Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

most malignant motives could suggest to the prompt sympathy of a shameless and a venal defence. The right honourable gentleman has suggested examples which I should have shunned, and examples which I should have followed. I shall never follow his, and I have ever avoided it. I shall never be ambitious to purchase public scorn by private infamy-the lighter characters of the model have as little chance of weaning me from the habits of a life spent, if not exhausted, in the cause of my native land. Am I to renounce those habits now for ever, and at the beck of whom? I should rather say of what-half a minister-half a monkey-a 'prentice politician, and a master coxcomb. He has told you that what he said of me here, he would say any where. I believe he would say thus of me in any place where he thought himself safe in saying it.-Nothing can limit his calumnies but his fears--in parliament he has calumniated me to-night, in the king's courts he would calumniate me to-morrow, but had he said or dared to insinuate one-half as much elsewhere, the indignant spirit of an honest man would have answered the vile and venal slanderer with a blow.

EXTRACTS FROM A SPEECH AGAINST WARREN

HASTINGS.

Had a stranger, at this time, gone into the province of Oude, ignorant of what had happened since the death of Sujuh Dowla, that man, who, with a savage heart, had still great lines of character, and who, with all his ferocity in war, had still, with a cultivating hand, preserved to his country the riches which it derived from benignant skies and a prolific soil--If this stranger, ignorant of all that had happened in the short interval, and observing the wide and general devastation, and all the horrors of the

scene-of plains unclothed and brown- of vegetation burnt up and extinguished-of villages depopulated and in ruin-of temples unroofed and perishing-of reservoirs broken down and dry~he would naturally inquire what war had thus laid waste the fertile fields of this once beautiful and opulent country--what civil dissensions have happened, thus to tear asunder and separate the happy societies that once possessed those villages—what disputed succession-what religious rage has, with unholy violence, demolished those temples, and disturbed fervent, but unobtruding piety in the exercise of its duties? What merciless enemy has thus spread the horrors of fire and sword-what severe visitation of Providence has dried up the fountain, and taken from the face of the earth every vestige of verdure? Or rather, what monsters have stalked over the country, tainting and poisoning, with pestiferous breath, what the voracious appetite could not devour? To such questions, what must be the answer? No wars have ravaged these lands, and depopulated these villages-no civil discord has been felt-no disputed succession--no religious rage-no cruel enemy-no affliction of Providence, which, while it scourged for a moment, cut off the sources of resuscitation—no voracious and poisoning monstersno, all this has been accomplished by the friendship, generosity, and kindness, of the English nation.

They have embraced us with their protecting arms, and, lo! those are the fruits of their alliance. What, then, shall we be told, that under such circumstances, the exasperated feelings of a whole people thus goaded and spurred on to clamour and resistance, were excited by the poor and feeble influence of the Begums? When we hear the description of the paroxysm, fever, and delirium, into which despair had thrown the natives, when on the banks of the polluted Ganges, panting for death, they tore more widely open the lips of their gaping

wounds, to accelerate their dissolution; and, while their blood was issuing, presented their ghastly eyes to heaven, breathing their last and fervent prayer that the dry earth might not be suffered to drink their blood, but that it might rise up to the throne of God, and rouse the eternal Providence to avenge the wrongs of their country.

The counsel, in recommending attention to the public in preference to the private letters, had remarked, in particular, that one letter should not be taken as evidence, because it was manifestly and abstractedly private, as it contained in one part the anxieties of Mr. Middleton for the illness of his son. This was a singular argument indeed; and the circumstance, in his mind, merited strict observation, though not in the view in which it was placed by the counsel. - It went to show that some at least of those concerned in these transactions, felt the force of those ties, which their efforts were directed to tear asunder; that those who could ridicule the respective attachment of a mother and a son ; who would prohibit the reverence of the son to the mother who had given him life ;-who could deny to maternal debility the protection which filial tenderness should afford;-were yet sensible of the straining of those chords by which they were united. There was something connected with this transaction so horrible, and so loathsome, as to excite the most contemptible disgust. If it were not a part of his duty, it would be superfluous to speak of the sacredness of the ties which those aliens to feelingthose apostates to humanity had thus divided. In such an assembly as that which I have the honour of addressing, there is not an eye but must dart reproof at this conduct; not a heart but must anticipate its condemnation. 66 FILIAL PIETY!" It is the primal bond of society it is that instinctive

[ocr errors]

principle, which, panting for its proper good, soothes, unbidden, each sense and sensibility of man !-it now quivers on every lip!-it now beams from every eye!-it is an emanation of that gratitude, which softening under the sense of recollected good, is cager to own the vast countless debt it ne'er, alas ! can pay, for so many long years of unceasing solicitudes, honourable self-denials, life-preserving cares! - it is that part of our practice, where duty drops its awe!--where reverence refines into love !-it asks no aid of

memory !-it needs not the deductions of reason !-pre-existing, paramount over all, whether law, or human rule, few arguments can increase, and none can diminish it!—it is the sacrament of our nature !-- not only the duty but the indulgence of man-it is his first great privilege-it is amongst his last most endearing delights !-it causes the bosom to glow with reverberated love !-it requites the visitations of nature, and returns the blessings that have been received !-it fires emotion into vital principle -it renders habituated instinct into a master-passion

-sways all the sweetest energies of man-hangs over each vicissitude of all that must pass awayaids the melancholy virtues in their last sad tasks of life, to cheer the langour of decrepitude and ageexplores the thought--elucidates the aching eye! and breathes sweet consolation even in the awful moment of dissolution !

A Speech delivered at Cheltenham, on the 7th October,

1819, at the Fourth Anniversary of the Gloucester Missionary Society.

Mr. Chairman,

After the eloquence with which so many gentlemen have gratified and delighted this most respect. able assembly, and after the almost inspired address

of one of them, I feel ashamed of having acceded to the wishes of the committee by proposing the resolution which I have the honour to submit. I should apologize, sir, for even the few moments intrusion which I mean to make upon this meeting, did I not feel that I had no right to consider myself as quite a stranger; did I not feel that the subject unites us all into one great social family, and gives to the merest sojourner the claim of a brother and a friend. At a time like this, perhaps, when the infidel is abroad, and the atheist and disbeliever triumph in their blasphemy, it behoves the humblest christian to range himself beneath the banners of his faith, and attest, even by his martyrdom, the sincerity of his allegiance. When I consider the source from whence christianity sprung—the humility of its origin—the poverty of its disciples-the miracles of its creation—the mighty sway it has acquired, not only over the civilized world, but which your missions are hourly extending over lawless, mindless, and imbruted regions-I own the awful presence of the Godhead—nothing less than a Divinity could have done it! The powers, the prejudices, the superstition of the earth, were all in arms against it; it had nor sword nor sceptre--its founder was in ragsits apostles were lowly fishermen_its inspired prophets, lowly and uneducated—its cradle was a manger-its home a dungeon-its earthly diadem a crown of thorns! And yet, forth it went that lowly, humble, persecuted spirit—and the idols of the heathen fell; and the thrones of the mighty trembled; and paganism saw her peasants and her princes kneel down and worship the unarned conqueror! If this be not the work of the Divinity, then I yield to the reptile ambition of the athiest. I see no God above-I see no government below; and I yield my consciousness of an immortal soul to his boasted fraternity with the worm that perishes! But, sir, even when I thus concede to him the divine

« AnteriorContinuar »