misery which has expired naked, he shall not be in irons. And I do see in our determination and in her magnanimity. the time at hand; the spirit is gone forth; the
That there are precedents against us, I allow; Declaration of Right is planted; and though Precedents
acts of power I would call them, not great men should fall off, yet the cause shall not of bind. precedents; and I answer the English | live; and though he who utters this should die,
pleading such precedents, as they an- yet the immortal fire shall outlast the humble swered their Kings when they urg precedents organ who conveys it, and the breath of liberty, against the liberty of England. Such things are like the word of the holy man, will not die with the tyranny of one side, the weakness of the oth the prophet, but survive him.8 er, and the law of neither. We will not be bound by them; or rather, in the words of the Decla- Referring to the rapid formation of the volun. ration of Right, no doing, judgment, or proceed-teer corps. ing to the contrary shall be brought into prece
8 The reader will be interested to observe the dent or example. Do not, then, tolerate a pow. dignified in its movement; so weighty as it falls on
rhythmus of the last three paragraphs ; so slow and er, the power of the British government, over the ear; so perfectly adapted to the sentiments ex
6 This was an act of the British Parliament set- pressed in this magnificent passage. The effect tling the line of succession to the British Crown on will be heightened by comparing it with the rapid the descendants of the Princess Sophia of Hanover, and iambic movement of the passage containing Mr. to the exclusion of the Stuarts.
Erskine's description of the Indian cbiet, page 696.
Mr. Grattan then moved the Declaration of mons, and he was voted down. He renewed Right; but the power of the English govern- the motion two years after, in connection with ment was too great in the Irish House of Com- the speech which follows.
SPEECH OF MR. GRATTAN IN THE IRISH HOUSE OF COMMONS ON MAKING HIS SECOND MOTION FOR A DECLARATION OF IRISH RIGHT, DELIVERED APRIL 16, 1782.
INTRODUCTION. DURING the two years which had elapsed since the preceding speech, great changes had taken place, both in England and in Ireland, which made the passing of the Declaration certain, if strongly insisted upon by the people. Mr. Grattan, therefore, in moving it a second time, uses not so much the language of argu. ment or persuasion, as of assured triumph. He speaks of it in his first sentence as if already carried.
of Ire.and with other countries.
SPEECH, &c. I am now to address a free people. Ages, he was forced to assent to acts which deprived
have passed away, and this is the first the Catholics of religious, and all the Irish of already se moment in which you could be distin. civil and commercial rights, though the Irish
guished by that appellation. I have were the only subjects in these islands who had spoken on the subject of your liberty so often, fought in his defense. But you have sought that I have nothing to add, and have only to ad- liberty on her own principles. See the Presby. mire by what Heaven-directed steps you have terians of Bangor petition for the Catholics of proceeded, until the whole faculty of the nation the South! You, with difficulties innumerable, is braced up to the act of her own deliverance. with dangers not a few, have done what your I found Ireland on her knees. I watched over ancestors wished, but could not accomplish; and her with an eternal solicitude, and have traced what your posterity may preserve, but will never her progress from injuries to arms, and from equal. You have molded the jarring elements arms to liberty. Spirit of Swift-spirit of Mol of your country into a nation, and have rivaled yneux?—your genius has prevailed — Ireland is those great and ancient states whom you were now a nation—in that new character I hail her; taught to admire, and among whom you are now and, bowing to her august presence, I say, Esto to be recorded. perpetua :3
In this proceeding you had not the advantages She is no longer a wretched colony, returning which were common to other great Her inferior Comparson thanks to her Governor for his rapine, countries—no monuments, no trophies, advantages
. and to her King for his oppression; none of those outward and visible signs of great
nor is she now a fretful, squabbling ness, such as inspire mankind, and connect the sectary, perplexing her little wits, and firing her ambition of the age which is coming on with furious statutes with bigotry, sophistry, disabili- the example of that which is going off, and ties, and death, to transmit to posterity insignifi- forms the descent and concatenation of glory. cance and war. Look to the rest of Europe. No! You have not had any great act recorded Holland lives on the memory of past achieve among all your misfortunes; nor have you one ments. Sweden has lost her liberty. England public tomb to assemble the crowd, and speak has sullied her great name by an attempt to en- to the living the language of integrity and freeslave her colonies! You are the only people-dom. Your historians did not supply the want you, of the nations in Europe, are now the only of monuments. On the contrary, those narrators people—who excite admiration; and in your of your misfortunes who should have felt for your present conduct, you not only exceed the present wrongs, and have punished your oppressors with generation, but you equal the past. I am not oppression's natural scourge, the moral indignaafraid to turn back and look antiquity in the face. tion of history, compromised with public villainy, The Revolution, that great event—whether you and trembled; they recited your violence, they call it ancient or modern, I know not-was tar- suppressed your provocation, and wrote in the nished with bigotry. The great deliverer-for chain that entrammeled their country. I am such I must ever call the Prince of Nassau— come to break that chain ; and I congratulate was blemished by oppression. He assented to my country, who, without any of the advantages
I speak of, going forth, as it were, with nothing 1 This speech and the preceding are from a copy but a stone and a sling, and what oppression corrected by Mr. Grattan, and published in 1821.
could not take away, the favor of Heaven, ac· William Molyneux, the mathematician and astronomer
, was originally bred to the law, and, being complished her own redemption, and left you deeply interested for his countrymen, he wrote bis nothing to add, and every thing to admire. You celebrated work on the rights of the Irish Parlia- want no trophy now-the records of Parliament ment, the first and ablest work ever produced on
are the evidence of your glory. the subject. He was born in 1656, and died in 1698. I beg to observe, that the deliverance of Ire* Let her endure forever.
land has proceeded from her own right hand.
I rejoice at it; for, had the great acquisition of subjects and the duty of kings. Let other
of your freedom proceeded from the nations imagine that subjects are made for the ance achieved bounty of England, that great work Monarch; but we conceive that kings, and Par.
would have been defective — would liaments like kings, are made for the subject. have been defective both in renown and secu- The House of Commons, hono: ble and right rity. It was necessary that the soul of the honorable as it may be; the Lords, noble and country should have been exalted by the act of illustrious as we pronounce them, are not originher own redemption, and that England should al, but derivative. Session after session they withdraw her claim by operation of treaty, and move their periodical orbit about the source of not of mere grace and condescension. A gratu- their being—the nation. Even the King—Majitous act of Parliament, however express, would esty—must fulfill her due and tributary course have been revocable; but the repeal of her round that great luminary; and, created by its claim, under operation of treaty, is not. In that beam and upheld by its attraction, must incline case, the Legislature is put in covenant, and to that light or go out of the system. bound by the law of nations, the only law that Ministers—we mean the ministers who have can legally bind Parliament. Never did this been dismissed ;* I rely on the good in- Argument re country stand so high. England and Ireland tentions of the present—former minis- torted on the treat ex æquo. Ireland transmits to the King ters, I say, have put questions to us. the Declaraher claim of right, and requires of the Parlia- We beg to put questions to them. ment of England the repeal of her claim of They desired to know by what authority this power, which repeal the English Parliament is nation had acted. This nation desires to know to make under the force of a treaty, which de- by what authority they acted. By what authorpends on the law of nations a law which can ity did government enforce the articles of war? not be repealed by the Parliament of England. By what authority does government establish the I rejoice that the people are a party to this post-office ? By what authority are our mertreaty, because they are bound to preserve it. chants bound by the East India Company's There is not a man of forty shillings freehold charter? By what authority has Ireland one that is not associated in this our claim of right, hundred years been deprived of her export and bound to die in its defense-cities, coun- trade ? By what authority are her peers de. ties, associations, Protestants, and Catholics. It prived of their judicature ? By what authority seems as if the people had joined in one great has that judicature been transferred to the peers sacrament. A flame has descended from heav- of Great Britain, and our property, in its last reen on the intellect of Ireland, and plays round sort, referred to the decision of a non-resident, her head with a concentrated glory.
unauthorized, illegal, and unconstitutional tribuThere are some who think, and a few who nal? Will ministers say it was the authority Defense of declare, that the associations to which of the British Parliament? On what ground, tube Volun I refer are illegal. Come, then, let us then, do they place the question between the
try the charge. And first, I ask, what government on one side, and the people on the were the grievances ? An army imposed on us other? The government, according to their by another country—that army rendered perpet- own statement, has been occupied to supersede ual—the Privy Council of both countries made a the lawgiver of the country, and the people to part of our Legislature—our Legislature depriv- restore him. His Majesty's late ministers thought ed of its originating and propounding power- they had quelled the country when they bought another country exercising over us supreme leg- the newspapers, and they represented us as wild islative authority—that country disposing of our men, and our cause as visionary; and they penproperty by its judgments, and prohibiting our sioned a set of wretches to abuse both; but we trade by its statutes! These were not grievanc- took little account of them or their proceedings, es, but spoliations; they left you nothing. When and we waited, and we watched, and we moved, you contended against them, you contended for as it were, on our native hills, with the minor the whole of your condition. When the minis- remains of our parliamentary army, until that ter asks by what right, we refer him to our minority became Ireland! Let those ministers Maker. We sought our privileges by the right now go home, and congratulate their king on which we have to defend our property against a the deliverance of his people. Did you imagine robber, our life against a murderer, our country that those little parties, whom, three years ago, against an invader, whether coming with civil you beheld in awkward squads parading the or military force, a foreign army, or a foreign streets, would arrive to such distinction and efLegislature. This is a case that wants no prec- fect? What was the cause? For it was not edent. The revolution wanted no precedent; the sword of the volunteer, nor his muster, nor for such things arrive to reform a course of bad his spirit, nor his promptitude to put down acciprecedents, and, instead of being founded on dental disturbance, public discord, nor his own precedent, become such. The gazing world, unblamed and distinguished deportment: this whom they came to save, begins by doubt and was much; but there was more than this. The concludes by worship. Let other nations be
4 Lord North and his associates are here referred to. deceived by the sophistry of courts—Ireland The “present” ministers were Lord Rockingham, has studied politics in the lair of oppression; Lord Shelburne, Mr. Fox, &c., composing the Whig and, taught by suffering, comprehends the right I administration, which followed that of Lord North.
upper orders, the property and the abilities of That bill must fall, or the Constitution can not the country, formed with the Volunteer; and the stand. That bill was originally limited by this volunteer had sense enough to obey them. This House to two years, and it returned from En. united the Protestant with the Catholic, and the gland without the clause of limitation. What! landed proprietor with the people. There was a bill making the army independent of Parliastill more than this—there was a continence ment, and perpetual ? I protested against it which confined the corps to limited and legiti- then; I have struggled with it since; and I am mate objects. There was a principle which now come to destroy this great enemy of my preserved the corps from adultery with French country. The perpetual Mutiny Bill must van. politics. There was a good taste which guard- ish out of the statute book. The excellent tract ed the corps from the affectation of such folly. of Molyneux was burned—it was not answered, This, all this, made them bold; for it kept them and its flame illumined posterity. This evil innocent, it kept them rational. No vulgar rant paper shall be burned; but burned like a felon, against England, no mysterious admiration of that its execution may be a peace-offering to the France, no crime to conceal, no folly to blush people, and that a Declaration of Right may be for, they were what they professed to be ; and planted on its guilty ashes. A new Mutiny Bill that was nothing less than society asserting her must be formed, after the manner of England, liberty according to the frame of the British and a Declaration of Right flaming in its preConstitution—her inheritance to be enjoyed in amble. As to the legislative powers of the Priperpetual connection with the British empire. vy Council, I conceive them to be utterly inadI do not mean to say that there were not divers missible, against the Constitution, against the violent and unseemly resolutions. The immensi- privileges of Parliament, and against the dignity ty of the means was inseparable from the ex- of the realm. Do not imagine such power to cess. Such are the great works of nature-such be a theoretical evil; it is, in a very high deis the sea; but, like the sea, the waste and ex- gree, a practical evil. I have here an inventory cess were lost in the immensity of its blessings, of bills, altered and injured by the interference benefits, and advantage; and now, having given of the Privy Councils-Money Bills originated a Parliament to the people, the Volunteers will, by them-Protests by the Crown, in support of I doubt not, leave the people to Parliament, and those Money Bills—prorogation following those thus close, pacifically and majestically, a great Protests. I have a Mutiny Bill of 1780, altered work, which will place them above censure and by the Council and made perpetual—a bill in above panegyric. Those associations, like other 1778, where the Council struck out the clause institutions, will perish; they will perish with the repealing the Test Act-a Militia Bill, where occasion that gave them being; and the gratitude the Council struck out the compulsory clause, of their country will write their epitaph : requiring the Crown to proceed to form a mili
“This phenomenon, the departed Volunteer, tia, and left it optional to his majesty's ministers justified by the occasion, with some alloy of whether there should be a militia in Ireland. I public evil, did more public good to Ireland than have the Money Bill of 1775, when the Council all her institutions. He restored the liberties of struck out the clause enabling his majesty to his country; and thus, from his grave, he an- take a part of our troops for general service, swers his enemies."
and left it to the minister to withdraw the forces Connected by freedom, as well as by allegi- against act of Parliament. I have to state the England and ance, the two nations, Great Britain altered Money Bill of 1771; the altered Money Ireland now and Ireland, form a constitutional con- Bill of 1775; the altered Money Bill of 1780. confederate.
federacy as well as an empire. The The day would expire before I could recount Crown is one link, the Constitution another; and, their ill doings. I will never consent to have in my mind, the latter link is the most powerful. men—God knows whom—ecclesiastics, &c., &c.; You can get a king any where ; but England is men unknown to the constitution of Parliament, the only country with whom you can get and and only known to the minister who has breathparticipate a free Constitution. This makes En- ed into their nostrils an unconstitutional existgland your natural connection, and her king your ence—steal to their dark divan, which they call natural as well as your legal sovereign. This the Council
, to do mischief, and make nonsense of is a connection, not as Lord Coke has idly said, bills which their Lordships, the House of Lords, not as Judge Blackstone has foolishly said, not or we, the House of Commons, have thought as other judges have ignorantly said, by con- good and meet for the people. No! These men quests; but, as Molyneux has said, and as I now have no legislative qualifications; they shall have say, by compact—that compact is a free Consti- no legislative power. 1st. The repeal of the Essential prin
tution. Suffer me now to state some perpetual Mutiny Bill, and the dependency of
of the things essential to that free the Irish army on the Irish Parliament; 2d. The Confederacy.
Constitution. They are as follows: abolition of the legislative power of the Council; The independency of the Irish Parliament—the 3d. The abrogation of the claim of England to exclusion of the British Parliament from any make law for Ireland; the exclusion of the Enauthority in this realm—the restoration of the glish House of Peers, and of the English King's Irish judicature, and the exclusion of that of Bench from any judicial authority in this realm; Great Britain. As to the perpetual Mutiny Bill, the restoration of the Irish Peers to their final it must be more than limited—it must be effaced. I judicature; the independency of the Irish Par
ciples of the