Imatges de pÓgina

to surrender a constitution which has lasted for a period of one thousand years. Has any body of the people come forward, stating any grievance or announcing their demand for a change? No. But while the country is peaceful, enjoying the blessings of the constitution, growing rich and happy under it, a few desperate, obscure, contemptible adventurers in the trade of revolution form a scheme against the constituted authorities of the land, and by force and violence to overthrow an ancient and venerable constitution, and to plunge a whole people into the horrors of civil war!

"If the wisest head that ever lived had framed the wisest system of laws which human ingenuity could devise-if he were satisfied that the system was exactly fitted to the disposition of the people for whom he intended it, and that a great proportion of that people were anxious for its adoption, yet give me leave to say, that under all these circumstances of fitness and disposition, a well-judging mind and a humane heart would pause awhile and stop upon the brink of his purpose, before he would hazard the peace of the country, by resorting to force for the establishment of his system; but here, in the phrenzy of distempered ambition, the author of the proclamation conceives the project of a free and independent republic, he at once flings it down, and he tells every man in the community, rich or poor, loyal or disloyal, he must adopt it at the peril of being considered an enemy to the country, and of suffering the pains and penalties attendant there




"And how was this revolution to be effected? The proclamation conveys an insinuation that it was to be effected by their own force, entirely independent of foreign assistance. Why? Because it was well known that there remained in this country few so depraved, so lost to the welfare of their native land, that would not shudder at forming an alliance with France, and therefore the people of Ireland are told, the effort is to be entirely your own, independent of foreign aid.' But how does this tally with the time when the scheme was first hatched-the very period of the commencement of the war with France? How does this tally with the fact of consulting in the depôt about co-operating with the French, which has been proved in evidence? But, gentlemen, out of the proclamation I convict him of duplicity. He tells the government of the country not to resist their mandate, or think that they can effectually suppress rebellion by putting down the present attempt, but that they will have to crush a greater exertion, rendered still greater by foreign assistance; so that upon the face of the proclamation they avowed, in its naked deformity, the abominable plan of an alliance with the usurper of the French throne, to overturn the ancient constitution of the land, and to substitute a new republic in its place.

"Gentlemen, so far I have taken up your time with observing upon the nature and extent of the conspiracy, its objects, and the means by which they proposed to effectuate them. Let me now call your attention to the pretexts by which they seek to support them. They have not stated what particular grievance or oppression is complained of—

but they have travelled back into the history of six centuries, they have raked up the ashes of former cruelties and rebellions, and upon the memory of them they call upon the good people of this country to embark into similar troubles; but they forget to tell the people that until the infection of new-fangled French principles was introduced, this country was for one hundred years free from the slightest symptom of rebellion, advancing in improvement of every kind beyond any example, while the former animosities of the country were melting down into a general system of philanthropy and cordial attachment to each other. They forget to tell the people whom they address that they have been enjoying the benefit of equal laws, by which the property, the person, and constitutional rights and privileges of every man are abundantly protected; they have not pointed out a single instance of oppression. Give me leave to ask any man who may have suffered himself to be deluded by those enemies of the law, what is there to prevent the exercise of honest industry and enjoying the produce of it? Does any man presume to invade him in the enjoyment of his property? If he does, is not the punishment of the law brought down upon him? What does he want? What is it that any rational friend to freedom could expect, that the people of this country are not fully and amply in the possession of? And therefore, when those idle stories are told of six hundred years' oppression, and of rebellions prevailing when this country was in a state of ignorance and barbarism, and which have long since passed away, they are utterly destitute of a fact to rest upon, they are a fraud upon feeling, and are the pretext of the factious and ambitious working upon credulity and ignorance.

"Let me allude to another topic: They call for revenge on account of the removal of the Parliament. Those men who, in 1798, endeavoured to destroy the Parliament, now call upon the loyal men, who opposed its transfer, to join them in rebellion-an appeal vain and fruitless. Look around and see with what zeal and loyalty they rallied round the throne and constitution of the country. Whatever might have been the difference of opinion heretofore among Irishmen upon some points, when armed rebels appear against the laws and public peace, every minor difference is annihilated in the paramount claim of duty to our king and country.

"So much, gentlemen, for the nature of this conspiracy, and the pretexts upon which it rests. Suffer me for a moment to call your attention to one or two of the edicts published by the conspirators. They have denounced, that if a single Irish soldier-or in more faithful description, Irish rebel-shall lose his life after the battle is over, quarter is neither to be given or taken. Observe the equality of the reasoning of these promulgers of liberty and equality. The distinction is this: English troops are permitted to arm in defence of the government and the constitution of the country, and to maintain their allegiance—but if an Irish soldier, yeoman, or other loyal person, who shall not, within the space of fourteen days from the date and issuing forth of their sovereign proclamation, appear in arms with them-if he presumes to obey the dictates of his conscience, his duty, and his

interest, if he has the hardihood to be loyal to his sovereign and his country-he is proclaimed a traitor, his life is forfeited, and his property is confiscated. A sacred palladium is thrown over the rebel cause while, in the same breath, undistinguishing vengeance is denounced against those who stand up in defence of the existing and ancient laws of the country. For God's sake, to whom are we called upon to deliver up, with only fourteen days to consider of it, all the advantages we enjoy? Who are they who claim the obedience? The prisoner is the principal. I do not wish to say any thing harsh of him; a young man of considerable talents, if used with precaution, and of respectable rank in society, if content to conform himself to its laws. But when he assumes the manner and the tone of a legislator, and calls upon all ranks of people, the instant the provisional government proclaim in the abstract a new government, without specifying what the new laws are to be, or how the people are to be conducted and managed, but that the moment it is announced, the whole constituted authority is to yield to him-it becomes an extravagance bordering upon phrenzy; this is going beyond the example of all former times. If a rightful sovereign were restored, he would forbear to inflict punishment upon those who submitted to the king de facto; but here there is no such forbearance-we who have lived under a king, not only de facto, but de jure in possession of the throne, are called upon to submit ourselves to the prisoner, to Dowdall, the vagrant politician, to the bricklayer, to the baker, the old clothes man, the hod man, and the ostler. These are the persons to whom this proclamation, in its majesty and dignity, calls upon a great people to yield obedience, and a powerful government to give a prompt, manly, and sagacious acquiescence to their just and unalterable determination!" 'We call upon the British government not to be so mad as to oppose us.' Why, gentlemen, this goes beyond all serious discussion, and I mention it merely to shew the contemptible nature of this conspiracy, which hoped to have set the entire country in a flame; when it was joined by nineteen counties from north to south, catching the electrical spark of revolution, they engaged in the conspiracy: the general, with his lieutenant-general, putting himself at the head of the forces, collected not merely from the city, but from the neighbouring counties, and when all the strength is collected, voluntary and forced, they are stopped in their progress, in the first glow of their valour, by the honest voice of a single peace officer, at which the provincial forces, disconcerted and alarmed, ran like hares when one hundred soldiers appeared against them.

"Gentlemen, why do I state these facts? Is it to shew that the government need not be vigilant, or that our gallant countrymen should relax in their exertions? By no means; but to induce the miserable victims who have been misled by those phantoms of revolutionary delusion, to shew them that they ought to lose no time in abandoning a cause which cannot protect itself and exposes them to destruction, and to adhere to the peaceful and secure habits of honest industry. If they knew it, they have no reason to repine at their lot; Providence is not

so unkind to them in casting them in that humble walk in which they are placed. Let them obey the law and cultivate religion, and worship their God in their own way. They may prosecute their labour in peace and tranquillity; they need not envy the higher ranks of life, but may look with pity upon that vicious despot who watches with the sleepless eye of disquieting ambition, and sits a wretched usurper trembling upon the throne of the Bourbons. But I do not wish to awaken any remorse, except such as may be salutary to himself and the country, in the mind of the prisoner. But when he reflects that he has stooped from the honourable situation in which his birth, talents, and his education placed him, to debauch the minds of the lower orders of ignorant men with the phantoms of liberty and equality, he must feel that it was an unworthy use of his talents-he should feel remorse for the consequences which ensued, grievous to humanity and virtue, and should endeavour to make all the atonement he can, by employing the little time which remains for him in endeavouring to undeceive them.

"Liberty and equality are dangerous names to make use of. If properly understood, they mean enjoyment of personal freedom under the equal protection of the laws; and a genuine love of liberty inculcates an affection for our friends, our king and country, a reverence for their lives, an anxiety for their safety, a feeling which advances from private to public life, until it expands and swells into the more dignified names of philanthropy and philosophy. But in the cant of modern philosophy, these affections, which form the ennobling distinctions of man's nature, are all thrown aside; all the vices of his character are made the instruments of moral good-an abstract quantity of vice may produce a certain quantity of moral good. To a man whose principles are thus poisoned and his judgment perverted, the most flagitious crimes lose their names; robbery and murder become moral good. He is taught not to startle at putting to death a fellowcreature, if it be represented as a mode of contributing to the good of all. In pursuit of those phantoms and chimeras of the brain, they abolish feelings and instincts, which God and nature have planted in our hearts for the good of human kind. Thus, by the printed plan for the establishment of liberty and a free republic, murder is prohibited and proscribed; and yet you heard how this caution against excesses was followed up by the recital of every grievance that ever existed, and which could excite every bad feeling of the heart, the most vengeful cruelty and insatiate thirst for blood.

"Gentlemen, I am anxious to suppose that the mind of the prisoner recoiled at the scenes of murder which he witnessed, and I mention one circumstance with satisfaction-it appears he saved the life of Farrell; and may the recollection of that one good action cheer him in his last moments. But though he may not have planned individual murders, that is no excuse to justify his embarking in treason, which must be followed by every species of crimes. It is supported by the rabble of the country, while the rank, the wealth, and the power of the country is opposed to it. Let loose the rabble of the country from

the salutary restraints of the law, and who can take upon him to limit
their barbarities? Who can say he will disturb the peace of the
world, and rule it when wildest? Let loose the winds of heaven, and
what power less than omnipotent can control them? So it is with the
rabble let them loose, and who can restrain them? What claim,
then, can the prisoner have upon the compassion of a jury, because, in
the general destruction which his schemes necessarily produce, he did
not meditate individual murder? In the short space of a quarter of
an hour what a scene of blood and horror was exhibited! I trust
that the blood which has been shed in the streets of Dublin upon that
night, and since upon the scaffold, and which may hereafter be shed,
will not be visited upon the head of the prisoner. It is not for me to
what are the limits of the mercy of God; what a sincere repent-
ance of those crimes may effect: but I do say, that if this unfortunate
young gentleman retains any of the seeds of humanity in his heart, or
possesses any of those qualities which a virtuous education in a liberal
seminary must have planted in his bosom, he will make an atonement
to his God and his country, by employing whatever time remains to
him in warning his deluded countrymen from persevering in their
schemes. Much blood has been shed-and he, perhaps, would have
been immolated by his followers if he had succeeded. They are a
blood-thirsty crew, incapable of listening to the voice of reason, and
equally incapable of obtaining rational freedom, if it were wanting in
this country, as they are of enjoying it. They imbrue their hands in
the most sacred blood of the country, and yet they call upon God to
prosper their cause, as it is just! But as it is atrocious, wicked, and
abominable, I most devoutly invoke that God to confound and over-
whelm it."

Lord Norbury recapitulated the evidence to the jury.

The jury, without leaving the box, pronounced a verdict of guilty. The judgment of the court having been prayed upon the accused, and the customary proclamation for silence made, the clerk of the crown asked him, “what he had to say why judgment of death and execution should not be awarded against him, according to law?"

With perfect calmness the prisoner bowed to the court, and thus addressed it :

"My Lords,

"What have I to say that sentence of death should not be passed on me according to law? I have nothing to say that can alter your predetermination, nor that will become me to say, with any view to the mitigation of that sentence which you are here to pronounce, and I must abide by. But I have that to say which interests me more than life, and which you have laboured (as was necessarily your office in the present circumstances of this oppressed country) to destroy-I have much to say, why my reputation should be rescued from the load of false accusation and calumny which has been heaped upon it. I do not imagine that, seated where you are, your minds can be so free from impurity as to receive the least impression from what I am going to I have no hopes that I can anchor my character in the breast


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