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THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
with great affairs, weakness is ever innoxious. Hitherto the name of
in the sense in which it is used to excite compassion, has not been used for those who can, but for those who can not labor ; for the sick and infirm, for orphan infancy, for languishing and decrepit age. But when we affect to pity as poor those who must labor, or the world can not exist, we are trifling with the condition of mankind.
Sir, it is the common doom of man, that he must eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, that is, by the sweat of his body, or the sweat of his mind. If this toil was inflicted as a curse, it is, — as might be expected from the Father of all blessings, it is tempered with many alleviations, many comforts. Every attempt to fly from it, and to refuse the very terms of our existence, becomes much more truly a curse; and heavier pains and penalties fall upon those who would elude the tasks which are put upon them by the great Master of the world.
Sir, I do not call a healthy young man, cheerful in mind, and vigorous in his arms, — I can not call such a man poor. I can not pity my kind, as a kind, merely because they are men. This affected pity only tends to dissatisfy them with their condition, and to teach them to seek resources where no resources are to be found, — in something else than their own industry, frugality, and sobriety.
X. - THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
You will remember, gentlemen, that in the beginning of the American war (that era of calamity, disgrace, and downfall an era which no feeling mind will ever mention without a tear for England) you were greatly divided. A very strong body, if not the strongest, opposed itself to the madness which
art and every power were employed to render popular. This opposition continued till after our great but most unfortunate victory on Long Island.* Then all the mounds and banks of our constancy were borne down at once, and the frenzy of the American war broke in upon us like a deluge. This victory, which seemed to put an immediate end to all difficulties, perfected us in that spirit of domination which our unparalleled prosperity had but too long nurtured. Our headlong desires became our politics and our morals. All men who wished for peace, or retained any sentiments of moderation, were overborne or silenced. But time
* In August, 1776, the British followed up their success by the occupation of New York,
at length has made us all of one opinion; and we have all opened our eyes on the true nature of the American war - of all its successes and all its failures.
Do you remember our commission ? We sent out a solemn embassy across the Atlantic Ocean, to lay the Crown, the Peerage, the Commons of Great Britain, at the feet of the American Congress. My Lord Carlisle, once the mover of a haughty address against America, was put in the front of this Embassy of Submission. Mr. Eden was taken from the office of Lord Suffolk, to whom he was then Under-Secretary of State ; from the office of that Lord Suffolk who, but a few weeks before, in his place in Parliament, did not deign to inquire where “a congress of vagrants was to be found. This Lord Suffolk sent Mr. Eden to find these “vagrants," without knowing where his majesty's generals were to be found, who were joined in the same commission of supplicating those whom they were sent out to subdue.
They enter the capital of America only to abandon it; and these assertors and representatives of the dignity of England, at the tail of a flying army, let fly their Parthian shafts of memorials and remonstrances at random behind them. Their promises and their offers, their flatteries and their menaces, were all despised ; and we were saved the disgrace of their formal reception, only because the American Congress scorned to receive them; whilst the state-house of independent Philadelphia opened her doors to the public entry of the ambassador of France. From war and blood we went to submission, and from submission plunged back again to war and blood, to desolate and be desolated, without measure, hope, or end ! I am a royalist — I blushed for this degradation of the Crown. I am a Whig-I blushed for the dishonor of Parliament. I am a true English
- I felt to the quick for the disgrace of England. I am a
- I felt for the melancholy reverse of human affairs in the fall of the first power in the world.
XI. — ON THE EXPULSION OF WILKES, 1763. MY LORDS, let us be cautious how we admit an idea that our rights stand on a footing different from those of the people. Let us be cautious how we invade the liberties of our fellow-subjects, however mean, however remote; for, be assured, my lords, that in whatever part of the empire you suffer slavery to be established, whether it be in America or in Ireland, or here at home, you will find it a disease which spreads by contact, and soon reaches from the extremities to the heart. The man who has lost
ON THE CATHOLIC QUESTION.
his own freedom becomes, from that moment, an instrument in the hands of an ambitious prince, to destroy the freedom of others.
These reflections, my lords, are but too applicable to our present situation. The liberty of the subject is invaded, not only in provinces, but here at home. The English people are loud in their complaints; they proclaim, with one voice, the injuries they have received ; they demand redress; and, depend upon it, my lords, that one way or other they will have redress. They will never return to a state of tranquillity until they are redressed. Nor ought they; for, in my judgment, my lords, — and I speak it boldly, it were better for them to perish in a glorious contention for their rights, than to purchase a slavish tranquillity at the
expense of a single iota of the constitution. Let me entreat your lordships, then, in the name of all the duties you owe to your sovereign, to your country, and to yourselves, to perform that office to which you are called by the constitution, by informing his majesty truly of the condition of his subjects, and the real cause of their dissatisfaction.
XII. -ON THE CATHOLIC QUESTION. Sir, whenever one sect degrades another on account of religion, such degradation is the tyranny of a sect. When you enact that, on account of his religion, no Catholic shall sit in Parliament, you do what amounts to the tyranny of a sect. When you enact that no Catholic shall be a sheriff, you do what amounts to the tyranny of a sect. When you enact that no Catholic shall be a general, you do what amounts to the tyranny of a sect.
For the benefit of eleven hundred, to disqualify four or five millions, is the insolent effort of bigotry, not the benignant precept of Christianity; and all this, not for the preservation of their property, for that was secured; but for intolerance, for avarice, for a vile, abominable, illegitimate and atrocious usurpation. The laws of God cry out against it; the spirit of Christianity cries out against it; the laws of England, and the spirit and principles of its constitution, cry out against such a system. Whenever you attempt to establish your government, or your property, or your church, on religious restrictions, you establish them on a false foundation, and you oppose the Almighty; and, though you
had a host of miters on your side, you banish God from your ecclesiastical constitution, and freedom from your political.
I know the strength of the cause I support; it will walk the earth and flourish when dull declamation shall be silent, and the pert sophistry that opposed it shall be forgotten in the grave.
Sir, I appeal to the hospitals which are thronged with the Irish who have been disabled in your cause; and to the fields of Spain and Portugal, yet drenched with their blood; and I turn from that policy which disgraces your empire, to the spirit of civil freedom that formed it. That is the charm by which your kings have been appointed, and in whose thunder you ride the waters of the deep. I invoke these principles, and I call upon you to guard your empire in this perilous moment, — to guard it from religious strife, and from that death-doing policy which would teach one part to cut the throats of the other, in a metaphysical, ecclesiastical, unintelligible warfare. I call upon you to guard your empire from such a calamity, and to rescue four millions of your fellow-subjects from a senseless, shameless, diabolic oppression.
XIII. — THE VOCATION OF THE SCHOOLMASTER. Sir, there is nothing which the adversaries of improvement are more wont to make themselves merry with, than what is termed the “ march of intellect ;” and here I will confess that I think, as far as the phrase goes, they are in the right. It is a very absurd, because a very incorrect expression. It is little calculated to describe the operation in question. It does not picture an image at all resembling the proceeding of the true friends of mankind. It much more resembles the progress of the enemy to all improvement. The conqueror moves in a march. He stalks onward with the “pride, pomp, and circumstance of war; banners flying, shouts rending the air, guns thundering, and martial music pealing, to drown the shrieks of the wounded, and the lamentations for the slain.
Not thus the schoolmaster in his peaceful vocation. He meditates and purposes in secret the plans which are to bless inankind; he slowly gathers round him those who are to further their execution; he quietly, though firmly, advances in his humble path, laboring steadily, but calmly, till he has opened to the light all the recesses of ignorance, and torn up by the roots all the weeds of vice. His is a progress not to be compared with any thing like a march; but it leads to a far more brilliant triumph, and to laurels more imperishable than the destroyer of his species, the scourge of the world, ever won. Such men
men deserving the glorious title of Teachers of Mankind I have found, laboring conscientiously, though, per
ON WAR WITH FRANCE OR AMERICA.
haps, obscurely, in their blessëd vocation, wherever I have gone. I have found them, and shared their fellowship, among the daring, the ambitious, the ardent, the indomitably active French ; I have found them among the persevering, resolute, industrious Swiss; I have found them among the laborious, the warm-hearted, the enthusiastic Germans; I have found them among the highminded but enslaved Italians; and in our own country, God be thanked, their numbers every where abound, and are every day increasing
Their calling is high and holy; their fame is the prosperity of nations; their renown will fill the earth in after ages,
proportion as it sounds not far off in their own times. Each one of these great teachers of the world, possessing his soul in peace, performs his appointed course, awaits in patience the fulfillment of the promises, and, resting from his labors, bequeaths his memory to the generation whom his works have blessed, and sleeps under the humble but not inglorious epitaph, commemorating “ one in whom mankind lost a friend, and no man got rid of an enemy."
XIV. -ON WAR WITH FRANCE OR AMERICA.
You have now two wars before you, of which you must choose one, for both you can not support. The war against America is against your own countrymen — you have stopped me from
saying against your fellow-subjects; that against France is against your inveterate enemy and rival. Every blow you strike in America is against yourselves ; it is against all idea of reconciliation, and against your own interest, though you should be able, as you never will be, to force them to submit. Every stroke against France is of advantage to you : America must be conquered in France; France never can be conquered in America.
The war of France is a war of interest; it was her interest which first induced her to engage in it, and it is by that interest that she will measure its continuance, Turn
face at once against her; attack her wherever she is exposed; crush her commerce wherever you can; make her feel heavy and immediate distress throughout the nation : the people will soon cry out to their government.
The war of the Americans is a war of passion. It is of such a nature as to be supported by the most powerful virtues, love of liberty and of their country; and, at the same time, by those passions in the human heart which give courage, strength, and