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profound contempt upon the reptile I mean to tread upon. I say reptile, my lords, because, when the proudest man in society becomes so much the dupe of his childish malice as to wish to inflict on the object of his vengeance the poison of his sting, to do a reptile's work, he must shrink into a reptile's dimensions; and, so shrunk, the only way to assail him is to tread upon him.
THE PLAINTIFF DENOUNCED.
THE PLAINTIFF DENOUNCED.
From the speech in the Wilkinson trial.
GENTLEMEN, although my clients are free from the charge of shedding blood, there is a murderer, and, strange to say, his name appears upon the indictment, not as a criminal, but a prosecutor. His garments are wet with the blood of those upon whose deaths you hold this solemn inquest. Yonder he sits, allaying for a moment the hunger of that fierce vulture, Conscience, by casting before it the food of pretended regret, and false but apparent eagerness for justice. He hopes to appease the manes of his slaughtered victims- victims to his falsehood and treacheryby sacrificing upon their graves a hecatomb of innocent men. By base misrepresentations of the conduct of the defendants, he induced his imprudent friends to attempt a vindication of his pretended wrongs, by violence and bloodshed. His clansmen gathered at his call, and followed him for vengeance; but when the fight began, and the keen weapons clashed in the sharp conflict, where was the wordy warrior? Ay, "where was Roderick then?" No "blast upon his bugle horn" encouraged his companions as they were laying down their lives in his quarrel; no gleam of his dagger indicated a desire to avenge their fall. With treacherous cowardice he left them to their fate, and all his vaunted courage ended in ignominious flight.
Sad and gloomy is the path that lies before him. You will in a few moments dash, untasted, from his lips, the sweet cup of revenge, to quaff whose intoxicating contents he has paid a price that would have purchased the goblet of the Egyptian queen. I behold gathering around him, thick and fast, dark and corroding cares. That face, which looks so ruddy, and even now is flushed with shame and conscious guilt, will from this day grow pale, until the craven blood shall refuse to visit the haggard check. In his broken and distorted sleep his dreams will be more fearful than those of the "false, perjured Clarence;" and around his waking pillow, in the deep hour of night, will fit the ghosts of his victims, of Meeks and of Rothwell, shrieking their curses in his shrinking ear.
Upon his head rests not only the blood shed in this unfortunate strife, but also the soul-killing crime of perjury; for, surely as he lives, did the words of craft and falsehood fall from his lips ere they were hardly loosened from the holy volume. But I dismiss him, and do consign him to the furies, trusting, in all charity, that the terrible punishment he must suffer from the scorpion-lash of a guilty conscience will be considered in his last
S. S. PRENTISS.
From the speech in defense of Rowan, tried for libel.
THIS paper, gentlemen of the jury, insists upon the necessity of emancipating the Catholics of Ireland, and that is charged as a part of the libel. If they had waited another year, if they had kept this prosecution impending for another year, how much would remain for a jury to decide upon, I should be at a loss to discover. It seems as if the progress of public reformation was eating away the ground of the prosecution. Since the commencement of the prosecution, this part of the libel has unluckily received the sanction of the legislature. In that interval our Catholic brethren have obtained that admission, which it seems it was a libel to propose: in what way to account for this, I am really at a loss. Have any alarms been occasioned by the emancipation of our Catholic brethren? Has the bigoted malignity of any individuals been crushed? Or, has the stability of the government, or has that of the country, been weakened? Or, is one million of subjects stronger than four millions? Do you think that the benefit they received should be poisoned by the sting of vengeance? Do you think it wise or humane, at this moment, to insult them, by sticking up in a pillory the man who dared to stand forth their advocate? I put it to your oaths; do you think that a blessing of that kind, that a victory obtained by justice over bigotry and oppression, should have a stigma cast upon it by an ignominious sentence upon men bold and honest enough to propose that measure: to propose the redeeming of religion from the abuses of the church; the reclaiming of three millions of men from bondage, and giving liberty to all who had a right to demand it-giving, I say, in the so much censured words of this paper, giving " UNIVERSAL EMANCIPATION."
I speak in the spirit of the British law, which makes liberty commensurate with and inseparable from British soil; which proclaims even to the stranger and the so'journer, the moment he
sets his foot upon British earth, that the ground on which he treads is holy, and consecrated by the genius of universal emancipation. No matter in what language his doom may have been pronounced; no matter what complexion incompatible with freedom an Indian or an African sun may have burnt upon him; no matter in what disastrous battle his liberty may have been cloven down; no matter with what solemnities he may have been devoted upon the altar of slavery; the first moment he touches the sacred soil of Britain, the altar and the god sink together in the dust; his soul walks abroad in her own majesty ; his body swells beyond the measure of his chains, that burst from around him; and he stands redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled, by the irresistible genius of universal emancipation.
V. GOVERNMENT INFORMERS.
From the speech at the trial of Finnerty.
GENTLEMEN of the jury, it is not upon my client that you are sitting in judgment; you are sitting in judgment upon the lives and liberties of the inhabitants of more than half of Ireland. You are to say that it is a foul proceeding to condemn the government of Ireland. You are called upon, on your oaths, to say that the government is wise and merciful, the people prosperous and happy; and that the statements of a contrary import are libelous and false.
How could you reconcile with such a verdict the jails, the gibbets, the conflagrations, the murders, the proclamations, that we hear of every day? What is the state of Ireland, and where shall you find the wretched inhabitant of this land? You may find him, perhaps, in a jail, the only place of security-I had almost said of ordinary habitation! If you do not find him there, you may see him flying with his family from the flames of his own dwelling, lighted to his dungeon by the conflagration of his hovel; or you may find his bones bleaching on the green fields of his country; or you may find him tossing on the surface of the ocean, and mingling his groans with tempests, less savage than his persecutors.
Is this a "foul misrepresentation"?
Or can you, with these facts ringing in your ears, and staring in your face, say, upon your oaths, that they do not exist?
But the learned gentleman is further pleased to say, that the traverser has charged the government with the encouragement
of informers. This, gentlemen, is another small fact that you are to deny at the hazard of your souls, and upon the solemnity of your oaths. You are, upon your oaths, to say to the sister country, that the government of Ireland uses no such abominable instruments of destruction as informers. Let me ask you, honestly, what do you feel when, in my hearing, when, in the face of this audience, you are called upon to give a verdict that every man of us, ay, and every man of you, know, by the testimony of your own eyes, to be utterly and absolutely false?
I speak not now of the public proclamation for informers, with a promise of secrecy and of extravagant reward; I speak not of the fate of those horrid wretches who have been so often transferred from the table to the dock, and from the dock to the pillory; I speak of what your own eyes have seen, day after day, during the course of this commission, from the box where you are now sitting; the number of horrid miscreants who acknowledged, upon their oaths, that they had come from the seat of government, - from the very chambers of the Castle, where they had been worked upon, by the fear of death and the hope of compensation, to give evidence against their fellows; that the mild, the wholesome, and merciful councils of this government are holden over these catacombs of living death, where the wretch, that is buried a man, lies till his heart has time to fester and dissolve, and is then dug up- a witness!
Is this a picture created by a hag-ridden fancy, or is it fact? Have you not seen him, after his resurrection from that region of death and corruption, make his appearance upon the table, the living image of life and of death, and the supreme arbiter of both? Have you not marked, when he entered, how the stormy wave of the multitude retired at his approach? Have you not seen how the human heart bowed to the supremacy of his power, in the undissembled homage of deferential horror? - how his glance, like the lightning of heaven, seemed to rive the body of the accused, and mark it for the grave, while his voice warned the devoted wretch of woe and death, a death which no innocence can escape, no art elude, no force resist, no antidote prevent. There was an antidote — a juror's oath ! — but even that adamantine chain, that bound the integrity of man to the throne of eternal justice, is solved and molten in the breath that issues from the informer's mouth; conscience swings from her moorings, and the appalled and affrighted juror consults his own safety in the surrender of the victim.
Traverser, a term in law for one who traverses or opposes a plea or indict
PART THIRD. THE CAMP.
L-CATILINE TO HIS TROOPS.
ON many and great occasions, O soldiers! I have known you brave and faithful; and now the greatest and noblest undertaking of all invites us. You are at last aware of my designs. Rome's rulers must be changed. The enterprise is bold,-ay, some may call it rash, and denounce me as Catiline the conspirator. my confidence in our venture increases daily, the more I reflect what our fate is likely to be if we do not vindicate our freedom by our own right hands.
What is the condition of the republic? Under the dominion of a haughty few, to whom kings yield their tributes and principalities their profits, all the rest of the people, whether noble or ignoble, are regarded as the mere vulgar by these stern, uncompromising masters. Without influence, without authority, we, who, under the commonwealth, should be to them a terror, are a scorn. All honor, favor, power, wealth, are centered in them, and in those whom they approve; to us are left dangers, repulses, lawsuits, poverty!
How long will ye endure, O bravest of men, this ignominy? How long will ye submit to despots like these? Were it not better to die bravely, than drag out a miserable and dishonored life, the sport of pride, the victims of disgrace? But, by the faith of gods and men, victory is now in our own grasp! Our strength is unimpaired, our minds energetic; theirs, enfeebled by age, emasculated by riches. All that is needed is a bold beginning; the rest will follow of course. What man of any spirit can sit tamely down and see these lordly proprietors reveling in superfluous wealth; wealth which they squander in ransacking the sea, in leveling mountains, while to us the common necessaries of life are wanting? Behold them, each with two or more superb palaces, while we hardly know where to lay our heads. Why, fellow-soldiers, when they buy pictures, statues, basso-relievos, they destroy the old to make way for the new. In every possible way do they lavish the gold wrung from the hard hand of toil; and still their desires are unable to exhaust their means. But we At home, we have only poverty; abroad, debts; present adversity-worse prospects. Is there indeed aught left us but our woe-stricken souls?
What, then, fellow-soldiers, shall we do? What but that