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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 4) online

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the late Marquis of Salisbury. From that position he ascended to the
Viceroyalty of India (1899-1905) after a training in official life, gained
as Undersecretary of State for India (1891-92), Undersecretary of
State for Foreign Affairs ( 1895-98) , and in Parliament as a member for
Lancashire (1886-98). Known at home and abroad as an author and
traveler, his extensive explorations in Asia won him the gold medal of
the Royal Geographical Society in 1895. In addition to his well-known
later publications, he is the author of the Lothian Prize Essay, Oxford,
1883, and of the Arnold Prize Essay, 1884. His honors, educational

347



348



LORD CURZON



and scientific, are even more various than those with which his political
talents have been rewarded. Those who feel that ruling, regulatinr^
and elevating others is the responsibility of their birthright may well
feel under the heaviest obligations to Lord Curzon as one of their most
able representatives when he illustrates this idea of "noblesse oblige"
in the strong appeal of such eloquence as that which defines the rela-
tions of "Native Gentlemen at Home and Abroad," to other "natives."



ALL CIVILIZATION AS THE WORK OF ARISTOCRACIES

(From Lord Curzon's Defense of the House of Lords, Delivered at Oldham,

December isth, 1909)

WHAT cant it is, what humbug it is, what insufferable hypoc-
risy it is, to talk about an effete oligarchy, into which you
are perpetually pouring Radical recruits — into this body
which is representative of every class and every service in the Em-
pire — to denounce that as a Tory caucus the greater part of the
members of which have been created by Liberal Prime Ministers,
and to vituperate us as a "House of Landlords" when a great many
of us do not own a single acre of land. [Cheers.]

I hope you will think that I have made out a fair case, at any
rate, as regards the composition of the House of Lords. But you
may say, "What about your acts?" Well, I will take acts; I want
to shirk nothing. Mr. Winston Churchill the other day, in his slap-
dash way of rewriting history, was kind enough to put the ques-
tion: "Have they ever been right?" And, of course, he answered
himself in these words : "In all the great controversies they have
been absolutely wrong." [Hear, hear.] There is a gentleman
who agrees with him, but I am glad to observe that he is only one.
[Cheers.] Well now there are some more. I will take them on.
[Laughter.] I w^ish I had time, but of course I have not this
evening, to go with you through the whole of bygone years, from
the days when, after all, it was the Barons who wrung the great
charter of your freedom from King John. But I may perhaps sum
up all these centuries in two phrases from very eminent men. The
first is a sentence that occurs in the writings of the famous French
writer and free-thinker, Renan, who committed himself to this re-



I,ORD CURZON



349



mark, which I am afraid will rather stagger my friend up there:
"All civilization has been the work of aristocracies." [Cheers, and
cries of dissent.] The second, which will come rather more im-
mediately home to you, is a remark by a famous constitutional
and parliamentary writer, Sir Henry Maine, who lived within the
last fifty years : "It seems to me quite certain that if for four cen-
turies there had been a very widely extended franchise and a very
large electoral body in this country, there would have been no
reformation in religion, no change in dynasty, no toleration of
dissent, not even an accurate calendar. The threshing machine, the
loom, the spinning jenny, and possibly even the steam engine would
have been forbidden." That is a remarkable testimony by a re-
markable man, and it sums up the industrial history of the first thirty
years of the last century, in the time which almost we ourselves re-
member. Was it not to the House of Lords that the Factory Acts,
the Truck Act, the Artizans Dwellings Acts, owed, if not their initi-
ation, at any rate the impulse which drove them into law?



"NATIVE GENTLEMEN" AT HOME AND ABROAD

(From a Speech on the Indian Councils Bill, in the House of Lords, Feb-
ruary, 1909)

MORE than once in his speech the Secretary of State made use of
an analogy against which I hope he will allow me respectfully
to protest, and that was the analogy between the Viceroy's
Council in India and his own Council in Charles Street. There is not
even the remotest resemblance or analogy between the two bodies.
The Council of the Secretary of State is a purely consultative body
of gentlemen, who are engaged in various activities, who see papers
which are laid upon the table, but who can, if necessary, be kept un-
acquainted with all the secret work of government, or at any rate
with all that part of the secret work of government which does not
involve the expenditure of money. The noble Viscount can with
great advantage invite not one but two or three native gentlemen to
sit upon his Council, and their advice to him may be very valuable,
but the situation is entirely different in India. The Council of the



350



IvORD CURZON



Viceroy there is not a consultative body; it is the great executive
body of the country, it is the Cabinet of India. All the functions of
government are concentrated in that body at Calcutta or Simla, and
further they are all divided up between the different members of that
body, each member assuming charge of this department or that, or
of a group of departments. And further, the main feature of the
system in India is that of the common responsibility that prevails.
There is no inner or outer Cabinet, such as we sometimes hear of in
this country; there is only one Cabinet, and because it is small its
members know everything. The Comm ander in Chief in India has
a voice and a vote upon the question of education, just as the legal
member of the Council may give a vote and have an opinion upon
the frontier. What then ensues? That in order to fill this Council
adequately you want men with a double range of capacities. First,
you want a man who has an expert knowledge of the department
over which he is going to be called upon to preside, and secondly you
want him to possess that wide knowledge of men and affairs which
we sum up in the word "statesmanship," which enables a man to
give a vote and to exercise an opinion upon large issues, as to the
details of which he may not be acquainted, but which come before
him in his capacity as a public man.

It is, of course, conceivable that a native gentleman may possess
both those gifts ; he may be an expert and a statesman — there might
be room for him in that capacity, but there is no room for him as a
native. As a qualified person, possibly Yes ; as a native. No. The
noble Viscount to-night asked us whether it would not be a great
shame to exclude a native gentleman of the character that he spoke
of, so highly qualified and able as he was. But the other night,
when laying stress upon that same point he went on to say that it
would be a great advantage to the Governor-General to have the
advice of a man who belongs to the country, and who can give him
the Indian point of view. But that is the racial qualification — he is
going away from the administrative qualification and introducing
the racial qualification. The Secretary of State seemed to think
that because he derives great advantage from native councilors in
London, the Viceroy would derive equal advantage from the assist-
ance of a native member on his Executive Council in India. But
he is not denied the advantage of that assistance whenever he desires



IvORD CURZON oci

it. Every day, every week, that passes he is in consultation and
correspondence with native gentlemen. It is not necessary, to get
native advice in India, to put a man into the Cabinet in order to
obtain it.

May I ask the noble Viscount to consider these questions? If
he recommends his Majesty to appoint, as apparently he intends to
do, a native gentleman on the Council, he may appoint him because
he is the best man and the most competent, but the natives of India
will regard him as having been appointed because he is an Indian,
and for no other reason. If he is a Hindu, will he have the confi-
dence of Mahomedans ? We know he will not. If he is a Mahome-
dan, will he have the confidence of Hindus ? No. If he is a Hindu,
will he have the confidence of Hindus? Strange and paradoxical
as it may seem to say so, there is no one Hindu capable of carrying
the confidence of Hindus generally. Whether he be Hindu or Ma-
homedan, will there not at once be raised an agitation for the ap-
pointment of a corresponding member to represent other sections of
the community, Parsees and others ? Further, for this matter must
be pursued, if he be a Hindu, to what class is he to belong? Is he
to be a blameless and possibly a moderately distinguished official
who has mounted the official grade until he has attained the rank
of Commissioner or Deputy Commissioner? If it is that sort of
man appointed, I say unhesitatingly he will not carry throughout
the country that respect that ought to attach to a member of the
Council. Not only so, his appointment will be received with con-
siderable ill-feeling and agitation among the parties pressing for a
change and who think that, having secured the change, they are en-
titled to put their own representative in the place.

This is a matter of importance. Is the man to be appointed to
be a blameless official, or is he to be the successful political agitator?
I am sure the noble Viscount, if he does not repudiate will deprecate
the latter suggestion, but it is certain that the agitating classes in
India will claim that the native member, if not now, will in the
future be selected from the ranks of their best men. They have
borne the burden and heat of the day ; they have been conspicuously
successful, and are they to be denied access to the seats of the
mighty? It will be a serious matter to consider what class the
member shall be taken from. The noble Lord has said that natives



^£2 ^0^^ CURZON

of India excel in capacity for acquiring legal knowledge and the
administration of the law, and I agree with him. But is the native
member to be appointed to be always a law member? It may be
difficult to find a member who is qualified if he is not a political agi-
tator and not a legal member, and the position may be that in the
future you will have to keep to the appointment of a law member.
Is that to be desired? Looking back over the long history of In-
dian administration, we find distinguished men, such as Lord
Macaulay, Sir J. Fitzstephen, Sir H. Maine, taking their legal
training and forensic ability to India and applying to Indian prob-
lems the resources of their great statesmanlike minds. If it should
come about that in the future the law membership of the Council
must be reserved for a native, if that path is closed and the intel-
lectual flow from England to. India is stopped, I venture to say that
both England and India will suffer from the change.



THE MOST VALUABLE BRITISH ASSET

(From the Inaugural Address of the Edinburgh Philosophical Institution's

Lectures Programme, October, 1909. Delivered in the

Synod Hall, Edinburgh)

INDIA is one of the main fields for the employment of British capi-
tal. That she supplies to us in abundance the raw material of a
great deal of our industry and much of the food on which we
live, and that she furnishes the richest market for our manufactures
are propositions which are widely known. But in what relation the
Indian trade stands to that of the Empire is less realized. One-
tenth of the entire trade of the British Empire passes through the
seaports of India ; and this seaborne trade is more than one-third of
the trade of the Empire outside the United Kingdom. It is greater
than that of Australia and Canada combined, and within the Em-
pire Indian seaborne trade is second only to that of the United King-
dom. India has become the largest producer of food and raw ma-
terial in the Empire and the principal granary of Great Britain,
the imports into the United Kingdom of wheat meal and flour from
India exceeding those of Canada and being double those of Aus-
tralia. At the same time India is the largest purchaser of British
produce and manufactures, and notably of cotton goods. Moreover,



I.ORD CURZON ^eo

it must be remembered that under the existing system EngHsh cot-
ton manufactures imported into India pay a duty only of 3^ per
cent, a countervaiHng excise duty of equivalent amount being at
the same time levied on Indian manufactures. Contrast this with
the heavy tariffs which British goods have to pay in the ports of our
own colonies of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
During the past three years the proportions of the import trade of
India enjoyed by Great Britain have been 45, 48 and 57 millions, or
a percentage of about 67 per cent in each year ; her proportion of the
exports has averaged 26 per cent. I might inundate you with fur-
ther figures, but I think I have said enough to show how excellent a
customer is India of Great Britain and what a part she plays in the
commerce of the Empire. On the other hand, be it remembered that
the whole of the appliances by which this great trade has been built
up — the roads, railroads, canals, harbors, docks, telegraphs, posts,
etc. — have been created during the period of British rule, and
largely by capital supplied from this country. . . .

Many foolish things are written and said in India. Many vain
aspirations are kindled, much yeasty sentiment is evolved. We
have not rendered the task of the rulers more easy by consolidating
the ruled and feeding their minds on a Western diet. But at least we
have raised entire sections of the community from torpor to life,
and have lifted India to a higher moral plane. It is too early to
say whether the eagle will one day be transfixed by the dart that is
feathered with its own wing.

Let me here at once confess that the picture which I have drawn

is not one which the extreme Nationalist in India would accept, any

more than the Irish Nationalist would endorse the views of Whig or

Tory about Ireland. While allowing that his countrymen have

benefited greatly by the influence of Western thought and ideals, the

Indian Radical believes, or affects to believe, that his country is the

worse for British dominion. He argues that attachment to any

foreign masters is ipso facto impossible, and that the only loyalty of

true Indians is to themselves. He depicts India as held by the En-

lish for purposes of commercial and selfish exploitation ; he asks why

any or every post should not be open to him in the administration

of his country. He points to the excise duty on Indian cotton and

'^manufactures as having been imposed exclusively in the interests of
4 — 23



254 ^ORD CURZON

Lancashire — as indeed it was ! He complains that the highest officer
in the native army can never rise to a rank which will allow him
to give orders to the youngest British subaltern. He declares that
the Indian army is kept to fight British battles ; he protests that the
revenues of the country are exhausted in the discharge of foreign
obligations ; and, when challenged about the place of India in the
Empire, he replies that the Empire is nothing to him, since it cannot
insure for the Indian his rights as a British subject in Australia, or
British Columbia, or the Transvaal, Many of these charges ignore
the elementary fact that the rule of India is still, and must for as
long as we can foresee remain, in British hands ; some of them rest
on transparent fallacies or absurd paradoxes. . . .

I trust that my survey of a wide but still only partially covered
field will have been sufficient to convince my hearers that the place of
India in the Empire is one of the most momentous problems of
modern statesmanship. They have followed my attempt to balance
the two sides of the account ; and while I do not ask them to pass a
verdict upon it, while I even refrain from formulating a verdict my-
self, I yet hope that enough has been said to show that India can
no more prosper without the Empire than the Empire can prosper
without India. Each is indispensable to the other, and in their
recognition of this principle lies their mutual happiness and strength.
If I be asked what is my view of the future and how I would meet
its perplexities, I reply that I am not able to lift so much as the
fringe of the curtain, but that I have a very clear idea as to the lines
upon which the British nation and its rulers should proceed. I
would say to them : Show a lively and sympathetic interest in In-
dian affairs ; improve her agriculture ; increase the productive capa-
city of the soil ; extend railways and irrigation ; encourage Indian
manufactures ; coax Indian capital ; develop Indian industries ; foster
co-operation and self-help ; guide her national aspirations into pru-
dent channels ; give her a sense of pride in the Imperial partnership ;
place her at the "high table" in the banquet hall of the Empire states ;
be not unduly disheartened by calumny, or dismayed by violent
deeds; teach India the larger idea and maintain it yourselves!
Above all, remember that India is still the great touchstone of
British character and achievement, and with a high heart and a
sober self-reliance go forward, and persevere to the end !




CALEB GUSHING

(1800-1879)

'aleb Gushing represented a Massachusetts district in the Con-
gress of the United States from 1835 to 1843; was United
States Commissioner to China from 1843 to 1844; was a
Colonel and Brigadier-General in the Mexican War; Attorney-General
under the Pierce administration from 1853 to 1857; Counsel for the
United States before the Geneva Arbitration Tribunal from 1871 to
1872, and Minister to Spain from 1874 to 1877. He was nominated by
President Grant for Chief-Justice in 1873, but the nomination was with-
drawn. He was a great lawyer who aimed to make out his case by
precedents, documentary proofs, historical evidence, and close reason-
ing, rather than by appeals to feeling or sentiment. But in his most
studied efforts of this kind he would sometimes be carried off, appar-
ently against his will, into bursts of passionate eloquence. Active as he
was in public affairs and in the practice of his profession, he found time
to write a number of books. He was born at Salisbury. Massachusetts,
January 17th, 1800, and died at Newburyport, Massachusetts, January
2d, 1879.

The Defense of John Ouincy Adams, delivered in the House of Rep-
resentatives in 1837 by Mr. Gushing, soon ceased to be a mere plea for
the rights of an individual, and became a defiant and most eloquent as-
sertion of what he called, "the primordial rights of the universal peo-
ple." "I disdain to hold these rights by any parchment title," he said.
"The people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the people of
every State of this Union, came into it in the full possession of all these
rights, . . . They are rights of heaven's own giving ; we hold them
by the supreme tenure of revolution ; we hold them by the dread arbitra-
ment of battle ; we hold them by the concession of a higher and broader
charter than all the constitutions in the land ; the free donation of the
eternal God, when he made us to be men." This is clearly an unpre-
meditated outburst of deep feeling, and if the periods of which it is a
part were never afterwards equaled by Mr. Gushing, it is perhaps true
that the expression they give the idea of the "Higher Law" has never
been equaled by any one else.

355



356 CALEB GUSHING



THE PRIMORDIAL RIGHTS OF THE UNIVERSAL PEOPLE

(Delivered in the House of Representatives, February 7th 1837, against Cen-
suring John Quincy Adams for «an Effort to Present a Petition from
Slaves »)

THIS House is called upon to punish my colleague for the
alleged offense of speaking words in his place, and in the
execution of his duty, which give color to the idea that
slaves possess the right of petition. Was it an offense ? And if
so, in what text is the offense defined and the punishment pre-
scribed ? There is no such text. The proposition is to censure
my colleague at the mere will of the House — its arbitrary will —
for an act which offends a portion of its members, by raising the
implication of an erroneous idea. Whither is this precedent to
lead ? Is it not utterly subversive of the freedom of debate ? A
Member is not to utter an opinion, or by words of inquiry insin-
uate an opinion, obnoxious to the rest of the House ? I must
express my surprise — I will not say my indignation, because
that would infer reproach — that gentlemen who continually them-
selves exercise the privilege of debate in its widest latitude —
who stretch it to the farthest verge — who do this in the utter-
ance of opinions offensive to a majority of the House — my pro-
found astonishment that such gentlemen should urge the arbitrary
punishment of my colleague for a pretended abuse of the right
of debate. Or do Members from the South conceive they are to
have the privilege of speech exclusively to themselves ? If so, it
is time they should awake from their self-delusion.

Relying, however, very little on the merits of the question,
gentlemen seek to justify their purpose by other considerations.
To begin, they denounce in no measured terms the distinguish-
ing opinions of Massachusetts on the subject of this great ques-
tion of public liberty, incidental to the resolution before us. They
err most egregiously, if they believe that such opinions are ex-
clusively peculiar to Massachusetts or to New England, Those
opinions prevail quite as extensively in the great States of New
York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, for example, as they do in New
England, They are, indeed, opinions of elemental right lying at
the very bottom of all the political institutions of the country.
It may be that such opinions are more strongly held and more
universally understood in New England than elsewhere in the



CALEB GUSHING



357



United States. I may not deny it. Deny it ? I glory in the
fact. It is the proof and the result of our old and persevering
dedication to liberty.

Gentlemen talk to us of these our great fundamental rights —
as the freedom of speech, of opinion, of petition — as if they were
derived from the Constitution of the United States. I scout such
a doctrine. If there were a drop in my veins that did not rebel
against the sentiment, it would be bastard blood. Sir, I claim to
be descended from the king-killing Roundheads of the reign of
Charles I. through a race of men not unremembered in peace
or war; never backward in the struggles of liberty; a fam-
ily upon the head of a member of which the first price of blood
was set by Great Britain, in revenge of his early devotion to the
cause of independence. I venerate their character and their
principles. I am ready to do as they did — to abandon all the
advantages of country, home, fortune, station — to fly to some
western wilderness — and to live upon a handful of parched corn
and a cup of cold water, with God's blessing on honest independ-
ence — sooner than I will surrender one jot or tittle of those
great principles of liberty which I have sucked in with my
mother's milk. I disdain to hold these rights by any parchment
title. The people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the
people of every State of this Union, came into it in the full pos-
session and fruition of all these rights. We did not constitute
this Government as the means of acquiring new rights, but for
the protection of old ones which nature had conferred upon us;
which the Constitution rightly regards as pre-existing rights, and
as to which all the Constitution does is to provide that these
rights neither you, nor any power on earth, shall alter, abrogate,
or abridge. They are rights of heaven's own giving. We hold
them by the supreme tenure of revolution. We hold them by
the dread arbitrament of battle. We hold them by the conces-
sion of a higher and broader charter than all the constitutions
in the land, — the free donation of the eternal God when he
made us to be men. These, the cardinal principles of human
freedom, he has implanted in us, and placed them before and
behind and around us, for our guard and guidance, like the cloud
by day and the pillar of fire by night, which led the Israelites
through the desert. It is a liberty, native, inborn, original, unde-
rived, imprescriptible, and acknowledged in the Constitution itself



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 4) → online text (page 34 of 39)