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alienate, no despotism enslave: at home a friend, abroad an introduction, in solitude a solace, in society an ornament: it chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once a grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave! a reasoning savage, vacillating between the dignity of an intelligence derived from God, and the degradation of passions participated with brutes; and in the accident of their alternate ascendency shuddering at the terrors of an hereafter, or embracing the horrid hope of annihilation. What is this wondrous world of his residence ?
A mighty maze, and all without a plan ; a dark and desolate and dreary cavern, without wealth, or ornament or order. But light up within it the torch of knowledge, and how wondrous the transition! The seasons change, the atmosphere breathes, the landscape lives, earth unfolds its fruits, ocean rolls in its magnificence, the heavens display their constellated canopy, and the grand animated spectacle of nature rises revealed before him, its varieties regulated, and its mysteries resolved! The phenomena which bewilder, the prejudices which debase, the superstitions which enslave, vanish before education. Like the holy symbol which blazed upon the cloud before the hesitating Constantine, if man follow but its precepts, purely, it will not only lead him to the victories of this world, but open the very portals of Omnipotence for his admission. Cast your eye over the monumental map of ancient grandeur, once studded with the stars of empire, and the splendours of philosophy. What erected the little state of Athens into a powerful commonwealth, placing in her hand the sceptre of legislation, and wreathing round her brow the imperishable chaplet of literary fame? what extended Rome, the haunt of banditti, into universal empire? what animated Sparta with that high, unbending, adamantine courage, which conquered nature herself, and has fixed her in the sight of future ages, a model of public virtue, and a proverb of national independence? What but those wise public institutions which strengthened their minds with early application, informed their infancy with the principles of action, and sent them into the world, too vigilant to be deceived by its calms, and too vigorous to be shaken by its whirlwinds ? But surely, if there be a people in the world, to whom the blessings of education are peculiarly applicable, it is the Irish people. Lively, ardent, intelligent, and sensitive; nearly all their acts spring from impulse, and no matter how that impulse be given, it is immediately adopted, and the adoption and the execution are identified. It is this principle, if principle it can be called, which renders Ireland, alternately, the poorest and the proudest country in the world; now chaining her in the very abyss of crime, now lifting her to the very pinnacle of glory; which in the poor, proscribed, peasant Catholic, crowds the jail and feeds the gibbet ; which in the more fortunate, because more educated Protestant, leads victory a captive at her car, and holds echo mute al her eloquence ; making a national monopoly of fame, and, as it were, attempting to naturalize the achievements of the universe. In order that this libel may want no possible aggravation, the defendant pub lished it when my client was absent on this work of patriotism; he published it when he was absent on a work of virtue; and he published it on all the authority of his local knowledge, when that very local knowledge must have told him, that it was destitute of the shadow of a foundation. Can you imagine a more odious complication of all that is deliberate in malignity, and all that is depraved in crime? I promised, Gentlemen, that I would not harrow your hearts, by exposing all that agonizes mine, in the contemplation of individual suffering. There is, however, one subject, connected with this trial, public in its nature, and universal in its interest, which imperiously calls for an exemplary verdict; I mean the liberty of the press—a theme which I approach with mingled sensations of awe, and agony, and admiration. Considering all that we too fatally have seen-all that, perhaps, too fearfully we may have cause to apprehend, I feel myself cling to that residuary safeguard, with an affection no temptations can seduce, with a suspicion no anodyne can lull, with a fortitude that peril but infuriates. In the direful retrospect of experimental despotism, and the hideous prospect of its possible re-animation, I clasp it with the desperation of a widowed female, who, in the desolation of her house, and the destruction of her household, hurries the last of her offspring through the flames, at once the relic of her joy, the depository of her wealth, and the remembrancer of her happiness. It is the duty of us all to guard strictly this inestimable privilege--a privilege which can never be destroyed, save by the licentiou3ness of those who wilfully abuse it. No, it is not in THE ARROGANCE OF POWER ; NO, IT IS NOT IN THE ARTIFICES OF LAW; NO, IT IS NOT IN THE FATUITY OF PRINCES; NO, IT IS NOT IN THE VENALITY OF PARLIAMENTS TO CRUSH THIS MIGHTY, THIS MAJESTIC PRIVILEGE ; REVILED, IT WILL REMONSTRATE; MURDERED, IT WILL REVIVE; BURIED, IT WILL RE-ASCEND; THE VERY ATTEMPT AT ITS OPPRESSION WILL PROVE THE TRUTH OF ITS IMMORTALITY, AND THE ATOM THAT PRESUMED TO SPURN, WILL FADE AWAY BEFORE THE TRUMPET OF ITS RETRIBUTION ! Man holds it on the same principle that he does his soul: the powers of this world cannot prevail against it; it can only perish through its own depravity. What then shall be his fate, through whose instrumentality it is sacrificed! Nay more, what shall be his fate, who, intrusted with the guardianship of its security, becomes the traitorous accessary to its ruin? Nay more, what shall be his fate, by whom its powers, delegated for the public good, are converted into the calamities of private virtue; against whom, industry denounced, merit undermined, morals calumniated, piety aspersed, all through the means confided for their protection, cry aloud for vengeance? What shall be his fate? Oh, I would hold such a monster, so protected, so sanctified, and so sinning, as I would some demon, who, going forth, consecrated, in the name of the Deity, the book of life on his lips, and the dagger of death beneath his robe, awaits the sigh of piety, as the signal of plunder, and unveins the heart's blood of confiding adoration !—Should not such a case as this require some palliation? Is there any? Perhaps the defendant might have been misled as to circumstances ? No, he lived upon the spot, and had the best possible information. Do you think he believed in the truth of the publication ? No; he knew that in every syllable it was as false as perjury. Do you think that an anxiety for the Catholic community might have inflamed him against the imaginary dereliction of its advocate? No; the very essence of his Journal is prejudice. Do you think that in the ardour of liberty he might have venially transgressed its boundaries? No! in every line he licks the sores, and pampers the pestilence of authority. I do not ask you to be stoics in your investigation. If you can discover in this libel one motive inferentially moral, one single virtue which he has plundered and misapplied, give him its benefit. I will not demand such an effort of your faith, as to imagine, that his northern constitution could, by any miracle, be fired into the admirable but mistaken energy of enthusiasm ;—that he could for one moment have felt the inspired phrenzy of those loftier spirits, who, under some daring but divine delusion, rise into the arch of an ambition so bright, so baneful, yet so beauteous, as leaves the world in wonder whether it should admire or mourn—whether it should weep or worship! No; you will not only search in vain for such a palliative; but you will find this publication springing from the most odious origin, and disfigured by the most foul accompaniments, founded in a bigotry at which hell rejoices, crouching with a sycophancy at which flattery blushes, deformed by a falsehood at which perjury would hesitate, and to crown the climax of its crowded infamies, committed under the sacred shelter of the Press; as if this false, slanderous, sycophantic slave, could not assassinate private worth without polluting public privilege; as if he could not sacrifice the character of the pious without profaning the protection of the free; as if he could not poison learning, liberty, and religion, unless he filled his chalice from the very font whence they might have expected to derive the waters of their salvation !
Now, Gentlemen, as to the measure of your damages :-You are the best judges on that subject; though, indeed, I have been asked, and I heard the question with some surprise,- Why it is that we have brought this case at all to be tried before you? To that I might give at once an unobjectionable answer, namely, that the law allowed us. But I will deal much more candidly with you. We brought it here; because it was as far as possible from the scene of prejudice; because no possible partiality could exist; because, in this happy and united county, less of the bigotry which distracts the rest of Ireland exists, than in any other with which we are acquainted; because the nature of the action, which we have mercifully brought in place of a criminal prosecution,—the usual course pursued in the present day, at least against the independent press of Ireland,-gives them, if they have it, the power of proving a justification; and I perceive they have emptied half the north here for the purpose. But I cannot anticipate an objection, which, no doubt, shall not be made. If this habitual libeller should characteristically instruct his counsel to hazard it, that learned gentleman is much too wise to adopt it, and must know you much too well to insult you by its utterance. What damages, then, Gentlemen, can you give? I am content to leave the defendant's crimes altogether out of the
question ; but how can you recompense the sufferings of my client? Who shall estimate the cost of priceless reputationthat impress which gives this zuman dross its currency, without which we stand despised, debased, depreciated? Who shall repair it injured? Who can redeem it lost? Oh! well and truly does the great philosopher of poetry esteem the world's wealth as “trash” in the comparison. Without it gold has no value, birth no distinction, station no dignity, beauty no charm, age no reverence; or, should I not rather
every treasure impoverishes, every grace deforms, every dignity degrades, and all the arts, the decorations, and accomplishments of life, stand, like the beacon-blaze upon a rock, warning the world that its approach is danger—that its contact is death. The wretch without it, is under eternal quarantine , no friend to greet—no home to harbour him. The voyage of his life becomes a joyless peril; and in the midst of all ambition can achieve, or avarice amass, or rapacity plunder, he tosses on the surge—a buoyant pestilence! But, Gentlemen, let me not degrade into the selfishness of individual safety, or individual exposure, this universal principle; it testifies a higher, a more ennobling origin. It is this which, consecrating the humble circle of the hearth, will at times extend itself to the circumference of the horizon ; which nerves the arm of the patriot to save his country; which lights the lamp of the philosopher to amend man; which, if it does not inspire, will yet invigorate the martyr to merit immortality; which, when one world's agony is passed, and the glory of another is dawning, will prompt the prophet, even in his chariot of fire, and in his vision of heaven, to bequeath to mankind the mantle of his memory! Oh divine, oh delightful legacy of a spotless reputation ! Rich is the inheritance it leaves ; pious the example it testifies ; pure, precious, and imperishable, the hope which it inspires! Can you conceive a more atrocious injury than to filch from its possessor this inestimable benefit—to rob society of its charm, and solitude of its solace; not only to outlaw life, but to attaint death, converting the very grave, the refuge of the sufferer, into the gate of infamy and of shame! I can conceive few crimes beyond it. He who plunders my property takes from me that which can be repaired by time: but what period can repair a ruined reputation ? He who maims my person affects that which medicine may remedy: but what herb has sovereignty