American Rhetoric: Movie Speech

"An Ideal Husband" (1999)


Sir Robert Chiltern Addresses Parliament on the Proposed Canal Project

Audio mp3 delivered by Jeremy Northam


Lord Chiltern: Since I last addressed this House on the subject, I have had the opportunity to investigate this scheme more thoroughly and to grasp fully the ramifications of our lending it support.

I have to inform the House that I was mistaken in my original perceptions, and that I have now taken a rather different view.

I -- I find that now I must agree with my right honourable friend that this is indeed an excellent scheme, a genuine opportunity -- an opportunity particularly if you happen to be a corrupt investor, a corrupt investor with nothing but self-interest at heart.


For now it is my utter conviction that this scheme never should have had or should ever have any chance of success. It is a fraud! An infamous fraud at that! Our involvement would be a political fraud of the worst possible kind.

  This great nation has long been a great commercial power. Now it seems there exists a growing compulsion to use that power merely to beget more power; money merely to beget more money, irrespective of the true cost to the nation's soul. And it is this sickness, a kind of moral blindness, commerce without conscience, which threatens to strike at the very soul of this nation. And the only remedy that I can see is to strike back and to strike now!

As we stand -- As we stand at the end of this most eventful century, it seems that we do, after all, have a genuine opportunity, one honest chance to shed our sometimes imperfect past to start again, to step unshackled into the next century, and to look our future squarely and proudly in the face.

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