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this free and enlightened state, aims at political eminence, and discharges political duties, must expect to have his conduct scrutinized, and every action of his public life sifted with no ordinary jealousy, and with no sparing criticism; and such may have been my lot as much as that of other public men. But, gentlemen, unmerited obloquy seldom fails of an adequate, though perhaps tardy, compensation. I must think myself, as my honourable friend has said, eminently fortunate, if such compensation as he describes, has fallen to me at an earlier period than to many others; if I dare flatter myself (as his partiality has flattered me), that the sentiments that you are kind enough to entertain for me, are in unison with those of the country; if, in addition to the justice done me by my friends, I may, as he has assured me, rely upon a candid construction, even from political opponents.
But, gentlemen, the secret of such a result does not lie deep. It consists only in an honest and undeviating pursuit of what one conscientiously believes to be one's public duty-a pursuit which, steadily continued, will, however detached and separate parts of a man's conduct may be viewed under the influence of partialities or prejudices, obtain for it, when considered as a whole, the approbation of all honest and honourable minds. Any man may occasionally be mistaken as to the means most conducive to the end which he has in view ; but if the end be just and praiseworthy, it is by that he will be ultimately judged, either by his contemporaries or by posterity.
Gentlemen, the end which I confess I have always had in view, and which appears to me the legitimate object of pursuit to a British statesman, I can describe in one word. The language of modern philosophy is wisely and diffusely benevolent; it professes the perfection of our species, and the amelioration of the lot of all mankind. Gentlemen, I hope that my heart beats as high for the general interest of humanity—I hope that I have as friendly a disposition towards other nations of the earth, as any one who vaunts his philanthropy most highly; but I am contented to confess, that in the conduct of political affairs, the grand object of my contemplation is the interest of England.
Not, Gentlemen, that the interest of England is an interest which stands isolated and alone. The situation which she holds forbids an exclusive selfishness ; her prosperity must contribute to the prosperity of other nations, and her stability to the safety of the world. But, intimately connected as we are with the system of Europe, it does not follow that we are therefore called upon to mix ourselves on every occasion, with a restless and meddling activity, in the concerns of the nations which surround us. It is upon a just balance of conflicting duties, and of rival, but sometimes incom
patible, advantages, that a government must judge when to put forth its strength, and when to husband it for occasions yet to
Our ultimate object must be the peace of the world. That object may sometimes be best attained by prompt exertions—sometimes by abstinence from interposition in contests which we cannot prevent. It is upon these principles that, as has been most truly observed by my worthy friend, it did not appear to the Government of this country to be necessary that Great Britain should mingle in the recent contest between France and Spain.
Your worthy Recorder has accurately classed the persons who would have driven us into that contest. There were undoubtedly among them those who desired to plunge this country into the difficulties of war, partly from the hope that those difficulties would overwhelm the Administration ; but it would be most unjust not to admit that there were others who were actuated by nobler principles and more generous feelings, who would have rushed forward at once from the sense of indignation at aggression, and who deemed that no act of injustice could be perpetrated from one end of the universe to the other, but that the sword of Great Britain should leap from its scabbard to avenge it. But as it is the province of law to control the excess even of laudable passions and propensities in individuals, so it is the duty of Government to restrain within due bounds the ebullition of national sentiment, and to regulate the course and direction of impulses which it cannot blame.
Is there any one among the latter class of persons described by my honourable friend (for to the former I have nothing to say), who continues to doubt whether the Government did wisely in declining to obey the precipitate enthusiasm which prevailed at the commencement of the contest in Spain ? Is there anybody who does not now think, that it was the office of Government to examine more closely all the various bearings of so complicated a question, to consider whether they were called upon to assist a united nation, or to plunge themselves into the internal feuds by which that nation was divided—to aid in repelling a foreign invader, or, to take part in a civil war. Is there any man that does not now see what would have been the extent of burdens that would have been cast upon this country ? Is there any one who does not acknowledge that, under such circumstances the enterprise would have been one to be characterized only by a term borrowed from that part of the Spanish literature with which we are most familiar,—Quixotic; an enterprise, romantic in its origin, and thankless in the end ?
But while we thus control even our feelings by our duty, let it not be said that we cultivate peace, either because we fear, or because we are unprepared for, war; on the contrary, if eight
months ago the Government did not hesitate to proclaim that the country was prepared for war, if war should be unfortunately necessary, every month of peace that has since passed, has but made us so much the more capable of exertion. The resources created by peace are means of war. In cherishing those resources, we but accumulate those means. Our present repose is no more a proof of inability to act, than the state of inertness and inactivity in which I have seen those mighty masses that float in the waters above your town, is a proof they are devoid of strength, and incapable of being fitted out for action. You well know, gentlemen, how soon one of those stupendous masses, now reposing on their shadows in perfect stillness,—how soon, upon any call of patriotism, or of necessity, it would assume the likeness of an animated thing, instinct with life and motion-how soon it would ruffle, as it were, its swelling plumage—how quickly it would put forth all its beauty and its bravery, collect its scattered elements of strength, and awaken its dormant thunder. Such as is one of these magnificent machines when springing from inaction into a display of its might-such is England herself, while apparently passive and motionless she silently concentrates the power to be put forth on an adequate occasion. But God forbid that that occasion should arise. After a war sustained for nearly a quarter of a century--sometimes singlehanded, and with all Europe arranged at times against her or at her side, England needs a period of tranquillity, and may enjoy it without fear of misconstruction. Long may we be enabled, gentlemen, to improve the blessings of our present situation, to cultivate the arts of peace, to give to commerce, now reviving, greater extension and new spheres of employment, and to confirm the prosperity now generally diffused throughout this island. Of the blessing of peace, gentlemen, I trust that this borough, with which I have now the honour and happiness of being associated, will receive an ample share. I trust the time is not far distant, when that noble structure of which, as I learn from your Recorder, the box with which you have honoured me, through his hands, formed a part, that gigantic barrier against the fury of the waves that roll into your harbour, will protect a commercial marine not less considerable in its kind, than the warlike marine of which your port has been long so distinguished an asylum, when the town of Plymouth will participate in the commercial prosperity as largely as it has hitherto done in the naval glories of England.
144 Pitt, WILLIAM, JUN.
60 PRIOR, MATTHEW
111 QUARLES, FRANCIS .
201 Fox, CHARLES JAMES 501 QUINCEY, THOMAS DE , 457
133 RALEIGA, SIR WALTER 50, 62
219 ROGERS, SAMUEL
29 GIBBOX, EDWARD · 261 ScorT, SIR WALTER 345
• 290 GOLDSMITH, OLIVER · 248 SHAFTESBURY, LORD 234
9 SHAKSPEARE, WILLIAM 83
503 SHELLEY, PERCY B.
299 SHENSTONE, WILLIAM .
· 130 SHERLOCK, WILLIAM 206
57, 143 SHIRLEY, JAMES
513 SKELTON, JOHN.
119 SMITH, ADAM
74 SMITH, HORACE
122 SMITH, SYDNEY.
75 SMOLLETT, TOBIAS G. 244
21 SOUTHWELL, ROBERT 59
124 JOHNSON, SAMUEL 268 STEELE, SIR RICHARD .
103 STERNE, LAURENCE 246
· 284 SUCKLING, SIR JOHN 123
. 393 SURREY, EARL OF .
470 SWIFT, JONATHAN
31 SYDNEY, SIR PHILIP
3 TAYLOR, JEREMY
415 LEWIS, MATTHEW G. 440 TEMPLE, SIR WILLIAM 2 3
199 THOMSON, JAMES
53 MANDEVILLE, JOHN 18 WALTON, LZAAK
166 WEBSTER, JOHN
32 WOLFE, Rev. CHARLES 437
382 WORDSWORTH, WILLIAM , 405
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