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Monday the 6th of July
the 7th 1747.
Buck's speech to Prussias.
to judge of the speeches made by other members. That the hour was
V. Pres. in
Mr Burke as V. Pres: orders Mr Buck to speak in the Council of ye chair. Prussias against his giving up Hannibal to the Romans. He does
The Members being assembled, Mr Ardesoif declard in the Country, no other business done.
My Prince the seat of Power should be also the seat of Wisdom. You have been hitherto renown'd for the first, and we now expect the latter. I know the authority due to my Prince, and 'tis my regard for him that now prompts me to speak when I see attempts to destroy that Authority. Justice is the chief glory of a Crown, and this we are about to violate in giving up Hann:- -Burke as Prussias
My glory must be laid aside for my interest, which I regard in giving up the perfidious Hannibal.-Buck says—
There can be neither glory nor interest in quitting virtue, but it is the arms of Rome that terrify you. Rome that spreads slavery with her dominion. Consider your engagements with Hann: and what he is to expect from that bitter enemy. What? but death to him and shame to you. This is your advantage, by joining Rome, but if you oppose it, your opposition will encourage others, who will pull down Rome effeminated by its conquests; Sure we are not sunk to Romans. Asiatic virtue is still entire. I praise your country to warm you to its interest; we now have a fair shew to get rid of Rome; declare yourself the Patron of Justice and Rome will shrink, when she sees you preserve Han: & tie him to your Interest. What have you to expect from Rome whose friendship is Slavery? and what mayn't you expect of Carthage when possess'd of Han: who like the Phoenix will rise more glorious from his fall. But if you are false to that Man, your subjects will be false to you, the same interest that sways you will also sway them. Rome wou'd now draw Han: away, they wou'd now take away your left hand, that they may more easily bind your right, but dont sully the glory of your family nor your own virtue, but preserve your word in protecting Han: so shall Heaven protect
Mr Pres remarks that there are two kinds of Orations, one to a Multitude, the other to an absolute Prince, that Mr Buck's was of the former kind tho' otherwise very good.
Ham. Oration Mr Ham: speaks his oration-judg'd that Mr Ham: is improv'd Ham: President in his delivery, but mistook sometimes in laying the emphasis-He takes the Chair.
Mr Pres. says-
Mr Burke excuses the not having his lecture on Oratory thro' dispute about a hurry of Business and as he expected the Society would be proBurke's lecture. rogued-Mr Buck charges him with Disrespect in talking of pro
rogation as a point already agreed, when it was not even mov'd in the Society, and urges that Mr Burke be oblig'd to give it in—Mr Burke says he meant no affront, and promises to give it on Tuesday.
Mr Buck to give in his Oration about Irish Manufactures and that in defence of Cicero, one on Friday, the other Friday seennight.
Mr Shackleton's Latin Verses read out and have the approbation verses—appro- of the Society- -Mr Pres gives for matter of debate whether the Turkish Law that forbids wine be just-1
Was there no other reason than this being a heathenish law I drinking wine- should cry out against the Justice of it; but I will shew you that they Burke's speech. are not only faulty, but that it is meritorius to drink this generous liquor. Mahomet had no reason for forbidding the Turks to drink wine but because he knew they had not the mastery of their passions,
Mr Burke speaks his Oration, had it not perfect, but is allow'd to speak well in general.
Mr Burke says that Mr Buck had kept such unanimity among the Members, and such a perfect regularity in the Society as to deserve the thanks, which he receives accordingly
1 Writing in 1795 in Thoughts and Details on Scarcity, Burke says: “As to what is said in a physical and moral view against the home consumption of spirits, experience has long since taught me very little to respect the declamations on that subject-Whether the thunder of the Laws, or the thunder of eloquence 'is hurled on gin' always I am thunder proof. The Alembick, in my mind, has furnished the world a far greater benefit and blessing, than if the opus maximum had been really found by chemistry, and, like Midas, we could turn everything into gold.
Undoubtedly there may be a dangerous abuse in the excess of spirits; and at one time I am ready to believe the abuse was great. When spirits are cheap, the business of drunkeness is achieved with little time or labour, but that evil I consider to be wholly done away. Observations for the last forty years, and very particularly for the last thirty, has furnished me with ten instances of drunkeness from other causes for one from this. Ardent spirits is a great medicine, often to remove distempers-much more frequently to prevent them, or to chase them away in their beginnings. It is not nutritive in any great degree. But if not food it greatly alleviates the want of it. It invigorates the stomach for the digestion of poor meagre diet, not easily alliable to the humane constitution. Wine the poor cannot touch. Beer, as applied to many occasions (as among seamen and fishermen for instance) will by no means do the business. Let me add, what wits inspired with champagne and claret will turn into ridicule-it is a medicine for the mind. Under the pressure of the cares and sorrows of our mortal condition, men have at all times and in all countries called in some physical aid to their moral consolations-wine, beer, opium, brandy or tobacco."
now Christians have the mastery of their passions, therefore not to be restrained on that account, but I will shew you they have an undoubted right to use it; Nothing was made in Vain-Why should the vine? beside we have the authority of the Patriarchs for the Drinking of it-Noah planted the Vine-and the Jews drank the juice of the Grape, even our Saviour appointed the drinking of it in the solemnist part of our Religion, shall we not prefer the institutes of Christ, to the orders of Mahomet-besides wine is a great enlivener of the spirits, and I doubt not, nay I am certain, this Assembly, who allow our drinking malt liquor, would if the fund was sufficient, order the drinking of wine, yet no one will from thence distrust the wisdom of the Society. In fine, God gave us wine, and almost all mankind proclaim its use, then let us enjoy the Benefits.
Buck says I did design speaking for Wine but I now stand up against it, and must say that Mahomet Justly forbid the use of it, as he knew the Turks prone to excess which might cause them to betray things improper to be known. Bad men may sometimes act justly, as did Mahomet when he forc'd those men from Evil, but if it be Evil in them how much more in us, since it leads us into crimes expressly forbid by our religion, besides (tho' I think Mr Burke spoke too freely of Christ and his holy institution) as it is employ'd in the Sacrament we ought to prevent its being too common, to give a greater veneration to the feast in which it is employ'd. Besides it is the trade of our Enemies, who by tempting us enrich themselves, and bring on our destruction. Then let the abuse and detriment suffer'd by this liquor be prevented by taking away its use. I need not mention that the Laws of this Society make no remark on the Service of this liquor, therefore it is of no use.
Mr Burke says He did not design to offend religion nor did he believe what he said, could do it; but he wav'd that-Says the Vine was made for our Service, and the intemperance of some was no argument against its general good, that it was us'd by Jews and Christians, and not forbid by the Gospel, therefore they had a right to use it
Mr Buck says That Religion was not to be mention'd so lightly in the Assembly and that tho' there was no law against this liquor yet there were many cautions against it thro' the scripture. That if liberty was given 'twou'd run into License, and produce Murders, Thefts, and many other ill consequences. That if they did not entirely forbid it they should at least restrain it: that if he did not speak against it, yet he could never exhort the encouraging what was so productive of ill.
Mr Dennis says I never wish'd more for wine than now that I am to speak in its praise, and not only how usefull it is to mankind, but the benefits likewise which I receive from it myself, when by a glass I have rais'd my spirits and banish'd care. Tho' Mahomet forbid Wine yet he himself drank it, as well to raise his spirits as to
Friday July 10th 1747.
keep his secrets. I will venture to say he was as great a villain for forbidding the Grape as his Doctrine. You are all writers and admirers of writings. And what prompts it so much as Wine. I doubt not but the abstaining from it caus'd Judas to betray our Saviour; but look on its services to Mankind. By this the Villainy which Hypocrisy would hide, is discover'd, and for this we should promote it, as it makes ill men discover their secrets and truth ought to be our endeavour. I must again mention Mahomet who forbid Wine yet allow'd Women, which is the greater ill. I could speak much more for this noble liquor if I had it to enliven me, but I conclude with drinking we may never have want or restraint of it.
Mr Buck says-
Mr Pres gives it for Wine.-Subjects appointed. Mr Burke for
Embassy to Troy.
Burke as Ulysses.
Mr Hamilton. Pres.
Pres says he is sorry to reflect on the irregularity and cavilling of the last night, but he was resolv'd by vigour to restrain the like for the future-demands the papers due. Mr Dennis has not his Moral paper. Mr Burke moves he may be censured by law the fifth. Dennis Mr Dennis says it was a malicious Motion and contrary to custom, but it being put to the vote he is censured. Mr Burke repeats his speech from Milton, but has it not perfect.
Pres proposes for Debate, the Embassy of Ulysses & Menelaus to recover Helen-Burke as Ulysses,
Witness Oh Jove who inhabit Ida, how I blush for Paris, for Priam, and for Troy. Laomedon once brought destruction on this city. Let his example warn you Priam, least it suffer the same fate under you. I am no Greek. I come not to revenge any injury I have receiv'd; No, I was led here by the desire of Menelaus and ye regard to Justice, to seek the reparation of his Injuries: How do you hope the favour of the Gods if you do not surrender Paris? that ravisher! I am the Delegate of the Gods who am come to demand satisfaction for that sacred hospitality which you broke. Look on Ida & tremble for your crimes unexpiated, 'tis there that avenger of wrong sits to look on this city fam'd for its perjuries. This is not only an insult
to Menelaus, to the Greeks, but also to the Gods, to Jupiter The King of the Gods. And you rash young man what could prompt you to this deed? Was it her beauty? Your lust enhances your guilt. Nor think that Jupiter will easily pardon the rape of his Daughter. Jupiter the Hospitable, the Regarder of vows, and lastly the Father of Helen, whom I demand with all her riches. Oh Priam, do not be defender of your Son's lust, let your tenderness yield to your Wisdom. Consider your safety. See all Greece thundering on your Coast. I speak for your Interest and the regard I have to the Gods from whom I am descended. I do not speak this from Pride: for you are also descended from them: then shew your regard to them in delivering up Helen: and save your Country.
Then Dennis spoke in the character of Antenor says I should Antenor. think myself wanting in my duty to you Priam and to my country if I did not speak in an affair which so nearly concerns you both. I cannot disown what Ulysses says of the breach of Hospitality, which will be followed by the vengeance of Heaven. Jupiter will surely punish the rape of his daughter unless we make an atonement by giving up Helen. I know it is a difficult task for an old man and indulgent father to rob his son of his greatest pleasure, especially so beautifull a woman as Helen. But it is a bad son who would bring a father to such a dishonour, and therefore unworthy: but if you still regard him look on Jupiter and let that prompt you to be exemplary in punishing this bad son; but if nothing weighs with you, think on the miseries of a plunder'd city. Your Country just ready to fall a prey to its enemies; nor is that the last punishment; no, there is Minos, a just Judge below this Earth, who wills a worse doom for the unrelenting.
Buck in the character of Paris-says
Buck as Paris.
My father-I am sorry I have need to speak but when I see a Trojan join with an enemy I am compell'd to it. My spirits have been too much sunk, which with the speech of Antenor has given them hopes. I would surrender the gift of the Gods, for they promis'd me Helen and with their assistance I obtain'd her. This even Greece must own. Helen was mine by the will of Jove, who is the favourer of Ida. Where was the Grecian Force when I took her: Why did they not then dispute my title? No, 'tis now they come to tell of the fate of Laomedon but their threats nor their examples touch not us. Helen chose the favourite of the Gods, and if you would keep Jove keep his daughter, for not our Palladium is more necessary to our preservation. They tell us the Gods are near. Troy is more secure and will better find their assistance. But why does the cunning Ulysses persuade us of his indifference. No my Father he is not indifferent nor is it his Justice brings him here, 'tis his lust, he knows the value of Helen, therefore seeks her for himself. But sure you disdain his request and will have some pity for your child. 'Tis the duty of a King to save, then save your daughter & subject, tho' you