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chat your hearts can be more at ease than my and preferred to come forward in the ungracious own; I have no right to expect it; but I have a form of ex officio information. rigbt to call upon you in the name of your coun- If such bill had been sent up and founa, Mr. try, in the name of the living God, of whose eter- Rowan would have been tried at the Backwardness nal justice you are now administering that por next commission; but a speedy trial bring sion which dwells with us on this side of the was not the wish of his prosecutors. trial grave, to discharge your breasts, as far as you An information was filed, and when he expected are able, of every bias of prejudice or passion; to be tried upon it, an error, it seems, was dis. that if my client is guilty of the offense charged covered in the record. Mr. Rowan offered to upon him, you may give tranquillity to the pub-wave it, or consent to any amendment desired lic by a firm verdict of conviction; or if he is in. No. That proposal could not be accepted. A uooent, by as firm a verdict of acquittal; and that trial must have followed. That information, you will do this in defiance of the paltry artifices therefore, was withdrawn, and a new one filed; and sensel:ss clamors that have been resorted to that is, in fact, a third prosecution was instituted in order to bring him to his trial with anticipated upon the same charge. This last was filed on corviction. And, gentlemen, I feel an additional the eighth day of last July. Gentlemen, these necessity of thus conjuring you to be upon your facts can not fail of a due impression upon you. guard, from the able and imposing statement You will find a material part of your inquiry which you have just heard on the part of the must be, whether Mr. Rowan is pursued as a prosecution. I know well the virtues and the criminal or hunted down as a victim. It is not, talents of the excellent person who conducts that therefore, by insinuation or circuity, but it is prosecution; I know how much he would dis- boldly and directly that I assert, that oppression Jain to impose upon you by the trappings of of has been intended and practiced upon him; and fice; but I also know how easily we mistake the by thosc facts which I have stated I am warrantlodgment which character and eloquence caned in the assertion make upon our feelings, for those impressions His demand, his entreaty to be tried was rethat reason, and fact, and proof, only ought to fused; and why? A hue and cry was The design wan work upon our understandings.
to be raised against him ; the sword hooverwhelin
him with preju Perhaps, gentlemen, I shall act not unwisely was to be suspended over bis head; dice. in waving any further observation of this sort, some time was necessary for the public mind to and giving your minds an opportunity of grow become heated by the circulation of artful claining cool and resuming themselves, by coming to ors of anarchy and rebellion ; those same clama calm and uncolored statement of mere facts.ors which, with more probability, and not moro premising only to you that I have it in the strict success, had been circulated before through Enesi injunction from my client to defend him upon gland and Scotland. In this country the causes facts and evidence only, and to avail myself of and the swiftness of their progress were as obno technical artifice or subtilty that could with- vious, as their folly has since become to every draw his cause from the test of that inquiry man of the smallest observation. I have been which it is your province to exercise, and to stopped myself with, “Good God, sir, have you which only he wishes to be indebted for an ac heard the news ?" No, sir, what? “Why one quittal.
French emissary was seen traveling through In the month of December, 1792, Mr. Rowan Connaught in a post-chaise, and scattering from Preliminary was arrested on an information charg- the windows as he passed, little doses of politi. permarketing him with the offense for which he cal poison, made up in square bits of paper; an. Mr. Rowan is now on his trial. He was taken be other was actually surprised in the fact of seduc in the early stages of the fore an honorable personage now on ing our good people from their allegiance, by
tion. that bench, and admitted to bail. He discourses upon the indivisibility of French rob. remained a considerable time in this city, solicit- bery and massacre, which he preached in the ing the threatened prosecution, and offering him- French language to a congregation of Irish peas. sell to a fair trial by a jury of his country; but ants !" it was not then thought fit to yield to that solic- Such are the bugbears and spectres to be raised itation; nor has it now been thought proper to to warrant the sacrifice of whatever little public prosecute him in the ordinary way, by sending spirit may remain among us; bat time has also up a bill of indictment to a grand jury. I do not detected the imposture of these Cock-lane apmean by this to say that informations ex officio paritions, and you can not now, with your eyes are always oppressive or unjust; but I can not open, give a verdict without asking your conbut observe to you, that when a petty jury is sciences this question : Is this a fair and honest called upon to try a charge not previously found precaution? Is it brought forward with the sin. by the grand inquest, and supported by the na. gle view of vindicating public justice, and pro ked assertion only of the King's prosecutor, the moting public good ? accusation labors under a weakness of probabili. And here let me remind you that you are nou r which it is difficult to assist. If the charge had convened to try the guilt of a libel Difference lom no cause of dreading the light; if it was likely to affecting the personal character of the Polis and the sanction of a grand jury, it is not easy any private man. I know no case in freest remarks to account why it deserted 'he more usual, the which a jury ought to be more severe nent. more popular, and the more constitutional mode, I than when personal calumny is conveyed throug!
on the govern
a vehicle, which ought to be consecrated to pub- tions of this extent would have been deemed im. lic information ; neither, on the other hand, can proper to a jury; happily for tisese countries, the I conceive any case in which the firmness and Legislature of each has lately changed, or, per 11.e caution of a jury should be more exerted than haps, to speak more properly, revived and rewhen a subject is prosecuted for a libel on the stored the law respecting trials of this kind. For state. The peculiarity of the British Constitu. the space of thirty or forty years, a usage had lion (to which, in its fullest extent, we have an prevailed in Westminster Hall, by wnich the undoubted right, however distant we may be judges assumed to themselves the decision of the from the actual enjoyment), and in which it sur question, whether libel or not. But the learr. passes every known government in Europe, is ed counsel for the prosecution are now oblige: this, that its only professed object is the general to admit that this is a question for the jury only good, and its only foundation the general will. to decide. You will naturally listen with re Hence the people have a right, acknowledged spect to the opinion of the court, but you will refrom time immemorial, fortified by a pile of ceive it as matter of advice, not as matter of statutes, and authenticated by a revolution that law; and you will give it credit, not froin any speaks louder than them all, to see whether adventitious circumstances of authority, but mere. abuses have been committed, and whether their ly so far as it meets the concurrence of your properties and their liberties have been attended own inderstandings. to as they ought to be. This is a kind of sub-! Give me leave, now, to state to you the charge ject which I feel myself overawed when I ap- as it stands upon the record : It is, Clarge sind proach. There are certain fundamental princi- that Mr. Rowan," being a person of a Mr. Fowaa ples which nothing but necessity should expose wicked and turbulent disposition, and malicious. to a public examination. They are pillars, the ly designing and intending to excite and diffuse depth of whose foundation you can not explore among the subjects of this realm of Ireland, diswithout endangering their strength; but let it contents, jealousies, and suspicions of our Lord be recollected that the discussion of such topics the King and his government, and disaffection and should not be condemned in me, nor visited upon disloyalty to the person and government of our my client. The blame, if any there be, should said Lord the King, and to raise very dangerous rest only with those who have forced them into seditions and tumults within this kingdom of Ire.
discussion. I say, therefore, it is the land and to draw the government of this kingof remark on right of the people to keep an eter- dom into great scandal, infamy, and disgrace; their rulers the right of the peo. nal watch upon the conduct of their and to incite the subjects of our said Lord the ple.
rulers; and in order to that, the free- King to attempt, by force and violence, and with dom of the press has been cherished by the law arms, to make alterations in the government, of England. In private defamation, let it never state, and Constitution of this kingdom ; and to be tolerated; in wicked and wanton aspersion incite his Majesty's said subjects to tamolt and apun a good and honest administra:jon, let it nev. anarchy, and to overturn the established Constier be supported; not that a good government can tution of this kingdom, and to overawe and in be exposed to danger by groundless accusation, timidate the Legislature of this kingdom by but because a bad government is sure to find in armed force," did "maliciously and seditiously the detected salsehood of a licentious press a se- publish the paper in question. curity and a credit which it could never other Gentlemen, without any observation of mino
you must see that this information Three things must I have said that a good government can not be contains a direct charge upon Mr. Combine to a What, toen, endangered—I say so again; for wheth- Rowan ; namely, that he did, with viction mernment er it be good or bad, can never depend the intents set forth in the information, publish of Ireland? upon assertion; the question is decided this paper, so that here you have, in fact, two or by simple inspection—to try the tree, look at its three questions for your decision : first, the matfruit; to judge of the government, look at the ter of fact of the publication ; namely, Did Mr people. What is the fruit of good government ? | Rowan publish that paper? If Mr. Rowan dia "The virtue and happiness of the people.” Do not, in fact, publish that paper, you have no four millions of people in this country gather longer any question on which to employ your those fruits from that government, to whose in- minds. If you think that he was, in fact, the jured purity, to whose spotless virtue and viola- publisher, then, and not till then, arises the great ted honor, this seditious and atrocious libeler is and important subject to which your judgments to be immolated upon the altar of the Constitu- must be directed. And that comes shortly and tion? To you, gentlemen of that jury, who are simply to this, is the paper a libel; and did he bound by the most sacred obligation to your publish it with the intent charged in the informcountry and your God, to speak nothing but the ation ? But whatever you may think of the actruth, I put the question—Do they gather these stract question, whether the paper be librlous 6: fruits? are they orderly, industrious, religious, and | not, and of which paper it has not even been iccontented ? do you find them free from bigotry sinuated that he is the author, there can be nc and ignorance, those inseparable concomitants of ground for a verdict against him, unless you aler systematic oppression ? or, to try them by a test as are persuaded that what he did was done with a unerring as any of the former, are they united ? The period has now elapsed in which considera ! · Alluding to Mr. Fox's Libel Bill
tkorte las cos
'cers of Ireland
criminal design. I wish, gentlemen, to simpli- one question to you: Do you think the assen. fy, and not to perplex ; I, therefore, say again, bling of that glorious band of patriif these three circumstances conspire—that he ots was an insurrection? Do you not a seditious published it, that it was a libel, and that it was think the invitation to that assem. act. published with the purposes alleged in the in- bling would have been sedition? They came formation, you ought unquestionably to find him under no commission but the call of their country; guilty; if on the other hand, you do not find that unauthorized and unsanctioned, except by public all these circumstances concurred; if you can emergency and public danger. I ask, was that not, upon your oaths, say that he published it, if meeting an insurrection or not? I put another it be not in your opinion a libel, and if he did not question: If any man had then published a call publish it with the intention alleged; I say, upon on that body, and stated that war was declared the failure of any one of these points, my client against the state-that the regular troops were is entitled, in justice, and upon your oaths, to a withdrawn-that our coasts were hovered round verdict of ncquittal..
| by the ships of the enemy—that the moment was Gentleraen, Mr. Attorney General has thought approaching when the unprotected feebleness of
Wie proper to direct your attention to the age and sex, when the sanctity of habitatinr., Topica to bedis cussed in meet state and circumstances of public as would be disregarded and profaned by the brula! 1995 The volun. fairs at the time of this transaction ; ferocity of a rude invader: if any man had then said
anu. let me also make a few retrospective to them, “Leave your industry for a while. that observations on a period at which he has but you may return to it again, and come forth in arms slightly glanced ; I speak of the events which took for the public defense." I put this question boldly place before the close of the American war. to you, gentlemen. It is not the case of the VolYou know, gentlemen, that France had espoused unteers of that day; it is the case of my clierit at the cause of America, and we became thereby this hour, which I put to you. Would that call engaged in war with that nation. Heu nescia have been then pronounced in a court
If not, then the mens hominum futuri !+ Little did that ill-fated of justice, or by a jury on their oaths, call on them to Monarch know that he was forming the first a criminal and seditious invitation to again, not sedi causes of those disastrous events that were to end insurrection ? If it would not have" in the subversion of his throne, in the slaughter been so then, upon what principle can it be so of his family, and the deluging of his country now? What is the force and perfection of the with the blood of his people. You can not but law? It is the permanency of the law; it'is, that remember, that at a time when we had scarce-whenever the fact is the same, the law is also ly a regular soldier for our defense ; when the the same ; it is, that the law remains a written, old and the young were alarmed and terrified monumented, and recorded letter, to pronounce with the apprehension of invasion, Providence the same decision upon the same facts, whenever seemed to have worked a sort of miracle in our they shall arise. I will not affect to conccal it; favor. You saw a band of armed men come you know there has been an artful, ungrateful, forth at the great call of nature, of honor, and and blasphemous clamor raised against these il. their country. You saw men of the greatest lustrious characters, the saviors of the kingdom wealth and rank; you saw every class of the of Ireland. Having mentioned this, let me read community give up its members, and send them a few words of the paper alleged to be criminal: armed into the field, to protect the public and “You first took up arms to protect your country private tranquillity of Ireland. It is impossible from foreign enemies, and from domestic disturb. for any man to turn back to that period without ance. For the same purposes, it now becomes reviving those sentiments of tenderness and grat- necessary that you should resume them." itudo which then beat in the public bosom; 10 I should be the last in the world to impute any recollect amid what applause, what tears, what want of candor to the right honorable This call male prayers, what benedictions, they walked forth gentleman who has stated the case on the old cars, among spectators, agitated by the mingled sen- on behalf of the prosecution ; but he ganization. sations of terror and reliance, of danger and pro- has certainly fallen into a mistake, which, if not tection, imploring the blessings of Heaven upon explained, might be highly injurious to my client. their heads, and its conquest upon their swords. He supposed that this publication was not ad. That illustrious, and adored, and abused body of dressed to the old Volunteers, but to new combimen, stood forward and assumed the title which, nations of them, formed upon new principles, and I trust, the ingratitude of their country will nev | actuated by different motives. You have the cr blot from its history, “THE VOLUNTEERS or words to which this construction is imputed upon ICELAND."
the record; the meaning of his mind can be col. Give me leave, now, with great respect, to put lected only from those words which he has made
use of to convey it. The guilt imputable to him • The passage is from the Æneid of Virgil, book can only be inserred from the meaning ascriba.., line 50:, and relates to Turnus, and his bringing ble to ihose words. Let his meaning then be down upon himself the calamities which at last over. fairly collected by resorting to them. Is there a bok him.
foundation to suppose that this address was die Nescia mens hominum fati sortisque future. rected to any such body of men as has been call.
Such are the minds of men ! ed a banditii, with what justice, it is unnecessa. Unconscious of their fate and coming fortune. Try to inquire, and not to the old Volunteers ? As to the sneer at the word citizen soldiers, I should stated by the Attorney General, and most truly feel that I was treating a very respected friend that the most gloomy apprehensions were enter with ar: insidious and unmerited unkindness, if I tained by the whcle country. “You Volunteer affected to expose it by any gravity of refutation. of Ireland, are therefore summoned to arms al I may, however, be permitted to observe, that the instance of government, as well as by the re. those who are supposed to have disgraced this sponsibility attached to your character, and be expression by adopting it, have taken it from the permanent obligations of your institution." ] idea of the British Constitution, " that no man, am free to confess, if any man assuming the libin becoming a soldier, ceases to be a citizen." erty of a British subject, to question public topWould 10 God, all enemies as they are, that that ics, should, under the mask of that privilege, pob. unfortunate people had borrowed more from that lish a proclamation inviting the profligate and sacred source of liberty and virtue; and would seditious, those in want and those in despair, 14 to God, for the sake of humanity, that they had rise up in arms to overawe the Legislature, to preserved even the little they did borrow. If rob us of whatever portion of the blessings of a even there could be an objection to that appella- free government we possess, I know of no offense tion, it must have been strongest when it was involving g.cater enormity. But that, gentle. first assumed. To that period the writer man- men, is the question you are to try. If my cliifestly alludes; be addresses those who first took ent acted with an honest mind and fair intention up arms: "You first took up arms to protect your and having, as he believed, the authority of gov country from foreign enemies and from domestic ernment to support him in the idea that danger disturbance. For the same purposes, it is now was to be apprehended, did apply to that body necessary that you should resume them.” Is of so known and so revered a character, calling this applicable to those who had never taken up upon them by their former honor, the principle arms before? "A proclamation," says this pa- of their glorious institution, and the great stake per, “has been issued in England, for embody- they possessed in their country; if he interposed, ing the militia, and a proclamation has been is not upon a fictitious pretext, but a real belief of sued by the Lord Lieutenant and Council in Ire-actual and imminent danger, and that their arm. land for repressing all seditious associations. In ing at that critical moment was necessary to their consequence of both these proclamations, it is country, his intention was not only innocent, bu! reasonable to apprehend danger from abroad and highly meritorious. It is a question. gentlemen, danger at home.” God help us; from the situ- upon which you only can decide ; it is for you ation of Europe at that time, we were threaten to say whether it was criminal in the defendant ed with too probable danger from abroad, and to be so misled, and whether he is to fall a sav. I am afraid it was not without foundation that rifice to the prosecution of that governmen: hy we were told our having something to dread at which he was so deceived. I say, again, gantla home.
men, you can look only to his own words as the I find much abuse has been lavished on the dis. interpreter of his meaning, and to the state and It was jnst:fed respect with which the proclamation circumstances of his country, as he was made ic of the is treated in that part of the paper believe them, as the clue to his intention. The
alleged to be a libel. To that my case, then, gentlemen, is shortly and simply this . answer for my client is short; I do conceive it a man of the first family, and fortune, and char. competent to a British subject--if he thinks that acter, and property among you, reads a proclaa proclamation has issued for the purpose of mation, stating the country to be in danger fros raising false terrors,'I hold it to be not only the abroad and at home, and thus alarmed - thus privilege, but the duty of a citizen to set his upon authority of the prosecutor, alarmed, sp countrymen right with respect to such misrep- plies to that august body, before whose awfu resented danger; and until a proclamation in presence sedition must vanish and insurection this country shall have the force of law, the rea- disappear. You must surrender, I hesitate ut son ard grounds of it are surely, at least, ques to say it, your oaths to unsounded assertion, if tionable by the people. Nay, I will go further; you can submit to say that such an act of sael if an actual law had received the sanction of the a man, so warranted, is a wicked and sedition three estates, if it be exceptionable in any mat- libel. If he was a dupe, let me ask you ulk ter, it is warrantable to any man in the commu. was the impostor? I blush and I shrink vih nity lo state, in a becoming manner, his ideas shame and detestation from that meanness o upon it. And I should be at a loss to know, if dupery, and servile complaisance, which could the positive laws of Great Britain are thus ques. make that dupe a victim to the accusation of that tionable, upon what ground the proclamation of impostor. an Irish government should not be open to the You perceive, gentlemen, that I am going into animadversion of an Irish subject.
the merits of this publication. before I apply ref. Whatever be the motive, or from whatever self to the question which is first in order of int. 11 was made with quarter it arises, says this paper, namely, whether the publication, in point of fact, buaest intentione. 6 alarm has arisen." Gentlemen, is to be ascribed to Mr. Rowan or not. I have do you not know that to be the fact? It has been been unintentionally led into this violation de
der. I should effect no purpose of either brexit 3 The old volanteers often used the phrase "citi. or clearness, by returning to the more ruethed IP xotiliere"
Ical course of observation. I have beer naturalh
antion of the goverument,
ary reform: The freest die
drawn from it by the superior importance of the this place. We would, therefore, caution every topic I am upon, namely, the merit of the publi- honest man, who has really the welfare of the cation in question.
nation at heart, to avoid being led away by the This publication, if ascribable at all to Mr. prostituted clamors of those who live on the sourRowan, contains four distinct subjects. The first ces of corruption. We pity the fears of the timthe invitation to the Volunteers to arm. Uponorous; and we are totally unconcerned respecto that I have already observed; but those that | ing the false alarms of the venal. renain are surely of much importance, and no “We view with concern the frequency of wars doubt are prosecuted as equally criminal. The We are persuaded that the interests of the poo paper next states the necessity of a reform in can never be promotoúsy accession of territory, Parliament; it states, thirdly, the necessity of an when bought at the expense of their labor and emancipation of the Catholic inhabitants of Ire-blood; and we must say, in the language of a land; and, as necessary to the achievement of all celebrated author, We, who are only the peothese objects, does, fourthly, state the necessity ple, but who pay for wars with our substance and of a general delegated convention of the people. our blood, will not cease to tell Kings,' or govern
It has been alleged that Mr. Rowan intended ments, 'that to them alone wars are profitable ; (2.) Parliament by this publication to excite the sub-that the true and just conquests are those which
Cort die jects of this country to effect an al- each makes at home by comforting the peasantcussing of thin leration in the form of your Constitu- ry, by promoting agriculture and manufactures, subject allowed in England. tion. And here, gentlemen, perhaps by multiplying men, and the other productions of you may not be unwilling to follow a little further nature; that then it is that kings may call themthan Mr. Attorney General has done, the idea of selves the image of God, whose will is perpetua late prosecution in Great Britain upon the sub-ally directed to the creation of new beings. If ject of a public libel. It is with peculiar fond they continue to make us fight and kill one an. ness I look to that country for solid principles of other, in uniform, we will continue to write and constitutional liberty and judicial example. You speak until nations shall be cured of this folly.' have been pressed in no small degree with the We are certain our present heavy burdens are manner in which this publication marks the dif- owing, in a great measure, to cruel and impolitie ferent orders of our Constitution, and comments wars; and therefore we will do all on our part, upon them. Let me show you wbat boldness of as peaceable citizens who have the good of the animadversion on such topics is thought justifia- community at heart, to enlighten each other, and ble in the British nation, and by a British jury. protest against them. I have in my hand the report of the trial of the “The present state of the representation of the printers of the Morning Chronicle for a supposed people calls for the particular attention of every libel against the state, and of their acquittal : let man who has humanity sufficient to feel for the me read to you some passages from that public honor and happiness of his country; to the decation, which a jury of Englishmen were in vain lects and corruptions of which we are inclined called upon to brand with the name of libel. to attribute unnecessary wars, oppressive taxes,
"Claiming it as our indefeasible right to asso- &c. We think it a deplorable case when the Extracts from the ciate together, in a peaceable and poor must support a corruption which is calcu. Morning Curcanicle. friendly manner, for the communi-lated to oppress them; when the laborer must cation of thoughts, the formation of opinions, and give his money to afford the means of preventing to promote the general happiness, we think it un him having a voice in its disposal; when the low necessary to offer any apology for inviting you er classes may say, “We give you our money to join us in this manly and benevolent pursuit. for which we have toiled and sweated, and which The necessity of the inhabitants of every com- would save our families from cold and hunger; munity endeavoring to procure a true knowledge but we think it more hard that there is nobody of their rights, their duties, and their interests, whom we have delegated to see that it is not im. will not be denied, except by those who are the properly and wickedly spent. We have none to slaves of prejudice, or interested in the continu- watch over our interests. The rich only are repation of abuses. As men who wish to aspire to resented. the title of freemen, we totally deny the wisdom "An equal and uncorrupt representation would, and the humanity of the advice, to approach the we are persuaded, save us from heavy expenses, deleets of government with pious awe and trem- and deliver us from many oppressions. We will, bling solicitude. What better doctrine could the therefore, do our duty to procure this reform, Pope or the tyrants of Europe desire ? We think, which appears to us of the utmost importance. therefore, that the canse of truth and justice can “In short, we see with the most lively con. never be hur: by temperate and honest discus-cern an army of placemen, pensioners, &c., fight sions; and that cause which will not bear such ing in the cause of corruption and prejudice, and a scrutiny must be systematically or practically spreading the contagion far and wide. bad. We are sensible that those who are not “We see with equal sensibility the present friends to the general good, have attempted to outcry against reforms, and a proclamation (tend. inslange the public mind with the cry of Dan-ing to cramp the liberty of the press, and discredit ger,' whenever men have associated for discuss the true friends of the people) receiving the supiog the principles of government, and we have port of numbers of our countrymen. httle doubt but such conduct will be pursued in! “We see burler:s multiplied, the lower classe.