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Make a law to render men incapable of offices; inake another to punish them (for it is admitted on all hands, that the defendant in the cause before your lordships is prosecuteable for taking the office upon him): if they accept, punish; if they refuse, punish: if they say yes, punish; if they say no, punish. My lords, this is a most exquisite dilemma, from which there is no escape ; it is trap a man cannot get out of; it is as bad persecution as that of Procrustes : if they are too short, stretch them; if they are too long, lop them.
Debates on the Case of Mr. Evans. * EXPERIENCE teaches that the sword, the faggot, exile, and proscriptions, are better calculated to irritate than to heal a disease, which having its source in the mind, cannot be relieved by remedies that act only on the body. The most efficacious means are sourd doctrines and repeated instructions, which make a ready impression when inculcated with mildness. Every thing else bows to the sovereign authority of the magistrates and the prince; but religion alone is not to be commanded.
What the Stoics have so vauntingly ascribed to their philosophy, religion has a higher claim to. Torments appear trivial to those who are animated by religious zeal : the firmness with which it in.
spires • A Dissenter fined by the City of London for refusing to serve an office which required the taking of the sacramental test as its qualification.
spires them, deadens the sentiment of pain ; noching they are obliged to suffer for its sake, however aggravated, occasions them surprize ; the knowledge of their own strength enables them to bear every thing, while they are persuaded that the grace of God supports them. Though the executioner appear before them, and exhibit to their view the sword and the stake, their minds are undaunted; and regardless of the sufferings that are preparing for them, they are attentive solely to their duty: all their happiness is in themselves, and external objects make upon them but a feeble impression.
If Epicurus, whose system has been so much decried by other philosophers, has said of the sage, that if he were shut up in the brazen bull of Phalaris, he would not fail to declare : “ this fire affects me not, it is not I that burn:" do we imagine that less courage was conspicuous in those who by various torments were put to death a century ago, or that less will be displayed by future martyrs,
if persecution be continued? What was said and done by one of them, when he was fas • tened to the stake in order to be burned, is worthy our notice. Being upon his knees, he began to sing a psalm, which the smoke and the flame could scarcely interrupt; and as the executioner, for fear of terrifying him, lighted the fire behind, he turned and said : « Come and kindle it before me : if fire could have terrified me, I should not be here; it depended on myself alone to avoid it”
I AM conscious how many wars heresies have occasioned: but was it not because we were desirous of persecuting heresies? The man who believes with șincerity, believes also with more firmness, when you would oblige him to change his creed, without at the same time convincing him, and becomes obstinate : his obstinacy kindles his zeal, his zeal inflames him. You wished to make a convert, you have made a fanatic and a madman. Men ask nothing more for their opinions than freedom: if you would take it from them, you put arnis into their hands; grant it them, they will remain tranquil, as do the Lutherans at Strasbourgh. It is then the unity of religion to which we would compel men, and not the multiplicity of opinions which we tolerate, that occasions commotions and civil wars. The Pagans tolerated every opinion, the Chinese do the same: Prussia excludes no sect, Holland includes all, and these nations have never experienced a religious war. England and France have wished to have but one religion, and London and Paris have seen the blood of their inhabitants flowing in streams.
HISTORY is full of religious wars; but we must take care to observe, it was not the multiplicity of religions that produced these wars, it was the intolerating spirit which animated that which thought she had the power of governing.
MONTESQUITU. Persian Letiers, let. 65.
WHOSOEVER designs the change of religion in a country or government, by any other means than that of a general conversion of the people, or the greatest part of them, designs all the mischiefs to a nation that use to usher in or attend the two greatest distempers of a state, civil war or tyranny; which are violence, oppression, cruelty, rapine, intemperance, injustice; and, in short, the miserable effusion of human blood, and the confusion of all laws, orders, and virtues among men. Such consequences as these, I doubt, are something more than the disputed opinions of any man, or any particular assembly of men, can be wortb.
SIR WILLIAM TEMPLE.
Works, vol. i. p. 171. CHARLES the Fifth, they say, repented of having persecuted the Lutherans. He said to himself, I have thirty watches on my table,, and no two of them mark precisely the same time : how could I then imagine, that in matters of religion I could make all men think alike? What folly and pride!
Or that man, just to think, as thou and I do ; 111. Impossible ! unless souls were alike wins In all, which differ now like human faces.1!!!
ROWE. Tamerlane, act iv,
LIBERTY OF THE PRESS.
WITHOUT freedom of thought there can be no such thing as wisdom, and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech : which is the right of every man, as far as by it he does not hurt and controul the right of another; and this is the only check which it ought to suffer, and the only bounds which it ought to know.
Whoever would overturn the liberty of the nation must begin by subduing freedom of speech.
To do public mischief without hearing of it is the prerogative and felicity of tyranny.
All ministers therefore who were oppressors, or intended to be oppressors, have been loud in their complaints against freedom of speech, and the license of the press; and always restrained or erdeavoured to restrain both. In consequence of this they have brow-beaten writers, punished them violently and against law, and burnt their works, By all which they showed how much truth alarmed them, and how much they were at enmity with truth.
Freedom of speech produces excellent writers, and encourages men of fine genius. Tacitus tells us, that the Roman commonwealth bred great and numerous authors, but when it was enslaved those great wits were no more. Tyranny had usurped the place of equality, which is the soul of liberty,