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OXLVII.

PERORATION OF CLOSING SPEECH AGAINST AAST'INGS.

MY Lords, at this awful close, in the name of the Commons,

and surrounded by them, I attest the retiring, I attest the advancing generations, between which, as a link in the great chain of eternal order, we stand. We call this Nation, we call the world to witness, that the Commons have shrunk from no labor; that we have been guilty of no prevarication, that we have made no compromise with crime ; that we have not feared

any

odium whatsoever, in the long warfare which we have carried on with the crimes with the vices — with the exorbitant wealth with the enormous and overpowering influence of Eastern corruption.

My Lords, your House yet stands ; it stands as a great edifice; but let me say, that it stands in ruins that have been made by the greatest moral earthquake that ever convulsed and shattered this globe of ours. My Lords, it has pleased Providence to place us in such a state that we appear every moment to be on the verge of some great mutations. There is one thing, and one thing only, which defies all mutation ; that which existed before the world, and will survive the fabric of the world itself, - I mean justice; that justice which, emanating from the Divinity, has a place in the breast of every one of us, given us for our guide in regard to ourselves, and with regard to others, and which will stand, after this globe is burned to ashes, our advocate or our accuser before the great Judge, when He comes to call upon us for the tenor of a well-spent life.

My Lords, the Commons will share in every fate with your. Lordships ; there is nothing sinister which can happen to you, ir which we shall not be involved; and, if it should so happen, that we shall be subjected to some of those frightful changes which we have seen ; if it should happen that your Lordships, stripped of all the decorous distinctions of human society, should, by hands at once base and cruel, be led to those scaffolds and machines of murder upon which great kings and glorious queens have shed their blood, amidst the prelates, amidst the nobles, amidst the magistrates, who supported their thrones, — may you in those

moments feel that consolation which I am persuaded they felt in the critical moments of their dreadful agony !

My Lords, there is a consolation, and a great consolation it is, which often happens to oppressed virtue and fallen dignity; it often happens that the very oppressors and persecutors themselves are forced to bear testimony in its favor. The Parliament of Paris had an origin very, very similar to that of the great court before which I stand ; the Parliament of Paris continued to have a great resemblance to it in its Constitution, even to its fall; the Parliament of Paris, my Lords, - was; it is gone! It has passed away; it has vanished like a dream! It fell pierced by the sword of the Compte de Mirabeau. And yet that man, at the time of his inflicting the death-wound of that Parliament, produced at once the shortest and the grandest funeral oration that ever was or could be made upon the departure of a great court of magistracy. When he pronounced the death sentence upon that Parliament, and inflicted the mortal wound, he declared that his motives for doing it were merely political, and that their hands were as pure as those of justice itself, which they administered — a great and glorious exit, my Lords, of a great and glorious body! My Lords, if you must fall, may you so fall!

But, if you stand, and stand I trust you will, together with the fortunes of this ancient monarchy – together with the ancient laws and liberties of this great and illustrious kingdom, may you stand as unimpeached in honor as in power ; may you stand, not as a substitute for virtue, but as an ornament of virtue, as a security for virtue; may you stand long, and long stand the terror of tyrants ; may you stand the refuge of afflicted Nations ; may you stand a sacred temple, for the perpetual residence of an inviolable justice !

E. Burke.

CXLVIII.

THE CRISIS OF THE NATION.

LAY hold on this opportunity of our salvation, Conscript

Fathers, — by the Immortal Gods I conjure you! — and remember that you are the foremost men here, in the council chamber of the whole earth. Give one sign to the Roman peo

ple that even as now they pledge their valor so you pledge your

wisdom to the crisis of the State. But what need that I exhort you? Is there one so insensate as not to understand that if we sleep over an occasion such as this, it is ours to bow our necks to a tyranny not proud and cruel only, but ignominious -but sinful ? Do ye not know this Antony? Do ye not know his companions ? Do ye not know his whole house - insolent

impure — gamesters drunkards? To be slaves to such as he, to such as these, were it not the fullest measure of misery, conjoined with the fullest measure of disgrace? If it be so may the gods avert the omen that the supreme hour of the republic has come, let us, the rulers of the world, rather fall with honor, than serve with infamy! Born to glory and to liberty, let us hold these bright distinctions fast, or let us greatly die ! Be it, Romans, our first resolve to strike down the tyrant and the tyranny. Be it our second to endure all things for the honor and liberty of our country. To submit to infamy for the love of life can never come within the contemplation of a Roman soul !

For

you, the people of Rome -you whom the gods have appointed to rule the world — for you to own a master, is impious.

You are in the last crisis of nations. To be free or to be slaves that is the question of the hour. By every obligation of man or States it behooves you in this extremity to conquer — as your devotion to the gods and your concord among yourselves encourage you to hope — or to bear all things but slavery. Other nations may bend to servitude; the birthright and the distinction of the people of Rome is liberty.

Cicero.

CXLIX.

EXTRACT FROM DEMOSTHENES.

YES

Athenians, I repeat it, you yourselves are the contrivers

of your own ruin. Lives there a man who has confidence enough to deny it? Let him arise, and assign, if he can, any other cause of the success and prosperity of Philip.. But,” you reply, “what Athens may have lost in reputation abroad, she has gained in splendor at home. Was there ever a greater

appearance of prosperity ? a greater face of plenty? Is not the city enlarged ? Are not the streets better paved, houses repaired and beautified ?” Away with such trifles ! Shall I be paid with counters ? An old square new vamped up! a fountain ! ani aqueduct ! are these acquisitions to brag of? Cast your eye upon the magistrate under whose ministry you boast these precious improvements. Behold the despicable creature, raised all at once from dirt to opulence; from the lowest obscurity to the highest honors. Have not some of these upstarts built private houses and seats, vying with the most sumptuous of our public palaces ? And how have their fortunes and their power increased, but as the commonwealth has been ruined and imporerished ?

To what are we to impute these disorders, and to what cause assign the decay of a State so powerful and flourishing in past times ? The reason is plain. The servant is now become the master. The magistrate was then subservient to the people : all honors, dignities, and preferments, were disposed by the voice and favor of the people; but the magistrate, now, has usurped the right of the people, and exercises an arbitrary authority over his ancient and natural lord. You, miserable people! the meanwhile, without money, without friends, — from being the ruler, are become the servant ; from being the master, the dependent : happy that these governors, into whose hands you have thus resigned your own power, are so good and so gracious as to continue your poor allowance to see plays.

Believe me, Athenians, if, recovering from this lethargy, you would assume the ancient spirit and freedom of your fathersif

you would be your own soldiers and own commanders, confiding no longer your affairs in foreign or mercenary hands you would charge yourselves with your own defence, employing abroad, for the public, what you waste in unprofitable pleasures at home, the world might once more behold you making a figure worthy of Athenians. “ You would have us, then, (you say,) do service in our armies in our own persons ; and, for so doing, you would have the pensions we receive in time of peace, accepted as pay in time of war. Is it thus we are to understand you?" Yes, Athenians, 't is my plain meaning. I would make it a standing rule, that no person, great or little, should be the

- if

better for the public money, who would grudge to employ it for the public service. Are we in peace ? the public is charged with your subsistence. Are we in war, or under a necessity, as at this time, to enter into a war ? let your gratitude oblige you to accept, as pay in defence of your benefactors, what you receive, in peace, as mere bounty. Thus, without any innovation without altering or abolishing anything but pernicious novelties, introduced for the encouragement of sloth and idleness — by converting only for the future, the same funds, for the use of the serviceable, which are spent, at present, upon the unprofitable, you may be well served in your armies — your troops regularly paid — justice duly administered the public revenues reformed and increased and every member of the commonwealth rendered useful to his country according to his age and ability, with out any further burden to the State.

This, Omen of Athens, is what my duty prompted me to represent to you upon this occasion. May the gods inspire you to determine upon such measures, as may be most expedient, for the particular and general good of our country!

CL.

EXTRACT FROM DEMOSTHENES ON THE CROWN.

ATHENS never was once known to live in a slavish, though

a secure obedience to unjust and arbitrary power. No; our whole history is one series of noble contests for preëminence; the whole period of our existence hath been spent in braving dangers, for the sake of glory and renown. And so highly do you esteem such conduct, so consonant to the Athenian character, that those of your ancestors who were most distinguished in the pursuit of it, are ever the most favorite objects of your praise

and with reason. For who can reflect without astonishment upon the magnanimity of those men, who resigned their lands, gave up their city and embarked in their ships, to avoid the odious state of subjection ? — who chose Themistocles, the adviser of this conduct, to command their forces ; and, when Cyrsilus proposed that they should yield to the terms prescribed, stoned him to death? Nay, the public indignation was not yet

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