Reference > Quotations > S. Austin Allibone, comp. > Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay
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S. Austin Allibone, comp.  Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay.  1880.
 
Fox, Charles James
 
  But he has put to hazard his ease, his security, his interest, his power, even his darling popularity, for the benefit of a people whom he has never seen. This is the road that all heroes have trod before him. He is traduced and abused for his supposed motives. He will remember that obloquy is a necessary ingredient in the composition of all true glory: he will remember that it was not only in the Roman customs, but it is in the nature and constitution of things, that calumny and abuse are essential parts of triumph. These thoughts will support a mind which only exists for honour under the burden of temporary reproach. He is doing, indeed, a great good,—such as rarely falls to the lot, and almost as rarely coincides with the desires, of any man. Let him use his time. Let him give the whole length of the reins to his benevolence. He is now on a great eminence, where the eyes of mankind are turned to him. He may live long, he may do much; but here is the summit: he never can exceed what he does this day.
Edmund Burke: Speech on Mr. Fox’s East India Bill, Dec. 1, 1783.    
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  I confess I anticipate with joy the reward of those whose whole consequence, power, and authority exist only for the benefit of mankind; and I carry my mind to all the people, and all the names and descriptions, that, relieved by this bill, will bless the labours of this Parliament, and the confidence which the best House of Commons has given to him who the best deserves it. The little cavils of party will not be heard where freedom and happiness will be felt. There is not a tongue, a nation, or religion in India which will not bless the presiding care and manly beneficence of this House, and of him who proposes to you this great work. Your names will never be separated before the throne of the Divine Goodness, in whatever language, or with whatever rites, pardon is asked for sin, and reward for those who imitate the Godhead in His universal bounty to His creatures. These honours you deserve, and they will surely be paid, when all the jargon of influence and party and patronage are swept into oblivion.  2
  I have spoken what I think, and what I feel, of the mover of this bill. An honourable friend of mine, speaking of his merits, was charged with having made a studied panegyric. I don’t know what his was. Mine, I am sure, is a studied panegyric, the fruit of much meditation, the result of the observation of near twenty years. For my own part, I am happy that I have lived to see this day; I feel myself overpaid for the labours of eighteen years, when at this late period I am able to take my share, by one humble vote, in destroying a tyranny that exists to the disgrace of this nation and the destruction of so large a part of the human species.
Edmund Burke: Speech on Mr. Fox’s East India Bill.    
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  As far as mere diction was concerned, indeed, Mr. Fox did his best to avoid those faults which the habit of public speaking is likely to generate. He was so nervously apprehensive of sliding into some colloquial incorrectness, of debasing his style by a mixture of Parliamentary slang, that he ran into the opposite error, and purified his vocabulary with a scrupulosity unknown to any purist. “Ciceronem Allobroga dixit.” He would not allow Addison, Bolingbroke, or Middleton to be a sufficient authority for an expression. He declared that he would use no word which was not to be found in Dryden. In any other person we should have called this solicitude mere foppery; and, in spite of all our admiration for Mr. Fox, we cannot but think that his extreme attention to the petty niceties of language was hardly worthy of so manly and so capacious an understanding.
Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay: Sir James Mackintosh’s History of the Revolution, July, 1835.    
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  While Mr. Fox winnowed and sifted his phraseology with a care which seems hardly consistent with the simplicity and elevation of his mind, and of which the effect really was to debase and enfeeble his style, he was little on his guard against those more serious improprieties of manner into which a great orator who undertakes to write history is in danger of falling. There is about the whole book a vehement, contentious, replying manner. Almost every argument is put in the form of an interrogation, an ejaculation, or a sarcasm. The writer seems to be addressing himself to some imaginary audience, to be tearing in pieces a defence of the Stuarts which has just been pronounced by an imaginary Tory.
Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay: Sir James Mackintosh’s History of the Revolution.    
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  Yet he [Pitt] was not a great debater. That he should not have been so when first he entered the House of Commons is not strange. Scarcely any person has ever become so without long practice and many failures. It was by slow degrees, as Burke said, that the late Mr. Fox became the most brilliant and powerful debater that ever lived. Mr. Fox himself attributed his own success to the resolution which he formed when very young, of speaking, well or ill, at least once every night. “During five whole sessions,” he used to say, “I spoke every night but one; and I regret only that I did not speak on that night too.” Indeed, with the exception of Mr. Stanley, whose knowledge of the science of parliamentary defence resembles an instinct, it would be difficult to name any eminent debater who has not made himself a master of his art at the expense of his audience. But as this art is one which even the ablest men have seldom acquired without long practice, so it is one which men of respectable abilities, with assiduous and intrepid practice, seldom fail to acquire.
Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay: William Pitt: Encyc. Brit., 8th edit., Jan. 1859.    
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  The effect of oratory will always to a great extent depend on the character of the orator. There perhaps were never two speakers whose eloquence had more of what may be called the race, more of the flavour imparted by moral qualities, than Fox and Pitt. The speeches of Fox owe a great part of their charm to that warmth and softness of heart, that sympathy with human suffering, that admiration for everything great and beautiful, and that hatred of cruelty and injustice, which interest and delight us even in the most defective reports. No person, on the other hand, could hear Pitt without perceiving him to be a man of high, intrepid, and commanding spirit, proudly conscious of his own rectitude and of his own intellectual superiority, incapable of the low vices of fear and envy, but too prone to feel and to show disdain. Pride, indeed, pervaded the whole man, was written in the harsh, rigid lines of his face, was marked by the way in which he walked, in which he sate, in which he stood, and, above all, in which he bowed. Such pride, of course, inflicted many wounds. It may confidently be affirmed that there cannot be found in all the ten thousand invectives written against Fox a word indicating that his demeanour had ever made a single personal enemy. On the other hand, several men of note who had been partial to Pitt, and who to the last continued to approve his public conduct and to support his administration, Cumberland, for example, Boswell, and Mathias, were so much irritated by the contempt with which he treated them that they complained in print of their wrongs. But his pride, though it made him bitterly disliked by individuals, inspired the great body of his followers in Parliament and throughout the country with respect and confidence. They took him at his own valuation.
Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay: William Pitt: Encyc. Brit., 8th edit., Jan. 1859.    
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