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be unemployed, in the second it cannot be dispensed with ; for if the advocate of virtue avoids to address the feelings of a mixed assembly, whether it be a jury or a political meeting, he has no security that their feeling, and their bad feelings, may not be brought into action against him; he surrenders to his enemy the strongest of his weapons, and by & species of irrational generosity contrives to insure his own defeat in the conflict. To juries and public assemblies alone, the following speeches have been addressed ; and it is by ascertaining their effect on these assemblies or juries, that the merit of the exertion should in justice be measured.
But there seems a general and prevalent mistake among our critics on this judgment They seem to think that the taste of the individual is the standard by which the value of oratory should be decided. We do not consider oratory a mere matter of taste; it is a given means for the procurement of a given end; and the fitness of its means to the attain ment of its end should be in chief the measure of its merit-of this fitness success ought to be the evidence. The preacher who can melt his congregation into tears, and excel others in his struggle to convert the superfluities of the opulent into a treasury for the wretched ;-the advocate who procures the largest compensation from juries on their oaths for injuries which they try;-the man who, like Mr. Phillips, can be accused (if ever any man was so accused except himself) by grave lawyers and before grave judges, of having procured a verdict from twelve sagacious and most respectable special jurons, by fascination ; of having, by the fascination of his eloquence, blinded them to that duty which they were sworn to observe :—the man who can be accused of this on oath, and the fascination of whose speaking is made a ground work, though an unsuccessful one, for setting aside a verdict ;-he may be wrong and ignorant in his study and practice of oratory; but with all his errors and ignorance, it must be admitted, that he has in some manner stumbled on the shortest way for attaining the end of oratory—that is, giving the most forceful direction to human action and determination in particular instances His eloquence may be a novelty, but it is beyond example successful; and its success and novelty may be another explanation for the hostility that assails. It may be matter of taste, but it certainly would not be matter of judgment or prudence in Mr. Phillips to depart from a course which has proved most successful, and which has procured for him within the last year a larger number of readers through the world, than ever in the same time resorted to the productions of any man of these countries. His youth carries with it not only much excuse, but much promise of future improvement; and doubtless he will not neglect to apply the fruits of study and the lights of experience to each succeeding exertion. But his manner is his own, and every man's own manner is his best manner; and so long as it works with this unexampled success, he should be slow to adopt the suggestions of his enemies, although he should be sedulous in adopting all legitimate improvement. To that very exuberance of imagination, we do not hesitate to ascribe much of his success; whilst, therefore, he consents to control it, let him be care ful lest he clip his wings: nor is the strength of this faculty an argument, although it has been made an argument, against the strength of his reasoning powers; for let us strip these speeches of every thing, whose derivation could be by any construction, assigned to his fancy; let us apply this rule to his judicial and political exertions for instance to the speech on Guthrie and Sterne, and the late one to the gentlemen of Liverpool—let their topics be translated into plain, dull language, and then we would ask, what collec. tion of topics could be more judicious, better arranged, or classed in a more lucid and consecutive order by the most tiresome wisdom of the sagest arguer at the bar? Is there not abundance to satisfy the judgment, even if there were nothing to sway the feelings, or gratify the imagination? How preposterous, then, the futile endeavour to undervalue the solidity of the ground-work, by withdrawing attention to the beauty of the ornament; or to maintain the deficiency of strength in the base, merely because there appears so much splendour in the structure.
Unaided by the advantages of fortune or alliance, under the frown of political power, and the interested detraction of professional jealousy, confining the exercise of that talent which he derives from his God to the honour, and succour, and protection of his creatures - this interesting and highly gifted young man runs his course like a giant, prospering and to prosper ;-in the court as a flaming sword, leading and lighting the injured to their own; and in the public assembly exposing her wrongs exacting her rights conquering envy-trampling on corruption beloved by his country-esteemed by a world-enjoy. ing and deserving an unexampled fame and actively employing the summer of his life is gathering honours for his name, and garlands for his grave!
DELIVERED AT A PUBLIC DINNER GIVEN
TO MR. FINLAY
BY THE ROMAN CATHOLICS OF THE TOWN AND COUNTY OF SLIGO
I THINK, Sir, you will agree with me, that the most experienced speaker might justly tremble in addressing you, after the display you have just witnessed. What, then, must I feel, who never before addressed a public audience? However, it would be but an unworthy affectation in me, were I to conceal from you, the emotions with which I am agitated by this kindness. The exaggerated estimate which other countries have made of the few services so young a man could render, has, I hope, inspired me with the sentiments it ought; but here, I do confess to you, I feel no ordinary sensation-here, where every object springs some new association, and the loveliest objects, mellowed as they are by time, rise painted on the eye of memory-here, where the light of heaven first blessed my infant view, and nature breathed into my infant heart, that ardour for my country which nothing but death can chill—here, where the scenes of my childhood remind me how innocent I was, and the grave of my fathers admonish me, how pure I should continue-here, standing as I do amongst my fairest, fondest, earliest sympathies such a welcome, operating, not merely as an affectionate tribute, but as a moral testimony, does indeed quite oppress and overwhelm me.
Oh! believe me, warm is the heart that feels, and willing is the tongue that speaks; and still, I cannot, by shaping it to my rudely inexpressive phrase, shock the sensibility of a gratitude too full to be suppressed, and yet (how far!) too eloquent for language.
If any circumstance could add to the pleasure of this day, it is that which I feel in introducing to the friends of my youth, the friend of my adoption; though perhaps I am committing one e our imputed blunders, when I speak of introducing one whose patriotism has already rendered him familiar to every heart in Ireland; a man, who, conquering every disadvantage, and spurning every difficulty, has poured around our misfortunes the splendour of an intellect, that at once irradiates and consumes them. For the services he has rendered to his country, from my heart I thank him; and, for myself, I offer him a personal, it may be a selfish, tribute for saving me, by his presence this night, from an impotentattempt at his panegyric. Indeed, gentlemen, you can have little idea of what he has to endure, who in these times, advocates your cause. Every calumny which the venal and the vulgar, and the vile, are lavishing upon you, is visited with exaggeration upon us. We are called traitors, because we would rally round the crown an unanimous people. We are called apostates, because we will not persecute Christianity. We are branded as separatists, because of our endeavours to annihilate the fetters that, instead of binding, clog the connection. To these may be added, the frowns of power, the envy of dulness, the mean malice of exposed self-interest, and, it may be, in despite of all natural affection, even the discountenance of kindred! -Well be it so,
For thee, fair Freedom, welcome all the past,
For thee, my country, welcome, even the last ! I am not ashamed to confess to you, that there was a day when I was bigotted as the blackest; but I thank the Being who gifted me with a mind not quite impervious to conviction, and I thank you, who afforded such convincing testimonies of my error. I saw you enduring with patience the most unmerited assaults, bowing before the insults of revived anniversaries; in private life, exemplary ; in public, unoffending; in the hour of peace, asserting your loyalty; in the hour of danger, proving it. Even when an invading enemy victoriously penetrated into the very heart of our country, I saw the banner of your allegiance beaming refutation on your slanderers; was it a wonder then, that I seized my prejudices, and with a blush burned them on the altar of my country!
The great question of Catholic, shall I not rather say, of Irish cmancipation, has now assumed that national aspect which imperiously challenges the scrutiny of every one.
While it was
shrouded in the mantle of religious mystery, with the temple for its sanctuary, and the pontiff for its sentinel, the vulgar eye might shrink and the vulgar spirit shudder. But now it has come forth visible and tangible for the inspection of the laity; and I solemn ly protest, dressed as it has been in the double haberdashery of the English minister and the Italian prelate, I know not whether to laugh at its appearance, or to loathe its pretensionsto shudder at the deformity of its original creation, or smile at the grotesqueness of its foreign decorations. Only just admire this far-famed security bill,—this motley compound of oaths and penalties, which, under the name of emancipation, would drag your prelates with a halter about their necks to the vulgar scrutiny of every village tyrant, in order to enrich a few political traders, and distil through some state alembic the miserable rinsings of an ignorant, a decaying, and degenerate aristocracy! Only just admire it! Originally engendered by our friends the opposition, with a cuckoo insidiousness they swindled it into the nest of the treasury ravens, and when it had been fairly hatched with the beak of the one, and the nakedness of the other, they sent it for its feathers to MONSEIGNEUR QUARANTOTTI, who has obligingly transmitted it with the hunger of its parent, the rapacity of its nurse, and the coxcombry of its plumassier, to be baptized by the bishops, and received æquo gratoque animo by the people of Ireland !! Oh, thou sublimely ridiculous Quarantotti! Oh, thou superlative coxcomb of the conclave! what an estimate hast thou formed of the mind of Ireland! Yet why should I blame this wretched scribe of the Propaganda! He had every right to speculate as he did; all the chances of the calculation were in his favour. Uncommon must be the people, over whom centuries of oppression have revolved in vain! Strange must be the mind, which is not subdued by suffering ! Sublime the spirit which is not debased by servitude! God, I give thec thanks !—he knew not IRELAND. Bent-broken-manacled as she had been, she will not bow to the mandate of an Italian slave, transmitted through an English vicar. For my own part, as an Irish Protestant, I trample to the earth this audacious and desperate experiment of authority; and for you, as Catholics, the time is come to give that calumny the lie, which represents you as subservient to a foreign influence. That influence, indeed, seems