« PředchozíPokračovat »
like any fabled monster, formed in the eclipse of reason, and found in some unhallowed grove of superstitious darkness and political dismay: No, my Lords, in the happy reverse of all these, I turn from this disgusting caricature to the real image. Justice I have now before me, august and pure; the abstract idea of all that would be perfect in the spirits and the aspirings of men—where the mind rises, where the heart expands -where the countenance is ever placid and benign-where her favourite attitude is to stoop to the unfortunate to hear their
cry and to help them, to rescue and relieve, to succour and save; majestic from its mercy; venerable for its utility; uplifted without pride; firm without obduracy; beneficent in each preference ; lovely though in her frown!
On that justice I rely; deliberate and sure, abstracted from all party purpose, and political speculations—not in words, but on facts. You, my Lords, who hear me, I conjure by those rights it is your best privilege to preserve; by that fame it is your best pleasure to inherit; by all those feelings which refer to the first term in the series of existence, the original compact of our nature-our controlling rank in the creation. This is the call on all to administer to truth and equity, as they would satisfy the laws and satisfy themselves with the most exalted bliss possible or conceivable for our nature—the self-approving consciousness of virtue, when the condemnation we look for will be one of the most ample mercies accomplished for mankind since the creation of the world. My Lords, I have done.
3.-EXTRACT FROM MR BURKE'S SPEECH ON CONCILIATION
MR SPEAKER,—The temper and character which prevail in our colonies, are, I am afraid, unalterable by any human art. We cannot, I fear, falsify the pedigree of this fierce people, and persuade them that they are not sprung from a nation in whose veins the blood of freedom circulates. The language in which they would hear you tell them this tale would detect the imposition; your speech would betray you. An Englishman is the most unfit person on earth to argue another Englishman into slavery. .
My hold of the colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are the ties which, though light as air, are 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 worshíp 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 anywhere. 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 feeling of your true interest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. This is the commodity of price of which you have the monopoly. This the true act of navigation which binds you to the commerce of the colonies, and through them secures to you the commerce of the world. Deny them this participation of freedom, 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 coquets and your clearances, are what form the great securities of your commerce. Do not dream that
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 govern
Dead instruments, passive tools as they are, it is the
spirit of the English communion that gives all their life and efficacy to them. It is the spirit of the English constitution, which, infused through the mighty mass, 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 you here in England? Do you imagine then that it is the landtax act 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 not! 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 the 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 everything and all in all. Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom, and a great empire and little minds go ill together. If we are conscious of our situation, and glow with zeal to fill our places as becomes our station and ourselves, we ought to auspicate all our public proceedings on America with the old warning of the church, sursum corda. We ought to elevate our minds to the greatness of that trust to which the order of Providence has called us. By adverting to the dignity of this high calling, our ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glorious empire; and have made the most extensive, and the only honourable conquests, not by destroying, but by promoting the wealth, the number, the happiness of the human race. 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. In full confidence of this unalterable truth, I now lay the first stone of the temple of peace.
4.-LORD LYTTELTON'S SPEECH ON THE REPEAL OF THE ACT
CALLED THE JEW BILL, A. D. 1753.
SIR,—It has been hitherto the rare and envied felicity of his Majesty's reign, that his subjects have enjoyed such a settled tranquillity, such a freedom from angry religious disputes, as is not to be paralleled in any former times. The true Christian spirit of moderation, of charity, of universal benevolence, has prevailed in the people, has prevailed in the clergy of all ranks and degrees, instead of those narrow principles, those bigoted pleasures, that furious, that implacable, that ignorant zeal, which had often done so much hurt both to the church and the state. But from the ill understood, insignificant act of parliament you are now moved to repeal, occasion has been taken to deprive us of this inestimable advantage. It is a pretence to disturb the peace of the church, to infuse idle fear into the minds of the people, and make religion itself an engine of sedition. It behoves the piety, as well as the wisdom of parliament, to disappoint those endeavours. Sir, the very worst mischief that can be done to religion, is to pervert it to the purposes of faction. The most impious wars ever made were those called holy wars.
He who hates another man for not being a Christian, is himself not a Christian. Christianity, Sir, breathes love, and peace, and good will to man. A temper conformable to the dictates of that holy religion has lately distinguished this nation; and a glorious distinction it was! But there is latent, at all times, in the minds of the vulgar, a spark of enthusiasm ; which, if blown by the breath of a party, may, even when it seems quite extinguished, be suddenly revived and raised to a flame. The act of last session for naturalizing Jews has very unexpectedly administered fuel to feed that flame. To what a height it may rise, if it should continue much longer, one cannot easily tell; but, take away the fuel, and it will die of itself.
Sir, I trust and believe that, by speedily passing this bill, we shall silence that obloquy which has so unjustly been cast upon our reverend prelates (some of the most respectable that ever adorned our church) for the part they took in the act which this repeals. And it greatly concerns the whole community, that they should not lose that respect which is so justly due to them, by a popular clamour kept up in opposition to a measure of no importance in itself. But if the departing from that measure should not remove the prejudice so maliciously raised, I am certain that no further step you can take will be able to remove it; and, therefore, I hope you will stop here. This appears
to be a reasonable and safe condescension, by which nobody will be hurt; but all beyond this would be dangerous weakness in government; it might open a door to the wildest enthusiasm, and to the most mischievous attacks of political disaffection working upon that enthusiasm. If you encourage and authorize it to fall on the synagogue, it will go from thence to the meeting-house, and in the end to the palace. But let us be careful to check its further
The more zealous we are to support Christianity, the more vigilant should we be in maintaining toleration. If we bring back persecution, we bring back the antichristian spirit of popery; and when the spirit is here, the whole system will soon follow. Toleration is the basis of all public quiet. It is a charter of freedom given to the mind, more valuable, I think, than that which secures our persons and estates. Indeed, they are inseparably connected together; for, where the mind is not free, where the conscience is enthralled, there is no freedom. Spiritual tyranny puts on the galling chains; but civil tyranny is called in to rivet and fix them. We see it in Spain, and many other countries; we have formerly both seen and felt it in England. By the blessing of God, we are now delivered from all kinds of oppression. Let us take care that they may never return.