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liberty, the more perfect will be their obedience. Slavery they can have anywhere. It is a weed that grows
every soil. They may have it from Spain, they may have it from Prussia. But until you become lost to all feeling of your true interest and your natural dignity, freedom they can have from none but you. This is the commodity of price, of which you have the monopoly. This is the true act of navigation, which binds to you the commerce of the colonies, and through them secures to you
the wealth of the world. Is it not the same virtue which does every thing for us here in England? Do you imagine then, that it is the landtax act which raises your revenue? that it is the annual vote in the committee of supply, which gives you your army? or that it is the mutiny bill which inspires it with bravery and discipline? No! surely no! It is the love of the people; it is their attachment to their government, from the sense of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you your army and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience, without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten timber.”
Gentlemen, to conclude, my fervent wish is, that we may not conjure up a spirit to destroy ourselves, nor set the example here of what in another country we deplore. Let us cherish the old and venerable laws of our forefathers. Let our judicial administration be strict and pure; and let the jury of the land preserve the life of a fellow-subject, who only asks it from them upon the same terms under which they hold their own lives, and all that is dear to them and their posterity for ever. Let me repeat the wish with which I began my address to you, and which proceeds from the very bottom of my heart; may it please God, who is the author of all mercies to mankind, whose providence, I am persuaded, guides and superintends the transactions of the world, and whose guardian spirit has forever hovered over this prosperous island, to direct and fortify your judgments. I am aware I have not acquitted myself to the unfortunate man, who has put his trust in me, in the manner I could have wished; yet I am unable to proceed any further; exhausted in spirit and in strength, but confident in the expectation of justice. There is one thing more, however, that, if I can,
I must state to you, namely, that I will show, by as many witnesses as it may be found necessary or convenient for you to hear upon the subject, that the views of the Societies were what I have alleged them to be; that whatever irregularities or indiscretions they might have committed, their purposes were honest; and that Mr. Hardy's, above all other men, can be established to have been so. I have, indeed, an honorable gentlemen (Mr. Francis) in my eye, at this moment, to be called hereafter as a witness, who being desirous in his place, as a member of Parliament, to promote an inquiry into the seditious practices complained of, Mr. Hardy offered himself voluntarily to come forward, proffered a sight of all the papers, which were afterwards seized in his custody, and tendered every possible assistance to give satisfaction to the laws of his country, if found to be offended. I will show likewise his character to be religious, temperate, humane, and moderate, and his uniform conduct all that can belong to a good subject, and an honest man. When you have heard this evidence, it will, beyond all doubt, confirm you in coming to the conclusion which, at such great length, for which I entreat your pardon, I have been endeavoring to support.
Upon the conclusion of Mr. Erskine's speech, so powerfully had it affected the multitude of eager auditors that they burst into an irrepressible acclamation which spread through the vast multitude outside, and was taken up and repeated to a great distance around. Thousands of people thronged the streets, all whose sympathies were in favor of the prisoner. So dense was the crowd that it was for some time impossible for the judges to reach their carriages. Mr. Erskine appeared and spoke to the multitude, asking moderation and desiring them to confide in the justice of the country ; reminding them that their only security was under the laws, and that any attempt to thwart or overawe their execution would endanger the lives of the accused. At his request the vast audience quietly dispersed, and the streets were speedily restored to their usual quiet.
The trial continued to the 5th of November, the evidence for the prisoner being ably summed up by Sir Vicary Gibbs. to which the Solicitor-General, afterwards Lord Redesdale replied. The jury were charged by the Lord Chief Justice who presided over the commission, and returned a verdict of “Not Guilty.”
END OF VOL. II.