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ance, who were affectionately concerned on his account. A crowded court listened to him (a few excepted behind the bar) with the most respectful tokens of sympathy for his situation. “ As to the jury, who spared themselves the trouble of even reading the pamphlet, and of comparing the general purpose with the passages selected by the accuser,” he imputes to them “
gross inattention,” and describes them as “yawning and betraying every symptom of impatience and disregard.”
The “ Defence,” to which we have so often referred, he printed during his imprisonment in the King's Bench, for the gratification of his friends. The close of his short preface will shew how much he was consoled and supported by their attachment.
“ This defence, however disapproved by the licentious and worldly-minded, neither accustomed to the purifying speculations nor warmed by the generous energies of abstract truth, will be regarded by my friends, I hope, as an exertion suitable to the uniform tenour of my character: their approbation will abundantly counterbalance all inconvenient consequences, and alleviate any punishment, which the deluded zeal or irritated malice of my persecutors may inflict upon me. I recollect what
has been the lot of better men than myself in all ages of the world; and that fraternal solicitude of affection, so plentifully and strikingly manifested in my behalf, has rendered this trial the most consoling, the most exhilarating, and the most triumphant transaction of my life.”
Mr. Wakefield called up for Judgment-His Address to the
Judges-Commitment to the King's Bench Prison -
AFTER a few weeks passed by Mr. Wakefield in the enjoyment of his family and friends, the duty of moving the court for judgment was not forgotten by his prosecutor. He was accordingly cited to appear at Westminster on April the 18th, when he addressed the Judges of the court, in a speech prepared for the occasion.
The leading topics of this address are undoubtedly widely different from those generally delivered in a court of justice. Of this he was as fully aware as any of his audience could possibly be; and it should be remembered that the mitigation of punishment, the usual design of such addresses, and which he by no means overlooked, could not, in his circum
stances, be a principal object. He knew too well the complexion of the times. Nor could he so soon forget what invectives the ministry, and especially the Attorney-General, in his capacity of a senator, had poured out upon him when his case, previous to his trial, was accidentally mentioned in the House of Commons. Thus the expectations of influencing the determination of his sentence by any pleas which he could offer, were small indeed. His chief design now was, to seize an opportunity of avowing his sincere and matured opinion on public questions of high importance, in a moral, if not in a political view.
The singularity of the subjects thus brought forward, not unnaturally, excited the surprise of many in the court. Yet it might surely have been expected that the address of an eminent scholar, delivered in circumstances so interesting, would have been heard by persons of liberal education with respectful attention. This was far from being the case as to some of the junior counsel, who took no pains to conceal their impatience.
Notwithstanding every discouragement, he kept in view the favourite maxim of his friend Dr. Jebb, that “no effort is lost.” The prospect, though distant, of exciting the attention of his countrymen to what he esteemed glar
ing defects in our institutions, however they might be sanctioned by time, was more than sufficient to animate his exertions, and readily superseded all considerations of iuferior moment. Whatever difference of opinion may be entertained respecting the importance and utility of his observations, his sincerity in delivering them,ʻunder such circumstances, can scarcely be called in question.
In this “ Address to the Judges,” Mr. Wakefield points out the distinction between
a case of active violence, or positive hostility,” and “
opinions and exertions of intellect in written appeals to the understandings of men, who call themselves free, where actual violence is not only not exerted, but discouraged and condemned in explicit language." He then argues, at some length, against “ position to the following purport, in a pamphlet published in vindication of the bridewell of Cold-Bath-Fields, as the basis of the penal regulations in that place—Punishment and restraint must be employed, until the mind of the prisoner is subdued:” which language he considers as implying “a supposition of melioration to the dispositions of an offender by system of severity-an expectation that repentance and reformation may be forced on