« 上一頁繼續 »
within one hundred and thirty miles of London, and yet we, good easy men! have deemed full sure our greatness was a ripening,' and have sat down to enjoy our foreign triumphs in the midst of domestic calamity. But all the cities you have taken, all the armies which have retreated before your leaders, are but paltry subjects of self-congratulation, if your land divides against itself, and your dragoons and executioners must be let loose against your fellow-citizens.
You call these men a mob, desperate, dangerous, and ignorant; and seem to think that the only way to quiet the · Bellua multorum capitum' is to lop off a few of its superfluous heads. But even a mob may be better reduced to reason by a mixture of conciliation and firmness, than by additional irritation and redoubled penalties. Are we aware of our obligations to a mob? It is the mob that labour in your fields, and serve in your houses—that man your navy, and recruit your army—that have enabled you to defy all the world,-and can also defy you, when neglect and calumny have driven them to despair. You may call the people a mob; but do not forget, that a mob too often speaks the sentiments of the people.
And here I must remark, with what alacrity you are accustomed to fly to the succour of your distressed allies, leaving the distressed of your own country to the care of Providence or—the parish. When the Portuguese suffered under the retreat of the French, every arm was stretched out, every hand was opened,-from the rich man's largess to the widow's mite, all was bestowed to enable them to rebuild their villages and replenish their granaries. And at this moment, when thousands of misguided but most unfortunate fellowcountrymen are struggling with the extremes of hardship and hunger, as your charity began abroad, it should end at home.
A much less sum-a tithe of the bounty bestowed on Portugal, would have rendered unnecessary the tender mercies of the bayonet and the gibbet. But doubtless our funds have too many foreign claims to admit a prospect of domestic relief,—though never did such objects demand it. I have traversed the seat of war in the peninsula; I have been in some of the most oppressed provinces of Turkey; but never, under the most despotic of infidel governments, did I behold such squalid wretchedness as I have seen since my return, in the very heart of a Christian country.
And what are your remedies? After months of inaction, and months of action worse than inactivity, at length comes forth the grand specific, and never-failing nostrum of all state physicians, from the days of Draco to the present time. After feeling the pulse and shaking the head over the patient, prescribing the usual course of warm water and bleeding-the warm water of your mawkish policy, and the lancets of your military—these convulsions must terminate in death, the sure consummation of the prescriptions of all political Sangrados.
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
Setting aside the palpable injustice and the certain inefficiency of this bill, are there not capital punishments sufficient on your statutes? Is there not blood enough upon your penal code, that more must be poured forth to ascend to heaven and testify against you? How will you carry this bill into effect? Can you commit a whole country to their own prison? Will you erect a gibbet in every field, and hang up men like scarecrows? Or will you proceed (as you must to bring this measure into effect) by decimation; place ihe country under martial law; depopulate and lay waste all around you; and restore Sherwood Forest as an acceptable gift to the crown, in its former condition of a royal chase, and an asylum for outlaws?
Are these the remedies for a starving and desperate populace? Will the famished wretch who has braved your bayonets be appalled by your gibbets? When death is a relief, and the only relief, it appears that you will afford him, will he be dragooned into tranquillity? Will that, which could not be effected by your grenadiers, be accomplished by your executioners? If you proceed by the forms of law, where is your evidence?
Those, who have refused to impeach their accomplices when transportation only was the punishment, will hardly be tempted to witness against them when death is the penalty. With all deference to the noble lords opposite, I think a little investigation, some previous inquiry, would induce even them to change their purpose.
That most favourite state measure, so marvellously efficacious in many and recent in
stances, temporising, would not be without its advantage in this.
When a proposal is made to emancipate or relieve, you hesitate, you deliberate for years—you temporise and tamper with the minds of men; but a death-bill must be passed off hand, without a thought of the consequences. Sure I
from what I have heard, and from what I have seen, that to pass the bill, under all the existing circumstances, without inquiry, without deliberation, would only be to add injustice to irritation, and barbarity to neglect.
The framers of such a bill must be content to inherit the honours of that Athenian lawgiver, whose edicts were said to be written not in ink, but in blood. But suppose it passed, suppose one of these men, as I have seen them, meagre with famine, sullen with despair, careless of a life, which your lordships are perhaps about to value at something less than the price of a stocking-frame; suppose this man surrounded by those children, for wbom he able to procure bread at the hazard of his existence, about to be torn forever from a family, which he lately supported in peaceful industry, and which it is not his fault that he can no longer so support; suppose this man-(and there are ten thousand such, from whom you may select your victims,)-dragged into court to be tried for this new offence, by this new law,-still there are two things wanting to convict and condemn him, and these are, in my opinion, twelve butchers for a jury, and a Jeffries for a judge!
THE PRESERVATION OF THE CHURCH.-Mason.
The long existence of the Christian church would be pronounced, upon common principles of reasoning, impossible. She finds in every man a natural and inveterate enemy. To encounter and overcome the unanimous hostility of the world, she boasts no political stratagem, no disciplined legions, no outward coercion of any kind.
Yet her expectation is that she live forever. To mock this hope, and to blot out her memorial from under heaven, the most furious efforts of fanaticism, the most ingenious arts of statesmen, the concentrated strength of empires, have been frequently
and perseveringly applied. The blood of her sons and her daughters has streamed like water; the smoke of the scaffold and the stake, where they wore the crown of martyrdom in the cause of Jesus, has ascended in thick volumes to the skies. The tribes of persecution have sported over her woes, and erected monuments, as they imagined, of her perpetual ruin. But where are her tyrants, and where their empires? the tyrants have long since gone to their own place; their names have descended upon the roll of infamy; their empires have passed, like shadows over the rock-they have successively disappeared, and left not a trace behind!
But what became of the church? She rose from her ashes fresh in beauty and might. Celestial glory beamed around her; she dashed down the monumental marble of her foes, and they who hated her fled before her. She has celebrated the funeral of kings and kingdoms that plotted her destruction; and, with the inscriptions of their pride, has transmitted to posterity the records of their shame. How shall this phenomenon be explained? We are at the present moment, witnesses of the fact; but who can unfold the mystery? The book of truth and life has made our wonder to cease. "THE LORD HER GOD IN THE MIDST OF HER IS MIGHTY.' His presence is a fountain of health, and his protection a' wall of fire.' He has betrothed her, in eternal covenant to himself. Her living head, in whom she lives, is above, and his quickening spirit shall never depart from her. Armed with divine virtue, his gospel, secret, silent, unobserved, enters the hearts of men and sets up an everlasting kingdom. It eludes all the vigilance, and baffles all the power of the adversary. Bars, and bolts, and dungeons are no obstacle to its approach: Bonds, and tortures, and death cannot extinguish its influence. Let no man's heart tremble, then, because of fear. Let no man despair (in these days of rebuke and blasphemy,) of the Christian cause. The ark is launched, indeed, upon the floods; the tempest sweeps along the deep; the billows break over her on every side. But Jehovah-Jesus has promised to conduct her in safety to the haven of peace. She cannot be lost unless the pilot
THE SWITZER'S WIFE.-Mrs. Hemans.
THE bright blood left the youthful mother's cheek; Back on the linden-stem she leaned her form; And her lip trembled, as it strove to speak,
Like a frail harp-string, shaken by the storm. 'Twas but a moment, and the faintness passed, And the free Alpine spirit woke at last.
And she, that ever through her home had moved
And timid in her happiness the while,
Ay, pale she stood, but with an eye of light,
And took her fair child to her holy breast, And lifted her soft voice, that gathered might
As it found language:-' Are we thus oppressed? Then must we rise upon our mountain-sod, And man must arm, and woman call on God!
'I know what thou wouldst do,—and be it done! Thy soul is darkened with its fears for me. Trust me to Heaven, my husband!-this, thy son,
The babe whom I have borne thee, must be free; And the sweet memory of our pleasant hearth May well give strength-if aught be strong on earth.
'Thou hast been brooding o'er the silent dread
Of my desponding tears; now lift once more, My hunter of the hills, thy stately head,
And let thine eagle glance my joy restore!
'Go forth beside the waters, and along
The chamois-paths, and through the forests go; And tell, in burning words, thy tale of wrong
To the brave hearts that midst the hamlet glow. God shall be with thee, my beloved!-Away! Bless but thy child, and leave me,—I can pray!'