« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
man in the decline of years after a regular and well spent life in acts of piety and virtue, which can no otherwise be tried and approved, than by the square of God's word and the compasses of his own self convincing conscience.
In all regular, well formed, constituted lodges, there is a point within a circle round which a mason cannot err. This circle is bounded between north and south by two grand parrellel lines, and one represents Moses the other king Solomon. On the upper part of this circle, rests the volume of the sacred law, which supports Jacob's Ladder, the top of which reaches to the heavens, and were we as adherent to the doctrines therein contained, as both those parallels were, it would not deceive us, nor should we suffer deception. In going round this circle, we must necessarily touch on both those parallel lines and on the sacred volume, and while a Mason keeps bimself thus circumscribed he cannot err.
The word Lewis denotes strength and is here depicted by certain pieces of metal, which, when dovetailed in a stone, form a cramp and enables the operative mason to raise great weights to certain heights with little incumbrance, and to fix them on their proper bases. Lewis, likewise denotes the son of a mason. His duty is to bear the burden and heat of the day from which his parents by reason of their age ougbt to be exempt, to help them in time of need and thereby render the close of their days happy and comfortable. His priviledge for so doing' is to be made a Mason before any other person, however dignified.
Pendant to the corners of the lodge are four tassels, meant to remind us of the four cardinal virtues pamely--temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice the whole of which tradition informs us, were constantly practised by a great majority of our ancient brethren. The distinguishing characters of a good freemason are virtue, bonour, and mercy, and should those be banished from all other societies, may they ever be found in a Mason's breast.
This is what Masons call their work; but unobjectionable as are many of the metaphors, the whole is nothing superior to child's play. The frivolityis the grand secret of the association, for where men do what is fit to be seen and known they wish it to be seen and known. I must defer further comment and remain w bat a brother should be open to all.
PRESENTATION OF ANOTHER PETITION FROM MR. CARLILE
THE HOUSE OF COMMONS BY MR. BROUGHAM, ON THURSDAY THE 30TH OF JUNE.
The report of the presentation is copied from the Morning Chron
icle, and the subjoined very applicable comment is from the same paper. The petition is copied from the Morning Herald, a paper that has shewn us more true liberality, of late, than any other paper in London. The petition was meant to shew that we moral blasphemers of Christianity have not been dealt with according to the laws of this Christian Country and not as a mere repetition of the cuse of the undersigned, the former presentation by Mr. Brougham having rendered that unnecessary. The subjoined is the best report of Mr. Brougham's observations, but the reporters did not catch the spirit of the petition and some of them seem to have reported as an application on my part for mercy: a notion that has never for a moment entered my head. R. C.
MR. CARLILE. MR. BROUGHAM said, that he had now to present to the House a Petition from a person who would be considered as worthy of commiseration by every man in whom prejudice had not entirely obliterated the feelings of humanity. The unfortunate individual for whom he now presented the Petition, had been assailed for the vehemence of bis sentiments, but, for his part, he viewed that vehemence, considering all its features' as a proof of the sincèrity of the sentiments by which the Petitioner had been actuáted. He would acknowledge that the Petitioner's vehemence had exceeded his prudence ; 'the fact was, that the Petitioner had not acquired the orthodox prudence of making all sentiment and opinion bear upon certain worldly points. The Petitioner had been suffering an imprisonment of three years, with a fine of £ 1,500. The three years would expire upon the 16th of November next; he did hope that when that day arrived, his Majesty's Ministers would be induced to liberate this unhappy victim from his long and dreadful incarceration. He (Mr. Brougham) would take upon himself to say, that our laws, with all the opprobrium that had been cast upon them for merciless rigour, had never witnessed a case of such harsh and protracted confinement for any libel, however attrocious. If the Governinent would continue to insist upon this unhappy man's remaining in jail until he paid bis enormous fine of £1,500. he had not the slightest hesitation in saying that the unfortunate prisoner would remain in his dungeon to the end of his life, were that life to extend to thrice the usual period of human existence, for a fine so utterly disproportioned to the means and circumstances of the offender no man existing had ever heard of. The very nature of a fine implied a ratio to the culprits means of paying it otherwise the word fine would be only a guilty means of accomplishing the most abominable objects of tyranny. "In the present case it was quite pre
posterous to consider for an instant the amount of fine in any possible relation to the prisoner's means of paying it. He did not at all concern himself with the opinions of the Petitioner. Whatever those opinions were, the unbappy inau had a right to the observances of humanity and justice, and before being under the pretence of a fine, sentenced to perpetual imprisonment, he had at least the right of being heard before the House. Mr. Carlile's Petition stated, that he had been entrapped into an offence which, from the obscure and equivocal nature of the laws, it was impossible for him to know was an offence. The Act of the 1813 protected that numerous class of persons that impugned the doctrines of the Trinity. Now Mr. Carlile, with thousands of others, imagined that the very essence of Christianity was the Trinity, and if the law allowed a man to impugn the one, he was of consequence permitted to deny the other. This construction had been put upon the Act of the fifty-third of the late King by thousands of the most zealous Christians, and by many persons of the profession of the law. Mr. Carlile had acted upon this generally received notion; yet. his mistake of a law so equivocal, or at least só generally misunderstood, had exposed him to an imprisonnient which was unexampled in this, and perhaps in any country of civilized Europe. Mr. Carlile had urged these arguments to the Court of Law from which he had received his extraordinary sentence. He begged the House not to confound Mr. Carlile's opiuions with the question now at issue. If Mr. Carlile's offence were enormous, in proportion to its enormity ought to be the precision of the law by which he was condemned, and in the same proportion ought to be the direct nature of the sentence. To impose a fine so enormous, that it was utterly impossible for the culprit to pay it, and to effect by such means the endless imprisonment of an individual, was to outrage the very name of justice. The Petitioner went on to state that the King's. Beuch had told him the offence of blasphemy was punishable at common law; he found the authority of Sir M. Hale to be in support of that opinion, whereas, on looking back to my Lord Coke, a more ancient as well as a higher, law authority, he found his Lordship to lay it down that blasphemy, heresy, and schism, were punishable by the ecclesiastical law, because such offences could not be taken cognizance of by the common law. The Petitioner said he had been misled by variance of opinion with respect to the law, and also by the 53rd of the King; he added that supposing himself to have been wrong, he had already been severely punished buth by a long imprisonment and by having the whole of his property taken from lim; in addition to which he was likely to be imprisoned for three years longer unless he paid the fine imposed upon him-a thing he was totally unable to do. He prayed the interference of the House. The Horourable and Learned Member wished to guard bimself against the impression, that in what had fallen from hin he had in the slightest degree expressed his approval of the opinions of Mr. Carlile, or the manner in which those opinions bad been promulgated. He thought it was the cluty of every Member to present any Petition respectfully worded, without being deterred by a fear of being mixed up with the case or conduct of the Petitioner [hear!). It was no offence against the Law to entertain any set of opinions, either upon religious or political subjects; neither was it any to discuss them, provided they were discussed with decency and propriety. If a mau was an Atheist or an Infidel, it was his inisfortune, not bis fault; but if he indecently and improperly published those opinions, then he was amenable to the laws of his country. He should look upon au Atheist or an Infidel, if there were any such, with pity, nut with blame; and he should consider him to be a rash man who would undertake tu punish tbe
HE HAS HIMSELF NO CONTROUL.
free discussion of such subjects, provided that discussion was conducted with decency, as he considered that such discussions, instead of being injurions, would be beneficial to religion. The petition was read, and ordered to be printed.
Mr. Brougham did bimself great honour, by the eloquent and manly manner in wbich, on presenting a Petition from Richard Carlile, he reprobated the sentence under which that individual had so long suffered. His arguments were a very apposite commentary on the beautiful passage in in his inaugural discoursc, at Glasgow, printed at the request of the Principal, Professors, and Students, of that University, and therefyre adopted by that learned and highly respectable body; great truth has finally gone forth to all the ends of the earth, THAT MAN SHALL NO MORE FENDER ACCOUNT TO MAN FOR HIS BELIEF, OVER WHICH
Henceforward, nothing shall prevail upon us to praise or to blame any one for that which he can no more change than he can the hue of his skin, or the height of his stature.” It is the more meritorious in Mr. Brougham, and the University of Glasgow, to adopt so liberal a principle, that the nation in general, is we believe, far from being ripe for it. We are reproached even by the Quarterly Review, in the last number, with being one of the most intolerant nations in Europe; a singular circumstance, when it is considered that the philosophy of Europe received its strongest impulse from the philosophers of England. The punishment awarded to Carlile is, no doubt worse than death, and therefore we do not give the Judges who sentenced bim credit for mercy, in pot sentencing him to the stake. They might have done so with safety, for we firmly believe, that if Carlile had been sentenced to the flames they would have pleased a very great part of the population of England. Let us hope that kinder views will at length prevail.-that whatever
nay think of any opinions, they will not wish to sentence those who entertain them to punishments as severè as any which can be iuflicted by the Inquisition.
To shew the difference between punishinent when awarded by dispassionate Legislation, and punishment awarded as in the case in question, we shall quote the enactments on the subject in the Prussian Code, drawn up during the reign of the present religious Monarch.
"§ 214. Whoever insults the religious bodies adopted by the State, by abuse in public discourses or writings, or hy offensive acts and gestures, shall be subject to an imprisonment of froin four weeks to six months in a Prison or House of Correction.
"§ 217. Whoever by coarse invectives against God (blasphemy), provounced publicly, gives occasion to general offence, shall be imprisoned for from two to six months, and then be instructed respecting his duties and the magnitude of his offence.”
That the sentence was contrary to law, we do not for a moment doubt. Mr. BROUGHAM quotes Sir EDWARD Coke to shew that blasphemy was not an offence at Common Law. In the Ecclesiastical Code of every country of Europe, it ranks below heresy, and the law of England has left heresy, the heavier offence, entirely to the Ecclesiastical Courts. Our forefathers, rude as they were, punished heresy only with fire when the offender would not recant his errors.
In every aye there is some offence against the punishment of which few. men will dare to raise their voice. Woe to the unhappy victim if he falls into certain hands, for where public opinion affords no check mercy will seldom be known. But still though the Judges who pronounced this awful punishment have nothing to dread from public opinion, while those
who challenge them have, it is lamentable to think that men should be
Mr. Brougham to the House Commons,
AND IRELAND IN PARLIAMENT ASSEMBLED.
That, since the year 1818. your petitioner and about twenty other persons have been prosecuted, at what has been called common law, for blasphemy towards the Christian Religion.
That, on the 16th day of November, 1819. your petitioner was sentenced by the Court of King's Bench to three years imprisonment in Dorchester Gaol, and to fines of fifteen hundred pounds, as the consequence of this prosecution.
That, your petitioner has never been able to see, that he has been dealt with according to law, and is possessed of very strong arguments to show that such has not been the case; but that having been deprived of all his property, by seizures for his fiues, in addition to his continued imprisonment for near six years, he has never since possessed the means to proceed for justice by writ of error.
That there exists a Statute made in the year 1813, entitled " An act to teliere those persons who impugn the doctrine of the Holy Trinity”
That. this Statute plainly and expressely relieves those, who impugn the Trinity, from all pains and penalties.
That. the doctrine of the Trinity being the foundation of the Christian Religion, as it has ever previously been recognized by the law of England, to impugn that doctrine, is, according to your petitioner's judgment, to blaspheme the Christian Religion as previously established by lawr, and that this statute was, as plain as words could make it, a repeal of all former power of the law to interfere with the religion of the country.
That your petitioner pleaded this law in the Court of King's Bench, as his justification, but was answered that the Common Law was paramount to it.
That your petitioner cannot understand, how two laws can justly exist in the same country, the one hostile to the other, and finds bimselt unwarily entrapped in an alleged law, of the existence of which he had no knowledge, under the conclusion, that the latest made law repeated all prior opposition.
That it appears, by reports of public proceedings, that the highest law officer in the country has alarmed a large body of the people, who thought themselves secure in the statute law, by the assertion that they are criminals in the eye of this alleged Common Law.
That the allegation, that Christianity was or is a part or parcel of the law of the land, and that to impugn it was or is, an offence at Common Law, was first asserted by Sir Matthew 1ale, without reference to any precedent or prior authority.
That but a few years before this addition to the Common Law, Lord Chief Justice Coke, always considered as good an authority as Sir Matthew Hale, distinctly laid it down as Law, in mentioning the case of