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liament in its sole and exclusive Legislature— one step farther, and proposed to impart the these are my terms.
privileges they enjoyed to the Roman Catholics, by making them voters. But this the Protest
ants of neither party were willing to do. The Mr. Grattan now moved the Declaration of Romanists comprised three quarters of the popRight, which was carried almost without a dis- ulation ; very few of them could read or write; senting voice; and a bill soon after passed the and both parties—the Patriots as well as the British Parliament, ratifying the decision by re- Aristocracy-equally shrunk from the experipealing the obnoxious act of George I.
ment of universal suffrage among this class of The Parliament of Ireland was at last inde their fellow-citizens. Under these circumstan. pendent ; but the beneficial results, so glowingly ces, the call for Parliamentary Reform was very depicted by Mr. Grattan, were never realized; faintly echoed by the great body of the people. all were sacrificed and lost through a spirit of The Convention of Volunteers had none of that selfishness and faction. The Protestants of Ire- power which they had previously exerted on the land were divided into two parties, the Aristoc. question of Parliamentary Independence. A bill racy and the Patriots. The former were exclu- was brought into the Honse of Commons by Mr. sive, selfish, and arrogant; the latter were eager Flood for extending the right of suffrage, but it for reform, but too violent and reckless in the was voted down in the most decisive manner. measures they employed to obtain it. The Par. The bitterest animosities now prevailed, and liament of Ireland was a borough Parliament, new subjects of contention arose from time to the members of the House of Commons being, time. Associations were formed, at a later pe. in no proper sense, representatives of the people, riod, under the name of United Irishmen, debut put in their places by a comparatively small signed to promote the cause of liberty. Rash number of individuals belonging to the higher men, in many instances, gained the ascendency; classes. These classes, while they were among an insurrection was planned, and in part com. the foremost to demand that "England should menced; and measures of great severity were not give law to Ireland,” were equally determ. resorted to by the British government to restore ined that the Irish Parliament, in making laws, order. The more sober part of the community should do it for the peculiar benefit of the Aris- became weary of these contentions, and some tocracy, and the support of their hereditary in-began to look to a union with England as the fluence. The Patriots, on the other hand, de- only safeguard of their persons and property. manded Parliamentary Reform, and clamored for The British ministry had the strongest motives universal suffrage. To enforce their claims, they to urge on this measure in order to prevent fuassembled a Convention of the Volunteers at ture troubles ; and in the year 1800, to a great Dublin in 1783, with a view to influence, and extent by the use of bribes, the union was efperhaps overawe the Parliament. Their suc- fected, and from this time the Parliament of Irecess would have been certain if they had gone | land became extinct.
INVECTIVE OF MR. GRATTAN AGAINST MR. FLOOD, DELIVERED OCTOBER 28, 1783. It has been said by Mr. Flood, that the pen have been corrupt; and in the last, seditious; would fall from the hand, and the fetus of the that after an envenomed attack on the persons mind would die unborn,” if men had not a privi- and measures of a succession of viceroys, and lege to maintain a right in the Parliament of En- after much declamation against their illegalgland to make law for Ireland. The affectation ities and their profusion, he took office, and beof zeal, and a burst of forced and metaphorical came a supporter of government when the proconceits, aided by the arts of the press, gave an fusion of ministers had greatly increased, and alarm which, I hope, was momentary, and which their crimes multiplied beyond example; when only exposed the artifice of those who were wick- your money bills were altered without reserve ed, and the haste of those who were deceived. by the Council ; when an embargo was laid on
But it is not the slander of an evil tongue that your export trade, and a war declared against can defame me. I maintain my reputation in the liberties of America. At such a critical public and in private life. No man who has not moment, I will suppose this gentleman to be a bad character can ever say that I deceived; corrupted by a great sinecure office to muzzle no country can call me cheat. But I will sup- his declamation, to swallow his invectives, to pose such a public character. I will suppose give his assent and vote to the ministers, and to such a man to have existence. I will begin become a supporter of government, its measures, with his character in its political cradle, and I its embargo, and its American war. I will supwill follow him to the last state of political dis- pose that he was suspected by the government solution.
that had bought him, and in consequence thereI will suppose him, in the first stage of his of, that he thought proper to resort to the acts of life, to have been intemperate; in the second, to la trimmer, the last sad refuge of disappointed ambition; that, with respect to the Constitution of of office, I will suppose him to come forth, and his country, that part, for instance, which regard to tell his country that her trade had been deed the Mutiny Bill, when a clause of reference stroyed by an inadequate duty on English sugar, was introduced, whereby the articles of war, as her Constitution had been ruined by a Perwhich were, or hereafter might be, passed in petual Mutiny Bill! In relation to three fourths England, should be current in Ireland without of our fellow-subjects, the Catholics, when a bill the interference of her Parliament--when such was introduced to grant them rights of property a clause was in view, I will suppose this gentle and religion, I will suppose this gentleman to man to have absconded. Again, when the bill have come forth to give his negative to their was made perpetual, I will suppose him again pretensions. In the same manner, I will supto have absconded; but a year and a half after pose him to have opposed the institution of the the bill had passed, then I will suppose this gen- Volunteers, to which we owe so much, and that tleman to have come forward, and to say that he went to a meeting in his own county to preyour Constitution had been destroyed by the Per- vent their establishment; that he himself kept petual Bill. With regard to that part of the Con- out of their associations; that he was almost stitution that relates to the law of Poynings, I will the only man in this House that was not in unisuppose the gentleman to have made many a long, form, and that he never was a Volunteer until he very long disquisition before he took office, but, ceased to be a placeman, and until he became after he received office, to have been as silent on an incendiary. that subject as before he had been loquacious. With regard to the liberties of America, which That, when money bills, under color of that law, were inseparable from ours, I will suppose this were altered, year after year, as in 1775 and gentleman to have been an enemy, decided and 1776, and when the bills so altered were re- unreserved ; that he voted against her liberty, and sumed and passed, I will suppose that gentleman voted, moreover, for an address to send four thouto have absconded or acquiesced, and to have sup- sand Irish troops to cut the throats of the Amerported the minister who made the alteration ; but icans; that he called these butchers “armed when he was dismissed from office, and a mem- negotiators,” and stood with a metaphor in his ber introduced a bill to remedy this evil, I will mouth, and a bribe in his pocket, a champion suppose that this gentleman inveighed against against the rights of America, the only hope of the mischief, against the remedy, and against Ireland, and the only refuge of the liberties of the person of the introducer, who did that duty mankind. Thus defective in every relationship, which he himself for seven years had abandoned. whether to Constitution, commerce, or toleration, With respect to that part of the Constitution I will suppose this man to have added much priwhich is connected with the repeal of the 6th vate improbity to public crimes ; that his probof George the First, when the inadequacy of the ity was like his patriotism, and his honor on a repeal was debating in the House, I will sup- level with his oath. He loves to deliver panepose this gentleman to make no kind of objec- gyrics on himself. I will interrupt him, and tion; that he never named, at that time, the say, "Sir, you are much mistaken if you think word renunciation; and that
, on the division on that your talents have been as great as your that subject, he absconded; but when the office life has been reprehensible. You began your he had lost was given to another man, that he parliamentary career with an acrimony and percame forward, and exclaimed against the meas- sonality which could have been justified only by ure; nay, that he went into the public streets to a supposition of virtue. After a rank and clamcanvass for sedition; that he became a rambling orous opposition you became, on a sudden, silent ; incendiary, and endeavored to excite a mutiny in you were silent for seven years; you were silent the Volunteers against an adjustment between on the greatest questions; and you were silent Great Britain and Ireland, of liberty and repose, for money! In 1773, while a negotiation was which he had not the virtue to make, and against pending to sell your talents and your turbulence, an administration who had the virtue to free the you absconded from your duty in Parliament; country without buying the members.
you forsook your law of Poynings; you forsook With respect to commerce, I will suppose this the questions of economy, and abandoned all the gentleman to have supported an embargo which old themes of your former declamation. You lay on the country for three years, and almost were not at that period to be found in the House. destroyed it; and when an address in 1778, 10 You were seen, like a guilty spirit, haunting the open her trade, was propounded, to remain silent lobby of the House of Commons, watching the moand inactive. And with respect to that other ment in which the question should be put, that you part of her trade, which regarded the duty on might vanish. You were descried with a crimsugar, when the merchants were examined in inal anxiety, retiring from the scenes of your past 1778, on the inadequate protecting duty, when glory; or you were perceived coasting the upper the inadequate duty was voted, when the act benches of this House like a bird of prey, with was recommitted, when another duty was pro- an evil aspect and a sepulchral note, meditating posed, when the bill returned with the inade. to pounce on its quarry. These ways—they quate duty substituted, when the altered bill was were not the ways of honor-you practiced adopted, on every one of those questions I will pending a negotiation which was to end either suppose the gentleman to abscond; but a year in your sale or your sedition. The former takand a half after the mischief was done, he outing place, you supported the rankest measures that ever came before Parliament; the embargo sorry game of a trimmer in your progress to of 1776, for instance. 'O, fatal embargo, that the acts of an incendiary. You give no honest breach of law, and ruin of commerce!' You sup- support either to the government or the people. ported the unparalleled profusion and jobbing of You, at the most critical period of their existLord Harcourt's scandalous ministry—the ad- ence, take no part; you sign no non-consumpdress to support the American war—the other tion agreement; you are no Volunteer; you opaddress to send four thousand men, which you pose no Perpetual Mutiny Bill; no altered Sugar had yourself declared to be necessary for the de- Bill; you declare that you lament that the Decfense of Ireland, to fight against the liberties of laration of Right should have been brought forAmerica, to which you had declared yourself a ward; and observesg, with regard to both prince friend. You, sir
, who delight to utter execra- and people, the most impartial treachery and detions against the American commissioners of sertion, you justify the suspicion of your Sover1778, on account of their hostility to America— eigu, by betraying the government, as you had you, sir, who manufacture stage thunder against sold the people, until, at last, by this hollow conMr. Eden for his anti-American principles-duct, and for some other steps, the result of moryou, sir, whom it pleases to chant a hymn to the tified ambition, being dismissed, and another perimmortal Hampden-you, sir, approved of the son put in your place, you fly to the ranks of the tyranny exercised against America; and you, Volunteers and canvass for mutiny; you announce sir, voted four thousand Irish troops to cut the that the country was ruined by other men during throats of the Americans fighting for their free- that period in which she had been sold by you. dom, fighting for your freedom, fighting for the Your logic is, that the repeal of a declaratory law great principle, LIBERTY! But you found, at is not the repeal of a law at all, and the effect of last (and this should be an eternal lesson to men that logic is, an English act affecting to emanof your craft and cunning), that the King had cipate Ireland, by exercising over her the legisonly dishonored you; the court had bought, but lative authority of the British Parliament. Such would not trust you; and, having voted for the has been your conduct; and at such conduct worst measures, you remained, for seven years, every order of your fellow-subjects have a right the creature of salary, without the confidence of to exclaim! The merchant may say to you, government. Mortified at the discovery, and the constitutionalist may say to you—the Amer. stung by disappointment, you betake yourself to ican may say to you—and I, I now say, and say the sad expedients of duplicity. You try the to your beard, sir—you are not an honest man!"
INVECTIVE OF MR. GRATTAN AGAINST MR. CORRY, DELIVERED DURING THE DEBATE ON THE UNION OF
IRELAND TO ENGLAND, FEBRUARY 14, 1800. Has the gentleman done? Has he completely "traitor," unqualified by any epithet? I will done? He was unparliamentary from the begin- tell him; it was because he dare not. It was ning to the end of his speech. There was scarce the act of a coward, who raises his arm to a word that he uttered that was not a violation of strike, but has not courage to give the blow. I the privileges of the House ; but I did not call him will not call him a villain, because it would be to order. Why? Because the limited talents of unparliamentary, and he is a privy counselor. some men render it impossible for them to be se. I will not call him fool, because he happens vere without being unparliamentary; but before to be Chancellor of the Exchequer; but I say I sit down I shall show him how to be severe and he is one who has abused the privilege of Parparliamentary at the same time. On any other liament and the freedom of debate, to the utteroccasion I should think myself justifiable in treat- ing language which, if spoken out of the House, ing with silent contempt any thing which might I should answer only with a blow. I care not how fall from that honorable member; but there are high his situation, how low his character, how times when the insignificance of the accuser is contemptible his speech; whether a privy counlost in the magnitude of the accusation. I know selor or a parasite, my answer would be a blow. the difficulty the honorable gentleman labored He has charged me with being connected with under when he attacked me, conscious that, on the rebels. The charge is utterly, totally, and a comparative view of our characters, public meanly false. Does the honorable gentleman and private, there is nothing he could say which rely on the report of the House of Lords for the would injure me. The public would not believe foundation of his assertion? If he does, I can the charge. I despise the falsehood. If such prove to the committee there was a physical ima charge were made by an honest man, I would possibility of that report being true; but I scorn answer it in the manner I shall do before I sit to answer any man for my conduct, whether he down. But I shall first reply to it when not be a political coxcomb, or whether he brought made by an honest man.
himself into power by a false glare of courage The right honorable gentleman has called
I scorn to answer any wizard of the "an unimpeached traitor." I ask, why not Castle, throwing himself into fantastical airs ; but if an honorable and independent man were | blow is aimed at the independence of our counto make a charge against me, I would say, “You try. charge me with having an intercourse with reb- The right honorable gentleman says I fled els, and you found your charge upon what is said from the country, after exciting rebellion ; and to have appeared before a committee of the Lords that I have returned to raise another. No such Sir, the report of that committee is totally and thing. The charge is false. The civil war had egregiously irregular.” I will read a letter not commenced when I left the kingdom ; and I from Mr. Nelson, who had been examined before could have returned without taking a part. that committee; it states that what the report on the one side there was the camp of the rebel; represents him as having spoken is not what he on the other, the camp of the minister, a greater said. (Mr. Grattan here read the letter from traitor than that rebel. The strong-hold of the Mr. Nelson, denying that he had any connection Constitution was nowhere to be found. I agree with Mr. Grattan, as charged in the report; and that the rebel who rises against the government concluded by saying, "never was misrepresenta- should have suffered; but I missed on the scaltion more vile than that put into my mouth by the fold the right honorable gentleman. Two des. report."]
perate parties were in arms against the ConstiFrom the situation that I held, and from the tution. The right honorable gentleman beconnections I had in the city of Dublin, it was longed to one of those parties, and deserved necessary for me to hold intercourse with vari- death. I could not join the rebel-I could not ous descriptions of persons. The right honora- join the government. I could not join tortureble member might as well have been charged I could not join hall-hanging-I could not join with a participation in the guilt of those traitors; free quarter. I could take part with neither. I for he had communicated with some of those very was, therefore, absent from a scene where I could persons on the subject of parliamentary reform. not be active without self-reproach, nor indifferThe Irish government, too, were in communica- ent with safety. tion with some of them.
Many honorable gentlemen thought differently The right honorable member has told me I de- from me. I respect their opinions ; but I keep serted a profession where wealth and station were my own; and I think now, as I thought then, that the reward of industry and talent. If I mistake the treason of the minister against the liberties of not, that gentleman endeavored to obtain those the people was infinitely worse than the rebellion rewards by the same means; but he soon desert- of the people against the minister. ed the occupation of a barrister for those of a par- I have returned, not, as the right honorable asite and pander. He fled from the labor of study member has said, to raise another storm— I have to flatter at the table of the great. He found the returned to discharge an honorable debt of grat. Lords' parlor a better sphere for his exertions than itude to my country, that conferred a great re. the hall of the Four Courts; the house of a great ward for past services, which, I am proud to say, man a more convenient way to power and to was not greater than my desert. I have replace; and that it was easier for a statesman of turned to protect that Constitution of which I middling talents to sell his friends than a lawyer was the parent and the founder, from the assasof no talents to sell his clients.
sination of such men as the honorable gentleman For myself, whatever corporate or other bod- and his unworthy associates. They are cories have said or done to me, I, from the bottom of rupt—they are seditious—and they, at this very my heart, forgive them. I feel I have done too moment, are in a conspiracy against their counmuch for my country to be vexed at them. I try. I have returned to resute a libel, as false would rather that they should not feel or ac- as it is malicious, given to the public under the knowledge what I have done for them, and call appellation of a report of the committee of the me traitor, than have reason to say I sold them. Lords. Here I stand, ready for impeachment or I will always defend myself against the assassin; trial : I dare accusation. I defy the honorable but with large bodies it is different. To the gentleman ; I defy the government; I defy the people I will bow; they may be my enemy—I whole phalanx. Let them come forth. I tell never shall be theirs.
the ministers I will neither give them quarter At the emancipation of Ireland, in 1782, I nor take it. I am here to lay the shattered retook a leading part in the foundation of that mains of my constitution on the floor of this Constitution which is now endeavored to be de- House, in defense of the liberties of my country. stroyed. Of that Constitution I was the author ; in that Constitution I glory; and for it the hon- My guilt or innocence have little to do with orable gentleman should bestow praise, not in the question here. I rose with the rising for. vent calumny. Notwithstanding my weak statc tunes of my country-I am willing to die with of body, I come to give my last testimony against her expiring liberties. To the voice of the peothis Union, so fatal to the liberties and interest ple I will bow, but never shall I submit to the of my country. I come to make common cause calumnies of an individual hired to betray them with these honorable and virtuous gentlemen and slander me. The indisposition of my body around me; to try and save the Constitution; has left me, perhaps, no means but that of lying or is not save the Constitution, at least to save down with fallen Ireland, and recording upon her cur characters, and remove from our graves the tomb my dying testimony against the flagitious foul disgrace of standing apart while a deadly corruption that has murdered her independence.
The right honorable gentleman has said that this purchase public scorn by private infamy--the was not my place—that, instead of having a voice lighter characters of the model have as little in the councils of my country, I should now stand chance of weaning me from the habits of a life a culprit at her bar at the bar of a court of spent, if not exhausted, in the cause of my nacriminal judicature, to answer for my treasons. tive land. Am I to renounce those habits now The Irish people have not so read my history; forever, and at the beck of whom? I should but let that pass ; if I am what he said I am, the rather say of what-half a minister-half a monpeople are not therefore to forfeit their Constitu- key-a 'prentice politician, and a master coxtion. In point of argument, therefore, the attackcomb. He has told you that what he said of me is bad—in point of taste or feeling, if he had here, he would say any where. I believe he either, it is worse-in point of fact, it is false, would say thus of me in any place where he utterly and absolutely false--as rancorous a thought himself safe in saying it. Nothing can falsehood as the most malignant motives could limit his calumnies but his fears—in Parliament suggest to the prompt sympathy of a shameless he has calumniated me to-night, in the King's and a venal defense. The right honorable gen- courts he would calumniate me to-morrow; but tleman has suggested examples which I should had he said or dared to insinuate one half as have shunned, and examples which I should have much elsewhere, the indignant spirit of an honfollowed. I shall never follow his, and I have est man would have answered the vile and venal ever avoided it. I shall never be ambitious to slanderer with a blow.
CHARACTER OF LORD CHATHAM.
The Secretary stood alone. Modern degen- A character so exalted, so strenuous, so varieracy had not reached him. Original and unac- ous, so authoritative, astonished a corrupt age, commodating, the features of his character had and the Treasury trembled at the name of Pitt the hardihood of antiquity. His august mind through all her classes of venality. Corruption overawed Majesty; and one of his Sovereigns imagined, indeed, that she found defects in this [George III.) thought royalty so impaired in his statesman, and talked much of the inconsistency presence, that he conspired to remove him, in of his glory, and much of the ruin of his victoorder to be relieved from his superiority. No ries--but the history of his country and the castate chicanery, no narrow system of vicious lamities of the enemy answered and refuted her. politics, no idle contest for ministerial victories, Nor were his political abilities his only talents; sunk him to the vulgar level of the great ; but, his eloquence was an era in the Senate. Pecul. overbearing, persuasive, and impracticable, his iar and spontaneous, familiarly expressing giganobject was England-his ambition was fame. tic sentiments and instinctive wisdom-not like Without dividing, he destroyed party; without the torrent of Demosthenes, or the splendid concorrupting, he made a venal age unanimous. flagration of Tully, it resembled, sometimes the France sunk beneath him; with one hand he thunder, and sometimes the music of the spheres. smote the house of Bourbon, and wielded in the Like Murray (Lord Mansfield], he did not conother the democracy of England. The sight of duct the understanding through the painful subhis mind was infinite, and his schemes were to tilty of argumentation ; nor was he, like Townaffect, not England, not the present age only, send, forever on the rack of exertion, but rather but Europe and posterity. Wonderful were the lightened upon the subject, and reached the point means by which these schemes were accom- by the flashings of his mind, which, like those of plished, always seasonable, always adequate, the his eye, were felt, but could not be followed. suggestions of an understanding animated by ar- Upon the whole, there was in this man somedor, and enlightened by prophecy.
thing that could create, subvert, or reform; an The ordinary feelings which make life amiable understanding, a spirit, and an eloquence to sumand indolent—those sensations which soften and mon mankind to society, or to break the bonds of allure, and vulgarize, were unknown to him. No slavery asunder, and rule the wildness of free domestic difficulties, no domestic weakness, minds with unbounded authority; something reached him ; but, aloof from the sordid occur- that could establish or overwhelm empire, and rences of life, and unsullied by its intercourse, strike a blow in the world that should resound he came occasionally into our system to counsel through its history. and decide.
Mr. Charles Townsend. See his character in Burke's speech on American Taxation.