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All my deserts are shadows and fly from me;
King. Express it in some joy, then.
Adm. I will strive
King. But what?
Adm. My frame hath lately, sir, been ta'en apieces,
King. I'll have no patience,
Adm. My strength would flatter me.
Adm. Who would not wish to live to serve your goodness!
King. In a prince
Adm. I must beg
King. Upon condition
Adm. I observe
Of Philip Chabot, read hereafter, draw
Ailm. Sir, I must kneel to thank you;
Father. And kneeling, sir;
THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY was born in Leicester, England, Uctober 25th, 1800, and died in London, December 28th, 1859. His career, in college, was but the brilliant harbinger of a far more brilliant one in the world. In 1825 appeared his first contribution to the Edinburgh Review, with which periodical he held connection for twenty years; during which he came to be universally regarded as the very prince of essayists : showing such depth and extent of research, such fullness of detail, such rare felicity of illustration, such singular power in reproducing the past, such beauty and brilliancy of style, and such exbaustive treatment and general mastery of his topics, as utterly eclipsed the glory of all bis rivals in that line of compositio'. He was distinguished, also, as a statesman: having shown himself, in affairs of state and in public office, quite equal to the expectations that had been formed of him from his writings. As a historian, moreover, he acquired, by the publication of his “History of England from the Accession of James the Second,” such popularity as seldom falls to the lot of even the most admired of novelists. In 1857 he was made a peer of England, with the title of Baron Macaulay, of Rothley.
1 Jacobins is the name under which passed the most famous of all the political clubs that agitated France during the first Revolution. In that club, consisting of all the violent leaders of the day, were discussed all the motions and questions that were to come before the National
Assembly; so that the Jacobin Club, which, with its twelve hundred branches, extended all over France, came, at last, to be the ruling force in the nation. What was the character of that rule, the following vivid sketch sufficiently shows.
THE REIGN OF TERROR.
MACAULAY. 1. Now began that strange period known by the name of the Reign of Terror. The Jacobins' had prevailed. This was their bour and the power of darkness. The convention was subjugated, and reduced to profound silence on the highest questions of state. The sovereignty passed to the Committee of Public Safety. To the edicts framed by that Committee, the representative assembly did not venture to offer even the species of opposition which the ancient Parliament had frequently offered to the mandates of the ancient kings.
2. Then came those days, when the most barbarous of all codes was administered by the most barbarous of all tribunals; when no man could greet his neighbors, or say his prayers, or dress his hair, without danger of committing a capital crime; when spies lurked in every corner; when the guillotine * was long and hard at work every morning; when the jails were filled as close as the hold of a slave ship; and the gutters ran foaming with blood into the Seine.
3. No mercy was shown to sex or age. The number of young lads and of girls of seventeen who were murdered by that execrable government, is to be reckoned by hundreds. Babies, torn from the breast, were tassed from pike to pike along the Jacobin ranks. One champion of liberty had his pockets well stuffed with ears. Another swaggered about with the finger of a little child in his hat. A few months had sufficed to degrade France below the level of New Zealand.
4. It is absurd to say, that any amount of public danger can justify a system like this. It is true that great emergencies call for activity and vigilance; it is true that they justify severity which, in ordinary times, would deserve the name of cruelty
* Guillotine (gill lo teen), a machine for beheading persons at a single stroke; so ca. 'ed, it is said, from the name of its inventor.
But indiscriminate severity can never, under any circumstances, be useful. It is plain that the whole efficacy of punishment depends on the care with which the guilty are distinguished Punishment which strikes the guilty and the innocent promiscuously, operates merely like a pestilence or a great convulsion of naturs, and has no more tendency to prevent offenses, than the cholera or an earthquake, like that of Lisbon, would have.
5. The great Queen who so long held her own against foreign and domestic enemies, against temporal and spiritual arms; the great Protector who governed with more than regal power, in despite both of royalists and republicans; the great King who, with a beaten army and an exhausted treasury, defended his little dominions to the last against the united efforts of Russia, Austria, and France; with what scorn would they have heard that it was impossible for them to strike a salutary terror into the disaffected, without sending school-boys and school-girls to death by cart-loads and boat-loads!
6. To behead people by scores, without caring whether they are guilty or innocent; to wring money out of the rich by the help of jailers and executioners; to rob the public creditor, and put him to death, if he remonstrates; to take loaves by force out of the bakers' shops; to clothe and mount soldiers by seizing on one man's wool and linen, and on another man's horses and saddles, without compensation, is of all modes of governing the simplest and most obvious. Of its morality we, at present, say nothing. But, surely, it requires no capacity beyond that of a barbarian or a child.
7. By means like those which we have described, the Com. mittee of Public Safety undoubtedly succeeded, for a short time, in enforcing profound submission, and in raising immense funds. But to enforce submission by butchery, and to raise funds by spoliation, is not statesmanship. The real statesman is he who, in troubled times, keeps down the turbulent without unnecessarily harassing the well-affected; and who, when great pecuniary resources are needed, provides for the public exigencies without violating the security of property, and drying up the sources of future prosperity.
ULTIMATE TRIUMPH OF PUBLIC OPINION.
1. The PUBLIC OPINION of the civilized world is rapidly gaining an ascendency over mere brute force. It may be silenced by military power, but it cannot be conquered. It is elastic, irrepressible, and invulnerable to the weapons of ordinary warfare. It is that impassible, unextinguishable enemy of mere violence and arbitrary rule, which, like Milton's angels,
"Vital in every part,
Can not, but by annihilating, die !” 2. Until this be propitiated or satisfied, it is vain for power to talk of triumphs or repose. No matter what fields are desolated, what fortresses surrendered, what armies subdued, or what provinces overrun. In the history of the year that has passed by us, and in the instance of unhappy Spain, we have seen the vanity of all triumphs in a cause which violates the general sense of justice of the civilized world. It is nothing that the troops of France have passed from the Pyrenees to Cadiz; it is nothing that an unhappy and prostrate nation has fallen before them; it is nothing that arrests, and confiscation, and execution, sweep away the little remnant of national resistance.
3. There is an enemy that still exists to check the glory of these triumphs. It follows the conqueror back to the very scene of his ovations; it calls upon him to take notice that Europe, though silent, is indignant; it shows him that the scepter of his victory is a barren scepter; that it shall confer neither joy nor honor, but shall molder to dry ashes in his grasp. In the midst of his exultation, it pierces his ear with the cry of injured justice; it denounces against him the indignation of an enlightened and civilized age; it turns to bitterness the cup of his rejoicing, and wounds him with the sting which belongs to the consciousness of having outraged the OPINION OF MANKIND!
* See Exercise LXXXVI.