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Glos. Beshrew my heart! but you have well divined
When the crown sits upon a baby brow?
Plainly to speak, hence comes the general cry,
With England (thus they talk) while children govern.
Lord H. 'T is true the king is young: but what of that! We feel no want of Edward's riper years,
While Gloster's valour and most princely wisdom
So well support our infant sovereign's place,
His youth's support, and guardian to his throne.
Glos. The council (much I'm bound to thank 'em for 't) Have placed a pageant sceptre in my hand, Barren of power, and subject to control; Scorned by my foes, and useless to my friends. Oh, worthy lord! were mine the rule indeed, I think, I should not suffer rank offence At large to lord it in the common weal; Nor would the realm be rent by discord thus, Thus fear and doubt betwixt disputed titles.
Lord H. Of this I am to learn; as not supposing A doubt like this.
Glos. Ay, marry, but there is—
And that of much concern. Have you not heard
A bastard scion never should be grafted
Upon a royal stock.
Lord H. Ill befall
Such meddling priests, who kindle up confusion,
Our royal master, in concurrence
With his estates assembled, well determine
What course the sovereign rule should take henceforward?
When shall the deadly hate of faction cease?
When shall our long divided land have rest,
If every peevish, moody malecontent
Shall set the senseless rabble in an uproar,
Fright them with dangers, and perplex their brains
Glos. What if some patriot, for the public good,
Lord H. Your highness' pardon-
Whose cursed ambition would renew those horrors,
Lord H. So brave, and so resolved.
Glos. Is then our friendship of so little moment,
That you could arm your hand against my life?
Lord H. I hope your highness does not think I mean it; No, Heaven forefend, that e'er your princely person Should come within the scope of my resentment.
Glos. O, noble Hastings! nay, I must embrace you;
By holy Paul, you 're a right honest man!
EXTRACT FROM A SPEECH OF MR. CURRAN IN THE IRISH PARLIAMENT, ON MOVING FOR AN ADDRESS AGAINST AN INCREASE OF OFFICERS AND SALARIES, IN THE BOARD OF STAMPS AND
SIR, I bring forward an act of the meanest administration that ever disgraced this country. I bring it forward as one of the threads by which, united with others of similar texture, the vermin of the meanest kind have been able to tie down a body of strength and importance. Let me not be supposed to rest here: when the murderer left the mark of his bloody hand upon the wall, it was not the trace of one finger, but the whole impression which convicted him.
bring forward this motion, not as a question of finance, not as a question of regulation, but as a penal inquiry; and the people will now see whether they are to hope for help within these walls, or, turning their eyes towards heaven, they are to depend on God and their own virtue. I rise in an assembly of three hundred persons, one hundred of whom have places or pensions; I rise in an assembly, one-third of whom have their ears sealed against the complaints of the people, and their eyes intently turned to their own interest; I rise before the whisperers of the treasury, the bargainers and runners of the Castle; I address an audience, before whom was held forth the doctrine, that the Crown ought to use its influence on this House. This confession was not made from constraint; it came from a country gentleman, deservedly high in the confidence of administration, for he gave up other confidence to obtain theirs.
I know I am speaking too plain; but which is the more honest physician, he who lulls his patient into a fatal security, or he who points out the danger and the remedy of the disease?—I should not be surprised, if bad men of great talents should endeavour to enslave a people; but, when I see folly uniting with vice, corruption with imbecility, men without talents attempting to overthrow our liberty-my indignation rises at the presumption and audacity of the attempt. That such men should creep into power, is a fatal symptom to the constitution: the political, like the material body, when near its dissolution, often bursts out in swarms of vermin.
In this administration a place may be found for every bad man, whether it be to distribute the wealth of the treasury,
to vote in the House, to whisper and to bargain, to stand at the door and note the exits and entrances of your members, to mark whether they earn their wages-whether it be for the hireling who comes for his hire, or for the drunken aidde-camp who swaggers in a tavern.
In this country, sir, our King is not a resident; the beam of royalty is often reflected through a medium, which sheds but a kind of disastrous twilight, serving only to assist robbers and plunderers. We have no security in the talents or responsibility of an Irish ministry: injuries which the English constitution would easily repel, may here be fatal. I therefore call upon you to exert yourselves, to heave off the vile encumbrances that have been laid upon you. I call you not as to a measure of finance or regulation, but to a criminal accusation, which you may follow with punishment.
EXTRACT FROM A SPEECH OF MR. GRATTAN ON THE CATHOLIC QUESTION.
WHERE, I ask, where are those Protestant petitions against the Catholic claims, which we were told would have by this time borne down your table? We were told in the confident tone of prophecy, that England would have poured in her petitions from all counties, towns, and corporations, against the claims of Ireland. I ask, where are those petitions? Has London, her mighty capital, has the university of Dublin, mocked the calamities of your country, by petitioning in favour of those prejudices that would render us less able to redress them? Have the people of England raised a voice against their Catholic fellow subjects? No; they have the wisdom to see the folly of robbing the empire, at such a time, of one fourth of its strength, on account of speculative doctrines of faith. They will not risk a kingdom on account of old men's dreams about the prevalence of the Pope. They will not sacrifice an empire, because they dislike the sacrifice of the Mass.
I say, then, England is not against us. She has put ten thousand signatures upon your table in our favour. And what says the Protestant interest in Ireland? Look at their petition-examine the names-the houses-the familes. Look at the list of merchants-of divines. Look, in
a word, at Protestant Ireland, calling to you in a warning voice-telling you, that if you are resolved to go on, till ruin breaks with a fearful surprise upon your progress, they will go on with you-they must partake your danger, though they will not share your guilt.
Ireland, with her Imperial Crown, row stands before you. You have taken from her her Parliament, and she appears in her own person at your bar. Will you dismiss a kingdom without a hearing? Is this your answer to her zeal, to her faith, to the blood that has so profusely graced your march to victory-to the treasures that have decked your strength in peace. Is her name nothing-her fate indifferent-her contributions insignificant-her six millions revenue-her ten millions trade-her two millions absentee-her four millions loan? Is such a country not worth a hearing? Will you, can you dismiss her abruptly from your bar? You cannot do it-the instinct of England is against it. We may be outnumbered now and again-but, in calculating the amount of the real sentiments of the people-the ciphers, that swell the evanescent majorities of an evanescent Minisgo for nothing.
Can Ireland forget the memorable era of 1788? Can others forget the munificent hospitality, with which she then freely gave to her chosen hope all that she had to give? Can Ireland forget the spontaneous and glowing cordiality, with which her favours were then received! Never! never! Irishmen grew justly proud in the consciousness of being subjects of a gracious predilection-a predilection that required no apology, and called for no renunciation—a predilection that did equal honour to him who felt it, and to those who were the objects of it. It laid the grounds of a great
and fervent hope-all a nation's wishes crowding to a point, and looking forward to one event, as the GREAT COMING, at which every wound was to be healed, every tear to be wiped away-the hope of that hour beamed with a cheering warmth and a seductive brilliancy. Ireland followed it with all her heart-a leading light through the wilderness, and brighter in its gloom. She followed it over a wide and barren waste: it has charmed her through the desert, and now, that it has led her to the confines of light and darkness, now, that she is on the borders of the promised land, is the prospect to be suddenly obscured, and the fair vision of Princely Faith to vanish forever?-I will not believe it-I require an act of Parliament to vouch its credibility-nay more, I demand a miracle to convince me that it is possible!