Изображения страниц

By an oath dipped in sacramental blood,
A blot that will be still a blot, in spite
Of all that grave apologists' may write;
And though a bishop toil to cleanse the stain,
He wipes and scours the silver cup in vain.
And hast thou sworn on every slight pretence,
Till perjuries are common as bad pence,
While thousands, careless of the damning sin,
Kiss the book's outside who ne'er look’d within ?
Far be the thought from any verse of mine,
And farther still the form'd and fix'd design,
To thrust the charge of deeds that I detest,
Against an innocent unconscious breast,
The man that dares traduce, because he can
With safety to himself, is not a man:
An individual is a sacred mark,
Not to be piercd in play, or in the dark;
But public censure, speaks a public foe,
Unless a zeal for virtue guide the blow.

[ocr errors]



Who shall assign a limit to the discoveries of future ages? Who can prescribe to science her boundaries, or restrain the active and insatiable curiosity of man within the circle of his present acquirements? We may guess with plausibility what we cannot anticipate with confidence. The day may yet be coming, when our instruments of observation shall be inconceivably more powerful. They may ascertain still more decisive points of resemblance. They may resolve the same question by the evidence of sense which is now so abundantly convincing by the evidence of analogy. They may lay open to us the unquestionable vestiges of art, of industry and intelligence. We may see summer throwing its green mantle over these mighty tracts, and we may see them left naked and colourless after the flush of vegetation has disappeared. In the process of years, or of centuries, we may trace the hand of cultivation spreading a new aspect over some portion of a planetary surface. Perhaps some large city, the metropolis of a mighty empire, may expand into a visible spot by the powers of some future telescope. Perhaps the glass of some observer, in a distant age, may enable him to construct the map of another world, and to lay down the surface of it in all its minute and topical varieties. But there is no end of conjecture, and to the men of other times we leave the full assurance of what we can assert with the highest probability, that yon planetary orbs are so many worlds, that they teem with life, and that the mighty Being who presides in high authority over this scene of grandeur aud astonishment, has there planted tlfe worshippers of his glory. Did the discoveries of science stop here, we have enough to justify the exelamation of the Psalmist, “What is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou shouldest deign to visit him? They widen the empire of creation far beyond the limits which were formerly assigned it. They give us to see that yon sun, throned in the centre of his planetary system, gives light and warmth, and the vicisitudes of seasons, to an extent of surface, several hundred times greater than that of the earth which we inhabit. They lay open to us a number of worlds, rolling in their respective circles around this vast luminary—and prove, that the ball which we tread upon, with all its mighty burdens of oceans and continents, instead of being distinguished from the others, is among the least of them; and, from some of the more distant planets, would not occupy a visible point in the concave of their firmament. They let us know, that though this mighty earth, with all its myriods of people, were to sink into annihilation, there are some worlds where an event so awful to us would be unnoticed and unknown, and others where it would be nothing more than the disappearance of a minor star which had ceased from its twinkling. We should feel a sentiment of modesty at this just but humiliating representation. We should learn not to look upon our earth as the universe of God, but one paltry and insignificant portion of it: that it is only one of the many

mansions which the Supreme Being has created for the accommodation of his worshippers, and only one of the many worlds rolling in that flood of light which the sun pours around him to the outer limits of the planetary system.


Gentlemen of the jury :—though from the evidence which has been adduced against the prisoner, they have lost their value, yet, had they been necessary, I must tell you, that my

client came forward under a disadvantage of great magnitude; the absence of two witpiesses, very material to his defence—I am now at liberty to say, what, I am instructed would have been proved by May and Mr. Roberts.-Why is not Mr. Roberts here? Recollect the admission of O'Brien, that he threatened to settle him, and


will cease to wonder at his absence, when, if he came, the dagger was in preparation to be plunged into his heart. I said Mr. Roberts was absent, I correct myself—ÑO! in effect he is here, I appeal to the heart of that obdurate man, what would have been his testimony, if he had dared to venture a personal evidence on this trial? Is a tyranny of this kind to be borne with, where law is said to exist? Shall the horrors which surround the informer, the ferocity of his countenance, and the terrors of his voice, cast such a wide and appalliog iniluence, that none dare approach and save the victim, which he marks for ignomy and death! At such a time as this, do you think it wise to say, on the evidence of this abomiñable O'Brien, that if the enemy was to invade the country, there are one hundred and eleven thousand men ready to run to his standard ? I ask you seriously, are you prepared to embark your respectable characters, in the same bottom with this detestable informer? - Are you ready on such evidence, to take away, one by one the lives of an hundred thousand men, by prosecution in a court of justice? Are you prepared, when O'Brien shall come forward against ten thousand of your fellow citizens, to assist him in digging the graves, which he has destined to receive them one by one? If you would not take his services in exchange for wages, will you take his perjury in exchange for the life of a fellow creature ? How will you feel, if the assignats of such evidence, pass current for human blood ? How will you bear the serrated and iron fangs of remorse, gnawing at your hearts, if, in the moment of abandonment, you suffer the victim to be massacred, even in your arms ? What said the innocent countryman, Patrick Cavanagh ?-Pursuing the even tenor of his way, in the paths of honest industry, he is in the act of fulfilling the decree of his Maker; he is earning his bread by the sweat of his brow, when this villain, less pure than the arch fiend who brought this sentence of laborious action on mankind, enters the habitation of peace and

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »