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taken, in occasional meetings and conversations, to attempt to tamper with the testimony of this witness. There are other practices, which, next to an actual tampering with the testimony of a witness, are extremely mischievous to the regular course and administration of justice. I mean attempts to lure a witness into conversations respecting the subject of his testimony; of this we have seen many very blamable instances in the course of the present circuit, where conversations have been set on foot for the purpose of catching at some particular expressions, inadvertently dropped by a witness, and of afterwards bringing them forward, separately and detached from the rest of the conversation, in order to give a different color and complexion to the substance of his evidence, and to weaken the effect and credit of the whole.

Gentlemen, these attempts are too commonly made; happily, however, for public justice, they are commonly unsuccessful, because they do and must, with every honorable mind, recoil upon the party making them.

Private applications to a person not only known to be an adverse witness, but to be the very witness upon whose credit the prosecution most materially depends; private conversations with such a witness, for the purpose of getting from him declarations which may be afterwards opposed in seeming contradiction to his solemn testimony upon oath, are of themselves so dishonorable, that, with every well-disposed and well-judging mind, they will naturally produce an effect directly contrary to the expectations of the persons who make them.

I know, gentlemen, what I have most to fear upon this occasion ; I know the vigor and energy of the mind of my learned friend. I have long felt and admired the powerful effects of his various talents; I know the ingenious sophistry by which he can mislead, and the fascination of that eloquence by which he can subdue the minds of those to whom he addresses himself. I know what he can do to-day, by seeing what he has done upon many other occasions before.

But at the same time, gentlemen, knowing what he is, I am somewhat consoled in knowing you. I have practiced for several years in this place; I know the sound discretion and judgment by which your verdicts are generally governed ; and upon the credit of that experience, I trust that it will not be in the power of my friend, by any arts he is able to employ, to seduce you a single step from the sober paths of truth and justice. You will hear the evidence with the attention which becomes men who are deciding on the fate of others. If these defendants be innocent, and my learned friend is able to substantiate their innocence, to your satisfaction, for God's sake let them be acquitted; but if that innocence cannot be clearly and satisfactorily established, I stand here interested as I am in common with him in the acquittal of innocence, at the same time, however, demanding the rights of public justice against the guilty. It imports the safety of yourselves, it imports the safety of our country, it imports the existence and security of everything that is dear to us, if these men be not innocent, that no considerations of tenderness and humanity, no considerations of any sort, short of what the actual abstract justice of the case may require, should prevent the hand of punishment from falling heavy on them.

Having therefore, gentlemen, given you this short detail and explanation of the principal facts which are about to be laid before you in evidence, I will now close the first part of the trouble I must give you. I shall, by-and-by, when my learned friend has adduced that evidence by which he will attempt to assail the character and credit of the principal witness for the prosecution, have an opportunity of addressing you again ; and, I trust, in the meantime, whatever attention you may be disposed to pay to the exertions of those who will labor to establish the innocence of the persons now arraigned before you, that you will, at the same time, steadily bear in mind the duties which you owe to yourselves and to your country; recollecting, as I am sure you will, that we all look up to your firmness and integrity at this moment, for the

protection of that constitution from which we derive every blessing we individually or collectively enjoy.

SPEECH OF MR. ERSKINE. .

GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY: I listened with the greatest attention, and in honor of my learned friend I must say with the greatest approbation, to much of his address to you in the opening of this cause; it was candid and manly, and contained many truths which I have no interest to deny; one in particular which involves in it indeed the very principle of the defence, the value of that happy constitution of government which has so long existed in this island. I hope that none of us will ever forget the gratitude which we owe to the Divine Providence, and, under its blessings, to the wisdom of our forefathers, for the happy establishment of law and justice under which we live, and under which, thank God, my clients are this day to be judged. Great indeed will be the condemnation of any man who does not feel and act as he ought to do upon this subject; for surely if there be one privilege greater than another, which the benevolent Author of our being has been pleased to dispense to bis creatures since the existence of the earth which we inhabit, it is to have cast our lots in this age and country. For myself, I would in spirit prostrate myself daily and hourly before Heaven to acknowledge it, and instead of coming from the house of Mr. Walker, and accompanying him at Preston, the only truths which the witness has uttered since he came into court, if I believed him capable of committing the crimes he is charged with, I would rather have gone into my grave

than have been found as a friend under his roof.

Gentlemen, the crime imputed to the defendant is a serious one indeed; Mr. Law has told

you,

and told you truly, that this indictment has not at all for its object to condemn or to question the particular opinions which Mr. Walker and the other defendants may entertain concerning the principles of this government, or the reforms which the wisest governments may from time to time require; he is indeed a man of too enlarged a mind to think for a moment that his country can be served by interrupting the current of liberal opinion, or overawing the legal freedom of English sentiment by the terrors of criminal prosecution; he openly disavows such a system, and bas, I think, even more than hinted to us that there may be seasons

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