The World’s Famous Orations.
Great Britain: II. (1780–1861). 1906.
II. On an Attempt to Force His Resignation
Let this House beware of suffering any individual to involve his own cause, and to interweave his own interests, in the resolutions of the House of Commons. The dignity of the House is for ever appealed to. Let us beware that it is not the dignity of any set of men. Let us beware that personal prejudices have no share in deciding these great constitutional questions. The right honorable gentleman is possessed of those enchanting arts whereby he can give grace to deformity. He holds before your eyes a beautiful and delusive image; he pushes it forward to your observation; but, as sure as you embrace it, the pleasing vision will vanish, and this fair phantom of liberty will be succeeded by anarchy, confusion, and ruin to the Constitution.
For, in truth, sir, if the constitutional independence of the Crown is thus reduced to the very verge of annihilation, where is the boasted equipoise of the Constitution? Dreadful, therefore, as the conflict is, my conscience, my duty, my fixed regard for the Constitution of our ancestors, maintain me still in this arduous situation. It is not any proud contempt, or defiance of the constitutional resolutions of this House—it is no personal point of honor, much less is it any lust of power, that makes me still cling to office. The situation of the times requires of me—and, I will add, the country calls aloud to me—that I should defend this castle; and I am determined, therefore, I will defend it!