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may unite the Protestant interest in excluding messenger from Lord Sydney the official comthe Catholics from any share in the representa- munication of the unanimous opinion of the tion or the government of the country.'
cabinet on the subject of the important settle
ment to be proposed as final and conclusive beNeither on parliamentary reform, nor on tween Great Britain and Ireland. The objects the contribution to be expected from Ire- have been considered with all possible attention; land in return for commercial advantages, and though minuter inquiry may still be necesdid the Duke of Rutland take altogether sary, with regard to some few points included the same view as his friend in Downing the general principles on which they rest, that
in the propositions, we are so fully satisfied with Street. Mr. Pitt accordingly reverts to they are without hesitation transmiited to your both questions. Of reform in parliament Grace, as containing the substance of a system he writes (October 8, 1784):
from which it appears wholly impossible for us
to depart. I am confirmed by the opinion of Mr. •What I venture to suggest for your consid- Foster* and Mr. Beresford, as well as Mr. Orde, eration is, whether it be possible for you to gain that the complete liberty and equality in matany authentic knowledge (without committing ters of trade which will by this plan be given to yourselt') of the extent of ihe numbers who are Ireland ought to give the fullest satisfaction on really zealous for reforin, and of the ideas that that subject; and if that opinion is enforced and would content them. By all I hear accidentally, supported by all the arguments it admits, and the Protestant reformers are alarmed at the pre- vigorous exertions used to circulate it, I trust tensions of the Catholics, and for that very rea: has been imagined in obtaining from Ireland
your Grace will meet with less difficulty than son would stop very short of the extreme speculative notions of universal suffrage. Could those measures on their part which are indisthere be any way of your confidentially sound- pensable to accompany it, in order to make the ing Lord Charlemont without any danger from advantage reciprocal, and of course to make the the consequences ?'
system either consistent or durable. I am not And again (December 4, 1784):
sanguine enough to suppose that any plan could
at once be accepted with universal approbation. • Parliamentary reform, I am still sure, after No great settlement of this extent was ever carconsidering all you have stated, must sooner or ried without meeting some, perhaps, strong oblater be carried in both countries. If it is well jections, and without requiring much managedone, the sooner the better. I will write to you, ment and perseverance to accomplish it: but by as early an opportunity as I can, the full re- these will, I am sure, not be wanting on your sult of all my reflections on the subject. For part; and considering the strength of governGod's sake, do not persuade yourself, in the ment in parliament, and all the circumstances mean time, that the measure, if properly man of the country, it is impossible to believe that aged, and separated from every ingredient of your friends and supporters should have really faction (which I believe it may be), is inconsis- any hesitation, if they once understand, what tent with either the dignity or the tranquillity they must know sooner or later, that the settleand facility of government. On the contrary, I ment between the two kingdoms, and of course believe they ultimately depend upon it. And if the giving tranquillity to Ireland, and security to such a setilement is practicable, it is the only any interest they have at stake, must turn on system worth the hazard and trouble which be- this fundamental and essential point, of recilongs to every system that can be thought of. procity in the final compact to be now formed. I write in great haste, and under a strong im- | If the point is secured 'in parliament, which I pression of ihese sentiments. You will perceive cannot allow myself to doubt, I do not appreibat this is merely a confidential and personal hend much additional clamour or discontent communication between you and myself, and without doors. It will be difficult for malice therefore I need add no apology for stating so and faction to find many topics calculated to plainly what is floating in my mind on these catch the mind of the public, if the nature of subjects.
the measure is fairly stated, and sufficiently ex
plained in its true light. To the contribution which was expected
• I am unwilling to trouble you at present from Ireland in return for commercial ad- very much at length, and have myself little
time to spare; but yet I have the success of vantages, Mr. Pitt applies himself in several letters before the meeting of parlia- every personal and public feeling, knowing that
this whole arrangement so much at heart, from ment with great warmth and earnestness. your credit and my own are equally concerned The longest of these letters we shall here with the interest of both countries, and the insert, without any apology for its length, future prosperity of the empire, that you will, since, notwithstanding the haste with which, I am sure, forgive me, if I call your attention as the postscript mentions, it was written, more particularly to what strikes me as the
true state of what it is which we propose to we think that the reader will
agree when we call it a masterly argument :
give, and what we require in return. If it ap
pears to you in the same light as it does to me, • Mr. Pitt to the Duke of Rutland. *[Secret.)
* The Right Hon. John Foster, afterwards Lord • Downing Street, Jan. 6, 1785.
Oriel, was at the time Speaker of the Irish House * My dear Duke,–You will receive by the of Commons.
I trust you will feel the impossibility of our is not to have her own trade fettered and rereconciling our minds to waive so essential an stricted, she can have no claim to any share object. I assure you there is scarce a man beyond what we please to give her in the trade whom I have here consulted who does not feel of our colonies. They belong (unless by favour it at least as strongly as I do.
or by compact we make it otherwise) erclu• The general tenour of our propositions not sively to this country. The suffering Ireland to only gives a full equality to Ireland, but ex. send anything to those colonies, or to bring anytends that principle to many points where it thing directly from thence, is itself a favour; would be easy to have urged just exceptions, and is a deviation, too, for the sake of favour to and in many other points possibly turns the Ireland, from the general and almost uniform scale in her favour, at a risk, perhaps a remoie policy of all nations with regard to the trade of one, of considerable local disadvantages to many their colonies. But the present claim of Ireland great interests of this country. I do not say has gone further : it is not merely to carry prothat in practice I apprehend the effect on our duce thither, or to bring it from thence, but it is trade and manufactures will be such as it will to supply us, through Ireland, with the produce perhaps be industriously represented; but I am of our own colonies, in prejudice, as far as it persuaded (whatever may be the event) that, goes, of the direct trade between those colonies by the additions now proposed to former con- and this country. Can it be said that Ireland cessions, we open to Ireland the chance of a has any right to have the liberty of thus carrycompetition with ourselves on terms of more ing for us, because we have the liberty of carrythan equality, and we give her advantages ing for them, unless the colonies with whom which make it impossible she should ever have the irade subsists are as much their colonies as anything to fear from the jealousy or restrictive they are ours? It may be true that the favour policy of this country in future. Such an ar- granted by former concessions in this respect is rangement is defensible only on the idea of in some measure compensated by their securing relinquishing local prejudices and partial ad- in favour of our colonies a monopoly of their vantages, in order to consult uniformly and consumption ; though it may well be doubted without distinction the general benefit of the whether on any possible supposition they could empire. This cannot be done but by making be supplied from the colonies of any other counEngland and Ireland one country in effect, try on terms of similar indulgence. But the though for local concerns under distinct legisla- liberty to be now given stands on a separate tures; one in the communication of advantages, ground, and is a mere and absolute favour, if and of course in the participation of burdens. If ever there was anything that could be called their unity is broken, or rendered absolutely so. It is a sacrifice, too, which cannot fail to precarious, in either of these points, the system be magnified here, even beyond its true value, is defective, and there is an end to the whole. as a departure from the principles of the Act of
• The two capital points are, the construction Navigation, which has been so long idolized in of the Navigation Act, and the system of duties this country. But what I principally state ibis on the importation into either country of the for is to prove the liberal and conciliating spirit manufactures of the other. With regard to the which induces us 10 agree to the proposal. I Navigation Act, it has been claimed by the do not wish to exaggerate its probable effects. advocates for Ireland as a matter of justice, on I do not expect that in practice it will materially the ground that the same act of parliament interfere with the trade of this country; but it must bear the same construction in its operation is unquestionably true that, even though we on Ireland as on Great Britain. Even on the should not immediately lose by it, yet Ireland narrow ground of mere construction, it may well will be considerably benefited, by opening so be argued as at least doubtful whether the pro- near a market, which will encourage her mer. visoes in the act of 14th and 15th C. II. (by chants to a freer speculation, and enable them which it was in effect adopted by authority of to avail themselves more than they have the Irish parliament) do not plainly do away bitherto done of the
advantages they are already that restriction on imports of colony produce possessed of. Some persons here may, perhaps, from England to Ireland which is not done even apprehend that the liberty of supplying away by any proviso or otherwise with regard to our market may gradually enable them to lay the same importation from Ireland into England. in a stock for the supply of other markets also, On such a supposition it might be very consis- which perhaps they could not do otherwise ; tent that the Act of Navigation should be en- and if that should be the effect, not only they forced here (as it was by subsequent acts of will be gainers, but we shall he losers in the parliament) in its original strictness, and in Ire- same proportion. On the whole, however, I land with those exceptions in favour of colony am fully reconciled to the measure, because, produce imported from hence which the provi- even supposing it not to produce these effects, it soes I allude to seem to have admitted; and must be remembered that it is a liberty which the practice of more than a hundred years has Ireland has strongly solicited, and on which she been conformable to this distinction. But this appears to sel a high value. As such, it is the is on the mere point of construction. The ques- strongest proof of cordiality to grant it, in spite tion is, pot merely what has been or ought to of prevailing and perhaps formidable prejudices; be the construction of the existing law, but what and in truth it establishes in favour of Ireland is really fair in the relative situation of the two so intimate a connexion and so equal a participacountries. Here, I think, it is universally al- tion with this country, even in those points where lowed, that, however just the claim of Ireland we have the fullest right to exclusive advan. tage, that it gives them an interest in the pro- | What is it, then, that can reconcile this country tection of our colonies and the support of our to such concessions, under these circumstances ? trade equal in proportion to our own.
It is perhaps true that with regard to some of 'I come now to the system of duties between the articles of manufacture there are particular the two countries; and here, too, I think Ireland considerations which make the danger to us less has not less reason to be satisfied and to be grate than it might be imagined. In the great artiful. By lowering our duties to the standard of cle of the woollen, if we confine the raw maIreland, we put her in possession of absolute terial to ourselves, and let Ireland do the same, equality, on the face of the arrangement; but I perhaps the produce of Ireland, and what she think in truth we put her in possession of some- can import from other places, can never enable thing more. If, however, it were bare equality, her to supplant us to a great extent in this artiwe are departing, in order to effect it, from the cle. This undoubtedly must be our policy, and policy of prohibiting duties so long established it makes part of the resolutions proposed : it in this country. In doing so we are perhaps to can never, in my opinion, be thought any excepencounter the prejudices of our manufacturing tion to the general freedom of trade, nor do I [interest] in every corner of the kingdom. We believe any man could seriously entertain any are admitting to this competition a country expectation of the contrary line being adopted. whose labour is cheap, and whose resources are If each country is at liberty to make the most unexhausted; ourselves burdened with accumu- of its own natural advantages, it could not be lated taxes, which are felt in the price of every supposed that we should part with a material necessary of life, and of course enter into the indispensable to our staple manufacture. If cost of every article of manufacture. It is, in- there is any other similar prohibition on the exdeed, stated on the other hand, that Ireland has port of raw material now in force in Ireland, it neither the skill, the industry, nor the capital of would be equally fair that it should be continthis country; but it is difficult to assign any ued; but, on the other hand, it is essential that good reason why she should not gradually, with no new one should be hereafter imposed in such strong encouragement, imitate and rival | either country, as this part of the system should, us in both the former, and in both more rapidly like the rest, be finally settled, and not left open from time as she grows possessed of a large to future discussion. But this consideration afcapital, which, with all the temptations for it, | fects only the particular article of woollen. may perhaps to some degree be transferred to The fundamental principle, and the only one on her from hence, but which will at all events be which the whole plan can be justified, is that I increased if her commerce receives any exten- mentioned in the beginning of my letter-that sion, and will as it increases necessarily extend for the future the two countries will be to the that commerce still farther. But there is most essential purposes united. On this ground another important consideration which makes the wealth and prosperity of the whole is the the system of duties more favourable to Ireland object; from what local sources they arise is than she could expect on the ground of perfect indifferent. We trust to various circumstances equality. It is this: although the duties taken in believing that no branch of trade or manuseparately on the importation of each article facture will shift so suddenly as not to allow will be the same in the two countries, it is to be time, in every instance as it arises, for the indusremembered, that there are some articles which try of this country gradually to take another may pass from one to the other perfectly free; direction; and confident that there will be marconsequently, if the articles which in the actual kets sufficient to exercise the industry of both state of the trade we are able to send to Ireland countries, to whatever pitch either can carry it, are those which pay some duty, if the articles we are not afraid in this liberal view to encourwhich she principally sends to us are articles age a competition which will ultimately prove which pay no duty, can anything be plainer for the common benefit of the empire, by giving than that, although upon each article taken sep- to each country the possession of whatever arately there is an appearance of impartiality branch of trade or article of manufacture it is and equality, the result of the whole is mani- best adapted to, and therefore likely to carry on festly to a great degree more favourable to Ire- with the most advantage. These are the ideas land than lo this country?
I entertain of what we give to Ireland, and of • The case I have just stated will actually ex- the principles on which it is given. ist with regard to the woollen and linen trades. • The unavoidable consequence of these prinWe send you a considerable quantity of wool- ciples brings me back to ihat which I set out len, subject to some duty; you send us linen to with-the indispensable necessity of some fixed an immense amount, subject to none.
This sin- mode of contribution on the part of Ireland, in gle circumstance of the linen would have been proportion to her growing means, to the general a fair and full answer (even without any reduc-defence. That in fact she ought to contribute in tion of duties on the import of other articles) to that proportion I have never heard any man the clamour for protecting duties. The whole question as a principle. Indeed without that amount of the British manufacture which Ire-expectation the conduct of this country would land actually takes from England, under a low be an example of rashness and folly not to be duty, and on which she has threatened prohibi- paralleled. But we are desired to content ourtory duties, does not amount to so much as the selves with the strongest general pledge that single article of linen, which we are content to can be obtained of the intention of Ireland, take from you, under no duty at all. I have without requiring anything specific at present. stated all this to show that this part of the ar-I must fairly say that such a measure neither rangement is in the same spirit with the other. I can nor ought to give satisfaction. In the first
place, it is making everything take place imme- self than give anything towards lightening ours. diately on our part, and leaving everything un- Indeed, if this were argued, it would be an ar. certain on that of Ireland, which would render gument, not against this particular mode of the whole system so lame and imperfect as to contributing, but against any contribution at all. be totally indefensible. It would reserve this For if Ireland were to contribute voluntarily essential point as a perpetual source of jealous from time to time, at the discretion of her Pardiscussion, and that even in time of peace, liament, it would, if the contribution were real when, with no objects to encourage exertion, and effectual, equally prevent any diminution of men will be much more disposed to object than her own burdens ;-only the mode and the proto give liberally; and we should have nothing portion would be neither so certain nor so satisbut a vague and perhaps a fallacious hope, in factory. It is to be remembered that the very answer to the clamours and apprehensions of increase supposed to arise in the hereditary reall the descriptions of men who lose, or think venue cannot arise without a similar increase they lose, by the arrangement. If it is indis in many articles of the additional taxes; consepensable, therefore, that the contribution should quently, from that circumstance alone, though be in some degree ascertained at present, it is they part with the future increase of their hereequally clear, on the other hand, that the quan- ditary revenue, their income will be upon the tum of it must not be fixed to any stated sum, whole increased, without imposing any addiwhich of necessity would either be too great at tional burdens. On the whole, therefore, if present, or in a little time hence too small
. The Ireland allows that she ought ever in time of only thing that seems reasonable is to appro- peace to contribute at all, on which it is impospriate a certain fund towards supporting the ge- sible to frame a doubt, I can conceive no plausineral expenses of the empire in time of peace, ble objection to the particular mode proposed. and leave it, as it must be left, to the zeal of • I recollect but two or three topics that have Ireland to provide for extraordinary emergencies been suggested as likely to be urged by those in time of war as they arise. The fund which who wish to create difficulties. The first, if it seems the best, and indeed the only one that has applies at all, applies as an argument against been pointed out for this purpose, is the heredi- any contribution of any sort. It is that the tary revenue. Though the effect will not be wealth of Ireland is brought by absentees to be immediate, our object will be attained if the spent in this country. In the first place, the future surplus of this revenue beyond its present amount of this is indefinite, and the idea, I be produce, estimated at the medium of the four lieve, greatly overrated. What this country or five last years, is applied in the manner we gains by it I am sure is small. The way in wish. Such a fund, from the nature of the ar- which it must be supposed to injure Ireland is, ticles of which it is composed, must have a di- by diminishing the capital in the country, and rect relation to the wealth, the commerce, and by obstructing civilisation and improvement. If population of Ireland. It will increase with this is true, what follows? Thai the effect of their extension, and cannot even begin to exist this, as far as it operates to prevent the increase without it. Towards this country it will be of trade and riches, will prevent also the exmore acceptable than a much larger contribution istence or the increase of the fund on which the in any other way, because, if in fact the com- contribution is to depend. Therefore this argumerce of Ireland should be increased at our ex- ment, giving it its utmost weight, does not afpense by our manufactures and trade being fect the particular plan in question. Besides transferred in any degree thither, the compensa- this, Ireland in its present state bears this evil, tion will arise in the same proportion. It has and under these circumstances supports her this further inestimable advantage, from being present burden. If she grows richer, will she fixed according to a standard which will apply not be able to support, out of that additional to all the future circumstances of the two coun- wealth, some addition of burden, at least, withtries, that it will, from the very permanence of out any increase of hardship or difficulty? But the principle, tend to unite them more closely if Ireland states the wealth we are supposed to and firmly to each other. In Ireland, it cannot draw from her by absentees on one hand, we escape consideration, that this is a contribution may state what she draws from us by comnot given beforehand for uncertain expectations, merce on the other. Look at the trade between but which can only follow the actual possession Great Britain and Ireland, and see how large a and enjoyment of the benefits in return for proportion of what we take from her is the prowhich it is given. If Ireland does not grow duce of her soil or the manufactures of her inricher and more populous she will by this habitants (which are the great sources of nascheme contribute nothing. If she does grow tional riches). How small, comparatively, the richer by the participation of our trade, surely proportion of similar articles which she takes she ought to contribuie, and the measure of that from us. The consequence is obvious, that she contribution cannot, with equal justice, be fixed is in this respect clearly more benefited than in any other proportion. It can never be con- we are by the intercourse between us. tended that the increase of the hereditary reve- • The other topic is, that it is impolitic and nue ought to be left to Ireland as the means of odious that this arrangement should have the gradually diminishing her other taxes, unless it appearance of a bargain, and such an idea will can be argued that the whole of what Ireland render it unpopular with the public. If a now pays is a greater burden in proportion than permanent system is to be seitled by the the whole of what is paid by this country, and authority of two distinct legislatures, I do not that therefore she ought, even if she grows know what there is more odious in a bargain richer, rather to diminish that burden on her between them than in a treaty between two
separate crowns. If the bargain is unfair, if themselves. Ireland, therefore, will have the the terms of it are not for mutual benefit, it is same security that we have against any misnot calculated for the situation of two countries application, and she will have the less reason connected as Great Britain and Ireland ought to be jealous on the subject, because we have to be. But it is of the essence of such a settle- a common interest with her, and to a still ment (whatever name is to be given to it) that greater extent, in the service which it is inboth the advantage and the obligation should be tended to support; and if any deficiency arises reciprocal; one cannot be so without the other. from mismanagement it will (according to this This reciprocity, whether it is or is not to be arrangement) fall, not upon them, but upon us, called a bargain, is an inherent and necessary to make it good. part of the new system to be established be. "I have no more to add. I have troubled iween the two countries. In the relations of you with all this from an extreme anxiety to Great Britain with Ireland there can subsist but put you in possession of all that occurs to me two possible principles of connexion. The one on one of the most interesting subjects that can that which is exploded, of total subordination in occupy our attention in the course of our lives. Ireland, and of restrictions on her commerce for You will, I am sure, forgive my wearying you the benefit of this country, which was by this with so much detail. I release you from it, in means enabled to bear the whole burden of the the persuasion that you will feel how much deempire; the other is, what is now proposed to pends upon this crisis for both countries, and in be confirmed and completed, that of an equal the certainty that your exertions, and those of participation of all commercial advantages, and your friends, will be proportioned to its importsome proportion of the charge of protecting the ance. I will only add, that difficulties may be general interest. If Ireland is at all connected started at first, but I think they must vanish on with this country, and to remain a member of discussion. At all events, believe me, my dear the empire, she must make her option between Duke, it is indispensable to us all, and to the these two principles, and she has wisely and public, that they should be overcome. By adjustly made it for the latter. But if she does dress and dexterity in the management of the think this system for her advantage as well as business, and above all, by firmness and resoluours, and if she sets any value either on the tion to succeed, I have no doubt that it will be confirmation and security of what has been found both possible and easy, I shall then given her, or on the possession of what is now have to congratulate you on your having the within her reach, she can attain neither without happiness to accomplish a scheme which may performing on her part what both reason and lay the foundation of lasting tranquillity and justice entitle us to expect.
reviving prosperity to both countries. • The only remaining consideration is, for
"I am ever, what service this contribution shall be granted, and in what manner it shall be applied. This
* with constant affection and attachment, seems a question of little difficulty. The great
• My dear Dake,
• Your faithful and sincere friend, advantage that Ireland will derive is, from the equal participation of our trade, and of the
• W. Pitt. benefits derived from our colonies. Nothing, • Downing Street, Friday, Jan, 7, 1785, therefore, is so natural as that she should con
'l past 12, P.M. tribute to the support of the navy, on which the protection of both depends. For the rest,
• I need hardly tell you that I am obliged to it seems only necessary to provide some proper send you these sheets as they are, without the mode of ascertaining to the Parliament of Ire- leisure either to copy or revise them.' land that the surplus is annually paid over, to be applied with other monies voied here for The commercial propositions, as is well naval services, and to be accounted for, toge- known, did not prosper in the Irish Parther with them, to the Parliament of this coun- liament. On the 4th of July, 1785, the try. There can be but one navy for the empire Duke of Rutland reportsat large, and it must be administered by the executive power in this country. The particulars of the administration of it cannot be under
*I have seen Mr. Grattan, but found him im. the control of anything but the Parliament of practicable in a degree scarcely credible. I dethis country. This principle, on the fullest
sired to be apprised of his objections, and stated consideration, seems one which must be held my reliance on your disposition to inodify, as far sacred. Nothing else can also prevent the as candour could require, those parts which supreme executive power, and with it the force were deemed exceptionable in Ireland; but his of the empire, being distracted into different ideas of objection were such as to render them channels, and its energy and effect being con- could admit nothing which intrenched on old
He said that he
impossible to be obviated. sequently lost. As the sum to be received in this manner from Ireland can never be more settlements; that it seemed an attempt to re
sume in than a part (I fear a small one) of the whole
peace concessions granted in war; that naval expense, as its amount from time to time rendering the fourth proposition conditional was will be notorious, and as it will go in diminu- of but little avail; that everything should be tion of the supplies to be granted here, the Par- left to national faith, and nothing covenanted." liament of this country will have both the means and the inducement to watch its expen
But the final blow, it will be seen, was diture as narrowly as if it was granted by struck in the month of August.