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and chimerical as it may appear, there is still union and strength in Ireland to accomplish this noblest enterprise. Of this I speak with the confidence of intimate knowledge, and with the consolation that appertains to that confidence. Think not, my Lords, I say this for the petty gratification of giving you a transitory uneasiness; a man who never yet raised his voice to assert a lie will not hazard his character with posterity by asserting a falsehood on a subject so important to his country, and on an occasion like this. Yes, my Lords; a man who does not wish to have his epitaph written until his country is liberated will not leave a weapon in the power of envy, nor a pretence to impeach the probity which he means to preserve even in the grave to which tyranny consigns him.
[In the succeeding part of his speech Emmet' was severe in his arraignment of the British Government, and was frequently interrupted by Lord Norbury, whose remarks he answered with fervent indignation. He concluded with the following words:]
I have been charged with that importance, in the efforts to emancipate my country, as to be considered the keystone of the combination of Irishmen, or, as your Lordship expressed it, "the life and blood of the conspiracy." You do me honor overmuch. You have given to the subaltern all the credit of a superior. There are men engaged in this conspiracy who are not only superior to me, but even to your own conceptions of yourself, my Lord ;-men, before the splendor of whose genius and virtues I should bow with respectful deference, and who would think themselves dishonored to be called your friends,—who would not disgrace themselves by shaking your blood stained hand !
[This so exasperated Lord Norbury that he attempted to stop the speaker, but the enthusiasm was so great that he dared not insist, and Emmet proceeded, shaking his finger at Lord Norbury.]
What, my Lord, shall you tell me, on the passage to the scaffold which that tyranny, of which you are only the intermediate minister, has erected for my murder, that I am accountable for all the blood that has been and will be shed, in this struggle of the oppressed against the oppressor ? Shall you tell me this, and must I be so very a slave as not to repeat it ? I, who fear not to approach the Omnipotent Judge to answer for the conduct of my short life,-am I to be appalled here, before a mere remnant of mortality ?-by you, too, who, if it were possible to collect all the innocent blood that you have caused to be shed, in your unhallowed ministry, in one great reservoir, your Lordship might swim in it!
[This in vective was so severe that the judge interfered, insisting that Emmet be less personal. After a moment's pause the speaker composed himself and proceeded as follows :)
Let no man dare, when I am dead, to charge me with dishonor. Let no man attaint my memory by believing that I could have engaged in any cause but that of my country's liberty and independence, or that I could have become the pliant minion of power in the oppression and the miseries of my countrymen. The proclamation of the Provisional Government speaks for my views. No inference can be tortured from it to countenance barbarity or debasement at home, or subjection, humiliation or treachery from abroad. I would not have submitted to a foreign oppressor, for the same reason that I would resist the domestic tyrant. In the dignity of freedom I would have fought upon the threshold of my country, and its enemy should enter only by passing over my lifeless corpse. And am I, who lived but for my country-who have subjected myself to the dangers of the jealous and watchful oppressor, and now to the bondage of the grave, only to give my countrymen their rights, and my country her independence,-am I to be loaded with calumny, and not suffered to resent it? No. God forbid !
[At this point Lord Norbury told Emmet that his principles were treasonable, that his father would not have countenanced such sentiments, that his language was unbecoming, to which Emmet replied with feeling :)
If the spirits of the illustrious dead participate in the concerns and cares of those who were dear to them in this transitory life, O, ever dear and venerated shade of my departed father, look down with scrutiny upon the conduct of your suffering son, and see if I have, even for a moment, deviated from those principles of morality and patriotism which it was your care to instill into my youthful mind, and for which I am now to offer up my life!
My Lords, you seem impatient for the sacrifice. The blood for which you thirst is not congealed by the artificial terrors which surround your victim ;-it circulates, warmly and unruffled, through the channels which God created for nobler purposes, but which you are bent to destroy, for purposes so grievous that they cry to Heaven. Be ye patient! I have but a few words more to say. I am going to my cold and silent grave. My lamp of life is nearly extinguished. My race is run. The grave opens to receive me,-and I sink into its bosom! I have but one request to ask at my departure from this world ;—it is the charity of its silence. Let no man write my epitaph ; for, as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them, let not prejudice or ignorance asperse
Let them and me repose in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, until other times and other men can do justice to niy character. When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth,—then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written! I have done.
SHAKESPEARE READING HIS PLAY TO QUEEN ELIZABETH
Orators of the Victorian Reign
REATEST of all the centuries in several
prominent respects of human progress was
the nineteenth. Greatest in science, greatest in invention, greatest in industrial evolution, it was, while not greatest in oratory, a great field for the outpouring of eloquence. And this was coupled with the fact that the art of stenography had so advanced that the preservation of the spoken words of the orator became an easy feat. In former centuries only those orators who carefully wrote out their speeches, and published them as literature, could count upon their transmission to posterity. The impromptu and extempore speaker could never look for a faithful preservation of his words. Much of the so-called oratory which remains to us from ancient times consists of speeches written by historians and attributed to their leading characters. In some cases these may have closely reproduced the actual speeches; in others they were probably largely or wholly imaginary. The loss of oratory in mediæval times must have been large, but the difficulty of preserving it had been fully overcome by the nineteenth century, and there are more speeches put upon permanent record now in a year than there were in centuries of the past. The century in question has been prolific in British orators of fine powers, those of supreme eloquence being fewer, indeed, than those of the preceding century, yet such names as those of Gladstone, Bright, Brougham, O'Connell and some others give a high standing to the oratory of the Victorian age.