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the wicked prætor. With eyes darting fury, and a countenance distorted with cruelty, he orders the helpless victim of his rage to be stripped, and rods to be brought; accusing him, but without the least shadow of evidence, or even of suspicion, of having come to Sicily as a spy. It was in vain that the unhappy man cried out, “I am a Roman citizen: I have served under Lucius Pretius, who is now at Panormus, and will attest my innocence.” The blood-thirsty prætor, deaf to all he could urge in his own defence, ordered the infamous punishment to be inflicted. Thus, Fathers, was an innocent Roman citizen publicly mangled with scourging; whilst the only words he uttered amidst his cruel sufferings were, “I am a Roman citizen !" With these he hoped to defend himself from violence and infamy. But of so little service was this privilege to him, that while he was thus asserting his citizenship, the order was given for his execution -for his execution upon the cross !
O liberty! O sound once delightful to every Roman ear! O sacred privilege of Roman citizenship! once sacred! now trampled upon! But what then !—Is it come to this ? Shall an inferior magistrate, a governor, who holds his whole power of the Roman people, in a Roman province, within sight of Italy, bind, scourge, torture with fire and red-hot plates of iron, and at last put to the infamous death of the cross, a Roman citizen ? Shall neither the cries of innocence, expiring in agony, nor the tears of pitying spectators, nor the majesty of the Roman Commonwealth, nor the fear of the justice of his country, restrain the licentious and wanton cruelty of a monster, who, in confidence of his riches, strikes at the root of liberty, and sets mankind at defiance ?
I conclude, with expressing my hopes, that your wisdom and justice, Fathers, will not, by suffering the atrocious and unexampled insolence of Caius Verres to escape the due punishment, leave room to apprehend the danger of a total subversion of authority, and introduction of general anarchy and confusion.
III.-EXTRACT FROM A SPEECH OF LORD MANSFIELD.*
IF I have ever supported the king's measures ; if I have ever afforded any assistance to government; if I have dis-harged my duty as a public or private officer, by endeavouring to preserve pure and perfect the principles of the constitution ; maintaining unsullied the honour of the courts of justice, and by an upright administration of; to give due effect to, the laws; I have hitherto done it without any other gift or reward, than that most pleasing and most honourable one, the conscientious conviction of doing what is right. I do not affect to scorn the opinion of mankind; I wish earnestly for popularity ; but I will tell you how I will obtain it: I will have the popularity which follows, and not that which is run after. 'Tis not the applause of a day, 'tis not the huzzas of thousands, that can give a moment's satisfaction to a rational being; that man's mind must, indeed, be a weak one, and his ambition of a most depraved sort, who can be captivated by such wretched allurements, or satisfied with such momentary gratifications. I say with the Roman orator, and can say it with as much truth as he did, “Ego hoc animo semper fui ut invidiam virtute partam, gloriam non infamiam putarem.”+ But threats have been carried farther; personal violence has been denounced, unless public humour be complied with. I do not fear such threats; I don't believe there is any reason to fear them ; it is not the genius of the worst of men, in the worst of times, to proceed to such shocking extremities; but if such an event should happen, let it be so; even such an event might be productive of wholesome effects; such a stroke might rouse the better part of the nation from their lethargic condition, to a state of activity,
* In the debate on Wilkes's Outlawry, in which he was accused of braving the popular opinion.
+ The meaning is—my mind is so constituted, that I have always regarded odium incurred in the discharge of my duty as glory, not as infamy.
to assert and execute the law, and punish the daring and impious hands which had violated it; and those who now supinely behold the danger which threatens all liberty from the most abandoned licentiousness, might by such an event be awakened to a sense of their situation, as drunken men are often shamed into sobriety. If the security of our persons and property, of all we hold dear or valuable, is to depend upon the caprice of a giddy multitude, or to be at the disposal of a mob; if, in compliance with the humours, and to appease the clamours of these, all civil and political institutions are to be disregarded or overthrown; a life somewhat more than sixty is not worth preserving at such a price, and he can never die too soon, who lays down his life in support and vindication of the policy, the government, and the constitution of his country.
IV. EXTRACT FROM A SPEECH OF LORD MANSFIELD.* I COME now to speak upon what, indeed, I would have gladly avoided, had I not been particularly pointed at for the part I have taken in this bill. It has been said by a noble lord on my left hand, that I likewise am running the race of popularity. If the noble lord means, by popularity, that applause bestowed by after ages on good and virtuous actions, I have long been struggling in that race; to what purpose all-trying time can alone determine: but if the noble lord means that mushroom popularity that is raised without merit, and lost without a crime, he is much mistaken in his opinion. I defy the noble lord to point out a single action of my life, where the popularity of the times ever had the smallest influence on my determinations. I thank God I have a more permanent and steady rule for my conduct,—the dictates of my own breast. Those that have foregone that pleasing adviser,
* In the debate on the Bill for the further preventing the delays of justice by reason of Privilege of Parliament." In this debate he was accused of courting the popular opinion.
and given up their mind to be the slave of every popular impulse, I sincerely pity: I pity them still more, if their vanity leads them to mistake the shouts of a mob for the trumpet of fame. Experience might inform them, that many who have been saluted with the huzzas of a crowd one day, have received their execrations the next; and many, who, by the popularity of their times, have been held up as spotless patriots, have, nevertheless, appeared upon the historian's page, when truth has triumphed over delusion, the assassins of liberty. Why then the noble lord can think I am ambitious of present popularity, that echo of folly, and shadow of renown, I am at a loss to determine. Besides, I do not know that the bill now before your lordships will be popular : it depends much upon the caprice of the day. It may not be popular to compel people to pay their debts; and, in that case, the present must be a very unpopular bill. It may not be popular neither, to take away any of the privileges of parliament; for I very well remember, and many of your lordships may remember, that not long ago the popular cry was for the extension of privilege; and so far did they carry it at that time, that it was said that the privilege protected members, even in criminal actions; nay, such was the power of popular prejudices over weak minds, that the
decisions of some of the courts were tinctured with that doctrine. It was undoubtedly an abominable doctrine; I thought so then, and think so still: but, nevertheless, it was a popular doctrine, and came immediately from those who are called the friends of liberty ; how deservedly time will show. True liberty, in my opinion, can only exist when justice is equally administered to all; to the king, and to the beggar. Where is the justice then, or where is the law, that protects a member of parliament more than any other man, from the punishment due to his crimes ? The laws of this country allow of no place nor employment to be a sanctuary for crimes ; and where I have the honour to sit as judge, neither royal favour nor popular applause shall ever protect the guilty.
V.-MR. HORACE WALPOLE IN REPROOF OF MR. PITT. Sir, I was unwilling to interrupt the course of this debate while it was carried on with calmness and decency, by men who do not suffer the ardour of opposition to cloud their reason, or transport them to such expressions as the dignity of this assembly does not admit. I have hitherto deferred to answer the gentleman who declaimed against the bill with such fluency of rhetoric, and such vehemence of gesture; who charged the advocates for the expedients now proposed with having no regard for any interest but their own, and with making laws only to consume paper; and threatened them with the defection of their adherents, and the loss of their influence, upon this new discovery of their folly and their ignorance. Nor, sir, do I now answer him for any other purpose, than to remind him how little the clamours of rage, and petulancy of invectives contribute to the purposes for which this assembly is called together ; how little the discovery of truth is promoted, and the security of the nation established, by pompous diction and theatrical emotion. Formidable sounds and furious declamations, confident assertions and lofty periods, may affect the young and inexperienced ; and perhaps the gentleman may have contracted his habits of oratory, by conversing more with those of his own age, than with such as have had more opportunities of acquiring knowledge, and more successful methods of communicating their sentiments. If the heat of his temper, sir, would suffer him to attend to those whose age and long acquaintance with business give them an indisputable right to deference and superiority, he would learn in time, to reason rather than to declaim, and to prefer justice of argument, and an accurate knowledge of facts, to sounding epithets and splendid superlatives, which may disturb the imagination for a moment, but leave no lasting impression on the mind. He
* Afterwards the first Earl of Chatham.