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ing the speech he had just made) we narchy to France. I never once, utmight as well hope to preserve the tered any such intention. What I grandeur and sublimity of the torrent said was, and the house must be in the of Niagara, by letting the waters of recollection of it, that the France the Erie fall drop by drop. The dif. which now exists affords no promise ficulty of exhibiting in this manner of security against aggression and inthe extraordinary power and energy justice in peace, and is destitute of all of Mr Pitt's eloquence is increased by justice and integrity in war. I oba another circumstance, viz. that his served also, and I think the honourspeeches were never composed; they able gentleman must agree with me were intended solely for the ear, and when I repeat it, that the characthese lengthened periods, which, when ter and conduct of that government supported by the voice and gesture of must enter into the calculation of se. the speaker, were not only perfectly curity to other governments against intelligible, but produced great effects, wrong, and for the due and liberal seem sometimes heavy and involved observance of political engagements. when they are read; those lofty mag. The honourable gentleman says, that nificent amplifications which, in a po- he has too much good sense, and pular assembly, have often the effect that every man must have too much of impressing the subject more deeply good sense, to suppose that territorial on the mind, are felt in print to be wante limits can of themselves be made to ing in precision and force. The follow- constitute the security of states. He ing may, perhaps, be considered as no does well to add his sanction to a doc. unfair specimen of the eloquence of Mr trine that is as old as political society Pitt; though we shall have occasion to itself. In the civilized and regular exclaim with Eschines, when he read to community, states find their mutual his admiring pupils a speech of De security against wrong, not in territomosthenes, “And what would you ry only, they have the guarantee of have said, if you had heard himself !” fleets, of armies, of acknowledged in
Mr Pitt, in a short speech, had mo- tegrity and tried good faith ; it is to ved, “ that the sum of 825,0001. be be judged of by the character, the ta. granted to his majesty, to enable his lents, and the virtues of the men who majesty to fulfil his engagements with guide the councils of states, who are Russia, in such a manner as may be the advisers of princes: but what is best adapted to the exigencies of the there in the situation of the French case.” Mr Tierney opposed the mo. republic on which can be founded a tion on the ground of its object being confidence which is to be in itself some undefined, and contending, amongst proof, that she can afford securi. other things, that we were called upon ty against wrong? She has territory, by ministers to prosecute the war, un- she has the remains of a navy, she has til the existing government of France armies ; but what is her character as should be overthrown. Mr Pitt rose a moral being? Who is there to testiin reply. « Sir, I cannot agree to fy her integrity? The Swiss nation ! the interpretation the honourable gen- Who bears testimony to her good tleman has thought proper to give to faith? The states she has plundered parts of my speech. He has supposed under the delusive but captivating that I said, we persevere in the war, masks of deliverers from tyranny and increase our activity, and extend What is the character of her advisers ? our alliances, to impose a government What the aspect of her counsels ? on another country, and to restore mo. They are the authors of all that mise.
ry, the fountain head of all those ca- war against opinion. It is not so. We lamities, which, marching by the are not in arms against the opinions of side of an unblushing tyranny, have the closet, nor the speculations of the saddened and obscured the fairest school ; we are at war with armed and the gayest portions of Europe ; opinions; we are at war with those which have deformed the face of na- opinions which the sword of auda. ture wherever their pestiferous genius cious, unprincipled, and impious inno• has acquired any ascendancy. In fine, vation seeks to propagate amidst the we are to look for security from a go- ruin of empires, the demolition of , vernment which is constantly making the altars of all religion, the destrucprofessions of different kinds of senti. tion of every venerable, and good, and ments, and is constantly receding from liberal institution, under whatever form every thingit professes; a government of polity they have been raised ; and that has professed, and its conduct still this in spite of the dissenting reason manifests, enmity to every institution of men, in contempt of that lawful auand state in Europe, and particularly thority which, in established society, to this country, the best regulated in superior talents and superior virtucs its government, the happiest in itself, attain, crying out to them not to enter of all the empires that form that great upon holy ground, nor to pollute the community. Having said so much on stream of eternal justice ; admonishing these matters, I shall now shortly no- them of their danger ;-whilst, like tice a continued confusion in the ho- the genius of evil, they mimic their nourable gentleman's ideas. On an- voice, and, having succeeded in drawother occasion, he could not under. ing upon them the ridicule of the stand what I meant by the deliverance vulgar, close their day of wickedness of Europe, and in the second effort and savage triumph with the massacre of his inquisitive mind he is not more and waste of whatever is amiable, happy. He tells us, he cannot see learned, and pious, in the districts they any thing in the present principles of kave overrun, Whilst the principles France but mere abstract metaphysi- avowed by France, and acted upon so cal dogmas. What are those princi. wildly, held their legitimate place, conples that guided the arms of France fined to the circles of a few ingenious in their unprincipled attack on the in- and learned men,—whilst these men, dependence of Switzerland, which the continued to occupy those heights honourable gentleman has reproba, which vulgar minds could not mount, ted? Was the degradation without whilst they contented themselves trial of the members of the assemblies with abstract enquiries concerning the of France,—were, in short, those ex. laws of matter or the progress of mind, cessess and that wickedness, in the it was pleasing to regard them with contemplation of which the honoura- respect ; for while the simplicity ble gentleman says, he first learnt to of the man of genius is preserved un regard France as an odious tyranny touched, if we will not pay homage to will he class the principles which could his eccentricities, there is, at least, lead to all these things with the mere much in it to be admired. Whilst these metaphysical abstractions of heated principles were confined in that way, over-zealous theorists? He will still and had not yet bounded over the com, persist, at least he has given the pro. mon sense and reason of mankind, we mise of considerable resistance to all saw nothing in them to alarm, nothing arguments to the contrary, in saying to terrify ; but their appearance in that we have an intention to wage arms changed their character. We
VOL. IV. PART II.
will not leave the monster to prowl or maintaining them ; if we observe, the world unopposed. He must cease that since the last revolution, no one to annoy the abode of peaceful men. substantial or effectual measure has If he retire into the cell, whether of been adopted to remedy the intolerasolitude or repentance, thither we will ble disorder of their finances, and to not pursue him; but we cannot leave supply the deficiency of their credit him in the throne of power.”
and resources ; if we see through large The following example will convey and populous districts of France, eisome idea of the power with which ther open war levied against the prehe recapitulated and accumulated his sent usurpation, or evident marks of reasonings upon the House at the close disunion and distraction which the first of an oration, contriving at the same occasion may call forth into a flame ; time to escape from any thing like a if, I say, sir, this comparison be just, I specific pledge, and skilfully reserving feel myself authorised to conclude to himself a discretion, as to the course from it, not that we are entitled to which in future circumstances he might consider ourselves certain of ultimate find it expedient to select. This per success, nor that we are to suppose oration is from the speech which call. ourselves exempted from the unforeed forth the foregoing example of Mr seen vicissitudes of war; but that, conFox's eloquence
sidering the value of the object for 6 If we compare this view of our which we are contending, the means situation with every thing we can ob. for supporting the contest, and the serve of the state and condition of our probable course of human events, we enemy; if we can trace him labouring should be inexcusable, if at this mounder equal difficulty in finding men ment we were to relinquish the strugto recruit his army, or money to pay gle on any grounds short of entire and it ; if we know that in the course of complete security; that from persévethe last year the most vigorous efforts rance in our efforts under such circumof military conscription were scarcely stances, we have the fairest reason to sufficient to replace to the French ar. expect the full attainment of our obmies, at the end of the campaign, the ject; but that at all events, even if we numbers which they had lost in the are disappointed in our more sanguine course of it ; if we have seen that this hopes, we are more likely to gain than force, then in possession of advantages to lose by the continuation of the conwhich it has since lost, was unable to test ; that every month to which it is contend with the efforts of the com- continued, even if it should not in its bined armies ; if we know that even effects lead to the final destruction of while supported by the plunder of all the Jacobin system, must tend so far the countries which they had overrun, to weaken and exhaust it, as to give their troops were reduced, by the con- us at least a greater comparative sefession of their commanders, to the curity in any termination of the war; extremity of distress, and destitute, that, on these, grounds, this is not the not only of the principal articles of moment at which it is consistent with military supply, but almost of the ne. our interest or our duty to listen to cessaries of life ; if we see them now any proposals of negociation with the driven back within their own frontiers, present ruler of France; but that we and confined within a country, whose are not therefore pledged to any unalown resources have long since been terable determination as to our future proclaimed by their successive govern. conduct ; that in this we must be rements to be unequal either to paying gulated by the course of events; and that it will be the duty of his majesty's gument with ponderous words or taw, ministers, from time to time, to adapt dry conceits. All was forcible, gracetheir measures to any variation of cire ful, and chaste : nervous without im. cumstances; to consider how far the ef. petuosity, natural without carelessness, fects of the military operations of the and correct without pedantry, His allies, or of the internal disposition of chef d'euvre as an orator is generally France, correspond with our present considered to be the speech which he expectations; and, on a view of the delivered in the House of Commons whole, to compare the difficulties or on the charge against Mr Hastings, risks which may arise in the prosecu- respecting the Begum Princesses ; a tion of the contest, with the prospect speech of such transcendent ability, of ultimate success, or of the degree that, when he concluded it, the memof advantage to be derived from its bers are said to have risen with one further continuance, and to be govern- accord from their seats, and crowded ed by the result of all these considera. into the middle of the floor, as though tions, in the opinion and advice which some supernatural fury had seized and they may offer to their sovereign.” scattered them; and Mr Pitt moved
The eloquence of Mr Sheridan dif. an immediate adjournment, on the fered from that of Mr Pitt, as well as ground that it would be improper to from that of his friend and partisan allow a division, while the minds of all Mr Fox; but, though dissimilar to present were under the influence of the both, was perhaps inferior to neither. fever, excited by the unparalleled elo:
Mr Sheridan was rather a great ora- quence which they had just heard. tor, than a great debater. We are These were the principal speakers sorry to speak of him in the past tense ; in the English House of Commons, but, unfortunately for his country, and when the union of Great Britain and for the honour of eloquence and pure Ireland brought a kindred race of ora. taste, he is now no longer in parlia- tors to the parliament of the empire. ment. He was, we repeat it, a great Among those who have thus transfer orator, rather than a great debater. red themselves, there is one who stands Unlike the generality of those who proudly eminent, not only from the rehave enjoyed a distinction in the House putation which he acquired during his of Commons, he seemed to consider long and active services in the Irish parliamentary eloquence more as a pur- legislature, but likewise from the stri. suit of pleasure, than as a matter of king exhibitions of talent which, since business. Not that he arrived, with his accession to the united parliament, out long and severe toil, at the excel. he has made on behalf of the catholics lence which he ultimately reached; but of his nativecountry. We need not add, it was like the toil of the sportsman, a that we are speaking of Mr Grattan. favourite exercise. The chief charac. Of that species of eloquence which teristic of his genius was imagination; has been denominated, xatoxu, Irish, and he possessed it in every variety of the speeches of Mr Grattan have albrilliant metaphor and playful wit. ways seemed to us to furnish the most But he never permitted it to wander perfect examples. By Irish eloquence, beyond the bounds which sound judg: we mean that perpetual flow of bright ment prescribes to the display of such thoughts and appeals to the passions qualities in public speaking. He never of the hearer, by which the orators of swelled his solemnity into bombast, the sister kingdom have principally nor degraded his humour into buf. distinguished themselves. It must be foonery. He never overlaid his ar. allowed, that, in all which associates
the orator with the poet, they have the American Indian, is a specimen of greatly excelled the natives of Great the same taste among the inhabitants Britain. They have addressed the fan- of an opposite hemisphere. The readcy, rather than the reason; and they er, who takes the pains to travel have succeeded to admiration
through those imperfect reports which But while we are perfectly ready to remain to us of the parliamentary depay this tribute of our applause to the bates in early times, will find that alpoetical genius of oratory, we cannot most all the effusions of the older orahelp intimating a belief, that this kind tors were mere declamations ; till, as of genius, unless it be very carefully the transference of the substantial power restrained, will be found, for the most from kings to parliaments gradually part, an impediment to the progress of increased the business of the two the orator himself, not only before the houses, oratory became more dry and rigid tribunals of legal wisdom, but grave. And we are not afraid to afeven in the debates of parliament. firm, that many of the speeches which, Men go to the House of Commons a hundred years ago, were received to do business, and to do it as quickly with rapturous acclaim, would at this as may be. The nature of that busi. hour be obstructed by innumerable ness at this day is totally different from coughs, cries of question, and others the nature of the business two hun. of those salutary correctives, by which dred years ago. The multiplication the house is accustomed to cool the of details upon almost every political ambition of an over zealous aspirant. subject, collected on both sides with The Irish people, who have not yet the most assiduous partiality, the advanced so far as some of their more wide extent of our foreign relations, sedate contemporaries in the path of the immense expansion of our com. civilization, are accordingly more tomerce and manufacturesthe perpe- lerant of showy rhetoric. Add to this, tual irritations of meddling reformers that they are naturally of warmer temin every department,mall concur to in- peraments than their eastern and northcrease, in an incalculable proportion, ern neighbours : and when these cirthe weight of the business which de. cumstances are taken into account, it volves upon a member of parliament. will be matter of little surprise that exPressed by so many demands, he seeks tensive allowances are made among only to get the more important facts them even for deficiency or fallacy of accurately stated, and the more mate argument, where the failure appears rial arguments clearly deduced from to be redeemed by any brilliant or pathem. A case is set up on one side, thetic effusion of fancy or of sentiand controverted on the other ; and ment. scarcely any thing, which does not di. The two great Irish orators, howrectly tend either to confirm or to con. ever, who preceded Mr Grattan--we fute the chief advocates on one of those mean Mr Burke and Mr Sheridan, sides, is deemed germane to the pur. had lived so long among the English, pose for which the house considers it. even before they had seats in the House self to be convened.
of Commons, that they had, perhaps, It is among those nations, with acquired something of the English chawhom civilization is yet but in its racter, and were enabled to prune whatdawn, that poetical eloquence princi- ever may have been naturally efflorespally flourishes. The natives of the cent in the fertility of their imaginaEast express themselves in parables; tions. Their eloquence, in truth, was and the celebrated speech of Logan, on the English model, only a little