Слике страница

glorious act, to save the life of one of his countrymen? What a felicity then, and what a glory, must it be to us all, if save the lives of thousands of Englishmen, that must otherwise fall in this battle, and in many other battles, which hereafter may be fought on this quarrel! It is in our power to do re so it is in our power to end the controversy, both safely and honourably, by an amicable agreement, not by the sword, 's Stephen may enjoy the royal dignity for his life, and the succession may secured to the young duke of Normandy, with such a present rank in the state as bests the heir of the

en Even the bitterest enemies of the king must acknow-w ledge, that he is valiant, generous, and good-natured; his warmest friends cannot deny, that he has a great deal of rash-is ness and indiscretion. Both may therefore conclude, that he should not be deprived of the royal authority, but that he ought to be restrained from a farther abuse of it, which can be done by no means so certain and effectual as what I propose : for thus his power will be tempered by the premte sence, the counsels, and influence of prince Henry; who, for his own interest in the weal of the kingdom which he is to inlierit, will always have a right to interpose his advice, and even his authority, if it be necessary, against any future violation of our liberties; and to procure an effectual redress of our grievances, which we have hitherto sought in vain. If all the English in both armies unite, as I hope they may,b in this plan of pacification, they will be able to give the law to the foreigners, and oblige both the king and the duke to consent to it. This will secure the public tranquillity, and leave no secret stings of resentment, to rankle in the hearts of a suffering party, and produce future disturbances. As there will be no triumph, no insolence, no exclusive right to favour on either side, there can be no shame, no anger, no uneasy desire of change. It will be the work of the whole nation; and all must wish to support what all have estab

og lished. The sons of Stephen indeed may endeavour to op I pose it; but their efforts will be fruitless, and must end very soon either in their submission, or their ruin, Nor have they

19 any reasonable cause to complain. Their father himself did not come to the crown by hereditary right. He was elected in preference to a woman and an ivfant, who were deemed not to be capable of ruling a kingdom. By that election our

[ocr errors]

allegiance is bound to him during his life: but neither that

a bond, nor the reason for wlrich we chose him, will hold as to the choice of a successor. Henry Plantagenet is now grown up to an age of maturity, and every way qualified to succeed to the crown. He is the grandson of a king whose memory is dear to us, and the nearest heir male to him in the course of descent ? he appears to resemble him in all his « good qualities, and to be worthy to reign over the Normans and English, whose noblest blood united énriches his veins. Normandy has already submitted to him with pleasure. Why should we now divide that ducliy from England, when it is so greatly the interest of our nobility, to keep them always connected ? If we liad no other inducement, to make us desire a reconciliation between him and Stephen, this would be sufficient. Our estates in both countries will

by these means be secured, which otherwise we must forfeit

, in the one or the other, while Henry remains possessed of Normandy: and it will not be an easy matter, to drive him thence, even though we should compel him to retire from England. But, by amicably compounding his quarrel with Stephen, we shall maintain all our interests, private and public. His greatuess abroad will increase the power of this kingdom; it will make us respectable and formidable dominions, which extend from the British

ishi on se ample

to the Pyrenean mountains. By governing, in his youtli, so many different states, he will learı to govern us; and come to the crown, after the decease of king Stephen, accomplished in all the arts of good policy. His mother has willingly resigned to him her pretensions, or rather she acknowledges, that his are superior : we therefore can have nothing to apprehend on that side. In every view, our peace, our safety, the repose of our consciences, the quiet and happiness of our posterily, will be firmly established by the means I propose. Let Stephen continue to wear the crown that we gave him, as long as he lives; but after his death let it descend to that I prince, whio alone can put an end to our unhappy divisions. If you approve my advice, and will empower me to treat in your names, I will immediately convey your desires to the king and tive duke.


[ocr errors][merged small]



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

We have heard a great deal about parliamentary armies, and about an army continued from year to year. I have always been, Sir, and always shall be, against a standing army of any kind: to me it is a terrible thing, whether under that of parliamentary or any other designation ; a standing army is still a standing army, whatever name it be called by; they are a body of men distinct from the body of the people; they are governed by different laws"; and blind obedience, and an entire submission to the orders of their commanding officer, is their only principle. The nations around us, Sir, are already enslaved, and have been enslaved by those very means; by means of their standing arnries they have every one lost their liberties : it is indeed impossible, that the liberties of the people can be preserved in any country, where a numerous standing army is kept up. Shall we then take any of our measures from the example of our neighbours? No, Sir; on the contrary, from their misfortunes we ought to learn, to avoid those rocks, upon which they have split.

It signifies nothing to tell me, that our army is commanded by such gentlemen as cannot be supposed to join in any measures for enslaving their country: it may be so; I hope it is so; I have a very good opinion of many gentlemen now in the army; I believe they would not join

such measures ; but their lives are uncertain, nor can we be sure how long they may be continued in command; they may be all dismissed in a moment, and proper tools of power put in their room. Besides, Sir, we know the passions of men; we know how dangerous it is, to trust the best of men with too much power. Where was there a braver arny than that under Julius Cæsar? Where was there ever an army, that had served their country more faithfully? That army was commanded generally by the best citizens of Rome, by nien of great fortune and figure in their country; yet that

in any


ORATIONS AND HARANGUES. army enslaved their country. The affections of the soldiers toward their country, the honour and integrity of the under officers, are not to be depended on: by the military law the administration of justice is so quick, avd the punislıments so severe, that neither officer nor soldier dares offer to dispute the orders of his supreme commander; he must not consult his own inclination; if an officer were commanded to pull his own father out of his house, he must do.it; he dares not disobey; immediate death would be the sure consequence of the least grumbling. And if an officer were sent into the court of requests, accompanied by a body of níusketeers with screwed bayonets, and with orders to tell us what we ought to do, and how we were to vote, I know what would be the duty of this house; I know it would be our duty, to order the officer to be taken and hanged up at the door of the lobby: but, Sir, I doubt much if such a spirit could be found in the House, or in any House of Commons, that will ever be in England.

Sir, I talk not of imaginary things ; I talk of what has happened to an English House of Commons, and from au English army; not only from an English army, but an army that was raised by that very House of Commons, an army that was paid by them, and an army that was commanded by gene als appointed by them. Therefore do not let us vainly imagine, that an army raised and maintained by authority of Parliament will always be submissive to them : if an army be so numerous, as to have it in their power to overawe the Parliament, they will be submissive as long as the Parliament does nothing to disoblige their favourite general; but when that case happens, I am afraid, that, in place of the Parliament's dismissing the army, the army will dismiss the Parliament, as they have done heretofore. Nor does the legatity or illegality of that Parliament, or of that army, alter the case: for with respect to that army, and according to their way of thinking, the Parliament dismissed by them

was a legal Parliament; they were an army raised and maiu"tained according to law, and at first they were raised, as they

imagined, for the preservation of those liberties, which they 3 afterward destroyed.

It has been urged, Sir, that whoever is for the Protestant succession must be for continuing the army: for that very

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

reason, Sir, I am against continuing the army. I know, that neither the Protestant succession in his Majesty's most illustrious house, nor any succession, can ever be safe as long as there is a standing army in the country. Armies, Sir, have no regard to hereditary successions. The first two Cæsars at Rome did pretty well, and found means to keep their armies in tolerable subjection, because the generals and officers were all their own creatures. But how did it fare with their suco, cessors? Was not every one of them named by the army, without any regard to hereditary right, or to any right? A cobler, a gardener, or any man who happened to raise him-'9 self in the army, and could gain their affections, was made emperor of the world. Was not every succeeding emperors raised to the throne, or tumbled headlong into the dust, according to the mere whim or mad frenzy of the soldiers: 1

We are told this army is desired to be continued but for it one year longer, or for a limited term of years." How! absurd is this distinctiou? Is there any army in the world continued for any terin of years? Does the most absolute monarch tell his army, that he is to continue them for any l number of years, or any number of months? How long have. + we already continued our army from year to year? And if it thus continue, wherein will it differ from the standing armies of those countries, which have already submitted iheir necks to the yoke? We are now come to the Rubicon, our + ammy is now to be reduced, or it never will; from his Majesty's own mouth we are assured of a profound tranquillity abroad, ? we know there is one at home: if this is not a proper time, if these circumstances do not afford us a safe opportunity for reducing at least a part of our regular forces, we never , can expect to see any reduction; and this pation, already overburdened with debts and taxes, must be loaded with: 1 the heavy charge of perpetually supporting a numerous standing army, and remain for ever exposed to the danger of having it's liberties and privileges trampled upon by anys future King or Ministry, who shall take it in their heads to w do and shall take a proper care to model the army for 33


Voit tan $$*$?! UU)


$o, that purpose.

« ПретходнаНастави »