Page:Lord Chatham as an Orator.djvu/24

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Lord Chatham as an Orator

might have profited. He ought to have profited. He ought to have desisted from his project.

'The gentleman tells us America is obstinate; America is almost in open rebellion.

'I rejoice that America has resisted. Three millions of people so dead to all the feelings of liberty as voluntarily to let themselves be made slaves, would have been fit instruments to make slaves of all the rest.'

'I rejoice that America has resisted.' What a lightning-flash is there! The Great Commoner, five years ago almost the arbiter of Europe, now an ally of the American rebels, just as reports of their insulting outrages are exasperating and hardening most English hearts! I know of no sentence by any English speaker more exactly like Chatham, more unlike nearly all others.

One more topic in this historic speech—the comparative strength of the combatants; on the one side the great Mother Country that under Pitt's inspiration, between 1758 and 1761, had performed such wonders in every part of the world; and on the other side three millions of irritated colonists, without generals, without artillery, without fleets. What has the conqueror of Quebec to say to this contrast? He is now nearing his goal.

'A great deal has been said without doors of the power, of the strength, of America. It is a topic that ought to be cautiously meddled with.

'In a good cause, on a sound bottom, the force of this country can crush America to atoms. I know the valour of your troops. I know the skill of your officers.

'There is not a company of foot that has served in America out of which you may not pick a man of