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fears from the attempts of such men. But, if government did really believe that they meant to form a government of themselves, could they be so mad, so absurd, as to suppose that they would be joined by any body sufficiently numerous to create any serious alarm? Surely not. For my part, I solemnly believe that if a hundred men were to assemble together, and presume to dictate laws to the rest of the community, there could not be found another hundred who would be willing to join them. This Constitution has too many defenders, too many well-wishers, to fear any such paltry attempts to overturn it. But, suppose that this convention assembled by Mr. Hardy and Mr. Adams entertain the views ascribed to them, I would then say that the measure now proposed is of infinitely greater mischief to the people than that which it is proposed to remedy. Is the House aware of the extent of this measure? It is no less than giving to the executive authority absolute power over the personal liberty of every individual in the kingdom. It may be said that ministers will not abuse that power. I must, for my own part, declare, that I do not feel very comfortable under that reflection. Every man who talks freely, every man who detests-as I do from my heart-this war, might be, and would be, in the hands and at the mercy of ministers. Living under such a government, and being subject to insurrection ;- comparing the two evils, I confess I think the evil you are pretending to remedy is less than the one you are going to inflict by the remedy itself. We are going to give up the very best part of our Constitution; and that which every man is entitled to do, and which I am now doing-delivering the sentiments of my heart upon the affairs of government, for the benefit of the public-would be at an end at once. If such is to be the case, might I not then say, that there is an end of the Constitution or England?
But, is there any instance, on such an occasion, of such a measure? Such a measure had been adopted in the reign of King William. Was that similar to the present reign? The same measure had been adopted in the time of the rebellion in 1715, and again in 1745. Were the circumstances then similar to the present? At that time there was an
army in the kingdom in favour of a popish prince, claiming a right to the throne; and that, too, if we are to credit report, at a time when the people were a good deal divided in opinion as to the propriety of the succession of the House of Hanover. Is there any such prince now? Are there any such circumstances now? Nothing like it. Here we see a number of individuals, without arms, without means of any kind whatever, moving for a reform in Parliament. Such are the present circumstances; and I must say that the House would betray its duty to the Constitution, if it should agree to the present measure. Having said thus much, I have but one thing more to submit. I am exceedingly surprised at the precipitation with which the business is brought forward. I conceive that a few days could make no difference, and that there could be no objection to a call of the House on a question of such magnitude. Is the danger so imminent, that a number of members must be deprived of the privilege of delivering their sentiments upon so alarming an exigence? Could one fortnight make such a difference? Is the danger so great as to exclude all possibility of deliberation, and compel the House to run headlong into the snare which the timidity or temerity of the people has prepared for them? For my part, detesting equally the endeavour to intimidate as the endeavour to enslave, I feel it my duty to oppose the leave for bringing in the Bill. I see that a fancied terror has intruded itself upon the faculties of several members, and that they are prepared to sacrifice their duty to notions of supposed expediency and groundless alarm. Having an invincible objection to every species of delusion, I, for one, will enter my decided protest against the proceedings about to be adopted. This measure appears before me in so dreadful a point of view, that I should consider myself as betraying my constituents and the public, if I did not oppose it in every stage. It is a measure that would overturn the very corner-stone of the Constitution, and surrender to ministers the personal freedom of every man in the kingdom.
X.-WEBSTER ON SLAVERY IN THE UNITED STATES.
Daniel Webster, one of the most distinguished statesmen of the American Republic, was born in 1782, and died in 1852.
THE United States are not wholly free from the contamination of a traffic at which every feeling of humanity must for ever revolt—I mean, the African slave trade. Neither public sentiment nor the law has hitherto been able entirely to put an end to this odious and abominable trade. At the moment when God in his mercy has blessed the Christian world with a universal peace, there is reason to fear, that, to the disgrace of the Christian name and character, new efforts are making for the extension of this trade, by subjects and citizens of Christian states, in whose hearts no sentiment of humanity or justice inhabits, and over whom neither the fear of God nor the fear of man exercises a control. In the sight of our law, the African slave-trader is a pirate and a felon: and, in sight of Heaven, an offender far beyond the ordinary depth of human guilt. There is no brighter part of our history than that which records the measures which have been adopted by the government, at an early day, and at different times since, for the suppression of this traffic; and I would call on all the true sons of New England to co-operate with the laws of man and the justice of Heaven. If there be, within the extent of our knowledge or influence, any participation in this traffic, let us pledge ourselves here to extirpate and destroy it. It is not fit that the land of the Pilgrims should bear the shame longer. I hear the sound of the hammer, I see the smoke of the furnaces, where manacles and fetters are still forged for human limbs. I see the visages of those who, by stealth, and at midnight, labour in this work of hell, foul and dark, as may become the artificers of such instruments of misery and torture. Let the spot be purified, or let it cease to be of New England. Let it be purified, or let it be set aside from the Christian world; let it be put out of the circle of human
sympathies and human regards, and let civilized man henceforth have no communion with it.
I would invoke those who fill the seats of Justice, and all who minister at her altar, that they execute the wholesome and necessary severity of the law. I invoke the ministers of Religion, that they proclaim its denunciation of those crimes, and add its solemn sanctions to the authority of human laws. If the pulpit be silent, whenever or wherever there be a sinner bloody with this guilt within the hearing of its voice, the pulpit is false to its trust. I call on the fair merchant, who has reaped his harvest upon the seas, that he assist in scourging from those seas the worst pirates that ever infested them. That ocean, which seems to wave with a gentle magnificence, to waft the burdens of an honest commerce, and to roll along its treasures with a conscious pride; that ocean, which hardy industry regards, even when the winds have ruffled its surface, as a field of grateful toil; what is it to the victim of this oppression, when he is brought to its shores, and looks forth upon it for the first time, from beneath chains, and bleeding with stripes?—what is it to him, but a wide-spread prospect of suffering, anguish, and death? Nor do the skies smile longer, nor is the air longer fragrant to him. The sun is cast down from heaven. An inhuman and accursed traffic has cut him off, in his manhood or in his youth, from every enjoyment belonging to his being, and every blessing which his Creator intended for him.
XI.--DEFENCE OF QUEEN CAROLINE.
The trial of Caroline, consort of George IV., took place in 1820, before the
SUCH, my lords, is the case now before you! Such is the evidence in support of this measure—evidence inadequate to prove a debt-impotent to deprive of a civil right-ridiculous to convict of the lowest offence-scandalous if brought forward to support a charge of the highest nature which the
law knows-monstrous to ruin the honour, to blast the name of an English Queen! What shall I say, then, if this is the proof by which an act of judicial legislation, a parliamentary sentence, an ex post facto law, is sought to be passed against this defenceless woman? My lords, I pray you to pause. I do earnestly beseech you to take heed! You are standing upon the brink of a precipice-then beware! It will go forth your judgment, if sentence shall go against the Queen. But it will be the only judgment you ever pronounced, which, instead of reaching its object, will return and bound back upon those who give it. Save the country, my lords, from the horrors of this catastrophe-save yourselves from this peril-rescue that country, of which you are the ornaments, but in which you can flourish no longer, when severed from the people, than the blossom when cut off from the roots and the stem of the tree. Save that country, that you may continue to adorn it-save the Crown, which is in jeopardy—the Aristocracy, which is shakensave the Altar, which must stagger with the blow that rends its kindred Throne! You have said, my lords, you have willed-the Church and the King have willed—that the Queen should be deprived of its solemn service. She has instead of that solemnity, the heartfelt prayers of the people. She wants no prayers of mine. But I do here pour forth my humble supplications at the Throne of Mercy, that that mercy may be poured down upon the people, in a larger measure than the merits of their rulers may deserve, and that your hearts may be turned to justice!
XII. THE HUNGARIAN REVOLUTION.
The insurrection of the Hungarians against the Emperor of Austria broke out in 1848, and was crushed in 1849,-the surrender of the fortress of Komorn (28th September 1849) being the anniversary of the appointment of a provisional government under Kossuth.
THREE years ago, yonder house of Austria, which had chiefly me to thank for not having been swept away by the revolution of Vienna in March 1848, having, in return, answered by