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titious ornament can give ; and they are chiefly anxious to pro. duce an effect by the most obvious means. If their thoughts are but fine, they do not care how common they are : this is because they have more vanity than pride, and are willing to be pleased at any rate. On the other hand, an Englishman's muse is generally the spleen. He is for defying others into sympathy, and had rather incur their contempt than endeavour to gain their good opinion by shewing a desire to please them. He likes to do every thing in the most difficult way, and from a spirit of contradiction. Accordingly, his eloquence (when it is forced from him) is the best that can be, because it is of nature's doing and not his own, and comes from him in spite of himself. However, there is a sort of gallantry in eloquence as well as in love. To coquet with the muses, to dally with the fair forms of speech, to be full of nothing but apostrophes, interjections, interrogations, to be in raptures at the sight of a capital letter, and to take care never to lose a fine thought any more than a fine girl, for fear of putting a question, are the only means by which a man without imagination can hope to be an orator ; as it is only by being a coxcomb, that a man who is not handsome can ever think of pleasing the women ! But to return from this digression to the speech itself, it contains a good deal of warmth and animation, and if the author had been a young man, would have done him credit,
Lord Belhaven's Speech in the Scotch Convention,
against the Union.
My Lord Chancellor,
WHEN I consider the affair of an union betwixt the two nations, as it is expressed in the several articles thereof, and now the subject of our deliberation at this time, I find my mind crouded with a variety of melan. choly thoughts; and I think it my duty to disburden myself of some of them by laying them before, and exposing them to the serious consideration of this honour. able house.
I think I see a free and independent kingdom delivering up that which all the world hath been fighting for since the days of Nimrod; yea, that for which most of all the empires, kingdoms, states, principalities, and dukedoms of Europe, are at this tiine engaged in the most bloody and cruel wars that ever were : to wit, a power to manage their own affairs by themselves, without the assistance and counsel of any other.
I think I see a national church, founded upon a rock, secured by a claim of right, hedged and fenced about by the strictest and most pointed legal sanction that sovereignty could contrive, voluntarily descending into a plain, upon an equal level with Jews, Papists, Socinians, Arminians, Anabaptists, and other sectaries.
I think I see the noble and honourable peerage of Scotland, whose valiant predecessors led armies against their ene nies upon their own proper charges and expence, now divested of their followers and vassalages, and put upon such an equal foot with their vassals, that I think I see a petty English exciseman receive more homage and respect than what was paid formerly to their quondam Mackallamores.
I think I see the present peers of Scotland, whose noble ancestors conquered provinces, over-run countries, reduced and subjected towns and fortified places, exacted tribute through the greatest part of England, now walking in the court of requests, like so many English attornies, laying aside their walking swords when in company with the English peers, lest their selfdefence should be found murder.
I think I see the honourable estate of barons, the bold assertors of the nation's rights and liberties in the worst of times, now setting a watch upon their lips, and a guard upon their tongues, lest they may be found guilty of scandalam magnatum.
I think I see the royal state of burghers walking their desolate streets, hanging down their heads under disappointments, wormed out of all the branches of their old trade, uncertain what hand to turn to, necessitated to become prentices to their unkind neighbours, and yet, Vol. I.
after all, finding their trade so fortified by companies, and secured by prescriptions, that they despair of any success therein.
I think I see our learned judges laying aside their pra- . tiques and decisions, studying the common law of Eng. land, gravelled with certioraris, nisi priuses, writs of error, verdicts, injunctions, demurs, &c. and frighted with appeals and avocations, because of the new regulalations and rectifications they may meet with.
I think I see the valiant and gallant soldiery either sent to learn the plantation trade abroad, or at home pe titioning for a small subsistence, as a reward of their honourable exploits; while their old corps are broken, the common soldiers left to beg, and the youngest Eng. lish corps kept standing.
I think I see the honest industrious tradesman loaded with new taxes and impositions, disappointed of the equivalents, drinking water in place of ale, eating his saltless pottage, petitioning for encouragement to his manufactures, and answered by counter petitions.
In short, I think I see the laborious ploughman, with his corn spoiling upon his hands, for want of sale, cursing the day of his birth, dreading the expence of his burial, and uncertain whether to marry or do worse.
I think I see the incurable difficulties of the landed men, fettered under the golden chain of equivalents, their pretty daughters petitioning for want of husbands, and their sons for want of employment.
I think I see our mariners delivering up their ships to their Dutch partners, and what through presses and necessity, earning their bread as underlings in the royal English navy.
But above all, my lord, I think I see our ancient mother Caledonia, like Cæsar, sitting in the midst of our senate, ruefully looking round about her, covering herself with her royal garment, attending the fatal blow, and breathing out her last with an Et tu quoque mi filio
Are not these, my lord, very aflicting thoughts? And yet they are but the least part suggested to me by these dishonourable articles. Should not the consideration of these things vivify these dry bones of ours ? Should not the memory of our noble predecessors' valour and constancy rouse up our drooping spirits ? Are our noble predecessors' souls got so far into the English cabbagestalk, and cauliflowers, that we should shew the least inclination that way? Are our eyes so blinded, are our ears so deafened, are our hearts so hardened, are our tongues so faltered, are our hands so fettered, that in this our day, I say, my lord, in this our day, we should not mind the things that concern the very being, and well being of our ancient kingdom, before the day be hid from our eyes?
I design not at this time to enter into the merits of any one particular article. I intend this discourse as an in. troduction to what I may afterwards say upon the whole debate, as it falls in before this honourable house; and therefore, in the farther prosecution of what I have to say, I shall insist upon a few particulars, very necessary to be understood before we enter into the detail of so important a matter.
I shall therefore, in the first place, endeavour to encourage a free and full deliberation, without animosities and heats. In the next place, I shall endeavour to make an inquiry into the nature and source of the unnatural and dangerous divisions that are now on foot within this isle, with some motives shewing that it is our interest to lay them aside at this time. Then
Then I shall inquire into the reasons which have induced the two nations to enter into a treaty of union at this time, with some considerations and meditations with relation to the behaviour of the lords commissioners of the two kingdoms in the management of this great concern. And lastly, I shall propose a method, by which we shall most distinctly, and wiihout confusion, go through the several articles of this treaty, without unnecessary repetitions or loss of
time. And all this with all deference, and under the correction of this honourable house.
My lord chancellor, the greatest honour that was done unto a Roman, was to allow him the glory of a triumph; the greatest and most dishonourable punishment was that of parricide. He that was guilty of parricide was beaten with rods upon his naked body, till the blood gushed out of all the veins of his body; then he was sewed up in a leathern sack called a culius, with a cock, a viper, and an ape, and thrown headlong into the sea.
My lord, patricide is a greater crime than parricide, all the world over.
In a triumph, my lord, when the conqueror was riding in his triumphal chariot, crowned with laurels, adorned with trophies, and applauded with huzzas! there was a monitor appointed to stand behind him, to warn him not to be high minded, nor puffed up with over weening thoughts of himself; and to his chariot were tied a whip and a bell, to remind him that for all his glory and gran. deur, he was accountable to the people for his administration, and would be punished, as other men, if found guilty.
The greatest honour amongst us, my lord, is to re. present the sovereign's sacred person in parliament; and in one particular it appears to be greater than that of a triumph, because the whole legislative power seems to be wholly entrusted with him. If he give the royal assent to an act of the estates, it becomes a law obligatory upon the subject, though contrary or without any instructions from the sovereign. If he refuse the royal assent to a vote in parliament, it cannot be a law, though he has the sovereign's particular and positive instructions for it.
His grace the duke of Queensbury, who now repre. sents her majesty in this session of parliament, hath had the honour of that great trust as often, if not more, than any Scotchman ever had. He hath been the favourite