« AnteriorContinua »
the answer? No wars havé ravaged these lands and de. populated these villages-no civil discords have been feit-no disputed succession-no religious ragem no mereiless enemy-no aflliction of providence, which, while it scourged for the moment, cut off the sources of rešuscitation—no voracious and poisoning monstersno, all this has been accomplished by the friendship, generosity, and kindness of the English nation. They have embraced us with their protecting arms, and, lo! those are the fruits of their alliance. What, then, shall we be told, that under such circumstances, the exasperated feel. ings of a whole people, thus goaded and spurred on to clamour and resistance, were excited by the poor and feeble influence of the Begums! When we hear the des. cription of the paroxysm, fever and delirium, into which despair had thrown the natives, when on the banks of the polluted Ganges, panting for death, they tore more widely open the lips of their gaping wounds, to accelerate their dissolution, and while their blood was issuing, presented their ghastly eyes to heaven, breathing their last and for vent prayer that the dry earth might not be suffered to drink their blood, but that it might rise up to the throne of god, and rouse the eternal providence to avenge the wrongs of their country. Will it be said that this was brought about by the incantations of these Begums in their secluded Zenana? or that they could inspire this enthusiasm and this despair into the breasts of a people who felt no grievance, and had suffered no torture? What motive, then, could have such influence in their bosom? What motive! That which nature, the common parent, plants in the bosom of man, and which, though it may be less active in the Indian than in the Englishman, is still congenial with and makes part of his being--that feeling which tells him, that man was never made to be the property of man, but that when through pride and insolence of power, one human creature dares to tyrannise over another, it is a power usurped, and resistance is a duty--that feeling which tells him that all power is delegated for the good, not for the injury of the people, and that when it is converted from the original purpose, the compact is broken, and the right is to be resumed--that principle which tells him that resistanco to power usurped is not merely a duty which he owes to
himself and to his neighbour, but a duty which he owes to his god, in asserting and maintaining the rank which he gave him in the creation !-to that common god, who, where he gives the form of man, whatever may be the complexion, gives also the feelings and the rights of man-that principle, wbich neither the rudeness of ignorance can stifle, nor the enervation of refinement extin. guish !--that principle which makes it base for a man to suffer when he ought to act, which, tending to preserve to the species the original designations of providence, spurns at the arrogant distinctions of man, and vindicates the independent qualities of his race.
X. Mr. Burke's Panegyric on the Eloquence of Mr.
He has this day surprised the thousands who hung with mpture on his accents, by such an array of talents, such an exhibition of capacity, such a display of powers, as are unparalleled in the annals of oratorý ;--a display that reflected the highest honour on himself-lustre upon letters-renown upon parliament-glory upon the coun. try. · Of all species of rhetoric, of every kind of eloquence that has been witnessed or recorded, either in ancient or modern times; whatever the acuteness of the bar, the dignity of the senate, the solidity of the judg. ment-seat, and the sacred morality of the pulpits have hitherto furnished; nothing have equalled what we have this day, heard in Westminster-hall. No holy seer of religion, no statesman, no orator, no man of any literary description whatever, has come up, in the one instance, to the pure sentiments of morality, or, in the other, to that variety of knowledge, force of imagination, propriety and vivacity of allusion, beauty and elegance of diction, strength and copiousness of stile, pathos and sublimity of conception, to which we, this day, listened with ardour and admiration. From poetry up to eloquence, there is not a species of composition of which a complete and perfect specimen might not, from that single speech, be culled and collected.
XI. The Picture of Athenian Degeneracy.
Tue Athenians made a very rapid progress to the most enormous excesses; the people, under no restraint, soon grew dissipated, luxurious, and idle. They renounced all labour, and began to subsist themselves from the public revenues. They lost all concern for their common honour or safety, and could bear no advice that tended to reform them. At this time, truth became offensive to those lords the people, and most highly dangerous to the speaker. The orators no longer ascended the rostrum, but to corrupt them further with the most fulsome adulations. These orators were all bribed by foreign princes on one side or other. And besides its own parties, in this city there were parties, and avowed ones too, for the Persians, the Spartans, and the Macedonians, supported each of them by one or more demagogues pensioned and bribed to this impious service. The people, forgetful of all virtue and public spirit, and intoxicated with the flatteries of their orators, (these courtiers of republics, and endowed with the distinguishing characteristics of all courtiers, ) this people at last arrived at that pitch of madness, that they coolly and deliberately, by an express law, made it capital for any man to propose an application of the immense sums squandered in public shows, even to the most necessary purposes of the state. When yon see the people of this republic banishing or murdering their best and ablest citizens, dissipating the public treasure with the most senseless extravagance, and spending their whole time as spectators or actors, in playing, fiddling, dancing, and singing, does it not strike your imagination with the image of a sort of a complex Nero? And does it not strike
you with the greatest horror, when you observe, not one man only, but the whole city, grown drunk with pride and power, running with a rage of folly into the same mean and senseless debauchery and extravagance?
The whole history of this celebrated republic is but one tissue of rashness, ingratitude, injustice, violence, and tyranny; and, indeed, of every species of wickedness that can well be imagined.---This was a city
of wise men, in which a 'minister could not exercise his functions; a warlike people, amongst whom a general did not dare either to gain or lose a battle; a learned nation, in which a philosopher could not venture on a free enquiry. This was the city which banished Themistocles, starved Aristides, forced into exile Miltiades, drove out Anaxagoras, and poisoned Socrates. This was the city which changed the form of its government with the moon; eternal conspiracies, revolutions daily, nothing fixed and established. A republic, as an ancient philosopher has observed, is no one species of government, but a magazine of every species; here you find every sort of it, and that in the worst form.
As there is a perpetual change, one rising and the other falling, you have all the violence and wicked policy, by which the begin. ning power must always acquire its strength, and all the weakness by which falling states are brought to a come plete destruction.
XII. Mr. Fox's Eulogium on the Duke of Bedford.
I am well aware that this is not exactly the place nor the occasion for entering at large into the character of the illustrious personage, whose decease has induced me to come hither to perform a painful duty. As the memory of no man was ever more generally revered, so the loss of no man was ever more generally felt. In a case, there. fore, of so much importance, I hope I shall not be blamed, if, in feeling how much the country has suffered by this event, I deviate a little from the usual practice of the house. The noble person to whom the house will perceive these observations are applied, was distinguished by something so great, something so benign, something so marked in his character, that though possessing most opulent revenues, and though placed as high in rank and wealth as hope could make him, yet he seemed to be raised to that exalted station, only that his example. might have the greater value. Having, therefore, so much of public calamity to deplore, the house may be assured that I shall not, at present, indulge in the expres
sion of any of those feelings of private friendship and gratitude, which, on another occasion, might be proper. The loss is the more afflicting, the more to be regretted, as it happened at a period when the services of this noble personage were likely to be most beneficial to society; when he was still young enough to give the hope of fur. ther services; still active enough for all the duties of public life: and while he still possessed that youthful vi. gour and energy which would long have enabled him to support those unwearied exertions, which he displayed in every thing that tended to promote the interests of his country; exertions which afforded a sufficient pledge, that, had he lived, the remainder of his days would have been devoted to acts of public benefit. He did not live for the pleasure, but for the utility of life: or rather he lived for the highest enjoyment which existence can afford, -that of doing good to his fellow creatures. There are many other amiable traits in his character which I shall not attempt to describe here. I may be permitted to ob. serve, however, that those who feel that the greatest benefit which can be done to this or to any other country, is to render it more productive, must be sensible that the na. tion is more indebted to him than to any other
person for the efforts which he made to improve its agriculture. What was his motive for attaching himself to this
pursuit? Because he was convinced, that in the present times, that was the best direction he conld give to his talents, and to his means in promoting the real interests of his country; for his humility, was such, that he conceived no pursuit too low for him to engage in, if he foresaw that it would tend to public utility. I know, that if the noble personage of whom I have spoken could look back to what passed in the world, nothing could afford him such ineffable pleasure, as the reflection that his memory should be, as his life, beneficial to mankind. I shall conclude with a passage from a very young orator, which appears particularly applicable to what I have said. " Crime is only a curse for the time, even where successful; but virtue máy be useful to the remotest poste. rity; and is even almost as advantageous to future generations as to its original possessor."