Page:Lord Chatham as an Orator.djvu/25

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Lord Chatham as an Orator

sufficient knowledge and experience to make a Governor of a Colony there. But on this ground, on the Stamp Act, where so many here will think it a crying injustice, I am one who will lift up my hands against it.

'In such a cause even your success would be hazardous. America, if she fell, would fall like the strong man. She would embrace the pillars of the State, and pull down the Constitution along with her.

'Is this your boasted peace? To sheathe the sword, not in its scabbard, but in the bowels of your countrymen! ... The Americans have not acted in all things with prudence and temper.' No indeed, their violence and their insults at Boston have infuriated even moderate men at home. But, says Pitt, 'The Americans have been wronged. They have been driven to madness by injustice. Will you punish them for the madness which you have occasioned?

'Rather let prudence and temper come from this side. I will undertake for America that she will follow the example.

'There are two lines in a ballad of Prior's, of a man's behaviour to his wife, so applicable to you and your colonies that I cannot help repeating them:

Be to her faults a little blind,
Be to her virtues very kind.

'Upon the whole, I will beg leave to tell the House what is really my opinion. It is that the Stamp Act be repealed absolutely, totally, and immediately. That the reason for the repeal be assigned, because it was founded on an erroneous principle.'

Is it fanciful to imagine that this playful and yet serious quotation would have flowed more naturally from some of our best Parliamentary orators than from others? I seem as if I could almost hear it from the lips of Charles Fox, of George Canning, of Lord Derby,