Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/176

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for Canada by passing Merchant Shipping Acts, a Copyright Act, and other measures which are now in force in the Dominion.

This contract, like most contracts, is a two- sided engagement. On our side it binds us not to repeal this Statute, or to alter it, or to do anything inconsistent with it, so as to prejudice the position of Ireland without summoning the Irish members ; and, on the other hand, it binds the Irish Parliament, on its part, to observe in good faith the Statute in spirit as well as in letter, to act fairly under it, not to abuse or pervert the powers which it gives. While Ire- land, through her Parliament, observes this con- tract, we shall be bound to observe our part of it; and so long as Ireland is faithful to the in- tentions of the Act on her side, so long will it be our duty, if we desire to modify the Act, to summon the Irish members here. But if the Irish Parliament should transgress the spirit and meaning of the Act, w r e, on our side, shall be released from our obligation; and then that which is in any case a legal right on our side would become also a moral right, because a breach of the contract on their side w r ould en- title us to use our full legal rights. Now, the imposition of such a moral obligation as this is not a change which will alter the general char- acter of the Constitution. It will leave the sov- ereignty of Parliament and the consequent flex- ibility of the Constitution as they were before, since means are provided whereby we can repeal 150

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