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from others, without any detriment to his own dignity; in short, the wish of others was the rule of his conduct and his words.
Upon this unceasing and perhaps dishonourable labour he rested, as upon a solid basis; and expanded himself far beyond the common limits of human glory. The labour of undertaking to convince and persuade those of elevated condition, his conduct has amply testified; but to extol their good or their dishonest conduct with undeviating praise, he has shown to be his habit, his excellence, and his duty. He has never, therefore, condescended to palliate his conduct by any speciousness of apology; he has declared openly and boldly, with Marcus Terentius, "It is not for us to estimate the intrinsic virtues of him whom you have raised to glory, or the motives of your partiality; to you the gods have given the perfection of judgment; the glory of obedience must be ours *."
Intoxicated with the favours of fortune, he openly enrolls his name amongst those of most distinguished excellence. He avows himself ever prepared to undertake and suffer every thing, provided he retains his station, and touches the golden reward. To such a degree of levity has he arrived, that he thinks he may bask in security under the shade of an illustrious name. In favour of his systematic scheme of life he quotes these words, which he utters aloud in the very spirit of Cicero, and whispers in secret to his friends—" That if he does not constantly ex
press himself in the same language, he has unalterably the same object in view *."
The man who pursues this line of conduct is no doubt satisfied with himself, that he does what is grateful to those with whom he is connected; that, when he unites opinions as contradictory as possible to each other, he still remains perfectly consistent with himself. It is the first, it is the dearest object of his heart, that the character he sustains should continue unchanged, from the commencement of any undertaking to its conclusion; that as circumstances alter, his sentiments should be suffered to alter along with them; and that a kind of consistency should be fixed to his most inconsistent actions.
What fortune can accomplish, whenever she chooses to wanton with bold and daring characters, Thrasybulus has seen and known. One principle is immutably rooted in his mind—that every man is indebted for his success to himself; and that many may enjoy uninterrupted prosperity by consulting the moments of opportunity, rather than the interests of the public. The words of Pompey are constantly in his mouth—not as a matter to be disputed, but as a golden rule of life—That " more people worship the rising than the setting sun t."
He is conscious also of many qualities, in a manner peculiar to himself, which facilitates his advances to power and to wealth. Our Thrasybulus has no occasion for preceding and established fame, to prove whether any cause immediately before him is honourable to record, or • Cic. Epist. t Plutarch.
equitable to pursue. When he enters upon it he can possibly have nothing to lose; if it terminate in dishonour, nought is expected from him to alleviate its infamy. With respect to his future hopes, he is perfectly secure. Fearing to give a wound even to the guilty, he gently relaxes the rigours of his eloquence; and whatever he can detract from the resentment of others, he suffers with resignation to descend upon himself. This man's character alone will enable us to form a perfect idea of the generality of great men's friends. Upon such as these the minister, without reserve, depends. Surrounded by these, in contradiction to every rule of right, he has arrived at that summit after which his soul aspired. These, creeping from their hiding places, publicly attend him as companions. "Oh, sad reverse of morals and lost dignity of the senate *!" With so little equanimity does he bear success, that he has placed, with unabashed confidence, such men as these in the public senate of the nation, the supporters of his fame, and partners of his counsels.
Some messenger shall go from hence to fate,
FRANCIS, DUKE OF BEDFORD.
If the sad event which has recently occurred were only a private misfortune, however heavy, I should feel the impropriety of obtruding upon the house the feelings of private friendship, and
* Horat. t Dryden's Virgil.
would have sought some other opportunity of expressing those sentiments of gratitude and affection which must ever be due from me to the memory of the excellent person whose loss gives occasion to the sort of motion of course which I am about to make to the house. It is because I consider the death of the Duke of Bedford as a great public calamity; because the public itself seems so to consider it; because not in this town only, but in every part of the kingdom, the impression made by it seems to be the strongest and most universal that ever appeared upon the loss of a subject: it is for these reasons that I presume to hope for the indulgence of the house, if I deviate, in some degree, from the common course; and introduce my motion in a manner which I must confess to be unusual on similar occasions. At the same time I trust, sir, that I shall not be suspected of any intention to abuse the indulgence which I ask, by dwelling with the fondness of friendship upon the various excellencies of the character to which I have alluded, much less by entering into a history of the several events of his life, which might serve to illustrate it. There was something in that character so peculiar and striking, and the just admiration which his virtues commanded was such, that to expatiate upon them in any detail is as unnecessary as upon this occasion it would be improper. That he has been much lamented, and generally, cannot be wondered at, for surely there never was a more just occasion of public sorrow. To lose such a man!—at such a time!—so unexpectedly! The particular stage of his life, too, in which we lost him, must add to every feeling of regret, and make the disappointment more severe and poignant to all thinking minds. Had he fallen at an earlier period, the public, to whom he could then (comparatively speaking at least) be but little known, would rather have compassionated and condoled with the feelings of his friends and relations, than have been themselves very severely afflicted by the loss. It would have been suggested, and even we who were the most partial must have admitted, that the expectations raised by the dawn are not always realized in the meridian of life. If the fatal event had been postponed, the calamity might have been alleviated by the consideration that mankind could not have looked forward for any length of time to the exercise of his virtues and talents. But he was snatched away at a moment when society might have been expected to be long benefited by his benevolence, his energy, and his wisdom; when he had obtained a full certainty that the progress of his life would be more than answerable to the brightest hopes conceived from its outset, and when it might have been reasonably hoped, that after having accomplished all the good of which it was capable, he would have descended, not immaturely, into the tomb. He had, on the one hand, lived long enough to have his character fully confirmed and established, while, on the other, what remained of life seemed, according to all human expectations, to afford ample space and scope for the exercise of the virtues of which his character was conu