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1. My hold of the colonies is in the close affection which grows from common names, from kindred blood, from similar privileges, and equal protection. These are ties, which, though light as air, yet are as strong as the links of iron. Let the colonies always keep the idea of their civil rights associated with your government, they will cling and grapple to you; and no force under heaven will be of power to tear them from their allegiance. But let it be once understood, that your government may be one thing, and their privileges another; that these two things may exist without any mutual relation; the cement is gone, the cohesion is loosened, and everything hastens to decay and dissolution.
2. As long as you have the wisdom to keep the sovereign authority of this country as the sanctuary of liberty, wherever that chosen race—the sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more friends will you have; the more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have anywhere; it is a weed that grows in every soil. But until you become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. This is the commodity of price, of which you have the monopoly. This is the true act of navigation, which binds to you the commerce of the colonies; and through them, secures to you the wealth of the world. It is the spirit of the English constitution, which, infused through the mighty mass, pervades, feeds, unites, invigorates, vivifies every part of the empire, even down to the minutest member.
3. Is it not the same virtue which does everything for us here in England ? Do you imagine that it is the Land-tax Act which raises your revenue? that it is the annual vote in the Committee of Supply which gives you your army? or that it is the Mutiny Bill which inspires it with bravery and discipline? No! Surely no! It is the love of the people; it is their attachment to their government, from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you your army and your navy; and infuses into both that liberal obedience, without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten timber.
4. All this, I know well enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the profane herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians, who have no place among us; a sort of people who think that nothing exists but what is gross and material; and who, therefore, far from being qualified to be directors of the great movement of empire, are not fit to turn a wheel in the machine. But to men truly initiated and rightly taught, these ruling principles —which, in the opinion of such men as I have mentioned, have no substantial existence--are, in truth, everything, and all in all.
5. Magnanimity in politics is not seldom the truest wisdom; and a great empire and little minds go ill together. We ought to elevate our thoughts to the greatness of that trust, to which the ordinance of Providence has called us. By adverting to the dignity of this high calling our ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glorious empire; and have made the most extensive, and the only honourable conquests, not by destroying but by promoting the wealth, the number, the happiness of the human race.—Burke.
Questions on the lesson :—What are the strong ties which bind the colonies to the mother-country? With what should the colonists be led to associate their civil rights? What, does the orator say, will alienate the colonists? Of what commodity has England a monopoly? What of slavery? To what beneficent results will the maintenance of their liberty tend? To what does Burke trace the country's revenue -its army—the bravery and discipline of the soldiers? How does a certain class of politicians regard all these things? What do they rely on in government? What quality does he deem the truest wisdom? What has this quality accomplished in the past?
Land-tax Act.-The land-tax is a branch of the public revenue, levied by commissioners appointed by the Treasury.
Committee of Supply.—The sums granted by parliament for defraying the public expenditure for the year are called the supplies. The probable amount is stated to the House of Commons in a committee of supply by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. After they have been voted by the committee they are granted by an act of parliament.
Mutiny Act, annually passed by parliament since the Revolution, for the purpose of conferring on the officers of the army the powers necessary for discipline.
CONVERSATION WITH GENERAL BERTRAND AT ST. HELENA.
1. I have inspired multitudes with such affection for me that they would die for me. God forbid that I should compare the soldier's enthusiasm with Christian charity, which are as unlike as their cause. But, after all, my presence was necessary, the lightning of my eye, my voice, a word from me; then the sacred fire was kindled in their hearts. I do indeed possess the secret of this magical power which lifts the soul, but I could never impart it to any one; none of my generals ever learned it from me; nor have I the secret of perpetuating my name and love for me in the hearts of men, and to effect these things without physical means.
2. Now that I am at St. Helena,—now that I am alone chained to this rock,—who fights and wins empires for me? Where are any to share my misfortunes,—any to think of me? Who bestirs himself for me in Europe? Who remains faithful to me; where are my friends? Yes, two or three of you, who are immortalized by this fidelity, ye share, ye alleviate my exile.
3. Here the emperor's voice choked with grief.
Yes, my life once shone with all the brilliance of the diadem and the throne, and yours, Bertrand, reflected that brilliance, as the dome of the “Invalides,” gilt by me, reflects the rays of the sun. But disasters came, the gold gradually became dim, and now all the brightness is effaced by the rain of misfortune and outrage with which I am continually pelted. We are mere lead now, General Bertrand, and soon I shall be in my grave.
4. Such is the fate of great men. So it was with Cæsar, and Alexander, and I too am forgotten; and the name of a conqueror and an emperor is a college theme! Our exploits are tasks given to pupils by their tutor, who sits in judgment upon us, awarding us censure or praise. How different the opinions formed of the great Louis XIV.! Scarcely dead, the great king was left alone in his solitary chamber at Versailles,-neglected by his courtiers, and perhaps the object of their ridicule. He was no more their master. He was a dead body, in his coffin, the prey of a loathsome putrefaction.
5. And mark what is soon to become of me,-assassinated by the English oligarchy, I die before my time, and my dead body too must return to the earth to become food for worms. Such is soon to be the fate of the Great Napoleon! What a wide abyss between my deep misery and the eternal kingdom of Christ, which is proclaimed, loved, adored, and which is extending over all the earth!