Page images
PDF
EPUB

CXIII.-THE RESPONSIBILITY OF AGENTS.

Extract from the same Speech.

[ocr errors]

My Lords,—The inquiry which now only remains, is, whether Mr. Hastings is to be answerable for the crimes com. mitted by his agents ?

It will not, I trust, be concluded, that, because Mr. Hastings has not marked every passing shade of guilt, and because he has only given the bold outline of cruelty, he is therefore to be acquitted. It is laid down by the law of England, that law which is the perfection of reason, that a person, ordering an act to be done by his agent, is answerable for that act with all its consequences:

Quid facit per allium, facit per se. Middleton was appointed, in 1777, the confidential agent-the second self of Mr. Hastings. The governor-general ordered the measure. Even if he never saw, nor heard afterwards of its consequences, he was therefore answerable for every pang that was inflicted, and for all the blood that was shed. But he did hear, and that instantly, of the whole. He wrote to accuse Middleton of forbearance and neglect !

He commanded him to work upon the hopes and fears of the prin. cesses, and to leave no means untried, until, to speak his own language, which was better suited to the banditti of a cavern, “ he obtained possession of the secret hoards of the old la. dies.” He would not allow even of a delay of two days, to smoothe the compelled approaches of a son to his mother, on this occasion! His orders were peremptory. After this, my lords, can it be said, that the prisoner was ignorant of the acts, or not culpable for their consequences ? It is true, he did not direct the guards, the famine, and the bludgeons ; he did not weigh the fetters, nor number the lashes to be inflicted on his victims : but yet, he is equally guilty, as if he had borne an active and personal share in each transaction. It is, as if he had commanded that the heart should be torn from the bosom, and enjoined that no blood should follow. He is in the same degree accountable to the law, to his country, to his conscience, and to his God!

* What one does through another, he does of himself.

XCIV. THE TRUE NATURE OF JUSTICE.

Extract from the same Speech.

My Lords,—WHEN the Board of Directors received the advices which Mr. Hastings thought proper to transmit, though unfurnished with any other materials to form their judgment, they expressed very strongly their doubts, and pro. perly ordered an inquiry into the circumstances of the al. leged disaffection of the Begums, declaring it at the same time to be a debt, which was due to the honor and justice of the British nation. This inquiry, however, Mr. Hastings thought it absolutely necessary to elude. “Besides,” says he, "I hope it will not be a departure from official language to say, that the majesty of justice ought not to be approached without solicitation. She ought not to descend to inflame or provoke, but to withold her judgment, until she is called on to determine." But, my lords, do you, the judges of this land, and the expounders of its rightful laws, do you approve of this mockery, and call it the character of justice, which takes the form of right to excite wrong? No, my lords, justice is not this halt and miserable object; it is not the ineffective bauble of an Indian pagod; it is not the portentious phantom of despair ; it is not like any fabled monster, formed in the eclipse of reason, and found in some unhallowed grove of supersti. tious darkness, and political dismay! No, my lords. In the happy reverse of all this, I turn from the disgusting caricature to the real image! Justice I have now before me, august and pure! the abstract idea of all that would be perfect in the spirits and the aspirings of men ! where the mind rises, where the heart expands; where the countenance is ever placid and benign; where her favorite attitude is to stoop to the unfortu. nate ; to hear their cry, and to help them ; to rescue and relieve, to succour and save ; majestic from its mercy; venerable from its utility ; uplifted, without pride ; firm, without obduracy; benificent in each preference ; lovely, though in her frown!

On that justice I rely; deliberate and sure, abstracted from all party purpose and political speculation, not on words, but on facts. You, my lords, who hear me, I conjure

by those rights it is your best privilege to preserve ; by that fame it is your best pleasure to inherit it; by all those feelings which refer to the first term in the series of existence, the ori. ginal compact of our nature-our controlling rank in the crea. tion. This is the call on all to administer to truth and equity, as they would satisfy the laws, and satisfy themselves-with the most exalted bliss, possible or perceivable for our nature, the self-approving consciousness of virtue ; when the condem. nation we look for will be one of the most ample mercies ac. complished for mankind since the creation of the world :My lords, I have done.

ICV.-BRUCE'S ADDRESS TO HIS TROOPS, BEFORE THE BAT.

TLE OF BANNOCKBURN.

Burns.

Scors! who have with Wallace bled,
Scots ! whom Bruce has often led,
Welcome to your gory bed,

Or to victory:

Now's the day, and now's the hour;
See the front of battle lower;
See approach proud Edward's power,

Chains and slavery!

Who will be a traitor knave ?
Who can fill a coward's grave ?
Who so base as be a slave ?

Let him turn and flee !

Who for Scotland's king and law,
Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Freemen stand, or freemen fall,

Let him follow me!

By oppression's woes and pains !
By your sons in servile chains !
We will drain our dearest veins,

But they shall be free!

Lay the proud usurpers low!
Tyrants fall in every foe!
Liberty's in every blow-

Let us do or die!

XCVI.-TIIE CLAIMS OF GREECE UPON AMERICA.

Extract from an Address, delivered in Boston, in behalf of the Greeks,

by the Rev. Sereno Edwards Dwight. Though not called to plead the cause of Greece before my assembled countrymen ; yet, at the request of your committee, I am at this time allowed, my friends and fellow-citizens, to urge her claims on you. But need I urge them? What heart does not throb, what bosom does not heave, at the very thought of Grecian independence? Have you the feelings of a man, and do you not wish that the blood of Greece should cease to flow, and that the groans and sighs of cen. juries should be heard no more? Are you a scholar, and shall the land of the muses ask your help in vain ? With the eye of the enthusiast do you often gaze at the triumphs of the arts, and will you do nothing to rescue their choicest relics from worse than Vandal barbarism ? Are you a mother, re. joicing in all the charities of domestic life ; are you a daughter, rich and safe in conscious innocence and parental love ; and shall thousands more, among the purest and loveliest of your sex, glut the shambles of Smyrna, and be doomed to a captivity inconceivably worse than death. Are you a Chris. tian, and do you cheerfully contribute your property to chris. tianize the heathen world ? what you give to Greece is to rescue a nation of Christians from extermination, to deliver the ancient churches, to overthrow the Mohammedan imposture, to raise up a standard for the wandering tribes of Israel, and to gather in the harvest of the world. Are you an American citizen, proud of the liberty and independence of your country? Greece too, is struggling for these very blessings, which she taught your fathers to purchase with their blood. And when she asks your help, need I urge you to be. stow it? Where am I ?-in the land of the Pilgrims—in a land of independence-in a land of freemen. Here, then, I leave their cause.

XCVII.TRUE AND FALSE GREATNESS CONTRASTED.

Extract from a Discourse on the Lives and Characters of Thomas Jef

ferson and John Adams, who both died on the Fourth of July, 1826. By William Wirt, Attorney General of the United States.

HAVING closed his administration, fellow citizens, Presi. dent Jefferson was followed by the applause, the gratitude, and blessings of his country, into that retirement which no man was ever better fitted to grace and enjoy. And from this retirement, together with his precursor, the venerable pa. triarch of Quincy, he could enjoy that supreme of all earthly happiness, the retrospect of a life well and greatly spent, in the service of his country and mankind. The successful war. rior, who has desolated whole empires for his own aggrandize. ment, the successful usurper of his country's rights and li. berties, may have their hours of swelling pride, in which they may look back with a barbarous joy upon the triumph of their talents, and feast upon the adulation of the syco. phants that surround them: but, night and silence come ; and conscience takes her turn. The bloody field rises upon the startled imagination. The shades of the slaughtered innocents, stalk, in terrific procession, before the couch. The agonizing cries of countless widows and orphans invade the ear. The bloody dagger of the assassin plays, in airy terror, before the vision. Violated liberty lifts her avenging lance: and a down-trodden nation rises before them, in all the majesty of its wrath. What are the hours of a splendid wretch like this, compared with those that shed their poppies and their roses upon the pillows of our peaceful and virtuous patriots! Every night bringing to them the balm and health of repose, and every morning offering to them “their history in a nation's eyes!” This, this it is to be greatly virtuous: and be this the only ambition that shall ever touch an American bosom?

« PreviousContinue »