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querors and tyrants who have oppressed call upon you. When the devouring mankind." It is surprising that a man so flames shall have destroyed this perish well informed as BURKE, should have able globe, and it sinks into the abyss of thought such scurrility necessary to his Nature, from whence it was commanded cause; but it is more surprising that he into existence by the Great Author of it; should venture to speak thus of Mr. Has- then, my lords, when all nature, kings tings, who was at least as well born and and judges themselves, must answer for educated as himself, being a branch of an their actions, there will be found what ancient stock, and brought up at West- supersedes creation itself, namely, Eterminster school. Even had his origin been NAL JUSTICE! It was the attribute of as low as his accuser represented it, the the great God of Nature before worlds circumstance of his birth ought not to have were; it will reside with him when they been mentioned to his disparagement, and perish; and the earthly portion of it comthat too in the presence of many persons, mitted to your care, is now solemnly de. among both the peers and the managers, posited in your hands by the commons who had no more right to boast of their of England. I have done." lineage than Mr. Hastings. In the same We must now turn to another probad taste Mr. BURKE compared the ac- minent period in the political life of Mr. cused to the keeper of a pigstye, and in Burke, but it is one which all his admianother part of his speech to the Devil. rers and biographers hitherto have been "Mr. Hastings," he said, "was worse desirous of throwing into shade, as though than Satan, for the evil spirit showed the only the talents and virtues of a great kingdoms of the world to the Great Au- man were to be noticed, and his failings thor of our sacred religion, in order that were to be buried in oblivion. This would he might enjoy them; but he, (turning to be to pervert the end of history, which is the prisoner at the bar) gave the provin- moral improvement, and no dependence ces of Hindostan into the possession of could be placed on the delineation of any nen appointed by himself," for the pur- character, if the bright side of it alone pose of destroying them.”
were to be exhibited to public view. Such Many other things in the same strain a course may be adopted properly enough, disgraced the speech and the orator, but in regard to private persons, but the actions in the conclusion Burke rose to an ele- of statesmen are the materials of history; gance of language and dignity of spirit, and, therefore, must be faithfully repreworthy of his genius.
sented, to guard posterity from delusion. “My lords,” said he, “ the commons At the latter end of the year 1788, the wait the issue of this cause with trem- suspension of the royal functions renderbling solicitude. Twenty-two years have ed a meeting of parliament indispensable, they been employed in it, seven of which to provide for the exigency of the case. have passed in this trial. They behold Mr. Fox, the leader of the opposition, and the dearest interests of their country deeply the confidential friend of the prince of involved in it; they feel that the very ex- Wales, happened to be then in Italy, but istence of this constitution depends upon a messenger being despatched to apprize it. Your lordships' justice stands pre- him of the necessity of his presence, he eminent in the world, but it stands amidst hastened home without delay, and ima vast heap of ruins, which surround it in mediately began an active opposition to every corner of Europe. If you slacken the minister. Mr. Burke was equally justice, and thereby weaken the bonds of zealous and enterprising on this occasion, society, the well-tempered authority of but the conduct of the two leaders of the this court, which I trust in God will con- hostile ranks was so impetuous, that Mr. tinue to the end of time, must receive a Pitt had soon an opportunity of throwing fatal wound, that no balm can cure, that them into confusion, and of establishing no time can restore.
an imperishable credit for himself, upon “My lords, it is not the criminality of the
very ground which they took to acthe prisoner, it is not the claims of the complish his overthrow. Mr. Fox claimcommons, to demand judgment to be ed for the heir-apparent the indefeisible passed upon him, it is not the honour and right of assuming the exercise of the regal dignity of this court, and the welfare of authority, whenever there should be a millions of the human race, that alone suspension of moral power in the sovereign to discharge the functions of his ventured to pronounce the malady hopeoffice. This was strange doctrine to less. This judgment was opposed by come from a Whig, and, if admitted, would. Dr. Willis, whose whole practice having subvert at once the principles laid down' been directed to mental diseases, gave at the Revolution, and those which set- superior weight to his opinion. Mr. tled the house of Brunswick on the throne. BURKE, however strenuously contended Yet preposterous as it was, Mr. Burke that Willis was no better than an empiric, defended it with his wonted energy, and and that Dr. Warren was an oracle, upon assailed the minister in virulent language, whose decision the fullest reliance ought for presuming to say, in opposition to it, to be placed. One important benefit that that the prince of Wales had no more resulted from these contentions, was, the right to take upon himself the regency, delay which they necessarily occasioned. without a previous call from parliament, In the mean time the state of the royal than the humblest individual in the coun- patient began to amend, and while his try. Had Mr. BURKE been satisfied with condition was represented as hopeless, attacking the officers of the crown, some by the eager politicians, who were anallowance might have been made for his ticipating the attainment of power, under intemperance; but when he ventured to the benignant rays of the rising sun, the speak of the afflicted monarch in the sudden intelligence burst upon them, that coarsest terms of disrespect, the members no regency would take place, for that the on both sides of the house of commons, king was sufficiently recovered to diswho were accustomed to hear him with charge his public duties. Thus terminadelight, felt a thrill of horror, and involun- ted the expectations, but not the labours, tarily uttered an expression of abhorrence. of Mr. Burke ; for a new and wonderful This, however, had not the salutary effect scene was now opening upon the great of restraining the passions of the orator theatre of the world, to call his genius within the bounds of moderation. On into a wider sphere of action, and a nobler the contrary, he went on from day to day, display of his powers, than any in which as long as the question of the regency he had hitherto been engaged. At the lasted, in the same imprudent manner, time when the British nation, and its denever mentioning the calamitous situation pendencies, exhibited the most glowing of the king, but with an air that carried spirit of loyalty towards their sovereign, the appearance of triumph, rather than a spectacle of quite an opposite descripof commiseration. At one time he spoke tion was going on in France. The seeds of the malady as a judgment, and said of a Revolution had long been sown there, that “The Almighty had hurled the king and now the sanguinary harvest began in from his throne;" with an allusion not the degradation of the mildest monarch very delicately expressed to the case of that ever sat on a throne; whose only Nebuchadnezzar. This conduct gave fault lay in yielding too flexibly to the ever universal offence, and while it lowered the varying and turbulent passions of a capriorator in the public opinion, did injury to cious people. Mr. BURKE, from his acthe party with whom he acted, and to quaintance with the French character in the cause which he so imprudently ad- general, and his observations on the misvocated. At length Mr. Fox took the chievous tendency of metaphysical prin. alarm, and would have retraced his steps, ciples, when applied to the science of by qualifying the language that had been government, could not avoid seeing the used, and reducing the high claims which consequences of this fermentation on its had been set up by himselfand his friends. first appearance. While, therefore, numBut it was too late, for the minister finding bers in England and elsewhere were lookhis strength, and probably irritated at the ing with surprise to the mutations which coarse manner in which he had been the professors of the new philosophy treated, was determined to bring the ques- were, with surprising dexterity, bringing tion of right to an issue. The opposition about from day to day, at Paris, the penethen endeavoured to make it out that the trating mind of our illustrious statesman caso of the king was irremediable, and to was engaged in examining the secret support this conclusion, they adduced springs and practical influence of these the authority of Dr. Warren, who was marvellous changes. Instead of being the only one of the court physicians, that dazzled by these false lights, and misled by them, as too many were, into a desire warning his countrymen against the dan of following them, he stood with firmness gerous influence of French principles. on the solid ground of experimental truth, He first drew the attention of the senate and pointed out the deceitfulness of that 'to this great subject at the commenceSerbonian bog, which was the object of ment of the session in 1790, when the general wonder. At a very early period army estimates came under consideration. of the Revolution he expressed his senti- On that occasion Mr. Fox, in opposing ments upon it, to several of his friends, the military establishment as being too abroad and at home. One of his cor- high, adverted to the state of France, and respondents in France having solicited his in terms of exultation eulogized the Revoopinion more in detail, Mr. BURKE drew lution that had taken place. Mr. BURKE up a long letter in compliance with his rose upon this, and though he considered desire; but finding that the subject con- the proposed establishment as unnecestinued to be pregnant with fresh matter sarily high, because England had nothing every week, and that as he proceeded in to apprehend from the powers of Europe, watching the agitated elements, the more one of the most formidable of them have alarming the prospect became, he extend- ing been blotted out of the map, yet he ed his observations, till that which was could not avoid noticing and differing meant for an epistle became a volume. with the principles professed by his He now thought, and justly, that the in- friend. So far from agreeing that the exfluenza of revolutionary principles called amples of France were objects for imitafor a powerful antidote, on which account, tion, he reprobated them as extremely and neither with a view to profit nor pernicious, and even more dangerous popularity, he sent his “Reflections on than all her hostility. In the reign of the the French Revolution,” to the press. fourteenth Louis, they set an example of The effect produced was so electrical, splendid despotism; in that of the sixthat in a few months several thousand teenth Louis, they had set one infinitely copies were sold ; and though, as was to more dangerous; they had shown the be expected, a host of antagonists rose up way to innovation and destructive specuin arms against the author, all agreed in lation; they had set an example by the paying a tribute to his genius. Among establishment of a bloody, ferocious, and the rest, Dr. Samuel Parr having had oc- tyrannical democracy; they had destroycasion in one of his fugitive tracts to notice ed in the space of two months, more this performance, expressed himself in than ages would restore; they had madly this remarkable manner: “Upon the pulled down their monarchy-destroyed first perusal of Mr. Burke's book, I felt, their church-annihilated their lawslike many other men, its magic force, ruined the discipline of their army-put and, like many other men, I was at last an end to their commerce; and by the delivered from the illusions which had exertions of a desperate faction, establish
cheated my reason,' and borne me on- ed, in the place of order, anarchy and ward from admiration to assent. But, confusion. They had an army without though the dazzling spell be now dissolve a head, accountable to no one, making ed, I still remember with pleasure the their own will the law, to which the gay and celestial visions, when my mind national assembly were forced to subin sweet madness was robbed of itself.' mit;—and yet, this Revolution, this army, I still look back, with a mixture of pity was to be compared to the British Reand holy awe, to the wizard himself, who volution. “It was, however,” said Mr. having lately broken his wand in a start BURKE, “a false comparison ; for the of phrenzy, has shortened the term of Revolution in England was against a Jis sorceries; and of drugs so potent to king, who was taking the first steps to 'bathe the spirits in delight,' I must still make himself absolute; the Revolution acknowledge, that many were culled from in France was against a king who was the choicest and most virtuous plants of taking the first steps to make his people Paradise itself."
free. The Revolution in England was The phrenzy to which the philosophical not carried on for the subversion of the divine here alluded, was the conduct of Constitution, but for its preservation; all Mr. BURKE in the house of commons, order, and all the ties of civil government where he seized every opportunity of were not destroyed, but strengthened, and England held up her head prouder on enjoy his little popularity, and the mean that event than she had ever done before. applause of his clubs. England by her Revolution maintained The schism now became more extendher naturalaristocracy, as well as the aris- ed, and the opposition were divided into tocracy of the people; France in her Re- two parties, one headed by Fox, and the volution had destroyed aristocracy, and other by BURKE. In less than a month involved herself in depth of ruin.” Mr. after the angry discussion here mentioned, Burke further observed, “That he could the former brought forward a motion for not well tell what they had done; but they the repeal of the Corporation and Test had by their Revolution destroyed every Acts, which Burke opposed, and in his bond of social order and regular govern speech again drew a fearful picture of ment. They had separated the people the state of France, which country he still from their king-tenants from their land- thought was the most miserable upon lords—servants from their masters- earth. In jusufication of the vote, which and in a word, done a deed without a he meant to give on the present occasion, name."
he said that some parties here had, like Mr. Fos, in reply, endeavoured to the French, got possession of the words soften down the warmth of his friend by National Rights, and on this they a moderate explanation ; but Sheridan relied as their strongest hold. “But," appeared to take a delight in widen- said Mr. BURRE, "I have from my earing the breach, for he immediately con- liest years turned with aversion from demned the speech of Burke, as dis- all these chimerical and abstract rights, graceful to an Englishman, as supporting which have for some time past condespotism, and as libelling those who founded human reason, and disturbed were virtuously engaged in obtaining the the imagination of statesmen. At the rights of men.
age of twenty, I thought that all abstract It was impossible to sit silent under rights, natural rights, and such nonsense, such an attack, and it was not in the nature were unfit for men to hear; and now, that of Burke to bear a blow of this kind with my hair is silvered by age, I am more out a retort. He rose, and said, " That and more confirmed in my abhorrence for some time he had apprehended that and disgust of them. Natural rights are the affairs of France would be productive dangerous topics of discussion, for they of a division among many in that house, supersede all social duties. They are who had frequently acted together; he paramount to the compact which introhad not, however, expected that upon a duced into the community new rights and separation being about to take place be- other ideas. They bring us back to that tween himself and that honourable gen- stage of savage helplessness, when, whatteman whom he used to call his friend, ever may be our rights, we enjoy them that he would have treated him so harshly, but precariously, depending on casual so unjustly, and so unbecomingly, as he circumstances for the miserable indulhad done, in imputing to him a conduct, gence of beastly appetite and ferocious of which he had never been guilty. He passion. Society, annihilates all those was no supporter of despotism, but a natural rights, and draws to its mass all firm defender of a well-mixed monarchy. the component parts of which these rights He was no libeller of freemen, or any are made up. "It takes in all the virtue other class of men, but he reprobated, as of the good, and all the wisdom of the lie always would do, the conduct of fero- wise; it gives life, support, and action, cious, bloody, and desperate democracies.” to every faculty of the soul, and secures Mr. Burke then proceeded to observe, the possession of every comfort which “That there were persons in this country, these proud and boasting natural rights who would be happy to promote innova- impotently hold out, but cannot ascertain. tion, and he cautioned the house against Society finds protection for all—it gives them. He entreated them to be on their defence to the weak-employment to the guard, and to maintain as sacred the industrious-consolation to the distressground of the Constitution.” Mr. BURKE ed; it nurses the infant, and it soothes concluded by declaring, that from hence- the dying. In all the stages of the life of forward he would never have any inter- man, where either the instilment of princourse with Sheridan, but leave him to ciples or the consolations of hope are
wanting, society is ready; and to confer such an effect upon the nerves of Mr.
nels, of impeaching Mr. Burke before
intent upon the proceedings going on in Mr. Burke then went over the ground France, and every day brought a melan. again, and maintained that the new choly proof of the correctness of the French system was replete with anarchy, opinion which at the beginning he had impiety, vice, and misery; that the prin- formed and expressed, of the awful ciples which he now advanced were in change that had taken place. He was perfect unison with the creed which he much affected by the condition of the had always professed, and to which he French clergy, who were among the first would indexibly adhere as long as he sufferers by the Revolution. For those liver' Hitherto," said he, “Mr. Fox exiles of this venerable order, who sought and n elf have often differed upon slight and found an asylum in this country, matters, without a loss of friendship on Mr. BURKE exerted himself with benevoeither side; but there is something in this lent alacrity; and while his calumniators cursed French Revolution that envenoms were courting an alliance with the perseevery thing.” Mr. Fox upon this whis- cutors, he employed all the means that pered, “ There is no loss of friendship be- were in his power to relieve the afflicted. iween us." But Mr. BURKE, instead of This liberality procured him the thanks being softened by this conciliatory remark, of the ecclesiastical dignitaries of France, exclaimed, “ There is! I know the price conveyed to him by the archbishop of of my conduct : our friendship is at an Aix; in return for which Mr. BURKE And!" This unexpected declaration had wrote to that prelate the following letter: