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examine its own conduct, and it will find the With the same view I will read to you tho cause,--let it amend it, and it will find the beginning of Harrington's Oceana: but it is remedy.
impossible to name this well-known author Gentlemen, I am no friend to sarcasms in without exposing to just contempt and ridicule the discussion of grave subjects, but you the ignorant or profligate misrepresentations must take writers according to the view of which are vomited forth upon the public, lo the mind at the moment; Mr. Burke as often bear down every man as desperately wicked, as any body indulges in it:-hear his reason who in any age or country has countenanced in his speech on reform, for not taking away a republic, for the inean purpose of prejudging the salaries from lords who attend upon the this trial. British court." You would soon," said he, [Mr. Erskine took up a book, und laid it “ have the court deserted by all the nobility down again without reading from it, saying of the kingdom.
something to the gentleman who sat near him, “ Sir, the most serious mischiefs would in a low voice, which the reporter did not follow from such a desertion. Kings are na- hear.), turally lovers of low company. They are so Is this the way to support the English conelevated above the rest of inankind, that they stitution?–Are these the means by which must look upon all their subjects as on a Englishmen are to be taught to cherish it? level. They are rather apt to hate than to I say, if the man upon trial were stained with love their nobility, on account of the occa blood instead of ink,-if he were covered over sional resistance to their will, which will be with crimes of which human nature would made by their virtue, their petulance, or their start at the naming, the means employed pride. It must indeed be admitted, that many against him would not be the less disof the nobility are as perfectly willing to act graceful. the part of flatterers, tale-bearers, parasites, For this notable purpose then, Harrington, pimps, and buffoons, as any of the lowest and not above a week ago, was handed out to us vilest of mankind can possibly be.-But they as a low, obscure wretch, involved in the are not properly qualified for this object of murder of the monarch, and the destruction their ambition. The want of a regular edu- of the monarchy, and as addressing his decation, and early habits, with some lurking spicable works at the shrine of an usurper. remains of their dignity, will never permit Yet this very Harrington, this low blackguard, them to become a match for an Italian eu was descended (you may see his pedigree at nuch, a mountebank, a fiddler, a player, or
the Herald's office for sixpence) from eight any regular practitioner of that tribe.-The dukes, three marquisses, seventy earls, twentyRoman emperors, almost from the beginning, seven viscounts, and thirty-six barons, sixteen threw theniselves inro such hands; and the of whom were knights of the garter; a descent mischief increased every day, till the decline, which I think would save a man from disgrace and final ruin of the empire. It is therefore in any of the Circles of Germany. - But what of very great importance (provided the thing was he besides?-A BLOOD-STAINED RUFFIAN? is not overdone), to contrive such an esta -0 brutal ignorance of the history of the blishment as must, almost whether a prince country! He was the most affectionate serwill or not, bring into daily and hourly offices vant of Charles the 1st, from whom he never about his person, a great number of his first concealed his opinions; for it is observed by nobility; and it is rather an useful prejudice Wood, that the king greatly affected his comthat gives them a pride in such a servitude. pany; but when they happened to talk of a Though they are not much the better for a commonwealth, he would scarcely endure it. court, a court will be much the better for _“I know not," says Toland, “ which most them. I have, therefore, not attempted to to commend; the king, for trusting an horeform any of the officers of honour about the nest man, though a republican; or larringking's person.”*
ton, for owning his principles while he served What is all this but saying that a king is a king." na animal so incurahly addicted to low coin But did his opinions affect his conduct?-pany, as generally to bring on by it the ruin Let history again answer. He preserved his of nations; but nevertheless, he is to be kept fidelity to his unhappy prince to the very last, as a necessary evil, and his propensities bridled after all his fawning courtiers had left him by surrounding him with a parcel of mis to his enraged subjects.—He stayed with him crcants still worse it possible, but better than while a prisoner in the Isle of Wight;-came those he would choose for himself.—This, up by stealth to follow the fortunes of his therefore, if taken by itself, would be a most monarch and master;-even hid himself in abominable and libellous sarcasm on kings the boot of the coach when he was conveyed and nobility: but look at the whole speech, to Windsor;—and ending as he began, fell and you observe a great system of regulation; | into his arms and fainted on the scattold. and no man, I believe, ever doubted Mr. Burke's attachment to monarchy. To judge, A pamphlet had been published just betherefore, of any part of a writing, THE WHOLE fore, putting T. Paine and Harrington on the
same footing—as obscure blackguards. Editor
of Erskine's Speeches. See New Parl. Ilist. Vol. XXI. pp. 53, 54,
NUST BE READ.
After Charles's death, the Oceana was again, entering the glorious ways of truth and written, and, as if it were written from justice prosperous virtue, destined to become great and affection to his memory: for it breathes and honourable in these latter ages. Methinks the same noble and spirited regard, and as I see, in my mind, a noble and puissant naserts that it was not Charles that brought tion rousing herselt, like a strong man after on the destruction of the monarchy, but the sleep, avd shaking her invincible locks: mefeeble and ill-constituted nature of monarchy thinks I see her as an eagle muing her mighty itself.
youth, and kindling her undazzled eyes at the But the book was a flattery to Cromwell.- full mid-day beam; purging and unscaling Once more and finally let history decide.- her long-abused sight at the fountain itself of The Oceana was seized by the usurper as a heavenly radiance; while the whole noise of libel, and the way it was recovered is remark- timorous and flocking birds, with those also able.-I mention it to show that Cromwell that love the twilight, flutter about, amazed was a wise man in himself, and knew on at what she means, and in their envious gabwhat governments must stand for their sup- ble would prognosticatc a year of sects and port.
schisms." Harrington waited on the protector's Gentlemen, what Milton only saw in his daughter to beg for his book, which her mighty imagination, I see in fact; what he father had taken, and on entering her apart- expected, but which never came to pass, I see ment, snatched up her child and ran away.- now fulfilling: methinks I see this noble and On her following him with surprise and terror, puissant nation, not degenerated and drooping he turned to her and said, "I know what you to a fatal decay, but casting off the wrinkled feel as a mother, feel then for ME; your father skin of corruption to put on again the vigor has got my child :” meaning the Oceana. The of her youth.-And it is, because others as Oceana was afterwards restored on her peti- well as myself see this, that we have all this tion: Cromwell answering with the sagacity uproar:- France and its constitution are the of a sound politician, “Let him have his mere pretences.-It is, because Britons begin book; if my government is made to stand, it to recollect the inheritance of their own conhas nothing to fear from PAPER SHOT.”—He stitution, left them by their ancestors :-it is, said true.- No Good government will ever be because they are awakened to the corruptions battered by paper shot. Montesquieu says, which have fallen upon its most valuable that“ in a free nation, it matters not whether parts, that forsooth the nation is in danger of individuals reason well or ill; it is sufficient being destroyed by a single pamphlet.- I have that they do reason.—Truth arises from the marked the course of this alarm: it began collision, and from hence springs liberty, with the renovation of those exertions for the which is a security from the effect of reason- public, which the alarmists themselves had ing.” The attorney-general has read extracts originated and deserled; and they became from Mr. Adams's answer to this book.-Let louder and louder when they saw them avowed others write answers to it, like Mr. Adams; and supported by my admirable friend Mr. I am not insisting upon the infallibility of Fox; the most eminently lionest and enMr. Paine's doctrines; if they are erroneous, lightened statesman, that history brings us let them be answered, and truth will spring acquainted with: a man whom to name is to from the collision.
honour, but whom in attempting adequately Milton wisely says, that a disposition in a to describe, I must fly to Mr. Burke, ny connation to this species of controversy, is no stant refuge when eloquence is necessary :-a proof of sedition or degeneracy, but quite the man who, to relieve the sufferings of the most Teverse. [I omitted to cite the passage with distant nation, “ put to hazard his ease, his the others.] In speaking of this subject, he security, his interest, his power, even bis rises into that inespressibly sublime style of darling popularity for the benefit of a people writing, wholly peculiar to himself. He was whom he had never seen,” + How much indeed no plagiary from any thing human; more then for the inhabitants of his native he looked up for light and expression, as he country !yet this is the man who has been himself wonderfully describes it, by devout censured and disavowed in the manner we prayer to that great Being, who is the source have lately seen. of all utterance and knowledge; and who Gentlemen, I have but a few more words sendeth out his seraphim with the hallowed to trouble you with: I take my leave of you fire of his altar to touch and purify the lips with declaring, that all this freedom which I of whom he pleases.“ When the cheerful have been endeavouring to assert, is no more ness of the people,” says this mighty poet, than the ancient freedom which belongs to “ is so sprightly up, as that it has not only our own inbred constitution: I have not asked wherewith to guard well its own freedom and you to acquit Thomas Paine upon any new safety, but to spare, and to bestow upon the solidest and sublimest points of controversy Areopagitica. See Milton's Prose Works, and new invention, it betokens us not dege- by Birch, vol. 1, p. 168, 4to edit. of 1753. nerated nor drooping to a fatal decay, but † Speech on the motion for going into a casting off the old and wrinkled skin of cor committee on Mr. Fox's India Bill. New ruption, to outlive these pangs, and was young Parl. Hist. Vol. XXIII, p. 1384,
lights, or upon any principle but that of the while Jupiter strove only to convince him ;law, which you are sworn to administer :- but happening to hint a doubt, Jupiter turned my great object has been to inculcate, that hastily round and threatened him with his wisdom and policy, which are the parents of thunder.— Ah! ah!" says the countryman, the government of Great Britain, torbid this “ now, Jupiter, I know that you are wrong; jealous eye over her subjects; and that, on you are always wrong when you appeal to the contrary, they cry aloud in the language your thunder." of the poet adverted to by lord Chatham on This is the case with me I can reason with the memorable subject of America, unfortu- the people of England, but I cannot fight nately without effect,
against the thunder of authority. • Be to their faults a little blind,
Gentlemen, this is my defence for free “ Be to their virtues very kind;
opinions. With regard to myself, I am, and "Let all their thoughts be unconfin'd,
always have been, obedient and affectionate
to the law :--to that rule of action, as long as " And clap your padlock on the mind.”
I exist, I shall ever give my voice and my Engage the people by their affections, conduct; but I shall ever, as I have done toconvince their reason,,and they will be loyal day, maintain the dignity of my high profrom the only principle that can make loyalty fession, and perform as I understand them, all sincere, vigorous, or rational,—a conviction its important duties. that it is their truest interest, and that their government is for their good.-Constraint is [Mr. Attorney-General rose immediately the natural parent of resistance, and a preg- to reply to Mr. Erskine, when Mr. Campbell nant proof, that reason is not on the side of (the foreman of the jury) said,- My lord, I those who use it. You must all remember am authorized by the jury to inform the AtLucian's pleasant story: Jupiter and a coun- torney General, that a reply is not necessary tryman were walking together, conversing for them, unless the Attorney General wishes with great freedom and familiarity upon the to make it, or your lordship.—Mr. Attorney subject of heaven and earth. The country- General sat down, and the jury gave in their mun listened with attention and acquiescence, verdict-Guilty).
Proceedings against John Frost for Seditious Words : 33 GEORGE III. A. D. 1793. [Taken in Short-hand by Ramsey. *]
ciously, turbulently, and seditiously intenil
ing the peace and common tranquillity of our Of Hilary Term, in the 33d year of the reign lord the king, and of his kingdom, to disquiet, of King George the Third.
molest and disturb, and to bring our most
serene sovereign lord George the third, now Middleser, 2 BE it remembered, that on king of Great Britain, &c. into great hatred
to wit. Tuesday next after the octave and contempt, with all his lieze and faithful of the purification of the blessed Virgin subjects of this realm, and to alienate and Mary, in the 33d year of the reign of our withdraw the affection, tidelity, and allegiance sovereign lord George the third, by the of bis said majesty's subjects from his said grace of God of Great Britain, France, and majesty, and to excite and move his said maIreland, king, defender of the faith, &c. in the jesty's subjects to hatred and dislike of the murt of our said lord the king, before the government and constitution, established king himself, at Westminster, in the county within this realm, he, the said John Frost, his of Middlesex, upon the oath of twelve jurors, most wicked contrivances, practices, and ingood and lawful men of the said county of tentions aforesaid, to compleat, perfect, and Middlesex, now here sworn and charged to render effectual, on the oth day of November, inquire for our said lord the king, and the in the 33d year of the reign of our sovereign body of the same county-It is presented as lord George the third, now king of Great followeth, (that is to say) Middlesex (to wit.) Britain, &c. at the parish of St. Mary-le-bone, The jurors for our lord the king, upon their otherwise Marybone, in the county aforesaid, oath, present that John Frost, late of West. in a certain discourse, which the said John minster, in the county of Middlesex, gentle-Frost, then and there had with divers subjects man, being a person of a depraved, impious, of our said lord the king, of and concerning our and disquiet mind, and of a seditious disposi- / said lord the kirg, and the government and tion, and contriving, practising, and mali-) constitution established within this realm, in
the presence and hearing of divers liege sub• I have also availed myself of the report jects of our said lord the king, then and there published in Erskine's Speeches by Ridgeway. present, maliciously, unlawfully, wickedly,
and seditiously did say, assert, affirm, and all others in the like case offending, and pronounce, and with a loud voice did publish against the peace of our said lord the king, ihese malicious, seditious, and opprobrious his crowd and dignity. And the jurors aforeEnglish words following, (that is to say) I said, upon their oath aforesaid, further pre(meaning the said John Frost) am for sent that the said John Frost, being such equality; I (meaning the said John Frost) wicked and evil disposed person as aforesaid, see no reason why any man should not be and wickedly, and seditiously devising and upon a footing with another, it is every man's intending as aforesaid, afterwards (to wit) on birth right; and that the said John Frost the same day and year last aforesaid, at the being thereupon then and there asked by one parish aforesaid, in the county aforesaid, in the of the persons then and there present, how presence and hearing of divers other liege he, the said John Frost, dared to hold such and faithful subjects of our said lord the king, language in any public or private company, then and there present, maliciously, sediand what he meant by equality; he, the said tiously, and wickedly did utter, and with a John Frost, then and there wickedly, mali- loud voice pronounce, assert, and affirm, that ciously, and seditiously, in the presence and there ought to be no king in this country, hearing of those subjects, replied in these (meaning this kingdom) to the great scandal words, (that is to say, why, no kings; and and contempt of our said lord the king and thereupon the said John Frost being further his laws, to the evil example of all others in asked, 'it he meant no kings in this country, the like cases offending, and against the he, the said John Frost, wickedly, malicious peace of our said lord the king, his crown and ly, and seditiously, in the presence and hear- dignity. ing of those subjects, answered in these words,
Witnesses, (that is to say) “ Yes, no king, the constitution of this country is a bad one,” (meaning PAUL Savignac, $
Both sworn in Court.
True Bill. thereby, that he the said John Frosi was for having no king in this realm, and that the To this indictment, the defendant on the constitution of this realm was a bad one in 15th day of February, 1793, gave bail, and having a king,) to the great scandal and con- pleaded Not Guilty. tempt of our said lord the king and his laws, to the evil example of all others in the like
Monday, May 27th, 1793. case offending, and against the peace of our As soon as the court (which was a very said lord the king, his crown and dignity. crowded one) was opened, the Special Jury And the jurors aforesaid, upon their oath were called over; eleven only appearing, the aforesaid, do further present, that the said attorney-general prayed a tales, and the name John Frost being such wicked and evil of William Powell being misnamed, the assodisposed person as aforesaid, and further con- ciate applied to Mr. Frost, to know if he had triving and intending, as aforesaid, after any objection to admit Mr. Powell to be wards, to wit, on the same day and year last sworn as one of the jury? Mr. Frost replied, aforesaid, at the parish aforesaid, in the Mr. Powell was unknown to him, and percounty aforesai, in another discourse, which fectly indifferent, and therefore he desired the the said John Frost then and there had with court would determine it. divers liege subjects of our said lord the king, of and concerning our said lord the king, and
The following Special Jury were sworn, the governu,ent established within this realm, Thomas Brookes, of Bedford-square, Foreman. in the presence and hearing of divers other Joseph Ballard, of Bedford-row, liege and faithful subjects of our said lord the Edward Phillips, of Great James-street, king, then and there present, maliciously, William Blasson, of Hatton-garden, seditiously, and wickedly did say, assert, Thomas Langton, of the same, affirm, and pronounce, and with a loud voice Thomas Dea, of Percy-street, did declare and publish these other malicious Peter Dawson, of Goodge-street, and seditious English words following (that Thomas Oliver, of Devonshire-street, is to say), I (meaning the said John Frost) am Thomas Sandford, of Paradise-street, for equality, and the said John Frost being Richard Carter, of Paddington-street, thereapon, then and there asked by one of Joseph Hobbs, of Margaret-street,-Esquires, the persons then and there present, if he, the Michael Robson, Talesman. said John Frost meant thereby equality, and no king in this country; he, the said John The Indictment having been opened by Mr. Frost then and there, in the presence and
Wood, the Attorney General, Sir John hearing of those subjects, maliciously, and
Scott, spoke as follows:seditiously replied, and with a loud voice pub Gentlemen of the Jury;—Though I have lished these words following (that is to say), the honour to attend you in my official chaYes, no king, and there ought to be no kings, racter, it will not have escaped your attention, (meaning thereby amongst others, that there that this charge is brought against the present ought to be no king in this realm) to the defendant by an indictment. great scandal and contempt of our said lord Gentlemen, the transaction, with the guilt the king and his laws, to the evil example of of which the defendant is charged, happened
upon the 6th of November last. I hope I it is in consequence of that proceeding that shall not be thought guilty of stating any he is called upon to day to deny the truth of thing that can be considered as improper, the charges which this indictment contains, when I call your attention to a fact that is or to state to you upon what grounds he is to notorious to the whole country; that about contend, that his conduct as stated in this in. that period public representations had been dictment is to be considered as legal. made, that the minds of men were alienated Gentlemen, the transaction which the infrom that constitution, which had long been dictment charges him with, happened on the the subject of the warmest encomiums of the 6th of November last; you will find from the best informed men in this country; which conversation, as it will be given in evidence we have been in the habit of considering as to you, that Mr. Frost had, I think, returned the best birthright which our ancestors could from France shortly before; that he had dined have handed down to us, and which we have with a set of gentlemen, whom I believe to been long in the habit of considering as the be very respectable, at the Percy coffee-house most valuable inheritance that we had to upon that day; he came into the public coffeetransmit to our posterity. This constitution house between nine and ten in the evening, had been represented as that from which the as nearly as I am able to ascertain the time, affections of the country had become altoge- and a gentleman who had long been acther alienated; we were told that this disaf- quainted with him, to whom I believe I may fection was moving along the country with venture to say Mr. Frost was certainly under the silence of thought; and something like a no disobligations in life, seeing him, addressed public challenge was written to meet men him as an acquaintance, asked whether he who are fond of other systems, by fair ap was lately come from France, and how matpeals to the public, who are finally to decide ters went on in that country. Mr. Frost told upon every question between every individual him he was lately come from France, and exof this country, and the government. pected soon to go there again; he then added
Gentlemen—The Attorney-general of that the words that have been read to you from day, who found himself by the duty of his the indictment: “I am for equality; I can office called upon to watch over what he see no reason why any man should not be considered a property and inheritance of in- upon a footing with another; it is every man's estimable value, thought it necessary to meet birth-right." this sort of observation, by stripping himself Gentlemen, some persons present in this of what belonged to him in his official cha-coffee-room, the general conduct of all of recter; and appealing, as far as he could ap- whom, I think, will have some influence upon peal, to the tribunals of the country, which your judgment, with respect to the mind with the wisdom of the constitution had establish- which Mr. Frost conducted himself upon that ed, for the purpose of protecting men from day, immediately asked him, what he meant improper accusations; and he did not there- by equality? to which he answered, “ Why, I fore call upon those men whom he thought mean no king.”—“ What! dare you to own, proper to prosecute, by the exercise of any in any public or private company in this official authority of his own, putting them and country, such sentiments?”—“ Yes, I mean himself at issue upon these points, as it were, no king; the constitution of this country is a before a jury of the country, but he directed bad one." indictments to be carried to the grand juries Gentleinen, what were the other particulars of the country, to take their sense upon the of the conversation that passed I am unable subject, and to have their opinion, whether it to state to you, but you will find the zeal and was fit that persons propagating such doetrines anxiety with which a number of respectable as this defendant stands charged with, should, persons acted upon this occasion, made it very or should not, be suffered in this country to difficult for Mr. Frost to pursue this sort of state them with impunity?
conversation any further; and in what manGentlemen, in consequence of this deter ner Mr. Frost left the coffee-house, and under mination the present defendant stands indict what feelings and apprehensions in the minds ed; and before I state the words to you, I of those who were there, I shall leave to you think it my duty to mention to you, that he to collect from the witnesses, rather than atis now to be tried upon the second indictment tempt to state it myself. which a grand jury of this country has found. Now, Gentlemen, it is for you to decide, When the first indictment was carried before whether, in cases of this nature, prosecutions the grand jury, this defendant was abroad; a shall be carried on against defendants who warrant was issued for his apprehension, and think proper to use language so contemptuous he returned to this country in the month of to the sovereign of the country; and surely I February last: he appeared to the indictment, need not in this place contend, that any thing and gave bail to it; by some accident he had that is contemptuous to the sovereign of the been indicted by a name which does not be country, any thing grossly reflecting upon the long to him, and pleaded the misnomer in administration of the magistracy of this counabatement. Another indictment was carried try, or persons holding the offices of magisbefore the second grand jury, who found that trates, according to the law of this country, second indictment without any hesitation, and such as it is, and such as I hope it will con