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boast of the creation, there will be cast out in the face of the sun, a bloated, putrid, noisome carcass, full of stench and poison, an offence, a horrour, a lesson to the world.
In my opinion, we ought not to wait for the fruitless instruction of calamity, to inquire into the abuses which bring upon us ruin in the worst of its forms, in the loss of our fame and virtue. But the right honourable gentleman* says, in answer to all the power. ful arguments of my honourable friend—“ that this inquiry is of a delicate nature, and that the state will suffer detriment by the exposure of this transaction.” But it is exposed; it is perfectly known in every member, in every particle, and in every way, except that which may lead to a remedy. He knows that the papers of correspondence are printed, and that they are in every hand.
He and delicacy are a rare and a singular coalition. He thinks that to divulge our Indian politicks, m ay be highly dangerous. He! the mover! the chair. man ! the reporter of the committee of secrecy! he that brought forth in the utmost detail, in several vast, printed folios, the most recondite parts of the politicks, the military, the revenues of the British empire in India. With six great chopping bastards, each as lusty as an infant Hercules, this delicate creature blushes at the sight of his new bridegroom, assumes a virgin delicacy; or, to use a more fit, as well as a more poetick comparison, the person so squeamish, so timid, so trembling lest the winds of heaven should visit too roughly, is expanded to broad sunshine, exposed like the sow of imperial augury, lying in the mud with all the prodigies of her fertility about her, as evidence of her delicate amours—Triginta capitum fætus enixa jacebat, alba solo recubans albi circum ubera nati.
Whilst discovery of the misgovernment of others led to his own power, it was wise to inquire; it was
* Mr. Dundas. † Six Reports of the Committee of Secrecy.
safe to publish: there was then no delicacy; there was then no danger. But when his object is obtained, and in his imitation he has outdone the crimes that he had reprobated in volumes of reports, and in sheets of bills of pains and penalties, then concealment becomes prudence; and it concerns the safety of the state, that we should not know, in a mode of parliamentary cognizance, what all the world knows but too well: that is, in what manner he chooses to dispose of the publick revenues to the creatures of his politicks.
The debate has been long, and as much so on my part, at least, as on the part of those who have spoken before me. But long as it is, the more material half of the subject has hardly been touched on; that is, the corrupt and destructive system to which this debt has been rendered subservient, and which seems to be pursued with at least as much vigour and regularity as ever. If I considered your ease or my own, rather than the weight and importance of this question, I ought to make some apology to you, perhaps some apology to myself, for having detained your attention so long. I know on what ground I tread. This subject, at one time taken up with so much fervour and zeal, is no longer a favourite in this house. The house itself has undergone a great and signal revolution. To some the subject is strange and uncouth; to several harsh and distasteful; to the relicks of the last parliament it is a matter of fear and apprehension. It is natural for those who have seen their friends sink in the tornado which raged during the late shift of the monsoon, and have hardly escaped on the planks of the general wreck, it is but too natural for them, as soon as they make the rocks and quicksands of their former disasters, to put about their new-built barks, and, as much as possible, to keep aloof from this perilous lee shore.
But let us do what we please to put India from our thoughts, we can do nothing to separate it from our publick interest and our national reputation. Our attempts to banish this importunate duty, will only make it return upon us again and again, and every
time in a shape more unpleasant than the former. A government has been fabricated for that great province; the right honourable gentleman says, that therefore you ought not to examine into its conduct. Heavens! what an argument is this ! We are not to examine into the conduct of the direction, because it is an old government : we are not to examine into this board of control, because it is a new one. Then we are only to examine into the conduct of those who have no conduct to account for. Unfortunately the basis of this new government has been laid on old condemned delinquents, and its superstructure is raised out of prosecutors turned into protectors. The event has been such as might be expect. ed. But if it had been otherwise constituted; had it been constituted even as I wished, and as the mover of this question had planned, the better part of the proposed establishment was in the publicity of its proceedings; in its perpetual responsibility to parliament. Without this check, what is our government at home, even awed, as every European government is, by an audience formed of the other states of Europe, by the applause or condemnation of the discerning and critical company before which it acts ? But if the scene on the other side the globe, which tempts, invites, almost compels to tyranny and rapine, be not inspected with the eye of a severe and unremitting vigilance, shame and destruction must
For one, the worst event of this day, though it may deject, shall not break or subdue me. The call upon us is authoritative. Let who will shrink back, I shall be found at my post. Baffled, discountenanced, subdued, discredited, as the cause of justice and humanity is, it will be only the dearer to me.
Whoever therefore shall at any time bring before you any thing towards the relief of our distressed fellow-citizens in India, and towards a subversion of the present most corrupt and oppressive system for its government, in me shall find a weak, I am afraid, but a steady, earnest, and faithful assistant.
SPEECH OF M. DE MIRABEAU
ON THE ROYAL ASSENT.
DURING the memorable deliberations of the National Assembly of France, on the organization of the new government, much attention seems to have been directed to that part of the constitution which regarded the share of legislative authority to be invested in the monarch. After a wide range of loose declamation on the subject, the debate became restricted to the consideration of the single question: “Whether a law should be enacted by the mere authority of the legislative body without the sanction of the king ?” Each side of the proposition was ingeniously argued, and obstinately maintained. At length, however, it was determined by a large majority : “ That the king should have the power of suspending any decree for two successive legislatures; but if a third should persist in enacting it, then it was to have the force of a law without the royal assent.”
In support of the absolute veto of the king, the annexed spirited harangue was pronounced by M. De Mirabeau, the elder, which the assembly ordered to be printed
GENTLEMEN, IN the best organized monarchies, the royal autho. rity is always an object of fear to the best citizens: he whom the law places over all, easily becomes the rival of the law. "Sufficiently powerful to protect the
constitution, 'he is frequently tempted to destroy it. The uniform progress of regal authority every where, hath taught us but too well the necessity of watching it. This distrust, salutary in itself, leads us naturally to desire to restrain a power so formidable. In spite of ourselves, a secret terrour prevents us from approaching the means with which the supreme head of the nation must be armed, to the end that he may perform the functions which are assigned to him.
However, if we coolly consider the principles and the nature of monarchical government, erected upon the basis of the people's sovereignty; if we attentively examine the circumstances which occasion its formation, we shall find that the monarch ought to be considered rather as the protector of the people, than as the enemy of their prosperity.
Two powers are necessary to the existence and to the functions of the body politick; that of willing, and that of acting. By the first, society enacts the laws which are to lead her to the end proposed, which is, incontrovertibly, the good of the whole. By the second, those laws are executed; and the publick force enables society to triumph over the obstacles, which that executive power might meet in the opposition arising from the private interest of individuals.
In a great nation, these two powers cannot be exercised by itself; hence the necessity for representatives of the people, to exercise the faculty of willing, or the legislative power; hence also the necessity for another kind of representatives, to exercise the faculty of acting, or the executive
power. The more considerable the nation is, the more does it import that this latter power should be active; hence the necessity of one sole and supreme chief, of a monarchical government in extensive states, where convulsions, dismemberments would be extremely to be apprehended, if there did not exist a force sufficient to unite the several parts, and turn their activity towards one common centre.
These two powers are equally necessary, equally precious to the nation. This, liowever, is worthy