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of the national church of my own time and my own country, and the whole of the national churches of all countries, from the principles and the examples which lead to ecclesiastical pillage, thence to a contempt of all prescriptive titles, thence to the pillage of all property, and thence to universal desolation.
The merit of the origin of his Grace's fortune was in being a favourite and chief adviser to a prince, who left no liberty to their native country. My endeavour was to obtain liberty for the municipal country in which I was born, and for all descriptions and denominations in it. Mine was to support with unrelaxing vigilance every right, every privilege, every franchise, in this my adopted, my dearer, and more comprehensive country; and not only to preserve those rights in this chief seat of empire, but in every nation, in every land, in every climate, language, and religion, in the vast domain that is still under the protection, and the larger that was once under the protection, of the British Crown.
On the Death of his Son. Had it pleased God to continue to me the hopes of succession, I should have been, according to my mediocrity, and the mediocrity of the age I live in, a sort of founder of a family: I should have left a son, who, in all the points in which personal merit can be viewed, in science, in erudition, in genius, in taste, in honour, in generosity, in humanity, in every liberal sentiment, and every liberal accomplishment, would not have shown himself inferior to the Duke of Bed. ford, or to any of those whom he traces in his line. His grace very soon would have wanted all plausibility in his attack upon that provision which belonged more to mine than to me.
He would soon have supplied every deficiency, and symmetrised every disproportion. It would not have been for that successor to resort to any stagnant wasting reservoir of merit in me, or in any ancestry. He had in himself a salient, living spring, of generous and manly action. Every day he lived he would have re-purchased the bounty of the Crown, and ten times more, if ten times more he had received. He was made a public creature, and had no enjoyment whatever but in the performance of some duty. At this exigent moment, the loss of a finished man is not easily supplied
But a Disposer whose power we are little able to resist, and whose wisdom it behoves us not at all to dispute, has ordained it in another manner, and (whatever my querulous weakness might suggest) a far better. The storm has gone over me; and I lie like one of those old oaks which the late hurricane has scattered about me. I am stripped of all my honours, I am torn up by the roots, and lie prostrate on the earth! There, and prostrate there, I most unfeignedly recognise the divine justice, and in some degree submit to it. But whilst I humble myself before God, I do not know that it is forbidden to repel the attacks of unjust and inconsiderate men. The patience of Job is proverbial. After some of the convulsive struggles of our irritable nature, he submitted himself, and repented in dust and ashes. But even so, I do not find him blamed for reprehending, and with a considerable degree of verbal asperity, those ill-natured neighbours of his who visited his dunghill to read moral, political, and economical lectures on his misery. I am alone. I have none to meet my enemies in the gate. Indeed, my Lord, I greatly deceive myself, if in this hard season I would give a peck of refuse wheat for all that is called fame and honour in the world. This is the appetite but of a few. It is a luxury, it is a privilege, it is an indulgence for those who are at their
But we are all of us made to shun disgrace, as we are made to shrink from pain, and poverty, and disease. It is an instinct; and, under the direction of reason, instinct is always in the right. I live in an inverted order. They who ought to have succeeded me have gone before me; they who should have been to me as posterity are in the place of ancestors. I owe to the dearest relation (which ever must subsist in memory) that act of piety which he would have performed to me; I owe it to him to show that he was not descended, as the Duke of Bedford would have it, from an unworthy parent.
6. LETTER TO RICHARD SHACKLETON
Written during the Gordon Riots.
Tuesday Night, June, 1780. MY DEAR SHACKLETON, I feel as I ought for your friendly solicitude about me and this family. Yesterday our furniture was entirely replaced, and my wife, for the first time since the beginning of this strange tumult, lay at home. During that week of havoc and destruction, we were under the roof of my worthy and valuable friend General Burgoyne, who did everything, that could be done to make her situation comfortable to her. You will hear with satisfaction that she went through the whole with no small degree of fortitude. On Monday se'nnight, about nine o'clock, I received undoubted intelligence that, immediately after the destruction of Savile House, mine was to suffer the same fate. I instantly came hence (for Mrs. Burke and I were both abroad when we received this intelligence) and I removed such papers as I thought of most importance. In about an hour after, sixteen soldiers, without my knowledge or desire, took possession of the house. Government had, it seems, been apprised of the design, at the time when they were informed of the same ill-intention with regard to houses of so much more consideration than my little tenement; and they obligingly afforded me this protection, by means of which, under God, I think the house was saved. The next day I had my books and furniture removed, and the guards dismissed. I thought, in the then scarcity of troops, they might be better employed than in looking after my paltry remains My wife being safely lodged, I spent part of the next day in the street, amidst this wild assembly, into whose hands I delivered myself, informing them who I was. Some of them were malignant and fanatical; but I think the far greater part of those whom I saw were rather dissolute and unruly than very illdisposed. I even found friends and well-wishers among the blue cockades. My friends had come to me to persuade me to go out of town, representing (from their kindness to me) the danger to be much greater than it was. But I thought, that if my liberty was once gone, and that I could not walk the streets of the town with tranquillity, I was in no condition to perform the duties for which I ought alone to wish for life. "I therefore resolved they should see that, for one, I was neither to be forced nor intimidated from the straight line of what was right; and I returned, on foot, quite through the multitude to the House, which was covered by a strong body of horse and foot. I spoke my sentiments in such a way that I do not think I have ever, on any occasion, seemed to affect the House more forcibly. However, such was the confusion, that they could not be kept from coming to a resolution which I thought unbecoming and pusillanimous, which was, that we should take that flagitious petition, which came from that base gang called » The Protestant Association«, into our serious consideration. I am now glad that we did so; for if we had refused it, the subsequent ravages would have been charged upon our obstinacy. For four nights I kept watch at Lord Rockingham's, or Sir George Savile's, whose houses were garrisoned by a strong body of soldiers, together with numbers of true friends of the first rank, who were willing to share their danger. Savile-house, Rockinghamhouse, Devonshire-house, to be turned into garrisons! O tempora! We have all served the country for several years — some of us for near thirty — with fidelity, labour, and affection; and we are obliged to put ourselves under military protection for our houses and our persons. The bell rings, and I have filled my time and paper with a mere account of this house; but it is what you will first inquire about, though of the least concern to others.
God bless you; remember me to your worthy host. We can hardly think of leaving town; there is much to be done to repair the ruins of our country and its reputation, as well as to console the number of families ruined by wickedness, masking itself under the colour of religious zeal. Adieu, my dear friend, — our best regards to your daughter.
7. DETACHED SENTIMENTS AND MAXIMS.
It can not be too often repeated, line upon line, precept upon precept, until it comes into the currency of a proverb, to innovate is not to reform.
What is liberty without wisdom and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.
Strong instances of self-denial operate powerfully on our minds; and a man who has no wants has obtained great freedom and firmness, and even dignity.
The great must submit to the dominion of prudence and of virtue, or none will long submit to the dominion of the great.
Men and states, to be secure, must be respected. Power, and eminence, and consideration, are things not to be begged. They must be commanded; and those who supplicate for mercy from others, can never hope for justice through themselves.
Parsimony is not economy. Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy, which is a distributive virtue, and consists not in saving, but in selection. Parsimony requires no providence, no sagacity, no powers of combination, no comparison, no judgment. Mere instinct, and that not an instinct of the noblest kind, may produce this false economy in perfection. The other economy has larger views. It demands a discriminating judgment, and a firm, sagacious mind.
If wealth is the obedient and laborious slave of virtue and of public honour, then wealth is in its place, and has its use. If we command our wealth, we shall be rich and free; if our wealth commands us, we are poor indeed.
True humility is the low, but deep and firm foundation of all real virtue.
Good order is the foundation of all good things.
Nothing turns out to be so oppressive and unjust as a feeble government.