Obrázky na stránke

Are we in peace? the public is charged with your subsistence. Are we in war, or under a necessity, at this time, to enter into a war? let your gratitude oblige you to accept, as pay in defence of your benefactors, what you receive, in peace, as mere bounty. Thus, without any innovation—without altering or abolishing any thing, but pernicious novelties, introduced for the encouragement of sloth and idleness; by converting only, for the future, the same funds, for the use of the serviceable, which are spent, at present, upon the unprofitable; you may be well served in your armies, your troops regularly paid, justice duly administered, the public revenues reformed and increased, and every member of the commonwealth rendered useful to his country, according to his age and ability, without any further burden to the state.

This, ( men of Athens! is what my duty prompted me to represent to you upon this occasion.—May the gods inspire you to determine upon such measures as may be most expedient for the particular and general good of our country!

Curran for Hamilton Rowan. This paper, gentlemen, insists upon the necessity of emancipating the Catholics of Ireland; and that is charged as part of the libel. If they had waited another year-if they had kept this prosecution impending for another year -how much would remain for a jury to decide upon, I should be at a loss to discover. It seems as if the progress of public information was eating away the ground of the prosecution. Since the commencement of the prosecution, this part of the libel has unluckily received the sanction of the legislature. In that interval, our Catholic brethren have obtained that admission, which it seems it was a libel to propose. In what way to account for this, I am really at a loss. Have any alarms been occasioned by the emancipation of our Catholic brethren? Has the bigoted malignity of any individuals been crushed ? or has the stability of the government, or that of the country, been weakened? or is one million of subjects stronger than four millions? Do you think that the benefit they received, should be poisoned by the sting of vengeance? If you think so, you must say to them, “You have demanded


emancipation, and you have got it: but we abhor your persons; we are outraged at your success; and we will stigmatize, by a criminal prosecution, the adviser of that relief which


have obtained from the voice of your country.” I ask you,


you think, as honest men, anxious for the public tranquillity, conscious that there are wounds not yet completely cicatrized, that you ought to speak this language, at this time, to men who are too much disposed to think, that in this very emancipation they have been saved from their own parliament, by the humanity of their sovereign? Or do you wish to prepare them for the revocation of these improvident concessions? Do you think it wise or humane, at this moment, to insult them, by sticking up in a pillory the man who dared to stand forth as their advocate? I put it to your oaths: do you think, that a blessing of that kind—that a victory obtained by justice over bigotry and oppression--should have a stigma cast upon it, by an ignominious sentence upon men bold and honest enough to propose

that measure?—to propose the redeeming of religion from the abuses of the church, the reclaiming of three millions of men from bondage, and giving liberty to all who had a right to demand it; giving, I say, in the so-much-censured words of this paper, “ Universal Emancipation!” I speak in the spirit of the British law, which makes liberty commensurate with, and inseparable from, British soil; which proclaims even to the stranger and sojourner, the moment he sets bis foot on British earth, that the ground on which he treads is holy, and consecrated by the genius of Universal Emancipation. No matter in what language his doom may have been pronounced;—no matter what complexion incompatible with freedom, an Indian or an African sun may have burned upon him;—no matter in what disastrous battle his liberty may have been cloven down; no matter with what solemnities he may have been devoted upon the altar of slavery: the first moment he touches the sacred soil of Britain, the altar and the god sink together in the dust; his soul walks abroad in her own majesty; his body swells beyond the measure of his chains, that burst from around hiin; and he stands redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled, by the irresistible genius of Universal Emanci. pation.


The Beginning of the First Philippic of Demosthenes.

Had we been convened, Athenians, on some new subject of debate, I had waited till most of your

usual counsellors had declared their opinions. If I had approved of what was proposed by them, I should have continued silent; if not, I should then have attempted to speak my sentiments. But, since those very points on which those speakers have oftentimes been heard already, are at this time to be considered; though I have arisen first, I presume I may expect your pardon: for, if they on former occasions had advised the proper measures, you would not have found it needful to consult at present.

First then, Athenians, however wretched the situation of our affairs at present seems, it must not by any means be thought desperate. What I am now going to advance, may possibly appear a paradox; yet it is a certain truth, that our past misfortunes afford a circumstance most favourable to our future hopes. And what is that ?that our present difficulties are owing entirely to our total indolence, and utter disregard of our own interest. For were we thus situated, in spite of every effort which our duty demanded, then indeed we might regard our fortunes as absolutely desperate. But now, Philip hath only conquered your supineness and inactivity: the state he hath not conquered. You cannot be said to be defeated: your force hath never been exerted.

If there is a man in this assembly who thinks, that we must find a formidable enemy in Philip; while he views, on one hand, the numerous armies which surround him; and, on the other, the weakness of our state, despoiled of so much of its dominions; I cannot deny that he thinks justly. Yet, let him reflect on this: there was a time, Athenians, when we possessed Pydna, Potidæa, and Methone, and all that country round; when many of the states now subjected to him, were free and independent, and more inclined to our alliance than to his. If Philip, at that time weak in himself, and without allies, had desponded of success against you, he would never have engaged in those enterprises which are now crowned with success, nor could have raised himself to that pitch of grandeur at which you now behold him. But he knew well, that the strongest places are only prizes laid between the combatants, and ready for

[ocr errors]


the conqueror. He knew that the dominions of the absent devolve naturally to those who are in the field; the possessions of the supine, to the active and intrepid. Animated by these sentiments, he overturns whole nations. He either rules universally, as a conqueror, or governs as a protector. For mankind naturally seek confederacy with such, as they see resolved and preparing not to be wanting to themselves.

If you, my countrymen, will now at length be persuaded to entertain the like sentiments; if each of you

be disposed to approve himself an useful citizen, to the utmost that his station and abilities enable him; if the rich will be ready to contribute, and the young to take the field; in one word, if you will be yourselves, and banish those hopes which every single person entertains, that the active part of public business may lie upon others, and he remain at his ease: you may then, by the assistance of the gods, recall those opportunities which your supineness hath neglected, regain your dominions, and chastise the insolence of this


[ocr errors]

But when, O my countrymen! will you begin to exert your vigour? Do you wait till roused by some dire event? -till forced by some necessity? What, then, are we to think of our present condition ? To free men, the disgrace attending on misconduct is, in my opinion, the most urgent necessity. Or, say, is it your sole ambition to wander through the public places, each inquiring of the other,

What new advices ?” Can any thing be more new, than that a man of Macedon should conquer the Athenians, and give law to Greece ? * Is Philip dead?” No-but he is sick.” Pray, what is it to you, whether Philip is sick or not? Supposing he should die, you would raise up another Philip, if you continue thus regardless of your interest.

Many, I know, delight in nothing more than in circulating all the rumours they hear, as articles of intelligence. Some cry, Philip hath joined with the Lacedæmonians, and they are concerting the destruction of Thebes. Others assure us, he hath sent an embassy to the king of Persia; others, that he is fortifying places in Illyria. Thus we all go about, framing our several tales. I I do believe, indeed, Athenians, that he is intoxicated with his greatness, and does entertain his imagination with many such visionary projects, as he sees no power rising to oppose him. But I cannot be persuaded, that he hath so taken his measures, that the weakest among us—for the weakest they are who spread such rumours-know what he is next to do. Let us disregard their tales. Let us only be persuaded of this, that he is our enemy; that we have long been subject to his insolence; that whatever we expected to have been done for us by others, hath turned against us; that all the resource left us is in ourselves; and that, if we are not inclined to carry our arms abroad, we should be forced to engage him at home. Let us be persuaded of these things; and then we shall come to a proper determination, and be no longer guided by rumours. We need not be solicitous to know what particular events are to happen. We may be well assured, that nothing good can happen, unless we give du: attention to our affairs, and act as becomes Athenians,

The First Oration of Cicero against Cataline. CATALINE! how far art thou to abuse our forbearance ? How long are we to be deluded by the mockery of thy madness? Where art thou to stop, in this career of unbridled licentiousness? Has the nightly guard at the Palatium nothing in it to alarm you; the patroles throughout the city, nothing; the confusion of the people, nothing; the assemblage of all true lovers of their country, nothing; the guarded majesty of this assembly, nothing; and all the eyes

that, at this instant, are rivetted upon yourshave they nothing to denounce, nor you to apprehend ? Does not your conscience inform you, that the sun shines upon your secrets? and do you not discover a full knowledge of your conspiracy, revealed on the countenance of every man around you? Your employment on the last night-your occupations on the preceding night-the place where you met—the persons who met—and the plot fabricated at the meeting :-of these things, I ask not, who knows; I ask, who, among you all, is ignorant ?

But, alas! for the times thus corrupted; or, rather, for mankind, who thus corrupt the times. The senate knows all this! The consul sees all this! and yet the man who sits there-lives. Lives! ay—comes down to your senate-house; takes his seat, as counsellor for the commonwealth; and, with a deliberate destiny in his eye, marks out our members, and selects them for slaughter; while,

« PredošláPokračovať »