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The liberty of this country has indeed been asserted by the inhabitants, but has received no adequate acknowledgment on the part of his Majesty ; on the contrary, his Excellency's confidential Secretary did, on the part of the government, officially, from a written paper, declare, that he oppo!ed the introduction of the Irish Mutiny Bill upon the principle, " that he conceived it unnecessary-that the English Ac extended to Ireland ;” also his Majelly's AttorneyGeneral did assert, that the British Parliament could bind Ireland. Likewise his Excellency, just before the arrival of the Irish Bill, ordered the troops to change quarters, guarding by a cotemporary comment against whatever the Bill might import in favour of our liberty. Also che Post office is kept up in this country without seeking an Irish act, contrary to an express engagement; and though I know very well, that it has no legal existence, yet it affects to Itand upon British fiarute,
After such declarations and such acts of government. (the name of Ireland exhibited in the British Mutiny Act) during the fubfiftence of the conreft, with the example of America before us, to arm the chief magistrate, or rather, indeed, tó arm che claims of the British Parliament, with a perpetual law for the regulation and accomada. tion of any indefinite number of troops his Majesty is pleased to keep up in Ireland, appears to me a measure of an unwarrantable and un seasonable, corrupt and a crazy confidence.
• I must observe, that the army thus rendered by your law unconfined in its numbers, and by the same law made independent of Parliament for its regulation, however brave and respectable, is not a native army, but of that very country which claims to make law for Ireland's also I must observe, that the Minister, who in fact governs that army, is the Britih Minifter, not responsible to your Parliament, nor resident in your country : so that now by this pernicious bill, this Minister, a foreign and contemptuous character, in a safe and diftant capacity, free from the controul of an 'expirable authority, may send into this country any number of troops which the return of hís pride may require, or the collected strength of the empire at the close of the war shall be able to furnish; and he may billet them upon you in execution of any project of power, or avarice, or revenge, to collect a British tax, or disperse an Irish Association, or trample on an Irish spirit; and the people of this country have the morriacation to think, that they may by their own law, a law grafted' on their best exertion“, be obliged to billet and accommodate troops quartered upon them for their destruction : or though his Majesty's miniilers may not chuse to come to extremity, yet may they gradually and at their leisure, armed wi:h our law, and encouraged by our humiliation, raise new regiments, a measure both of corruption and force; or throw into this kingdom such a body of troops as may break her fpiri', watch her motions, controul her free action, and finally make those who before thought it expedient to deny, foon think it inexpedient to resist, the usurped authority of the British Rarliament. -I say, the Minitter may do this at his leisure, and build by degrees a system of tyranny on the foundation of our own law,- Princes could not destroy liberty by force, if they had not obotained that force bý law; nor was any nation ever enslaved, who might not have found in herself the efficient causes of her own servi
tude : her laws become a suggestion to the tyrant. The principle of political death is laid by the false guardians of public liberty ; indeed, from the critical fituarion of this kingdom, fo Atriking is the danger that a Mutiny Bill for eighteen months was an act of confi. dence justified by necessity only, that the Minilter would not have abused that confidence is more than probable. Limitation of period changes the nature and softens the exercise of power: before an attempt could be brought to bear, before a sufficient number of forces could be conveniently collected, or before they could be ready for action, the act which kept them together might expire, and the crown in the attempt lose its revival : despotism would have wanted a root; the law in ihis case (and the wisdom of a free people can do no more than take the best chance for their liberty, and multiply difficulties on those who should invade it, instead of making the palfage easy and natural); the law, I say, in this case would stand in the way of the early encroachment; the apprehension of this would deter the attempt; the army is prevented from flying off for ever from the law, by periodically touching the sphere of the Constitution. England has found a limited Mutiny Bill innoxious, but would not liften to a perpetual one. In fact, Mariny Bills are limited on the fame principle as Money Bills; both are certain to be renewed; but on the return to the people of the powers which both include, the purse and the sword, depends whatever of limitation is annexed to prerogative, or of privilege is annexed to parliament,'
He then anticipates the consequences of this perpetual Irish Mutiny Bill to both countries, in the following (train :
• And while I speak of the liberties of Ireland diminished by this perpetual law, I cannot overlook those of England considerably exposed by it, exposed by a law which, in the neighbourhood of the British nation, forms a military government, establishes an unconftitutional prerogative, and erects a place of arms; so that hereafter, if the British Parliament should attempt to controul a military Prince by the power which he conceives is reserved by her annual Mutiny Bill, her intention may be frustrated by our law, the British troops illegal in England may be removed to Ireland, and kept up here againit her: the limitation of her law is repealed in the perpetual duration of ours, its purpose lost, and this island formed into an immense bar. sack, to accommodate the military ambition of some King in his de. fiance of the Britih nation, in the unconfitutional continuation and violent application of his army. The British nation has thought her liberty in danger, if the King by his own authority in peace could keep up an army on one side the channel: will the think her liberty fafe if he can do of his own authority the very same thing on the other? It was not the intention of the Irish nation to endanger the conftitution of England; no, our object was to controul her usurpation and secure her liberty.'
All this is cogent reasoning, if the premises are well founded, and as Mr. Grattan is a member of the Irish legislature, and of course well knew the arguments by which the Mutiny Bill there was freed from restriction, as well as the opposition made to this circumstance; we doubt not they enjoyed the full
benefit of his admonitions in due time. How the scale preponderated against his judgment, reits with them; but we apprehend he is not well warranted in the following assertion, that the Irish Parliament has in this instance exceeded its powers :
• I conceive that Parliaments are neither eternal nor omnipotent; their powers are not original, but delegated, and their delegacion is to act within the frame of the constitution, not 10 alter, still less coi destroy it. I therefore conceive, that a perpetual Mutiny Bill is beyond the power of Parliament, inasmuch as it creates in the Crown a perpetual legislative authority distinct from, and totally independent of the constitutional legislature of the realm: and I do imagine, that Parliament might, with as much regard for the principles of the Confticution, and more regard for its safety, have moulded a committee. of eiiber House of Parliament, for certain great purposes, into a dif. tinct fovereign legislature, and have armed that committee with a perpetual power, as transfer the same power to ane man. I also conceive, that Parliament has exceeded its authority, not only in making one eflate, and that the chief magistrate (who, by the genius of the Confticution, has but a negative in the formation of laws), with respect to the army in all cases not affecting life or limb, a perpetual legislature ; but in divesting for ever, itself and the people, of a great portion of their legillative authority: the House of commons is but your truftee; according to the nature of a trust, it is to exercise, not alienate, your power. A perpetual Mutiny Bill is not merely an act of pains and penalties; it is not merely a law of regulation, but a solid grant of vaf and summary powers from the nation ar large to the crown; and a perpetual Mutiny Bill is a perpetual alienation of the powers of the kingdom at large by octennial trustees, incompetent to alien for ever, whether we consider the nature, of their truft, or the limited period of their existence. It is therefore, I say, that in ftri& conftitution the present Mutiny Bill expires with the present Parliament; and the Crown lawyers are called upon and defied to support this measure on any ground, by any argument drawn from any legal fource, from practice or principle, the power of Parliament, the maxims of the Constitution, or the example of former time,'
This challenge is boldly advanced, but may it not be easily answered both on principle and practice ? Every law may be said to have a perpetual existence until it is altered or repealed; but the power that enacts, is fully competent to such alterations or abrogations. If the laws made by any elective body of legislature, are presumed to be limited to the duration of legislative power in the hands of a particular set of men at any given period of time, and to expire with such delegation, the principle. proves too much, and is contrary to fact : for it proves, that at the expiration of a parliament, all laws, all revenue, all military force, in brief, all legal institutions whatever, muft also expire ! Of course, that there is a total cessation from all government, an interval of absolute anarchy, until civil inftitutions are revived by a new Parliament. Which is a pofitive sentence of felo de se against the conftitution !
Independent of the merits of the Irish Mutiny Act, the fol. lowing passage contains a masterly representation of the fatal, but filent and quiet operations of a standing army:
• I have heard it said, that the Mutiny Bill is safe, because the King will not make a direct attack upon the rights of his people; but there are other ways of invading liberty befides open and direct hoMility: great powers given to the crown, such as we have given; a perpetual and encreasing revenue, with a law to collect it of eventual perperuity, accompanied with the perpetual and unbounded power of the sword, may in a course of time make the chief magistrate so very strong, that the subject will be afraid to oppose him : in such a posture of ftrength and weakness a nation capitulates without a blow, all her throng polts are taken, revenue, army, purse, and sword,The question don't come to a trial; they who would not make a confitutional resistance to the first encroachment, will not be called upon to make a treacherous stand against the last act of power ; their country will never know how little such men are to be depended a pon : the King in such a case need not resort to arms; his solid #rength operates without being put forth, and is an occult cause in Buencing and depreffing the motions and spirit of Parliament and people : the subject feels at a distance an accumulated weight of power coming against him, and by instinct retires.
• What else was it which until 1779 made the people of Ireland, with all the privileges of the British nation, afraid to resort to the be. nefit of their own laws?' What, but an evident fuperior strength arrayed againit them? What else was it which in 1779 made the Parliament and people struggle for their birthright? What, but that occult cause, a conscious Itrength, an inward security, an armed people? This surprising change never came io a contest, the nation recovered her liberty with as much tranquillity as the had lost
The volunteers never attempted force: no, but they stood by, giving a filent confidence to liberty, as an independent army ; if incre volunteers disperse, they will give a filent confidence to poivre
· Nor is liberty only endangered by the sudden irruption and filent growth of pover, but by the fears and resentment of corruption, when the venal man trembles for his safety, and is inflamed at his own infamy, and hating and hateful to his country, disables her refenement by dellroying her liberty; for savery, like death, approaches in many thapes, and should be guarded againit io all.
• A measure unconftitutional and corrupt may be adopted by Pare , liament, at a time when the expectation, pull, and spirit of the nation are high. Inflamed at such a conduct, the people may fall into a violent method of expresling a jult indignation, and may disclaim that majority which asiented to a measure conceived to be destructive. This majority, or many of them, loft in public estimation, conscious of public deceitation, supported by public money, afraid of respon, fibility, carele's of liberty, thocked at popular enormities, and fuil of an arittocratic impatience of the growih and consequence of the people, may apply to the crown for protection and revenge. And thus a vezal les of men, protti:uted for hire and furious for punishmčat, who ai finit only meant a corrupt vote, having once kindled
the people, fortify themselves by an accumulation of crimes, and having given the King an unconsitutional power for money, give him absolute power for protection ; the political degrees are natural and rapid ; from perished principle to execrated character, and so on to the last act of despotism and despair, the headlong tribe precipitate, and avenge the reputation they have lost, upon the liberties they have left.'
After charging Lord Buckinghamshire with the odium of this Mutiny Act, which places the army in Ireland under Irith law (for, notwithstanding what Mr. G. fays to the contrary, the British Mutiny Act is not now to extend to that country, nor are separate Mutiny Ads for each a novelty); he adds, . But though the concluding part of his administration is exceptionable, the period for which he suffers in the cabinet is to be admired, not censured. He saw this kingdom threatened by a foreign enemy, and felt the incapacity of the state to defend her,-- -he therefore distributed arms among the people to see cure the Irish nation to the British Crown.' The Writes indeed frequently refers to the arms thus 'put into the hands of the Irish, to inforce his arguments against the power of the British Parliament: and totally out of conceit with Parliaments, both British and Irish, concludes with a bold, direct appeal to the Armed Associations, in a ftile that will scarcely admit a milder interpretation than the impulses of a turbulent spirit.
But if the fairness and integrity required in private transactions are not absolutely disclaimed in the conduct of nations, a very plain question arises from the language used by this Irish patriot. In an hour of apprehension, the British Viceroy frankly distributed arms to the people for their defence against a foreign enemy: is it a grateful, or even a just return to menace the British government with those very arms; and to declare, we will now new model the alliance between us @icording to our own supreme pleasure, or
When we reflect on the recent grateful terms with which the Irish Parliament received the late commercial advantages extended to that country; it is much to be lamented that some aspiring incendiaries should be found, so loit to all regard for the true interests of their country, as to endeavour to fir up the dying embers of popular jealousies and discontents; and by invidious representations, heightened by declamatory ingenuity, Jabour to oppose the returns of cordiality and good humour be. tween two nations so naturally allied ! Unless an absolute exemption from all government, is to be understood under the term liberty, the unrestrained freedom of discullion peculiar to these nations, and exercised with so liccle reserve by the Writer now before us, is the strongest refutation that can be produced of the acrimonious charges of tyrannic usurpation with which he so confidently upbraids the government !