« FöregåendeFortsätt »
prevail when the passions have subsided. The wretch that, after having seen the consequences of a thousand errors, continues still to blunder—and whose age has only added obstinacy to stupidity, is surely the object of either abhorrence or contempt; and deserves not that his grey head should secure him from insults. Much more is he to be abhorred-who, as he has advanced in age, has receded from virtue, and becomes more wicked with less temptation : who prostitutes himself for money which he cannot enjoy, and spends the remainder of his life in the ruin of his country.
But youth is not my only crime. I have been accused of acting a theatrical part.
A theatrical part, may either imply—some peculiarities of gesture,--or a dissimulation of my real sentiments, and the adoption of the opinions and language of another man. In the first sense, the charge is too trifling to be confuted; and deserves only to be mentioned that it may be despised. I am at liberty (like every other man) to use my own language: and though I may, perhaps, have some ambition,-yet to please this gentleman, I shall not lay myself under any restraint, or very solicitously copy his diction, or his mien; however matured by age, or modeled by experience. If any man shall, by charging me with theatrical behavior, imply that I utter any sentiments but my own, I shall treat him as a calumniator and a villain : nor shall any protection shelter him from the treatment which he deserves. I shall, on such an occasion, without scruple, trample upon all those forms with which wealth and dignity entrench themselves; nor shall any thing but age restrain my resentment: age, which always brings one privilege—that of being insolent and supercilious without punishment.
But—with regard to those whom I have offended, I am of opinion that if I had acted a borrowed part, I should have avoided their censure. The heat that offended them is the ardor of conviction, and that zeal for the service of my country, which neither hope, nor fear shall influence me to suppress. I will not sit unconcerned while my liberty is invaded ; nor look in silence upon public robbery. I will exert my endeavors (at whatever hazard) to repel the aggressor, and drag the thief to justice-what power soever may protect the villany, and whoever may partake of the plunder.
VII. APOSTROPHE TO THE QUEEN OF FRANCE.—Burke.
Sir, it is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles ; and surely, never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in :-glittering, like the morning star; full of life, and splendor, and joy.
Oh! what a revolution !--and what a heart must I have, to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream-that, when she added titles of veneration to those of enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; - little did I dream—that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, -in a nation of men of honor and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators, has succceeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more, shall we behold that generous loyality to rank and sex,--that proud submission,—that dignified obedience,-that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap de
fense of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone! It is gone,—that sensibility of principle,--that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity,—which ennobled whatever it touched ; and under which vice itself lost half its evil, by losing all its grossness.
VIII. ON CONCILIATION WITH AMERICA.—Burke. Mr. Speaker-For national service of whatever kind, whether of revenue, trade, or empire, my trust is in the interest of the colonies in the British constitution. My hold of them is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties, which, though light as air, are as strong as links of iron. Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government; they will cling and grapple to you; and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood, that your government may be one thing, and their privileges another; that these two things may exist without any mutual relation ; the cement is gone; the cohesion is loosened; and every thing hastens to decay and dissolution.
As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our common faith wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more friends you will have. The more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have any where. It is a weed that grows in every soil. They may have it from Spain, they may have it from Prussia. But until you become lost to all feelings of your true interest and your national dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. This is the commodity of price, of which you have the monopoly. This is the true act of navigation which binds to you the commerce of the colonies, and through them secures to you the wealth of the world. Deny them this participation of freedoin, and you break that sole bond, which originally made, and must still preserve the unity of the empire. Do not entertain so weak an imagination, as that your registers and your bonds, your affidavits and your sufferances, your cockets and your clearances, are what form the great securities of your commerce. Do not dream that your letters of office, and your instructions, and your suspending clauses, are the things that hold together the great contexture of this mysterious whole. These things do not make your government, dead instruments, passive tools as they are; it is the spirit of the English constitution that gives all their life and efficacy to them. It is the spirit of the English constitution, which, infused through the mighty inass, pervades, feeds, unites, invigorates, vivifies, every part of the empire, even down to the minutest member. Is it not the same virtue which does every thing for us here in England ? Do you imagine then, that it is the land tax which raises your revenue ? that it is the annual vote in the committee of supply, which gives you your army? or that it is the mutiny bill which inspires it with bravery and discipline ? No! surely no! It is the love of the people—it is their attachment to their government from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you your army and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience, without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten timber.
All this I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the profane herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians who have no place among us; a sort of people who think that nothing exists but what is gross and material ; and who therefore, far from being qualified to be directors of the great movement of empire, are not fit to turn a wheel in the machine. But to men truly initiated and rightly taught, these ruling and master principles, which in the opinion of such men as I have mentioned, have no substantial existence, are in truth every thing, and all in all. Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together. Let us get an American revenue as we have got an American empire. English privileges have made it all that it is; English privileges alone will make it all that it can be.
ADDRESS TO THE SOLDIERS OF THE REVOLUTION.
VENERABLE MEN! you have come down to us, from a former generation. Heaven has bounteously lengthened out your lives, that you might behold this joyous day. You are now, where you stood, fifty years ago, this very hour, with your brothers, and your neighbors, shoulder to shoulder, in the strise for your country. Behold, how altered! The same heavens are indeed over your heads; the same ocean rolls at your feet; but all else, how changed! You hear now no roar of hostile cannon, you see no mixed volumes of smoke and flame rising from burning Charlestown. The ground strowed with the dead and the dying; the impetuous charge ; the steady and successful repulse; the loud call to repeated assaulls; the summoning of all that is inanly to repeated resistance; a thousand bosoms freely and fearlessly bared in an instant to whatever of terror there may be in war and death ;-all these you have witnessed, but you witness them no more. All is peace. The heights of yonder metropolis, its towers and roofs, which you then saw filled with wives, and children, and coun