Слике страница

sink and clouds disperse, and on the open main — so they (the deities] have willed it — the threatening swell is laid.”

PAGE 46, 6. shewen, the older spelling of show with the old English plural ending, identical with that of modern German.

PAGE 48, 19. “Nature has planted [a barrier] in the way." JUVENAL, Sat. x. 152. The Latin poets and the English Bible fortunately were both familiar to Burke's audience, and one of the notable features of his oratory is the telling effect with which he marks his climaxes of thought by some pregnant text from these sources or from the English poets.

PAGE 49, 4, 5. From Comus, l. 634, 635, inexactly quoted.

28. temple of British concord, with obvious allusion to the Temple of Concord in Rome, in which the Senate met during the troublous times of Catiline’s conspiracy. The richness and frequency of allusion in Burke far transcend the possibility of annotation, but they should not be overlooked by any one who would feel the force and charm of his writing. See, for example, the whole of the first paragraph on p. 51.

PAGE 50, 34, 35. “ Not mine is this language, but what Ofellus taught me; rustic, but of wisdom not learned in schools.” HORACE, Sat. II. ii. 2, 3.

PAGE 55, 27, 28. misguided people, sc. of England. gaged in, enlisted in favor of.

PAGE 62, 33, 34. the immediate jewel of his soul, Othello, III. iii. 156. A great house, etc. -- even slaves feel a pride in the glory of a princely establishment to which they belong, and are willing to sacrifice something for the distinction it confers upon them. A reminiscence from Juvenal, Sat. v. 66.

PAGE 64, 10, 11. Burke lived to see this state of things reversed, and to approve the abolition of a separate Irish legislature. — PAYNE.

PAGE 65, 5, 6. Experiments should be tried on objects of no value.”

PAGE 68, 4. a Treasury Extent, a summary process of compelling the payment of debts due the Crown by seizure of persons, lands, and goods.

13. empire of Germany,- the so-called Holy Roman Empire,


[ocr errors]

already little more than a name in Burke's time, and formally brought to an end in 1806. Cf. Bryce's Holy Roman Empire.

PAGE 69, 31. “ The treasure-chest is staked on the game” the utmost resources of the Colonies will thus be pledged to secure England's success. See p. 70, l. 21 ff.

Page 70, 34, 35. Paradise Lost, iv., 96, 97, inexactly quoted.

PAGE 74, 3, 4. warning in the old sense of summons or call. Sursum corda, “ Lift up your hearts !” — the exhortation which, in all the old liturgies, as well as in the Prayer Book, prefaces the sacrament of the Communion. 15, 10.

Happy and auspicious may it prove ! ” the old Roman invocation prefacing all high and solemn acts.

Burke's propositions, it will be noticed, are strictly resolutions, as he calls them. If passed, they would have been mere expressions of the views and opinions of the assembly, and not legislation proper in the form of an Act of Parliament. After the recital of circumstances (Resolutions 1-6), instead of an “enacting clause " to make that which follows law, we have in each section the words, “ That it may be proper to.” In this way it was possible to bring these matters to discussion and to a vote ; whereas legislation would at best have incurred many delays, and in this case, with the Ministry to oppose it at every step, it could hardly have been brought to the consideration of the House at all. (See Note on Forms of Procedure, p. 323.) Still, could these resolutions have passed, the Ministers would, in effect, have been instructed to introduce and forward the legislation indicated, or else to vacate their places.

This speech shared the fate which attended most of Burke's efforts. Its force and eloquence commanded universal admiration, but were powerless to bring about what he desired. The resolutions were lost by an overwhelming majority. What actually took place is stated in Hansard's Parliamentary History as follows:1 “ Mr. Jenkinson moved the previous question upon the first Resolution. Upon this the House divided. ...

1 The statement appended to the first edition of this speech, and copied by almost every editor since, that “ upon this (first] Resolution the previous question was put and carried,” is manifestly in error and absurd.

.. Yeas. 78, Noes, . . . 270. So it passed in the negative. The second, third, fourth and thirteenth Resolutions had also the previous question put on them. The others were atived."

In American practice the motion “that the previous question be now put,” is a well-known device to stop debate, and to force a vote on the main question pending before the assembly. It is made and seconded by persons who hope to carry first it, and then the main question immediately afterwards. If it fails, things are only as they were before. In England, on the contrary, the motion " that the previous question be put,” is a device for killing the main question altogether, without coming to any direct vote upon it; is, in fact, a back-handed way of “tabling” it. The motion is made and seconded by persons who mean to vote against it; for, according to English theory, the assembly is not at liberty to consider further any question upon which it has decided that a vote shall not be taken. Thus, in the present instance, the Ministerial party used the “previous question " to get rid of Burke's troublesome array of facts without either admitting or denying them, and then voted down the policy he based upon those facts.


WILLIAM Pitt, the “Great Commoner,” afterwards Earl of Chatham, was born in 1708, was educated at Eton and Oxford, and entered Parliament in 1735. His remarkable powers of oratory and his fiery spirit soon made him one of the foremost men of the Commons, and the most formidable antagonist of Walpole's administration. His uncompromising and successful hostility during these years earned for him the King's lasting resentment. When Walpole was overthrown, and the Opposition came into power, Pitt's mastery in the House should have been recognized, and a seat should have been given him in the Ministry. But it was long before the King could be brought to offer him even a subordinate position. It was not until 1746 that he became Paymaster of the Forces; ten more years passed, and every other experiment was tried, before he was asked to become Prime Minister. At this time he was confessedly the only man capable of saving England from the desperate straits into which the weakness and wickedness of his predecessors had brought her. He soon won for her far more than all that had been lost. He made the name of England to be known and respected in every quarter of the globe. The five years of his administration are accounted the most glorious in all her history. For five years after that Pitt was out of office. After his return in 1766 with the title of Earl of Chatham, ill-health prevented him from taking an active part in the administration of which he was nominally the head; and he retired finally from office two years later. But his interest in public affairs, and especially in whatever concerned the greatness of England, remained undiminished to the end. His most memorable speeches were those in which he denounced that pride and folly which was driving the American Colonies into war; yet he could not endure to think that England should ever lose these jewels from her crown. In 1778, on learning that a motion was to be made to grant to the Colonies their independence, he struggled up from his sick-bed to make a passionate and successful protest against a policy that would dismember England, and let her “fall prostrate before the House of Bourbon." He was already a dying man. At the close of the speech he fell in convulsions, was carried out, and, after lingering a few days, breathed his last, May 11, 1778.


Reporters of the last century rarely attempted to do more than to give the general drift of thought and argument; at their hands a fiery eloquence like that of Chatham was sure to lose most of its vital quality. Barely five of his speeches seem to have been written out by competent listeners from notes taken on the spot; and in these alone have we any clear approximation to what was actually said. The one we have chosen for this volume claims to have had Chatham's revision; but of this there is no certainty. By many critics it is accounted his master effort. The occasion was this : The assembling of Parliament in November, 1777, had called forth the usual Address to the Throne, congratulating the King on the birth of a princess, indorsing the measures adopted by the Ministry, and promising to support the Crown to the uttermost in its struggle with the Colonies. Chatham seized the occasion to move an Amendment to the Address, and to protest once more against the injustice and folly of the war.


PAGE 76, 5–7.

The Minister was Lord North. See note to

page 6.

30, 31. Adapted from Shakespeare, Julius Cæsar, III. ii. 123– 125.

PAGE 78, 21. Lord Amherst, in the campaign of 1758–1759, ending in the capture of Quebec.

« ПретходнаНастави »