« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
likely to be most beneficial to sociéty ; when he was still young enough to give the hope of further services ; still active enough for all the duties of public life ; and while he still possessed that youthful vigour and energy which would long have enabled him to support those unwearied exertions, which he displayed in every thing that tended to promote the interests of his country ; exertions which afforded a sufficient pledge, that had he lived, the remainder of his days would have been devoted to acts of public benefit." He did not live for the pleasure, but for the utility of life : or rather he lived for the highest enjoyment which existence can afford, -that of doing good to his fellow creatures.
There are many other amiable traits in his character which I shall not attempt to describe here. I may be permitted to observe, however, that those who feel that the greatest benefit which can be done to this or any other country, is to render it more productive, must be sensible that the nation is more indebted to him than to any other person for the efforts which he made to improve its agriculture. What was his motive for attaching himself to this pursuit ? Because he was convinced, that in the present times, that was the best direction he could give to his talents, and to his means in promoting the real interests of his country; for his humility was such, that he conceived no pursuit too low for him to engage in, if he foresaw that it would tend to public utility. I know, that if the noble personage of whom I have spoken could look back to what passed in the world, nothing could afford him such ineffable pleasure, as the reflection that his memory should be, as his life, beneficial to mankind. I shall conclude with a passage from a very young orator, which appears particularly applicable to what I have said. “Crime is only a curse for the time, even where successful ; but virtue may be useful to the remotest posterity, and is even almost as advantageous to future generations as to its original possessor,"
THE CHARACTER OF A LOWLY HERO
The lowest mechanic who employs his best affec tions-his love and gratitude, on God, the best of beings ; who retains a particular regard and esteem for the virtuous few, compassion for the distressed, and a firm expansive good will to all; who, instead of triumphing over his enemies, strives to subdue the greatest enemy of all, his unruly passions ; who promotes a good understanding between neighbours, appeases disputes and adjusts differences ; exercises candour to injured character, and charity to distressed worth ; who, whilst he cherishes his friends, forgives, and even serves in any pressing exigency, his enemies; who abhors vice, but pities the vicious; such a man, however low his station, has more just pretensions to the character of heroism.--(that heroism which implies nobleness and elevation of soul, bursting forth into correspondent actions,) than he who conquers armies, or makes the most glaring figure in the eyes of an injudicious world. He is like one of those fixed stars which, through the remoteness of its situation, may be thought extremely little, inconsid. erable, and obscure, by unskilful beholders, but yet it is as truly great and glorious in itself, as those heavenly lights which, by being placed more obviously to our view, appear to shine with more distinguished lustre.
MR. WALPOLE AGAINST MR. PITT (THE LALE LORO
CHATHAM) REFLECTING ON HIS YOUTH AND THEATRICAL MANNER.
I was unwilling to interrupt the course of this debate while it was carried on, with calmness and decency, by men who do not suffer the ardour of opposition to cloud their reason, or transport them to such expressions as the dignity of this assembly does not admit. I have hitherto deferred to answer the gentleman who declaimed against the bill, with such fluency of rhetoric, and such vehemence of gesture, who charged the advocates for the expedients now proposed, with having no regard to any interest but their own, and with making laws only to consume paper, and threatened them with the defection of their adherents, and the loss of their influence, upon this new discovery of their folly, and their ignorance. Nor, sir, do I now answer him for any
other purpose than to remind him how little the clamours of rage and petulency of invectives, contribute to the purposes for which this assembly is called together ;-how little the discovery of truth is promoted, and the security of the nation established by pompous diction, and theatrical emotions. Formidable sounds and furious declamations, confident assertions and lofty periods, may affect the young and inexperienced ; and perhaps the gentleman may have contracted his habits of oratory, by conversing more with those of his own age, than with such as have had more opportunities of acquiring knowledge, and more successful methods of communicating their sentiments. If the heat of his temper, sir, would suffer him to attend to those whose age, and long acquaintance with business, give them an indisputable right to deference and superiority, he would learn, in time, to reason rather than declaim,
and to prefer justness of argument, and an accurate knowledge of facts, to sounding epithets, and splendid superlatives, which may disturb the imagination for a moment, but leave no lasting impression on the mind. He will learn sir, that to accuse and prove are very different, and that reproaches unsupported by evidence affect only the character of him that utters them. Excursions of fancy, and flights of oratory, are indeed pardonable in young men, but in no other; and it would surely contribute more, even to the purpose for which some gentlemen appear to speak, (that of deprecating the conduct of the administration,) to prove the inconveniences and injustice of this bill than barely to assert them, with whatever magnificence of language, or appearance of zeal, honesty or compassion.
MR. PITT'S REPLY. SIR,
The atrocious crime of being a young man, which the honorable gentleman has, with such spirit and decency, charged upon me, I shall neither attempt to palliate, nor deny,but content myself with wishing that I may be one of those whose follies may cease with their youth, and not of that number who are ignorant in spite of experience. Whether youth can be imputed to any inan as a reproach, I will not, sir, assume the province of determining ;--but surely age may become justly contemptible, if the opportunities which it brings have past away without improvement, and vice appears to prevail, when the passions have subsided. The wretch who, after having seen the consequences of a thousand errors, continues still to blunder, and whose age has only added abstinacy to stupidity, is surely the object of either abhorrence or contempt, and deserves not that his
should secure him from insult. Much more, sir, is he to be abhurred, who, as he advanced in age, has receded from virtue, and becomes more wicked with less temptation ;-who prostitutes himself for money which he cannot enjoy, and spends the remains of his life in the ruin of his country. But youth, sir, is not my only crime : I have been accused of acting a theatrical part. A theatrical part may either imply some peculiarities of gesture, or a dissimulation of my real sentiments, and an adoption of the opinions and language of another man.
In the first sense, sir, the charge is too trifling to be confuted, and deserves only to be mentioned to be despised. I am at liberty, like every other man, to use my own language ; and though, perhaps I may have some ambition to please this gentleman, I shall not lay myself under any restraint, nor very solicitously copy his diction, or his mien, however matured by age, or modelled by experience. If any man shall, by charging me with theatrical behaviour, imply that I utter any sentiments but my own, I shall treat him as a calumniator and a villain ;--por shall any protection shelter him from the treatment he deserves. I shall, on such an occasion, without scruple, trample upon all those forms with which wealth and dignity intrench themselves,ếnor shall any thing but age restrain my resentment ;-age, which always brings one : privilege, that of being insolent and supercilious without punishment. But with regard, sir, to those whom I have offended, I am of opinion, that if I had acted a borrowed part, I should have avoided their censure : the heat that offended them is the ardour of conviction, and that zeal for the service of my country, which neither hope nor fear shall influence me to suppress. I will not sit unconcerned while
liberty is invaded, nor look in silence upon public robbery. I will exert my endeavours at whatever hazard, to repel the aggressor, and drag the thief to justice,—whoever may protect them in their villainy, and-whoever may partake of their plunder.