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army; and remain for ever exposed to the danger of having its liberties and privileges trampled upon by any future king or ministry, who shall take it in their heads to do so, and shall take a proper care to model the army for that purpose.
SPEECH OF LORD CHATHAM, IN THE HOUSE OF PEERS, AGAINST THE AMERICAN WAR, AND AGAINST
EMPLOYING THE INDIANS IN IT.
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 its 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 Britain might have stood against the world; now, none so poor as to do her reverence." The people, whom we at first despised as rebels, but whom we now acknowledge as enemies, are abetted against us, supplied with every military store, have their interest consulted, and their ambassadors entertained, by our 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 British troops than I do ; I know their virtues and their valour; I know they can achieve any thing but impossibilities; and I know that the conquest of British 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 impotentdoubly 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 authorise and associate to our arms the tomahawk and scalping-knife of the savage?-to call into civilised 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 allow able," 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. every precept of morality, every feeling of humanity, every sentiment of honour. 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 upon the spirit and humanity of my country, to vindicate the national character. I invoke the genius of the constitution. From the tapestry that adorns these walls, the immortal ancestor of this noble lord frowns with indignation at the disgrace of his country. In vain did he defend the liberty, and establish the religion of Britain, against the tyranny of Rome, if these worse than popish cruelties, and inquisitorial practices, are endured among us. To send forth the merciless cannibal, thirsting for blood! against whom?-your Protestant brethren!-to lay waste their country, to desolate their dwellings, and extirpate their race and name, by the aid and instrumentality of these horrible hounds of war! Spain can no longer boast pre-eminence in barbarity. She armed herself with blood-hounds, to extirpate the wretched natives of Mexico; we, more ruthless, loose these dogs of war against our countrymen in America, endeared to us by every tie that can sanctify humanity. I solemnly call upon your lordships, and upon every order of men in the state, to stamp upon this infamous procedure the indelible stigma of the public abhorrence. More particularly, I call upon the holy prelates of our religion to do away this iniquity; let them perform a lustration, to purify the country from this deep and deadly sin. My lords, I am old and weak, and at present unable to say more; but my feelings and indignation were too strong to have said less. I could not have slept this night in my bed, nor even reposed my head upon my pillow, without giving vent to my eternal abhorrence of such enormous and preposterous principles.
SHERIDAN'S INVECTIVE ON THE CONDUCT OF WARREN HASTINGS IN INDIA.
Had a stranger at this time gone into the province of Oude, ignorant of what had happened since the death of
Sujah Dowla, that man, who, with a savage heart, had still great lines of character, and who, with all his ferocity in war, had still, with a cultivating hand, preserved to his country the riches which it derived from benignant skies and a prolific soil-if this stranger, ignorant of all that had happened in the short interval, and observing the wide and general devastation, and all the horrors of the scene-of plains unclothed and brown-of vegetables burnt up and extinguished of villages depopulated and in ruin-of temples unroofed and perishing of reservoirs broken down and dry-he would naturally inquire, what war has thus laid waste the fertile fields of this once beautiful and opulent country-what civil dissensions have happened, thus to tear asunder and separate the happy societies that once possessed those villages-what disputed succession, what religious rage, has, with unholy violence, demolished those temples, and disturbed fervent, but unobtruding piety, in the exercise of its duties ?
What merciless enemy has thus spread the horrors of fire and sword-what severe visitation of Providence has dried up the fountain, and taken from the face of the earth every vestige of verdure? Or rather, what monsters have stalked over the country, tainting and poisoning, with pestiferous breath, what the voracious appetite could not devour? To such questions, what must be the answer? No wars have ravaged these lands and depopulated these villages-no civil discords have been felt-no disputed succession-no religious rage-no merciless enemy-no affliction of Providence, which, while it scourged for the moment, cut off the sources of resuscitation-no voracious and poisoning monsters-no, all this has been accomplished by the friendship, generosity, and kindness of the English nation. They have embraced us with their protecting arms, and, lo! those are the fruits of their alliance. What, then, shall we be told, that, under such circumstances, the exasperated feelings of a whole people, thus goaded and spurred on to clamour and resistance, were excited by the poor and feeble influence of the Begums!
When we hear the description of the paroxysm, fever and delirium, into which despair had thrown the natives, when
on the banks of the polluted Ganges, panting for death, they tore more widely open the lips of their gaping wounds, to accelerate their dissolution, and while their blood was issuing, presented their ghastly eyes to heaven, breathing their last and fervent prayer, that the dry earth might not be suffered to drink their blood, but that it might rise up to the throne of God, and rouse the eternal Providence to avenge the wrongs of their country. Will it be said that this was brought about by the incantations of these Begums in their secluded Zenana? or that they could inspire this enthusiasm and this despair into the breasts of a people who felt no grievance, and had suffered no torture? What motive, then, could have such influence in their bosom? What motive? That which nature, the common parent, plants in the bosom of man, and which, though it may be less active in the Indian than in the Englishman, is still congenial with, and makes part of his being-that feeling which tells him, that man was never made to be the property of man; but that when through pride and insolence of power, one human creature dares to tyrannise over another, it is a power usurped, and resistance is a duty-that feeling which tells him, that all power is delegated for the good, not for the injury of the people, and that when it is converted from the original purpose, the compact is broken, and the right is to be resumed that principle which tells him, that resistance to power usurped is not merely a duty which he owes to himself and to his neighbour, but a duty which he owes to his God, in asserting and maintaining the rank which he gave him in the creation! to that common God, who, where he gives the form of man, whatever may be the complexion, gives also the feelings and the rights of man-that principle, which neither the rudeness of ignorance can stifle, nor the enervation of refinement extinguish!
that principle, which makes it base for a man to suffer when he ought to act, which, tending to preserve to the species the original designations of providence, spurns at the arrogant distinctions of man, and vindicates the independent qualities of his race.