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never saw that prodigy, Charles Townshend; nor of course know what a ferment he was able to excite in every thing by the violent ebullition of his mixed virtues and failings. For failings he had undoubtedly-many of us remember them-we are this day considering the effects of them. But he had no failings which were not owing to a noble cause; to an ardent, generous, perhaps an immoderate passion for fame; a passion, which is the instinct of all great souls. He worshipped that goddess wheresoever she appeared; but he paid his particular devotions to her in her favourite habitation, in her chosen temple, the house of commons. Besides the characters of the individuals who compose our body, it is impossible, Mr. Speaker, not to observe, that this house has a 'collective character of its own. That character, too, however imperfect, is not unamiable. Like all great public collections of men, you possess a marked love of virtue, and an abhorrence of vice. But among vices, there is none which the house abhors in the same degree with obstinacy. Obstinacy, sir, is certainly a great vice; and in the changeful state of political affairs it is frequently the cause of great mischief. It happens, however, very unfortunately, that almost the whole line of the great and masculine virtues, constancy, gravity, magnanimity, fortitude, fidelity, and firmness; are closely allied to this disagreeable quality, of which you have so just an abhorrence; and in their excess, all these virtues very easily fall into it. He who paid such a particular attention to all your feelings, certainly took care not to shock them by that vice which is most disgustful to you.

That fear of displeasing those who ought most to be pleased, betrayed him sometimes into the other extreme. He had voted, and, in the year 1765, had been an advocate for the stamp-act. Things and the dispositions of men's minds were changed. In short, the stamp-act began to be no favourite with this house. Accordingly, he voted for the repeal. The very next session, as the fashion of this world passeth away, the repeal began to be in as bad repute as the stamp-act had been the session before. To conform to the temper which began to prevail, and to prevail mostly amongst those most in power, he declared very early in the winter that a revenue must be had out of America. Here this extraor dinary man, then chancellor of the exchequer, found himself in great straits. To please universally was the object of his life; but to tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to men. However, he attempted it. Tỏ render the tax palatable to the partizans of American revenue, he made a preamble, stating the`nécessity of such a revenue. To close with the American distinction, this revenue was external, or port-duty; but again to soften it to the other party, it was a duty of supply, &c. This fine-spun scheme had the usual fate of all exquisite policy. But the original plan, and the mode of executing that plan, both arose singly and solely from a love of our applause. He was truly the child of the house. He never thought, did, or said any thing but with a view to you. He every day adapted himself to your disposition; and adjusted himself before it, as at a looking-glass.

He had observed, that several persons, infinitely his inferiors in all respects, had formerly rendered themselves considerable in this house by one method alone. They were a race of men (I hope in God the species is extinct) who, when they rose in their place, no man living could divine from any known adherence to parties, to opinions, or to principles; from any order or system in their politics; or from any sequel or connection in their ideas, what part they were going to take in any debate. It is astonishing, how much this uncertainty, especially at critical times, called the attention of all parties on such men. All eyes were fixed on them, all ears open to hear them; each party gaped and looked alternately for their vote, almost to the end of their speeches. While the house hung in this uncertainty, now the hear-hims rose from this side-now they re-bellowed from the other; and that party to whom they fell at last from their tremulous and dancing balance, always received them in a tempest of applause. The fortune of such men was a temptation too great to be resisted by one, to whom a single whiff of incense withheld gave much greater pain, than he received delights in the clouds of it, which daily fose about him from the prodigal superstition of innumerable admirers. He was a candidate for contradictory. honours; and his great aim was to make those agree in the admiration of him, who never agreed in any thing else. Burke.


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