« السابقةمتابعة »
little I possess. It is well my father left his property to me. Had he left it to one of only common understanding, these plotting tenants would have run away with the whole of it.
Enter second TENANT. 2d Ten. Sir, I appear before you to crave your compassion. I am the most unfortunate of all your tenants. My misfortune is, to be obliged to remain in your house, after it is your pleasure that I should leave it.
Don P. To-morrow I will cure you of your misfortune; for if you cannot get out yourself, I will help
2d Ten. Why may I not remain? It may be for your interest as well as mine. I have ever made you punctual payment; and stand ready now to give as much as any other man, or as much as your conscience will suffer you to demand.
Don P. My will and pleasure is, that you depart immediately. My reasons for my conduct I give to no man.
2d Ten. But, Sir, I have a claim upon your mercy. You are not insensible of the pains I've taken to accomplish what you wish. Necessity is the only reason why I ask this favour. One special reason why you ought to grant it is, that I am now in your service with the same salary as in years past; when your good father was satisfied with one fourth the sum his craving son demands. I have been, you must allow, a faithful slave to your children. They have long received, and still receive my best instruction, without an augmentation of reward. If you will not hear the plea of mercy, grant me justice. If you increase your price of rent, increase my pay.
Don P. I meddle not with your affairs. Look out for your pay among your employers. I am but one among many, and promise you that I shall not be foremost to enhance the price of instruction, while children are so numerous. My houses are my own. I bought them with my own money; and shall dispose of them at my own pleasure.
2d Ten. You speak as though you were lord of the creation, and had the world at your command.
Don P. I am lord of my own possessions; and shall not ask my tenants how I am to dispose of them.
2d Ten. Did you ever read, that " Riches take to themselves wings, and fly away?"..!
Don P. I am not apprehensive that any wings are attached to my property.
2d Ten. Your mountain may not stand so strong as you think it does. The cries of the fatherless and the widow, who have groaned under your oppression, have reached the heavens, and you have reason to fear they will be answered with vengeance on your head. Did you but believe in a future day of retribution, as you have impiously professed, you would seriously engage in the work of repentance and reformation; which, let me tell you, it is presumption to neglect.
Re-enter first Tenant, with a LAWYER. 1st Ten. I pray you to accept your money, and give me a discharge.
Don P. I told you, not a cent, till the whole amount was paid.
Law. That is sufficient. The law allows no force in paying debts. Every creditor has an undoubted right to refuse his money, when offered by his debtor. This he has done before witness. I now declare it forfeit. Keep it as your own.
Don P. Rogues will always combine against honest men. The whole world are endeavouring to cheat me out of my lawful earnings. My best friends have become my worst enemies,
Law. You have no friends; not will you ever baye, so long as you make an idol of your own dear self.
Don P. My property is my best friend, and one which I trust will never forsake me.
Gry of fire without;]
Enter SERVANT in haste. Ser. Sir, your long row of buildings is all in flames!
Don P. Impossible. They were all to be insured to-morrow,
Ser. It is seriously true! and the roofs are now tumbling to the ground!
Don P. Then immediately call all hands, and put fire to this, and every other building I possess; that they may all go to destruction together.
2d Ten. That looks something like giving wings to
Don P. If I had one thimble full of brains, I should have got them insured before. O horrible ca. tastrophe! Not only wicked men and devils, but even the elements themselves have turned against me. i Luw. Compose yourself, dear Sir. Your best friend won't be so cruel as to forsake you at this critieal moment.
Dan P. Is my money safe! If that is burnt, I'd burn myselfOh that I had permitted my tenants to remain, that they and their property might all have perished in the fames together!
LORD MANSFIELD'S SPEECH, IN SUPPORT OF A BILL
FOR PREVENTING DELAYS OF JUSTICE, BY REASON
ments might be urged against the bill; but I have waited in vain; the truth is, there is no argument that can weigh against it. The justice and expediency of the bill are such as render it self-evident. It is a proposition of that nature, that can neither be weakened by argument, nor entangled with sophistry.
We all know, that the very soul and essence of trade are regular payments; and sad experience teaches us,
that there are men, who will not make their regular payments without the compulsive power of the laws. The law then ought to be equally open to all. Any exemption to particular men, or particular ranks of men, is, in a free and commercial country, a solecism of the grossest nature.
I will not trouble your lordships with arguments for that which is sufficiently evident without any. I shall only say a few words to some noble lords, who foresee much inconveniency from the persons of their servants being liable to be arrested. One noble lord observes, that the coachman of a peer may be arrested while he is driving his master to the house; and, consequently, he will not be able to attend his duty in Parliament. If this were actually to happen, there are so many ways by which the member might still get to the House, that I can hardly think the noble lord is serious in his objection. Another noble peer said, that by this bill we might lose our most valuable and honest servants. This I hold to be a contradiction in terms: for he can neither be a valuable servant, nor an honest man, who gets into debt which he is neither able nor willing to pay, till compelled by law.
If my servant, by unforeseen accidents, has run into debt, and I still wish to retain him, I certainly would pay the debt. But upon no principle of liberal legis. lation whatever, can my servant have a title to set his creditors at defiance, while for forty shillings only, the honest tradesman may be torn from his family, and locked up in a jail. It is monstrous injustice! I flatter myself, however, the determination of this day will entirely put an end to all such partial proceedings for the future, by passing into a law the bill now under your lordships' consideration.
I come now to speak, upon what, indeed, I would have gladly avoided, had I not been particularly pointed at for the part I have taken in this bill. It has been said by a noble lord on my left hand, that I likewise am running the race of popularity. If the noble lord means by popularity, that applause bestowed by. after-ages on good and virtuous actions, I have long been struggling in that race. But if he mean that mushroom popularity, which is raised without merit & lost without a crime, he much mistakes in his opinion.
I defy the noble lord to point out a single action of my life, where the popularity of the times ever had the smallest influence on my determinations. I have a more permanent and steady rule for my conduct, the dictates of my own breast. Those who have foregone that pleasing adviser, and given up their minds to be the slave of every popular impulse, I sincerely pity. I pity them still more, if their vanity leads them to mistake the shouts of a mob for the trumpet of fame. Experience might inform them, that many who have been saluted with the huzzas of a crowd, one day, have received their execrations the next; and many, who, by the popularity of their times, have been held up as spotless patriots, have, nevertheless, appeared upon the historian's page, when truth has triumphed over delusion, the assassins of liberty.
Why then the noble lord can think I am ambitious of present popularity, that echo of folly, and shadow of renown, I am at a loss to determine. Besides, I do not know that the bill now before your lordships will be popular. It depends much upon the caprice of the day. It may not be popular to compel people to pay their debts; and, in that case, the present must be a very unpopular bill. It may not be popular neither to take away any of the privileges of parliament; for I yery well remember, and many of your lordships may remember, that not long ago the popular cry was for the extension of privilege; and so far did they carry it at that time, that it was said that the privilege protected members even in criminal actions. Nay, such was the power of popular prejudices over weak minds, that the very decisions of some of the courts were tinctured with that doctrine.