Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/109

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unsound, more practically ruinous, than the establishment of Roman analogies for the guidance of British policy. What, gentlemen, was Rome? Rome was indeed an imperial State, you may tell me—I know not, I can not read the counsels of Providence—a State having a mission to subdue the world, but a State whose very basis it was to deny the equal rights, to proscribe the independent existence of other nations. That, gentlemen, was the Roman idea. It has been partially and not ill described in three lines of a translation from Virgil by our great poet Dryden, which runs as follows:


"O Rome! 'tis thine alone with awful sway
To rule mankind, and make the world obey,
Disposing peace and war thine own majestic way."

We are told to fall back upon this example. No doubt the word "empire" was qualified with the word "liberty." But what did the two words "liberty" and "empire" mean in a Roman mouth? They meant simply this: "liberty for ourselves, empire over the rest of mankind."

I do not think, gentlemen, that this ministry, or any other ministry, is going to place us in the position of Rome. What 1 object to is the revival of the idea. I care not how feebly, I care not even how—from a philosophic or historical point of view—how ridiculous the attempt at this revival may be. I say it indicates an intention—I say it indicates a frame of mind,