bench, ‘The gentleman has spoken treason.’
ists too, in the crowd, raised a confused murmur of ‘treason, treason, treason.’
‘The harangue’ thought one of the hearers, ‘exceeds the most seditious and inflammatory of the most seditious tribunes in Rome
Some seemed struck with horror; some said afterwards, their blood ran cold, and their hair stood on end. The multitude, wrapt in silence, filling every spot in the house, and every window, bent forward to catch the words of the patriot, as he proceeded.
He defined the use of an established church and of the clergy in society: ‘When they fail to answer those ends,’ said he, ‘the community have no further need of their ministry, and may justly strip them of their appointments.
In this particular instance, by obtaining the negative of the law in question, instead of acquiescing in it, they ceased to be useful members of the state, and ought to be considered as enemies of the community.’
‘Instead of countenance they very justly deserve to be punished with signal severity.’
‘Except you are disposed,’ thus he addressed the jury, ‘yourselves to rivet the chains of bondage on your own necks, do not let slip the opportunity now offered of making such an example of the reverend plaintiff as shall hereafter be a warning to himself and his brothers, not to have the temerity to dispute the validity of laws authenticated by the only sanction which can give force to laws for the government of this colony, the authority of its own legal representatives, with its council and governor.’
Thus he pleaded for the liberty of the continent, and its independence of all control from England
over its legislature; treating the negative of the king in council as itself in equity a nullity.
The cause seemed to involve