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obliging verdict against the printer !- And when you have done so, march through the ranks of your fellowcitizens to your own homes, and bear their looks as ye pass along: retire to the bosoms of your families and your children, and when you are presiding over the morality of the parental board, tell those infants who are to be the future men of Ireland, the history of this day. Form their young minds by your precepts, and confirm those precepts by your own example ; teach them how discreetly allegiance may be perjured on the table, or loyalty be forsworn in the jury-box—and when you have done so, tell them the story of Orr; tell them of his captivity, of his children, of his hopes, of his disappointments, of his courage, and of his death ; and when you find your little hearers hanging upon. your lips, when you see their eyes overflow with sympathy and sorrow, and their young hearts bursting with the pangs of anticipated orphanage, tell them, that you had the boldness, and the injustice, to stigmatize the man who had dared to publish the transaction !
Merciful God! 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; you may see him flying by the conflagration of his own dwelling; or you may find his bones bleaching on the
green fields of his country; or he may be found tossing upon the surface of the ocean, and mingling his groans with those tempests, less savage than his persecutors, that drift him to a returnless distance from his family and his home. And yet, with these facts ringing in the ears, and staring in the face of the prosecutor, you are called upon to say, on your oaths, that these facts do not exist! You are called upon, in defiance of shame, of truth, of honor, to deny the sufferings under which you groan, and to flatter the persecution which tramples you under foot !
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, 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 of 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 avowed upon their oaths, that they had come from the very seat of government-from the castle where they had been worked upon by the fear of death and the hopes of compensation, to give evidence against their fellows, that the mild and wholesome 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 fancy, or is it fact? Have you not seen him after his resurrection from that tomb, after having been dug out of the 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 marked 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 antidotema juror's oath—but even that adamantine chain, that bound the integrity of man to the throne of Eternal Justice, is solved and melted in the breath that issues from the informer's mouth—con. science swings from her mooring, and the appalled and affrighted juror, consults his own safety in the surrender of the victim.
ROWAN'S TRIAL. GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY-When I consider the period at which this prosecution is brought forward; when I behold the extraordinary safeguard of armed soldiers resorted to, no doubt for the preservation of peace and order: when I catch, as I cannot but do, the throb of public anxiety, which beats from one end to the other of this hall; when I reflect upon what may be the fate of a man of the most beloved personal character, of one of the most respected families of our country; himself the only individual of that family, I may almost say of that country, who can look to that possible fate with unconcern? Feeling as I do all these impressions, it is in the honest simplicity of my heart I speak, when I say, that I never rose in a court of justice with so much embarrassment, as upon this occasion.
If, gentlemen, I could entertain a hope of finding refuge for the disconcertion of my mind, in the perfect composure of yours; if I could suppose that those awful vicissitudes of human events, which have been stated or alluded to, could leave your judgments undisturbed, and your hearts at ease, I know I should form a most erroneous opinion of your character: I entertain no such chimerical hopes ; I form no such unworthy opinions ; I expect not that your hearts can be more at ease than my own; I have no right to expect it; but I have a right to call upon you, in the name of your country, in the name of the living God, of whose eternal justice you are now administering that portion which dwells with us on this side of the grave, to discharge your breasts, as far as you are able, of every bias of prejudice or passion; that, if my client be guilty of the offence charged upon him, you may give tranquillity to the public by a firm verdict of conviction; or if he be innocent, by as firm a verdict of acquittal; and that you will do this in defiance of the paltry artifices and senseless clamors that have been resorted to, in order to bring him to his trial with anticipated conviction.
Gentlemen, the representation of your people is the vital principle of their political existence; without it they are dead, or they live only to servitude ; without it there are two estates acting upon and against the third, instead of acting in co-operation with it ; without it, if the people be oppressed by their judges, where is the tribunal to which their judges can be amenable ? Without it, if they be trampled upon, and plundered by a minister, where is the tribunal to which the offender shall be amenable? Without it, where is the ear to hear, or the heart to feel, or the hand to redress their sufferings ? Shall they be fouud, let me ask you, in the accursed bands of imps and minions that bask in their disgrace, and fatten upon their spoils, and flourish upon their ruin? But let me not put this to you as a merely speculative question. It is a plain question of fact: rely upon it, physical man is every where the same; it is only the various operation of moral causes that gives variety to the social or individual character and condition. How otherwise happens it, that modern slavery looks quietly at the despot, on the very spot where Leonidas expired? The answer is, Sparta has not changed her climate, but she has lost that government, which her liberty could not survive.
I CALL you, therefore, to the plain question of fact. This paper recommends a reform in parliament; I put
that question to your consciences; do you think it needs that reform? I put it boldly and fairly to you, do
you think the people of Ireland are represented as they ought to be ?--Do you hesitate for an answer? If you do, let me remind you, that until the last year three millions of your countrymen have, by the express letter of the law, been excluded from the reality of actual, and even from the phantom of virtual representation. Shall we then be told that this is only the affirmation of a wicked and seditious incendiary? If you do not feel the mockery of such a charge, look at your country ; in what state do
you find it? Is it in a state of tranquillity and general satisfaction? These are traces by which good is ever to be distinguished from bad government. Without any very minute inquiry or speculative refinement, do you feel that a veneration for the law, a pious and humble attachment to the constitution, form the political morality of your people? Do you find that comfort and competency among your people, which are always to be found where a government is mild and moderate; where taxes are imposed by a body, who have an interest in treating the poorer orders with compassion, and preventing the weight of taxation from pressing sore
GENTLEMEN, I mean not to impeach the state of your representation, I am not saying that it is defective, or that it ought to be altered or amended, nor is this a place for me to say, whether I think that three millions of the inhabitants of a country, whose whole number is but four, ought to be admitted to any efficient situation in the state. It
may be said, and truly, that these are not questions for either of us directly to decide; but you cannot refuse them some passing consideration at least; when you remember that on this subject the real question for
your decision is, whether the allegation of a defect in your constitution is so utterly unfounded and false, that you can ascribe it only to the malice and perverseness of a wicked mind, and not to the innocent mistake of an ordinary understanding ;-whether it may not be mistake; whether it can be only sedition.