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your legislative rights to the French council of five hundred? Are you competent to transfer them to the British parliament? I answer, no. When you transfer you abdicate, and the great original trust reverts to the people from whom it issued. Yourselves you may extinguish, but parliament you cannot extinguish-it is enthroned in the hearts of the people-it is enshrined in the sanctuary of the constitution-it is immortal as the island which it protects-as well might the frantic suicide hope that the act which destroys his miserable body should extinguish his eternal soul. Again, I therefore warn you, do not dare to lay your hands on the constitution; it is above your power. Sir, I do not say that the parliament and the people, by mutual consent and co-operation, may not change the form of the constitution. Whenever such a case arises it must be decided on its own merits-but that is not this case. If government considers this a season peculiarly fitted for experiments on the constitution, they may call on the people. I ask you, are you ready to do so? Are you ready to abide the event of such an appeal? What is it you must in that event submit to the people? Not this particular project, for if you dissolve the present form of government, they become free to choose any other you fling them to the fury of the tempest-you must call on them to unhouse themselves of the established constitution, and to fashion to themselves another. I ask again, is this the time for an experiment of that nature?
Thank God, the people have manifested no such wish-so far as they have spoken, their voice is decidedly against this daring innovation. You know that no voice has been uttered in its favor, and you cannot be infatuated enough to take confidence from the silence which prevails in some parts of the kingdom; if you knew how to appreciate that silence, it is more formidable than the most clamorous opposition-you may be rived and shivered by the lightning before you hear the
peal of the thunder! But, sir, we are told we should discuss this question with calmness and composure. I am called on to surrender my birthright and my honor, and I am told I should be calm, composed. National pride! Independence of our country! These, we are told by the minister, are only vulgar topics fitted for the meridian of the mob, but unworthy to be mentioned in such an enlightened assembly as this; they are trinkets and gewgaws, fit to catch the fancy of childish and unthinking people like you sir, or like your predecessor in that chair, but utterly unworthy the consideration of this house, or of the matured understanding of the noble lord who condescends to instruct it! Gracious God! we see a PERRY re-ascending from the tomb and raising his awful voice to warn us against the surrender of our freedom, and we see that the proud and virtuous feelings which warmed the breast of that aged and venerable man, are only calculated to excite the contempt of this young philosopher, who has been transplanted from the nursery to the cabinet to outrage the feelings and understanding of the country.
FURTHER CONTINUATION OF THE ARGUMENT.
Mr. Speaker-Let me ask you, how was the rebellion of 1798 put down? By the zeal and loyalty of the gentlemen of Ireland rallying around-what? a reed shaken by the winds? a wretched apology for a minister who neither knew how to give or where to seek protection? No-but round the laws and constitution and independence of the country. What were the affections and motives that called us into action? To protect our families, our properties and our liberties. What were the antipathies by which we were excited? Our abhorrence of French principles and French ambition. What was it to us that France was a republic? I rather
rejoiced when I saw the ancient despotism of France put down. What was it to us that she dethroned her monarch? I admired the virtue and wept for the sufferings of the man, but as a nation it affected us not. The reason I took up arms, and am ready still to bear them against France, is because she intruded herself upon our domestic concerns-because, with the rights of man and the love of freedom on her tongue, I see that she has the lust of dominion in her heart-because, wherever she has placed her foot she has erected her throne, and that to be her friend or her ally is to be her tributary or her slave.
Let me ask, is the present conduct of the British minister calculated to augment or to transfer the antipathy we have felt against that country. Sir, I will be bold to say, that licentious and impious France, in all the unrestrained excesses which anarchy and atheism have given birth to, has not committed a more insidious act against her enemy than is now attempted by the professed champion of civilized Europe against a friend and an ally in the hour of her calamity and distress-at a moment when our country is filled with British troopswhen the loyal men of Ireland are fatigued with their exertions to put down rebellion-efforts in which they had succeeded before these troops arrived-whilst our Habeas Corpus Act is suspended—whilst trials by court martial are carrying on in many parts of the kingdomwhilst the people are taught to think that they have no right to meet or deliberate, and whilst the great body of them are so palsied by their fears, and worn down by their exertions, that even the vital question is scarcely able to rouse them from their lethargy-at a moment when we are distracted by domestic dissensions-dissensions artfully kept alive as the pretext for our present subjugation and the instrument of our future thraldom!! These are the circumstances in which the English government seeks to merge the national legislature of Ireland in her own.
Sir, I thank the administration for attempting this measure. They are, without intending it, putting an end to our dissentions-through this black cloud which they have collected over us, I see the light breaking in upon this unfortunate country. They have composed our dissension-not by fomenting the embers of a lingering and subdued rebellion-not by halooing the Protestant against the Catholic and the Catholic against the Protestant-not by committing the north against the south, -not by inconsistent appeals to local or to party prejudices-no-but by the avowal of this atrocious conspiracy against the liberties of Ireland, they have subdued every petty and subordinate distinction. They have united every rank and description of men by the pressure of this grand and momentous subject, and I tell them that they will see every honest and independent man in Ireland rally round her constitution and merge every consideration in his opposition to this ungenerous and odious measure. For my own part, I will resist it to the last gasp of my existence, and with the last drop of my blood; and when I feel the hour of my dissolution approaching, I will, like the father of Hannibal, take my children to the altar, and swear them to eternal hostility against the invaders of their country's freedom.Sir, I shall not detain you by pursuing this question through the topics which it so abundantly offers. I should be proud to think my name might be handed to posterity in the same roll with those disinterested patriots who have successfully resisted the enemies of their country-successfully I trust it will be-in all events I have my "exceeding great reward"—I shall bear in my heart the consciousness of having done my duty, and in the hour of death I shall not be haunted by the reflection of having basely sold, or meanly abandoned, the liberties of my native land. Can every man who gives his vote on the other side, this night lay his hand upon his heart and make the same declaration? I hope soit will be well for his own peace-the indignation and
abhorrence of his countrymen will not accompany him through life, and the curses of his children will not follow him to his grave.
REPLY OF MR. PITT, (THE LATE EARL OF CHATHAM,) TO THE CHARGE OF YOUTHFUL INEXPERIENCE, AND THEATRICAL ANIMATION.
This illustrious father of English Oratory, having expressed himself, in the House of Commons, with his accustomed energy, in opposition to one of the measures then in agitation, his speech produced an answer from Mr. WALPOLE, who, in the course of it, said, "Formidable sounds, and furious declamation, confident assertions, and lofty periods, may affect the young and inexperienced; and perhaps the honorable gentleman may have contracted his habits of oratory by conversing more with those of his own age, than with such as have had more opportunities of acquiring knowledge, and more successful methods of communicating their sentiments." And he made use of some expressions, such as vehemence of gesture, theatrical emotion, &c., applying them to Mr. PITT's manner of speaking. As soon as Mr. WALPOLE sat down, Mr. PITT got up and replied:
The atrocious crime of being a young man, which the honorable gentleman has, with such spirit and decency charged upon me, I shall neither attempt to palliate nor deny but content myself with wishing-that I may be one of those whose follies cease with their youth; and not of that number who are ignorant in spite of experience. Whether youth can be imputed to any man as a reproach, I will not assume the province of determining-but surely, age may become justly contemptible, if the opportunities which it brings have passed away without improvement, and vice appears to