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It is better to cherish virtue and humanity by leaving much to free will, even with some loss to the object, than to attempt to make men mere machines and instruments of a political benevolence. The world, on the whole, will gain by a liberty without which virtue can not exist.

The dignity of every occupation wholly depends upon the quantity and the kind of virtue that may be exerted in it

The degree of estimation in which any profession is held becomes the standard of the estimation in which the professors hold themselves.

It is generally in the season of prosperity that men discover their real temper, principles, and designs.

Nothing but the possession of some power can, with any certainty, discover what at the bottom is the true character of any man.

All men that are ruined, are ruined on the side of their natural propensities.

Good men do not suspect that their destruction is attempted through their virtues.

Whoever uses instruments, in finding helps, finds also impediments.

things, that men of intemperate minds can not It is ordained, in the eternal constitution of be free. Their passions forge their fetters.

Some persons, by hating vices too much, come to love men too little.

There are some follies which baffle argument, which go beyond ridicule, and which excite no feeling in us but disgust.

Men are as much blinded by the extremes of misery as by the extremes of prosperity. Desperate situations produce desperate councils and desperate measures.

They who always labor can have no true judgment. They never give themselves time to cool. They can never plan the future by the past.

Men who have an interest to pursue are extremely sagacious in discovering the true seat of power.

In all bodies, those who will lead must also,

True humility is the low, but deep and firm in a considerable degree, follow. foundation of all real virtue.

While shame keeps its watch, virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart, nor will moderation be utterly exiled from the minds of ty


The punishment of real tyrants is a noble and awful act of justice; and it has with truth been said to be consolatory to the human mind.

The arguments of tyranny are as contemptible as its force is dreadful.

The virtues and vices of men in large towns are sociable; they are always in garrison; and they come embodied and half disciplined into the hands of those who mean to form them for civil or military action.

The elevation of mind, to be derived from fear, will never make a nation glorious.

The vice of the ancient democracies, and one cause of their ruin, was, that they ruled by occasional decrees (psephismata), which broke in Wisdom is not the most severe corrector of upon the tenor and consistency of the laws. folly.

The love of lucre, though sometimes carried to a ridiculous, sometimes to a vicious excess, is the grand cause of prosperity to all states.

Good order is the foundation of all good things.

Those who execute public pecuniary trusts, ought, of all men, to be the most strictly held to their duty.

Nothing turns out to be so oppressive and unjust as a feeble government.



HENRY GRATTAN was born at Dublin on the third day of July, 1746. His father was an eminent barrister, and acted for many years as recorder of that city, which he also represented for a time in the Parliament of Ireland.

In the year 1763, young Grattan entered Trinity College, Dublin, where he was distinguished for the brilliancy of his imagination and the impetuosity of his feelings. Having graduated in 1767, with an honorable reputation, he repaired to London, and became a member of the Middle Temple. His mind, however, was at first too exclusively occupied with literary pursuits to allow of his devoting much time to the study of the law. Politics next engaged his attention. The eloquence of Lord Chatham drew him as an eager listener to the debates in Parliament, and acted with such fascination upon his mind as seemed completely to form his destiny. Every thing was forgotten in the one great object of cultivating his powers as a public speaker. To emulate and express, though in the peculiar forms of his own genius, the lofty conceptions of the great English orator, was from this time the object of his continual study and most fervent aspirations.

In 1772 he returned to Ireland, where he was admitted to the bar; and in 1775 he became a member of the Irish Parliament, under the auspices of Lord Charlemont. He, of course, joined the ranks of Opposition, and united at once with Mr. Flood and the leading patriots of the day, in their endeavors to extort from the English minister the grant of free trade for Ireland. The peculiar circumstances of the country favored their design. The corps of Irish Volunteers had sprung into existence upon the alarm of invasion from France, and was marshaled throughout the country, to the number of nearly fifty thousand, for the defense of the island. With a semblance of some connection with the government, it was really an army unauthorized by the laws, and commanded by officers of their own choosing. Such a force could obviously be turned, at any moment, against the English; and, seizing on the advantage thus gained, Mr. Grattan, in 1779, made a motion, which was afterward changed into a direct resolution, that "nothing but a free trade could save the country from ruin." It was passed with enthusiasm by the great body of the House; and the nation, with arms in their hands, echoed the resolution as the watch-word of their liberties. Lord North and his government were at once terrified into submission. They had tampered with the subject, exciting hopes and expectations only to disappoint them, until a rebellion in Ireland was about to be added to a rebellion in America. In the emphatic words of Mr. Burke, "a sudden light broke in upon us all. It broke in, not through well-contrived and well-disposed windows, but through flaws and breaches through the yawning chasms of our ruin." Every thing they asked was freely granted; and Ireland, as the English minister imagined, was propitiated.

But Mr. Grattan had already fixed his eye on a higher object-the complete independence of the Irish Parliament. By an act of the sixth year of George the First, it was declared that Ireland was a subordinate and dependent kingdom; that the Kings, Lords, and Commons of England had power to make laws to bind Ireland ; that the Irish House of Lords had no jurisdiction, and that all proceedings before that court were void. This arbitrary act Mr. Grattan now determined to set aside. He

availed himself of the enthusiasm which pervaded the nation, and, reminding them that the concessions just made might be recalled at any moment, if England continued to bind Ireland by her enactments, he urged them to a DECLARATION OF RIGHT, denying the claim of the British Parliament to make laws for Ireland. His friends endeavored to dissuade him from bringing the subject before the Irish Parliament; but the voice of the nation was with him, and on the 19th of April, 1780, he made his memorable motion for a Declaration of Irish Right. His speech on that occasion, which is the first in this selection, was the most splendid piece of eloquence that had ever been heard in Ireland." As a specimen of condensed and fervent argumentation, it indicates a high order of talent; while in brilliancy of style, pungency of application, and impassioned vehemence of spirit, it has rarely, if ever, been surpassed. The conclusion, especially, is one of the most magnificent passages in our eloquence.

Mr. Grattan's motion did not then pass, but he was hailed throughout Ireland as the destined deliverer of his country. No Irishman had ever enjoyed such unbounded popularity. He animated his countrymen with the hope of ultimate success; he inspired them with his own imaginative and romantic spirit, and awakened among them a feeling of nationality such as had never before existed. He taught them to cherish Irish affections, Irish manners, Irish art, Irish literature; and endeavored, in short, to make them a distinct people from the English in every respect but one, that of being governed by the same sovereign. Nothing could be more gratifying to the enthusiastic spirit of that ardent and impulsive race; and though it was impossible that such a plan should succeed, he certainly stamped his own character, in no ordinary degree, on the mind of the nation. That peculiar kind of eloquence, especially, which prevails among his countrymen, though springing, undoubtedly, from the peculiarities of national temperament, was rendered doubly popular by the brilliant success of Mr. Grattan, who presents the most perfect exhibition of the highly-colored and impassioned style of speaking in which the Irish delight, with but few of its faults, or, rather, for the most part, with faults in the opposite direction. With this ascendency over the minds of the people, Mr. Grattan spent nearly two years in preparing for the next decisive step. The Volunteers held their famous meeting at Dungannon in February, 1782, and passed unanimously a resolution drawn up by Mr. Grattan, that "a claim of any body of men, other than the King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland, to make laws to bind this kingdom, is unconstitutional, illegal, and a grievance." This resolution was virtually a declaration of war in case the act of Parliament complained of, was not repealed. It was adopted throughout the country, not merely by shouting thousands at mass meetings, but by armed regiments of citizens and owners of the soil, and by grand juries at judicial assizes. The administration of Lord North was now tottering to its fall. The avowed friends of Ireland, Lord Rockingham, Lord Shelburne, and Mr. Fox, took his place in March, 1782; and Mr. Grattan determined at once to try the sincerity of their feelings. He therefore gave notice that, on the 16th of the ensuing April, he should repeat his motion, in the Irish House of Commons, for a Declaration of Irish Right. It was a trying moment for the new Whig administration. To concede at such a time, when the Irish stood with arms in their hands, was to lay England at their feet. Mr. Fox, therefore, seconded by Burke, Sheridan, Sir Philip Francis, Colonel Barré, and other distinguished Irishmen, pleaded for delay. Lord Charlemont brought the message to the bedside of Mr. Grattan, who was confined by a severe illness, and received for reply, "NO TIME! NO TIME! The Irish leaders are pledged to the people; they can not postpone the question; it is public property." When the day arrived, Mr. Grattan, to the surprise of all who knew his debilitated state, made his appearance in the House, and delivered a speech, the second one in these extracts,

which won universal admiration for its boldness, sublimity, and compass of thought. Lord Charlemont remarked afterward, in speaking of this effort, and of Mr. Grattan's weakness of health when he came forward, that "if ever spirit could be said to act independent of body, it was on that occasion." It was in vain for the friends of the minister to resist. The resolutions were carried almost by acclamation. Mr. Fox, when he heard the result, decided instantly to yield, declaring that he would rather see Ireland wholly separated from the crown of England than held in subjection by force. He, therefore, soon after brought in a bill for repealing the act of the sixth of George First.

As an expression of their gratitude for these services, the Parliament of Ireland voted the sum of £100,000 to purchase Mr. Grattan an estate. His feelings led him, at first, to decline the grant; but, as his patrimony was inadequate to his support in the new position he occupied, he was induced, by the interposition of his friends, to accept one half the amount.

Mr. Flood had been greatly chagrined at the ascendency gained by Mr. Grattan, and he now endeavored to depreciate his efforts by contending that the "simple repeal" of the act of the sixth of George First was of no real avail; that the English Parliament must pass a distinct act, renouncing all claim to make law for Ireland. Every one now sees that the pretense was a ridiculous one; but he succeeded in confusing and agitating the minds of the people on this point, until he robbed Mr. Grattan, to a considerable extent, of the honor of his victory. He came out, at last, into open hostility, stigmatizing him as “a mendicant patriot, subsisting on the public accounts-who, bought by his country for a sum of money, had sold his country for prompt payment." Mr. Grattan instantly replied in a withering piece of invective, to be found below, depicting the character and political life of his opponent, and ingeniously darkening every shade that rested on his reputation.

As most of the extracts in this selection are taken from the early speeches of Mr. Grattan, it will be unnecessary any farther to trace his history. Suffice it to say, that, although he lost his popularity at times, through the influence of circumstances or the arts of his enemies, he devoted himself throughout life to the defense of his country's interests. He was vehemently opposed to the union with England; but his countrymen were so much divided that it was impossible for any one to prevent it. At a later period (1805), he became a member of the Parliament of Great Britain, where he uniformly maintained those principles of toleration and popular government which he had supported in Ireland. He was an ardent champion of Catholic Emancipation, and may be said to have died in the cause. He had undertaken, in 1820, to present the Catholic Petition, and support it in Parliament, notwithstanding the remonstrances of his medical attendants, who declared it would be at the hazard of his life. "I should be happy," said he, "to die in the discharge of my duty." Exhausted by the journey, he did die almost immediately after his arrival in London, May 14th, 1820, at the age of seventy, and was buried, with the highest honors of the nation, in Westminster Abbey. His character was irreproachable; and Sir James Mackintosh remarked, in speaking of his death in the House of Commons, "He was as eminent in his observance of all the duties of private life, as he was heroic in the discharge of his public ones." "I never knew a man," said Wilberforce, "whose patriotism and love for his country seemed so completely to extinguish all private interests, and to induce him to look invariably and exclusively to the public good."

The personal appearance and delivery of Mr. Grattan are brought vividly before us in one of the lively sketches of Charles Phillips. "He was short in stature, and unprepossessing in appearance. His arms were disproportionately long. His walk was a stride. With a person swinging like a pendulum, and an abstracted air, he

seemed always in thought, and each thought provoked an attendant gesticulation. How strange it is, that a mind so replete with grace, and symmetry, and power, and splendor, should have been allotted such a dwelling for its residence! Yet so it was; and so, also, was it one of his highest attributes that his genius, by its excessive light,' blinded his hearers to his physical imperfections. It was the victory of mind over matter." "The chief difficulty in this great speaker's way was the first five minutes. During his exordium laughter was imminent. He bent his body almost to the ground, swung his arms over his head, up, and down, and around him, and added to the grotesqueness of his manner a hesitating tone and drawling emphasis. Still, there was an earnestness about him that at first besought, and, as he warmed, enforced, nay, commanded attention."

The speeches of Mr. Grattan afford unequivocal proof, not only of a powerful intellect, but of high and original genius. There was nothing commonplace in his thoughts, his images, or his sentiments. Every thing came fresh from his mind, with the vividness of a new creation. His most striking characteristic was, condensation and rapidity of thought. "Semper instans sibi," pressing continually upon himself, he never dwelt upon an idea, however important; he rarely presented it under more than one aspect; he hardly ever stopped to fill out the intermediate steps of his argument. His forte was reasoning, but it was "logic on fire;" and he seemed ever to delight in flashing his ideas on the mind with a sudden, startling abruptness. Hence, a distinguished writer has spoken of his eloquence as a "combination of cloud, whirlwind, and flame"-a striking representation of the occasional obscurity and the rapid force and brilliancy of his style. But his incessant effort to be strong made him sometimes unnatural. He seems to be continually straining after effect. He wanted that calmness and self-possession which mark the highest order of minds, and show their consciousness of great strength. When he had mastered his subject, his subject mastered him. His great efforts have too much the air of harangues. They sound more like the battle speeches of Tacitus than the orations of Demosthenes.

His style was elaborated with great care. It abounds in metaphors, which are always striking, and often grand. It is full of antithesis and epigrammatic turns, which give it uncommon point and brilliancy, but have too often an appearance of labor and affectation. His language is select. His periods are easy and fluentmade up of short clauses, with but few or brief qualifications, all uniting in the expression of some one leading thought. His rhythmus is often uncommonly fine. In the peroration of his great speech of April 19th, 1780, we have one of the best specimens in our language of that admirable adaptation of the sound to the sense which distinguished the ancient orators.

Though Mr. Grattan is not a safe model in every respect, there are certain purposes for which his speeches may be studied with great advantage. Nothing can be better suited to break up a dull monotony of style-to give raciness and point— to teach a young speaker the value of that terse and expressive language which is, to the orator especially, the finest instrument of thought.


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