Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

punishmenis used by the respondent. No scholar has gone from him either blind or fame, or with any of his limbs or powers injured or impared. They were irre. gular and he punished them : they were obstinate, and he enforced his punishment. But, however provoked, he never exceeded the limits of moderation, for he is. flicted nothing beyond present pain; and how much of that was required, no man is so little able to determine as those who have determined against him ;- the parents of the offenders. It has been said, that he used unpre. cedented and improper instruments of correction. Of this accusation the meaning is not very easy to be found. No instrument of correction is more proper than an. other, but as it is better adapted to produce present pain without lasting mischief. Whatever were bis in, struments, no fasting mischief has ensuud; and therefore, however unusual, in hands so cautious they were proper. It has been objected, that the respondent admits the charge of cruelty, by producing no evidence to confute it. Let it be considered, that his scholars are eithes dispersed at large in the world, or continue to inhabit the place in which they were bred. Those who are dispersed cannot be found; those who remain are the sons of his persecutors, and are not likely to sapport a mam to whom their fathers are enemies. If it be supposed that the enmity of their fathers proves the justice of the charge, it must be considered how often experience shews us, that men vbo are angry on one ground will accuse on another; with how little kindness, in a town of low teade, a man who lives by learning is regarded; and how implicitly, where the inhabitants are not very rich, a rich man is hearkened to and followed. In a place like Campbell-town it is easy for one of the prineipal inhabitants to make a party. It is easy for that party to heat themselves with imaginary grievances. It is easy for th-in to oppress a man poorer than themselves; and natura tessert the dignity of riches, by persisting in oppression. The argument which attempts to prove the impropriety of restoring him to the school, by alledging that he has lost the confidence of the people, is not the Babject of juridical consideration for he is to suffer, if te mast sufier, not for their judgment, but fer his own actions. It may be convenient for them to have another master; but it is a convenience of their own making., It would be likewise convenient for him to find another school; but this convenience he cannot obtain.--The question is not what is now convenient; but what is generally right. If the people of Campbell-town be dis. tressed by the restoration of the respondent, they are distressed only by their own fault; by turbulent passions and unreasonable desires; by tyranny, which law has defeated, and by malice which virtue, has sure mounted.

XIII. Mr. Pym's speech at the opening of the charge

of high treason against lord Strafford.

My Lords,

Wė stand here by the command of the knights

, citizens, and burgesses, now assembled for the cominous in parliament; and we are ready to make good that inpeachment, whereby Thomas earl of Strafford stands charged in their name, and in the name of all the Commons of England, with high treason.,

This, my lords, is a great cause; and we might sink under the weight of it, and be astonished with the lustre of this noble assembly, if there were not in the cause strepgth and vigour to support itself, and to encourage. us. It is the cause of the king: it concerns his majesty in the honour of his government, in the safety of his person, in the stability of kis crown. It is the cause of the kingdom; it concerns, not only the peace

and prosa perity, but even the being of the kingdon. We have that piercing eloquepce, the cries, and groans, and tears,

pravers, of all the subjects assisting us. We have the three kingdoms, England, and Scotland, and Ireland, in travail and agitation with us, bowing themselves, like the binds spoken of in Joby, to cast out their sorrows.

Truth and goodness, my lords, they are the beauty. of the soul; they are the perfection of all created na.. tares; they are the inage and character of God upon. the creatures..

This beauty, evil spirits and evil men have lost; but get there are none so wicked but they desire to inarch.

and

under the show and shadow, though they hate the reality of it.

This unhappy earl, now the object of your lordships' justice, has taken as much care, has used as much cun. ning to set a face, and countenance of honesty and jus. tice, upon his actions, as he has been negligent to observe the rules of honesty in the performance of all these actions. My lords, it is the greatest baseness of wickedness that it dares not look in its own colours, nor be seen in its natural countenance; but virtue, as it is ami. able in all respects, so the least is not this; that it puts a nobleness, it puts a bravery, upon the mind, and lifts it above hopes and fears, above favour and displeasure: it makes it always uniform and constant to itself.

The service commanded me, and my colleagues here, is to take off those vizors of truth and uprightness which have been sought to be put upon this cause, and to shew you his actions and his intentions in their own natural Blackness and deformity. My lords, he has put on a vizor of truth in these words, wherein he says; that he should be in his defence, more careful to observe truth, than to gain advantage to himself: he says, he would rather endure any thing than be saved by falsehood; if it were really true, it was a brave and noble expression.

My lords, he has likewise put on the vizor of good. ness on his actions, when he desires to recite his secrices, in a great many particulars, as if they were beneficial to the commonwealth and state; whereas we shall prove them mischievous and dangerous. It is left upon me, my lords, to tak

off these vizors and appearances of truth and goodness in that part of his answer which is the preamble, and that I shall do with as much faithful. ness and brevity as I can.

XIV. Lord Digby's speech upon the trial of lord

Strafford.

Diit. SPEAKER,

We are now upon the point of giving (as much as in us lies) the final sentence unto death or life On a great minister of state and peer of this kingdown Thomas earl of Strafford; a name of hatred in the present age by his practices, and fit to be made a terror to future ages, by his punishment.

I had the honour to be employed by the house in this great business from the first hour that it was taken into consideration; it was a matter of great trust; and I will say with confidence, that I have served the house in it, both with industry, according to my ability, and with most exact faithfulness and secrecy: and as I have hi.. therto discharged my duty to this house and to my coun. try in the progress of this great cause, so I trust I shall do now to God and to my conscience.

It is honest, it is noble, to be earnest, in order to the discovery of truth; but when that hath been brought as far as it can to light, our judgement thereupon ought to be calm and cautious.

In prosecutions upon probable grounds, we are accountable only for our industry or remissness; but in judgement, we are deeply responsible to the Almighty for its réctitude or obliquity. In cases of life and death, the judge is God's steward of the party's blood, and must give a strict account for every drop: and this, Mr. Speaker, forms the true ground of difference in me now, from what I was formerly.

'The truth of it is, sir, the same ground whereupon I, with the rest of the five to whom you first committed the consideration of my lord Strafford, brought down our opinion that it was fit he should be accused of treason, upon the same ground I was engaged with earnestness upon his prosecution; and had the same ground remained in that force of belief with me, which till very lately it did, I should not have been tender in his condemnation; but truly, sir, to deal plainly with you, that ground of our accusation, that spur to our prosecution, and that which should be the basis of my judgement of the earl of Strafford- as unto treason, is, to my understanding, qnite vanished away; and this was, Mr. Speaker, his advising the king to employ the army of Ireland to reduce England; this was that whereupon I accused him with a free heart; prosecuted him with earnestness, and, had it to my understanding been proved, should have condemned him with innocence; whereas I cannot now satisfy my conscience to do it.

I profess I can have no notion of any body's intent to subvert the laws treasonably, or by force, without the appearance of force: and this design of force not appearing, all his other wicked practices cannot amount so high with me. I can find a more easy and more natural spring from whence to derive all his other crimes, than from an intent to bring in tyranny, and to make lis own posterity, as well as us, slaves; as from revenge, from pride, from avarice, from passion, and insolence of na. ture, I do not say but these may represent him a man worthy to die, perhaps worthier than many a traitor. I do not say but they may justly direct us to enact that they shall be treason for the future; but God keep me from giving judgement of death on any man, and of ruin to his innocent posterity, upon a law made à posteriori. Let the mark be set on the door where the plague is, and then let bim that will enter die.

Let me therefore conclude in saying, that unto you all, which I have thoroughly inculcated to my own con. science upon this occasion, let every man lay his hand upon his heart, and seriously consider what we are going to do with a breath;, either justice, or murder; justice on the one side, or murder, heightened and aggravated. to its extremest extent, on the other.

Let every man therefore purge his heart clear of allpassions; (I know this great and wise body-politic can have none, but I speak to individuals from the weakness which I find in myself;) away with personal animosities, away with all flatteries to the people, in being the sharper against him, because he is odious to them; away with øll fears, lest, by sparing his bleod, they may be incensed; away with all such considerations, as, that it is not fitfor a parliament, that one accused by it of treason should escape with life.. Let not former vehemence of any. against him, nor fear from thence, that he cannot be safe while this man lives, be an ingredient in the sentence of any one of us.

Of all these corruptives of judgement, Mr. Speaker, I do before God discharge myself to the uttermost of my power; and do, with a clear conscienee, wash my.. hands of this man's blood, by this solemn protestationg, that my vote goes not to the talking of the earl of Strafa. ford's life

« AnteriorContinua »