British Colonial Developments, 1774-1834

By Vincent Harlow; Frederick Madden | Go to book overview

continuance in office may depend, in a great degree, as is the case in this country, upon the success of the measures they recommend, the most effectual pledge that can be taken for their sincerity. And, lastly, that a constant and unremitting attention should be given in this country to the inspection and control of Irish Government, so far as the rights of this country and the general service of the Empire may be concerned in it; and care taken not to countenance any exclusive system in the management of parties, so that the private interest of no set of men may lead them to make the distinction of an English and Irish party; but that future Parliamentary contests may not be upon questions, involving the rights of both kingdoms, between English Government and Irish Opposition; but merely between Irish men, for the possession of Irish offices, under the favour and protection of Great Britain. And that the operations of the superior Government may, notwithstanding any change in the particular administration of Ireland, be steadily and uniformly directed to one end, namely, the gradual augmentation of the forces and revenue of Ireland, to be finally disposed of by the supreme executive authority of both countries, which is one and the same, and the effectual control of which resides in the Parliament of Great Britain.


8
IRELAND: LORD WESTMORLAND TO WILLIAM PITT, 1 January 17921

Dublin Castle.

. . .The plain sense of the despatch is, that England is indifferent where the power is in Ireland, that she will not be induced to exert herself in support of the Protestant power, and that it is the opinion of the British Ministry that every religious distinction should be done away. I am to impress this sentiment on Parliamentarians here, that it may guide their conduct, to inform them that it is the wish of England that a participation of the franchise should be given; if they are averse, English concession only to be given, plainly having it understood, that it is to be only a prelude to future concession, which concession every man must discover to mean the franchise....I have stated at large my reasons, I shall only shortly tell you my opinion that the intimation of these sentiments would produce a confederacy

____________________
1
Chatham Papers: P.R.O./30/8/331: a private and secret dispatch. John Fane, tenth Earl of Westmorland, was appointed Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland in January 1790. This angry dispatch was written in response to a request from the British Cabinet that the Lord-Lieutenant should promote legislation admitting Irish Catholics to a limited participation in the franchise. The request had been accompanied by a broad hint that if the Protestant oligarchy refused to consolidate the forces of aristocracy in this way against the menace of Jacobinism, the British Government could not be held responsible for the consequences.

-190-

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