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parliament be wicked enough to adopt such a plan? No! they would not; because it would involve the dissolution of the very frame and fabric of parliament, and constitute a proceeding beyond the moral competence of its power. And yet where was the difference in point of right, whether the representation was reduced to one hundred to be kept at home, or to be incorporated into the parliament of England? That there was a great difference in point of injury could not be denied, for he conceived, that even a representation of one hundred members at home would be infinitely more useful than a greater number could be in another country, when mixed with the representation of that country to which they could bear no just proportion. It had, indeed, been argued, that the revolution itself was an example of the great and indefinite power of parliament; but he maintained, besides the imperious necessity which dictated that case, that the precedent of the revolution, as far as it could be made the subject of discus'sion, was against the measure proposed, inasmuch as it was a precedent of a casual deviation from the line of the constitution, not for its destruction, but for its preservation; and inasmuch as the very offence for which James the IId. was declared to have abdicated the crown, was similar in its nature to what he conceived an incorporating union would be, namely, a subversion of the legislature and established constitution of that kingdom. The nature of Ireland's connection with England had hitherto been that of a federal union with one executive head, but distinct legislative bodies, and it was a mockery to say that Ireland would have any legislature after an Union should take place. In matters where the interests of both countries might be distinct, (and it had been proved that their interests might be distinct, although their affections could not be torn asunder) he would ask, was it to be supposed that Ireland could obtain impartial justice, should even the whole portion of her representation prove faithful to their trust? It appeared, on the contrary, that a federal union which left the right with each state of local legislation and taxation, and merely united the powers and energies of the several parts of the confederacy for general imperial purposes, had ever been the form most favourable to the growth of freedom, wealth, and general prosperity. 'He concluded with repeating his opinion, that parliament, unless authorised by the explicit unequivocal sense of the people, had no right to consent to the measure of a legislative Union with Great Britain, and that if it should adopt such a system against the sentiments of the people, there did not exist in the legislature any inherent moral right to sanction that proceeding, * by which the nation would be bound to submit to it.
Mr. William Smith declared that he felt bimself called upon to abandon his intention of remaining silent by that confident denial which he had heard from several gentlemen, of the competence of parliament to enact an Union. Every lawyer, who had opposed the measure, had thought proper, at the same time,
to protest against the authority of parliament to accomplish it. He rose, as a lawyer, to record his dissent from what he conceived
to be an unfounded and mischievous doctrine. He thought himself bound esplicitly to declare his decided opinion that parlia
ment was as competent to conclude an Union as to enact a turnpike bill. He meant not to detract from the importance of the former great imperial arrangement, or to insinuate that the sense of the community was not deserving of the most serious attention of the house : he meant merely to assert the theoretic, constitutional competence of the Irish parliament. Public sentiment on a great and complicated measure, was certainly weighty evidence of the utility or mischief of that measure. As such, it should be laid before, and might, perhaps, conclusively sway the judgment of that body, whieh possessed the right of legislation : bat public opinion was but evidence, not law.
It was evidence which the people might lay before that parliament, wbose province it was to estimate the force and tendeney of the evidence, but whose right of finally and exclusively deciding the question, uncontrolled by popular influence, was a clear and undoubted principle of the constitution. A contrary doetrine would not only attack all legal and constitutional authority, but skake the fabric of the rights and liberties of the country to its foundation; it would cancel the title deed of 1706, by which his Majesty held his Scottish, crown ; question the legitimacy of that mixed assembly, formed by the coalition of the Scotch and English legislatures, and impeach the validity of every statute which had been enacted since their junction. It would (he could not too strongly express the sentiment) confound and violate the very elements of the constitution, by transferring the supreme authority from the parliament to the people.
Mr. Stewart, of Killymoon, said, that on a subject of such immense importance, and when, by the vote of that night, the fate of Ireland was probably to be decided, he considered it a duty which he owed to his country, to declare that his opinion was decidedly against a legislative Union with Great Britain. He had strong grounds to believe that such a measure would create discontent and endless jealousies, and thereby endanger that friendly connection which then subsisted, and which he sincerely wislied might be perpetual between the two countries, being convinced that it was indispensibly necessary to the prosperity of each. He acknowledged his gratitude for the generous and meritorious services of the English militia regiments and fencibles, and reminded
the House that in happier times they had sent almost the whole of their standing army to the assistance of Great Britain, trusting, for defence, to their own volunteers.
Mr. Serjeant Stanley supported the Address to his Majesty in its original form, and quoted the authority of Lord Coke, Lord Somers, and Judge Blackstone, to prove that parliament was fully competent to adopt the proposed measure, and that in, several in
stances, acts of parliament had passed to alter the succession lo the crown, and change the constitution of parliament itself, as had been effected by the act of Union between England and Scotland, and the acts for triennial and septennial parliaments. He lamented that too much heat and passion had been introduced into the debate. He expressed his conviction that the nobleman who was at the head of the government merely wished to submit the plan to the consideration of parliament, as the most likely system to give stability to the constitution, and to communicate peace, true independence, and happiness, to the great body of the people.
Mr. Thomas Townsend replied to the legal positions and inferences of Mr. W. Smith and Mr. Serjeant Stanley. The opinion of Mr. Justice Blackstone had indeed been generally stated, with respect to the competence of parliament to vote away the liberties of the people; but no particular passage was cited to shew that parliament was competent to subvert the fundamental principles of the constitution--to abridge the right of popular representation and to transfer the legislature of the country to another kingdom. To assert that if parliament were incompetent, the act of Union between England and Scotland would be a nullity, was to say nothing that applied to the present question. For if the precedent of a constitutional topic in one country were to be drawn into example as a rule for another, it should be first made to appear that both these constitutions were constructed on the same fundamental principles. The Scottish constitution before the Union, and the constitution of Ireland, as it then stood, were utterly dissimilar in theory and practice. The Union would, if effected, be fatal to the liberties of Ireland. As a constitutional question, it was altogether untenable; as a matter of policy, it was ruinous to the peace, huoonr, freedom, and real interests of Ireland, as well as of Great Britain.
Sir L. Parsons trusted, as the sentiment of the nation was so decidedly evinced, by the sense of the independent gentlemen in the house against the Union, that the minister would completely relinquish his hopes of having it carried into effect,
Mr. G. Ponsonby replied at considerable length. He insisted that the principal arguments advanced by gentlemen on the other side of the house were drawn from the state of Scotland previous to the Union, and from the parliament of that kingdom having set up a precedent of competency to enact an Union. Without admitting any thing like that competency, he would briefly shew, that no two parliaments could be more dissimilar than that of Scotland at that day, and the parliament of Ireland, at the moment he addressed the House. The Scottish people had little or no interest in supporting a parliament consisting scarcely of any constituent part, and where the crown was all the people nothing. The two orders of parliament were composed of barons and burghers, who sat in one chamber, and gave their votes in
common on every question. The crown had a right to create the barons at pleasure, and thus could at any time or case win the sense of the burghers. There were, besides, lords of articles, who possessed the right of a negative on measures before they were publicly proposed. Who would, then, candidly say, that the people had any interest in a constitution wherein they were not represented, and composed only of the king and a turbulent and corrupt aristocracy? Or who could possibly bear out a comparison between a country in such a state, and that of Ireland, where, he trusted, the votes of that night would shew, that the people were represented by men who would not suffer the alienation of their dearest rights? It was said, that the city of Cork was friendly to the Union. It was, indeed, possible, that a cor, poration might have expressed 'such an opinion, for gentlemen well knew that corporate bodies might be influenced to assent to a measure directly against their own interests; but he felt assured that the city of Cork, comprising in that term its wealth, population, and respectability, was incapable of yielding up the honour, independence, and general mterests of the nation, for any partial advantages. After entreating gentlemen not to estimate the probable effect of their votes, but to conduct themselves as if engaged in a battle, where the victory depended upon the valour and arm of each. He concluded by declaring, that never in the course of his life did he feel such delightful sentiments as at that moment, when he contemplated the virtue and spirit, the proud integrity display, ed by the gentlemen with whom, he trusted, he should have the satisfaction of closing, in honest victory, an honest contest. He could venture to predict the most solid and permanent adyantages and blessings to the corntry from so patriotic a conduct; blessings, which, in his mind, would, by securing the honour and independence of Ireland, contribute most effectually to the strength and glory of the empire.
The House divided,
THE REV. RICHARD GRAVES, M. A.
WITH A PORTRAIT.
ALTHOUGH the subject of the present sketch is not distin , guished by any superior brilliancy of genius, by any extraordinary discovery in the sciences or arts, or by any uncommon fund of in, tellectual acquirements; yet his vivacity and amiable qualities ar the advanced age of eighty-six, the many useful and amusing pube lications with which he has instructed and entertained society, and the purity of his character, which, for so very long, a series of years, has been “ proof and bulwark” against calumny, render him an object of peculiar attention. . Mr. Graves, the younger son of Richard Graves, Esq; of Mickle. ton, in the North of Glocestershire, a nian eminent as an histo; rian and a medalist, was born at that place in the year 1715. . He was instructed in the elements of Greek and Latin erudition by the curate of the parish, and at the age of thirteen was sent to the public school of Abingdon, Berks. In his seventeenth year he was entered of Pembroke College, Oxford, having been chosen a scholar upon that foundation. In 1736 he was elected a fellow of All-Souls, and there he and Sir William Blackstone contracted a friendship for each other, which lasted, without interruption or diminution, to the latest moment of that great lawyer's life.
The versatility of Mr. Graves's mind has ever been remark, able, he became soon after his admission into college one of a water-drinking society, a beverage brought at that period inte some fashion by the celebrated Dr. Cheyney, and at the same time engaged in the study of some of the most abstruse Greek writers, An acquaintance with Mr. Shenstone, which was improved into the most ardent friendship, put an end in less tlian a year to his fondo ness for water and Greek, and he acquired a taste for literature and Florence wine, which lasted for several years. When he obtained his fellowship at All-Souls, he applied with great assiduity to the study of divinity ; but the vivacity of his temper was ill. suited to long and inactive contemplation, and he determined to devote himself to the medical profession. He accordingly repaired to London and went-through two courses of anatomical lectures, under the tuition of Dr. Nichols. Here again his career in his new studies was checked, having suffered much from a nervous fever, he abandoned all hope of making himself master of the ars medicundi, resumed his theological pursuits, and in 1741 entered into holy orders.
Mr. Graves was presented in 1750, by Sir Thomas Hof Langley, with the rectory pf Claverton, in Somersetshire, in whose gift it was, and in 1768 the living of Kilsmerdon was conferred upon him. It is to be noticed as a very extraordinary in