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sy air, upborne by the shouts and huzzas of a giddy multitude, all of them are now silent and forgotten ; all that remains of them is consigned to oblivion in the musty records of Parliament, or lives only in the shadow of a name. I wished therefore to bring them on the stage once more, and drag them out of that obscurity, from which it is now impossible to redeem their fellow actors. I was uneasy till I had made the monumental pile of octavos and folios," wherein I saw them quietly inurned, open its ponderous and marble jaws," and " set the imprisoned wranglers free again." It is possible that some of that numerous .page.of prators, yhä bave sprung up within the last ten years; to whom I should certainly have first paid my compliments, may riot:be satisfied with the space allotted them in these volumes.. But I capnot. helpeit. My object was to revive what was forgatten, irid.embody what was permanent ; and not to echo the loquacious babblings of these accomplished persons, who, if all their words were written in a book, the world would not contain them, Besides, living speakers may, and are in the habit of printing their own speeches. Or even if this were not the case, there is no danger, while they have breath and lungs left, that they will ever suffer the public to be at a loss for daily specimens of their polished eloquence and profound wisdom.
There were some other objects to be attended to in making this collection, as well as the style of different speakers. I wished to make it a history, as far as I could, of the progress of the language, of the state of parties at different periods, of the most interesting debates, and in short, an abridged parliamentary history for the time. It was necessary that it should serve as a common-place book of the principal topics, of the pros and cons of the different questions, that may be brought in. to dispute. If, however, this work has the effect which I intend it to have, it will rather serve to put a stop to that vice of much
speaking, which is the fashion of the present day, by shewing our forward disputants how little new is to be said on any of these questions, than offer a temptation to their vanity to enrich themselves out of the spoils of others. I have also endeavoured to gratify the reader's curiosity, by sometimes giving the speeches of men who were not celebrated for their eloquence, but for other things ; as Cromwell, for example. If, therefore, any one expects to find nothing but eloquent speeches in these volumes, he will certainly be disappointed. A very small volume indeed, would contain all the recorded eloquence of both houses of parliament.
As to the notes and criticisms, which accompany the speeches, I am aware that they are too long and frequent for a work of this nature. If, however, the reader should not be of opinion that “ the things themselves are nei her
new nor rare," he is at liberty to apply the next line of the satire to them,he may naturally enough wonder, “ how the devil they got there." The characters of Chatham, Burke, Fox, and Pitt, are those which are the most laboured. As to the first of these, I am not so certain. It was written in the heat of the first impression which his speeches made upon me : and perhaps the first impression is a fair test of the effect they must produce on those who heard them. But farther I will not be answerable for it. As to the opinions I have expressed of the three last speakers, they are at least my settled opinions, and I believe I shall not easily change them. In the selections from Burke, I have followed the advice of friends in giving a whole speech, whereas I ought to have given only extracts.
For the bias which may sometimes appear in this work, I shall only apologize by referring the impartial reader to the different characters of Fox and Burke. These will, I think, shew, that whatever my prejudices may be, I am not much disposed to be blinded by them.
VOLL ME THE SECOND.
Parliamentary Speeches from 1761 to 1802.
in reply to Mr. Grenville
in reply to Lord Sandwich
on allowing Members to vacate their Seats 130
Lord Sandwich, on the Middlesex Election
Colonel Barre', on the Motion for an Address
Lord North, on the Address -
Mr. Burke, on the Criminal Laws of the Country
on the Government of India
Mr. Fox, on the Lowther Estate
in answer to Mr, Pitt
on the State of the British Museum
Mr. Sheridan, on a Military Force -
Sir George Saville, on the American War
on the Test Act
Duke of Portland, on the same
Mr. Curran, on the Liberty of Ireland
on the Treaty of Amiens
Mr. Dundas, on employing the Emigrants
- on moving for Peace
Earl of Fife, on an Inquiry into the State of the Nation 561