Irish House of Commons, Monday, Feb. 17

Citation Information: “Irish House of Commons, Monday, Feb. 17,” The London Chronicle, Monday, Feb. 17, 1800, Vol. 87.



Monday, Feb. 17.

TWO new Members were introduced by the Treasury side of the House, and took their seats.

Some petitions were presented against the Union, and one on the part of Mr. Brocas, who had been committed to Newgate on a former night for a breach of privilege: he was ordered to be brought to the Bar on Wednesday, then to be discharged.


The House having gone into a Committee on the articles of the Union, Mr. Annesley in the Chair,

The Chancellor of the Exchequer rose, and observed, that, after the very able manner in which the general principle of the Union had been debated (to which the first resolution would only go) he would not trespass on the time or patience of the House, by any minutiae or argument; however, he felt it his duty generally to lay before them the reasons inducing him to offer the resolution which he designed to move the House to concur in. He then went into the powers of the Legislative part of the Constitution, shewing that it had no controul in Imperial concerns. He dwelt upon the various agitations of the public mind in Ireland, from the demand of Protecting Duties in 1783, to the Commercial Propositions in 1785, and the Regency Question in all these instances, it was proved that the Constitution of 1782 left the connection of the two countries in danger, and that something was necessary to be done. He next traced the disturbances which followed in Ireland the French Revolution, beginning with the United Conspiracy in 1791; their acquisition of strength in 1793; the Convention Act, made necessary by an attempt to supersede the Parliament; the Gunpowder Act, &c. down to the late rebellion; all of which evinced the necessity of some efficient means to traquillise the country. In speaking of the French revolution, he said, that the principles of it were rendered still more mischievous in Ireland, by the inflammatory language of men in that country, who laboured to degrade the Parliament. Those very men, combined with the traitors, the conspirators, now to a man opposed the Union. To oppose it had been the great object of the United Irish, of the unexecuted traitor, and the unarraigned conspirator. He then read several passages from Mr. Grattan’s Address to the Citizens of Dublin, to prove what he had said respecting the language of the party he alluded to, and he commented in severe terms upon each passage. Mr. Corry concluded by moving a resolution expressive of the opinion of the Committee, that a Legislative Union, on such terms as might be agreeable to the Parliaments of both countries, would tend to consolidate the strength of the Empire.

Mr. Grattan began a smart philippic, by saying, that the Right Hon. Gentleman had tripped so lightly over the ground he had traversed as to make no impression whatever, and had spoken to the measure in such a manner, that had not others on the same side spoken ably to the question, he would have concluded, that the measure had been deferred. On the whole, the Right Hon. Gentleman had expressed himself so frivolously and so inane, and with such an air and manner, that he seemed more like a Courtier adjusting himself before a mirror, than as a Senator discussing national affairs. He had endeavoured to supply the deficiency of argument by personality, and in this latter he had alone proved himself not defective. The Right Hon. Member had quoted some passages from a letter of his, but he would beg leave to say, that those passages were grossly misrepresented; but though he had misrepresented, he had not been able to argue. What the Right Honourable Gentleman had quoted as applying to the Irish Parliament, he would have found, if he had candidly read the publication, to have applied to the Parliament of James the Second. He would also have acknowledged, had he been candid, that it was not the speeches of any popular Member in the Irish Parliament that had produced the Irish Rebellion of 1798; for it was evident, from the confession of the principal conspirators, that before Catholic Emancipation or Parliamentary Reform had been brought forward, the conspirators had formed their connection and correspondence with France; and it also appeared that they would have relinquished their designs, had Parliamentary Reform been acceded to—but, it was perfectly natural for those who were engaged in actual treason against the Constitution, to cast forth their venomous matter against the character of any man by whom that Constitution was defended. If the Right Hon. Gentleman were to ask him by whom the rebellion had been provoked? He would tell him—that it was a species of peddling politicians, half statesmen and half coxcombs, who declaimed, and peddled and turned, first for bread, and next for station, and for that station, risking the peace of the country and the lives of the people. Mr. Grattan then went into the merits of the arguments offered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Concluded by voting against the Resolution.