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Description of General Conway's Situation on the
Repeal of the American Stamp Act.
I will likewise do justice, I ought to do it, to the honorable gentleman who led us in this house.* Far from the duplicity wickedly charged on him, he acted his part with alacrity and resolution. We all felt inspired by the example he gave us, down even to myself, the weakest in that phalanx. I declare for one, I knew well enough, it could not be concealed from any body, the true state of things; but, in my life, I never came with so much spirits into this house. It was a time for a man to act in. We had powerful enemies; but we had faithful and determined friends, and a glorious
We had a great battle to fight; but we had the means of fighting ; not as now, when our arms are tied behind us. We did fight that day and conquer,
I remember, Sir, with a melancholy pleasure, the situation of the honorable gentleman* who made the motion for the repeal; in that crisis, when the whole trading interest of this empire, crammed into your lobbies, with a trembling and anxious expectation, waited, almost to a winter's return of light, their fate from your resolutions. When, at length, you had determined in their favor, and your doors, thrown open, showed them the figure of their deliverer in the well-earned triumph of his important victory, from the whole of that grave multitude there arose an involuntary burst of gratitude and transport. They jumped upon him like children on a long absent father. They clung about him as captives about their redeemer. All England, all America, joined to his applause. Nor did he seem insensible to the best of all earthly rewards, the love and admiration of his fellow citizens. Hope elevated and joy brightened his crest. I stood near him; and his face, to use the expression of the scripture of the first martyr, “his face was as if it had been the face of an angel.
* General Conway.
I do not know how others feel; but if I had stood in that situation, I never would have exchanged it for all that kings in their profusion could bestow.
DESCRIPTION OF JUNIUS. Where, then, Sir, shall we look for the origin of this relaxation of the laws and of all government? How comes this Junius to have broken through the cobwebs of the law, and to range uncontrolled, unpunished, through the land? The myrmidons of the court have been long, and are still, pursuing him in vain. They will not spend their time upon me, or you, or you: no; they disdain such vermin, when the mighty boar of the forest, that has broken through all their toils, is before them. But, what will all their efforts avail ? No sooner has he wounded one, than he lays down another dead at his feet. For my part, when I saw his attack upon the King, I own my blood ran cold. I thought he had ventured too far, and that there was an end of his triumphs; not that he had not asserted many truths. Yes, Sir, there are in that composition many bold truths by which a wise prince might profit. It was the rancour and venom with which I was struck. In these respects the North Briton is as much inferior to him, as in strength, wit, and judgment. But while I expected from this daring flight his final ruin and fall, behold him rising still higher, and coming down sousc upon both houses of parliament. Yes, he did make
still bleed from the wounds of his talons. You crouched, and still crouch beneath his rage. Nor has he dreaded the terror of your brow, Sir; he has attacked even you-he has—and I believe you have no reason to triumph in the encounter. In short, after carrying away our royal eagle in his pounces, and dashing him against a rock, he has laid you prostrate. King, Lords, and Commons, are but the sport of his fury. Were he a member of this house, what might not be expected from his knowledge, his firmness, 1
integrity! He would be easily known by his contempt of all danger, by his penetration, by his vigor. Nothing would escape his vigilance and activity ; bad ministers could conceal nothing from his sagacity; nor could promises nor threats induce him to conceal any thing from the public.
LAMENTATION FOR THE LOSS OF HIS SON. Had it pleased God to continue to me the hopes of succession, I should have been according to my mediocrity, and the mediocrity of the age I live in, a sort of founder of a family ; I should have left a son, who, in all the points in which personal merit can be viewed, in science, in erudition, in genius, in taste, in honor, in generosity, in humanity, in every liberal sentiment, and every liberal accomplishment, would not have shown himself inferior to the duke of Bedford, or to any of those whom he traces in his line.
But a disposer whose power we are little able to resist, and whose wisdom it behoves us not at all to dispute, has ordained it in another manner, and, whatever my querulous weakness might suggest, a far better. The storm has gone over me; and I lie like one of those old oaks which the late hurricane has scattered about me.
I am stripped of all my honors; I am torn up by the roots, and lie prostrate on the earth! There, and prostrate there, I most unfeignedly recognize the divine justice, and in some degree submit to it. But whilst I humble myself before God, I do not know that it is forbidden to repel the attacks of unjust and inconsiderate men. The patience of Job is proverbial. After some of the convulsive struggles of our irritable nature, he submitted himself, and repented in dust and ashes. But even so, I do not find him blamed for reprehending, and with a considerable degree of verbal asperity, those ill-natured neighbors of his, who visited
his dunghill, to read moral, political, and economical lectures on his misery. I am alone. I have none to meet my enemies in the gate. Indeed, my lord, I greatly deceive myself, if in this hard season I would give a peck of refuse wheat for all that is called fame and honor in the world. This is the appetite but of a few. It is a luxury; it is a privilege; it is an indulgence for those who are at their ease. But we are all of'us made to shun disgrace, as we are made to shrink from pain, and poverty, and disease. It is an instinct : and, under the direction of reason, instinct is always in the right. I live in an inverted order. They who ought to have succeeded me have gone before me. They who should have been to me as posterity are in the place of ancestors. I owe to the dearest relation, which ever must subsist in memory, that act of piety, which he would have performed to me; I owe it to him to show that he was not descended, as the duke of Bedford would have it, from an unworthy parent.
CHARACTER OF MR. FOX IN SUPPORT OF HIS INDIA
BILL, And now, having done my duty to the bill, let me say a word to the author. I should leave him to his own noble sentiments, if the unworthy and illiberal language with which he has been treated, beyond all example of parliamentary liberty, did not make a few words necessary; not so much in justice to him, as to my own feelings. I must say then, that it will be a distinction honorable to the age, that the rescue of the greatest number of the human race that ever were so grievously oppressed, from the greatest tyranny that was ever exercised, has fallen to the lot of abilities and dispositions equal to the task; that it has fallen to one who has the enlargement to comprehend, the spirit to undertake, and the eloquence to support, so great a measure of hazardous benevolence. His spirit is not owing to his ignorance of the state of men and things.
He well knows what snares are spread about his path, from personal animosity, from court intrigues, and possibly from popular delusion. But he has put to hazard his case, his security, his interest, his
power, even his darling popularity, for the benefit of a people whom he has never seen. This is the road that all heroes have trod before him. He is traduced and abused for his supposed motives. He will remember, that obloquy is a necessary ingredient in the composition of all true glory: he will remember, that it was not only in the Roman customs, but it is in the nature and constitution of things, that calumny and abuse are essential parts of triumph. These thoughts will support a mind, which only exists for honor, under the burden of temporary reproach. He is doing, indeed, a great good; such as rarely falls to the lot, and almost as rarely coincides with the desires of any man. Let him use his time. Let him give the whole length of the reins to his benevolence. He is now on a great eminence, where the eyes of mankind are turned to him. He may live long, he may do much. But here is the summit. He never can exceed what he does this day.
He has faults; but they are faults that though they may in a small degree larnish the lustre, and sometimes impede the march of his abilities, have nothing in them to extinguish the fire of great virtues. In those faults there is no mixture of deceit, of hypocrisy, of pride, of ferocity, of complexional despotism, or want of feeling for the distresses of mankind.
I confess, I anticipate with joy the reward of those, whose whole consequence, power, and authority, exist only for the benefit of mankind; and I carry my mind to all the people, and all the names and descriptions, that relieved by this bill, will bless the labours of this parliament, and the confideuce which the best House of Commons bas given to him who the best deserves it. The liitle cavils of party will not be heard, where freedow and happiness ivill be felt. There is not a tongue,