Orations of British Orators: Including Biographical and Critical Sketches - Vol. 2

Orations of British Orators: Including Biographical and Critical Sketches - Vol. 2

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Orations of British Orators: Including Biographical and Critical Sketches - Vol. 2

Orations of British Orators: Including Biographical and Critical Sketches - Vol. 2

Read FREE!

Excerpt

SIR: I am induced, at this period of the debate, to offer my sentiments to the House, both from an apprehension that at a later hour the attention of the House must necessarily be exhausted, and because the sentiment with which the honorable and learned gentleman [Mr. Erskine] began his speech, and with which he has thought proper to conclude it, places the question precisely on that ground on which I am most desirous of discussing it. the learned gentleman seems to assume as the foundation of his reasoning, and as the great argument for immediate treaty, that every effort to overturn the system of the French Revolution must be unavailing; and that it would be not only imprudent, but almost impious, to struggle longer against that order of things which, on I know not what principle of predestination, he appears to consider as immortal. Little as I am inclined to accede to this opinion, I am not sorry that the honorable gentleman has contemplated the subject in this serious view. I do, indeed, consider the French Revolution as the severest trial which the visitation of Providence has ever yet inflicted upon the nations of the earth; but I cannot help reflecting, with satisfaction, that this country, even under such a trial, has not only been exempted from those calamities which have covered almost every other part of Europe, but appears to have been reserved as a refuge and asylum to those who fled from its persecution, as a barrier to oppose its progress, and perhaps ultimately as an instrument to deliver the world from the crimes and miseries which have attended it.

Under this impression, I trust the House will forgive me, if I endeavor, as far as I am able, to take a large and comprehensive view of this important question. in doing so, I agree with my honorable friend [Mr. Canning] that it would, in any case, be impossible to separate the present discussion from the former . . .

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