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the opposing Counsel bad
He has thought it right (partly in courtesy to me, Now, to show you how little disposed I am to None of the el as I am willing to believe, and in part work upon you by any thing but by statement of expected which for the purposes of his cause) that proof; to convince you how little de- the case.
you should suppose you are to be ad- sirous I am to practice the arts of speech as my predicted. dressed with eloquence which I nev- only artillery in this cause, I will begin with a few er possessed, and which, if I did, I should be in- plain dates, and, as you have pens in your hands, capable at this moment of exerting; because the I will thank you to write them down. I shall bemost eloquent man, in order to exert his elo- gin with stating to you what my cause is, and shall quence, must have his mind free from embarrass- then prove it—not by myself, but by witnesses. ment on the occasion on which he is to speak- The parties were married on the 24th of April, I am not in that condition. My learned friend 1789. The child that has been spok- Marriage of has expressed himself as the friend of the plain- en of, and in terms which gave me great and birth of tiff's family. He does not regard that family satisfaction, as the admitted son of the their child. more than I do; and I stand in the same predic- plaintiff, blessed with the affection of his parent, ament toward my own honorable client and his and whom the noble person to whom he may be. relations. I know him and them, and because I come heir can look upon without any unpleasant Forbidden by know them, I regard them also : my reflection—that child was born on the 12th of ing situation of embarrassment, however, only arises August, 1791. Take that date, and my learned
at being obliged to discuss this ques. friend's admission, that this child must have been tion in a public court of justice, because, could the child of Mr. Howard ; an admission which it have been the subject of private reference, I could not have been rationally or consistently should have felt none at all in being called upon made, but upon the implied admission that no il. to settle it.
licit connection had existed previously by which Gentlemen, my embarrassment is abundantly its existence might have been referred to the deincreased, when I see present a noble person, fendant. On this subject, therefore, the plaintiff high, very high in rank in this kingdom, but not must be silent. He can not say the parental mind higher in rank than he is in my estimation : I has been wrung; he can not say hereafter, speak of the noble Duke of Norfolk, who most SON OF MINE SUCCEEDING"—he can say none of undoubtedly must feel not a little at being obliged these things. This child was born on the 12th to come here as a witness for the defendant in of August, 1791, and as Mr. Howard is admit. the cause of a plain so nearly allied to him- ted to be the author of its existence (which he self. I am persuaded no man can have so little must have been, if at all, in 1790), I have a right sensibility, as not to feel that a person in my sit- to say that, during all that interval, this gentleuation must be greatly embarrassed in discuss- man could not have had the least reasonable cause ing a question of this nature before such an of complaint against Mr. Bingham. His jealousy audience, and between such parties as I have must, of course, have begun after that period; described.
for, had there been grounds for it before, there Gentlemen, my learned friend desired you could be no sense in the admission of his counError of the op; would take care not to suffer argu- sel, nor any foundation for that parental consolain giving tesli ment, or observation, or eloquence to tion which was brought forward in the very front
be called into the field, to detach your of the cause. being under
attention from the evidence in the The next dry date is, therefore, the 24th of cause, upon which alone you ought to decide; I July, 1793; and I put it to his Lord. wish my learned friend, at the moment he gave ship, that there is no manner of evi- Howard's you that caution, had not himself given testimony dence which can be pressed into this of a fact to which he stood the solitary witness. cause previous to that time. Let me next disI wish he had not introduced his own evidence, embarrass the cause from another assertion of without the ordinary ceremony of being sworn. my learned friend, namely, that a divorce can I will not follow his example. I will not tell not take place before the birth of this you what I know from the conversation of my child; and that, if the child happens posing.com client, nor give evidence of what I know myself. to be a son, which is one contingency My learned friend tells you that nothing can ex- -and if the child so born does not die, which is ceed the agony of mind his client has suffered, another contingency—and if the noble Duke dies and that no words can describe his adoration of without issue, which is a third contingency-then the lady he has lost : these most material points this child might inherit the honors of the house of the cause rest, however, altogether on the sin- of Norfolk. That I deny. My recent experigle, unsupported, unsworn evidence of the coun- ence tells me the contrary. In a case where sel for the plaintiff. NO RELATION has been Mr. Stewart, a gentleman of Ireland, stood in a called upon to confirm them, though we are told similar predicament, the Lords and Commons of that the whole house of Fauconberg, Bellasyse, England not only passed an Act of Divorce beand Norfolk are in the avenues of the court, tween him and his lady, but, on finding there was ready, it seems to be called at my discretion : no access on the part of the husband, and that the and yet my learned friend is himself the only child was not his, they bastardized the issue. witness; though the facts (and most material What, then, remains in this cause ? Gentle facts, indeed, they would have been) might have been proved by so many illustrious persons.
" Macbeth. Act ii., Scene 2
Time of Mrs.
Error of the op
as to divorce.
The lady's pre
men, there remains only this: In what manner, pathies of their offspring, and all the sweet, deTrue poiot
when you have heard my evidence (for lightsul relations of social existence. While the
this is a cause which, like all others, curtains, therefore, are yet closed upon this bridal must stand upon evidence), the plaintiff shall be scene, your imaginations will naturally represent able to prove, what I have the noble judge's to you this charming woman endeavoring to conauthority for saying he must prove, namely, the ceal sensations which modesty forbids the sex, loss of the comfort and society of his wife, by the however enamored, too openly to reveal, wishseduction of the defendant. That is the very ing, beyond adequate expression, what she must gist of the action. The loss of her affection, and not even attempt to express, and seemingly reof domestic happiness, are the only legal founda- sisting what she burns to enjoy. tions of his complaint.
Alas, gentlemen! you must now prepare to see Now, before any thing can be lost, it must have in the room of this a scene of horror existed; before any thing can be taken away from and of sorrow. You must prepare to rous creado a man, he must have had it; before the seduction see a noble lady, whose birth surely ing reportance of a woman's affections from her husband can take required no further illustration ; who to the marriage place, he must have possessed her affections. had been courted to marriage before she ever Gentlemen, my friend, Mr. Mingay, acknowl- heard even her husband's name; and whose af
edges this to be the law, and he shapes fections were irretrievably bestowed opon, and tions of oppos- his case accordingly. He represents pledged to, my honorable and unfortunate client;
his client, a branch of a most illustri- you must behold her given up to the plaintiff by ous house, as casting the eyes of affection upon the infatuation of parents, and stretched upon this a disengaged woman, and of rank equal to, or, at bridal-bed as upon a rack; torn from the arms least, suitable to his own. He states a marriage of a beloved and impassioned youth, himself of of mutual affection, and endeavors to show that noble birth, only to secure the honors of a higher this young couple, with all the ardor of love, flew title ; a legal victim on the altar of Heraldry. into each other's embraces. He shows a child, Gentlemen, this is no high coloring for the the fruit of that affection, and finishes with intro- purposes of a cause ; no words of an advocate ducing the seductive adulterer coming to disturb can go beyond the plain, unadorned effect of the all this happiness, and to destroy the blessings evidence. I will prove to you that when she which he describes. He exhibits the defendant prepared to retire to her chamber she threw her coming with all the rashness and impetuosity of desponding arms around the neck of her confiyouth, careless of the consequences, and thinking dential attendant, and wept upon her as a crim. of nothing but how he could indulge his own lust- inal preparing for execution. I will prove to ful appetite at the expense of another man's hon- you that she met her bridegroom with sighs and or; while the unhappy husband is represented tears — the sighs and tears of afflicted love for as watching with anxiety over his beloved wife, Mr. Bingham, and of rooted aversion to her busanxious to secure her affections, and on his guard band. I think I almost hear her addressing him to preserve her virtue. Gentlemen, if such a case, in the language of the poetor any thing resembling it, is established, I sball
* I tell thee, Howard, leave the defendant to whatever measure of dam- Such hearts as ours were never pair'd above: ages you choose, in your resentment, to inflict. Ill-suited to each other; join'd, not match'd ; In order, therefore, to examine this matter (and
Some sullen influence, a foe to both,
Has wrought this fatal marriage to undo us. True state I shall support every syllable that I ut
Mark but the frame and temper of our minds, ter with the most precise and uncontro
How very much we differ. Evin this day, vertible prooss), I will begin with drawing up the That fills thee with such ecstasy and transport, curtains of this blessed marriage-bed, whose joys To me brings nothing that should make me bless it, are supposed to have been nipped in the bud by To think it better than the day before, the defendant's adulterous seduction.
Or any other in the course of time, Nothing, certainly, is more delightful to the That duly took its turn, and was forgotten.", human fancy than the possession of a beautiful Gentlemen, this was not the sudden burst of woman in the prime of health and youthful pas- youthful disappointment, but the fixed and setsion; it is beyond all doubt the highest enjoyment tled habit of a mind deserving of a happier fate which God, in his benevolence, and for the wisest I shall prove that she frequently spent her nights purposes, has bestowed upon his own image. I upon a couch, in her own apartments, dissolved reverence, as I ought, that mysterious union of in tears; that she frequently declared to her mind and body which, while it continues our spe- woman that she would rather go to Newgate cies, is the source of all our affections ; which than to Mr. Howard's bed; and it will appear, builds up and dignifies the condition of human life; by his own confession, that for months subsequent which binds the husband to the wife by ties more to the marriage she obstinately refused him the indissoluble than laws can possibly create, and privileges of a husband. which, by the reciprocal endearments arising To all this, it will be said by the plaintiff's from a mutual passion, a mutual interest, and a counsel (as it has, indeed, been hintmutual honor, lays the foundation of that parent. ed already), that disgust and aliena- po sense these al affection which dies in the brutes with the ne- tion from her husband could not but cessities of nature, but which reflects back again be expected; but that it arose from her affection upon the human parents the unspeakable sym- for Mr. Bingham. Be it so, gentlemen. I read
Mr. Biaghen in
ily admit, that if Mr. Bingham's acquaintance the way, and in the ardors of mutual love, and in with the lady had commenced subsequent to the the simplicities of rural lise, let them lay the founmarriage, the argument would be irresistible, and dation of a vigorous race of men, firm in their the criminal conclusion against him unanswera- bodies, and moral from early habits; and instead ble. But has Mr. Howard a right to instruct his of wasting their fortunes and their strength in the counsel to charge my honorable client with se- tasteless circles of debauchery, let them light up duction, when he himself was the SEDUCER? My their magnificent and hospitable halls to the genlearned friend deprecates the power of what he try and peasantry of the country, extending the terms my pathetic eloquence. Alas, gentlemen! consolations of wealth and influence to the poor. if I possessed it, the occasion forbids its exertion, Let them but do this; and, instead of those danbecause Mr. Bingham has only to defend himself, gerous and distracting divisions between the difand can not demand damages from Mr. Howard ferent ranks of life, and those jealousies of the for depriving him of what was his by a title su- multitude so often blindly painted as big with deperior to any law which man has a moral rightstruction, we should see our country as one large to make. Mr. Howard was NEVER MARRIED! and harmonious family, which can never be acGod and nature forbid the bans of such a marriage. complished amid vice and corruption, by wars or If, therefore, Mr. Bingham this day could have, treaties, by informations ex officio for libels, or by by me, addressed to you his wrongs in the char- any of the tricks and artifices of the state. acter of a plaintiff demanding reparation, what would to God this system had been followed in damages might I not have asked for him; and, the instance before us ! Surely the noble house without the aid of this imputed eloquence, what of Fauconberg needed no further il. Their applicadamages might I not have expected ?
lustration ; nor the still nobler house tion to this case. I would have brought before you a noble youth, of Howard, with blood enough to have inoculated who had fixed his affections upon one of the most half the kingdom. I desire to be understood to beautiful of her sex, and who enjoyed hers in re- make these observations as general moral reflecturn. I would have shown you their suitable tions, and not personally to the families in quescondition ; I would have painted the expectation tion; least of all to the noble house of Norfolk, of an honorable union ; and would have conclud- the head of which is now present; since no man, ed by showing her to you in the arms of another, my opinion, has more at heart the liberty of by the legal prostitution of parental choice in the the subject and the honor of our country. teeth of affection ; with child by a rival, and only Having shown the feeble expectation of hapreclaimed at last, after so cruel and so afflicting piness from this marriage, the next Nothing done by a divorce, with ber freshest charms despoiled, point to be considered is this : Did Mr. Bingham to
produce further and her very morals in a manner impeached, by Mr. Bingham take advantage of that alienation. asserting the purity and virtue of her original circumstance to increase the disunion ? I an. and spotless choice. Good God ! imagine my swer, No. I will prove to you that he conducted client to be PLAINTIFF, and what damages are himself with a moderation and restraint, and with you not prepared to give him ? and yet he is a command over his passions, which I confess I here as DEFEndant, and damages are demanded did not expect to find, and which in young men against him, Oh, monstrous conclusion ! is not to be expected. I shall prove to you, by
Gentlemen, considering my client as perfectly Mr. Greville, that, on this marriage taking place safe under these circumstances, I may spare a with the betrothed object of his affections, he moment to render this cause beneficial to the went away a desponding man. His health depublic.
clined; he retired into the country to restore it; It involves in it an awful lesson; and more in- and it will appear that for months afterward he structive lessons are taught in courts of justice never saw this lady until by mere accident he than the Church is able to inculcate. Morals met her. And then, so far was he from endeavor. come in the cold abstract from pulpits; but men ing to renew his connection with her, that she smart under them practically when we lawyers came home in tears, and said he frowned at her are the preachers.
as he passed. This I shall prove to you by the Let the aristocracy of England, which trem- evidence in the cause.
bles so much for itself, take heed to Gentlemen, that is not all. It will appear that, ther aristocracy its own security. Let the nobles of when he returned to town, he took no manner of of England aris ing out of such England, if they mean to preserve notice of her; and that her unhappiness was be
that pre-eminence which, in some yond all power of expression. How, indeed, shape or other, must exist in every social com- could it be otherwise, after the account I have munity, take care to support it by aiming at that given you of the marriage? I shall prove, bewhich is creative, and alone creative, of real su- sides, by a gentleman who married one of the periority. Instead of matching themselves to daughters of a person to whom this country is supply wealth, to be again idly squandered in deeply indebted for his eminent and meritorious debauching excesses, or to round the quarters of service [Marquis Cornwallis), that, from her uta family shield; instead of continuing their names ter reluctance to her husband, although in every and honors in cold and alienated embraces, amid respect honorable and correct in his manners and the enervating rounds of shallow dissipation, let
* This was during the progress of those oppressive them live as their fathers of old lived before them.
state trials in which Mr. Erskine was so largely enLet them marry as affection and prudence lead ed.
his wife's conduct.
behavior, he was not allowed even the privileges union, was interrupted by a previous act of his of a husband, for months after the marriage. own. In that hour of separation, I am persuaded This I mentioned to you before, and only now he never considered Mr. Bingham as an object repeat it in the statement of the proofs. Noth- of resentment or reproach. He was the author ing better, indeed, could be expected. Who can of his own misfortunes, and I can conceive him control the will of a mismatched, disappointed to have exclaimed, in the language of the poet, woman? Who can restrain or direct her pas- as they parted, sions ? I beg leave to assure Mr. Howard (and
“Elizabeth never loved me. I hope he will believe me when I say it), that I Let no map, after me, a woman wed (brings think his conduct toward this lady was just such Whose heart be knows he has not; though she as might have been expected from a husband A mine of gold, a kingdom, for ber dowry. who saw himself to be the object of disgust to the For let her seem, like the night's shadowy queen, woman he had chosen for his wife, and it is with Cold and contemplative-he can not trust her: this view only that I shall call a gentleman to say the worst of sorrows, and the worst of shames."
She may, she will, bring shame and sorrow on bim; how Mr. Howard spoke of this supposed, but, in my mind, impossible object of his adoration. You have, therefore, before you, gentlemen, How, indeed, is it possible to adore a woman two young men of fashion, both of the suit sees when you know her affections are riveted to an- noble families, and in the flower of sary to pricare other? It is unnatural! A man may have that youth : the proceedings, though not good one that saappetite which is common to the brutes, and too collusive, can not possibly be vindic- ges. indelicate to be described; but he can never re- tive; they are indispensably preliminary to the tain an affection which is returned with detesta- dissolution of an inauspicious marriage, which tion. Lady Elizabeth, I understand, was, at one never should have existed. Mr. Howard may, Exasperation of time, going out in a phaeton : "There then, profit by a useful though an unpleasant exMr Hire she goes," said Mr. Howard; “God perience, and be happier with a woman whose
damn her--I wish she may break her mind he may find disengaged; while the parents neck; I should take care how I got another." of the rising generation, taking warning from the This may seem unfeeling behavior ; but in Mr. lesson which the business of the day so forcibly Howard's
's situation, gentlemen, it was the most teaches, may avert from their families, and the natural thing in the world, for they cordially hated public, that bitterness of disunion, which, while one another. At last, however, the period arrived human nature continues to be itself, will ever be when this scene of discord became insupportable, produced to the end of time, from similar cooand nothing could exceed the generosity and junctures. manly feeling of the noble person (the Duke of Gentlemen, I have endeavored so to conduet Norfolk), whose name I have been obliged to use this cause as to offend no man. I have in the course of this cause, in his interference to guarded against every expression which daraus effect that separation which is falsely imputed to could inflict unnecessary pain; and, in terris Mr. Bingham. He felt so much commiseration doing so, I know that I have not only for this unhappy lady, that he wrote to her in the served my client's interests, but truly representmost affecting style. I believe I have got a let- ed his honorable and manly disposition. As the ter from his Grace to Lady Elizabeth, dated case before you can not be considered by any Sunderland, July the 27th, that is, three days reasonable man as an occasion for damages, I after their separation ; but before he knew it had might here properly conclude. Yet, that I may actually taken place : it was written in conse- omit nothing which might apply to any possiquence of one received from Mr. Howard upon ble view of the subject, I will close by remind. the subject. Among other things he says, “Iing you that my client is a member of a numersincerely feel for you.” Now if the Duke had ous family; that, though Lord Lucan's fortune not known at that time that Mr. Bingham had is considerable, his rank calls for a correspond. her earliest and legitimate affections, she could ing equipage and expense ; he has other chil. not have been an object of that pity which she re- dren-one already married to an illustrious noceived. She was, indeed, an object of the sin- bleman, another yet to be married to some man cerest pity; and the sum and substance of this who must be happy indeed if he shall know her mighty seduction will turn out to be no more value. Mr. Bingham, therefore, is a man of no than this, that she was affectionately received by fortune; but the heir only of, I trust, a very disMr. Bingham after the final period of volunta- tant expectation. Under all these circumstanry separation. At four o'clock this miserable ces, it is but fair to believe that Mr. Howard
couple had parted by consent, and comes here for the reasons I have assigned, and Their separation.
the chaise was not ordered till she not to take money out of the pocket of Mr. might be considered as a single woman by the Bingham to put into his own. You will, there. abandonment of her husband. Had this separa- fore, consider, gentlemen, whether it would be tion been legal and formal, I should have applied creditable for you to offer what it would be disto his Lordship, upon the most unquestionable graceful for Mr. Howard to receive. authorities, to nonsuit the plaintiff; for this action being founded upon the loss of the wife's socie- So completely had Mr. Erskine borne away ty, it must necessarily fall to the ground is it ap- the minds of the jury by this speech, that as pears that the society, though not the marriage some of them afterward stated, they had resolved
At least the
to bring in a verdict for the defendant, with macy to be renewed which led to such deploraheavy damages to be paid him by the plaintiff ! ble consequences—that he was liable to render And even when the judge reminded them, in his a compensation to the plaintiff under these cir. charge, that no blame could be imputed to Mr. cumstances—and that they could not be justified Howard, who was left in total ignorance of the in affixing a brand upon the latter by giving previous engagement—that his wife's vows at the trifling damages-still they gave him but five altar ought to have been respected by Mr. Bing. hundred pounds, when the sum usually awarded, ham, not only at first, but to the end-that the at that time, between persons of a wealthy condefendant ought never to have allowed an inti- | dition, was from ten to fifteen thousand pounds.
SPEECH OF MR. ERSKINE IN BEHALF OF THOMAS HARDY WHEN INDICTED FOR HIGH TREASON, DELIV.
ERED BEFORE THE COURT OF KING'S BENCH, NOVEMBER 1, 1794.
INTRODUCTION. Thomas HARDY was a shoemaker in London, and secretary of the “ London Corresponding Society," whose professed object was to promote parliamentary reform-having branch societies in most parts of the kingdom. Rash and inflammatory speeches were undoubtedly made at the meetings of these associations, and many things contained in their letters among themselves, and their addresses to the public, were highly objectionable. "The grand object of these associations," says Mr. Belsham, who probably was well acquainted with their designs, " was unquestionably to effect a reform in Parliament upon the visionary, if not pernicious principles of the Duke of Richmond-universal suffrage and annual election. They contained a considerable proportion of concealed republicans, converts to the novel and extravagant doctrine of Paine ; and there can be no doubt but that these people hoped, and perhaps in the height of their enthusiasm believed, that a radical reform in Parliament upon democratic principles would eventu. ally lead to the establishment of a democratic government." Still, it is generally understood that the bulk of the members were attached to the Constitution,
The government became alarmed at their proceedings, and instead of prosecuting for a misdemeanor those who could be proved to have used seditious language, they unhappily determined, at the instance of Lord Loughborough, to indict Hardy, Horne Tooke, and eleven others for high treason.
The act laid hold of was that of proposing a National Convention, avowedly for the purpose of promoting parliamentary reform; but the government maintained that the real design was to use the convention, if assembled, as an instrument of changing the government. The indictment, therefore, alleged,
1. That Hardy and the others, in calling this convention, did conspire to excite insarrection, subvert and alter the Legislature, depose the King, and “bring and put our said Lord the King to death."
2. The overt acts charged were attempting to induce persons, through the press, and by letters and speeches, to send delegates to a convention called for the above-mentioned purposes; and also the preparation of a few pikes in some populous places, which, as the parties concerned maintained, were provided as a defense against illegal attacks.
The case was opened on Tuesday, the 28th of October, 1794, by a speech from the Attorney General, Sir John Scott (afterward Lord Eldon), of nine hours in length. Never before had a trial for treason occupied more than one day; but in this instance the court sat during an entire week until after midnight, commencing every morning at eight o'clock. The Crown occupied the whole time, till after midnight Friday evening, with evidence against the prisoner; and Mr. Erskine then begged an adjournment to a somewhat later hour than usual the next day, that he might have time to look over his papers and make ready for the defense. To this the court objected as an improper delay of the jury, and proposed that the prisoner's witnesses should be examined while Mr. Erskine was preparing his reply. The following dialogue then ensued : Erskine. “I should be sorry to put the jury to any inconvenience; I do not shrink from my duty, but I assure your Lordship that during the week I have been nearly without natural rest, and that my physical strength is quite exbausted." Eyre, C. J. “What is it you ask for ?" Erskine. “As I stated before, the Attorney General found it necessary to consume nine hours ; I shall not consume half that time if I have an opportunity of doing that wbich I humbly request of the court." Eyre, C. J. “We have offered you an expedient, neither of you say whether you accept it ?" Mr. Gibbs, the other counsel for the prisoner, spurned the proposal, and Mr. Erskine requested an adjournment until twelve the next day, as essential to the fair defense of one who was on trial for his life. The Chief Justice, with apparent relactance, agreed to eleven. Erskine. "I should be glad if your Lordships would allow another hour." Eyre, C. J. “I feel so much for the situation of the jury, that, on their account, I can not think of it." Erskine. "My Lord, I never was placed in such a situation in the whole course of my practice before ; however, I will try to do my duty." Jury. “My Lord, we are extremely willing to allow Mr. Erskine another hour, if your Lordship thinks proper." Eyre, C.J. "As the jury ask it for you, I will not refuse