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Now raise the imperial monument,
Fame's tribute to the brave;
Shall be Napoleon's grave.
Amid the lonely deep,
Sleep! mighty mortal, sleep!
XXIX. — SPEECH ON THE AMERICAN WAR.
CHATHAM. (WILLIAM PITT, Earl of Chatham, was born in Boconnoc, in the county of Cornwall, England, November 15, 1708, and died at Hayes, in Kent, May 11, 1778. He entered the House of Commons in 1735, became secretary of state, and substantially prime minister, in December, 1756, and continued to hold this office, with a brief interval, till October, 1761. In 1766 he received the office of lord privy seal, and was elevated to the peerage with the title of Earl of Chatham. He resigned the privy seal in 1768, and subsequently took a leading part in many popular questions.
Chatham's name is one of the most illustrious in English history. Dr. Franklin said that in the course of his life he had sometimes seen eloquence without wisdom, and often wisdom without eloquence; in Lord Chatham alone had he seen both united. His eloquence, vivid, impetuous, and daring, was aided by uncommon personal advantages ; a commanding presence, an eye of fire, and a voice of equal sweetness and power. His character was lofty, his private life was spotless, and his motives high. His temper was somewhat wayward, and he was impatient of opposition or contradiction. His memory is cherished with peculiar reverence in our country, because of his earnest and consistent support of the rights of the colonies against the measures of Lord North's administration.
The following speech was delivered in the House of Lords, November 13, 1777. The king had opened the session of parliament with a speech from the throne, recommending a further and more energetic prosecution of the war to reduce the American colonies to submission. To the address in reply to this speech, and simply echoing its sentiments, Chatham offered an amendment, proposing an immediate cessation of hostilities, and adequate measures of conciliation. The birth of the princess Sophia, one of the daughters of George III, had recently taken place, and was alluded to in the address.]
I RISE, my Lords, to declare my sentiments on this most solemn and serious subject. It has imposed a load upon my mind, which, I fear, nothing can remove, but which impels me to endeavor its alleviation, by a free and unreserved communication of my sentiments.
In the first part of the address I have the honor of heartily concurring with the noble earl who moved it. No 5 man feels sincerer joy than I do; none can offer more gen
uine congratulations on every accession of strength to the Protestant succession. I therefore join in every congratulation on the birth of another princess, and the happy
recovery of her Majesty. 10 But I must stop here. My courtly complaisance will
carry me no further. I will not join in congratulation on misfortune and disgrace. I cannot concur in a blind and servile address, which approves and endeavors to sanctify
the monstrous measures which have heaped disgrace and 15 misfortune upon us. This, my Lords, is a perilous and
tremendous moment! It is not a time for adulation. The smoothness of flattery cannot now avail — cannot save us in this rugged and awful crisis. It is now necessary to
instruct the Throne in the language of truth. We must 20 dispel the illusion and the darkness which envelop it, and
display in its full danger and true colors, the ruin that is brought to our doors.
This, my Lords, is our duty. It is the proper function of this noble assembly, sitting, as we do, upon our honors in 25 this house, the hereditary council of the Crown. Who is the
minister- where is the minister, that has dared to suggest to the Throne the contrary, unconstitutional language this day delivered from it? The accustomed language from the
Throne has been application to Parliament for advice, and 30 a reliance on its constitutional advice and assistance. As
it is the right of Parliament to give, so it is the duty of the Crown to ask it. But on this day, and in this extreme momentous exigency, no reliance is reposed on our consti
tutional counsels! no advice is asked from the sober and 35 enlightened care of Parliament! but the Crown, from
itself and by itself, declares an unalterable determination to pursue measures — and what measures, my Lords? The measures that have produced the imminent perils that threaten us; the measures that have brought ruin to our doors.
Can the minister of the day now presume to expect a continuance of support in this ruinous infatuation! Can Parliament he so dead to its dignity and its duty as to be thus deluded into the loss of the one and the violation of
the other? To give an unlimited credit and support for 13 the steady perseverance in measures not proposed for our
parliamentary advice, but dictated and forced upon us in measures, I say, my Lords, which have reduced this late flourishing empire to ruin and contempt? “ But yesterday,
and England might have stood against the world ; now 15 none so poor to do her reverence.” I use the words of a
poet; but, though it be poetry, it is no fiction. It is a shameful truth that not only the power and strength of this country are wasting away and expiring, but her well
earned glories, her true honor, and substantial dignity are 20 sacrificed.
France, my Lords, has insulted you; shc has encouraged and sustained America; and, whether America be wrong or right, the dignity of this country ought to spurn at the
officious insult of French interference. The ministers and 25 embassadors of those who are called rebels and enemies,
are in Paris ; in Paris they transact the reciprocal interests of America and France. Can there be a more mortifying insult? Can even our ministers sustain a more humiliating
disgrace? Do they dare to resent it? Do they presume 30 even to hint a vindication of their honor, and the dignity
of the state, by requiring the dismission of the plenipotentiaries of America ? Such is the degradation to which they have reduced the glories of England !
The people whom they affect to call contemptible rebels, 35 but whose growing power has at last obtained the name of
enemies; the people with whom they have engaged this
country in war, and against whom they now command out implicit support in every measure of desperate hostility this people, despised as rebels, or acknowledged as ene
mies, are abetted against you, supplied with every military 5 store, their interests consulted, and their embassadors en
tertained, by your inveterate enemy! and our ministers dare not interpose with dignity or effect. Is this the honor of a great kingdom ? Is this the indignant spirit
of England, who “ but yesterday” gave law to the house 10 of Bourbon ? My Lords, the dignity of nations demands a decisive conduct in a situation like this.
My Lords, this ruinous and ignominious situation, where we cannot act with success, nor suffer with honor, calls
upon us to remonstrate in the strongest and loudest lan, 15 guage of truth, to rescue the ear of majesty from the delu.
sions which surround it. The desperate state of our arms abroad is in part known. I love and honor the English troops. No man thinks more highly of them than I do.
I know their virtues and their valor. I know they can 20 achieve anything except impossibilities; and I know that the conquest of English America is an impossibility.
You cannot, I venture to say, you cannot conquer Amer. ica. Your armies last war effected everything that could
be effected ; and what was it? It cost a numerous army, 25 under the command of a most able general, (Lord Am
herst,) now a noble lord in this house, a long and laborious campaign, to expel five thousand Frenchmen from French America. My Lords, you cannot conquer America. What
is your present situation there? We do not know the worst; 30 but we know that in three campaigns, we have done noth
ing and suffered much. Besides the sufferings, perhaps total loss, of the Northern force, the best appointed army that ever took the field, commanded by Sir William Howe,
has retired from the American lines. He was obliged to 35 relinquish his attempt, and with great delay and danger
to adopt a new and distinct pian of operations. We shall
soon know, and in any event have reason to lament, what may have happened since. As to conquest, therefore, my Lords, I repeat, it is impossible.
You may swell every expense and every effort still more 5 extravagantly; pile and accumulate every assistance you
can buy or borrow; traffic and barter with every little pitiful German prince that sells and sends his subjects to the shambles of a foreign despot; your efforts are forever
vain and impotent — doubly so from this mercenary aid on 10 which you rely; for it irritates, to an incurable resent
ment, the minds of your enemies, 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 for15 eign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay
down my arms — never — never — never.
XXX. — THE DEATH OF CHATHAM.
BELSHAM. (WILLIAM BELSHAM, an English author, was born in 1752, and died in 1827. m 1806, he published a “History of Great Britain, to the conclusion of the Peace of Amiens, in 1802,” in twelve volumes. He was an ardent friend of wivil and religious liberty, and his history is written in a corresponding spirit. He was also the author of numerous other productions of an historical and political character.)
The mind feels interested in the minutest circumstances relating to the last day of the public life of this renowned statesman and patriot. He was dressed in a rich
suit of black velvet, with a full wig, and covered up to the 5 knees in flannel. On his arrival in the house, he refreshed
himself in the lord chancellor's room, where he stayed till prayers were over, and till he was informed that business was going to begin. He was then led into the house by his son and son-in-law, Mr. William Pitt and Lord Viscount Mahon, all the lords standing up out of respect,