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Parliamentary Speeches.



His Speech to both Houses of Parliament.

My Lords and Gentlemen,

Ar the opening of the first parliament summoned and elected under my authority, I with pleasure take notice of an event, which has made me completely happy, and given universal joy to my loving subjects. My marriage with a princess, eminently distinguished by every virtue and amiable endowment, whilst it affords me all possible domestic comfort, cannot but highly contribute to the happiness of my kingdoms ; which has been, and always shall be, my first object in every action of my life.

It has been my earnest wish, that this period of my reign might be marked with another felicity; the restoring of the blessings of peace to my people, and putting an end to the calamities of war, under which so great Vol. II,


a part of Europe suffers.

But though overtures were made to me and my good brother and ally the king of Prussia, by the several belligerent powers, in order to a general pacification, for which purpose a congress was appointed ; and propositions were made to me by France for a particular peace with that crown, which were followed by an actual negociation ; yet that congress hath not hitherto taken place, and the negociation with France is entirely broken off.

The sincerity of my disposition to effectuate this good work has been manifested in the progress of it; and I have the consolation to reflect, that the continuance of the war, and the farther effusion of christian blood, to which it was the desire of my heart to put a stop, cannot with justice be imputed to me.

Our military operations have in no degree been suspended or delayed: and it has pleased God to grant us farther important successes, by the conquests of the islands of Belleisle and Dominica; and by the reduction of Pondicherry, which hath in a manner annihilated the French power in the East Indies. In other parts, where the enemy's numbers were greatly superior, their principal designs and projects have been generally disappointed, by a conduct which does the highest honour to the distinguished capacity of my general, prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, and by the valour of my troops. The magnanimity and ability of the king of Prussia have eminent. ly appeared, in resisting such numerous armies, and surmounting so great difficulties.

In this situation, I am glad to have an opportunity of receiving the truest information of the sense of my people, by a new choice of their representatives. I am fully persuaded you will agree with me in opinion, that the steady exertion of our most vigorous efforts, in every part where the enemy may still be attacked with advantage, is the only means that can be productive of such a peace as may with reason be expected from our suc

It is therefore my fixed resolution, with your


concurrence and support, to carry on the war in the most effectual manner for the interest and advantage of my kingdoms; and to maintain to the utmost of my power the good faith and honour of my crown, by adhering firmly to the engagements entered into with my allies. In this I will persevere, until my enemies, moved by their own losses and distresses, and touched with the miseries of so many nations, shall yield to the equitable conditions of an honourable peace; in which case, as well as in the prosecution of the war, I do assure you, no consideration whatever shall make me depart from the true interests of these my kingdoms, and the honour and dignity of my crown.

Gentlemen of the house of commons, I am heartily sorry, that the necessity of large supplies appears so clearly from what has already been mentioned. The proper estimates for the service for the ensuing year shall be laid before you ; and I desire you to grant me such supplies, as may enable me to prosecute the war with vigour, and as your own welfare and security, in the present critical conjuncture, require ; that we may happily put the last hand to this great work. Whatsoever you give, shall be duly and faithfully applied.

I dare say your affectionate regard for me and the queen makes you go before me in what I am next to mention; the making an adequate and honourable provision for her support, in case she should survive me. This is what not only her royal dignity, but her own merit calls for; and I earnestly recommend it to your consideration.

My lords, and gentlemen, I have such a confidence in the zeal and good affections of this parliament, that I think it quite superfluous to use any exhortations to excite you to a right conduct. I will only add, there never was a situation in which unanimity, firmness, and dispatch, were more necessary for the safety, honour, and true interest of Great Britain.



I had not yet come to any thing that would justify the high en.

comiums, generally and deservedly passed on lord Chatham. But his genius, like Burke's, burnt brightest at the last. The spark of liberty, which had lain concealed and dormant, buried under the dirt and rubbish of state intrigue and vulgar faction, now met with congenial matter, and kindled up « a flame of sacred vehemence" in his breast. It burst forth with fury and a splendour that might have awed the world, and made kings tremble. Ho spoke as a man should speak, because he felt as a man should feel in such circumstances. He came forward as the advocate of liberty, as the defender of the rights of his fellow-citizens, as the enemy of tyranny, as the friend of his country, and of mankind. He did not stand up to make a vain display of his talents, but to discharge a duty, to maintain that cause which lay nearest to his heart, to preserve the ark of the British constitution from every sacrilegious touch, as the high-priest of his calling, with a pious zeal. The feelings and the rights of Englishmen were enshrined in his heart ; and with their united force braced every nerve, possessed every faculty, and communicated warmth and vital energy to every part of his being. The whole man moved under this impulse. He felt the cause of liberty as his own He resented jury done to her as an injury to himself, and every attempt to defend it as an insult upon his understanding. He did not stay to dispute about words, about nice distinctions, about trifling forms, He laughed at the little attempts of little retailers of logic to entangle him in senseless argument. He did not come there as to a debating club, or law court, to start questions and hunt them down ; to wind and unwind the web of sophistry ; to pick out the threads, and antie every knot with scrupulous exactness; to bandy logic with every pretender to a paradox ; to examine, to sift evi. dence ; to dissect a doubt and halve a scruple ; to weigh folly and knavery in scales together, and see on which side the balance preponderated ; to prove that liberty, truth, virtue, and justice were good things, or that slavery and corruption were bad things. He did not try to prove those truths which did not require any proof, but to make others feel them with the same force that he did; and to tear off the flimsy disguises with which the sycophants of power attempted to cover them. The business of an orator is not to convince, but persuade ; not to inform, but to rouse the mind ; to build upon the habitual prejudices of mankind, (for reason of itself will do nothing,) and to add feeling to prejudice, and action to feeling. There is nothing new, or curious, or profound, ip lord

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Chatham's speeches. All is obvious and common; there is nothing but what we already knew, or might have found out for ourselves. We see nothing but the familiar every-day face of nature, We are always in broad day-light. But then there is the same difference between our own conceptions of things and his representation of them, as there is between the same objects seen on a dull cloudy day, or in the blaze of sunshine. His common sense has the effect of inspiration. He electrifies his hearers, not by the novelty of his ideas, but by their force and intensity. He has the same ideas of other men, but he has them in a thousand times greater clearness and strength and vividness. Perhaps there is no man so poorly furnished with thoughts and feelings but that if he could recollect all that he knew, and had all his ideas at perfect command, he would be able to confound the puny arts of the most dexterous sophist that pretended to make a dupe of his understanding. But in the mind of Chatham, the great substantial truths of common sense, the leading maxims of the constitution, the real interests and general feelings of mankind, were in a manner embodied. He comprehended the whole of his subject at a single glance-everything was firmly rivetted to its place; there was no feebleness, no forgetfulness, no pause, no distraction ; the ardour of his mind overcame every obstacle, and he crushed the sophisms of his adversaries as we crush an insect under our feet.-His imagination was of the same character with his understanding, and was under the same guidance, Whenever he gave way to it, it“ flew an eagle fight, forth and right on;" but it did not become enamoured of its own motion, wantoning in giddy circles, or “ sailing with supreme dominion through the azure deep of air,” It never forgot its errand, but went strait forward, like an arrow to its mark, with an unerring aim. It was his servant, not his master,

To be a great orator does not require the highest faculties of the human mind, but it requires the highest exertion of the common faculties of our nature. He has no occasion to dive into the depths of science, or to soar aloft on angels' wings. He keeps upon the surface, he stands firm upon the ground, but his form is majestic, and his eye sees far and near : he moves among his fellows, but he moves among them as a giant among common men. He has no need to read the heavens, to unfold the system of the universe, or create new worlds for the delighted fancy to dwell in ; it is enough that he sees things as they are ; that he knows and feels and remembers the common circumstances and daily transactions that are passing in the world around him. He is not raised above others by being superior to the common interests, prejudices, and passions of mankind, but by feeling them in a more intense degree than they do. Force then is the sole characteristic excellence of an orator ; it is almost the only one that can be of any service to him Refinement, depth, elevation, delicacy, originality, ingenuity, inven

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