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ers, are but paltry subjects of self-congratulation, if your land divides against itself
, and your dragoons and executioners must be let loose against your fellow-citizens.
You call these men a mob, desperate, dangerous, and ignorant; and seem to think that the only way to quiet the * Bellua multorum capitum’ is to lop off a few of its superfluous heads. But even a mob may be better reduced to reason by a mixture of conciliation and firmness, than by additional irritation and redoubled penalties. Are we aware of our obligations to a mob? It is the mob that labour in l.your fields, and serve in your houses—that man your navy,
and recruit your army—that have enabled you to defy all the world, and can also defy you, when neglect and calumny have driven them to despair. You may call the people a mob; but do not forget that a mob too often speaks the sentiments of the people.
And here I must remark with what alacrity you are accustomed to fly to the succour of your distressed allies, leaving the distressed of your own country to the care of Providence or—the parish. When the Portuguese suffered under the retreat of the French, every arm was stretched out, every hand was opened,—from the rich man's largess to the widow's mite, all was bestowed to enable them to rebuild their villages and replenish their granaries. And at this moment, when thousands of misguided but most unfortunate fellowcountrymen are struggling with the extremes of hardship and hunger, as your charity began abroad, it should end at home.
A much less sum—a tithe of the bounty bestowed on Portugal, would have rendered unnecessary the tender mercies of the bayonet and the gibbet. But doubtless our funds have too many foreign claims to admit a prospect of domestic relief,—though never did such objects demand it. I have traversed the seat of war in the peninsula ; I have been in some of the most oppressed provinces of Turkey; but never, under the most despotic of infidel governments, did I behold such squalid wretchedness as I have seen since my return, in the very heart of a Christian country.
And what are your remedies ? After months of inaction, and months of action worse than inactivity, at length comes forth the grand specific, and never-failing nostrum of all state physicians, from the days of Draco to the present time. After feeling the pulse and shaking the head over the patient, prescribing the usual course of warm water and bleeding—the warm water of your mawkish policy, and the lancets of your military—these convulsions must terminate in death, the sure consummation of the prescriptions of all political Sangrados.
SETTING aside the palpable injustice and the certain inefficiency of this bill, are there not capital punishments sufficient on your statutes ? Is there not blood enough upon your penal code, that more must be poured forth to ascend to heaven and testify against you ? How will you carry this bill into effect? Can you commit a whole country to their own prison? Will you erect a gibbet in every field, and hang up men like scarecrows? Or will you proceed (as you must to bring this measure into effect) by decimation; place the country under martial law; depopulate and lay waste all around you; and restore Sherwood Forest as an acceptable gift to the crown, in its former condition of a royal chase, and an asylum for outlaws ?
Are these the remedies for a starving and desperate populace? Will the famished wretch who has braved your bayonets be appalled by your gibbets? When death is a relief, and the only relief, it appears, that you will afford him, will he be dragooned into tranquillity ? Will that, which could not be effected by your grenadiers be accomplished by your executioners ? If you proceed by the forms of law, where is your evidence ?
Those who have refused to impeach their accomplices when transportation only was the punishment, will hardly be tempted to witness against them when death is the penalty. With all deference to the noble lords opposite, I think a little investigation, some previous inquiry, would induce even them to change their purpose. That most favourite state measure, so marvellously efficacious in many and recent instances, temporising, would not be without its advantage in this.
When a proposal is made to emancipate or relieve, you hesitate, you deliberate for years—you temporise and tamper with the minds of men ; but a death-bill must be passed off hand, without a thought of the consequences. from what I have heard, and from what I have seen, that to
Sure I am, pass the bill, under all the existing circumstances, without inquiry, without deliberation, would only be to add injustice to irritation, and barbarity to neglect.
The framers of such a bill must be content to inherit the honours of that Athenian lawgiver, whose edicts were said to be written not in ink, but in blood. But suppose it passed, suppose one of these men, as I have seen them, meagre with famine, sullen with despair, careless of a life which your lordships are perhaps about to value at something less than the price of a stocking-frame; suppose this man surrounded by those children, for whom he is unable to procure bread æt the hazard of his existence, about to be torn forever from a family which he lately supported in peaceful industry, and which it is not his fault that he can no longer so support; suppose this man—and there are ten thousand such, from whom you may select your victims, dragged into court to be tried for this new offence, by this new law,-still there are two things wanting to convict and condemn him, and these are,
in my opinion, twelve butchers for a jury, and a Jeffries for a judge !
EXTRACT FROM THE FIRST PHILIPPICK OF DEMOSTHENES.
IF, O men of Athens! you choose to be resolved now, since you would not before, and every one of you, where is required, and so far as he is able to make himself useful to the country, shall be willing to act,—the rich by contributing,—those within military age by serving ;—to speak plainly, if you are willing to be yourselves, and each man shall cease to hope that he may do nothing himself, and that his neighbour will do every thing for him, you may, by God's permission, obtain your own, and recover what your indolence has thrown away, and avenge yourselves upon Philip
For never let it be supposed that his affairs are eternally fixed in their present position, as if he were a god. One hates him, another fears him, a third envies him, O men of Athens! even amongst those, who appear to be most intimately connected with him; and all those feelings, which are common to men in such situations, we must suppose to belong to those who are now associated with him ; but, as it is, they are all kept down by fear, having no where to turn to, through your sluggishness and indolence, which I say you must lay aside now.
Look only, O men of Athens! at the state of the case, at what a pitch of effrontery the man has arrived, -not to give you any longer a choice, whether you will act, or whether you will forbear; but he threatens you, and uses lofty language, as we are told, and cannot be content to remain in peaceable possession of the conquests he has made, but is continually encroaching upon you, in all directions, and drawing a net completely round you, who sit still and
When, O men of Athens ! when will you do what you ought? when something shall happen! when some necessity shall arise! Why, in what light do you view your present situation ? For I think the most pressing necessity to free men is the disgrace attached to failure. Are you content, tell me, to walk about the market-place, and inquire of each other, what news? Why, can any thing be more new, than for a man of Macedon to vanquish the Athenians, and rule the affairs of Greece ? Is Philip dead? No, by heavens ! but he is sick. And what is it to you ? For were this Philip to die, you will soon raise up for yourselves another, if such be your way of attending to your affairs. For he has not been thus aggrandized so much by his own power, as by your neglect.
Moreover, be assured of this, that if any thing should happen to him, and fortune should favour us, which always provides for us so much better than we for ourselves, (and may her efforts for us be complete !) by being upon the spot, and taking advantage of the confusion, into which all things would be thrown, you might dispose of them at your pleasure. But in your present state, not even when an opportunity puts into your hands Amphipolis, can you take it, lagging behind as you do, both in your preparations and your resolutions,
EXTRACT FROM THE SWITZER's wife.
The bright blood left the youthful mother's cheek;
Back on the linden-stem she leaned her form; And her lip trembled, as it strove to speak,
Like a frail harp-string, shaken by the storm.
'Twas but a moment, and the faintness passed, And the free Alpine spirit woke at last.
And she, that ever through her home had moved
With the meek thoughtfulness and quiet smile
And timid in her happiness the while,
And took her fair child to her holy breast,
As it found language:— Are we thus oppressed ?
"I know what thou wouldst do,—and be it done!
Thy soul is darkened with its fears for me. Trust me to Heaven, my husband !—this, thy son,
The babe whom I have borne thee, must be free; And the sweet memory of our pleasant hearth May well give strength—if aught be strong on earth.
'Thou hast been brooding o'er the silent dread
Of my desponding tears; now lift once more,
And let thine eagle glance my joy restore !
"Go forth beside the waters, and along
The chamois-paths, and through the forests go; And tell, in burning words, thy tale of wrong
To the brave hearts that midst the hamlet glow. God shall be with thee, my
-Away! Bless but thy child, and leave me, I can pray!'
He sprang up like a warrior-youth awaking
To clarion-sounds upon the ringing air ; He caught her to his breast, while proud tears breaking
From his dark eyes, fell o'er her braided hair,And ' Worthy art thou,' was his joyous cry, ' That man for thee should gird himself to die.