« PreviousContinue »
all I have said or can say will be poor and frigid. Will it be whispered that the treaty has made a new champion for the protection of the frontiers? It is known that my voice as well as vote have been uniformly given in conformity with the ideas I have expressed. Protection is the right of the frontiers; it is our duty to give it.
Who will accuse me of wandering out of the subject? Who will say that I exaggerate the tendencies of our measures? Will any one answer by a sneer, that all this is idle preaching? Will any one deny, that we are bound, and I would hope to good purpose, by the most solemn sanctions of duty for the vote we give? Are despots alone to be reproached for unfeeling indifference to the tears and blood of their subjects ? Are republicans unresponsible? Have the principles, on which you ground the reproach upon cabinets and kings, no practical influence, no binding force? Are they merely themes of idle declamation, introduced to decorate the morality of a newspaper essay, or to furnish pretty topics of harangue from the windows of that state-house? I trust it is neither too presumptuous nor too late to ask; can you put the dearest interests of society at risk without guilt, and without remorse? It is in vain to offer as an excuse, that public men are not to be repoached for the evils that
may happen to ensue from their measures. true, where they are unforseen or inevitable. Those I have depicted are not unforseen; they are so far from inevitable, we are going to bring them into being by our vote. We choose the consequences, and become as justly answerable for them as for the measures that we know will produce them. By rejecting the treaty, we light the savage fires, we bind the victims. This day we undertake to render account to the widows and orphans whom our decision will make, to the wretches that will be roasted at the stake, to our country, and I do not deem it too serious to say, to conscience and to God. We are answerable; and if duty be any thing more than a word of imposture, if conscience be not a bugbear, we are preparing to make ourselves as wretched as our country,
This is very
EXTRACT FROM A SPEECH BY CHARLES JAMES FOX, ON
THE FRENCH WAR.
Where, Sir, is this war, which on every side is pregnant with such horrors, to be carried ? Where is it to stop ? Not till we establish the house of Bourbon ! And this you cherish the hope of doing, because you have had a successful campaign. Why, sir, before this you have had a successful campaign. The situation of the allies, with all they have gained, is surely not to be compared now to what it was when you had taken Valenciennes, Quesnoy, Condé, &c., which induced some gentlemen in this house to prepare themselves for a march to Paris.
With all that you have gained, you surely will not say that the prospect is brighter now than it was then. What have you gained but the recovery of a part of what you before lost? One campaign is successful to you; another to them; and in this way, animated by the vindictive passions of revenge, hatred, and rancour, which are infinitely more flagitious, even, than those of ambition and the thirst of power, you may go on forever; as, with such black incentives, I see no end to human misery. “But we must pause !” says the honorable gentlemen. What! must the bowels of Great Britain be torn outher best blood be spilt-her treasures wasted—that you may make an experiment? Put yourselves,-oh! that you would put yourselves in the field of battle, and learn to judge of the sort of horrors that you excite. In former wars a man might, at least, have some feeling, some interest, that served to balance in his mind the impressions
which a scene of carnage and of death must inflict. But if a man were present now at a field of slaughter, and were to inquire for what they were fighting—" Fighting !" would be the answer ; "they are not fighting; they are pausing." Why is that man expiring? Why is that other writhing with agony? What
means this implacable fury?” The answer must be, “ You are quite wrong, sir
, you deceive yourself—they are not fighting--do not disturb them—they are nierely pausing !—This man is not expiring with agony—that man is not dead—he is only pausing ! Lord help you, sir! they are not angry with one another: they have now no cause of quarrel: but their country thinks that there should be a pause. All that you see, sir, is nothing like fighting—there is no harm, nor cruelty, nor bloodshed in it whatever; it is nothing more than a political pause! It is merely to try an experiment—to see whether Bonaparte will not behave himself better than heretofore; and in the meantime we have agreed to a pause, in pure friendship!"
And is this the way, sir, that you are to show yourselves the advocates of order? You take up a system calculated to uncivilize the world—to destroy order-to trample on religion—to stifle in the heart, not merely the generosity of noble sentiment, but the affections of social nature; and in the prosecution of this system, you spread terror and devastation all around you.
CURRAN ON THE EMPLOYMENT AND CHARACTER OF IN
Gentlemen of the Jury—The learned gentleman is pleased to say, that the traverser has charged the government with the encouragement of INFORMERS. This, gentlemen, is another small fact that you are to deny at the hazard of your souls, and upon the solemnity of your oaths. You are, upon your oaths, to say to the sister country, that the government of Ireland uses no such abominable instruments of destruction, as INFORMERS. Let me ask you honestly, what do you feel, when in my hearing, when in the face of this audience, you are called upon to give a verdict that
man of you know by the testimony of your own eyes to be utterly and absolutely false? I speak not now of the public employment of informers with a promise of secrecy and of extravagant reward; I speak not of the fate of those horrid wretches who have been so often transferred from the table to the dock, and from the dock to the pillory; I speak of what your own eyes have seen day after day during the course of this commission, from the box where you are now sitting ; I speak of the horrid miscreants who have avowed upon their oaths that they come from the very seat of government-from the castle, where they had been worked upon by the fear of death and the hopes of compensation, to give evidence against their fellows. I speak of the mild and wholesome councils of this government, holden over these catacombs of living death, where the wretch that is buried a man, lies till his heart has time to fester and dissolve, and is then dug up a witness.
Is this fancy, or is it fact? Have you not seen him, after his resurrection from that tomb, after having been dug out of the region of death and corruption, make his appearance upon the table, the living image of life and of death, and the supreme arbiter of both ? Have you not marked when he entered, how the multitude retired at bis approach ? Have you not marked how the human heart bowed to the supremacy of his power, in the undissembled homage of deferential horror? How his glance, like the lightning of heaven, seemed to rive the body of the accused, and mark it for the grave, while his voice warned the devoted wretch of woe and death; a death which no innocence can escape, no art elude, no force resist, no antidote prevent :-there was an antidote--a juror's oath—but even that adamantine chain that bound the integrity of man to the throne of eternal justice, is solved and melted in the breath that issues from the informer's mouth; conscience swings from her moorings, and the appalled and affrighted juror consults his own safety in the surrender of the victim.
UNPRECEDENTED GROWTH OF AMERICAN POPULATION AND POWER WITHIN THE MEMORY OF ONE MAN.—Burke.
Mr. Speaker–I cannot prevail on myself to hurry over this great consideration—the value of the trade of America to England. It is good for us to be here. We stand where we have an immense view of what is, and what is past.-Clouds, indeed, and darkness, rest upon the future. Let us, however, before we descend from this noble eminence, reflect that this growth of our national prosperity has happened within the short period of the life of man. It has happened within sixty-eight years. There are those alive whose memory might touch the two extremities. For instance, my Lord Bathurst might remember all the stages of the progress. He was, in 1704, of an age at least to be made to comprehend such things.
Suppose, sir, that the angel of this auspicious youth, foreseeing the many virtues, which made him one of the most amiable, as he is one of the most fortunate men of his age, had opened to him in vision, that, when, in the fourth generation, the third prince of the house of Brunswick had sat twelve years on the throne of that nation which, by the happy issue of moderate and healing councils, was to be made Great Britain, he should see his son, lord chancelor of England, turn back the current of hereditary dignity to its fountain, and raise bim to a higher rank of peerage, whilst he enriched the family with a new one. If amidst these bright and happy scenes of domestic honor and prosperity, that angel should have drawn up the curtain and unfolded the rising glories of his country, and whilst he was gazing_with admiration on the then commercial grandeur of England, the genius should point out to him a little speck, scarce visible in the mass of the national interest, a small seminal principle, rather than a formed body, and should tell him —“Young man, there is America, which at this day