Essays in Rebellion eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 277 pages of information about Essays in Rebellion.
“Perhaps a more smooth and accommodating spirit of freedom in them would be more acceptable to us.  Perhaps ideas of liberty might be desired more reconcilable with an arbitrary and boundless authority.  Perhaps we might wish the colonists to be persuaded that their liberty is more secure when held in trust for them by us (as their guardians during a perpetual minority) than with any part of it in their own hands.”

And, finally, speaking of self-taxation as the very basis of all our liberties, Burke exclaimed: 

“They (British statesmen) took infinite pains to inculcate as a fundamental principle, that in all monarchies the people must in effect themselves, mediately or immediately, possess the power of granting their own money, or no shadow of liberty could subsist.”

It was the second of these noble passages that I once heard declaimed on the sea-beach at Madras to an Indian crowd by an Indian speaker, who, following the precepts of Lord Morley, then Secretary of State for India, had made Burke’s speeches his study by day and night.  That phrase describing the ruling Power as the guardians of a subject race during a perpetual minority has stuck in my mind, and it recurred to me when I read that Burke’s writings and speeches had been removed from the University curriculum in India.  Carlyle’s Heroes and Cowper’s Letters have been substituted—­excellent books, the one giving the Indians in rather portentous language very dubious information about Odin, Luther, Rousseau, and other conspicuous people; the other telling them, with a slightly self-conscious simplicity, about a melancholy invalid’s neckcloths, hares, dog, and health.  Such subjects are all very well, but where in them do we find the magnificence and elevation of expression, the sacred gift of inspiring men to make their lives at once rich and austere, and the other high qualities that Lord Morley found in “the most perfect manual in any literature”?  Reflecting on this new decision of the Indian University Council, or whoever has taken on himself to cut Burke out of the curriculum, some of us may find two passages coming into the memory.  One is a passage from those very speeches of Burke, where he said, “To prove that the Americans ought not to be free, we were obliged to depreciate the value of freedom itself.”  The other is Biglow’s familiar verse, beginning “I du believe in Freedom’s cause, Ez fur away ez Payris is,” and ending: 

  “It’s wal enough agin a king
    To dror resolves an’ triggers,—­
  But libbaty’s a kind o’ thing
    Thet don’t agree with niggers.”

XXI

UNDER THE YOKE

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Essays in Rebellion from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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