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more astonishing was, that Sir John $ 35. From Mr. GRATTAN's Speech on Macpherson, (who, though a gentleman the DECLARATION OF RIGHT. of sense and honour, he stated to be rather oriental in his imagination, and not I have shown the claim of England is learned in the Sublime and Beautiful from not a case of precedent; violation is not the immortal leader of this persecution, legislation ; robbery unpunished does not and who had before opposed Mr. Hast- repeal the decalogue; precedent cannot ings) was caught by this bold bombastic prevail against an act of parliament; it is quibble, and joined in the same words, à prava consuetudo, not a law; and a " that the MAJESTY of Justice ought not course of precedent is a course of violato be approached without solicitation." tion. Could precedent repeal the great
“ But Justice is not this halt and charter ? it was thirty times violated; but miserable object !" continued Mr. Sheri- such violation did not cancel the great dan. “ It is not the ineffective bauble of charter, but proved so many challenges to an Indian pagod !--- It is not the porten- re-affirm, re-instate, and glorify that intous phantom of despair--- It is not like violable instrument of public liberty. The any fabled monster, formed in the eclipse reign of Henry the Eighth was a precedent of reason, and found in some unhallowed against the privilege of Parliament; forced grove of superstitious darkness, and po- loans had their precedents, ship money had litical dismay! No, my lords !
its precedents. Charles the First imposed a “ In the happy reverse of all this, I loan by his own authority; five gentlemen turn from this disgusting caricature to the refuse to pay it; they are imprisoned by a REAL Image !---Justice I have now be- warrant from the council; they are brought fore me, August and pure! the abstract up on their habeas corpus ; they produce idea of all that would be perfect in the six laws beside the charter in their favour: spirits and the aspirings of men ! where the judges rely on precedent, and remand the mind rises, where the heart expands: the prisoners: these judges despised the ---where the countenance is ever placid old laws to which they and their predeces. and benign :---where her favourite atti- sors were sworn, and stood on precedents tude is to stoop to the unfortunate :---to on which those predecessors were perhear their cry and to help them :---to jured; but these franchises survived those rescue and relieve, to succour and save. pliant judges, and afterwards sat in judg. ---Majestic, from its mercy :---venerable, ment upon them, and left in their punishfrom its utility :---uplífted, without ment a precedent better than their exampride :---firm, without obduracy:---bene- ple,--the triumph of the law over the perficent in each preference :-- lovely, though jury of the judges. What has been the in her frown!
conduct of the people
of England on the “ On !THAT JUSTICE I RELY :---deli- subject of precedent? You are armed with berate and sure, abstracted from all party her laws, be animated by her example: purpose and political speculation !---not her Declaration of Rights, after reciting on words, but on facts !-- You, my lords, precedents against the liberty of the subwho hear me, I conjure, by those Rights ject, says, “all such doings, and so forth, it is your best privilege to preserve--by shall be utterly void:” her great charter had that Fame it is your best pleasure to in. set forth that any judgment given to the conherit-by all those Feelings which refer trary shall be utterly void: she formed her to the first term in the series of existence, petition ofright upon her birtb-right,-your the ORIGINAL COMPAct of our nature--- birth-right against precedent; she formed our CONTROLLING Rank in the Creation her declaration of right on the same
- This is the call on all to administer ground, she considered the right of kings to truth and equity, as they would satisfy as defeasible, and the birth-right of the the laws and satisfy themselves--with the subject as indefeasible, and she deposed a most exalted bliss, possible or conceiv- king who had, under the authority of preable for our nature:--The SELF-APPROV- cedent and adjudication, invaded the inING ConsciousNESS OF VIRTUE, when defeasible right of the subject, out of the condemnation we look for will be which right she formed not only a revoluone of the most ample mercies aecom- tion by a dynasty, that had and has no plished for mankind since the creation of other foundation than that which depends The world!
on the abolition of every arbitrary maxim " My LORDS, I HAVE DONE!". in church and state,--the venal judgment, the violent precedent, and the barefaced its own body, when the Attorney Geimpudence of the law of conquest. Has neral of Charles the First filed an inforthen the birth-right of the British subject, mation against three members of parliayour birth-right, been sufficient against ment for their speeches in the House of precedent? (the precedent of the Phanta- Commons; the judges of the King's genets, the precedent of the Tudors, the Bench fined and confined them all: there precedent of the Stuarts,) to form a peti- is no adjudication which the judges of tion of right, a declaration of right, a rew England can make against Ireland, that volution, cancel the oath of allegiance, de- they have not made against their own pose James, establish William, royalize country: now, as the people of England the house of Hanover? has our common have disregarded such authority when birth-right done all this for England, and urged against their own liberties, so shall given security to her meanest subject, and we disregard the same authority when clothed her beggar with his sturdiness ? urged against ours: we cannot allow and has it left Ireland naked, subject to be England
to plead her magna charta against bound without your consent, taxed with- the authority of her judges, and to set up out your consent,
commerce re- the authority of her judges against the stricted, an independent army, and a de- magna charta of Ireland; nor must she pendant Parliament, and your property ad- answer her judges with the principles of judged by the decisions of another country? the revolution, and answer Ireland with
We bave done with precedent. She then the principles of the jacobite; for neither resorts to authority; to what authority? judgments, nor judges' opinions, nor preto her judges. To do what? to repeal cedents, are laws; still less can they reacts of parliament by interpretation. What peal laws, still less franchises, and least of act? Magna Charta,--the act that forms all, charters: these things read themselves the security of the realm. I respect the without a judge, and in despite of him; judges, but in this case I object to their au- they put forth a subterranean voice even thority, first, because they are partial, against kings, and though buried for ages, being of the country whose power they like the blood of the murdered man, they are to discuss; secondly, because they rise up in judgment, and call for justice. are dependent, being punishable by the parliament whose claims they are to arbi- This brings the claim of England to a trate; thirdly, because they are incompe- mere question of force: it is a right which tent, being by their office obliged to pro- Swift, I think it is Swift, has explained, nounce the law as parliament declares; the right of the grenadier to take the fourthly, because they are inadmissible, property of a naked man. I add, this being in this case called upon to repeal an man has now gotten back his arms, and act of parliament under colour of inter- begs to get back bis property. Thus the pretation : the great charter, the 10th of question remaining is a question of abiHenry the Fourth, the 29th of Henry the lity; and in considering this, you are not Sixth, the act of faculties, do not want to contemplate alone the difficulties in an interpreter : these say, no English sta- your front; you are to look back too on tute shall be executed in Ireland till con- the strength in your rear.
The claim by firmed by the Irish parliament, no Irish conquest naturally leads to the subject of subject to be bound by statutes except or
the volunteers. You have an immense dained within the realm; to say they may, force, the shape of a much greater, of difis to repeal, not to interpret; such expla- ferent religions, but of one political faith, nation is violation, not interpretation, and kept up for three years defending the the judge not an authority, but an offender; country; for the government took away besides, the judges are bad arbiters of her troops and consigned her defence to public liberty; there is no act of power the people; -defending the government, for which you have not a precedent, nor I say, aiding the civil power, and pledged
false doctrine for which you have not to maintain the liberty of Ireland to the an adjudication. Lord Bacon maintained last drop of their blood. Who is this a dispensing power, Lord Coke main- body? the Commons of Ireland ! and you tained a dispensing power, Lord Chief at the head of them: it is more it is the Justice Fleming affirmed the power of society in its greatest possible description; the king to lay port duties, Judge Black- it is the property---it is the soul of the stone maintained the power of the House country armed : they, for this body, have of Commons to disqualify by the vote of yet no adequate name. In the summer
of 1780, they agree to a declaration of can appoints for empire, sends forth her right; in the summer of 1781, they hear ambassadors to the different kings in Euthat the French are at sea ; in the heat rope, and manifests to the world her inand hurricane of their zeal for liberty, dependency and power; do you imagine they stop; without delay, they offer to you will persuade Ireland to be satisfied march ; their march waits only for the with an English Parliament making laws commands of the Castle : the castle, where for her; satisfied with a refusal to her the sagacious courtier had abandoned his loyalty, of those privileges which were of. uniform, finds it prudent to receive a self- fered to the arms of America ? How will armed association: that self-armed asso- individuals among you like this? Some ciation this age has beheld ; posterity of the gentlemen whom I now see in their will admire---will wonder. The dele- places, are the descendants of kings; the gates of that self-armed association enter illustrious gentleman* on the far bench; the mansion of the government, ascend my illustrioust friend near me. Will they the steps, advance to the presence of the derogate from the royalty of their forefaLord-Lieutenant, and make a tender of thers, bow their honoured heads, or actheir lives and fortunes, with the form and knowledge the crown of their ancestors, reception of an authenticated establish
or more than regal power on the brow of ment. A painter might here display and every forty-shilling freeholder in Engcontrast the loyalty of a courtier with that land, or on any front except that of His of a volunteer ; he would paint the courtier Majesty? Are the American enemies hurrying off his uniform, casting away his to be free, and these royal subjects arms, filling his pockets with the public slaves ? or in what quality does His Mamoney, and then presenting to his sove. jesty choose to contemplate the Irish here. reign naked servitude; he would paint after ? His subjects in parliament, or his the volunteer seizing his charters, hand- equals in congress? Submission, thereling his arms, forming bis columns, im- fore, will not do: there remains, then, but proving his discipline, demanding his one way; assert the independency of your rights, and then, at the foot of the throne, parliament. What do you wait for ? Do making a tender of armed allegiance. He you wait for a peace ; till the volunteer had no objection to die by the side of retires, and the minister replies by his England; but he must be found dead with cannon? The Stag frigate is now in your her charter in his hand,
harbour; or do you wait for more calamiStationed as you are, and placed as you ties in the fortunes of England, till the are in relation to the community and these empire is a wreck, and the two countries great objects, how do you mean to pro- go down together ? or do you delay, till ceed? submit, and take the lead in the Providence, beholding you on your knees, desertion ? Impossible! The strength shall fall in love with your meanness, and which at your back supports your virtue, rain on your servility constitution like manprecludes your apostacy; the armed pre- na. You go to the house of God when you sence of the nation will not bend ; the want heat or moisture, and you interfere community will not be sold; nor will ą with God's providence by your importunation in arms suffer the eternal blessing nities. Are the princes of the earth more of freedom and renown to depend on the vigilant than the Almighty, that you experiment, whether this villain shall be should besiege the throne of mercy with a pensioner, or that pickpocket shall be a your solicitations, and hold it unnecessary peer. Before
decide on the practic to admonish the King ? or do you wait cability of being slaves for ever, look to till your country speaks to you in thunAmerica. Do you see nothing in that der? Let me conclude by observing, that America but the grave and prison of your you have the two claims before you ; the armies ? and do you not see in her range claim of England to power, and of Ireof territory, cheapness of living, variety of land to liberty: and I have shown you, climate, and simplicity of life ---the drain that England has no title to that power to of Europe ? Whatever is bold and dis- make laws for Ireland ; pone by nature, consolate, sullen virtue and wounded none by compact, none by usage, and pride; all, all to that point will precipi- none by conquest; and that Ireland has tate ; and what you trample on in Eu- several titles against the claims of Engrope will sting you in America. When land ; -a title by nature, a title by comPhiladelphia, or whatever city the Americ pact, and a title by divers positive acts of * Mr. O'Hara.
+ Mr. O'Neill.
parliament; a title by charter, and by all though the Irish were the only subjects in the laws by which England possesses her these islands who had fought in his deliberties ;-by England's interpretation of fence. But you have sought liberty on those laws, by her renunciation of con- her own principle: see the Presbyterians quest, and her acknowledgment of the of Bangor petition for the freedom of the law of original compact*.
Catholics of Munster. You, with diffi
culties innumerable, with dangers not a $36. From Mr. GRATTAN's Speech upon few, have what your ancestors wished,
the Declaration of Right being carried. but could not accomplish; and what your
I am now to address a free people: posterity may preserve, but will never ages have passed away, and this is the equal : you have moulded the jarring elefirst moment in which you could be dis- ments of your country into a nation, and tinguished by that appellation.
have rivalled those great and ancient comhave spoken on the subject of your li- monwealths, whom you were taught to berty so often, that I have nothing to add, admire, and among whom you are now and have only to admire by what heaven. to be recorded: in this proceeding you had directed steps you have proceeded until not the advantages which were common the whole faculty of the nation is braced to other great countries; no monuments, up to the act of her own deliverance. no trophies, none of those outward and
I found Ireland on her knees, I watched visible signs of greatness, such as inspire over lier with an eternal solicitude; I have mankind, and connect the ambition of the traced her progress from injuries to arms, age which is coming on with the example and from arms to liberty. Spirit of Swift! of that going off, and form the descent spirit of Molyneux! your genius has pre- and concatenation of glory: no; you vailed! Ireland is now a nation! in that have not had any great act recorded new character I hail her! and bowing to among all your misfortunes, nor have you her angust presence, I say, Esto perpelua! one public tomb to assemble the crowd,
She is no longer a wretched colony, re- and speak to the living the language of turning thanks to her governor for his ra- integrity and freedom. pine, and to her king for his oppression ; Your historians did not supply the nor is she now a squabbling, fretful sec- want of monuments; on the contrary, tary, perplexing her little wits, and firing these narrators of your misfortunes, who her furious statutes with bigotry, sophis. should have felt for your wrongs, and try, disabilities, and death, to transmit to have punished your oppressors with opposterity insignificance and war.
pression's natural scourges, the moral inLook to the rest of Europe, and con. dignation of history, compromised with template yourself, and be satisfied. Hol- public villany and trembled; they exciland lives on the memory of past achieve- ted your violence, they suppressed your ment; Sweden has lost her liberty ; Eng- provocation, and wrote in the chain which land has sullied her great name by an at- entrammelled their country. I am come tempt to enslave her colonies. You are to break that chain, and I congratulate my the only people, you, of the nations in country, who, without any of the advanEurope, are now the only people who ex- tages I speak of, going forth as it were cite admiration, and in your present con- with nothing but a stone and a sling, duct you not only exceed the present ge- and,what oppression could not take away, neration, but you equal the past. I am the favour of Heaven, accomplished her pot afraid to turn back and look antiquity own redemption, and left you nothing to in the face : the revolution,—that great add and every thing to admire. event, whether you call it ancient or mo. You want no trophy now; the redern I know not, was tarnished with bi- cords of Parliament are the evidence of gotry: the great deliverer (for sach I must your glory. I beg to observe, that the ever call the Prince of Nassau,) was ble- deliverance of Ireland has proceeded from mished with oppression; he assented to, her own right hand; I rejoice at it, for he was forced to assent to acts which de- had the great requisition of your freedom prived the Catholics of religious, and all proceeded from the bounty of England, the Irish of civil and commercial rights, that great work would have been defec
* The motion was lost by an overwhelming majority-but upon Mr. Fox's accession to office was renewed in the next month and carried unanimously, when Mr. Grattan made the Speech from which the extract is taken.
tive both in renown and security: it was whether coming with civil or military necessary that the soul of the country force,-a foreign army, or a foreign legisshould have been exalted by the act of her lature. This is a case that wants no preown redemption, and that England should cedent; the revolulion wanted no precewithdraw her claim by operation of trea- dent: for such things arrive to reform a ty, and not of mere grace and condescen- course of bad precedents, and, instead of sion; a gratuitous act of parliament, how- being founded on precedent, become ever express, would have been revocable, such: the gazing world, whom they come but the repeal of her claim under opera-, to save, begins by doubt and concludes tion of treaty is not: in that case, the le- by worship. Let other nåtions be degislature is put in covenant, and bound by ceived by the sophistry of courts. Ireland the law of nations, the only law that can has studied politics in the lair of oppreslegally bind Parliament: never did this sion, and, taught by suffering, comprecountry stand so high; England and Ire- hends the rights of subjects and the duty land treat ex æquo. Ireland transmits to of kings. Let other nations imagine that the King her claim of right, and requires subjects are made for the monarch, but of the Parliament of England the repeal of we conceive that kings, and parliaments, her claim of power, which repeal the Eng- like kings, are made for the subjects. The lish Parliament is to make under the force House of Commons, honourable and right of a treaty which depends on the law of honourable as it may be ; the Lords, nonations,-a law which cannot be repealed ble and illustrious as we pronounce them, by the Parliament of England.
are not original but derivative. Session I rejoice that the people are a party after session they move their periodical to this treaty, because they are bound to orbit about the source of their being, the preserve it. There is not a man of forty nation; even the King's Majesty must shillings freehold that is not associated in fulfil his due and tributary course round this our claim of right, and bound to die that great luminary; and created by its in its defence; cities, counties, associa- beam, and upheld by its attraction, must tions, Protestants and Catholics; it seems incline to that light, or go out of the as if the people had joined in one great system. national sacrament; a flame has descend- Ministers, we mean the ministers who ed from heaven on the intellect of Ireland, have gone out, (I rely on the good intenplays round her head, and encompasses tions of the present), former ministers, I her understanding with a consecrated say, have put questions to us; we beg to glory.
put questions to them. They desired to
. There are some who think, and a few know by what authority this nation has who declare, that the associations to acted. This nation desires to know by which I refer are illegal: come, then, let what authority they have acted. By what us try the charge, and state the grievance. authority did Government enforce the arAnd, first, I ask, What were the griev- ticles of war? By what authority does ances ? an army imposed on us by an. Government establish the post-office ? By other country, that army rendered what authority are our merchants bound perpetual; the privy-council of both by the charter of the East India Comcountries made a part of our legislature; pany? By what authority has Ireland, our legislature deprived of its originating for near one hundred years, been deprived and propounding power; another country of her export trade ? By what authority exercising over us supreme legislative au- are her peers deprived of their judicature ? thority; that country disposing of our By what authority has that judicature property by its judgments, and prohibit- been transferred to the peers of Great ing our trade by its statutes: these were Britain, and our property in its last resort not grievances, but spoliations, which left referred to the decision of a non-resident, you nothing. When you contended against unauthorized, and unconstitutional tribu
you contended for the whole of your nal? Will ministers say it was the authocondition; when the minister asked, by rity of the British Parliament? On what what right? we refer him to our Maker ground, then, do they place the question we sought our privileges by the right between the Government on one side, and which we have to defend our property the volunteer on the other ? According to against a robber, our life against a mur- their own statement, the government has derer, our country against an invader, been occupied in superseding the lawgiver