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greatly aggravated-the narrow policy of the times was applying tem porary palliatives. Subscriptions were collected to keep the artificers from famishing; associations were formed to wear only domestic manufactures; and parliament itself looked no further than to alleviate the pressure of the immediate evil. Mr Grattan, however, whose mind was formed to embrace something beyond present objects, perceived that the root of those calamities was not a temporary stagnation of trade from the American war, but rather to be found in the unjust restraints imposed by Great Britain on the exertions of the country. He was the first, therefore, who had the boldness and the wisdom to urge the legislature to complain of those restraints; his efforts were seconded by the unanimous voice of the country; and such was the efficacy of a political truth, thus urged, and thus supported, that even the whole force of British influence was found unequal to resist it. The Irish legislature adopted the sentiment; and, after some hesitation on the part of the British parliament, the commerce of Ireland was in part thrown open. A temporary gleam of satisfaction was shed over the country by this concession, as it was called, of the British parliament; for so accustomed had the people been to exclusion, to penalties, and to restriction, that a relaxation or suspension of any of these was looked on as the conferring of a positive benefit, rather than the cessation of an actual injury.
Mr Grattan's name was now become an object of adoration to the people, and by the volunteer associations which the dangers of the war had called forth, he was looked up to with peculiar respect. In this state of affairs the reaction of popularity upon patriotism seemed to impart new energy to his mind. Mr Grattan continued to exert himself with indefatigable assiduity in the senate; and by leading the mind of the public, and even of the legislature itself, to the consideration of national rights, and the actual political situation of their common country with respect to England, he was clearing the way for that measure which he meditated,—a declaration of the legislature in favour of national independence. His eloquence, of a cast more warm and animated than either parliament or the people had usually felt, and exerted upon subjects on which the human mind is susceptible of the greatest degree of enthusiastic fervour, was gratified by complete success. Directed by an understanding which could catch the moment propitious to exertion, and proportion its zeal to its object, his parliamentary speeches taught a subjugated nation to pant for independence; while the public voice, highly animated by the subject, and seconded by the assent of 80,000 men in arms, kindled, even in the cold bosom of parliament itself, a desire to assert its dignity, and rescue its authority from the gripe of British usurpation. Of this sentiment, so novel in an Irish legislature that had long forgotten the pride of independence, Mr Grattan availed himself; and by one of those extraordinary displays of impassioned eloquence, to which even the eloquent cannot rise unless assisted by the inspiration of a great subject, he obtained the celebrated declaration that the king, lords, and commons of Ireland only could make laws to bind Ireland.
Mr Grattan's popularity was now at a height almost without example. The achievement of a nation's independence by an individual, unaided by any force or any influence but that which genius and which
truth afford, was considered as the result of talents and of virtue almost above the lot of humanity. The legislature itself seemed for once to participate in the feelings of the people; for, in the fervour of admiration, it was proposed that £100,000 should be voted him as a mark of approbation. In its full extent this proposition was not adopted; for, on a subsequent sitting, when the vote was before the committee, they reduced it, at the express instance of his own particular friends, to £50,000 to that amount, however, the grant was confirmed, and Mr Grattan actually received the money.
The declaration of rights of the Irish legislature, however unwelcome it must have been to the minister and parliament of England, was received with that kind of placid acquiescence with which we assent to what is inevitable. A negotiation was immediately instituted between the two nations, which terminated in the repeal of the 6th of Geo. I., the act by which the British parliament declared its right to bind Ireland by British statutes. On the subject of this repeal a question arose, which suspended for a considerable time Mr Grattan's popularity. It was contended by Mr Flood, that as the 6th of Geo. I. was an act only declaratory of a right asserted by the British parliament, the "simple repeal" of the statute did not involve a renunciation of the right: and he insisted that, notwithstanding the repeal, Great Britain might, and from her former conduct towards Ireland, probably would, resume the exercise of it. He therefore would advise the legislature to demand of the British parliament a full and explicit renunciation of all claim in future to bind Ireland. This opinion was adopted by the people, and met very powerful support even in both houses of parliament. Mr Grattan, whose sagacity this objection to a simple repeal had eluded, or who really did not deem it of sufficient importance for which to hazard the disturbing of the late happy arrangements, applied all his powers of reason and eloquence to combat this doctrine of Mr Flood. He contended that the repeal of a declaratory law, accompanied by such circumstances as had attended this, must be considered as implying a renunciation of the right; but, even if it were not so, and Great Britain should be so unjust and impolitic as to resume the right when she should recover means to support it by power, an explicit renunciation would be but a slender defence against injustice supported by force; that in such circumstances the true security of the people would consist, not in an act of parliament, but in that patriotic energy which would enable them to defend, as it had already enabled them to assert, their independence; and that to force Great Britain, in this her hour of distress, to confess herself an usurper, by an express renunciation of a right which she had exercised, would be as ungenerous to her as it would be useless to Ireland. With the people these arguments had no weight, and in the senate they were borne down by the irresistible force of that pride for which they were indebted alone to the recollection of Mr Grattan's victories.
Frustrated in the hope of carrying on exclusively to its completion a revolution-for such it may be called-which he had so successfully and honourably commenced, and finding the tide of popularity running against him, Mr Grattan seems for some time to have completely secluded himself from politics.
Though, during this period, Mr Grattan did not take an active part
in political affairs, he remained still in parliament and voted as his conscience bade, sometimes with and sometimes against the minister. Towards the close of the year 1785, when, under cover of a commercial arrangement, it was supposed a design had been formed by the British ministry to subvert the newly-acquired independence of the Irish parliament, we find him again alert and vigilant at his post. Among the celebrated proposals which were then offered to the house of commons in Ireland by an agent of the crown, and which are still remembered and execrated in that country by the name of Orde's Propositions,' one was, "that the parliament of Ireland, in consideration of being admitted to participate equally with Great Britain in all commercial advantages, should from time to time adopt and enact all such acts of the British parliament as should relate to the regulation or management of her commerce," &c. The proposition, it was contended, would sink the parliament of Ireland into a mere register to the British legislature; and this opinion was entertained not only by the public in general, but by some of the ablest men in both houses; among them by Mr Grattan, who gave to the whole system the most unqualified and strenuous opposition. This opposition proved successful, the measure was relinquished, and Mr Grattan thenceforward continued to resist, with the most zealous and persevering firmness, what he called the principles of the old court,'-principles which he looked on as tending to degrade Ireland, by corruption and influence, to the same despicable and miserable state to which she had been reduced previously to the year 1783.
From this period we find Mr Grattan an active leader of the countryparty in the house of commons, loved by the people and dreaded by the cabinet. His popularity, which had so suddenly sunk on his acceptance of the parliamentary boon, and his support of the simple repeal, had now risen to its former level, and the nation found that he was still an upright and independent senator. Among the various measures which now occupied his attention was the establishment of a provision for the clergy independent of tithes. For many years the Catholic peasantry of Ireland had been discontented, not so much with the payment of tithes to Protestant pastors, as with the rigid and oppressive manner in which they had been collected by proctors and tithe-farmers, The country had been kept by this cause for almost half a century in disturbance. Mr Grattan proposed a measure which would have removed every discontent, and at the same time have secured a provision for the clergy equal to that which they then possessed, easy and certain to them, and to the peasantry neither oppressive nor unpleasant. This plan was, however, opposed by the collective influence of the established church, and of course rejected by the legislature. Another measure which he proposed to parliament about the same time, viz. a bill to promote the improvement of barren land, by exempting reclaimed ground from payment of tithes for seven years, was but little calculated to restore the favour of the priesthood; they accordingly resisted and defeated the project, and continued thenceforward to hate and calum, niate its author.
The whig club had for some time become a political body of no small consideration. Mr Grattan was one of the first, if not the very first member in point of talent and popularity. At his instance it was that the members who had been since its institution the advocates of a liberal
system, which they considered necessary to the security of the constitution and independence of the country, came now to a resolution, by which they publicly pledged themselves never to accept offices under any administration which should not concede certain measures to the people these consisted principally of a pension-bill,-a bill to make the great officers of the crown responsible for their advice and measures,—another to prevent revenue-officers from voting at elections,— and a place-bill. This explicit declaration of a sincere and fixed purpose respecting these essential subjects, gave the society much weight with the public, and enabled them, after a long opposition on the part of administration, to effect their purpose.
The celebrity which Mr Grattan had attained by his opposition to Mr Orde's system, and his subsequent exertions in the popular cause, procured for him, in the year 1790, an honourable and easy election as representative for the metropolis. During the existence of the parliament which then commenced, there occurred, however, a question on which Mr Grattan and a very considerable proportion of his constituents materially differed; this was the claim of the Catholics to the elective franchise. From his first entrance into parliament he had always been the decided friend of every measure which tended to abolish those political distinctions, which are founded only on a difference of religious tenets. The corporation of the city of Dublin, prone by situation and habit to religious bigotry, looked on the Catholics at once with suspicion and contempt.. Enjoying a monopoly of municipal honour and emoluments, by the exclusion of all who professed a different faith, from the franchises of the capital, they considered every attempt to restore them to those franchises as an attack upon their property, or a violation of their rights. Besides these causes the then administration had, by some recent institutions, obtained a paramount influence in the corporation; and to perpetuate religious distinctions, which had hitherto kept Ireland weak, was still the court-policy. This influence, therefore, operating in conjunction with other causes, rendered the municipal officers of Dublin incapable of participating in that increased liberality of sentiment which had now every where begun to dissipate prejudice and dispel bigotry. On the question of admitting the Catholics to the privileges of the constitution, the corporation and Mr Grattan accordingly differed; and had not circumstances occurred which prevented him from becoming again a candidate for the capital, there was no chance of his being a second time elected its representative.
The war with France had now taken place; Mr Grattan approved of it, or rather he considered Ireland as bound, with all its might, to assist Great Britain, when once engaged in the contest. This, at least, was the opinion entertained by him during the short administration of Lord Fitzwilliam; and in this opinion he remained until he found that the continuation of hostilities threatened the empire with ruin, either from the incapacity of those by whom it was conducted, or the murmurs which it occasioned. During the debates on the union Mr Grattan was returned for Wicklow, for the express purpose of opposing a measure so hateful to Ireland, which he did with peculiar force.
In the British senate some of Mr Grattan's countrymen, who had been transplanted from the Irish to the British house of commons, seemed to sink beneath their former rank; but Mr Grattan in England
displayed all the force of eloquence, and splendour of thought and diction, which had so often been hailed by his countrymen in their own capital. The genius of Mr Grattan could live and bloom when torn from the beloved spot which gave it birth. Some of his speeches on the Catholic question have not been excelled by the greatest of native British orators. Yet he did not, of late years, indulge in the full expression of that passion and feeling which distinguished his early eloquence. He had adopted a principle of moderation, caution, and apparent equivocation, in all extreme questions, from which his latter speeches never departed; and to some he did not latterly seem to be the patriot and reformer who had half-won back the liberties of his country. His speech in 1815, on the occasion of the return of Napoleon from Elba, in which he gave countenance to the cause of legitimacy, astonished all his friends. His zeal for emancipation, however, increased with his years; only a few months before his death, he undertook to present the petition of the Irish Catholics, and to support it in parliament, although it was strongly urged by his friends that the exertion would be incompatible with his age and declining health. "I should be happy," he exclaimed, on this occasion, "to die in the discharge of my duty!" He had scarcely arrived in London with the petition, when his debility increased, and he expired on the 14th of May, 1820.
"A question," says Sir Richard Phillips, in his sketch of Mr Grattan in the Monthly Magazine,' which we have adopted with a few alterations in this article, "a question forces itself upon our attention here, which we will not shun. The enviable honour of being the author of Junius, has been successively given to various public characters, but more especially to Mr Burke, Mr Hugh Boyd, and Sir Philip Francis. The genius of Mr Burke was more than equal to all the finest qualities of that delightful work; but the character of his style is so different, that even the facility of his powers could not have borrowed a style, and used it with the ease and grace that adorns Junius. Neither Mr Hugh Boyd nor Sir Philip Francis possessed the extent of the powers and talents of Junius. They were inferior men, and look more like pigmies than giants when placed beside such a colossus as Junius. Mr Grattan possessed all the qualities which distinguished Junius, and some of them even in a greater degree; that is to say, the occasions of his orations were sometimes of a more elevated nature. All the strongest lines of Junius's style were in those of Mr Grattan. We have no room to develope this; but we should be surprised if no person of experience who reads this should recollect their saying to themselves and friends, when listening to Grattan, That is Junius! Junius could be no other man!' The early years of Grattan, at the time Junius appeared, has been objected. But Grattan was then about eighteen; and if a youth of that age could not be supposed to have all the knowledge of Junius, especially of the political position of affairs and parties, such a youth as Grattan could receive and understand all information respecting it, and could clothe the thoughts of others and of himself with a splendour which was exclusively his own. Junius might have been the production of a little junto, and probably was; but one hand chiefly wielded the pen, and the hand seems most like to the hand-writing of Grattan. When the editor of this Miscellany was engaged, a few years since, in preparing an edition of Junius, he addressed Mr Grat