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ty, manifests the respect of nations for each other, by an expedition deliberately and principally directed against palaces of government, halls of legislation, tribunals of justice, repositories of the muniments of property, and of the records of history-objects among civilized nations exempted from the ravages of war, and secured, as far as possible, even from its accidental operation, because they contribute nothing to the means of hostility, but are consecrated to purposes of peace, and minister to the common and perpetual interest of all human society. It seems to me an aggravation of this atrocious measure, that ministers have attempted to justify the destruction of a distinguished capital as a retaliation for some violences of inferior American officers, unauthorized and disavowed by their government, against I know not what village in Upper Canada. To make such retaliation just, there must always be clear proof of the outrage; in general also, sufficient evidence that the adverse government refused to make due reparation for it, and at least some proportion of the punishment to the offense. Here there was very imperfect evidence of the outrage-no proof of refusal to repair—and demonstration of the excessive and monstrous iniquity of what was falsely called retaliation.
The value of a capital is not to be estimated by its houses, and ware-houses, and shops. It consists chiefly in what can neither be numbered nor weighed. It was not even by the elegance or grandeur of its monuments, that it was most dear to a generous people. They looked upon it with affection and pride as the seat of legislation, as the sanctuary of public justice, often as linked with the memory of past times, still more as connected with their fondest and proudest hopes of greatness to come. To put all these respectable feelings of a great people, sanctified by the illustrious name of WASHINGTON, on a level with a half a dozen wooden sheds in the temporary seat of a provincial government, was an act of intolerable insolence, and implied as much contempt for the feelings of America, as for the common-sense of mankind.
XLIII. EXTRACTS FROM MR. ERSKINE'S SPEECH FOR STOCKDALE.
When Warren Hastings was prosecuted by the House of Commons, the charges against him were published by order of the house, together with the remarks of Mr. Burke, (one of the managers,) and were circulated throughout the British Empire. Mr. Logan, a clergyman in Scotland, published remarks upon the allegations thus circulated, and his pamphlet was published by Mr. Stockdale, a London printer, who was prosecuted by the House of Commons for the publication.
N. B.-It is recommended that the different“ Parts," should be committed by separate speakers, and that they should be recited in succession in colleges and schools, as public declamations. The unity of the subject will thus be preserved, an agreeable variety be produced by a succession of different speakers, and a spirit of emulation maintained among the students engaged.
PART I. Mr. Erskine thus at once interests his hearers in the situation of Mr. Hastings, and consequently of his defender.
Gentlemen-Before I venture to lay the book before you, it must be yet further remembered (for the fact is equally notorious,) that, under these inauspicious circumstances, the trial of Mr. Hastings at the bar of the Lords had actually commenced long before its publication, There the most august and striking spectacle was daily exhibited, which the world ever witnessed. A vast stage of justice was erected, awful from its high authority, splendid from its illustrious dignity, venerable from the learning and wisdom of its judges, captivating and affecting from the mighty concourse of all ranks and conditions which daily focked into it, as into a theater of pleasure ;—there, when the whole public mind was at once awed and softened to the impression of every hu
man affection, there appeared, day after day, one after another, men of the most powerful and exalted talents, eclipsing by their accusing eloquence the most boasted harangues of antiquity-rousing the pride of national resentment by the boldest invectives against broken faith and violated treaties—and shaking the bosom with alternate pity and horror by the most glowing pictures of insulted nature and humanity ;-ever animated and energetic, from the love of fame, which is the inherent passion of genius;—firm and indefatigable, from a strong prepossession of the justice of their cause.
Gentlemen, when the author sat down to write the book now before you, all this terrible, unceasing, exhaustless artillery of warm zeal, matchless vigor of understanding, consuming and devouring eloquence, united with the highest dignity, was daily, and without prospect of conclusion, pouring forth upon one private unprotected man, who was bound to hear it, in the face of the whole people of England, with reverential submission and silence.--I do not complain of this as I did of the publication of the Charges, because it is what the law allowed and sanctioned in the course of public trial: but when it is remembered that we are not angels, but weak fallible men, and that even the noble judges of that high tribunal are clothed beneath their ermines with the common infirmities of man's nature, it will bring us all to a proper temper for considering the book itself, which will in a few moments be laid before you. But first, let me once more remind you, that it was under all these circumstances, and amidst the blaze of passion and prejudice, which the scene I have been endeavoring faintly to describe to you might be supposed likely to produce, that the author, whose name I will now give to you, sat down to compose the book which is prosecuted to day as a libel.
: Part II. Mr. E. now brings the author before the audience, thus skillfully prepared for his favorable reception,
Gentlemen, the author of the Pamphlet, charged as a libel, felt for the situation of a fellow-citizen, exposed to a trial which, whether right or wrong, is undoubtedly a severe one;-a trial, certainly not confined to a few criminal acts like those we are accustomed to, but comprehending the transactions of a whole life, and the complicated politics of numerous and distant nations ;-a trial, which had neither visible limits to its duration, bounds to its expense, nor circumscribed compass for the grasp of memory or understanding ;-a trial which had therefore broke loose from the common form of decision, and had become the universal topic of discussion in the world, superseding not only every other grave pursuit, but every fashionable dissipation.
Gentlemen, the question you have therefore to try upon all this matter is extremely simple. It is neither more nor less than this.—At a time when the charges against Mr. Hastings were, by the implied consent of the Commons, in every hand, and on every table ;-when, by their managers, the lightning of eloquence was incessantly consuming him, and flashing in the eyes of the public ;—when every man was with perfect impunity saying, and writing, and publishing, just what he pleased, of the supposed plunderer and devastator of nations, would it have been criminal in Mr. Hastings himself to have reminded the public that he was a native of this free land, entitled to the common protection of her justice, and that he had a defense in his turn to offer to them, the outlines of which he implored them in the meantime to receive, as an antidote to the unlimited and unpunished poison in circulation against him? This is, without color or exaggeration, the true question you are to decide. Because I assert, without the hazard of contradiction, that if Mr. Hastings himself could have stood justified or excused in your eyes for publishing this volume in his own defense, the author, if he wrote it bona fide to defend him, must stand equally excused and justified; and if the author be justified, the publisher cannot be criminal, unless you had evidence that it was published by him with a different spirit and intention from those in which it was written. The question therefore is correctly what I just now stated it to be : Could Mr. Hastings have been condemned to infamy for writing this book ? Gentlemen, 1 tremble with indignation, to be driven to put such a question in England. Shall it be endured, that a subject of this country (instead of being arraigned and tried for some single act in her ordinary courts, where the accusation, as soon at least as it is made public, is followed within a few hours by the decision) may be impeached by the Commons for the transactions of twenty years—that the accusation shall spread as wide as the region of letters—that the accused shall stand, day after day, and year after year, as a spectacle before the public, which shall be kept in a perpetual state of inflammation against him: yet that he shall not, without the severest penalties, be permitted to submit any thing to the judgment of mankind in his defense? If this be law, (which it is for you to day to decide, such a man has no TRIAL : That great hall, built by our fathers for English justice, is no longer a court, but an altar; and an Englishman, instead of being judged in it by GOD AND HIS COUNTRY, IS A VICTIM AND A SACRIFICE.
Part III. Mr. Erskine now proceeds to show, that the author, from the circumstances hitherto made known, must naturally have formed a conclusion favorable to Mr. Hastings, and that his pamphlet was therefore a bona fide defense; that the absense of witnesses against Mr. Hastings led to such a conclusion.
Will the Attorney-General proceed then to detect the hypocrisy of our author, by giving us some detail of the proofs by which these personal enormities have been established, and which the writer must be supposed to have been acquainted with ? I ask this as the defender of Mr.