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XV. Lord Strafford's speech before sentence passed
upon him by the lords for treason.
My lords, as this species of treason of which I am accised by the commons is entirely new and unknown to the laws, so is the species of proof by which thry pre. tend to fix that guilt upon me. They have invented a kind of accumulative or constructive evidence; by which many actions, cither totally innocent in themselves, or criminal in a much inferior degree, shall, when united, amount to treason, and subject the person to the highest penalties inflicted by the laws. A hasty and unguarded word, a rash and passionate action, assisted by the malevolent fancy of the accuser, and tortured by doubtful constructions, is transmuted into the deepest guilt; and the lives and fortunes of the whole nation, no longer protected by justice, are subjected to arbitrary will and pleasure.
Where has this species of guilt lain so long concealed ? Where has this fire been so long buried, during so many centuries, that no smoke should appear, till it burst out at once to consume me and my children?
Better it were to live under no law at all, and, by the maxims of a cautious prudence, to conform ourselves the best we can to the arbitrary will of a master, than fancy we have a law, on which we can rely, and which shall inflict a punishment, precedent to the promulgation, and try us by maxims unheard of till the very moment of the prosecution, : If I sail on the Thames, and split my vessel on an anchor, in case there be no buoy to give me warning, the party shall pay me damages; but if, the anchor be. marked out, then is the striking on it at my own peril. Where is the mark set upon this crime? It has lain. concealed under water, and no human prudence, no hu.. man innocence, could save me from tlie destruction with which I am at present threatened.
It is now fall two hundred and forty years since treap... sons were defined, and so long has it been since any man was touched to this extent, upon this crime, before myu. self. We have lived, my lords, happily to ourselves at home We have lived gloriously abroad to the world: Let us be content with what our fathers have left us
Let not our ambition carry us to be more learned than
little weight, the serutiny will be intolerable. The public 'affairs of the kingdom must be left waste: and no wise man, who has any honour or fortune to lose, will ever engage himself in such dreadful, such unknown perils.
My lords, I have now troubled your lordships-a-great deal longer than I should have done. Were it not for the interest of these pledges, which a saint in-heaven left me, 'I should be loth-What I forfeit for myself is no#hing but I confess, that my indiscretion should for. feit for them ; -it wounds me very deeply. You will be pleased to pardon my infirmity; something I should have said, but I see I shall not be able; therefore I shall. leave it.
And now, my lords, I thank God I have heen, by his blessing, sufficiently instructed in the extreme vanity of all temporary enjoyments, compared to the importance of our eternal duration. And so, my lords, even soz with all humility and with all tranquillity of mind, I submit clearly and freely to your judgement.
And whether that righteous judgment be to life or death, I shall repose myself, full of gratitude and confidence, in the arms of the great author of my existence.
XVI. Atherbal against Jugurtha. CoNscRIPT FATHERS,
It was my father's orders to me, in his last moments, that I should consider myself as vested only with the administration of Numidia, since the title and sovereignty were, indeed, yours. He added, that I should endeavour to render all possible aid to the Roman people, whether in peace or in war; should esteem you as my kindred, consider you as supplying the place of relations and affiances. If I observed these conditions, he said, that in your friendship I should find armies and wealth, with every stay and support to my monarchya Whilst I was setting myself strictly to perform these injunctions' of my father, Jugurtha, a man, of all that the earth bears, the most barbarous and sanguinary, de. spoiled me of my kingdom, with whatever else I posses. sed, in utter defiance of your authority; not regarding that I am the grandson of Massinissa, and, from my birth, a friend and confederate of the Roman people.
The truth is, conscript fathers, seeing I was to fall to this degree of wretchedness, I earnestly wish I could have sought your aid, rather on account of my own merit, than those of my forefathers; especially that I could have merited such aid from the Roman people, without wanting it, or at worst have received it, as my due. But, since innocence rarely proves its own dea fence, and as it lay not in my breast to direct the heart of Jugurtha, to yon, conscript fathers, I have fled for
What is my severest misery, I am constrained to be frixe barthensome to you, without ever having been service. able. Other kings, your confederates, have been eithet subdued by your arms, and then received into your alli. ance, or, urged by perils at home, hare implored your friendship. Our family commenced allies to the Roman people, during the war with Carthage ;-a period when the Roman honour was more to be courted than the Roman fortune.
Consider me, conscript fathers, as sprung from that family; nor suffer the grandson of Massinissa to apply to you in vain for succour. If, in order to obtain it, I had no argument to urge, besides my deplorable fortune, that I, very lately a king, redoubtable in my descent, in my wealth, and in royal renown, am now covered with variety of wretchedness, beggarly, forlorn, and waiting for assistance from others; it shall become the majesty of the Roman people, to curb oppression, and to suffer no man to extend his dominion by iniquity and violence. Consider me in yet a stronger light, driven out of the very possessions which the Roman people conferred, as their gift, upon my ancestors ;--those very possessions, from whence my father, and his father, joining their forces to yours, expulsed Syphax and the Garthaginians, They are the effects of your bounty, that are rent from me, conscript fathers :-in my sufferings you are insulted.
Alas my deplorable fate! Is this the return to thy generosity and favour, O my father! that Jugurtha, he whom thou didst place upon the same footing with thp own children; he whom thou didst leave equal partner with them in thy kingdom, is, of all others, the bloody instrument to extinguish thy race for ever? Shalloup kouse never enjoy tranquillity and rest? Shall we be for ever visited with a bloody lot;-with the murdering sword, with flight and expulsion ? Whilst the power of Carthage subsisted, we were
of course exposed to hostility and violence. The enemy was at our doors; you, our friends, were far from us; or whole reliance upon our arms.
After Africa rescued from that pestilent tyranny, we cheerfully ella joyed a state of peace; for, indeed, we had no enemies, though still disposed to treat as such whomsoever you
should command us; when, on a sudden, Jugurtha, hardening his heart to cruelty, and glorying in pride and butchery, murders my brother, who was also his near kinsman, and seizes his principality, as the prize of the murderer. Then, seeing he could not circumvent me by the same bloody snares, he attacked me openly, whilst
1(confiding in your supreme power) apprehended any me thing rather than violence and war; drove me from my
household, and my country; reduced me to be an exile, and a wanderer; such as you behold me, destitute of all comfort, and so overwhelmed with every species of wretchedness, as to find more safety any where than ir my own dominions.
XVII. Tarquinius Superbus, against his father-in
laio Servius Tullus, before the senute.
answer, Tullus, will be short, and founded on justice; and for that reason I chose to lay it before the senate. Tarquinius, my grandfather, obtained the sovePeignty of the Romans by fighting many considerable battles in their defence: he being dead, I am his successor, according to the laws received by all the Greeks and barbarians; and I ought, in justice, to inherit, net only his fortunes, but his kingdoms, in the same manner as all other successors inbegt the estates of their grandfathers
. You have, indeed, delivered up to me the for. tunes he left; but you deprive me of the kingdom, and have kept possession of it for so long a time, after you have obtained it in an unjustitiable manner: for neither did the Interreges appoint you king, nor the senate pass a vote in your favour; neither did
obtain this power by a legal election of the people, as my grandfather, and all the kings before him, obtained it;--but you gained the sovereignty by hiring, and corrupting by every men thod you could devise, a number of vagabonds and
men rendered infamous by being condemned, or burthened with debts, who tiad' no regard for the public; and by declaring, even then, that you did not seck the power for yourself; and pretending that you deserurin it for us, who were then orphans, and infants ;