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5 As great might have aspir’d, and me, though mean, Drawn to his part; but other pow’rs as great Fell not, but stand unshaken, from within y from without, to all temptations arm’d. “km thou the same free will and pow’r to stand? u hadst: Whom hast thou then, or what, t’accuse, But heav’n’s free love dealt equally to all? lVIe miserable! which way shall I fly Infinite wrath, and infinite despair? Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell;
15 And, in the lowest deep“, a lower deep
Still threat’ning to, devour me, opens wide,
' Left for repentance, none for pardon left?
20 None- left but by submission; and that word
25 Th’ Omnipotent. Ah me, they little know
Under wha torments inwardly I groan,
While they adore me on the throne of hell!
With diadem and sceptre high advanced,
80 The lower still I fall, only supreme
' In'misery: Such joy ambition finds.
But say I could repent, and could obtain,
By act of grace, my former state; how soon '
35 What feign’d submission swore? ease would recant
Vows made in pain, as violent and void.
40 Of us outcast, exil’d his new delight,
So farewell hope, and with hope farewell fear,
Public curiosity was scarcely ever so strongly ' artist‘ed as on the day when Mr. Sheridan was to s k on the Begum charge on the impeachment of llrIr. Hastings. The avenues leading to the hall were filled with persons of the first distinction, many of them peeresses in full dress, who waited in the open air- for upwards of an hour and a half, before the gates were opened, when the crowd pressed so eagerly forward, that many persons had nearly perished. No extractcan do justice to this speech; the following is a partial specimen of its power:
“ 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 he suffered to drink *heir blood, but that it might rise up to the throne of Go , and rouse the eternal Providence to avenge the wrongs of their country; what motive, could have such influence in their bosom? what motivel—That which nature, the common parent, plants in the bosom of man, and which, though it may be less active in the Indian than in the Englishman, is still congenial with, and makes part of his being;— that feeling which tells him, that man was never made t0 be the property of man; but that, when through pride and insolence of power, one human creature dares to tyrannize over another, it is a power usurped, and resistance is a duty;-—ihat feeling which tells him, that all power is delegated for the good, not for the injury of the people, and that when it is converted from the original purpose, the compact is broken, and the right is to be resumed;-~that principle which tells him, that resistance to power usurped is not merely a duty which he owes to himself and to his neighbour, but a duty which he owes to his God, in asserting and maintaining the rank which he gave him in the creation! to that common God, who, where he gives the form of man, whatever may be the
complexion, gives also the feelings and the rights of man,——that principle, which neither the rudeness of ignorance can stifle, nor the enervation of refinement extinguishl—that principle, which makes it base for a man 6! suflizr when he ought to act, which tending to preserve
' t0 the species the original designations of Providence,
spurns at the arrogant distinctions of man, and vindicates the independent quality of his race.
The IVIajesty of Justice, in the eyes of lVIr. Hastings, is a being of terrific horror—a dreadful idol, placed in the gloom of graves, accessible only to cringing supplication, and which must be approached with qfl‘izrings, and worshipped by sacrifice. The Majesty of Mr. Hastings is a being, whose decrees are written with blood, and whose oracles are at once secure and terrible. From such an idol I turn mine eyes with horror—I turn them here to this dignified and high tribunal, where the Majesty of Justice really sits enthroned. Here I perceive the DIajesty of Justice in her proper robes of truth and mercy—chaste'and simple—accessible and patient—awful without severity,-—inquisitive, without meanness. I see her enthroned and sitting in judgement on a great and momentous cause, in which the happiness of milliOns is involved—Pardon me, my lords, if I presume to say, that in the decision of this great cause, you are to be envied, as well as venerated. You possess the highest distinction of the human character; for when you render your ultimate voice on this cause, illustrating the dignity of the ancestors from whom you spring—justifying the solemn asseveration which you make—vindicating the people of whom you are a part—and manifest-— ing the intelligence of the times in which you live—you will do such an act of mercy, and blessing to man, as no men but yourselves are able to rant.”
On the conclusion of Mr. Sheridan’s speech, the whole
' assembly, members, peers, and strangers, involuntarily
joined in a tumult of applause, and adopted a mode of' expressing their approbation new and irregular in that house, by loudly and repeatedly clapping their hands. A motion was immediately made and carried for an ad— journment, that the members, who were in a state of delirious inscnsibility, from the talismanic influence of such powerful eloquence, might have time to collect their scattered senses for the_ exercise of a sober judgement. This motion was made by lVIr. Pitt, who declared that 85 this speech “ surpassed all the eloquence of ancient and modern times, and possesses every thing that genius or art could furnish, to agitate and control the hUman mind.” ‘ V “ He has this day,” said Mr. Burke, “ surprised the thousands who hung with rapture on his accents, by such 90 an array of talents, such an exhibition of capacity, such a display of powers, as are unparalleled in the annals of oratory! a display that reflects the highest honor upon himself—lustre upon letters—~ren0wn upon parliament— glory upon the country. Of all species of rhetoric, of 95 every kind of eloquence that has been witnessed or recorded, either in ancient or modern times: whatever the acuteness of the bar, the dignity of the senate, the solidity of the judgement seat, and the sacred morality ofthe pulpit, have hitherto furnished, nothing has sur100 passed, nothing has equalled, What we have this day heard in Westminster-hall. No holy seer of religion, no sage, no statesman, n0 orator, no man of any literary description whatever, has come up, in the one instance, to the pure sentiments of morality; or, in the other, to 105 that variety of knowledge, force of imagination, propriety and vivacity of allusion, beauty and elegance of dietion, strength and copiousness of style, pathos and sub.— limity 0£ conception, to which we have this day listened with ardour and admiration. From poetry up to elo110 quence, there is not a species of composition of' which a complete and perfect specimen might not from that single speech he culled and collected.”
Be not deceived, my countrymen. Believe not these venal hirelings, when they would eajole you by their subtilties into submission, or frighten you by their vapourings into compliance. When they strive to flatter you
5 by the terms “ moderation and prudence,” tell them that calmness and deliberation are to guide the judge— ment; courage and intrepidity command the action. When they endeavour to make us “ perceive our inabil
. cover the field like locusts.
ity to oppose our mother country,” let us boldly answer; —In defence of our civil and religious rights, we dare oppose the world; -with the God of‘rmies on our side, even the God who fought our fathers’ battles, We fear not the hour of trial, though the hosts of our enemies should If this be enthusiasm, we will live and die enthusiasts. .
,Blandishments will not fascinate us, nor will threats of a “ halter ” intimidate. For, under God, we are determined, that wheresoever, whensoever, or howsoever we shall be called to make our exit, we will die freemen. Well do we know that all the regalia of this world cannot dignify the death of a villain, nor diminish the igno— rniny, with which a slave shall quit existence. Neither can it taint the unblemished honour of a son of freedom, though he should make his departure on the already prepared gibbd, or be dragged to the newly erected scaffold for executibn. With the plaudits of his country, and what is more, the plaudits of his conscience, he will go off the stage. The history of his life his children shall venerate. -The virtues of their sire shall excite their emulation. '
Who has the front to ask, Wherefore do you complain? Who dares assert, that every thing worth living for is not lost, when a nation is enslaved? Are not pensioners, stipendiaries and salary-men, unknown before,
" hourly multiplying upon us, to riot in the spoils of miser
able America? Does not every eastern gale waft us some new insect, even ofthat devouring kind, which eat up every green thing? Is not the bread taken out of the children’s mouths and given unto the dogs? Are not our estates given to corrupt sycophants, without a design, or even a pretence, of soliciting our assent; and our lives put into the hands of those whose tender mercies are cruelties? Has not an. authority in a distant land, in the most public manner,- proclaimed a right of disposing of the all of Americans? In short, what have we to lose? \Vhat have we to fear? Are not our distresses more than we can bear? And, to finish all, are not our 'cities, in a time of profound peace, filled with standing armies, to preclude from us that last solace of the wretched—to open their mouths in complaint, and send forth their cries in bitterness of heart?