« ПредишнаНапред »
credible folly in a veteran politician that he did not expect to meet miraculous integrity.
I have now discussed every topic of the case that appeared to me to be of importance; and, gentlemen, when my mind glances back through the principles and propositions I have been labouring to establish, it rests satistied that however superfluous my exertions may have been they must be successful. I feel a contidence of success which cannot deceive nie—'tis a confidence founded upon the best and the clearest principles of constitutional law, the oaths of fourteen honourable men guarantee it, and every good public and private feeling conspire to prop and support it. For, gentlemen, what are the propositions, the establishment of which gives my client a right to succeed. Can I presume you doubt that election bribery brought home to a candidate for his agent by the common constitutional law of this land vitiates his election ? Is not this principle legible in every page of the journals of parliament ?—Is it not a principle so necessarily incident to our constitution, that if it were never before so decided you should decide it now, or declare to mankind that you have not faculties to comprehend the nature of an elected parliament, or feelings to defend its purity and its privileges ?-Can I suppose you distinguish in favour of the corrupter, between a bribe rejected and a bribe received ? or will you say that what completes the legal crime does not complete the constitutional crime, but that a culprit branded by a verdict for a sordid misdemeanour, is pure enough to associate with the representatives of the nation? Or, gentlemen, even though this case stood on the statute of the king, and that you were so narrow minded as to suppose there was no such crime as bribery before the present reign, can I suppose you will limit the construction of the words of the act against its manifest end, and when the legisture has said " no one at any time hereafter shall
promise" confine it by construction to promises after the test of the writ? These propositions, gentlemen, are too plain to admit of any doubt-yet plain as they are they are not the strength of my client's case.
Election bribery, the growing vice of the age in its simple state, has all the loveliness of virtue compared to the monstrous form it has assumed in the University. The undue influence which you have seen exerted in the University, whether you consider the mode, the place, or the end of its operation must fill you with disgust, with sorrow, and with indignation; and I doubt whether the natural feelings of an unsophisticated man would be more shocked at the foul transactions which have been brought to light, or the unfeeling levity with which they have been defended as the mere ordinary exercise of lawful prerogative, such as every man of sense would exert and none but visionary men would condemn. I am
not surprised at the impatience which you manifested while this subject was investigating, and almost wish you had interposed your authority between the right of my client and the odious investigation, rather than have exposed to the public view the disgraceful and disastrous state of the University. But, gentlemen, it is a consolation highly gratifying, that while you have been forced to behold the learned youth of the land corrupted and debased, you have at the same time witnessed examples of the most exalted virtueindeed, in this interesting and variegated enquiry, you have witnessed incidents calculated ultimately to excite pity, admiration, grief, and abhorrence.
You have seen parental authority hired to corrupt the suffrage and pollute the honour of a child—you have seen the best principles of morality and the noblest feelings of the heart committed in deadly discord for purposes of corruption; and a wretched son compelled to disclose a. father's disgrace or be himself disgraced.—You have seen young
ambition panting to pursue the invitation of ardent genius, and wily seduction watching a favourable crisis when rigid principle might be relaxed in the hot pursuit : and, thank Heaven, you have seen honour triumphant over ambition, and the brightest talents and their most alluring calls subjected to permanent integrity.
You have seen the student on the eve of his third experiment for fellowships, while his mind was fainting under the severity of prolonged and reiterated study, and ease, honour and competency were floating before him at this moment of mental and bodily lassitude, you have seen bis principles assailed by an offer of what he was dying to enjoy ;-and if the corrupt logic of the age shall not persuade you that such heroic self-denial is incredible, you have seen such sordid overtures nobly spurned and the short path to infamous prosperity, deserted with scorn.
You have seen poverty, recluseness, and simplicity of manners, operate as invitations to direct corruption.--You have exulted to see courtly manners and splendid offers ineffectual in seducing rigid integrity: and, I trust, you felt a liberaļ indignation when you saw impotent attempts to corrupt succeeded by impotent attempts to defame.
You have seen the professorship of divinity devoted to purposes of corruption--you have seen every arrangement to preserve it from lapsing baffled, every overture to fill it received with deafness or with contumely; and when no man could be found base enough to accept it on terms of stipulated prostitution, you have seen an honest and an able, though simple man, tricked into becoming an unconscious instrument of the foulest prophanation. Thys you have seen the very fountain of religion contaminated, and the support and patronage of a tutor and a friend pilfered by sacrilegious craft from a pupil who was the object of his love, of his pride, of his admiration,
ON THE INJUSTICE AND SEVERITY OF THE PENAL
CODE IN IRELAND.
GENTLEMEN, it would be a bitter reflection on your character, as Irishmen, to presume you to be hostile to the principle or pursuit of the Catholic Committees. Persuaded I am, that, whatever your religion may be, or your zeal for that religion-whatever your natural, manly, and constitutional hatred of slavish principles; whatever your predilection for your own creed may be, there is not a man of you who does not rejoice at the blessings which have fowed from the breaking down of the penal code. Some of you are old enough to remember this country in a state of the lowest degradation. Half a century back, it was so squalid and contemptible that any stranger, whom chance or curiosity brought to our shores, entered it with terror and left it with disgust. No historian, no tour writer named Ireland but in terms of reproach. The code which caused this lamentable condition has been broken in upon by Protestant liberality going hand in hand with Catholic zeal. It was a code calculated to degrade the Catholics, not merely to the state of the beasts of the field but far beneath them to deprive them not only of every natural and civil right, but of every thing that could improve or embellish the nature of man. Every inlet of knowledge was closed against them. No Roman Catholic could be taught even the rudiments of learning but upon the terms of abdicating his principles, and surrendering bis conscience by renouncing his creed. Harsh
measures were adopted to keep their minds as grovelling as their personal condition was abject. Not a ray of light could approach them, except such pilfered literature as persecuted pedagogues could convey, or such barbarous philosophy as could he supplied from foreign universities under the severest prohibitions, as if ignorance were an antidote to superstition—as if the light of science would extinguish the light of the Gospel !