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upon grave decisions and venerable authorities not only on the indignant denunciation of the moment, but on the deliberate concurrence of the enlightened and the dispassionate. I see my learned opponent smile. I tell him I would not care if the books were an absolute blank upon the subject.
. I would then make the human heart my authority ; I would appeal to the bosom of every man who hears me, whether such a crime should grow unpunished into a precedent; whether innocence should be made the subject of a brutal speculation; whether the sacred seal of filial obedience, upon which the Almighty Parent has affixed his eternal fiat, should be violated by a blasphemous and selfish libertinism !
Gentlemen, if the cases I have quoted, palliated as they were, have been humanely marked by ample damages, what should you give here where there is nothing tò excuse—where there is every thing to aggravate! The seduction was deliberate, it was three months in progress, its victim was almost a child, it was committed under the most alluring promises, it was followed by a deed of the most dreadful cruelty; but, above all, it was the act of a man commissioned by his own country, and paid by this, for the enforcement of the laws and the preservation of society. No man more respects than I do the well-earned reputation of the British army;
" It is a school
But in the name of that distinguished army, I here solemnly appeal against an act, which would blight its greenest laurels, and lay its trophies prostrate in the dust. Let them war, but be it not on domestic happiness; let them invade, but be their country's earths inviolable ; let them achieve a triumph wherever their banners Ay, but be it not over morals, innocence, and virtue. I know not by what palliation the defendant means to mitigate this enormity ;- will he plead her youth? it should have been her protection ;-will he plead her levity ? I deny the fact; but even were it true, what is it to him ? what right has any man to speculate on the temperature of your wives and your daughters, that he
habitation? Will he plead poverty? I never knew a seducer or an adulterer that did not. He should have considered that before.
But is poverty an excuse for crime ? Our law says, he who has not a purse to pay for it, must suffer for it in his person.
It is a most wise declaration ; and for my part, I never hear such a person plead poverty, that my first emotion is not a thanksgiving, that Providence has denied, at least, the instrumentality of wealth to the accomplishment of his purposes. Gentlemen, I see you agree with me. I wave the topic; and I again tell you, that if what I know will be his chief defence were true, it should avail him nothing. He had no right to speculate on this wretched creature's levity to ruin her, and still less to ruin her family. Remember, however, Gentlemen, that even had this wretched child
been indiscreet, it is not in her name we ask for reparation; no, it is in the name of the parents her seducer has heart-broken; it is in the name of the poor helpless family he has desolated; it is in the name of that misery, whose sanctuary he has violated; it is in the name of law, virtue and morality; it is in the name of that country whose fair fame foreign envy will make responsible for this crime; it is in the name of nature's dearest, tenderest sympathies ; it is in the name of all that gives your toil an object, and your ease a charm, and
your age a hope I ask from you the value of the
poor man's child.
THE CASE OF BLAKE v. WILKINS:
IN THE GOUNTY COURT-HOUSE,
May it please Your Lordship, THE Plaintif's Counsel tell me, Gentlemen,
most unexpectedly, that they have closed his case, and it becomes my duty to state to you that of the Defendant. The nature of this action you have already heard. It is one which, in my mind, ought to be very seldom brought, and very sparingly encouraged. It is founded on circumstances of the most extreme delicacy, and it is intended to visit with penal consequences the non-observance of an engagement, which is of the most paramount importance to society, and which of all others, perhaps, ought to be the most unbiassed, an engagement which, if it be voluntary, judicious, and disinterested, generally produces the happiest effects; but which, if it be either unsuitable or compulsory, engenders not only individual misery, but consequences universally pernicious. There are few contracts between
human beings which should be more deliberate than that of marriage. I admit it should be very cautiously promised, but, even when promised, I am far from conceding that it should invariably be performed; a thousand circumstances may form an irapediment, change of fortune may render it imprudent, change of affection
make it culpable. The very party to whom the law gives the privilege of complaint has perhaps the most reason to be grateful.-grateful that its happiness has not been surrendered to caprice; grateful that Religion has not constrained an unwilling acquiescence, or made an unavoidable desertion doubly criminal ; grateful that an offspring has not been sacrificed to the iridelicate and ungenerous enforcement; grateful that an innocent secret disinclination did not too late evince itself in an irresistible and irremediable disgust. You will agree with me, however. that if there exists any excuse for such an action, it is on the side of the female, because
female object being more exclusively domestic, such a disappointment is more severe in its visitation; because the very circumstance concentrating their feelings renders them naturally more sensitive of a wound; because their best treasure, their reputation, may have suffered from the intercourse ; because their chances of reparation are less, and their habitual seclusion makes them feel it more ; because there is something in the desertion of their helplessness which almost immerges the illegality in the unmanliness of the abandonment. However, if a man seeks to enforce this engagemont, every one feels some indelicacy attached to