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persecution; that he imagined himself to be surrounded by persons who were attempting to injure him, and who had framed a conspiracy against his comforts, his character, and even his life, and that wheresoever he went these persons still pursued him and gave him no rest either by night or by day. Wherever he was, these creatures of his imagination still haunted him with eager enmity, for the purpose of destroying his happiness and his life. Nothing, then, could be more natural than that a man under such a persuasion should attempt to escape from the persecution which he erringly imagined to exist, and to seek in some change of place and clime, a refuge from the tortures he endured. Alas! alas! in this man's case the question put by the poet of old, received a melancholy response,
'What exile from his country's shore can from himself escape?'
"When he left his own country he visited England, and then France, but nowhere was there a resting place for the sole of his foot.' Wherever he went his diseased mind carried with him the diseased productions of its own perverted nature. Wherever he was, there were his fancies; there were present to his mind his imaginary persecutors. When he planted his foot on the quay at Boulogne, there he found them. No sooner was he landed on a foreign soil, than there were his visionary enemies around him. Again he fled from them, and again returned to his native land. Feeling the impossibility of escape from his tormentors, what course did he pursue When he found it was impossible to go anywhere by night or by day to effect his escape from those beings which his disordered imagination kept hovering around him, what does he? What was the best test of the reality of the delusion? That he should act exactly as a sane man would have done, if they had been realities instead of delusions. And there is my answer to the fallacious test of my learned friend the Solicitor-General. He did so act; he acted as a sane man would have done, but he manifested beyond all doubt the continued existence of the delusions. He goes to the authorities of his native place, to those who could afford him protection, and, with clamours, entreats and implores them to defend him from the conspiracy which he told them had been entered into against his happiness and his life. Are we to be told that a man acting under such delusions, on whose mind was fixed the impression of their existence, and who was goaded on by them into the commission of acts which but for them he never could have committed,—are we to be told that such a man is to be dealt with in the same way as one who had committed a crime under the influence of the views and motives which operate upon the minds and passions of men under ordinary circumstances?"
Pursuing the inquiry down to the moment at which he was addressing the court, and indicating the evidence he would produce, Mr. Cockburn thus concluded,
"I think, gentlemen, I have sufficiently dwelt upon the autho
VOL. XV. NO. XXIX.
rities which can throw light on this inquiry. I trust that I have satisfied you, by these authorities, that the disease, partial insanity, can exist, that it can lead to a partial or total aberration of the moral senses and affections, which may render the wretched patient incapable of resisting the delusion, and lead him to commit crimes for which morally he cannot be held to be responsible, and in respect of which, when such a case is established, he is withdrawn from the operation of human laws. I proceed now to lay the evidence before you. In doing so I shall give my learned friend the SolicitorGeneral the opportunity of a reply. In this case it will be of considerable advantage, for he will have the opportunity of addressing you, and commenting on the evidence after it all shall have been given; whereas I can only anticipate what it may be. Many facts may be spoken to by the witnesses, many important observations may fall from them, on which I shall be deprived of all comment. The arguments which my friend's profound experience and his great legal acquirements may suggest are yet within his own mind. I can but dimly anticipate them. If any advantage should exist in such a case, surely it should not be on the part of the prosecution, but of the prisoner. And my learned friend, moreover, will have the immense advantage resulting from that commanding talent before which we all bow down. But I know that he will prolong to the end of this eventful trial that calm and dispassionate bearing, that dignified and appropriate forbearance which sat so gracefully on him yesterday. Gentlemen, my task is at an end. I have received at your hands, and at the hands of the court, a degree of considerate attention, for which I owe you my most grateful acknowledgments. I ought to apologize to my lords and to you for the length of time that I have detained you, but you know the arduous and anxious duty which I have had to perform, and you will pardon me. From the beginning to the end I have felt my inadequacy to discharge it, but I have fulfilled it to the best of my poor ability. The rest is with you. I am sure that my observations in all that deserves consideration will be well weighed by you, and I am convinced that the facts of this case, and the evidence adduced in support of them, will be listened to by you with the most anxious and scrupulous attention. You can have but one object, to administer the law according to justice and to truth; and may that great Being, from whom all truth proceeds, guide you in this solemn inquiry, that when hereafter the proceedings of the memorable day and their result shall be scanned by other minds, they may bear testimony that you have rightly done your duty, and what to you is far more important, that when, hereafter, in the retirement of your own homes, and the secrecy of your own thoughts, you revert to the part you have taken in the business of this day, you may look back with satisfied consciences and tranquil breasts on the verdict you will this day have given. Gentlemen, the life of the prisoner is in your hands; it is for you to say whether you will visit one on whom God has been pleased to bring the heaviest of all human calamities-the most painful, the most appalling, of all
mortal ills-with the consequences of an act which most undoubtedly, but for this calamity, never would have been committed. It is for you to say whether you will consign a fellow being, under such circumstances, to a painful and ignominious death. May God protect both you and him from the consequences of erring reason and mistaken judgment."
The speech had its defects; the references to authorities were too much elaborated; it had nevertheless great force, and it spread wide the name of the speaker.
Four years afterwards, and during the prospect of a general election, it became known that Mr. Cockburn was a candidate for parliamentary honours, and was anxious to undergo the last test necessary for the attainment of the highest honours of his profession. He paid his addresses to the constituency of Southampton, professing those advanced liberal opinions which find favour with an increasing town like Southampton. It had been famous in election contests and election petitions; its fair fame had been clouded by practices not very seemly a change had now come over the electors; the town was enlarged; the workshops were busy; the docks and the railway had rendered it important; and it vindicated its purity by electing Mr. Cockburn and another reformer, Mr. Wilcox, without a contest, on what is technically known as "a dry election."
Lawyers of note are not very popular on their first entrance into the House of Commons. Many a man of eminence at the other end of Westminster Hall has made small progress in St. Stephen's Chapel. There are great living instances of this want of success. There is, in fact, a general distrust of their powers; it is too often set down by other honourable members, particularly country gentlemen, that a learned member is too prosy, too technical, and has too little sincerity; that
"On either side he can dispute;
Confute change sides, and still confute."
After a time, the prejudice in the case of some learned members wears off, but it must be after trials made in the House itself, and after the whole body has had an opportunity of judging of the parliamentary, as distinguished from the forensic, merits of the individual. The new member for Southampton was sufficiently experienced in the ways and the feelings of the House not to attempt taking it by storm. He was tactician enough to court and win, and not to overawe. He spoke on such subjects as came within the range of his profession; he spoke shortly and well: moreover, he advocated judicious and practical reforms in the administration of the law; he gained the ear of the House. For a full display of his powers as a
debater, he bided his time; he watched his opportunity. In the ssesion of 1850, that opportunity arose, and was not lost. The Lords had passed a vote of censure on the government for the affairs of Greece. If the House of Commons had acquiesced in that vote, the Russell ministry was at an end; the honourable and learned member for Sheffield applied the touchstone by moving a direct vote of approval. It was thought that the division would be close, and much was at stake. The debate was conducted in a semi-legal manner, and lawyers were required to answer lawyers. Sir W. Page Wood made an effective reply to Sir F. Thesiger. Yet other speakers had to be answered. Application is understood to have been made to at least one learned member, who was indebted to the Whig party for professional advancement, to take part in the debate, and declined. The day and the chance had come for Mr. Cockburn, and the progress of the debate gave him a "foeman worthy of his steel."
At the close of the debate on the third night, after a long casuistical and very damaging speech of Mr. Gladstone, the adjournment of the discussion was moved by the honourable member for Southampton. Large expectations had been formed of his success; the House was well filled; his opponents cool and critical; his friends willing to hope, yet almost afraid to trust; when Mr. Cockburn, in a few sentences, set the minds of those friends at rest. Boldly, as he ever does, he grappled with and overcame his opponent's casuistry Not only did he cover the foreign secretary from the attack, but he carried the war into the enemy's quarters, and delivered a speech which was pronounced excellent in its reasoning, its sarcasm and its irony -closely logical, but not pedantic; eloquent, yet not in the smallest degree inflated—most effective as a parliamentary harangue.
After commencing by a statement that by his cheer of Mr. Gladstone he meant in a parliamentary mode to say he was ready to accept the challenge of the right honourable gentleman, and was prepared to answer him, although fully conscious of the vast difference of ability and disparity of power between them, he thus proceeded to give a home-thrust to his adversary:
"Having thus put myself right with the right honourable gentleman, I must take the liberty of saying this-that in all my experience I never heard such a series of misrepresentations and misstatements as those which were made by the honourable gentleman, and I will undertake to prove this assertion step by step and position by position, if the House will grant me its indulgence and forbearance. I
feel, however, the great difficulty in which I am placed in entering upon this debate. If I go into the details of the case for the purpose of showing the fallacies, both in the statements and arguments of the right honourable gentleman, I shall be told by-and-by-because I have the misfortune of belonging to a legal profession-that it was a nisi prius mode of conducting my argument. I think, however, that the manner in which the discussion of this subject has been conducted, both in this house and in another place, has given us abundant evidence that it is not those only who practise in Westminster Hall who are possessed of the power of arguing in nisi prius fashion ; for of all the pettifogging proceedings which I have ever known during my experience this is the worst. It was so commenced elsewhere. If honourable gentlemen choose to introduce this subject to parliament, and make a grave accusation against her majesty's government, and then conduct it, not upon the great principles of national policy and national honour, but by raising questions of minute detail and technicalities, by grossly perverting facts and distorting evidence, and by an utter misrepresentation of what were the true principles that ought to govern this case, let them not be astonished if those who belong to the legal profession, whose habits are to criticise and investigate with logical strictness every species of evidence—to minutely analyze facts as well as study the broad principles of municipal and national law-stung to the quick by the manifest injustice of this proceeding, should rush into the discussion; and, above all, let not the charge come from them that the mere having those acquirements are treating the subject in a nisi prius
Then pointing out the discrepancy between the recorded censure of the Lords which related exclusively to the affairs of Greece, and the arguments in the Commons' debate, which almost dropped the Greek question, and proceeded largely on the policy of the government with respect to the rest of Europe, he divided his own speech into the same branches. On the first, relating to the affairs of Greece, he maintained that, for an admitted wrong sustained by a subject, the government had a right, and it was its bounden duty, to interfere, it being the fundamental principle in the policy of all nations that it is the right and duty of a state to protect its subjects against injuries sustained at the hands of other states, or subjects of such states; that Rome had adopted the principle not in the period of universal dominion, but when she had to fight her battles for empire with other states upon almost equal terms; and that though British subjects living in foreign states sustaining wrong were bound to have recourse in the first instance to the tribunals of the country for redress, yet that in neither of the cases, which had led to the interference of this country, was there the slightest or most remote probability-looking to the law of Greece and the condition of its tribunals-that redress could be obtained from those