Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

ine.

country for a sum of money, and then sold my country for prompt payment.* ' I never was bought by the people, nor never sold by them. The gentleman says he never apostatized; but I say I never changed my principles. Let every man say the same, and let the people believe it if they can.

“I have now done, and give me leave to say, if the gentleman enters often into this kind of colloquy with me, he will not have much to boast of at the end of the session."

Mr. Grattan.—“In respect to the House, I could wish to avoid personality, but I must request liberty to explain some circumstances alluded to by the honourable member.” [After making this explanation, he proceeded.] “It is not the slander of the bad tongue of a bad character that can defame

I maintain my reputation in public and in private life; no man who has not a bad character can say I ever deceived him; no country has called me cheat. I will suppose a public character—a man not of course in the House, but who formerly might have been here. I will suppose it was his constant practice to abuse every man who differed from him, and to betray every man who trusted him. I will suppose him active; I will begin from his cradle, and divide his life into three stages. In the first he was intemperate; in the second, corrupt; and in the third, seditious. Suppose him a great egotist; his honour equal to his oath ; and I will stop him, and say, 'Sir, yonr talents are not so great as your life is infamous; you were silent for years, and you were silent for money; when affairs of consequence to the nation were debating, you might be seen passing by these doors like a guilty spirit just waiting for the moment of putting the question, that you might pop in and give your venal vote; or you might be seen hovering over the dome like an illomened bird of night, with sepulchral notes, with cadaverous aspect, and broken beak, f ready to stoop and pounce upon

• Alluding to the grant of £100,000 to Mr. Grattan for his publie services, the half of which sum he accepted.

+ Alluding to a personal defect of Mr. Flood's.

your prey. You can be trusted by no man; the people cannot trust you; the ministers cannot trust you; you deal out the most impartial treachery to both; you tell the nation it is ruined by other men, when it is sold by yourself; you fled from the Embargo Bill; you fled from the Mutiny Bill; you fled from the Sugar Bill. I therefore tell you in the face of your country, before all the world, and to your very beard, you are not an honest man.

Mr. Flood.—“I have heard very extraordinary language indeed, and I challenge any man to say that any thing half so unwarrantable was ever uttered in this House. The right honourable gentleman set out with declaring he did not wish to use personality; and no sooner had he opened his mouth, than forth issued all the venom that ingenuity and disappointed vanity for two years brooding over corruption, has been able to produce. But taint my public character it cannot; four and twenty years employed in your service has established that; and as to my private, let that be learned from my friends, from those under my own roof. To these I appeal, and this appeal I boldly make with an utter contempt of insinuations, false as they are illiberal.”

[Mr. Flood was proceeding, when the Speaker rose, and called for the support of the House to keep the gentlemen in order.

Mr. John Burke then moved, that the gentlemen should be made to promise that nothing farther should pass between them; and this being resolved, the House was cleared. But in the meantime, both Mr. Flood and Mr. Grattan had disappeared. *]

*Next morning Mr. Flood and Mr. Grattan were brought custody before Lord Chief Justice Annaly, who bound them both over to keep the peace, in recognizances of £20,000 each. They had, attended by their respective friends, almost reached the ground appointed for a serious interview, when they were arrested by officers whom the magiswrates had despatched after them.

The following epigrammatic dialogue appeared shortly after in the public prints :

Question.—Say, what has given to Flood a mortal wound?
Answer.- Grattan's obtaining fifty thousand pound.
Question.-Can Flood forgive an injury so sore?
Answer.---Yes, if they give him fifty thousand more.

IX.-BURKE'S PANEGYRIC ON THE ELOQUENCE OF SHERIDAN. He has this day surprised the thousands who hung with rapture on his accents, by such 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 reflected the highest honour on himself— lustre upon letters—renown upon parliament-glory upon the country. Of all species of rhetoric, of every kind of excellence 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 judgment-seat, and the sacred morality of the pulpits, have hitherto furnished, nothing has equalled what we have this day heard in Westminster Hall. No holy seer of religion, no statesman, no 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 that variety of knowledge, force of imagination, propriety and vivacity of allusion, beauty and elegance of diction, strength and copiousness of style, pathos, and sublimity of conception, to which we this day listened, with ardour and admiration. From poetry up to eloquence, there is not a species of composition, of which a complete and perfect specimen might not, from that single speech, be culled and collected.

X.-LORD BROUGHAM ON NEGRO SLAVBRY.

I trust that, at length, the time is come, when parliament will no longer bear to be told, that slave-owners are the best law-givers on slavery: no longer suffer our voice to roll across the Atlantic, in empty warnings and fruitless orders. Tell me not of rights_talk not of the property of the planter in his slavės. I deny his right-I acknowledge not the property. The principles, the feelings of our common nature, rise in rebellion against it. Be the appeal made to the understanding or to the heart, the sentence is the same that

rejects it! In vain you tell me of laws that sanction such a claim! There is a law, above all the enactments of human codes—the same, throughout the world—the same, in all times : such as it was, before the daring genius of Columbus pierced the night of ages, and opened to one world the sources of power, wealth, and knowledge; to another, all utterable woes, such is it at this day: it is the law written by the finger of God on the heart of man; and by that law, unchangeable and eternal_while men despise fraud, and loathe repine, and hate blood--they shall reject, with indigpation, the wild and guilty fantasy, that man can hold property in man!

In vain you appeal to treaties—to covenants between nations. The covenants of the Almighty, whether the old covenant or the new, denounce such unholy pretensions. To these laws did they of old refer, who maintained the African trade. Such treaties did they cite--and not untruly; for, by one shameful compact, you bartered the glories of Blenheim for the traffic in blood. Yet, in despite of law and of treaty, that infernal traffic is now destroyed, and its - votaries put to death like other pirates. How came this change to pass ? Not, assuredly, by parliament leading the way: but the country at length awoke; the indignation of the people was kindled ; it descended in thunder, and smote the traffic, and scattered its guilty profits to the winds. Now, then, let the planters beware-let their assemblies beware. let the government at home beware_let the parliament beware! The same country is once more awake-awake to the condition of negro slavery ; the same indignation kindles in the bosom of the same people; the same cloud is gathering, that annihilated the slave trade; and if it shall descend again, they on whom its crash may fall, will not be destroyed before I have warned them ; but I pray, that their destruction may turn away from us the more terrible judgments of God!

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

SPEECHES AND DIALOGUES FROM SHAKSPEARE.

1. HAMLET'S INSTRUCTIONS TO THE PLAYERS. SPEAK the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town-crier had spoke my lines. And do not saw the air too much with

your

hand thus; but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and as I may say, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh! it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious perriwig. pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; who (for the most part) are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows and noise: I would have such a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagant; it out-herods Herod. Pray you, avoid it.

Be not too tame neither; but let your own discretion be our tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the modesty of nature ; for any thing so overdone is from the purpose of playing; whose end, both at the first and now, was and is, to hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature; to show virtue ber own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this overdone or come tardy off, though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of one of which must, in your allowance, o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. Oh! there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly (not to speak it profanely), that neither having the accent of Christian, nor the gait of Christian, Pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed, that I have thought some of Nature's journeymen had made them, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably.

And let those that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them : for there be of them that will them.

« ElőzőTovább »