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exile, and to cast us on a foreign shore, we should expect, at least, to be pardoned by generous men, for stubborn loyalty and unseasonable fidelity to the laws and government of our fathers.
This unfortunate gentleman had devoted a great part of his life to literature. It was the amusement and ornament of his better days. Since his own ruin and the desolation of his country, he has been compelled to employ it as a means of support. For the last ten years he has been engaged in a variety of publications of considerable importance; but since the peace he has desisted from serious political discussion, and confined himself to the obscure journal which is now before you ; the least calculated, surely, of any publication that ever issued from the press, to rouse the alarms of the most jealous government; which will not be read in England, because it is not written in our language; which cannot be read in France, because its entry into that country is prohibited by a power whose mandates are not very supinely enforced, nor often evaded with impunity; which can have no other object than that of amusing the companions of the author's principles and misfortunes, by pleasantries and sar
casms on their victorious enemies. There is, indeed, gentlemen, one remarkable circumstance in this unfortunate publication ; it is the only, or almost the only, journal which still dares to espouse the cause of that royal and illustrious family which but fourteen years ago was flattered by every press and guarded by every tribunal in Europe. Even the court in which we are met affords an example of the vicissitudes of their fortune. My learned friend has reminded you that the last prosecution tried in this place, at the instance of a French Government, was for a libel on that magnanimous princess, who has since been butchered in sight of her palace.
I do not make these observations with any purpose of questioning the general principles which have been laid down by my learned friend. I must admit his right to bring before you those who libel any government recognized by his Majesty, and at peace with the British empire. I admit that, whether such a government be of yesterday, or a thousand years old ; whether it be a crude and bloody usurpation, or the most ancient, just, and paternal authority upon earth, we are here equally bound, by his Majesty's recognition, to protect it against
libellous attacks. I admit that if, during our usurpation, Lord Clarendon had published his history at Paris, or the Marquess of Montrose his verses on the murder of his sovereign, or Mr. Cowley his “ Discourse on Cromwell's Government,” and if the English ambassador had complained, the President De Molí, or any other of the great magistrates who then adorned the Parliament of Paris, however reluctantly, painfully, and indignantly, might have been compelled to have condemned these illustrious men to the punishment of libellers. I say this only for the sake of bespeaking a favorable attention from your generosity and compassion to what will be feebly urged in behalf of my unfortunate client, who has sacrificed his fortune, his hopes, his connections, his country, to his conscience; who seems marked out for destruction in this his last asylum.
That he still enjoys the security of this asylum, that he has not been sacrificed to the resentment of his powerful enemies, is perhaps owing to the firmness of the King's government. If that be the fact, gentlemen; if his Majesty's ministers have resisted applications to expel this unfortunate gentleman from England, I should publicly thank them for their
firmness, if it were not unseemly and improper to suppose that they could have acted otherwise-to thank an English Government for not violating the most sacred duties of hospitality; for not bringing indelible disgrace on their country.
But be that as it may, gentlemen, he now comes before you, perfectly satisfied that an English jury is the most refreshing prospect that the eye of accused innocence ever met in a human tribunal; and he feels with me the most fervent gratitude to the Protector of empires that, surrounded as we are with the ruins of principalities and powers, we still continue to meet together, after the manner of our fathers, to administer justice in this, her ancient sanctuary.
II. There is another point of view in which this case seems to me to merit your most serious attention. I consider it as the first of a long series of conflicts between the greatest power in the world and the only free press remaining in Europe. No man living is more thoroughly convinced than I am that my learned friend, Mr. Attorney-General, will never degrade his excellent character; that he will never disgrace his high magistracy by mean compli
ances, by an immoderate and unconscientious exercise of power; yet I am convinced, by circumstances which I shall now abstain from discussing, that I am to consider this as the first of a long series of conflicts between the greatest power in the world and the only free press now remaining in Europe. Gentlemen, this distinction of the English press is new; it is a proud and melancholy distinction. Before the great earthquake of the French Revolution had swallowed up all the asylums of free discussion on the continent, we enjoyed that privilege, indeed, more fully than others; but we did not enjoy it exclusively. In great monarchies, the press has always been considered as too formidable an engine to be intrusted to unlicensed individuals. But in other continental countries, either by the laws of the state, or by long habits of liberality and toleration in magistrates, a liberty of discussion has been enjoyed, perhaps sufficient for most useful purposes. It existed, in fact, where it was not protected by law; and the wise and generous connivance of governments was daily more and more secured by the growing civilization of their subjects. In Holland, in Switzerland, in the imperial towns of Germany, the press was either legally or