« PreviousContinue »
there the orator spent exclusively his few remaining orator, a philosopher, and practical statesman; and years. In 1795 he was rewarded with a handsome his knowledge, his industry, and perseverance, were pension from the civil list. It was in contemplation as remarkable as his genius. The protracted and to elevate him to the peerage, but the death of his brilliant career of this great man was terminated on only son (who was his colleague in the representa- the 9th of July 1797, and he was interred in the tion of Malton) rendered him indifferent, if not church at Beaconsfield.* averse, to such a distinction. The force and energy A complete edition of Burke's works has been pubof his mind, and the creative richness of his imagi- lished in sixteen volumes. His political, and not his nation, continued with him to the last. His Letter philosophical writings, are now chiefly read. His • Disto a Noble Lord on his Pension (1796), his Letters on quisition on the Sublime and Beautiful is incorrect a Regicide Peace (1796 and 1797), and his Observa- in theory and in many of its illustrations, though tions on the Conduct of the Minority (1797), bear no containing some just remarks and elegant criticism. trace of decaying vigour, though written after the His mighty understanding, as Sir James Mackintosh age of sixty-seven. The keen interest with which observed, was best employed in the middle region, he regarded passing events, particularly the great political drama then in action in France, is still manifest in these works, with general observations and reflections that strike from their profundity and their universal application. He possessed,' says Coleridge, and had sedulously sharpened that eye which sees all things, actions, and events, in relation to the laws which determine their existence and circumscribe their possibility. He referred habitually to principles—he was a scientific statesman.' This reference to principles in the writings and speeches of Burke (and his speeches were all carefully prepared for the press), renders them still popular and valuable, when the circumstances and events to which they relate have long passed away, and been succeeded by others not less important; while their grander passages, their imagery and profusion of illustration, make them interesting to the orator and literary student. His imagination, it is admitted, was not always guided by correct taste ; some of his images are low, and even border on disgust. * His language and his conceptions are often hyperbolical ; or it may be said, his mind, like the soil of the East, which he loved to paint, threw up a rank and luxuriant vegetation, in which unsightly weeds were mingled with the choicest flowers and the most precious fruit. He was at once a poet, an
* One of the happiest of his homely similes is contained in his reply to Pitt, on the subject of the commercial treaty with
Beaconsfield France in 1787. Pitt, he contended, had contemplated the between the details of business and the generalities subject with a narrowness peculiar to limited minds as an of speculation. In this department, his knowledge affair of two little counting-houses, and not of two great of men as well as of books, of passions as well as nations. He seems to consider it as a contention between the sign of the fleur-de-lis and the sign of the old red lion, principles, was called into action, and his imagina. for which should obtain the best custom.' In replying to tion found room for its lights and shadows among the argument, that the Americans were our children, and the varied realities and shifting scenes of life. Å should not have revolted against their parent, he said, generous political opponent, and not less eloquent • They are our children, it is true, but when children ask (though less original and less powerful) writer, for bread, we are not to give them a stone. When those has thus sketched the character of Burke: children of ours wish to assimilate with their parent, and to It is pretended,' says Robert Hall, that the morespect the beauteous countenance of British liberty, are we ment we quit a state of nature, as we have given up to turn to them the shameful parts of our constitution ? Are the control of our actions in return for the superior we to give them our weakness for their strength, our oppro- advantages of law and government, we can never brium for their glory, and the slough of slavery, which we are appeal again to any original principles, but must not able to work off, to serve them for their freedom ? His rest content with the advantages that are secured account of the ill-assorted administration of Lord Chatham is by the terms of the society. These are the views no less ludicrous than correct. He made an administration 80 chequered and speckled ; he put together a piece of joinery which distinguish the political writings of Mr Burke, so crossly indented, and whimsically dove-tailed; a cabinet so
an author whose splendid and unequal powers bave variously inlaid ; such a piece of diversified mosaic ; such a given a vogue and fashion to certain tenets which, tesselated pavement without cement, here a bit of black stone, from any other pen, would have appeared abject and there a bit of white; patriots and courtiers ; king's friends and contemptible. In the field of reason the enand republicans ; Whigs and Tories ; treacherous friends and counter would not be difficult, but who can withopen enemies ; that it was indeed a very curious show, but stand the fascination and magic of his eloquence? utterly unsafe to touch, and unsure to stand on. The colleagues The excursions of his genius are immense. His imwhom he had assorted at the same boards stared at each other, perial fancy has laid all nature under tribute, and and were obliged to ask, “Sir, your name ?” “Sir, you have has collected riches from every scene of the creation the advantage of me;" " Mr Such-a-one, I beg a thousand pardons." I venture to say it did so happen, that persons had a * A plain mural tablet has been erected in the church to the single office divided between them, who had never spoke to memory of Burke. The orator's residence was about a mile each other in their lives, until they found themselves, they from the town of Beaconsfield. The house was afterwaris knew not how, pigging together, heads and points, in the same partly destroyed by fire, and is now, we believe, wholly retruckle bed.'
and every walk of art. His eulogium on the queen succession of civilising conquests and civilising settleof France is a master-piece of pathetic composition; ments in a series of seventeen hundred years, you so select are its images, so fraught with tenderness, shall see as much added to her by America in the and so rich with colours “dipt in heaven,” that he course of a single life!' If this state of his country who can read it without rapture may have merit as had been foretold to him, would it not require all the a reasoner, but must resign all pretensions to taste sanguine credulity of youth, and all the fervid glow and sensibility. His imagination is, in truth, only of enthusiasm, to make him believe it? Fortunate too prolific: a world of itself, where he dwells in man, he has lived to see it! Fortunate, indeed, if he the midst of chimerical alarms—is the dupe of his lives to see nothing that shall vary the prospect and own enchantments, and starts, like Prospero, at the cloud the setting of his day! spectres of his own creation. His intellectual views You cannot station garrisons in every part of these in general, however, are wide and variegated, rather deserts. If you drive the people from one place, they than distinct; and the light he has let in on the will carry on their annual tillage, and remove with British constitution, in particular, resembles the their flocks and herds to another. Many of the people coloured effulgence of a painted medium, a kind of in the back settlements are already little attached to mimic twilight, solemn and soothing to the senses, particular situations. Already they have topped the but better fitted for ornament than use.'
Appalachian mountains. From thence they behold Sir James Mackintosh considered that Burke's before them an immense plain, one vast, rich, level best style was before the Indian business and the meadow; a square of five hundred miles. Over this French Revolution had inflamed him. It was more they would wander without a possibility of restraint; chaste and simple; but his writings and speeches at they would change their manners with the habits of this period can hardly be said to equal his later their life ; would soon forget a government by which productions in vigour, fancy, or originality. The they were disowned; would become hordes of English excitement of the times seemed to give a new Tartars, and, pouring down upon your unfortified development to his mental energies. The early frontiers a fierce and irresistible cavalry, become speeches have most constitutional and practical value masters of your governors and your counsellors, your -the late ones most genius. The former are a solid collectors and comptrollers, and all the slaves that and durable structure, and the latter its •Corinthian adhere to them. Such would, and in no long time columns.'
must be, the effect of attempting to forbid as a crime,
and to suppress as an evil, the command and blessing [From the Speech on Conciliation with America, 1775.] be the happy result of an endeavour to keep as a lair
of Providence-'increase and multiply.' Such would Mr Speaker, I cannot prevail on myself to hurry of wild beasts that earth which God, by an express over the great consideration. It is good for us to be charter, has given to the children of men. Far difhere. We stand where we have an immense view of ferent, and surely much wiser, has been our policy what is, and what is past. Clouds, indeed, and dark- hitherto. Hitherto we have invited our people, by nes, rest upon the future. Let us, however, before every kind of bounty, to fixed establishments. We we descend from this noble eminence, reflect that this have invited the husbandman to look to authority for growth of our national prosperity has happened within his title. We have taught him piously to believe in the short period of the life of man. It has happened the mysterious virtue of wax and parchment. We within sixty-eight years. There are those alive whose have thrown each tract of land, as it was peopled, memory might touch the two extremities. For in- into districts, that the ruling power should never be stance, my Lord Bathurst might remember all the wholly out of sight. We have settled all we could, stages of the progress. He was in 1704 of an age at and we have carefully attended every settlement with least to be made to comprehend such things. He was government. then old enough acta parentum jam legere, et qua sit Adhering, sir, as I do to this policy, as well as for poterit engroscere virtus. Suppose, sir, that the angel the reasons I have just given, I think this new project of this auspicious youth, foreseeing the many virtues of hedging in population to be neither prudent nor which made him one of the most amiable, as he is practicable. one of the most fortunate men of his age, had opened To impoverish the colonies in general, and in parto him in vision, that, when in the fourth generation, ticular to arrest the noble course of their marine the third prince of the house of Brunswick had sat enterprises, would be a more easy task, I freely contwelve years on the throne of that nation, which (by fess it. We have shown a disposition to a system of the happy issue of moderate and healing councils) this kind; a disposition even to continue the restraint was to be made Great Britain, he should see his son, after the offence; looking on ourselves as rivals to lord-chancellor of England, turn back the current of our colonies, and persuaded that of course we must hereditary dignity to its fountain, and raise him to a gain all that they shall lose. Much mischief we may higher rank of peerage, whilst he enriched the family certainly do. The power inadequate to all other with & new one. If amidst these bright and happy things is often more than sufficient for this. I do scenes of domestic honour and prosperity that angel not look on the direct and immediate power of the should have drawn up the curtain, and unfolded the colonies to resist our violence as very formidable. rising glories of his country, and whilst he was gazing In this, however, I may be mistaken.' But when I with admiration on the then commercial grandeur of consider that we have colonies for no purpose but to England, the Genius should point out to him a little be serviceable to us, it seems to my poor understandspeck, scarce visible in the mass of the national inte ing a little preposterous to make them unserviceable, rest, a small seminal principle, rather than a formed in order to keep them obedient. It is, in truth, nothing body, and should tell hiin-Young man, there is more than the old, and, as I thought, exploded proAmerica—which at this day serves for little more blem of tyranny, which proposes to beggar its subjects than to amuse you with stories of savage men and into submission. But remember, when you have comuncouth manners; yet shall, before you taste of death, pleted your system of impoverishment, that našure show itself equal to the whole of that commerce which still proceeds in her ordinary course; and that disnow attracts the envy of the world. Whatever Eng. content will increase with misery; and that there are land has been growing to by a progressive increase of critical moments in the fortunes of all states, when improvement, brought in by varieties of people, by they who are too weak to contribute to your prospeThe temper and character which prevail in our directors of the great movement of empire, are not fit colonies are, I am afraid, unalterable by any human to turn a wheel in the machine. But to men truly art. We cannot, I fear, falsify the pedigree of this initiated and rightly taught, these ruling and master fierce people, and persuade them that they are not principles which, in the opinion of such men as I have sprung from a nation in whose veins the blood of free- inentioned, have no substantial existence, are in truth dom circulates. The language in which they would everything, and all in all. Magnanimity in politics hear you tell them this tale would detect the impo- is not seldom the truest wisdom, and a great empire sition; your speech would betray you. An English- and little minds go ill together. If we are conscious man is the unfittest person on earth to argue another of our situation, and glow with zeal to fill our places Englishman into slavery.
rity, may be strong enough to complete your ruin. * Hall's Works, 2d edition, vol. iv. p. 89. Spoliatis arma supersunt.
as becomes our station and ourselves, we ought to My hold of the colonies is in the close affection auspicate all our public proceedings on America, with which grows from common names, from kindred blood, the old warning of the church, sursum cordal We from similar privileges, and equal protection. These ought to elevate our minds to the greatness of that are ties which, though light as air, are as strong as trust to which the order of Providence has called us. links of iron. Let the colonies always keep the idea By adverting to the dignity of this high calling, our of their civil rights associated with your government; ancestors have turned a savage wilderness into a glothey will cling and grapple to you; and no force rious empire; and have made the most extensive, and under heaven will be of power to tear them from their the only honourable conquests ; not by destroying, allegiance. But let it be once understood that your but by promoting the wealth, the number, the happigovernment may be one thing and their privileges ness of the human race. Let us get an American another; that these two things may exist without any revenue, as we have got an American empire. English mutual relation, the cement is gone—the cohesion is privileges have made it all that it is; English priviloosened-and everything hastens to decay and dis- leges alone will make it all it can be. In full confisolution. As long as you have the wisdom to keep dence of this unalterable truth, I now (quod feliz the sovereign authority of this country as the sanc- faustum quesit) lay the first stone of the temple of tuary of liberty, the sacred temple consecrated to our peace.* common faith, wherever the chosen race and sons of England worship freedom, they will turn their faces towards you. The more they multiply, the more
[Mr Burke's Account of his Son.] friends you will have; the more ardently they love liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience.
Had it pleased God to continue to me the hopes Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that of succession, I should have been, according to my grows in every soil. They may have it from Spain, mediocrity, and the mediocrity of the age I live in, they may have it from Prussia ; but until you become
a sort of founder of a family; I should have left & lost to all feeling of your true interest and your can be viewed, in science, in erudition, in genius,
son, who, in all the points in which personal merit natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. This is the commodity of price, of which in taste, in honour, in generosity, in humanity, in you have the monopoly. This is the true act of navi- every liberal sentiment, and every liberal accomgation, which binds you to the commerce of the colo- to the Duke of Bedford, or to any of those whom be
plishment, would not have shown himself inferior nies, and through them secures to you the commerce of the world. Deny them this participation of free- traces in his line. His Grace very soon would have dom, and you break that sole bond which originally Vision which belonged more to mine than to me. He
wanted all plausibility in his attack upon that promade, and must still preserve, the unity of the em- would soon have supplied every deficiency, and sympire.' Do not entertain so weak an imagination, as metrised every disproportion. It would not have been that your registers and your bonds, your affidavits for that successor to resort to any stagnant wasting and your sufferances, your coquets and your clear- reservoir of merit in me, or in any ancestry. He bad ances, are what form the great securities of your in himself a salient living spring of generous and commerce. Do not dream that your letters of office, manly action. Every day he lived, he would have reand your instructions, and your suspending clauses, are the things that hold together the great contexture purchased the bounty of the crown, and ten times of this mysterious whole. These things do not make more, if ten times more he had received. He was your government. Dead instruments, passive tools made a public creature, and had no enjoyment whatas they are, it is the spirit of the English communion ever but in the performance of some duty. At this that gives all their life and efficacy to them. It is exigent moment the loss of a finished man is not the spirit of the English constitution which, infused
easily supplied. through the mighty mass, pervades, feeds, unites,
But a Disposer, whose power we are little able to invigorates, vivifies every part of the empire, even dispute, has ordained it in another manner, and
resist, and whose wisdom behoves us not at all to down to the minutest member.
Is it not the same virtue which does everything for whatever my querulous weakness might suggest) : us here in England ? Do you imagine, then, that it far better. The storm has gone over me, and I lie is the land-tax act which 'raises your revenue? that like one of those old oaks which the late hurricane it is the annual vote in the committee of supply which has scattered about me. I am stripped of all my gives you your army? or that it is the mutiny bill honours; I am torn up by the roots, and lie prostrate which inspires it with bravery and discipline ? No! on the earth! There, and prostrate there, I most Surely no! It is the love of the people'; it is their unfeignedly recognise the divine justice, and in some attachment to their government, from the sense of degree submit to it. But whilst i humble myself the deep stake they have in such a glorious institu- before God, I do not know that it is forbidden to repel tion, which gives you your
army and your navy, and the attacks of unjust and inconsiderate men. The infuses into both that liberal obedience without which patience of Job is proverbial. After some of the conyour army would be a base rabble
, and your navy vulsive struggles of our irritable nature, he submitted nothing but rotten timber. All this, I know wet enough, will sound wild and chimerical to the profane the right of parliamentary representation should be extended
* At the conclusion of this speech, Mr Burke moved that herd of those vulgar and mechanical politicians who to the American colonies, but his motion was negatived by have no place among us; a sort of people who think 270 to 78. Indeed his most brilliant orations made little imthat nothing exists but what is gross and material; pression on the House of Commons, the ministerial party be and who, therefore, fat from being qualified to be l ing strong in numbers.
himself, and repented in dust and ashes. But even the sharp antidote against disgrace concealed in that so, I do not find him blained for reprehending, and bosom; little did I dream that I should have lived to with a considerable degree of verbal asperity, those see such disasters fallen upon her in a nation of galill-natured neighbours of his who visited his dung- lant men, in a nation of men of honour and of cavahill to read moral, political, and economical lectures liers. I thought ten thousand swords must have leaped on his misery. I am alone. I have none to meet my from their scabbards to avenge even a look that threatenemies in the gate. Indeed, my lord, I greatly de- ened her with insult. But the age of chivalry is gone. ceive myself, if in this hard season I would give a That of sophisters, economists, and calculators has peck of refuse wheat for all that is called fame and succeeded; and the glory of Europe is extinguished honour in the world. This is the appetite but of a for ever. Never, never more shall we behold that few. It is a luxury; it is a privilege; it is an indul. generous loyalty to rank and sex, that proud submisgence for those who are at their ease. But we are all sion, that dignified obedience, that subordination of of us made to shun disgrace, as we are made to shrink the heart, which kept alive, even in servitude itself, from pain, and poverty, and disease. It is an instinct; the spirit of an exalted freedom. The unbought grace and under the direction of reason, instinct is always of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly in the right. I live in an inverted order. They who sentiment and heroic enterprise is gone! It is gone, ought to have succeeded me are gone before me; they that sensibility of principle, that chastity of honour, who should have been to me as posterity, are in the which felt a stain like a wound, which inspired courplace of ancestors. I owe to the dearest relation age whilst it mitigated ferocity, which ennobled what(which ever must subsist in memory) that act of piety, ever it touched, and under which vice itself lost half which he would have performed to me; I owe it to its evil by losing all its grossness. him to show, that he was not descended, as the Duke of Bedford would have it, from an unworthy parent.
[The Order of Nobility.]
(From the same.] [The British Monarchy.]
To be honoured and even privileged by the laws, The learned professors of the rights of man regard opinions, and inveterate usages of our country, growprescription, not as a title to bar all claim, set up ing out of the prejudice of ages, has nothing to against old possession, but they look on prescription provoke horror and indignation in any man. Even itself as a bar against the possessor and proprietor. to be too tenacious of those privileges is not absoThey hold an immemorial possession to be no more lutely a crime. The strong struggle in every indivithan a long continued, and therefore an aggravated dual to preserve possession of what he has found to injustice. Such are their ideas, such their religion, belong to him, and to distinguish him, is one of the and such their law. But as to our country and our securities against injustice and despotism implanted race, as long as the well-compacted structure of our in our nature. It operates as an instinct to secure church and state, the sanctuary, the holy of holies of property, and to preserve communities in a settled that ancient law, defended by reverence, defended by state. What is there to shock in this ? Nobility is power, a fortress at once and a temple, shall stand a graceful ornament to the civil order. It is the Coinviolate on the brow of the British Sion-as long as rinthian capital of polished society. Omnes boni nobithe British monarchy, not more limited than fenced litati sem per faremus, was the saying of a wise and by the orders of the state, shall, like the proud keep good man. It is, indeed, one sign of a liberal and
of Windsor, rising in the majesty of proportion, and benevolent mind to incline to it with some sort of ! girt with the double belt of its kindred and coeval partial propensity, He feels no ennobling principle
towers--as long as this awful structure shall oversee in his own heart who wishes to level all the artificial and guard the subjected land, so long the mounds institutions which have been adopted for giving a and dikes of the low fat Bedford Level will have no- body to opinion and permanence to fugitive esteem. thing to fear from all the pickaxes of all the levellers It is a sour, malignant, and envious disposition, withof France. As long as our sovereign lord the king, out taste for the reality, or for any image or represenand his faithful subjects, the lords and commons of tation of virtue, that sees with joy the unmerited fall this realm-the triple cord which no man can break; of what had long flourished in splendour and in honthe solemn, sworn, constitutional frankpledge of this our. I do not like to see anything destroyed, any void nation; the firm guarantee of each other's being and produced in society, any ruin on the face of the land. each other's rights; the joint and several securities, each in its place and order for every kind and every quality of property and of dignity--as long as these
[Dependence of English on American Freedom.] endure, so long the Duke of Bedford is safe; and we
[From ' Address to the King.' 1777.] are all safe together-the high from the blights of To leave any real freedom to parliament, freedom enry, and the spoliations of rapacity; the low from must be left to the colonies. A military government the iron hand of oppression and the insolent spurn of is the only substitute for civil liberty. That the contempt.
establishment of such a power in America
ruin our finances (though its certain effect), is the [Marie Antoinette, Queen of France.] smallest part of our concern. It will become an apt,
powerful, and certain engine for the destruction of our [From Reflections on the Revolution in France.')
freedom here. Great bodies of armed men, trained to It is now sixteen or seventeen years since I saw the a contempt of popular assemblies representative of an queen of France, then the dauphiness, at Versailles ; English people, kept up for the purpose of exacting and surely never lighted on this orb, which she hardly impositions without their consent, and maintained by seemed to touch, a more delightful vision. I saw her that exaction; instruments in subverting, without just above the horizon, decorating and cheering the any process of law, great ancient establishments and elevated sphere she just began to move in--glittering respected forms of governments, set free from, and like the morning star full of life, and splendour, and therefore above the ordinary English tribunals of the joy. Oh! what a revolution ! and what a heart must country where they serve ; these men cannot so transI have to contemplate without emotion that elevation form themselves, merely by crossing the sea, as to and that fall! Little did I eam, when she added behold with love and reverence, and submit with protitles of veneration to that enthusiastic, distant, re- found obedience to the very same things in Great spectful love, that she should ever be obliged to carry | Britain which in America they had been taught to
despise, and had been accustomed to awe and humble. by these incorrigible and predestinated criminals a All your majesty's troops, in the rotation of service, memorable example to mankind. He resolved, in the will pass through this discipline, and contract these gloomy recesses of a mind capacious of such things, to habits. If we could Aatter ourselves that this would leave the whole Carnatic an everlasting monument not happen, we must be the weakest of men: we must of vengeance, and to put perpetual desolation as a be the worst, if we were indifferent whether it bap barrier between him and those against whom the faith pened or not. What, gracious sovereign, is the empire which holds the moral elements of the world together of America to us, or the empire of the world, if we was no protection. He became at length so confilose our own liberties? We deprecate this last of dent of his force, so collected in his might, that he evils. We deprecate the effect of the doctrines which made no secret whatever of his dreadful resolution. must support and countenance the government over Having terininated his disputes with every enemy and conquered Englishmen.
every rival, who buried their mutual animosities in As it will be impossible long to resist the powerful their common detestation against the creditors of the and equitable arguments in favour of the freedoin of Nabob of Arcot, he drew from every quarter whatever these unhappy people, that are to be drawn from the a savage ferocity could add to his new rudiments in principle of our own liberty, attempts will be made, the arts of destruction; and compounding all the attempts have been made, to ridicule and to argue materials of fury, havoc, and desolation, into one away this principle, and to inculcate into the minds black cloud, he hung for a while on the declivities of your people other maxims of government and other of the mountains. Whilst the authors of all these grounds of obedience than those which have prevailed evils were idly and stupidly gazing on the menacing at and since the glorious Revolution. By degrees meteor which blackened all their horizon, it suddenly these doctrines, by being convenient, may grow pre- burst and poured down the whole of its contents upon valent. The consequence is not certain ; but a gene- the plains of the Carnatic. Then ensued a scene of ral change of principles rarely happens among a wo, the like of which no eye had seen, no heart conpeople without leading to a change of government. ceived, and which no tongue can adequately tell. All
Sir, your throne cannot stand secure upon the prin- the horrors of war before known or heard of were ciples of unconditional submission and passive obe- mercy to that new havoc. A storm of universal fire dience; on powers exercised without the concurrence blasted every field, consumed every house, destroyed of the people to be governed ; on acts made in defiance every temple. The miserable inhabitants flying from of their prejudices and habits; on acquiescence pro- the flaming villages, in part were slaughtered : others
, cured by foreign mercenary troops, and secured by without regard to sex, to age, to the respect of rank, standing armies. These may possibly be the founda- or sacredness of function ; fathers torn from children, tion of other thrones ; they must be the subversion of husbands from wives, enveloped in a whirlwind of yours. It was not to passive principles in our ances- cavalry, and amidst the goading spears of drivers tors that we owe the honour of appearing before a and the trampling of pursuing horses, were swept into sovereign who cannot feel that he is a prince, without captivity, in an unknown and hostile land. "Those knowing that we ought to be free. The Revolution is who were able to evade this tempest fled to the walled a departure from the ancient course of the descent of cities; but, escaping from fire, sword, and exile, they this monarchy. The people at that time re-entered fell into the jaws of famine. into their original rights; and it was not because a The alms of the settlement, in this dreadful exipositive law authorised what was then done, but be- gency, were certainly liberal ; and all was done by cause the freedom and safety of the subject, the origin charity that private charity could do : but it was s and cause of all laws, required a proceeding para- people in beggary; it was a nation that stretched out mount and superior to them. At that ever-memorable its hands for food. For months together these creaand instructive period, the letter of the law was super- tures of sufferance, whose very excess and luxury in seded in favour of the substance of liberty. To the their most plenteous days had fallen short of the free choice, therefore, of the people, without either allowance of our austerest fasts, silent, patient, reking or parliament, we owe that happy establishment signed, without sedition or disturbance, almost without of which both king and parliament were regene-out complaint, perished by a hundred a day in the rated. From that great principle of liberty have streets of Madras; every day seventy at least laid originated the statutes confirming and ratifying the their bodies in the streets, or on the glacis of Tanjore
, establishment from which your majesty derives your and expired of famine in the granary of India. I was right to rule over us. Those statutes have not given going to awake your justice towards this unhappy part us our liberties ; our liberties have produced them. of our fellow-citizens, by bringing before you some of Every hour of your majesty's reign, your title stands the circumstances of this plague of hunger. Of all upon the very same foundation on which it was at the calamities which beset and waylay the life of man, first laid, and we do not know a better on which it this comes the nearest to our heart, and is that wherein can possibly be laid.
the proudest of us all feels himself to be nothing more Convinced, sir, that you cannot have different rights, than he is : but I find myself unable to manage and a different security in different parts of your do- with decorum; these details are of a species of horror minions, we wish to lay an even platform for your so nauseous and disgusting; they are so degrading throne, and to give it an unmovable stability, by lay- to the sufferers and to the hearers; they are so humiing it on the general freedom of your people, and by liating to human nature itself, that, on better thoughts
, securing to your majesty that confidence and affection | 1 find it more advisable to throw a pall over this in all parts of your dominions, which makes your best hideous object, and to leave it to your general consecurity and dearest title in this the chief seat of your ceptions. empire.
For eighteen months, without intermission, this
destruction raged from the gates of Madras to the [Destruction of the Carnatic.]
gates of Tanjore; and so completely did these nasters (From speech on the Nabob of Arcot's debts, 1785.]
in their art, Hyder Ali and his more ferocious son,
absolve themselves of their impious row, that when When at length Hyder Ali found that he had to the British armies traversed, as they did, the Carnatic do with men who either would sign no convention, or for hundreds of miles in all
directions, through the whom no treaty and no signature could bind, and whole line of their march did they not see one man; who were the determined enemies of human inter- not one woman, not one child, not one fourfooted beast course itself,
he decreed to make the country possessed l of any description whatever. One dead uniform silence