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and impatient to give full scope to his feelings; but before he could utter a word, pressing his hand on his bosom, he fell down suddenly in a convulsive fit. The Duke of Cumberland, Lord Temple, and other lords near him, caught him in their arms. The house was immediately cleared ; and his lordship being carried into an adjoining apartment, the debate was adjourned. Medical assistance being obtained, his lordship in some degree recovered, and was conveyed to his favourite villa of Hayes, in Kent, where, after lingering some few weeks, he expired May 11, 1778, in the 70th year of his age.
Character of Lord Chatham, as drawn by Grattan.
The secretary stood alone. Modern degeneracy had not reached him. Original and unaccommodating, the features of his character had the hardihood of antiquity. His august mind overawed majesty; and one of his sovereigns thought royalty so impaired in his presence, that he conspired to remove him, in order to be relieved from his superiority. No state chicanery, no narrow system of vicious politics, sunk him to the vulgar level of the great; but, overbearing, persuasive, and impracticable, his object was England, his ambition was fame. Without dividing, he destroyed party; without corrupting, he made a venal age unanimous. France sunk beneath him. With one hand he smote the house of Bourbon, and wielded in the other the democracy of England. The sight of his mind was infinite; and his schemes were to effect, not England, not the present age only, but Europe and
posterity. Wonderful were the means by which those schemes were accomplished; always seasonable, always adequate, the suggestions of an understanding animated by ardour and enlightened by prophecy.
The ordinary feelings which make life amiable and indolent were unknown to him. No domestic difficulties, no domestic weakness, reached him; but aloof from the sordid occurrences of life, and unsullied by its intercourse, he came occasionally into our system to counsel and to decide.
A character so exalted, so strenuous, so various, so authoritative, astonished a corrupt age, and the treasury trembled at the name of Pitt through all the classes of venality. Corruption imagined, indeed, that she had found defects in this statesman, and talked much of the inconsistency of his glory, and much of the ruin of his victories; but the history of his country, and the calamities of the enemy, answered and refuted her. Nor were his political abilities his only talents: his eloquence was an era in the senate, peculiar and spontaneous, familiarly expressing gigantic sentiments and instinctive wisdom; not like the torrent of Demosthenes, or the splendid conflagration of Tully; it resembled sometimes the thunder, and sometimes the music of the spheres. Like Murray, he did not conduct the understanding through the painful subtlety of argumentation; nor was he, like Townsend, for ever on the rack of exertion ; but rather lightened upon the subject, and reached the point by the flashing of the mind, which like those of his eye were felt, but could not be followed.
Upon the whole, there was in this man something
that could create, subvert, or reform; an understand. ing, a spirit, and an eloquence to summon mankind to society, or to break the bonds of slavery asunder, and to rule the wilderness of free minds with unbounded authority; something that could establish or overwhelm empire, and strike a blow in the world that should resound through the universe.
Speech of Lord Chatham against the employment of
Indians in the war with America.
I cannot, my lords, I will not, join in congratulation on misfortune and disgrace. This, my lords, is a perilous and tremendous moment; it is not a time for adulation; the smoothness of flattery cannot save us in this rugged and awful crisis. It is now necessary to instruct the throne in the language of truth. We must, if possible, dispel the delusion and darkness which envelope it, and display, in its full danger and genuine colours, the ruin which is brought to our doors. Can ministers still presume to expect support in their infatuation? Can parliament be so dead to their dignity and duty, as to give their support to measures thus obtruded and forced upon them; measures, my lords, which have reduced this late flourishing empire to scorn and contempt? But yesterday, and England might have stood against the world ; now, none so poor to do her reverence! The people whom we at first despised as rebels, but whom we now acknowledge as enemies, are abetted against you, supplied with every military store, have their interest consulted, and their ambassadors entertained, by your inveterate enemy; and ministers do not and dare not, interpose with dignity or effect. The desperate state of our army abroad is in part known. No man more highly esteems and honours the English troops than I do; I know their virtues and their valour; I know they can achieve anything but impossibilities; and I know that the conquest of English America is an impossibility. You cannot, my lords, you cannot conquer America. What is your present situation there? We do not know the worst; but we know that in three campaigns we have done nothing and suffered much. You may swell every expense, accumulate every assistance, and extend your traffic to the shambles of every German despot; your attempts will be for ever vain and impotent-doubly so, indeed, from this mercenary aid on which you rely; for it irritates, to an incurable resentment, the minds of your adversaries, to overrun them with the mercenary sons of rapine and plunder, devoting them and their possessions to the rapacity of hireling cruelty.
If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms: Never, never, never ! But, my lords, who is the man, that, in addition to the disgraces and mischiefs of the war, has dared to authorize and associate to our arms the tomahawk and scalping-knife of the savage; to call into civilized alliance the wild and inhuman inhabitant of the woods; to delegate to the merciless Indian the defence of disputed rights, and to wage the horrors of his barbarous war against our brethren ? My lords, these enormities cry aloud for redress and punishment.
But, my lords, this barbarous measure has been defended, not only on the principles of policy and necessity, but also on those of morality ; " for it is perfectly allowable,” says Lord Suffolk, “to use all the means which God and nature have put into our hands.” I am astonished, I am shocked, to hear such principles confessed; to hear them avowed in this House or in this country. My lords, I did not intend to encroach so much on your attention, but I cannot repress my indignation — I feel myself impelled to speak. My lords, we are called upon as members of this House, as men, as Christians, to protest against such horrible barbarity! That God and nature have put into our hands! What ideas of God and nature that noble lord may entertain I know not; but I know that such detestable principles are equally abhorrent to religion and humanity. What! to attribute the sacred sanction of God and nature to the massacres of the Indian scalping-knife! to the cannibal savage, torturing, murdering, devouring, drinking the blood of his mangled victims! Such notions shock every precept of morality, every feeling of humanity, every sentiment of hononr.
These abominable principles, and this more abominable avowal of them, demand the most decisive indignation. I call upon that right reverend, and this most learned bench, to vindicate the religion of their God, to support the justice of their country. I call upon the bishops to interpose the unsullied sanctity of their lawn; upon the judges to interpose the purity of their ermine, to save us from this pollution. I call upon the honour of your lordships to reverence the dignity of your ancestors, and to maintain your own. I call