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your laws. However, a government, be it as bad as it may, will, in the exercise of a discretionary power, discriminate times and persons; and will not ordinarily pursue any man, when its own safety is not concerned. A mercenary informer knows no distinction. Under such a system, the obnoxious people are slaves, not only to the government, but they live at the
every individual; they are at once the slaves of the whole community, and of every part of it; and the worst, and most unmerciful men are those on whose goodness they most depend. In this situation men not only shrink from the frowns of a stern magistrate, but they are obliged to fly from their very species. The seeds of destruction are sown in civil intercourse, in social habitudes. The blood of wholesome kindred is infected. Their tables and beds are surrounded with snares. All the means given by Providence to make life safe and comfortable, are perverted into instruments of terror and torment. This species of universal subserviency, that makes the very servant who waits behind your
chair the arbiter of your life and fortune, has such a tendency to degrade and abase mankind, and to deprive them of that assured and liberal state of mind, which alone can make us what we ought to be, that I vow to God I would sooner bring myself to put a man to inmediate death for opinions I disliked, and so to get rid of the man and his opinions at once, than to fret him with a feverish being, tainted with the jail-distemper of a contagious servitude, to keep him above ground, an animated mass of putrefaction, corrupted himself, and corrupting all about him. The act repealed was of this direct tendency, and it was made in the manner which I have related to you. I will now tell you by whom the bill of repeal was brought into Parliament. I find it has been industriously given out in this ciiy, (from kindness to me urquestionably) that I was the mover or the seconder. The fact is, I did not once open my lips on the subject during the whole progress of the bill. That great work was in hands in every respect far better qualified than mine. The mover of the bill was Sir George Savile.' Of that gentleman, and its seconder, Mr. Dunning, Mr. Burke then draws the following character:
· When an act of great and signal humanity was to be done, and done with all the weight and authority that belonged to it, the world could cast its eyes upon none but him. I hope that few things, which have a tendency to bless or to adorn life, have wholly escaped my observation in my passage through it. I have sought the acquaintance of that gentleman, and have seen him in all situations. He is a true genius ; with an understanding vigorous, and acute, and refined, and distinguishing even to excess; and illuminated with a most unbounded, peculiar, and original cast of imagination. With these he possesses many external and instrumental advantages; and he makes use of them all. His fortune is among the largest ; a fortune which, wholly unincumbered, as it is, with one single
charge from luxury, vanity, or excess, sinks under the benevolence of its dispenser. This private benevolence, expanding itself into patriotism, renders his whole being the estate of the public, in which he has not reserved a peculium for himself of profit, diversion, or relaxation. During the session, the first in, and the last out of the House of Commons; he passes from the senate to the
camp; and, seldom seeing the seat of his ancestors, he is always in parliament to serve his country, or in the field to defend it. But in all well-wrought compositions, some particulars stand out more eminently than the rest ; and the things which will carry his name to posterity are his two bills; I mean that for a limitation of the claims of the Crown upon landed estates; and this for the relief of the Roman Catholics. By the former, he has emancipated property; by the latter, he has quieted conscience; and by both, he has taught that grand lesson to government and subject,no longer to regard each other as adverse parties.
* Such was the mover of the act that is complained of by men, who are not quite so good as he is; an act, most assuredly: not brought in by him from any partiality to that sect which is the object of it. For, among his faults, I really cannot help reckoning a greater degree of prejudice against that people than becomes so wise a
I know that he inclines to a sort of disgust, mixed with a considerable degree of asperity, to the system ; and he has few, or rather no habits with any of its professors,
What he has done was on quite other motives. The motives were these, which he declared in his excellent speech on his motion for the bill; namely, his extreme zeal to the Protestant religion, which he thought utterly disgraced by the act of 1699; and his rooted hatred to all kind of oppression, under
any colour or upon an pretence whatsoever,
· The seconder was worthy of the mover, and the motion. I was not the seconder it was Mr. Dunning, Recorder of this city.