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pressing any description of men, or any one man in any description. No! the charges against me are all of one kind, that I have pushed the principles of general justice and benevolence too far; farther than a cautious policy would warrant; and farther than the opinions of many would go along with me. In every accident which may happen through life-in pain, in sorrow, in depression, and distress - I will call to mind this accusation, and be comforted.
FROM THE "REFLECTIONS ON THE FRENCH REVOLUTION."
220. MARIE ANTOINETTE, QUEEN OF FRANCE.
It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the Queen of France, then the Dauphiness, at Versailles; and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the elevated sphere she just began to move in- glittering like the morning star, full of life, and splendor, and joy. O, what a revolution! and what a heart must I have to contemplate without emotion that elevation and that fall! Little did I dream, when she added titles of veneration to that enthusiastic, distant, respectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of gallant men, in a nation of men of honor and of cavaliers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished forever. Never, never more shall we behold that generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submission, that dignified obedience, that subordination of the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone! It is gone, that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honor, which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courage whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled whatever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half its evil by losing all its grossness.
221. FROM THE "IMPEACHMENT OF WARREN HASTINGS."
My lords, you have now heard the principles on which Mr. Hastings governs the part of Asia subjected to the British empire. You have heard his opinion of the mean and depraved state of those who are subject to it. You have heard his lecture upon arbitrary power, which he states to be the constitution of Asia. You hear the application he makes of it; and you hear the practices which he employs to justify
it, and who the persons were on whose authority he relies, and whose example he professes to follow. In the first place, your lordships will be astonished at the audacity with which he speaks of his own administration, as if he was reading a speculative lecture on the evils attendant upon some vicious system of foreign government, in which he had no sort of concern whatsoever. And then, when in this speculative way he has established, or thinks he has, the vices of the government, he conceives he has found a sufficient apology for his own crimes. And if he violates the most solemn engagements, if he oppresses, extorts, and robs, if he imprisons, confiscates, banishes, at his sole will and pleasure, when we accuse him for his ill treatment of the people committed to him as a sacred trust, his defence is, "To be robbed, violated, oppressed, is their privilege- let the constitution of their country answer for it. I did not make it for them. Slaves I found them, and as slaves I have treated them. I was a despotic prince, despotic governments are jealous, and the subjects prone to rebellion. This very proneness of the subject to shake off his allegiance exposes him to continual danger from his sovereign's jealousy, and this is consequent on the political state of Hindostanic governments." He lays it down as a rule, that despotism is the genuine constitution of India; that a disposition to rebellion in the subject, or dependent prince, is the necessary effect of this despotism, and that jealousy and its consequences naturally arise on the part of the sovereign; that the government is everything, and the subject nothing; that the great landed men are in a mean and depraved state, and subject to many evils.
But nothing is more false than that despotism is the constitution of any country in Asia, that we are acquainted with. It is certainly not true of any Mahomedan constitution. But if it were, do your lordships really think that the nation would bear, that any human creature would bear, to hear an English governor defend himself on such principles? or, if he can defend himself on such principles, is it possible to deny the conclusion, that no man in India has a security for anything but by being totally independent of the British government?. Here he has declared his opinion, that he is a despotic prince, that he is to use arbitrary power, and of course all his acts are covered with that shield. "I know," says he, "the constitution of Asia only from its practice." Will your lordships submit to hear the corrupt practices of mankind made the principles of government? No; it will be your pride and glory to teach men intrusted with power, that, in their use of it, they are to conform to principles, and not to draw their principles from the corrupt practice of any man whatever. Was there ever heard, or could it be conceived, that a governor would dare to heap up all the evil practices, all the cruelties, oppressions, extortions, corruptions, briberies of all the ferocious usurpers, desperate robbers, thieves, cheats, and jugglers, that ever had office from one end o Asia to another, and consolidating all this mass of the crimes an absurdities of barbarous domination into one code, establish it as the
"whole duty" of an English governor? I believe that till this time so audacious a thing was never attempted by man.
He have arbitrary power! My lords, the East Indian Company have not arbitrary power to give him; the king has no arbitrary power to give him; your lordships have not; nor the Commons; nor the whole legislature. We have no arbitrary power to give; because arbitrary power is a thing which neither any man can hold nor any man can give. No man can lawfully govern himself according to his own will, much less can one person be governed by the will of another. We are all born in subjection, all born equally, high and low, governors and governed, in subjection to one great, immutable, pre-existent law, prior to all our devices, and prior to all our contrivances, paramount to all our ideas and all our sensations, antecedent to our very existence, by which we are knit and connected in the eternal frame of the universe, out of which we cannot stir.
222. FROM "A LETTER TO A NOBLE LORD" (Duke of Bedford).
Had it pleased God to continue to me the hopes of succession, I should have been, according to my mediocrity, and the mediocrity of the age I live in, a sort of founder of a family; I should have left a son, who, in all the points in which personal merit can be viewed, in science, in erudition, in genius, in taste, in honor, in generosity, in humanity, in every liberal sentiment, and every liberal accomplishment, would not have shown himself inferior to the Duke of Bedford, or to any of those to whom he traces in his line. His grace very soon would have wanted all plausibility in his attack upon that provision which belonged more to mine than to me. He would soon have supplied every deficiency, and symmetrized every disproportion. It would not have been for that successor to resort to any stagnant wasting reservoir of merit in me, or in any ancestry. He had in himself a salient, living spring, of generous and manly action. Every day he lived he would have repurchased the bounty of the crown, and ten times more, if ten times more he had received. He was made a public creature; and had no enjoyment whatever but in the performance of some duty. At this exigent moment, the loss of a finished man is not easily supplied.
But a Disposer whose power we are little able to resist, and whose wisdom it behooves us not at all to dispute, has ordained it in another manner, and (whatever my querulous weakness might suggest) a far better. The storm has gone over me, and I lie like one of those old oaks which the late hurricane hath scattered about me. I am stripped of all my honors: I am torn up by the roots, and lie prostrate on the earth! There, and prostrate there, I most unfeignedly recognize the divine justice, and in some degree submit to it. But whilst I humble myself before God, I do not know that it is forbidden to repel the
attacks of unjust and inconsiderate men. The patience of Job is proverbial. After some of the convulsive struggles of our irritable nature, he submitted himself, and repented in dust and ashes. But even so, I do not find him blamed for reprehending, and with a considerable degree of verbal asperity, those ill-natured neighbors of his, who visited his dunghill to read moral, political, and economical lectures on his misery. I am alone. I have none to meet my enemies in the gate. Indeed, my lord, I greatly deceive myself, if, in this hard season, I would give a peck of refuse wheat for all that is called fame and honor in the world. This is the appetite but of a few. It is a luxury; it is a privilege; it is an indulgence for those who are at their ease. But we are all of us made to shun disgrace, as we are made to shrink from pain, and poverty, and disease. It is an instinct; and, under the direction of reason, instinct is always in the right. I live in an inverted order. They who ought to have succeeded me are gone before me. They who should have been to me as posterity are in the place of ancestors. I owe to the dearest relation (which ever must subsist in memory) that act of piety, which he would have performed to me; I owe it to him to show that he was not descended, as the Duke of Bedford would have it, from an unworthy parent.
THE LETTERS OF JUNIUS. 1769-1772. (Manual, p. 341.)
223. TO HIS GRACE THE Duke of Bedford.
My Lord, You are so little accustomed to receive any marks of respect or esteem from the public, that if, in the following lines, a compliment or expression of applause should escape me, I fear you would consider it as a mockery of your established character, and, perhaps, an insult to your understanding. You have nice feelings, my lord, if we may judge from your resentments. Cautious, therefore, of giving offence, where you have so little deserved it, I shall leave the illustration of your virtues to other hands. Your friends have a privilege to play upon the easiness of your temper, or possibly they are better acquainted with your good qualities than I am. You have done good by stealth. The rest is upon record. You have still left ample room for speculation, when panegyric is exhausted.
You are, indeed, a very considerable man. The highest rank; a splendid fortune; and a name, glorious till it was yours, were sufficient to have supported you with meaner abilities than I think you possess. From the first you derived a constitutional claim to respect; from the second, a natural extensive authority; the last created a partial expectation of hereditary virtues. The use you have made of these uncommon advantages might have been more honorable to yourself, but could not be more instructive to mankind. We may trace it in the veneration of your country, the choice of your friends,
and in the accomplishment of every sanguine hope, which the public might have conceived from the illustrious name of Russell.
The eminence of your station gave you a commanding prospect of your duty. The road which led to honor was open to your view. You could not lose it by mistake, and you had no temptation to depart from it by design. Compare the natural dignity and importance of the richest peer of England; - the noble independence which he might have maintained in Parliament, and the real interest and respect which he might have acquired, not only in Parliament, but through the whole kingdom; compare these glorious distinctions with the ambition of holding a share in government, the emoluments of a place, the sale of a borough, or the purchase of a corporation; and though you may not regret the virtues which create respect, you may see, with anguish, how much real importance and authority you have lost. Consider the character of an independent, virtuous Duke of Bedford; imagine what he might be in this country, then reflect one moment upon what you are. If it be possible for me to withdraw my attention from the fact, I will tell you in theory what such a man might be.
Conscious of his own weight and importance, his conduct in Parliament would be directed by nothing but the constitutional duty of a peer. He would consider himself as a guardian of the laws. Willing to support the just measures of government, but determined to observe the conduct of the minister with suspicion, he would oppose the violence of faction with as much firmness as the encroachments of prerogative. He would be as little capable of bargaining with the minister for places for himself, or his dependants, as of descending to mix himself in the intrigues of opposition. Whenever an important question called for his opinion in Parliament, he would be heard, by the most profligate minister, with deference and respect. His authority would either sanctify or disgrace the measures of government. The people would look up to him as to their protector, and a virtuous prince would have one honest man in his dominions in whose integrity and judgment he might safely confide. If it should be the will of Providence to afflict him with a domestic misfortune, he would submit to the stroke, with feeling but not without dignity. He would consider the people as his children, and receive a generous, heartfelt consolation, in the sympathizing tears and blessings of his country. Your grace may probably discover something more intelligible in the negative part of this illustrious character. The man I have described would never prostitute his dignity in Parliament, by an indecent violence either in opposing or defending a minister. He would not at one moment rancorously persecute, at another basely cringe to the favorite of his sovereign. After outraging the royal dignity with peremptory conditions, little short of menace and hostility, he would never descend to the humility of soliciting an interview with the favorite, and of offering to recover, at any price, the honor of his friendship.