ePub 版

from their common offspring-and in a state churchyard at the usual fees, when his last of the most licentious and unreserved immo-earthly mansion was composed of materials rality. In this case, as in many others, the so durable as to resist for an unusual number happiness of some individuals must be sacri- of years that decomposition which might enaficed to the greater and more general good.”. ble the narrow space to receive a due succes

We wish we could follow the famous civi- sion of occupiers. This subject, so shocking lian through all the delicate windings of this in some of its attendant details, so mortifying "pretty quarrel” between Mr. and Mrs. Evans; to human pride in some of its aspects, bethe masterly analysis of the waiting-woman's comes in his hands suggestive of solemn but motives; the elegant etiquette of the lying-in gentle disquisition on the essence of the sentichamber; the prerogatives of the nurse, and ment which requires the reverent disposal of fantastical distresses of the mistress—and give the dead, and on the forms through which, in some specimens of Sir William Scott's gayer various nations and times, it has been breathed. style. But the embroidery of each case is so From the simplicity of patriarchaldays, through equally woven, the effect so much depends the splendid varieties of that affected duration upon harmony of colour and exact proportion; at which the Egyptian monarchs aimed, down the sly humour is so nicely, and almost im- to the humble necessities of a pauper funeral perceptibly, mingled with the worldly wisdom, and brief sojourn of the untitled dead in a that it would be unjust to tear away fragments domicile of their own, before being associated and exhibit them as specimens. If there is a directly with dust, he discourses—“turning all fault it lies in a tendency to attenuation of the to favour,” if not to “prettiness," and giving a matter in sentences

vital interest to ashes and the urn. In his re“With linked sweetness long drawn out;"

searches he delights to measure stately wit and yet it would be difficult to find a word we

with that prodigious master in the empire of would change, or a sentence we would spare. he fails far short of the embossed grandeur of

the grave, Sir Thomas Browne; and though Although the refinement of expression is al. the sepulchral essay on “Urn-Burial,” which most undisturbed, the sense is always manly stands alone for fantastic solemnity in English nothing affected, sickly, or sentimental-but common sense arrayed in the garb of fancy. prose, he diffuses a gentle atmosphere over the The vivid exhibition of scenes in domestic poor-crowded cemetery, and regulates the cerelife; the opposition of motives and passions; with the same Grandisonian air with which he

monies and gradations in the world of death all invested with a certain air from the rank had adjusted the contests of the fair and innoin society of the suitors, (for the poor rarely cent and frail among the living, After disindulge in the luxuries of the Consistory cussing the modes of sepulture, and vindicating Court,) reminds us more of the style of the authority of his court to arrange the differcomedy which was fading from the stage before Sir William Scott retired from the bench, ences, he thus sums up the matter in imme

diate dispute :and which his dramatic tastes particularly fitled him to appreciate. He must have been in holding this opinion upon the fact of a com

“It being assumed that the court is justified indignant, even when Garrick performed Archer, at the impudent usurpation by the parative duration; the pretensions of these hero of the Beau's Stratagem of the civilian's coffins to an admission upon the same pecuoffice, when he sets up a rival court of his own niary terms as those of wood, must resort to for the dissolution of unhappy partnerships difference of duration ought to produce no dif

the other proposition, which declares that the for life, audaciously declares

ference in those erms. Accordingly, it has “Consent, if mutual, saves the lawyer's fee;"

been argued that the ground once given to the and consequently destroys the Judge's func- body is appropriated to it for ever-it is literally tion. In each of his best civic developments, in mort main unalienablyit is not only the dothe curtain seems listed on an elegant drama mus ullima, but the domus æternu of that tenant, of manners: husbands and wives quarrel and who is never to be disturbed, be his condition recriminate in dialogue almost as graceful as what it may—the introduction of another body Sheridan's; youths of fortune become the ap- into that lodgment at any time, however dispropriate prey of rustic lasses, in spite of ob- tant, is an unwarrantable intrusion. If these durate fathers; and a good moral, better en positions be true, it certainly follows that the forced than most stage conclusions, dismisses question of comparative duration sinks into the parties and charms the audience. He utter insignificance. once said he could furnish a series of stories “In support of them, it seems to be assumed from the annals of Doctors' Commons which that the tenant himself is imperishable; for should rival the Waverley Novels in interest; surely there can be no inextinguishable title, and we wish he had tried it!

no perpetuity of possession, belonging to a In Lord Stowell's latter days a cause came subject which itself is perishable—but the before him which afforded a strong contrast to fact is, thatóman,' and 'for ever,' are terms the vivacity of those nuptial and connubial quite incompatible in any state of his existcontests which had glowed and sparkled and ence, dead or living, in this world. The time loured so often before him; and if dull in the must come when ipsa periere ruina,' when the progress, grew beautiful in the judgment. It posthumous remains must mingle with and involved a question between the churchwar- compose a part of that soil in which they have dens of the parish of St. Audrew, Holborn, been deposited. Precious embalments and and the patentee of iron coffins, on the right costly monuments may preserve for a long of a parishioner to burial in the crowded l time the remains of those who have filled the

more commanding stations of human life, who, while filling at the bar its first offices, and but the common lot of mankind furnishes no during his long possession of the most dignisuch means of conservation. With reference fied of all civil positions under the crown, had to them, the domus æterna is a mere flourish of cast upon him the duty of keeping alive the rhetoric; the process of nature will speedily social spirit of the bar; encouraging its young resolve them into an intimate mixture with and timid aspirants ; disarming jealousies, and their kindred dust; and their dust will help to soothing the animosities which its contests furnish a place of repose for other occupants may engender; and preserving its common in succession."

conscience and feeling of honour, by enThese seem serious matters of disquisition couraging the association of its members in for advanced age; but Lord Stowell, like his convivial enjoyments under the highest ausbrother, was too vividly assured of the life be- pices. But Mr. Twiss gives the true excuseyond the grave to contemplate the close of this we can scarcely admit it as a perfect justificalife and the subsequent decay of his mortal tion--for a dereliction of that duty which forframe with anxiety; and though his faculties tune casis on her favourites--in the distaste of almost faded before he sunk into the tomb— Lady Eldon for society, and in the habits which gently as he had lived, and talked, and judged she acquired when obliged to practise rigid -his serenity of mind was undisturbed, and self-denial,—and asserts, we believe truly, that his

grace of manner even to the last lingered his domestic arrangements, from the time of about him.

his lady's death, were such as befitted his great In finally contemplating the history of these fortune and high station.” This was, however, two brothers, we are struck with the harmo- too late to repair the opportunities lost during nious interest which the picture derives from many years, of not only securing the love but their unenvying, unbroken affection, which sustaining the character of the profession, to must have doubled to each the pride and suc- which he was devotedly attached in all its cess of his own life in that of the other. To branches. William, John Scott, Lord Eldon, owed that he If, however, these great lawyers were not was not a tradesman in a country town; and prodigal of extensive entertainments, they year after year, as poverty pressed on him and loved good cheer themselves, and delighted to briefs came slowly, he was indebted to the believe that it was enjoyed by others. No total purse of one who felt the full value of money, abstinence, nor half-abstinence, system was but insisted on investing his own savings in theirs. Whether the statement be true, which his brother's fortune. Both sharing the same the genial biographer of Lord Stowell in the undoubting faith in the Established Church of “ Law Magazine" makes, “That he would often their country; the same dread of innovation; take the resection of the Middle Temple Hall the same recollections of their arduous, painful, by way of whet for the eight o'clock banquet," merry school-days, and of the loveliness of the we will not venture to assert; but we well resame university—they found in the differences member, more than thirty years ago, the beof their tastes new grounds of mutual congra- nignant smile which Sir William Scott would tulation and pride, -Sir William delighting to cast on the students rising in the dim light of speak of Sir John's almost incredible labours; their glorious hall, as he passed out from the while the attorney-general took credit for the dinner table to his wine in the parliament civilian's gentle gayeties, and grew proud while chamber; his faded dress and tattered silk listening to his social praise. Both were gown set off by his innate air of elegance; and charged with an undue love of pecuniary ac- his fine pale features beaming with a serene cumulation; and, no doubt, they went firmly satisfaction which bumpers might heighten but on, almost with equal steps, to the attainment could not disturb. He and Lord Eldon perof great wealth ; but this not so much with an fectly agreed in one great taste-if a noble ignoble desire of mere money, as the steady thirst should be called by so finical a namewish to achieve an end of which the gain was an attachment to port wine, strong almost as only the symbol, and its amount the proof-part that to constitution and crown; and, indeed, a of that single aspiration to get the start of their modification of the same sentiment. Sir Wilfellows in the game of life, which disregarded liam Scott may possibly in his lighter moods all minor excitements, vanities, and successes, have dallied with the innocence of claret-or, and placed • Respice Finem' for its rule. The in excess of the gallantry for which he was bounties of Lord Eldon were unostentatious, famed, have crowned a compliment to a fair frequent, and sometimes princely; magnifi- listener with a glass of champagne—but, in his cently conceived and often dexterously hidden; sedater hours, he stood fast by the port, which and although the long possession of the Great was the daily refreshment of Lord Eldon for a Seal enabled him to rival the estate which large segment of a century. It is, indeed, the Lord Stowell derived literally from the fortune proper beverage of a great lawyer-that by the of war, there seems no reason to doubt the sin- strength of which Blackstone wrote his Comcerity of the regret with which he left the Court mentaries—and Sir William Grant meditated of Common Pleas--the quiet of which suited his judgments—and Lord Eldon repaired the his disposition, while its dignified office of ad- ravages of study, and withstood the shocks of ministering the law of real property by ancient parly and of time. This sustaining, tranquilforms now no more, proposed to him genial lizing power, is the true cement of various lalabours and serene decisions. Both, indeed, bours, and prompter of great thoughts. Chamwere chargeable with a want of the splendid pagne, and hock, and claret, may animate the hospitality befitting their station ;-a fault the glittering superficial course of a Nisi Prius more to be regretted in the case of Lord Eldon, I leader-ihough Erskine used to share his daily

bottle of port with his wife and children, and In closing this imperfect notice of the lives complain, as his family increased, of the dimi- of Lord Eldon and Lord Stowell, we venture to nution of his residue—but port only can bar- express a hope that Mr. Twiss's work, minute. monize with the noble simplicity of anciently tracing the course of one and reviving the law, or assuage the fervour of a great intellec- remembrance of the other, will fix the attention tual triumph. Each of the Scotts, to a very of his own profession on examples which have late period of his old age, was true to the gene- raised, and should help to sustain it. If so, rous liquor, and renewed in it the pastimes of the work will be in good season. Great as the youth and the crowding memories of life-long influence of the profession of the law is in this labour. It is related of Lord Stowell, that, a country, many causes have tended of late to short time before his death, having, in the de perplex the objects of its ambition, and to ening twilight of his powers, submitted to a tempt its aspirants to lower means of success less genial regimen, on a visit from his brother than steady industry and conduct free from he resumed his glass : and, as he quaffed, the stain. The number of inferior offices which light of early days flashed upon his over- suggest the appliances of patronage, and offer wrought brain—its inner chamber was irra- low stimuli to its hopes—the increase of numdiated with its ancient splendour—and he told bers, which weakens the power of moral conold stories with all that exquisite felicity which trol, while it heightens the turmoil of competihad once charmed young and old, the care-worn tion--and a feeling which pervades a certain and the fair-and talked of old friends and old class of members of the House of Commons, times with more than the happiness of middle that any measure which detracts from the reage. When Lord Eldon visited him in his sources of the bar tends to the public good season of decay at his seat near Reading, he have endangered the elevation of its character, sometimes slept at Maidenhead on his way; in the maintenance of which the interests of and on one occasion, having dined at the inn, order and justice are deeply involved. We and learned that the revising barristers were can conceive of no more vivid proof of the imstaying at the house, he desired his compli- portance of preserving a body which embraces ments to be presented to them, and requested within it alike the younger sons of our nobility the favour of their company to share his wine. and the aspirants of the middle classes, and

He received the young gentlemen-very offers to all the opportunity of achieving its young compared with their host-with the highest and most lasting honours, than that kindest courtesy; talked of his early struggles which the history of the two sons of the good and successes as much for their edifica coal-fitter of Newcastle exhibits: nor any happier tion as delight--and finished at least his own incitement to that industry which is power, bottle of port before they parted. Surely no and to that honour which is better than ali lighter or airier liquor could befit such festal gain, than the example it presents to those who hours of honoured old age, or so well link long may follow in their steps. years together in the memory by its flavours !






In consenting to revise and publish the following Speech, I trust the circumstances attendant on the trial in which it was delivered will be found to justify an exception to the usual abstinence of Counsel from interfering with the publication of speeches delivered at the bar. The peculiarity of the occasion—the prosecution of an eminent publisher of unblemished character at the instance of a person who had been himself convicted of blasphemous libel, on a similar charge and the nature of the question which that prosecution involved, between Literature and the Law of Libel—may render the attempt of the defendant's advocate, to defeat the former and to solve the latter, worthy of more consideration than it could command either by its power or its success. Observing that the case has been unavoidably deprived, by the urgency of political topics and electioneering details, of the notice it would have received from the press at a calmer season; and being anxious that the references necessarily made to matters of solemn interest and of delicate relation should not be subject to the misconception attendant on any imperfect reports, I have thought it right to take on myself the responsibility of presenting to the public, as correctly as I can, the substance of that which I addressed to the jury. The necessary brevity of the reports of the trial, which has partly induced this publication of the speech for the defendant, also renders it proper to give a short account of the circumstances which preceded it.

In the month of April, 1840, an indictment was preferred against Mr. Henry Hetherington, a bookseller in the Strand, at the instance of the Attorney-general, for selling certain numbers of a work entitled “Haslam's Letters to the Clergy of all Denominations,” sold each at the price of one penny, and charging them as libels on the Old Testament. The cause came on to be tried before Lord Denman, in the Court of Queen's Bench, on 8th December, 1840, when the defence was conducted, with great propriety and talent, by the defendant himself, who rested it mainly on a claim of unqualified right to publish all matters of opinion, and on the argument, that the work charged as blasphemous came fairly within the operation of that prin. ciple. Mr. Hetherington was, however, convicted, and ultimately received judgment, under which he underwent an imprisonment of four months in the Queen's Bench prison.

While this prosecution was pending, Mr. Hetherington appears to have adopted the design of becoming in his turn the Prosecutor of several booksellers for the sale of the complete edition of Shelley's Works, which had been recently issued by Mr. Moxon in a form similar to that in which he had published the collected works of the greatest English poets. He accordingly commissioned a person named Holt, then a compositor in his employ, to apply for the work at the shops of several persons eminent in the trade, and thus succeeded in obtaining copies of Mr. Moxon, of Mr. Fraser, and of Mr. Otley, or rather of the persons in their employ. On the sales thus obtained, indictments were preferred at the Central Criminal Court against the several vendors, which, with a similar indictment against Mr. Marshall, doubtless preferred by the same Prosecutor, were removed by certiorari at the instance of the defendants, and set down for trial by special juries. Mr. Moxon felt that, as the original publisher of the edition, he ought to bear the first attack; and therefore, although some advantage might have been gained by placing the case of a mere vendor before his own, he declined to use it, and entered his own cause the first of the series which were to be tried in Middlesex. These causes were called on for trial at the sittings after Hilary term ; but the prosecutor was not prepared with the Attorney-general's warrant to pray a tales supply the default of the special jury, and as the counsel for the defendant did not think it right to expedite his proceedings by doing so themselves, the cause went over, and ultimately came on for trial on Wednesday 230 June, when nine special jurymen appeared, and the panel was completed by a tales prayed for the prosecution.

The indictment against Mr. Moxon, which the others exactly resembled, charged that he, " being an evil-disposed and wicked person, disregarding the laws and religion of this realm, and wickedly and profanely devising and intending to bring the Holy Scriptures and the Christian religion into disbelief and contempt, unlawfully and wickedly, did falsely and maliciously publish a scandalous, impious, profane, and malicious libel of and conce

cerning the Christian religion, and of and concerning the Holy Scriptures, and of and concerning Almighty God," in which were contained certain passages charged as blasphemous and profane. It then set forth a passage in blank verse, beginning, “They have three words : well tyrants know their use,

well pay them for the loan, with usury torn from a bleeding world!-God, Hell, and Heaven;" and after adding an innuendo, meaning thereby that God, Hell

, and Heaven, were merely words," proceeded to recite a few more lines, applying very coarse and irreverent, but not very intelligible comments to each of those words. It then charged, that the libel contained, in other parts, two other passages, also in verse, and to which the same character may be justly applied.* It lastly set forth a passage of prose from the notes, the object of which seems to be to assert, that the belief in the plurality of worlds is inconsistent with a religious systems," and with “deifying the principle of the universe;" and which, after speaking in very disrespectful terms of the statements of Christian history as “irreconcilable with the knowledge of the stars," concludes with the strange inconsistency pointed out by Lord Denman in his charge, (if the author's intention was to deny the being of God,) “The work of His fingers have borne witness against them.”

The case for the prosecution was opened by Mr. Thomas with a judicious abstinence from any remark on the motives or object of the Prosecutor, and without informing the jury who the Prosecutor was. He stated several cases, and dicta to establish the general proposition, that a work tending to bring religion into contempt and odium is an offence against ihe common law, and, among others, that of Mr. Hetherington ; read, besides the indicted passages, several others of a similar character, all selected from the poem of “Queen Mab;" eloquently eulogized the genius of Shelley, and fairly admitted the respectability of the defendant; and concluded by expressing the satisfaction he should feel if the result of this trial should establish, that no publications on religion should be subject for prosecution in future. He then called Thomas Holt, who proved the purchase of the volume for twelve shillings at Mr. Moxon's shop; and who also proved, on cross-examination, that he made the purchase and others at the desire of Mr. Hetherington, whom he understood to be the Prosecutor in this and the succeeding causes.

The success of such a prosecution, proceeding from such a quarter, gives rise to very serious considerations; for although, in determining sentences, Judges will be able to diminish the evil, by a just discrimination between the publication of the complete works of an author of established fame, for the use of the studious, and for deposit in libraries, and the dissemination of cheap irreligion, directed to no object but to unsettle the belief of the reader-the power of prosecuting to conviction every one who may sell, or give, or lend any work coniaining passages to which the indictable character may be applied, is a fearful engine of oppression. Should such prosecutions be multiplied, and juries should not feel justified in adopting some principle of distinction like that for which have feebly endeavoured to contend, they must lead to some alteration in the law, or to some restriction of the right to set it in action. It will, I think, be matter of regret among many who desire to respect the Law, and to see it wisely applied, that the question should have arisen ; but since it has been so painfully raised, it is difficult to avoid it; and if the following address should present any materials for its elucidation, it will not, although unsuccessful in its immediate object, have been delivered entirely in vain.

T. N. T. Serjeant's Inn, 28th June, 1841.


May it please your Lordship,

of the defendant was as an adopted daughter; Gentlemen of the Jury,

and who, dying, committed the interests which It has sometimes been my lot to express, he left her in the products of his life of kindand much oftener to feel, a degree of anxiety ness to my charge. Would to God that the in addressing juries, which has painfully di- spirit which pervaded his being could decide minished the little power which I can ever the fate of this strange prosecution-I should command in representing the interests com- only have to pronounce his name and to receive mitted to my charge ; but never has that feel your verdict. ing been so excited, and so justified, by any Apart from these personal considerations, occasion as that ou which it is my duty to ad- there is something in the nature of the charge dress you. I am called from the Court in which itself, however unjustly applied to the party I usually practise, to defend from the odious accused, which must depress a Christian advocharge of blasphemy one with whom I have cate addressing a Christian jury. On all other been acquainted for many years—one whom I cases of accusation, he would implore the have always believed incapable of wilful of- jurors, sworn to decide between the accuser fence towards God or towards man-one who and the defendant, to lay aside every preposwas introduced to me in early and happy days, session-to forget every rumour-to strip themby the dearest of my friends who are gone be- selves of every prejudice-to suppress every fore me by Charles Lambto whom the wife affection, which could prevent the exercise of

a free and unclouded judgment; and, having *It has not been thought necessary to the argument to made this appeal, or having forborne to make set out these passages; as it proceeds on the admission; it as needless, he would regard the jury-box that, separately considered, they are very offensive both 10 piety and good taste.

as a sacred spot, raised above all encircling

« 上一頁繼續 »