Sir, there is still another point upon which, although with hesitation, I will advert for a moment. I am distrustful of my own ability to deal becomingly with a theme on which the noble Lord so well touched; but nevertheless I feel that I must refer to it. I was glad to hear from the noble Lord that he intends to propose a vote of condolence with the relatives of those who have fallen in this contest. Sir, we have already felt, even in this chamber of public assemblage, how bitter have been the consequences of this war. We cannot throw our eyes over the accustomed benches, where we miss many a gallant and genial face, without feeling our hearts ache, our spirits sadden, and even our eyes moisten. But if that be our feeling here when we miss the long companions of our public lives and labours, what must be the anguish and desolation which now darken so many hearths! Never, Sir, has the youthful blood of this country been so profusely lavished as it has been in this contest,—never has a greater sacrifice been made, and for ends which more fully sanctify the sacrifice. But we can hardly hope now, in the greenness of the wound, that even these reflections can serve as a source of solace. Young women who have become widows almost as soon as they had become wives—mothers who have lost not only their sons, but the brethren of those sons—heads of families who have seen abruptly close all their hopes of an hereditary line—these are pangs which even the consciousness of duty performed, which even the lustre of glory won, cannot easily or speedily alleviate and assuage. But let us indulge at least in the hope, in the conviction, that the time will come when the proceedings of this evening may be to such persons a source of consolation—when sorrow for the memory of those that are departed may be mitigated by the recollection that their death is at least associated with imperishable deeds, with a noble cause, and with a nation’s gratitude.
Speech by MR. DISRAELI.
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I believe there is no permanent greatness to a nation except it be based upon morality. I do not care for military greatness or military renown. I care for the condition of the people among whom I live. There is no man in England who is less likely to speak irreverently of the Crown and Monarchy of England than I am; but crowns, coronets, mitres, military display, the pomp of war, wide colonies, and a huge empire, are, in my view, all trifles light as air, and not worth considering, unless with them you can have a fair share of comfort, contentment, and happiness among the great body of the people. Palaces, baronial castles, great halls, stately mansions, do not make a nation. The nation in every country dwells in the cottage; and unless the light of your Constitution can shine there, unless the beauty of your legislation and the excellence of your statesmanship are impressed there on the feelings and condition of the people, rely upon it you have yet to learn the duties of government.