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ments with a word of his pen, and scatter them again with the breath of his mouth? 'Reduce to subjection a warlike and discontented nation, by means of a mutinous army? Command a mutinous army, by means of factious and seditious officers? Be humbly and daily petitioned, that he would be pleased, at the rate of millions a year, to be hired as master of those who had hired him before, to be their servant? Have the estates and lives of three nations as much at his disposal, as was once the little inheritance of bis father, and be as noble and liberal in the spending of them? And, lastly, (for there is no end of enumerating every particular of his glory,) with one word, bequeath all this power and splendour to his posterity? Die possessed of peace at home and triumph abroad? Be buried among kings, and with more than regal solemnity; and leave a name behind him, not to be extinguished but with the whole world; which, as it was too little for his praise, so might it have been for conquests, if the short line of his mortal life could have been stretched out to the extent of his inmortal designs.
DEVASTATION OF THE CARNATIC.
Extract from a Speech of Mr. Burke on the Nabob of Arcot’s Debts, delivered
Feb. 28, 1785.
When at length Hyder Ali found that he had to do with men,who either would sign no convention, or whom no treaty and no signature could bind, and who were the determined enemies of human intercourse itself, he decreed to make the country, possessed by these incorrigible and predestinated criminals, a memorable example to mankind. He resolved, in the gloomy recesses of a mind capacious of such things, to leave the whole Carnatic an everlasting monument of vengeance, and to put perpetual desolation as a barrier between him and those, against whom the faith which holds the moral elements of the world together, was no protection. He became at length so confident of his force, so collected in his might, that he made no secret whatsoever of his dreadful resolution.
Having terminated his disputes with every enemy, and every rival, who buried their mutual animosities in their common detestation against the creditors of the nabob of Arcot, he drew from every quarter whatever a savage ferocity could add to his new rudiments in the arts of destruction; and compounding all the materials of fury, havoc, and desolation, into one black cloud, he hung for awhile on the declivities of the mountains. Whilst the authors of all these evils were idly and stupidly gazing on this menacing meteor, which blackened all their horizon, it suddenly burst, and poured down the whole of its contents upon the plains of the Carnatic. Then ensued a scene of wo, the like of which no eye had seen, no heart conceived, and which no tongue can adequately tell. All the horrors of war before known or heard of, were mercy to that new havoc. A storm of universal fire blasted every field, consumed every house, destroyed every temple. The miserable inhabitants flying from their flaming villages, in part were slaughtered: others, without regard to sex, to age, to the respect of rank, or sacredness of function, fathers torn from children, husbands from wives, enveloped in a whirlwind of cavalry, and amidst the goading spears of drivers, and the trampling of pursuing horses, were swept into captivity, in an unknown and hostile land. Those who were able to evade this tempest, Aed to the walled cities. But escaping from fire, sword, and exile, they fell into the jaws of famine.
For eighteen months, without intermission, this destruction raged from the gates of Madras to the gates of Tanjore; and so completely did these masters in their art, Hyder Ali, and his more ferocious son, absolve themselves of their impious vow, that when the British armies traversed, as they did, the Carnatic for hundreds of miles in all directions, through the whole line of their march they did not see one man, not one woman, not one child, not one four-footed beast of any description whatever. One dead, uniform silence reigned over the whole region.
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast, Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round, And, while the bubbling and loud hissing urn Throws up a streaming columnn, and the cups, That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each, So let us welcome peaceful evening in. Not such his evening, who with shining face Sweats in the crowded theatre, and, squeezed And bored with elbow-points through both his sides, Outscolds the ranting actor on the stage: Nor his, who patient stands till his feet throb, And his head thumps, to feed upon
the breath Of patriots, bursting with heroic rage, Or placemen, all tranquillity and smiles. This folio of four pages, happy work! Which not even critics criticise; that holds Inquisitive attention, while I read, Fast bound in chains of silence, which the fair, Though eloquent themselves, yet fear to break; What is it but a map of busy life, Its fluctuations, and its vast concerns? Here runs the mountainous and craggy ridge, That tempts Ambition. On the summit see The seals of office glitter in his eyes; He climbs, he pants, he grasps them! At his heels, Close at his heels, a demagogue ascends, And with a dexterous jerk soon twists him down, And wins them, but to lose them in his turn. Here rills of oily eloquence in soft Meanders lubricate the course they take; The modest speaker is ashamed and grieved, To ingross a moment’s notice, and yet begs, Begs a propitious ear for his poor thoughts, However trivial all that he conceives. Sweet bashfulness! it claims at least this praise; The dearth of information and good sense,That it foretells us, always comes to pass. Cataracts of declamation thunder here; There forests of no meaning spread the page, In which all comprehension wanders lost;
While fields of pleasantry amuse us there
descants on a nation's woes.
'T is pleasant, through the loopholes of retreat, To peep at such a world; to see the stir Of the great Babel, and not feel the crowd; To hear the roar she sends through all her gates At a safe distance, where the dying sound Falls a soft murmur on the uninjured ear. Thus sitting, and surveying thus at ease The globe and its concerns, I seem advanced To some secure and more than mortal height, Thai liberates and exempts me from them all. It turns submitted to my view, turns round With all its generations; I behold The tumult, and am still. The sound of war Has lost its terrors ere it reaches me, Grieves, but alarms me not. I mourn the pride And avarice, that make man a wolf to man; Hear the faint echo of those brazen throats, By which he speaks the language of his heart, And sigh, but never tremble at the sound. He travels and expatiates; as the bee From flower to flower, so he from land to land; The manners, customs, policy of all, Pay contribution to the store he gleans: He sucks intelligence in every clime, And spreads the honey of his deep research At his return—a rich repast for me. He travels, and I too. I tread his deck, Ascend his topmast, through his peering eyes Discover countries, with a kindred heart Suffer his woes, and share in his escapes; While fancy, like the finger of a clock, Rw78 the great circuit, and is still at home.
I love thee, mournful, sober-suited night,
When the faint moon, yet lingering in her wane, And veiled in clouds with pale uncertain light,
Hangs o'er the waters of the restless main. In deep depression sunk, the enfeebled mind
Will, to the deaf, cold elements, complain,
And tell the embosomed grief, however vain,
For, in thy quiet gloom the exhausted heart
From the Tragedy of Jane Shore.-Rowe.
LORD HASTINGS AND THE DUKE OF GLOSTER.
Hastings, The State is out of tune; distracting fears, And jealous doubts, jar in our public councils. Amidst the wealthy city murmurs rise, Lewd railings, and reproach on those that rule, With open scorn of government; hence credit, And public trust 'twixt man and man are broke. The golden streams of commerce are withheld, Which fed the wants of needy hinds and artisans, Who therefore curse the great, and threat rebellion.
Lord H. The resty knaves are overrun with ease, As plenty ever is the nurse of faction; If in good days, like these, the headstrong herd Grows madly wanton and repine, it is Because the reins of power are held too slack, And reverend authority of late Has worn a face of mercy more than justice.