Page images
PDF
EPUB

city:" and yet this man had afterwards Ger nanic free States have been erased the effrontery to lay to the English the from the map by a dash of the pen. charge of having destroyed Lyons.' Is These States. I consider as a very init then improbable that such a person teresting part of the ancient lyftein. as Fouche Thould have practised this Great nations cannot exist without infamous trick, and got such a paper considering their military lyftem, but as this flipt among the papers of Ca- small States are obliged to devote themmille Jourdan, for the purpose of selves to industry and the arts of peace; having him arrested and thrown into and wey form a kind of controul over prison? As to the internal evidence, the superior ones; for no depravily Gentlemen of the Jury, I have already can fo link any man in his own esteem, told yoii, that there is not a line in all as to render him regardle!s of the opithese publications which contains a nion of the world. The undisturbed Royalilt sentimen:; but, on the con- repose which the States I have referred trary, they are furioully Jacobinical. to were suffered to enjoy, enabled them Does any body fufpe&t Peltier of being to become models attesting the civilia Jacobin? Certainly not. Whenever zation to which Christian Europe had anger is exprefled inihele pieces against reached. Nothing so much proved the Bonaparte, is is for overturning the civilization of the Continent at the pe. Directory. Is that like the rage of a riod I refer to, as the freedom enjoyed Royalist or a Jacobin? And is it not, by the little Republic of Genoa. It was then, more likely that these articles fuffered to remain undisturbed and un. were really the productions of thote threatened, while surrounded by mythey are attributed to, Chenier, Fouche, riads of the armies of France. All this &c.? In that case, Peltier is not to be is now past and gone. What the new considered as the author, but as a per- fvstem is to be is not for me to conjesson who, with innocent motives, le- ture; but I am perfectly convinced that printeri ihem in a miscellaneous work, the arbitrary violence of ambitious mofor the amusunent of the finall circle narchis has been checked by the dread of his readers. The circulation of of the opinion of the impartial audience the " Ambigu" could not be intended to formed among the smaller States, and be among Englithinen, as it is written in which no rooner were any acts of in French ; nor in France, for Bona- oppression known than a ihousand parte knows effectually how to prohi- prelles were set to work to commu. bit the entry of fuch articles into his nicate them to the world. At present dominions. Having now endeavoured there is not such a thing as a free press to prove to you, that it is not probable from Palermo to Hamburgh: not one that Peltier was the author or origi- asylum for the liberty of discullion re. nal publisher of thole works, or that muins -no public voice, the expreision he at all wished to inculcate the Jacobin of which can controul the defpotic principles they contain, I mut warn attempts of arbitrary tyrants. Happily, you of the iminente importance of the however, those presses are still secure free discusion of political events. If which are protecied by the British Goat all times the liberty of the prels was vernment, and by the valour of Englih.. dear to Englishmen, it thould be more men. The ancient fabric, raised by our peculiarly dear now that it is the only anceitors, still endures; though surfree press in the world. Gentlemen, rounded with ruins, it stands folid and I ccolider this as the first conteil be- uníhaken. Gentlemen of the Jury, to tween the greatest Power on earth and thew you of what importance our an. the British free press; the only one celtors always held this privilege, I now remaining. That it is fo is a thall trace a little the origin of it. melancholy refle&tion to the friends of Queen Elizabeth was the tir it who hurun nature. Till that great enth- ellablished a newspaper in England; quake, occafioned by the French revo the did so at the time of the Spanish lution, had swallowed up the presies Armada, when it was necessary to preof the Continent, there had, by the ferve bigh the tone and spirit of the indulgence if the larger Powers,exitted people. In Cromwell's Ufurpation, mar y States in which a free press had the freedom of the prels was protected been tolerated. . This was the cale in hy British Juries, and Cromwell's Holland, Switzerland, and the free Attorney-General was twice defeated towns of Germany. Holland and Swit- in this Court. In Charles the Second's zerland are no more, and fifty of the days, though the times were corrupt

and

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

and profligate, yet the press was safe; has been uniformly given, and no and in the days of the Revolution, and attempt has been made to repreis it. ever since, it has been held one of the From the seizure of Cortica down to deareft privileges of Englishnien. In

In the different partitions of Poland, the latter times we can speak more posin public sentiment of England has inoit tively, from our own experience, on strongly been expressed againit such this very point. In that tirst grand unwarrantable robberies. Nextfolbreach of the focial lyftem of Europe, lowed an event, in comparison of which that national rubbery, called the first the atrocity of preceding fpoliations partition of Poland, did not the Englith become trivial. Switzerland, a counpapers vent the strongeit feelings of try for three hundred years the abode indignation ? Catherine and Frederic , of peace; a country, as it were, raised were not treated according to their above the storms of political events; a rank, but according to the crinie in country boasting of a gallant and dire which they had partaken. We were ciplined army, without ever attacking then at peace and amity with Ruilia its neighbours, rich without imposing and Pruilia; and yet the Attorney- taxes, till its riches tempt the spoiler, General of the day never thought of and become a cause of its ruin. Switprosecuting the Editors and Publithers zerland is doomed to fall under the of those papers. In the second partition impoling ravages of the French revoluof Poland, too, the British press ex- tion. Had such an event taken place in prefled the honeft indignation of the times of peace, would it have been country; and it is well, not only for neceffry for the public of this counthis country, but for the locial order of try to itifle the voice of sympathy and Europe in general, that it should be so. sorrow, for tear of giving offence to However formidable a Sovereign's mili- the ruthless tyrants ? Had Alois Reding, tary ettablidhment may be; however a name worthy to compare with the great biis power and extensive his Tway; first of names, for true' fimplicity of itill the feelings of human nature com- virtue and unaffedted magnanimity of pel him to with for the approbation of character ; had Alois Reding, who, his fellow-men, and bring hiin to the with a handful of peasants, defeated bar of the tribunal of public opinion. the conquerors of Europe on the toil Newspapers, I am aware, are not very where, three hundred years before, popular in this place; nor is it very their anceitors fought the oppressors, Iur priting, becaule they appear in this of their liberty, fought an alylum in place only to be checked for their England, attracted by the renown of faults. With all their faults, however, this mighty Einpire; would my!

y learned their increased circulation is a proof Friend have told him, that he mult of the increating curiosity and desire of conceal his tears, and breathe low his knowledge in this country, of which fighs, for the ruin of bis country, they are at once the caute and effect. leit his potent enemy thould drive him Perhaps it would be better to treat from his alyum, or lead him mto Court, those engaged in this difficult employ- the victim of profecution ?” I am sure ment with a little more indulgence, in that no Englisman could think with order to teici them tiat ieit respect patience of luch an ignominy; and sure which is the belt way to lead men I am that my learned Friend has a heart to cultivate that of others. Be this too thoroughly English to brook such as it may, however, every thing that disgrace. Had we been at peace beincreases the number of those who take twéen 1792 and 1794, could an Engan intereit, and exercise a judgment, in lih Court or an English Jury have public affairs, is, in effeci, to increase been called upon to protect the reputa. the real democracy of a country, much tion of a Robespierre, President of the more than those forms to which tome Committee of Safety; of his friend people are fo much attached. If it be Marat; of a Carrier, his agent, who important that the public mind thouid drowned 2,000 Pricits in the Loire, be fortified againit the delign of foreign and caused 600 childeen, under for power, it is fit that the discuition

teen, to be shot by the soldiery? Could most calculated to ditleminate a public the laws of England have been called spirit thould be encouraged. Upon upon to protect, because they were in every occafion in which the public place, those butchers who perpetrated, opinion of this country could be dil- within that period of two years, atro. played respecting foreign affairs, it cities whichi, contrary to the practice of

mankind,

[ocr errors]

mankind, are generally under-rated, not matters of that description. No man is exaggerated ? Atrocities fo prodigious more a friend to freedom of difcuflion, as to compel the mind to seek refuge in and the real liberty of the press, than I fcepticism; and which, but half believed, am. My learned Friend proceeds to ask, are now but half remembered. But I what I would have done with regard to cannot, with regard to my own feelings, the terms in which the first English newsor the respect I bear my learned Friend, paper that was published in the reign of purfue this train of interrogation. Had the glorious Queen Elizabeth, centured Buch things taken place, the courage of the tyrant who at that time threatened our Courts, and the integrity of our Ju. the liberties of Europe? what I would ries, had been our only resource. All have done in regard to the Atrong and would have been loft, but the unextin. manly language in which the British guishable fpirit of an English fury. To prints attacked the ambitious and vain conclude-I trust that on this, as on all Louis the Fourteenth? In fire, what I former occasions, the unfubdued Ipirit of would do, with regard to that feeling the country will appear. All I ask is, a and energetic manner in which the atro. a favourable construction for what may cious crimes of the frantic Democrats of appear ambiguous."

France were represented in public, and The Attorney-General.--"Gentlemen, fubmitted to the lympathetic feelings of you have heard a speech full of most our countryinen; the glowing exprellions iplendid eloquence, and most wonderful in which the massacre of Toulon and Lyingenuity. Norhing, of which the fub. ons; the invasion of the unoffending, and ject is capable, has been neglected by my formerly happy Switzerland, and a long learned Friend, to give weight to his ar- Series of crimes were held up to the ingument. It is now my duty; with far dignation and abhorrence of generous teebler powers, to make some remarks Britons. By way of answer to thele quera vpon that torrent of almost irretiftible tions, I ask, what did I do? Did I item eloquence. My learned Friend has said, eager to come forward to folicit your verthe Chief Magistrate of the French Rea dict againit the authors of tree and bold public is the prosecutor in the prelent declamation ? No. Even though the libel. This I am authorised to deny. It prints of this country were not, perhaps, is not the Chief Magistrate of France that always distinguished for candour and in now comes forwards in order to vindicate partiality; though the bounds of prudence bis character, and to claim the protection and moderation might have been someof a British Jury, agairt thole papers times overleapt; yet I reflected that the which seem to be published with a view pallions of mankind were aroused by to endanger his person, and to procure strange, and almost unparalleled crimes, his afaslination. --No! It is the Chief and therefore that infainmatory language Magistrate of this country, feebly repre. was palliated, if not excused, in diículo tented by the person now before you, who sing those subjects. I was aware of the appears, to enforce the laws of the realm delicacy with which the liberty of the against a publication, the obvious ten- preis ought to be touched; and therefore, dency of which is to encourage atsallina. unless in cales where this liberty has tion, and ditturb the good understanding been scandalously abuled, as in the prethat at this moment exists between this fent infance, I have never been anxious and a neighbouring country. My learned to discover libellous matter in any public Friend has, in the courte of his addrets, cation. I refer iny learned Friend to the put leveral qutions to me, which I teel fact; and this, I apprehend, is the best no difiiculty in answering. In Bating answer to his interrogatories that can the freedom and boldness of discutiion poilibly be given. You have heard, which in every period of its history has Gentleixen, a great deal about the indediftinguifhed this country, he asks me, pendence and intrepidity that has always what I would have done with respect to distinguilhed Britilh Juries. Juries, the the undaunted !pirit and fearless intrepi.

bulwark of the Conititution ; the glorious dity with which the British Press has and immoveable palladium of our libernever failed to exbibit, in their proper co- ties! My learned Friend here gave full Jours, the actions of tyrants and villains, Scope to the energy of his eloquence, and whether foreign or domeftic? My learned ingeniously endeavoured to impreis upon Friend has done me hut justice, when he your minds, that he was combating the hus alturnett, that my sentiments upon principles and arguments which I adbis fubject are those which he, and every vanced. But, Gentlemen, I aver, that honourable man, willieei with tespect to the principles and sentiments which he,

in the highest frain of impressive elo- every one acquainted with the Roman quence, has now deliveredl, are, with History knows, immediately followed very little variation, the fame with those upon his allallination. There can be which I, in humbler dress, had before little doubt, therefore, that the Author uttered. I agree with him in his account intended to excite his countrymen to the of the independent spirit of our ancestors, assassination of the First Consúl of France. the rigid caution of former Juries, in The learned Counsel has endeavoured to matters relating to the freedom of the persuade us, that the Ode, which also press and the liberty of the subject. I forms part of the grounds of the present agree with hun in the propriety of rousing prosecution, is a mighty harmless com. the abhorrence and resentment of the polition. The sentiments it contains, he people against crime by means of periodi- avers, are intended not to apply to the cal publications. But still there exifts Firtt Conful of France, but to the infano little danger that this liberty will be mous Jacobins whose crimes deluged abused in the present instance: and it is their country with blood. But when a my duty to check such abuse whenever it parallel is instituted between the fate of appears. I agree with my learned Friend, France under Bonaparte, and the state of that the newlpapers have been a power. Rome under Julius Cæsar, and when the ful inftrumentin diffeminating knowledge, poniard of Brutus is described as the last and diffusing civilization; but he has, relource of the Romans against the usurwith the same breath, juftly stated, that pation of the latter, can any man who these are at the same time extremely liexercises his judgment with impartiality, able to become the sources of much mis- entertain a doubt relpeeting the tendency chief and disorder in the community; and, of such a passage, which manifestly is to therefore, here again our sentiments ex- encourage the discontented to dispatcha actly correspond. You have not only Bonaparte, as Brutus did Cæfar:-IR then, Gentlemen, my assertion respect. vain does my ingenious friend argne, ing the danger and impolicy of passing that no conclusions, derrimental to his over in silence publications of a libellous client, can be drawn from his allusion to tendency, but that assertion is corrobo. the conduct of Brutus, which has been sated by the powerful eloquence of my admired in all ages. The application is antagonilt. Having thus inortly turned clear to every unprejudiced understandyour acrention, Genelemen, to the obsere ing; and this, out of all queition, fixes vations of my learned Friend, respecting the charge of a libel upon its author. It myself and my sentiments, I beg leave to has been attempted to be proved, that a trespass upon your patience for a few manifeit inconlittency appears, in ascrib. minutes, while I advert to the construc- ing such sentiments and views to this de. tion which he has endeavoured to affix to termined Royaliit. Is it likely, it has some of the passages which form the been asked, that the resolute and constant grounds of the present profecution. In enemy of the Jacobins Mould entertain one of these the Author says, that “he a particular retentment against their dewas to erect an edifice to the glory of Aroyer? My learned Friend has answered, Bonaparte, and that he would take care No. But let us consider the character of to select such materials as should be the publication, and the situation of che worthy of the Temple," I submit to author. That a French Royalift, strongly the candid and impartial judgment of the attached to the late Royal Family of Jury, whether there are not to be conde France, Mould hate the person who, to dered as an ironical attack upon the First its exclusion, has occupied that throne, Consul, notwithstanding the ingenious appears to me far from improbable. gloss intended to be put upon thein by That the author of the Ambigu, therethe learned Counsel? But mark another fore, should be disposed to vility Bonapassage, “ I have no particular relent- parte, notwithstanding his being the ment against Bonaparte! let him be de- enemy of Jacobinism, is certainly not fo clared Emperor of the Gauls, and let his unlikely as he would have us luppose. Apotheosis follow on the ensuing morning." Bonaparte, therefore, muit, in the opi. Though the ingenuity of my learned nion of Mr. Peltier, be considered as a Friend has endeavoured to make those vile ulurper, and not to be regarded by a expressions refer to the Roman Emperors firm partizan of the expelled family of who were deified while itill alive, yet it. Capei with a very favourable eye: ia is hardly neceslary for me to oblerve, that this view, therefore, the probability is they are evidently intended to apply to rather on my side. Your feelings of the case of Romulus, whose dcification, compassion, and lpirit of patriotism, are

atrajled,

[ocr errors]

affailed, Gentlemen, in favour of this bellous; and thirdiy, is held to be libel. einigrant. The fame of this country for lous whatever has a tendency to vilify or affording shelter and protection to the un- injore in any manner persons high in of fortunate, and the wretched condition office abroad. Let these principles of law Mr. Pellier, driven by Jawlers villains then, Gentlemen, be applird to the cale from his home, with the barbarous mur- Ilow before us. The fiin question that iler of his family, have all been brought you have to consider respects the publica. forward in the most glowing colours. I tion of the papers on account of which acknowledge the justice and propriety of the present profecution is commenced. my friend's obfervations in this refpect; From the evidence of the Publisher, who and I moreover affert, that this very pro• depofes that he had the management of the secution is a proof of that justice and pro- publication, and accounted to Mr. Peltier priety. If the generosity and humanity for all emoluments derived from it, there that characterize Englishmen and the Eng- can he little doubt as to the Author. I bith Government had, for a moment, need not itate the evidence particularly, as been forgotten, this man might have been no question appears to be itarted by either delivered up to the person whom he has party on this head. The next poini, fatirized, instead of standing here to have then, for your decision is, whether or the decision of an impartial British Jury not the expresfiors said to be libellous, are upon his conduct. But never, I trust, intended to apply to Bonaparte, and whewill Britons, while they endeavour to ther be is the Chief Magistrate of the check improper conduct of every descrip- French Republic? That the passages contion, overleap the barriers of justice, nor fidered by the prosecntor as libellous, are forget what is due to the claims of directed against Bonaparte, appears to me compassion and humanity. Genilemen, beyond all doubt; and the latter propolio you are to decide upon the evidence he tion, viz. that he is the Chief Magistrate fore you, without allowing more than of France, is a matter of too much noto. their proper weight to the obfervations on riety to require any comment. The third either side. My learned Friend has di- and last queltion that you are to try then, verted your attention to the lenity and in- is, whether the passages themselves are of dependence of our ancestors, in deciding a libellous nature ? You have heard the upon any thing that might have a ten. contruction which, in a speech of most dency to infringe the treedom of the press astonishing eloquence and ingenuity, has and the liberty of British subjects.' He been attempted 10. be put upon the exbas also expressed his apprehentions lest pressions in question. If, Gentlemen, the time may come when we shall lose there was any ambiguity--if the expreslight of those principles. But if that pe. fions were capable of a favourable interpreriod Mould snortunately arrive, as he tation, I would most willingly abide by deems to dread, pity it is, that his noft that conftruction ; and I have no doubt eloquent, most ingenious, and almost ir- you also would feel every inclination to Telitible address, has not been reserved lean to the side of mercy, if it could be for an occasion when it would be to loudly done confiftentiy with juitice.

But I apdemanded."

prehend, and I am required by law to Lord Ellenborough charged the Jury as Itute my opinion to you on the subject, follows:-“ Gertleinen, it remains for that the words will not bear any sense, ime, with as much impartiality as I can, except the obvious one affixed to thein by to sum up the evidence here as I do io the Countel for the prosecution. With other cast's. It will then be your duty to regard to the expressions, that " an edifice give a true verdict, according to the evin hould be erected to the glory of Bonadence, in compliance with the terms of parte, and that materials were to be proyour oath; and the attention you have vided worthy of the Temple," there can iiniformly exhibited, leaves no doubt that exist no hentation in an unprejudiced mind, a fair and impa rial verdiet will be given that this was meant as an ironical attack With regard, Gentlemen, to the law in upon the Firit Conful of France. From cases of libel, it is enačied, firit, that any whence these inaterials were to be drawn, attempt to disturb the peice of the com- appears evidently from the other parts munity in any way, for instance, by vilio of ine publication, where quotations fying the Government or Religion of the are cited from ancient history, tending county, is of a libellous nature: Se- to provoke the affassination of Bona. condly, an attempt to injure any indivi- parte. Of this description, the alludual in his perion, property, or reputa- lion to the Ape theosis of Romulus, and tion, is congidered in the eye of law as die the posiard of Brutus, mult clearly be

!

1

CON

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »