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most certain punishment? Can zeal render an honest intention criminal ? You know better, Mr. Editor, your observation is a remnant of your former venal servility.
I believe I have said sufficient on the foregoing quotation to shame an honest man, if he had accidentally fallen into the error, and whilst I am addressing you, I shall revert to an observation of yours in the last year, or about twelve months since, which was an inconsiderate attack on myself, personally. In consequence of a criminal information having been filed against Mrs. Carlile for the publication of the report of my Mock Trials, (and which, by-the-bye, she had no more connection with, or influence over than any other person employed in the shop) you expressed your abhorrence at the man that could thus expose “ the partner of his bed" to such a prosecution. You might just as well liave expressed your abhorrence at he Queen exposing herself to her present prosecution by the employment of Bergami. You would have been quite as much in character in the ore instance as in the other. Who had ever dreamt that the publication of the proceedings of a court of law was criminal? I had never entertained the idea that a criminal information could have been obtained against the publication of such a report. Therefore your abhorrence might have been spared. But I do not wish to excuse myself on this ground. What you abhorred, I gloried in, and still glory in. I have read of the trial and conviction of Mrs. Carlile with pleasure. More than any thing else could bave done, it has strengthened my affections towards her. Her conduct has been not so much the effect of her own opinions, disposition, or will, as a deference to my wishes. Whether she be, or be not exposed to fimprisonment, I hail her conduct as a proof of virtue and not crime. Let corrupt and wicked men vindicate the perversion of law, I shall continue to rejoice in the idea that my wife has endeavoured to vindicate my wrongs at her own peril; and I hope and trust that my sister will continue to vindicate the wrongs of both, whatever may be the consequence.
If this letter should happen to fall into your hands, Mr. Editor, I hope, at least, that it will induce you not to attack opinions indiscriminately and malignantly, because it is not quite fashionable to avow them. Perhaps I know the progress and extent of deistical opinions in this country better than any other man, and I can pledge myself that many thousand persons who daily read your paper are deists, and merely put on the external appearance of professing Christianity, as
a salvo against the rage of bigotry and undue influence. Fashion is now the main prop of Christianity; and wbenever that revolution approaches in this country, which I can see. by your leading articles, that you are not altogether unconscious of, the fashion may change. At least, I know enough of the disposition of the people of Britain to say, that when they are once represented in Parliament, there will be no more persecutions or prosecutions on the score of blasphemy. Give me the liberty of publishing my own opinions, and my reasons for holding those opinions, then I slial] feel that I am free; but whilst a court of law can suppress the publication of opi. nions, and the Times newspaper can join in that suppression and condemnation, I feel that i am shackled with the chains of slavery, which I never will cease my endeavour to :shake off. Tyranny is one and indivisible, it is alike in all instances; only like every thing else in the material world, it has the property of accumulating. You, Sir, in your observations on the trials of Mr. Davison and Mrs. Carlile, have advocated tyranny, and you are no further justifiable in suppressing and condemning those opinions, which you call wretched, than Doctor Stoddart would be justified, if he possessed the power, in suppressing and condemning your paper. I use the name of Stoddart, because I know there is much hostile feeling between you and him, and I would entreat you to ask yourself a question upon what you have frequently thought of the Doctor's attack upon your paper. Did you never call him a malignant fellow ? Did you never feel sore at his observations and misrepresentations? If so, then I would ask you to give us the moral part of your Christianity. Do unto another that which would wish should be done unto you.
Personally, I never feel an attack; it is certain opinions that I am bound to defend, and which I never will forsake whilst i have the power of supporting, either by tougue or pen: The personal abuse which I have been accustomed to receive from certain newspapers, magazines, and reviews, never ruffled my mind for a moment, but on the contrary, afforded me amusement, and a considerable profit in the way of business. I have always found my customers to increase in proportion to the abuse and number of prosecutions that were levelled at me, and whatever little importance I may possess, it has entirely been conferred upon me by venal abuse aud ex-officio informations.
I shall conclude with hoping, that in future, Mr. Editor, whilst you are preaching and recommending charity and a
fair allowance for trivial faults, you will not forget to practice that recommendation—that whilst you profess liberality of mind, you will not mistake in what it consists; and further recollect, that there is no liberality in partiality. I further hope that you will go on to improve in general utility as you have gone on for the last fourteen months ; for I must be bold and honest enough to say, that I think there is still room for improvement in your principles, and notions of government, and your politics. I can forgive you all the mischief you have done, because your repentance has taken place in due time. The approaching revolution, and it is vain to stifle this word, it must come, for if neither tongue nor pen was again lifted against the abuses of the government, it has the form of destruction within itself, in its system of finance. The approaching revolution, I say, is like the kingdom of Heaven, those sinners who have opposed it must repent in time, or they will be damned, and not allowed to enter and enjoy it.
I do not ask your support to deistical opinions, I ask your silence, and that you will not encourage persecutions for matters of opinion. You may tell me that you are supporting the laws of the country. I deny the assertion. Christianity has been deemed a divine institution, and until of late the idea of supporting it by human laws was not thought of. There is no statute earlier than the 9 and 10 of William and Mary, that ever attempted to meddle with it, and that statute has never been acted upon in one single instance, it is too mild for modern Attornies-General and Vice Societies. But even this statute is virtually repealed by the statute passed in the 53d year of George the Third, entitled, “ An Act to relieve all persons who impugn the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.” Pray, Mr. Editor, what can the impugning the doctrine of the Holy Trinity mean, but the utter rooting up the divinity of the Christian religion, if it be possible for reason and argument to do that. Does it not imply that the Christian religion might be attacked as to its profeșsions and principles by all the strength and force of argument and reason? A more explicit and a more pointed act of parliament was never before or since applied to any subject, yet I have seen it set aside, and have been told by our Judges, and have read a report that Mr. Smith its framer should say in the House of Commons, that it was an act intended for the relief of those who call themselves Unitarian Christians, and not those who call themselves Deists and renounce the name of Christiap. Thus the English law is made to be a respecter of persons, and
not alike applicable to all. The Act of William and Mary was an act to prevent what was then called blasphemy and profaneness, and was levelled at that class of persons who are now denominated Unitarian or Free-thinking Christians, because it was then deemed an horrible offence to
mpugn the doctrine of the IIoly Trinity. The Act of George the Third was an act to deprive the Holy Trinity of all legal support, and il was left to stand or fall by itself; and merely because there is a little room for ambiguity in this latter act, it has been rendered altogether partial. But, however, I shall proceed, and if 500 more acts are made to regulate opinions, I shall violate them all if they affect mine. Let the law restrain actions that are iniquitous and injurious to the community, but let opinions be free, which can never injure a community, although the change from wrong to right, might injure a few dishonest I am, Sir, a labourer in the vineyard of reform,
Both as to church and state.
R. CARLILE. Dorchester Gaol, Oct. 28, 1820.
TRIAL OF MR. DAVISON.
The trial of Mr. Davison came on on Monday week, and from what I can glean from the papers he made an admirable defence. I shall hope to see it immediately published, which by having it written he may do without expence. I have met with nothing for a long time past, that has so much pleased me as the manner in which he tortured the gouty, corrupt, and vindictive Best. Oh! what a treat it would have been for me to have been present! Could I have anticipated such a circumstance, I do think that I should have tried to scale my prison walls and have taken a leave of absence for two or three days! I must now content myself with giving the best report of the trial I can collect from the various papers.
COURT OF KING'S BENCH. The Court was crowded at an early bour this morning, in consequence of the expected trial of Mrs. Carlile for uttering certain blasphemous publications. This trial, however, was preceeded by that of Davison, who was indicted for a similar oflence.
The King v. Tuos. DAVISON. - This was an indictment at the
instance of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, for unlawfully and wickedly selling and publishing two scandalous, impious and profane libels, concerning the Holy Scriptures and the Christian Religion; the one in a perio.lical publication called The Republican, No. 9, and the other in a little work, called The Deist's Magazine, No. d.
The Special Jury Pannel being called over, only four gentlemen named therein appeared ; and å tales having been prayed by the Counsel for the prosecution, they were iminediately sworn.
The defendant put in a written request that he might challenge the Special Jurors, by asking them whether they were members of the Society for the Suppression of Vice ?
Mr. Justice Best said, that it was quite out of the ordinary course to challenge Special Jurors at Nisi Prius. The proper place and period of challenge was in the Sheriff's Office, when the Special Jury Pamel was struck. The defendant, however, was at liberty to chala
lenge any of the Talesmen, when they came to the book to be sworn, · and before they were sworn.- The Learned Judge nevertheless, a9
maller of indulgence, asked each of the gentlemen who appeared whether they were members of the Society mentioned, and receiving an answer in the negative, his Lordship observed, fliat he had yielded to the defendani's request as matter of favour, and not as of riybt, for the reason assigned.
The talesmen, eight in number, were also asked the same question, and severally answered in the negative, and the whole Jury being sworn, the case proceeded.
Mr. G. Marriott stated the matters alleged in the indictment, and Mr. Gurney opened the case in his usual nianner.
It had been commenced, he said, by the Society for the Suppres. sion of Vice, whu deemed it to be their duty to bring one of the most profave, impious, and abominable libels against Christianity, before a Jury, to decide whether or not such open attacks upon their common faith, the source of their happiness here, and of their hopes hereafter, were any longer to be tolerated. For a long series of years this So.' ciety did not think it necessary to enforce the law upon this subject : as long as these writings were disseminated with caution and secresy, they did not consider that their situation, as the guardians of public morals, called for this description of interference. But of late, infidelity bad arrayed itself in so ostentatious a garb, bad so openly displayed its banners, that it had become a question whether the law, or ibe offender was to submit. The defendant carried on business in Duke-street, West Smithfield, and as if a sort of successor to that mao who had been convicted there twelve months
the frade and occupation of a vender of these and similar publications. With two of these publications they were then concerned, namely, The Republican and the Deists Magazine. Of the former of these, if he was to believe the title, the person then convicted was the printer, and the defendant the publisher, and to Mr. Davison bimaself appertained the distinction of printing and publishing the latter. Tlię