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ends. The injustice of England has driven us to arms; and, blinded to her own interest, for our good, she has obstinately persisted, till Independence is now within our grasp. We have but to reach forth to it, and it is ours. Why then should we defer the Declaration? Is any man so weak as now to hope for a reconciliation with England? Do we mean to submit to the measures of Parliament, Boston port-bill and all? I know we do not mean to submit. We never shall submit.
The war, then, must go on. We must fight it through. And if the war must go on, why put off longer the Declaration of Independence? That measure will strengthen us. It will give us character abroad. The nations will then treat with us, which they never can do while we acknowledge ourselves subjects, in arms against our sovereign. Nay, I maintain that England herself, will sooner treat for peace with us on the footing of Independence, than consent, by repealing her acts, to acknowledge that her whole conduct towards us has been a course of injustice and oppression.
Sir, the Declaration will inspire the people with increased courage. Instead of a long and bloody war, for restoration of privileges, for redress of grievances, for chartered immunities held under a British king,-set before them the glorious object of entire Independence, and it will breathe into them anew the breath of life. Read this Declaration at the head of the army every sword will be drawn from its scabbard, and the solemn vow uttered to maintain it, or to perish on the bed of honor. Pub
lish it from the pulpit; religion will approve it, and the love of religious liberty will cling round it, resolved to stand with it, or fall with it. Send it to the public halls; proclaim it there; let them hear it, who heard the first roar of the enemy's cannon: let them see it, who saw their brothers and their sons fall on the field of Bunker Hill, and in the streets of Lexington and Concord,-and the very walls will cry out in its support.
Sir, before God, I believe the hour is come. My judgment approves this measure, and my whole heart is in it. All that I have, and all that I am, and all that I hope, in this life, I am now ready here to stake upon it; and I leave off as I begun, that, live or die, survive or perish, I am for the Declaration. It is my living sentiment, and, by the blessing of God it shall be my dying sentiment ;-Independence now; and INDEPENDENCE FOREVER.
SPEECH OF MR. PLUNKET, ON THE IRISH UNION.
Sir-I, in the most express terms, deny the competency of parliament to abolish the legislature of Ireland. I warn you, do not dare to lay your hand on the constitution—I tell you, that if, circumstanced as you are, you pass an act which surrenders the government of Ireland to the English parliament, it will be a nullity, and that no man in Ireland will be bound to obey it. I make the assertion deliberately
I repeat it, and I call on any man who hears me, to take down my words ;-you have not been elected for this purpose-you are appointed to make laws, and not legislatures-you are appointed to act under the constitution, not to alter it—you are appointed to exercise the functions of legislators, and not to transfer them-and if you do so, your act is a dissolution of the government-you resolve society into its original elements, and no man in the land is bound to obey you.
Sir, I state doctrines which are not merely founded in the immutable laws of justice and of truth. I state not merely the opinions of the ablest men who have written on the science of government; but I state the practice of our constitution, as settled at the era of the revolution, and I state the doctrine under which the house of Hanover derives its title to the throne. Has the king a right to transfer his crown? Is he competent to annex it to the crown of Spain, or any other country? No-but he may abdicate it; and every man who knows the constitution knows the consequence-the right reverts to the next in succession-if they all abdicate, it reverts to the people. The man who questions this doctrine, in the same breath must arraign the sovereign on the throne as an usurper. Are you competent to transfer 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 can
not 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 know 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, aud 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 reascending 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.