« ZurückWeiter »
children. Let us use it with tender reluctance on all occasions ; but when necessary, with inflexible justice. Nothing should stand between us and this most sacred duty.
Another capital error to which parents are liable, is, not so much the feeling, as the betraying, a. greater regard for one child than another. Did such a distinction arise from a difference in their deserts, it might be justified, as going to promote a spirit of emulation in good conduct; but founded, generally, on pure caprice, or some quality merely extrinsic, and often too in favour of the most unworthy, I need not observe, that it is as opposite to reason, as it is irreconcilable with the principles of religion and the impartiality of nature ; besides that it invariably goes to excite the worst passions in the breasts of children. For they who are forced into the shade, delivered over to the most mortifying neglect, to make room for the monopoly of one, will feel it to the quick; will burn with implacable hatred and resentment against the favourite; and be impelled to despise, if not detest, the parent who is capable of such manifest injustice. Nor is it out of experience to say, that a strong and bitter recollection of that injustice, is sometimes preserved far beyond the season of youth; and that parents have looked in vain for that filial affection and duty which they once took no pains to foment, or rather laboured indirectly to extinguish.
The last obstacle to success in this cause, and one absolutely insuperable, is the want of edifying deportment in parents. Where this is wanting, all other efforts are but solemn mockery. It is the strangest abuse of common sense, to suppose children will retain lessons of religion and virtue, whatever solemnity may be used to infix them, when they have hourly before their eyes so great a con: tradiction, as a dissipated or vicious example in the very person of their instructor A debauched
father may indeed compose a serious face, and speak to his son in sentences on his duty to God, and the debasement of being mastered by his passions ; or a woman of the world may read, for mere variety, a lecture to her daughter on the advantages of modesty, reserve, and retirement. But what effect will either produce, but a manifest impatience of, or a suppressed contempt for such barefaced effrontery? But again, with what indignation shall we think of those who use no effort whatsoever, to weaken the effect of their conduct; but train up their children openly and directly to vice and irreligion ; sporting in their presence with the most sacred things; holding language avowedly or transparently obscene; pressing on their hearts a most irritable sense of the slightest injury or insult; recommending, nay, consecrating the sanguinary rules of modern honour; implanting an ardent thirst of riches and exclusive ambition of human glory; just as if their object was to spare the devil, the world, and the flesh, the trouble of seducing them at a future day; as if, not content with being personally impious and abandoned, they would perpetuate their crimes and impiety in a guilty race; and, from the bottom of the tomb, continue to insult heaven and earth in the persons of their children, when no longer in a capacity of doing so themselves ? It such parents tremble not at the thought of thy vengeance, O just and righteous God! what minister of iniquity can have cause to tremble ? Let those who are parents among us reflect on this awful and too intelligible sentence, “ their blood will I require at your hands." Their blood ! If such be the language of God himself, dreadfully forewarning them, better, far better, they had never been born, than do the work of Satan in the very bosom of their families; and, contrary to the loud cry of nature, deli. berately plunge their children in an abyss tempora? and everlasting.
ELOQUENCE OF THE BAR
THE CAUSE OF THE KING
HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE JOHNSON
It has fallen to my. lot, either fortunately, or unfòrtunately, as the event may be, to rise as counsel for my client on this most important and momentous occasion. I appear before you, my lords, in consequence of a writ issued by his majesty, commanding that cause be shown to this his court why his subject has been deprived of his liberty, and upon the cause shown in obedience to this writ, it is my duty to address you on the most awful question, if awfulness be to be judged by consequences and events, on which you have been ever called upon to decide. Sorry am I that the task has not been confided to more adequate powers; but, feeble as they are, they will at least not shrink from it-I move you, therefore, that Mr. Justice Johnson be released from illegal imprisonment.
I cannot but observe the sort of scenic preparation with which this sad drama is sought to be brought forward. In part I approve it: in part it excites my disgust and indignation. I am glad to find that the attorney and solicitor generals, the natural and official prosecutors for the state, do not appear; and I infer from their absence, that his excellency the hord lieutenant, disclaims any personal concern in
this execrable transaction. . I think it does hin: much honour; it is a conduct that equally agrees with the dignity of his character, and the feelings of his heart. To his private virtues, whenever he is left to their influence, I willingly concur in giving the most unqualified tribute of respect. And I do firmly believe, it is with no small regret that he even suffers his name to be formally made use of, in avowing for a return of one of the judges of the land with as much indifference and nonchalance as it he were a beast of the plough. I observe, too, the dead silence into which the public is frowned by authority for the sad occasion. No man dares to mutter ; no newspaper dares to whisper that such a question is afloat. It seems an inquiry among the tombs, or rather in the shades beyond them.
Ibant sola sub nocte per umbram. I am glad it is so- I am glad of this factitious dumbness : for if murmurs dared to become audible, my voice would be too feeble to drown them; but when all is hushed--when nature sleeps
Cum quies mortalibus ægris. The weakest voice is heard the shepherd's whistle shoots across the listening darkness of the interminable heath, and gives notice that the wolf is upon his walk, and the same gloom and stillness that tempt the monster to come abroad, facilitate the commilnication of the warning to beware. Yes, through that silence the voice shall be heard; yes, through that silence the shepherd shall be put upon his guard ; yes, through that silence shall the felon sa. vage be chased into the toil. My lords, I feel myself cheered and impressed by the composed and dignified attention with which I see you are disposed to hear me on the most important question that has ever been subjected to your consideration; the most important to the dearest rights of the human being ; the most deeply interesting and animating that can beat in his heart, or burn upon his tongue.-Oh! how recreating is it to feel that occasions may arise in which the soul of man may reassume her pretensions; in which she hears the voice of nature whisper to her, os homini sublime dedi columque tueri ; in which even I can look up with calm security to the court, and down with the most profound contempt upon the reptile I mean to tread upon! I say, reptile ; because, when the proudest man in society becomes so the dupe of his childish malice, as to wish to inflict on the object of his vengeance, the poison of his sting, to do a reptile's work, he must shrink into a reptile's dimension ; and so shrunk, the only way to assail him is to tread upon him. But to the subject :-this writ of habeas corpus, has had a return. That return states, that lord Ellenborough, chief justice of England, issued a warrant reciting the foundation of this dismal transaction : that one of the clerks of the crown-office had certified to him that an indictment had been found at Westminster, charging the Hon. Robert Johnson, late of Westminster, one of the justices of his majesty's court of common pleas in Ireland, with the publication of certain slanderous libels against the government of that country; against the person of his excellency lord Hardwicke, lord lieutenant of that country; against the person of lord Redesdale, the chancellor of Ireland ; and against the person of Mr. Justice Osborne, one of the justices of the court of King's Bench in Ireland. One of the clerks of the crown-office, it seems, certified all this to his lordship. How many of those there are, or who they are, or which of them so certified, we cannot presume to guess, because the learned and noble lord is silent as to those circumstances. We are only informed that one of them made that important communication to his lordship. It puts me in mind of the information given to one of Fielding's justices