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petrated upon the subdued victims of their rage in any district which they have overrun ; worse than the conduct of those three great powers in the miserable, devoted, and trampled-on kingdom of Poland, and who have been, or are, our allies in this war.for religion, social order, and the rights of nations? “O! but we regretted the partition of Poland!” Yes, regretted! You regretted the violence, and that is all. you did. You united yourselves with the actors; you, in fact, by your acquiescence, confirmed the atrocity. But they are your allies; and though they overran and divided Poland, there was nothing, perhaps, in the manner of doing it, which stamped it with peculiar infamy and disgrace. The hero of Poland, perhaps, was merciful and mild! He was as much superior to Bonaparte in bravery, and in the discipline which he maintained, as he was superior in virtue and humanity! He was animated by the purest principles of Christianity, and was restrained in his career by the benevolent precepts which it inculcates! Was he? Let unforunate Warsaw, and the miserable inhabitants of the suburb of Praga in particular, tell! What do we understand to have been the conduct of this magnanimous hero, with whom, it seems, Bonaparte is not to be compared? He entered the suburb of Praga, the most populous suburb of Warsaw, and there he let his soldiery loose on the miserable, unarmed, and unresisting people! Men, women, and children, nay, infants at the breast, were doomed to one indiscriminate massacre! Thousands of them were inhumanly, wantonly butchered! And for what? Because they had dared to join in a wish to meliorate their own condition as a people, and to improve their constitution, which had been confessed by their own sovereign to be in want of amendment. And such is the hero upon whom the cause of “religion and social order” is to repose! And such is the man whom we praise for his discipline and his virtue, and whom we hold out as our boast and our dependence, while the conduct of Bonaparte unfits him to be even treated with as an enemy!
FROM BUTLER'S “REMINISCENCES. 355. CHARACTER OF MR. Fox AND MR. Pitt. Almost the whole of Mr. Fox's political life was spent in opposition to his Majesty's ministers. It may be said of him, as of Lord North, that he had political adversaries, but no enemy. Good nature, too easily carried to excess, was one of the distinctive marks of his character. In vehemence and power of argument he resembled Demosthenes; but there the resemblance ended. He possessed a strain of ridicule and wit which nature denied to the Athenian;, and it was the more powerful, as it always appeared to be blended with argument, and to result from it. To the perfect composition which so eminently distinguishes the speeches of Demosthenes, he had no pretence.
The moment of his grandeur was, when, – after he had stated the argument of his adversary, with much greater strength than his adversary had done, and with much greater than any of his hearers thought possible, — he seized it with the strength of a giant, and tore and trampled on it to destruction. If, at this moment, he had possessed the power of the Athenian over the passions or the imaginations of his hearers, he might have disposed of the House at his pleasure, - but this was denied to him: and, on this account, his speeches fell very short of the effect which otherwise they must have produced.
It is difficult to decide on the comparative merit of him and Mr. Pitt: the latter had not the vehement reasoning or argumentative ridicule of Mr. Fox; but he had more splendor, more imagery, and much more method and discretion. His long, lofty, and reverential panegyrics of the British constitution, his eloquent vituperations of those whom he described as advocating the democratic spirit then let loose on the inhabitants of the earth, and his sole adjuration of the House to defend and to assist him in defending their all against it, were, in the highest degree, both imposing and conciliating, In addition, he had the command of bitter contemptuous sarcasm, which tortured to madness. This he could expand or compress at pleasure : even in one member of a sentence, he coult inflict a wound that was never healed.
Mr. Fox had a captivating earnestness of tone and manner; Mr. Pitt was more dignified than earnest. The action of Mr. Fox was easy and graceful; Mr. Pitt's cannot be praised. It was an observation of the reporters in the gallery, that it required great exertion to follow Mr. Fox while he was speaking; none to remember what he had said : that it was easy and delightful to follow Mr. Pitt; not so easy to recollect what had delighted them. It may be added, that, in all Mr. Fox's speeches, even when he was most violent, there was an unquestionable indication of good humor which attracted every heart. Where there was such a seeming equipoise of merit, the two last circumstances might be thought to turn the scale: but Mr. Pitt's undeviating circumspection, — sometimes concealed, sometimes ostentatiously displayed, -tended to obtain for him, from the considerate and the grave, a confidence which they denied to his rival.
HENRY GRATTAN. 1750–1820.
356. ATTACK UPON MR. FLOOD. Thus defective in every relationship, whether to constitution, commerce, and toleration, I will suppose this man to have added much private improbity to public crimes; that his probity was like his patriotism, and his honor on a level with his oath; he loves to deliver panegyrics on himself. I will interrupt him, and say, Sir, you are much mistaken if you think that your talents have been as great as your life has been reprehensible; you began your parliamentary career with an acrimony and personality which could have been justified only by a supposition of virtue; after a rank and clamorous opposition, you became on a sudden silent; you were silent for seven years; you were silent on the greatest questions, and you were silent for money! In 1773, while a negotiation was pending to sell your talents and your turbulence, you absconded from your duty in Parliament, you forsook your law of Poynings, you forsook the questions of economy, and abandoned all the old themes of your former declamation: you were not at that period to be found in the House; you were seen, like a guilty spirit, haunting the lobby of the House of Commons, watching the moment in which the question should be put, that you might vanish; you were descried with a criminal anxiety, retiring from the scenes of your past glory; or you were perceived coasting the upper benches of this House, like a bird of prey, with an evil aspect and a sepulchral note, meditating to pounce on its quarry : these ways, they were not the ways of honor, you practised pending a negotiation which was to end either in your sale or your sedition : the former taking place, you supported the rankest measures that ever came before Parliament; the embargo of 1776, for instance. “O, fatal embargo, that breach of law, and rain of commerce!" You supported the unparalleled profusion and jobbing of Lord Harcourt's scandalous ministry; the address to support the American war; the other address to send four thousand men, which you had yourself declared to be necessary for the defence of Ireland, to fight against the liberties of America, to which you had declared yourself a friend; — you, sir, who delight ta utter execrations against the American commissioners of 1778, on account of their hostility to America; — you, sir, who manufacture stage-thunder against Mr. Eden, for his anti-American principles; — you, sir, whom it pleases to chant a hymn to the immortal Hampden; — you, sir, approved of the tyranny exercised against America; and you, sir, voted four thousand Irish troops to cut the throats of the Americans fighting for their freedom, fighting for your freedom, fighting for the great principle, liberty ; but you found, at last (and this should be an eternal lesson to men of your craft and cunning), that the king had only dishonored you; the court had bought, but would not trust you; and having voted for the worst measures, you remained, for seven years, the creature of salary, without the confidence of government. Mortified at the discovery, and stung by disappointment, you betake yourself to the sad expedients of duplicity; you try the sorry game of a trimmer in your progress to the acts of an incendiary; you give no honest support either to the government or the people; you, at the most critical period of their existence, take no part, you sign no non-consumption agreement, you are no volunteer, you oppose no perpetual mutiny bill, no altered sugar bill; you declare, that you
lament that the declaration of right should have been brought forward; and observing, with regard to prince and people, the most impartial treachery and desertion, you justify the suspicion of your sovereign, by betraying the government as you had sold the people : until, at last, by this hollow conduct, and for some other steps, the result of mortified ambition, being dismissed, and another person put in your place, you fly to the ranks of the volunteers, and canvass for mutiny; you announce that the country was ruined by other men during that period in which she had been sold by you. Your logic is, that the repeal of a declaratory law is not the repeal of a law at all, and the effect of that logic is, an English act affecting to emancipate Ireland, by exercising over her the legislative authority of the British Parliament. Such has been your conduct, and at such conduct every order of your fellow-subjects have a right to exclaim! The merchant may say to you the constitutionalist may say to you - the American may say to you — and I, I now say, and say to your beard, sir, you are not an honest man.
357. SPEECH AGAINST NAPOLEON, May 25, 1815.
The proposition that we should not interfere with the government of other nations is true, but true with qualifications. If the government of any other country contains an insurrectionary principle, as France did, when she offered to aid the insurrection of her neighbors, your interference is warranted; if the government of another country contains the principle of universal empire, as France did, and promulgated, your interference is justifiable. Gentlemen may call this internal government, but I call this conspiracy. If the government of another country maintains a predatory army, such as Bonaparte's, with a view to hostility and conquest, your interference is just. He may call this internal government, but I call this a preparation for
No doubt he will accompany this with offers of peace, but such offers of peace are nothing more than one of the arts of war, attended, most assuredly, by charging on you the 'odium of a long and protracted contest, and with much commonplace, and many good saws and sayings of the miseries of bloodshed, and the savings and good husbandry of peace, and the comforts of a quiet life: but if you listen to this, you will be much deceived; not only deceived, but you will be beaten. Again, if the government of another country covers more ground in Europe, and destroys the balance of power, so as to threaten the independence of other nations, this is a cause of your interference. Such was the principle upon which we acted in the best times : such was the principle of the grand alliance, such was the triple alliance, and such the quadruple; and by such principles has Europe not only been regulated, but protected. If a foreign government does any of those acts I have mentioned, we have a cause of war; but if a foreign power does all of them, - forms a conspiracy for universal empire, keeps up an army for that purpose, employs that army to overturn the balance of power, and attempts the conquest of Europe, – attempts, do I say? in a great degree achieves it (for what else was Bonaparte's dominion before the battle of Leipsic?)— and then receives an overthrow; owes its deliverence to treaties which give that power its life, and these countries their security (for what did you get from France but security?)– if this power, I say, avails itself of the conditions in the treaties, which give it colonies, prisoners, and deliverence, and breaks those conditions which give you security, and resumes the same situation which renders this power capable of repeating the same atrocity, - has England, or has she not, a right of war?
Having considered the two questions, - that of ability and that of right, -- and having shown that you are justified on either consideration to go to war, let me now suppose that you treat for peace. First, you will have peace upon a war estabiishment, and then a war without „your present allies. It is not certain that you will have any of them, but it is certain that you will not have the same, combination, while Bonaparte increases his power by confirmation of his title, and by further preparation; so that you will have a bad peace and a bad war. Were I disposed to treat for peace I would not agree to the amendment, because it disperses your allies and strengthens your enemy, and says to both, we will quit our alliance to confirm Napoleon on the throne of France, that he may hereafter inore advantageously fight us, as he did before, for the throne af England.
Gentlemen set forth the pretensions of Bonaparte; gentlemen say, that he has given liberty to the press; he has given liberty to publication, to be afterwards tried and punished according to the present constitution of France, as a military chief pleases; that is to say, he has given liberty to the French to hang themselves. Gentlemen say, he has in his dominions abolished the slave-trade: I am unwilling to deny him praise for such an act; but if we praise him for giving liberty to the African, let us not assist him in imposing slavery on the European. Gentlemen say, will you make war upon character? But the question is, will you trust a government without one? What will you do if you are conquered, say gentlemen? I answer, the very thing you must do if you treat - abandon the Low Countries. But the question is, in which case are you most likely to be conquered — with allies or without them? Either you must abandon the Low Countries, or you must preserve them by arms, for Bonaparte will not be withheld by treaty. If you abandon them, you will lose your situation on the globe; and instead of being a medium of communication and commerce between the new and the old, you will become an anxious station between two fires — the continent of America, rendered hostile by the intrigues of France, and the continent of Europe, possessed by her arms. It then remains for you to determine, if you do not abandon the Low Countries, in what way you mean to de fend them — alone or with allies.