Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

progress which our 'race made in wisdom and in virtue, be derived from the veneration paid to the immortal name of Washington.

EXERCISE XLVIII. —NECESSITY OF REFORM IN PARLIAMENT. —

Lord Grey. From his speech in the House of Commons, on the petition of the

Friends of the People. [This piece exemplifies the tones of earnest and animated declamation : it requires an attention to spirited utterance.]

I am aware of the difficulties I have to encounter in bringing forward this business; I am aware how ungracious it would be for this House to show that they are not the real representatives of the people; I am aware that the question has been formerly agitated on different occasions, by great and able characters, who have deserted the cause from despair of success; and I am aware that I must necessarily go into what may perhaps be supposed trite and worn-out argu. ments. I come forward on the present occasion, actuated solely by a sense of duty, to make a serious and important motion, which, I am ready fairly to admit, involves no less a consideration than a fundamental change in the government.

I feel, in the strongest manner, how very formidable an adversary I have to encounter in the right honourable gentleman opposite, (Mr. Pitt,) formidable from his talents, formidable from the influence of his situation; but still more formidable from having once been friendly to the cause of reform, and becoming its determined opponent, drawing off others from its standard,

With that right honourable gentleman I will never condescend to bargain, nor shall he endeavour to conciliate my favour by any mode of compliment; I have never disguised the objections I have to the way in which he came into power, and to the whole system of his government, since.

At the Revolution, the necessity of short parliaments was asserted; and every departure from these principles, is in some shape a departure from the spirit and practice of the constitution ; yet, when they are compared with the present state of the representation, how does the matter stand? Are the elections free: or are parliaments free? With respect to shortening the duration of parliament, it does not appear to me that it would be advantageous, without a total alteration of the present system,

Has not the patronage of peers increased ? Is not the patronage of India now vested in the crown ? Are all these innovations to be made in order to increase the influence of the executive power; and is nothing to be done in favour of the popular part of the constitution, to act as a counterpoise ?

It may be said, that the House of Commons are really a just representation of the. people, because, on great emergencies, they never fail-to speak the sense of the people, as was the case in the American war, and in the Russian armament; but had the House of Commons had a real representation of the people, they would have interfered sooner on these occasions, without the necessity of being called upon to do so. I fear much that this House is not a real representation of the people, and that it is too much influenced by passion, prejudice, or interest.

This may for a time give to the executive government apparent strength; but no government can be either lasting or free, which is not founded on virtue, and on that independence of mind and conduct among the people, which creates energy, and leads to every thing that is noble and generous, or that can conduce to the strength and safety of a state.

" What constitutes a state ?-
Not high raised battlement or laboured mound,

Thick wall or moated gate ;
Not cities proud, with spires and turrets crown'd,

Not bays and broad-armed ports,
Where, laughing at the storm, proud navies ride ;

Not starred and spangled courts,-
Where low-browed baseness wafts perfume to pride!

No! men,-high-minded men,
With powers as far above dull brutes endued,

In forest, brake, or den,
As beasts excel cold rocks, and brambles rude,-

Men who their duties know,
But know their rights, and, knowing, dare maintain.”

ther or

EXERCISE XLIX.--FALSE ELOQUENCE.--Anon. From a speech in Congress on the Revenue Bill of 1833. [Bombast, of which the following is a specimen,-is distinguished by vociferation and mouthing, and excessively swelling tone; along with which usually goes the accompaniment of overdone actron,-a ceaseless sweep and swing of the arm ;—the whole forming a full illustration of exaggeration and caricature.]

We understand it now.-The President is impatient to wreak his vengeance on South Carolina. Be it so. Pass your measure, sir,-unchain your tiger,-let loose your wardogs as soon as you please! I know the people you desire to war on. They await you with unflinching, unshrinking, unblanching firmness.

I know full well the State you strike at. She is deeply enshrined in as warm affections, brave hearts, and high minds, as ever formed a living rampart for public liberty. *They will receive this bill, sir, whether you pass

the not, with scorn, and indignation, and detestation. They never will submit to it. They will see in it the iron crown of Charlemagne placed upon the head of your Executive. They will see in it the scene upon the Lupercal vamped up, and new-varnished. They will see in its hideous features of pains and penalties, a declaration of war in all but its form. *They cannot, (for they are the best informed people on the face of the earth, or that ever have been on it, on the great principles of civil and political liberty,) but see in it the utter prostration and demolition of State rights, State constitutions, aye, and of the Federal constitution too.

Is this thing so coveted by, and gratifying to, the President,-is this bloody bill, this Boston port-bill, so delightful to him, that it is to be preferred to that which is said to be pacificatory? Why, sir, if he must be gratified, must be amused and pleasurably employed, buy him a TEE-TO-TUM, or some other harmless toy, but do not give him the purse and sword of the nation, the army and navy,—the whole military power of the country, as peaceful playthings to be used at his discretion. : If, however, this bill must pass,—if there be no substitute so palatable as blood, I withdraw my opposition to its being taken up, and only ask the privilege of exposing its details; although I clearly see that the interested passions on one side, and a supple subserviency on another, will insure its passage by a very large majority.

One word, sir, to the gentleman who says this bill is necessary, because South Carolina has not yet repealed her ordinance. HAS NOT YET, I presume means, notwithstanding the President's Proclamation. Sir, South Carolina has received the insolent mandate of the President, commanding her to retrace her steps, tear from her archives one of the brightest pages of her glory, and alter the fundamental principles of her constitution ; and she sends him back, (through her humble representatives,) the message sent from Utica to Cæsar

“ Bid him disband his legions ;
Restore the Commonwealth to liberty ;
Submit his actions to the public censure,
Abide the judgment of a Roman Senate,

And strive to gain the pardon of the people.
That, sir, is her answer !

EXERCISE L.-SCENE FROM THE LORD OF THE ISLES. Scott. Speakers, Lord Ronald, Lorn, Edward and Robert Bruce, Abbot,

and Attendants, De Argentine, Torquil, and Minstrel. [See remarks introductory to EXERCISE XXX. -This and several other dialogues,-it will be perceived from their comparative length,

-are designed for exhibition' occasions.] Ronald. [Entering to the rest who are seated, and conduct

ing the Bruces.]
Brother of Lorn, and you, fair lords, rejoice !
Here,—to augment our glee,-
Come, wandering knights from travel far,
Well proved, they say, in strife of war,
And tempest on the sea.-
Ho! give them at your board such place
As best their presence seems to grace,

And bid them welcome free !
Lorn. Say in your voyage if aught ye knew

of the rebellious Scottish crew,
Who to Rath Erin's shelter drew
With Carrick's outlawed chief ?
And if,—their winter's exile o’er,-
They harbour still by Ulster's shore
Or launch their galleys on the main,

To vex their native land again ?
Edw. Of rebels have we nought to show,
But if of Royal Bruce, thou ’dst know,

I warn thee he has sworn,
Ere thrice three days shall come and go,
His banner Scottish winds shall blow,
Despite each mean or mighty foe,-
From England's every bill and bow

To Allaster of Lorn.
Ron. Brother, it better suits the time

To chase the night with Ferrand's rhyme,
Than wake, 'midst mirth and wine, the jars

That flow from these unhappy wars.-
Lorn. Content.

The lay I named will carry smart [To Argentine.]
To these bold strangers' haughty heart,

If right this guess of mine.
Min. Whence the broach of burning gold,

That clasps the chieftain's mantle fold,
Wrought and chased with rare device,
Studded fair with gems of price,
On the varied tartans beaming,
As, through night's pale rainbow gleaming
Fainter now, now seen afar,
Fitful shines the northern star ?
Moulded thou for monarch's use,
By the overweening Bruce,
When the royal robe he tied
O'er a heart of wrath and pride ;
Thence in triumph wert thou torn,
By the victor hand of Lorn!
While the gem was won and lost
Widely was the war-cry tossed !
Rung aloud Bendourish Fell;
Answered Douchart's sounding dell ;
Fled the deer from wild Teyndrum;
When the homicide, o'ercome,
Hardly 'scaped with scath and scorn,
Left the pledge with conquering Lorn!
Then this broach, triumphant borne,
Beam'd upon the breast of Lorn.-
Farthest fed its former lord,
Left his men to brand and cord,
Bloody brand of Highland steel,
English gibbet, axe, and wheel.
Let him fly from coast to coast,
Dogged by Comyn's vengeful ghost,

« AnteriorContinuar »