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The Fight and Other Writings by William Hazlitt

The Fight and Other Writings by William Hazlitt

Author:William Hazlitt
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780141937168
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Published: 2000-06-14T16:00:00+00:00


‘Grove nods to grove, each alley has a brother,14

And half the platform just reflects the other —’15

and I am afraid that this objection cannot be got over, at least, on this side the water.*16

The best Irish speaker I ever heard (indeed the best speaker without any exception whatever) is Mr Plunkett; who followed Mr Grattan in one of the debates on the Catholic question above alluded to. The contrast was not a little striking; and it was certainly in favour of Mr Plunkett. His style of workmanship was more manly and more masterly. There were no little Gothic ornaments or fantastic excrescences to catch and break the attention: no quaintness, witticism, or conceit. Roubiliac, after being abroad, said, that ‘what he had seen there made his own work in Westminster Abbey look like tobacco-pipes’.17 You had something of the same sort of feeling with respect to Mr Grattan’s artificial and frittered style, after hearing Mr Plunkett’s defence of the same side of the question. He went straight forward to his end with a force equal to his rapidity. He removed all obstacles, as he advanced. He overturned Mr Banks with his right hand, and Mr Charles Yorke with his left — the one on a chronological question of the Concordat, and the other as to the origin of the Corporation and Test Acts. One wonders how they ever got up again, or trusted themselves on a ground of matter-of-fact ever after. Mr Secretary Peel did not offer to put himself in his way. No part of the subject could come amiss to him — history, law, constitutional principle, common feeling, local prejudices, general theory, — all was alike within his reach and his control. Having settled one point, he passed on to another, carrying his hearers with him: — it was as if he knew all that could be said on the question, and was anxious to impart his knowledge without any desire of shining. There was no affectation, no effort, but equal ease and earnestness. Every thing was brought to bear that could answer his purpose, and there was nothing superfluous. His eloquence swept along like a river,



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