David J. (David Josiah) Brewer.

Crowned masterpieces of eloquence, representing the advance of civilization, as collected in The world's best orations, from the earliest period to the present time (Volume 10) online

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day, not to discourage or depress the energies of the people, but
to awaken my countrymen to a sense of their perilous situation,
in order that they may gird up their loins and meet it in a
manner becoming the intelligent, free citizens of America. The
present, it is true, is dark, and filled with the elements of the
tempest; but in the sky of the future the star of hope is still
burning with all its ancient lustre. I believe in its promises of
returning prosperity, honor, and unity to this Government. Aye,
sir, hope, hope, the sweet comforter of the weary hours of an-
guish, the merciful and benignant angel, walking forever by the
side of mourning sorrow, the soothing, ministering spirit of
every human woe, the stay and support of great nations in their
trials, as well as of feeble men; hope, that never dies nor sleeps,
but shares its immortality with the soul itself, will bear us
through the Red Sea and the wilderness that are before us. I
indulge, Mr. Speaker, in this hope, and cherish it as my friend
— a friend that always smiles and points upward and onward to
bright visions beyond the baleful clouds which now envelop us
as a shroud. But the basis of this hope with me is the future
action of the people themselves. In the wise, patriotic, and
Christian conduct of the American people, I behold this nation
lifted up again from its prostration, purified of its bloody pollu-
tion, robed in the shining garments of peace; the furious demon
of civil war, which has rended us and caused us to sit howling
amidst the tombs of the dead, cast out by the spirit of the' omni-
potent and merciful Master, who walked upon the waters, and
bade the winds be still. I expect to see the people raise up the
Constitution of our dear and blessed fathers from the deep de-
gradation of its enemies as Moses reared aloft the brazen ser-
pent amidst the stricken children of Israel for the healing of a
nation. I expect to see them, wielding the sword in one hand


and appealing to the ballot box with the other, crush and hurl
from power corrupt and seditious agitators against the peace and
stability of this Union, armed and unarmed, in the North as well
as in the South. I expect to see a Congress succeed this, com-
ing fresh from the loyal and honest masses, reflecting their pure
and unsullied love for the institutions handed down to us from
the days of Revolutionary glory. To this end let all good men
everywhere bend their energies. Then will come again the glory
and the happiness of our past — those days of purity, of peace,
and of brotherly love, over which all America now mourns as
the Jewish captive who wept by the waters of Babylon and re-
fused to sing because Judea was desolate. This Union will be
restored, armed rebellion and treason will give way to peaceful
allegiance, but not until the ancient moderation and wisdom of
the founders of the Republic control once more in this Capitol.
Unnatural, inhuman hate, the accursed spirit of unholy venge-
ance, the wild and cruel purposes of unreasoning fanaticism, the
debasing lust of avarice and plunder, the unfair and dishonest
schemes of sectional aggrandizement, must all give way to the
higher and better attributes and instincts of the human heart.
In their place must reign the charitable precepts of the Bible
and the conservative doctrines of the Constitution; and on these
combined it is my solemn conviction that the Union of these
States will once more be founded as upon a rock which man
cannot overthrow, and which God in his mercy will not.



Jhe poet Waller played a celebrated if ignominious part in the
revolution against the Stuarts. He entered Parliament at
the age of sixteen, and before the close of the Short Parlia-
ment of 1640 he had already acquired such prominence as an advocate
of parliamentary supremacy that the Long Parliament chose him to
impeach Justice Crawley, one of the judges whose subserviency to
the King had made possible the Ship-Money decision under which the
King sought to collect taxes that had not been levied by law. Wal-
ler's speech against Crawley shows great ability, and the reader ought
not to allow the force of its argument to be impaired by the tradi-
tion that when Waller and others formed a combination to check the
Radical leaders in Parliament, he behaved with << abject meanness,*'
when arrested saving his own life by informing against his associates.
He was banished by Parliament, but Cromwell allowed him to return,
and he was in considerable favor at court after the restoration of the
Stuarts. He showed his moral and intellectual versatility by a poem
lamenting the death of Cromwell, followed not very long afterwards
by an ode rejoicing at the ^* happy return '* of Charles II. Charles,
who, because Vane had a conscience, sent him to the scaffold, laughed
at Waller for his lack of it, took him into favor and allowed him to
be returned to Parliament, where it is said his wit made him ^* the
delight of the House. *> He died in 1687, in his eighty-second year.


^Impeaching Justice Crawley in the Case of Ship Money Between the King
and John Hampden, Delivered July 6th, 1641)

My Lords: —

1AM commanded by the House of Commons to present you with
these articles against Mr. Justice Crawley, which when your
lordships shall have been pleased to hear read, I shall take
leave according to custom, to say something of what I have col-
lected from the sense of that House, concerning the crimes therein




[Then the charge was read, containing his extraitidicial opinions subscribed,
and judgment given for Ship !Moncy ; and after a declaration in his charge at
an assize, that Ship Money was so inherent a right in the Crown, that it
would not be in the power of a Parliament to take it away.]

My lords, not only my wants, but my affections, render me
less fit for this employment; for though it has not been my hap-
piness to have the law a part of my breeding, there is no man
honors that profession more, or has a greater reverence towards
the grave judges, the oracles thereof. Out of Parliament, all our
courts of justice are governed or directed by them; and when a
Parliament is called, if your lordships were not assisted by them,
and the House of Commons by other gentlemen of that robe,
experience tells us it might run a hazard of being styled Parlia-
mentum indoctoruvi. But as all professions are obnoxious to the
malice of the professors, and by them most -easily betrayed, so,
my lords, these articles have told you how these brothers of the
coif are become fratres m malo ; how these sons of the law have
torn out the bowels of their mother; but the judge, whose charge
you last heard, in one expression of his excels no less his fel-
lows than they have done the worst of their predecessors in this
conspiracy against the Commonwealth. Of the judgment for Ship
Money, and those extrajudicial opinions preceding the same (where-
in they are jointly concerned) you have already heard; how un-
just and pernicious a proceeding that was, in so public a cause,
has been sufficiently expressed to your lordships; but this man,
adding despair to our misery, tells us from the bench that Ship
Money was a right so inherent in the Crown, that it would not
be in the power of any act of Parliament to take it away. Herein,
my lords, he did not only give as deep a wound to the Common-
wealth as any of the rest, but dipped his dart in such a poison,
that, as far as in him lay, it might never receive a cure. As by
those abortive opinions, subscribing to the subversion of our
property, before he heard what could be said for it, he prevented
his own; so by this declaration of his he endeavors to prevent
the judgment of your lordships too, and to confine the power of
a Parliament, the only place where this mischief might be re-
dressed. Sure, he is more wise and learned than to believe him-
self in this opinion, or not to know how ridiculous it would appear
to a Parliament and how dangerous to himself; and therefore, no
doubt, but by saying no Parliament could abolish this judgment,
this meaning was, that this judgment had abolished Parliaments.



This imposition of Ship Money springing from a pretended
necessity was it not enough that it was now grown annual, but
he must entail it upon the state forever, — making necessity inher-
ent to the Crown, and slavery to the subject ? Necessity, which,
dissolving all law, is so much more prejudicial to his Majesty
than to any of us, by how much the law has invested the royal
state with a greater power and ample fortune: for so undoubted
a truth it has ever been, that kings as well as subjects are in-
volved in the confusion which necessity produces, that the heathen
thought their gods also obliged by the same: Pareainus necessi-
tatis quavi nee homines nee dii superant. This judge then having
in his charge at the assize declared the dissolution of the law,
by this supposed necessity, with what conscience could he, at the
same assize, proceed to condemn and punish men, unless, perhaps,
he meant the law was still in force for our destruction, and not
for our preservation ; that it should have power to kill, and none
to protect us ? A thing no less horrid than if the sun should
burn without lighting us, or the earth serv^e only to bury, and not
to feed and nourish us. But, my lords, to demonstrate that it
was a supposititious, imposed necessity, and such as they could
remove when they pleased, at the last convention in Parliament,
a price was set upon it; for twelve subsidies you may reverse this
sentence. It may be said that so much money would have re-
moved the present necessity; for twelve subsidies you shall never
suffer necessity again, you shall forever abolish that judgment.
Here this mystery is revealed, this visor is pulled off; and now it
appears that this Parliament of judges hath very frankly and boun-
tifully presented his majesty with twelve subsidies, to be levied
on your lordships and the commons. Certainly there is no privi-
lege which more properly belongs to us than to open the purse
of a subject; and yet these judges, who are neither capable of
sitting amongst us in the House of Commons, nor with your lord-
ships otherwise than your assistants, have not only assumed to
themselves the privilege of Parliament, but presumed at once to
make a present to the Crown of all that either your lordships or
the commons of England do or shall hereafter possess.

And because this man has had the boldness to put the power
of Parliament in balance with the opinion of the judges, I shall
entreat your lordships to observe, by way of comparison, the
solemn and safe proceeding of the one, with the precipitate dis-
patch of the other. In Parliament (as your lordships know well)
10 — 5


no new law can pass, or old be abrogated, till it has been thrice
read with your lordships, thrice in the Commons House, then it
receives the royal assent; so that it is like gold seven times pur-
ified: whereas these judges, by this one resolution of theirs, would
persuade his Majesty that by naming necessity, he might at once
dissolve (at least suspend) the Great Charter, thirty-two times
confirmed by his royal progenitors, the Petition of Right, and all
other laws provided for the maintainance of the right and prop-
erty of the subject. A strange force, my lords, in the sound of
this word necessity, that like a charm it should silence the laws,
while we are despoiled of all we have; for that but a part of our
goods were taken was owing to the grace and goodness of the
King; for so much as concerns these judges, we have no more
left than they, perhaps, may deserve to have, when your lord-
ships shall have passed judgment upon them for this neglect of
their oaths, and betraying that public trust, which, for the con-
servation of our laws, was reposed in them.

Now for the cruelty and unmercifulness of this judgment you
may please to remember that in the old law they are forbid to
seethe a kid in his mother's milk; of which the received inter-
pretation is, that we should not use that to the destruction of
any creature, which w^as intended for its preservation. Now, my
lords, God and nature have given us the sea as our best guard
against our enemies; and our ships as our greatest glory above
other nations; and how barbarously would these men have let in
the sea upon us at once to wash away our liberties, and to over-
whelm, if not our land, all the property we have therein, making
the supply of our navy a pretense for the ruin of our nation!
For observe, I beseech you, the fruit and consequence of this
judgment, how this money has prospered, how contrary an effect
it has had to the end for which they pretended to take it. On
every county a ship is annually imposed; and who would not ex-
pect but our seas by this time should be covered by the number
of our ships ? Alas, my lords, the daily complaints of the decay
of our navy tell us how ill Ship Money has maintained the sov-
ereignty of the sea; and by the many petitions which we receive
from the wives of those miserable captives at Algiers (being
between four and five thousand of our countrymen) it does too
evidently appear that to make us slaves at home is not the way
to keep us from being made slaves abroad. So far has this judg-
ment been from relieving the present, or preventing the future


necessity, that as it changed our real property into a shadow of
a property, so of a feigned it is made a real necessity.

A little before the approach of the Gauls to Rome, while the
Romans had yet no apprehension of that danger, there was heard
a voice in the air, louder than ordinary: ^^The Gauls are come'^;
which cry, after they had sacked the city and besieged the capi-
tol, was held so ominous that Livy relates it as a prodigy. This
anticipation of necessity seems to have been no less ominous to
us. These judges, like ill-boding birds, have called necessity upon
the State in a time, which I dare say they thought themselves in
greatest security. But if it seem superstitious to take this as an
omen, sure I am we may look on it as a cause of the unfeigned
necessity we now suffer: For what regret and discontent had
this judgment bred among us ? And as when the noise and
tumult in a private house grows so loud as to be heard in the
streets and calls in the next dwellers, either kindly to appease, or
to make their own use of domestic strife, so in all likelihood our
known discontentments at home have been a concurrent cause
to invite our neighbors to visit us, so much to the expense and
trouble of both these kingdoms.

And here, my lords, I cannot but take notice of the most sad
effect of this oppression, the ill influence it has had upon the
ancient reputation and valor of the English nation; and no won-
der, for if it be true that oppression makes a wise man mad, it
may well suspend the courage of the valiant. The same happened
to the Romans, when, for renown in arms, they most excelled
the rest of the world; the story is but short. It was in the time
of the Decemviri (and I think the chief troublers of our state
may make up that number). The Decemviri, my lords, had sub-
verted the laws, suspended the courts of justice, and (which was
the greatest grievance both to the nobility and people) had, for
some time, omitted to assemble the senate, which was their Par-
liament. This, says the historian, did not only deject the Ro-
mans, and make them despair of their liberty, but caused them
to be less valued by their neighbors. The Sabines take the
advantage, and invade them; and now the Decemviri are forced
to call a long-desired senate, whereof the people were so glad,
'•'• hostibus belloque gratiam habiieriint ?'* This assembly breaks up
in discontent; nevertheless, the war proceeds; forces are raised,
led by some of the ' Decemviri, and with the Sabines they meet
in the field. I know your lordships expect the event; my


author's words of his countrymen are these: ^'■Nequid diictu aut
anspicio decemvirorum prospcre gererctur, vinci se patiebantiir ? **
— They chose rather to suffer a present diminution of their honor
than by victory to confirm the tyranny of their new masters.
At their return from their unfortunate expedition, after some
distempers and expostulations of the people, another senate, that
is, a second Parliament, is called; and there the Decemviri are
questioned, deprived of their authority, imprisoned, banished, and
some lose their lives: and soon after this vindication of their lib-
erties, the . Romans, by their better success, made it appear to
the world that liberty and courage dwell always in the same
breast and are never to be divorced. No doubt, my lords, but
your justice shall have the like effect upon this dispirited people.
It is not the restitution of our ancient laws alone, but the res-
toration of our ancient courage, which is expected from your
lordships. I need not say anything to move your just indigna-
tion, that this man should so cheaply give away that which your
noble ancestors, with so much courage and industry, had so long
maintained. You have often been told how careful they were,
though with the hazard of their lives and fortunes, to transmit
those rights and liberties as entire to posterity as they received
them from their fathers: what they did Vv'ith labor, you may do
with ease; what they did with danger, you may do securely.
The foundation of our laws is not shaken with the engine of
war; they are only blasted with the breath of these men, and by
your breath they may be restored.

What judgment your predecessors have given, and what pun-
ishment their predecessors have suffered for offenses of this nat-
ure, your lordships have already been so well informed, I shall
not trouble you with a repetition of those precedents. Only, my
lords, something I shall take leave to observe of the person with
whose charge I have presented you, that you may the less doubt
of the willfulness of his offense. His education in the Inns of
Court, his constant practice as a counselor, and experience as a
judge, considered with the mischief he has done, makes it appear
that this progress of his through the law has been like that of a
diligent spy, through a country into which he meant to conduct
an enemy.

To let you see he did not offend for company, there is one
crime so peculiar to himself, and of such malignity, that it makes
him at once incapable of your lordships' favor, and his own sub-



sistence incompatible with the right and property of the subject.
For if you leave him in a capacity of interpreting the laws,
has he not declared his opinion that your votes and resolutions
against Ship Money are void, and that it is not in the power of
Parliament to abolish that judgment ? To him, my lords, that
has thus pla)7'ed with the power of Parliament, we may well apply
what was once said to a goat browsing on a vine: —

*^ Rode, caper, vitem, tamen hinc cum stabis ad aras.
In tua quod fundi cornua possit, erit.^^

He has cropt and infringed the privileges of a banished Par-
liament; but now it is returned, he may find it has power enough
to make a sacrifice of him to the better establishment of our
laws; and in truth, what other satisfaction can he make his in-
jured country than to confirm by his example those rights and
liberties which he had ruined by his opinion ? For the proofs,
my lords, they are so manifest, that they will give you little
trouble in the disquisition; his crimes are already upon record;
the delinquent and the witness is the same; having from several
seats of judicatiare proclaimed himself an enemy to our laws and
nation ex ore siio jiidicabitiir . To which purpose I am com-
manded by the knights, citizens, and burgesses of the House of
Commons to desire your lordships that a speedy proceeding may
be had against Mr. Justice Crawley, as the course of Parliament
will permit.


(1676-1745; 1717-1797)

|iR Robert Walpole, Prime Minister of England from 1721 to
1742, stands in the history of his time for the idea which
inspired the Sacheverell impeachment — that of "the lawful-
ness of resistance to -unlawful authority.'* This central idea of the
English Whigs of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was not
a democratic idea, but rather the modern manifestation of the same
impulse under which the English barons forced King John to sign
the Magna Charta. The English Whigs of the school to which Wal-
pole belonged believed in the use of force to expel any King who
violated the Constitution, but they were as much opposed to Crom-
well, backed by his Ironsides, as they were to Charles in the asser-
tion of his prerogative.

Sir Robert Walpole was born at Houghton in Norfolk, and edu-
cated at Cambridge. He entered Parliament in 170 1. In 1705 he was
appointed to the Council of Queen Anne's husband, Prince George of
Denmark. In 1708 he became Secretary of War (<< Secretary-at-War >*)
and in 17 10 Treasurer of the Navy. It is said that he did not ap-
prove the impeachment of Sacheverell, but he acted as one of the
managers for the House of Commons in conducting it. On the defeat
of the Whigs which followed it, he became one of the leaders of the
opposition in the House of Commons, and made himself so formidable
to the Tories that they expelled him from the House and sent him
to the Tower on charges of personal corruption now admitted to
have been false. After the return of the Whigs to power under
George I., Walpole was advanced until he became First Lord of the
Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer (1715-17 and 1721-42), On
the ninth of February, 1742, he was raised to the peerage as Earl of
Orford. Two days later he retired from office and lived in privacy
at his country seat in Norfolk imtil his death, March i8th, 1745.

Horace Walpole, his third son, was born at London, October 5th,
17 17. Entering Parliament in 1741, he attracted attention, not only
because of his father's position, but of his own marked talent. His
career as a public man did not satisfy him, however, and he retired
in 1768, devoting the rest of his life to literature. He became fourth
Earl of Orford in 179 1, and died at London, March 2d, 1797. Of his
numerous works his letters have been most admired by the critical,



but his romance, <The Castle of Otranto,> is perhaps the best known
to the general public. As orators, the Walpoles do not compare with
the elder and younger Pitt, but Sir Robert Walpole occupied a posi-
tion in English history by reason of which he must always command
attention among parliamentary speakers, while Horace is entitled to
a similar if less marked consideration, if for no other reason than
that he provoked Pitt to one of his first great outbursts of eloquence.

(House of Commons, March loth, 1741)

[In the celebrated debate with the elder Pitt, the speech which provoked
Pitt's reply has been attributed to Sir Robert Walpole, but in Doctor Samuel
Johnson's < Parliamentary Debates > for 1741, from the text of which (in the
original edition) the debate is here republished, the speech to which Pitt re-
plied is attributed to Horatio. The debate was on a proposition to limit the
wages of sailors to thirty-five shillings a month.]

SIR Robert Walpole : — Sir, the present business of this assem-
bly is to examine the clause before us; but to deviate from
so necessary an inquiry into loud exclamations against the
whole bill is to obstruct the course of the debate, to perplex our
attention, and interrupt the House in its deliberation upon ques-
tions in the determination of which the security of the public is
nearly concerned. The war, sir, in which we are now engaged,
and, I may add, engaged by the general request of the whole na-
tion, can be prosecuted only by the assistance of the seamen, from
whom it is not to be expected that they will sacrifice their im-
mediate advantage to the security of their country. Public spirit,
where it is to be found, is the result of reflection, refined by study,
and exalted by education, and is not to be hoped for among
those whom low fortune has condemned to perpetual drudgery.
It must be therefore necessary to supply the defects of education
and to produce by salutary coercions those effects which it is vain

Online LibraryDavid J. (David Josiah) BrewerCrowned masterpieces of eloquence, representing the advance of civilization, as collected in The world's best orations, from the earliest period to the present time (Volume 10) → online text (page 6 of 56)