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authority is feeble and insignificant. In Greece and Rome it rose by assiduous culture to the loftiest pitch of refinement, and the history of those Commonwealths confirms, by innumerable proofs, the truth that "Eloquence is power."
But no where has a condition of things prevailed holding out stronger incitements to its acquirement, or more auspicious opportunities for its profitable exertion than in the United States. In the peculiar construction of our political institutions, there are advantages to the orator which did not belong even to the ancient democracies. The complex fabrick of our federative system, has multiplied beyond the example of any government, legislative assemblies and judiciary establishments: each of which is not only a school of eloquence, but a field, yielding an abundant harvest of fame and emolument. It is, indeed, in our Republick a never failing source both of honour and of riches. Without the charmful power of fluent speech, no man, however ambitious, can expect very ample or lucrative practice at the bar, or an elevated situation in the senate. The road to political preferment is nearly impassable to all but the rhetorical adventurer. A silent lawyer has but few fees, and narrow is the congregation of a hesitating divine. Eloquence, in the language of a favourite friend,* may truly be considered, in every country where the freedom of speech is indulged, as synonymous with civick honours, wealth, dignity, and might. In the last particular its potency is
* Mr. Dennie.
that of a magician. "It wields at will our fierce De"It shakes the arsenal," and thunders to the utmost verge of our political sky, as Demosthenes
"Fulmined over Greece
To Macedon and Artaxerxes' throne."
The editor, in preparing this compilation for the press, felt none of the incitements of literary ambition, nor does he now arrogate any of the pretensions of authorship. The motives, which led him to undertake it, were of a very different kind. He contemplated it as an enterprise, certainly of a useful, splendid, and honourable nature, peculiarly calculated to recreate his leisure, and to deceive the burthens of an anxious and arduous profession.
Having thus, incidentally, alluded to his walk in life, he hopes that neither his medical brethren, nor the publick at large, will deem him a reprehensible wanderer, though, in the intervals of professional duty, he has excursed to the Bar or the Senate to make no inaccurate report of the dexterity of wit, and the dictates of wisdom, the sagacity of statesmen, and the eloquence of orators.
By the mythology of the ancients, which has often a fine, though not always an obvious moral, we are instructed that the study and practice of physick was most conspicuously connected with the love of the liberal arts, and of polite literature.
In a mood of no censurable enthusiasm may the Editor exclaim, as to an Apollo, the tutelary God
not only of the diciples of Esculapius, but of the votaries of the Muses:
"Phœbe fave, novus ingreditur tua templa sacerdos."
The Editor trusts, perhaps, too sanguinely, that though the contents of this compilation may not equal extravagant expectations yet, at least, that the industry it displays may deserve publick favour. A splendid specimen of oratory like one of the Cartoons of Raphael, or one of the Landscapes of Claude, is a beautiful picture that will affect us, however it be disposed. Materials such as form the basis of this work must have their value under the hand of the humblest workman. Here as we alternately mark the pure style, and purer doctrines of Pitt, the rapid elocution of Fox, the variegated imagery of Burke, the meteor scintillations of Curran, the pungent sarcasms of Sheridan, and the benignant sentiments of Wilberforce, we discover now the vigour of Hercules, and now the frolick of a Bacchant, with all the delightful shapes of mental grace and beauty.
LORD CHATHAM'S SPEECH
IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS ON A MOTION MADE BY THE DUKE OF RICHMOND, ON THE 2d OF NOVEMBER 1770, CALLING ON THE MINISTRY FOR CERTAIN DOCUMENTS RESPECTING THE RELATIONS OF THE COUNTRY WITH THE COURT OF SPAIN.
FEW of the speeches of William Pitt, the elder, have been preserved. The whole of the sublime effusions which he poured out with such impetuous energy against the measures of the Walpole administration, were permitted to perish, by a strange insensibility to their value.
Diligent as our researches have been, we have not met with one speech of that, or even of a much later period, which we could consider as genuine. Those which were reported during the series of years alluded to, whatever may be their excellence, are indubitably spurious. It is now perfectly well ascertained that they were composed by Guthrie, Johnson, and Hawkesworth, who, in succession, conducted the history of the proceedings of parliament; sometimes from imperfect notes, casually supplied, but more frequently without any further clue than the mere knowledge of the subject of debate, and a general outline of the course pursued by the different speakers. It is, indeed, related, with sufficient probability, that it became a matter of reproach with Johnson in the decline of his life, that he should have practised such an imposition on the world. The celebrated reply of Pitt to Walpole, we know, on the authority of that great man, was written by him in the obscurity of a garret, while depressed by the gloom
of poverty, and haunted by all the spectres of a dedesolate condition.
Anteriour to the year 1770, we can confidently pronounce that there is no faithful record of Chatham's eloquence. After this time, a very small number of his speeches were accurately reported by a friend. Of these the greater part will be found in our selection. We commence with a speech delivered in support of a motion made by the duke of Richmond on the 22d of November, 1770; "To present an address to his majesty, requesting that he would be graciously pleased to give orders, that there be laid before the House copies or extracts of all letters and papers received by the ministry, between the 12th of September 1769 and the 12th of September 1770, containing any intelligence of hostilities commenced, or intended to be commenced, by the court of Spain, or any of their officers, against any of his majesty's dominions, and the times at which such intelligence was received."
This motion was in consequence of the seizure of the Falkland islands by the Spaniards, intelligence of which had recently been received in England.
For two centuries subsequently to the discovery of these islands, no one of the European powers attempted to colonize, or even to lay an exclusiveclaim to them. They held forth very slight inducements either to commercial enterprise or political ambition, and were therefore neglected.
But the British government conceiving at length that they presented some advantages as a naval post, sent out a small force and took possession of the most valuable of them in the year 1764. Nearly about the same time, France made a similar settlement on another of the islands. These establishments were viewed with extreme jealousy and dissatisfaction by the court of Madrid, who addressed to each of the two powers an urgent remonstrance, complaining of a violent and unjust encroachment on her dominions. With France the representation produced the desired effect. But with England it was unavailing. The