« 前へ次へ »
with firmness and deliberation, as if he had been going to do a good action, instead of committing an atrocious crime. The crime was not followed by remorse, and the miserable man seemed not to deplore the deed, but to lament that a virtuous private inan was the victim, and himself the instrument.
Let those who in their parliamentary* speeches represented Mr. Perceval as possessed of inflexibility and arrogance, before the fatal catastrophe, and who joined the general eulogium of the mildness of his character after he was no more, consider the consequences of such conduct. There always appeared an affectation of tenderness to the character of Mr. Perceval, that, coming from certain persons, was rather forgetting what had before been said.
The fate of Mr. Perceval was certainly to be deplored, but truth and consistency are never to be forsaken; and as there were many complaints of the high hand with which he ruled, the complaints must either have been unfounded, or the posthumous praise undeserved.
crimes; Mr. Perceval was a good man, and was very anxious to be thought so.
* What is here said may be verified or contradicted from parlia mentary reports of the time.
Bellingham certainly thought he had done a bad action for a good purpose, and that he had served his country; and there are not wanting many who think that if he had done it a little sooner, there would have been no war with America. This is, no doubt, mere conjecture, but certainly it is not the conjecture of a few only, but the belief of many; and never did the death of a worthy man produce less regret, or regret of less continuance, or that had a less wide extension. The man who appeared, and was thought to direct every thing, was cut off from the stage, and things went on as well as before, with this only apparępt difference, that there was less rigidity.
There is great illiberality in making severe remarks on a man who is gone, and cannot answer for himself; and when taken off in the lamentable manner that Mr. Perceval was, the illiberality seems to be attended with want of feeling: but the remarks here made are not relative to Mr. Perceval: they apply to those persons who spoke harshly of him while alive, and were the first to praise him when he was no more. That was, however, but a sorry species of magnanimity, though it assumes its appearance; and we may say as Pope did of those who neglected living merit, and pretended to esteem
it when gone
He help'd to bury whom he help'd to starve. There was either great injustice in the language of certain members towards Mr. Perceval, a few months previous to his death, or there was an affectation of admiration afterwards. As to lamenting his fate, all must do that; but lamenting a man's fate, and changing our opinion respecting him, are two very different things; so different, indeed, that to connect them together, betrays a great want of discrimination, and is what may properly enough be termed a vulgar error, thouglı it is far from uncommon; but it is not the error of enlightened minds.
Lord L. Gower, so far from appearing to have acted in an ill-natured or indifferent manner, to the unfortunate man who assassinated Mr. Perceval, appears, when in Russia, to have outstripped the bounds of his duty as an ambassador, in order to give him assistance, and to afford him protection*.
* There was certainly something unaccountably strange in the deranged man seeking for no victim but Mr. Perceval, and flying at
GRANT, ESQ. M. P.
A YOUNG member of the house of commons of great promise, whose powers as an orator are far above ordinary, and who to a knowledge of business appears to add much taste and correct
Mr. Grant's speech on seconding the address to his Royal Highness the Prince Regent, at the opening of this parliament, was in every part correct, and in some parts splendid; and, in the present state of the house, such talents in a young member give great hopes.
It has been of late remarked, that since those great orators Pitt, Fox, and Burke are gone, there. is nothing passes in the house of commons to attract much attention; that there is a mediocrity unexampled for at least more than half a century: but let us examine this.
him with such resolution before, and without remorse after. He must have been led away by a prevailing opinion, that the unbending character of Mr. Perceval was the cause of the stagnation of trade, and continuance of the war. This opinion was formed from replies made to him in parliament; and the public was certainly not a little surprised to find all parties, immediately after the catastrophe, joining in praising him for mildness, suavity, and the very qualities he was represented as wanting.
In the house of peers there are no remarkable orators who have quitted the scene, yet there also the debates have lost their importance, and the public does not, as it did twenty years ago, give to them their attention.
It is not, then, to the loss of the three beforenamed orators that we are to ascribe the loss of interest in the house of commons, at least not to that alone, but to some cause that operates equally in the other house; we may therefore inquire what that cause can be.
Since the renewal of hostilities with France, the whole world has seemed aware that it was one last and deadly struggle for liberty or slavery; and as those who were not warm in the support of that struggle were but few in number, opposition to government was feeble, unavailing, and uninteresting. We have been intent upon things, not on words, and therefore the speeches in both houses have lost their interest; we have been waiting for some great event, and the smaller and less important