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[in 1812 Solicitor; in 1813, Attorney General;] | sure I am, you will not incur the imputation Mr. Fielding.
of having sacrificed the one or infringed the Attornies. – Messrs. Chamberlagne and other, upon any topics of compassion, humaWhite, Solicitors to the Treasury.
nity, or any other that ingenuity may fur
nish. Counsel for the Defendant. Mr. Felix It may occur to some persons who have Vaughan, Mr. John Gurney.
but superficially attended to this subject, that Attorney:-Mr. I. A. Bonney, No.4, Percy much." Judge of that, when it is stated to
these prosecutions have been multiplied too street, Rathbone-place.
you, that after this publication, which I sup(Mr. Fielding opened the Indictment.]
pose you have collected to be the Second Part Mr. Garrow. Gentlemen of the jury ;-Iof the “ Rights of Man," written by that have also the honour of attending you upon gentleman who states himself to be “Secrethis occasion, charged with the duty of stating tary for foreign affairs to Congress in the to you, on the part of the crown, the circum- | American War, and Author of Common stances which belong to this case, imputing to Sense;"—that when that had run through the defendant the guilt of being the pub- several rapid editions, at a high price, it was lisher of a seditious libel.
found that, in order to accommodate it to As this is an appeal between the defendant readers of all classes and descriptions, to find and the public, calling upon you, under the its way into the most humble habitation of most solemn of all sanctions, to decide; I the most peaceful subject of this country, to should, after what has passed upon the sub- make the poison spread and to gratify every ject of this publication in other places, have palate, the press teemed with new editions at contented myself, with very shortly desiring a cheap and easy rate; and notwithstanding that the passages should be read to you, that all the admonitions of the prosecutions that the fact of publication should be proved, and were commenced, all the admonitions of the should then have asked for your verdict. verdicts of juries, and all the judgments of The reason I take another course is this, it has necessary severity; this defendant continued happened somehow or another, that persons still in this metropolis, in the heart of those standing in the situation of the defendant, convictions, and those judgments, with all of have had the good fortune, in every place in them staring him in the face, still to sell and which they have been prosecuted, to be de- to distribute this publication, until the notofended by very considerable talents and abili- riety of his conduct was such, that they, ties, from the exercise of which it is to be ex- whose duty it is to watch over the public pected (as experience has shown us it has tranquillity, thought themselves in duty been practised), that all that the ingenuity and bound to institute this prosecution. learning of the profession can bring in aid of Upon the libel itself it will not be neces. such defendants, will be exerted for the pur- sary to adduce many arguments, for you to pose of standing as a shield between them pronounce that it is what it is described to and the verdicts of juries, in order to protect be, a most malignant, seditious, inflammatory, them from conviction.
and mischievous libel. I admit to my learned Upon the present occasion, the defendant friend, thai if taking this book, and reading the has the advantage of the attendance of a passages with its context and with its various learned friend of mine, if he will permit me parts, you should be of opinion, that upon to call him so, for whose abilities I have very the whole it is an innocent, fair discussion of great respect, and therefore it will be my a political subject, it will be your duty to duty (as in all probability this will be the acquit the defendant.-If indeed that arguonly stage of the cause, in which I shall ment could be offered to men of common have an opportunity of addressing you) to an- sense, without an outrage upon reason, the ticipate the modes of defence which my friend's author, instead of being as he is, suffering ingenuity will find out, and appeal from that the judgment of the law, an exile, I hope an ingenuity to your plain sober common sense eternal exile, from this happy country, ought and discretion, to decide between my friend to have been a man acquitted, not conand me, upon the propriety of the defendant's demned. * conduct.
Let it not be said that the press is endanIn the outset of the cause, I say this, re- gered by this prosecution,—that the freedom presenting the public, if you have any seri- of the press is in danger, because libels, flagious, sober, rational, doubts of the guilt of the tious and seditious as this is, find their way defendant, upon any of the fair topics, that into courts of justice. I state therefore, that may be adduced before you, in God's name if you should be of opinion that this book pronounce him Not Guilty. If on the other was written in the fair spirit of true political hand, when the evidence shall be laid before inquiry, I do not desire you (because those you, when you shall have attended to this I represent have not desired any body else) to publication, as men of sober reasoning must find the desendant guilty. attend to it, you shall find it impossible to Gentlemen, I proceed to state some of these pronounce him not guilty without a breach of your oaths, or a dereliction of your duty, See the trial of Thomas Paine, ante,p.357.
passages, and then you shall, if you please, as and only the writing of a man, who thinks the you go along, judge for yourselves in what constitution can be a little mended. spirit they were published in this country. He goes on to say, “Hereditary succession You will look, for certainly you are permitted is a burlesque upon monarchy, it puts it in the to do so, at the relative situation of other 'most ridiculous light:"-Is this fair, dispascountries, at the time of the publication; that sionate reasoning? Is this the man who comes will assist you in discovering with what views, here as secretary for foreign affairs .to Ameand with what spirit, this author wrote. rica ? Is this gentleman in the spirit of re
He begins by talking of the constitution of forming our foolish opinions?—“By presenting the country, in that important part, the exe it as an office which any child or ideot may cutive part of the government, the kingly fill.” Is it so? Why, if it were, I admit, that office, and hereditary succession.—Observe it is fair and fit for any man, to sit down in how he speaks upon that subject. I will give his closet, and state that, by way of arguyou his own words.
ment.-But is that true, or is it not an imHe says, “ It cannot be proved by what pudent assertion, within the knowledge of the right hereditary government could begin, nei- author false, made in order to impose upon ther does there exist, within the compass of weak minds? Is the executive government of mortal power, a right to establish it.” this country, passing in the illustrious house
Observe the reasoning, and see if his reason in which it is to pass in succession I hope till ing be founded to what it extends. “ Man the end of time, to be treated in this manner. has no authority over posterity in matters of Is he not telling you, that you are submitting personal right, and therefore, no man, or body to be governed in an office, which you look to of men, had, or can have, a right to set up as essential to the constitution you admire, hereditary government.”
but which is, according to him, like a child's In plain English and common sense, what ' rattle, or the idle nonsense of an ideot? Is it does this mean? You Englisbmen, at least to not a malicious and seditious intent, to rouse carry it no farther back than a century, have up the discontents of the country ;-To alarm been submitting to the folly, to the absurdity, the people for every thing that is dear and to the tyranny, and to the despotism of a form valuable ;-to make them disgusted with the of government, which has for its founda- king and kingly office,--and to recommend it tion and corner stone, hereditary succession. to them to get rid of it as soon as they can? You have been slaves therefore all that pe Then he goes on, “ It requires sume talents riod, because, inasmuch as you have not to be a common mechanic ;"-still addressing given any consent to this form of govern- himself with a meanness, of which I protest ment, inasmuch as you have not been called one is ashamed, to any vulgar mind, under upon to give your approbation or disapproba- whose notice this book may come;
“ But to tion, and, as no mortal power could establish be a king, requires only the animal figure of it, as man has no right over posterity, and, man--a sort of breathing automaton.” Is as no man or set of men have a right to dic- this the language of fair political discussion? tate to you, what government you shall have, Is this the reasoning of a man, who thinks -What is the argument? that you have been things may be mended by political discussion? living the slaves of despotism, the shackles of or is it not the language of a man, sneering which were forged for you by your ancestors. at all that is dear and valuable to this counThat it is, which this man, vain and absurd try? reasoner as he is, tells you; he tells you all He says, “This sort,"--and if you wanted a your rights, all your interests, all your chances commentary upon the rest of the text, this of happiness, all that is dear and estimable in would furnish it,—“This sort of supersti ion;" society, have been trampled upon, because What superstition? the superstitionin which those who according to him, had no right to we have been educated, as something we were say how you should be governed, have said, / to look up to as a blessing; and which our you shall have an hereditary succession. maturer judgments have taught us to admire
Does the argument end here? If no man, and adore;-attachment to royalty, the corner or set of men, have any right to enter into stone of this country.stipulations for posterity, how is it that we “ This sort of superstition may last a few have any representatives in parliament? How years more, but it cannot long resist the is it that any part of the constitution stands ? awakened reason and interest of man.” What How is it that we have received from our an is to become of it? Why get rid of it, in consecestors those three branches, the King, the quence of this writing of mine, in consequence Lords, and the Commons, of which our ad- of my attempts, and those of others who are mirable constitution is composed? They have engaged in this pious labour, to illuminate handed them down to us; but in the lan: mankind, to awaken their reason, and put guage of this author, they had no right to do them in the right track of inquiry and of so, for no man or set of men have a right to action too, for I defy any man alive to say, stipulate for posterity. It is folly, impudence that that is not the meaning of the author of and usurpation; that is the argument of this this book! gentleman.-But perhaps this will be said to Is this, I ask again, calm, deliberate disbe all fair reasoning, and political discussion, cussion?' Is this what a man writes, desiring
it to go forth into the world, saying thus, if | and influence us by other considerations.--It my reasoning is good, adopt it; if it is futile is repugnant too to human rights. What is reject; if it is absurd, laugh at it? No, it is an this argument again? Your rights, as long as endeavour to undermine every thing that is you have had this hereditary succession, have estimable and useful, and to do it in a way been invaded, because hereditary succession that too often succeeds, for when you find you is repugnant to human rights. You foolish cannot attack a man to advantage by argu- Englishmen have believed you were happy and ment, you may do something by a sneer. free, but I tell you, you are neither happy nor
“A government calling itself free, with an free, you are not acting consistently either hereditary office, is like a thorn in the flesh, with wisdom or with rights, because you are that produces a fermentation which endea- fools enough to submit to hereditary succesvours to discharge it."
sion. How are you to mend that? get rid of “ A government calling itself free." -Let it; become wise, become free, become vaus see what that means in plain English; for luable, but you can only do this by getting rid I invite my learned friend to this mode of of it. reasoning upon the book, and let him con He proceeds, " And is as absurd as it is unvince you if he can, that this is plain sober just.” * Is this the language of a politician in reasoning, not calculated to do mischief. “A his closet, writing in the spirit of a Locke or government calling itself free !" You English- a Sidney for future days? Why, it is telling men call yourselves free. You say you live you that it is not only absurd, and therefore under a free government. You say that in to be got rid of, but it is unjust. What is the this country every man's liberty is protected, plain English of that? why, that the king his property secure, that he can go about his who sits upon the throne is an usurper. business with safety, that there is equal law Then he says, still, I think, in language for the poor and for the rich, in one word that which may teach you the spirit in which the you have adopted the cant of your ancestors, ' author wrote; “ Whether I have too little and call yourselves a free people.
sense to see, or too much to be imposed upon; But in this freedom you have hereditary whether I have too much or too little pride, government, which is so utterly inconsistent or of any thing else, I leave out of the quesa with freedom, that “it is like a thorn in the tion; but certain it is, that what is called flesh, which produces a fermentation, which monarchy, always appears to me a silly conendeavours to discharge it.” What does this temptible thing." mean, but that the hereditary office of the Does it so indeed? That thing which you king of this country, is to be got rid of by a have fancied, the moment it was destroyed, fermentation? What is the argument? You destroyed the constitution under which you who boast that you are free, and wish to be live. That thing which having lost by free, and have set the world a madding after usurpation during a small period of the history your freedom, if you would restore yourselves of your country, you were eager to have reto that envied character, or assert it if you stored to you, feeling that you could not do never had it before, get rid of your hereditary without it. That thing always appeared to succession, it is a thorn that is stuck into your this author to be a silly, contemptible thing. fiesh; set about the fermentation,—“ fermen- Is this a cool, calm, political writer? No, such tation," was not an accidental word ; let this a person
would have spoken in this manner, book engender the fermentation, and then “ If you examine what monarchy has been you may throw out this thorn.
in any ages of the world, you will find perGentiemen, is this the art of an advocate? haps that considered by itself it has its obIs it not the plain common sense of this pas. jections, but, with a little attention employed sage? I prote:t I never have tried what the to meliorate the state of the parliamentary sense of this book was in the way I do now, representation in this country, perhaps, such and I chose to trust to the impression which a thing might be spared.” And then might it would make upon my mind upon this have proceeded with a fair candid course of occasion.
reasoning.-But he goes on to say, what sort Then he goes on, “ The hereditary system of contemptible thing it is, and he tells you therefore, is as repugnant to human wisdom what he compares it to. as it is to human rights." What, is it repug “ I compare it to something kept behind a nant to human wisdom? What is that but curtain, about which there is a great deal of telling us that we are the most egregious fools bustle and fuss, and a wonderful air of seemthat ever lived; that with all the lights that rea- ing solemnity;"sou holds forth to us, and the instruction these The author has travelled into a very un. gentlemen are so good as to give us, we still go fortunate country to make this observation. on preferring tolly to wisdom, slavery to free. It is the amiable characteristic of the modoin? You goon adopting an hereditary system, narchy of England, that it is the reverse of which is as repugnant to human wisdom, as that character, “ but when by any accident to something else I am coming to. But as if the curtain happens to be open, and the comthis were not enough, as because men if they pany see what it is, they burst into laugh. are fools, will be likely to continue so, our ter." author is to address us upon another point, What is this then, from which, accident is
to remove the curtain, to expose to the view | learned judge who presides upon the present of the people of this country and excile their occasion ;-I have what is of infinitely greater laughter?' It is nothing less than the mo- importance than the opinions of learned lawnarchy of England, from which this man in yers;–1 have the concurring sentiment (I vites you by accident,- I believe he would believe I may venture to say) of every honest have liked it much better to have been done man in his majesty's dominions, upon the without accident,—to draw the curtain that question you have to decide ; I have the opiyou might treat it as the pitiful, contemptible nion of various juries, concurring without any thing he always thought it.
man's having for a single moment entertained This man does not leave a great deal for a doubt that the spirit of the author of this counsel to do, to explain his text; he takes the book was indeed to unite practice with prinbull by the horns, he goes on, " That mo- ciple, to unite a dangerous, a destructive, a narchy is all a bubble, a mere court artifice," king-killing practice, with the pernicious prin-setting up monarchy as something, which, ciples of his book. according to this man, might be indicted, Shall I believe that you will disgrace yourunder the statute, for false pretences,—“ a selves and the place in which you are, by difmere court artifice to procure money, is evi-fering from all men of common sense and undent (at least to me) in every character in derstanding upon this book? Shall I believe, which it can be viewed.”
any thing can for a moment divert honest and Wherever I look at monarchy, whether I sensible men, like you, from that course which look at it as something grounded in the wis- it is your duty to take? dom-no he would say the folly of our an The present defendant having the examples cestors,- for preventing the numerous incon of these convictions, staring him in the face, ceivable, and devastating consequences of and knowing that the guilty author of this elective monarchy;-whether I look at it as book was liable to punishment upon his consomething that is to attach to it the respect of viction, has taken the risk upon himself; he surrounding nations ;-in whatever character has chosen to make it the subject of merchanI view it, it looks like a trick to get money dise, and sold it publicly in his shop. Shall out of the pockets of the people. Are the we have any arguments addressed to you, to people of this country disposed to go along mark a distinction between the author and with the author in this observation-No; it the seller of the book ? I can only suppose we is upon much better and nobler principles we may, because I protest it seems to me to be contribute to the necessities of the state. It extremely difficult to defend the defendant; is because we know we cannot be safe nor and therefore, I am to expect that all that infree but at the expense which must neces- genuity can suggest, will be suggested; when sarily attend all government, in all coun a case will not afford good arguments, he trics.
must put up with indifferent ones, and when He says, “ It can only be by blinding the they are but scarce, he must sometimes have understanding of man, and making him be- recourse to bad. So that upon this occasion, lieve that government is some wonderful you possibly may have all three, good, bad, mysterious thing, that excessive revenues are and indifferent. In the class of bad, I think obtained. Monarchy is well calculated to stands the argument I am about to state to insure this cnd."—What end? picking the you ;-all this may be true, as applicable to the pockets of the people by blinding their un author, the book itself may be flagitious in derstanding. “ It is the popery of govern- the extreme, the greatest talents that ever ment.” Now mark the art of this; would any stood up to address a jury, have laboured in man, sitting down in a spirit of fair dispas- vain upon this,* but it will be better to say sionate inquiry about government, attack the at once, traitor Paine is, he will not trouble mind of an Englishman, by likening his here us any more, and therefore turn your backs ditary succession to popery, which he knows upon him, and consider the case of the poor he detests. “ A thing kept up to amuse the defendant, who is only a poor bookseller, a ignorant, and quiet them into taxes.” If it man who sells this for his bread. be so, undoubtedly it is high time there were Will that be said? I will tell you what I an end of it. If any man could persuade us, should be disposed to say in answer to it, if I that that limited, well-balanced monarchy, were a jury-man, Why Mr. Bookseller, you under which we have had the pleasure to live, deal in a very dangerous commodity, if you merited this description, we should be traitors will make a merchandise of poison to poison to ourselves and all posterity, if we did not the dearest interests of the public, you must immediately set about getting rid of it. answer for it. I will take the liberty of say
My friend shall have my free consent to ing more. It happened to somebody to write, read the whole of the book and you may judge not as Mr. Paine has done in the aggregate by the context.
against every thing that is dear and valuable, But I ought perhaps to apologise for hav- but only to attack the sacred religion of the ing taken up so much time upon such a sub- country'; but he had not quite brought himject, because I have not only the opinion of learned lawyers what this is; but I have what, • See the eloquent defence of Paine by speaking without intending any offence to the lord Erskine, anté, p. 410.
self up to the publishing, so he left it to his You are now in a newly ascertained situaexecutor with a legacy to publish it after his tion to persons of your description, charged death.-It was said upon that occasion, that to inquire not only upon the fact of the publione scoundrel had charged a musket to its cation, but upon the criminal intent with muzzle against the interests of society, but he which it was published.* was too great a coward to pull the trigger, I could say, I never read Mr. Paine's two and he leit another scoundrel half-a-crown to books through: would it be said as an excuse do it for him.* It seems to me that the con- for me, if I had sent these by thousands in a dition of a bookseller in this case is something package into all the market towns in this like that of the executor.
kingdom,-I never read the book, but I sent Mr. Paine shall have my consent to sit them down, and they fell into the hands of a down and write till his eyes drop out and his great many people who having less to do, I heart aches, provided he cannot find any body darc say, did read them? Still less would it to publish it; but it is by means of persons be an excuse for me, if with all the warnings like the defendant, giving vent to publications I have mentioned, staring me in the face, I like the present, that injury has been done to had done this act. society.
I am obliged to my friend Mr. Fielding, for Gentlemen, I shall prove that this pamph- suggesting to me an observation. It may let was sold at his shop, for a price, no maiter happen now and then, that a man does not by whom. I know that if ever there is an know what has been passing in courts of jusargument that is likely to succeed, if ever tice, but the author of this, when he had the there is a topic that is likely to be addressed goodness to furnish the world with a cheap to gentlemen in your situation, it is that edition, had the goodness to tell all his pubwhich is to find its way to the heart and to lishers that he was under prosecution, but the compassionate feelings of those to whom then in an appendix he ridicules the absurdity it is to be addressed; and therefore, I take it of prosecutions like this. for granted, my learned friend will tell you, it
EVIDENCE FOR THE Crown. would be hard to convict the defendant, since this book was sold not by him, but by his Charles Humphries, sworn.-Examined by wife. I should be the last person who would
Mr. Fielding. be supposed to visit upon the fair sex any of their offences: but, io speak gravely, does Do you know the defendant, Daniel Isaac that furnish any argument at all? I admit Eaton ?-I saw him at his house in Bishopsnow, and I give my friend the opportunity if | gate-street. he will show that the wife of the defendant, When was it ?-I think it was the latter against remonstrances on his part, without end of January, or the beginning of February. his knowledge, or against his consent, pro- | -I bought some books at that time. cured and vended them, I shall risk none of Did you buy the book in question ?--I did the displeasure of any of those who are em- not buy this. ployed in guarding the interests of the public, Mr. Gurney. Do not let us hear any thing by saying I would abandon the prosecution. respecting other books.
But if, on the other hand, a man is to be Humphries. I bought this book there bepermitted to load his musket to the muzzle, fore that. against the interests of society, and to go Mr. Fielding. What is it?-It is the from home to leave a timid woman to pull the Rights of Man, Part the Second. trigger, he must pay for the mischief he does Had you ever seen him in the shop, before to society.
you bought it?--I had-The day I went into
the shop when he was there, I asked him for The following I apprehend to be the some of Mr. Paine's publications; he hesitated anecdote alluded to by the learned counsel: at selling it, but after some conversation, he “ On the oth of March came out lord Boling. sold me them. broke's Works, published by Mr. David Mr. Gurney. Confine yourself to the Mallet. The wild and pernicious ravings, Rights of Man. under the name of “ Philosophy," which were Humphries. I told him I had bought the thus ushered into the world, gave great of- Rights of Man before; and his wife I believe, fence to all well-principled men. Johnson, a woman I conceived to be his wife, said she hearing of their tendency, which nobody dis- bad sold the gentleman the Rights of Man, puted, was roused with a just indignation, with some other of Mr. Paine's works a little and pronounced this memorable sentence while ago. I think he said, “Did she?" and upon the noble author and his editor. Sir, after that he let me have the other books. he was a scoundrel, and a coward : a soundrel, Mr. Gurney. On what day did you pur. for charging a blunderbuss against religion chase the Rights of Man?-The 17th of and morality, a coward, because he had not January. resolution to fire it off himself, but left halfa-crown to a beggarly Scotchman, to draw * See stat. 32 G. 3, c. 60. then lately the trigger after his death!" Boswell's Life passed. See also pr. 292, 294, of this l'on of Johnson, vol. 1, p. 240, 8vo. 1793.