Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 7.djvu/172

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peat everywhere the maxims that his defenders would be free to profess at your bar and from your very tribune? What kind of a Republic is it whose founders raise up adversaries on every side to attack it in its cradle!

It is a great cause, it is said, which must be judged with wise and slow circumspection. It is you who make a great cause of it. What do I say? I say that it is you who make a cause of it. What do you find great in it? Is it its difficulty? No. Is it the person? In the eyes of liberty there is none more vile; in the eyes of humanity there is none more guilty. He can impose again only on those who are more cowardly than himself. Is it the utility of the result? That is one mere reason for hastening it. A great cause is a project of popular law; a great cause is that of an unfortunate oppressed by despotism. What is the motive of these everlasting delays which you recommend to us? Are you afraid of wounding popular opinion? As if the people themselves feared anything but the weakness or ambition of their mandatories! As if the people were a vile troop of slaves, stupidly attached to the stupid tyrant whom they have proscribed, desiring at whatever price to wallow in baseness and servitude! You speak of opinion; is it not for you to direct it, to fortify it? If it goes astray, if it becomes depraved, who must it blame for it if not you yourselves? Are you afraid of displeasing the foreign kings leagued against us? Oh! without doubt, the way to con-