Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

power, you have hitherto kept back; that engine, which the pride of the bigot, nor the spite of the zealot, nor the ambition of the high, nor the arsenal of the conqueror, nor the inquisition, with its jaded rack and pale criminal, never thought of: the engine which, armed with physical and moral blessings, comes forth, and overlays mankind with services, the engine of redress: this is government, and this is the only description of government worth your ambition. Were I to raise you to a great act, I should not recur to the history of other nations; I would recite your own acts, and set you in emulation with yourselves. Do you remember that night, when you gave your country a free trade, and with your hands opened all her harbours? That night when you gave her a free constitution, and broke the chains of a century-while England stood eclipsed by your glory, and your Island rose, as it were, from its bed, and got nearer to the sun? In the arts that polish life-the inventions that accommodate, the manufactures that adorn it—you will be for many years inferior to some other parts of Europe; but to nurse a growing people to mature a struggling, though hardy community, to mould, to multiply, to consolidate, to inspire, and to exalt a young nation; be these your barbarous accomplishments.



THE learned gentleman is farther 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 on the solemnity of your oaths. You are, upon your oaths, to say to the sister kingdom, 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 knows by the testimony of his own eyes, to be utterly and absolutely false? I speak not now of the public proclamations of informers, with a promise of secrecy, and of extravagant reward: I speak not of the fate of those horrid wretches, who have so often been 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 fears of death, and the hopes of compensation to give evidence against their fellows, that the mild and wholesome counsels 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 a 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 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 meltedin 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 !-Curran.



I CANNOT, my Lords, will not join in congratulation on misfortune and disgrace. This, my Lords, is a perilous and tremendous moment. It is not a time for adulation; the smoothness of flattery cannot save us in this rugged and awful crisis. It is now necessary to instruct the throne in the language of truth. We must, if possible, dispel the delusion and darkness which envelope it, and display in its full danger, and genuine colours, the ruin which is brought to our doors. Can ministers still presume to expect support in their infatuation? Can parliament be so dead of its dignity and duty, as to give their support to measures thus obtruded and forced upon them? Measures, my Lords, which have reduced this late flourishing empire to scorn and contempt! But yesterday, and Britain might have stood against the world; now, none so poor as to do her reverence! The people whom we at first despised as rebels, but whom we now acknowledge as enemies, are abetted against us, supplied with every military store, have their interest consulted, and their ambassadors entertained by our inveterate enemy,—and ministers do not,—dare not, interpose with dignity or effect. The desperate

state of our army abroad is in part known. No man more highly esteems and honours the British troops than I do; I know their virtues and their valour; I know they can achieve anything but impossibilities; and

I know that the conquest of British America is an impossibility. You cannot, my Lords, you cannot conquer America. What is your present situation there? We do not know the worst; but we know that in three campaigns we have done nothing and suffered much. You may swell every expense, accumulate every assistance, and extend your traffic to the shambles of every German despot, your attempts will be for ever vain and impotent-doubly so indeed from this mercenary aid on which you rely; for it irritates to an incurable resentment the minds of your adversaries to over-run them with the mercenary sons of rapine and plunder, devoting them and their possessions to the rapacity of hireling cruelty. If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country, I never would lay down my arms;-Never, never, never!

But, my Lords, who is the man who, in addition to the disgraces and mischiefs of the war, has dared to authorize and associate to our arms the tomahawk and scalping-knife of the savage?-to call into civilized alliance the wild and inhuman inhabitants of the woods?

-to delegate to the merciless Indian, the defence of disputed rights, and to wage the horrors of this barbarous war against our brethren? My Lords, these enormities cry aloud for redress and punishment. But, my Lords, this barbarous measure has been defended, not only on the principles of policy and necessity, but also on those of morality, "for it is perfectly allowable," says Lord Suffolk, "to use all the means which God and nature have put into our hands." I am astonished -I am shocked to hear such principles confessed-to hear them avowed in this house or in this country. My Lords, I did not intend to encroach so much on your attention, but I cannot repress my indignation-I feel myself impelled to speak. My Lords, we are called upon as members of this house, as men, as Christians, to protest against such horrible barbarity! "That God and nature have put into our hands!" What ideas of

God and nature that noble Lord may entertain, I know not; but I know that such detestable principles are equally abhorrent to religion and humanity. What! to attribute the sacred sanction of God and nature to the massacres of the Indian scalping-knife! to the cannibal savage, torturing, murdering, devouring, drinking the blood of his mangled victim! Such notions shock every precept of morality, every feeling of humanity, every sentiment of honour. These abominable principles, and this more abominable avowal of them, demand the most decisive indignation.

I call upon that Right Reverend, and this most learned Bench, to vindicate the religion of their Godto support the justice of their country. I call upon the Bishops, the unsullied sanctity of their lawn; upon the Judges, to interpose the purity of their ermine, to save us from this pollution. I call upon the honour of your Lordships to reverence the dignity of your ancestors, and to maintain your own. I call upon the spirit and humanity of my country, to vindicate the national character. I invoke the genius of the constitution. From the tapestry that adorns these walls, the immortal ancestor of this noble lord, frowns with indignation at the disgrace of his country. In vain did he defend the liberty, and establish the religion of Britain against the tyranny of Rome, if these worse than Popish cruelties, and inquisitorial practices, are endured among us. send forth the merciless cannibal thirsting for blood! against whom? your protestant brethren!-to lay waste their country, to desolate their dwellings, and extirpate their race and name by the aid and instrumentality of these horrible hounds of war! Spain can no longer boast pre-eminence in barbarity. She armed herself with blood-hounds to extirpate the wretched natives of Mexico; we, more ruthless, loose these dogs of war against our countrymen in America, endeared to us by every tie that can sanctify humanity. I solemnly call upon your Lordships, and upon every order of men


« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »