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of them injured in their credit. How, I again ask, my Lords, is a plot ever to be discovered, except by the means of these two principles ? Nay, there are instances in which plots have been discovered, through the medium of the second principle, when the first had happened to fail. When venerable witnesses have been seen to be brought forward—when persons above all suspicion have lent themselves for a season to impure plans—when nothing seemed possible—when no resource for the guiltless seemed open—they have almost providentially escaped from the snare by the second of these two principles; by the evidence breaking down where it was not expected to be sifted; by a weak point being found, where no pains from not foreseeing the attack had been made to support it. Your Lordships recollect that great passage-I say great, for it is poetically just and eloquent–in the Sacred Writings, when the Elders had joined themselves, two of them in a plot which had appeared to have succeeded, “ for that,” as the Scriptures say, “they “had hardened their hearts, and had turned away their
eyes, that they might not look at Heaven, and that they might do the purposes “ of unjust judgments.” But they, though giving a clear, consistent, uncontradicted story, were disappointed, and their victim was rescued
from their gripe, by the trifling circumstance of a contradiction about a mastich tree. Let not man call those contradictions, or those falsehoods which false witnesses swear to from needless falsehood, such as Sacchi, about his changing his name; or such as Demont, about her letters; or such as Majocchi, about the banker's clerk, or such as all the others belonging to the other witnesses, not going to the main body of the case, but to the main body of the credit
the witnesses-let not man rashly and blindly call those accidents--they are dispensations of that Providence, which wills not that the guilty should triumph, and which favourably protects the innocent.
Such, my Lords, is this case now before you ! Such is the evidence in support of this measure -inadequate to prove à debt-impotent to deprive of any civil right-ridiculous to convict of the lowest offence-scandalous if brought forward to support a charge of the highest nature which the law knows-monstrous to ruin the honour of an English Queen! What shall I say, then, if this is their case—if this is the species of proof by which an act of judicial legislature, an ex post facto law, is sought to be passed against this defenceless woman! My Lords, I pray
your Lordships to pause. You are standing on the brink of a precipice. It will go forth, your judgment if it goes against the Queen; but it will be the only judgment you ever will pronounce, which will fail in its object, and return upon those who give it. My Lords, from the horrors of this catastrophe-save the countrysase yourselves from this situation. Rescue that country, of which you are the ornaments, but in
could flourish no longer when severed from the people, than the blossom when cut off from the root and stem of the tree-save that country, that you may continue to adorn itsave the Crown, which is in jeopardy—the aristocracy, which is shaken—the altar, which never more can stand secure amongst the shocks that shall rend its kindred throne. You have said, my Lords, you have willed—the Church and the King have willed—that the Queen should be deprived of its solemn service. She has, indeed, instead of that solemnity, the heartfelt prayers of the people. She wants no prayers of mine. But I do here pour forth my supplications at the Throne of Mercy, that that mercy may be poured down upon the people of this country, in a larger measure than the merits of its rulers may deserve, and that your hearts may be turned to justice.
EXTRACTS FROM A SPEECH
IN DEFENCE OF
JOHN AMBROSE WILLIAMS,
A LIBEL ON THE CLERGY,
THE ASSIZES FOR THE COUNTY OF DURHAM,
AUGUST 6th, 1822.
My Learned Friend* has asked if the Defendant knows that the Church is established by law? He knows it, and so do I. The Church is established by law, as the civil Governmentas all the institutions of the country are established by law--as all the offices under the Crown are established by law, and all who fill them are by the law protected. It is not more established, nor more protected, than those institutions, officers, and office bearers, each of which is recognized and favoured by the law as much as the Church; but I never yet have heard, and I trust I never shall; least of all do
* Mr. (now Sir James) Scarlett, Attorney General of the Lord Bishop of Durham.
I expect in the lesson which your verdict this day will read, to hear, that those officers and office bearers, and all those institutions, sacred and secular, and the conduct of all, whether laymen or priests, who administer them, are not the fair subject of open, untrammelled, manly, zealous, and even vehement discussion, as long as this country pretends to liberty, and prides herself on the possession of a free press.
In the publication before you, the Defendant has not attempted to dispute the high character of the Church; on that establishment, or its members generally, he has not endeavoured to fix any stigma. Those topics, then, are foreign to the present inquiry, and I have no interest in discussing them; yet, after what has fallen from my Learned Friend, it is fitting that I should claim for this Defendant, and for all others, the right to question, freely to question, not only the conduct of the Ministers of the Established Church, but even the foundations of the Church itself. It is, indeed, unnecessary for my present purpose, because I shall demonstrate that the paper before you does not touch upon those points; but unnecessary though it be, as my Learned Friend has defied me, I will follow him to the field, and say, that if there is any one of the institutions of the country which, more