תמונות בעמוד

lieve, recognize only to insult, worship, and trifle with, adore and disobey. And, consequently, where the writings for which I am prosecuted bave made one infidel, the measures which they have adopted have made a thousand. Who tben, are the enemies of Cbristianity? Wbo are they, whose conduct aims directly to take away from suffering humanity the balm of spiritual consolation-to overcloud the last bright prospect of another and a better world--to dissolve the mystic charm that makes victory sit upon the fading cheek, and triumph sparkle in the dying eye-to loosen all the holds and stays of moral virtue, and set the soul afloat on the waves of a shoreless scepticism? It is not I-not we not any books wbich we have published or sold-pot any thing which we bave done or could do. It was never in our intention, never in our will, never in our power; but it is the act and deed of our prosecutors; it is they who give Christianity the fatal wound-'tis they who have produced in all men's minds the latent and deep-working leaven of sceptie cism; they have excited the universally extending suspicion wbich the eye cannot avoid seeing, and from wbich the mind cannot turn away. They have exbibited Christianity in features of caricatures, and set up Jesus on the pedestal of Dagon. If there were any thing to the dishonour of Chris tianity contaiued in the books, for the sale of which I am prosecuted, it was at least not forced upon public observation; no one was obliged to purchase or read them: they did not present a lie on the title page; they did not profess to be wbat they were not; they did not say, “ This is Christianity." Yet if Christianity be a gracious and beneficial dispensation, surely they exbibit as much of it as the conduct of our prosecutors; who act as if they deemed violence and cruelty necessary to its defence, and thus, in the sight of all men, by their manifest and overt acts, proclaim that they themselves think Christianity has po brighter evidence than such as may gliminer through the bars of a pri. son. I am instructed, therefore, to call upon you, as Christians, by your verdict this day, to vindicate the honour of the Christianity yoo profess-to disappoint the machinations of those more dangerous enemies to Christianity, those traitors within your walls, who are secretly sapping its foundations, and working a deadlier miscbief to your citadel that all the power of asowed enemies could pour on you from without. Disappoint the purposes of those mistaken and vindictive meu. Let you verdict be responsive, not to the angry passions and sinister interests of a faction, but to the calm judgment and

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good sense of all the wise and good men in the world: in the number of which you will not find one but who would con: template any other thav a verdict of acquittal with chagrin and sorrow. Let your verdict fearlessly respond to what must be the sincere dictate of your conscience; let it shew your respect at least for that part of Christianity w brich requires that you should do uoto all men as you would they should do to yoų; let it sbew.youş respect for yourselves, that you will not, for the sake of a little favour with bese greạt meu, be induced to deliver over a victim to ibeir resentment; let it shew your becoming remembrance of the similarity of my situation this day toj that of “the author and finisher of your faith.” Aët but as he would have you act, and I am sure to be acquitled. *gaiust ibis, the only sopbistry that I can feat is, that tyrannical dogmatism wbich would be for making short work of tis question, and dider "the pretext of precedent and law,'scek at once to cut me off : from all hopes of justice, and you, from the fair exercise of jour,functions as jurors, on which alone my hopes of justice rest: You may be told, perhaps, with just as much reason as an Eastern Caliph would coudescend to gives that " I knew the penalty incurred-1 had sufficient example,” and. so,forth: as the oriental despot would say, “ There is the law- there is the offender, and there is the punishment; and all the jury has to do is to read that law, seize that offender, and apply that punishment.” But, Gentlemen, this short measure will not do--'tis false, 'tis barbarous, and wicked. I beseeeh you, become nos the instruments of a tyranny like this. No precedent or number of precedents will justify wbat is iu itself iniquitous; and tbát any man should be sent to prison for the open arowal of disbelief in a religion, wbich disclaims all means of persecution and force, is as great a wrong as wrong can be. To urge, however, that there is a law on tbe subject, and that that law, merely because there is such an one, must be enforced, is a 'most cruel and arbitrary sophism. It is an insult on your understandings; and they.who press it on you, laugo in their sleeves at the stupidity that can be so easily imposed on. No, Gentlemen, *there is no law that can authorise evil. To the very article of its injustice it is per se anvulled. And if such exist on the letter of a fusty statute book, it should not be respected, but repealed; and till this can conveniently be done, the office aud duty of a jury is, tot to put it in force, but to prevent its operation. To make existing law the means of oppres. sion is to add the last possible aggravation to cruelty aud in

justice.. So it was by the law, that Naboth, the Jezreelite,
was put to death, when the tyrant Abab, baving occasion
to possess himself of his inheritance, bad bim accused of
hasing “ blasphemed God and the King;" and the murder
of Christ himself'must seem justifiable, if that was good rea- .
soning of the chief priests of his day, when they said, “We
have a law, and by our law he.ought : die.”-No, Gentle-
men, though the letter of written law. was against him, jus-
tice was not; and that sa nie justice which should have res-
*cued bim from the letter of strict engement, powo pleads for
me. I beseech you, Gentlemen, as Christians, not to justify,
by a verdict against me, the condemnation of him whom you
bélieve, though sacrificed by the text of law, to have been
“ led as a lamb to.the slaughtes, and as a sheep dumb before
his shearers.” I beseech you'as Christians to respect the ve-
ry essence arid soul of Christianity,

and suffer me not to sink under the rigid application of a buwan.law, when ever thato: law, which you hold to be divine, yielded, and gave place; to a dispensation of mercy and forgiveness. Be it that I have erred-be it that all this evidence, wbich seems so clear against me, is as free from fraud and guile as it is from any sort of charity! Be it, therefore, as my inexorable Judge will tell you, that my liberty is forfeit to the law; is it for tbem to strain this point against me, who profess a religion, and for that very religion which teaches, that

“ All the souls that are, were forfeit once,
And he who might th' advantage best have ta'en

Found out the remedy."
I beseech you, Gentlemen, to acquit yourselves as the ad-
ministrators, not the machines, of law, and suffer not your
own good sense to be overborne, and your right of exercis-
ing your unbiassed judgment taken from you, by the sophis-
tical dogmatism which would tell you, that you have no other
business than to inquire merely whether I have done as I
am charged witbal. You have no statute but the mere ipse
dixit of that weak and wicked man, Judge Hale, to authorize
these prosecutious-aud will you hand me over at once to
condemnation, in spite of the convictions of your own con- ,
sciences, in spite of the positive precepts of Christianity itself
-in spite of the cries of " shame on such measuresechoing
from one end of the kingdom to the other-in spite of truth
itself, aod of the God of Trutb?

Gentlemen, the Judge has no right thus to controul and
No. 4, Vol. X.


limit your functions. Your business is much more than to make the inquiry which he would prescribe, or give the verdict that he would dictate. You are judges of the law as well as of the fact, and you are to try the motives and spirit in which that inquiry has originated, and to take care that a pretext of zeal for religion be not a cloak of maliciousness. You will recollect, Gentlemen, that persecution is still persecution, under whatever names or pretexts it may be carried on. The most bloody massacres, the most cruel and furious persecutions never wanted their excuse; they all pleaded reasons of state, regard to public morals, the interest of the community, and so forth, and if such pleas were of any weight, it would follow, that there was never such a thing as persecution or bigotry in the world. When Mary delivered Cranmer to the stake, she declared that “the interests of religion required that he should suffer." Had he kept bis opinions to himself, he might have been pardoned, but his attempt to shake the faith of others, was the sin against the Holy Ghost; and when thousands and tens of thousands of our fellow creatures were committed to the flames for heresy, by the pious zeal of the Holy Office;-they did not think that it was persecution.-Oh, no! 'twas charity to the souls com

ommitted to their care; 'twas the high and solemn “ Act of Faith.It was done, with awe I speak it, “ in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” If you hesitate at the testimony of secular bistory, accept, at least, that of your blessed Saviour. “ The time cometh," said he," when, whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” Since, then, men may be so grievously deceived, what better security can we bave for keeping within the sphere of truth, than to take care that we never wander from the attraction of charity. Charity is al'ways right-charity only is the infallible guide. You have its rule; it thinketh no evil, it is not easily provoked, it beareth all things, it bopeth all things, it endureth all things. But I, Gentlemen, have no occasion to throw myself upon your compasssion, I have suffered wrong, indeed, but I bave done none. I have already lain in prison more than six gloomy weeks upon a false accusation, supported only by the suborned testimony of a base hireling slave, who sells bis oath as he would sell his salvation-for money; and in a case in which he may be, and certainly is mistaken, dares to imprecate the vengeance of the Almighty on bis head! Gentlemen, I bave not done as is stated in that indictment; I have not maliciously published a most wicked and blasphemous libel. Whether the pamphlet in question be wicked and blasphemous I am not concerned to determine. I am neither its author nor its printer; but it is my prosecutors themselves that bave published it by calling public notice to it; and if to hunt man into Newgate who never did, or intended harm to any one, and if to buy the soul of a poor wretcb to come here and stake bis salvation upon a fact of which he is not and cannot be certain, be malice, then, Gentlemen, my prosecutors are guilty, not only of the publisbing, but of publishing maliciously. Gentlemen, assert yourselves, assert the sacred right of jurors, you must not follow a multitude to do iniquity; you are not to condemn me because others have been condemned; you are not to have the law dictated to you, for there is no written law on the subject; you are not to follow precedents, for then you would be mere ciphers, and have no judgment at all to form. Again, and again I beseech you to remember, that you are judges of the law as well as of the fact. The gowns and wigs which you see around you, are the mere pride, pomp, and circumstance of judicature. Your breasts only are the judgment seat. Let no Pontius Pilate sit there! and I shall not fear his Lordship on the bench. You, you only are my judges; yours will be the guilt, if an innocent man be condemned; yours will be the glory of putting an end for ever to bigotry and persecution, if you acquit me. Your unbi. assed judgment will be the equity of the case, and your voice its law! So far would the strict letter of a statute, even if such could be adduced, seem from confining your sphere of judgment, that you would not hesitate to laugh at a Buller or Jefferies on the bench, and quash evidence itself, rather than be the instruments of a sanguinary execution; and they are “ good men and true" in England, who, feeling that there is a higher rule of justice than the statute book can prescribe, represent an article which they know to be worth thirty or forty pound, as of value under forty shillings, rather than yield, even manifest guilt, to too severe a law. Your verdict, then, Gentlemen, should respect not merely the evidence, not the law, and, least of all, the Judge. it should be formed in a calm view of the case under all its bearings and all its consequences. And the mere technical form of those three syllables, Not Guilty, which I certainly expect to bear from you, will signify, not that I have not done as is stated in the contemptible rhodomoutade of that foolish

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