Изображения страниц

of the country; and the volunteers are waste and excesses were lost in the adhere to restore him. The Government vantage: and now, having given a parhas contended for the usurpation, and the liament to the people, the volunteers will, people for the laws. His Majesty's late I doubt not, leave the people to Parliaministers imagined they had quelled the ment, and thus close, specifically and macountry when they had bought the news- jestically, a great work, which will place papers; and they represented us as wild them above censure and above panegyric. men, and our cause as visionary; and These associations, like other institutions, they pensioned a set of wretches to abuse will perish: they will perish with the ocboth: but we took little account of them casion that gave them being, and the graor their proceedings, and we waited, and titude of their country will write their epiwe watched, and we moved, as it were, taph, and say, “ This phenomenon, the on our native hills, with the minor re- departed volunteer, justified only by the mains of our parliamentary army, until occasion, the birth of spirit and grievances, that minority became Ireland. Let those with some alloy of public evil, did more ministers now go home, and congratulate public good to Ireland than all her institheir king on the redemption of his peo- tutions; he restored the liberties of his ple. Did you imagine that those little country, and thus from the grave he anparties whom three years ago you beheld swers his enemies.” Connected by freein awkward squads parading in the streets, dom as well as by allegiance, the two nashould have now arrived to such distinc- tions, Great Britain and Ireland, form a tion and effect? What was the cause ; for constitutional confederacy as well as one

; it was not the sword of the volunteer, nor empire; the crown is one link, the conhis muster, nor his spirit, nor his prompti- stitution another; and, in my mind, the tude to put down accidental disturbance latter link is the most powerful. or public disorder, nor his own unblamed You can get a king any where, but and distinguished deportinent. This was England is the only country with whom much; but there was more than this: the you can participate a free constitution. upper orders, the property, and the abili- This makes England your natural conties of the country, formed with the vo- nexion, and her king your natural as well lunteer; and the volunteer had sense as your legal sovereign : this is a conenough to obey them. This united the nexion, not as Lord Coke bas idly said, Protestant with the Catholic, and the not as Judge Blackstone has foolishly landed proprietor with the people. There said, not as other judges have ignorantly was still more than this; there was a con- said, by conquest; but, as Molyneux has tinence which confined the corps to limit- said, and as I now say, by compact; and ed and legitimate objects; there was a that compact is a free constitution. Suffer principle which preserved the corps from me now to state some of the things essenadultery with French politics; there was tial to that free constitution; they are as. a good taste which guarded the corps follows: the independency of the Irish from the affectation of such folly: this, all Parliament; the exclusion of the British this, made them bold; for it kept them Parliament from any authority in this innocent, it kept them rational: no vulgar realm; the restoration of the Irish judicarant against England; no mysterious ad- ture, and the exclusion of that of Great miration of France; no crime to conceal, Britain. As to the perpetual mutiny bill, no folly to be ashamed of. They were it must be more than limited ; it must be what they professed to be; and that was, effaced ; that bill must fall, or the constinothing less than the society asserting her tution cannot stand;

that bill was liberty, according to the frame of the Bri- originally limited by this House to tish constitution, her inheritance to be en- two years, and it returned from Engjoyed in perpetual connexion with the land 'without the clause of limitation.

What! a bill making the army indepenI do not mean to say that there were dent of Parliament, and perpetual! I pronot divers violent and upseemly resolu- tested against it then, I have struggled with tions; the immensity of the means was it since, and I am now come to destroy inseparable from the excess.

this great enemy of my country. The Şuch are the great works of nature : perpetual mutiny-bill must vanish out of such is the sea; but, like the sea, the the statute book; the excellent tract of


British empire.


[ocr errors]

Molyneux was burned; it was not an- you can raise? but I ask you, is there any swered; and its flame illumined posterity. man whom you would not disgrace, by This evil paper shall be burned, but attempting to give him title, except such burned like a felon, that its execution a man as would exalt you by the acmay be a peace offering to the people, and ceptance---some man whose hereditary that a declaration of right may be planted or personal pretensions would on its guilty ashes ; a new mutiny-bill his name and dignity from the apparent must be formed after the manner of Eng- blemish and ridicule cast on him by a land, and a declaration of right put in the grant from those hands to whom His front of it.

Majesty has most unfortunately abandon$ 37. From Mr. GRATTAN's Speech on the ed, in Ireland, the reins of government.

The mischief does not go merely to Sale of Peerages in Ireland.

the credit, but may affect the existence

of the nobility. I propose three questions for the

Our ministry, no doubt, condemn the right honourable gentleman's considera- National Assembly, in extinguishing the tion: First, Is not the sale of peerages nobility of the country, and I dare say illegal? Second, Is it not a high misde- they will talk very scrupulously and very meanor and impeachable offence? Third, plausibly on that subject. They certainly Whether a contract to purchase seats have not extinguished the nobility, of for persons named by the ministers of Ireland, but they have (as far as they the Crown, with the money arising from could) attempted to disgrace them, and the sale of the peerage, is not in itself an by so doing, have attempted to lay the illegal and impeachable transaction, and seeds of their extinction. The Irish a great aggravation of the other mis- ministry have acted with more apparent demeanors ?

moderation, but the French democracy I wait for an answer. Does the right have acted with more apparent conhonourable gentleman continue in his sistency. The French democracy have, seat? Then he admits these transactions at one blow, struck from the nobility, to be great and flagrant breaches of the power, perquisite, and rank. The Irish law. No lawyer I find so old and hardy, ministry have attempted to strike off so young and desperate, as to deny it. honour and authority, and propose to Thus it appears that the administration leave them their powers and their priof this country, by the acknowledgment vileges. The Irish ministry, after atof their own lawyers, have, in a high tempting to render their honours as degree, broken the laws of the land. I saleable as the seats of justice were in will now discuss the nature of transac- France at the most unregenerated period tions admitted to be illegal; I know of her monarchy, propose to send them the prerogative of conferring honours abroad, to exact deference from the peohas been held a frugal way of re- ple as hereditary legislators, hereditary warding merit; but I dwell not on the counsellors to the King, and hereditary loss of any collateral advantages by judges of the land; and if hereafter any the abuse of that prerogative, but on the attempt should be made on our order of loss of the essence of the power itself, peerage, look to your ministry, they are no longer a means of exalting, and now the cause — they—they---they who have become an instrument of disgrace. I attempted, without success, but with will expostulate with His Excellency matchless perseverance, to make the on this subject; I will bring him to an peerage mischievous, and, therefore, are eminence, from whence he may survey guilty of an eventual attempt to declare the people of this island. Is there, my it useless. lord, a man of all who pass under your Such a minister is but a pioneer to the eye, one man whom you can exalt by Leveller; he composes a part of his army, any title you may think to confer? You and marches in the van, and demolishes may create a confusion in names, or you all the moral, constitutional, and political may cast a veil over families, but honour, obstructions of principle and purity, and that sacred gem, you have cast in the all the moral causes that would support dirt! I do not ask you merely, whether authority, rank, and subordination. there is any man in the island whom Such a minister goes before the Leveller,

like sin preceding the shadow of death, times made for influence distinct from preshedding her poisons and distilling her tensions; but not argent comptant, the influence, and preparing the nectar she stock purse. It is not title for influence, touches for mortality. I do not say, but title for money to buy influence. You that such a minister with his own hands have carried it to the last step, and in that strips the foliage off the tree of nobility. step have gone beyond the most unscruNo; he is the early blight, that comes pulous of your predecessors; they may to the island to wither your honours in have abused the prerogative, but you have the first blast of popular breath, and so to broken the laws. Your contract has been scatter, that at last the whole leaveage of what a court of law would condemn for nobility may descend.

its illegality, and a court of equity for its This minister, he does not come to turpitude. the foundations of the House of Lords The ministers have endeavoured to dewith his pick-axe, nor does he store all file the source of honour; they have also their vaults with trains of gunpowder. attempted to pollute the stream of justice. He is an enemy of a different sort. He The sale of peerage is the sale of a judidoes not purpose to blow up the Houses cial employment, which cannot be sold of Parliament; he only endeavours to cor- without breach of an express act of Parrupt the institutions, and he only under- liament,---the act of Richard II. and Edmines the moral props of opinion and autho- ward VI. rity; he only endeavours to taint nobility; I know the judicial power is only incihe sells your Lords and he buys your dental to peerage, but the sale is not the Commons. The tree of nobility ;---that it less against the spirit of the act ; indeed, may flourish for ever, and stand the blight it is the greatest possible offence against of ministers and the blast of popular the spirit of the act, inasmuch as the judi. fury, that it may remain on its own hill cial power in this case is final, and comrejoicing, and laugh to scorn that enemy, prehends all the judgments and decrees in which in the person of the minister of the all the courts of law and equity. Crown, has gone against the nobles of If I am injured in an inferior court, I the land--- This is my earnest prayer.--- can bear it; it is not without remedy. That they may survive, survive to give But there, where every thing is to be ficounsel to those very ministers, and per- nally corrected; where the public is to be haps, to pronounce julgment upon them. protected and rescued from the vindictive But if ever the axe should go into that ignorance of a judge, or the little driving, forest; if, on the track of the merchant. arbitrary genius of a minister; the last oramen, in the shape of the minister, the cle of all the laws, and the first fountain political woodman, in the shape of the of counsel, and one great constituent of Leveller, should follow; if the sale of the legislature; to attempt to make that peerage, as exercised by the present great repository a market; to erect at the minister, becoming the ordinary resource door of the House of Lords the stall of of government, should provoke

a kindred the minister, where he and his friends extreme, and give birth to a race of men should exercise their calling, and carry on as unprincipled and desperate in one ex- such an illicit and shocking trade. That treme as they are in the other, we shall a minister should have cast out of his then feel it our duty to resist such an effort; heart all respect for human institutions so and as we now resist the ministers' at- far, as to attempt to post himself at the tempts to dishonour, so shall we then door of that chamber, the most illustrious, resist the consequence of his crimes--- select, and ancient of all institutions we projects to extinguish the nobility. know of; to post himself there with his

In the mean time, to prevent such a open palm, and to admit all who would catastrophe, it is necessary to destroy pay for seats. such a practice, and, therefore, necessary Is this the man who is to teach the to punish, or remove, or intimidate, and Irish a respect for the laws, and to incheck your ministers.

culcate the blessings of the British conI would not be understood to speak stitution? now of a figurative sale of honours; I History is not wanting in instances of am speaking of an actual one in the most gross abuses of the prerogative in the disliteral sense of the word. I know the posal of the peerage; the worst ministers grants of honours have been at certain perhaps have attempted it; but I will assert, that the whole history of England one; and adding the discredit whích, by does not furnish so gross and illegal an such offences, they bring on the third exercise as any of those bargains contrac- branch of the constitution, (unfortunately ted for by the minister of Ireland. In the exercised in their own persons,) they have reign of Queen Anne, there was, by the attempted to reduce the whole progress of Tories of the times, a great abuse of that government in this country, from the first power; twelve peers created for an occa- formation of law to the final decision and sion. In some particulars there was a si- ultimate execution; from the cradle of the militude between that and the present law through all its progress and forination act; it was an attempt to model the to its last shape of monumental record. House of Lords; but there was no money They have attempted to reduce it, I say, given. The turpitude of our transaction to disrepute and degradation. was wanting in the act of the ministry of Are these things to go unpunished ? Are Queen Anne; it was an act of influence they to pass by with the session, like the purporting to model one House of Parlia- fashion of your coat, or any idle subject of ment; but it was not the sale of the seats taste or amusement? of one House to buy those of the other, Is any state criminal to be punished in and model both.

Ireland? Is there such a thing as a state The second instance is the sale of a offence in Ireland ? If not, renounce the peerage by the Duke of Buckingham in name of inquest, if aye---punish. the reign of Charles I. It was one of the articles of his impeachment, a peerage sold § 38. From Mr. Curran's Speech in de to Lord Roberts for 10,0001.; it was a

fence of Mr. Hamilton Rowan. high misdemeanor, a flagrant illegality, and a great public scandal; so far it re- This paper, gentlemen, insists upon the sembles your conduct, but it was no more. necessity of emancipating the catholics of The offence was confined to a single in- Ireland, and that is charged as part of the stance; the Duke of Buckingham created libel. If they had waited another


if one peer of the realm, one hereditary le- they had kept this prosecution impending gislator, one hereditary counsellor, and for another year, how much would remain one final judiciary, for a specific sum of for a jury to decide upon, I should be at a money for his private use ; but the Irish loss to discover. It seems as if the prominister has created divers hereditary gress of public information was eating legislators, divers hereditary counsellors, away the ground of the prosecution. and divers final judiciaries, for many spe- Since the commencement of the prosecucific sums of money. The Duke of Buck- tion, this part of the libel has unluckily ingham only took the money for a seat in received the sanction of the legislature. the Peers, and applied it to his own use; In that interval our catholic brethren but the Irish minister has taken money for have obtained that admission, which it seats in the Peers, under contract that it seems it was a libel to propose; in what should be applied to purchase seats in the way to account for this, I am really at a Commons; the one is an insulated crime loss. Have any alarms been occasioned for private emolument, the other a project by the emancipation of our catholic breagainst the commonweal in this act.

thren ? has the bigoted malignity of any The ministers have sold the prerogatives individuals been crushed ? or has the staof the Crown to buy the privileges bility of the government, or that of the of the people; they have made the con- country been weakened ? or is one million stituent parts of the legislature pernicious of subjects stronger than four millions? to each other; they have played the two Do you think that the benefit they reHouses like forts upon one another; they ceived should be poisoned by the sting of have discovered a new mode of destroy- vengeance? If you think so, you must ing that fine fabric, the British constitu- say to them, “You have demanded emantion, which escaped the destructive pene- cipation, and


have got it; but we tration of the worst of their predecessors ; " abhor your persons, we are outraged at and the fruit of their success in this most

your successes, and we will stigmatize unhallowed, wicked endeavour, would be

" by a criminal prosecution the adviser of the scandal of legislation, which is the

“that relief which you have obtained common right of both Houses ; of juris. from the voice of your country.” I ask diction, which is the peculiar privilege of you, do you think, as honest men, anxious

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


for the public tranquillity, conscious that not the inconsiderable advocate, that can there are wounds not yet completely cica- excite interest in the hearer! What you trized, that you ought to speak this lan- hear is but the testimony which nature guage at this time, to men who are too bears to her own character; it is the effumuch disposed to think that in this very sion of her gratitude to that power, which emancipation they bave been saved from stampt that character upon her. their own parliament by the humanity of their sovereigo? Or do you wish to pre-9_39. From Mr. Curran's Speech in de

$ pare them for the revocation of these im

fence of Mr. Finnerty. provident concessions? Do you think it wise or humane at this moment to insult I tell you therefore, gentlemen of the them, by sticking up in a pillory the man jury, it is not with respect to Mr. Orr who dared to stand forth as their advo- that your verdict is now sought; you are cate? I put it to your oaths;


upon on your oaths to say, that the think, that a blessing of that kind, that a government is wise and merciful, that the victory obtained by justice over bigotry people are prosperous and happy, that mili., and oppression, should have a stigma cast tary law ought to be continued, that the upon it by an ignominious sentence upon British constitution could not with safety men bold and honest enough to propose be restored to this country, and that the that measure ? to propose the redeeming statements of a contrary import by your of religion from the abuses of the church, advocates in either country were libellous the reclaiming of three millions of men

and false. I tell you these are the quesfrom bondage, and giving liberty to all tions, and I ask you, can you have who had a right to demand it; giving, I the front to give the expected answer in say, in the so much censured words of this the face of a community who know the paper, giving “UNIVERSAL EMAN- country as well as you do? Let me ask CIPATION!” I speak in the spirit of you, how could you reconcile with such the British law, which makes liberty com- a verdict, the gaols, the tenders, the gibmensurate with and inseparable from bets, the conflagrations, the murders, the British soil; which proclaims even to the proclamations that we hear of every day stranger and sojourner, the moment he in the streets, and see every day in the sets his foot

upon British earth, that the country? What are the processions of the ground on which he treads is holy, and learned counsel himself circuit after circonsecrated by the Genius of UNIVER- cuit? Merciful God! what is the state of SAL EMANCIPATION. No matter Ireland, and where shall you find the in what language his doom may have been wretched inhabitant of this land ! You pronounced ;--- no matter what complexion may find him perhaps in gaol, the only incompatible with freedom, an Indian or an place of security, I had almost said of or

have burnt upon him ;--- dinary habitation; you may see him flyno matter in what disastrous battle his ing by the conflagration of his own dweilliberty may have been cloven down;- ing; or you may find his bones bleaching no matter with what solemnities he may


fields of his country; or he have been devoted upon the altar of sla- may be found tossing upon the surface of very ; the first moment he touches the sa- the ocean, and mingling his groans with cred soil of Britain, the altar and the god those tempests, less savage than his persesink together in the dust; his soul walks cutors, that drift him to a returnless disabroad in her own majesty; his body tance from his family and his home. And swells beyond the measure of his chains, yet, with these facts ringing in the ears and that burst from around him, and he stands starting in the face of the prosecutors, you redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled, are called upon to say, on your oaths, ihat by the irresistible Genius of UNIVER- these facts do not exist. You are called SAL EMANCIPATION.

upon, in defiance of shame, of truth, of [Here Mr. Curran was interrupted by a honour, to deny the sufferings under sudden burst of applause from the court and

you groan,

and to flatter the persehall

, which was repeated for a considerable cution that tramples you under foot. length of time ; silence being at length ree

But the learned gentleman is further stored, he proceeded.]

pleased to say that the traverser has charged Gentlemen, I am not such a fool, as to ihe government with the encouragement ascribe

effusion of this sort to any me-

of informers. This, gentlemen, is another it of mine. It is the mighty theme, and sınall fact that you are to deny at the ha

African sun may

on the


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »