David J. (David Josiah) Brewer.

Crowned masterpieces of eloquence, representing the advance of civilization, as collected in The world's best orations, from the earliest period to the present time (Volume 4) online

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place. All this cannot be done without a multitude; therefore
Watson, the priest, tells a resolute man that the King was in
danger of Puritans and Jesuits — so to bring him in blindfold into
the action, saying. That the King is no king until he be crowned;
therefore every man might right his own wrongs. But he is rex
natus, his dignity descends as well as yours, my lords. Then
Watson imposeth a blasphemous oath, that they should swear to
defend the King's person; to keep secret what was given them
in charge, and seek all ways and means to advance the Catholic
religion. Then they intend to send for the Lord Mayor and the
aldermen in the King's name to the Tower, lest they should
make any resistance, and then to take hostages of them, and to
enjoin them to provide for them victuals and munition. Grey,
because the King removed before midsummer, had a further
reach, to get a company of sword-men to assist the action; there-
fore he would stay till he had obtained a regiment from Os-
tend or Austria. So you see these treasons were like Sampson's
foxes which were joined in their tails, though their heads were

Raleigh — You, gentlemen of the jury, I pray remember, I am
not charged with the Bye, that being the treason of the priest.

Coke — You are not. My lords, you shall observe three things
in the Treasons: i. They had a watchword (the King's safety);
their Pretense was Bonum in se; their Intent was Malum in se.
2. They avouched Scripture; both the priests had Scriptiun est;
perverting and ignorantly mistaking the Scriptures. 3. They
avouched the common law to prove that he was no king until he
was crowned, alleging a statute of 13 Elizabeth. This, by way
of imitation, hath been the way of all traitors. In the 20th of
Edward II , Isabella the Queen and the Lord Mortimer gave out
that the King's person was not safe, for the good of the Church
and the Commonwealth The Bishop of Carlisle did preach on
this text, "My head is grieved, >* meaning by the head the King;
that when the head began to be negligent, the people might
reform what is amiss. In the 3d of Henry IV., Sir Roger Clar-
endon, accompanied with two priests, gave out that Richard II.


was alive when he was dead. Edward III. caused Mortimer's
head to be cut off for giving counsel to murder the King. Sir
Henry Stanley found the crown in the dust and set it on the
king's head; when Fitzwater and Garret told him that Edward V.
was alive he said, *^ If he be alive, I will assist him.^^ But this
cost him his head. Edmund de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, killed
a man in the reign of Henry VII. for which the king would
have him hold up his hand at the bar, and then pardoned him.
Yet he took such an offense thereat that he sent to the noble-
men to help to reform the Commonwealth, and then said he
would go to France and get power there. Sir Roger Compton
knew all the Treason, and discovered Windon and others that
were attainted. He said there was another thing that would be
stood upon, namely, that they had but one witness. Then he
vouched one Appleyard's case, a traitor in Norfolk, who said a
man must have two accusers. Helms was the man that accused
him; but Mr. Justice Catlin said that that statute was not in
force at that day. His words were, ^* Thrust her into the ditch.'*
Then he went on speaking of accusers, and made this difference:
an accuser is a speaker by report, when a witness is he that
upon his oath shall speak his knowledge of any man. A third
sort of evidence there is likewise, and this is held more forcible
than either of the other two; and that is, when a man, by his
accusation of another, shall, by the same accusation, also condemn
himself, and make himself liable to the same fault and punish-
ment. This is more forcible than many witnesses. So then so
much by way of imitation. (Then he defined Treason. Treason
in the heart, in the hand, in the mouth, in consummation; com-
paring that in corde, to the root of a tree; in ore, to the bud;
in manii, to the blossom; and that which is iji consnmmatione, to
the fruit.) Now I come to your charge, you of the jury, the
greatness of treason is to be considered in these two things:
determinatione finis, and electione mediorum. This treason ex-
celleth in both, for that it was to destroy the king and his
progeny. These treasons are said to be crimen IcescB inajestatis;
this goeth further, and may be termed crimen extirpandcz regiee
inajestatis et totius progeniei sucb. I shall not need, my lords,
to speak anything concerning the King, nor of the bounty and
sweetness of his nature, whose thoughts are innocent, whose
words are full of wisdom and learning, and whose works are full
of honor, although it be a true saying, Nunguam niniis quod


nunquam satis. But to whom do you bear malice ? To the
children ?

Raleigh — To whom speak you this ? You tell me news I
never heard of.

Coke — Oh, sir, do I ? I will prove you the notoriousest trai-
tor that ever came to the bar. After you have taken away the
King, you would alter religion: as you Sir Walter Raleigh, have
followed them of the Bye in imitation; for I will charge you
with the words.

Raleigh — Your words cannot condemn me; my innocency is
my defense. Prove one of these things wherewith you have
charged me, and I will confess the whole indictment, and that I
am the horriblest traitor that ever lived, and worthy to be cruci-
fied with a thousand thousand torments.

Coke — Nay, I will prove all; thou art a monster; thou hast
an English face, but a Spanish heart. Now you must have
money; Aremberg was no sooner in England (I charge thee Ra-
leigh) but thou incitedst Cobham to go unto him for money, to
bestow on discontented persons, to raise rebellion on the king-

Raleigh — Let me answer for myself.

Coke — Thou shalt not.

Raleigh — It concerneth my life.

The Lord Chief -Justice — Sir Walter Raleigh, Mr. .Attorney
is but yet in the general; but when the King's counsel have
given the evidence wholly you shall answer every particular.

Coke — Oh, do I touch you ?

Lord Cecil — Mr. Attorney, when you have done with this
general charge, do you not mean to let him answer every particu-

Coke — Yes, when we deliver the proofs to be read. Raleigh
procured Cobham to go to Aremberg, which he did by his insti-
gation; Raleigh supped with Cobham before he went to Arem-
berg; after supper, Raleigh conducted him to Durham House;
from thence Cobham went with Lawrency, a servant of Arem-
berg, unto him, and went in by a back way. Cobham could
never be quiet until he had entertained this motion, for he had
four letters from Raleigh. Aremberg answered: The money
should be performed, but knew not to whom it should be dis-
tributed. Then Cobham and Lawrency came back to Durham
House, where they found Raleigh. Cobham and Raleigh went


Up, and left Lawrency below, where they had secret conference
in a gallery; and after, Cobham and Lawrency departed from
Raleigh. Your jargon was peace. What is that ? Spanish inva-
sion, Scottish subversion! And again, you are not a fit man to
take so much money for procuring of a lawful peace, for peace
procured by money is dishonorable. Then Cobham must go to
Spain, and return by Jersey, where you were captain; and then,
because Cobham had not so much policy, or at least wickedness,
as you, he must have your advice for the distribution of the
money. Would you have deposed so good a king, lineally de-
scended from Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward IV.? Why
then must you set up another ? I think you meant to make
Arabella a titular queen, of whose title I will speak nothing; but
sure you meant to make her a stale. Ah, good lady you could
mean her no good.

Raleigh — Did I ever speak with this lady ?

Coke — I will track you out before I have done. Englishmen
will not be led by persuasion of words, but they must have books
to persuade.

Raleigh — The book was written by a man of your profes-
sion, Mr. Attorney.

Coke — I would not have you impatient.

Raleigh — Methinks you fall out with yourself, I say nothing.

Coke — By this book you would persuade men that he is not
the lawful king. Now let us consider some circumstances. My
lords, you know my Lord Cobham (for whom we all lament and
rejoice; lament that his house, which hath stood so long un-
spotted, is now ruinated; rejoice, in that his treasons are re-
vealed) ; Raleigh was both imited in the cause with him, and
therefore cause of his destruction. Another circumstance is the
secret contriving of it. Humphry Stafford claimed sanctuary for
treason. Raleigh in his Machiavelian policy hath made a sanc-
tuary for treason. He must talk with none but Cobham; be-
cause, saith he, one witness can never condemn me. For Brook
said unto Sir Griffith Markham, ^^Take heed how you do make
my Lord Cobham acquainted; for whatsoever he knoweth, Ra-
leigh, the witch, will get it out of him.** As soon as Raleigh was
examined on one point of treason concerning my Lord Cobham,
he wrote to him thus : ^^ I have been examined of you, and con-
fessed nothing.** Further, you sent to him by your trusty Francis
Kemish, that one witness could not condemn; and therefore bade


his lordship to be of good courage. Came this out of Cobham's
quiver? No; but out of Raleigh's Machiavelian and devilish
policy. Yea, but Cobham did retract it; why then did ye urge
it ? Now, then, see the most horrible practices that ever came
out of the bottomless pit of the lowest hell. After that Raleigh
had intelligence that Cobham had accused him, he endeavored to
have intelligence from Cobham, which he had gotten by young
Sir John Payton; but I think it was the error of his youth.

Raleigh — The lords told it me, or else I had not been sent
to the Tower.

Coke — Thus Cobham, by the instigation of Raleigh, entered
into these actions; so that the question will be whether you are
not the principal traitor, and he would nevertheless have entered
into it. Why did Cobham retract all that same ? First, because
Raleigh was so odious, he thought he should fare the worse for
his sake. Second, he thought thus with himself: If he be free,
I shall clear myself the better. After this Cobham asked for a
preacher to confer with, pretending to have Doctor Andrews; but,
indeed, he meant not to have him, but Mr. Galloway, a worthy
and reverend preacher, who can do more with the king (as he
said) than any other; that he, seeing his constant denial, might
inform the king thereof. Here he plays with the preacher. If
Raleigh could persuade the lords, that Cobham had no intent to
travel, then he thought all should be well. Here is forgery. In
the Tower, Cobham must write to Sir Thomas Vane, a worthy
man, that he meant not to go into Spain; which letter Raleigh
devised in Cobham's name.

Raleigh — I will wash my hands of the indictment, and die a
true man to the king.

Coke — You are the absolutest traitor that ever was.

Raleigh — Your phrases will not prove it.

Coke — Cobham writeth a letter to my Lord Cecil, and doth
will Mellis's man to lay it in a Spanish Bible, and to make as
though he found it by chance. This was after he had intelli-
gence with this viper, that he was false.

Lord Cecil — You mean a letter intended to me ; I never
had it.

Coke — No, my lord, you had it not. You, my masters of the
jury, respect not the wickedness and hatred of the man, respect
his cause; if he be guilty, I know you will have care of it, for


the preservation of the King, the continuance of the Gospel au-
thorized, and the good of us all.

Raleigh — I do not hear yet, that you have spoken one word
against me; here is no treason of mine done; if my Lord Cobham
be a traitor, what is that to me ?

Coke — All that he did was by thy instigation, thou viper; for
I thou thee, thou traitor!

Raleigh — It becometh not a man of quality and virtue, to call
me so; but I take comfort in it, it is all you can do.

Coke — Have I angered you?

Raleigh — I am in no case to be angry.

Chief-Justice Popham — Sir Walter Raleigh, Mr, Attorney
speaketh out of the zeal of his duty, for the services of the king,
and you for your life; be valiant on both sides!


( 1 820-1 894)

John Duke Coleridge, Baron Coleridge, and Lord Chief-Justice
of England, was born December 3d, 1820. His father, Sir
John Taylor Coleridge, a nephew of the poet, was a Justice
of the King's Bench and the editor of Blackstone's <^ Commentaries."
The son, John Duke Coleridge, soon rose to eminence at the bar.
After becoming Queen's Counsel he was appointed Chief-Justice
of the Court of Common Pleas in 1873, and in 1880 Lord Chief-
Justice of England. In 1865 he appeared as counsel for the defend-
ant in what was, at the time, a celebrated breach-of-promise case,
tried before Lord Chief-Justice Cockburn in the Court of Queen's
Bench, at Westminster. The position in which he was placed was
difficult, not to say impossible, as after making an attack on the
character of the lady plaintiff, the defendant had found himself un-
able to maintain it, and had been obliged to recede from it. It was
in this connection that the future Lord Chief- Justice made the elo-
quent address on The Sacredness of Matrimony — which, however,
did not prevent the jury from giving the injured lady, whom he con-
demned for taking advantage of the weakness of his client, a ver-
dict of two thousand pounds. It is possible that even Curran, whose
eloquence in similar cases was frequently at its best, might have
fared no better had he been rash enough to appeal to a British jury
against the woman in the case. Lord Chief-Justice Coleridge died
June 14th, 1894,

(Delivered in the Court of Queen's Bench, Westminster, 1865)

MAY it please your Lordship and Gentlemen of the Jury, the
advocate of the defendant, in which character I appear be-
fore you to-day, has no doubt cast upon him a hard task.
He has to defend a gentleman from the result of a breach of a
contract which he, no doubt, deliberately entered into, and he has
to do that after a very strong attack made upon his client by
one of the ablest counsel in Westminster Hall [Mr. Bovill, Q. C,



Counsel for the Plaintiff]. I am only giving you credit for the
ordinary feelings of our common humanity, in supposing that
you will not consider that a trivial or commonplace consideration
would justify the defendant as a man of sense and a man of
honor in not fulfilling his hasty and unnatural promise. These
thoughts, no doubt, have already suggested themselves to your
mind, if they have not been driven away by the somewhat
vigorous vituperations to which my friend has subjected the de-
fendant; but I cannot help thinking that if you bring to the
consideration of this case, as I am sure you will, a calm and im-
partial understanding, you will see that the damages are of a
very trivial character — that they are even nominal in amount,
and that a nominal sum, at the most, is all the defendant ought
to pay for having unquestionably broken a promise which he
unquestionably made. The facts of this case are singularly few,
undisputed, and simple, and I will try to make my comments on
them correspondingly brief. It is idle to put before you consid-
erations in the soundness of which I do not believe, and the fal-
lacy of which your understandings would immediately detect. I
am not going to say for one moment that there has not been a
most deliberate promise of marriage made by the defendant. I
am not here to contend before you that the promise so deliber-
ately made has not, with a full view of all the circumstances
attendant on it, been resolutely and deliberately broken; and
therefore the question is, What damages, if any, has the defend-
ant to pay for having brought himself within the perils of the
law ? Gentlemen, the questions really to consider in this case
are: What is che contract made? Who were the parties to the
contract ? How came it to be made ? and, under what cir-
cumstances was it departed from ? Those are the simple and
plain issues in the case. First of all, to begin with. What was
the contract ? The contract, as you will hear by and by, was a
contract to assume the most solemn, the most touching, the most
intimate relations in which one human being can possibly stand
to another, so that they are "no more twain, but one flesh."
Respect, esteem, and love on both sides, are its true foundation.
And, gentlemen, you will give me leave to say that those dis-
grace themselves and profane the sacred ordinance of marriage
who enter upon it from bad motives or in an unworthy temper;
and you will give me leave to say further, that those who seek
to do so are not to be heard when they come into a court to


claim damages which, from their own conduct, they are not en-
titled to. Ex turpi causa non oritur actio, or, to use the beau-
tiful paraphase of Lord Mansfield, <^ Justice must be drawn from
pure fountains. ^^ Who are the parties to the contract? One of
them is a Colonel, not old in years, if you count by the calendar,
but aged and enfeebled by a wasting disease, — crippled from the
middle downwards, one leg entirely and the other partially, sc
that he is like the king in the < Arabian Nights,^ "half flesh
and half marble *^ — heavily embarrassed in circumstances, but
able to settle five hundred pounds a year on his wife. If I am
not entitled to say he was intemperate in habits, he had habits
which one of the witnesses said "he had not been weaned from,*
and which it was desirable he should be weaned from. Weak-
ened and afflicted by the cruel and repeated assaults of his dis-
order, he was a person who could have had, in the eyes of a
lady like the plaintiff, one recommendation and one only, namely,
the fact that he could charge his estates in her favor.

Gentlemen, who is the other party to the contract? A woman
in mature life also; only recently brought into the close and in-
timate relation in which you have heard she stood to the defend-
ant. She was fully aware of his infirmities, and was trading in
them, taking advantage of his weakness and of his temporary
removal from all those friends who had surrounded him, — except
the friends of her own immediate connection, — that she might
drive with him her hard and disgusting bargain, and failing which
she seeks to carry away the spolia opima of the diamond ring
and the ^£"5,000 damages. Not for her the pure sacred abandon-
ment of self, which is the yoimg virginity of affection. Not for
her those loving and bright inspirations which lift us up above
ourselves; which for a time hallow the worst of us, and elevate
the most degraded. Nor for her those visions of a happy home,
enlivened with bright children, circled in with its own sacred
fence of love and joy, which is alike the brightest prospect of
the bride and the dearest consolation of the widow. She was
prepared to go to God's altar with totally different feelings — to
assume the defendant's name and position to the injury of his
family. For this purpose she was willing to subject herself to
his caresses, and to undergo his paralytic embraces, setting her-
self up for sale in market overt like any other piece of merchan-
dise ; and for all these degrading compliances, money, and money
only, was the miserable compensation. Gentlemen, in other
4 — 9


countries, where men are despots because women are slaves,
women are treated as brute beasts, sold in the market like any-
other animal or chattel; and in such countries little is thought of
the degradation, because it is the common lot. But in free and
happy England, where a woman can marry for affection when
she will, — marry on equal terms, marry with Christian dignity, —
such a marriage contract as is sought to be here enforced is an
indecency, an outrage, and a crime; and I trust you will not for-
get, when you look at the circumstances of this case, what was
the contract the plaintiff strove to enter into with her intended
husband. The defendant is a gentleman living in Wales, having
a large place called Nant Eos, and also estates in other parts of
the country. He had two other shooting boxes, which I suppose
he reserved for his friends, as I presume he cannot himself shoot
much out of his chair, in which it seems he is wheeled about.
The defendant, early in this year, had a number of friends stay-
ing with him, among others the family of the plaintiff. A joke
passed about leap year, the woman asking the man to marry
her; and she appears to have asked him. I suppose the defend-
ant's position may have been one that some women would desire
to share, for it appears three women asked him, and amongst
them was the plaintiff; and it appears that what passed at the
time as a joke was considered as a serious matter in the mind
of the defendant.

At the same time, recollect who the defendant is, what the
state of his mind and body has been proved to be. He is a man
who has had nine or ten paralytic attacks, in London, since the
last time he contested the county, which was in 1859; and that
was known to Doctor King. Now, suppose for a moment he, hav-
ing determined to break off this engagement, stated to a person per-
fectly unconnected with him, and perfectly trustworthy, the facts
which he afterwards imported into the plea, and which he re-
peats. If it is a thing that can be proved, the way most people
do is to state things when others have got to prove them, — they
state them with a degree of confidence which, if they had to
prove them themselves, and were responsible, they would not
think of doing. Supposing a charge was made in the most per-
fect good faith, and the very nature of the charge would satisfy
you that it was believed at the time, and under those circum-
stances the charge was first made, and afterwards persevered in,
when it really comes to be looked into, it turns out there is not



a pretense for it, and that it never should have been suggested;
what can a gentleman do more than what he has done — to write
to the other attorney; take out a summons, to strike off the plea,
and pay the expenses attending it, and to desire me to express
his regret that it ever was pleaded ? Gentlemen, although I am
the defendant's advocate, I can see two sides to this question.
As far as the plaintiff is concerned, she was not injured by it, if
she is the person I believe her to be, and which I now state on
the part of the defendant he believed her to be; stating such a
charge as that and persevering in it might, no doubt, wound and
distress some women, but, gentlemen, do forgive me for observing,
we are not trying that. The question here to-day is whether the
defendant broke his word, and if he broke it, what ought he to
pay for having broken it. If he pleaded a plea for which there
was no foundation, and put the plaintiff for some weeks to anx-
iety and inconvenience, still that is a matter now removed from
your consideration. We have done all we possibly can do, we
have withdrawn the plea, apologized for the plea, and have said
there was no foundation for the plea, and that we were extremely
sorry that ever the plea had found its way into the record. What
further can a man do beyond saying he has made a mistake ?
As far as human language can go to rectify it, I express to you
the most sincere regret that the mistake should have occurred.
Any man may be subject to false information, and may make
statements which he meant to prove. If he find he cannot
prove them he ought to say so, and apologize, and make every
reparation to the person whom he has unwittingly injured. Do
not, when you come by and by to see what is the real issue in
the case, and the real loss which the plaintiff has sustained, pun-
ish the defendant for a mistake which arose before the cause of
action in this case of which she now complains, and for which
the defendant has abundantly apologized. That seems to me
nearly to exhaust the whole of the observations I have to make.
You have got the case before you, and you have seen what the
contract really was, the circumstances under which it was made,
and how it was broken off. The question is, What are the real
damages that the plaintiff has sustained in this case ? Has she
lost a marriage ? It certainly can scarcely be called a marriage,
to marry a man who could but be a husband in one sense. My

Online LibraryDavid J. (David Josiah) BrewerCrowned masterpieces of eloquence, representing the advance of civilization, as collected in The world's best orations, from the earliest period to the present time (Volume 4) → online text (page 12 of 39)