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of India from high office. I have no fears. The path of daty is plain before us : and it is also the path of wisdom, of national prosperity, of national honor.
Sir, what is that power worth which is founded on vice, on ignorance, and on misery?- which we can only hold by violating the most sacred duties which, as governors, we owe to the governed ? -- which, as a people blessed with far more than an ordiriary measure of political liberty and of intellectual light, we owe to à race debased by three thousand years of despotism and priestcraft ? Ah! sir, we are free, we are civilized, to little purpose, if we grudge to any portion of the human race an equal measure of freedom and civilization !
Sir, it may be that by good government we may educate our subjects of India into a capacity for better government; it may be that, having become instructed in European knowledge, they may, in some future
age, demand European institutions. Whether such a day will ever come I know not. But never will I attempt to avert or retard it. Whenever it comes, it will be the proudest day in English history. To have found a great people sunk in the lowest depths of slavery and superstition, to have so ruled them as to have made them desirous and capable of all the privileges of citizens, would, indeed, be a title to glory all our own. The scepter may pass away
Unforeseen accidents may derānge our most profound schemes of policy. Victory may be inconstant to our arms. But there are triumphs which are followed by no reverses.
There is an empire exempt from all natural causes of decay. These triumphs are the pacific triumphs of reason over barbarism ; that empire is the imperishable empire of our arts and our morals, our literature and our laws!
XXV. – THE JEWS' DISABILITIES BILL. The question before us is, Shall Jews be admitted to the privllege of sitting in Parliament ? That they wish to have access to this privilege has already been shown ; it now remains to show that some harm is calculated to result from that admission. Unless this is shown, the refusal is neither more nor less than persecution.
My honorable friend put a different interpretation on this word persecution ; but when we come to define the sense, it must be found that we are only quibbling about a word. With some persons, perhaps, burning would be persecution, while the screwing of thumbs would not be persecution ; others may call
THE JEWS' DISABILITIES BILL.
the screwing of thumbs persecution, and deny the justice of that expression applied to whipping. But, according to my impression, the infliction of any penalties on account of religious opinions, and on account of religious opinions alone, comes within the meaning of the term persecution. It is as much persecution in principle as an auto da fé; the only difference is in degree. No argument can be adduced in favor of the mildest degree of this injustice, which, logically speaking, though not morally, indeed, might not be used with equal force in favor of the most cruel inflictions from similar motives.
If it was to be full and entire persecution, after the example of our ancestors, I could understand it. If we were called on to revert to the days when, as a people, the Jews were pillaged, their warehouses torn down, their every right sacrificed, the thing would be comprehensible. But this is a delicate persecution, with no abstract rule for its guidance. All that the house has been told is, that the Jews are not Christians, and that, therefore, they must not have power.
But this has not been declared openly and ingenuously, as it once was.
Formerly, the persecution of the Jews was, at least, consistent. The thing was once made complete by taking away their property, their liberty, and their lives. My honorable friend is now equally vehement as to taking away their political power; and yet, no doubt, he would shudder at what such a principle might really take away. The only power that my honorable friend seems to wish to deprive the Jews of is to consist in maces, gold chains, and skins of parchment with pieces of wax dangling at the end of them. But he is leaving them all the things that bestow real power. He allows them to have property, and in these times property is power, mighty and overwhelming power; he allows them to have knowledge, and knowledge is no less power.
Then why is all this power poisoned by intolerance? Why is the Jew to have the power of a principal over his clerk, of a master over his servant, of a landlord over his tenant - why is he to have all this which is power, and yet to be deprived of the fair and natural consequences of this power? A Jew may be the richest man in England; he may possess the whole of London; his interest may be the means of raising this party or depressing that; his influence may be of the first consequence in a war which shall shake all Europe to its center; his power may assist or retard the greatest plans of the greatest prince; he may make members of Parliament; and yet, with all this, confessed, acknowledged, undenied, he is not to have the power of sitting in Parliament himself!
XXVI. — THE AMERICANS NOT REBELLIOUS.
On the Address to the King, February 2, 1775.
SIR, the noble lord has endeavored, by every light into which he can throw the question, to prove that the resistance of the Americans, though it has gone no further than votes and resolutions, is actual and open rebellion. I think, sir, that there is no difficulty in proving the direct contrary position. Against what is it that the Americans rebel? Do they deny allegiance to his majesty ? Are they in arms in opposing the king's troops ? By what explanation or by what misconception their conduct is now to be branded with so violent and so fatal an epithet, I can not apprehend.
You passed acts, at the last session, which overturned all legal semblance of a constitution in one of their provinces ; and you utterly ruined* the capital of the empire in that part of the world, by way of punishing the insolence of a mob. You executed those acts by force of arms. The people of the colonies, thinking themselves tyrannically used, convened a General Congress. The deputies met in that Congress, and came to resolutions full of duty and allegiance to the king, and respect towards Parliament.
And we, the Parliament of Great Britain, are now to overlook the conduct of the Congress, and search for proofs of rebellion among the American mobs and the colony newspapers! And these last have been actually laid before us as state papers ! Yet, in the action of these mobs, and in the expressions of these newspapers, is not rebellion to be found. It must be by the most sophistical of all arguments that such a deduction is to be drawn. A people governed by a constitution subordinate to our own, professing loyalty and obedience to the king, and using no violence against his troops, nor being any where in arms, can not, but by the utmost perversion of sense and expression, be denominated rebels.
I insist that America is not in a state of rebellion. I insist that every appearance of riot, disorder, tumult, and sedition, which the noble lord has so faithfully recounted from newspapers, arises not from disobedience, treason, or rebellion, but is created by the conduct of those who would establish a despotism in the land; ay, sir, of those whose views are manifestly directed to the reduction of America to the most abject state of servility, as a preľude to the realizing the same atrocious system in the mother country.
* Parliament shut up the port of Boston, March, 1774.
PART SEVENTH. — THE FLOOR OF CONGRESS.
1. _ ON THE BRITISH TREATY, 1796. Tue treaty is bad, fatally bad, is the cry. It sacrifices the interest, the honor, the independence, of the United States, and the faith of our engagements to France. If we listen to the clamor of party intemperance, the evils are of a number not to be counted, and of a nature not to be borne, even in idea. The language of passion and exaggeration may silence that of sober reason in other places. It has not done it here. The question here is, whether the treaty be really so very fatal as to oblige the nation to break its faith.
This, sir, is a cause that would be dishonored and betrayed if I contented myself with appealing only to the understanding. That faculty is too cold, and its processes are too slow, for the occasion. I desire to thank God that, since he has given me an intellect so fallible, he has impressed upon me an instinct that is
On a question of shame and honor, reasoning is sometimes useless, and worse. I feel the decision in my pulse; if it throws no light upon the brain, it kindles a fire at the heart.
It is not easy to deny, it is impossible to doubt, that a treaty imposes an obligation on the American nation. It would be childish to consider the President and Senate obliged, and the nation and House free. What is the obligation ? Perfect or imperfect? If perfect, the debate is brought to a conclusion. If imperfect, how large a part of our faith is pawned? Is half our honor put at risk, and is that half too cheap to be redeemed ? How long has this hair-splitting subdivision of good faith been discovered, and why has it escaped the researches of the writers on the law of nations ? Shall we add a new chapter to that law, or insert this doctrine as a supplement to, or, more properly, a repeal of, the ten commandments ?
The consequences of refusing to make provision for the treaty are not all to be foreseen. By rejecting it, vast interests are committed to the sport of the winds; chance becomes the arbiter of events, and it is forbidden to human foresight to count their number, or measure their extent. Before we resolve to leap into this abyss, so dark and so profound, it becomes us to pause and reflect upon such of the dangers as are obvious and inevitable. If this assembly should be wrought into a temper to defy these consequences, it is vain, it is deceptive, to pretend that we can escape them. It is worse than weakness to say that as to public faith our vote has already settled the question : another tribunal than our own is already erected. The public opinion, not merely of our own country, but of the enlightened world, will pronounce a judgment that we can not resist, that we dare not even affect to despise.
II. — WAR WITH GREAT BRITAIN, 1812. If we are not fully prepared for war, let the sublime fact be soon exhibited, that a free and valiant nation, with our numbers, and a just cause, is always a powerful nation — is always ready to defend its essential rights! In the Congress of 1774, among other arguments used to prevent a war, and discourage separation from Great Britain, the danger of having our towns battered down and burnt was zealously urged. The venerable Christopher Gadsden, of South Carolina, rose and replied to it in these memorable words: “Our seaport towns, Mr. President, are composed of brick and wood. If they are destroyed, we have clay and timber enough in our country to rebuild them. But, if the liberties of our country are destroyed, where shall we find the materials to replace them ?”
During the siege of Boston, General Washington consulted Congress upon the propriety of bombarding the town. Mr. Hancock was then President of Congress. After General Washington's letter was read, a solemn silence ensued. This was broken by a member making a motion that the house should resolve itself into a committee of the whole, in order that Mr. Hancock might give his opinion upon the important subject, as he was so deeply interested from having all his estate in Boston. After he left the chair, he addressed the chairman of the committee of the whole in the following words : “ It is true, sir, nearly all the property I have in the world is in houses and other real estate in the town of Boston; but, if the expulsion of the British army from it, and the liberties of our country, require their being burnt to ashes, issue the order for that purpose immediately.”
What inspiring lessons of duty do examples like these inculcate! War, fellow-citizens, is not the greatest of evils. Submission to injustice is worse.
Loss of honor is worse. purchased by mean and inglorious sacrifices is worse.
I am no apologist of war. It should be the last resort of nations. It brings tremendous evils in its train. It foments some of the worst passions of our nature, even as it sometimes develops the