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were marshalled by the heralds under Garter King-at-arms. The judges in their vestments of state attended to give advice on points of law. The gray old walls were hung with scarlet. The long galleries were crowded by an audience such as has rarely excited the fears or the emulation of an orator. There were gathered together, from all parts of a great, free, enlightened, and prosperous empire, grace and female loveliness, wit and learning, the representatives of every science and of every art. There were seated round the Queen the fair-haired young daughters of the House of Brunswick. There the ambassadors of great kings and commonwealths gazed with admiration on a spectacle which no other country in the world could present. There Siddons, in the prime of her majestic beauty, looked with emotion on a' scene surpassing all the imitations of the stage. There the historian of the Roman Empire thought of the days when Cicero pleaded the cause of Sicily against Verres, and when, before a senate which still retained some show of freedom, Tacitus thundered against the oppressor of Africa. There were seen, side by side, the greatest painter and the greatest scholar of the age. The spectacle had allured Reynolds from that easel which has preserved to us the thoughtful foreheads of so many writers and statesmen and the sweet smiles of so many noble matrons. It had induced Parr to suspend his labors in that dark and profound mine from which he had extracted a vast treasure of erudition-a treasure too often buried in the earth, too often paraded with injudicious and inelegant ostentation, but still precious, massive and splendid.
“The sergeants made proclamation. Hastings advanced to the bar, and bent his knee. The culprit was indeed not unworthy of that great presence. He had ruled an extensive and populous country, had made laws and treaties, had sent forth armies, had set up and pulled down princes. And in his high place he had so borne himself that all had feared him, that most had loved him, and that hatred itself could deny him no title to glory except virtue. He looked like a great man, and not like a bad man.
“ His counsel accompanied him, men all of whom were afterwards raised by their talents and learning to the highest posts in their profession. But neither the culprit nor his advocates attracted są much notice as the accusers. There were Fox and Sheridan, the English Demosthenes and the English Hyperides. There was Burke, ignorant, indeed, or negligent, of the art of adapting his reasonings and his style to the capacity and taste of his hearers, but in amplitude of comprehension and richness of imagination superior to every orator, ancient or modern.
“The charges and the answers of Hastings were first read. The ceremony occupied two whole days. On the third day Burke rose. Four sittings were occupied by his opening speech, which was intended to be a general introduction to all the charges. With an exuberance of thought and a splendor of diction which more than satisfied the highly raised expectation of the audience, he described the character and institutions of the natives of India, recounted the circumstances in which the Asiatic empire of Britain had originated, and set forth the constitution of the Company and of the English presidencies. Having thus attempted to communicate to his hearers an idea of Eastern society as vivid as that which existed in his own mind, he proceeded to arraign the administration of Hastings as systematically conducted in defiance of morality and public law. The energy and pathos of the great orator extorted expressions of unwonted admiration from the stern and hostile Chancellor, and, for a moment, seemed to pierce even the resolute heart of the defendant. The ladies in the galleries, unaccustomed to such displays of eloquence, excited by the solemnity of the occasion, and perhaps not unwilling to display their taste and sensibility, were in a state of uncontrollable emotion. Handkerchiefs were pulled out; smelling-bottles were handed round; hysterical sobs and screams were heard; and Mrs. Sheridan was carried out in a fit. At length the orator concluded. Raising his voice till the old arches of Irish oak resounded, “Therefore,' said he, 'hath it with all confidence been ordered by the Commons of Great Britain, that I impeach Warren Hastings of high crimes and misdemeanors. I impeach him in the name of the Commons' House of Parliament, whose trust he has betrayed. I impeach him in the name of the English nation, whose ancient honor he has sullied. I impeach him in the name of the people of India, whose rights he has trodden underfoot, and whose country he has turned into a desert. Lastly:
in the name of human nature itself, in the name of both sexes, in the name of every age, in the name of every rank, I impeach the common enemy and oppressor of all.”
The trial thus begun lasted for fourteen years and ended with the acquittal of the defendant. Those years of labor, however, were not thrown away. The fruit of Burke's efforts has been a century and a quarter of better government for a nation of two hundred and fifty millions of people.
When the French Revolution broke out in 1789, Burke viewed the movement with alarm and hostility. Some of his critics have accused him of inconsistency because, while he supported the Americans in their resistance to tyranny, he opposed the French. In reality he was thoroughly consistent. In upholding the Americans he felt that he was defending the ancient British principle, "No taxation without representation." In opposing the French he believed that he was likewise defending an established system of government against the attacks of radicals. As a matter of fact Burke was the High Priest, as somebody has called him, of law and order. He believed that only a thin crust of law and custom protects mankind against the lava of anarchy. In his opinion, says one of his critics, the mountains of prejudice and the rivers of custom were necessary protections for such civilization as the human race has been able to attain. At all events his “Reflections on the French Revolution," which he published in 1790, found a responsive chord in the hearts of the English public. The book speedily ran through fourteen editions. The Revolution was followed in 1793 by the reign of terror and in 1799 by the foundation of the first Napoleonic Empire. The book had the effect of a prophecy, for in it Burke had foretold the downfall of the French Republic, bloodshed, and anarchy. Right or wrong, Burke's attitude with regard to the French Revolution was not inconsistent with his attitude toward the American Revolution. In each case, he was defending liberty connected with order. His “ Reflections on the French Revolution” is an important book because in it he employs his sagacity to discover the latent wisdom in existing institutions instead of trying to upset them. When the fundamental principles of social order are questioned and when the foundations of society seem to be crumbling underneath our feet, the teachings of Burke are peculiarly valuable. The world needs him and his wisdom to-day.
It is not to be supposed, however, that his views on the French Revolution were philosophically correct. He was, perhaps, too close to it to understand fully its real nature. It is altogether probable, indeed, that nobody analyzed it correctly until Carlyle published his History of the French Revolution.” Thomas Paine asked pointedly, having reference to Burke's fine talk about Marie Antoinette, if men were to weep over the plumage and forget the dying bird, meaning that the fate of the French aristocracy mattered little while the people were starving. Burke quarrelled with Fox concerning the French Revolution and Fox said of him that it was lucky for Burke that he took the royal side, because his violence would certainly have got him hanged if he had taken the other.
Burke died in 1797.
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES 1. Read to the class a paper upon England's colonial policy in India and
America between 1720 and 1776. 2. What was the characteristic of the youthful Burke's mind ? 3. To what political party would Burke belong if he lived to-day in the
United States ? 4. Why was there an impeachment of Warren Hastings? 5. How could Burke consistently support the Americans in the American
Revolution and oppose the French in the French Revolution ? 6. How do you feel Burke's attitude toward public affairs may be compared
with that of our public men to-day? 7. What were the Irish traits in his character ? 8. What other great Irishman have we considered in reading of the eigh
teenth century? 9. In considering Burke are you prompted to think of the relation of litera
ture and thought to life? 10. Who were Burke's greatest contemporaries in the House of Commons ?
(Refer to any English history.) Suggested Readings.-Reading of “Conciliation with the Colonies,” A Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol," and " Thoughts on the Present Discontents ” will make for better citizenship. In the works of William Hazlitt you will find a vivid essay on the oratory of Edmund Burke. Augustine Birrell's essay on Burke in “ Obiter Dicta” is witty, just, and eloquent.
OTHER EIGHTEENTH CENTURY WRITERS
“Jove tuned the lyre when ancient Homer sung,
But God himself inspired Doctor Young."-Burke. · Except by 'Clarissa Harlowe' I was never so moved by a work of genius as by 'Othello.'”—B. R. Haydon.
RICHARD BENTLEY (1662-1742) was master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and the first classical scholar of his time. He had the distinction of being attacked by Swift in “ The Battle of the Books " and by Pope in “ The Dunciad," and of being left after both encounters in complete mastery of the field.
Matthew Prior (1664–1721) was an accomplished writer of light verse. Thackeray compares him to Horace. Among his good things are these:
(6) “Nobles and heralds, by your leave,
Here lies what once was Matthew Prior,
Can Stuart or Nassau claim higher ?”
Daniel Defoe (1659–1731), in addition to writing “ Robinson Crusoe,” was an active pamphleteer. His “ True-born Englishman," 1701, written to support the policy of William III, had a circulation of 80,000 copies. “The Shortest Way with the Dissenters," 1703, was burned by order of parliament, and the author was sentenced to stand thrice in the pillory and to be imprisoned during the queen's pleasure. From 1704 to 1713 he published a newspaper called “The