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I trust that we shall find it here- here in this sacred court; where no foul and malignant dēmon of party enters to darken the understanding, or to deaden the heart, but where all is clear, calm, pure, vital, and firm. I cannot believe that this honorable court, possessing the power of preservation, will stand by, and see these people stripped of their property, and extirpated from the earth, while they are holding up to us their treaties, and claiming the fulfillment of our engagements. If truth, and faith, and honor, and justice, have fled from every other part of our country, we shall find them here. If not, our sun has gone down in treachery, blood, and crime, in the face of the world; and, instead of being proud of our country, as heretofore, we may well call upon the rocks and mountains to hide our shame from earth and from heaven.
IV. - IRISH RELIGIOUS DISSENSIONS.
From a speech at the trial of O'Connell, 1843. Sir, religious conflicts have been our bane. We of Ireland are prevented by our wretched religious distinctions from coöperating for a single object by which the honor and substantial interests of our country can be promoted.
Fatal, disastrous, detestable distinctions! Detestable, because they are not only repugnant to the genuine spirit of Christianity, and substitute for the charities of religion the rancorous antipathies of sect, but because they practically reduce us to a colonial dependency; make the Union a name; substitute for a real Union a tie of parchment which an event might sunder; convert a nation into an appurtenance; make us the footstool of the minister, the scorn of England, and the commiseration of the world!
Ireland is the only country in Europe in which abominable distinctions between Protestant and Catholic are permitted to continue. In Germany, where Luther translated the Scriptures ; in France, where Calvin wrote the Institutes,—ay, in the land of the Dragonados and St. Bartholomews; in the land from whence the forefathers of one of the judicial functionaries of this court, and the first ministerial officer of the court, were barbarously driven, — the mutual wrongs done by Catholic and Protestant are forgiven and forgotten; while we, madmen that we are, arrayed by that fell fanaticism which, driven from every other country in Europe, has found a refuge here, precipitate ourselves upon each other in those encounters of sectarian ferocity, in which our
TRIBUTE TO AMERICAN CLERGYMEN.
country, bleeding and lacerated, is trodden under foot. vert the island that ought to be one of the most fortunate in the sea, into a receptacle of degradation and of suffering; counteract the designs of Providence, and enter into a conspiracy for the frustration of the beneficent designs of God.
RICHARD LALOR SHIEL.
V. - TRIBUTE TO AMERICAN CLERGYMEN.
From the speech in the Girard Will Case. Sır, by the will of Mr. Girard, no minister of the Gospel, of any sect or denomination whatever, can be authorized or allowed to hold any office within the college; and not only that, but no minister or clergyman of any sect can, for any purpose whatever, enter within the walls that are to surround this college. Now, I will not arraign Mr. Girard or his motives for this. I will not inquire into Mr. Girard's opinions upon religion. But I feel bound to say, the occasion demands that I should say, that this is the most opprobrious, the most insulting and unmerited stigma, that ever was cast, or attempted to be cast, upon the preachers of Christianity, from north to south, from east to west, through the length and breadth of the land, in the history of the country. When have they deserved it ? — where have they deserved it? how have they deserved it? They are not to be allowed even the ordinary rights of hospitality: not even to be permitted to put their foot over the threshold of this college !
Sir, I take it upon myself to say, that in no country in the world, upon either continent, can there be found a body of ministers of the Gospel who perform so much service to man, in such a full spirit of self-denial, under so little encouragement from government of any kind, and under circumstances almost always much straitened and often distressed, as the ministers of the Gospel in the United States, of all denominations. They form no part of any established order of religion; they constitute no hierarchy; they enjoy no peculiar privileges. In some of the States they are even shut out from all participation in the political rights and privileges enjoyed by their fellow-citizens. They enjoy no tithes, no public provision of any kind. Except here and there, in large cities, where a wealthy individual occasionally makes a donation for the support of public worship, what have they to depend upon? They have to depend entirely on the voluntary contributions of those who hear them.
And this body of clergymen have shown, to the honor of their own country, and to the astonishment of the hierarchies of the Old World, that it is practicable in free governments to raise and sustain, by voluntary contributions alone, a body of clergymen, which, for devotedness to their sacred calling, for purity of life and character, for learning, intelligence, piety, and that wisdom which cometh from above, is inferior to none, and superior to most others.
I hope that our learnëd men have done something for the honor of our literature abroad. I hope that the courts of justice and the members of the bar of this country have done something to elevate the character of the profession of the law. I hope that the discussions in Congress have done something to meliorate the condition of the human race, to secure and extend the great charter of human rights, and to strengthen and advance the great principles of human liberty. But I contend that no literary efforts, no adjudications, no constitutional discussions, nothing that has been done or said in favor of the great interests of universal man, has done this country more credit, at home and abroad, than the establishment of our body of clergymen, their support by voluntary contributions, and the general excellence of their character for piety and learning.
The great truth has thus been proclaimed and proved, truth which I believe will, in time to come, shake all the hierarchies of Europe, — that the voluntary support of such a ministry, under free institutions, is a practicable idea.
VI. – FORFEITURES IN TIME OF WAR.
In the case of “the British Debts,” 1791. Tue first point, gentlemen of the jury; which I shall endeavor to establish, will be, that debts in common wars become subject to forfeiture ; and, if forfeited in common wars, much more must they be so in a revolutionary war, as the late contest was. In this war we had a right to consider British debts as subject to confiscation, and to seize the property of those who originated that war. Notwithstanding the equity and fairness of the debt when incurred, if the security of the property received was afterwards destroyed, the title has proved defective. The title was destroyed by the very men who come here now and demand payment. For the long catalogue of offences committed against the citizens of America every individual of the British nation is accountable. How are you to be com-pen’sated for those depredations on persons and property? Are you to go to England to find the
very individual who did you the outrage, and demand
THE PRESS THE PROTECTION OF THE PEOPLE.
satisfaction of him? To tell you of such a remedy as this, is adding insult to injury. Every individual is chargeable with national offences.
What would have been the consequences, sir, if we had been conquered ? Would we not have shared the fate of the people of Ireland? A great part of that island was con-fis' cated, though the Irish people thought themselves engaged in a laudable cause. What confiscations and punishments were inflicted in Scotland, the plains of Calloden and the neighboring gibbets would show you. Thank Heaven that the spirit of liberty, under the protection of the Almighty, saved us from experiencing so hard a destiny! Had we been subdued, would our debts have been saved ? Would it not have been absurd for the enemy to save debts, while they would have burned, hanged, and destroyed ? I would not have wished to live to see the sad scenes we should have experienced. Needy avarice and savage cruelty would have had full scope.
If it be allowed to the British nation to con-fis'cate, not only debts, but life, may we not confiscate -- not life, for we never desire it; but that which is the common object of confiscation property, goods, and debts, which strengthen ourselves and weaken our enemies? If there ever was a case requiring the full use of all human means, it was ours in the late contest ; and, sir, I therefore maintain that we were warranted in confiscating the British debts.
VII. — THE PRESS THE PROTECTION OF THE PEOPLE
At the trial of John Magee for a libel against the Duke of Richmond.
The attorney-general has talked of his impartiality: he will suppress,
the licentiousness of the press. Gentlemen, the attorney-general was waited on, and respectfully requested to prosecute the Hibernian journal upon the terms of having the falsehood of certain libelous assertions first proved to him. I need not tell you he refused. These are not the libelers he prosecutes.
Contrast the situation of my client with that of the proprietor of the Hibernian journal. The one is prosecuted with all the weight and influence of the crown, the other pensioned by the ininisters of the crown; the one dragged to your bar for the sober discussion of political topics, the other hired to disseminate the most horrid calumnies. Let the attorney-general now boast of his impartiality; can you credit him on your oaths? Let him talk of his veneration for the liberty of the press ; can you believe him in your consciences ? Let him call the press
protection of the people against the government. Yes, gentlemen, believe him when he says so! Let the press be the protection of the people ! - he admits that it ought to be so. Will you
find a verdict for him that shall contradict the only assertion upon which he and I, however, are both agreed? Gentlemen, the attorney-general is bound by this admission. It is part of his case, and he is the prosecutor here. It is a part of the evidence before you, for he is the prosecutor. Then, gentlemen, it is your duty to act upon that evidence, and to allow the press to afford some protection to the people.
Is there amongst you any one friend to freedom ? Is there amongst you one man who esteems equal and impartial justice, who values the people's rights as the foundation of private happiness, and who considers life as no boon without liberty? Is there amongst you one friend to the constitution ?
- one man who hates oppression ? If there be, my client appeals to his kindred mind, and confidently expects an acquittal. There are amongst you men of great religious zeal of much public piety. Are you sincere ? Do you believe what you profess? With all this zeal, with all this piety, is there any conscience amongst you? Is there any terror of violating your oaths ? Be ye hypocrites, or does genuine religion inspire you? If
be sincere, if you haye consciences, if your oaths can control your interests, then my client confidently expects an acquittal. If amongst you there be cherished one ray of pure religion, if amongst you there glow a single spark of liberty, if I have alarmed patriotism or roused the spirit of freedom in one breast amongst you, my client is safe, and his country is served. But, if there be none be slaves and hypocrites — he will await your verdict, and despise it.
VIII. -ON BEING FOUND GUILTY OF TREASON. A JURY of my countrymen have found me guilty of the crime for which I stood indicted. For this I entertain not the slightest feeling of resentment towards them. Influenced, as they must have been, by the charge of the lord chief justice, they could have found no other verdict. What of that charge? Any strong observations on it I feel sincerely would ill befit the solemnity of this scene; but I would earnestly beseech of you, my lord, you who preside on that bench, — when the passious and preju