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but the tail of the more ancient superstitions of the world, and may be easily detected by a proper understanding of the mythologies of the Heathens.
Did Milton understand those mythologies ? Was he less versed than Mr. Paine, in the superstitions of the world ? No, they were the subject of his immortal song; and though shut out from all recurrence to them, he pour. ed them forth from the stores of a memory, rich with all that man ever knew, and laid them in their order as the illustration of that real and exalted faith, the unquestionable source of that fervid genius, which cast a sort of shade upon
all the other works of man:
" He passed the bounds of flaming space,
But it was the light of the body that was extinguished; the celestial light shone inward, and enabled him to "justify the ways of God to man!" The result of his thinking was, nevertheless, not the same as the author's. The mysterious incarnation of our blessed Saviour, which this work blasphemes in words wholly unfit for the mouth of a Christian, or for the ear of a court of justice, Milton made the grand conclusion of his Paradise Lost, the rest from his finished labours, and the ultimate hope, expectation, and glory of the world:
“ A virgin is his mother, but his sire,
Piety has found
Extract from the Speech of MR. ERSKINE, on the trial of
Mr. Paine, in which he delivers his opinion of the American revolution, and the federal constitution.
GENTLEMEN, we all but too well remember the calamitous situation in which our country stood but a few years ago; a situation which no man can look back upon without horror, nor feel himself safe from relapsing into it again, while the causes remain which produced it. The event I allude to, you must know to be the Ameri. can war, and the still existing causes of it, the corruptions of this government. In those days it was not thought virtue by the patriots of England, to conceal the existence of them from the people ; but then, as now, authority condemned them as disaffected subjects, and defeated the ends they sought, by their promulgation.
The consequences we have all seen and felt : America, from an obedient affectionate colony, became an independent nation : and two millions of people nursed in the very lap of our monarchy, became the willing subjects of a republican constitution.
Gentlemen, in that great and calamitous conflict, Edmund Burke, and Thomas Paine, fought in the same field of reason together ; but with very different successes. Mr. Burke spoke to a parliament in England, having no ears but for sounds that flattered its corruptions. Mr. Paine, on the other hand, spoke to a people ; reasoned with them-told them that they were bound by no sub"jection to any sovereignty, farther than their own benefit connected them; and by these powerful arguments pre
pared the minds of the American people for that glorious, just and happy revolution.
Gentlemen, I have a right to distinguish it by these epithets, because I aver that at this moment there is as sacred a regard to property; as inviolable a security to all the rights of individuals ; lower taxes; fewer grievances ; less to deplore, and more to admire in the constitution of America, than that of any other country under Heaven. I wish indeed to except our own, but I cannot even do that, till it shall be purged of those abuses which, though they obscure and deform the surface, have not as yet, thank God, destroved the vital narts.
Speech of John P. CURRAN, in the Irish parliament, on a
motion to pass a law, to limit the amount of pensions, 1786.
“ Sir, I object to adjourning this bill to the first of August, because I perceive, in the present disposition of the house, that a proper decision will be made upon it this night. We have set out upon our inquiry in a manner so honourable, and so consistent, that we have reason to expect the happiest success, which I would not wish to see baffled by delay.
We began by giving the full affirmative of this house, that no grievance exists at all ; we considered a simple matter of fact, and adjourned our opinion, or rather we gave sentence on the conclusion, after having adjourned the premises. But I do begin to see a great deal of argument in what the learned baronet has said, and I beg gentlemen will acquit me of apostasy if I offer some reasons why the bill should not be admitted to a second reading
I am surprised that gentlemen have taken up such a foolish opinion, as that our constitution is maintained by its different component parts, mutually checking and controlling each other: they seem to think with Hobbes, that a state of nature is a state of warfare ; and that, like Mahomet's coffin, the constitution is suspended between the attraction of different powers. My friends seem to think that the crown should be restrained from doing wrong by a physical necessity ; forgetting, that if you take away
from a man all power to do wrong, you at the same time take away from him all merit of doing right, and by making it impossible for men to run into slavery, you enslave them most effectually. But if instead of the three different parts of our constitution drawing forcibly in right lines, at opposite directions, they were to unite their power, and draw all one way, in one right line, how great would be the effect of their force, how happy the direction of this union! The present system is not only contrary to mathematical rectitude, but to public harmony; but if instead of privilege setting up his back to op pose prerogative, he was to saddle his back, and invite prerogative to ride, how comfortably might they both jog
along; and therefore it delights me to hear the advocates for the royal bounty flowing freely, and spontaneously, and abundantly, as Holywell in Wales. If the crown grants double the amount of the revenue in pensions, they approve of their royal master, for he is the breath of their nostrils.
But we will find that this complaisance, this gentleness between the crown and its true servants, is not confined at home; it extends its influence to foreign powers. Our merchants have been insulted in Portugal, our commerce interdicted; what did the British lion do? Did he whet his tusks ? Did he bristle up and shake his mane? Did he roar no; no such thing—the gentle creature wagged his tail for six years at the court of Lisbon, and now we hear from the Delphic Oracle on the Treasury bench, that he is wagging his tail in London to Chevalier Pinto; who he hopes soon to be able to tell us will allow his lady to entertain him as a lap-dog; and when she does, no doubt the British factories will furnish some of their softest woollens to make a cushion for him to lie upon.
But though the gentle beast has continued so long fawning and couching, I believe his vengeance will be as great as it is slow, and that posterity, whose ancestors are yet unborn, will be surprised at the vengeance he will take.
This polyglot of wealth, this museum of curiosities, the Pension List, embraces every link in the human chain, every description of men, women, and children, from the exalted excellence of a Hawke or a Rodney, to the debased situation of the lady who humbleth herself that she may be exalted. But the lessons it inculcates from its greatest perfection ;-it teacheth, that sloth and vice may eat that bread which virtue and honesty may starve for after they had earned it. It teaches the idle and dissolute to look up for that support which they are too proud to stoop and earn. It directs the minds of men to an entire reliance on the ruling power of the state, who feeds the ravens of the royal aviary that cry continually for food. It teaches them to imitate those saints on the Pension List, that are like the lillies of the field ; they toil not, neither do they spin, and yet are arrayed like Solomon in his glory. In fine, it teaches a lesson, which
indeed they might have learned from Epictetus-that it is sometimes good, not to be over virtuous : it shows, that in proportion as our distresses increase, the munificence of the crown increases also ; in proportion as our clothes are rent, the royal mantle is extended over us.
But notwithstanding, the Pension List, like charity, covers a multitude of sins, give me leave to consider it as coming home to the members of this house ; give me leave to say, that the crown, in extending its charity, its liberality, its profusion, is laying a foundation for the independence of parliament; for hereafter, instead of orators or patriots accounting for their conduct to such mean and unworthy persons as freeholders, they will learn to despise them, and look to the first man in the State ; and they will by so doing have this security for their independence, that while any man in the kingdom has a shilling they will not want one.
Suppose at any future period of time the boroughs of Ireland, should decline from their present flourishing and prosperous state : suppose they should fall into the hands of men who would wish to drive a profitable commerce, by having members of Parliament to hire or let; in such a case a secretary would find great difficulty, if the proprietors of members should enter into a combination to form a monopoly ; to prevent which in time, the wisest way is to purchase up the raw material, young members of Parliament, just rough from the grass, and when they are a little bitted, and he has got a pretty stud, perhaps of seventy, he may laught at the slave-merchant; some of them he may teach to sound through the nose, like a barrel organ ; some, in the course of a few months, might be taught to cry hear! hear some chair! chair! upon occasion ; 'though those latter might create a little confusion, if they were to forget whether they were calling inside or outside of those doors. Again, he might have some so trained that he need only price a string, and up gets a repeating member; and if they were so dull that they could neither speak nor make orations, (for they are different things) he might have them taught to dance pedibus ire in sententia. This improvement might be extended; he might have them dressed in coats and shirts all of one colour, and of a Sunday he might march