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 In Scotland an auxiliary society was formed, under the name of Friends of the People. Thomas Muir, young in years, yet an elder in the Scottish kirk, a successful advocate at the bar, talented, affable, eloquent, and distinguished for the purity of his life and his enthusiasm in the cause of freedom, was its principal originator. In the twelfth month of 1792 a convention of reformers was held at Edinburgh. The government became alarmed, and a warrant was issued for the arrest of Muir. He escaped to France; but soon after, venturing to return to his native land, was recognized and imprisoned. He was tried upon the charge of lending books of republican tendency, and reading an address from Theobald Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen before the society of which he was a member. He defended himself in a long and eloquent address, which concluded in the following manly strain:— ‘What, then, has been my crime? Not the lending to a relation a copy of Thomas Paine's works,—not the giving away to another a few numbers of an innocent and constitutional publication; but my crime is, for having dared to be, according to the measure of my feeble abilities, a strenuous and an active advocate for an equal representation of the people in the House of the people, —for having dared to accomplish a measure by legal means which was to diminish the weight of their taxes and to put an end to the profusion of their blood. Gentlemen, from my infancy to this moment I have devoted myself to the cause of the people. It is a good cause: it will ultimately prevail,—it will finally triumph.’
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