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LORD CHATHAMs SPEECH AGAINST ARMING THE . - SAVAGES, IN 1778.
I am astonished, I am shocked to hear such principles confessed, to hear them avowed in this house, or in this country. My lords, I did not intend to encroach on your attention; but I cannot repress my indignation; I feel myself impelled to speak. We are called upon as members of this house, as men, as christians, to protest against such horrible barbarity—‘that God and Nature have put into our hands !” What ideas of God and Nature that noble lord may entertain, I know not; but I know that such destestable principles are equally ab-, horrent to religion and to humanity. What to attribute the sacred sanction of God and Nature to the massacres of the Indian scalping-knife to the cannibal savage, torturing, murdering, devouring, drinking the blood of his mangled victims' such notions shock every precept of morality, every feeling of humanity, every sentiment of honor. These abominable principles, and this most abominable avowal of them, demand the most decisive indignation. I call upon that right reverend, and this most learned bench, to vindicate the religion of their God, to support the justice of their country. I call upon the bishops to interpose the sanctity of their lawn, upon the judges to interpose the purity of their ermine, to save us from this pollution. I call upon the honor of your lordships to reverence the dignity of your ancestors, and to maintain your own. I call upon the spirit and humanity of my country to vindicate the national character. I invoke the Genius of the Constitution. From the tapestry that adorns these walls, the immortal ancestor of this noble lord, frowns with indigmation at the disgrace of his country. In vain did he defend the liberty, and establish the religion of Britain, against the tyranny of Rome, if these worse than popish cruelties and inquisitorial practices are endured among us. To send forth the merciless cannibal thirsting for blood against whom ? your Protestant brethren. To lay waste their country, to desolate their dwellings, and extirpate their race and name by the aid * instrumentality of these
horrid hell-hounds of war ! Spain can no longer boast
re-eminence in barbarity. She armed herself with blood-hounds to extirpate the wretched natives of Mexico; we, more ruthless, loose the dogs of war against our countrymen in America, endeared to us by every tie that can sanctify humanity. Isolemnly call upon your lordships, and upon every order of men in the state, to stamp upon the infamous procedure the indelible stigma of public abhorrence. More particularly I call upon the holy prelates of our religion, to do away this iniquity; let them perform a lustration to purify the country from this deep and deadly sin.
I am one of those who believe that the heart of the wilful and the deliberate libeller is blacker than that of the highway robber, or of one who commits the crime of midnight arson. The man who plunders on the highway, may have the semblance of an apology for what he does. An affectionate wife may demand subsistence; a circle of children raise to him the supplicating hand for food. He may be driven to the desperate act by the high mandate of imperative necessity. The mild features of the husband and the father may intermingle with those of the robber and soften the roughness of the shade. But the robber of character plunders that which “not enricheth him,” though it make his neighbor “poor indeed.” The man who at the midnight hour consumes his neighbor's dwelling, does him an injury which perhaps is not irreparable. Industry may rear another habitation. The storm may indeed descend upon him until charity open a neighboring door: the rude winds of heaven may whistle around his uncovered family. But he looks forward to better days; he has yet a hook to hang a hope upon. No such consolation cheers the heart of him whose character has been torn from him. If innocent, he may look, like Anaxagoras, to the heavens; but he must be constrained to feel that this world is to him a wilderness. For whither shall he go? Shall he dedicate himself to the service of his country But will his country receive him # Will she employ in her counsels, or in her armies, the man at whom the “slow unmoving finger of scorn” is pointed ? Shall he betake himself to the fireside : The story of his disgrace will enter his own doors before him. And can he bear, think you, can he bear the sympathizing agonies of a distressed wife 2 Can he endure the formidable presence of scrutinizing, sneering domestics 2 Will his children receive instruction from the lips of a disgraced father? Gentlemen, I am not ranging on fairy ground. I am telling the plain story of my client's wrongs. By the ruthless hand of malice his character has been wantonly massacred;—and he now appears before a jury of his country for redress. Will you deny him this redress —is character valuable 3. On this point I will not insult you with argument. There are certain things, to argue which is treason against nature. The Author of our being did not intend to leave this point afloat at the mercy of opinion, but with his own hand has he kindly planted in the soul of man an instinctive love of character. This high sentiment has no affinity to pride. It is the ennobling quality of the soul: and if we have hitherto been elevated above the ranks of surrounding creation, human nature owes its elevation to the love of character. It is the love of character for which the poet has sung, the philosopher toiled, the hero bled. It is the love of character which wrought miracles at ancient Greece; the love of character is the eagle on which Rome rose to empire. And it is the love of character animating the bosom of her sons, on which America must depend in those approaching crises that may “try men's souls.” Will a jury weaken this our nation's hope? Will they by their verdict pronounce to the youth of our country, that character is scarce worth possessing?
We read of that philosophy which can smile over the destruction of property—of that religion which enables its possessor to to extend the benign look of forgiveness
and complacency to his murderers. But it is not in the soul of man to bear the laceration of slander. The philosophy which could bear it, we should despise. The religion which could bear it, we should not despise— but we should be constrained to say, that its kingdom was not of this world
My brave associates, partners of my toils, my feelings and my fame. Can Rolla's words add vigor to the virtuous energies which inspire your hearts 3 No, you have judged as I have, the foulness of the crafty plea by which these bold invaders would delude ye. Your generous spirit has compared, as mine has, the motives which in a war like this can animate their minds and ours. They, by a strange phrenzy driven, fight for power, for plunder and extended rule; we-for our country, our altars and our homes! They follow an adventurer whom they fear, and obey a power which they hate; we serve a country which we love—a God whom we adore. Wher'er they move in anger, desolation tracks their progress; wher'er they pause in amity, affliction mourns their friendship. They boast they come but to improve our state, enlarge our thoughts and free us from the yoke of error. Yes, they will give enlightened freedom to our minds, who are themselves the slaves of passion, avarice and pride. They offer us their protection; yes, such protection as vultures give to lambs, covering and devouring them. They call on us to barter all of good we have inherited and proved, for the desperate chance of something better which they promise. Be our plain answer this: The throne we honor is the people's choice; the laws we reverence are our brave fathers' legacy; the faith we follow, teaches us to live in bonds of charity with all mankind and die with hope of bliss beyond the grave. Tell your invaders this, and tell them too, we seek no change, and least of all, such change as they would bring us.
BRUTUS” HARANGUE ON THE DEATH OF CAESAR.
Romans, Countrymen, and Lovers —Hear me for my cause; and be silent that you may hear. Believe me for mine honor; and have respect to mine honor, that you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom; and awake your senses, that you may the better judge. If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of Caesar's, to him I say, that Brutus' love to Caesar was no less than his. If then that friend demand why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer: Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living, and die all slaves; than that Caesar were dead, to live all freemen? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him ; as he was fortunate I rejoice at it ; as he was valiant, I honor him; but as he was ambitious—I slew him. There are tears for his love, joy for his fortune, honor for his valor, and death for his ambition. Who is here so base that would be a bondman 2 if any, speak; for him have I offended. Who is here so rude, that would not be a Roman 3 if any, speak, for him have I offended. Who is here so vile, that would not love his country 3 if any, speak; for him have I offended. I pause for a reply None ! Then none have I offended. I have dome no more to Caesar than you should do to Brutus. The question of his death is enrolled in the capitol; his glory not extenuated, wherein he was worthy; nor his offences enforced, for which he suffered death. Here comes his body, mourn’d by Mark Antony; who, though he had no hand in his death, shall receive the benefit of his dying, a place in the commonwealth; as which of you shall not ?—With this I depart—that as I slew my best lover for the good of Rome, I have the same dagger for myself, when it shall please my country to need my death.