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And enterprises of great pith and moment,
EXTRACT FROM EMMET'S SPEECH BEFORE SENTENCE OF DEATH WAS PASSED ON HIM.
1. MY LORDS: What have I to say, why sentence of death should not be pronounced on me, according to law? I have nothing to say that can alter your predetermination, nor that it will become me to say, with any view to the mitigation of that sentence which you are here to pronounce, and I must abide by. But I have that to say which interests me more than life, and which you have labored, (as was necessarily your office in the present circumstances of this oppressed country,) to destroy. I have much to say, why my reputation should be rescued from the load of false accusation and calumny which has been heaped upon it.
2. I do not imagine that, seated where you are, your minds can be so free from impurity, as to receive the least impression from what I am going to utter. I have no hopes that I can anchor my character in the breast of a court constituted and trammeled as this is. I only wish, and it is the utmost I expect, that your lordships may suffer it to float down your memories untainted by the foul breath of prejudice, until it find some more hospitable harbor to shelter it from the storm by which it is at present buffeted.
3. Were I only to suffer death, after being adjudged guilty by your tribunal, I should bow in silence, and meet the fate that awaits me without a murmur; but the sentence of law which delivers my body to the executioner, will, through the ministry of that law, labor in its own vindication, to consign
a Emmet (Robert ;) an Irish patriot, tried and executed for treason.
my character to obloquy, for there must be guilt somewhere; whether in the sentence of the court or in the catastrophe, posterity must determine.
4. A man in my situation, my lords, has not only to encounter the difficulties of fortune, and the force of power over minds which it has corrupted or subjugated, but the difficulties of established prejudice. The man dies, but his memory lives. That mine may not perish, that it may live in the respect of my countrymen, I seize upon this opportunity to vindicate myself from some of the charges alleged against
5. When my spirit shall be wafted to a more friendly port; when my shade shall have joined the bands of those martyred heroes who have shed their blood on the scaffold and in the field, in defence of their country and virtue, this is my hope. I wish that my memory and name may animate those who survive me, while I look down with complacency on the destruction of that perfidious government, which upholds its domination by blasphemy of the Most High; which displays its power over man as over the beasts of the forest; which sets man upon his brother, and lifts his hand, in the name of God, against the throat of his fellow who believes or doubts a little more or less than the government standard; a government which is steeled to barbarity by the cries of the orphans and the tears of the widows which its cruelty has made.
6. I swear by the throne of Heaven, before which I must shortly appear, by the blood of the murdered patriots who have gone before me, that my conduct has been, through all this peril, and all my purposes, governed only by the convictions which I have uttered, and by no other view than that of the emancipation of my country from the superinhuman oppression under which she has so long, and too patiently, travailed; and that I confidently and assuredly hope (wild and chimerical as it may appear) there is still union and strength in Ireland to accomplish this noble enterprise.
7. Let no man dare, when I am dead, to charge me with dishonor; let no man attaint my memory by believing that I
could have engaged in any cause but that of my country's liberty and independence; or that I could have become the pliant minion of power in the oppression or the miseries of my countrymen. The proclamation of the provincial government speaks for our views; no inference can be tortured from it to countenance barbarity or debasement at home, or subjection, humiliation, or treachery from abroad.
8. I would not have submitted to a foreign oppressor, for the same reason that I would resist the domestic tyrant; in the dignity of freedom, I would have fought upon the threshold of my country, and her enemy should enter only by passing over my lifeless corpse. Am I, who lived but for my country, and who have subjected myself to the vengeance of the jealous and watchful oppressor, and to the bondage of the grave, only to give my countrymen their rights; am I to be loaded with calumny, and not to be suffered to resent or repel it? No; God forbid!
9. If the spirits of the illustrious dead participate in the concerns and cares of those who are dear to them in this transitory life; O, ever dear and venerated shade of my departed father! look down with scrutiny on the conduct of your suffering son; and see if I have even for a moment deviated from those principles of morality and patriotism which it was your care to instill into my youthful mind, and for an adherence to which I am now to offer up my life!
10. My lords, you are impatient for the sacrifice; the blood which you seek is not congealed by the artificial terrors which surround your victim; it circulates warmly and unruffled, through the channels which God created for noble purposes, but which you are bent to destroy for purposes so grievous that they cry to heaven! Be yet patient! I have but a few words more to say. I am going to my silent grave; my lamp of life is nearly extinguished; my race is run; the grave opens to receive me, and I sink into its bosom.
11. I have but one request to ask at my departure from this world; it is the charity of its silence. Let no man write my epitaph; for, as no one who knows my motives dare now
vindicate them, let not prejudice or ignorance asperse them. Let them and me repose in obscurity and peace, and tomb remain uninscribed, until other times, and other men, can do justice to my character. When my country shall take her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written!
IN FAVOR OF THE GREEK REVOLUTION.
1. AND has it come to this? Are we so humble, so low, so debased, that we dare not express our sympathy for suffering Greece; that we dare not articulate our detestation of the brutal excesses of which she has been the bleeding victim, lest we might offend some one or more of their imperial and royal majesties? If gentlemen are afraid to act rashly on such a subject, suppose, Mr. Chairman, that we unite in a humble petition, addressed to their majesties, beseeching them, that of their gracious condescension they would allow us to express our feelings and our sympathies. How shall it run? "We, the representatives of the FREE people of the United States of America, humbly approach the thrones of your imperial and royal majesties, and supplicate that, of your imperial and royal clemency"-I cannot go through the disgusting recital; my lips have not yet learned to pronounce the sycophantic language of a degraded slave!
2. Are we so mean, so base, so despicable, that we may not attempt to express our horror, utter our indignation, at the most brutal and atrocious war that ever stained earth or shocked high heaven? at the ferocious deeds of a savage and infuriated soldiery, stimulated and urged on by the clergy of a fanatical and inimical religion, and rioting in all the excesses of blood and butchery, at the mere details of which the heart sickens and recoils!
3. If the great body of Christendoma can look on calmly
a Chris-ten-dom (kris-sn-dum;) countries where the Christian religion prevails.
and coolly, whilst all this is perpetrated on a Christian people in its own immediate vicinity, in its very presence, let us, at least, evince that one of its remote extremities is susceptible of sensibility to Christian wrongs, and capable of sympathy for Christian sufferings; that in this remote quarter of the world there are hearts not yet closed against compassion for human woes, that can pour out their indignant feelings at the oppression of a people endeared to us by every ancient recollection and every modern tie.
4. Sir, the committee has been attempted to be alarmed by the dangers to our commerce in the Mediterranean; and a wretched invoice of figs and opium has been spread before us to repress our sensibilities and to eradicate our humanity. Ah! sir, "what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" or what shall it avail a nation to save the whole of a miserable trade, and lose its liberties?
SPEECH OF CHATHAM (THEN MR. PITT) ON BEING TAUNTED
WITH HIS YOUTH.
In reply to Mr. Walpole, the minister, (1740,) who had ridiculed the youth of Pitt and the florid style of his oratory.
1. SIR: The atrocious crime of being a young man, which the honorable gentleman has, with such spirit and decency, charged upon me, I shall neither attempt to palliate nor deny; but content myself with wishing that I may be one of those whose follies may cease with their youth, and not of that number who are ignorant in spite of experience. Whether youth can be imputed to any man as a reproach, I will not, sir, assume the province of determining; but surely age may become justly contemptible, if the opportunities which it brings have passed away without improvement, and vice appear to prevail when the passions have subsided.
a Chatham, (Earl of ;) formerly prime minister of Great Britain.