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to our public spirit. If you reflect an instant, you will perceive that our subordinate situation necessarily prevents the formation of any party among us, like those you have in England, composed of persons acting upon certain principles, and pledged to support each other. I am willing to allow you that your exertions are directed by public spirit; but if those exertions did not lead to power, you must acknowledge that it is probable they would not be made, or, if made, that they would not be of much use. The object of a party in England is either to obtain power for themselves, or to take it from those who are in possession of it-they may do this from the purest motivs, and with the truest regard for the public good, but still you must allow that power is a very tempting object, the hopes of obtaining it no small incentive to their exertions, and the consequences of success to the individuals of which the party is composed, no small strengthening to the bands which unite them together. Now, if you were to expect similar parties to be formed in Ireland, you would exact of us more virtue than is necessary for yourselves. From the peculiar situation of this country it is impossible that the exertions of any party here can ever lead to power. Here then is one very tempting object placed out of our reach, and, with it, all those looked-for consequences to individuals, which, with you, induce them to pledge themselves to each other; so that nothing but poor public spirit would be left to keep our Irish party together, and consequently a greater degree of disinterestedness would be necessary in them, than is requisite in one of your English parties.
"That no party exertion here can ever lead to power is obvious when you reflect, that we have in fact no Irish government; all power here being lodged in a branch of the English government, we have no cabinet, no administration of our own, no great offices of state, every office we have is merely ministerial, it confers no power but that of giving advice, which may or may not be followed by the Chief Governor. As all power, therefore, is lodged solely in the English government, of which the Irish is only a branch, it
necessarily follows that no exertion of any party here could ever lead to power, unless they overturned the English government in this country, or unless the efforts of such a party in the Irish House of Commons could overturn the British administration in England, and the leaders of it get into their places; the first, you will allow, would not be a very wise object, and the latter you must acknowledge to be impossible.
"Upon the same principle, it would be found very difficult to form a party in this country which should co-operate with any particular party in England, and consent to stand or fall with them. The great leading interests in this kingdom are of course strongly averse to forming any such connections on your side of the water, as it would tend to create a fluctuation in the affairs of this country, that would destroy all their consequence; and, as to the personal friends which a party in England may possibly have in this country, they must in the nature of things be few in number, and consequently could only injure themselves by following the fortunes of a party in England, without being able to render that party the smallest service. And, at all events, to such persons this could be nothing but a losing game. It would be, to refuse to avail themselves of their connections or talents in order to obtain office or honours, and to rest all their pretensions upon the success of a party in another kingdom, to which success they could not in the smallest degree contribute. You will admit that to a party in England, no friends on this side of the water would be worth having who did not possess connections or talents; and if they did possess these, they must of course force themselves into station, let the government of this country be in whose hands it may, and that upon a much more permanent footing than if they were connected with a party in England. What therefore could they gain by such a connection? nothing but the virtue of self-denial, in continuing out of office as long as their friends. were so, the chance of coming in, when their friends obtained power, and only the chance, for there are interests in this country which must not be offended; and the certainty of
going out whenever their friends in England should be dismissed. So that they would exchange the certainty of station upon a permanent footing acquired by their own efforts, connections or talents, for the chance of station upon a most precarious footing, in which they would be placed in the insignificant predicament of doing nothing for themselves, and resting their hopes and ambition upon the labours of others.
"In addition to what I have said respecting the consequences of the subordinate situation of this country, you are to take into consideration how peculiarly its inhabitants are circumstanced. Two out of three millions are Roman Catholics-I believe the proportion is still larger-and two-thirds of the remainder are violent rank Presbyterians, who have always been, but most particularly of late, strongly averse to all government placed in the hands of the members of the church of England; nine-tenths of the property, the landed property of the country I mean, is in the possession of the latter. You will readily conceive how much these circumstances must give persons of property in this kingdom a leaning towards government; how necessarily they must make them apprehensive for themselves, placed between such potent enemies; and how naturally it must make them look up to English government, in whatever hands it may be, for that strength and support, which the smallness of their numbers prevents their finding among themselves; and consequently you will equally perceive that those political or party principles which create such serious differences among you in England, are matters of small importance to the persons of landed property in this country, when compared with the necessity of their having the constant support of an English government. Here, my dear Dick, is a very long answer to a very few lines in your postscript. But I could not avoid boring you on the subject, when you say that we are all so void of principle that we cannot enter into your situation.'
"I have received with the greatest pleasure the accounts of the very considerable figure you have made this sessions in the House of Commons. As I have no doubt but that your Parliament will be dissolved, God send you success a
second time at Stafford, and the same to your friend at Westminster. I will not forgive you if you do not give me the first intelligence of both those events. I shall say nothing to you on the subject of your English politics, only that I feel myself much more partial to one side of the question than, in my present situation, it would be of any use to me to avow. I am the happiest domestic man in the world, and am in daily expectation of an addition to that happiness, and own that a home, which I never leave without regret, nor return to without delight, has somewhat abated my passion for politics, and that warmth I once felt about public questions. But it has not abated the warmth of my private friendships; it has not abated my regard for Fitzpatrick, my anxiety for you, and the warmth of my wishes for the success of your friends, considering them as such.-I beg my love to Mrs. Sheridan and Tom, and am, dear Dick,
"Most affectionately yours,
With respect to the Bill for the better government of India, which Mr. Pitt substituted for that of his defeated rival, its provisions are now, from long experience, so familiarly known, that it would be superfluous to dwell upon either their merits or defects.* The two important points in which it differed from the measure of Mr. Fox were, in leaving the management of their commercial concerns still in the hands of the Company, and in making the Crown the virtual depositary of Indian patronaget, instead of suffering it to be
Three of the principal provisions were copied from the Propositions of Lord North in 1781-in allusion to which Mr. Powys said of the measure, that "it was the voice of Jacob, but the hand of Esau."
"Mr. Pitt's Bill continues the form of the Company's government, and professes to leave the patronage under certain conditions, and the commerce without condition, in the hands of the Company; but places all matters relating to the civil and military government and revenues in the hands of six Commissioners, to be nominated and appointed by His Majesty, under the title of Commissioners of the Affairs of India,' which Board of Commissioners is invested with the superintendence and controul over all the British territorial possessions in the East Indies, and over the affairs
diverted into the channels of the Whig interest,-never, perhaps, to find its way back again. In which of these directions such an accession of power might, with least mischief to the Constitution, be bestowed, having the experience only of the use made of it on one side, we cannot, with any certainty, pretend to determine. One obvious result of this transfer of India to the Crown has been that smoothness so remarkable in the movements of the system ever since—that easy and noiseless play of its machinery, which the lubri cating contact of Influence alone could give, and which was wholly unknown in Indian policy, till brought thus by Mr. Pitt under ministerial controul. When we consider the stormy course of Eastern politics before that period-the enquiries, the exposures, the arraignments that took placethe constant hunt after Indian delinquency, in which Ministers joined no less keenly than the Opposition-and then compare all this with the tranquillity that has reigned, since the halcyon incubation of the Board of Controul over the the waters, though we may allow the full share that actual reform and a better system of government may claim in this change, there is still but too much of it to be attributed to causes of a less elevated nature, to the natural abatement of the watchfulness of the minister, over affairs no longer in the hands of others, and to that power of Influence, which, both at home and abroad, is the great and ensuring bond of tranquillity, and, like the Chain of Silence mentioned in old Irish poetry, binds all that come within its reach in the same hushing spell of compromise and repose.
It was about this time that, in the course of an altercation with Mr. Rolle, the member for Devonshire, Mr. Sheridan took the opportunity of disavowing any share in the political
of the United Company of Merchants trading thereto.' ”— Comparative Statement of the Two Bills, read from his place by Mr. Sheridan, on the Discussion of the Declaratory Acts in 1788, and afterwards published.
In another part of this Statement he says, "The present Board of Controul have, under Mr. Pitt's Bill, usurped those very imperial prerogatives from the Crown, which were falsely said to have been given to the new Board of Directors under Mr. Fox's Bill."