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ENGLISH ELOQUENCE-VII

Synopsis

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Speech on the Employment of Indian Troops by the Rt. Hon. William Pitt , Earl of Chatham. Delivered in the House of Lords on November 20, 1777, during the course of the Debate on the Address.
THE Grand Cham of literature and the Great
Commoner were contemporaries ; but their eloquence was exercised in different arenas. Johnson expressed his powerful mind in private ; Pitt displayed in public that splendour of character which once illuminated the kingdom, then dazzled and afterwards inflamed it.
As statesman William Pitt , first Earl, of Chatham, is famous as the architect of the first British Empire ; as orator for an eloquence which fascinated his supporters and terrified his opponents.
The speech on the employment of Indian troops was the second of Chatham's great efforts to stop the war with the American colonies. He was no longer a Minister, but a dying man, just able to ' crawl to the House of Lords,' attended by his son William. His appearance caused consternation mingled with joy among those who looked to him as the saviour of the country.
' Sage he stood
With Atlantean shoulders, fit to bear
The weight of mightiest monarchies ; his look Drew audience and attention still as night.'
He was still concerned with ' measures, not men.' He tried to convince the corrupt assembly of ' King's Men' that facts should take precedence over party. ' My Lords, this is not merely the cold opinion of my understanding, but the glowing expression of what I feel. It is my heart that speaks.' Thrice more he spoke on the same subject, before ' single, imperious, proud, enthusiastic,' he was silenced by that seizure portrayed in Copley's picture.

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ENGLISH ELOQUENCE-VII

2LO London, 9 June 1929 17.30






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