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publishing ; and Mr. Erskine contended that this was no verdict at all. His argument was directed to this point, that the Jury were to pronounce on the whole record before them; not merely that the accused had published, but that what he had published was a libel. It was then held by the Judges that in such cases the province of the Jury was exclusively restricted to the fact of publishing; and that the question, What is the character of the publication ? belongs to the Judges alone. Mr. Erskine's argument, powerful as it undoubtedly was, failed to remove the opinion which the Court held on the subject. Subsequently, chiefly through the exertions of Mr. Erskine and Mr. Fox, an Act was passed, bringing the law into the state which the first had contended for when at the bar, and in which it now remains.
The extract we are now going to make will answer a twofold purpose. Besides illustrating the manner in which this truly English orator was accustomed to address Juries, it will suggest some important historical information as to the true origin of the penal laws passed in the time of Elizabeth, and subsequently, against members of the Romish communion. And the testimony is the more valuable as given by a leading meinber of that party which long, and at length successfully, advocated “concessions” to Romanists. In defending Lord George Gordon, he had of course to refer to the proceedings of the Protestant Association.
“ Gentlemen, it is already in proof before you, (indeed it is now a matter of history,) that an Act of Parliament passed in the session of 1778, for the repeal of certain restrictions, which the policy of our ancestors had imposed on the Roman Catholic religion, to prevent its extension, and to render its limited toleration harmless ; restrictions imposed not because our ancestors took upon them to pronounce that faith to be offensive to God, but because it was incompatible with good faith to man; being utterly inconsistent with allegiance to a Protestant government, from their oaths and obligations, to which it gave them not only a release, but a crown of glory, as the reward of treachery and treason.
“It was, indeed, with astonishment that I heard the Attorney-General stigmatize those wise regulations of our patrict ancestors with the title of factious and cruel impositions on the consciences and liberties of their fellow-citizens. Gentlemen, they were, at the time, wise and salutary regulations : regulations to which this country owes its freedom, and His Majesty his crown; a crown which he wears under the strict entail of professing and protecting that religion which they were made to support; and which I know my noble friend at the bar joins with me, and with all good men, in wishing that he and his posterity may wear for ever.
“It is not my purpose to recall to your minds the fatal effects which bigotry has, in former days, produced in this island. I will not follow the example the Crown has set me, by making an attack upon your passions, on subjects foreign to the object before you: I will not call your attention from those flames, kindled by a villanous banditti, (which they have thought fit, in defiance of evidence, to introduce,) by bringing before your eyes the more cruel flames, in which the bodies of our expiring, meek, patient, Christian fathers were, little more than a century ago, consuming in Smithfield: I will not call up from the graves of martyrs, all the precious, holy blood that has been spilt in this land, to save its established government, and its reformed religion, from the secret villany and the open force of Papists ; the cause does not stand in need even of such honest arts, and I found my heart too big voluntarily to recite such scenes, when I reflect that some of my own, and my best and dearest, progenitors, from whom I glory to be descended, ended their innocent lives in prison and in exile, only because they were not Papists.
“Gentlemen, whether the great lights of science and of commerce which, since those disgraceful times, have illuminated Europe, may, by dispelling these shocking prejudices, have rendered the Papists of this day as safe and trusty subjects as those who conform to the national religion established by law, I shall not pretend to determine. It is wholly unconnected with the present inquiry: we are not trying a question either of divinity or civil policy : I shall therefore not enter at all into the motives or merits of the Act that produced the Protestant petition to Parliament. It was certainly introduced by persons who cannot be named by any
Vol. XI. Second Series. Y
good citizen without affection and respect : but this I will say, without fear of contradiction, that it was sudden and unexpected; that it passed with uncommon precipitation, considering the magnitude of the object; that it underwent no discussion ; and that the heads of the Church, the constitutional guardians of the national religion, were never consulted on it. Under such circumstances, it is no wonder that many sincere Protestants were alarmed; and they had a right to spread their apprehensions. It is the privilege and the duty of all the subjects of England, to watch over their civil and religious liberties, and to approach either their Representatives or the Throne with their fears and their complaints; a privilege which has been bought with the dearest blood of our ancestors, as our ancient birthright and inheritance."
Description of the trial of Warren Hastings, from speech in defence of Mr. Stockdale, December 9th, 1789:
“ There the most august and striking spectacle was daily exhibited, which the world ever witnessed. A vast stage of justice was erected, awful from its high authority, splendid from its illustrious dignity, venerable from the learning and wisdom of its Judges, captivating and affecting from the mighty concourse of all ranks and conditions which daily flocked into it, as into a theatre of pleasure; then, when the whole public mind was at once awed and softened to the impression of every human affection, there appeared, day after day, one after another, men of the most powerful and exalted talents, eclipsing by their accusing eloquence the most boasted harangues of antiquity; rousing the pride of national resentment by the boldest invectives against broken faith and violated treaties, and shaking the bosom with alternate pity and horror, by the most glowing pictures of insulted nature and humanity ; ever animated and energetic, from the love of farne, which is the inherent passion of genius; firm and indefatigable, from a strong prepossession of the justice of their cause."
No. IV. of “Specimens of Eloquence " will consist of extracts from some of the speeches of the celebrated Charles James Fox.
THE EDITOR TO HIS READERS. Fancy is sometimes very busy with us all. It is not every one who can dream like the wonderful Tinker of Bedford; but there are few who do not sometimes dream after the same manner, how far soever they may be from arriving at the same results. We ourselves, though required by the necessities of labour to be tolerably wide awake for, at all events, the greater part of the day,—(and night-dreams are generally of little value ; if John Bunyan had known nothing of day-dreaming, the world would never have had his pictorial map of the pilgrimage from this world to the next, the delineated route from Egypt to Canaan, through the Red Sea, by the way of the wilderness, and so across the Jordan, into the Land of Promise,)—and though, as Horace tells us Homer sometimes did, we should now and then insensibly fall into a state of dormitation, the knock of the printer's messenger (we can never apply to the fetcher of copy for “ The Youth's Instructer " the old name; the Greek for messenger would supply a term much nearer the truth) would be sure soon to arouse us ; still, with all these hinderances, as we have intimated above, fancy will sometimes be very busy with us. There are moments when it requires no great effort, no lofty flight, no widely-ranging excursions, of imagination to suppose that we have our readers gathered into our company, and placed before us. Exeter-Hall would be scarcely large enough for them; and we cannot help thinking that it would be a fine sight to see even as many of them as could be packed into that capacious room. The great majority would be made up of the-must we borrow the form of the phrase ? politicians speak of Young France, Young Ireland, Young England; and we will say the-Young Methodism, which constitutes one of the delightful hopes of a large, and we hope not an unimportant, section of the church universal. Yes ; though we believe we should be honoured with the presence of a few older heads, who have found out that such is our opinion of the enlarging capacity, and strengthening intellect, and increasing talent of our young charge, that the monthly provision we make for them, though unavoidably restricted to our forty-eight pages, occasionally furnishes even them with subjects of pleasing and useful study; it would, nevertheless, be a youthful assembly before which we should find ourselves placed. Well then; we do sometimes fancy, in a sort of day-dreaming state, that this is actually the case, and we catch ourselves, almost unawares, asking ourselves, What we think of them? What we should like to say to them? What we should like to ask them to do for us?
As to the first of these supposed self-questionings, were we to say all that is in our heart, we fear that we should be thought to be falling into the sin of flattery. The children of rank, station, and wealth would not be before us; but the greater number would be the heirs of the richest inheritance that can come to the young,—the example, the prayers, the blessings of pious parents. Of such an assembly the very appearance would be delightful, as far removed from the glittering, unnatural, valueless tinsel of gaudy fashion, as from the awful deformity shown in the very looks of the thousands of neglected ones who run about our streets, as regardless of the decencies of life as they are of the beauties of holiness, and the solemnities of death, and judgment, and eternity. We should not behold a company of youthful scholars, pursuing a course tending to deep erudition, or commanding attainments in literature and science : but we should see those who were respectable with the best respectability, that of unimpeachable moral character, resting on the only true foundation,-religious principle; and educated in the best knowledge, the knowledge and fear of God; loving their Bible, regularly perusing it, and so regarding mental capacity as a talent entrusted to their charge by their great Master, as earnestly to desire its improvement by an enlarged acquaintance with truth, especially such portions as relate to the works, and to the will, and to the government of God; and this they desire that they may have more correct, and thus more exalted, views of God himself, that so they may say from their inmost soul, “HALLOWED BE THY Name."
After saying that we believe that such would be the collective assembly of our friends, it is saying little to add that to work for them is no trouble,—that it is a pleasure; we