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as he did not appear to receive sentence, he was formerly declared an outlaw. In the spring of 1768, however, when the writs were out for a general election, he suddenly returned, proposed himself as a candidate for Middlesex, and was elected amidst exuberant manifestations of popular rejoicing. On the 20th of April, being the first day of term, Wilkes, according to a promise he had made, surrendered to his outlawry, and was committed to custody. A violent mob delivered him from the hands of the officers; but he contrived to elude the attentions of his admirers, and prudently gave himself up at the King's Bench Prison. He then applied in due form for the reversal of his outlawry, and on the 8th of June, Lord Mansfield delivered judgment.

In his exordium he reviewed the various arguments which had been put forward by Wilkes' counsel ; they were entirely technical, and he easily showed that they carried no valid force. He then proceeded, in one of his most eloquent outbursts, to say :

“These are the errors which have been objected; and, for the reasons I have given, I cannot allow any of them. It was our duty, as well as our inclination, sedulously to consider whether upon any other ground, or in any other light, we could find an informality which we might allow with satisfaction to our own minds, and avow to the world.

“But here let me pause! It is fit to take some notice of the various terms being held out: the numerous crowds which have attended and now attend in and about the hall, out of all reach of hearing what passes in court; and the tumults which, in other places, have shamefully insulted all order and government. Audacious addresses in private dictate to us, from those they call the people, the judgment to be given now, and afterwards upon the conviction. Reasons of policy are urged, from danger to the kingdom by commotions and general confusion.

“Give me leave to take the opportunity of this great and respectable audience, to let the whole world know that all such attempts are vain. Unless we have been able to find an error which will bear us out to reverse the outlawry, it must be affirmed. The constitution does not allow reasons of state to influence our judgments. God forbid it should! We must not regard political consequences, how formidable soever they might be; if rebellion was the certain consequence, we are bound to say Fiat justitia, ruat colum.' The constitution trusts to the king with reasons of state and policy; he may stop prosecutions ; he may pardon offences; it is his to judge whether the law or the criminal should yield. We have no election. None of us encouraged or approved the commission of either of the crimes of which the defendant is convicted; none of us had any

hand in his being prosecuted. As to myself, I took no part in another place in the addresses for that prosecution. We did not advise or assist the defendant to fly from justice; it was his own act, and he must take the consequences. None of us have been consulted, or had anything to do with the present prosecution. It is not in our power to stop it; it was not in our power to bring

We cannot pardon. We are to say what we take the law to be; if we do not speak our real opinions, we prevaricate with God and our own consciences. “I

pass over many anonymous letters which I have received. Those in print are public; and some of them have been brought judicially before the court. Whoever the writers are, they take the wrong way. I will do my duty unawed.

What am I to fear? That mendax infamia from the press, which daily raises false facts and false motives? The lies of calumny carry no terror to me. I trust that my temper of mind, and the colour and conduct of my life, have given me a suit of armour against these arrows. If, during this king's reign, I have ever supported his government and assisted his measures, I have done it without any other reward than the consciousness of doing what I thought right. If I have ever opposed, I have done it upon the

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points themselves, without mixing in party or faction, and without any collateral views. I honour the king, and respect the people; but many things required by the favour of either are, in my account, objects not worth ambition. I wish popularity ; but it is that popularity which follows, not that which is run after; it is that popularity which, sooner or later, never fails to do justice to the pursuit of noble ends by noble means. I will not do that which my conscience tells me is wrong upon this occasion, to gain the huzzas of thousands, or the daily praise of all the papers which come from the press. I will not avoid doing what I think is right, though it should draw on me the whole artillery of libels; all that falsehood and malice can invent, or the credulity of a deluded populace can swallow. can say, with a great magistrate, upon an occasion and under circumstances not unlike, 'Ego hoc animo semper fui, ut invidiam virtute partam, gloriam, non invidiam, putarem.'

“The threats go farther than abuse; personal violence is denounced. I do not believe it; it is not the genius of the worst of men of this country, in the worst of times. But I have set my mind at rest. The last end that can happen to any man never comes too soon, if he falls in support of the law and liberty of his country (for liberty is synonymous to law and government). Such a shock, too, might be productive of public good; it might awake the better part of the kingdom out of that lethargy which seems to have benumbed them; and bring the weak part back to their senses, as men intoxicated are sometimes stunned into sobriety.

“Once for all, let it be understood that no endeavours of this kind will influence any man who at present sits here. If they had any effect, it would be contrary to their intent; leaning against their impression might give a bias the other way. But I hope, and I know, that I have fortitude enough to resist even that weakness. No libels, no threats, nothing that has happened, nothing that can happen, will weigh a feather against allowing the defendant, upon this and every other question, not only the

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points themselves, without mixing in party or faction, and without any collateral views. I honour the king, and respect the people; but many things required by the favour of either are, in my account, objects not worth ambition. I wish popularity ; but it is that popularity which follows, not that which is run after; it is that popularity which, sooner or later, never fails to do justice to the pursuit of noble ends by noble means. I will not do that which my conscience tells me is wrong upon this occasion, to gain the huzzas of thousands, or the daily praise of all the papers which come from the press. I will not avoid doing what I think is right, though it should draw on me the whole artillery of libels; all that falsehood and malice can invent, or the credulity of a deluded populace can swallow. I can say, with a great magistrate, upon an occasion and under circumstances not unlike, 'Ego hoc animo semper fui, ut invidiam virtute partam, gloriam, non invidiam, putarem.'

“The threats go farther than abuse; personal violence is denounced. I do not believe it; it is not the genius of the worst of men of this country, in the worst of times. But I have set my mind at rest. The last end that can happen to any man never comes too soon, if he falls in support of the law and liberty of his country (for liberty is synonymous to law and government). Such a shock, too, might be productive of public good; it might awake the better part of the kingdom out of that lethargy which seems to have benumbed them; and bring the weak part back to their senses.

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