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new cabinet coalition took place in July, (a coalition which I sincerely lament) I hoped that this good at least would arise from it, that the corrupt administration of Ireland would be reformed, that effectual remedies would be applied to inveterate abufes, and that as much would be gained to liberty there, as seemed to be lost to it here. It was upon the point of being gained, when, unhappily, things took a different turn. I defy the most stubtorn advocate to deny, that the present irritated state of Ireland is owing solely to ministers-no matter whether here or there no matter whether to the right honorable gentleman [Mr. Pitt] the duke of PORTLAND, or Earl FITZWILLIAM ; though I myself have no doubt as to which of them it is owing. A lord lieutenant was sent over, popular from his personal character, and more so, as connected with a part of the ministry here supposed to be favorable to the wishes and claims of Ireland. He arrived : he received into his confidence men to whom the people had long looked: he opened his plan : he was idolized, and to such a degree as to make the people join with him in the cry of war. He called upon them for support, and promised the emancipation of the catholics." [Mr. Pitt intimated across the table that it was not so.] Mr. Fox proceeded thus" He did promise the complete emancipation of the Catholics in Ireland ; in whatever manner it was understood, or misunderstood in the British cabinet, such was the fact in Ireland. The people saw his measures ; they saw the men whom he selected to conduct them; and although he dismissed not quite so many as they could have wished of those whom they had long regarded with detestation, they were satisfied. He called for supplies, in confidence of the promised reform of abuses: as it was the character of the nation to be more generous than prudent, large supplies
were granted before hand. Having given all, the cup was dashed from their lips; their eager and excited hopes were blasted; and even the favorite friend of ministers was recalled, whose character was worth that of the whole cabinet-whose character had given popularity to the whole ministry, because it obtained it the credit of being pure; and whom to gain they had thought a greater prize than all their new allies. I shall probably be told that earl FITZWILLIAM went beyond his instructions, and suffered measures to be brought forward for which he had no authority. To this I answer, that I do not believe it. But of what moment is it whether ministers here or Earl FITZWILLIAM were to blame ? The danger from the irritation of Ireland is the same; and if the House should now refuse to inquire into the circumstances, they make themselves responsible for the dismemberment of that kingdom. I entertain a great partiality for earl F1TZWILLIAM. Whenever the matter shall be investigated, I am persuaded that the noble earl's conduct in the business will be found to have been such as that of all his life had been. But this, though a source of much private satisfaction, is no reason why the House should not go into the inquiry. The Catholics are three-fourths of the population of Ireland ;--but the Catholics are no longer a party. The only parties in Ireland the possessors of a few places against the Irish nation. As far as I have heard, the Proteftants and the Catholics are entirely united. Since the ye
year 1793, they have had only one common interest against the abuses and corruption of government. I do not apprehend any separation of Catholics from Protestants : what I apprehend is the alienation of the whole Irish nation from the English government. Many people may think, that, because the constitution of Ireland consists of
King, Lords, and Commons, each of these three branches is exactly like the branch of the same name in this coun, try ; but they differ in many important respects. Many people may think, that since the year 1793, the Catholics have suffered no persecutions or exclusions; those who think so are much misinformed. But, putting all this
, aside, does not what has lately passed afford strong ground for discontent, and call upon this House to inquire, and, even, if necessary, to punish. If ministers here are to blame, let them be punished ; or, if Earl FITZWILLIAM in Ireland has been madly running after popularity, by offering what he had not powers to grant, let him be punished. But if, on the other hand, it shall appear, that the noble Earl has been trified with, and shuffled out of his measures and his situation, what punishment is due to those who have been the authors or instruments of this double dealing ? Let the House therefore inquire ; for, upon the existence of danger there can be na difference of opinion, whatever difference there may be with respect to its magnitude,"
“Mr. Fox now anticipated the answer usually made to such motions as his, namely, that the ultimate object of inquiry being the removal of ministers, why not at once move for their removal ? His reason for not doing so was, because in such a state as that to which they had brought the nation, inquiry into their conduct ought to precede a motion for their removal : although he would not affect to disguise, that, if the inquiry were gone into, a motion for their removal must follow. He then made a few remarks on the folly, weakness, and indecision of ministry. They had never declared whether they were making war for France or upon France. Just so had been their con. duct towards Ireland. They had never spoken distinctly to either. They were cases in which one would imagine
a minister must think it for his interest to be clearly understood; but men never get the better of their nature. It was not from any want of words, or choice of expression that the right honorable gentleman [Mr. Pitt) could not speak intelligibly: he was misunderstood by the House, and by his own particular friends : he employed the gift of words, not like other men, for the sake of being more distinct, but for the purpose of being misunderstood : even his new associates in the cabinet did not understand him: of him it might be said, as of a great man of ancient times, in rebus politicis, nihil simplex, nihil apertum, nihil sincerum. Mr. Fox turning from these strictures to the main object of his speech, brought the whole to the following very plain, but forcible and impressive close : “Should the House agree to go into the inquiry, they will prove that they really are affected by the interest of their constituents ; if they resolve to go on, without knowing who are our allies, or whether we have
any, there will be too much reason for saying, that our constitution is gone. In either case I shall derive from having made the motion, the satisfaction of shewing, that there are men in the House who believe the situation of the country to be such as it really is, and who would do every thing in their power to avert the consequences but too much to be apprehended.--He concluded with stating his motion in the usual manner."
Mr. Pirt rose the instant Mr. Fox sat down.
He said, “ he would not follow the right honorable gentleman at length, through all the various points which he had selected for discussion, in a very long and certainly one of the most eloquent speeches ever delivered in that House. He would not argue them then, because, with one single exception, they had been repeatedly investigated and decided upon in that House in the course of
the present and last session. He would not argue then then, because he was convinced that all the topics had been brought forward upon this occasion for the sole purpose of introducing the great and real object, which the right honorable gentleman had in view, viz. the present situation of the kingdom of Ireland, which he had rested on as a separate and substantive ground of inquiry. Leaving, therefore, for the present, all the various other points of the right honorable gentleman's speech, which had certainly been discussed with great ability, and which he should allude to cursorily by-and-by, he would confine himself to that part of it which related to Ireland; and he hoped to convince the House, and he would begin with stating, that in his judgment, that very state. ment which was urged as a ground for going into a committee, was, upon every principle of policy, the strongest reason to induce the House to negative the motion. It was with much reluctance that he felt himself bound to say any thing upon the subject. Independent of the delicacy which he must feel in discussing in the English House of Commons points so intimately connected with the internal state of Ireland, and consequently more pro. perly cognizable in the parliament of that kingdom, which had an independent legislature of its own, it could not but be obvious to every gentleman, that he must feel extremely cautious in making declarations upon this subject. He did not mean to deny, that there was much reason to regret some occurrences which had happened in Ireland ; but he would boldly, positively, and unequivocally assert, that if this affair should be fully investigated, it would appear to the House and to the kingdom, that none of the embarrassments which might happen in that country, could in any degree be attributed to His Majesty's servants here. He would not then enter into