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what has passed in the lower house?” He answered, “If it please your Majesty, seven weeks.”—BACON.
OPINIONS.—Charles the Fifth, when he abdicated a throne, and retired to the monastery of St. Juste, amused himself with the mechanical arts, and particularly with that of a watchmaker. He one day exclaimed, “What an egregious fool must I have been to have squandered so much blood and treasure, in an absurd attempt to make men think alike, when I cannot even make a few watches keep time together.”— COLTON. Lacon.
12.-SPEECH AT PLYMOUTH IN 1823.
CANNING. [GEORGE CANNING belongs to our country's history. He was born in 1770, and died in 1827.]
Mr. Mayor and Gentlemen, I accept with thankfulness, and with greater satisfaction than I can express, this flattering testimony of your good opinion and good-will. I must add, that the value of the gift itself has been greatly enhanced by the manner in which your worthy and honourable Recorder has developed the motives which suggested it, and the sentiments which it is intended to convey.
Gentlemen, your Recorder has said very truly, that whoever, in this free and enlightened state, aims at political eminence, and discharges political duties, must expect to have his conduct scrutinized, and every action of his public life sifted with no ordinary jealousy, and with no sparing criticism; and such may have been my lot as much as that of other public men. But, gentlemen, unmerited obloquy seldom fails of an adequate, though perhaps tardy, compensation. I must think myself, as my honourable friend has said, eminently fortunate, if such compensation as he describes, has fallen to me at an earlier period than to many others; if I dare flatter myself (as his partiality has flattered me), that the sentiments that you are kind enough to entertain for me, are in unison with those of the country; if, in addition to the justice done me by my friends, I may, as he has assured me, rely upon a candid construction, even from political opponents.
But, Gentlemen, the secret of such a result does not lie deep.
It consists only in an honest and undeviating pursuit of what one conscientiously believes to be one's public duty-a pursuit which, steadily continued, will, however detached and separate parts of a man's conduct may be viewed under the influence of partialities or prejudices, obtain for it, when considered as a whole, the approbation of all honest and honourable minds. Any man may occasionally be mistaken as to the means most conducive to the end which he has in view; but if the end be just and praiseworthy, it is by that he will be ultimately judged, either by his contemporaries or by posterity.
Gentlemen, the end which I confess I have always had in view, and which appears to me the legitimate object of pursuit to a British Statesman, I can describe in one word. The language of modern philosophy is wisely and diffusely benevolent; it professes the perfection of our species, and the amelioration of the lot of all mankind. Gentlemen, I hope that my heart beats as high for the general interest of humanity-I hope that I have as friendly a disposition towards other nations of the earth, as any one who vaunts his philanthropy most highly; but I am contented to confess, that in the conduct of political affairs, the grand object of my contemplation is the interest of England.
Not, Gentlemen, that the interest of England is an interest which stands isolated and alone. The situation which she holds forbids an exclusive selfishness; her prosperity must contribute to the prosperity of other nations, and her stability to the safety of the world. But, intimately connected as we are with the system of Europe, it does not follow that we are therefore called upon to mix ourselves on every occasion, with a restless and meddling activity, in the concerns of the nations which surround us. It is upon a just balance of conflicting duties, and of rival, but sometimes incompatible, advantages, that a government must judge when to put forth its strength, and when to husband it for occasion yet to come.
Our ultimate object must be the peace of the world. That object may sometimes be best attained by prompt exertions — sometimes by abstinence from interposition in contests which we cannot prevent. It is upon these principles, that, as has been most truly observed by my worthy friend, it did not appear to the government of this country to be necessary that Great Britain should mingle in the recent contest between France and Spain.
Your worthy Recorder has accurately classed the persons who would have driven us into that contest. There were undoubtedly among them those who desired to plunge this country into the difficulties of war, partly from the hope that those difficulties would overwhelm the administration; but it would be most unjust not to admit that there were others who were actuated by nobler principles and more generous feelings, who would have rushed forward at once from the sense of indignation at aggression, and who deemed that no act of injustice could be perpetrated from one end of the universe to the other, but that the sword of Great Britain should leap from its scabbard to avenge it. But as it is the province of law to control the excess even of laudable passions and propensities in individuals, so it is the duty of government to restrain within due bounds the ebullition of national sentiment, and to regulate the course and direction of impulses which it cannot blame. Is there any one among the latter class of persons described by my honourable friend (for to the former I have nothing to say) who continues to doubt whether the government did wisely in declining to obey the precipitate enthusiasm which prevailed at the commencement of the contest in Spain? Is there anybody who does not now think, that it was the office of government to examine more closely all the various bearings of so complicated a question, to consider whether they were called upon to assist a united nation, or to plunge themselves into the internal feuds by which that nation was divided—to aid in repelling a foreign invader, or, to take part in a civil war? Is there any man that does not now see what would have been the extent of burdens that would have been cast upon this country? Is there any one who does not acknowledge that, under such circumstances, the enterprise would have been one to be characterized only by a term borrowed from that part of the Spanish literature with which we are most familiar-Quixotic; an enterprise, romantic in its origin, and thankless in the end ?
But while we thus control even our feelings by our duty, let it not be said that we cultivate peace, either because we fear, or because we are unprepared for, war; on the contrary, if eight months ago the government did not hesitate to proclaim that the country was prepared
for war, if war should be unfortunately necessary, every month of peace that has since passed, has but made us so much the more capable of exertion. The resources created by peace are means of war. In cherishing those resources, we but accumulate those means. sent repose is no more a proof of inability to act, than the state of inertness and inactivity in which I have seen those mighty masses that float in the waters above your town, is a proof they are devoid of strength, and incapable of being fitted out for action. You well know, gentlemen, how soon one of those stupendous masses, now reposing on their shadows in perfect stillness,-how soon, upon any call of patriotism or of necessity, it would assume the likeness of an animated thing, instinct with life and motion-how soon it would ruffle, as it were, its swelling plumage-how quickly it would put forth all its beauty and its bravery, collect its scattered elements of strength, and awaken its dormant thunder. Such as is one of these magnificent machines when springing from inaction into a display of its might-such is England herself, while apparently passive and motionless she silently concentrates the power to be put forth on an adequate occasion. But God forbid that that occasion should arise. After a war sustained for nearly a quarter of a century—sometimes single-handed, and with all Europe arranged at times against her or at her side, England needs a period of tranquillity, and may enjoy it without fear of misconstruction. Long may we be enabled, gentlemen, to improve the blessings of our present situation, to cultivate the arts of peace, to give to commerce, now reviving, greater extension and new spheres of employment, and to confirm the prosperity now generally diffused throughout this island. Of the blessings of peace, gentlemen, I trust that this borough, with which I have now the honour and happiness of being associated, will receive an ample share. I trust the time is not far distant, when that noble structure of which, as I learn from your Recorder, the box with which you have honoured me, through his hands, formed a part, that gigantic barrier against the fury of the waves that roll into your harbour, will protect a commercial marine not less considerable in its kind, than the warlike marine of which your port has been long so distinguished an asylum, when the town of Plymouth will participate in the commercial prosperity as largely as it has hitherto done in the naval glories of England.
13.-SIR ROGER DE COVERLEY.-I.
ADDISON [JOSEPH ADDISON was born on the 1st of May, 1672, at Milston, Wilts, of which parish his father was rector. His early education was at the Charter-house, from which celebrated school he proceeded to Oxford, and obtained a scholarship of Magdalen College. In 1694, he published his first English poem. Men of letters at that period were sought out for public employments. Addison filled several official appointments, for which he seems to have been peculiarly unfitted. With his contemporaries his fame was that of a poet. With us, Cato is forgotten ; the Spectator and Guardian are the best monuments of Addison's genius. He died in 1719.]
[Cowley is a pretty village about two miles from Oxford ; and here some one lived in the days of the Tudors who was famous enough to have his name linked with the pretty dance-tune that has once again become fashionable. But he had a higher honour. The popularity of the dance in the days of Queen Anne gave a name to the most famous character in • The Spectator ;' and ever afterwards the dance itself gathered an accession of dignity even in its name; and plain Roger of Cowley became Sir Roger de Coverley. Some of the most delightful papers of Addison, in which Steele occasionally assisted, are devoted to the fictitious character of Sir Roger. Few people now read • The Spectator' as a whole. One or two of the more celebrated essays, such as . The Vision of Mirza,' find their place in books of extract. The delicate humour of the delineation of Sir Roger de Coverley is always referred to as the highest effort of Addison's peculiar genius; but not many will take the pains to select these sixteen or seventeen papers from the six hundred and thirty which form the entire work. These papers have a completeness about them which show how thoroughly they were written upon a settled plan. Steele appears to have first conceived the character in the second number of The Spectator;' but Addison very soon took it out of his friend's hands, who was scarcely able to carry on the portraiture with that refinement which belonged to Addison's conception of the character. Addison, it is said, killed Sir Roger in the fear that another hand would spoil him.
As a representation of manners a century and a half ago, ture of Sir Roger de Coverley has a remarkable value. knight is thoroughly English; and in him we see a beautiful specimen of the old-fashioned gentleman, with a high soul of honour, real benevolence, acute sense, mixed up with the eccentricities which belong
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