« AnteriorContinuar »
'My bride, my wife, the mother of my child! Now shall thy name be armour to my heart; And this our land, by chains no more defiled,
Be taught of thee to choose the better part!
And thus they parted, by the quiet lake,
In the clear starlight: he, the strength to rouse
To rock her child beneath the whispering boughs,
SPEECH OF MIRABEAU, IN REPLY TO OBJECTIONS AGAINST AN ADDRESS TO THE THRONE, REQUESTING THE REMOVAL OF MINISTERS.
GENTLEMEN OF THE ASSEMBLY,-It is said, that by assuming the right to petition the King to remove his ministers, you will confound the three powers. We shall soon have occasion to examine this theory of three powers, which, properly analyzed, will perhaps show the ease, with which the mind mistakes words for things, and acquiesces in accustomed conclusions, without taking the trouble to examine the principles upon which they are founded. The valorous champions of the three powers will then inform us, if they can, what they mean by this large phrase of three powers; and how they can conceive of the judicial or even of the legislative power, as wholly distinct from the executive.
You forget that the people, whose action you limit by the three powers, is itself the source of all power. You forget that you are disputing the right of the master to control his agents. You forget that we, the representatives of the people, we, in whose presence all powers are suspended, even those of the chief magistrate of the nation, when he attempts to oppose us-you forget that we do not attempt to appoint or remove the ministers by our decrees, but merely to express the opinion of our constituents upon the administration of this or that minister. What then? Do you refuse us the right of declaring our sentiments, and compel us to
contemplate the conduct of ministers in respectful silence, when at the same time you grant us the power of impeaching them, and constituting the court which shall bring them to judgment? Do you not perceive how much more moderate I am than you, and how much more favourably I deal with the government? You leave no interval between perfect silence and impeachment. But I give notice, before I impeach; I object, before I punish; I afford opportunity for weakness and errour to withdraw, before I treat them as crimes.
But look at Great Britain, see what agitation is there produced by the right you claim! It raised the storm in which England was lost! England lost? Gracious Heaven! what disastrous news! But tell me, then, in what latitude did this happen? What earthquake, what convulsion of nature swallowed up that famous island, that exhaustless store-house of great examples, that classic ground of the friends of liberty? But surely you are mistaken: England is still flourishing for the eternal instruction of the world. England is repairing, in glorious tranquillity, the wounds she inflicted on herself in a paroxysm of fever. England is carrying to perfection every branch of industry, and exploring every path that leads to wealth and greatness.
CONCLUSION OF MR EMMET'S SPEECH, IN THE TRIAL OF
WILLIAM S. SMITH.
I COULD wish, before I conclude, to make another observation. This trial has, by some, been considered as a party question, and I understand that my conduct, in the defence of the gentleman indicted, has been talked of, by the weak and ignorant, as something like a dereliction of my professed political principles. I pity such party bigots, and have only to assure them, that no feelings such as they possess, shall ever weaken my zeal for my client. But as to my political principles, they are a subject on which I am too proud to parley, or enter into a vindicatory explanation with any In me, republicanism is not the result of birth, nor the accidental offspring of family connexions-it is the fruit of feeling and sentiment, of study and reflection, of observation and experience;-it is endeared to me by sufferings.
and misfortunes. I see gentlemen on that jury, between whose political principles and mine, there is not a shade of difference we agree as to the hands to which we would confide the offices, honours, power and wealth of the republic. I trust we also agree in this, that nothing can be more injurious to the due administration of the law, than that political considerations or party prejudices should be permitted to ascend the bench, or enter into the jury-box. That pollution of justice has given rise to many of those abominations and horrours which have disgraced and desolated Europe. I adjure you, do not mingle the spirit of party with the wholesome medicine of the law; for if you do, most assuredly, sooner or later, even-handed justice will commend the ingredients of the poisoned chalice to your own lips. I entreat you, exercise your prerogatives and discharge your duty in the spirit of uprightness and mercy-do not suffer the defendant to be sacrificed as a sin-offering or a peaceoffering; and if he is to be made the scape-goat, on which are to be fixed the faults of others, give him, at least, the privilege of escape.
EXTRACT FROM A SPEECH OF LORD BELHAVEN, IN OPPOSITION TO A JOINT LEGISLATURE BETWEEN ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND.
MY LORD,-When I consider this affair of an union between the two nations, as it is expressed in the several articles thereof, and now the subject of our deliberation, I find my mind crowded with a variety of very melancholy thoughts, and I think it my duty to disburthen myself of some of them, by laying them before and exposing them to the serious consideration of this honourable house.
I think I see a free and independent kingdom delivering up that, which all the world hath been fighting for since the days of Nimrod; yea, that, for which most of all the empires, kingdoms, states, principalities and dukedoms of Europe, are at this very time engaged in the most bloody and cruel wars that ever were; to wit, a power to manage their own affairs by themselves, without the assistance and counsel of any other.
I think I see the noble and honourable peerage of Scot
land, whose valiant predecessors led armies against their enemies, upon their own proper charges and expenses, now divested of their followers and vassalages, and put upon such an equal foot with their vassals, that I think I see a petty English exciseman receive more homage and respect, than what was paid formerly to their quondam Mackallamors.
1 think I see the present peers of Scotland, whose noble ancestors conquered provinces, overrun countries, reduced and subjected towns and fortified places, exacted tribute through the greatest part of England, now walking in the court of requests, like so many English attornies, laying aside their walking swords when in company with the English peers, lest self-defence should be found murder.
In short, I think I see the laborious ploughman, with his corn spoiling upon his hands for want of sale, cursing the day of his birth. I think I see the incurable difficulties of landed men, fettered under the golden chain of equivalents, their pretty daughters petitioning for the want of husbands, and their sons for want of employments.
I think I see our mariners delivering up their ships to their Dutch partners, and, what through presses and necessity, earning their bread as underlings in the English navy. But above all, my lord, I think I see our ancient mother Caledonia, like Cæsar, sitting in the midst of our senate, ruefully looking round about her, covering herself with her royal garment, attending the fatal blows, and breathing out her last with a―et tu quoque, mi fili?
Are not these, my lord, very afflicting thoughts? And yet they are at least part suggested to me by these dishonourable articles. Should not the consideration of these things vivify these dry bones of ours? Should not the memory of our noble predecessors' valour and constancy rouse up our drooping spirits? Are our noble predecessors' souls got so far into the English cabbage-stalks and cauliflowers, that we should show the least inclination that way? Are our eyes so blinded? Are our ears so deafened? Are our hearts so hardened? Are our tongues so faltered? Are our hands so fettered? that in this our day-I say, my lord, that in this our day, we should not mind the things that concern the very being and well-being of our ancient kingdom, before the day be hid from our eyes?
When I consider this treaty as it hath been explained and spoke to, before us these three weeks past, I see the English constitution remaining firm, the same two houses
of parliament, the same taxes, the same customs, the same excises, the same trading companies, the same municipal laws and courts of judicature; and all ours either subject to regulations or annihilations, only we are to have the honour to pay their old debts, and to have some few persons present for witnesses to the validity of the deed, when they are pleased to contract more.
PEACE AND WAR.-Shelley.
Heaven's ebon vault,
How beautiful this night! the balmiest sigh
A metaphor of peace;-all form a scene
Ah! whence yon glare, That fires the arch of heaven ?—That dark red smoke, Blotting the silver moon? The stars are quenched In darkness, and the pure and spangling snow Gleams faintly through the gloom that gathers round! Hark to that roar, whose swift and deafening peals In countless echoes through the mountains ring, Starting pale Midnight on her starry throne! Now swells the intermingling din; the jar, Frequent and frightful, of the bursting bomb; The falling beam, the shriek, the groan, the shout,