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nity, that the honourable gentl&san (Mr. Coventry) near me has proved it to he founded in inhumanity. For what is tht avowed object of it? To oblige men to come out of those prisons in which they live so luxuriously! To force them to have that liberty which the honourable gentleman has proved to be fo unpleasant to men who are debtors.
Mr. Burke, Feb. 28, 1780.
There was, I have heard, an! handsome widow, possessed o£ an handsome income, who lived in a, dissenting meeting-house; a well-intentioned man, who attended the service of the day, saw her, and was invited by her to visit her; he fell in love with her, and coming directly to the point, said, "Madam, will you marry me f She refused him. He still persisted hi his request; and she still refused. He then changed his request, and asked her "to let him be her steward." "No, she would not." Her butler? "No." Her cook? "No." Would she entrust him with the care of her wardrobe? ** No." After a variety of requests, finding them all denied, he was going away, when on a sudden he turned round, and begged one of her husband's old wigs. The widow, who had refused all his former requisitions, complied with this; and the man, who had asked the widow to give him her person and fortune, was obliged at last to be contented with one of her husband's old wigs. So is the cafe with me; I would marry the handsome and rich widow (Economy. I fain would have^ her person and fortune, but finding I can't get them, I have asked to be her treasurer, her steward, her butler, her cook, and her wardrobe keeper—but all in vain! I have got one of her. late husband's old wigs, and with that I fear I must walk off contented; but only I beg the Committee will do me the justice to remember, that by my reform bill I did not so far degrade myself as to alk for the old wig solely.
Mr, Burke, March 20, 178a
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I have at present no respect to the origin of the war, but to the now state of it. I consider not what it has been, but what in reality it is, and what it is likely to be; and I must compare those politicians, who are perpetually murmuring about the beginning of the war, to the ideet who is accustomed to hear, at certain hours, a vijlage clock, through the mere force of habit, and the association of ideas, continued to count the nours, at the proper periodical times, after the clock had gone to decay, or was broken.
Mr. Courtenay, Nov. 27, 1780.
With respect to the personal altercation between the right honourable gentleman (Mr. Rigby), and an honourable baronet (Sir Joseph Mawbey), dulness with the best intentions to be brilliant is often unavoidable. A pig, it is said, never attempts to swim, which is the next thing to soaring, without cutting its throat. -Again, it is said, that an eel swims faster in mud, though it has no sins, than fishes that have.
Mr. CourUnay, Nov. 27, 17 80.
Perhaps I shall be called « The Old Rat of the Constitution !,? The noble Lord who has been pleased to bestow that title upon me, is always inclined to take the greatest liberties with his best friends, and those who really wished him sincerely well. Perhaps the noble Lord thought they would be the last to be offended with him, and I do assure the noble Lord (Lord George Gordon) that I am not offended. There is no harm in the appellation—it was a. stroke of innocent humour. I have beenpuzzled, however, to discover through what chink of the noble Lord's skull the Old Rat has crept into his head, and I have been puzzled to find out why I was called the Old Rat of the Constitution. I saw in the newspapers, that I have beemreading this morning, a paragraph upon it, and the. news writer was also puzzled to account for the title. He had endeavoured to discover what property of a rat belonged to him.
M 3 X>ii Did the noble Lord think he was one of those who would run away from the Constitution, when it was in danger, as a rat would run away from a falling house? I do assure the noble^ Lord that I will not. As long as my friendly limbs will enable me, and friendly I have a right to call them, for they have borne me for nearly seventy-one years, I will stand up and support it 5 support it to the last hour of my life, let who will endeavour to pull it down and undermine it, under pretext of necessary alteration; better to he buried under the ruins of the Constitution, than to survive it. I will go farther—I will support the Minister; the noble Lord wishes well to his country, and has true love for the Constitution. The noble Lord would sooner die than suffer it to be impaired. I like the noble Lord for it. I have voted with him in the time of his prosperity, and I will vote for him now. Having thus disavowed one of the qualities of a rat, I will tell the House which of the qualities of this animal I admire. A rat is sometimes intent on acquiring good things. It thinks it has a right to visit the bread room, and the cook's cabin. It will go there, but it always cautiously avoids gnawing through the sides of the vessel; it never makes a hole that will endanger the ship. Let the gentlemen in opposition hold this in their minds; let them, if they think they have a right to force their way into the bread room, go there and get their share of the good things; but let them take care how they force a plank out of the ship's side; let them take care that, in their zeal for alteration, they do not sink the vesiel. The noble Lord who has called me an old rat, has something of a rat in his own constitution; he likes good things. I remember when the noble Lord was some years ago on a visit to my house; he was fond cf going into the cook's pantry and dairy. Indeed I must tell the House, I had at that time a remarkably pretty dairy maid.
An expression has dropped from the noble Lord in the blue ribband (Lord North), which, to my surprise, has not been taken up by any gentleman. The noble Lord has said, " he believes it will be found that he has more enemies than friends by the list he had sent to the Bank," as it serves to make me believe that the noble Lord is coming over to the opinion of an honourable friend of mine, who has brought in a bill lately to regulate the civil establishment, and has contended, that taking away from the Minister the power of bestowing great pecuniary emoluments by loans, &c. and of appointing to places, would strengthen the true and proper influence of the Crown, remove a very heavy clog from the wheels of Government, and assist the progress of its operation. By the noble Lord's complaining that the present loan has made him enemies, if his Lordship is sincere in his present declaration, it would not be at all surprising, if, in a few days, the noble Lord should bring in a bill for abolishing all those places, lest, by keeping them up, and making enemies to Government by them, hejhould destroy the influence of the Crown!
Mr. Sheridan, March 12, 1781.
I do not wisti to tire the House with a second, dislertation upon optics, but I cannot help mentioning a circumstance which struck me a few days ago as I was walking along. Passing by a mathematical-instrument mop, I saw the picture of a distorted visage, which I could hardly make out; I thought, however, it might represent Britannia weeping. I had the curiosity to step into the shop, and examined it through another glass, when, to my surprise, I found it to be a laughing man. I thought with myself, that whilst Britannia weeps, those will laugh that win.
I do not deny but some remedy is wanting for the disorders which prevail in our India affairs; but I think corrections and alterations should be tried before amputation should be so suddenly determined on j aud I much question whether the prescrip
M 4 lions tions of the right honourable Galen, and his dearly-beloved brother, Doctor Sangrado, will be efficacious towards a cure; though I doubt not both the one and the other would pocket some good fees for their nauseous draught, which is soon expected to operate by a most violent evacuation on the whole Court of Directors of the East-India Company. Besides, it is agreed on all hands (I speak with submission to the faculty) that where seven physicians and nine apothecaries are called in, as a worthy member of this House has before stiled the new Directors and their subs, the death of the patient is at hand. I mean not at all to reflect on the right honourable Secretary's Conge d'Elire, much less on the Directors who were nominated by virtue of that Conge cVEljre", on the contrary, if the EastIndia bill must pass, I congratulate the House on the choice, as I know there are among them men of integrity, men of fense, and men of business.
Sir Richard Hill, Dee. i, 1783.
An honourable baronet (Sir Joseph Mawbey) has been liberal of abuse on the Ordnance Office: this is a happy constitution, where a man may speak what he pleases; nay, if he pleases, without knowing what he is faying, or caring whether any one pays the least attention to what he fays. Such a man may talk of augean stables; but happy it is that the honourable bajonet's expressions are generally harmless in their effect: it might be otherwise, indeed, if he had been acquainted with the manner in which Alexander the Sixth, and his son, Cæsar Borgia, used to make a deadly poison, which came from the mouth of a pig. Voltaire, in his Universal History, speaking of this poison, relates, that Alexander and his son used to tie up^ a pig by the hind legs, and beat him till he frothed at the mouth; some of this froth, administered in a cup of wine to a man, was