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(i 1721800). 


J. T. BALL, LL. D., D. C. L. 










RECENT political discussion has attracted atten- 
tion to the legislative systems operative in 
Ireland prior to its Union with Great Britain. 
If, however, we desire to ascertain what is 
recorded of them, and to examine their respec- 
tive characteristics, we must proceed to search 
for the requisite facts through the entire series 
of events with which the general history of 
the country is concerned. There is as yet 
wanting a consecutive narrative which shall 
trace the succession of these systems to each 
other, the forms they respectively assumed, and 
their distinctive peculiarities. In the following 
pages it is sought to supply the deficiency. At 
the same time, it is intended also to consider 
the controversies connected with the claim made 
by the English Parliament to legislate for Ire- 
land, with the relinquishment of that claim in 

vi Preface. 

1782, and with the Union of Great Britain and 
Ireland in 1800 excluding, however, from the 
last of these subjects questions which have 
been raised respecting the means employed to 
induce adoption of the policy of Union by the 
Irish Parliament, and also respecting the degree 
of support which, when proposed, this policy 
received outside Parliament, as such questions 
could not be satisfactorily investigated without a 
minute and lengthened examination of evidence, 
disproportioned to the limits proposed for this 

April, 1888. 

In the present edition I have endeavoured to 
correct errors, and supply omissions which have 
been observed in the former. Subjects also, 
and observations, which were then placed in the 
Appendix, have been introduced in the body of 
the treatise ; and some matters formerly ex- 
cluded receive consideration. The result has 
necessarily been considerable additions to, and 
alterations of, the original text ; but in no 

Preface. vii 

instance has there consciously been any devia- 
tion from the original scope and design, which 
proposed merely a narrative of events, and a 
record of the opinions entertained respecting 
them at the time when they occurred, without 
passing upon them the judgment which a 
later and more enlightened political philosophy 
might form. This course has at least the 
authority of Bacon to defend it, who pronounces 
it ' the true office of history to represent the 
events themselves, together with the counsels, 
and to leave the observations and conclusions 
thereupon to the liberty and faculty of every 
man's judgment.' 

J. T. B. 

August, 1889. 


CHAPTER I. (1172-1613.) 






COUNCILS OF JOHN, A.D. 1204, . . . .3 



PRIVY COUNCIL, ...... 6 

WOGAN'S PARLIAMENT, A.D. 1295, .... 7 





POYNINGS' LAW, . . . . . '4 

I'ERROr's PARLIAMENT, A.D. 1685, . . . '5 

PARLIAMENT OF JAMES I., A.D. 1613, . . . 17 

CONVOCATION, A.D. 1613, . . . .20 






IN IRELAND, . . . . . .26 



x Contents. 

CHAPTER III. (1613-1688.) 


PARLIAMENT OF 1634, . . . . -34 

PARLIAMENT OF 1640, . . . . .34 


BOLTON'S TREATISE, . . . . -37 


ADVENTURERS' ACT, . . . . -39 





CHAPTER IV. (1688-1700.) 

IBISH PARLIAMENT OF 1695, . . . -49 




LAND CONSIDERED, . . . . .66 

CHAPTER VII. (1700-1719.) 




Contents. xi 






SUITS DISPUTED, . . . . .86 

ACT OF 6 GEORGE I. (ENGLISH), . . . .88 


CHAPTER VIII. (1719-1760.) 



SWIFT, . . . . . . .92 

WOOD'S COINAGE, . . . . . -93 



ITS FAILURE, . . . . . .96 


MONS AT THIS TIME, . . . . -97 



LUCAS, . . . . . . .99 



CHAPTER IX. (1760-1780.) 


OCTENNIAL ACT. . . . . . .104 

EFFECTS OF THIS ACT, . . . . 105 

PARLIAMENT OF 1768, . . . . . IO6 


PARLIAMENT, . . . . . . 1O6 

FLOOD, . . . . . . .107 



VOLt'NTKERS, . . . . . I O<) 

xii Contents. 



TRADE, . . . . . .Ill 



FREE TRADE CONCEDED, . . . . .112 

CHAPTER X. (1780.) 


GRATTAN, . . . . . . -US 



MOTION FAILS, . . . . . I I J 


CHAPTEE XI. (1780-1782.) 


THE VOLUNTEERS, . . . . . .128 



MOTION ADJOURNED, . . . . 1 30 

MESSAGE FROM THE KING, APRIL 1 6, 1782, . 1 31 


CHAPTER XII. (1782.) 

RENUNCIATION ACT, . . . . -135 



DUKE OF PORTLAND, . . . . '39 


Contents. xiii 

CHAPTER XIII. (1782-1786.) 




LIAMENTS, . . . . . .146 


CHAPTER XIV. (1785-1798.) 






REGENCY QUESTION, . . . . . l6o 








CHAPTER XVI. (1799.) 

COOKE'S PAMPHLET, . . . . .181 


LORD CLARE, . . . . . -183 





PITT REPLIES, . . . . . .188 

SPEECH OF PITT, 3 1ST JANUARY, 1799, . . . 189 


xiv Contents. 

CHAPTER XVII. (1799.) 



'799. '97 




FOSTER, ....... 2OO 










EFFECT OF THEM, . . . . . 2I 3 

CHAPTER XIX. (1800.) 

SESSION OF I800, . . . . . -215 





SAUR1N, BUSHE, GRATTAN, . . . . . 2l8 

SPEECH OF LORD CLARE, . . . . 2 19 







Contents. xv 



ACTS OF UNION, ...... 225 


CONSIDERED, . . . . . .227 






PARLIAMENT, . . . . 2 35 




RETROSPECT, . . . . . .240 


INDEX, ....... 279 

CORRIGENDUM. Page 65. In the second sentence of the 
last paragraph the words ' affirmative ' and ' negative ' have 
been accidentally exchanged. The sentence should be : As 
Molyneux took the affirmative side, so those who answered him 
took the negative. 





r ~T v HE authority of the Crown of England in Synod of 

TIII r r Cashel. 

Ireland dates from the winter of 1172-3, 
when Henry II. who in the previous month of 
October had landed near Waterford at the head 
of an army formidable rather from its valour and 
discipline than its number received the homage 
of the principal kings and chieftains. At this 
period in England the Council (as the national 
legislature was called) had attained considerable 
importance, and its advice and assistance were 
sought whenever taxation or other needs of the 
government rendered such a proceeding neces- 
sary or advisable. No institution of a similar 
character existed in Ireland from which Henry 
could ask a confirmation of the sovereignty 
that henceforward he assumed over the country : 
if he desired to refer to such an assembly, he 

Councils and Parliaments, 1172-1613. 

must himself devise its form and give it being. 
National synods of the Irish clergy had, however, 
on various occasions been held, the last of them 
about twenty years before he came to Ireland. 
These were the legislatures of the Church. To 
have a Synod of the bishops and clergy 
summoned, would be merely to follow prece- 
dents ; and if it came in obedience to Henry's 
wishes, and afterwards acted upon the policy of 
adopting English views of the questions con- 
sidered, it must, from the superior intelligence 
and education of its members and the reverence 
entertained for their offices, exercise immense 
influence upon public opinion. He therefore 
caused a Synod of the Irish Church to meet at 
Cashel. Over this assembly Christian, Bishop of 
Lismore, the Papal Legate in Ireland, presided. 
Several decrees were then made, of which one 
object was to bring the usages of the Irish 
Church more into harmony with those of the 
English Church than they had previously been. 
Councilor According to some contemporary historians, 
the Synod of Cashel was not the only assembly 
for legislative purposes which Henry, during his 
stay in Ireland, caused to be convened. Another, 
lay in character, although ecclesiastics may have 
been present, is by them narrated to have met at 
Lismore. The name of Council has been given 
to the meeting ; but, if held (for this cannot be 
considered certain, since some writers of the 
highest authority in reference to the period make 

Coit net Is and Parliaments, 1172-1613. 3 

no mention of such an event), it seems to have 
been rather a convention of Irish chieftains and 
of the leading English knights who, by the per- 
mission or command of Henry, came to Ireland. 
Those who were present upon this occasion are 
reported to have gratefully accepted the laws of 
England, and to have bound themselves by an 
oath to their observance.* 

Henry remained in Ireland about six months, councils 
There is some reason to think that after his Henry n. 
departure Councils were during his reign sum- 
moned in Ireland, which resembled the English 
Councils, and were called for similar purposes 
and with similar powers. Evidence exists of 
legislation at that time, difficult to explain or 
account for, unless it were enacted by some 
such authority, and in the proceedings of at 
least one subsequent Parliament it is distinctly 
asserted that there had been institutions similar 
to itself from the ' time of the conquest by 
Henry Fitz Empress.' Moreover, it is impro- 
bable that the King did not afford to his Deputy 
in another country the assistance which he was 
himself accustomed to rely upon in his own.f 

But the extant records of Councils in Ireland council 
resembling the English National Councils do fnTreiand 
not begin until after John's accession to the 

* See further as to the Council of Lismore, Note A of 

f For evidence that Councils were held under Henry II., 
see Note B of Appendix. 

li 2 

4 Councils and Parliaments, 1172-1613. 

throne of England. The first is dated in the 
fifth year of his reign, A.D. 1204. Menaced by 
France, the King had obtained from the Eng- 
lish Council an Aid (as supplies of money were 
Jhen termed), and he now sought to procure a 
further Aid from an Irish Council. The writ 
or mandate for this Council is addressed to the 
Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Arch- 
deacons, and the whole clergy in Ireland, and 
(as appears by a memorandum at foot of the 
record) also to the Earls, Barons, Justices, 
Sheriffs, Knights, Citizens, Merchants, Free- 
holders (liberis tenentibus\ and all other the 
King's faithful in Ireland (per Hiberniam con- 
stitutis). It refers to the Aid obtained in Eng- 
land, and asks that those to whom it is addressed 
should give assistance (non consuetudinarie sed 
amabiliter efficax nobis auxilium faciatis\ in such 
manner as the Justiciary (Walter de Lacy) and 
others who were then sent over should declare 
unto them.* 
Subse- The constitution of this Council was imitated 

quent r r 

councils, from the constitution of contemporary Councils 
in England. This will be seen by comparing 
the persons to whom writs requiring attendance 

were to be addressed with the persons attending 


* This writ or mandate is contained in a Roll in the 
Tower of London. It is printed in full in Mr. Lynch's Trea- 
tise, entitled A View of the Legal Institutions, Honorary Here- 
ditary Offices, and Feudal Baronies of Ireland established during 
the reign of Henry II. : it will be found at p. 289 of the treatise. 

Councils and Parliaments, 1172-1613. 5 

similar assemblies in England. During the re- 
mainder of the thirteenth century Councils con- 
tinued to be summoned in Ireland, and they also 
follow the same models. The classes specified 
as those from which they were to be composed 
are, however, not always the same. Sometimes, 
too, the general terms magnates, communitas, are 
substituted for distinct enumeration of the persons 
whom the designation was intended to include.* 
It is not probable that more than a selection 
from the classes named in the mandate was on 
any occasion actually cited. 

From the first the English who settled in Ire- English 
land seem, among and between themselves, to faced into 
have adhered to the legal principles by which 
rights of person or property were determined 
in their own country. The gifts of land from 
the Crown were framed in conformity with the 
feudal system : they conferred upon the gran- 
tees the privileges, and required from them the 
duties, which according to that system were 
connected with the position of the chief tenants 
from the Crown. The legal consequences of 
such grants descended also to subordinate in- 
terests created under them. If questions arose 
which the principles of feudalism did not answer, 
there was nothing in the local customs and 
usages to induce the emigrants to abandon the 
rules of their own jurisprudence in reference to 

* Sec Note C of Appendix. 

6 Councils and Parliaments, 1172-1613. 

them. But powerful as these circumstances were 
to establish the authority of the laws of Eng- 
land in Ireland, it was not left to rest merely 
upon this basis. Positive enactments declared it. 
Omitting the decree of the Council of Lismore 
as a controverted matter, we have undoubted 
acts of John directing that these laws should be 
obeyed, and as undoubted confirmations of John's 
acts by Henry III.* 
English The language of all these enactments is wide 

law disre- , .,-- . .,,.... 

garded in enough to include the entire island within its 

Irish dis- . x , .. . . . 

tricts. operation. No distinction was made in them 
between the native Irish and the persons of 
English race who had settled in the country. 
But their practical effect was very different from 
their apparent intention. Outside the districts 
inhabited by the English the old customs and 
usages continued : the laws sought to be im- 
posed were not taken notice of, and the English- 
Government made no attempt to enforce them. 
Connexion As the English kings did not reside in Ireland, 
Coundf they placed over the people a chief governor de- 
Htion legis riving his authority from themselves. At first this 
governor was termed the Justiciary or Deputy ;t 

* See Note D of Appendix. 

f Mr.^Bagwell thinks that the first person who had the 
title of Lord Lieutenant (if we except an early case of 
de Courcy) was Lionel, Earl of Ulster and Duke of Clarence, 
one of the royal family, sent to Ireland in 1361. Deputy was 
originally applicable where there was an absent Governor, 
and another acted for him. (See Bagwell's Ireland under 
the Ttidors, vol. i., p. 100.) 

Councils and Parliaments, 1172-1613. 7 

afterwards, but (except in rare instances) not 
until a later date, he was described as Lord 
Lieutenant. From about the reign of Henry III. 
the Governor was surrounded by advisers or 
counsellors, who in process of time came to be 
known as the Privy Council. When this body 
was first formed is not clear. It, no doubt, soon 
followed the establishment of the corresponding 
institution in England, which can be traced under 
Henry III., although it was not developed until 
the reign of the two first Edwards. Imitating the 
functions of its model in relation to the King, the 
Irish Privy Council would, we may assume, advise 
the Deputy in respect of his legislative acts.* 

In 1295 the principle of elective representation in 1295 
of the Commons was introduced into the Councils, presenta- 
Henceforward we may fairly dignify the Irish commons. 
legislative assemblies with the title of Parlia- 
ments a name which about this time began to 
come into general use in England. The repre- 
sentation, however, of the Commons in the 
assembly of 1295 was of a limited character, 
extending only to the counties of Dublin, Louth, 
Kildare, Waterford, Tipperary, Cork, Limerick, 
Kerry, Roscommon, and the liberties (as coun- 
ties palatine were called) of Meath, Kilkenny, 
and Ulster.f Each sheriff of a county and 

* See Note E of Appendix. 

f A 'Liberty' or 'County Palatine' lay under the rule of 
some great nobleman, who nominated the sheriffs and ad- 
ministered justice, much like an absolute prince. 

Councils and Parliaments, 11721613. 

seneschal of a liberty was directed the former 
in full court of his county (pleno comitatu\ and 
the latter in full court of his liberty (in plena curia 
libertatis succ) to cause two of the better and 
more discreet knights of the county or liberty to 
be elected as representatives to the assembly of 
Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Barons, and other per- 
sons of high station (optimates) then summoned. 

The Parliament of 1295 is known as Wogan's 
Parliament,* because convened by Sir John 
- Wogan, upon whom about that time the govern- 
ment of Ireland was conferred by Edward I. The 
basis of representation then adopted was enlarged 
in subsequent Parliaments, so as to give elective 
rights to towns as well as counties citizens and 
burgesses being, in 1311 and afterwards, directed 
to be returned from cities and boroughs. In 
1360, separate representation was given in some 
counties to portions under ecclesiastical juris- 
diction called crosses (crocece).^ 

Represen- The introduction of elective representation of 
theCom- the Commons in Ireland followed the introduc- 

in" tion of a similar procedure in England. Thus, 
England. j n I2 ^ f or an English Parliament, the election 
of knights from the shires was directed ; in 
1264, at Simon de Montfort's Parliament, repre- 
sentatives from cities and boroughs were added ; 

* In the Liber Niger of Christ Church Cathedral there is 
an account of Wogan's Parliament. See Note F of Appendix. 

f Compare chaps, in. and xi. of Lynch's Treatise on 
Dignities, already cited, and the writs there extracted. 

Councils and Parliaments, 11721613. 

and in 1295 the summons of two knights from 
each shire, two citizens from each city, and two 
burgesses from each borough, may be regarded 
as having fixed a final plan of representation for 
English shires and towns.* 

The representative constitution of the House Represen- 
tation of 

of Commons which commenced in Ireland under the Com- 
mons con- 

Wogan was always afterwards continued ; but tinued. 

the number of constituencies to return members 
varied, as writs were not always sent to the same 
counties or towns. In like manner the number 
of bishops, peers, and superiors of religious 
houses who were summoned was not constant ; 
there were sometimes but few of a class, and 
in at least one instance, while some peers were 
omitted, a few knights were cited by name.f 

The importance of the early Councils and Jgjjj'jj 
Parliaments of Ireland is disputed. Some depre- and Par - 


ciate it so much as to hold that there were no 
assemblies within the first one hundred and forty 
years from the Invasion of Henry II. worthy of 
these titles. The true view appears to be that 
many were summoned for petty purposes, but 
that others were of a much more elevated cha- 
racter.:}: No doubt all deserve the reproach of 

* See Stubbs' Constitutional History, 4th ed., vol. ii., pp. 
132-3, 230-2. 

f In 1360, 33 Edw. III. See statement of the writs then 
issued, printed from the original records by Lynch, ut supra, 

P- 3'5- 

| See Note G of Appendix. 

Councils and Parliaments, 11721613. 

being exclusive, and from only a portion of the in- 
Natives habitants of the island. The native Irish, unless 

unwilling . . 

to attend, it may be in very rare instances, were never in- 
vited to attend them ; nor, if they had been, is 
it probable that they would have come. The 
profession of allegiance made by the chieftains 
had never been followed by any genuine recon- 
cilement with English rule ; and if they were 
to acknowledge the jurisdiction of Parliament 
and attend its meetings, they must have ceased 
to be (what they had been) princes, and become 

Nobles For similar reasons, in process of time, the 

knights Norman nobles and knights, to whom territories 

district" 5 had been assigned in Irish districts, were found 

t'oaue'nd. unwilling to obey the summonses directed to 

them. Assimilating their habits to those of the 

people by whom they were surrounded, they 

became, like them, disinclined to meet the 

adherents of English policy and usages. To 

check their tendency to absence, fines were from 

an early period imposed for non-attendance.* 

Councils After the regular legislative assemblies had 

continue . , _ . _. . . . . 

after there developed into Parliaments, there still seem to 
have been others of less importance (probably 
upon emergencies or for local affairs) held, which 
retained the old name of Councils. An ordinance 
of Edward III. (Ordinatio de Statu Hibernia, 31 
Edw. III.) assumes both modes of legislating to 

* See Note H of Appendix. 

lion into 

Councils and Parliaments, 11721613. 11 

exist, and in enumerating the persons to attend 
either Councils or Parliaments includes Privy 

At first all the members of a Parliament, separa- 
whether ecclesiastical or lay, whether peers or t w 
commoners, sat together; afterwards there were 
two Houses. The date of separation does not ap- 
pear, but was certainly after a similar arrange- 
ment was made in the English Parliament.f 

When the distinction of the Houses in the HOW the 
Irish Parliament becomes apparent, the House 
of Lords is found to consist of lords spiritual 
and temporal, the former including the heads of 
some religious houses, along with the bishops ; % 
in the House of Commons, besides knights from 
counties, and citizens and burgesses from cities 
and boroughs, some of the clergy, elected to re- 
present their order termed Proctors attended. 
It is probable that as the sitting of Parliament 
was not accompanied by the sitting of any 
ecclesiastical convocation or synod, the Proctors 
originally voted in the proceedings, at least 
when they concerned the Church ; but in the 
reign of Henry VIII. a statute was passed which 78 Henry 


* See Note I of Appendix. 

f Stubbs seems to date the separation of the two Houses 
of Parliament in England about 1332 (Const. His/., -fth ed., 
vol. ii., chap. 16, p. 393). 

I According to Ware, 24 in number 14 Abbots and to 
Priors. He gives the names of their Monasteries. An/it/., 
(hap. 26. 

12 Councils and Parliaments, 11721613. 

declared that they were mere counsellors and 

Constitu- Writs for the election of representatives to 
House of the House of Commons were not, as a rule, sent 
variable, outside the limits of the counties that had been 
formed before the time of their being issued ; but 
sometimes Connaught and Ulster were treated 
as each in itself a county. Down to the acces- 
sion of Elizabeth, the only counties which appear 
in the writs are Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Uriel or 
Louth, Catherlough or Carlow, Kilkenny, Wex- 
ford, Cork, Limerick, Kerry, and Tipperary 
reputed to have been constituted by John ; two 
small ones, Ards and Down, of later date ; 
Westmeath, made by dividing Meath, under 
Henry VIII. ; King's County and Queen's 
County, constituted by Philip and Mary ; and 
in a few instances Roscommon. 

Members Sir John Davis asserts that until the 34th year 
of Com- of the reign of Henry VIII., when Meath was 
divided, the number of members of the House 
of Commons could not have amounted to over a 
hundred. ' The counties previously were, he says, 
twelve besides the liberty of Tipperary, the cities 
four, and the boroughs not above thirty.* Any 
addition to these numbers before the reign of 

* See Address of Sir John Davis, as Speaker of the House 
of Commons, to Sir Arthur Chichester, then Deputy, after- 
wards referred to. Davis treats Tipperary as two counties : 
this is because there was the liberty of Tipperary, and the 
cross of Tipperary. 

Councils and Parliaments, 11721613. 13 

Queen Elizabeth could have been only from the 
subdivision of Meath and the formation of the 
King's and Queen's Counties. Her first House 
of Commons, called immediately on her accession 
to the crown (A.D. 1560), seems to have num- 
bered only 76 ; twenty members from ten coun- 
ties, and fifty-six from twenty-eight cities and 

To a Parliament held in the 33rd year of 33 Hen. 


Henry VIII. Sir John Davis attributes the ad- Irish ad- 

.. . . . _ , . milled lo 

mission of persons of Irish race to sit in rarha- Parlia- 
ment. It was attended by some of the chieftains, 
who gave their approval to the Act then passed, 
by which it was provided that the kings of Eng- 
land should thenceforth be kings of Ireland, and 

'3 O* 

not merely lords of Ireland, as they had until 
then been called. But these chieftains seem to 
have been rather assenting parties to the pro- 
ceedings than actual members of the assembly.t 

From the rei#n of Elizabeth Parliaments were where 


held always in Dublin ; previously they met also mem met. 
at other places, which were selected from motives 
of temporary convenience; in some instances, 
with the object of establishing by their presence 
the authority of the English Government in a 
particular locality. J Members appear to have 
had, at least during some periods, an allowance 

* Writs appear to have been sent to ten more counties and 
one more borough. See Note K of Appendix, 
f See Note L of Appendix. 
\ See Lord Mountmorres's Treatise, vol. ii., p. 98. 

14 Councils and Parliaments, 11721613. 

for their attendance a practice imitated from the 
English Parliaments. 
Poynings' Before leaving this epoch, it is proper to 

Li\v 10 

Hen.' vii., notice that the action of the Irish Parliament 
was from the tenth year of Henry VII. sub- 
ject to restrictions then imposed by an Act 
of its own. Poynings' Law, as the statute was 
called, because passed under the rule of a 
Deputy of that name, enacted that Parliaments 
should not be holden in Ireland until the king's 
lieutenant and council had notified to the king, 
under the Great Seal of that land, the causes 
and considerations, and all such Acts as to them 
seemeth should pass in the same Parliament, nor 
until such causes, and acts, and considerations 
had been affirmed by the king and his council to 
be good and expedient, and licence to summon 
Parliament had been given under the Great Seal 
of England. 

my These provisions were desired, by the king's 

ministers because enabling them to direct the 
course of legislation, and by Parliament because 
protecting it against the governors sent over 
from time to time, who, until that period, could 
summon a meeting when and for what purposes 
they might please * a power which had been 
abused in the troubled reign of Henry VI. 

*Sir John Davis says the statute was made at the prayer of 
Parliament (Discovery, ed. 1704, p. 49). See also Flood's 
Speech in the Irish House of Commons, nth December, 

Councils and Parliaments, 11721613. 15 

Under Henry VIII. and Elizabeth, Poynings' 

x i / i T i T- i Law some- 

Law was, by statutes of the Irish .Parliament, times sus- 
on some occasions temporarily repealed or rather p 
suspended; and an Act of the latter (15 Eliza- 
beth, ch. 3) provided that this should not be 
done, except by the greater part of both the 
Lords and Commons, meaning probably not 
merely by a majority of those present, but by 
a number equal to what would constitute in 
each House a majority if every member were 

The reign of Queen Elizabeth brought a great Counties 

- . . added by 

increase to the counties, and a consequent en- Elizabeth. 
largement of the representative element in the 
House of Commons. Sir Henry Sidney, in 1565, 
formed the counties of Longford, Galway, Sligo, 
Mayo, and defined Clare and Roscommon. Sir 
John Perrot formed, in 1583, the county of Lei- 
trim; in 1584, the counties of Armagh, Monaghan, 
Tyrone, Coleraine or Deny, Donegal, Fermanagh, 
and Cavan. He also finally constituted Antrim 
and Down. Wicklow, too, appears in a parlia- 
mentary record before the Queen's death. 

In 1585 a Parliament was called by Sir John Pen-ot's 
Perrot, from whom it has been named Perrot' s ment, 
Parliament. The number of members of the 
House of Commons attending it were, 54 from 
27 counties, and 72 from 36 cities and boroughs 
126 in all, of whom 18 seem (to judge by their 
names) to have been of Irish race. 

* See Lord Mountmorres, vol. i., pp. 49-52. 

1 6 Councils and Parliaments, 11721613. 

House of At this time the House of Lords was composed 
1585. ' of bishops and temporal lords ; and such had been 
its constitution from the time when the monasteries 
were suppressed by Henry VIII., and when, as a 
consequence, abbots and priors ceased to be sum- 
moned. The temporal peers were nobles either by 
virtue of patents conferring titles on themselves 
or by hereditary right derived from those on 
whom titles had been before conferred ; and so it 
had been for about two centuries. In Perrot's 
Parliament the number of spiritual peers was 
26; of temporal, also 26. Of the latter, 4 were 
of Irish race, among whom was O'Neill. 
Irish In addition to Peers and members returned 

by the counties, cities, and boroughs to the 
House of Commons, a considerable number of 
Irish chieftains attended Perrot's Parliament, but 
not as forming part of it. They were required 
to come in order that they might thus give evi- 
dence of their allegiance to the Queen, and, by 
assenting to the proceedings, be the more bound 
to carry into effect whatever might be enacted.* 
Perrot's Until Perrot's Parliament the English Govern- 
ment a not m ents seem to have obtained from the Irish Par- 
obedient. ij amen ts such measures as were requisite to carry 
into effect their policy, even when these were 
not in harmony with the sentiments of either 
Lords or Commons. Thus, in 1536, Henry VIII., 
and in 1560, Queen Elizabeth, succeeded in hav- 

* See, as to Perrot's Parliament, Note M of Appendix. 

Councils and Parliaments, 11721613. 17 

ing their Supremacy Acts and the other sta- 
tutes intended to alter the ecclesiastical system 
passed. But under Perrot a spirit of opposition 
developed itself in the House of Commons. It 
refused to suspend Poynings' Law, as previous 
Parliaments had done for other deputies, and 
rejected a bill for a subsidy and another to vest 
in the Queen without inquisition the lands of 
attainted persons.* 

For twenty-seven years after the Parliament of p ar iia- 
1585 no Parliament was called in Ireland. In the james i., 
interval James I. had succeeded to the throne of A 
England, and brought with him a policy which, 
as regards Ireland, was in many respects more 
enlarged than that of his predecessors. His 
object was to establish his own authority over 
its people, whether native or Anglo-Irish, and 
in return to treat all as subjects. He therefore 
desired that in the House of Commons the Irish 
districts should be represented, and that a much 
increased proportion of the members should be 
Irish. Accordingly, in 1613 he convened a Par- 
liament for which no qualification of race or of 
religion was required. To counterbalance the 
effect which this might have in weakening the 
English interest, he created about forty new 
boroughs, situate for the most part in Ulster 
where the Scottish and English colonists of the 
Plantation had settled. These boroughs had 
then very few inhabitants. 

* Leland, History, jrd cd., vol ii., p. 296. 

18 Councils and Parliaments, 11721613. 

Constitu. When Parliament assembled, the House of 
Pariia- Commons consisted of 232 members, about a 
T 3 . hundred more than Perrot's Parliament of 1585 
(the last preceding) contained. Of those re- 
turned 226 attended. At this time distinctions 
founded on religious differences had taken the 
place of former distinctions of race or nationa- 
lity, and the House was divided into two parties 
representing these differences. The Recusants 
(as those who adhered to the Church of Rome 
were at that time termed) are said to have 
numbered 101. 

Addresser Sir John Davis, who, after much resistance 
r/Ivis" n from the minority, became Speaker of the House 
to P s!r er of Commons, delivered an address to Sir Arthur 
Chichester, then the Deputy, the object of which 
was to extol the importance of the Parliament 
and the wisdom which had called it together. 
He contrasts it with its predecessors as regards 
its number, enlargement of the character of its 
representation, and the purposes for which it was 
called. Some abatement must be made from his 
panegyric, delivered not without a design to 
please James ; but, after every proper abatement 
is made, there will remain sufficient to establish 
the superiority of the House of Commons he 
presided over in the several points which he 
has selected for praise. The addition of forty 
boroughs, then much objected to by the Parlia- 
mentary Opposition, he defends, upon the ground 
that Queen Elizabeth had made no boroughs, 

Councils and Parliaments, 11721613. 19 

and that forty boroughs did not bear a greater 
proportion to the seventeen counties formed in 
her reign, than the thirty cities and boroughs 
which had been constituted representative in the 
original twelve counties did to them.* 

But whatever may be thought as to the supe- Legisia- 
riority over its predecessors claimed for this Pariia- 
Parliament in respect of its constitution, there 
can be little controversy as to its superiority in 
policy. Legislation before this period had drawn 
a broad line of separation between the Anglo- 
Irish and the natives. Acts of Parliament, of 
which the Statute of Kilkenny passed in the reign 
of Edward III. was the earliest, and an Act 
of Henry VIII. the latest, were as yet in force, 
under whose provisions intermarriage, fostering, 
gossipred with the Irish, rendered any of the 
English race subject to the penalties of high 
treason. To adopt Irish customs, to imitate their 
usages and manners, even in such trifling matters 
as having long hair, not shaving the upper lip, 
wearing linen dyed with saffron, were offences. f 

* See Note N of Appendix. 

f Statute of Kilkenny and 28 Henry VIII., chap. 15. The 
statute of Kilkenny is not in the printed collections of statutes. 
A very perfect edition of it, by Mr. Hardiman, has been 
published by the Irish Archaeological Society. Other sta- 
tutes, in the several collections of Irish statutes, also relating 
to the natives, are 5 Edward IV., chap. 3 ; 25 Henry VI.. 
chap. 4; 28 Henry VI., chap, i; 10 Henry VII., chap. 8. 
See, besides, an Act prohibiting the English attending Irish 
fairs, 7 Henry VI., and also an Act, 25 Henry VI., and another, 

C 2 

20 Councils and Parliaments, 11721613. 

13 James The Parliament of 1613 at once repealed this 
whole code, and introduced in the Act passed for 
the purpose a declaration more important even 
than the repeal thereby enacted that the cause 
of these laws did then cease, since the inhabitants 
of the kingdom, without distinction, were taken 
into his Majesty's gracious protection ; and that 
there were no better means to settle peace than 
to allow them to commerce and match together, 
that so they might grow into one nation, and 
former differences be forgotten. 

Convoca- James, desirous of completing his Irish legis- 

tion sum- , . -,-, .. , , 

moned. lative arrangements as near hnghsh example as 
possible, convened, along with the Parliament of 
1613, a Convocation of the clergy. There had 
before been, as has been already mentioned, 
national synods, but no assembly in the na- 
ture of an English Convocation. The present 
was modelled upon the precedent of the Con- 
vocation of Canterbury, except that it was for 
all Ireland, while the latter was for a province. 
The Convocation of 1613 voted the king a sub- 
sidy, and established the precedent that it was 
by an ecclesiastical body the clergy in Ireland 
were to be taxed. 

19 Edward IV. (none of them in the printed collections), 
which are cited by Hardiman, ut supra, p. 115. 13. n. 



THE last chapter traces the growth of the Authority 
. . . T . . of councils 

legislative systems existing in Ireland and Par- 
through a period of more than four hundred 
years. They took the shape at first of Councils, 
afterwards of Parliaments with a representative 
element, and finally with two separate Houses. 
The extent of their authority, the subjects in 
respect of which they might exercise legisla- 
tive jurisdiction, had not, when they were 
originally called into existence, been defined by 
any treaty, ordinance, or statute. They were 
modelled upon contemporary English prece- 
dents, and when the originals grew in importance 
so did the copies along with them. As far as 
depended upon their constitution, whatever juris- 
diction was inherent in the nature of such in- 
stitutions was possessed by these Irish Parlia- 
ments, subject necessarily to the limitation that, 
as they were created by the kings of England, 
the character of the jurisdiction and the subjects 
on which it might operate should not be incon- 
sistent with such other relations as were held to 

22 Claim of the English Parliament to 

subsist between the Irish people and the crown 
and kingdom of England. 
Poynings' It was, of course, in the power of the Irish 


Parliaments to impose restrictions upon them- 
selves by positive enactments for the purpose, 
and this had been done, as we have seen, long 
previous to the time at which we have arrived, in 
relation to the procedure requisite for the purpose 
of legislation. Before any valid statute could be 
passed, Poynings' law obliged the consent of 
the Irish Privy Council and of the English Privy 
Council to be procured. 

New prm- There has been occasion already to notice that 
legislation although the legislation of the Irish Parliament, 
byjamesi. unless when otherwise expressed, included, and, 
so far as appeared from its language, was framed 
to take effect upon the entire country, it was in 
practice and reality neither enforced nor regarded 
outside the districts inhabited by the Anglo- 
Irish settlers. Under James I. was first intro- 
duced the principle, thenceforward recognized, 
that the laws enacted, unless restricted in opera- 
tion by their own language, should bind the whole 
kingdom, and that the people, who were all to be 
treated as subjects of the Crown, should be com- 
pelled to obey them. 
\Vasjuris- From this time there does not appear any open 

diction . - 

of Irish resistance to the authority of enactments made 
exclusive ? by the Irish Parliaments : some chieftains might 
continue to disobey them, but even these pro- 
fessed to admit their obligation. Still this did 

Legislate for Ireland. 23 

not terminate the questions connected with the 
authority of such assemblies. Others of grave 
importance had also to be answered. Was their 
jurisdiction exclusive ? Was the English legisla- 
ture possessed of paramount or concurrent power 
within the same sphere and area ? And long 
before the time at which we have now arrived 
the questions had been raised in both the English 
and Irish Parliaments, and had received different 
replies in each. They had also become a subject 
of examination by judicial tribunals, and of judg- 
ments by them not always agreeing in opinion. 

Before, however, entering on this controversy, Irish 
some events which, although not directly con- 
nected with it, are not without a certain degree 
of relation to topics discussed during its con- 
tinuance, deserve notice. On more than one 
occasion, representatives of Irish constituencies 
were summoned to, and attended in, England. 
The most remarkable of these incidents occurred 
in the reign of Edward III., A.D. 1376, when a 
mandate was issued, directing that the Irish 
clergy from each diocese should send two per- 
sons, and the Irish counties, cities, and boroughs 
also each two persons, to England, to treat, 
consult, and agree (ad tractandum, consulendum, 
et concordandum] with the King and his Council 
(cum domino rege et ejus consilio], as well con- 
cerning the government of Ireland as concerning 
the war there (tarn super gubcrnationc cjusdcm (i.e. 
Hibcrniccc) terra quam super auxilio ct sustentatione 

24 Claim of the English Parliament to 

guerra regis). The circumstances under which 
this proceeding took place were that the King, 
requiring supplies to meet his expenses in Ire- 
land at a time when all his other resources were 
exhausted by wars in Scotland and France, had 
failed in obtaining them from the Irish Parlia- 
ment, although a special agent (Sir Nicholas 
Dagworth) went over and attended to explain 
his needs and the causes of them. In answer to 
the summons of the King, representatives were 
returned and sent; but in some instances the 
returns were accompanied with protests and with 
declarations that the delegates chosen were not 
to have any right to tax or impose burdens. 
These protests asserted that the mandate was in 
contradiction of the laws, liberties, and customs 
in use from the conquest of Ireland, and that 
there was no precedent for sending representa- 
tives from Ireland to an English Parliament or 
Council.* \ 

Contro- Whether any question as to the legislative 

versy as to 

jurisdic- authority of the English Parliament in Ireland 

tion of . . . 

English was raised at this time is not certain, i here is 

Parlia- . . 1-11 

ment in some similarity in the principles upon which the 

Ireland. . " . . . 

protests against Irish representatives being sum- 
moned to England are founded and those put 
forward subsequently, when the English Parlia- 
ment expressly claimed for itself and the Irish 
Parliament expressly denied to it jurisdiction to 

* See Note O of Appendix. 

Legislate for Ireland. 25 

make laws for Ireland, that makes it not unlikely 
there may have been some dispute on this point. 
But this is merely conjecture; and the first mani- 
festation of actual controversy upon the subject 
was, as far as I can find, an Act stated to have 
been passed by the Irish Parliament during the 
reign of Henry IV., of which no record now 
remains. This, it is said, declared that to give 
a statute force in Ireland it must have been 
allowed and published by its Parliament.* 

If such a statute was passed by an Irish English 
Parliament, it is improbable that the declara- 
tion said to have been contained in it would c ap ' 
have been made without some claim on the 
part of the English Parliament, either by 
express words or by the effect of its legis- 
lation, to provoke it ; but of neither is there 
now remaining any evidence. Until the next 
reign nothing of the kind appears. Then the 
English Parliament enacted a statute specially 
for Irgland (4 Henry V. chap. 6), which prohibited 
prelates of the Irish nation collating persons of 

*Some date the statute of an earlier reign. The existence 
of this statute of Henry IV., and of another to the same effect, 
afterwards mentioned (29 Henry VI.), seems to me admitted 
in the discussions between Sir Richard Bolton and Mr. Jus- 
tice Mayart, which will be afterwards considered. It is said 
that Sir Richard Bolton, in an edition of the Irish Statutes 
which he superintended, stated that he saw in the Treasury 
at Waterford records or transcripts of them. Grattan, in one 
of his speeches (22nd February, 1782), assumes that these 
statutes had been enacted under Henry IV. and Hcnrv VI. 

26 Claim of the English Parliament to 

Irish birth, or bringing with them Irish rebels 
to the Parliaments of Ireland to know the secrets 
and state of Englishmen. This was followed by 
other statutes naming Ireland, of which it is 
enough to mention the Staple Act (2 Henry VI., 
chap. 4), in itself the most important and after- 
wards the most prominent in connection with 
subsequent controversy. Under its provisions 
the export of wools, wool-fells, leather, and other 
merchandize of the Staple, not only from Eng- 
land and Wales, but from Ireland also, was 
ordered to be to Calais, where the King's Staple 
was, and not to any foreign port, on pain of for- 
feiture of the goods.* 
29 Henry These statutes are said to have been followed 

VI and 

Acts of by an Act of the Irish Parliament (29 Henry VI.), 
which, like the Act of Henry IV., is not now forth- 
coming, and which, like it, declared that a statute 
to bind Ireland should be allowed and published 

* Grattan, in his elaborate argument against the claims of 
the English Parliament, refers to five of its statutes as those 
in which Ireland was expressly named, viz. 4th of Henry V., 
above mentioned ; ist of Henry VI., relative to ecclesiastical 
benefices ; igth of Henry VII., relative to Perkin Warbeck's 
confederates; 8th of Henry VII., regarding tithes; and the 
2nd of Henry VI., or the Staple Act. Speech in the Irish 
House of Commons, 22nd February, 1782. Besides these 
some allege the Statutum Hibernice (14 Henry III.), respect- 
ing the inheritance of females, the Ordinatio pro statu Hiber- 
niee of Edward I., and another Ordinatio of Edward III., 
to be also instances of Acts of the English Parliament to 
bind Ireland ; but they seem to me mere ordinances of the 
King, not Acts of Parliament. See Note P of Appendix. 

Legislate for Ireland. 27 

by its Parliament. But the most certain and dis- 
tinct assertion of the exclusive jurisdiction of the 
Irish Parliament seems to have been in 1549, 
when Richard, Duke of York, who had previously 
been Lord Lieutenant, and had then returned to 
England, took refuge in Ireland from the ven- 
geance of the Lancastrian party, and was recog- 
nized by the Irish Parliament as still holding 
his former office. The Irish Parliament then 
declared that laws for Ireland must be freely 
admitted and accepted in its Parliament; that 
the Irish had a right to coins for themselves 
different from the coins of England ; and that, 
as Ireland had a Great Seal, the Irish subjects 
were not bound to answer writs not issued under 
its authority.* 

The reign of Henry VI., when the Irish Parlia- Condition 

. .... of Ireland 

ment thus expressed itself, was a period during under 
which the English interest in Ireland had sunk to 
a low point of depression. The civil war which 
at that time raged in England withdrew attention 
from the country, and prevented a sufficient mili- 
tary force being left there ; and it is not improbable 
that it was this weakness which emboldened the 
Irish Parliament to make the explicit assertion 

* The proceedings of the Parliament in Ireland under 
Richard, Duke of York, will be found in Leland's History. 
vol. ii., p. 42, and in Richey's History, p. 251. Mr. Bagwell 
considers that it was at this time the local independence of 
Ireland was first seriously attempted. (Inland under ihc 
Tudors, vol. i., p. 90.) 

Claim of the English Parliament to 

it then did of its exclusive jurisdiction. But 
the sentiment itself can scarcely be supposed to 
have suddenly originated at that time. It must 
have been growing long before ; since, although 
sympathies of race, such as bound the Anglo- 
Irish who comprised the Parliament to England, 
may restrain, they can never wholly suppress, the 
tendency towards its own aggrandizement, which 
seems by a sort of natural process to develop 
itself in a representative legislature, 
piiking- It was also in the reign of Henry VI. that the 

ton's Case. . ,.... i T 1 t 

questions as to the legislative authority in Ireland 
of the English Parliament found their way into 
the English courts of law. The first reference to 
them is in the twentieth year of this king, when, 
in a case known as Pilkington? s Case, Judges 
Fortescue and Portington are reported to have 
laid down that, if a subsidy be granted in Eng- 
land, this should not bind in Ireland ; Portington 
assigning as a reason that the Irish did not 
receive commandment by writ to come to the 
English Parliament ; and this, says the reporter, 
was not denied by Markham, Yelverton, or 
Ascough, three other judges present.* 
Case of In the reign of Richard III. the question of the 
of water- power of the English Parliament over Ireland 
was again considered by the English judges 
upon this occasion not in respect of taxation, 
to which peculiar considerations apply, but for 

* Year Book, 26 Henry VI., f. 8. 

Legislate for Ireland. 29 

general legislative purposes. The case which 
then led to a judicial examination of the sub- 
ject arose upon the Staple Act, the nature of 
which has been already explained. In breach 
of its provisions, certain Irish merchants, resid- 
ing at Waterford, consigned wool, not to Calais, 
but to Sluys in Flanders ; and an indenture 
was made between them and the master of the 
ship to transport the goods to Sluys. The 
ship, however, on the voyage put into Calais ; 
and thereupon Sir Thomas Thwaites, treasurer 
of Calais, finding the ship was really chartered 
for Sluys, seized and confiscated the goods. 
The merchants petitioned the King to have their 
goods returned to them, and the petition was 
referred to the English judges for consideration 
one question before them being whether the 
Staple Act had force in Ireland, so that Irish 
subjects of the Crown came within it. The 
judges are reported, when the matter was first 
debated before them, to have pronounced their 
opinion that the Irish were not bound by the 
statutes of England, ' because the land of Ireland 
had a Parliament and all other courts of its own, 
as in England, and did not send representatives 
to the English Parliament.' A distinction, how- 
ever, seems to have been drawn between statutes 
relating to lands and affairs in Ireland and sta- 
tutes relating to matters to be done out of it.* 

* 'Et ibi (in the Exchequer Chamber) quoad primam qu#s- 
tionem dicebant quod terr. Hibern. inter se habent Parliament. 

30 Claim of the English Parliament to 

Second Notwithstanding, however, the weight which 
th?sTafe this reasoning might be expected to have, the 
judges in * the Case of the Merchants of Water- 
ford' themselves receded from their first decision, 
and, when the matter was brought before them a 
second time, they were induced to come round to 
the opinion of Hussey, the Chief Justice who 
was then for the first time present that statutes 
made in England did bind the people of Ire- 
land.* The grounds of this change in the views 
of the judges have not been recorded. 
10 Henry These conflicting decisions made by the same 
21. '' judges unquestionably rendered doubtful, even 
in England, what was, or might ultimately be 
declared to be, the law in respect of the ope- 
ration of English statutes in Ireland. And the 
uncertainty thus caused was probably one of the 
reasons for obtaining from the Irish Parliament 
an Act to make English law, as it existed at that 
time, of force also in Ireland. This was the 

et omnimodo cur. prout in Anglia, et per idem Parliamentum 
faciunt leges et mutant leges et non obligantur per statuta in 
Anglia, quia non hie habent milites Parliament ; sed hoc in- 
telligitur de terris et rebus in terris illis tantum efficiendo ; 
sed Persons illae sunt subjecti Regis, et si sint tanquam sub- 
jecti erunt obligati ad aliquam rem extra terram illam faciend. 
contra statut. sicut habitantes in Calesia, Gascoignie, Guienne, 
etc. dum fuere subjecti ; et obedientes erunt sub Admiral. 
Angl. de re facta super altum mare.' Year Book, Ric. III., 
fol. 12. 

* ' Le chief justice disoit que les statutes faits en Engle- 
terre Hera ceux d'Irland.' Year Book, i Henry VII., fol. 2. 

Legislate for Ireland. 31 

second of the statutes which Poynings induced 
the Irish Parliament to enact, and which were 
known by his name. It provided that all statutes 
lately made (interpreted by judicial decisions to 
mean all previous statutes of the English Parlia- 
ment) concerning the common and public weal 
of England should be used and executed within 
Ireland, in all points, according to the tenor and 
effect of the same. 

The Act of Poynings now referred to related 'Calvin's 
only to English statutes then existing : it had no 
effect upon future legislation. The question of 
the jurisdiction of the English Parliament there- 
after to make laws for Ireland remained in the 
same position as it was before. The subject did 
not again come for consideration before the Eng- 
lish judges until immediately after James I. suc- 
ceeded to the throne of England, when, in the 
celebrated case of the Posl-nati (reported as 
'Calvin's Case'), the status of persons born in 
Scotland after the union of the crowns of Eng- 
land and Scotland had to be decided by the Eng- 
lish judges. There the relations of the king's 
subjects in Ireland to the crown of England 
were referred to, because calculated to illustrate 
the immediate subject under examination ; and, 
according to the judgment in the case as it is 
reported, it was laid down that ' albeit Ireland 
was a distinct dominion, yet the title thereof 
being by conquest, the same by judgment of law 

32 Claim of the English Parliament, &c. 

might by express words be bound by Act of the 
Parliament of England.' * 
judgment The judgment in 'Calvin's Case' (which was 

in 'Calvin's .. /-TI/-I / 1 i 

Case.' the composition of Lord Coke, one of the judges 
who decided it), after stating that it had been a 
question who was the first conqueror of Ireland, 
and after referring to a charter of Edgar, King 
of England, claiming dominion over all adjacent 
islands, including by name Ireland, declares that 
it is to Henry II. the honour of the conquest of 
Ireland is to be attributed, as it was wholly con- 
quered in his reign, and that his style by reason 
of this was : Rex Angliae, Dominus Hibernise, 
Dux Normanniae, Dux Aquitanise, et Comes 
Andigaviae ; King of England, Lord of Ireland, 
Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, and Earl 
of Anjou. The reason why conquest has the 
effect attributed is explained to be, that the con- 
queror hath power over life, vita et necis potes- 
tatem; and, as a less exercise of dominion, may 
alter the laws of the kingdom he has subdued. 
But it is admitted that when he does alter the 
laws and establish a Parliament, they cannot be 
again altered without the assent of Parliament. 

* Coke's Reports, ' Calvin's Case.' Part vii., fol. 17. 

Parliament of Ireland, 16131688. 33 



PHE judgment in ' Calvin's Case,' as has been Effect of 

< f~* 1 * * 

already mentioned, was delivered soon after case.' 
James succeeded to the English Crown. The 
Parliament of 1613 and all subsequent Parlia- 
ments, therefore, were restrained in their action, 
not only by Poynings' Law, but necessarily also 
by the consciousness that the Parliament of Eng- 
land asserted a legislative jurisdiction in Ireland, 
and that its right was upheld by the highest 
English judicial authority. 

The rigour of Poynings' Law had before this 3 & 4 
time been so far relieved by an Act of Philip and chap. 4. 
Mary, that if events occurred which rendered 
immediate measures advisable, the license and 
assent of the Crown to legislation could be 
obtained during the sitting of Parliament, and 
not, as was originally provided, merely before its 

James's Parliament and Convocation sat from Pariin- 
May, 1613, to October, 1615. They proceeded 1634. 
without any conflict with either the King or the 
English Parliament. They were not summoned 

JU Parliament of Ireland, 1613-1688. 

again during the same reign. The next time at 
which an Irish Parliament and Convocation as- 
sembled was in 1634, when Strafford, who had 
some time before been sent by Charles I. as 
Deputy to Ireland, obtained, but not without 
difficulty, permission from the King to have 
recourse to these legislatures for supplies. When 
Parliament met, discontent long prevalent among 
the people was found to have extended to its 
members. The Peers, disregarding the received 
construction of Poynings' Law, voted Bills without 
previous approval from the Privy Council. Straf- 
ford made a formal protest, in which he said that 
under the Acts of Henry VII. and Philip and 
Mary, the Houses of Parliament had power only 
by remonstrance and petition to represent to the 
Lord Deputy and Council such considerations as 
they should think fit and good for the Common- 
wealth, and so to submit them to be drawn into 
Acts and transmitted into England, or otherwise 
altered or rejected, according as the Lord Deputy 
and Council in their wisdom should judge expe- 

Pariia- So l n as Strafford remained in Ireland there 
o- ( was no f urtner breach of the rules regulating 
parliamentary proceedings for purposes of legis- 
lation ; nor, indeed, was there any other open dis- 
agreement with the government on the part of 
the Irish Lords or Commons ; but, so soon as, 

* Leland, History, vol. iii., p. 22. 

Parliament of Ireland, 16131 688. 3 "> 

in 1640, he was finally recalled to England, a 
quite different spirit manifested itself in the 
House of Commons. The majority of its mem- 
bers sympathised with the English Parliament 
in its contention with the King, and soon evi- 
denced their sympathy by action. Imitating the 
course pursued in England, they investigated 
what grievances required to be redressed, and 
what rights were proper to be asserted. Among 
the subjects which attracted their attention was 
the legislative authority of the Irish Parliament 
Having obtained permission from the House of 
Lords to submit questions upon various subjects 
to the judges, they inserted among the queries 
one, in reference to this matter, which was 
in the following words . . . ' Whether the sub- 
jects of this kingdom (Ireland) be a free people, 
and to be governed only by the common law 
of England and statutes in force in this king- 
dom ? ' The communication to the Lords asking 
the questions to be submitted to the judges was 
accompanied by a declaration that the subjects 
of this kingdom (Ireland) were firm, loyal, and 
dutiful subjects to his Most Excellent Majesty 
(Charles I.), their natural liege lord and king, 
and to be governed only by the common laws of 
England and statutes in force in Ireland ; and 
also by a statement that it was not by reason 
of any doubt or ambiguity in the premises, but 
for manifestation and declaration of a clear truth, 
that the judges were consulted. 

D 2 

3fi Parliament of Ireland^ 1613-1688. 

Resoiu- After some time the judges considered the 
HOT* of questions; and in the end they returned answers 

Commons. , . , . . . 

to them, which were expressed in cautious lan- 
guage. The House of Commons, discontented 
with the answers, had a conference with the Lords. 
At this, a Roman Catholic barrister of eminence, 
a member of parliament, Patrick Darcy, advocated 
the views of the Commons. Finally, the House 
resolved to embody its own ideas upon the 
questions that had been sent to the judges in 
a series of resolutions. Accordingly, when it 
proceeded to carry out this intention, it declared, 
among other matters . . . ' that the subjects of 
his Majesty's kingdom of Ireland are a free peo- 
ple, and to be governed only according to the 
common law of England, and statutes made and 
established by Parliament in Ireland, and accord- 
ing to the lawful customs of the same.' * 
The idea The declaration that the people of Ireland were 
- a free people was, very probably, aimed at the idea 

of conquest, as put forward by the judgment in 
' Calvin's Case.' The subject had been referred to 
during the impeachment of the Earl of Strafford, 
at which deputies from the Irish Parliament at- 
tended. A statement of this Minister, to the effect 
that Ireland was a conquered country, seems to 
have provoked resentment ; and one of the articles 
of his impeachment alleged ... * that the realm 

* No/son, vol. ii., pp. 573-584, and see also Leland's His- 
tory of Ireland, vol. iii., ch. ii. 

Parliament of Ireland, 16131688. 37 

of Ireland, having been time out of mind annexed 
to the Imperial Crown of England, and governed 
by the same laws, the Earl (being Deputy in that 
realm), to bring his Majesty's liege subjects into a 
dislike of his Majesty's Government, and intend- 
ing the subversion of the fundamental laws and 
settled government of that kingdom, and the 
destruction of his Majesty's liege people there, 
did declare and publish that Ireland was a 
conquered nation ; and that the King might do 
with them what he pleased.' Strafford, in reply, 
defended his assertion that Ireland was a con- 
quered country upon the ground of its truth. 

During the discussions of this period a treatise Boiton's 

r . , . treatise. 

or great learning and acuteness was composed to 
defend the rights claimed by the Irish Parlia- 
ment. It was entitled * A Declaration setting 
forth how and by what means the Laws and 
Statutes of England from time to time came to 
be in force in Ireland.' It was not at that time 
printed ; but a manuscript copy of it was brought 
under the notice of the Irish House of Lords, 
and by that House other copies of it were 
ordered to be made. Its composition was attri- 
buted to Sir Richard Bolton. Lord Chancellor 
of Ireland (1638-1650) ; but by some writers 
reasons have been suggested for thinking that 
its real author was Patrick Darcy, the eminent 
Roman Catholic barrister, to whom there has 
been occasion already to refer. In April, 1644, the 
treatise was sent from the Lords to the Commons 

Parliament of Ireland \ 16131 688. 

for consideration, by whom it was referred to 
* those of the long robe in that House,' while 
the Lords were requested to ask the judges also 
to examine it ; and this was done in order, as it 
was stated, that the judges and the members of 
the Commons of the long robe might ' privately 
take into consideration the book.' Of what 
afterwards happened there are no accounts ex- 
tant ; and affairs of more urgency soon occupied 
the attention of both Houses.* 

Practice of It is to the period immediately after Strafford's 

nating not return to England that the introduction of a prac- 

headsof tice, afterwards firmly established in the Irish 

begins. Parliament, is attributed.f Under Poynings' Law, 

Bills originated with the Irish Privy Council, and 

they should be then approved by the English 

* Manuscript copies of the treatise attributed to Bolton 
are preserved in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, along 
with an answer to it by Mayart, described as Sergeant and 
Second Justice of the Common Pleas in Ireland. Both were 
first published in 1749 in Harris's Hibernica. They will be 
subsequently considered. Harris is one of those who, as is 
above mentioned, think Darcy the author of the Declaration, 
founding his opinion upon the resemblance between its argu- 
ments and the topics and observations of Darcy when he 
appeared before the Lords. One of the manuscript copies in 
the Library of Trinity College has marked upon it (in a diffe- 
rent handwriting from the body) ' by Sir Richard Bolton.' 
Harris gives in his Preface the proceedings in the Irish 
Parliament in relation to the treatise. A manuscript copy of 
the Journals of the House of Lords of that time is also pre- 
served in the same Library. 

f Leland's History of Ireland, Appendix, vol. ii., p. 516. 

Parliament of Ireland, 16131688. 39 

Privy Council before they could be considered by 
the Irish Parliament. But these provisions were 
field not to apply to 'heads of Bills.' Accord- 
ingly, from this time, whenever either House de- 
sired to obtain a measure, it framed and voted 
heads of the Bill sought to be made law. When 
this occurred * the heads' were sent to the Deputy 
and Privy Council, by whom, with such altera- 
tions as they thought fit, they were forwarded to 
the English Privy Council, who, in most in- 
stances, referred them to the English Attorney- 
General. If approved, ' the heads ' were then 
returned in the form of a Bill with such modifi- 
cations as the English Council thus advised 
might require. The Bill, when returned, 
went through the prescribed stages of first and 
second readings, committee, and third reading 
in both Houses of Parliament. It might, at any 
stage, be rejected, but it could not be altered.* 

The desire which, after Strafford ceased to Adven- 
rule, appeared on the part of the Irish Parlia- Act. 
ment to assert its own independence was in- 
creased by the conduct of the English Parliament 
in passing what is known as the Adventurers' 
Act; for which, however, they obtained the assent 
of Charles I. This Act professed to dispose of 
the lands of the disloyal in Ireland to any per- 
sons who would advance money to put down the 
Rebellion of 1641. The confederate Catholics 

* See Note Q of Appendix. 

40 Parliament of Ireland, 16131688. 

afterwards, when remonstrating against the 
statute, complained not only because it was 
framed to affect persons who were unsummoned 
and unheard, but because it was the enactment 
of an English Parliament, since, they said, from 
the time of Henry II., there had been Irish 
Parliaments whose Acts they claimed to be alone 
capable of binding the King's Irish subjects.* 
Ireland During the rule of the Commonwealth no 
Common- Parliament was ever summoned in Ireland. The 
Parliament of England assumed sole and absolute 
dominion over the country. By a statute of its 
own it defined the penal consequences that 
were to follow from the resistance to its power, 
which had been very general over the coun- 
try, since not merely the Roman Catholic portion 
of the people, but the loyalist Protestants, had 
joined in it. The measures adopted seem to 
have been based, not so much upon the general 
right to legislate for Ireland claimed by previous 
English Parliaments, as upon rights supposed to 
be consequent upon the defeat of a rebellion. 
The Commonwealth was assumed to occupy the 
position of a king in a monarchy under similar 

* Charles I., when instructing Ormonde for negotiations 
with the Catholics, wrote that the Irish had much to say 
for themselves in point of being commanded by orders of 
the Parliament of England, or being obliged by a statute, 
until confirmed by their own Parliament, and that this had 
been the notion of the English kings and councils. Carte's 
Ormonde, Ed., 1851, vol. ii., p. 442. 

Parliament of Ireland, 16131688. 41 

circumstances, and to be therefore entitled to the 
same power of inflicting punishment, including 
confiscation of property, as would in that case 
have accrued to him. 

Acting on these principles, the English Parlia- Proceed- 
ment punished, or exempted from punishment, English 
whom it thought fit. Without the sanction of 
any Irish legislative authority it confiscated 
and disposed of vast territories, conferring 
them upon persons who had advanced money 
for, or served on its side in, the war in Ire- 

In 1654, subsequently to the distribution of the Irish 
confiscated property, Irish members were Intro- 
duced into the English Parliament This was in EngHs 
pursuance of a provision contained in the ' Instru- 2*" 
ment of Government,' framed in the previous ie>54 ' 
year, under which Cromwell became Protector, 
whereby Scotland and Ireland were required to 
send each thirty representatives to the English 
Parliament. It was, however, contrived that the 
members to be selected from Ireland should be 
chosen by and from the partisans of the English 
Parliament. They consisted either of English- 
men, who were then officially employed in Ire- 
land, such as Sir Hardress Waller and Colonels 
Hewson and Venables ; or of persons Anglo-Irish 
by birth, such as Lord Broghill and Sir Charles 

* For the legislation of the English Parliament at this 
time, see Note R of Appendix. 

42 Parliament of Ireland, 16131688. 

Coote. In like manner the Parliament sum- 
moned by Richard Cromwell contained thirty 
members from Ireland, selected from the same 
class as they were for his father's Parliament. 
Pariia- At the Restoration the separation of the Par- 
the Res- liaments of England and Ireland was renewed, 
each being summoned by itself as an independent 
body, without representatives from any country 
except its own. No provision was then made to 
define the relation of these assemblies to each 
other, or to make more certain than had formerly 
been the case how far the Parliament of England 
was entitled to make laws for Ireland. Contro- 
versy, however, did not arise upon the subject, 
for in neither country were the Acts of the Com- 
monwealth considered binding : and the Irish 
Parliament could, without interference, review 
the distribution of landed property, which was 
effected under the sanction of what was treated 
as an usurped authority. The persons who ad- 
p - 39, vanced money under the Adventurers' Act had, 


it was thought, helped the English cause, since 
through their means Ireland was reduced into 
subordination : to the same result Cromwell's 
soldiers had contributed ; but other claims were 
also to be acknowledged.* Parliament had 
treated as rebels not merely enemies of the 

* Lord Clare accounted for the favour shown to the Adven- 
turers and to the soldiers of Cromwell by the supposition that 
Monk had made terms for them with Charles II. (Speech in 
the Irish House of Lords, Feb. 10, 1800). 

Parliamen t of Ireland, 16131688. 43 

English authority, but loyalists, and even per- 
sons who had remained neutral during the civil 
war, both Protestant and Roman Catholic. In 
the end, a compromise between all the various 
interests concerned was approved, and statutes, 
to carry out the compromise, known as the Acts 
of Settlement and of Explanation, were passed Acts of 
by the Irish Parliament without any concurrence ment and 

r i T- i- r 1- i i Explana- 

or assistance from the Parliament of England, tkm. 
These statutes, and deeds of grant or awards 
and certificates of right given under their pro- 
visions by competent tribunals, became the foun- 
dation of title for the proprietors then introduced 
upon, or confirmed in, the lands which were the 
subject of allocation.* 

That the English Parliament of Charles II. Tobacco 


abstained from interfering with the redistribution 
of land which, during his reign, was arranged in 
Ireland did not arise by reason of its having re- 
linquished the legislative claims of former Eng- 
lish Parliaments ; on the contrary, the claims 
were persisted in, and among other enactments 
of this period which related to Ireland, the culti- 
vation of the tobacco plant there was prohibited. f 

But the statutes of the Parliament of England, Naviga- 
passed under Charles II., which had most effect and other 

i r T i i English 

upon the interests of the people or Ireland, were A 

jurious to 

* The Acts were 14 & 15 Car. II., ch. 2, and 17 & 18 
Car. II., ch. 2 (both Irish). 

f Sec 12 Car. II., 34; 15 Car. II., ib. 7; 22 and 23 Car. II., 
ch. 26 (all English). 

44 Parliament of Ireland, 16131688. 

concerned with subjects which, according to 
every view that may be taken of the relations 
existing between the two kingdoms, were within 
the jurisdiction of the English, and not of the Irish, 
Parliament. No merchandize could be carried 
in Irish ships to the colonies ; nay, not more than 
one-fourth of the mariners of an English ship 
trading there could be Irish. The importation 
of cattle, and also of beef, pork, cheese, butter, 
from Ireland into England was forbidden.* But 
over its own ports, ships, and colonies, England 
must be held to have had dominion. Such Acts 
were harsh, ungenerous, upon sound economical 
principles indefensible, but they cannot be pro- 
nounced extra vires. 

* See as to the Navigation Acts and other Acts relating to 
Ireland passed by the English Parliament under Charles II., 
Note S of Appendix. 

Parliament of Ireland, 16881700. 45 




XT ONE of the Acts professing to bind Ireland, Before 

passed by the Parliament of England be- a 
fore the reign of William and Mary, came in statutes 

n> i r i T i T i not i n con ' 

conflict with any statute of the Irish Parliament re- met with 
lating to the subjects with which they dealt They 
were, until that time, concerned with matters 
not the subject of enactment by the latter Parlia- 
ment And so long as both England and Ireland 
acknowledged the same king this was likely to 
continue to be the case, since Poynings' Law 
gave the king and council in England control 
over the legislation of the Irish Parliament, 
which could not, without licence and assent 
under the Great Seal of England, either meet 
or make laws. 

In 1689, however, the relations between the insh Par- 
Parliament of England and a Parliament which 1089. 
then met in Ireland were of a character without 
previous precedent. These assemblies did not, 
like other English and Irish Parliaments, move 
apart in separate lines : they came in direct 
collision with each other. One of them had 

46 Parliament of Ireland, 1 688- 1 700. 

accepted William and Mary as king and queen : 
the other was convened by, and came together to 
support, James II., in whose place the new king 
and queen were substituted. 
Act i w. In 1690, a number of Acts having been pre- 

& 9 . . 

(English), viously passed by James s Irish Parliament, the 
Parliament of England interfered by legislation 
in reference to Irish affairs, and enacted a statute 
which, after reciting that the Parliament convened 
by James in Ireland was an unlawful assembly, 
since it was not called by the rightful Sovereign, 
declared that all the Acts and proceedings of the 
Parliament were null and void. 

The Eng- This Act of the English Parliament was, it is 
was soli- said, passed at the solicitation of the Irish refu- 
gees who had fled to England after James came 
from France to Ireland, and proceeded to act 
there as king. Of the statutes of James's Par- 
liament which it nullified, two were especially 
alleged to demand the interposition of the Eng- 
lish Parliament. One of these was entitled ' An 
Act for repealing the Acts of Settlement, Ex- 
planation, Resolution of Doubts, and all Grants, 
Patents, and Certificates, pursuant to them or 
any of them'; and the other was entitled 'An 
Act for the Attainder of divers Rebels, and 
for preserving the Interest of Loyal Subjects.' 
The operation of the first, if it were to take 
effect, would have been to render void all the 
titles to lands acquired since the 22nd of October, 
1641 (the day before the rebellion of that year 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 688 1 7 oo. 47 

broke out), whether under the Commonwealth, or 
under the Acts of Settlement and Explanation of 
Charles II., and to reinstate the proprietors, or 
descendants of proprietors, who owned them at 
that date. The second attainted by name and 
visited with the penalties of high treason more 
than two thousand persons, a large number of 
whom were absent from the country, unless they 
came within prescribed periods to establish their 
innocence before the tribunals appointed by the 

If the English Parliament had taken no notice AS an act 
of the Acts of James's Irish Parliament, they tion it has 
must have remained apparently undisputed, for, fended 
owing to the war then waged in Ireland between necessary. 
James and William, no Parliament was or could 
be convened there by the latter to repeal them. 
This circumstance, combined with applications 
for protection from Irish subjects to the English 
Parliament, has induced even zealous opponents 
of the authority claimed by this legislature over 
Ireland, to waive such objections in the case 
of the nullifying Act of 1690; to treat it as 
exceptional, necessitated by circumstances, and 
therefore, they would concede, legally binding. f 

But it were an error to suppose that the Eng- other 
lish Parliament founded its jurisdiction to annul 

*The legislation of James's Parliament, A.D. 1689, will be 
more fully referred to in Note T of Appendix. 

f See Molyneux's Case, afterwards referred to, ed. 1719, 
pp. 63-65. 

48 Parliament of Ireland, 1 688 - 1 700. 

the Acts of James's Parliament upon anything 
peculiar in the nature of the Acts themselves. It 
exercised a like power of legislation, when no 
reasons similar to those suggested in their case 
applied. Thus it suspended an Irish statute 
( 17 & 1 8 Car. II.), which disabled clergymen from 
holding benefices at the same time both in Eng- 
land and Ireland. By another Act it abrogated 
the oath of supremacy then required in Ireland, 
.and substituted new oaths and declarations.* 
Irish Par- In 1692 a Parliament, for which writs were 
1692. ' issued by Lord Sidney, Lord Lieutenant under 
William and Mary, met at Dublin. One of the 
provisions of the statute of the English Parlia- 
ment, which has been last referred to, imposed 
on members of the Irish Parliament an obligation 
to take the new oaths and declarations which the 
Act prescribed, and as these could not be ac- 
cepted consistently with the tenets of the Church 
of Rome, this provision, if held operative, was 
equivalent to an enactment expressly excluding 
Roman Catholics. The Irish Parliament acted 

* See the English Acts, i W. & M., sess. i., ch. 29, and 
3 W. & M., ch. 2. Archbishop King, in a letter to the 
Bishop of Worcester, dated jrd February, 1699 (cited by 
Mantin his History of the Church of Ireland, vol. ii., p. 100), 
complains of both these Acts, and instances them among the 
causes which created discontent in Ireland in William's reign. 
The legislation in the first of these Acts being a repeal of an 
Irish Act is, he says, ' absolutely new to us, there being no 
such precedent before.' 

Parliament of Ireland, 16881700. 49 

upon the English Act, and must be held by 
so doing to have admitted the right of the 
English Parliament to make laws for Ireland.* 
The most important Act of the Parliament of 
1692 was an Act to recognise and ratify the 
title of William and Mary to the Crown. f At 
this time the House of Commons unsuccessfully 
claimed a right to initiate money bills. 

In 1695 an Irish Parliament again met. It Pariia- 

i , . ... , ment of 

proceeded to repeat, in a statute of its own, the 1685. 
declaration already made by the English Parlia- 
ment, that the proceedings or acts of James's 
Parliament were illegal, and absolutely null and 
void; and it ordered that all records of them 
should be burned.^: 

The acknowledgment that the English Par- Irish Par- 
liament had legislative authority over Ireland, acquiesces 

i i i- i 1 -I r i T i i n English 

which was implied in the conduct of the Irish legisia- 
Parliament in 1692, was neither revoked nor re- Ireland, 
pudiated by any of the subsequent Irish Parlia- 
ments called by William. There is no evidence 
that even an expression of disapprobation fell 
from any member at the meetings of either 
House of Parliament. So also as to the juris- 
diction of the Irish and English Privy Councils 
no objection was made. But submission to the 

* Macaulay has collected what is recorded of the Parliament 
of 1692 : History, vol. iv., p. 366. See, as to exclusion of 
Catholics, Note U of Appendix. 

t 4 William & Mary, ch. i, A.D. 1692. 

\ 7 Wm. III. ch. 3. 


50 Parliament of Ireland, 1 688 1 700. 

The peo- Parliament of England was confined to the Par- 
fented! on " Hament of Ireland, and did not extend to such 
portion of its people as concerned themselves 
with public affairs. The traders, manufacturers, 
and middle classes (generally of English or 
Scotch race, and Protestants) were dissatisfied 
that any assembly not national should have 
power to make laws for them. Discontent 
on this ground continued to increase until, 
about 1698, proceedings took place in the 
English Parliament which much inflamed its 
violence. Enactments to hinder the exportation 
of wool from Ireland, lest its use might assist the 
foreign manufacturers in their competition with 
the English in this branch of trade, were at that 
time suggested. These measures, if passed, 
would have been in the highest degree detri- 
mental to Irish interests, for the country produced 
much wool of a quality adapted for making cloth. 
Had the English Parliament, it was asked, the 
right to inflict such injury upon Ireland ? 
Moiy- The discontent of the period, its apprehension 

case of of what the jealousy of English commerce might 
ordain, and its reluctance to admit an authority 
in the English Parliament which had been on 
previous occasions repudiated in Ireland, soon 
found an exponent. In 1698 appeared a trea- 
tise, entitled The Case of Ireland's being bound 
by Acts of Parliament in England Stated. This 
work at once attained celebrity ; and there is no 
doubt that at the time, and long afterwards, it 

nenx i 

Case o 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 688 1 700. 51 

largely influenced the opinions of the educated 
classes in Ireland. It was the composition of 
William Molyneux,* then one of the members 
for the University of Dublin in the Irish Parlia- 
ment, who was highly esteemed, both in England 
and Ireland, no less for his moral qualities than 
his scientific attainments. 

Molyneux' s book, immediately upon its publica- p r0 ceed- 
tion, was brought under the notice of the English English 
House of Commons, and by it referred to a Com- commons, 
mittee for examination. The Committee reported 
against the treatise, and, in conformity with their 
report, the House voted that ' the book was of 
dangerous tendency to the Crown and people of 
England, by denying the authority of the king 
and Parliament of England to bind the kingdom 
and people of Ireland, and the subordination and 
dependence that Ireland hath and ought to have 
upon England, as being united and annexed to 
the Imperial Crown of that realm.' These reso- 
lutions were followed by an address from the 
House to the king, in which were contained the 
charges against Molyneux' s book. At the same 
time it complained that the Irish Parliament had, 
when re-enacting a statute of the English Parlia- 
ment, 'for the security of his Majesty's person and 
Government,' made alterations in it. To these 

* Locke, in his Essay on the Human Understanding, has 
recorded his esteem for Molyneux (Book ii., ch. 9, s. 8). 
Some of the reasoning in Molyneux's treatise can be traced 
to the influence of Locke's writings. 

E 2 

52 Parliament of Ireland, 1688-1700. 

representations William answered that he would 
take care what was complained of by the Com- 
mons should be prevented and redressed.* 
BothEng- Notwithstanding the arbitrary conduct mani- 
irish a par- Tested on the part of the English Parliament, and 
pJSSbh the consequent dissatisfaction prevalent in Ireland, 
w X P oTfroL the Irish Parliament not only continued to acqui- 
ireiand. egce j n ^ demands of the English Parliament, 
but passed an Act which imposed additional duties 
upon the export of Irish woollen manufactures. 
It also submitted, without remonstrance, to a 
subsequent English statute, which prohibited 
the export of wool and woollen manufactures 
from Ireland, except to certain specified places 
in England, on pain of forfeiture of the goods 
and ship, and of a penalty of ^500 for every 
such offence.f The Irish Act was temporary, 
the English Act permanent. Their effect was 
entirely to extinguish the woollen manufacture 
in Ireland, and also to depress the agricultural 
interest by leaving no market outside Ireland, 
except England, open for Irish wool. 
r&8Wm. Before the Woollen Act another statute (7 & 8 
(Eng C Hsh) 22 Wm. III. ch. 22), which also was in the highest 
degree injurious to the interest of Ireland, had 

* Macaulay, History of England, ed. 1861, vol. v., p. 59. 
Molyneux died October, 1698. Macaulay thinks that 'had 
Molyneux lived a few months longer he would have been 

t See Act 10 Wm. III., ch. 5 (Irish) ; Act 10 & 1 1 Wm. III. 
ch. 10 (English), and note V of Appendix. 

Parli ament of Ireland, 1 688 1 7 oo. 53 

been passed by William's Parliament. This 
strengthened the provisions of the Navigation 
Act, and effectually prevented any direct trade 
between Ireland and the colonies. 

Before William's death, the English Parlia- English 

ment again interfered with affairs in Ireland. men t re- 

The lands forfeited by the adherents of James II. SSTfor- 
were granted by William to his generals and f< 
favourites. The English Parliament passed an 
Act resuming the lands from the grantees. 
Under the authority of this Act, and of a sub- 
sequent Act also of the English Parliament, 
without any statute or order of the Irish Par- 
liament, all this property was sold and conveyed 
to the purchasers by Commissioners appointed 
for the purpose.* 

* The first Act was u & 12 Wm. III. ch. 2 (Engl.); the 
subsequent Act was i Anne, ch. 21 (Engl.). 

54 The Treatises of 



Treatises A N account of the controversy respecting the 
with toe right assumed by the Parliament of Eng- 

" land to legislate for Ireland would be imperfect, 
if it were confined merely to events, and left un- 
noticed the views and opinions of the eminent 
persons who took part in it. Molyneux's trea- 
tise, which has been mentioned in the last chap- 
ter, and the treatise attributed to Sir Richard 
Bolton, which was before the Irish Parliament 
in 1644,* are the most celebrated writings in 
opposition to the jurisdiction claimed. Bolton 
was answered by Mayart, one of the Justices of 
the Common Pleas in Ireland, in a tract charac- 
terized by much research. Molyneux was also 
answered, but less ably. Discussion of the sub- 
ject, at a later date, became involved with the 
conflicts of political parties in Parliament ; but, 
so far as reasoning, little was added to what was 
in these discussions put forward. The period 
at which we have now arrived seems therefore 

* See page 37, supra. 

Bolton, Molyneux, and May art. oo 

convenient for an examination of the mode in 
which the question raised was treated.* 

Bolton (for in speaking of the treatise of 1644 Boiton's 
I shall treat him as the author, notwithstanding t: 
the doubt which, as already mentioned, is enter- 
tained whether its composition was not due to 
Darcy), in his argument against the right claimed 
by the English Parliament, lays down as the 
basis of his reasoning that Ireland is a separate 
kingdom. In order to prove this he refers to the 
fact that Henry II. in his own lifetime granted 
to his son John the authority of king in Ireland, 
which continued under Richard I. John held, he Page i. 
seems to suggest, a regal position in Ireland as 
one kingdom, while his father and brother held a 
similar position in England as a totally distinct 
kingdom. f That, under such circumstances, the 
Common Law of England should be the Common Page 3. 
Law of Ireland, he explains by the Acts or Ordi- 
nances which, under John and Henry III., were, 
as we have seen, enacted to provide that English 
law should be of force in Ireland. J When the 
Common Law was thus introduced, he holds it Boiton's 

.... treatise. 

followed as a necessary consequence that if a 

*The editions of the treatises of Bolton, Molyneux, and 
Mayart, referred to by the pages noted on the margin, are 
those mentioned in the Appendix. 

f The proposition that Ireland was a separate kingdom 
does not depend upon the view taken of John's authority 
under his father ; it is admitted on other grounds in the 
judgment in ' Calvin's Case.' 

{ See page 6, supra, and note D of Appendix. 

56 The Treatises of 

statute was passed in England declaring the 
Common Law, defining it in some doubtful or 
ambiguous point, this statute proprio vigore, with- 
out any re-affirmation by the Irish Parliament, 
would be law also in Ireland. Of this sort, he 
says, were Magna Charta ; the Statutum Hibernicc, 
respecting the inheritance of females (14 Henry 
III.) ; the statute De Proditionibus (25 Edward 
Page 4. III.). Only statutes of this character, he asserts, 
came into use without being confirmed by 
Irish legislative authority. A statute which was 
(as he expresses it) * introductory and positive, 
making new laws, or anyways altering, adding 
unto, or diminishing the ancient Common Law/ 
would not be binding in Ireland until such rime 
as it had been enacted by Act of Parliament in 
Ireland : that is if it were later in date than the 
ordinance of John, for the words of that ordinance 
were wide enough to bring in along with the 
Common Law any then existing English statutes. 
Examples are then collected of English laws 
which were again enacted by the Irish Parlia- 
ment. Others, he admits, were accepted, for 
which there were, not extant Irish statutes con- 
firming them ; but this he accounts for by the 
loss of records, frequent ' in the troublesome and 
distempered times which have been in Ireland.' 
That an English Act might be confirmed by an 
Irish, and the latter not be forthcoming, he shows 
by an instance. The statutes of Merton, Marie- 
bridge, Westminster (ist), Westminster (2nd), 

Botton t Molyneux, and May art. 57 

and Gloucester, were all re-enacted for Ireland by 
an Irish Act (13 Edward II.); but the latter was 
for a long time not known to exist, and it was 
only a short time before he wrote that an exem- 
plification of it had been found in the Treasury 
at Waterford. In support of his views, he refers to 
the decisions of the English Courts of law, which 
there has been occasion to state in chapter ii. 
The plea in ' Pilkington's Case,' he observes, was 
a plea founded upon an Irish Act, and it was Pages, 
prefaced by a recital * that the land of Ireland, 
time beyond the memory of man, hath been a 
land separated and severed from the realm of 
England, and ruled and governed by the cus- 
toms and laws of the same land of Ireland.' 
* Pilkington's Case ' and ' The Case of the Mer- 
chants of Waterford,' were authorities for the 
necessity of an Irish Act to bind Ireland. 
With respect to the opinions expressed against 
the views he was advocating, he suggests that 
Chief Justice Hussey, when he said that Eng- p age i2. 
lish statutes bound Ireland, might, while using 
general words, have meant statutes like that 
relating to the Staple at Calais, which was 
then in question ; and that if conquest had 
(which he does not seem to deny) the effect 
attributed in * Calvin's Case,' the effect ceased 
when the laws of England were given, since such 
as they were when given they would continue until 
altered by Parliament. These arguments from 
precedent and authority are supported by enume- 

58 The Treatises of 

rating inconveniences which must result from a 
contrary theory. If England could make laws for 
Ireland, of what use were Irish Parliaments? For 
Page 13- four hundred years they had been summoned, and 
upon this supposition it must be held to have been 
nugatory and superfluous to call them, Again, 
what stability of legislation would there be ? At 
any moment England could abrogate all the 
existing laws, and might pass enactments the 
most opposite. The Parliaments of England and 
Ireland were then held (he says) at one and the 
same time ; and if they should happen to pass 
contradictory statutes, which were the king's 
subjects to obey ? Moreover, natural equity and 
justice were against the claim of the English 
Parliament. * It standeth not (he observes) with 
the rule of reason and politic government that the 
liberties, laws, and estates of those of the kingdom 
of Ireland and of their posterities, should be bound 
by any laws or statutes made in England, where- 
unto they are not in anyways made privy or par- 
Page 14. ties.' Wales, when ' incorporated to be a mem- 
ber and party of the realm of England, and to be 
inheritable to its laws,' had members allowed it in 
the Parliament ; and the same occurred with the 
county palatine of Chester. The claim also was 
against the nature of a Parliament, for it made 
the Irish Parliament a subordinate institution, 
and yet Parliament was suprcma et altissima curia, 
and therefore not subject to the control of any 
other jurisdiction. 

Bolton, Molyneux, and May art. 59 

Molyneux, who is later in date than Bolton, Moiy- 
goes over much of the same ground. He had treatise. 
evidently seen the treatise of the latter (not in 
print, for it was not then published, but in some 
of the copies which the Irish House of Lords had 
caused to be made of it),* and he derived from it 
assistance in dealing with the legal topics con- 
nected with the subject. He has, however, ar- 
guments entirely peculiar to himself. Thus he 
denies the assertion, made in i Calvin's Case,' that 
Ireland was a conquered country. Prelates, he 
says, kings and chieftains in Ireland, did homage 
to Henry II., but without having been vanquished 
by him in any battle. What occurred was ' an Page 13. 
entire and voluntary submission of all the civil 
and ecclesiastical states.' Afterwards rebellions 
were put down ; but to put down rebellion is not 
conquest. Even if there were conquest, it would 
not prove the claim of the English Parliament ; 
for it gives, he contends, no power over those Page 19. 
who conquer along with the conqueror ; and so 
the native Irish who aided Henry II., and the 
Norman adventurers who preceded him, were en- 
titled to retain the freedoms and immunities of 
free-born subjects. Nor are the conquered wholly Page 22. 
at the mercy of the victor, for his power is only 
over their own lives and liberties, not over their 
estates or posterity. Any other idea, he holds, 
would apply to war the principles on which we 

* Sec page 37, supra. 

60 The Treatises of 

may act towards rebels. Besides, in the case 
of Ireland, the consequences supposed to flow 
from conquest were, he alleges, waived by treaties 
and concessions of the English kings. This oc- 

FageaS. curred first at the Council of Lismore, when the 
laws of England were introduced into Ireland, 
and as part of them ' the freedom of Parliaments 
to be held in Ireland as they were held in Eng- 
land.' He regards the proceedings at this Coun- 
cil as equivalent to a compact between Henry 
II. and the people of Ireland, that they should 

Pa g e 37- enjoy the like liberties and immunities, and be 
governed by the same mild laws, both civil and 
ecclesiastical, as the people of England. John 
and Henry III. confirmed the English laws, 
liberties, and customs to the Irish.* But, 

Page 48. exclaims Molyneux, the liberties of Englishmen 
are founded on the universal law of nature that 
ought to prevail throughout the whole world, of 
being governed only by laws to which consent is 
given by representatives in Parliament, f Laws 
could not be made for Scotland by England. If 
it was said this was because Scotland was an 

* But see as to the Council of Lismore, and the ordinances 
of John and Henry III., Notes A and B of Appendix. 

f So also, after showing that, under an Act of James I., all 
in England are, through representation, deemed to be per- 
sonally present in Parliament, Molyneux asks, Are we to be 
denied this birthright of every English subject, by having 
laws imposed on us, when we are neither personally nor 
representatively present ? 

Bolton, Molymux, and Mayart. 61 

ancient and separate kingdom, so also was Ire- 
land. In explaining how, if England could not 
legislate for Ireland, laws of the English Parlia- 
ment were in force in Ireland, he follows Bolton 
in holding that these were either declaratory of 
the Common Law or re-enacted in Ireland ; but 
adds to Bolton's suggestions that some of these 
laws were made in English Parliaments to which Page 95. 
members were returned from Ireland :* and that 
such as were so made ' might reasonably be of 
force there, because they were assented to by its 
own representatives.' Instances of this kind, he 
says, manifestly show that the King and Parlia- 
ment of England would not enact laws to bind 
Ireland without the concurrence of representatives 
from that kingdom. Hence he infers, that if the 
Parliament of England is to bind Ireland, the 
latter country ought to have its representatives 
in it. ' And this,' he then observes, ' I believe Page 97. 
we should be willing enough to embrace : but 
this is an happiness we can hardly hope for.'f . . . 
Against this reasoning the English legislation 
for Ireland of William and Mary ought not, 
he thinks, fairly to be relied upon, for it was Pageio6. 

* See as to the English Parliaments for which Irish repre- 
sentatives were returned, page 23, supra, and Note O of 

f This passage is said to have been left out in an edition 
of Molyneux's treatise, published in 1782, during the agita- 
tion for parliamentary independence. See Ingram' s Legis- 
lative Union, p. 12. 

62 The Treatises of 

acquiesced in, owing to peculiar circumstances, 
and in the hope of having it re-enacted when a 
regular Parliament could be called for Ireland ; 
nor, were it otherwise, will he admit that acquies- 
cence, or even alienation, can give away rights 
of this character. Disposing thus of the argu- 
ments from conquest and precedent, he refers to 
another topic brought forward in ' Calvin's Case,' 
viz. that as an appeal lay from the Irish Court of 
King's Bench to the same Court in England, 
Ireland must be a subordinate country ; and he 

Page 131. suggests that this right of appeal may have origi- 
nated in an Irish Act of Parliament, then lost, and 
that, even if not, yet subordination of a Parlia- 
ment does not necessarily follow from subordina- 
tion of a Court of Law. Observations follow upon 
other arguments which were brought forward from 
the opposite side. One of these was, that by ex- 
penditure to carry on war and put down rebellion 
England had purchased Ireland. What right 
could expenditure give beyond a claim to be 

Page 148. repaid ? Another was, that Ireland was a colony, 
and the mother country is always held entitled to 
make laws for a colony. But Ireland, he reasons, 
cannot be regarded as a colony. It is a separate 
kingdom. The king is King of Ireland, just as 
he is king of England and king of Scotland. ' Is 
this agreeable to the nature of a colony ? ' He 
does not style himself king of Virginia, of New 
England, or of Maryland. 

Mayart (as his treatise was designed to answer 

Bolton, Molyneux, and May art. 63 

that attributed to Bolton) reviews the entire range 
of legal precedent, authority, and argument tra- 
velled by the latter. He controverts the assertion 
that in the lifetime of Henry II., by any authority 
conferred on John or otherwise, Ireland was made 
a distinct government, so that England was but 
a pattern. Ireland was, and is, he says, a mem- Page 34. 
ber of England, united to it, and as a part and 
province of it governed. This, he thinks, is ex- 
pressly declared in statutes which he cites. Thus 
the Act of Appeals (28 Henry VIII., ch. 6) calls 
' the land of Ireland the king's proper dominion 
of England, united, knit, and belonging to the 
imperial Crown of the same realm ' ; and it then 
asserts that the Crown of itself, and by itself, is 
fully, wholly, entirely, and rightfully endowed 
and garnished with all power, authority, and 
pre-eminence sufficient to yield and render to all 
and singular subjects of the same full and plenary 
remedies in all causes of strife, debate, &c. So 
also the Act of Absentees (28 Henry VIII., ch. 3) 
describes Ireland as ' the King's land of Ireland ' ; 
the Act of Supremacy (28 Henry VIII., ch. 5) 
says that the ' land of Ireland is depending 
and belonging justly and rightfully to the impe- 
rial Crown of England ' ; and the Act of Faculties 
(28 Henry VIII., ch. 9) states that the * King's 
land of Ireland is his proper dominion, and a 
member appending and rightfully belonging to 
the imperial Crown of England, and united to the 
same.' Coming from this topic to the second 

64 The Treatises of 

assertion on which, he says, Bolton grounds his 
case, viz. that a new law for Ireland requires to 

Page 40. be passed by an Irish Parliament, he asks, Why 
is this so, when it is admitted that a declaratory 
English law binds Ireland ? It is one and the 
same power that makes declaratory and new 
laws. Also in practice statutes not merely de- 
claratory were in force, although not affirmed in 
Ireland. And this was the case even with the 
statutes re-enacted ; since they were obeyed in the 
interval between their being passed in England 
and being enacted in Ireland. And for this he 
refers to the statutes of Merton, Marlebridge, and 
Gloucester, which were received and executed in 
Ireland before the 13 Edward II. (Irish), men- 
tioned by Bolton, confirmed them. Of this he ad- 

Page6i. duces evidence from extant records. The same he 
alleges to be true for a long period subsequent, re- 
ferring to cases which he holds establish the fact. 
The right claimed by the English Parliament is 
in analogy with rights exercised by the English 
Courts of Law in Ireland, which have had their 
judgments (of which he gives examples) executed 
there. The alleged necessity of representation 
of Ireland in the Parliament of England, he sug- 
gests, is disproved by the fact that before Wales 
and the county palatine of Chester had represen- 
tatives in it statutes were enacted to bind both. 
So also Calais had been legislated for by the 
English Parliament, although no member was 
ever sent from that town. Assuming that the 

Bolton, Molyneux, and May art. 65 

Irish Parliament did by express statutes repu- 
diate the legislative claim of the English, such Page 98. 
denial cannot annul a right if it existed ; and 
whether there was or was not the right must be 
determined by other considerations than ^the as- 
sertion of the party to be affected by its exer- 
cise. In like manner to the other inconveniences 
suggested by Bolton, he offers answers or con- 
siderations to abate their force; and in conclu- 
sion points out that, for political reasons, it was Page 131. 
indispensable that the English Parliament should 
have power to make laws for Ireland, since other- 
wise, however judicious the measures which the 
king might propose to introduce in that country, 
it would be possible for the Irish Parliament 
to hinder them from ever being brought into 

Molyneux's treatise and the judgment in Answers 
'Calvin's Case' show how much stress was laid neux's 

... . treatise. 

in their time upon the question, Was Ireland con- 

quered ? As thy rmtk^ 1 '*'*'^ take the affirmative 
side upon it, so those who answered 

take the negative. Carey, the most able of 
them, observes that Henry II. had no right dis- 
tinct from invasion ; he was not called by the 
people ; his business was nothing else but to 
conquer and subdue. What difference, he asks, 
is there between yielding without fighting and 
yielding in battle? The Irish made no terms 
for their own government or laws. 

T/ic Claim of the English Parliament to 



Legal de- " I ^HE first legal decision favourable to the 
t^iegisk- jurisdiction assumed by the English Par- 

rityfn 1 " Hament in Ireland was upon the second hear- 


What reasons (if any) were assigned by the Judges 
who pronounced it we do not know, for none 
have been reported. ' Calvin's Case' did not arise 
out of circumstances which themselves raised the 
question, and therefore was not a decision upon 
it ; but the judgment incidentally discussed the 
subject, and laid down authoritatively that the 
English Parliament had a right to make laws for 
Ireland, and that it necessarily had the right, 
because Ireland was a conquered country.* 
General words, it was admitted, did not suffice 
to bind Ireland, and this was afterwards by com- 
mentators upon the judgment explained to be, 
because the paramount legislature, in its ordinary 

* See for ' Calvin's Case,' p. 31, supra ; and for ' The Mer- 
chants of Waterford's Case,' p. 28, supra. The part of the 
judgment in ' Calvin's Case ' which relates to Ireland is at 
fol. 17 of part vii. of Lord Coke's Reports. 

Legislate for Ireland considered. 67 

proceedings, cannot be supposed to have subordi- 
nate dominions in contemplation. 

The proposition affirmed in the judgment in Law of 
' Calvin's Case,' that conquest gives to the nation 
which prevails a right to make laws for the 

people it has subdued, was from that time very 
generally acknowledged among legal authorities.* 
Blackstone, however, accompanies his support of 
it by an explanation. He assumes that what is 
called 'right of conquest' is but another name 
for a compact either expressly or tacitly made 
between the conqueror and the conquered people: 
that if the latter will acknowledge the victors for 
their masters, the former will treat them for the 
future as subjects and not as enemies. t 

Accordingly, when objections began to be Objections 
made to the judgment, they took the direction judgment 
of impeaching its statement of facts rather than cas? v 
its law. Ireland, it was said, was not a con- 
quered country. Some years, however, seem to 
have elapsed before this was suggested. The 
language of the judgment was in accord with 
the notions of its own time. From a very early 
period 'conquest' had been used in Irish records 
and statutes to describe the mode in which 

* ' A country conquered by the British arms becomes a 
dominion of the king in right of his crown, and therefore 
necessarily subject to the Legislature, the Parliament of Great 
Britain.' Lord Mansfield, in Hall v. Campbell' (A.D. 1774). 
Cowper's Reports, 208. 

f Commentaries, Introduction, s. 4, vol. i. 
I- 2 

68 The Claim of the English Parliament to 

Henry II. acquired dominion in Ireland. Indeed, 
according to some writers, Henry, from the first, 
in imitation of William I. in England, took the 
title of Conqueror, Conquestor Hibernia* 
Whether Like many other controversies respecting im- 

Ircland . ,. . . , 

was con- portant questions, subsequent discussion of the 
subject was more engaged in examining the pro- 
prieties of phrases than the realities which they 
represented. These, if we confine attention to 
them, are free from doubt. Henry II. did not 
subdue the Irish in actual conflict : their liberties 
were not struck down in any disastrous battle, as 
the liberties of the Anglo-Saxons were at Hast- 
ings ; but this prince, reputed the most powerful 
of his time, brought with him to Ireland an army 
which, although not large, was larger than, 
owing to disunion among the Irish people, there 
were the means of resisting : and so he obtained, 

* Molyneux admits that Henry did call himself Conquestor 
(Case, ed. 1719, p. 8). Davis, whose Discoverie was written 
to show that, until the reign of James I., Ireland was never 
entirely subdued, says the conquest of Ireland was spoken 
of by many writers. The celebrated Statute of Kilkenny 
(3 Edward III.) begins, ' Come a la conquest de la terre 
Dirland ' (whereas, at the conquest of the land of Ireland). 
In the appendix to Hardiman's edition of this statute, an 
abridgment of a statute passed at Dublin (2 Henry IV.), 
A.D. 1410, is printed, which begins, 'That Holy Church enjoy 
their liberties, &c., used since the conquest of this land.' 
And an Act, 32 Henry VI., has the expression, ' from the 
conquest of Ireland by Henry Fitz-Empress.' (Leland, ii. 
App. n. B.) 

Legislate for Ireland considered. 69 

from the fear and prudence of the native kings 
and chieftains, the same admission of supremacy 
as might have been expected at the conclusion of 
a successful war. Such events may not, in strict- 
ness of speech, amount to conquest ; but for the 
purposes of the judgment in ' Calvin's Case,' and 
so far as the authority and rights therein attri- 
buted to conquest, they cannot fairly be distin- 
guished from it. 

Of late years the advocates for the Parliament supposed 
of England have preferred to found its claim to coionisa- 

.... , r r . tion in Ire- 

legislative power upon the fact of colonisation i an d. 
rather than upon conquest. In the case of a 
colony, the mother country has been generally 
admitted to have a right to make laws for the 
subjects who emigrate. This being so, it is 
then urged that England did plant a colony in 
Ireland, and that only its interests were the 
objects of her care. If her Parliament legislated 
for Ireland, it was solely with a view to serve the 
Anglo-Irish ; the natives were neglected, nor 
would they, if laws had been made for them, 
have obeyed them.* 

But can this be regarded as a complete state- Effect at- 

.. , -, T-X tributed to 

ment of the case ? Does it not omit circumstances coionisa- 
material to be considered ? In Ireland, natives 
and colonists were subjects of one and the same 
Sovereign. The King of England was at first 

* Macaulay, commenting on Molyneux's treatise, adopts 
this line of reasoning in his History of England, vol. v. p. 56. 

70 The Claim of the English Parliament to 

Lord and afterwards King of Ireland. Theoreti- 
cally, his authority under either title extended to 
the whole island ; practically, it reached far 
beyond the districts inhabited by the colonists ; 
for in Irish parts of the country it confiscated 
territories, and was strong enough to set over 
them lords of Norman or English race. The 
laws which were passed by the Parliament of 
England in relation to Ireland named all, and 
not part of, the kingdom ; they were for some 
centuries operative only in the English districts, 
but they professed to include the entire island. 
Moreover, after the reign of James I., neither 
theoretically nor practically, for legal purposes, 
was distinction made between colonists and 
natives: the same laws bound both, and were 
enforced among both. Colonisation of so small 
a part of a country as was colonised in Ireland 
seems a narrow basis for legislative jurisdiction 
over the whole to rest upon. 

was there Whatever, however, may have been the rights 
with which conquest or colonisation were ade- 
quate to endow the Crown or Parliament of 
England, it is obvious that these were capable of 
being relinquished or modified either by treaty 
or voluntary concession : nay, that even usage 
might exercise an important influence over them. 
Hence controversy respecting the authority of the 
English Parliament did not confine itself to ab- 
stract principles : it was fought out as ardently 
upon the question whether there were binding 

Legislate for Ireland considered. 71 

arrangements in reference to the subject between 
the kingdoms of England and Ireland. The 
occasions when it was suggested that such a 
compact might have been made were the Council 
at Lismore under Henry II., where the laws of 
England are said to have been accepted, and 
Councils under John, where the laws and customs 
(leges et consuetudines] of England were confirmed 
or enacted for the people of Ireland.* But the 
utmost that can, by the widest latitude of infe- 
rence, be deduced from any recorded proceedings 
of these assemblies does not extend beyond the 
introduction into Ireland of the English system of 
Councils to assist the Sovereign ; and this might 
have been effected either with or without a 
superior legislative authority being conceded to 
an English Council or Parliament. 

The truth is, that the relations which were why 
originally recognised between England and Ire- unlikely 
land and their respective Parliaments did not 
arise out of any consideration of abstract rea- 
sonings, or any contracts or ordinances to create 
or define them. They grew out of circumstances, 
and were moulded by the demands of the time 
and occasion. Henry II. and his immediate 
successors, both in England and Ireland, en- 
tertained high notions of their own prerogative : 

* See as to the Council of Lismore, p. 2, .?///>/</, and 
Note A of Appendix ; and as to the Councils of John, p. 0, 
supra, and Note D of Appendix. 

72 The Claim of the English Parliament to 

they found, and acted with, parliamentary in- 
stitutions in the former country; they gained 
assistance from them there. Henry probably 
his successors certainly introduced a similar 
system in Ireland, seeking to strengthen their 
own influence by obtaining from the Anglo- 
Norman Knights and Nobles, who had estab- 
lished themselves in the country, assent to their 
policy. If a Council were called, these kings 
named the persons who should be summoned to 
attend. They had, therefore, no reason for appre- 
hending opposition. Hence it was wholly unne- 
cessary to make provision for assistance in the 
government of Ireland from another legislative 
assembly. There was then as little need to 
confer upon some external authority control over 
the Irish Councils. It is most unlikely that what 
there was no need to do was done. 
interests Nothing to alter the original state of affairs 

oftheEng- _ . . . 

lish and occurred for a long period. It was the interest 
ins! at of the Irish Parliament, composed of Anglo- 
same. Irish, to uphold the power of the Crown of 
England in Ireland : it was the interest of Eng- 
land to aggrandise the colonists, on whose sym- 
pathy and allegiance she could count. With 
this community of interests the two kingdoms 
and the two Parliaments had no reason for in- 
terfering with each other upon any matter. 
After- When first it began to be perceived that the 

interests of the English and of the Anglo- 

[g fll( Irish were not necessarily identical is uncertain. 

Legislate for Ireland considered. 

Under Henry V. and Henry VI. we clearly see 
the idea manifesting itself in action. English 
statutes naming Ireland, and intended of their 
own sole authority, without affirmation by any 
local government, to bind Ireland, were then 
passed. England determined to uphold its own 
interests, and legislation by its Parliament af- 
forded the only means through which this could 
be accomplished. 

An examination of the most important of the staple 


laws made at that time for Ireland by the Eng- 
lish Parliament the Staple Act of Henry VI. 
will illustrate the motives which induced it to 
interfere. The statute made Calais the sole mart 
for wool and certain other merchandise which 
was specified, if they were exported abroad. 
The object of the legislation is plain. Calais 
then belonged to England, and was inhabited by 
many English merchants. Trade, when directed 
there, would be wholly under the control of the 
English Government ; also, it would enrich the 
colonists dwelling in the town. The measure 
was, therefore, clearly advantageous to England. 
It was as obviously against the interest of Ireland, 
whose merchants desired access to all the Con- 
tinental ports, and not merely to one in the 
hands of English rivals. Its confirmation by an 
Irish Parliament, unless coerced, was not to be 
expected. But to make the enactment effective, 
Ireland as well as England should be subject to 
its provisions. Hence the English Parliament, 

74 The Claims of the English Parliament to 

if the policy approved was to be carried out, must 
expressly include Ireland in whatever statute it 
passed, and the English Government must en- 
force the statute when enacted. 

Acts of At the time, however, when the English Parlia- 
ment thus came forward with an explicit demand 
to legislate for Ireland, the Irish Parliament had 
been long enough in existence to recognise its 
own strength. It would seem to have done so as 
early as Henry IV. ; but whatever confidence in 
its own power it then possessed was increased 
after the accession of Henry VI., for in his reign 
civil war in England weakened the power of the 
Crown, and diminished its ability to attend to 
or restrain what went forward in Ireland. Ac- 
cordingly, under this king the Irish Parliament 
twice by distinct Acts affirmed that statutes made 
in England were not in force in the kingdom of 
Ireland unless they were allowed and published 
in that kingdom by its Parliament.* 
Case of As might be expected, when such adverse 
of water- claims to jurisdiction were asserted, the question 
of right involved in them was soon raised before 
legal tribunals. Irish merchants transgressing 
the provisions of the Staple Act pleaded in de- 
fence that they were not bound to obey a statute 

* 29 Henry VI. , and the Act of the Duke of York's Parlia- 
ment (see pp. 26, 27, supra}. The Staple Act was 2 Henry 
VI. The litigation by the Merchants of Waterford upon the 
Staple Act was 2 Richard III. 

Legislate for Ireland considered. 75 

made by an English Parliament. The matter 
came for adjudication at a period too late for 
a satisfactory decision. Lapse of time then 
surrounded the beginning of Irish legislation 
with obscurity. Many records of important 
events and transactions had wholly perished:* 
such as remained were often imperfect. The 
early annalists made no allusion to the subject. 
Inquirers, deprived of guidance from precedent 
or history, turned to abstract principles ; but if 
abstract principles were applicable, there was no 
evidence to show that those which were at this 
time suggested had previously been acted upon 
or even recognised. 

Under these circumstances the controversy contro- 
between the English and Irish Parliaments, as 

to the legislative jurisdiction of the former, was s< 
not and could not be solved by judicial tribu- 
nals. From the time when the disputes excited 
by Molyneux's treatise died away the subject 
began to be considered more upon political, and 

* The loss of records in Ireland has been unusually great. 
The Rolls of the Chancery in Ireland from 1172 to 1300 (a 
period of 128 years) were burned along with Mary's Abbey, 
where they were kept (see Harris's Hibernica, p. 149). The 
same authority says that another chasm occurs in the records 
of the first twenty years of Henry VIII. (except for the sixth 
year). It is also to be noted that even of the statutes of 
which records are preserved little more than a fourth have 
been printed most of those omitted, however, arc unimpor- 
tant. (See Hardiman's edition of the Statute of Kilkenny, 
p. iv. n.) 

76 The Claims of the English Parliament, &c. 

less upon legal, principles than it had previously 
been. Until eighty years later the question con- 
tinued to be discussed. Then a final settlement of 
the matters in dispute was effected through means 
of express legislation, induced by a series of 
events which will come to be narrated. 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 700 1719. 




TOURING the discussions in the reign of Wil- 

liam III., occasioned by Molyneux's trea- Scotland, 
tise, the example of Scotland was cited by those 
who denied the authority of the English Parlia- 
ment over Ireland to illustrate the position claimed 
by them for the latter country. The King of 
England, it was said, was king of Scotland, just 
as he was King of Ireland ; yet the Parliament of 
England made no pretence to a right of making 
laws for Scotland : this could be done, all ad- 
mitted, only by the Scottish Parliament. Why 
was it to be otherwise in Ireland ? 

But the case of Scotland furnished no aid what- Scotland 

.... . . affords no 

ever towards solving the question raised respect- analogy. 
ing the jurisdiction of the English Parliament in 
Ireland. The independence of Scotland and the 
exclusive right of its own Parliament to make 
laws for its people were the result of circum- 
stances peculiar to that country. Before James 
the Sixth of Scotland had, on the death of Queen 
Elizabeth, succeeded to the Crown of England, 
there was no connexion whatever between the 

78 Parliament of Ireland \ 1 700 1719. 

kingdom of Scotland and the kingdom of Eng- 
land. The King and Parliament of Scotland 
were then as distinct from the King and Parlia- 
ment of England as the King and Parliament of 
France were. James was the first instance of the 
same person being king of both countries. Until 
that event occurred there was no conceivable 
ground for suggesting that the Parliament of 
England ought to have or had legislative power 
in Scotland. The union of the crowns might 
have afforded a reason for enactments to alter 
this state of affairs, but it could not, of itself, 
effect a change. There was no such legislation, 
and consequently the rights of the Scotch and 
English Parliaments remained exactly what they 
previously had been. 

Some From James I. to William III. it was not 

iaw| ls attempted to dispute the application of these 
Scotland, principles to the case of Scotland. Their admis- 
sion saved that country from any attempt by the 
English Parliament to repeat for its people legis- 
lation similar to that by which it had in Ireland 
interfered with the exportation of wool and 
woollen goods; but it afforded no bar to, and 
did not protect from, the laws England had 
enacted in respect of colonial trade. The Navi- 
gation Act was as injurious to Scotch as to Irish 
commerce. Goods for the colonies could no more 
be carried in Scotch ships than in Irish. 
Harsh In this state of the relations between England 

treatment . 

of Scotch and Scotland as to colonial trade, the Scotch 


Parliament of Ireland, 1 700 1719. 

began, during William's reign, to turn their at- 
tention to mercantile pursuits. Unable to carry 
on traffic directly with the English colonies, they 
determined to found colonies for themselves. 
They selected for the purpose the Isthmus of 
Darien, a place which had not then been oc- 
cupied by the English, and which, therefore, 
Scotland, being a wholly independent kingdom, t 
had a right to appropriate. The project when 
put in execution failed, but the failure was at- 
tended with circumstances which created among 
the Scottish people much indignation against the 
commercial policy of the English Parliament. 
When the Scotch colonists were in distress, the 
Governors of the English colonies at Jamaica, 
Barbadoes, and New York, issued proclamations 
forbidding assistance to be given to them.* 

Out of all these causes, when Anne came to the Proceed- 
throne (A.D. 1702), there had arisen in Scotland Scotch 
an universal desire to obtain a removal of all ment a " 
restrictions and hindrances which England had 
imposed upon its trade. Accordingly the Scot- 
tish Parliament, sympathising with these feelings, 

* Sir Walter Scott, after entering at length into the un- 
generous treatment which the Scotch emigrants to the 
Isthmus of Darien received, and the consequent universal 
indignation of the people of Scotland, remarks that owing 
to these causes William III. was unable to ' wring from that 
kingdom one penny for the public service, or, what he would 
have valued more, one recruit to carry on his continental 
campaigns.' Miscellaneous \Vvrks, vol. xxv., p. 48. 

$0 Parliament of Ireland, 1 700- 1719. 

and yielding- to the external impulse, proceeded 
to take advantage of difficulties which were likely 
to arise concerning the future union of the Crowns 
of England and Scotland, and of the desire of 
English statesmen to have them settled, and to 
use them as a means to compel concession of 
unrestricted rights of trade. 

Succession These difficulties arose from the law regulating 
crown of the succession to the Crown of Scotland. While 
the Crown of Ireland was, in the language of the 
Act of Henry VIII. which conferred the title of 
King of Ireland instead of Lord of Ireland upon 
the King of England united and knit to the 
imperial Crown of England, so that whoever was 
King of England was necessarily King of Ire- 
land : the Crown of Scotland was wholly separate 
and distinct from the Crown of England, and 
a different person might be entitled to each. 
James I., his son, and his grandsons, in suc- 
cession, had been each King of England and 
King of Scotland ; but this was because they 
were the rightful inheritors of both crowns. 
William and Mary also, and William were en- 
titled to both crowns ; and the Princess Anne, on 
William's death, had become entitled to both ; 
but this was because the English Convention 
Parliament, and the Scotch Convention Parlia- 
ment, had conferred the English and Scotch 
crowns upon William and Mary, then on William, 
and then on Anne. But, after*A.nne, it was un- 
certain what would happen. The English Par- 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 oo 1719. 

liament had by an Act (12 and 13 William III., 
ch. 2) entailed the Crown of England, in the 
event of Queen Anne's death without issue, upon 
Sophia, Electress of Hanover, granddaughter of 
James I., and her issue ; and if this princess and 
her issue took under the limitation the Crown of 
England, each in succession would be, ipso facto, 
entitled to the Crown of Ireland. But no such 
consequence would follow as to Scotland. It still 
remained for the Parliament of that kingdom to 
decide who, in this event which, as Anne's chil- 
dren had all died, was likely to occur should 
succeed to the Scottish Crown. 

The mode in which the Parliament of Scotland Act of 
employed these circumstances to attain its objects 
was by making the descent of the crown depend 
upon the concession of commercial freedom. In 
1 704 it passed an Act, called the Act of Security, 
which provided that, in the case of Queen Anne's 
death without issue, the Parliament of Scotland 
was to choose a successor of the royal line and 
Protestant religion ; but that the same persor. 
should be incapable of holding the crowns of 
England and Scotland, unless the Scotch were 
admitted to share all privileges of trade and 
navigation equally with the English people. It 
also contained a clause which enacted that the 
men of Scotland, capable of bearing arms, should 
be trained to the use of them by monthy drills.* 

* That the Royal assent was given to this Act may well 
excite surprise. It seems to have been under a sort of com- 


82 Parliament of Ireland \ 1 700 1719. 

Effect in The Security Act obliged statesmen in Eng- 

England , , i 1 / i 

land to consider the position of their country in 

' relation to Scotland. It was possible that under 
its provisions the crowns of England and Scotland 
might be divided : it was certain that the people 
would be armed. A separate crown with an 
armed people was an event which could not be 
contemplated without apprehension. Only one 
measure was held capable of affording complete 
security against the danger an incorporating 
union of Scotland with England. Then there 
would be one kingdom, and one crown. To gain 
such advantages a complete grant of commercial 
freedom to Scotland might, it was thought, well 
be made. 
Motives to When the question of union was raised, 

an Union. _. . . , . n 

bcottisn statesmen could not but reflect upon 
the benefits to trade and commerce which were 
offered as its attendants. All, except the parti- 
sans of the exiled House of Stuart, desired that 
the difficulties and uncertainties awaiting the 
succession upon Anne's death should be termi- 
nated, and a final settlement made of the crown 
of Scotland, which would correspond with the 

pulsion. When, in 1703, it was first voted, the Royal Com- 
missioner would not allow it to become law. The Scotch 
Parliament offended, refused supplies, shouting, 'Liberty be- 
fore subsidy.' When it met again, Anne, on the advice of Go- 
dolphin, yielded, and gave her assent. (See Sir Walter Scott's 
Miscellaneous Works, vol. xxv., pp. 56 and 58.) Swift says the 
Scotch Union became necessary when this Act gave the 
people leave to arm themselves. Public Spirit of the Whigs. 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 oo 1719. 83 

settlement of the crown of England that had 
been enacted by the English Parliament. 

Ultimately, but not without much opposition, scotch 
there were passed by both the Scotch and Eng- Acts" 
lish Parliaments, in 1707, Acts uniting the king- 
doms of England and Scotland by the name of 
Great Britain. The succession to the crown of 
the United Kingdom was, after Queen Anne's 
death without issue, to remain to the Princess 
Sophia and the heirs of her body, being Protes- 
tants. All commercial and trading disabilities 
affecting Scotland were to cease. Thencefor- 
ward one Parliament, composed of English and 
Scotch Peers and Commoners, was to legislate 
for every part of Great Britain. 

These proceedings of the English and Scotch Example 

.. . . . of Scot - 

Parliaments necessarily attracted the attention landaffects 

- _ , . . , . Irish Par- 

of a Parliament in such proximity to them as liament. 
the Irish was. Their example pointed to union 
with England as a certain means of relief from 
the legislation of the English Parliament, which 
in Ireland, as in Scotland, hindered colonial 
trade; and for this reason it tended to recom- 
mend the measure as a remedy for financial 
depression, much felt at that time by Irish in- 
dustry. The policy of union was, however, not 
without influential advocates at an earlier period. 
Molyneux, in his Case of Ireland, had said that P . GI, 
for Ireland to have representatives in the Par- 
liament of England was a happiness hardly to 
be hoped for. Sir William Petty, in his Political 

G 2 


Parliamen t af Ire land , 1 7 oo 1719. 

Anatomy of Ireland, expressed similar sentiments 
and gave his reasons.* . . . ' If,' he wrote, ' both 
kingdoms were under one legislative power and 
Parliament, the members whereof should be pro- 
portionable in power and wealth of each nation, 
there would be no danger that such a Parliament 
would do anything to the prejudice of the Eng- 
lish interest in Ireland ; nor could the Irish ever 
complain of partiality, when they would be freely 
and proportionately represented in all legisla- 
Par- The first appearance of any tendency in the 

liament ' . J 

suggests Irish Parliament towards the policy of union with 
England was about the end of the year 1703. At 
that time such a measure was distinctly suggested 
in a resolution of the House of Lords (October 25, 
1703), to the effect that a representation should 
be made to Queen Anne to induce her to promote 
it, so as to qualify the states of Ireland being 
represented there. The House of Commons 
also in an address referred to a more strict 
union with Her Majesty's subjects in England. 
Afterwards, in 1707, the same House, congra- 
tulating the Queen on the completion of the 
Scottish Union, added an emphatic prayer that 
God might put into her heart to add greater 
strength and lustre to her crown by a yet more 
comprehensive union. t 

* Edition 1719, p. 31. The Anatomy professes to be dated 
f See Journal of Lords, ii., p. 29, and of Commons, 20 Oct., 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 700 1719. 85 

But union was not then to be. The Irish Parlia- 

, , ,. ... . tions of 

ment had not any means of compelling attention union re- 
to its wishes similar to those which the Scotch England. 
possessed. There was no difficulty in respect of 
the succession to the Crown to be overcome. 
Anne and her Ministers received the addresses 
presented to them with cold civility, and during 
the remainder of her reign treated them with 
neglect. In taking this course they acted in 
conformity with the sentiments of the mass of 
the English people, who regarded with appre- 
hension the admission of members of a different 
nationality to their Parliament, and were jealous 
of allowing another people to share in the com- 
mercial privileges and advantages that they 
themselves enjoyed. In the instances both of 
Scotland and Ireland, Union was likened to an 
inferior or dependent person being taken into 
partnership, and being thus raised to an unde- 
served elevation.* 

1703, and July 9, 1707 ; Lecky's History, vol. ii., p. 416 ; and 
Froude's English in Ireland, vol. ii., pp. 302, 303. The last 
contains the most full account of the proceedings in Ireland 
connected with union at this time. Froude quotes a re- 
markable letter of Sir Richard Cox, then Lord Chancellor of 
Ireland, in which he advocates union as especially desirable 
in a country inhabited, as Ireland was, by several nations, 
interests, and religions. 

* This is the tone of Swift's observations on the Scotch 
union in his Public Spirit of the Whigs; and he adds to the 
sarcasm by making Scotland boast of the number of Peers 
and other persons she had quartered on England : just as if 


Parliament of Ireland, 17001719. 

Nor can it be said, if we except members of 
Parliament and such persons as, although not in 
Parliament, engaged in a scientific study, of po- 
litical questions, that union was less unpopular 
in Ireland than in England. Much the greater 
number were disinclined to relinquish the cha- 
racter of a separate kingdom for the purpose of 
becoming part of another, even although that 
other were greater and more powerful. The 
advantages expected from extended liberty of 
trade seemed remote and uncertain ; while the 
evils of increased absenteeism, and the conse- 
quent withdrawal of a large part of the revenues 
of the island to be expended outside it, were 
certain and immediate, 
jurisdic- The effect of rejecting the project of union was 

tion in J 

Irish to confirm the legislative relations of the Eng- 

causes of * i 

theEng- lish and Irish Parliaments in the same condition 

lish House . _ ,,,.,,. 

of Lords as they were during the last years of William 
III., and to give confidence to the former 
in maintaining the claims which it had in his 
reign, with such fixed determination, advanced. 
Then the English Parliament, for the mainte- 
nance of the position it had taken, proceeded by 

(he says) a person of quality having been prevailed on to 
marry a woman, his inferior, she should argue that she was 
as good as her husband because she brought him as nume- 
rous a family of relations and servants as she found in his 
house. The Scotch (he adds) had acquired more money out 
of the union than a native of that country, who had not 
travelled, could before that measure have formed an idea of. 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7001 719. 87 

passing resolutions and by addresses to the King : 
legislation upon the subject would, of course, be 
a still more decisive mode of asserting a right. 
And about five years after the accession of 
George I. to the throne opportunity was afforded 
for this course. At that time the English House 
of Lords was the ultimate appellate tribunal from 
the English Courts of Chancery and Common 
Law. It assumed the same jurisdiction over 
the Irish Courts. In a suit in one of the latter, 
appeals were taken to the Irish House of Lords 
and to the English House of Lords. These 
tribunals pronounced disagreeing judgments. 
Each claimed to be the* ultimate Court of Ap- 
peal. Neither would give way. Which was 
to prevail ? The Irish Judges, when consulted, 
pronounced for the right of the Irish House of 
Lords. The English Parliament resolved to 
answer their judgment by a declaratory Act in 
favour of the English House of Lords. But the 
judicial superiority of the English House of 
Lords was only a branch of the general supe- 
riority demanded for the English Parliament. 
If it was expedient then to affirm the former, 
it was deemed equally expedient to affirm the 

* The Irish House of Lords, in a Paper drawn up to sup- 
port their case at this time, had revived the assertion that 
the Irish chiefs were not conquered by Henry II., but ' with- 
out any war or chivalry ' submitted to him, and that he in 
return ordained, at the instance of the Irish, that such laws 


Parliament of Ireland, 1 700- 1719. 

6Geo.i. Accordingly, the Act so well known as the 
sixth of George the First was passed by the 
English Parliament. This not only declared the 
English House of Lords to be the ultimate appel- 
late tribunal for Irish suits, but enacted in express 
words that the King's Majesty, by and with the 
advice and consent of the Lords and Commons 
of Great Britain in Parliament, had, and of right 
ought to have, full power and authority to make 
laws and statutes of sufficient force and validity 
to bind the kingdom and people of Ireland. It 
further added, that Ireland hath been, is, and of 
right ought to be, subordinate unto, and depen- 
dent upon, the Imperial Crown of Great Britain, 
as being inseparably united and annexed thereto. 

Effect of The statute, except as a challenge to the Irish 

6 Geo. I. 

Parliament, was obviously of no value. If the 
English Parliament and English House of Lords 
had the authority it claimed for them, the Act 
was superfluous : if they had not, the English 
Parliament alone could not, by passing the Act, 
confer jurisdiction upon them. As a challenge, 

as he had in England should be of force and observed in 
Ireland, whereby the privilege of a distinct Parliament was 
conferred. Journals of Irish House of Lords, vol. ii., pp. 
655-660. In the controversy respecting the ultimate appel- 
late jurisdiction, from the Irish courts of law, no question 
seems to have been raised as to the Irish House of Lords 
being the tribunal before which an impeachment was to be 
heard. In 1641, when Bishop Bramhall, Sir Richard Bolton, 
and others, were impeached by the Irish House of Commons, 
the proceedings were before the Irish House of Lords. 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 700 1719. 

however, the enactment served the purpose of 
those who procured it ; for the Irish Parliament 
remained silent, and under such circumstances 
it was not unfair to allege that it no longer dis- 
puted the legislative supremacy of England. 

The practice of summoning the Irish Convoca- Convoca- 
tion along with Parliament, which had been com- continued. 
menced under James I., was abandoned from the 
accession of the House of Hanover to the throne 
of England. Convocation in Ireland met in 
obedience to writ from the Crown for the last 
time in 1711, being then convened by Queen 
Anne. She revived it after a discontinuance 
of its meetings under William and Mary and also 
under William. For some time, however, before 
1711 the clergy of the Established Church had 
been included among the subjects of the Crown 
upon whom taxation was imposed by Parliament, 
and this continued ever afterwards to be the 

90 Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 1 g 1 7 60. 

CHAPTER yill. 


Effect of AT the time when the Parliament of England 

the law /A 

preventing passed the Act of the Sixth of George I., 

the export 111-1 

of woollen and thus declared its determination to persist 


in asserting a power to make laws for Ireland, 
the injurious effects of its previous exercise of the 
power were becoming visible. Before the English 
statute of William III., prohibiting the export of 
woollen manufactured goods from Ireland, ex- 
cept to England, there was a considerable trade 
from Irish ports connected with this department 
of industry. After the prohibition came in force 
the manufacture of wool ceased, and the persons 
engaged in it either left the country or sank into 

English The Woollen Act had been preceded by the 
Irish trade. Acts excluding Irish ships from, and prohibiting 
direct trade with, the colonies, and also by the 
Acts preventing the importation of cattle, sheep, 
swine, and various agricultural products, from 
Ireland into England. With the exception of 
the linen manufacture, which from the time of 
Strafford had been encouraged, the policy of 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 1 9 1 7 60. 91 

successive English governments appeared to be 
to divert Irish enterprize from trade and manufac- 
tures. If, in place of making woollen cloth, Irish 
industry were to turn to any employment other 
than that which was thus pointed out for its pur- 
suit, those who engaged in the substituted occu- 
pation had no security so long as the English 
Parliament exercised the power of legislating 
for Ireland that it might not in a moment be 
extinguished. Capitalists feared to invest their 
money in Irish manufactures, and there were 
consequently none, beside the linen, of any 

It has been already explained that, with the The 
exception of the Woollen Act, all this restrictive 
legislation of the English Parliament as to Irish 
trade was unquestionably within its jurisdiction ; 
and that no declaration or admission of ex- 
clusive right in the Irish Parliament to make 
laws for Ireland would have rendered it inope- 
rative, or prevented similar enactments in the 
future. It is also to be noted that the policy 
which was embodied in the English statutes 
grew out of a doctrine then almost universally 
accepted, that nations ought, by protective pro- 
visions,' to foster and encourage their own 
industries. Ireland, although its crown was in- 
dissolubly united to the crown of England, was 
in relation to these matters regarded as a 
separate country. 

It is probable that such considerations may people dis- 



Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 1 9 1 7 60. 

P. 89, have had weight with the Irish Parliament. It 


could not fail to perceive that to get rid of the 
Act of the Sixth of George I. would not get rid 
of most injurious enactments of the English Par- 
liament But the people in general did not stop 
to calculate the exact effect of the statute ; they 
objected to the enactment itself. Its provisions 
seemed to them calculated to fix upon a firmer 
basis the authority of a Legislature which, in 
the exercise partly of a power that could not be 
doubted, partly of a power denied by very able 
thinkers and reasoners, and on several occasions 
repudiated by the Irish Parliament, had inflicted 
great injury upon the manufacturing and mer- 
cantile interests of Ireland. 

Swift. It was at this time Swift came forward, and 

first appeared as the champion of Irish interests 
in contradistinction to British. His strength of 
character, and the extraordinary force and vigour 
of his writings, at once enabled him to lead 
and guide public opinion in Ireland. The Sixth 
of George I. was passed in 1719, and in the next 
year Swift issued his celebrated proposals for the 
use of Irish manufactures in clothes and furni- 
ture, and the exclusion of British goods. The 
spirit in which his tract was written will appear 
from the following extract : ' The fable in Ovid 
of Arachne and Pallas is to this purpose. The 
goddess had heard of one Arachne, a young vir- 
gin very famous for spinning and weaving. They 
both met upon a trial of skill ; and Pallas, find- 

Parliament of Ireland, 17191760. 93 

ing herself almost equalled in her own art, stung 
with rage and envy, knocked her rival down, and 
turned her into a spindle, enjoining her to spin 
and weave for ever out of her own bowels, and in 
a very narrow compass. I confess that, from a 
boy, I always pitied poor Arachne, and could 
never heartily love the goddess on account of 
so cruel and unjust a sentence; which, however, 
is fully executed upon us by England with fur- 
ther additions of vigour and severity. For the 
greatest part of our bowels and vitals is extracted 
without allowing us the liberty of spinning and 
weaving them.'* 

Notwithstanding- the interference of Swift, the Wood's 

... T i i i i 1 coinage. 

discontent prevailing in Ireland did not result 
in any movement or other form of action until 
about four years later, when the conduct of the 
English Government in reference, not to trade 
or manufactures, but to an exercise of the royal 
prerogative, kindled the resentment of the people 

* The full title of the pamphlet was A Proposal for the 
universal use of Irish Manufacture in Clothes and Furniture of 
/ Houses, etc,, utterly rejecting and renouncing every thing wearable 
that cometh from England. It was in this he related the 
saying of some one, whose name he does not give, but which 
was told to him by Dr. Vesey, the Archbishop of Tuam 
' Ireland will never be happy till a law be made for burning 
everything that came from England except their people and 
their coals.' ' I must confess,' says Swift, ' that as to the 
former, I should not be sorry if they should stay at home ; 
and as to the latter, I hope in a little time we shall have no 
occasion for them.' 

94 Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 1 9- 1 7 60. 

into a ferment, and gave rise to an agitation 
against the supremacy of the English Govern- 
ment in Ireland. 
Wood's The events now alluded to are those which 

coinage. . ... c 

occurred in connexion with a patent for a cop- 
per coinage for Ireland, granted by George the 
Second to an ironmonger of Wolverhampton, 
named Wood, and the issue under its authority 
of coin alleged to be below the stipulated stan- 
dard. With respect to this measure the Irish 
Parliament was never consulted ; and thus of- 
fended national pride united with the supposi- 
tion of pecuniary loss to create resentment, and 
to stimulate resistance to the scheme being car- 
ried into effect. All classes in Ireland combined 
to prevent the circulation of Wood's money. 
The Of this movement Swift placed himself at the 

kt?enf r ' s nea< ^> j ust as ne had done before in the case of 
the restrictions on trade. Under the assumed 
name of M. B., a Drapier, he addressed a series 
of letters to the people of Ireland, in which his 
extraordinary power of ridicule and invective 
was without scruple used against Wood and 
his project. From these topics he turned aside 
to deal with the general ascendency claimed for 
England, and as part of it with its legislation 
for Ireland. ' Some people,' he said, ' who come 
hither to us from England, and some weak peo- 
ple among ourselves, when in discourse we make 
mention of liberty and property, shake their heads 
and tell us, that Ireland is a depending kingdom, 

Parliament of Ireland^ 1 7 1 9 1 7 60. 95 

as if they would seem by this phrase to intend Fourth 
that the people of Ireland are in some state of Lette" * 
slavery or dependence different from those in 
England : whereas, a depending kingdom is a 
modern term of art, unknown to all ancient civi- 
lians and writers upon government ; and Ireland 
is, on the contrary, called in some statutes an 
Imperial Crown, as held only from God, which 
is as high a style as any kingdom is capable of 
receiving. Therefore, by this expression, a de- 
pending kingdom, there is no more to be under- 
stood than that, by a statute made here, in the 
thirty-third year of Henry VIII., the king and 
his successors are to be Kings Imperial of the 
Realm, as united and knit to the Imperial Crown 
of England.' ' I have,' he continued, ' looked over 
all the English and Irish statutes, without find- 
ing any law that maketh Ireland depend upon 
England, any more than England doth upon Ire- 
land. We have, indeed, obliged ourselves to 
have the same king with them, and consequently 
they are obliged to have the same king with us.' 
. . . ' It is true, indeed,' he proceeded, ' that 
within the memory of man the Parliaments of 
England have sometimes assumed the power of 
binding this kingdom by laws enacted there ; 
wherein they were, at first, openly opposed (as 
far as truth, wisdom, and justice, are capable 
of opposing) by the famous Mr. Molyneux, an 
English gentleman, born here, as well as by 
several of the greatest patriots and best Whigs 

96 Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 1 9- 1 7 60. 

in England ; but the love and torrent of power 
prosecu- Observations of this character reviving the 

tion of the . / i i 

Drapier's ideas of Molyneux, not without exaggeration, and 
advocating them with the fervour of political 
partisanship, met with general applause. The 
existence of a separate Parliament in Ireland, 
however controlled it might be in action by 
Poynings' Law or the authority of the English 
Parliament, had kept alive sentiments of nation- 
ality which, much less than the burning words of 
Swift, would have sufficed to ignite into a flame. 
Soon it began to be perceived that more than 
Wood's coinage was in peril. The Irish minis- 
ters alarmed, thought that they were called upon 
to take active measures against the agitation, 
fast extending through the entire community. 
They instituted a prosecution of the printers of 
the Drapier's Letters, in which the fourth^letter, 
that which contained the language which has 
been cited, was made the subject of an indict- 
ment, the legal charge against it being that it 
was designed to alienate the affections of the 
king's subjects in England and Ireland from 
each other. 

Failure of But in periods of excitement the success of re- 

prosecu- . ,. -,.,.. 

tion. pressive proceedings of this kind is never certain. 
The prosecution failed : the grand jury of the 
city of Dublin refused to find the bill of indict- 
ment, notwithstanding observations in its favour 
addressed to them by Chief Justice Whitshed. 

Parliament of Ireland^ 17191760. 97 

The English Ministry, foiled in their effort to 
crush the popular movement, yielded to its 
demands so far as Wood's coinage was con- 
cerned, and accordingly revoked the patent, and 
gave himself compensation. When the original 
question was decided, the controversy respecting 
the English Parliament, which had been taken 
up as subsidiary to it, was no longer continued, 
and gradually it died away. Not so the principles 
upon which Swift had conducted the discussion : 
these survived the question with which they had 
been associated, and, being universally cherished, 
they were certain to reappear the moment any 
favourable conjunction of affairs might open the 
way for their application. 

In the agitation respecting Wood's coinage, insh Par- 
just as in the discontent with the legislation re- 
specting the woollen manufacture in William's 
reign, the Irish Parliament did not take any part. 
The House of Commons had, since 1692, consisted 
of 300 members, the number which it continued 
to retain while it was a separate legislature.* 
The great majority of these sat for boroughs, 
and were the mere nominees of their owners and 
patrons. The smallest borough returned the 
same number of members as the largest county 
each had two. In the counties every holder 
of a freehold of the value of forty shillings was 

* James I. created about 40 boroughs; before William III. 
36 more were created; and in 1692 11 more. Lccky, His- 
lory, vol. ii., p. 225. 


98 Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 1 9 1 7 60. 

a voter. If a Roman Catholic had the requisite 
qualification, he could, until the first year of 
George the Second, vote. Then a clause was 
i Geo. ii., introduced in an Act for regulating elections, 
which prohibited Roman Catholics voting at the 
election of any member to serve in Parliament 
as knight, citizen, or burgess, or at the election 
of any magistrate for any city or other town 
corporate. From 1692 a Roman Catholic had 
p. 48, not been allowed to sit in either the House of 
Lords or House of Commons. Parliament at this 
time was called upon every accession of a new so- 
vereign to the throne, and, unless dissolved by an 
exercise of his prerogative, endured for his life. 
Mode in When the representation was thus constituted, 
Hament " it is easy to understand why the Parliaments of 
managed. William, Anne, and George the First, feebly 
reflected public opinion. As a general rule, a 
Parliament sat only every second year. When 
it met, Ministers, by means of the jurisdiction of 
the English and Irish Privy Councils under 
Poynings' Law, prevented any legislation they 
did not desire. The same system continued after 
George the Second came to the throne. During 
his reign the management of the two Houses of 
Parliament in Ireland was effected through the 
agency of the great nobles, who, for the time, 
predominated in society. To them was entrusted 
the distribution of patronage in Ireland, and they, 
in return, undertook to ensure success for the 
measures brought forward by the Administration. 

Parliament of Ireland^ 1 7 1 9 1 7 60. 99 

Taxation afforded a subject upon which, not- House of 
withstanding the influence thus brought into use, anTxlx^ 
there was much difficulty in securing the alle- a 
giance of the Irish House of Commons. In 
1692, under William and Mary, it had, as we P. 49, 
have seen, claimed to initiate money Bills. In 
1731 it proceeded to assert its independence in 
connection with a financial question. The re- 
venues for national purposes were partly what 
were termed the hereditary revenues of the 
Crown, in which were included those derived 
from the customs and excise, and partly tem- 
porary revenues voted to supplement the here- 
ditary. There had at this time accumulated a 
surplus, and the House of Commons, against the 
wishes of the ministry, determined to reduce 
proportionately the supplemental grant. The 
resolution was passed by a majority of only one 

After this incident Parliament relapsed into Lucas 
its usual course, and for a long time resembled 
its predecessors. f Before, however, the death 
of George II. an external agitation arose which 
ultimately acted upon the opinions and pro- 

* The vote which carried the resolution was given by a 
member, Colonel Tottenham, who, having to ride sixty miles 
to attend the debate, arrived when it was coming to an end ; 
and, in order to be in time, came to the House, which always 
met in full dress, in his travelling apparel. Afterwards 'Tot- 
tenham in his boots' became a popular toast. 

f In 1736 Swift wrote his celebrated satire upon the Irish 
House of Commons, entitled the Legion Club, which, with 

H 2 


Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 1 9- 1 7 60. 

ceedings of Parliament. The person who took 
the lead in stimulating and guiding it was 
Charles Lucas, a member of the medical pro- 
fession. He first came forward in relation to 
the affairs and interests of the Municipal Corpo- 
ration of Dublin. From such subjects, perceiv- 
ing that with their limited importance they could 
not secure him permanent influence, he passed 
on to questions of national interest, and repro- 
duced the complaints and arguments of Swift 
and Molyneux. Enlarging upon the poverty of 
the country, the want of manufactures, its exclu- 
sion from opportunities of trade, he asked Was 
the English Parliament to continue to legislate 
for Ireland ? If it was, what safety remained for 
any Irish interest ? It had extinguished the 
woollen manufacture ; it might destroy the linen 
manufacture also.* 

an allusion to the position of the building where it met being 
opposite Trinity College, commenced : 

As I stroll the city, oft I 

Spy a building large and lofty, 

Not a bow-shot from the College ; 

Half the globe from sense and knowledge. 

In this satire he hints at the means used to influence the 
members thus : 

In the porch Briareus stands, 
Shows a bribe in all his hands ; 
Briareus the Secretary, 
But we mortals call him Carey. 
When the rogues their country fleece, 
They may hope for pence a- piece. 

* In 1749 Lucas was returned to Parliament as Member for 
the City of Dublin. The principal difference of opinion ex- 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 1 9- 1 7 60. 101 

It will be remembered that when in Queen Exampieof 

A 1 .LI c T- 1- i Scotland 

Anne s reign the pressure of English commer- at this 

1 i . i i /- i T i i t time warns 

cial legislation began to be felt in Ireland, the against 
example of Scotland induced the suggestion of u 
an union with England in order to obtain free- 
dom of trade. Now, the same example ap- 
peared to warn against, instead of inviting to, 
this policy. With the people of Scotland the 
Union was for many years unpopular. To 
a natural regret for the loss of an extremely 
ancient nationality was added resentment for 
the mode in which its destruction was supposed 
to have been accomplished. Corrupt means, 
even personal bribery, to gain votes were almost 
universally believed to have been used. The 
compensating advantages which the Union 
brought with it were undervalued and imper- 
fectly made use of, owing to the prevalent dis- 
content and to a vague expectation that the 
National Parliament would be restored, which 
was encouraged and kept alive by the Jacobite 
party until their total defeat in 1745-t 

Nor even if the example of Scotland and other Union 

- , .,, . then had 

motives operative in 1707 had still continued to no support 
recommend the policy of union for Ireland, could 
it in Lucas's time have been revived. Anne and 

hibited between him and Latouche, the opposing candidate, 
was in reference to the views of the former on the questions 
connected with the jurisdiction of the English Parliament in 

f See Note W of Appendix. 

1 02 Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 1 9 1 7 60. 

her Ministers rejected the advances made by 
the Irish Parliament to obtain a measure of this 
nature ; and the whole current of public opinion 
had, by the repulse of the overtures made to 
them, been thenceforward diverted towards the 
acquisition of a distinct national independence.* 

Lucas's Lucas himself, favouring the popular senti- 
ments, and aware that to obtain power and in- 
fluence he must advocate them, demanded a 
free Parliament, with exclusive jurisdiction over 
every Irish interest. Ireland, he said, was a 
kingdom : its King, Parliament, and Courts of 
Law could not acknowledge any superior ; yet 
there have been Parliaments in England which 
assumed a superiority over the King and Consti- 
tution of Ireland : this, he added, made (what he 
termed) a solecism in the government, f 

Effect of Lucas did not possess the intellectual power of 


agitation. Swift or Molyneux ; yet he attained considerable 

* In 1759 the extreme unpopularity of a union with Eng- 
land was, in Dublin, evidenced by a violent riot, which broke 
out upon a rumour that it was intended. The account of this 
riot in the Annual Register for that year (p. 129) states that a 
mob of several thousands of persons broke into the House 
of Lords, and insulted them, and then obliged members 
coming to the House of Commons to take an oath never 
to consent to an union, or to give a vote contrary to the 
interests of Ireland. 

f Dedication to the King of tract on Dublin Charter, p. xx ; 
and see also Political Constitutions, 1751. As to Lucas, see 
Wills' Lives of Illustrious Irishmen, and Gilbert's Dublin, 
vol. iii., p. 98. 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 1 9 1 7 60. 103 

influence. He spoke to an audience predisposed 
to hear him. The community was poor and de- 
pressed ; and the cause was said to be the legis- 
lation of the English Parliament concerning Irish 
trade and commerce. But the growth of opinions 
such as he advocated in the Irish Parliament of 
the time was slow, nor can it be said that within 
it they ever during the reign of George II. arrived 
at complete maturity. All that, during this period, 
appeared was the formation of a political party 
professing to regard merely the interests of Ire- 
land and to desire only the advancement of those 
interests. In the House of Commons this party 
became a regular Opposition, engaged in cri- 
ticising severely such measures as the Go- 
vernment brought forward, while it demanded 
for Parliament a right to control all financial 
arrangements, and jealously objected to the 
number of places and pensions which were 
supported out of the Irish revenues. 

104 Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 60- 1 7 80. 




New Par- " I ^HE accession of George III. to the throne 

liament at ._ , . . . 

accession caused a new Parliament to be summoned 

in. e in Ireland. The tendencies towards a policy of 
nationality, which had appeared in the preced- 
ing House of Commons during the last years of 
its existence, were renewed in that which was 
now returned, and with much greater strength. 
Its members, more accurately than their pre- 
decessors, represented the opinions in favour at 
the time, and their own sentiments were more in 
sympathy with them. 

Octennial The Parliament of George II. had continued 
for his entire reign a period of thirty-three 
years without being dissolved. Its long dura- 
tion attracted attention to the evils resulting 
from the rule which made the continuance of 
Parliament depend upon the life of the sove- 
reign. The constituencies of the counties and 
open towns, and the owners of boroughs who 
could nominate the members, were alike dis- 
satisfied with a system which opened for them 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 60 1 7 80. 105 

such rare opportunities to exercise their power, 
and both now instructed their representatives to 
insist upon having a limitation of reasonable 
length placed upon the duration of Parliament. 
The question was at once brought forward in the 
House of Commons ; but at first even the pres- 
sure of those to whom its members were indebted 
for their seats failed to induce an abridgment 
of the term for which they sat ; and seven years 
elapsed before an Act was passed which fixed 
eight years as the utmost period of existence for 
an Irish Parliament. 

The Octennial Act, as the Statute limiting Effects of 

-m IT Octennial 

the duration of Parliament was called, effected Act. 
great changes in the character of the Irish House 
of Commons. Previously its members had prac- 
tically only one immediate source of insecurity 
in the tenure of their seats to fear the Crown 
might dissolve Parliament. Their interest, there- 
fore, led them to support the King's Ministers, 
since this was the way to avert a dissolution. 
Now, instead of a possible undisturbed posses- 
sion for the reign of, it might be, a youthful 
sovereign, a representative of the Commons had 
the certainty, in the case of a county or city, of 
meeting his constituents, or, in the case of a 
small borough, the patron who nominated him, 
at the latest eight years after his return. The 
electors, not the Crown, became the taskmasters 
to be obeyed. Another important result from 
the measure was, that increased means were 

1 06 Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 60 1 7 80. 

afforded of introducing new men into the Legis- 
lature. The most distinguished abilities might, 
under the former system, have waited in vain 
for an opening to admit them. 

New Par- Contemporaneously with the passing of the 
elected Octennial Act Parliament was dissolved, in con- 

A.D. 1768. .... rr 

sequence of a provision to that effect contained 
in the Act. A new House of Commons was accor- 
dingly elected. The influences which the Statute 
brought into operation were apparent in the 
character, and subsequently in the conduct, of 
the members returned by the electoral consti- 
tuencies, and sent by the patrons of boroughs. 
From this period may be traced in the House of 
Commons an increased manifestation of the sen- 
timents popular among the people generally. At 
the same time more zeal for the public service, 
greater political knowledge, and improved 
capacity in the management and discussion of 
affairs, became perceptible. 
Use of About the time of the Octennial Act the 

patronage . f t 

to in- Ministers then in power, instead of adopting the 
Pariia- means employed during the reign of George II., 
to influence the Irish Parliament by allowing the 
supra 98> reat families to distribute the patronage of the 
Crown, determined to substitute a more direct 
system under which they themselves would con- 
fer places and pensions upon their supporters.* 
Such arts, however, could not avail to prevent 

* See Note X of Appendix. 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 760 1 7 80. 107 

the existence of an independent minority, who 
from the time of the Octennial Act increased in 
number and importance. 

To examine the merits of those who in the Flood. 
first Parliament of George III. attained eminence 
would detain too long. Among them the fore- 
most rank must be conceded to Flood. Possessed 
of extensive knowledge upon political subjects 
(the fruit of much study and reflection), speaking 
with force and clearness, an acute thinker, and 
an accurate reasoner, he, more than any other 
leader of his time, contributed to elevate the tone 
of discussion in the House of Commons. It was 
by his example that its members were first 
guided to the excellence in debate which they 
afterwards attained. 

Improvement of the House of Commons in Power of 


intellectual power would have had little prac- to debate 

. , wider than 

tical effect, if Parliament had been confined its power 

to enact. 

in its action strictly to actual legislation. 
But its power of discussion was wider than 
its power of enactment. It could pass no 
Statute without the previous consent of the 
English and Irish Privy Councils ; but either p ag c 38, 
House might vote ' heads of Bills,' and pass supra 
resolutions expressing its opinion upon any 
question it took in hand. Nor does it seem 
possible that this could have been otherwise, 
since every Legislature must, so far as mere 
discussion, be master of its own proceedings; 
and the only penalty which an external authority, 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 60 1 7 80. 

however superior in actual power, can inflict for 
violation of rules to restrain debate must be to 
decree the futility of the resolutions in which 
debate may result. 
Discontent If a legislative body have unlimited power of 

of the Irish . . 

Parliament discussion, and but a limited power to legislate its 

with its . . . . * i 

position, acquiescence in its position can be relied upon 
only while it is weak and conscious of its weak- 
ness. Assuming the Irish House of Commons 
to have been under William and George I. such 

Pa g e99,n. as Swift described it to be under George II., 

supra. to p 

there can be no surprise that it remained silent, 
notwithstanding the extinction of the woollen 
manufacture, and the enactment of the Sixth 
of George the First. But with improvement, with 
the perception of its own development, came the 
promptings of ambition : what was accepted in 
the hour of weakness was repudiated in the hour of 
strength. It compared the fetters forged for it by 
Poynings' law and the Sixth of George the First 
with the freedom and independence of the sis- 
ter legislative assembly of Great Britain upon 
whose model it had been framed, and chafed at 
the restrictions by which it was surrounded.* 

* Bowes, the Irish Lord Chancellor, wrote to Dodington, 
an English minister, immediately after the accession of 
George III., that the English House of Commons was 
looked to ' as the model, and in general they think them- 
selves injured in the instances in which theirs, upon the 
legal constitution, must differ.' This letter is printed in full 
in the appendix to the first volume of Adolphus's History of 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 60 1 7 80. 1 09 

But it was long before this discontent em- Discontent 

, ,. , . , r . . ,-, . without 

bodied itself in action. The question as to the action, 
claims of England to legislate was, Hardy says, 
alluded to in similes and metaphors ; and it was 
thought an instance of political courage in Pery, 
a Member of Parliament of the highest reputation, 
to say . . . . ' I see no reason for indistinct or 
figurative language. I will speak out. The 
Parliament of Great Britain has no right to make 
laws for Ireland.' * 

The subordinate position of the Irish Parlia- Voiun- 
ment, the legislation of the English Parliament for 
Ireland, and the restraints this legislation im- 
posed on trade and commerce, continued without 
any attempt to procure alteration until about 1778, 
when events occurred which ultimately effected 
an entire revolution in the relations between 
Great Britain and Ireland. At that time the 
former kingdom had become engaged in a war 
with France, and, occupied in protecting its 
own coasts and possessions, could not spare an 
adequate supply of troops to repel a foreign army, 
if it were to land in Ireland. The only hope or 
means of defending that country lay in the volun- 
tary formation of associations for the purpose. 
And accordingly, in 1778, invasion being at that 
time apprehended, such associations were every- 

England. Hardy also had remarked the emulation excited 
by English example. Life of Charlemonl, vol. i., pp. 79-82 ; 
and see Lecky also, vol. iv., p. 352. 

*See Hardy's Life of Charlemont, vol. i., p. 161. 

110 Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 60- 1 7 80. 

where in process of being organized. The 
Volunteers regulated, without the interference of 
external authority, their own proceedings ; they 
elected their own officers, and defrayed most of 
the expense of their own arms and equipments. 
They were nearly all Protestants, but Catholics 
were not excluded. Persons of high social dis- 
tinction were at their head. They were drilled 
and instructed in military discipline. After the 
lapse of little more than a year, according to the 
computation of Hardy,* who had peculiar oppor- 
tunities of acquiring information on the subject, 
they numbered about 42,000. 
Effector The organization of the Volunteers did not 

theVolun- . , .... 

teermove- withdraw them from their positions, whatever 
they might be, in social life. They continued to 
be citizens as well as soldiers, and were neces- 
sarily imbued with the ideas and sentiments of 
those among whom they lived. In common with 
the rest of the people, they were discontented 
with the commercial policy of England. This 
had never varied from what it had been under 
Charles II. and William III. So far from the 
statutes of these kings being repealed, the pro- 
hibition of the export of glass had been added to 

i9Geo.ii. the prohibitions upon other exports enacted by 


* Hardy was the biographer of Lord Charlemont. He had 
been his intimate friend during his life. This nobleman was 
elected President of the Convention of Volunteers in 1783. 
(See Hardy's Life of Charlemont, vol. i., p. 382.) 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 60 1 7 80. Ill 

The Opposition in the House of Commons Opposition 
associated themselves with the Volunteers upon ^UH the 5 
the popular side, and, emboldened by their teers. n " 
support, pressed the Government to abolish all 
restrictions affecting commerce. Both the Volun- 
teers and the Opposition were urged on by the 
working classes, who were then suffering much 
distress, and who attributed it to the want of 
trade and manufactures. If, they asked, the 
export of manufactured goods was not allowed, 
if trade were not made free, whence were em- 
ployment and relief to come to them ? 

The course which Swift had fifty years before Combina- 
recommended in order to obtain concessions from against 
England was now adopted. A combination was go^ds! 
formed to use only home-made goods. Agree- 
ments against importing, or purchasing what was 
imported, from England were entered into and 
signed by numbers. The Volunteers, leading 
the way, insisted that their uniforms should be 
made of cloth woven in Irish looms. 

In October, 1779, when this movement was at Resolution 
its height, Parliament met. Grattan, who had offrec 
about four years before entered the House of 
Commons, and had already won for himself a 
position of the highest eminence, brought forward 
the question of commercial restrictions by an 
amendment to the Address which was proposed 
in answer to the speech of the Lord Lieutenant. 
The views that Grattan advocated received also 
the support of Flood and Burgh ; the former 

112 Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 60- 1 7 80. 

then holding- the high office of Vice-Treasurer 
under the Crown, and retaining no small part of 
his former almost paramount influence : the 
latter being the Prime Sergeant, and at the head 
of the Irish Bar, both in rank and attainments. 
The result of the discussion which ensued upon 
the amendment was, that a resolution was unani- 
mously carried which affirmed that ' nothing but 
a free trade could save the country from ruin.* 
Address in After the resolution in favour of free trade had 
free trade, been voted in the Commons, an Address to the 
Lord Lieutenant, expressing similar sentiments, 
was carried to the Castle (the residence of the 
Lord Lieutenant) by a procession of Peers and 
Commoners, between lines of Volunteers in arms 
the entire way. Nor was this the only evidence 
which this body gave of its determination to sup- 
port the House of Commons in its policy. In 
the month of November following, when, upon 
the anniversary of King William's landing, they 
assembled around his statue, many significant 
signs and mottos evidenced their zeal in the cause 
of commercial liberty, and two pieces of cannon 
drawn up before them bore the inscription 
' free trade, or this.' 
Free trade In the end the British Government and the 

conceded. T i T- i- <^>i T- i 

British Parliament gave way. I he English Acts 
of William and George II., which prohibited the 
exportation of woollen goods and of glass were 
repealed. Trade with the English settlements 
and plantations in America, the West Indies, and 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 60 1780. 113 

Africa, was thrown open, with the condition only 
that Irish trade should be subject to the duties 
then, or at any time thereafter to be, imposed for 
like exports or imports in British ports and 

These concessions became law early in 1780, Speech of 
but the announcement that the Government would North, 
submit them for enactment to the British Parlia- 
ment had been made by Lord North on the pre- 
ceding 1 3th of December, in a speech reviewing 
the commercial relations then subsisting between 
Great Britain and Ireland, and advocating a 
liberal policy on the part of the former. It is 
remarkable that, when proposed, the conces- 
sions met no opposition. 

*See Acts 20 George III., ch. 6 and ch. 10 (English); 
and for the Acts repealed, see pages 44, 52, 1 10, supra. 'Free 
trade ' in the resolution of the Irish Parliament is not used 
in its modern sense. It means merely freedom from the 
prohibitions and restrictions on trade to and from Ireland 
imposed by English legislation. 

114 Parliament of Ireland, 1780. 




Effect of OUCCESS in obtaining concessions connected 

concession. /} . 

with trade and commerce taught the Irish 
parliamentary Opposition their strength. They 
saw that measures aimed to advance the pros- 
perity and greatness of the nation would command 
the support of the Volunteers and the sympathy 
of the people ; and now experience had proved 
that with such aid resistance on the part of the 
British Parliament might be overcome. 
English The concession of commercial privileges did 

Parliament . 

continues not put an end to the unpopularity or the bng- 
popuiar. lish Parliament. Discontent does not necessarily 
cease because the grievance in which it originated 
has been removed. Now it was suggested that 
the laws repealed could be again imposed ; that 
without a Parliament strong enough to cope with 
the English legislature they were certain to be 
renewed; that the only security for freedom of 
trade and manufacture was the establishment, 
beyond controversy, of an exclusive right in the 
Parliament of Ireland to make laws for its people. 

Parliament of Ireland, 1780. 115 

There were, however, difficulties in the way Difficult to 
of a movement for constitutional rights which StioaSf 
did not impede the demand for commercial pri- " 
vileges. Most statesmen in England, and many 
in Ireland, at this period feared to concede inde- 
pendence to the Irish Parliament, lest it might 
be used to impair the connection between the 
two kingdoms, and thereby to endanger their 
acting in concert. Besides, gratitude seemed 
to dictate that when so much had been done to 
liberate colonial trade, (a benefit that must be 
referred to bounty, not right), some delay ought 
to be interposed before further claims upon Great 
Britain were put forward. 

Considerations of this nature seem to have Grattan 
operated with the chief leaders of the party 
which allied itself with national interests, Grattan 
excepted. He, when discussion as to the com- 
mercial privileges which had been granted arose 
in the Irish House of Commons, and some 
speakers declared that topics tending to prevent 
the good understanding of the kingdoms of 
Great Britain and Ireland ought to be postponed, 
expressed his opinion that ' the time for constitu- 
tional relief was when commercial relief had been 
obtained.'* Acting upon this view, he soon 
afterwards assumed to direct the course of the 
patriotic party, and intimated that he would 

* So the Marquis of Buckingham, then Lord Lieutenant, 
states to Lord Hillsborough. (See letter of lyth February, 
1780, printed in full in Grattan 's Life, by his Son.) 

I 2 

116 Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 80. 

move in the House of Commons a resolution 
declaratory of the rights of Ireland. 

obstacles. When he thus came forward and appropriated 
to himself what was the supreme political ques- 
tion of the period, Grattan stood almost alone. 
The influence of the Crown was directly used 
to oppose him. * The King-,' wrote an English 
Minister to the Lord Lieutenant, ' commands me 
to signify that it is expected from you that you 
do oppose and resist any attacks upon the con- 
stitution in every stage of their progress.'* The 
Irish House of Lords, by a decided majority, 
pronounced against further agitation, and re- 
solved that it would discourage and defeat every 
attempt which misguided men might make 
towards raising groundless jealousies in the 
minds of the people, and diverting their atten- 
tion from commercial advantages. t 

19 April, But neither influence nor opposition could 
divert Grattan from his purpose. On the igth 
of April, 1780, he proposed the following reso- 
lution in the House of Commons : ' . . . That the 
King's Most Excellent Majesty and the Lords 
and Commons of Ireland are the only power 
competent to make laws to bind Ireland.' 

* Letter of Lord Hillsborough to Earl of Buckinghamshire, 
March 28th, 1780, printed in full in Graitan's Life, by his 
Son, vol. ii., p. 31. 

f The resolution was carried by forty-six to eight. It was 
moved by the Duke of Leinster. (See Grattan 's Life, by his 
Son, vol. ii., p. 27.) 

Parliament of Ireland, 1780. 117 

This resolution was introduced in a speech Grattan's 
adapted with singular skill to overcome the diffi- 
culties by which its advocate was surrounded. 
Molyneux and Swift had supported the pro- 
position which it expressed by reasoning, and 
all educated Irishmen were familar with their 
writings. It was enough to glance at topics of 
this character : action was what was now wanted. 
The sentiment of nationality lay languid, dis- 
pirited, and, unless aroused into energetic life, 
useless for practical purposes. 

No division took place upon the resolution. Result of 
It was evaded by an amendment which led to 
the question being adjourned indefinitely. But 
the case against England had been stated, 
the motives for immediate decision supplied ; 
and it is no exaggeration to say that, when 
Grattan ceased to speak, he had dictated and 
moulded the whole Irish policy of the future. 
A speech pregnant with such consequences 
rightfully claims to be noticed, at least in a 
summary, which shall retain an outline of the 
topics and arguments discussed.* 

I have entreated, Grattan began, an attend- Grattan's 

. , . , speech, 

ance on this day that you might, in the most i? April, 
public manner, deny the claim of the British 
Parliament to make law for Ireland, and with 

* See Hardy's Life of Charhmont (ind ed., vol. i., p. 394) 
for the effect of this speech at the lime. ' It fulmined,' 
he says, ' over Ireland : imperfect as the copy was, those 
who produced it could not conceive how it could be resisted.' 

118 Parliament of Ireland, 1780. 

one voice lift up your hands against it. If I 
had lived when the Act of William took away 
the woollen manufacture, or when the Sixth 
of George the First declared this country to 
be dependent and subject to law to be enacted 
by the Parliament of England, I should have 
made a covenant with my own conscience to 
seize the first moment of rescuing my country 
from the ignominy of such acts of power ; or if 
I had a son, I should have administered to him 
an oath that he would consider himself as a 
person separate and set apart for the discharge 
of so important a duty. Upon the same prin- 
ciple am I now come here to move a declaration 
of right, the first moment occurring since my 
time in which such a declaration could be made 
with any chance of success, and without aggra- 
vation of oppression. 

Grattan's Notwithstanding (so the speech proceeded) the 
continued, import of sugar and the export of woollens (re- 
ferring to the concessions in relation to trade 
and commerce), the people are not satisfied. A 
greater work remains. Your ancestors lost to 
Ireland trade and liberty ; you, by the assistance 
of the people, have recovered trade ; you still 
owe the kingdom liberty : she calls upon you to 
restore it. The power which took away the 
export of woollens and the export of glass may 
take them away again ; the repeal is partial : 
the ground of repeal is upon a principle of 
expediency. But expedient is a word of appro- 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 80. 

priated and tyrannical import an ill-omened 
word, selected to express the reservation of au- 
thority, while the exercise is mitigated. . . . 
The repeal of the Woollen Act, pointed against 
the principle of our liberty present relaxation, 
but tyranny in reserve may be a subject for 
illumination to a populace, or a pretence for 
apostasy to a courtier, but cannot be the subject 
of settled satisfaction to a free-born, an intelli- 
gent, and an injured community. It is therefore 
they considered the free trade as a trade de facto, 
not a trade de jure ; a license to trade under the 
Parliament of England, not a free trade under the 
charters of Ireland to maintain which Ireland 
must continue in a state of armed preparation, 
dreading the approach of a general peace, and 
attributing all she holds dear to the calamitous 
condition of the British interest in every quarter 
of the globe. 

The opportuneness of the time for an asser- Grattan's 
tion of right was then enlarged upon. England, continued. 
Grattan urged, smarts under the American war : 
the doctrine of imperial legislature she feels to 
be pernicious ; the revenues and monopolies 
annexed to it she has found to be untenable : 
her enemies are a host pouring upon her from all 
quarters of the earth ; the balance of her fate 
is in the hands of Ireland. You are not only 
her last connexion you are the only nation in 
Europe that is not her enemy. Besides there 
does, of late, a certain damp and spurious su- 

120 Parliament of Ireland, 1780. 

pineness overcast her arms and councils, miracu- 
lous as that vigour which has lately inspirited 
yours ; for with you everything is the reverse. 
Never was there a Parliament in Ireland so pos- 
sessed of the confidence of the people. You are 
the greatest political assembly in the world ; you 
are at the head of an immense army : nor do we 
only possess an unconquerable force, but a cer- 
tain unquenchable public fire, which has touched 
all ranks of men like a visitation. 
Grattan's Grattan then alluded to the Volunteers, whom 

speech . ..... 

continued, he estimates at 4o,ooo, 'conducted by instinct, 
as they were raised by inspiration,' and the zeal 
and promptitude of every young member of the 
community. Yes, there does exist, he exclaimed, 
an enlightened sense of right, a young appetite 
for freedom, a solid strength, and a rapid fire, 
which not only put a declaration of right within 
your power, but put it out of your power to 
decline one. . . . You have done too much not 
to do more ; you have gone too far not to go 
on. ... It is very true you may feed your manu- 
facturers, and landed gentlemen may get their 
rents, and you may export woollens, and may 
load a vessel with baize, serges, and kerseys, 
and bring back directly from the plantations 
sugar, indigo, speckle-wood, beetle-root, and 
panellas; but liberty, the foundation of trade, 
the independency of Parliament, the securing, 
crowning, and consummation of everything, are 
yet to come. Without these the work is imper- 

Parliament of Ir eland > 1780. 121 

feet, the foundation is wanting, the capital is 
wanting, trade is not free, Ireland is a colony 
without the benefit of a charter, and you are a 
provincial synod without the privileges of a Par- 

Referring to the sixth of George the First and Grattan's 


to the Mutiny Act and other Acts of the English continued. 
Parliament being enforced in Ireland without 
being re-enacted by an Irish Legislature, Grattan 
asked whether a country so circumstanced is free ? 
Where is the foundation of trade ? Where is the 
security of property ? Where is the liberty of 
the people ? I here in this declaratory Act see 
my country proclaimed a slave ! I see every man 
in this House enrolled a slave ! I see the judges 
of the realm, the oracles of the law, borne down 
by an unauthorized foreign power ! I see the ma- 
gistrates prostrate, and I see Parliament witness 
of these infringements and silent. . . . What, are 
you, the greatest House of Commons that ever 
sat in Ireland, that want but this one Act to 
equal that English House of Commons that 
passed the Petition of Right, or that other that 
passed the Declaration of Right are you afraid 
to tell the British Parliament that you are a free 
people ? 

The weakness of former periods, the want of Grattan's 

... r . speech 

courage in their leaders, the servility of previous continued. 
Parliaments, were then touched upon. Recently, 
he said, the people had recourse to two measures, 
viz. a commercial and a military association. 

122 Parliament of Ireland, 1780. 

The consequence, he asserted, was instant : the 
enemy that hung- on their shores departed ; when 
the Parliament asked for a free trade, the British 
nation granted it. Still the people of Ireland 
are not satisfied: they ask for a Constitution. 
What have these walls for the last century re- 
sounded ? The usurpation of the British Parlia- 
ment and the interference of the Privy Council. 
Grattan's There is no objection, he said, to this resolution, 
continued, except your fears. I have examined your fears : 
I pronounce them frivolous. The woollen trade 
and the Act of Navigation made England tena- 
cious of a comprehensive legislative authority ; as 
she has now ceded that monopoly, there is nothing 
in the way of your liberty except your own cor- 
ruption and pusillanimity. . . . Take notice, the 
very Constitution which I move you to declare 
Great Britain herself offered to America. . . . 
What, has England offered this to the resistance 
of America, and will she refuse it to the loyalty 
of Ireland ? 
Grattan's I shall hear of ingratitude : I name the argu- 

speech ... T - . 

continued, ment to despise it. ... I know of no species of 
gratitude which should prevent my country from 
being free, no gratitude which should oblige Ire- 
land to be the slave of England. In cases of 
robbery and usurpation nothing is an object of 
gratitude, except the thing stolen, the charter 
spoliated. A nation's liberty cannot, like her 
treasure, be meted and parcelled out in grati- 
tude : no man can be grateful or liberal of his 

Parliament of Ireland, 1780. 123 

conscience, nor woman of her honour, nor nation 
of her liberty; there are certain unimpartible, 
inherent, invaluable properties, not to be alien- 
ated from the person, whether body politic or 
body natural. . . . Anything less than liberty is 
inadequate to Ireland, dangerous to Great Bri- 
tain. We are too near the British nation, we 
are too conversant with her history, we are too 
much fired by her example, to be anything less 
than her equal. Anything less, we should be her 
bitterest enemies an enemy to the power that 
smote us with her mace, and to that Constitu- 
tion from whose blessings we were excluded. 

124 Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 80 1782. 




Grattan's r I ^HE speech, of which a summary is given 
cSi! c in the last chapter, deserves attentive 

consideration, not only on account of the de- 
mands it put forward, but of the reasons and 
arguments by which they were supported. The 
sole object aimed at was to arouse a spirit of 
nationality. It claimed, and sought to induce 
Parliament to claim, that Ireland and its Legis- 
lature should rank as the equal of Great Britain 
and its Legislature ; that, except so far as 
superior wealth and strength might create a 
difference, there should be no distinction be- 
tween the powers and authority to which they 
were respectively entitled. With the exception 
of the Act which declared the supremacy of the 
British Parliament for legislative and judicial pur- 
poses, and the Mutiny Act, which was objected 
to as a signal manifestation of that assumed 
supremacy, Grattan made no complaint of any 
legislation of the British Parliament then con- 
tinuing in force. He founded his case not on 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 80- 1782. 125 

the misdoings of Great Britain, but on what 
he asserted to be the rights of Ireland : her 
national and legislative rights liberty and in- 
dependence. Great Britain, he admitted, had 
annulled former restrictions upon the manufac- 
turing industry of Ireland, had freely opened to 
the people foreign and colonial trade, but, if the 
rights he claimed were withheld, neither these 
benefits, nor any others that might be added to 
them, could, he urged, afford adequate compen- 
sation for their loss. 

The objection to the Mutiny Act was not on Mutiny 
account of the provisions it contained ; they 
were, of course, as much needed in Ireland as 
in Great Britain for the government of the army. 
But it was an Act of the British Parliament ; 
whereas, it was contended, soldiers quartered in 
Ireland were like the rest of the people properly 
only amenable to Irish law, and a Mutiny Act 
should have been obtained from the Irish Par- 
liament. Much discontent prevailed in reference 
to this matter ; and Grattan's speech having 
given an impulse to its consideration, a Bill to 
deal with it was soon after introduced in the 
Irish House of Commons, when several members 
declared that neither as jurors nor as magistrates, 
nor in any other capacity, would they suffer a 
British Mutiny law to be enforced.* Ultimately 

* See letter of Lord Buckingham, the Lord Lieutenant, to 
Lord Hillsborough, May 8, 1780, cited by Lecky, History, 
vol. iv., p. 511. 

1 26 Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 80 1782. 

an Irish Mutiny Act was passed by the Irish 
Parliament, which the Government had sufficient 
influence to have made not temporary, but per- 
petual a provision which afterwards gave rise to 
as much dissatisfaction as had been before caused 
by the control of the army in Ireland being 
founded upon British authority. 

Effect of The ardent sentiments aroused by Grattan's 
speech. speech gave rise to discussions in the Irish 
House of Commons on other subjects of impor- 
tance beside the Mutiny Act : Poynings' Law ; 
a Habeas Corpus Bill, which was ultimately 
enacted ; the disabilities then affecting persons 
professing the Roman Catholic religion. But the 
chief effect of the speech was among the people 
outside Parliament. Through all classes, with 
the exception only of persons holding office under 
the Crown, or connected intimately by ties of 
property with Great Britain, the spirit infused by 
Grattan's eloquence spread (to use his own lan- 
guage) ' an unquenchable public fire.' Differences 
of race and religion ceased to create division. 
All combined : lesser aims and interests merged 
in the almost universal desire for national and 
legislative independence. This, as in itself the 
supreme good, became the one object sought. 
Samecom- The same combination for a common object of 
in n sSs all the various elements whereof in Ireland society 
was composed occurred when Swift, during his 
opposition to Wood's patent, came forward to 
proclaim principles similar to those now advo- 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 80 1782. 127 

cated by Grattan. Then the popular discontent Page 96, 

supra. . 

caused by a supposed debasement of the coin 
was, by the former, turned against English supre- 
macy : just as now the excitement, which began 
but did not end with the commercial restrictions, 
was, by the latter, guided to insist upon indepen- 

But while on each occasion the mass of the causes of 
community moved in the same direction, the tion. 
motives which impelled the separate portions 
which formed it were by no means the same. 
The descendants of the original inhabitants, 
almost all of whom had adhered to the Roman 
Catholic religion, inherited the feelings which 
animated their ancestors, when for four centuries Page 19, 
they were excluded by an injudicious policy from 
the rights and privileges of British subjects ; and 
moved by such influences they welcomed what- 
ever appeared calculated to fortify the indepen- 
dence of their country against an external sove- 
reignty which had reduced themselves to a subor- 
dinate condition. On the other hand, the descen- 
dants of the colonists, whether of English or Scotch 
origin, had nothing in their own history to account 
for the course which, under the lead of Swift and 
Grattan, they took. They were the ruling class, 
and that they were was due to the protection of 
Great Britain. It was to her they were indebted 
for their ascendency. Moreover, kindred, agree- 
ment at all times in religion, general harmony of 
sentiments, drew them towards alliance with her 

1 28 Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 80 1782. 

people. What overpowered these influences was 
that the existence of a separate legislature, 
and of a separate executive, fixed in their minds 
the notion of a kingdom, not less morally than 
geographically distinct from England. 
Agitation When the agitation which followed upon 
theVoiun- Grattan's speech had spread through the people, 
it necessarily came in contact with the various 
associations of Volunteers then established 
through the country, and quickly communicated 
to them the impulses by which it was itself urged 
on. The same had happened during the move- 
ment for commercial freedom ; but since that 
time the organization of this force had assumed 
proportions of great magnitude. 
Their in- From their first institution the Volunteers had 

fluence. .... , . - . 

continually increased in number and importance. 
Recruited from every class, officered by persons 
of rank and education, regularly trained, and so 
attaining a high standard of military efficiency, 
they exercised an influence in the community 
equal, if not superior, to that possessed by 
Meeting of About the close of the year 1781 the Volunteers 

Volunteer . . r . ..... 

officers. began to manifest much concern in political 
affairs, and especially in the questions raised as 
to the jurisdiction of the English Parliament in 
Ireland. This was chiefly the case with the regi- 
ments recruited in the northern parts of the 

* See further observations as to the Volunteers in Note Y 
of the Appendix. 

Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 80 1782. 129 

island ; and on the 28th of December in that year 
a meeting of the officers of one of these regiments, 
led to important results. Before separating, those 
who attended issued invitations to all the Ulster 
associations of Volunteers to send delegates on 
the i5th of February then next (A. D. 1782) to 
Dungannon (a small town of Ulster, conveniently 
situated for the purpose), in order that they 
might deliberate respecting the interests of the 

Upon the day which had been thus appointed Conven- 
the representatives of one hundred and forty- Dungan- 
three corps of Ulster Volunteers assembled. 
They passed a series of resolutions, among which 
it is sufficient to mention those which immediately 
relate to the subject of this treatise : . . . ' That 
a claim of any body of men, other than the King, 
Lords, and Commons of Ireland, to make laws 
to bind this kingdom, is unconstitutional, illegal, 
and a grievance ; that the power exercised by 
the Privy Council of Great Britain and Ireland 
under, or under colour or pretence of, the law of 
Poynings, is unconstitutional and a grievance.' 

From the time when in 1780 Grattan brought Grattan. 
forward in the House of Commons the resolution 
declaratory of the exclusive legislative jurisdic- 
tion of the Parliament of Ireland, he had been 
the acknowledged leader of the movement to 
attain that object. Pre-eminence was conceded 
to him without a dissentient ; and it was amply 
justified by eloquence of unrivalled brilliancy, 


Parliament of Ireland, 1 7 80 1782. 

an extensive knowledge of political subjects, and 
an ardent and disinterested patriotism.* 
Address Grattan is said to have assisted in framing 


Feb. 22, the resolutions of the Convention of Volunteers ; 

but however this may have been, he immediately, 
when they were announced, perceived the impulse 
which they would communicate to the cause of 
national independence, and the probable effect 
which such an example would have upon Parlia- 
ment. Accordingly, on the 22nd of February, a 
week after the date of the meeting at Dungannon, 
he moved an address from the House of Com- 
mons, to assure His Majesty that the people of 
Ireland were a free people, the Crown of Ireland 
an imperial Crown, and the kingdom of Ireland a 
distinct kingdom, with a Parliament of its own, 
the sole Legislature thereof; that by their funda- 
mental laws and franchises the subjects of this 
separate kingdom could not be bound, affected, 
or obliged by any Legislature save only by the 
King, Lords, and Commons of His Majesty's 
realm of Ireland, nor was there any other body of 
men who had power or authority to make laws 
for them : that in this privilege was contained 
the very essence of their liberty. 

16 April, A motion to adjourn the consideration of the 

question was carried ; and without anything fur- 
ther being then done in respect of it, Parliament 
was, on the I4th of March, prorogued until the 

* See Note Z of Appendix. 

Parliament of Ireland, 17801782. 131 

1 6th of April. In the interval a new Ministry came 
into power in England. They proceeded at once 
to review the condition of Ireland ; and, arriving 
at the conclusion that it was expedient to make 
concessions to the popular demands, they arranged 
that the Duke of Portland, who was sent over as 
Lord Lieutenant, should address to the Irish Par- 
liament, when it would meet after the prorogation, 
a message indicating what was intended in the 
future. The message, expressed in the following 
terms, was read on the i6th of April : . . . ' His 
Majesty, being concerned to find that discontents 
and jealousies were prevailing among his loyal 
subjects in Ireland upon matters of great weight 
and importance, recommends Parliament to take 
the same into their most serious consideration, 
in order to effect such a final adjustment as 
may give mutual satisfaction to his kingdoms 
of Great Britain and Ireland.' 

Hutchinson, the Minister in charge of the mea- Grattan's 


sures of Government in the House of Commons, 
expressed from himself sympathy with the objects 
aimed at by the popular movement. Grattan, 
assuming that legislative independence was about 
to be conceded, at once rose* to congratulate the 

* From what Hardy states (Life of Charlemont, vol. ii., p. 
20), it appears that Grattan acted on this occasion with the 
concurrence of the Earl of Charlemont a nobleman whose 
abilities, social accomplishments, and moral worth, gave him 
great influence in the Irish House of Lords. With respect to 
Hutchinson, who represented the Government on this occa- 
sion, see Note AA of Appendix. 

K 2 

132 Parliamen t of Ireland, 1780-1782. 

House of Commons, expressing himself in words 
which mark how completely predominant in Ire- 
land was at that time the idea of a separate 
nationality :...'! am,' he said, ' now to address 
a free people ; ages have passed away, and this 
is the first moment in which you could be dis- 
tinguished by that appellation. . . . Spirit of 
Swift ! spirit of Molyneux ! your genius has pre- 
vailed ! Ireland is now a nation ! In that new 
character I hail her ! and bowing to her august 
presence, I say, esto perpetual 

Terms The precise nature of the measures about to 

upon. 6 be submitted to Parliament by the Government 
did not appear, and Grattan determined to leave 
no doubt as to the conditions which he de- 
manded. He enumerated them in the following 
words : (i) Repeal of the perpetual Mutiny Bill, 
and dependency of the Irish army upon the Irish 
Parliament ; (2) the abolition of the legislative 
power of the Council ; (3) the abrogation of the 
claim of England to make laws for Ireland ; 
(4) the exclusion of the English House of Peers, 
and of the English King's Bench from any 
judicial authority in Ireland; (5) the restoration 
of the Irish Peers to their final judicature ; the 
independency of the Irish Parliament in its sole 
and exclusive legislature. ' These,' he said, 
1 are my terms. I will take nothing from the 

Parliament of Ireland, 1782. 133 




THE demands of Grattan as they were stated Repeal of 
, . , -6 Geo. I. 

in the speech which at the close of the 

last chapter has been referred to, were by sub- 
sequent legislation substantially granted. The 
first step taken towards their accomplishment 
was by an Act of the British Parliament to repeal 
the English statute (the Sixth of George the First), 
which had been the chief cause of complaint, and 
(as it was expressed in the repealing Act), 'all 
the matters and declarations contained in that 

Objections were made to this measure as in- Resolution 

rr i r i declaring 

sufficient to meet the requirements of the case, the effect 
Merely to repeal, it was said, left matters as they repealing 


were before the enactment of the measure which 
was repealed ; and could not, therefore, finally 
decide the controversy which had so long existed 
between the Parliaments of England and Ireland 
concerning the jurisdiction of each. Those who 
thus argued sought leave to introduce into the 
Irish House of Commons a Bill which was 

1 34 Parliament of Ireland, 1782. 

explicitly to declare the exclusive right of the Irish 
Parliament to make laws for the kingdom of Ire- 
land. The motion for this purpose was opposed, 
upon the ground that repeal of an Act which had 
asserted a claim to a right was equivalent to 
renunciation of the claim. The House refused 
leave to bring in the Bill, and afterwards recorded 
that it had adopted this course because the ex- 
clusive right of legislation in the Irish Parliament 
in all cases, internal and external, had been 
already asserted by Ireland, and had been fully, 
irrevocably, and finally acknowledged by Eng- 
Reason for The word ' external ' was designedly introduced 

the word . .. t / i c i i 

'external' into this resolution for the purpose of explicitly 
resolution, negativing the supposition, which might otherwise 
have been entertained, that in respect of the range 
of its jurisdiction the Irish Parliament admitted 
the propriety of a distinction drawn by some 
English statesmen between ' the external ' and 
4 the internal'* affairs of Ireland, and of a claim 
made by them to retain for the English Parlia- 
ment the exclusive right to make laws in relation 
to the former. 

* The protest against this supposition again appears in an 
address to the Lord Lieutenant at the end of the session, 
where, referring to what had occurred, it is said . . . that the 
sole and exclusive right of legislation, external as well as 
internal, in the Irish Parliament had been firmly asserted on 
the part of Ireland, and unequivocally acknowledged on the 
part of Great Britain. 

Parliamen t of Ireland, 1782. 135 

The truth is, that if the Irish Parliament had if jurfsdic- 

i 1 , ,.,.- , tion over 

been then excluded from legislating for external external 

re i i c , . -11 affairs not 

affairs, the results of the victory it had won must admitted, 
have been small. Matters would have remained been 
very much as they had been in practice, whatever g 
they might have been in theory, from the acces- 
sion of George II., as, during the intervening 
time, the laws regulating the internal affairs of 
Ireland had almost altogether been made by its 
own Parliament. 

When the repeal of the Sixth of George the Prime 

T 111 -\ T T- Ministers 

rirst was conceded the Marquis of Rocking- in 1782 
ham was Prime Minister. Upon his death, in a 
July, 1782, he was succeeded by Lord Shelburne, 
who had been one of his Cabinet. The Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer, under Lord Shelburne, 
was William Pitt. This administration being 
defeated upon a motion in the House of Com- 
mons on the 2ist of February, 1783, Lord 
Shelburne resigned, but his successor was not 
appointed, nor did he come into office until the 
month of April. 

Before Lord Shelburne's resignation, a Bill Remmcia- 

/ \ i i i l ' on -^ ct > 

was (on the 2ist January) introduced in the 23000. 

British Parliament, which afterwards became 
law, whereby it was declared that the right 
claimed by the people of Ireland to be bound 
only by laws enacted by His Majesty and the 
Parliament of that kingdom in all cases what- 
ever, and to have all actions and suits at law 
or in equity, which might be instituted in that 

136 Parliament of Ireland, 1782. 

kingdom in His Majesty's Courts therein, de- 
cided finally and without appeal from thence, 
was established and ascertained for ever. 
Poynings' The statutes of Repeal and Renunciation, as 

law re- 
pealed and the two English statutes relating to the authority 

new pro- * 

visions of the British Parliament were called, would have 

tuted, effected no more than to prevent its interference : 

if they were to stand alone, Poynings' law would 
have still made the legislation of the Irish Parlia- 
ment subject to the control of the Privy Council 
of Ireland, and the Privy Council of England. It 
was therefore necessary, in order to complete the 
independence intended to be conferred upon the 
Irish Parliament, that Poynings' law should be 
repealed or modified. This law having been 
enacted by the Irish Parliament, recourse was 
had to the same authority for its repeal, and in 
lieu of the former legislation upon the subject, 
an Act was passed by the Irish Parliament (21 & 
22 George III. c. 47), which provided that the 
Lord Lieutenant, or other Chief Governor of 
Ireland, was to certify to the King all such Bills, 
and none other, as both Houses of Parliament in 
Ireland should certify to be enacted under the 
Great Seal of Ireland, without alteration : that 
such of the same as should be returned under 
the Great Seal of Great Britain, without altera- 
tion, and none other, should pass in the Parlia- 
ment of Ireland : that no Bill should be certified 
as a cause or consideration of holding a Parlia- 
ment in Ireland, and that Parliament might be 

Parliament of Ireland \ 1782. 137 

holden without any Bill being certified, but not 
without license for that purpose being first had 
and obtained from the King, under the Great 
Seal of Great Britain. 

The condition contained in this Act, which re- Object of 

11 T-Mi r i T i T 1- a condition 

quired the Bills of the Irish Parliament to be imposed 
submitted to the King in England, and to be Act. 
thence returned under the Great Seal of Great 
Britain, was in addition to, not substitution for, 
the royal assent being given in Ireland. It was 
supposed that the condition would prove a pro- 
tection against legislation injurious to British 
interests, because the minister who was to be 
responsible for affixing the British Seal would be 
a British Minister, and amenable to censure in 
the British Parliament. 

Thus, the Constitution of the Parliament of Constitu- 
tion of 
Ireland, which became known as the Constitution 1782. 

of 1782, was the result of three statutes (two 
British, and one Irish). By them this Parliament 
was rendered free and independent. It could no 
longer be controlled or interfered with by the 
Parliament of Great Britain ; its Bills were no 
longer to be sent to either the English or the 
Irish Privy Council for approval or rejection. 
There was no limit imposed upon the subject- 
matter of debate or legislation. Whatever was 
within the province of a national Parliament 
might come before it. Its relations to Great 
Britain and the British Parliament were substan- 
tially the same, as before 1707 the relations had 

Parliament of Ireland, 1782. 

been of the Parliament of Scotland to England 
and the English Parliament, with one exception 
that, in order to a Bill becoming law, the royal 
assent had been given in Scotland by a Com- 
missioner attending to represent the Crown of 
Scotland, while in Ireland the Bill should not 
only receive the royal assent in Ireland, but be 
transmitted to England, and be thence returned 
under the Great Seal of Great Britain. 
Omission I n the Constitution of 1782 there was no pro- 

to provide . . t ... 

fordis- vision for the case of disagreement in policy 

agreement . 

between between the Parliaments of Great Britain and 

the British ...,, .. . , 

and Irish Ireland. 1 hey were equal and co-ordinate, witn- 


ments. out any paramount authority being provided to 
overrule or reconcile them. No matter how 
injurious to British interests the intended legisla- 
tion of the Irish Parliament might be, the only 
restraint upon it which the Constitution provided 
for the British Government was the power of 
refusing to return, under the Great Seal of Great 
Britain, the Bill sent over, and to refuse the royal 
assent in Ireland. But neither of these checks 
applied to resolutions or proceedings of Parlia- 
ment not taking the form of Bills. The Irish 
Parliament could adopt, and give expression to, 
whatever views it chose upon questions of trade 
and commerce, foreign policy, treaties, and other 
relations with foreign powers. And even in the 
case of Bills where these checks did apply, little 
was to be expected from them, since statesmen 
would be reluctant to use a power which must 

Parliament of Ireland, 1782. 1 39 

place the Crown by itself in an attitude of hos- 
tility to one of the nations subject to its rule.* 

That controversies were likely to arise between Sugges- 
the British and Irish Parliaments in reference to Duke of 
the subjects which have been mentioned, and 
the injurious consequences likely to follow from 
them, were foreseen by the Duke of Portland in 
1782, and he proposed to guard against the 
danger by retaining for Great Britain a supreme 
control in respect of the matters which were of 
most importance. His views were embodied in a 
letter to Lord Shelburne, in which he expressed 
a hope that the Irish Parliament might be induced 
to pass an Act by which ' the superintending 
power and supremacy of Great Britain in all 
matters of State and general commerce would 
be virtually and effectually acknowledged,' and 
Ireland be bound to contribute ' a share of the 
expense of carrying on a defensive or offensive 
war, either in support of the dominions of the 
Crown of Great Britain, or those of its allies, in 
proportion to the actual state of her abilities ' ; 
and also be bound to adopt 'every such regulation 
as might be judged necessary by Great Britain 
for the better ordering and securing her trade 
and commerce with foreign nations or her own 
colonies and dependencies, consideration being 
duly had to the circumstances of Ireland.'f 

* See on this subject Note V>\\ of Appendix, 
f Letter from Portland to Shelburne, Oth June, 1782. 
This letter is printed in full in the Lift of Gtallan, by his 

140 Parliament of Ireland, 1782. 

Portland's These suggestions then received the approba- 


tions found tion of Lord Shelburne, but no steps were ever 

to be im- 

practi- taken to give them effect. The Duke of Port- 


land found that he had formed too sanguine 
expectations ; and in about a fortnight after he 
had first communicated his ideas to Lord Shel- 
burne he wrote that ' any attempts to conciliate 
the minds of this nation to any such measure as 
I intimated the hope of, would at this moment be 
delusive and impossible.' * 
They were Nothing, indeed, could have been less in 

opposed to .... ... . . 

the views accordance with the aims of the patriotic party 

of the i T i 11 /-+ c 

patriotic than Portland s propositions. Grattan had for 
Page 122 Ireland insisted upon equality: if not the equal, 
supra. gjjg jnus^ ne said, be the enemy of Great Britain. 

These propositions would have reduced Ireland 
to a subordinate position. Besides, they retained 
for Great Britain absolute dominion over com- 
merce, and on no point had the statutes of the 

Son, vol. ii., p. 291. At the time of the debates in connexion 
with the Union, Parliament first became aware of the cor- 
respondence, of which it is part. This was then produced 
and printed in the Parliamentary papers on the motion of 
Pitt. Portland seems from the beginning to have desired 
that what he calls ' some middle term ' should be thought of, 
and to have entered upon unsuccessful negotiations for that 
purpose. (See his letter to Fox, 28th April, 1782, printed in 
Grattarfs Life, vol. ii., p. 273.) 

* See Letters, Shelburne to Portland, June gth, 1782; 
Portland to Shelburne, June 22nd, 1782. The whole corre- 
spondence, extracted from the Parliamentary Papers, will be 
found in Oration's Life, by his Son, vol. ii., p. 286-294. 

Parliament of Ireland, 1782. 141 

English Parliament been more objected to than 
upon this. They would, in effect, have accom- 
plished the very restriction of the Irish Parlia- 
ment to internal affairs, which its House of 
Commons, as we have seen, by an express 
resolution repudiated. 

These circumstances explain why neither in And they 

, . ,- . r i were open 

1782 nor 1783 was any qualification of the toother 
Acts of Repeal and Renunciation proposed. 
Moreover, any proceeding of the kind was dis- 
couraged by the consideration that, even if such 
a measure were carried, there was no certainty of 
its permanence. The existing Irish Parliament 
might enact it; the succeeding might demand its 
repeal. An intermediate policy necessarily does 
not of itself and by its own nature claim finality : 
the point ultimately to be reached seems still 
beyond it ; and this is especially true when the 
policy relates to the constitution of represen- 
tative institutions ; for such institutions have 
within them a principle of growth. In Ireland 
Councils had expanded to Parliaments ; Parlia- 
ments without representatives of the Commons to 
Parliaments with representatives of the Commons ; 
Parliaments without the native Irish to Parlia- 
ments with representatives from the native Irish ; 
Parliaments restrained by Poynings' law, and 
overawed by fear of another Legislature claiming 
pre-eminence, to Parliaments free, independent, 
subject to no external authority. Why, then, 
might not Parliaments excluded from dealing 

1 42 Parliament of Ireland, 1782. 

with commercial questions, foreign policy, the 
great affairs of State, arise out of their depressed 
condition, and in time regain the elevated posi- 
tion which had, in a moment of weakness, been 
surrendered ? 
Ministers When the British Ministers decided that they 

silent as to . . 

Portland's would not seek to impose restrictions upon the 
tions. capacity of action conceded to the Irish Parlia- 
ment, no hint was given that they had ever 
contemplated or desired them. The British 
Parliament was thus enabled to present itself to 
Ireland as the willing and generous donor of 
a constitution whose freedom and independence 
equalled its own. 

Parliament of Ireland, 17821786. 143 



HE changes made in 1782 in the Irish Con- constitu- 

... 1 , . . A , tionofi782 

stitution weakened in important points the weakens 
authority of the English Government over Ire- ri" 


land. The control of Irish legislation exercised 
by the English and Irish Privy Councils existed n 
no longer. There was no check upon the pro- 
ceedings of the local Parliament except such as 
was afforded by the power of refusing to return 
under the Great Seal of Great Britain a Bill when 
passed. Under the former system a measure 
could not only be vetoed, but if approved, be 
moulded into its final form and shape by the 
Councils ; under the new, a statute owed its 
being and provisions to Parliament, and was in- 
debted to the Government only for an assent, 
difficult to withhold. With respect, also, to the 
measures which Ministers might desire to pass, 
Parliament had been rendered more independent, 
by being freed from any apprehension that, in 
case of their being rejected in Ireland, resort 
could be had to the British Parliament. 

144 Parliament of Ireland, 17821786. 

Yet leaves As, however, these changes only interfered with 
legislative jurisdiction, they still left for the Eng- 

untouched. Hsh Government important sources of power and 
influence undiminished. It retained within its do- 
minion the direction of the executive department 
in Ireland, and administered this through the 
Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary, nominated 
by and removable at its pleasure. Neither the 
Ministers in England for the time being, nor 
these their representatives in Ireland, depended 
on the Irish Parliament for the tenure of their 
offices : an adverse vote of the British House of 
Commons would lead to the resignation of both 
the English and Irish Ministers; but no such con- 
sequence was expected to follow as to either 
if a ministerial measure was to fail in the Irish 
House of Commons. Moreover, the British Go- 
vernment retained, either directly or indirectly, 
all the important patronage ; for after 1 782, just as 
before that date, peerages and the highest class of 
offices (such as the Bishoprics and Deaneries in 
the Church, and the judicial offices in the legal de- 
partment) were in the appointment of the Crown, 
acting under the advice of its English ministers ; 
and whatever offices connected with the State 
were not so circumstanced, were disposed of by 
the Lord Lieutenant, the nominee and colleague 
of these Ministers. 

Patronage Before 1782 the patronage exercised in Ire- 
influence land by the English and Irish Ministers of 
ment." the Crown was largely used to influence the 

Parliament of Ireland, 17821786. 145 

votes of the members of both Houses of Par- 
liament. With the same object pensions also 
were often granted to many of these members, 
or to their relatives and friends upon their ap- 
plication. As no alteration was, in 1782, made 
in the composition of Parliament, as the number 
of seats commanded by owners of close boroughs 
was undiminished, the same practices were certain 
to continue, and did continue, under the new 
Constitution. Indeed, the increased freedom of 
Parliament, the wider range of subjects within 
its jurisdiction, made it still more requisite that 
the allegiance of its members should be secured 
by each Administration that came into office in 

But, quite independent of such inducements, other 
the Parliament of Ireland contained at this time 

elements which powerfully promoted harmony 
with England. In both kingdoms the right to 
sit in Parliament was confined to Protestants, and 
those who elected representatives were also Pro- 
testant. Nor was religion the only subject on 
which the electors and elected were imbued with 
the same tone of thought and sentiment in both 
countries. There were few questions respecting 
which there was any difference in their opinions. 
Besides, Irish Peers and Commoners were almost 
universally owners of land, very many deriving 
under titles resting upon grants of forfeited 
estates, for which the most effectual defence was 
to be found in the protection of England. 


146 Parliament of Ireland \ 17821786. 

Hence, These various causes enabled the British 

agreement. Government for some time after 1782 to retain 
its former influence in the Irish Parliament, 
and to obtain support for its policy from 
majorities in the two Houses. While they 
continued, no conflict of opinion or action be- 
tween the Parliament of England and the Par- 
liament of Ireland, such as was apprehended 
when freedom was conceded to the latter, arose. 
Nor, indeed, did the subjects which were sub- 
mitted to each during this time give an oppor- 
tunity for disagreement. 

A.D.I785. In 1785 the relations between the two Parlia- 
ments were altered. The same political questions 
then came for discussion before both, were re- 
garded by them with entirely different sentiments, 
and ultimately received from them the most op- 
posite decisions. As there is no doubt that what 
then occurred materially contributed to recom- 
mend the policy which afterwards terminated the 
separate existence of the Irish Parliament, it is 
requisite to narrate the events of this period at 
more length than would otherwise be consistent 
with the plan of this treatise. 

Previous In 1780 statutes to annul the restrictions 

ings in which British legislation had imposed upon trade 

from Ireland to the colonies and on the export 
of some Irish manufactures were enacted ; but 
neither then nor in 1782 had there been any 
compact to prevent the British Parliament re- 
imposing the former laws as to the colonies : 

Parliament of Ireland, 17821786. 147 

and what was done as to the manufactures 
could not be considered more than a part of 
the arrangements requisite in order to place the 
commercial intercourse between Great Britain 
and Ireland on a satisfactory basis. These 
circumstances attracted especial attention in 
Ireland during the winter of 17845, when there 
was much distress, which, it was supposed, might 
be alleviated if the commercial relations of Ire- 
land with Great Britain were improved. The 
Irish House of Commons, induced by the con- 
dition of the people, appointed a Committee to 
inquire into the state of Irish trade and manu- 
factures, by whom, after examining witnesses, 
a Report was made. The Report was followed 
by an Address from the House of Commons, 
voted May 13, 1784, in which, after stating that 
the interval between the present and next Session 
would afford an opportunity to propose a well- 
digested plan for a liberal arrangement of com- 
mercial intercourse between Great Britain and 
Ireland, it was declared that such a plan would 
be the most effectual means of strengthening 
the empire at large, and cherishing the com- 
mon interest and brotherly affection of both 

When this Address was voted Pitt was Prime Pitt. 
Minister, having been appointed in the previous 

* Gratlan's Life, by his Son, vol. iii., pp. 233-236. Lccky's 
History of England, vol. vi., p. 354. 

L 2 

148 Parliament of Ireland, 17821786. 

month of December upon the dismissal of the 
Coalition Government of Lord North and Fox. 
In 1782, when the Sixth of George the First was 
repealed, Pitt neither was in office nor took part 
in the debate upon the subject; but in 1783, 
when the Renunciation Act was passed, being 
one of the Ministers, he had supported it. At a 
much later period (in 1799) he took occasion to 
refer to the legislation of 1782, and to the senti- 
ments he entertained at that time, and he de- 
scribed himself as having disapproved of the 
' system which, before 1782, held (as he expressed 
it) the two countries together,' because 'unworthy 
the liberality of Great Britain, and injurious to 
the interests of Ireland.' What was enacted 
in 1782 and 1783, he contended, ought to be 
regarded as mere demolition, and was not, even 
by those who were its authors, intended to be a 
final adjustment of the relations between the two 
Pitt Assuming that Pitt, in 1785, held the opinions 


commer- which he thus afterwards attributed to himself, 


cessions, they would necessarily predispose him to con- 
sider, not unfavourably, the suggestions con- 
tained in the Address of the Irish House of 
Commons. It had been found impossible to 
introduce into the Constitution of 1782 an 
acknowledgment of the supremacy of Great 

* See Pitt's speech of 3 ist January, 1799. Speeches, vol. Hi., 
P- 363- 

Parliament of Ireland, \ 782 1 786. 149 

Britain in reference to commercial subjects ; but 
if now a treaty between Ireland and Great Britain, 
regulating their relations in respect to these 
subjects, which could not be rescinded except by 
mutual consent, were enacted by the legislatures 
of both countries, many of the advantages ex- 
pected from the acknowledgment which had 
been refused would be attained. At all events, 
such a treaty must diminish the topics and 
occasions of controversy, otherwise almost certain 
to arise between two kingdoms whose interests 
were not always the same in reference to the 
matters which the treaty dealt with. 

But it would be an error to suppose that Pitt other 
regarded the Address of the Irish House of Com- for free 
mons only from this (an English) point of view. 
He desired to serve Ireland, and his ideas in 
reference to commercial policy being more en- 
lightened than those of other statesmen of his 
time, he saw that he could do this without injury 
to the interests of Great Britain. Free trade 
between the two countries might enrich both, 
and consequently tend to the aggrandisement of 
the State. Liberty of foreign trade he held to be 
an act of justice; liberty of colonial trade, an act 
of bounty, but also of wisdom. 

Commercial relations, however, were not the contnbu- 
only relations which it was expedient to adjust naval 
between Great Britain and Ireland. The Duke to'T^ 
of Portland, in 1782, had sought to have Ireland c 
bound to contribute to the maintenance of the 

150 Parliament of Ireland, 1782-1786. 

naval establishment. Pitt was likewise anxious 
to effect this object ; and now he perceived that, 
if he dealt with trade and commerce, an oppor- 
tunity would open to have the question of con- 
tribution for this purpose at the same time settled. 
Ireland, in return for the benefits which his policy 
of free trade would confer upon her, might 
reasonably be expected to aid in meeting the 
expenses requisite for the protection of the whole 

Commer- Pitt therefore determined to answer the Address 
sitions P> of the Irish House of Commons by offering a 

T ~ " C 

scheme for the final settlement of the com- 
mercial relations between Great Britain and 
Ireland; and, accordingly, the result was that pro- 
positions (eleven in number) known at the time 
as the Commercial Propositions, were prepared 
by himself and his colleagues, in order that they 
might be submitted to the British and Irish Par- 
liaments. Ten of them related to matters of 
trade and commerce, while the eleventh provided 
that any surplus of the hereditary revenue (which 
in Ireland was at the time largely derived from 
the Customs and Excise, sources of income which 
free trade was expected to increase) should be 
appropriated to support the naval force of the 
empire. These Propositions originated in sug- 

* Pitt's Speeches in 1785, on 2 2nd February, i2th May, 
2znd July, should be compared with his speech jist January, 
1799. Speeches, vol. i., pp. 198, 246, 269, and vol. iii., 
P- 37 2 - 

Parliament of Ireland, 17821786. 151 

gestions from Ireland, and were drawn up after 
consultation with advisers summoned from Ire- 

There is preserved a full explanation by Pitt Letter of 
of the views and objects with which the Proposi- Rutland, 
tions were framed, in a letter to the Duke of ^/ 8 a 5 n '' 
Rutland, then Lord Lieutenant in Ireland, dated 
January 6, 1785^ He describes them as repre- 
senting ' the unanimous opinion of the Cabinet 
on the subject of the settlement to be proposed 
as final and conclusive between Great Britain 
and Ireland. . . .' ' The general tenor,' he says, 
' of our propositions not only gives a full equality 
to Ireland, but extends the principle to many 
points where it would be easy to have urged just 
exceptions, and in many other points possibly 
turns the scale in her favour, at a risk, perhaps 
a remote one, of considerable local disadvantages 
to many great interests of this country. I do not 
say that in practice I apprehend the effect on our 
trade and manufactures will be such as it will 
probably be industriously represented ; but I am 

* The Propositions are said to have originated with Joshua 
Pirn, a member of a mercantile family then and now eminent 
in Dublin. What he suggested was added to by Foster, after- 
wards Speaker of the House of Commons, who went to Eng- 
land and took the draft to Pitt. (See Grattan's Life, by his 
Son, vol. iii., p. 239.) 

f Pitt's letters to the Duke of Rutland were privately 
printed. The letter of the 6th January, 1785, from its im- 
portance, has been printed in full in the Quarterly Review, 
vol. Ixx., p. 300. It occupies eight pages of the Review. 

1 52 Parliament of Ireland, 17821786. 

persuaded (whatever may be the event) that, by 
the additions now proposed to former conces- 
sions, we open to Ireland the chance of a com- 
petition with ourselves on terms of more than 
equality, and we give her advantages which make 
it impossible she should ever have anything to 
fear from the jealousy or restrictive policy of 
this country in future. Such an arrangement is 
defensible only on the idea of relinquishing local 
prejudices and partial advantages, in order to 
consult uniformly and without distinction for the 
general benefit of the empire. This cannot be 
done but by making England and Ireland one 
country in effect, though for local concerns under 
distinct legislatures one in the communication 
of advantages, and of course in the participation 
of burdens. If their unity is broken, or rendered 
absolutely precarious in either of these points, 
the system is defective, and there is an end of 
the whole.'* 
Propo- To meet objections made in Ireland, an altera- 


modified, tion was introduced in the clause of the Eleven 
Propositions that related to the surplus hereditary 
revenue by defining the surplus to be what accrued 
above a fixed sum ^"656,000 in each year of 
peace, wherein the annual revenues should equal 

* Subsequently in the letter, referring to the passage above 
cited, Pitt says : . . . ' the fundamental principle, and the 
only one on which the whole plan can be justified, is that I 
mentioned in the beginning of my letter that for the future 
the two countries will be to the most essential purposes united.' 

Parliament of Ireland, 17821786. 153 

the annual expense, and in each year of war with- 
out regard to such equality. And with this altera- 
tion these propositions were carried in the Irish 
Parliament. When, however, they were then 
brought forward in the British House of Com- 
mons they encountered such resistance, not only 
from the Opposition, but from a violent agitation 
against them among the English merchants and 
manufacturers, as obliged them to be withdrawn 
and remodelled. Other propositions, twenty in 
number, were substituted in their place. They 
extended to additional subjects, and varied also 
in other particulars from the former. The most 
important of the alterations was a new clause 
to the effect. . . . That it was highly impor- 
tant to the general interest of the British Empire 
that the laws for regulating trade and navigation 
should be the same in Great Britain and Ireland, 
and that therefore it was essential for carrying 
into effect the present settlement that all laws 
which had been made, or should be made in 
Great Britain for securing exclusive privileges 
to the ships and mariners of Great Britain, Ire- 
land, and the British colonies and plantations, 
and for regulating and retaining the trade of the 
British colonies and plantations, such laws, impos- 
ing the same restraints and conferring the same 
benefits on the subjects of both kingdoms, should 
be in force in Ireland by laws to be passed by 
the Parliament of that kingdom for the same time 
and in the same manner as in Great Britain. 

154 Parliament of Ireland, 17821786. 

The modi- The Propositions, as they were finally modi- 

fied propo- 

sitions fail fied, were adopted by the British Parliament, but 
support in in the Irish House of Commons they failed to 
secure adequate support, and were, therefore, 
after this was seen to be the case, not proceeded 
with. In the end they were altogether aban- 

objections The grounds of objection to these propositions 
them. assigned by their opponents were, that by oblig- 
ing the Irish Parliament to accept and ratify the 
commercial legislation of England its indepen- 
dence was infringed upon ; that this amounted to 
a surrender by Parliament of the right of external 
legislation which had been conceded to it in 
1782, and so, as to that point, it would be brought 
back to the position from which it had been then 
emancipated. If the principle, it was said, were 
adopted of establishing one will in the Parlia- 
ment of Great Britain and Ireland as to com- 
mercial affairs it would soon be extended to 
other matters (as, for example, the army, 
the Mutiny Act, the nature of the taxes to be 
imposed). Thus the result would be a virtual 
Union, but without the compensation which a 
real Union must bring, providing, as it would, 
means through representation of influencing the 
Legislature, whose greater strength gave it pre- 

Revival of the Policy of Un ion . 155 




T^ROM 1707, when an Union of Ireland with Policy of 
Great Britain was distinctly suggested to revived. 
Queen Anne and her ministers by the Irish 
House of Commons, and was by the former dis- 
couraged, there had been no attempt in either 
the British or Irish Parliaments to revive the 
project. During the debates upon the Commer- 
cial Propositions of 1785 in the British Parlia- 
ment Union began again to find favour, and 
was mentioned with approval by some speakers. 
It was also then suggested by an Association 
of English and Scotch Manufacturers formed to 
resist Pitt's scheme.* As a substitute for what 
he proposed, and as a means of arriving at a 
satisfactory settlement of commercial relations 
between Great Britain and Ireland, they advised 
'a real Union under one Legislature;' which, 
they said, ' would take away every difficulty.' 

*The President of this Association was Wedgewood, the 
celebrated manufacturer of earthenware : Mr. Peel, father of 
Sir Robert Peel, the Prime Minister, was a member of it. (Sec 
Graitans Lift, by his Son, vol. iii., p. 249.) 

156 Revival and Progress of the 

Effect of But if reasons for Union were supplied by the 

failure of ..... . ~, 

the Com- obstacles hindering the enactment of the Com- 
Proposi- mercial Propositions they were much increased 
and strengthened by the failure to carry them in 
the Irish Parliament. This incident afforded a 
striking instance of that disagreement of senti- 
ment and action between the British and Irish 
Legislatures, which Ministers had in 1782 foreseen 
was likely to occur, but foreseen without making 
provision to meet the event. It suggested the 
possibility of other conflicts of a like character, 
and it manifested that it was useless to attempt 
to pass through the Irish House of Commons 
measures that proposed to withdraw from its 
legislative jurisdiction departments of public 
affairs in which the interests of Ireland were 
concerned, or that might tend to subordinate its 
Parliament to the Parliament of Great Britain ; 
for if any such could have been expected to con- 
ciliate acceptance they would be those which had 
been rejected, accompanied, as they were, with 
substantial commercial benefits in return.* 
Financial Suggestions of Union as the best means of 
union in solving the difficulties attending an adjustment 
nd ' of the commercial relations between Great 
Britain and Ireland derived much support from 

* During the agitation in Ireland which gave rise to the 
Commercial Propositions of 1785, the Duke of Rutland had 
written to Pitt (June 16, 1784): 'Were I to indulge a distant 
speculation, I should say that without a Union Ireland will 
not be connected with Great Britain in twenty years longer.' 
(Cited by Lecky, History, vol. vi., p. 404.) 

Policy of Union. 157 

the consequences which had followed from the 
Scottish Union. Previous to that event the 
relations between Great Britain and Scotland 
were much more disadvantageous to the latter i 
country than those at this time existing be- 
tween Great Britain and Ireland were to Ire- 
land. But Union had removed all restrictions 
on Scotch trade and commerce, and opened 
unlimited freedom of intercourse with England 
and her colonies. From taking complete ad- 
vantage of these benefits, and from the full 
industrial progress which they were calculated 
to stimulate, the people were at first diverted 
by the discontent with which they regarded the 
loss of their Parliament and by the hope of regain- 
ing it. But these hindrances to advancement 
had long before 1785 passed away, and at that 
time increased wealth and improved civilization 
were everywhere in Scotland acknowledged to 
be the consequences of having been admitted 
to share in the superior greatness and pros- 
perity of England.* 

* Queen Anne, when recommending Union to the Scottish 
Parliament, said . . . that it would secure the religion, liberty, 
and property of the Scottish people, remove animosities among 
them, and jealousies and differences with England ; that it 
would increase their strength, riches, and trade ; that as a 
consequence the whole island, freed from apprehension of 
different interests, would be able to resist its enemies, and 
maintain the liberties of Europe. Dundas, citing her words 
in the debate on the Irish Union, added, that not one sylla- 
ble of her predictions had failed. (Speech, Feb. 7, 1799.) 

158 Revival and Progress of the 

Social Nor were the improved commercial relations 

of Scotland with Great Britain the only conse- 
quences of its Union which recommended the 
precedent to statesmen as one to be followed for 
Ireland. Union had in the former country en- 
abled the abolition of the heritable jurisdictions 
a cause of invidious distinctions between classes, 
previously attended by an unjust depression of 
some and an unjust exaltation of others ; and in 
Ireland there were equally invidious distinctions 
of a different character, originating in differences 
of race and religion which an Union, if enacted 
for that country, might be expected equally to 

Literary There has been occasion in a former chapter 


of Union, to mention that before the Scottish Union 
Molyneux had approved, and Sir William Petty 
had advocated the Union of the Parliaments of 
Ireland and England ; it deserves also to be 
noted that after that event the weight of literary 
and scientific thought in Great Britain decidedly 
inclined in that direction. It may be sufficient 
to refer to three eminent writers upon economical 
science Adam Smith, Sir Matthew Decker, and 
Sir Josiah Child who, the first in his Inquiry into 
the Causes of the Wealth of Nations, the second in 
his essay On the Causes of the Decline of Foreign 
Trade, and the third in his New Discourse of 
Trade, gave their support to the measure. Nor did 
it want foreign authority. Montesquieu, whose 
writings had, during the eighteenth century, great 

Policy of Union. 159 

influence upon the opinions of European society, 
discussing in conversation the state of Ireland, 
pointed out the advantages of Union to that 
country. ' Were I,' said he, ' an Irishman, I 
should certainly wish for an Union between Ire- 
land and England ; and as a general lover of 
liberty, I sincerely desire it and for this plain 
reason, that an inferior country, connected with 
one much her superior in force, can never be 
certain of constitutional freedom unless she has, 
by her representatives, a proportional share in 
the legislature of the superior kingdom.'* 

But whatever may have been the tendency Union un- 
about the date of the Commercial Proposi- i2umd. in 
tions towards the Union of Ireland with Great 
Britain, it was confined to the latter country. 
None of the arguments or considerations which in 
England recommended it had any effect in the 
former. Speaking in 1785, the Duke of Rutland, 
who, as Lord Lieutenant, had the best means of 

* These words were addressed to Lord Charlemont by 
Montesquieu. (See Hardy's Life of Charlemont, vol. i., p. 70.) 

In the debates at the time of the Union Decker and Child 
were cited by Addington, Speaker of the English House of 
Commons. Pitt merely in general terms referred to literary 
opinions. After saying that it could not be disputed that his 
measure would augment the general force of the Empire, and 
that there was no statesman in any court in Europe so ill- 
informed as not to know it would be increased by consoli- 
dating the strength of the two kingdoms, he added that 
' every writer of any information on the subject had used the 
same language.' 

160 Revival and Progress of the 

forming a judgment upon the point, declared that 
the man who should attempt to carry an Union 
with England into execution in Ireland would be 
tarred and feathered ; * and a reference to the 
debates in the Irish House of Commons upon the 
second set of commercial propositions will show 
that these strong expressions were not used with- 
out foundation. Union ought to be, but never 
will, said its most influential English advocates, f 
Question The Commercial Propositions, and the ideas 
to which they gave birth, had ceased to interest 
statesmen, whether English or Irish, when an- 
other disagreement between the Parliaments of 
the two kingdoms again drew attention to the 
consequences which followed from their power of 
separate and independent action. This was in 
connexion with the question of the Regency. 
In 1789 the King was affected with mental 
infirmity. During the continuance of his illness, 
who was to exercise the regal authority? The 

* This statement was made by him to Watson, Bishop of 
Llandaff. (See the speech of this Prelate in the English House 
of Lords, i gth March, 1799, as reported in the Annual Register 
for that year, p. 232.) 

f As to the sentiments of the Irish Parliament in 1785, 
concerning an Union, compare Froude, English in Ireland (first 
edition, vol. ii., p. 439) ; and as to the fears of failure, with 
which the English suggestions of Union made about 1785 
were accompanied, see Lecky, History, vol. vi., p. 404. He 
cites both Wilberforce and Lord Lansdowne as friendly to a 
legislative Union, but as, at the same time, pronouncing it 

Policy of Union. 161 

British Parliament held that it was within its 
province to choose the person, and to define the 
power which he was to possess. Accordingly the 
British House of Commons selected the Prince of 
Wales, and prescribed the rights and duties of 
his office. For these purposes it passed a Re- 
gency Bill. On the other hand, the Irish Parlia- 
ment treated the Prince of Wales as rightfully 
entitled to act with the same authority as his 
father might have done ; and, imposing no 
restrictions upon his rights, invited him to assume 
the government of Ireland during the continuance 
of the King's illness, and, under the style and 
title of Prince Regent, to exercise the powers of 
the Crown. While in England the Regency Bill 
was being discussed in the House of Lords, the 
King recovered his mental health. Thus the 
conflict between the British and Irish legislatures 
was put an end to. Had it not, in this or some 
other mode, been interrupted, the Prince would 
in Ireland have possessed all the prerogatives of 
a king ; in Great Britain only such of them as 
Parliament might have endowed him with. 

The question of the Regency was of a constitu- why the 
tional character : it arose because there was no suecTafto" 
express provision by any written law to determine important, 
what was to be done in the event that had hap- 
pened. Upon that point there was a difference of 
opinion in England, Fox and those who followed 
his lead dissenting from Pitt and concurring with 
the Irish legislature. England and Ireland had 


162 Revival and Progress of the 

no separate interests connected with the solution 
of the question. What gave importance to the 
course pursued by the Irish Parliament was less 
the decision to which it came than the circum- 
stance of the decision being in opposition to that 
of the English Parliament. As the same person 
was to be Regent in both countries, disagree- 
ment would in this instance probably lead to 
no serious consequences ; but with what mischief 
might it not be attended, if, repeated in relation 
to such subjects as alliance with a foreign power, 
maintenance of the army and navy, war or 
peace ? 
Dispute With respect, indeed, to the first of these 


Portugal, matters an incident had occurred in 1782, which 

illustrated in what jeopardy the engagements 

of the Crown with a foreign kingdom might be 
placed from the separate action of the Irish Par- 
liament. At that time, the old restrictions upon 
P. 113, the exportation of wool being abolished, the Irish 
Parliament claimed that Irish wool should have 
access into the harbours of Portugal in the same 
manner as English wool then had ; but this 
being refused by the Portuguese Government, 
the Irish Parliament addressed the Crown to 
insist that Irish wool should be admitted by 
Portugal a proceeding which, if adopted, must 
have led to a breach in the friendly relations 
between Great Britain and that country.* 

* On the disagreement with Portugal, see Lecky, History, 
vol. iv., p. 520. Sir Robert Peel, referring to the Address of 

Policy of Un ion. 163 

The evil effects of any conflict between the catholic 
Parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland, and q 
the likelihood of conflict, so long as they were in- 
dependent of each other, afforded arguments in 
favour of the policy of Union, which connected 
themselves with the interests of the Empire. 
But not long after the decision of the Regency 
question other motives that had reference almost 
exclusively to Ireland began also to recommend 
the measure to statesmen. These arose out of 
a desire to improve the position of the Irish 
Roman Catholics. In the reigns of William III. 
and Anne, statutes known, from their excessive 
severity, as emphatically 'The Penal Code' had 
been passed, designed to reduce this portion of 
the people to a condition of extreme weakness and 
depression. To the enactments of that period 
had been added some others, under George I. and 
George II., of like tendency. But before the 
time at which we have now arrived it had begun 
to be perceived that the policy which dictated 
such laws was as unwise as unjust, equally 
injurious to the financial prosperity and to the 
moral well-being of the community. Accordingly, 
many of their provisions had been repealed, and 

the Irish Parliament, says : . . . ' One of two events might 
have occurred either the foreign relations of Great Britain 
with a friendly power might have been disturbed, contrary to 
the wish of the British Parliament and of the British minister, 
or Ireland might have been involved in a war, in which 
Great Britain refused to be a party.' (Speeches, vol. ii., p. 425.) 

M 2 

164 Revival and Progress of the 

a movement for the removal of all that yet re- 
mained in force was proceeding under the guid- 
ance of very able and distinguished leaders. So 
far as this movement was directed to procure 
relief from oppressive provisions connected with 
the ownership of property, it met general sup- 
port, but to the abolition of the restrictions on 
political power, which excluded the Irish Catho- 
lics from sitting in either House of Parliament 
and from voting at elections for members of the 
House of Commons, there was much resistance ; 
those who opposed concession contending that it 
would lead to a Catholic ascendency, hostile to 
the existing constitution in Church and State. 
Objections on this ground, powerful with a 
local legislature, could not continue to be of 
force in an Imperial Parliament, where the Irish 
representatives would be outnumbered by those 
from England and Scotland. 

put begins It was by considerations of this character that 
union. Pitt seems to have been first induced to favour the 
Union of Ireland with Great Britain. In 1791 and 
1792, the question of emancipating the Catholics 
from their parliamentary disabilities came into 
especial prominence in Ireland, and was discussed 
there with great difference of opinion. Much 
angry feeling was manifested by the contending 
parties. English statesmen, who had for some 
time turned their attention away from Irish 
affairs, were forced to reflect upon the peculiar 
circumstances of the country, and to examine 

Policy of Union. 

what policy might best tend to reconcile the 
conflicting interests and claims which divided the 
people. On the i8th of November, 1792, after put's 
previous correspondence with the Irish Govern- isthNov. 
ment, Pitt, writing to Lord Westmoreland, then 
the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, expressed his own 
views upon the subject in the following terms : . . . 
' The idea,' he said, ' of the present fermentation 
gradually bringing both parties to think of an 
Union with this country has been long in my 
mind. I hardly dare flatter myself with the hope 
of its taking place; but I believe it, though itself 
not easy to be accomplished, to be the only solu- 
tion for other and greater difficulties. The ad- 
mission of Catholics to the suffrage could not 
then be dangerous. The Protestant interest in 
point of power, property, and Church Establish- 
ment, would be secure, because the decided majo- 
rity of the supreme legislature would necessarily 
be Protestant, and the great ground of argument 
on the part of the Catholics would be done away 
with, as, compared with the rest of the Empire, 
they would become a minority.' * 

For several years, however, after this letter, Policy of 


Pitt seems not to have taken any further step delayed. 
towards carrying out the ideas he approved ; and 
so far as appears they made little way among his 

* Letter of Pitt to Lord Westmoreland, then Lord Lieu- 
tenant of Ireland, November i8th, 1792: one of the many 
additions to the materials for Irish History brought to light 
by Lecky. (See his History, vol. vi., p. 573.) 

Revival and Progress of the 

English colleagues in the Government, although 
Lord Clare the Irish Chancellor constantly 
pressed upon them the expediency of Union : 'I 
make,' said this strenuous advocate for the mea- 
sure, speaking in the Irish House of Lords on the 
loth of February, 1800, 'no scruple to avow, that 
in every communication which I have had with 
the King's ministers on the affairs of Ireland for 
the last seven years, I have uniformly pressed 
upon them the necessity of Union, as the last 
resource to preserve this country to the British 
Crown. I pressed it without effect, until British 
Ministers and the British nation were roused to 
a sense of the common danger by the late san- 
guinary and unprovoked rebellion.' 
Probable In abstaining from acting upon his own views 

reasons , 

for delay. Pitt was probably influenced by the obstacles 
which, if he brought them forward, he would have 
had to encounter. They were then in Ireland 
just as unpopular as they had been in 1785 ; 
while for the English Parliament there were 
reasons to induce at least a reluctance on its 
part to adopt them. The British and Irish legis- 
latures could not be made one without admit- 
ting into the United Parliament Irish Peers and 
Commoners. It was uncertain what their number 
in that event would be, but it could not be trifling; 
and it was equally uncertain what opinions they 
would support. Hence no political party desired 
to introduce an unknown force which, even if 
weak in itself, yet might be adequate to give 

Policy of Union. 167 

preponderance to whatever side it happened to 

Lord Clare, as we have seen, attributed to the Events 

leading to 

Rebellion of 1798 that the doubts and apathy of Union. 
British Ministers towards the policy of Union were 
overcome. The events immediately preceding 
the actual outbreak of the Rebellion ought to be 
included in this statement, for that was only the 
final development of designs previously prepared 
and matured ; and in pursuance of them much had 
occurred which, if we would ascertain from what 
causes came the immediate impulse to the policy 
of this period, must be taken into account just as 
much as the civil war to which they led. Of 
equal importance, certainly, were the detection 
of conspiracies in Ireland, formidable from the 
energy and abilities of those concerned in them, 
for the purpose of establishing a separate and in- 
dependent State, and an attempt which, induced 
by the solicitation of some of the leading conspi- 
rators, the French Republic made, in December, 
1797, to land an invading army upon the coast of 

* In 1792, Burke regarded the Union with Ireland as 'next 
to impossible.' ' To it,' he says, ' neither nation (i. e. neither 
England nor Ireland), nor any sect or party in either, has 
shown the least inclination.' (Paper On the State of Inland, 
written in 1792. Correspondence, vol. iv., p. 65.) In the same 
Paper he seems to doubt that Pitt could desire to see from 
50 to 100 members from Ireland in the British House of 

1 68 Revival and Progress of the 

Existing It was this combination of circumstances- 
connexion ... . 
between foreign war in concert with domestic treason, and 

Britain both seeking to sever Ireland from Great Britain 

and Ire- . , , , . . 

land. that especially drew the attention of English 
Statesmen to the nature of the connexion between 
the two kingdoms. Were the ties which bound 
the countries together adequate to resist the 
assaults of such adversaries ? If under ordinary 
circumstances they were, would they stand the 
additional strain that, if there should arise dis- 
agreement between the Parliaments, would be 
imposed? For at least two years before 1798 
these questions pressed for answer and com- 
pelled consideration of the subjects to which 
they related. Distrust of existing constitutional 
arrangements, doubts as to their stability and 
permanence, such as were suggested at the 
time when the legislative system of 1782 was 
conceded, revived and produced more general 
effect than they did then. It was seen that, 
whatever might at home be thought concerning 
the nature of the connexion between the two 
countries, their foreign enemies acted upon the 
supposition of its weakness, and therefore endea- 
voured to strike against it as a vulnerable point. 
War tends If peace had at this time come, these considera- 
union? es tions would probably have failed to produce 
any practical result. In a period of war, and 
especially during the war then waged, statesmen 
could not with prudence disregard them. Eng- 
land had assumed a position among the European 

Policy of Union. 169 

kingdoms in league against France, which drew 
upon her the especial enmity of this great mili- 
tary power. Against such an antagonist every 
possible precaution was needed ; if there were 
any defect in the political system of the British 
Empire, which tended to diminish its means of 
defence, it was indispensable to amend it. Could, 
then, the relations between Great Britain and 
Ireland be allowed to continue as they were ? 
The crisis demanded consolidation of resources, 
unity of counsel, unity of action ; but so long as 
the two kingdoms remained independent of each 
other, neither consolidation nor unity could be 
ensured. If, as was then thought, the same 
cause rendered their connexion uncertain, would 
less, it was asked, than its total removal meet the 
exigency of the case ? 

Union, it was admitted, was a policy not free Decisive 

... , . r , reason for 

from objections, and obstructed by grave difticul- union. 
ties ; but to the safety of the Empire all objections 
and difficulties must give way. Whatever else 
the measure might fail to accomplish, that object 
it would certainly tend to promote. The con- 
nexion between the two countries was especially 
assailed, and this connexion would be placed 
out of reach of the peculiar dangers which 
menaced it. The weakness caused by the dis- 
tinct existence of separate kingdoms would be 
removed. Instead of being, as they then were, 
isolated and divided, the constituent parts of the 
Empire would be fused into one mass. Ireland 

170 Revival and Progress of the Policy of Union. 

would present no more opportunity or encourage- 
ment to foreign enemies than Scotland or any 
other part of Great Britain. If, nevertheless, in- 
vasion should be again attempted, the resources 
of the whole Empire, directed by one paramount 
authority, could be concentrated, and made 
available for its defeat. 

Hindrances and Aids to Policy of Union in Ireland. 1~1 



WHEN the Union of Scotland with England Hind- 
i r/~ i ranees to 
was under consideration, the difficulties Union. 

obstructing the measure arose in the former 
not in the latter country. It was to be ex- 
pected that the same would also occur in the 
case of Ireland, since there, just as in Scotland, 
the Union, if accomplished, would be of a weaker, 
with a far more powerful, kingdom ; and in every 
such instance the greater, receiving merely an 
addition to its magnitude, is little affected, while 
the less, by losing its separate existence, loses 
also whatever political importance the power of 
independent action may have conferred. 

These considerations will explain why, both in Scot- 

1 A 

in Scotland and Ireland, when Union was pro- 
posed the sentiment of nationality rose in hostility 
against it. Among the people of the former 
kingdom this sentiment had been intensified by 
peculiar circumstances in their history and social 
condition. Until little more than a hundred 
years before the Scottish Union was proposed by 
Queen Anne's Ministers, the Crown of England 

Hindrances and Aids to the 

and the Crown of Scotland had never been united 
in the same person. When they were so united 
there was no permanent or indissoluble connexion 

Ch. vu., established between them ; it was possible nay, 
as the Security Act had proved, it was not im- 
probable that they might be disunited again. 
So long as the inhabitants of the two nations 
were ruled by different monarchs there was 
little alliance or intercourse between them, and 
so late as the reign of Henry VIII. they were en- 
gaged in actual warfare. Such an Union of the 
Crowns as took place under James I. effected 
not by permanent arrangement, but by the same 
person becoming entitled to both was not of 
itself adequate to fuse together the subject 
peoples. Each retained its own distinct legisla- 
ture and its own distinct code of law. Scotland, 
too, offered no inducement for colonization : its 
inhabitants, therefore, remained without any new 
intermixture, and down to the Union of the king- 
doms they tenaciously adhered to the customs, 
usages, sentiments, and opinions which charac- 
terized them when they formed a separate nation 
with a separate Crown. 

in Ireland. In Ireland the course of events had been 
quite different from what occurred in Scotland. 
More than six hundred years before the period 
we have now arrived at the Irish princes and 
chieftains acknowledged the paramount authority 
of a King of England. His successors, at first 
under the title of Lord, and afterwards of King, 

Policy of Union in Ireland. 173 

had during the interval exercised regal authority 
over the island. The Crown of Ireland was 
held to be indissolubly annexed to the Crown 
of England.* The country was extensively 
colonized from England and Scotland ; and 
although much the larger number of its people 
were descended from the original inhabitants, the 
ruling class was formed from the colonists, and 
in habits, opinions, and pursuits, differed little 
from the parent stock. 

Ireland having before the English Invasion Nation- 
existed in a distinct independent political form, 
it can excite no surprise that the sentiment of 
nationality was cherished among such of its 
inhabitants as were of Irish race, the more 
especially as a mistaken policy on the part 
of the English Government for four centuries 
treated them not merely as aliens but as enemies. 
What is remarkable is, that the idea of a nation- 
ality separate from, and, it might be, opposed to 
that of England, was at an early period as 
definitely fixed in the minds of the settlers as 
of the natives. English towards the Irish, the 
Anglo-Norman knights and nobles, among whom, 
wherever English supremacy was established, the 
lands of the subjugated owners were parcelled 
out, had in no long time become Irish towards the 
English. The subsequent colonists, according 
as they successively arrived, naturally acquired 

* See Note CC of Appendix. 

174 Hindrances and Aids to the 

the notions of such of their own countrymen as 
had preceded them ; and these notions were 
again transmitted by them to those who suc- 
ceeded to their authority in the country, 
insh Par- Exclusion, until the reign of Henry VIII., of 

liament. . 

the natives from Parliament, and their subsequent 
niggard admission within it, rendered that 
assembly down to the reign of James I. repre- 
sentative only of the English portion of the 
people. It was imbued with their views of 
political affairs, and it necessarily shared what- 
ever of a national spirit existed among them. 
Parliament, however, until it had acquired 
strength and had become conscious that it was 
too powerful to be repressed, did not speak out. 
ch. u., When it did, it insisted upon national and legis- 

supra. .... . 

lative independence, 
claims of The claims of the Irish Parliament were met 


Pariia- by the English Government and the English 
Parliament with a counterclaim for the latter of 
a paramount authority. What they assumed in 
theory they asserted in practice. Resistance on 
the part of the Irish Parliament followed, but 
without avail until 1782. Then a wave of popular 
enthusiasm swept away all the checks that con- 
trolled the legislative capacity of the local Par- 
liament, and with them every restraint upon the 
independence of the nation. 

National Although, therefore, the circumstances which 

spirit in . . . . . 

Ireland in fostered a national spirit in Scotland did not 
exist in Ireland, it may be doubted whether, 

Policy of Union in Ireland. 175 

owing to these other causes, the Irish people 
were not even before 1782 animated by as 
decided an attachment to their nationality as 
the Scotch had been previous to 1707. But 
whatever may have been the case before 1782, 
it was then that complete independence was won 
by the Irish Parliament after a struggle which (to 
use Grattan's words), 'had braced up every faculty 
of the nation.' Endeared for its own sake, it was 
rendered still more dear on account of the exer- 
tions made, and the difficulties overcome, in order 
to its attainment. 

The interval between 1782 and the time when Continues 
the policy of Union was adopted by the British 
Ministers was not sufficiently long to produce 
much abatement in the ardour thus excited at 
the former date : besides, the effect of time was 
counteracted by the events of the intervening 
period. The reputation of the Irish Parliament 
for eloquence, high in 1782, had risen still 
higher ; its debates bore comparison with the 
contemporary debates in the British Parliament. 
Every Irishman was proud, and justly proud, of 
the intellectual eminence which the legislature 
of his country had attained. 

In Scotland, so far as her statesmen and her Com- 
Parliament were concerned, the sentiment of motives to 

... . -1111 Union less 

nationality was in 1707 outweighed by the com- in Ireland 
mercial advantages to be gained by Union. But Scotland, 
in Ireland the British Government had already 
conceded without Union the most important of 

176 Hindrances and Aids to the 

the benefits which Scotland had purchased by 
Union. In 1780 access for Irish ships to colo- 
nial ports was opened, and previous restrictions 
upon the export of Irish manufactured goods 
were removed. Trade had consequently in- 
creased, and the general prosperity of the people 
been promoted. That without Union the most 
beneficial of these concessions might be re- 
voked; that their continuance depended upon the 
arbitrary discretion of the British Parliament, 
although recognised by statesmen and admitted 
in debate, was not sufficiently considered by the 
public, seldom disposed to look beyond what 
immediately presses. 

why some Another commercial advantage certain to flow 
union 5 ' from Union was more obvious, and therefore more 
valued. generally perceived. There still remained some 
imposts and restrictions on imports from Ireland 
into Great Britain, and Union would remove 
these just as it had removed similar burdens 
upon the intercourse between Scotland and Great 
Britain. But circumstances tended to induce 
in Ireland an under-estimate of the benefits to 
accrue from this result. It was thought that they 
would be counterbalanced by other consequences 
that must also follow. If after Union duties 
and taxes on imports from Ireland into Great 
Britain could not be maintained, so likewise 
could not the duties and taxes on imports from 
Great Britain into Ireland, which, together with 
bounties upon exports from Ireland, had been 

Policy of Union in Ireland. 177 

enacted by the protective legislation of its 

In Ireland, therefore, the Government, when Local 

T- motives to 

proposing to unite Great Britain and Ireland, union. 
could not rely upon much effect being produced 
by financial considerations, similar to those that 
had in 1707 moved the Scottish Parliament. One 
motive, however, in some degree of this character, 
which was not without influence at that time in 
Scotland, would, it might be presumed, have like 
force in Ireland the aggrandisement of the com- 
munity to be expected from incorporation with a 
kingdom of superior wealth and power. If some 
instinctive impulses urged to retain indepen- 
dence, others no less prompted to become an 
integral and governing member of an empire 
whose pre-eminence was acknowledged in every 
quarter of the globe. 

Government could also appeal to reasons for xhecondi- 
their policy founded on the existing social and catholics 
political system in Ireland, of which one, the mends 
most important, had been mentioned by Pitt in l 
the letter to Lord Westmoreland, which has been 
cited in the last chapter. The subordinate posi- 
tion of the Roman Catholic part of the nation 
called for some remedial measure, not indeed 
with as great force as when that letter was writ- 
ten for in 1793 Catholics had been admitted to 
vote at parliamentary elections but still urgently, 

* See note DI) of Appendix. 

178 Hindrances and Aids to the 

since their exclusion from seats in Parliament, 
and from the superior offices of trust and con- 
fidence under the Crown (including the judicial), 
remained as yet in force ; and when efforts to 
improve their condition had been made in the 
Irish Parliament, the result was neither success- 
ful, nor calculated to inspire a hope of better 
fortune in the future. Even as late as 1797 
Grattan had brought forward in the House of 
Commons a resolution expressed in such moderate 
terms as ought to have disarmed opposition. 
Yet the motion was defeated by a majority of 
no less than 143 against 19 votes. 
Need of Nor was the position of the Catholics the only 

Reform. . / . . J 

question pressing for solution, of which it was 
difficult, if not impossible, to procure a settle- 
ment from the local Parliament. Parliamentary 
reform was urgently needed. The state of 
the representation in the House of Commons 
was indefensible. Out of 300 seats there were 
sixty-four in the counties, twenty-two in towns, 
and two in the University of Dublin eighty- 
eight in all that might be considered free. 
The rest were filled either by the direct nomi- 
nation of owners of boroughs, or at the dicta- 
tion of a few persons who exercised in boroughs 
such influence as was equivalent to nomination.* 
Reform meant for these proprietors the loss of 

* In this estimate I have followed Plowden (vol. ii., 
App. cxv.). See note EE of Appendix. 

t > , a 

Policy of Union in Ireland. 179 

an unfailing source of honours and emoluments. 
How, then, was Reform to be carried, for without 
their concurrence it could not ? 

Fully, however, to estimate the difficulties Hind- 
which in the Irish Parliament obstructed Catholic reformand 
Emancipation and Reform of the House of Com- tion. 
mons, they must be considered together. Eman- 
cipation without Reform would affect only the 
free seats, that is, not a third of the House of 
Commons. Reform without Emancipation would 
still leave Protestant ascendency. But what would 
be the result if there were both Emancipation and 
Reform ? The Catholic voters preponderated in 
the counties ; the same would happen in the bo- 
roughs if they were opened ; and under such 
circumstances, supposing Catholics to be eligible 
as members, the result anticipated was a Catholic 
House of Commons. Such a House, it was al- 
leged and so far as an opinion can be formed 
from divisions in Parliament, it was by a majority 
of those who possessed political power thought 
would not contentedly acquiesce in the existing 
establishment of a Protestant Church, or in the 
existing settlement of landed property. But of 
the Church the Peers and Commoners were mem- 
bers, and in the settlement of property they had a 
deep personal interest. They, therefore, regarded 
any alteration in the policy of the past as equiva- 
lent to a revolution, and any variation in the con- 
stitution of Parliament as a measure leading to 
this consequence, and for that reason to be resisted. 

x 2 

180 Hindrances and Aids to Policy of Union in Ireland, 

Union ex- By these obstacles social and political improve- 
remove ment in Ireland was impeded. Without Union 
there appeared no prospect of their removal. 
Only an imperial Legislature seemed able to 
cope with them. Superior to local fears and pre- 
judices, it might be expected to do justice to all 
sections and classes of the people of Ireland ; 
while the magnitude of the United Kingdom 
would enable this to take place without danger 
to the stability of the State from the increased 
greatness of any portion of the people. 

Terms of Union by Pitt to the British Parliament. 181 




TN the month of June, 1798, the Marquis Corn- Lord 

wallis, deservedly of high reputation both C 
as a soldier and statesman, was appointed Lord 
Lieutenant and Commander of the Forces in 
Ireland. The selection of this nobleman, and 
the union in him of these offices, were due 
to Pitt's estimate of his capacity to overcome 
the difficulties surrounding the government of 
Ireland during the continuance of the Rebellion, 
and afterwards to deal with the troubled state 
of society that was certain to follow its sup- 
pression. When he left England, he seems to 
have been aware that Ministers approved the 
policy of uniting Ireland with Great Britain, 
and he was himself a decided advocate of the 

But for some time before his arrival in Ireland Cootu's 


it had begun to be there suspected, and indeed 
generally rumoured, that at least the tendency 
of opinion among the English .Ministers of the 
Crown was in this direction. A pamphlet had 

182 Terms of Union Proposed by 

been published in Dublin, which, although 
anonymous, was reported to be, and in fact 
was, the composition of Edward Cooke, a mem- 
ber of the Irish House of Commons, and Under- 
secretary to the Lord Lieutenant, that (not, 
however, without some disguise) sought to recom- 
mend the Union. It was entitled, ' Arguments for 
and against an Union between Great Britain and 


Ireland considered.'' In this pamphlet Cooke was 
supposed to represent the sentiments of his im- 
mediate superiors in office, who again were 
thought to derive their notions from the Eng- 
lish ministers. 

union There is, however, no reason to think that the 

decidedon. Cabinet had at this time collectively resolved 
to bring forward Union as a measure of the 
Government. The most influential ministers 
favoured it ; but in the proceedings of official 
persons a long interval often separates opinion 
from action. It was useless to move without 
support from Ireland, and so little was this to 
be anticipated that Lord Cornwallis, about a 
month after his arrival in that country, wrote : . . . 
* How or when to bring forward, or even broach, 
the great point of ultimate settlement (/. e. 
Union) is a matter in which I cannot see the 
most distant encouragement.'* 
when BUI But whatever may have been the exact 

in prepa- 

* Letter of Cornwallis to Pitt, zoth July, 1798. Correspon- 
dence, vol. ii., p. 365. 

Pitt to the British Parliament. 183 

date when Pitt and his colleagues determined 
to submit to the Parliaments of Great Britain 
and Ireland a scheme for Union, there is no 
doubt that at the end of September and 
the beginning of October, 1798, the actual pro- 
visions of a measure of this character were 
under their consideration.* The question of 
most difficulty which presented itself in con- 
nexion with them was whether relief of the 
disabilities still affecting the Irish Catholics 
should be included among them. Upon this 
point there was a division of opinion between 
the Lord Lieutenant and the Irish Lord Chan- 
cellor, the former (Lord Cornwallis) desiring 
that it should ; the latter (Lord Clare) being 
opposed to any reference in the Act of Union 
to the claims of the Catholics. 

At this period, and for some years previously, Lordciare 
no person had more influence with the English 
Ministers in reference to Irish affairs than Lord 
Clare. This followed from his official position, 
his abilities and force of character. Clear and 
determined in his opinions, he adhered to them 
firmly. Popular applause he regarded little ; 
popular censure less. On every occasion ofdiffi- 

* On September 26, 1798, Mr. Marshall (Private Secretary 
to Lord Castlereagh, then acting for Pelham, the Secretary 
to the Lord Lieutenant) wrote from London to Lord Castle- 
reagh, . . . . ' the Union is to be brought forward, and the 
leading points of it are now under consideration.' Caslk- 
nagh Correspondence, vol. i., p. 378. 

184 Terms of Union Proposed by 

culty his courage, self-reliance, and sagacious 
discernment, were conspicuous. Inheriting afflu- 
ence, yet of the middle class, educated a Protes- 
tant, yet of a Catholic family, he had early come 
in contact with the interests which contended for 
supremacy in his native country. So far, there- 
fore, as regards intellectual power and knowledge 
of the social system, he was well fitted to act the 
part of a political adviser ; but unfortunately with 
these great qualities were allied others which in 
no small degree hindered a sound judgment He 
was haughty, overbearing in temper and manner, 
disdaining to conciliate, and impatient of con- 
tradiction or dissent. There are no traces in 
his speeches of philosophic study or reflection ; 
and, as not seldom happens when strength of 
mind is neither enlarged nor softened by such 
influences, his opinions were deficient in breadth 
and generosity. 
Lord Lord Clare had never been favourable to con- 

Clare's ..... ... 

views. ceding political power to persons professing the 
Roman Catholic religion. He had in 1793 
assented to the Bill admitting them to the fran- 
chise, but he explained that he did so only 
because, after what had previously passed on 
the subject both in Great Britain and Ireland, 
he would not be responsible for the immediate 
consequences of rejecting it. His objections, 
however, in 1798, to including relief for the 
Irish Catholics in the Act of Union were urged, 
principally upon the ground that such an addi- 

Pitt to the British Parliament. 185 

tion to the measure would endanger its accept- 
ance by the Irish Parliament. 

Early in the month of October Lord Clare, at Act of 

i r i T- i i nr* 11 Union not 

the request of the English Ministers, proceeded to contain 
to London in order that they might confer with the Catho- 
him respecting- their intended legislation. The 
result was, that his opinions in relation to the 
course proper to be pursued towards the Roman 
Catholic portion of the Irish people had much 
weight with the Cabinet ; and that at a later 
date they resolved to propose measures which 
should make no reference to the future position 
of either English or Irish Catholics in the State.* 

When the Government had decided what were Union to 
the terms of Union to be recommended, it was posed. 
judged proper that the subject should be intro- 
duced simultaneously in the Parliaments of Great 
Britain and Ireland in the former by a message 
from the King, and in the latter by the speech 
of the Lord Lieutenant, but with a reference to 
the royal authority having sanctioned the com- 

Accordingly when, in January 1799, the British Message 

-P, . . . from the 

rarhament met, a message was delivered from King, Jan. 
the King and read in both Houses. The mes- 
sage did not expressly mention the intended 
project of Union, but it so referred to recent 
events, especially the efforts of the enemies of 
Great Britain to separate Ireland, and contained 

* Sec Note 1 ; F of Appendix. 

186 Terms of Union Proposed by 

such recommendations, that it was understood 
to suggest some measure of the kind. It was 
expressed in the following terms : . . . ' His 
Majesty is persuaded that the unremitting in- 
dustry with which our enemies persevere in their 
avowed design of effecting the separation of Ire- 
land from this kingdom cannot fail to engage 
the attention of Parliament; and his Majesty re- 
commends to consider the most effectual means 
of counteracting and finally defeating this design ; 
and he trusts that a review of all the circum- 
stances which have recently occurred (joined to 
the sentiment of mutual affection and common 
interest) will dispose the Parliaments of both 
kingdoms to provide, in the manner which they 
shall judge most expedient, for settling such a 
complete and final adjustment as may best tend 
to improve and perpetuate a connection essential 
for their common security, and to augment and 
consolidate the strength, power, and resources of 
the British Empire.' 

Sheridan. In the House of Commons a formal Address 
of thanks for the message having been proposed, 
Sheridan, interpreting the message to favour 
Union between Great Britain and Ireland, at 
once announced his hostility to any policy of 
that character, and insisted upon the finality of 
the settlement of 1782. Fox had, at this time, 
ceased to attend Parliament, and Sheridan, in 
his absence, came forward on behalf of the 
political party then in opposition. It was the 

Pitt to the British Parliament. 187 

leaders of this party who had made to the Irish 
Parliament the concession of legislative indepen- 
dence, which formed the basis of the Constitu- 
tion of 1782 ; and those who had been the authors 
of the consequent enactments were naturally in- 
disposed to admit their failure or imperfection. 
Sheridan, himself an Irishman, and accustomed 
to act in political association with the party of 
nationality in Ireland, was impelled in the course 
he took by the additional motive of sympathy 
with whatever appeared to elevate and give im- 
portance to the country. To place on record 
his views, he moved an amendment to the 
Address, which, after declaring that it was 
with regret the House then, for the first time, 
learned that the final adjustment of 1782 had not 
produced the effects expected, implored his 
Majesty not to listen to the counsel of those 
who should advise or promote an Union of the 
Legislatures of the two kingdoms at that crisis. 

When supporting the finality claimed by the Sheridan's 
Amendment for the arrangements made in 1782, 
Sheridan contended that Great Britain had then 
admitted what was at that time asserted by the 
Irish Parliament, namely, that there was no 
power whatever competent to make laws for 
Ireland except the Parliament of Ireland. He did 
not deny that the King's Ministers were actuated 
by the motive of desiring to avert separation ; 
their policy, he said, originated in fear of the 
ambitious designs of France. Hut he could 

188 Terms of Union Proposed by 

not agree with them in regarding those designs 
as a reason for desiring Union ; they seemed to 
him to furnish an argument against it, since any 
measure of the kind would revive in Ireland 
recollections of jealousy and distrust, and, by 
exhibiting internal disagreement, would be sure 
rather to encourage external enemies than to 
drive them from (what he allowed to be) their 
settled purpose. 

Pitt's Pitt, when he came to speak, replied to 

Sheridan. He observed that the amendment 
called upon the House to declare that it would 
not deliberate upon the matter. To justify 
such a resolution, the mover was bound to 
show that the then state of Ireland required no 
remedy, or that if it did a better might be pro- 
posed than that which had Union for its basis. 
But Ireland clearly required some remedial 
measure, for it was subject to great and de- 
plorable evils which had a deep root, for they 
lay in the situation of the country itself, in the 
unavoidable separation between certain classes, 
in the state of property, in religious distinc- 
tions. If, then, a remedy was needed, must 
not the most effective be an impartial Legis- 
lature, standing aloof from local party connec- 
tion, sufficiently removed from the influence of 
contending factions to be advocate or champion 
of neither? The settlement of 1782, he con- 
tended, was not, as alleged by Sheridan, de- 
signed to be final. The proceedings at that 

Pitt to the British Parliament. 189 

time (which he then proceeded to refer to)?: 
demonstrated, he argued, that some further 
measure was contemplated. 

On a later day (January 31, 1799) tne discus- Pitt's 


sion upon the King s message was renewed ; speech, 
and Pitt moved that the Speaker should leave 
the chair in order that there might be submit- 
ted in committee Resolutions which he then laid 
before the House, affirming the expediency of 
uniting Ireland with Great Britain, and defining 
the arrangements to be connected with the 
Union. In the interval which had elapsed 
since Pitt's "former speech the Irish House of 
Commons had declared against the policy of 
Union. He therefore began by explaining, 
that while he admitted the right of the Parlia- 
ment of Ireland to express its opinion, he felt 
that, as a member of the Parliament of Great 
Britain, he also had a duty to perform, and 
that was to state distinctly the principles of 
the propositions which he intended to submit 
for approval, and the grounds upon which they 
appeared to him to be entitled to approbation. 
When they were understood, the Irish Parlia- 
ment could judge whether finally to accept or 
reject what would be offered for its consideration. 
This course was the more necessary because 
the question involved many subjects likely to 
be decided upon by passion, not judgment, 
and was one in which an honest but mistaken 
sense of national pride was likely to operate, 

190 Terms of Union Proposed by 

and where, therefore, much misconstruction and 
misconception must inevitably happen. The mea- 
sure rested, however, upon such clear grounds 
of utility, that even under the discouragement 
of the opinion expressed by the Irish House of 
Commons, he entertained a confidence that all 
that could be necessary for its ultimate adop- 
tion was, that it should be stated distinctly, 
temperately, and fully, and then be left to the 
unprejudiced, and dispassionate judgment of 
the Parliament of Ireland. In the general 
principle on which it was founded, he was 
happy to observe, from what passed in the 
former debate, all were agreed. This was, that 
a perpetual connection between Great Britain 
and Ireland was essential to the interests of 
both. If so, what was the situation of affairs 
which called them to the discussion of the exist- 
ing connection ? It was, that the connection 
had been, and still was, the great object for the 
hostility of all who were enemies of the country. 
It was necessary to guard against threatened 
danger. The settlement of 1782 left the con- 
nection exposed to all the attacks of party and 
all the effects of accident. It left the two 
countries with separate and independent Legis- 
latures, connected only by these ties, that the 
third estate in both countries was the same,* 

* It is remarkable that in the debates at the time of the 
Union the Crown is always spoken of as the third estate, 
whereas (as is pointed out by Hallam) the three estates of the 

Pitt to the British Parliament. 19.1 

that the Irish Acts of Parliament required the 
assent of the British Crown, and that this was 
given under the Great Seal of Great Britain, 
and upon the advice of British Ministers. Such 
ties, he asserted, were not sufficient in time 
of peace to unite the countries ; in time of war 
to consolidate their strength against the common 
enemy ; or to guard against local jealousies 
arising. In connection with this topic he re- 
ferred to the disagreements between the two 
Legislatures which had occurred. And, with 
respect to the disagreement in relation to com- 
mercial questions in 1785, he observed, that 
the only means of obviating differences between 
two kingdoms concerning such subjects must 
be either by some permanent compact entered 
into between their Legislatures, or by blending 
their Legislatures together. In the case of Great 
Britain and Ireland the former mode of dealing 
with the matter had been offered by the British 
Parliament, but it had been refused by the 
Irish, and it therefore only remained to resort 
to the latter. Then with respect to the disagree- 
ment upon the question of Regency, he said, 
it was accident alone (namely, the same person 

realm are the nobility, clergy, and commons, or, less correctly, 
their representatives, viz. the Lords Temporal, the Lords 
Spiritual, and the Lower House of Parliament, over whom 
(as Lord Chancellor Stillington, in the reign of Edward IV., 
expressed it) is the State Royal, our sovereign Lord the King. 
l\[iddle Ages, gth edition, vol. ii., p. 237, n. 



Terms of Union Proposed by 

being chosen by both the British and Irish 
Parliaments) that preserved the unity of the 
executive power, in which consisted the bond 
and security of the connection of the kingdoms. 
But its preservation in this manner was attended 
with the disadvantage that it depended in 
Ireland on one tenure, and in Great Britain 
upon another. Moreover, disagreement upon 
commercial questions and the Regency were 
only part of the disagreements between the two 
legislatures that might occur. They had dis- 
/ tinct powers in reference to war and peace, 
alliances and confederacies. Was there any 
/ certainty that on these supremely important 
questions their decisions would always be the 
same ? The present war, he said, which the 
Parliament of Great Britain considered to be 
just and necessary, might have been voted by 
the Irish Parliament to be unjust, unnecessary, 
perhaps even to be extravagant, and hostile 
to the principles of humanity and freedom. 
If this could happen, what security was there, 
he asked, that, at a moment the most important 
to the common interest and common salvation, 
the two kingdoms would have but one friend 
and one foe ? 

put's These observations drew arguments from the 

continued, general interests of the whole Empire in favour 

of such an Union of the Legislatures of the king- 

doms which composed it as would ensure harmony 

of counsel, and consolidation of their distinct 

Pitt to the British Parliament. 193 

capacities of defence. But it was necessary also 
to consider what would be the effect of the mea- 
sures to be proposed upon the special circum- 
stances of Ireland. What inducements were to 
be held out to her Parliament to adopt them ? 
And, in reference to this department of the sub- 
jects necessary then to be considered, Pitt pro- 
ceeded to examine what wants had to be provided 
for, and to point out in connection with them 
the beneficial consequences to flow from Union. 
It would, he said, communicate to Ireland all the 
commercial advantages which Great Britain pos- 
sessed ; would open free communication between 
the markets of the two countries ; would lead to 
a common use of their capital, and to its diffu- 
sion through the people of both, thus extending 
civilization and improvement ; would ensure for 
the weaker kingdom the protection of the stronger 
against danger from enemies without or treason 
within, conferring upon it a full participation in 
the wealth, the power, and the stability of the 
whole Empire. 

Referring to the internal dissensions which Pitt's 
divided the Irish people, he contended that an continued. 
imperial legislature was the only means of termi- 
nating them and of restoring tranquillity. When 
the conduct of the Catholics should be such as 
to make it safe to admit them to participation of 
the privileges granted to those of the established 
religion, and when the temper of the times should 
be favourable to such a policy, the question 


194 Terms of Union Proposed by 

might be agitated in an united, imperial parlia- 
ment with much greater safety than it could be 
in a separate legislature. How far it might be 
right and practicable to accompany such a mea- 
sure by some mode of relieving the lower orders 
from the pressure of tithes, or to make, under 
proper provisions and without breaking in on the 
security of the Protestant establishment, an effec- 
tual and adequate provision for the Catholic 
clergy, it was not, he said, necessary then to 
discuss. It was sufficient to say that these and 
other points were more likely to be permanently 
and satisfactorily settled by an united legislature 
than by any local arrangements. 

Pitt's To ask the rejection of a measure, calculated 

continued, to produce such results as he had laid before 
them, because it put an end to independence, 
would, he observed, be an appeal to an erroneous 
and mistaken sense of national pride. Did those 
who made it mean that in any humiliating sense, 
when the Governments of two separate countries 
unite in forming one more extensive empire, the 
individuals who composed either of the two for- 
mer societies are afterwards less members of art 
independent country, or to any valuable or useful 
purpose less possessed of political freedom or 
civil happiness, than they were before? If, he 
said, the principles suggested had been acted 
upon by their forefathers, not one of the countries 
the most proud of their present existing indepen- 
dence would exist in the state in which it then 

Pitt to the British Parliament. 

stood. In the different unions which have formed 
the principal states of Europe had their inhabi- 
tants become less free, had they less of which to 
be proud, less scope for their own exertions, than 
in their former situation ? If a nation has not 
adequate means of protecting itself without the 
aid of another, and that other should be neigh- 
bouring and kindred, speaking the same lan- 
guage, with laws, customs, and habits the same 
in principle, but carried to more perfection, with 
a more extensive commerce, and more abundant 
means of acquiring and diffusing national wealth, 
does an Union under such circumstances deserve 
to be branded as a proposal for subjecting to a 
foreign yoke? Is it not rather the free and volun- 
tary association of two countries which join, for 
their common benefit, in one Empire, where each 
will retain its proportional weight and importance, 
under the security of equal laws, reciprocal affec- 
tion, and inseparable interests, and which want 
nothing but that indissoluble connection to render 
both invincible ? 

4 Non ego nee Teucris Italos parere jubebo 
Nee nova regna peto : paribus se legibus ambae, 
Invictae gentes eterna in focdera mittant.'* 

* This speech being a statement of the case made by the 
Government for their measures, I have thought it better to 
attempt a summary of it, necessarily most imperfect. I shall 
afterwards adopt the same course with a speech delivered by 
Foster, the Speaker of the Irish Parliament, which I regard 
as the most effective of the replies to Pitt's speech. 

O 2 

196 Terms of Union Proposed by Pitt. 

solution A division was taken upon the question that 
voted. t h e Speaker do leave the Chair, in order that the 
Resolutions then laid before the House might, at 
a future day, be considered in Committee. The 
numbers were : ayes, 140; noes, 15. Ultimately 
the Resolutions, when proposed, were adopted 
by the British House of Commons, and subse- 
quently by the British House of Lords. But in 
consequence of proceedings in the Irish House 
of Commons, which will be narrated in the next 
chapter, no Bill to carry them into effect was in 
this Session introduced in the British Parliament. 

Proceedings, in the Irish Parliament. 19? 




HE Speech of the Lord Lieutenant at the speech of 

Lord Li 

meeting of the Irish Parliament, in Jan. LordLieu 

1799, was to the same effect as the King's mes- I/99 
sage to the English Parliament. After referring 
to the industry with which the enemies of the 
Empire persevered in their design of separating 
Ireland from Great Britain, it stated the King's 
anxious hope that this consideration, joined to 
the sentiment of mutual affection and common 
interest, might dispose the Parliaments in both 
kingdoms to provide the most effectual means 
of maintaining and improving a connection 
essential to their security. 

In the House of Commons an answer to the Addressin 
Lord Lieutenant's speech was moved, which pro- c 
mised the fullest consideration to its recommen- 
dations. An amendment was at once brought 
forward intended by its language to pledge the 
House against the Union. It sought to insert 
the words: '. . . but maintaining the undoubted 
birthright of the people of Ireland to have a 

193 Proceedings in the Irish Parliament. 

free and independent Legislature resident within 
that kingdom, as it was asserted by its Parlia- 
ment in 1782, and acknowledged and ratified by 
his Majesty and the Parliament of Great Britain 
upon the final adjustment of the discontents and 
jealousies then prevailing.' 

Amend- The amendment became the subject of a 
Address, lengthened debate, and was in the end rejected, 
but only by a majority of one, 105 voting for 
and 1 06 against it. When, however, the Address 
itself was under examination, the promise to con- 
sider the recommendations of the speech, being 
supposed to express in an indirect manner ap- 
proval of Union, led to a renewal of the former 
discussion. Then by another amendment it was 
proposed to expunge the paragraph which con- 
tained the promise ; and this motion was attended 
with a different result from the former proceed- 
ing, 106 (including tellers) now voting with 
and 1 1 1 (including tellers) against the Govern- 

Anaijrsis When this division is analysed it will be found 
on second that in the minority of 106 for Government there 
were 16 members returned by counties, 6 re- 
turned for open seats in boroughs, and 84 returned 
by close boroughs ; that in the majority of 1 1 1 
against Government, there were 36 members re- 
turned by counties, 9 for open seats in boroughs, 
and 66 returned for close boroughs ; that there 
were absent 1 1 members for counties, 9 sitting for 
open seats in boroughs, and 65 returned for close 

Proceedings in the Irish Parliament. 

boroughs. The Speaker, who is not reckoned in 
these calculations, sat for a county.* 

In the Lords an Address, which was moved Address in 
in answer to the Lord Lieutenant's speech, and LoiS?. 
which engaged to consider the best means of im- 
proving the connection between the two king- 
doms (describing it as essential to their common 
security), and of consolidating into one firm and 
lasting fabric the power and resources of the 
British Empire, was carried by a majority of 35 ; 
the votes for being 52, and the votes against 17. 
Amendments adverse to the policy of Union 
which were proposed were defeated. 

The debates and divisions in the Commons The Op- 
disclosed that against any scheme of Union commons" 
there was enlisted a remarkable combination of 
parliamentary ability. Grattan at the general 
election, when the existing House was returned, 
did not seek a seat. Flood, his great rival, 
had died. But while their support was thus 
withdrawn from the cause of national indepen- 
dence, Plunket, then recently returned to Par- 
liament, brought to its defence eloquence and 
legal attainments of the highest order. The 
most important aid, however, to the Oppo- 
sition came from the co-operation, for the first 
time, of the Speaker of the House of Commons 

* The names are given by Plowden ; for the places for 
which they sat, see Collectanea Poliiica, p. 202. As to the 
towns in which I assume there were free seats, see Note E E 
of Appendix. 

Proceedings in the Irish Parliament. 

Foster who, although he had been one of Pitt's 
parliamentary supporters, now came forward to 
resist his measures, and cast in the scale against 
them the weight of a character without reproach, 
of a most accurate knowledge of every consti- 
tutional and financial question, and of an ad- 
vocacy which his power of argument and of 
well-arranged and lucid statement rendered 
eminently persuasive. 
Lord The conduct of proceeding's in the House of 


reagh. Commons on the part of the Government de- 
volved upon Lord Castlereagh, who had not 
long before been appointed Secretary to the 
Lord Lieutenant. Almost alone this young 
nobleman (he was only in his thirtieth year) 
confronted the adversaries who, thus formidable 
as well by their intellectual pre-eminence as by 
superiority in number, had arrayed themselves 
against the proposals he was instructed to offer. 
Inferior in debate to the trained and practised 
orators whom he had to encounter, he was sus- 
tained through the unequal conflict by a union 
of qualities well fitted to influence a popular 
assembly. In counsel cautious and dispassion- 
ate, he was in action self-relying, firm, and 
constant of purpose. No provocation could 
disturb his equanimity : no danger depress his 
courage. The effect of this strength of cha- 
racter was heightened, because softened and 
rendered more attractive, by habitual courtesy, 
by manners the most dignified and graceful, to 

Proceedings in the Irish Parliament. 201 

which a noble form and countenance lent an 
additional charm.* 

When the state of parties in the House of ARegency 
Commons, as well in respect of numbers as of posed" 
the capacity of their leaders, was such as has 
been described, Ministers, defeated upon the 
Address, had to consider what course they were 
to pursue. Obviously, if they then brought for- 
ward a direct proposal of Union, they would 
have to contend against greater strength. It was 
therefore decided not to proceed further during 
the Session of 1799. On the other hand, the 
Opposition, whom success encouraged, sought 
to strengthen their position by removing a cause 
of objection to the existing legislative system, 
viz. the probability of renewed disagreement 
between the British and Irish Legislatures upon 
the question of Regency. With this object they 
brought forward a Bill (afterwards defeated), 
which would have provided that, in case of a 
Regency, the royal authority in Ireland should 
be administered by the person appointed in Eng- 
land, and with the same powers. In committee 
upon this Bill, Foster who, being in the chair 
of the House of Commons during the debates 

* Compare the estimates of Lord Castlereagh's capacity 
for affairs formed by Sir Robert Peel and Thiers, cited in 
Note G G of Appendix. The character of the general ad- 
ministration of Irish affairs by Lord Castlereagh and Lord 
Cormvallis (for they cannot be separated) lies outside the 
limits proposed for this treatise. 

202 Proceedings in the Irish Parliament. 

upon the Address, could not then intervene 
availed himself of the opportunity, and spoke in 
answer to the statement with which Pitt accom- 
panied the introduction of his Resolutions in 
favour of Union in the British House of Com- 

Foster's Foster commenced, as Sheridan had done, by 
asserting that the settlement of 1782 was then 
intended to be a final arrangement, and by en- 
tering at considerable length into an examina- 
tion of the proceedings in that year in both 
Parliaments. He then defended himself from 
the charge of having in 1785, when, as Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer in Ireland, he advocated 
Pitt's Propositions, admitted that the Constitution 
of 1782 required to be supplemented. These 
propositions were, he said, commercial, not con- 
stitutional ; and he had at that time stated that 
he should think himself unworthy of a seat in 
Parliament, or of the name of an Irishman, if he 
would consent to barter an atom of the constitu- 
tion of his country for all the commerce in the 
world ; indeed, so satisfied was he that the 
Commercial Propositions did not violate it in the 
smallest degree, that he could not repress his 
surprise at their being by anyone supposed to do 
so. The measure of 1782 was all constitutional; 
the measure of 1785 all commercial. Now even 
the Commercial Propositions were not, he urged, 
needed, since subsequent legislation had accom- 
plished what was formerly sought. There had 

Proceedings in the Irish Parliament. 203 

been a Navigation Act, an East India Act, and 
other Acts affecting the relations of the coun- 
tries, so that there was, he said, no one question 
of general or imperial concern, or even of colo- 
nial trade, unattended to. The arrangement of 
duties on the interchange of native productions 
or manufactures he did not consider an object 
of imperial concern ; and even if it were, the two 
Parliaments were competent to deal with it, and 
if they did were more likely to attain that sta- 
bility for their arrangements which only mutual 
consent and satisfaction could secure. He ad- 
mitted that he had formerly said that two inde- 
pendent Legislatures and unsettled commerce 
could not exist together with safety. But the 
effect of what had since taken place was that 
commerce had been settled, and therefore the 
two independent Legislatures might exist. In 
reply, therefore, to the argument that there were 
but two ways of remedying the commercial Page 191. 
jealousies of independent Legislatures in the 
same Empire, viz. by compact between them, or 
by blending them together, he answered that 
there was a third, namely, that which the con- 
duct of Great Britain and Ireland had shown, by 
leaving to the good sense and mutual interest 
of each country to pass all laws necessary, in 
order to prevent the operation and inconveniences 
of commercial jealousies. 

From these topics Foster passed to the sup- Foster's 
posed danger from disagreement between the continued. 

204 Proceedings in the Irish Parliament. 

Parliaments upon the question of war or peace, 
and pointed out that the sole and absolute right 
of making either war or peace rested in the 
Executive power : it was the King's prerogative. 
In case of war, the Executive had to consult 
Parliament only for the means of carrying it on ; 
so that if the two Legislatures differed as to the 
propriety of war, the only difficulty which the 
Legislature dissenting from the policy of the 
Executive could create was by withholding sup- 
plies; and this would only be until the good sense, 
which was sure in the end to prevail, should in- 
duce it to acquiesce. The dissentient power 
could not, by any refusal to give supplies, stand 
clear of the miseries, hazards, and losses of war, 
because the King's declaration would involve it 
equally with the rest of the Empire in them. 
Foster's Nor would there be more difficulty as to 

Speech . 

continued, treaties which did not concern peace or war 
such, for instance, as adjusted the course of 
trade. Concerning these there was no more 
reason that England and Ireland should per- 
manently disagree than that the two Houses 
of Parliament should do so. In both cases there 
would be motives strong enough to induce re- 

Foster's It was said that Union must augment the 
general force of the Empire. Were it really 
calculated to produce this effect, much, Foster 
admitted, ought to be sacrificed for such an 
object ; but was it proved that it would ? No, 

Proceedings in the Irish Parliament. 205 

he said, the Unionists used general terms, made 
unsupported assertions, and spoke as if there 
were no Union as if Great Britain and Ireland 
were actually separate and then they attributed 
to their own project every merit, every advan- 
tage already enjoyed, as if it only could confer 
them, and as if the advantages did not already 
exist ; whereas the case, he said, really was, that 
the kingdoms were so united as to confer on the 
Empire the whole of their strength. The con- 
solidation, he asserted, of their resources was 
as firm as human policy and individual interest 
could make it. Would removing the Parlia- 
ment to London raise one guinea, or give one 
soldier more for the defence of the nation ? 

In the course of his observations Foster alluded Foster's 
to the arguments for an Imperial Parliament, continued, 
which were based upon the religious differences, 
and upon the supposed inferior civilization, of 
the people in Ireland ; and pointed out, with 
respect to the former, that an Irish legislative 
assembly, deliberating at home, and acquainted 
with the circumstances to be considered, could 
just as wisely as the British Parliament judge of 
the course proper to be pursued ; and with re- 
spect to the latter, that a local Parliament, and 
the residence of the gentry, which would be a 
consequence of its continuance, must of them- 
selves promote social improvement. 

206 Proceedings after the Prorogation of the 



- HPHE success of the Opposition upon the 
in amendment to the Address in the House 

Union?' f Commons, which has been narrated in the 
last chapter, seems not to have been anticipated 
by the Irish Ministers. They appear to have 
expected then to receive the same support as 
they did on other occasions ; and had their 
proposals been of an ordinary character relating 
to the administration of affairs, or the general 
policy of the Empire this would probably have 
been the case. But the distinction between any 
such measure and an Act of Union was broad 
and plain. The former dealt with the incidents 
of the national existence, the latter with the 
existence itself. One was consistent, the other 
inconsistent, with the continuance of the institu- 
tion. Union would put an end to a separate 
Legislature, and therefore in Parliament the 
proposal to enact it came in contact with the 
instinct of self-preservation, potent in corporate 
bodies, equally as in the individuals of whom 
they are composed. 

Irish Parliament in 1799. 207 

Nor were the difficulties that impeded the Union 
Ministerial policy confined to objections which affect 

it r -11 private 

may be described as of a national character, interests. 
Union would necessarily affect injuriously pow- 
erful private interests. The number of represen- 
tatives which it was intended to give to Ireland 
in the House of Commons of the Imperial Par- 
liament was not disclosed in the Resolutions 
which Pitt moved; but that the ultimate result 
would be a very large reduction in the number 
of seats, to which a few individuals then nomi- 
nated, was well known ; and as yet no sugges- 
tion had been made of compensation to the 
owners of those seats which would cease to be 
filled. Many members, too, of the existing Par- 
liament had purchased their seats, and had done 
so upon the expectation that they would hold 
them for the ordinary duration of a Parliament ; 
and such persons would be naturally disinclined 
to vote for what must terminate their parlia- 
mentary existence. It was also seen that the 
tradesmen and owners of houses in Dublin must 
suffer considerable loss by the Union, since it 
would withdraw the benefits conferred by the 
residence of the Peers and Commoners attending 
Parliament, and of many others brought thither 
by the social attractions thus created. For the 
Bar, who could not consistently with the practice 
of their profession leave Ireland, Union meant 

r Hv, .v<*4v . 

the abolition of an avenue to the noblest dis- 

208 Proceedings after the Prorogation of the 

Power of Of these interests, thus naturally pre-disposed 

owners of . . r 

close against Union, the most formidable was that of 

boroughs. . - . , _,, 

the owners of the boroughs. 1 heir members so 
completely outnumbered the rest of the House 
of Commons, that if they combined to oppose 
a measure, it could make no progress. Now 
among the other members Government was in 
a minority, and therefore required, in order to 
counterbalance this deficiency, more than a ma- 
jority of those returned for the close seats. 
This could not be without the concurrence of 
their proprietors ; for although when a seat was 
sold the purchaser was not expected to consult 
its owner as to his vote, it was otherwise when the 
member owed his possession of it to mere favour. 
Pecuniary The great difficulty in the way of reconciling 
boroughs, the owners of boroughs to the Union was the 
practice which had grown up, just as much in 
Great Britain as in Ireland, of regarding the 
power of nominating members of the House of 
Commons as a species of property. Seats were 
sold, hired for a temporary period, entailed in 
settlements, and otherwise disposed of, just like 
lands or manorial rights. For permanent sale 
or temporary letting there was a market price. 
A seat in the Irish Parliament of 1775 brought 
from two thousand guineas to two thousand 
five hundred pounds; in 1793 the price had 
risen to three thousand pounds. At the general 
election for the Parliament in which the question 
of the Union was brought forward returned in 

Irish Parliament in 1 799. 209 

1797 the price had fallen, and seats were 
cheaper, a considerable number being in the 
market. That neither in Great Britain nor 
Ireland were the majority of these seats sold, 
that many of them were filled from the purest 
motives and to advance the public good, did not 
conflict with the notion that they were property 
a potential, if not an actual, source of emolu- 
ment, of which, if the present owners did not 
avail themselves, yet their successors might. 

The difficulty of overcoming the resistance of 101785, in 
the owners of boroughs to change in the parlia- pltfpro-' 
mentary system had been experienced in both 

countries, as often as reform of the House of 
Commons was suggested. In England, Pitt, b 
when in 1785 he brought forward proposals 
for reform, had met the difficulty by suggest- 
ing the creation of a fund to purchase these 
boroughs from their owners. A reform of the 
representation such as he contemplated could, 
he said, only be brought about by either of two 
means by an act of power, or by a considera- 
tion which might induce bodies or individuals 
to part with rights which they considered as a 
species of valuable inheritance, or of personal 
property. Having, he said, an insurmountable 
objection to the former course, he adopted the 
latter.* No Reform Bill proposed for Ireland 

* See as to the close boroughs in Great Britain and 
Ireland, Note HH of Appendix. 


210 Proceedings after the Prorogation of the 

had contained a proposition of this kind, 
and because none had, Reform made, as we 
have seen, little progress. Union, if it were 
also offered without compensation for the dis- 
franchised boroughs, was not likely to fare 

Compen- The first suggestion of applying the principle 

gested. SU ' of compensation for boroughs to be disfranchised 
by the Union appears to have come from Lord 
Castlereagh. After the division in the House 
of Commons adverse to the Government, he 
drew up and sent to the Duke of Portland, 
who was then the Secretary of State charged 
with the care of Irish affairs, a memorandum 
pointing out the difficulties created by private 
interests in which, he says, ' the borough objec- 
tion may be removed at once by pecuniary com- 
pensation.' The suggestion meeting the appro- 
val of the Cabinet, it became after some time 
known that, whenever the question of Union 
was renewed, pecuniary compensation for the 
disfranchised boroughs would be proposed. 

Effector There is no doubt that the determination to 
compensate the owners of disfranchised boroughs 
removed an almost insuperable obstacle to the 

bdng ghs policy of Ministers. It may also have afforded, 
in some instances, a motive to adopt it ; but its 
effect in this way has been overestimated. The 
compensation to the proprietor of a borough was 
quite irrespective of his vote ; he was equally to 
receive it, whether he voted for or against the 

Irish Parliament in 1799. 211 

Bill. It was not proposed to make it higher 
than the market price ; and while an owner, 
poor or in embarrassed circumstances, might 
desire the money, the owners whom it was of 
most consequence to secure were more likely 
to prefer the retention of a power, whose ex- 
ercise gave them supreme importance in political 
and social life. 

Of much more effectual operation in gaining 
the support of such owners of close boroughs, 
and of such other persons possessing political 
authority as were to be moved by considerations 
of personal advantage, was the power which the 
English Government commanded, and had long 
been accustomed to employ, of using the patronage 
of the Crown to reward those upon whose votes 
they could count in both Houses of Parliament 
by conferring upon them peerages and other 
honours, and by granting to them offices, places, 
and pensions.* In what instances these induce- 
ments were at the time of the Union actually 
had recourse to has been a subject of controversy 
which I have excluded from the scope of this trea- 
tise, because requiring, as has been mentioned in 
the Preface, a more lengthened examination of evi- 
dence than is consistent with its intended limits, 
and also because the object I proposed to myself 
was, not to ascertain the motives personal to 
themselves which may have influenced individuals 

* See Note 1 1 of Appendix. 
P 2 

212 Proceedings after the Prorogation of the 

in the course they pursued, but to present the 
reasons for and against each of the successive 
legislative systems of Ireland assigned by those 
who advocated or opposed their adoption. 
Exertions Neither, however, compensation for disfran- 

to gain . . 

external chished boroughs nor the exercise of patronage 
would have produced any effect outside Parlia- 
ment ; and as this assembly was most inadequately 
representative, the necessity of securing some 
further support for the measures of Government 
was recognised. After the parliamentary dis- 
cussions in 1799, public opinion was, according 
to Lord Castlereagh, circumstanced as follows : 
The Protestants were divided upon the question 
of Union Dublin (he says) and the Orange 
Societies being against it : while the Catholics 
(he adds) held back, under a doubt whether 
Union would impede or facilitate their object. 
It being supposed that if some assurances were 
given to the latter they might be gained over, 
Lord Castlereagh went to London to consult the 
Cabinet Ministers, and obtained from them per- 
mission to communicate to Lord Cornwallis, that 
so far as their sentiments were concerned he 
need not hesitate to seek Catholic support.* 

induce- When this permission had been received from 


offered to the Cabinet, the Irish department of Govern- 


* See letter of Lord Castlereagh to Pitt, written after the 
Union, dated ist January, 1801. (Castlereagh Correspondence, 
vol. iv., i>. 8.) 

Irish Parliament in 1799. 213 

ment proceeded to act in conformity with 
their own judgment, and (as Lord Castlereagh 
states) ' they omitted no exertions to call forth 
the Catholics in favour of the Union.' They 
gave no direct assurance that Emancipation 
would necessarily follow as a consequence ; but 
it appears to me they held out that if there were 
any hindrance to its enactment it would not come 
either from themselves or from the English Go- 
vernment in its collective capacity. It seems 
also to have been at this time clearly understood 
that Ministers were favourable to making a 
provision for the Roman Catholic bishops and 

Lord Castlereagh, in the letter to which I Effect 
have referred, says that the efforts of the Irish induce- 
Government to conciliate the Catholics were " 
very generally successful ; and that the advan- 
tage derived from them was highly useful, par- 
ticularly in depriving the Opposition of the 
means they otherwise would have possessed in 
the southern and western counties of making 
an impression on the county members. There 
seems to me no reason to dissent from this 
statement, made by one who certainly had the 
means of accurate knowledge. No doubt the 
Irish Catholics, if they could have obtained relief 
from their disabilities without Union, would have 
preferred the existing legislative system ; but of 
this they despaired, and consequently many of 
the most influential among them, both lay and 

214 Proceedings after Prorogation of Parliament in 1 799. 

clerical, reconciled themselves to Union with 
Reasons The policy of Ministers seems to me to have 

inducing . , . , 

the clergy also at this time gained ground among the 
tabbed clergy of the Established Church. Without 
favour Union their position was anomalous. Exclu- 
sively possessing the national endowments for 
the maintenance of religious worship, they minis- 
tered to a portion of the people which, when 
it is compared with the number of the entire 
nation, must be considered small. So long as 
Ireland continued to be a separate kingdom, 
the Church was the Church of a minority, sur- 
rounded by a not merely dissenting, but hostile 
majority, who regarded the privileges which 
Establishment conferred upon it with extreme 
discontent. By the Union it was proposed to 
incorporate not merely the kingdoms of Great 
Britain and Ireland, but also the Established 
Church of England and the Established Church 
of Ireland. Then the people of England and 
the people of Ireland being regarded as one 
aggregate, the United Church would command 
the allegiance of a majority ; it would be an im- 
perial, not a local institution, and each of its 
component parts might be expected to share 
in whatever security was thereby conferred. 

* See Note KK of Appendix. 

Union. 215 




HE Session of the Irish Parliament for 1799 

i i i T T T i tenant's 

was brought to a close in June. Upon the speech. 

1 5th of January, 1800, the next Session began. 

When Parliament at that time assembled, the 
speech of the Lord Lieutenant contained no 
allusion to the question of Union, as it was 
thought better to reserve the subject for a 
separate message. The leaders of the Opposi- 
tion, perceiving what was designed, determined 
to anticipate the action of the Government, 
and, accordingly, moved in the House of Com- 
mons an amendment to the Address which was 
proposed in answer to the King's Speech. By 
the amendment it was sought to pledge the 
House to maintain the independence of the Irish 
Parliament. It was expressed in the following 
terms : ' To assure his Majesty that his king- 
dom of Ireland is inseparably united with Great 
Britain, and that the sentiments, wishes, and real 
interests of all his subjects are that it should 
continue so united, in the enjoyment of a free 
Constitution, in the support of the honour and 

216 Union. 

dignity of his Majesty's crown, and in the ad- 
vancement of the welfare of the whole Empire : 
which blessings (it added) we owe to the spirited 
exertions of a resident Parliament, the paternal 
kindness of his Majesty, and the liberality of the 
British Parliament in 1782, and which we feel 
ourselves at all times, and particularly at the 
present moment, bound in duty to maintain.' 
The amendment was defeated by a majority of 
42, the votes (including tellers) being, for 98; 
against 140. 

Resoiu- As the House of Lords had been, in the pre- 
1799 vious year, favourable to Union, this division put 

passed . 

both an end to any doubt that the measures of Govern- 
ment to effect it would be carried through the 
Irish Parliament. The Lord Lieutenant, there- 
fore, on the 5th of February, sent to both Houses 
of Parliament the Resolutions upon the subject 

Page 190. which had been passed by the British Parliament 
in the previous year, and accompanied them with 
a message, in which he stated that he was com- 
manded by his Majesty to lay the Resolutions 
before the Houses of Parliament, and solemnly 
to recommend to their attention the great objects 
they embraced. Upon a motion in the House 
of Commons that it should resolve itself into a 
committee to consider the message, there was 
on the 6th of February a division in which Go- 
vernment obtained a majority increased by one 
above that which had supported it on the Address, 
the numbers (including tellers) being for the 

Union. 217 

motion 160, and against it 117. In the House of 
Lords Government had a majority of 75 votes 
against 26. 

When the House of Commons met upon the writs 

issued by 

1 5th of January writs were issued for new elec- House of 

. ' . .. - . - _ , Commons. 

tions in twenty-eight seats, of which five had 
been vacated by death, one by succession to a 
peerage, and the rest by acceptance of offices 
under the Crown, or of the escheatorships of 
Ulster and Munster, the acceptance of these es- 
cheatorships having the same effect in vacating a 
seat in Ireland as the acceptance of the steward- 
ship of the Chiltern Hundreds had in England. 
Five more writs were issued on the i7th, three 
more on the i8th, and eight more on the 2Oth of 
January. The vacancies in respect of which the 
writs were issued were caused by acceptance of 
the escheatorships or other offices. 

Thus there were, between the day on which 43 writs 

J before 6th 

Parliament met and the day of the division on February, 
the motion to consider the King's message, elec- 
tions for forty-four seats in the House of Com- 
mons. In a few instances, where the vacancies 
were caused by the acceptance of offices of value, 
the same persons were re-elected, but in all the 
others new members were returned, almost all 
supporters of the Government. 

If the division in the House of Commons on Division, 
the 6th of February be analysed, the following, 
or nearly the following, results will appear. The 
majority on that occasion (160) was composed 

218 Union. 

of 22 members for counties, 8 members for open 
seats in towns, 1 29 members for close boroughs, 
and i for the University of Dublin. The mi- 
nority against Government consisted of 38 
members for counties, 9 for open seats in towns, 
69 for close boroughs, and i for the University 
of Dublin. These calculations exclude the 
Speaker. Those absent (22) consisted of 3 
members for counties, 5 for open seats in towns, 
and 14 for close boroughs.* 
saunn, The debating power of the House of Commons 

Bushe, , . . . . _ 

Grattan, arranged upon the side of the Opposition was, 

are return- . 111 i i r o 

edtoPar- m 1 8oo, augmented by the addition of baunn, 
Bushe, and Grattan. The great legal attain- 
ments of the first placed him at the head of the 
Irish Bar ; the second was also a distinguished 
member of the Bar, one of its most accomplished 
orators, unrivalled in grace of diction and man- 
ner. Grattan took his seat during the debate on 
the Address, in which he at once took part ; and, 
in a speech characterised by the most brilliant 
eloquence, commented upon the arguments urged 
by Pitt in the previous year.f 

* For names see Plowden, vol. ii. 363 ; the classification of 
seats may slightly err, being made from a list in Collectanea 
Politico, p. 202, some changes having occurred after its date. 

f Grattan, during the progress of the Bill for Union through 
the Irish House of Commons in the Session of 1800, deli- 
vered four speeches against it January 15-16, February 5, 
March 19, May 26. I had in the previous edition given a 
summary of the first ; but I have now withdrawn it, since it 

In the House of Commons Ministers had Lord 


again, just as in 1799, to rely chiefly upon Lord speech: 
Castlereagh to advocate their measures. In the 
House of Lords, when the King's message was 
considered, Lord Clare took the opportunity to 
deliver an elaborate speech in favour of the pro- 
posed Union, announcing his conviction that 
nothing else could save the kingdom, and even- 
tually uphold the stability of the British Empire. 
The speech was in effect a review of the whole 
course of Irish history, the facts and incidents of 
which he used as the foundation for an argument 
of great power directed to establish the con- 
clusion that it was to the protection of Great 
Britain, and therefore to Union, as the most 
effective means of rendering this protection 
certain, that the descendants of the English 
settlers must look for the security of themselves 
and of their titles to the landed estates, which 
by the grants of the Crown had been trans- 
ferred to them from the original native pro- 

could not be adequately represented by any summary, con- 
sistent with the limits of this treatise. Besides, it ought to 
be considered not by itself, but in conjunction with the three 
other speeches which followed and supplemented it. 

* Lord Clare's speech was of great length, having occupied 
four hours in the delivery. A summary of it, given in the for- 
mer edition of this treatise, I have in the present omitted ; 
as that was what any other that could be substituted for it of 
suitable length must also be necessarily imperfect. 

220 Union. 

Motion for The Opposition, perceiving that the Govern- 


asking for ment commanded a majority in each House of 

dissolution . 

Parliament upon the main question, endeavoured 
to compel a Dissolution, and with this view they 
proposed in the House of Commons an Address 
to the Crown, praying that a new Parliament 
should be called before any final arrangement 
was concluded in relation to an Union. The 
motion was defeated by a majority of 150 votes 
against 104. 
Propriety The question whether, when a great political 

of dissolu- . . , . . _. . . 

tion con- measure is about to be submitted to Parliament, 
there ought to be a Dissolution, so as to enable 
the constituencies returning members to the 
House of Commons to express their opinions 
in reference to it, cannot be answered upon 
principles of abstract right. In every instance 
the reply must depend upon considerations of 
expediency, upon the circumstances of each 
particular occasion, and the conclusions proper 
to be drawn from them. To lay down that in 
no instance is it proper for the House of Com- 
mons to adopt a measure new in its nature and 
of importance without an appeal to the electoral 
body, would reduce its position to that of a 
congress of agents for special interests, who 
have continually to ask the direction of their 
principals. The question, however, then before 
the Irish Parliament must be held to have been 
one of those respecting which, unless the pecu- 
liar social condition of the country forbade a 

Union. 221 

Dissolution,* the constituencies might justly 
claim to be consulted, for it involved no less 
than the extinction of national independence. 
At the same time there is no reason to think 
that, if there had been a Dissolution, the balance 
of parties in the House of Commons would have 
been altered, so decided was, and would in that 
event have been, the influence of Ministers 
among those who dictated the representation of 
the close seats. 

When the motion for a Dissolution was de- Resoiu- 
feated, the Resolutions framed to define the passed. 
terms of Union were proceeded with, and in 
the end they were, with some unimportant 
alterations, voted by both Houses of the Irish 
Parliament. Immediately after they had been 
thus passed in Ireland they were referred to the 
British Parliament by a message from the King, 
in reply to which an Address was voted in the 
Commons, and afterwards adopted by the Lords, 
which was to the effect that after a few altera- 
tions and additions, which they had found it 
necessary to suggest, they considered the 
Resolutions which had been passed by the 
Lords and Commons of Ireland fit to form the 

* Considerations of this character were the reasons assigned 
by the Duke of Wellington for not advising a Dissolution of 
Parliament before introducing the Bill for Catholic Emanci- 
pation in 1829. (Speech, April 4 of that year ; see also Sir 
Robert Peel's observations on the same matter in the House 
of Commons, March 6, 1829.) 

222 Union. 

Articles of Union between Great Britain and 

Motion for While the Resolutions transmitted from Ireland 
of S pro- S1 n were under consideration in the British House of 
for Unfon. Commons a motion was made in that House for 
an Address to the King, praying that he would 
be graciously pleased to direct his Ministers to 
suspend all proceedings on the Irish Union till 
the sentiments of the Irish people respecting the 
measure could be ascertained. The motion, it will 
be observed, is worded in a different manner from 
that which, with somewhat the same aim, had 
been proposed in the Irish House of Commons. 
The latter asked a Dissolution of Parliament, which 
would have ascertained the opinions of the elec- 
toral body ; the former sought to test the senti- 
ments of the people generally. The mode con- 
templated for doing this would seem to have 
been by having public meetings convened in the 
counties. In reference to the suggestion, Pitt, 
speaking against the motion, said, . . . * I 
adhere to the opinion of the Parliament of Ire- 
land, and I will, therefore, not consent % to a con- 
vocation of primary assemblies and of bodies of 
men to vote addresses founded on French prin- 
ciples, arrayed as they would be against legisla- 
tive authority and constitutional freedom. Even 
if we did resort to the Deople, who would take 
the expression of their opinion, given amidst 
tumult, in the fury of passion ? ' The motion 
was rejected by a majority of 236 votes to 30. 

Union. 223 

The arguments against the Resolutions in the Arguments 
British Parliament, so far as they were presented union 
from an English point of view, had very much 
less force than those which were in Ireland urged 
from an Irish point of view. The addition of 
one hundred Irish Members would, it was said, 
increase the influence of the Crown, which was 
already too great, and might even injuriously 
affect the nature of the assembly into which they 
were introduced.* The strength of the case made 
by the English Opposition lay altogether in the 
assertion that the Resolutions transmitted from 
Ireland represented the will merely of Parlia- 
ment, and not at all of the people. Had the 
Irish Parliament been so constituted as to have 
been fairly representative of the nation, and had 
it, being so constituted, voted the Resolutions by 
the same majorities as the existing Parliament had 
done, there seems no reason to doubt (so far as I can 
perceive) that all English political parties would 

* That Union would increase the power of the Crown was 
objected by Lord Holland in the House of Lords, and by Dr. 
Lawrence in the House of Commons. The offices and places 
which were then used to influence 300 Members of the Irish 
House of Commons would, the latter said, be available for 
the 100 to be sent to the Imperial Parliament. (Ann. Reg. 
for 1800, pp. 1 17-121.) Dr. Lawrence added that disturbance 
was to be apprehended from the quickness of disposition and 
propensity to duelling of these new Members. He had, on a 
former occasion, remarked that the Irish tendency to long 
speeches must embarrass the progress of business. (Ann. 
Reg. for 1799, p. 214.) 

224 Union. 

have been ready to give effect to them, and pro- 
bably have also expressed their approval of them 
as tending to increase the strength of the Empire.* 
Acts of After the Irish and British Parliaments had 

Union . 1*1 .... 

passed. thus conclusively pronounced their decisions in 
favour of the measures of Government, nothing 
occurred in either assembly that need detain us. 
Bills for the purpose of effectuating Union and of 
defining its terms were brought forward in both 
Parliaments, went through all the requisite stages, 
and ultimately received the royal assent. 

Act to In Ireland the Act of Union was accompanied 

compen- i i -11 

sate for by another Act, which provided a pecuniary 

disfran- . . 

chised compensation whenever a borough was entirely 

boroughs. .... i * T r i /- 

disfranchised. Under its provisions ^7500 (about 
the market price) was paid for each seat in 84 
boroughs. As there were two Members for every 
borough, the total amount expended for this pur- 
pose amounted to ,1,260,000. The compensa- 
tion was paid to the persons by whom the mem- 
bers for the boroughs had been nominated, and 
who were therefore regarded as their owners, 
except in the instances of Swords (where it was 
laid out to found schools), and of three boroughs 
under the influence of the bishops of the dioceses 
in which they were situate (the compensation for 
these being paid to the Board of First Fruits, as 
an addition to funds they already held for the 
benefit of the Established Church). 

* See Note LL of Appendix. 

The Act of Union. 225 



~D Y the Acts of the Parliaments of Great Union. 

Britain and Ireland, which have been re- 
ferred to in the last chapter, these kingdoms 
were from the ist of January, 1801, united into one 
kingdom, under the name of the United King- 
dom of Great Britain and Ireland. For this 
' United Kingdom ' a single Parliament was 
provided, and the succession to its Crown was 
declared to be the same as the succession which 
then stood limited for the Crown of Great Britain 
and Ireland, according to the existing law and 
to the terms of the Union between England 
and Scotland. 

These Acts contained also a variety of pro- Provisions 
visions in reference to matters with which this 
treatise is not concerned. Thus they declared 
that the Churches of England and Ireland, as 
then by law established, should be united into 
one Protestant Episcopal Church, to be called 
the United Church of England and Ireland, and 
that the doctrine, worship, discipline, and govern- 
ment of the said United Church should be and 


226 The Act of Union. 

remain in full force for ever, as the same were 
then by law established for the Church of Eng- 

United The constitution of the Parliament of the 

ment. United Kingdom was to be as follows : It was, 
like the separate Parliaments which were about 
to be fused together, to consist of two Houses 
a House of Lords and a House of Commons. 
The former was to be composed of all the Peers 
of Great Britain, with the addition of thirty-two 
Peers from Ireland, of whom four were to be 
Lords Spiritual, taken by a prescribed rotation 
each year from the Bench of Bishops, and of 
twenty-eight Lords Temporal, elected for life by 
the Peers of Ireland. The latter House was to 
be composed of members from the same counties, 
cities, and boroughs of Great Britain, as were 
before entitled to representation, with the addi- 
tion of one hundred Members from Ireland. Of 
the hundred Irish Members sixty-four were to be 
returned by the thirty-two counties (two for each), 
four by the cities of Dublin and Cork (two for 
each), one for the University of Trinity College.* 
and one for each of thirty-one cities and boroughs, 
selected as being the most important. Of the 
latter, twenty-three were, and after the Union 

* It is singular that the University should be described as 
the University of Trinity College, instead of, as it had pre- 
viously been more properly, ' the University of Dublin.' The 
College was, however, in its statutes termed Mater Univer- 

The Act of Union. 227 

continued to be, close boroughs. The power to 
create new Irish peerages was reserved for the 
Crown, subject to the condition that so long as 
the number of Irish Peers, who were not also 
British Peers, was more than one hundred, the 
power should not be exercised except upon 
the extinction of three peerages, nor when 
the number of such Peers was reduced below 
one hundred, except upon the extinction of 
one peerage. 

As a measure to deal with the constitution of union m- 

T i A tended to 

a new Legislature the Act of Union was complete, be 

. , 111 i 111 merited by 

and carried out all that was designed by the other 

, . . ,. measures. 

statesmen who proposed it. As a measure ot 
policy it was incomplete, and did not carry out 
all that it was by them intended should be done. 
There seems to me no doubt that they contem- 
plated to supplement the Act of Union by enact- 
ments of the Imperial Parliament which, both in 
Great Britain and Ireland, should remove all 
remaining disabilities that affected persons who 
professed the Roman Catholic religion, and in 
Ireland should also make a provision for their 
clergy, and, probably, at the same time do away 
with the abuses attending the collection of tithes 
in kind by substituting a pecuniary composi- 

* Measures of this character were, after the Union, actually 
in preparation, when the opposition of the King led to 
their abandonment. (See Note MM of Appendix.) 

< > 2 

228 The Ad of Union. 

Proportion If we consider the Act of Union merely in 
sentation. connection with the first of these objects, namely, 
constituting an Imperial Legislature, the propor- 
tion of representation allotted to Ireland in the 
House of Commons cannot, it seems to me, be 
considered unfair. The entire number of Mem- 
bers was to be 658, and of these Ireland would 
retain 100. No proposition to increase the num- 
ber to be allotted to Ireland was brought forward 
in the Irish Parliament. 
LordLieu- The Act of Union did not lead to any altera- 

tenancy ... .. .. 

continued, tion in the executive department of government 
in Ireland. A chief governor, under the name of 
Justiciary, or Deputy, or Lord Lieutenant, had, 
from the time of Henry II. (with the exception of 
some intervals when Lords Justices acted in the 
same capacity), been appointed; and, at least from 
the reign of Edward I., the Governor had been 
assisted by a Privy Council. In Scotland, even 
when the Crowns were united, there had never 
been a Lord Lieutenant; but there was, before the 
Union of that kingdom with Great Britain, a Privy 
Council. After the Union, however, this body was 
discontinued, and the country was governed from 
London, without either a Lord Lieutenant or a 
local Privy Council. In Ireland the example 
thus set at the Scottish Union was not followed ; 
nor, with the imperfect means of communication 
then existing between Ireland and London, could 
it well have been. Accordingly, both the office 
of Lord Lieutenant and the Privy Council were 

The Act of Union. 229 

continued in the same relations to each other as 
they were before.* 

In narrating the proceedings connected with Anobjec- 

the enactment of the Union I have endeavoured union 

/- i not y et 

to present the arguments for and against it, noticed. 

founded upon its supposed expediency or inex- 
pediency, such as they were at the time urged. 
An objection, however, of a different character, 
going to the very foundation of the whole legis- 
lation, and equally applicable, whether it were 
dictated by a wise or by an unwise policy, re- 
mains to be noticed. 

According to this objection the Irish Parlia- Alleged 

T T . incapacity 

ment was not competent to enact its own Union O f insh ' 

with the Parliament of Great Britain. The reason m ent? 
assigned for the proposition may be summed up 
in a few words. The Union, it was said, of one 
Legislature with another was equivalent to a 
merger of the weaker of the united Legislatures ; 
merger differed in nothing from destruction ; 

* A letter of George III. to Addington, when the latter 
was Prime Minister, has been cited by Lord John Russell, 
May 17, 1850 {Hansard, cxi, p. 172), in which, speaking of 
filling the office of Lord Lieutenant, the King says that his 
opinion is clearly that, although, perhaps, the cessation of the 
office may thereafter be proper, at that time it was necessary 
to fill it, but with a person who shall clearly understand 'that 
the Union has closed the reign of Irish jobs ; that he is a kind 
of President of the Council there; and that the civil patronage 
may be open to his recommendation, but must entirely be 
decided in England.' (See, as to the means of intercourse 
with England at that time, Note NN of Appendix.) 

230 77 /<f ^/ O f jj n ion. 

and self-destruction was inconsistent with the 
object of its original institution. Parliament, 
elected to make laws, not legislators, occu- 
pied towards the people, or at least towards 
its constituents, a fiduciary position ; legislative 
power was a sacred deposit entrusted to its 
care ; and a deposit committed to a trustee he 
was bound to preserve in the same condition as 
it was when he received it. 
Reply to To this reasoning: it was replied that the prin- 

objection. . * 

ciples assumed in it had been overruled by a 
decision of conclusive authority. The objection, 
it was obvious, equally applied to the Union 
of Scotland with Great Britain. The Scottish 
Parliament had no legislative capacity in 1707 
which the Irish did not possess in 1800. And 
not only was the objection applicable to the 
Scottish Union, but it had at the time actu- 
ally been made by those who opposed the 
Union. A protest was then drawn and signed 
on behalf of the dissenting minority, which was 
expressed in the following terms ' . . . the 
members of a Legislature are mere administrators 
of their trust, and not the owners or masters of a 
people. They are not entitled to bargain away 
the nation they represent, and make it cease to 
exist.'* Nevertheless, the English and Scotch 
Parliaments, under the guidance of their ablest 

* See Lord Stanhope's History of the Reign of Queen Anne 
to the Peace of Utrecht, 3rd edition, p. 260. 

The Ad of Union. 231 

statesmen, had enacted the Union without the 
slightest misgiving as to its validity. Nor had 
the precedent thus established been since then 
impugned by either statesman or jurist, upon 
any suggestion that what was enacted exceeded 
the jurisdiction of the Parliaments : on the con- 
trary, every subsequent expression of legal 
opinion had been in favour of their power to do 
what had been done, and of the indisputable 
effect of their acts. Nor, it was said, could the 
principles on which their opinion rested although 
the language of some eminent writers upon poli- 
tical science seemed in conflict with them be 
justly contradicted. Nations, all would admit, 
could unite : if they could, there must be in each 
some authority to contract for Union, and to 
negotiate and determine the conditions of Union : 
among these to fix where, in future, was to reside 
the right to legislate for the composite realm to 
be created. What that authority should be 
might, of course, be expressly defined in the 
original framing of the constitution of the 
country ; but, if this were silent, where could the 
jurisdiction so well be placed as where the power 
to make laws for the community was vested 
in the case of an absolute monarchy, in the 
Sovereign ; in the case of a limited monarchy, in 
the Sovereign and Parliament ? Union was but 
a treaty between two independent kingdoms. 

Moreover, according to the constitutional Further 
principles accepted by the highest English legal objection. 

232 The Act of Union. 

authorities, the legislative jurisdiction of Par- 
liament was of a high and transcendent nature. 
It had in England been exercised, as if no limits 
to its extent were recognised, whenever any 
emergency called for it. Thus it had there 
changed the ruling dynasty and remodelled the 
succession to the Crown ; it had superseded the 
establishment of one form of religion, and 
declared that another, widely different, was to 
be professed by the nation. Even its own consti- 
tution had been altered by the English Parlia- 
ment, which had at one time abridged, at another 
prolonged, the period for which, when elected, it 
was to endure; and had both annulled old and 
created new conditions in respect of the right to 
vote for the representatives of the people. 
Further In addition to these reasons, offered in answer 

reasons for , ,, . f . . , r . 

holding to the allegation of incapacity on the part or the 
competent. Irish Parliament, it was also pointed out that, 
while no one ventured to allege that to unite 
Ireland with Great Britain was impossible, those 
who denied the jurisdiction of the Irish Parlia- 
ment made it so for to what other authority 
could recourse be had for the purpose ? Would 
it be said, to the electoral body? But (to say 
nothing of excluding the Peers) how were they 
more competent than the representatives whom 
they returned ? They were a portion only, and 
but a small portion, of the people ; and if Par- 
liament could not give away the rights of the 
whole, how could they ? They were no whit 

The Act of Union. 233 

more constituted for such an object than Parlia- 
ment. Then were the whole mass of the people 
to exercise a sort of dormant sovereignty ? But 
how was this to be done, when the Constitution 
had made no provision to define the persons by 
whom, or the mode in which, the requisite pro- 
ceedings were to be carried out ? 

The question of the jurisdiction of the Irish Question 

of jurisdic- 

Parliament to enact its Union with the English tiondis- 

tinct from 

Parliament is sometimes confounded with another propriety 
question, which has been already discussed, 

namely, whether it was right to take this course 
without reference being made to the consti- 
tuencies returning Members to the House of 
Commons. It is unnecessary to observe that 
the questions are entirely distinct. Parliament 
might have power, yet not be morally justified 
in using it without consulting those of whom Page 220. 
so important a component part as the House of 
Commons was representative. And, on the 
other hand, the proceeding might deserve cen- 
sure without, in the slightest degree, impairing 
the validity of the act done.* 

To the objection urged against the jurisdiction Nocom- 
of the Irish Parliament, now noted, and the proposed. 
objections to the policy of the measure itself, 
which have been already stated, the opposition 

* See further, as to the competency of the Irish Parliament 
to enact the Union of Ireland with Great Britain, Note OO 
of Appendix. 

234 The Act of Union. 

which it experienced in the British and Irish 
Parliaments was confined. No third course, 
no intermediate scheme between the existing 
legislative system and complete Union, no com- 
promise of any kind, was proposed. The Par- 
liaments voted simply upon the alternatives of 
Union and the existing legislative system. And 
this is the more remarkable, because, before they 
met, a very able pamphlet against the proposed 
Union written by Richard Jebb, afterwards a 
judge of the Irish Court of Queen's Bench which 
attracted much attention at the time, had ad- 
mitted that if an Irish Parliament were allowed 
to remain, its continuance might well be accom- 
panied by a definitive treaty regulating trade 
and commerce, and by an obligation, in case of 
war, to ratify the policy of Great Britain, and, in 
case of legislation upon the subject of religion, to 
have the concurrence of the British Parliament.* 
Any It is, however, not difficult to understand why 

a C ii^ited r this should be. From the time when the Duke of 
unpopular! Portland and Lord Shelburne desired a restricted 
parliamentary jurisdiction for Ireland, and were 
deterred from bringing forward any plan of the 
kind by the resistance it would have encountered 

* Cooke wrote to Lord Castlereagh that he thought Jebb's 
pamphlet favourable to the cause; that it was cried up in 
Dublin and talked of ; that he admitted all that was wanted ; 
was against an Irish Parliament with imperial powers, and for 
a Parliament with local and municipal, cut down to the powers 
of a grand jury. (Castlereagh Correspondence, vol. ii., p. 50.) 

The Act of Union. 235 

in the Irish Parliament, hindrances in the way of 
such a proposal, instead of abating, had increased. 
A scheme of this character would, in 1782, have 
been merely the alteration of one form of subor- 
dination into another : now it would supersede 
and take the place of a Legislature of supreme 
authority, entitled to deal with every subject, 
whether external or internal, that could concern 
the interests of Ireland. To submit to restric- 
tions was regarded as an explicit confession of 
inferiority. 'Are we,' exclaimed Sheridan, 
speaking under an apprehension that some in- 
termediate scheme might be proposed by Pitt, 
and giving utterance to sentiments prevalent in 
Ireland ' are we to be told that Union will not 
wholly dissolve the Legislature of Ireland ; that 
independence will survive Union, though in a 
modified state ; that Parliament will be left to 
judge of the local affairs of Ireland? Really, 
sir, this seems almost too much for men's feel- 
ings a Parliament ! a sort of national Vestry 
for the parish of Ireland, sitting in a kind of 
mock legislative capacity, after being ignobly 
degraded from the rank of representatives of an 
independent people, and deprived of the func- 
tions of an inquisitorial power, exercising and 
enjoying the greatest authority that any Parlia- 
ment can possess.'* 

* Speech in the English House of Commons, January 23, 
1799, already referred to. (Collected Speeches, vol. iii., 
p. 279.) 

236 The Act of Union. 

Examples A constitution which confined a local Parlia- 

of limited . 

legisia- ment to making laws for its own people such 

tures. , . ,...., , 

laws to be operative only within the boundaries 
of the soil which the people occupied and in 
respect of their internal rights and interests, 
while all their external relations were regulated 
by a different Legislature was not without ex- 
amples at this time. Such systems existed in 
the Isle of Man, Guernsey, and Jersey. But 
that they did so exist was not calculated to re- 
commend them to the Irish Parliament. There 
were few notions more certain to provoke re- 
sentment than to class Ireland as an additional 
Channel island, and offer it only such privi- 
leges as were suitable to a community whose 
proximity and relative unimportance entitled it 
to no higher position than an appendage to 

Observa- So far as I have observed, there was in the 
Canning. Irish Parliament not merely no proposal of any 
scheme intermediate between the existing legis- 
lative system and Union, but no allusion to such 
either in the debates of 1799 or in those of 
1800. In the British Parliament some suggestion 
seems to have been made that whatever settle- 
ment or security was proposed to be attained by 

* Grattan, on one occasion, speaking of the Parliament of 
the Isle of Man, described it as ' free from the influence of 
opinion, free from the influence of duty, directed by preju- 
dices, and unincumbered by knowledge.' {Speech, Jan. 15, 

The Ad of Union. 237 

Union could be equally well provided by arrange- 
ment between the British and Irish Parliaments ; 
and Canning thus expressed himself in reference 
to it : . . . * With this argument I am so far 
from agreeing, that I would almost be satisfied 
to rest the whole question on this point singly, 
and to give up the plea of Union altogether, if it 
does not appear plain that there can be no mode 
of arrangement devised for the several possible 
differences and disagreements between the two 
kingdoms short of Union, which will not take 
away from the Parliament of Ireland even the 
shadow of independence, and deprive it of all 
freedom and dignity in the points the most es- 
sential to its very being as a Parliament.' He 
illustrated this assertion by the position in which 
the Irish Parliament would be placed under a 
limited system, in respect of one of its most im- 
portant functions voting supplies to which it 
would have to contribute proportionally, without 
any power to give or withhold : a position, he 
said, consistent with the Irish House of Commons 
being ' a grave and respectable council,' but not 
* a House of Commons according to the genuine 
spirit of the British Constitution.' * 

In the speeches of Sheridan and Canning, which views ot 

. , .. . . . . Sheridan 

have been cited, they referred to their connection and Can- 
with Ireland. The former said ' that his dear pared. 

* Speech of Canning, April 22, 1799 ; and see, for further 
extracts from it, Note P P of Appendix. 

238 The Act of Union. 

country had claims upon him which he was not 
more proud to acknowledge than ready, to the 
full measure of his ability, to liquidate ; ' the latter 
described himself as ' connected with Ireland by 
many ties of blood and of affection.' * Agreeing 
in attachment to the country, both desired to 
maintain its dignity and importance, but they 
disagreed as to the means by which this was to 
be accomplished. Sheridan would attain the 
object by preserving the Irish Parliament in all 
the freedom and independence which it had won 
in 1782; Canning, by incorporating it into a 
greater assembly with the consequent acquisition 
of more important functions. Each, from his own 
point of view, condemned those schemes which, 
either by provisions introduced into the Constitu- 
tion or by a permanent contract, would limit the 
powers and impair the authority of the local 
objections But the objections to a limited Parliament for 

to limited T11 rj 1 i t i 

Parliament Ireland were not confined to such as had their 
English origin in Irish national sentiment, or a considera- 

point of 

* Sheridan was by birth Irish. The Sheridan family had 
been settled in the country for at least two generations. The 
Canning family was possessed of landed property in Ulster 
from the reign of James I. One ancestor of George Canning 
was killed in the rebellion of 1641, and another attainted by 
the Irish Parliament of James II. His mother was Irish, and 
her father's family was one of several of Irish race which, until 
the time of Cromwell, had retained lands in Connaught. 
Canning himself was born and educated in England. 

The Act of Union. 239 

tion of Irish interests. From an English point of 
view others disclosed themselves. These reached 
to the very existence of a Parliament in Ireland. 
They saw in it a rival, almost certain to be suc- 
cessful, raised up to contest supremacy with Great 
Britain. The local Legislature would be visibly 
present to the Irish people, its members constantly 
coming in contact with them, and its measures 
consulting only for their welfare, while England 
and the British Parliament would appear to them 
occupied wholly with affairs which but feebly and 
circuitously could affect their interests. Atten- 
tion, respect, attachment, would be concentrated 
on what was near and of immediate influence, 
not on what was remote. Proximity would en- 
able the satellite to obscure the luminary, however 
superior in dimensions, upon which it was atten- 

240 Retrospect. 



[i 172-1800.] 

Retrospect ' ~^HE period proposed for the limit of this 
treatise has been now reached, and it 
only remains to sum up the results which have 
been ascertained.* 

Pages 3, 7. Legislative assemblies, modelled upon con- 
temporary English institutions of a similar cha- 
racter, were convened in Ireland by the kings of 
England, certainly from, and probably before, 
the reign of King John. At first they were 
termed Councils, afterwards Parliaments. Ori- 
ginally all who attended them were personally 
summoned. In the reign of Edward the First 
counties were for the first time empowered to 
send representatives. In the next reign a similar 
privilege was extended to cities and towns. The 
number of counties, cities, and towns thus privi- 
leged increased along with, and in proportion 

Page ii. to, the extension of English rule. For more 

* In the subsequent part of this chapter references are made 
on the margin to the previous pages where the occurrences, 
of which a summary is given, have been already narrated. 

Retrospect. 241 

than a century all members of these assemblies, 
whether summoned or elected, met and deli- 
berated together. At a later date they are 
found divided into two Houses, one of which 
assumed the form of a House of Peers, composed 
of Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the other 
of a House of Commons, composed of the repre- 
sentatives of the counties, cities, and towns to 
which writs for the holding of elections were 
from time to time directed. 

While the principle of representative govern- Page 13. 
ment was thus early acknowledged, its develop- 
ment was nevertheless, in some respects, slow 
and imperfect. Until the reign of Henry VIII. 
the natives were practically excluded from the 
Councils and Parliaments ; and until the reign 
of Elizabeth two great provinces Ulster and 
Connaught which had remained in the posses- 
sion of the natives, not having been reduced into 
shires, had never enjoyed more than occasional 
representation, and then only to a trifling extent. 
Under this queen seventeen counties were either 
created or reduced into their present form, of Page 15. 
which a part before her death, and all after her 
death, were brought into the Parliamentary 

The Parliament of James I. (summoned in Appendix 
1613) differed from its predecessors. One page 17. 
hundred more members were returned to its 
House of Commons than had been to the last 
House of Commons of Queen Elizabeth. No 


242 Retrospect. 

qualification of race or religion was required 
from either the electors or elected ; and persons 
of English, Scotch, and Irish descent, and of 
such denominations of religion as were then 
recognised among the people, were substantially 

Page 19. Superior to former Parliaments, in the number 
and constitution of its representative character, 
this Parliament was also superior to them in the 
spirit which animated its enactments. Its prede- 
cessors, acting as if they were the legislatures, 
not of the entire people, but of a colony planted 
in a hostile country, endeavoured by the most 
stringent laws to separate the native Irish and 
their descendants from the English settlers and 
their descendants. Now every distinction of 
race was abolished, and the announcement was 
made that thenceforward all the inhabitants of 
the island were taken into the protection of the 
Crown, that so they might grow into one nation. 

Page 21. The constitution of the Irish Parliament at this 
time was apparently an exact counterpart of that 
of the English Parliament. It had a House of 
Lords and a House of Commons ; and the forms 
and procedure of these Houses were modelled 
upon the forms and procedure of similar institu- 
tions previously established in England. In both 
instances nothing that could affect the well-being 
of the people, for whose interests the Parlia- 
ments consulted, was expressly excluded from 
the jurisdiction. But in reality the resem- 

Retrospect. 243 

blance between the two Parliaments was confined 
to external appearance. Their capacity of action 
was very different. The English was wholly free, 
without superior, a.nd not liable to interference 
from any other Legislature. The Irish was ad- 
mittedly subject to the restraints imposed by 
Poynings' law, and was by the provisions of Page 14. 
that law obliged, before it could pass any valid 
enactment, to obtain the approval of the Privy 
Council of Ireland and of the Privy Council of 
England. It was also checked in its action by Page 31. 
the knowledge that the highest legal authority 
in England had affirmed the right of the English 
Parliament to make laws for Ireland, and that it 
was thus exposed to the danger of having its 
policy interfered with by another authority, which 
claimed concurrent, or, it might be, paramount 

Restrictions of this character would probably Pp. 35, 36. 
have been acquiesced in if the Irish Parliament 
had continued as weak and incapable of resist- 
ance as it had been before the time of James. 
But it gradually grew in strength and import- 
ance ; and with improvement in its condition 
came dissatisfaction with a system which sub- 
jected it to external control. Some time, how- 
ever, elapsed before discontent openly manifested 
itself. From 1615, when James's Parliament 
was prorogued, to 1634, no meeting of Parliament 
took place; and from 1634 to 1640 Parliament 
was awed into silence by Strafford. With his 

R 2 

244 Retrospect. 

removal from the Viceroyalty freedom of debate 
and procedure came, and sentiments and de- 
mands previously restrained from utterance found 
expression. The House of Commons at once 
proceeded to assert the rights which, it alleged, 
either rightfully belonged, or ought to be con- 
ceded, to the Irish Parliament. It resolved that 
all statutable law to bind the people of Ireland 
should proceed from the authority of their own 

Page 40. This resolution was not, however, followed by 
any practical consequences. The Rebellion of 
1641, and the subsequent civil war, wholly ab- 
sorbed the attention of all interested in political 
affairs. Under the Commonwealth no legisla- 
tive assembly met in Ireland ; and the English 
Parliament arbitrarily reconstructed the entire 
social system, summoning, however, in 1645, 
members from Ireland to the English Parlia- 

Page4i. ment. After events of such magnitude, the 
comparatively unimportant efforts of a local 
Legislature to elevate its position ceased to at- 
tract observation, and gradually faded from 
men's minds. There is no appearance of their 
having been even remembered at the Restora- 

Pge43- tion. Under Charles the Second the English 
Parliament assumed the authority which the Irish 
Parliament in the time of his father had refused 
to acknowledge, and proceeded in express terms 

Page 52. to legislate for Ireland. Under William III. and 
under Anne the same course was persisted in ; 

Retrospect. 245 

and under the First George the Parliament of 
Great Britain, which had then taken the place of Page 88. 
the Parliament of England, in order to place 
beyond doubt the extent of jurisdiction which it 
claimed, declared in distinct language that the 
King's Majesty, by and with the advice and 
consent of the Lords and Commons of Great 
Britain in Parliament, had, and of right ought to 
have, full power and authority to make laws of 
sufficient force to bind the kingdom and people 
of Ireland. 

Hence from the Restoration (A.D. 1660), the 
legislative system operative in Ireland was a 
divided empire. Both the Parliament of Ireland 
and the Parliament of England, or (when that 
ceased to exist) the Parliament of Great Britain, 
asserted and exercised a right to make laws for 
the island and its people. In theory there was no 
boundary-line to define their respective spheres 
of jurisdiction : in practice there was. Poynings' 
law enabled the English Government, through 
the agency of the Privy Councils in England and 
Ireland, to prevent the Parliament of Ireland 
from legislating upon any subject which it desired 
to reserve, until 1707 for the Parliament of Eng- 
land, and afterwards for the Parliament of Great 
Britain. As a general rule, whatever was of 
such a nature that the decision in reference to it 
must be a matter of indifference to the English 
people was left with the Irish Parliament; what- 
ever might be so dealt with as to injure English 

246 Retrospect. 

interests was withdrawn from it. Under the 
former class came most of the internal affairs of 
Ireland : under the latter its trade with foreign 

These arrangements, which were in force from 
1660 to the accession of George III. averted con- 
flict between the two Parliaments ; in other re- 
spects they worked ill. Ireland sent no members 
to the English Parliament; its interests were there 
unrepresented. The result was that English and 
Scotch interests were alone considered ; and 
that, whenever these appeared to be adverse to 
Irish interests, the latter were no more regarded 
than those of one of the continental kingdoms. 

Page 44. To serve English agriculture, the importation 
into England of Irish cattle was prohibited ; to 
serve English commerce, no Irish ship could 
enter a colonial port ; no colonial ship enter an 
Irish port : to serve English manufactures, no 

Page 52. wool or woollen goods could be exported from 
Ireland except to England. Few, indeed, are 
the English statutes relating to Ireland of a date 
before 1780 for which the motive of promoting 
Irish, as distinguished from English, interests 
can be suggested. 

Until the end of George the Second's reign, 
the Irish Parliament was concerned with little 
beside internal affairs. All its statutes then in 
force related to subjects of this nature. Restric- 
tion upon the range will injuriously affect the 
character of legislation. In a great empire, and, 

Retrospect. 24 

therefore, in its Parliament, if it be so constituted 
as to be representative, the grandeur and multi- 
plicity of interests expand and liberalise policy ; 
it is the consequence not of one single impulse, 
but of a number of impulses reciprocally acting 
upon each other; and their diversity ensures 
that the result shall be marked by moderation. 
Society, in such cases, becomes subdivided into 
a number of differing sections of opinion, and, 
without a combination, difficult to effect among 
them, measures of injustice and oppression can- 
not be enacted. But of such variety of influences 
a narrow area and confined scope of action de- 
prived the Irish Parliament. Its views were con- 
tracted to the measure of its condition. Never 
coming in contact with anything higher or nobler, 
it reflected only the passions and prejudices with 
which it was encircled. At their bidding it 
framed its legislation, and consigned the weaker, 
although much the larger, portion of the people 
to a state of hopeless inferiority.* 

When George III. succeeded to the throne, 
the consequences of the legislative system which 
was then operative in Ireland were distinctly Page 90. 
apparent. The English Parliament had so 
regulated external affairs as to extinguish the 

* In one of his speeches Grattan describes Ireland, before 
1782,35 ' a squabbling, fretful sectary, perplexing her little 
wits, and firing her furious statutes, with bigotry, sophistry, 
disabilities, and death.' (Speech, i6th April, 1782.) 

248 Retrospect. 

trade and commerce of Ireland ; the Irish Par- 
liament had so ordered its internal affairs that 
the majority of the people were subject to in- 

Page 163. tolerable oppression. The country was, as might 
be expected, everywhere poor and depressed 

Page in. Out of these circumstances originated a move- 
ment which, having obtained success in some 
demands of inferior importance, directed its 
energies at first against the commercial legisla- 
tion of the British Parliament, and then against 
the jurisdiction over Irish affairs which that Par- 
liament assumed. Members of the Irish House 
of Commons who would in any legislative as- 
sembly, however illustrious, have attained emi- 
nence, became its leaders. Under their guidance 
it made rapid progress, and won almost unani- 
mous favour and sympathy from the people. 

A struggle of this character appeals to, and 
seldom fails to call forth, whatever capacity may 
be possessed by those engaged in it. The 
debates and discussions of the time rival in 
eloquence and thought those of the same period 
in the British Legislature. Parliament rose to 
an intellectual greatness, with which its position 
of imperfect power and inferior dignity was in- 

Page 108. consistent. Expanding beyond the limits at that 
time prescribed for its action, it could no longer 
endure the restrictions that confined it. 

At this crisis the Volunteers came forward for 
the defence of the country. During their train- 
ing they still pursued their ordinary avocations, 

Retrospect. 249 

and, living among their fellow-subjects, were im- 
bued with similar opinions. Self-constituted, 
and at their own expense armed, organised, and Page no. 
maintained, they were beyond the control of 
the British Government. Subject to no external 
restraint, acting only under the impulse of their 
own sentiments, they became the champions of 
the prevalent discontent. 

In 1780 the Irish Parliament allied itself with 
the Volunteers. Acting in concert, both de- 
manded from the British Parliament commercial 
freedom. The demand was conceded. Limita- Page 112. 
tions which then fettered trade from Ireland 
with the Colonies, with the continent of Europe, 
and with Great Britain, were annulled. In 1782 
the same confederates demanded legislative in- 
dependence. They were again successful. The 
exclusive right of the King, Lords, and Com- Page 133. 
mons of Ireland to bind by their laws that 
kingdom and its people, as well in respect of 
external as internal affairs, was unequivocally 

This admission placed the Parliament of Ire- 
land in the same relation to its people as the 
Parliament of Great Britain was to the people of 
England and Scotland. The two Parliaments 
became thenceforward co-ordinate institutions. 
Another measure of equal importance followed, 
which provided that the control exercised over 
Irish legislation by the Privy Council of Ireland page 136. 
and the Privy Council of Great Britain should 

250 Retrospect. 

cease. In every particular, except one, the 
Legislatures of the two kingdoms were to have 
similar powers and similar procedure. The one 

Page 137. exception was, that whereas a Bill passed by the 
Houses of Lords and Commons required in Great 
Britain only the Royal Assent to become an Act 
of Parliament, there was needed in Ireland that 
it should also be transmitted to England, and 
be thence returned under the Great Seal of 

The increased power and jurisdiction conceded 
to the Irish Parliament in 1782 augmented its 
dignity and importance. It became in these 
respects, as it had before been in intellectual 
power, not unworthy to be the Legislature of an 
independent kingdom. Its internal constitution 
was, however, and continued to be, in one im- 
portant respect, imperfect. Its representative 
character remained unduly narrow. None but 
Protestants could sit in either the House of Lords 

Page 163. or the House of Commons, and only Protestants 
could vote for members of the latter. Even as 
to Protestants, the representation in the House 
of Commons, owing to the excessive number of 
boroughs subject to the nomination of a few 
persons, was quite inadequate. 

Page 177. In 1793 one of these defects was remedied by 
repealing the law which rendered persons pro- 
fessing the religion of the Church of Rome unable 
tovote at elections for members of the House of 
Commons. But the others remained, and, so 

Retrospect. 251 

long as a local Legislature was continued, were 
likely to remain, since those on whom they con- 
ferred exclusive privileges possessed paramount Page 178. 
political power in the House of Commons, and 
were consequently reluctant to do anything that 
would impair their own influence in that assembly. 

The imperfections in the constitution of the 
Irish Parliament, and the improbability that their 
removal, if this were to depend upon its own 
motion, would be accomplished, recommended 
the substitution of a new legislative system for 
that which had been called into operation from 
1782. At the same time other considerations of 
even more weight, and with even more force, 
were gradually conducting public opinion to the 
same conclusion. These considerations were 
suggested by events which had occurred in con- 
nection with, and were caused by the relations 
of, the Irish Parliament to the Empire. 

Whenever, as was at this time the case in the 
instance of Great Britain and Ireland, two Par- 
liaments of equal and co-ordinate authority, each 
framing the laws of an independent kingdom, 
co-exist within the same realm, it follows as a 
necessary consequence that a large range of 
subjects must be submitted to them concurrently. 
Whatever concerns the protection of the whole 
Commonwealth, relates to its resources, or may 
affect its interest, comes within this category : 
so also do all arrangements connected with trade 
or other dealings between the nations thus 


separately represented. The character of many 
of these subjects is such that the Legislatures to 
decide upon them may disagree without any evil 
consequences ; but in the case of others their con- 
currence in action is essential, not merely to the 
well-being, but even to the safety, of the State. 

Under such circumstances, it is obvious that 
unless upon the latter class of subjects those 
where conflicting proceedings may endanger the 
welfare of the Empire an agreement can be en- 
sured between the co-ordinate Parliaments, the 
working of the legislative system will not be 
successful : and this result, it may as a general 
rule be laid down, can be reckoned certain only 
when there exists a general harmony of inte- 
rests and notions between the kingdoms which 
return the Parliaments, or such consciousness of 
comparative weakness on the part of one as may 
suppress any manifestation of its dissent when 
it disagrees with the other. 

In the case of Ireland and Great Britain, 
neither of the conditions which have been sug- 
gested as alone calculated to produce unanimity 
in legislation was fulfilled. There were in their 
position relatively to each other, in their history 
and circumstances, causes for difference of senti- 
ment and opinion ; and Ireland was, both physically 
and intellectually, too great to submit passively. 
The consequences which might be expected en- 
sued. Questions arose in respect to matters of 
the utmost importance, on which it was necessary 

Retrospect. 253 

that the British and Irish Parliaments should, 
each separately, pronounce its judgment. Dis- 
agreement, total and distinct, was manifested in Pages 

. . . . i i i X 54> l6 - 

the decisions to which they came respecting 

them. Other questions, even more momentous, 
whose solution must affect' the highest imperial 
interests, either actually impended, or were ex- 
pected to arise, on which similar disagreement 
was feared ; while foreign war and internal rebel- 
lion lay in wait to take advantage of whatever 
weakness might thus be caused. 

If, then, as we have seen, the inefficiency of the 
Irish Parliament, as at that time constituted, to 
deal with the social wants of Ireland tended to 
procure its condemnation in that country, these 
events, and the dangers whose existence they 
revealed, tended to the same result in England. 
Two separate and distinct classes of objection 
assailed the existing legislative system. Ulti- 
mately their combined influence induced the 
British Government to determine that alteration 
was indispensable. 

If there was to be change, what was it to be ? 
The dangers which formed in England the chief 
motive to desire it arose from the independence 
of the Irish Parliament and the extent of its juris- 
diction. If these were abridged, it would seem 
that the dangers could be averted. But to procure 
from the Irish Parliament the acceptance of restric- 
tions upon its legislative authority was thought to 
be impossible. The obstacles in the way of any 

254 Retrospect. 

measure of the kind were perceived to be insuper- 
able. It would have been the revival of a policy 

Page 134. which had been tried, which had upon trial been 
found impossible to uphold, and which had accord- 
ingly been unequivocally renounced in 1782, alike 
by the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parlia- 
ment of Ireland, apparently with the concurrence 
of every statesman of eminence in either country. 
When restriction was rejected Union presented 
itself, and was accepted as the only alternative. 

Page 225. The Parliament of Great Britain and the Parlia- 
ment of Ireland concurred in the enactment which 
now defines the relations of the two countries. 
Whatever were the objections to the measure on 
other grounds, it met the needs which then the 
most urgently required to have provision made 
for them. Incorporating together the kingdoms, 
before separate, it rendered, as far as human 
precaution could, their connection indissoluble : 
fusing in one their distinct Legislatures, it secured 
that local jealousies and prejudices should be 
displaced by the more enlightened dictates of an 
imperial policy ; while for divided counsels and 
discordant action would be substituted the unity 
of design, resulting from a single authority re- 
presenting the will and advising for the welfare 
of the whole Empire. 

Thus the legislative systems operative in Ire- 
land since the accession of James I., when 
more enlarged ideas as to what should be their 
nature began to prevail, have successively if 

Retrospect. 255 

we omit from consideration the interruption 
caused by their suspension under the Common- 
wealth, and the illegal assembly held in 1689 
under James II. assumed the forms of a local 
Parliament subject to restrictions, of a local Par- 
liament free from limitation, and of an Imperial 
Parliament in which Ireland is represented. The 
constitution of the first was framed upon the sup- 
position that Ireland was inferior to, and depen- 
dent on, at first England, and afterwards Great 
Britain, and that its subordination ought to be 
represented in the position of its Legislature : the 
constitution of the second admitted the equality 
in dignity of the two kingdoms, and sought to 
represent it by establishing the independence of 
their respective Legislatures : the constitution of 
the third also recognised the equality of the two 
kingdoms, and, regarding any relations between 
them except independence or Union as incon- 
sistent with its recognition, created one United 
Kingdom with one supreme Legislature. The 
working and results of two of these constitutions, 
and the reasons which led to the adoption of the 
third, appear in the foregoing pages : the work- 
ing and results of the third lie outside the scope 
of this treatise. 



I HAVE placed in the Appendix references to records and Appendix, 
authorities whieh, from their length, would have been 
unsuitable as foot-notes. I have also reserved for the Ap- 
pendix observations in relation to some important subjects 
intended to assist in forming a correct estimate of the events 
narrated, which yet might not be considered to lie strictly 
within the scope of this treatise. 

The notes from A to P are concerned with the early his- 
tory of Irish Legislative Assemblies, from the Invasion of 
Henry II. to their full development under James I. Histo- 
rical investigation during this period is impeded by the loss 
of important records, the imperfect nature of many of those 
that remain, and the brief and unsatisfactory character of 
the contemporary notices of events which have been pre- 
served. Hence, as might be expected, there has been dis- 
agreement on various points among the historical writers 
who have treated of the early Irish Councils and Parliaments. 
Controversy as to their nature and proceedings began when 
doubt was raised as to the jurisdiction of the English Par- 
liament to legislate for Ireland ; the tendency of those who 
advocated this claim being to depreciate, and of those who 
denied it to magnify, the dignity and importance of the 
assemblies called for legislative purposes in Ireland during 
the three centuries succeeding the Invasion. It is incon- 
sistent with the plan of this treatise to enter into a critical 
examination of the evidence bearing on the questions raised 


258 Appendix. 

Appendix, during the progress of the controversy: references are, how- 
ever, given to the works in which they have been discussed. 
At the head of these their learning will always place the 
tracts of Bolton and Mayart (referred to in Chapter V., supra], 
They will be found in the Hibernica of Harris, published at 
Dublin in 1750. Next in importance are Molyneux's Case 
of Ireland, published at Dublin in 1698, and the answers to 
it. The later authors who have thrown most light upon 
the subject are Lord Mountmorres in his History of the Prin- 
cipal Transactions of the Irish Parliament from the year \ 634 
to 1666, published in London, 1792; Monck Mason, in his 
Essay on the Antiquity and Constitution of Parliaments in Ire- 
land, published in Dublin, 1820; Lynch, in his View of the 
Legal Institutions, Honorary Hereditary Offices, and Feudal 
Baronies Established in Ireland during the Reign of Henry II., 
published in London in 1830; and Hardiman, in the Intro- 
duction and Notes to his Edition of The Statute of Kilkenny, 
published by the Irish Archaeological Society in 1863. 


Note A. No better illustration of the difficulties obstructing his- 
torical research, which are referred to in the preceding re- 
marks, can be found than the subject of this Note. Was there 
a Council, which accepted the laws of England as obligatory 
in Ireland, held under Henry II. ? Mathew Paris distinctly 
says there was at Lismore. His words are : . . Rex, 
antequam ab Hibernia rediret, apud Lismore Concilium con- 
gregavit, ubi leges Angliae sunt gratanter receptae, et juratoria 
cautione prestita confirmatae. But against this statement is 
to be set the fact that Giraldus Cambrensis, who treats 
minutely of the very period, only makes mention of the 
Synod of Cashel, and that he describes that Synod as if it 
were concerned with merely ecclesiastical affairs (see p. 2, 
supra}. Modern historians disagree in their conclusions 
upon the subject. Archbishop Ussher (Parliaments of Ire- 

Appendix. 259 

land] and Sir John Davis (Discoverie, &c.) follow Mathevv Appendix. 

Paris. Sir Richard Cox (Angltcana Hibernia) thinks that 

the only Council under Henry II. was at Cashel ; and that, 

as the Bishop of Lismore, the Pope's Legate, presided at 

this Council, by some mistake the place of meeting has 

been confused with his title. Leland, in his History, avoids 

deciding between these opposing opinions. (See p. 76 of 

vol. i. of the 3rd ed., which is that adopted for reference in 

this treatise.) 


The statute which (as stated at p. 3, supra) was referred to Note B. 
by Acts of Parliament of a much later date as having been 
enacted under Henry II., was one to enable a Chief Gover- 
nor, in certain events on vacancy, to be appointed by certain 
great officers ; and the Acts which so refer to it were of the 
reigns of Richard III. and Edward IV. (see Mason's Essay, 
p. 3, 1 8). In a petition to Richard II. it is stated that 
Parliaments met in Ireland from the time of Henry Fitz- 
Empress (Mason, p. 5) ; and the same assertion was made 
in the proceedings of a Parliament of Henry VI. (Leland, 
vol. ii. p. 509). Lord Coke attributes to Henry II. that 
he sent to Ireland a modus tenendi parliamentum (4th Inst. 
f. iz); but Selden and Prynne think that the modus was 
later in date than the reign of Henry II. 


The writs and mandates for the early Irish Councils and Note C. 
Parliaments have been extracted from the original records, 
and printed by Lynch in his Treatise on Feudal Dignities. 

It is curious that in a record cited by the same author 
(p. 43), of as early a date as the reign of Henry III., there 
is mention of the Commons of Ireland joining with the 
Magnates in legislating. This was subsequent to his son 

S 2 

260 Appendix. 

Appendix, (afterwards Edward I.) being granted by him authority in 
Noie~E" Ireland, and while the Irish Government was administered, 
in the name of Prince Edward as ' Lord,' by de Ufford, as 
Justiciary, . . . provisum et statutum est de consilio Domini 
R. de Ufford capitalis Justiciarii Hiberniae et aliorum fide- 
Hum Domini Edwardi qui sunt periti de ejus consilio et tolius 
communitatis Hiberniae. 


Note D. It is not clear whether the introduction, or, if already in- 
troduced by Henry II., the confirmation of English law in 
Ireland by John and Henry III., was, with the sanction of 
Councils in Ireland, or merely by ordinances founded upon 
the regal authority. Lord Coke thought that under John it 
was by a Parliament or Council, and cites in proof a recital 
in a patent of Henry III., which thus refers to John and his 
enactment of English law for Ireland : ' Leges regni nostri 
Angliae, quas dominus Johannes rex, de communi omnium 
de Hibernia consensu teneri statuit in terra ilia.' He treats 
' de communi consensu,' &c., as meaning ' by Act of Parlia- 
ment.' (Inst. iv. 349.) (See also as to John another record 
cited in Calvin's Case, 7 Rep., f. 22.) 

Of Henry III. it is recorded that in his twelfth year, 
' mandavit justiciario suo Hiberniae, ut convocatis archiepis- 
copis, episcopis, baronibus et militibus ibidem coram eis legi 
facial cartam regis Johannis, quam legi fecit, et jurari a 
magnatibus Hiberniae de legibus et consuetudinibus Angliae 
observandis, et quod leges illas teneant et observent.' (Cited 
by Lord Coke, Inst. iv. f. 350.) 

Henry III. had previously, on his accession, granted 
Magna Charta to his Irish subjects (Leland, vol. i. pp. 200, 
355) ; and had also in the first year of his reign confirmed to 
them the liberties granted by John. (See Molyneux, Case, 
p. 47.) By this king it was also ordered that the same 
Common Law Writs should run in Ireland as in England, 
. . . ' Volumus quod omnia brevia de communi jure quae 
currunt in Anglia similiter currant in Hibernia sub novo 
sigillo regis. (Cited by Molyneux, p. 53.) 

Appendix. 261 

NOTE E, PAGE 7. Appendix. 

In England the origin of a Council to advise the King has Note E. 
been traced earlier than Edward I. according to Stubbs, to 
the minority of Henry III. The Council comprised, he says, 
the judicial staff, a number of bishops and barons, and other 
members, who, in default of any other official qualification, 
were simply counsellors {History, 4th ed., vol. ii., p. 265). 
Similar counsellors were in Ireland before the end of the 
same reign (see the record cited in Note C). Under 
Edward I. and Edward II. these counsellors obtained in 
England the title of the King's Ordinary or Privy Council 
(Hallam, Mid. Ages, gth ed., vol. ii., pp. 269, 273). There 
also occurs in an Irish record of 17 & 18 Edw. II. the ex- 
pression 'counseil nostre s. le roy en Irelande' (Mason, p. 12). 
The Irish Privy Council seems to have decided on private 
rights (see a Roll of 16 Ric. II., published in England in 
1879, under the authority of the Master of the Rolls). 


The account of Wogan's Parliament in the Liber Niger, Note F. 
preserved in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, is as follows : 
4 Justiciarius hie de communi consilio domini regis in hac 
terra, ad pacem firmius stabiliendam ordinavit et statuit 
generale parliamentum hie ad hunc diem. Et mandatum 
fuit archiepiscopis, episcopis, abbatibus, et prioribus, quorum 
praesentia videtur ad hoc esse necessaria, necnon et comi- 
tibus, baronibus et aliis optimatibus terrae hujus, videlicet 
unicuique eorum pro se, quod essent hie ad hunc diem. 
Et nihilominus, praeceptum fuit vice-comitibus Dubliniae, 
Louethiae, Kildariae, Waterfordiae, Katherlagh, Kilkennice, et 
Ultoniae, quod unusquisque eorum pro se, videlicet vice-comes 
in pleno comitatu suo, et senescallus in plena curia sua li- 
bertatis suae, per assensum comitatus sui seu libertatis, eligi 
faceret duos de probioribus et discretioribus militibus dc 

262 Appendix. 

Note F. singulis comitatibus et libertatibus, qui hie nunc interessent, 
plenam potestatem habentes, de tota communitate comitatus 
et libertatis ad faciendum,' &c. (Cited by Leland, vol. ii., 
p. 508.) 

This assembly ordained that each county should have its 
sheriff; that the boundaries of the English territories should 
be defended from the natives by the lords who had charge 
of them ; that absentee proprietors, as well as their tenants, 
should contribute to a military force ; and that the settlers 
should assist each other in case of any invasion from the 
Irish. (See Leland, History, vol. i., p. 253.) 

Before the Tudor kings the Parliament of Ireland, whose 
legislation was of most importance, was probably that which 
met at Kilkenny in 1367, summoned by Lionel, Duke of 
Clarence, son of Edward III., then Lord Lieutenant. This 
Parliament enacted the famous Statute of Kilkenny, designed 
to keep the English and Irish races separate, under which 
marriage, fosterage, gossipred, with the native Irish amounted 
to high treason. There is no record df the persons who 
attended this Parliament. The last section, however, of the 
Statute mentions eight bishops by name as present in the 
Parliament. (See Hardiman's edition of the Statute, p. viii. n. 
and p. 119.) 


Note G. Sir John Davis is one of those who depreciated the impor- 
tance of the early Irish Councils and Parliaments. In his 
address to Sir Arthur Chichester (referred to at p. 18, supra) 
he says: . . . 'This extraordinary court' (i.e. Parliament) 
was not established in Ireland by authority out of England 
for many years after, in the form it now is, till towards the 
declining of King Edward the Second's reign. For before 
that time the meetings and consultations of the great Lords, 
with some of the Commons, for appeasing of dissensions 
among themselves, although they be called Parliaments in 
the ancient annals, yet being without orderly summons or 

Appendix. 263 

formal proceedings, are rather to be called Parlies than Par- Appendix. 
liaments.' ^Leland, vol. ii., p. 492.) Note G. 

But it is only necessary to refer to Wogan's Parliament 
of 1295 (see p. 8, supra, and Note F) to see that this, if in- 
tended to apply to all the early Councils and Parliaments, can- 
not be considered accurate. Ussher, speaking of parliamen- 
tary assemblies, both before and after Wogan's Parliament, 
says : '. . . All Parliaments that we read of in the chronicles 
are not to be accounted to have been of the same nature ; 
but a distinction may be observed therein of petite and grande 
Parliaments ; for the name is sometimes given to such meet- 
ings as were Parlies ratner than Parliaments.' (See Ussher's 
tract on Parliaments.) 

It will be ooserved that in Wogan's and subsequent Parlia- 
ments counties outside the districts known as the Pale sent 
representatives. These were parts of the counties Dublin, 
Kildare, Meath, and Louth. The term Pale does not seem to 
have been used before the fifteenth century. In a State Paper 
of 1515 the boundary of the Pale is decribed as passing from 
Dundalk by Kells, Kilcock, Kilcullen Bridge, Naas, Bally- 
more Eustace, Rathcoole, Tallaght, Dalkey, round to Dublin. 


Lynch (pp. 62, 63) gives instances of fines for non-attend- Note II. 
ance in the reign of Edward III. At that time, and after- 
wards, attendance on Parliament was regarded as a burden, 
not only because it was expensive, but also because it with- 
drew the paramount Lords from superintendence of their 
numerous followers and retainers. In their absence, too, 
the neighbouring natives were better able to conspire against 
their authority. In the reign of Edward IV. Desmond claimed 
the right to be absent as if it were a valued privilege. (Mason, 
Essay, p. 64.) 

264 Appendix. 

NOTE I, PAGE 1 1. 


Note I. The Ordinatio de Statu Hibernia of Edward III. is included 

in the collection of the English Statutes published by autho- 
rity in 1810. It deals with several other subjects besides 
Parliaments. To the clause relating to them Lord Coke 
attributes the conformity of Irish Parliaments to the English 
Parliaments (4th Inst.). It is expressed as follows : ' . . . 
Volumus, &c., quod nostra et ipsius terrae negocia in const/it's 
per peritos consiliarios nostros ac prelatos et magnates et 
quosdam de discretioribus et probioribus hominibus de 
partibus vicinis, ubi ipsa consilia teneri contigerit, propter 
hoc evocandos ; in parliament, vero, per ipsos conciliarios 
nostros ac prelatos ac proceres, alios que de terra predicta, 
prout mos exigit.' The Ordinalio appears to recognise the 
distinction between the Magnum Concilium and the Parlia- 
menlum, which was then observed in England. (See Stubbs, 
History, vol. ii., p. 271.) 


Note K. A record of the Parliament of 1560 is preserved in the 
Record Office, at Dublin. It is printed in full in the Appen- 
dix to Hardiman's Edition of The Statute of Kilkenny. The 
Domini Spirituales enumerated are twenty ; of thirteen both 
names and titles are stated ; of seven only names, probably 
because they did not attend. The names of members from 
ten counties (two for each) are also given ; ten more counties 
are stated, but there is no mention of any members from 
them. The names of members from twenty-eight cities and 
boroughs (two for each) are also given, and, besides, there is 
mention of one other borough, but not of the names of any 
members returned for it. 

Appendix. 265 



Official letters respecting the Parliament of 1541, and a list Note L. 
of those who attended, are preserved in the State Papers. 
This list describes the chieftains as follows : Procuratores 
Domini O'Brene; Willelmus de Burgo, seu nacionis capi- 
taneus ; Donat O'Brene ; Carolus films Arturi Kavanagh ; 
Dominus O'Rayley; Kedagh O'More ; Phelym Roo. Op- 
posite these names are written the words, Isti nondum 
sunt de parliamento. St. Leger, the Deputy, however, 
wrote to Henry VIII. that ' the great O'Rayley, with many 
other Irish Capytaines, attended.' He says the Upper House 
had three Earls, three Viscounts, sixteen Barons, two Arch- 
bishops, twelve Bishops ; ' the Commons' House had divers 
knights and gentlemen of fair possessions.' The only Peer 
of IrisI, race seems to have been Lord Upper Ossory (Mac- 
gillapatrick), anglicised Fitzpatrick). (State Papers, Henry 
VIII., vol. iii., pp. 304-307.) 

The Parliament met in June. In August other Irish chiefs 
O'Connor, O'Dwyn, or Dun, and O'Donnell are said to 
have acknowledged Henry's authority, and to have been 
followed by O'Carroll, O'Mulloy, Mac Mahon, Mageniss, 
O'Rourke, O'Flaherty, O'Melaghlin, MacCarty, O'Sullivan, 
and others whose names are not recorded. (Ware's Annals, 
chap, xxxm.) 


A record of Perrot's Parliament, A.D. 1585, is preserved in Note M. 
the Record Office, Dublin. It is printed in the Appendix to 
Hardiman's Edition of The Statute of Kilkenny (p. 139). It 
professes to give a list of the lordes spiritual and temporal, 
counties, cyties, and borough-townes, answerable to the Par- 
lyament in this realme of Ireland : and souche as were sum- 
moned. The spiritual lords enumerated arc four Archbishops, 
wenty-two Bishops ; the temporal lords twenty-six, of whom 

266 Appendix. 

Appendix, were of Irish race Earl of Thomond (O'Brien), Earl of Clan- 
Note M. care (M'Carthy), Lord Upper Ossory (Fitz Patrick), and Lord 
Dungannon, who was also Earl of Tyrone (O'Neill). Seven- 
teen of the peerages mentioned still exist. The counties 
required to return members were twenty-seven (two for 
each) ; the cities and boroughs thirty-six (two for each). 
The names of members returned are written opposite the 
counties and towns ; but some are obliterated. About 
eighteen of the names given indicate the persons whom 
they designate to have been of Irish race. 

In the enumeration of counties there is the county of 
Tipperary and county crossie of Tipperary. Wexford is 
also treated as forming two counties, viz. the county of 
Wexford and the county of Ffernes. The counties of 
Armagh, Tyrone, Monaghan, Deny, Leitrim, Fermanagh, 
and Donegal, are not mentioned ; Ulster not being then 
reduced into obedience. 

The attendance of a large number of Irish Chieftains, 
besides such Peers or Commoners as were of Irish race, 
appears from the Annals of the Four Masters (O'Donovan's 
Edition, vol. ii., pp. 1827-41). According to this authority, 
' a proclamation was issued to the men of Ireland command- 
ing their chiefs to assemble in Dublin precisely on May- 
day,' for, it adds, ' the people of Ireland were, at this time, 
obedient to their Sovereign. And, accordingly, they all (the 
names of about fifty-four are given) at that summons did 
meet in Dublin face to face.' 


Note N. James himself defended the creation of the forty boroughs 
simply on the ground that it was an exercise of his preroga- 
tive. ' Did any good subjects,' he said to a deputation from 
the Irish House of Commons, ' ever dispute their King's 
power in this point ? What is it to you whether I make 

Appendix. '^67 

many or few boroughs ? My Council may consider the fit- Appendix. 
ness, if I require it. But what if I had created forty noble- N ote ^ 
men, and 400 boroughs ? The more the merrier, the fewer 
the better cheer.' {Desiderata Curiosa, ed. 1732, vol. i., p. 

The increased number of members in this Parliament was 
caused, not merely by the members from these boroughs, 
but by members from counties which had returned none to 
Perrot's Parliament. Davis, in his address (p. 18, supra}, 
observed that Ulster and Connaught, as well as Leinster 
and Munster, had then voices in Parliament, and that the 
English of birth, English of blood, the new British Colony, 
and the old Irish natives, did all meet together to make 


The proceedings connected with the summons of Irish Note O. 
representatives to England by Edward III. are stated in a 
record, which is printed in the Appendix to the first volume 
of Leland's History of Ireland. Of the protests with which 
some of the returns (as mentioned at p. 24, supra} were 
accompanied, it will be sufficient to cite that from the county 
of Louth (convocatis magnatibus et communibus comitatus 
Loueth). . . . ' lidem magnates et communes de eorum 
communi assensu, una voce dixerunt qu6d ipsi, juxta jura, 
privilegia, libertates, leges et consuetudines terrae Hiberniae 
a tempore conquestus ejusdem et ante usitatas, non tenentur 
eligere nee mittere aliquos de terra praedicta ad parliamenta 
nee concilia in Anglia tenenda ad tractandum consulendum 
et concordandum prout hoc breve requirit.' 

Under Edward I. and Edward II. there seems also to have 
been attendance of representatives from Ireland in England. 
A writ of the former speaks of statutes made at Lincoln and 
York : ' Per nos de assensu prelatorum comitum baronum 
et communitatis regni nostri Hibernise. (See Mason, 40, 41 ; 
Molyneux, pp. 80, 82 ; Coke's Institutes, iv., f. 750.) 

268 Appendix. 

Appendix. The mandate of Edward III. summons those who should 
Note O. be sent, ad tractandum cum rege et consilio (also spelled 
concilio) ejus; but Sir Maurice Eustace, Speaker of the Irish 
House of Commons, A.D. 1689, speaks of these attendances 
of Irish representatives in England as having been upon the 
English Parliament. (See his address in Journals of the Irish 
House of Commons, vol. i., p. 91.) 


Note P. The Statutum Hiberniee (14 H. 3), mentioned in the Note 
to p. 26, supra, is printed among the English statutes, but its 
close (teste meipso, &c.) is that of an ordinance. It declared 
the law of succession of co-heiresses. The Irish Chief Jus- 
tice, Fitz Maurice, despatched four knights to the King in 
England, to ascertain the law and custom of England 
whether the younger sisters were to hold of and do homage 
to the eldest sister and they brought back the ordinance 
that all the sisters ought to hold of the chief lord, and not 
the younger of the eldest sister. The ordinationes, men- 
tioned in the same Note, are also printed in editions of 
the English statutes ; but their form, too, is more consistent 
with their being ordinances than Acts of Parliament. The 
first of them is sometimes cited as 17 Edw. I., and sometimes 
as 17 Edw. II. The latter is the date preferred in the autho- 
rised edition of the English statutes published in 1810. 


Note Q. In the Birmingham Tower there is a MS. book of ' minutes 
for Bills ' considered by the Irish Privy Council, from January 
2, 1747, to March 30, 1766. The proceedings seem to have 
been so regulated, that when ' Heads of Bills ' came from 
the Irish Parliament they were several times brought under 
the consideration of the Council before they finally trans- 

Appendix. 269 

mitted them to England. Thus the entries as to 'the Heads Appendix. 
of a Bill for the recovery of small debts in a summary way Note Q 
in the city of Dublin' (February 20, 1758) are: 'Heads of 
Bill read in Council ; ordered to be put in form ; accordingly 
done ; read the first and second time, and committed.' When 
a Bill was approved, it was sent on to the Privy Council in 
England, with an expression of approbation, e.g., 'Thinking 
this Act will be good and expedient for this realm, we re- 
commend it to your Lordships, and desire that you will 
please to have it returned in the usual form.' 


The confiscations of landed property under the Common- Note R. 
wealth had been preceded by similar confiscations under 
Philip and Mary, Elizabeth, and James I. In the two first 
instances colonies from England were introduced (planted 
as it was termed) upon the lands taken possession of; in the 
third the same process took place, but the larger number of 
the colonists were from Scotland. From these examples the 
Commonwealth derived the idea of a plantation, and applied 
it to the estates of all who opposed its authority, whether 
native or settler, Catholic or Protestant, whether they fought 
for Charles I. or for Irish independence. But both confis- 
cation and plantation were carried out with much more 
severity than on the occasions of the previous confiscations. 
By a statute passed in 1752 persons who stood neutral were 
regarded as delinquents, and when persons professing the 
Roman Catholic religion were not deprived of their entire 
estates, a power was taken to substitute for the portion left 
with them equivalent lands in other parts of Ireland a power 
exercised in what is known as the transplantation to Con- 
naught. (See for the statute Scobell's Acts and Ordinances.') 
It is not improbable that this greater severity as to the 
Catholics had its origin, not so much in political considera- 
tions as in resentment for the sufferings of the Protestants in 

270 Appendix. 

Appendix, the rebellion of 1641. Cromwell had, when in Ireland, 
Note R. openly avowed that he ' came to take an account of the 

innocent blood that had been then shed.' (See Carlytts 

Cromwell, ed. 1871, vol. ii. p. 210-23.) 


Note S. Besides the Tobacco Acts, mentioned at page 43 supra, 
the following Acts, passed by the Parliament of England 
under Charles II., affect Ireland : 12 Car. ii. ch. 18515 Car. 
ii. ch. 7 ; 1 3 & 14 Car. ii. ch. 1 1 ; 1 8 Car. ii. ch. 2 ; 32 Car. ii. 
ch. 4; 22 & 23 Car. ii. ch. 4, and 26. 

Of these the most important were the two first (the Navi- 
gation Acts). The earliest (passed in 1660) placed Ireland, 
but not Scotland, in the same category in respect of access 
to colonial ports as England. The second (passed in 1663) 
excluded both Irish and Scotch ships from the colonies. 
This was followed by other Acts in 1670 and 1696, framed 
in a similar spirit, until at last there could be no direct trade 
between either Ireland or Scotland and the colonies, under 
the Crown of England. One of the provisions of this code 
was, that the master and three-fourths of the mariners of the 
ships trading to the Colonies should be English. From all 
such restrictions Scotland, by its union with England, was 
freed in 1707. Ireland continued subject to the Acts. A 
curious illustration of the operation of these laws has been 
mentioned by Mr. Huskisson. A ship from an English set- 
tlement in America, laden with colonial produce, was stranded 
on the coast of Ireland. The law did not allow the cargo to 
be landed in Ireland, or to be carried away in an Irish ship. 
To bring the cargo to England, another English ship had to 
be sent for it ; and although the cargo might be wanted in 
the Irish market, it could not be delivered there without 
being unloaded in an English port, and again re-shipped to 
Ireland. (Speeches of Huskisson, vol. iii. p. 9.) 

Appendix. 271 



The Acts of James the Second's Parliament (A.D. 1689), Note T 
which the English Act of 1690 professed to annul, were 
thirty-five in number. The most important were ' An Act 
declaring that the Parliament of England cannot bind Ire- 
land, and against writs of error and appeals into England ' ; 
the Act repealing the Acts of Settlement and the Attainder 
Act, which are mentioned at pages 46 and 47, supra; Acts 
relating to tithes and provisions for ministers in towns : ' An 
Act for liberty of conscience, and repealing such Acts or 
clauses in any Act of Parliament which are inconsistent with 
the same.' The interference with these Acts principally 
on account of the Act repealing the Act of Settlement and 
of the Attainder Act was, according to Molyneux (Case, ed. 
1719, pp. 63-65), at the solicitation of the banished laity 
those who had fled to England when James landed in Ire- 
land of whom Molyneux was himself one. 

The Act repealing the Act of Settlement reached back to 
the day before the rebellion of 1641 broke into action a 
period of 48 years. Prima facie it would operate on all 
confiscations made in the interval ; but, in consequence of 
restorations made under the Act of Settlement to a large 
number of the original Roman Catholic proprietors who had 
been deprived by the Commonwealth, it practically affected 
only a part. Sir William Petty's calculation of the entire 
confiscations of the Commonwealth and of the mode they 
were dealt with under the Act of Settlement is, that before 
1641 the Roman Catholics and sequestered Protestants had 
5,200,000 acres (Irish measure). These, he says, were 
seized by the usurpers, but the Roman Catholics recovered 
back 2,340,000 like acres. What the new Protestants received, 
and additions to the property of the Church, he estimates at 
2,400,000 like acres. This would leave 460,000, which he de- 
scribes as of 'a more indifferent nature.' Political Anatomy, 
pp. 2-4. Nearly, therefore, two millions and a-half acres 
(Irish measure) would, if the Act repealing the Act of Settle- 

272 Appendix. 

Appendix, merit had been allowed to come into operation, have been 
Note T. taken from those who, in 1 689, were their possessors. For 
the loss to be thus occasioned neither the original grantees, 
nor persons deriving from them by descent, devise, or mar- 
riage, were to receive any compensation ; but purchasers 
were to be, as it was expressed, reprised out of the forfeitures 
expected to be enforced against the adherents of William and 
Mary. The Attainder Act apparently inflicted all the penal- 
ties of High Treason ; but it is probable that its object was 
the same as that of the ' repealing Act' to work out forfeitures 
of landed property, as it was very unlikely that those specified 
in it as subject to its provisions would return to be tried 
before the tribunals appointed for the purpose. (See as to 
the proceedings of this Parliament, Macaulay, Hist., iii. 12; 
Froude, English in Ireland, i., 184; Lecky, Hist., vi. 184; 
Ingram, Two Chapters of Irish History.} 

The Parliament of 1689 was composed almost altogether 
of Roman Catholics. There are said to have been only six 
Protestants in the House of Commons, and this is not unlikely, 
since a person attending would thereby in some degree ac- 
knowledge James's title, and Protestants almost universally 
took William's side. The same House has also been spoken 
of as if its members were almost all of native race ; but this 
seems to me an exaggeration. To judge by the names, less 
than a third would answer that description : the rest are from 
Anglo-Irish families, who did not conform to the religion 
of the State under Henry VIII. and Elizabeth a class more 
numerous than is generally supposed. 


Note U. The language of the Irish Act of Supremacy (2 Eliz. ch. i., 
5.7), which prescribed by whom the Oath of Supremacy was to 
be taken, is not applicable to members of Parliament whether 
Peers or Commoners. And accordingly they took their seats 
without being required to swear it. Thus, in the House of 
Commons of 1613 there were 101 Recusants. In 1661, 

Appendix. 273 

however, that House passed a resolution with the object of Appendix, 
obliging the oath to be taken by its members, but this being Note U. 
only a resolution could not bind future Parliaments ; and 
therefore the English Act (3 W. & M., c. 2, mentioned at 
p. 48, supra) must be regarded as the legal authority which, 
by imposing the new oaths and declarations contained in it 
upon members of the Irish Parliament, first permanently 
excluded persons professing the Roman Catholic religion 
from both Houses of Parliament in Ireland. 


The Act of the English Parliament (10 & 1 1 William III., Note v . 
ch. 10) enacted that no person should directly or indirectly 
export, and ship off from Ireland into any foreign realms, or 
any place or places whatsoever, other than certain specified 
ports within the kingdom of England or dominion of Wales, 
any the wool, wool-fells, &c., cloth, serges, kerseys, &c., or 
any other drapery stuffs or woollen manufacture whatsoever, 
made-up or mixed with wool or wool-flocks, &c. From 
Ireland the export to the permitted ports in England was to 
be only from six ports which were specified. 

The object of this Act was to make wool plenty and there- 
fore cheap in England, by bringing all Irish wool there. 
For the same purpose all exportation of wool from England 
was prohibited. It is not surprising, therefore, that Adam 
Smith should have pronounced the woollen manufacturers of 
England to have been ' more successful than any other class 
of workmen, in persuading the Legislature that the prosperity 
of the nation depended upon the success and extension of 
their particular business.' ( Wealth of Nations, book iv., 
ch. 8.) 

NOTE W, PAGE 101. 

The unpopularity among the people of Scotland outside Note \V 
Parliament of the Union with England seems to me admitted 
by all historians. Smollett describes their resentment as 


274 Appendix. 

Appendix, rising to transports of fury and revenge {History of England, 
Note W. A - D - 1706). Burton says, ' the popular preponderance was 
undoubtedly on the side of the Opposition' {History of Scot- 
land, ed. 1873, vol. viii., p. 140) ; and Sir Walter Scott men- 
tions one fact quite decisive on the point that while the 
table of Parliament was loaded with addresses against Union, 
only one could be procured in its favour from a few persons 
in the Burgh of Ayr ( Works, vol. xxv., p. 80). In the Scottish 
Parliament (which was a convention of estates, Peers and 
Commoners sitting and debating together) the principal sup- 
port of the measure came, according to Burnet, from the 
Peers (Own Time, A.D. 1706). There was, however, a ma- 
jority for it of representatives of counties, and also of repre- 
sentatives of towns. 

The general repute among the Scottish people of actual 
bribery being used to procure support in their Parliament for 
the Union seems to be also admitted by historians. There 
was then an actual distribution of money from England that 
gave a sort of confirmation to rumours, which the prevalent 
discontent was of itself sufficient to account for. Indeed, 
Sir Walter Scott does not hesitate to regard this money as 
' employed to secure to the measures of the Court the party 
called the Squadr6ne Voldnte by which name some Peers 
and Commoners, who acted together, and were able to turn 
the scale either way, were designated' (see Scott's Miscel- 
laneous Works, vol. xxv., pp. 99-102). Burton, however and 
in this he is followed by Earl Stanhope takes a different 
view of the use made of this money. According to him the 
larger part was paid to the Lord High Commissioner for 
expenses, and what was paid direct to individuals was to 
satisfy arrears of salaries then due. (See Burton's History of 
Scotland, ed. 1853, vol. viii., ch. 24. ; and Lord Stanhope's 
History until the Peace of Utrecht, 3rd ed., p. 282.) 

Whether well- or ill-founded, the belief that corrupt means 
were used to carry the Union increased the enmity with 
which the Act was regarded by the Scotch people. The few 
may discriminate between the merits of a political measure 

Appendix. 275 

and the demerits of the means by which it was carried ; but Appendix. 
the many will view the former through the medium of the Note w 
indignant feelings excited by the latter, and pronounce on 
both the same condemnation. 

Until 1745 the discontent which the Union excited con- 
tinued, being fostered by the Jacobites, who held out the 
hope that in case of their success the national Parliament 
might be restored. With the establishment, by the events of 
that time, of the title of the House of Hanover, and of the 
authority of the United Parliament, in Scotland, commenced 
the complete devotion of the energy and enterprise of the 
people to advance its prosperity, undisturbed by any rival 
attraction or interruption. ' The air,' observes Burton, 
' had to be cleared of mischief before men's minds could 
set freely and heartily to the great function of industrial 

NOTE X, PAGE 106. 

The introduction of the system under which the patronage Note X. 
of the Crown was directly used in order to influence votes in 
the Irish Parliament is attributed to Lord Townsend, Lord 
Lieutenant from 1767 to 1772. He substituted it for the 
previous plan of allowing this patronage to be used for the 
same purpose by a few nobles or other persons who pre- 
dominated in Irish society, and were, in return, to secure a 
majority for the measures of Government. Among the papers 
of Lord Harcourt, the Lord Lieutenant who succeeded Lord 
Townsend, is preserved a paper containing a list of the Peers 
and Members of the House of Commons in Ireland, and 
opposite each is an account of the favours asked by him, the 
favours conferred upon him, or on his family, friends, or 
connections, by Government, and of his conduct in Parlia- 
ment. It will be found in a most interesting collection 
of the Harcourt Papers, printed for private circulation by 
Colonel Harcourt, of Nuncham Courtenay, lately M. P. for 
Oxfordshire (vol. x., p. 429). 

T 2 

276 Appendix. 

Appendix. NOTE Y, PAGE 128. 

In 1780 the number of Volunteers was estimated at 42,000 
(seepage no, supra}. In 1782 they had increased, accord- 
ing to the estimate of one of their most influential officers, to 
60,000. The same authority describes them as ' self-raised, 
self-disciplined, self-clothed, self-paid, and for the most part 
self-armed.' (See Dobbs' Speech in the Irish House of 
Commons, Feb. 5, 1800.) 

Lord Buckingham has been blamed for not compelling the 
Volunteers to disband ; but he thought that he could not 
effect this without legislation for the purpose. (See his Letter 
to Lord Weymouth, Dec. 12, 1778, printed in Grattarfs Life, 
vol. i., p. 349.) And such legislation could not have been 
obtained from the Irish Parliament. The leading Peers and 
members of the House of Commons were at the head of 
the Volunteers ; and the House of Commons, to mark its 
approval of their conduct, passed an express vote of thanks 
to them (October, 1780). The British Parliament might 
perhaps have been induced to enact whatever measures 
Ministers suggested. But would its enactment have been 
obeyed ? At that very time, because the Mutiny Act was 
an English statute, its enforcement in Ireland was resisted. 
(See p. 125, supra.} 

NOTE Z, PAGE 130. 

Note Z. Grattan's eloquence was admirably suited for the objects 
upon which he was engaged before 1782. It was eminently 
calculated to awaken enthusiasm. Even the characteristics 
which were attributed to it as defects, its point, antithesis, 
epigram, tended to aid its practical influence by fixing it in 
the memory of those whom he sought to move to action. 
The same may be said of the rhythmical arrangement of his 
sentences, which, as too artificial, has also been objected to. 
' Cujus,' says Cicero of Demosthenes, * non tarn vibrarent 
fnlmina ilia, nisi numeris contorta ferrentur.' 

Appendix. 277 

In the British House of Commons, of which Grattan, after Appendix. 
the Union, was a member, his reputation as an orator was Note Z. 
not less than it had been in the Irish. His genius triumphed 
over the difficulties interposed by a tone of thought and 
sentiment, and a standard of taste in the former assembly, 
entirely different from what he had experienced in the latter. 

A tendency to depreciate Grattan may be observed in 
some writers who have recently discussed the proceedings 
of the Irish Parliament. The wisdom of the measures he 
supported is of course a fair subject for difference of opinion ; 
but can there justly be other than the highest estimate of his 
intellectual and moral excellence ? He entered Parliament 
in 1775, and although without fortune, rank, or any other 
influence than what his abilities and character might create, 
he had, before the close of 1782, obtained for to his advo- 
cacy it was due freedom for the commerce and Parliament 
of Ireland ; and he had achieved this success without using 
any unworthy means whatever. 

On questions of general policy, Grattan belonged to the 
school of political thought which found favour in England 
with the Whig party; but, after the French Revolution, 
he leaned to the opinions rather of Burke than of Fox. 
Thus, in 1794, he supported the policy of war with France; 
and about the same time he accompanied moderate proposals 
for reform of the Irish House of Commons with warnings 
against the democratical views encouraged by the example of 
France. ' We have not,' he observed, ' to seek for a consti- 
tution. . . . We have a monarchy, the best form of government 
for rational and durable liberty. . . . We have to advise and 
limit monarchy, and to exercise legislative power, a Parlia- 
ment, consisting of a senate, without which no country was 
ever temperately or serenely conducted ; and a Commons, 
without which the people cannot be free.' (Irish Debates, vol. 
xiii., p. 14.) 'Transfer,' he said, 'the power of the State to 
those who have nothing in the country, they will afterwards 
transfer the property, and annex it once more to the power 
in their own persons. Give them your power, and they will 
give themselves your property.' (Speech, 4th March, 1794.) 

278 Appendix. 



John Hely Hutchinson, Provost of Trinity College, was in 
1782 Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant. Although he was 
the head of a great educational institution, he had not pur- 
sued an academic career ; on the contrary, he had previously 
been a successful practising barrister, and had attained the 
high rank of Prime Sergeant. He was a most able speaker, 
described as always having something to say which gratified 
the House of Commons. But, insatiable in his demands for 
offices and places, he is now, perhaps, best known by the 
description which Lord North gave of him to George III., 
when, seeing him at his levee, the King inquired who he 
was . . . 'That is a man on whom, if your Majesty were 
pleased to bestow England and Ireland, he would ask the 
Isle of Man for a potato garden.' 


NoteBB. The provision in the statute, passed in 1783 to modify 
Poynings' Act, which required that a Bill introduced in the 
Irish Parliament should, in order to become law, be trans- 
mitted to the King in England, and be thence returned under 
the Great Seal of Great Britain (see p. 136, supra), was after- 
wards, in some instances, used to compel alterations in Bills 
before the Irish Parliament. (See Edinburgh Review, April, 
1866, p. 579-) But this could not have been often, or on 
important questions, since Foster, in 1800, was able to 
describe this restraint as 'theoretic dependence, but prac- 
tical independence.' (Speech, Feb. 17, 1800.) 

It will be observed that the Bill, when transmitted, did not 
come before the British Parliament or the British Privy 
Council. Whether it was 'or was not to be returned under 
the British Great Seal depended upon the decision of the 
Minister in England who had the charge of Irish affairs, 
generally the Secretary of State at the Home Office. Thus 

Appendix. 279 

the legislation of one country was under the control of Appendix. 
the Minister of another. The beneficial working of such a j^ote BB. 
system too much rested upon the moral courage of a single 
individual. To veto what is presented as the demand of a 
nation through their authorised legislative representatives 
involves an amount of responsibility from which most public 
men are certain to shrink. In general they will yield to 
whatever is so demanded, and, when they have yielded, the 
interference of the Parliament of their own country would be 

Of this the history of the Security Act in Scotland affords 
a striking illustration (see page 81, supra}. Its provisions 
were (and deservedly) most unpopular in England. Instead 
of following the English limitations of the Crown, they 
asserted for the Scottish Parliament the right to choose a 
different sovereign : nay, unless certain commercial advan- 
tages were conceded, they compelled such a choice. As a 
menace to England, they directed that the Scotch people 
should be universally drilled and trained to the use of arms. 
Anne, under the advice of Godolphin, gave her assent. When 
it was given, the Act was safe beyond the power of the Bri- 
tish Parliament. Of what use would it then have been to 
put the Lord Treasurer's head in a basket, as Wharton is said 
to have suggested ? 


Before the Act of Union there had been two statutes of XoteCC. 
the Irish Parliament relating to the Crown (i) 33 Henry 
VIII. ch. i (see p. 13, supra), which provided that the King, 
his heirs, and successors, kings of England, should always 
be kings of Ireland. It recited that the King and his pro- 
genitors had always been lords of this land of Ireland, with 
all manner kingly jurisdiction, &c. ; (z) 4 William and Mary, 
ch. i, which, reciting that the kingdom of Ireland was 
annexed and united to the Imperial Crown of England, and 
that after the accession of William and Mary to the Crown of 

280 Appendix. 

Appendix. England they had delivered Ireland from an intestine war, 
Note CC. declared that the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the 
Commons of Ireland in Parliament assembled, did recognise 
and acknowledge that the kingdom of Ireland, and all royal- 
ties, &c., were vested in William and Mary. 


Note BD. A protectionist policy was adopted by the Irish Parliament 
from the time when it obtained freedom of action. Its 
legislation aimed at stimulating both manufactures and agri- 
culture, by bounties to reward exports from, and by duties to 
discourage imports into, Ireland. And, at the time when the 
question of the Union began to be agitated, this was not only 
the policy in operation, but the policy almost universally 
approved in Ireland. That, after an union with Great Britain, 
the existing system could not be maintained, without at least 
extensive modifications, was foreseen : and, accordingly, the 
probability that the protective statutes would be repealed by an 
Imperial Parliament was strongly urged by opponents of the 
Union. And this continued even when the Government had 
introduced into the Articles of Union a special provision to 
continue a number of duties, designed to serve the local 
manufactures, at a reduced rate of io per cent, for twenty 
years. ' All the policy,' said Grattan, ' of nursing our grow- 
ing fabrics, and thereby of improving the industry of the 
country, employing her children, and expending her wealth 
upon her own labour, is now abandoned ; and the language 
of the Union is buy where you can, and as cheap as you can, 
and if the English market be cheaper, resort to that market 
in preference to your own' (Speech, March 19, 1800, and 
compare Foster's Speech, April n, 1799, at page 92 of the 
pamphlet in which it was published: Dublin, 1799). 

How far experience justified the favourable estimates en- 
tertained by Irish statesmen of a protectionist policy may be 
doubted. Grattan, indeed, in the speech I have referred to, 

Appendix. 281 

says that ' manufactures had flourished under the high duties Appendix. 
then in force'; but reasons for at least not implicitly adopting Note DD. 
his statement have been adduced by a high financial autho- 
rity, Spring Rice (Speech in the House of Commons, April 22, 
1834). And with respect to the Corn Laws notwithstanding 
that an Act of 1784, granting bounties on its exports, had 
been followed by a considerable corn trade, and, as a conse- 
quence, by extensive conversion of pasture into tillage, and, 
after a short time, by a rise in rents and in the wages of 
agricultural labourers it may be doubted whether Ireland 
then presented any exception to the ordinary rule that the 
benefit derived from a stimulus of this character is more 
apparent than real temporary, not permanent. (See a 
memorandum of Richard Burke, dated December, 1792, 
in Edmund Burke's Correspondence, vol. iv., p. 48.) 

That, however, there was, during the period when this 
policy was in operation, increased general prosperity in 
Ireland, there is the testimony not merely of Grattan and 
Foster but of Lord Clare. (See his Speech, Feb. 19, 1798, in 
which, assuming the fact of prosperity, he uses it to show 
that Ireland could not be conciliated by concession, her 
' discontent keeping pace with her prosperity.') But if there 
was this prosperity other causes beside the protectionist 
policy contributed to it. Before that policy was introduced, 
before the Irish Parliament had, in 1782, obtained the consti- 
tution which enabled its introduction, the British Parliament 
had conceded to Ireland free trade with the colonies. To 
illustrate the effect of this, the import of sugar in 1781 was 
7000 cwt., but in 1782, 18,000 cwt. Also, previously, 
hindrances to trade with Great Britain had been removed. 
In 1781 the exports from Ireland to Great Britain were esti- 
mated at ,2,180,215, and in 1782 at ^2,699,825. (See 
Grattan's Life, vol. iii., p. 275.) Moreover, nothing con- 
tributed more to Irish prosperity than a rise in the price of 
agricultural produce; and this was taking place quite irrespec- 
tive of any special legislation ; wheat, having been in Great 
Britain, in 1780, \s. $\d. a bushel; in 1794 6j. ; and being 
in 1800 i^s. id. (See Annual Kcgislcr for these years.) 

282 Appendix. 

Appendix. The growth of prosperity among the people in Ireland did 
Note DD. not however, prevent the financial depression of the king- 
dom. Speaking in 1800, Lord Clare did not hesitate to 
assert that they had not ' redemption for three years from 
public bankruptcy, or a burthen of taxation which will sink 
every gentleman of property in the country.' He attributed 
this to the amount borrowed in the previous seven years. 
The National Debt in 1793 was ^2,440, 3 90 ; in 1800 it was 
^25,662,640. (Speech of Lord Clare, Feb. 10, 1800.) 


Note EE. The towns in which, according to Plowden, there were 
free seats were, Dublin, Cork, Carrickfergus, Drogheda, 
Dungannon, Dungarvan, Downpatrick, Lisburn, Londonderry, 
Newry, and Swords. Ross, the editor of the Cornwall's 
Correspondence, seems not to regard Dungarvan, Downpatrick, 
Lisburn, or .Swords, as deserving this character, and to think 
that Limerick did. 

The compensation given at the Union to the persons 
who were found to be the owners of disfranchised boroughs 
enables us to estimate by how small a number of persons 
the seats in them were owned. 164 seats were compensated 
for. All these, with the exception of one (Swords), were 
shown to belong to not more in any instance than four 
owners. The Marquis of Downshire owned seven ; Lord Ely 
six; eight others thirty-two seats ; thirty-nine more (includ- 
ing three bishops) had seventy-eight seats. The whole num- 
ber of compensated owners was less than 150 : these returned 
162 members. Besides, there were the close boroughs, not 
wholly disfranchised, for which no compensation was paid, 
and they each belonged to just as small a number of owners 
as did those which received compensation. There is some 
reason to think that previously the number of owners was even 
smaller. According to Lord Bolton's MSS. (cited by Massy, 
History, vol. iii., p. 264), 126 seats were, in 1784, commanded 


by twenty-five persons; and, according to Grattan, in 1794 Appendix, 
less than ninety persons (he said he believed about forty) Note EE 
returned a majority of the House of Commons. (Speech, 
March 4, 1794.) 


There is preserved a letter, written by Lord Clare while he Note FF. 
was in London conferring with the English ministers re- 
specting the legislation to be proposed in connexion with the 
Union, which very clearly shows that he opposed any intro- 
duction in it of relief for the Catholics. At the conclusion 
he says, . . . ' If I have been in any manner instrumental in 
persuading ministers to bring forward this very important 
measure, unincumbered with a proposition (2'. e. what he 
before calls " the doctrine of emancipation "), which must 
have swamped it, I shall rejoice very much in the pilgrimage 
which I have made.' (Lord Clare to Lord Castlereagh, 
Oct. 16, 1798, Castlereagh Correspondence, vol. i., p. 393.) It 
appears from a letter written, about a week later than this 
letter from Lord Clare, by Elliott, Under-secretary in the 
Irish military department, from London to Lord Castle- 
reagh, that the leaning of the opinion of the Cabinet 
was then against ' extending the privileges of the Catholic 
body at the present conjuncture.' This he attributed partly 
to a fear of embarrassment, which it was supposed might 
accrue from a proposition to alter the test laws in England, 
and partly to apprehension that the government would 
experience difficulty from the prejudices of its Protestant 
friends in Ireland. The latter, he says, he believed to be 
the argument which Lord Clare used, and which, he adds, 
he perceived operated most powerfully on Mr. Pitt's mind. 
(Castlereagh Correspondence, vol. i., p. 404.) How far Lord 
Clare's assertion was well founded, that the measures of 
Government would have been swamped in the Irish Parlia- 
ment, if Pitt, having overcome such difficulties as either the 
disinclination of some of his own colleagues or the con- 
scientious scruples of the King might have interposed in 

284 Appendix. 

Appendix. England, had accompanied Union with Emancipation, it is 
Note FF. difficult to pronounce. Even without this additional difficulty 
the measures of Government, when first brought forward, 
were defeated in the Commons. And in the Lords, where 
their majority in 1799 was only thirty-five, their success very 
much depended on the conduct of the Spiritual Lords 
(twenty-two in number), who (with two exceptions) favoured 
or acquiesced in Union by itself, but would probably (if we 
may judge by their conduct after Union) not have done so 
if it involved admission of the Catholics into Parliament. 


Note GG. The following are the testimonies to Lord Castlereagh's 
capacity for public affairs, referred to in the note on page 201 
supra, as having been given by Sir Robert Peel and Thiers : 
. . . 'You well know,' Sir Robert Peel writes to the third 
Marquis of Londonderry, ' that no vindication of your 
brother's memory was necessary for my satisfaction ; that 
my admiration of his character is too firmly rooted to be 
shaken by criticisms or phrases, and cavils at particular 
acts selected from a long political career. I doubt whether 
any public man (except the Duke of Wellington) who has 
appeared within the last half century possessed that com- 
bination of qualities, intellectual and moral, which would 
have enabled him to effect, under the same circumstances, 
what Lord Londonderry (the title to which Lord Castlereagh 
succeeded in 1821) did effect in regard to the Union with 
Ireland, and to the great political transactions of 1813, 1814, 
and 1815.' (Castlereagh Correspondence, vol. i., p. 130.) 

Thiers' reference to Lord Castlereagh is in his History of 
the Consulate and Empire, vol. xvii., p. 199 : . . . ' Lord Castle- 
reagh issu d'une famille irlandaise ardente et energique, 
portait en lui cette disposition he"rditaire, mais tempe're'e par 
une reason sup6rieure. Esprit droit et pe'ne'trant, caractere 
prudent et ferme, capable tout a la fois de vigueur et de 

Appendix. 285 

menagement, ayant dans ses manieres la simplicite fiere des Appendix. 
Anglais, il 6tait appele a exercer, et il exerca en effet la plus Note GG . 
grande influence.' 


In speaking upon the question of compensation for dis- NoteHH. 
franchised boroughs in 1785, Pitt observed that there was a 
sort of squeamish and maiden coyness about the House in 
talking upon the subject. They were not, he said, ready to 
talk on what, at the same time, it was pretty well understood 
out of doors they had no great objection to negotiate the 
purchase and sale of seats. (Speeches, vol. i., p. 232.) 

It was not until some time had elapsed after the Union that 
the sale of seats was made illegal. At first in the Imperial Par- 
liament they were sold and bought just as they had been in the 
separate Parliaments. In 1807 the Ministry and the Oppo- 
sition competed for such seats as were then in the market ; 
the prices consequently were extremely high. Romilly states 
that Tierney in vain offered ,10,000 for two seats for that 
Parliament, of which trustees for creditors were then dis- 
posing (see Romilly's Diary, vol. ii., p. 206). Some trans- 
actions, which about that time occurred, attracted attention, 
and about two years after (1809) Curwen's Act was passed 
(49 Geo. iii. c. 118), which imposed penalties for corrupt 
agreements for the return of members, whether for money, 
office, or other consideration. Notwithstanding this Act, 
the traffic in seats seems to have continued, but neces- 
sarily secretly. If it was detected, the parties concerned 
were liable (as was pointed out by Lord Campbell in his 
speech on the Reform Bill of 1832) to punishment. Whether 
obeyed or not, the Act altered the position of the owners of 
boroughs. If they derived a revenue from nominating to 
seats, it was an illegal revenue. It was, therefore, from that 
time impossible for them to claim, in case there should be a 
Reform Bill depriving them of their power, compensation for 
the loss of a such revenue. And accordingly the Reform 

286 Appendix. 

Appendix. Bill of 1832 was carried without giving compensation to the 

Note H H owners of disfranchised close boroughs. 

The price of a seat for a Parliament in Ireland was, in 
1775, calculated by Sir John Blaquiere, secretary to the 
Lord Lieutenant, at from 2000 guineas to 2500 (see Har- 
court Correspondence, vol. x., p. 20); in 1795 by Grattan at 
^"3000 (Irish Parl. Debates, xiii., p. 162) ; in the Parliament of 
1797 by Lord Castlereagh at ^1500, seats being then, he 
says, less dear from the number in the market (Castlereagh 
Correspondence, vol. ii., p. 151). The price of a borough was 
in 1797 estimated by Grattan at from /^ 14,000 to /" 16,000. 
(See Dr. Dunbar Ingram's Legislative Union; p. 179.) 

In the first plan of Union it seems to have been intended 
to give but one member to a county, and to have kept a 
larger number of boroughs than were afterwards retained. 
Lord Castlereagh then thought that the pecuniary loss to 
owners of disfranchised boroughs would amount to ^756,000. 
The loss to persons who had paid for their seats for the 
existing Parliament he estimated at .75,000. The loss to 
Dublin, by the non-residence of the gentry, and consequent 
depreciation of house property, he rated at about ^200,000. 
(Castlereagh Correspondence, vol. ii., p. 151.) 


Note 1 1. In a speech in the House of Commons (Feb. i, 1790), 
Grattan stated and he was not in the debate on that occasion 
contradicted that the number of placemen and pensioners 
then sitting in the Irish House of Commons equalled over 
one- half of the whole efficient body. He also then stated 
that besides conferring peerages to reward parliamentary 
support, ministers caused peerages to be in some instances 
granted in return for money contributed to purchase seats in 
the House of Commons for persons recommended by the 
Government. (See also his Speech, Feb. 26, 1790.) 

The habitual use of the patronage of the Crown, for the 
purpose of obtaining a majority of votes in Parliament, is 

Appendix. 287 

admitted by Lord Clare (Speech, Feb. 10, 1800); but, while Appendix, 
admitting the fact, he derived from it an argument against Note XI 
the separate existence of an Irish Parliament. So long as 
that continued, the Government of Great Britain, he urged, 
must, for its own safety, secure ' a permanent and com- 
manding influence of the English Executive, or rather of the 
English Cabinet, in the councils of Ireland.' ' A majority,' 
he proceeded, ' in the Parliament of Great Britain will defeat 
the Minister of the day, but a majority in the Parliament of 
Ireland against the King's Government goes directly to 
separate this kingdom from the British Crown : if it con- 
tinues, separation or war is the inevitable issue, and therefore 
it is that the general Executive of the empire, so far as is 
essential to retain Ireland as a member of it, is completely at 
the mercy of the Irish Parliament ; and it is vain,' he says, 
' to expect, so long as man continues to be a creature of 
passion and interest, that he will not avail himself of the 
critical and difficult situation in which the Executive Govern- 
ment of this kingdom must ever remain under its present 
constitution, to demand the favours of the Crown, not as the 
reward of loyalty and service, but as the stipulated price to be 
paid in advance for the discharge of a public duty.' 


In the letter of Lord Castlereagh to Pitt (Jan. i, 1801), NoteKK. 
referred to at page 212 supra, he says that he, in 1799, repre- 
sented to the Cabinet ' that the resistance of the Catholics to 
the Union would be unanimous and zealous, if they had 
reason to suppose that the sentiments of Ministers would 
remain unchanged in respect of their exclusion.' 

A statement in the same letter which is cited in the fore- 
going reference to it that the efforts of the Irish Government 
were very generally successful in calling forth the Catholics 
in favour of the Union seems to me to be strongly corrobo- 
rated by other evidence. There is no doubt that some of the 

288 Appendix. 

Appendix, most influential of the Roman Catholic Bishops were decidedly 
NoteKK. advocates for the Union. Thus, Dr. Dillon, Archbishop of 
Tuam, expressed his opinion that ' this measure alone can 
restore harmony and happiness to our native country.' 
(Letter to Archbishop Troy, Sept. i, 1799, Castlereagh Cor- 
respondence, vol. ii., p. 387) ; and Dr. Moylan, Bishop of 
Cork, wrote that ' nothing will more effectually tend to lay 
party feuds and dissensions, and restore peace and harmony 
among us, than the great measure in contemplation of the 
legislative Union and incorporation of this kingdom with 
Great Britain.' (Letter to Sir J. Hippesley, Sept. 14, 1799, 
Castlereagh Correspondence, vol. ii., p. 399.) The latter prelate 
considered that at that time ' the measure was working its 
way and daily gaining ground on the public opinion,' and 
he spoke of ' the Roman Catholics as in general avowedly 
favourable to the measure, the South,' he says, 'declaring 
for it.' So also Dr. Troy, Archbishop of Dublin, observed 
that 'the question of the Union was daily gaining ground.' 
' The Catholics,' he added, ' were coming forward in different 
parts in favour of the measure, which the generality of them 
consider as their only protection against a faction seemingly 
intent on their defamation and destruction.' (Letter of 
Archbishop Troy to Mr. Marshall, Oct. 12, 1799, Castlereagh 
Correspondence, vol. ii., p. 420.) With these expressions 
of opinion may be compared addresses from meetings of 
Roman Catholics favourable to the measure. (See Dr. Dunbar 
Ingram's History of the Legislative Union, chap, vi., where the 
question of Catholic support of the Union is investigated 
with much research.) 

With respect to the project of making provision for the 
Roman Catholic clergy, the Irish Ministers seem actually to 
have opened negotiations with the Bishops ; for in January, 
1799, a meeting of Bishops was held ' to deliberate on a pro- 
posal from Government of an independent provision for the 
Roman Catholic clergy,' and a Paper was then drawn up, 
signed by the four Archbishops and by six Bishops, in 
which ' it was admitted that a provision for the Roman 
Catholic clergy of this kingdom, competent and secured, 

Appendix. 289 

ought to be thankfully accepted,' and the regulations, which Appendix. 
it was thought proper should accompany it were laid down. 
(See Grattaris Life, vol. v., p. 57.) Indeed, the Knight of 
Kerry, who was in 1801 employed to reconcile these Bishops 
to delay of a measure of relief, holds that what passed be- 
tween the Irish department and the Bishops amounted to a 
compact. (See letter of Right Hon. Maurice Fitzgerald to 
Sir Robert Peel, cited in the Quarterly Review, vol. Ixxvii., 
p. 247.) 


Upon the motion in the British House of Commons (April Note LL. 
21, 1800, see p. 222, supra] to induce delay in proceeding 
with the Resolutions for Union until the opinion of the Irish 
people could be ascertained, the great numerical prepon- 
derance on the side of the opponents of the Union was 
strongly insisted upon, and this was said to appear clearly from 
the petitions to the Irish Parliament against the measure. In 
the speech of Mr. Grey (afterwards Earl Grey), as it is given 
in the Parliamentary History, he is reported to have stated that 
707,000 signed petitions against it ; but Dr. Dunbar Ingram 
has ascertained from the contemporaneous newspapers in the 
British Museum, that although two newspapers report the 
figure stated as 707,000 ; fourteen others (including the Times 
and the Dublin Sounders' Newsletter) report the figure as 
107,000. (See Dr. Dunbar Ingram's Review of Two Cen- 
turies of Irish History in the Fortnightly Review for February, 
1 889, p. 242.) The latter is more probably the correct report, 
for 707,000 is difficult to reconcile with Lord Castlereagh's 
assertion in his letter to Pitt of the amount of Catholic 
support called forth (see Note KK), or with the degree of 
support generally which he claimed in a speech in the Irish 
House of Commons (February 5, 1800). 

In connection with this subject it deserves to be noted that 
when, for the first time after the Act of Union was passed, 
the Irish county constituencies were enabled to express their 


290 Appendix. 

Appendix, opinions as to the conduct of their members, the following 
Note LL. P ersons w ho, in the red and black lists in which the names 
of those who voted for and against Union were published, 
were held up for condemnation as having voted for the 
Union, and some also, as being placemen and pensioners, 
were yet returned again : M'Naghten for Antrim, Burton for 
Clare, Lord Boyle for Cork, Lord Castlereagh for Down, 
Hon. Richard Trench and Richard Martin for Gal way, 
Knight of Kerry and Crosbie for Kerry, O'Dell for Limerick, 
Newcomen for Longford, Hon. D. Browne for Mayo, Bag- 
well for Tipperary, Rt. Hon. J. Stewart for Tyrone, Rt. Hon. 
J. Beresford for Waterford, Rochfort for Weslmeath, and 
Lord Loftus and Ram for Wexford. 


Note MM. The objections of George III. to permitting Roman 
Catholics to sit in Parliament being founded on the suppo- 
sition that he could not, consistently with the engagements 
he had entered into under the sanction of an oath at his 
coronation, give his assent to this concession, were insuper- 
able. ' The oath,' he said in reply to a letter from Pitt, 
which laid before him reasons for concession ' bound him 
to maintain (what he described as) the fundamental maxims 
on which the Constitution was placed, namely, "that the 
Church of England was the established one, and that those 
who held employment in the State must be members of it." 
He seems to have been under the idea that if he violated 
the oath, such as he interpreted it, the condition on which 
the Crown had been conferred upon the House of Hanover 
was broken. ' If,' he said after reading the Coronation 
Oath to his family ' I violate it, I am no longer Sovereign 
of this country, but it falls to the House of Savoy.'* (See 

* The House of Savoy was prior in the line of descent to the House of 
Hanover. The former was descended from Henrietta, Duchess of Orleans, 
daughter of Charles I. ; the latter from Elizabeth, daughter of James I., 
married to Frederick, Elector Palatine. (See Hallam, Const. Hut. ch. xv.) 

Appendix. 291 

Diaries of Lord Malmesbury, vol. iv., p. 21 ; and the letter Appendix, 
of the King to Pitt, February i, 1801, printed in the Appen- 
dix to Lord Stanhope's Life of Pitt, vol iii., p. 28.) Unfor- 
tunately the King was encouraged in his scruples by one 
whose office gave especial weight to his advice, Lord Lough- 
borough, then the Chancellor of England. It, however, 
appears that others in Pitt's Cabinet beside Lord Lough- 
borough took the same line in 1801, although before Union 
they, as well as Lord Loughborough, had made no objection 
to Lord Cornwallis and Lord Castlereagh negotiating with 
the Irish Catholics on the assumption that the Cabinet were 
favourable to their claims (see p. 212, supra). The other 
dissentients in the Cabinet from Pitt's policy were Lord 
Westmoreland, who had been Lord Lieutenant of Ireland 
from 1790 to 1795; Lord Liverpool, Lord Chatham, and, 
it is said, even the Duke of Portland ; the three first acting 
in conformity with their real sentiments on the question, 
the last on temporary considerations, he himself being, like 
Wyndham, Earl Spencer, and other Whigs, who, with him, 
had joined Pitt, an advocate for yielding to the claims of the 
Catholics. As neither Castlereagh nor Canning were in the 
Cabinet, Pitt's support seems to have been from Lord Gren- 
ville and Dundas, Earl Spencer, and Wyndham. (See as to 
the proceedings in 1801, which led to Pitt's resignation of 
office, Lord Stanhope's Life of Pitt, vol. iii., chap, xxix.) 


In 1799 it was looked upon as a great feat for a messenger Note NN. 
to go to London and return to Dublin in four days and a 
half (Cornwallis Correspondence, vol. iii., p. 100 n.). And 
this seems to have been a then recent improvement in expe- 
dition ; for Lord Cornwallis, writing on 2oth of May in that 
year, says our communication with the Secretary of State is 
now so expeditious, that I last night (Sunday) at ten o'clock 
received an acknowledgment of a letter dated from this lodge 
at twelve o'clock on Wednesday. 

i: 2 

292 Appendix. 

Appendix. For this, however, favourable weather was required, for 
Note NN. Cither storms, or contrary winds, or calms prevented the 
packets crossing to or from Holyhead. A letter from Lord 
Castlereagh of igth November, 1798, took six days to reach 
London (Castlereagk Correspondence, vol. ii., p. 27). On I5th 
December, same year, Cooke writes : ' No packets have sailed 
hence this week, and none have been received these five 
days' (Cos. Cor. ii., p. 44). A letter, written zgth January, 
1799, did not reach London until 4th February, owing, Elliot 
says, to the desperate state of the roads (Cos. Cor. ii., p. 161). 
On one occasion Lord Castlereagh was detained eight days 
at Holyhead before he could cross the sea ' no small pen- 
ance,' he says, describing his detention. (Letter to Rt. Hon. 
J. Beresford, October 17, 1800; Beresford Correspondence, vol. 
ii., p. 251.) 

It is, however, not merely in connection with arrangements 
at the time of the Union, but at all times when considering 
the mode in which the Executive Government of Ireland 
before the Union was administered, that the imperfect 
nature of the communication, whether by letter or in person, 
between London (the seat of Government in England) and 
Ireland is to be kept in mind. In 1685, it was a four days' 
journey from London to Chester. If the traveller, not find- 
ing a ship at Park-gate ready to take him to Ireland, or for 
any other reason, went on to Holyhead, he had to encounter 
one of the worst roads then in the kingdom. According to 
the editor of Dorothy Osborne's Letters, a Lord Lieutenant 
going to Ireland had taken five hours to go from St. Asaph 
to Conway ; then from that to Beaumaris he had to walk, his 
lady being carried in a litter. The same authority also men- 
tions that on some occasions carriages had been taken to 
pieces at Conway and carried to the Menai Straits on the 
peasants' shoulders round the dangerous cliff of Penmaen- 
maur (see the recent edition of these Letters, p. 258). 

In Swift's Journals we have recorded the actual journeys 
which he himself made, going from Dublin to London and 
returning from London to Dublin, in 1710 and 1713 (see 
the Journal to Stella under these dates). On the first occa- 

Appendix. 293 

sion, the voyage to Park-gate took fifteen hours. He rode Appendix. 
from Park-gate to Chester, meeting with a fall but no hurt, Note NN 
'the horse,' he says 'understanding falls, and lying quietly 
till I got up.' In riding from Chester to London he took 
five days, ' weary,' he says, ' the first, almost dead the second, 
tolerable the third, and well enough the rest.' On the second 
occasion he found that the boat from Park-gate had gone, 
and, having no prospect for some time of another ship, he 
determined to proceed from Chester to Holyhead, which he 
calculated would require three days. 

In 1783, Mrs. Delany, writing to induce an English friend 
to pay her a visit in Ireland, described the passage at sea 
(probably from Park-gate) as ' seldom more than 40 hours, 
and often not much more than half that time.' (Letter to 
Mrs. D'Ewes, z8th April, 1753, Life and Correspondence of 
Mrs. Delany, ist ser., vol. iii. 225.) 


In the interval between the Scotch Union and the proposal xote OO. 
of an Irish Union, and a few years before the latter, Black- 
stone's Commentaries had been published. He referred to 
the Union of Scotland with Great Britain, and the jurisdic- 
tion of Parliament to enact it in the following terms : . . . 
' Parliament hath sovereign and uncontrollable authority, and 
is the place where that absolute despotic power, which must 
reside somewhere, is entrusted by the Constitution of this 
kingdom : it can alter the Constitution of the kingdom, and 
of Parliament itself, as was done by the Act of Union.' The 
same high view of the authority of an English Parliament 
was taken so far back as the time of Lord Coke : . . . 
'The power and jurisdiction of Parliament,' he says, 'is so 
transcendent and absolute, as it cannot be confined within 
any bounds' (4th Inst. f. 36). 

So far, indeed, as legal authority, none was cited to cast 
doubt on the Scotch Act of Union, or against the power of 
Parliament. What those who denied its capacity relied on 
was, that in some philosophic writings abstract principles 

294 Appendix. 

Appendix, were laid down inconsistent with it ; while those who argued 
Note OO. ^ or i* cited the dicta of legal authorities as to the English 
Parliament, of which the effect was expressed (as it appears 
to me correctly) by Grant, afterwards Master of the Rolls in 
England, in the following words : ' . . . Parliament is morally 
incompetent to do anything wrong ; but it is legally compe- 
tent to do anything: it may do that which the people at large 
may do for themselves.' 

The precedent of the Scottish Act of Union was entitled 
to the greatest weight, for, as was pointed out by William 
Smith, afterwards Baron of the Irish Court of Exchequer, in 
the argument for the Irish Union which he published as an 
expansion of his speech in the House of Commons (Dublin, 
lygq), more consequences of importance than the junction of 
the kingdoms were to depend upon it, and the question of 
its validity necessarily came before the eminent legal persons 
concerned in the proceedings connected with it. On this 
Act was to depend the title of the House of Hanover to rule 
in Scotland. This it was which constituted the heirs of the 
Princess Sophia sovereigns of the new United Kingdom of 
Great Britain ; but no Act had conferred on them the Crown 
of Scotland as a separate kingdom. Under the Security Act 
this could have been done upon Anne's death, but a Scotch 
Parliament did not then exist. In the line of descent the 
House of Hanover was not next to the Pretender and his issue 
(note, p. 290, supra] ; and the legislation which, in England, 
disqualified those prior, if Roman Catholic, had not been 
enacted in Scotland. The legal persons engaged with the 
Scotch Act of Union were Lord Somers, who, according to 
Burnet (Own Time, vol. iv., p. 137-144), had the chief hand 
in projecting the scheme, and was its advocate in the British 
House of Lords, Chief Justice Holt, and Sir Simon Harcourt 
(afterwards Lord Chancellor), who were both among the 
Commissioners appointed to settle the terms of Union on 
the part of England ; the Scotch Lord President, two Lords 
of Session, and the Lord Justice Clerk, who, on the other 
hand, acted as such Commissioners on the part of Scotland. 
In favour of the capacity of Parliament there were, at the 


time of the Union, the following judicial personages : The Appendix. 
English Chancellor (Lord Lough borough) ; the Irish (Lord N ote QO. 
Clare) ; Chief Justice of Ireland (Lord Kilwarden) ; Chief of 
the Common Pleas in Ireland (Lord Carlton) ; Chief Baron 
of the Exchequer in Ireland (Lord Yelverton). 


The observations of Canning, referred to at p. 237, supra, Note PP. 
are the only notice in debate of the subject to which they 
relate that I have found. They were as follows : . . . 
' What, sir, is the point the most essential to the character of 
a House of Commons ? What is the power and the function 
without which it may, indeed, be a senate, it may be a grave 
and respectable council, it may be an assembly of representa- 
tives of the people, if you will, but it would cease to be a 
House of Commons according to the genuine spirit of the 
British Constitution ? Is it not the power of the purse the 
control preserved over the conduct of the executive Ministers 
of the Crown, by the right of giving or withholding the sup- 
plies necessary for carrying on the business of the Govern- 
ment ? Let us see how the exercise of this characteristic and 
most important right would be secured to the Irish House of 
Commons by a device which, it seems, is one of the main 
expedients proposed as a substitute for an Union a settled 
scale of proportional contribution. I confess I should like 
to see the first meeting of an Irish House of Commons after 
this ingenious security for its independence had been pro- 
vided, and to hear the explanation which must be given by 
some great patriot, who might pique himself upon having 
invented so saving a substitute, to any country Member of 
Parliament who might very reasonably be at a loss to com- 
prehend its operation. Suppose a message from the Throne 
communicating a declaration of war, and supplies to be 
voted in consequence. The country gentleman, conscious of 
his duty as a member of the House of Commons, proud of 
the additional means of discharging it which he might pre- 
sume himself to have acquired by the defeat of the Union, 

29G Appendix. 

Appendix, and the consequent vindication of Irish independence, would 
Note PP. ver >' naturally propose to consider of the causes of the war 
in order to judge of the propriety of granting supplies. lie 
would be stopped, however, by the patriotic member, who 
would tell him, " Sir, your independence does not allow this 
latitude. The Parliament of Great Britain have already voted 
the supplies. We have nothing to do but to follow them." 
" Good" (would the country gentleman answer): " let us pro- 
ceed to consider the quantum of the supplies which we are to 
raise." " You may save yourself that trouble, sir" (would be 
the reply of the great patriot). " In the act of last year, in- 
tituled 'An Act for Vindicating the Independence of the Irish 
Parliament,' you will find that we are bound by the vote of 
the British Parliament not only as to the general question of 
supplies, but as to the quantum. When England votes so 
much, Ireland is understood to have voted so much. This 
was my substitute for the slavish dependence of an Union ; 
this is what we mean by proportional contribution ! " The 
country gentleman would, perhaps, be somewhat surprised at 
this explanation, and would inquire rather anxiously what 
function then it might be that he was come there to exercise. 
" What " (says the patriot): " why, since the establishment of 
our independence our business is to devise the means by 
which the money already voted for us by the Parliament of 
that country, from whose domination we have so happily 
rescued ourselves, is to be raised." Is this, then, the notable 
contrivance by which the dignity and effective power of the 
Parliament of Ireland are to be maintained ? And is it for a 
victory over Union purchased at this price that the Irish Par- 
liament would crown with laurel the brows of the champion 
of its independence? And yet, sir, I defy any man to point 
out to me any other meaning than that which I have ascribed 
to the phrase " proportional contribution "; and I equally 
defy him to show that there would be in the accomplishment 
of an Union anything a thousandth part so degrading and 
destructive to the importance and character and constitution 
of the House of Commons.' {Collected Speeches of Canning, 
vol. i., pp. 220-2.) 



Act of 6 George I., 88 ; repeal of, 133. 

Acts of Union, 224.; accompanied in Ireland by an Act com- 
pensating owners of disfranchised boroughs, 224 ; pro- 
visions of Acts of Union, 225. 

Authors favourable to Union Molyneux, 83 ; Petty, 84 ; 
Adam Smith, 158; Decker, Child, 158; Montesquieu, 


Bolton, Sir Richard, Chancellor of Ireland, his treatise against 
jurisdiction claimed by English Parliament over Ireland, 

31, 54- 

Boroughs disfranchised at Union, compensation for, 224; 
^"7500 allowed for each seat suppressed, 224 ; total 
amount, /'i, 260,000, 224; Pitt intended similar compen- 
sation in his English Reform Bill, 209 ; his reasons for, 
224; Act of Imperial Parliament, (A.D. 1809) making 
sale of seats illegal, App. n. H H ; value of Irish 
boroughs, App. n. H H. 


Calvin's Case, judgment in, favours right of English Parlia- 
ment to make laws for Ireland, 31 ; considered, 67. 

Canning, Right Hon. George, comments on suggestion of 
Parliament with limited powers for Ireland, 237, and 
App. n. PP; his objections to it, 237, 295. 


Clare, Earl of, Chancellor of Ireland, advocates Union from 
about 1793, 1 66 ; his influence, 183; opposes any relief 
to the Catholics in the Act of Union, 150, 183, and 
App. n. FF ; his speech in support of the Union, loth 
Feb., 1800, 219. 

Cashel, Synod of, 12, and App. A. 

Castlereagh, Viscount, afterwards Marquis of Londonderry, 
his conduct of Bill for Union in Irish House of Com- 
mons, 200 ; his character, 200, and App. n. G G. 

Catholic question, 98; comes into prominence in 1792, 164; 
difficulties attending it suggest Union, 164, 177. 

Commercial Propositions, proposed by Pitt in 1785, 150; 
originated with Pirn, a Dublin merchant, 151 ; first set, 
150; objected to in England, 152; second set, 153; 
objected to in Ireland, and withdrawn, 154. 

Commons, House of, mode in which at first constituted, n, 
12; under Queen Elizabeth, 13, 15; under James I., 17; 
from 1692, 97. 

Constitution of 1782, 137; Duke of Portland suggests that 
provisions restrictive of jurisdiction should be added to 
it, 139 ; found that it was impossible to carry them, 140 ; 
and that, if carried, they might not be permanent, 141. 

Convocation, 20, 89. 

Councils were the first legislative assemblies in Ireland, 3 ; 
copied from the English, 4 ; whether Councils under 
Henry II., 3, and App. n. B. 

Council, Privy, 7, and App. E and Q. 

Councils along with Parliaments, 10. 

Counties, 12, 15 ; of Pale, 263. 

Cox, Sir Richard, Lord Chancellor of Ireland in Anne's 
reign ; his reasons for advising Union, 85 n. 

Cornwallis, Marquis, comes to Ireland as Lord Lieutenant, 
181 ; speech to Irish Parliament, 197. 

Crosses, parts of counties so called, 8. 
Crown, Irish statutes relating to, App. C C. 

Index. 299 


Disagreement of British and Irish Parliaments on commercial 

propositions, 154; on the Regency, 160. 
Dissolution, motion for, 220. 
Dundas, Right Hon. Henry, refers to the Scottish Union as 

affording an argument for Irish Union, 157 n. 


English law introduced in Ireland, 5,260. 
Executive continued at Union as before, 228, 292. 


Flood, eminence of, 107. 

Foster, Right Hon. John, Speaker of the Irish House of 
Commons, opposes Union, 199 ; speech against, 202. 


George III. prevents Catholic Emancipation, App. M M. 

Grattan, Right Hon. Henry, advocates commercial freedom, 
iii ; resolution in favour of free trade carried, 112; 
takes up question of legislative independence, 115 ; 
moves resolution asserting it in Irish House of Com- 
mons, igth April, 1780, 116; failure of motion, 117; 
speech on that occasion, 117-123 ; renews the subject, 
22nd February, 1782, 130; speaks again, ibth April, 
1782, 131 ; his terms for Ireland, 132; success, 133; 
eloquence and eminence, App. n. Z. 


Heads of Bills, 38, and App. Q. 

Henry II., whether Councils held by, 3, and App. n. B ; gave 
royal authority in Ireland to John, 55 ; whether con- 
quered Ireland, 68. 

Henry III. confirmed English law in Ireland, 6, and App. 
n. D. 

Hutchinson, Ilely, n. A A of Appendix. 

300 Index. 


James I., his Parliament, 1613, 17, 2b6. 

James II. convened Parliament in Ireland, 1689, 46; Acts of, 

46, and App. n. T; annulled by English Parliament, 46. 
Jebb, Richard, afterwards Justice, writes pamphlet on Union 

question, 234 ; suggests retention of Irish Parliament 

with restrictions, 234. 
John, Council of, 3 ; Acts of, 6, 260. 


Legislative system with restrictions, suggested by Duke of 

Portland in 1782, 139 ; found could not be carried, 140 ; 

see also ' Parliament with limited powers.' 
Lismore, Council of, 12, 258. 

London, difficulty of communicating with, App. n. N N. 
Lords, House of, consisted of Lords Spiritual and Temporal, 

ii ; some Abbots and Priors in, n, 12. 
Lucas, Charles, M.P., of medical profession, agitates against 

right of English Parliament to legislate for Ireland, 100. 


Mayart, Serjeant-at-Law and second Justice of Common Pleas, 
his treatise in support of the legislative authority over 
Ireland of the English Parliament, 54, 62. 

Molyneux, William, M.P., his treatise, published in 1698, 
against the right claimed by the English Parliament to 
make laws for Ireland, 50, 59 ; his treatise condemned 
by English House of Commons, 51. 


Parliament (English) makes laws for Ireland, 25 ; its right 
not admitted by Irish Parliament, 26 ; questioned in legal 
cases, 28-32; affirmed in Calvin's Case, 31 ; attended 
by Irish representatives, 23 ; makes laws for Ireland 
under Commonwealth, 40; includes in 1654 Irish repre- 

Index. 301 

sentatives, 41 ; under Charles II. makes laws for Ireland, 
43 ; also under William and Mary, 46, 48, 52 ; right 
denied in 1641 by Irish Parliament, 36 ; arguments 
against it by Bolton, 55; by Molyneux, 59; arguments 
for the right, by Mayart, 63 ; united with Scottish Par- 
liament, 83 ; statute asserting the right of British Par- 
liament to legislate for Ireland, 6 George I., 88 ; comment 
of Swift, 94 ; the right questioned by Lucas, 99 ; by 
Grattan, 116; resolution proposed against it in 1780 in 
Irish House of Commons fails, 117; Grattan's speech, 
117 ; resolution of Volunteers in 1782 against the right, 
117; statute of George I. repealed, 133; united with 
Irish Parliament, 224. 

Parliament (Irish) preceded by Councils, 3, 5 ; elective 
representation introduced by Wogan in 1295, 7 ; thence- 
forward the legislative assemblies justly called Parlia- 
ments, 7 ; Wogan's Parliament and Kilkenny, 1367, 
App. n. F; character of early Parliaments, 9, and App. 
n. G; natives did not attend them, 10 ; Councils held 
along with Parliaments, 10; two Houses, n; counties 
returning members down to Queen Elizabeth's time, 12 ; 
number at this time, 12 ; Irish admitted to sit in Parlia- 
ment, 33 Henry VIII., 13 ; where Parliaments met, 13 ; 
new counties formed under Elizabeth, 15 ; Perrot's Par- 
liament, 1585, 1 5, and App. n. M; Parliament of James I., 
1613, 17; under Henry W. and VI. claims exclusive 
right to legislate for Ireland, 25, 26; Parliament, 1634, 
34; Parliament, 1640, 35; renews claim of exclusive 
jurisdiction, 36 ; Bolton's treatise on the question before 
House of Lords, 37 ; Poynings' law requires consent of 
English and Irish Privy Councils for legislation, 38 ; held 
not to prevent discussion of ' Heads of Bills,' 39 ; no 
Parliament in Ireland under Commonwealth, 40 ; Par- 
liament of the Restoration, 1660, 42; Parliament of 
James II., 1689, 45; its acts, 46, and App. n. T; nul- 
lified by English Parliament, 46 ; Parliaments under 
William and Mary (1692, 1695), 48, 49; Molyneux asserts 
exclusive jurisdiction of Irish Parliament, 50 ; Parliu- 

302 Index. 

ment under Queen Anne, 84 ; Lords and Commons then 
suggest Union of Ireland with England, 84 ; suggestion 
discouraged, 85 ; Parliament under George I., 97 : under 
George II., 98 ; Parliament managed through the great 
nobles, 98; acts independently as to finance, 99; Oppo- 
sition formed in House of Commons, 103 ; Parliament 
of George III., 1760, 104; octennial Act, 104; Parlia- 
ment of 1768, 1 06 ; patronage directly used to influence 
Parliament, 106, and App. n. X ; improvement in House 
of Commons, 107; its discontent, 109; Parliament and 
the Volunteers, 1 1 1 ; unite to demand free trade, 1 1 1 ; 
resolution for carried in House of Commons, 112; motion 
by Grattan to declare exclusive jurisdiction of the Irish 
Parliament in Ireland, igth April, 1780, 1 16 ; fails, 117 ; 
renewed 22nd February, 1782, 130 ; ultimately conceded, 
133; constitution of 1782, 137; Parliament of 1785, 
146; disagreements of Irish Parliament with British 
(1785 and 1789), 154, 1 60; constitution of, defects in, 
177, 178 ; use of patronage to manage, 211, and n. 1 1 
of Appendix; Parliament of 1799, 197; Lord Lieu- 
tenant's speech to, 197; debate on Union, 198; ma- 
jority against Government on the Address, 198; use of 
patronage, 211 ; proceedings in 1800, 212 ; majority in 
commons for Union, 216; Union enacted, 224; Act of, 
225 ; whether Parliament competent to enact, 229. 

Parliament with limited powers, suggested for Ireland by 
Duke of Portland in 1782, 139; idea abandoned, 140; 
again suggested by Jebb, afterwards Justice Jebb, in 
1798, 234. 

Parliament for Ireland, merely for internal affairs, disapproved 
by Sheridan, 234; scheme not without precedent at that 
time, 236 ; objections made to, 237. 

Patronage, used to manage the Irish Parliament, 98, 106, 
211, notes X and II of Appendix. 

Perrot, Sir John, Deputy under Elizabeth, his Parliament, 
A. D. 1585, 15 ; of whom composed, 15, and App. n. M. 

Pilkington's Case, judgment in, decided against jurisdiction 
of English Parliament to tax Ireland, 28. 

Index. 303 

Pitt, Right Hon. Wm., First Lord of the Treasury, 147; his 
opinion as to position before 1782 of Irish Parliament, 
148; has commercial propositions prepared, 150; letter 
explaining them to Duke of Rutland, January 6, 1785, 
151; in 1792 first begins to favour Union, 164; letter 
to Lord Westmoreland referring to Union, 165 ; not until 
1798 engaged with any measure for Union, 182 ; speech 
for Union, 23rd January, 1799, 182 ; second speech, 3ist 
January, 1799, 131. 

Portland, Duke of, appointed, in 1782, Lord Lieutenant, 131 ; 
his suggestion of restriction on the jurisdiction of the 
Irish Parliament under the Constitution of 1782, 139; 
unable to procure assent to it, 140. 

Portugal, dispute with, in 1782, 162. 

Poynings, Deputy under Henry VII., his law as to Irish Par- 
liament, 14 ; enacts that Irish Bills must be submitted 
to and approved by the English and Irish Privy Coun- 
cils, 14 ; this provision when enacted desired by Irish 
Parliament, 14; another law of Poynings makes the 
English statutes to its date law in Ireland, 31 ; his 
first law repealed and new provisions substituted in 

Protectionist policy of Irish Parliament, 176, 280. 


Regency, question of, 1789, 160; disagreement of Irish and 

British Parliaments on, 160. 
Reform of House of Commons, difficulties hindering, 178. 


Scotland had Parliament of its own, 77 ; Union with Eng- 

land, 83 ; circumstances out of which Union arose, 80 ; 

Union at first unpopular, App. n. W ; prosperity after 

Union, 157. 
Sheridan, leads the opposition to the Irish Union in the 

English House of Commons, 186; speech against, 187; 

opposed to having an Irish Parliament merely for in- 

ternal affairs, 235. 

304 Index. 

Swift, comes forward against English commercial laws, 92 ; 
publishes, in 1724, the Drapier's Letters against Wood's 
coinage, 24 ; writes against general ascendency of Eng- 
land, 94 ; his letters prosecuted, 95 ; failure of the pro- 
secution, 96. 


Union of Ireland with England, in 1672, approved by Sir Wm. 
Petty, 83; in 1698 by Molyneux, 83; with Great Bri- 
tain, suggested in 1707 by Irish Parliament, 84; not 
encouraged in England, 85 ; unpopular then in Ireland 
outside Parliament, 86 ; again suggested about 1785, 155 ; 
reasons which, after that time, began to recommend 
Union, 136-166; hindrances and aids to, 171-180; in 
1798 this policy adopted by Ministers, 182 ; Bill for pre- 
pared in 1798, 182 ; proceedings for in 1799, 185 ; in 
1800,215; carried, 224. 


Volunteers, in 1778, organized, 109 ; progress of the orga- 
nization, 128 ; number of, &c., App. n. Y ; meeting and 
resolutions of at Dungannon, 129. 


Waterford Merchants, Case of, decisions in, as to jurisdiction 

of English Parliament in Ireland, 28, 30. 
Wool, export of, except to England, prohibited, 52, 273. 
Wogan, Sir John, Deputy, Parliament convened by, A.D. 

1295, 7, and App. n. F : in his Parliaments members 

first elected from the counties and towns, 7 ; sent from 

outside Pale, 263 ; Pale in 1515, 263. 


Printed by POXSOXBY AND WELDRICK, Dublin. 


nm which it was borrowed ^