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wife and thy children be preserved !” “May riches and happiness ever be thy portion!”
In the beginning of the Hindoo new year, when friends meet for the first time, they bless each other. “Valen, may your fields give abundance of rice, your trees be covered with fruit, your wells and tanks be full of water, and your cows give rivers of milk !” “Ah! Tambau, we have met on the first day of the new year. In the next ten moons, may your wife have twins !” “May you never want sons in your old age !"
“ Venāce, may your dhonies never want freight! May Varuna” (the god of the sea) “ever protect them! and may you and your children's children derive an abundance of riches from them !” “Do I meet my friend the merchant? This year may your servants be faithful! When you buy things, may they be cheap; and when you sell them, may they be dear!”
“Have I the pleasure of meeting with our divine doctor? The gods grant your fortunate hand may administer health to thousands; and may your house be full of riches !"
Thus do they bless each other, and rejoice together, on any other great festive occasion.—Roberts's Oriental Illustrations.
OCCASIONAL SPECIMENS OF ELOQUENCE.
LORD ERSKINE. [LORD ERSKINE was the third and youngest son of the Earl of Buchan, and was born in 1750. He entered the navy in 1764, but four years afterwards he obtained a commission in the army. At the desire of his mother, he left the army in 1772, and commenced the study of law. In 1778 he was called to the Bar, and in 1783 entered Parliament, through the influence of Mr. Fox, with whose party he was connected through life. In 1806, on the accession of his party to power, he was created a Peer, and, at the instance of the Prince of Wales, made Lord Chancellor. He died in November, 1823, near Edinburgh. He was one of the greatest orators of the Bar. His style is pure, simple, and
energetic, strongly marked with argument, and a serious earnestness which carried great weight in all his addresses to the jury. He was always plain, never vulgar, and generally selected those parts of his case which were the strongest, because the soundest, so that he always seemed to be seeking to convince others of that which he himself believed. His speeches in Parliament produced little effect. It was at the Bar that he shone. His flow of eloquence was sometimes irresistible, and his speeches remarkably inartificial, though their order and compactness prove them to have been composed with the greatest care.-Ed. Y. I.]
Specimen I.-Captain Bailie, Lieutenant-Governor of Greenwich Hospital, had noticed great abuses in its administration. All his efforts to check them were in vain, as they appeared to be supported by the then First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Sandwich. Captain Bailie then addressed a printed letter to all the official Governors of the Hospital, in which he strongly described the abuses, and implored redress. For this, a “ rule to show cause why a criminal information should not be issued against him ” for a libel, was moved for in the King's Bench. On the 23d of November, 1778, Captain Bailie's leading Counsel “showed cause " against the rule, and was followed, on the 24th, by Mr. Erskine, who had not long been called to the Bar. (He was then only twentyeight. It is believed to have been his first speech in Court. Lord Mansfield, as Lord Chief Justice, presided. It may be observed that the rule was discharged. The speech is a fine specimen of close and consecutive argument, every part bearing on the next, and the whole on the conclusion. It is capable of the most exact analysis. Whatever were the true merits of the case, it is scarcely possible to read the speech without thinking that the Advocate must have been fully convinced of the justice of his client's cause. In the introduction, with great simplicity, yet great force, he seeks to set himself right with the Court. He will be no defender of malicious libels; he will evade not even the strictest rules of justice ; he will lay down no untenable propositions. He will only depend on truth and innocence. This is his plan. Concerning his client, he asks,—and the replies constitute the entire speech,—“Who is he? What is his duty? What has he written? To whom has he written ? What motives induced him to write?” Under the last question, which suggests the longest portion of reply, and of his own speech, he says,—“I will show your Lordship that it was his duty to investigate; that the abuses he has investigated do really exist, and arise from the ascribed causes ; that he has presented them to a competent jurisdiction, and not to the public ; and that he was under the indispensable necessity of taking the step he has done, to save Greenwich Hospital from ruin.” We now give his conclusion. We will not call it splendid : that term would ill describe it, for splendour may only dazzle and bewilder. It is powerful, and comes as if possessing the mighty energy of truth. The assault, so suddenly executed on Lord Sandwich, is one of the most cutting pieces of forensic invective on record.
“Such, my Lords, is the case. The defendant,—not a disappointed malicious informer, prying into official abuses, because without office himself, but himself a man in office; not troublesomely inquisitive into other men's departments, but conscientiously correcting his own; doing it pursuant to the rules of law, and, what heightens the character, doing it at the risk of his office, from which the effrontery of power has already suspended him without proof of his guilt ;--a conduct not only unjust and illiberal, but highly disrespectful to this Court, whose Judges sit in the double capacity of ministers of the law, and Governors of this sacred and abused institution. Indeed, Lord Sandwich has, in my mind, acted such a part."
[Lord Mansfield here interrupted Mr. Erskine in his address, observing that Lord Sandwich was not before the Court.]
“I know that he is not formally before the Court; but for that very reason, I will bring him before the Court : he has placed these men in the front of the battle, in hopes to escape under their shelter, but I will not join in battle with them : their vices, though screwed up to the highest pitch of human depravity, are not of dignity enough to vindicate the combat with me. I will drag him to light, who is the dark mover behind this scene of iniquity. I assert, that the Earl of Sandwich has but one road to escape out of this business without pollution and disgrace; and that is, by publicly disavowing the acts of the prosecutors, and restoring Captain Bailie to his command. If he does this, then his offence will be no more than the too common one of having suffered his own personal interest to prevail over his public duty, in placing his voters in the Hospital. But if, on the contrary, he continues to protect the prosecutors, in spite of the evidence of their guilt, which has excited the abhorrence of the numerous audience that crowd this Court; if he keeps this injured man suspended, or dares to turn that suspension into a removal, I shall then not scruple to declare him an accomplice in their guilt, a shameless oppressor, a disgrace to his rank, and a traitor to his trust. But as I should be very sorry that the fortune of my brave and honourable friend should depend either upon the exercise of Lord Sandwich's virtues, or the influence of his fears, I do most earnestly entreat the Court to mark the malignant object of this prosecution, and to defeat it. I beseech you, my Lords, to consider, that even by discharging the rule, and with costs, the defendant is neither protected nor restored. I trust, therefore, your Lordship will not rest satisfied with fulfilling your judicial duty; but, as the strongest evidence of foul abuses has, by accident, come collaterally before you, that you will protect a brave and public-spirited officer from the persecution this writing has brought upon him, and not suffer so dreadful an example to go abroad into the world, as the ruin of an upright man for having faithfully discharged his duty.
“My Lords, this matter is of the last importance. I speak not as an advocate alone; I speak to you as a man, as a member of a state whose very existence depends upon her naval strength. If a misgovernment were to fall upon Chelsea Hospital, to the ruin and discouragement of our army, it would be no doubt to be lamented, yet I should not think it fatal; but if our fleets are to be crippled by the baneful influence of elections, we are lost indeed! If the seaman, who, while he exposes his body to fatigues and dangers, looking forward to Greenwich as an asylum for infirmity and old age, sees the gates of it blocked up by corruption, and hears the riot and mirth of luxurious landmen drowning the groans and complaints of the wounded, helpless companions of his glory, he will tempt the seas no more. The Admiralty may press his body, indeed, at the expense of humanity and the constitution, but they cannot press his mind; they cannot press the heroic ardour of a British sailor; and instead of a fleet to carry terror all round the globe, the Admiralty may not much longer be able to amuse us with even the peaceable unsubstantial pageant of a review.*
“Fine and imprisonment! The man deserves a palace instead of a prison, who prevents the palace, built by the public bounty of his country, from being converted into a dungeon, and who sacrifices his own security to the interests of humanity and virtue.
“And now, my Lord, I have done ; but not without thanking your Lordship for the very indulgent attention I have received, though in so late a stage of this business, and notwithstanding my great incapacity and inexperience. I resign my client into your hands, and I resign him with a well-founded confidence and hope; because that torrent of corruption, which has unhappily overwhelmed every other part of the constitution, is, by the blessing of Providence, stopped here by the sacred independence of the Judges. I know that your Lordships will determine according to law; and, therefore, if an information should be suffered to be filed, I shall bow to the sentence, and shall consider this meritorious publication to be indeed an offence against the laws of this country: but then I shall not scruple to say, that it is high time for every honest man to remove himself from a country in which he can no longer do his duty to the public with safety; where cruelty and inhumanity are suffered to impeach virtue, and where vice passes through a court of justice unpunished and unreproved.”
* In allusion to a naval review which had lately taken Portsmouth,