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of deliverance, and that hour will assuredly come. We are now, indeed, too much in contact, too close to these great events, justly to appreciate their grandeur and their effects; for it is with these prodigious displays of moral power, as it is with the grander and bolder features of nature. It is not till we are removed from their immediate vicinity, that we can ascertain their dimensions, and appreciate their real magnificence. Yet this we may even now assert, that in the whole range of modem history, there is nothing equal or second to these achievements; and that this is one of those events, of which there are not many in history, which taken singly and by itself, decides the destinies of nations, and changes the face of the world. It is true, that the sufferings of humanity were long protracted. It is true, that the hope of all nations was at length wearied out into a dumb and listless despair. We, even we, ourselves, began at last to think that there could be no propitious results.
We believed that, in favor of one individual, the eternal laws of God and nature, laws which, till then, we had deemed eternal, were reversed. We almost imagined that the lessons of moral wisdom had been false, and the wishes and execrations of so many millions exercised no influence over the fates and fortunes of their fellow-men. But if the day was delayed, it must be confessed that it was delayed for a terrible purpose, that it might concentrate its destructive energies, and approach at last, with redoubled and accumulated horror. If the sufferings of humanity have been prolonged, they were prolonged that they might in the course of a few months be overpaid in ample measure. Now, instead of armies, heartless in the cause, generals corrupt or incapable, sovereigns blind to their interests or their fame, we see nobles and kings fighting in the ranks—we see crowds of accomplished captains,-and where we number men, we number heroes and patriots. It seems, indeed, if I may venture to say so, as if all the treasures of consolation, all the pomp and glory of recompense, were reserved for this occasion. In this one campaign is concentrated the military renown of ages. All that is great, and illustrious, and noble—all that is romantic in bravery and wise in council-all that is venerable in hereditary worth or irresistible in popular opinion-the majesty of thrones—the grandeur of empires--the transcendency of genius --the omnipotence of mind, -all natural—all moral energies seem to be thrown together, crowded and heaped upon each other, to form, as it were, a stage on which a spectacle, at once so consoling and so tremendous, might be exhibited to the eyes of an astonished world.
THE FAME AWAITING A REFORMATION OF THE LAW.
In pursuing the course which I now invite you to enter upon, I avow that I look for the co-operation of the king's government; and on what are my hopes founded? Men gather not grapes from thorns, nor figs from thistles. But that the vine should no longer yield its wonted fruit—that the fig-tree should refuse its natural increase, required a miracle to strike it with barrenness. There are those in the present ministry, whose known liberal opinions have lately been proclaimed anew to the world, and pledges have been avouched for their influence upon the policy of the state. With them others may not, upon all subjects, agree; upon this, I would fain hope there will be found little difference. But be that as it may, whether I have the support of the ministers or no—to the house I look with confident expectation, that it will control them, and assist me; if I go too far, checking my progress—if too fast, abating my speed—but heartily and honestly helping me in the best and greatest work, which the hands of the lawgiver can undertake. The course is clear before us ; the race is glorious to run. You have the power of sending your names down through all times, illustrated by deeds of higher fame, and more useful import, than ever were done within these walls. You saw the greatest warrior of the age-conqueror of Italy-humbler of Germanyterror of the north-saw him account all his matchless victories poor, compared with the triumph you are now in a condition to win -saw him contemn the fickleness of fortune, while, in despite of her he could pronounce his memorable boast, “ I shall
go down to posterity with the code in my hand !". You have vanquished him in the field; strive now to rival him in the sacred arts of peace! Outstrip him as a lawgiver whom in arms you overcame! The lustre of the regency will be eclipsed by the more solid and enduring splendor of the reign. The praise which false courtiers feigned for our Edwards and Harrys, the Justinians of their day, will be the just tribute of the wise and the good to that monarch under whose sway so mighty an undertaking shall be accomplished. Of a truth, sceptres are most chiefly to be envied for that they bestow the power of thus conquering and ruling thus. It was the boast of Augustus—it formed part of the glare in which the perfidies of his earlier years were lost—that he found Rome of brick, and left it of marble; a praise not unworthy a great prince, and to which the present reign has its claim also. But how mucb
nobler will be our sovereign's boast, when he shall have it to say, that he found law dear and left it cheap; found it a sealed book-left it a living letter; found it a patrimony of the richleft it the inheritance of the poor; found it the two-edged sword of craft and oppression-left it the staff of honesty and the shield of innocence! To me, much reflecting on these things, it has always seemed a worthier honor to be the instrument of making you bestir yourselves in this high matter, than to enjoy all that office can bestow-office of which the patronage would be an irksome incumbrance, the emoluments superfluous to one content with the rest of his industrious fellow-citizens, that his own hands minister to his wants : and as for the power supposed to follow it—I have lived near half a century, and I have learned that power and place may be severed. But one power I do prize; that of being the advocate of my countrymen here, and their fellow-laborer elsewhere, in those things which concern the best interests of mankind. That power, I know full well, no government can give—no change take away!
DEFENSE OF ROWAN FOR LIBEL.-Curran.
This paper, gentlemen, insists upon the necessity of emancipating the catholics of Ireland, and that is charged as 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 dis
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 that of the country, been weakened? Or is one million of subjects stronger than four millions? Do you think the benefit they received should be poisoned by the sting of vengeance? If you think so, you must say to them, “ you have demanded emancipation, and you have got it; but we abhor your persons, we are outraged at your success; and we will stigmatize, by a
criminal prosecution, the relief which you have obtained from the voice of
your country.” I ask you, gentlemen, do you think, as honest men anxious for the public tranquillity, conscious that there are wounds not yet completely cicatrized, that you ought to speak this language, at this time, to men who are too much disposed to think that in this very emancipation they have been saved from their own parliament by the humanity of their sovereign? Or do you wish to prepare them for the revocation of these improvident concessions? Do you think it wise or humane at this moment to insult them, by sticking up in the 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 sojourner, the first moment that he sets his foot upon
British earth, that the ground upon 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 no matter in what disastrous battle his liberty may have been cloven down ;—no matter with what solemnities he
have been devoted upon the altar of slavery ;—the 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."
41. REPLY TO MR. CORRY'S ATTACK ON
Has the gentleman done? Has he completely done? He was unparliamentary from the beginning to the end of his speech. There was scarce a word he uttered that was not a
violation of the privileges of the house. But I did not call him to order—why? because the limited talents of some men render it impossible for them to be severe without being unparliamentary. But before I sit down, I shall show him how to be severe and parliamentary at the same time.
On any other occasion, I should think myself justifiable in treating with silent contempt any thing which might fall from that honorable member; but there are times, when the insignificance of the accuser is lost in the magnitude of the accusation. I know the difficulty the honorable gentleman labored under when he attacked me, conscious that, on a comparative view of our characters, public and private, there is nothing he could say which would injure me. The public would not believe the charge. I despise the falsehood. If such a charge were made by an honest man, I would answer it in the manner I shall do before I sit down. But I shall first reply to it, when not made by an honest man. The right honorable gentleman has called me
an unimpeached traitor.” I ask why not "traitor," unqualified by an epithet? I will tell him, it was because he durst not. It was the act of a coward, who raises his arm to strike, but has not courage to give the blow. I will not call him villain, because it would be unparliamentary, and he is a privy counselor. I will not call him fool, because he happens to be chancellor of the exchequer. But I say, he is one who has abused the privilege of parliament, and freedom of debate, by uttering language, which, if spoken out of the house, I should answer only with a blow. I care not how high his situation, how low his character, how contemptible his speech; whether a privy counselor or a parasite, my answer would be a blow.
He has charged me with being connected with the rebels. The charge is utterly, totally, and meanly false. Does the honorable gentleman rely on the report of the house of lords for the foundation of his assertion ? If he does, I can prove to the committee, there was a physical impossibility of that report being true. But I scorn to answer any man for my conduct, whether he be a political coxcomb, or whether he brought himself into power by a false glare of courage or not.
I have returned, not as the right honorable member has said, to raise another storm-I have returned to discharge an honor.. able debt of gratitude to my country, that conferred a great reward for past services, which, I am proud to say, was not greater than my desert. I have returned to protect that constitution, of which I was the parent and the founder, from the assassination of such men as the right honorable gentleman and