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I adınit with my learned friend, is simply an introduction; and is stated in the Information, merely to show that the author himself knew the position and state of things ; viz. that the Impeachment had been carried up to the House of Lords, and was there depending for their judgment.
Then, after having reasoned somewhat upon the introduction to these several articles of impeachment, and after having stated that these had been circulated in India, he goes on to say,
“ Will accusations, built upon such a baseless fa" bric, prepossess the public in favour of the Im
peachment? What credit can we give to multiplied “ and accumulated charges, when we find that they “ originate from misrepresentation and falsehood ?"
My learned friend himself told you, in a subsequent part of his speech, that those accusations originated from an inquiry, which lasted two years and a half, by a Secret Committee of the House of Commons (of which I myself was a pretty laborious member): if that be so, what pretence is there here for impregnating the public with a belief, that from false, scandalous, and fabricated materials, those Charges did originate? Is not that giving a directly false impression to the public ?-Are not those to be protected from slander of this sort, who take so much pains to investigate what appears to them, in the result, to be a fit matter not for them to decide ultimately upon, but to put in a course of trial, where, ultimaiely, justice will be done?
Has my learned friend attempted any explanation, or other interpretation, to be put upon
these words, than that which the Information imputes ?
- If, after exerting all your efforts in the cause "s of your country, you'return covered with laurels,
and crowned with success; if you preserve a loyal $6 attachment to your Sovereign ; you may expect " the thunders of parliamentary vengeance ;--you “ will certainly be impeached, and probably be un. 66 done."
Is it to be said, and circulated in print all over the world, that the House of Commons is composed of such materials, that exactly in proportion to a man's merit is their injustice and inhuman tyranny?-Is that to be said or printed freely, under the pretext that the author is zealous in the interest of a gentleman under misfortune?-But it is said, there are forty libels every day published against this gentleman, and no one is permitted to defend him ; -Let all mankind defend him :- let every man that pleases write what he will, provided he does it within the verge of the law; if he does it as a manly and good subject, confining himself to reasonable and good argument. :: My learned friend says, If you stop this, the press is gagged; that it never can be said with im. punity, that the King and the constable are in the same predicament. The King and the constable are in one respect in the same predicament, with great difference indeed in the gradation, and in the comparison ; but, without all question, both are magistrates : the one the highest, to whom we look with awe and reverence; and to the other, with obedience, when within his sphere: that may be freely said in this country, and ever will be said. But is it the way to secure the liberty of the
press, that at the time when the nation is solemnly engaged in the investigation of the conduct of one of its first servants, that servant should not only be defended by fair argument and reason, as far as it goes, but that his accusers are to be charged with malice and personal animosity against him?
If the audacious voice of slander shall go so high as that with impunity, who is there that will ever undertake to be an accuser in this country? I am sure I, for one, who sometimes am called upon (I hope as sparingly as public exigency will admit of) to exercise that odious and disagreeable task, would with pleasure sacrifice my gown, if I saw it established, that even the highest accusers that the country knows, are under the pretence of the defence of an individual, to be vilified and degraded. If this be permitted, can subordinate accusers expect to escape?
Gentlemen, give me leave again to remind you, that nothing can ever secure a valuable blessing so effectually, as enforcing the temperate, legal, and discreet use of it; and it cannot be necessary for the liberty of the press, that it should be licentious to such an extreme, Believe me, that if this country should be worked up, as I expressed it yesterday, to a paroxysm of disgust against the licentiousness of the press,
which has attacked all ranks of men, and now at last has mounted up to the legislative body, its liberty perhaps never can be in greater danger :--something may be done in that paroxysm of disgust, which might be the gradual means of sapping the foundation of that best of our liberties—A FREE PRESS.
Is it not obvious to common sense, that if the whole country is rendered indignant by the licentiousness of the press knowing no bounds, this is the instant of greatest hazard to its freedom? Besides, is the folly of the subjects of Great Britain such, that, in order to enjoy a thing in all its perfection, and to all its good purposes, it is necessary to encourage its extremest licentiousness? If you shall encourage this its extremest licentiousness (I venture to call it such when the great accusatorial body of the nation is slandered in this manner), if you give it such encouragement to-day, no man can tell where it will reach hereafter.
Therefore, so far from cramping the press, so far from sapping its foundation, so far from doing it an injury; you are, on the contrary, taking the surest means to preserye it, by distinguishing the two parts of this book, and by saying,,True it is, that any man is at liberty to expound and to explain in print the conduct of another,—to justify it, if he pleases, by stating, in a manly way, that which belongs to his subject; but the moment that he steps aside, and slanders an individual, much more the awful body of the representatives of the people, there he has done wrong ;-there he has trespassed upon the liberty of the press, and has imminently hazarded its existence.
Gentlemen, lay your hands upon your hearts, ask yourselves as men of honour (because I know that binds you as much as your oaths); ask yourselves, whether the true meaning of this libel is not, that' not from public grounds,--not from conviction,-not with a view to render public service, but from private pique,- from private malice, --from bye motives, which I call corruption, the House of Commons have been induced to send this Gentle . mạn to an inquiry before the proper tribunal, and, that too, as the libel expresses it, without even reading it, -without hearing --without consideration ; judge, I say, whether that be not the true exposition of this libel, and then, Gentlemen, consider with yourselves what the effect will be, if you ratify and confirm such an offence, by suffering this Defendant to escape.
LORD KENYON then summed up as follows:
GENTLEMEN OF THE JURY,
I Do not feel that I am called upon to discuss the nature of this libel, or to state to you what the merit of the composition is, or what the