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the sources of a just and liberal, and constitutional jurisprudence, I see every thing for us to hope; into their hands, therefore, with the most affectionate confidence in their virtue, do I commit these precious hopes. Even I may live long enough yet to see the approaching completion, if not the perfect accomplishment of them. Pleased shall I then resign the scene to fitter actors—pleased shall I lay down my wearied head to rest, and say, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”
Let me ask you whether you know of any language which could have adequately described the idea of mercy denied where it ought to have been granted, or of any phrase vigorous enough to convey the indignation which an honest man would have felt upon such a sub
ject 3 Let me beg of you for a moment to suppose that any one of you had been the writer of this very
severe expostulation with the viceroy, and that you had been the witness of the whole progress of this never to be forgotten catastrophe. Let me suppose that you had known the charge upon which Mr. Orr was apprehended, the charge of abjuring that bigotry which had torn and disgraced his country, of pledging him. self to restore the people of his country to their place in the constitution, and of binding himself never to be the betrayer of his fellow-laborers in that enterprise; that you had seen him upon that charge removed from his industry and confined in a jail; that through the slow and lingering progress of twelve tedious months, you had seen him confined in a dungeon, shut out from the common use of air and of his own limbs; that day after day you had marked the unhappy captive, cheered by no sound but the cries of his family, or the clanking of his chains; that you had seen him at last brought to his trial; that you had seen the vile and
perjured informer deposing against his life; that you had seen the drunken, and worn out and terrified jury give in a verdict of death ; that you had seen the same jury, when their returning sobriety had brought back their consciences, prostrate themselves before the humanity of the bench, and pray that the mercy of the crown might save their characters from the reproach of an involuntary crime, their consciences from the torture of eternal self-condemnation, and their souls from the indelible stain of innocent blood. Let me suppose that you had seen the respite given, and that contrite and honest recommendation transmitted to that seat where mercy was presumed to dwell; that new, and before unheard of, crimes are discovered against the informer; that the royal mercy seems to relent, and that a new respite is sent to the prisoner; that time is taken, as the learned counsel for the crown has expressed it, to see whether mercy could be extended or not —that after that period of lingering deliberation passed, a third respite is transmitted; that the unhappy captive himself feels the cheering hope of being restored to a family that he had adored, to a character that he had never stained, and to a country that he had ever loved; that you had seen his wife and children upon their knees, giving those tears to gratitude, which their locked and frozen hearts could not give to anguish and despair, and imploring the blessings of Eternal Providence upon his head, who had graciously spared the father, and restored him to his children; that you had seen the olive branch sent into his little ark, but no sign that the waters had subsided—“Alas! nor wife, nor children more shall he behold, nor friends, nor sacred home !” No seraph mercy unbars his dungeon, and leads him forth to light and life, but the minister of death hurries him to the scene of suffering and of shame; where, unmoved by the hostile array of artillery and armed men collected together, to secure or to insult, or to disturb him, he dies with a solemn declaration of his innocence, and utters his last breath in a prayer for the liberty of his country! Let me now ask you, if any of you had addressed the public ear upon so foul and monstrous a subject, in what language would you have conveyed the feelings of horror and indignation ? Would you have stooped to the meanness of qualified complaint % Would you have been mean enough—but I entreat your forgiveness—I do not think meanly of you; had I thought so meanly of you, I could not suffer my mind to commune with you as it has done; had I thought you that base and vile instrument, attuned by hope and by fear into discord and falsehood, from whose vulgar string no groan of suffering could vibrate, no voice of integrity or honor could speak; let me honestly tell you I should have scorned to fling my hand across it, I should have left it to a fitter minstrel; if I do not therefore grossly err in my opinion of you, I could use no language upon such a subject as this, that must not lag behind the rapidity of your feelings, and that would not disgrace those feelings, if it attempted to describe them.
Gentlemen, I am not unconscious that the learned counsel for the crown seemed to address you with a confidence of a very different kind; he seemed to expect a kind and respectful sympathy from you with the feelings of the castle, and the griefs of chided authority. Perhaps, gentlemen, he may know you better than I do; if he do, he has spoken to you as he ought; he has been right in telling you, that if the reprobation of this writer is weak, it is because his genius could not make it stronger; he has been right in telling you that his language has not been braided and festooned as elegantly as it might; that he has not pinched the miserable o of his phraseology, nor placed his patches and feathers with that correctness of millinery which became so exalted a person. If you agree with him, gentlemen of the jury, if you think that the man who ventures at the hazard of his own life, to rescue from the deep, “the drowned honour of his country,” must not presume upon the guilty familiarity of plucking it up by the locks, I have no more to say—do a courteous thing—upright and honest jurors, find a civil and obliging verdict against the printer —And when you have done so, march through the ranks of your fellowcitizens to your own homes, and bear their looks as ye pass along : retire to the bosoms of your families and your children, and when you are presiding over the morality of the parental board, tell those infants who are to be the future men of Ireland, the history of this day. Form their young minds by your precepts, and confirm those precepts by your own example ; teach them how discreetly allegiance may be perjured on the table, or loyalty be forsworn in the jury-box—and when you have done so, tell them the story of Orr; tell them of his captivity, of his children, of his hopes, of his disappointments, of his courage, and of his death; and when you find your little hearers hanging upon your lips, when you see their eyes overflow with sympathy and sorrow, and their young hearts bursting with the pangs of anticipated orphanage, tell them, that You had the boldness, and the injustice, to stigmatize the man who had dared to publish the transaction
Merciful God! what is the state of Ireland, and where shall you find the wretched inhabitant of this land You may find him perhaps in a jail, the only place of security, I had almost said of ordinary habitation; you may see him flying by the conflagration of his own dwelling; or you may find his bones bleaching on the green fields of his country; or he may be found tossing upon the surface of the ocean, and mingling his groans with those tempests, less savage than his rsecutors, that drift him to a returnless distance from is family and his home. And yet, with these facts ringing in the ears, and staring in the face of the prosecutor, you are called upon to say, on your oaths, that these facts do not exist You are called upon, in defiance of shame, of truth, of honor, to deny the sufferings under which you groan, and to flatter the persecution which tramples you under foot!
But the learned gentleman is further pleased to say, that the traverser has charged the government with the encouragement of informers. This, gentlemen, is another small fact that you are to deny at the hazard of your souls, and upon the solemnity of your oaths. You are upon your oaths to say to the sister country, that the government of Ireland uses no such abominable instruments of destruction as informers. Let me ask you honestly, what do you feel, when in my hearing, when in the face of this audience, you are called upon to give a verdict that every man of us, and every man of you, know by the testimony of your own eyes to be utterly and absolutely false? I speak not now of the public proclamation of informers, with a promise of secrecy and of extravagant reward; I speak not of the fate of those horrid wretches who have been so often transferred from the table to the dock, and from the dock to the pillory; I speak of what your own eyes have seen day after day during the course of this commission, from the box where you are now sitting; the number of horrid miscreants, who avowed upon their oaths, that they had come from the very seat of government—from the castle where they had been worked upon by the fear of death and the hopes of compensation, to give evidence against their fellows, that the mild and wholesome councils of this government are holden over these catacombs of living death, where the wretch that is buried a man, lies till his heart has time to fester and dissolve, and is then dug up a witness.
Is this fancy, or is it fact? Have you not seen him after his resurrection from that tomb, after having been dug out of the region of death and corruption, make his appearance upon the table, the living image of life and of death, and the supreme arbiter of both Have you not marked when he entered, how the stormy wave of the multitude retired at his approach Have you not marked how the human heart bowed to the supremacy of his power, in the undissembled homage of deferential horror? How his glance, like the lightning of heaven, seemed to rive the body of the accused, and mark it for