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turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God; that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them who are sanctified by faith that is in me.
6. Whereupon, O king Agrippa! I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision; but showed first to them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and through all the coasts of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. For these causes, the Jews caught me in the temple; and went about to kill me. Having, however, obtained help from God, I continue to this day witnessing both to sinall and great, saying no other things than those which
the prophets and Moses declared should come; that Christ should suffer; that he would be the first who should rise from the dead; and that he would show light to the people, and to the Gentiles.
7. And as he thus spoke for himself, Festus said, with a loud voice, “Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning hath made thee mad.” But he replied, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth these things, before whom I also speak freely: I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him: for this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. Then Agrippa said to Paul, “ Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” And Paul replied, “I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds."*
SECTION IV. LORD MANSFIELD's speech in the House of Peers, 1770, on the
bill for preventing the delays of justice, by claiming the Privilege of Parliament. MY LORDS,
1. When I consider the importance of this bill to your lordships, I am not surprised it has taken up so much of your consideration. It is a bill, indeed, of no common magnitude; it is no less than to take away from two-thirds of the legislative body of this great kingdom, certain privileges and immunities of which they have been long possessed. Perhaps there is no situation the human mind can be placed in, that is so difficult and so trying, as when it is made a judge in its own cause.
2. There is something implanted in the breast of man so attached to self, so tenacious of privileges once obtained, that in such a situation, either to discuss with impartiality, or decide with justice, has ever been held the summit of all human virtue. The bill now in question puts your lordships in this very predicament; and I have no doubt the wisdom of your decision will convince the world, that where self-interest and justice are in opposite scales, the latter will ever preponderate with your lordships.
3. Privileges have been granted to legislators in all ages, and in
* How happy was this great Apostle, even in the most perilous circum. stances! Though under bonds and oppression, his mind was free, and raised above every fear of man. With what dignity and composure does he defend himself, and the noble cause he had espoused; whilst he displays the most compassionate and generous feelings, for those who were strangers to the sublime religion by which he was animated !
all countries. The practice is founded in wisdom; and, indeed, it is peculiarly essential to the constitution of this country, that the members of both houses should be free in their persons, in cases of civil suits : for there may come a time when the safety and welfare of this whole empire, may depend upon their attendance in parliament. I am far from advising any measure that would in future endanger the state : but the bill before your lordships has, I am confident, no such tendency; for it expressly secures the persons of members of either house in all civil suits.
4. This being the case, I confess, when I see many noble lords, for whose judgement I have a very great respect, standing up to oppose a bill which is calculated merely to facilitate the recovery of just and legal debts, I ain astonished and amazed. They, 1 doubt not, oppose the bill upon publick principles : I would not wish to insinuate, that private interest had the least weight in their determination.
5. The bill has been frequently proposed, and as frequently has miscarried: but it was always lost in the lower house. Little did I think, when it had passed the commons, that it possibly could have met with such opposition here. Shall it be said, that you, my lords, the grand council of the nation, the highest judicial and legislative body of the realm, endeavour to evade, by privilege, those very laws which you enforce on your fellow-subjects? Forbid it justice! --I am sure, were the noble lords as well acquainted as I am, with but half the difficulties and delays occasioned in the courts of justice, under pretence of privilege, they would not, nay, they could not, oppose this bill.
6. I have waited with patience to hear what arguments might be urged against this bill; but I have waited in vain: the truth is, there is no argument that can weigh against it. The justice and expediency of the bill are such as render it self-evident. It is a proposition of that nature, which can neither be weakened by argument, nor entangled with sophistry. Much, indeed, has been said by some noble lords, on the wisdom of our ancestors, and how differently they thought from us. They not only decreed, that privilege should prevent all civil suits from proceeding during the sitting of parliament, but likewise granted protection to the very servants of members. I shall say nothing on the wisdom of our ancestors; it might perhaps appear invidious: that is not neces. sary in the present case.
7. I shall only say, that the noble lords who flatter themselves with the weight of that reflection, shonld remember, that as cire cumstances alter, things themselves should alter. Formerly, it was not so fashionable either for masters or servants to run in debt, as it is at present. Formerly, we were not that great commercial nation we are at present; nor formerly were merchants and manufacturers members of parliament as at present. The case is now very different: both merchants and manufacturers are, with great propriety, elected members of the lower house.
8. Commerce having thus got into the legislative body of the kingdom, privilege must be done away. We all know, that the very soul and essence of trade are regular payments; and sad experience teaches us, that there are men, who will not make their regular payments without the compulsive power of the laws.
The law then ought to be equally open to all. Any exemption to particular men, or particular ranks of men, is, in a free and commercial country, a solecism of the grossest nature.
9. But I will not trouble your lordships with arguments for that, which is sufficiently evident without any. I shall only say a few words to some noble lords, who foresee much inconvenience. from the persons of their servants being liable to be arrested One noble lord observes, That the coachman of a peer may be arrested, while he is driving his master to the House, and that, consequently, he will not be able to attend his duty in parliament. If this were actually to happen, there are so many methods by which the member might still get to the House, that I can hardly think the noble lord is serio!is in his objection.
10. Another noble peer said, That, by this bill, one might lose his most valuable and honest servants. This I hold to be a contradiction in terms : for he can neither be a valuable servant, nor an honest man, who gets into debt which he is neither able nor will. ing to pay, till compelled by the law. If my servant, by unfore, seen accidents, has got into debt, and I still wish to retain him, I certainly would pay the demand. But upon no principle of liberal legislation whatever, can my servant have a title to set his creditors at defiance, while, for forty shillings only, the honest tradesman may be torn from his family, and locked up in a gaol. It is monstrous injustice! I flatter myself, however, the determination of this day will entirely put an end to all these partial proceedings for the future, by passing into a law the bill now under your lordships' consideration.
11. I come now to speak, upon what, indeed, I would have gladly avoided, had I not been particularly, pointed at, for the part 1 have taken in this bill. It has been said, by a noble lord on my left hand, that I likewise am running the race of popularity. If the noble lord means by popularity, that applause bestowed by after-ages on good and virtuous actions, I have long been struggling in that race: to what purpose, all-trying time can alone determine.
12. But if the nobler lord means that mushroom popularity, which is raised without merit, and lost without a crime, he is much mistaken in his opinion. I defy the noble lord to point out a single action of my life, in which the popularity of the times ever liad the smallest influence on my determinations. I thank God I have a more permanent and steady rule for my conduct,—the dictates of my own breast.
13. Those who have forgone that pleasing adviser, and given up their minds to be the slave of every popular impulse, I sincerely pity : I pity them still more, if their vanity leads them to mistake the shouts of a mob, for the trumpet of fame. Experience might inform them, that many, who have been saluted with the huzzas of a crowd one day, have received their execrations the next; and many, who by the popularity of their times, have been held up as spotless patriots, have, nevertheless, appeared upon the historian's page, when truth has triumphed over delusion, the assassine of liberty.
14. Why then the noble lord can think I am ambitious of present popularity, that echo of folly, and shadow of renown, I am at 2 loss to determine. Besides, I'do not know that the bill now before your lordships will be popular: it depends much upon the caprice of the day. It may not be popular to compel people to pay their debts; and, in that case, the present must be a very unpopular bill.
15. It may not be popular either to take away any of the privileges of parliament; for I very well remember, and many of your lordships may remember, that, not long ago, the popular cry was for the extension of privilege ; and so far aid they carry it at that time, that it was said, the privilege protected members even in criminal actions ; nay, such was the power of popular prejudices over weak minds, that the very decisions of some of the courts were tinctured with that doctrine. It was undoubtedly an abominable doctrine. I thought so then, and I think so still : bút, nevertheless, it was a popular doctrine, and came immediately from those who are called the friends of liberty; how deservedly, time will show.
16. True liberty, in my opinion, can only exist when justice is equally administered to all; to the king and to the beggar. Where is the justice then, or where is the law that protects a member of parliament, more than any other man, from the punishment due to his crimes ? The laws of this country allow of no place, nor any employment, to be a sanctuary for crimes; and where I have the honour to sit as judge, neither royal favour, nor popular applause, shall protect the guilty.
17. I have now only to beg pardon for having employed so much of your lordships' time, and I am sorry a bisl, fraught with so many good consequences, has not met with an abler advocate: but I doubt not your lordships' determination will convince the world, that a bill, calculated to contribute so much to the equal distribution of justice as the present, requires with your lordships but very little support.
An address to young persons. 1. I INTEnd, in this address, to show you the importance of beginning early to give serious attention to your conduct. As soon as you are capable of reflection, you must perceive that there is a right and a wrong in human actions. You see, that those who are born with the same advantages of fortune, are not all equally prosperous in the course of life. While some of them, by wise and steady conduct, attain distinction in the world, and pass their days with comfort and honour; others, of the same rank, by mean and vicious behaviour, forfeit the advantages of their birth ; involve themselves in much misery; and end in being a disgrace to their friends, and a burden on society.
2. Early, then, may you learn, that it is not on the external con dition in which you find yourselves placed, but on the part which you are to act, that your welfare or unhappiness, your honour or infamy, depends. Now, when beginning to act that part, what can be of greater moment, than to regulate your plan of conduct with the most serious attention, before you have yet committed any fatal or irretrievable errours ?
3. If instead of exerting reflection for this valuable purpose, you deliver yourselves up, at so critical a time, to sloth and pleasures; if you refuse to listen to any counsellor but humour, or to attend to any pursuit except that of amusement; if you allow your
selves to float loose and careless on the tide of life, ready to receive any direction which the current of fashion may chance to give you; what can you expect to follow from such beginnings ?
4. While so many around you are undergoing the sad consequences of a like indiscretion, for what reason shall not those consequences extend to you? Shall you attain success without that preparation, and escape dangers without that precaution, which are required of others ? Shall happiness grow up to you, of its own accord, and solicit your acceptance, when, to the rest of mankind, it is the fruit of long cultivation, and the acquisition of labour and care ?
5. Deceive not yourselves with those arrogant hopes. Whatever be your rank, Providence will not, for your sake, reverse its established order. The Author of your being hath enjoined you to “take heed to your ways; to ponder the paths of your feet; to remember your Creator in the days of your youth.
6. He hath decreed, that they only " who seek after wisdom, shall find it; that fools shall be afflicted, because of their trans gressions; and that whoever refuseth instruction, shall destroy his own soul.” By listening to these admonitions, and tempering the vivacity of youth with a proper mixture of serious thought, you may ensure cheerfulness for the rest of life; but by delivering yourselves up at present to giddiness and levity, you lay the foundation of lasting heaviness of heart.
7. When you look forward to those plans of life, which either your circumstances have suggested, or your friends have proposed, you will not hesitate to acknowledge, that in order to pursue them with advantage, some previous discipline is requisite. Be assured, that whatever is to be your profession, no education is more necessary to your success, than the acquirement of virtuous dispositions and habits. This is the universal preparation for every character, and every station in life.
8. Bad as the world is, respect is always paid to virtue. In the usual course of human affairs, it will be found, that a plain understanding, joined with acknowledged worth, contributes more to prosperity, than the brightest parts without probity or honour. Whether science, or business, or publick life, be your aim, virtue still enters, for a principal share, into all those great departments of society. It is connected with eminence, in every liberal art; with reputation in every branch of fair and useful business;
with distinction in every publick station.
9. The vigour which it gives the mind, and the weight which it adds to character; the generous sentiments which it breathes; the undaunted spirit which it inspires ; the ardour of diligence which it quickens; the freedom which it procures from pernicious and dishonourable avocations; are the foundations of all -that is highly honourable, or greatly successful among men.
10. Whatever ornamental or engaging endowments you now possess, virtue is a necessary requisite, in order to their shining with proper lustre. Feeble are the attractions of the fairest form, if it be suspected that nothing within corresponds to the pleasing appearance without. Short are the triumphs of wit, when it is supposed to be the vehicle of malice. 11. By whatever means you may at first attract the attention,