« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
work; because I think them the best, and I must bave more powerful arguments, tban Candid has given to me, before I can be compelled or fated to change. I hope, at least, that he will admit this conclusion to be substantive of his doctrine of fatalism. Fatalism and Necessity; I look upon as idle and mischevious words, and even mischeviously used, in a moral sense; for they go to justify vice as well as virtue. Nor can I see them to be applicable to moral sensations, or those sensations which we call our reasoning powers. Applicable to physical sensations, they may in general be; but these physical sensations form a principle in the human body wbich we call a mind, and that principle is rather independent of, than dependant on fatalism, in the ratio of its increase in the individual body. All the arguments which I have seen upon the doctrine of Liberty and Necessity, I now perceive to have been a useless and inapplicable collection of words. They teach us notbing ; they conduce not to our aggregate happiness; they even tbrow down that little of self importance wbich I, an Atheist, wish to see sustained by mankind.
With more particular reference to the subjects discussed in the Republican I am of opinion, that if Candid bad been a constant reader, he would bave known that it has embraced all subjects, and more particularly the very subjects, wbich he recommends. Its title being expressive of publis good, it is open to every useful subject; and I flatter myself, that no publication ever preserved more constant read
One thing, I perceive, its sale increases.
TO MR. RICHARD CARLILE DORCHESTER GAOL.
London, June 24, 1825. After having heard so much of thine opinions, which are so rapidly propagated in the metropolis and various parts of the country, I could no longer forbear writing to thee, in order, that no stone should be left unturned, which might tend to lead thee to the path of righteousness and reclaim a hardened sinner. Thy writings and publications have been pronounced, by the powers that be, to be very wicked and to the high displeasure of almighty God; therefore, if they are so bad as they are pronouncel to be, from their rapid propagation, their evil tendencies must be tremendous; and rest assured that thou art in the wrong path.
Thou seest that thou hast brought down the vengance of the representatives of the lowly Jesus upon thy editorial pate for disseminating thy principles. Englishmen, snail like, 'recoil at the sacerdotal touch, and, henceforth, will never obtrude a horn, until the celestial dew of christianity shall fall upon your shells.
As to the progress of infidelity and scepticism, I have witnessed, in some degree, its rapid strides. I can scarcely enter a coffee house or tavern, but, before I have sitten half an hour, my ears are assailed with the most awful discussions, calling in question the validity of that divine book the Bible. Some (and those not a few) are hardy enough to doubt the divinity of our blessed Saviour, and many unblushingly assert, that such a person never existed! Woe unto thee! for it is from the principles which
your dark agents have disseminated, that these alarming inferences are drawn; and the dissenting multitude, not having looked with becoming pertinacity into the abstruse and compli.. cated paths of the christian Theology, are unable to refute thy hardened followers, although they negative (with that priestlike gravity, malice, hatred and contempt, so highly characteristic of all good followers and righteous supporters of our holy church, as by fire, sword, imprisonment, fines, &o. established), all that the infidels advance.
This, my friend, is a frightful epoch. Spiritualism and materialism are forming opposite factions, and scarcely an hour passes without an impression being made in some lethargic god-fearing breast, which calls all nature into action and stimulates inquiries little short of enthusiasm. I have frequent opportunities of witnessing these direful innovations at a friendly society which I am in the habit of attending every Tuesday Evening. În the discussions held there, I merely act the part of a spectator, and mark the hitherto unshaken and uninformed on the theological topics, to see with what avidity they respire these dangerous conversations. I, though soundly orthodox, as if under satanic influence at the moment, have not either address or presence of mind to caution them against the impending danger. On the succeeding Tuesday evening, these hitherto children of grace have become travellers in the alluring but uncertain paths of Deism. This is generally their
first step; but no sooner have they erected Temples for their Deity, dressed him up after something in nature and given him “a local habitation and a name,” than he vanishes, “and, like the basely fabrick of a vision, leave not a wreck behind.” Few of them stand the Artillery of thy Republican above another week! Not even an identity of God or his holy word remains on their minds! Then do I mentally exclaim-O! Carlile! there stands another of thy proselytes; but do not thou nor they think to escape me thus and cry victory, as ye triumphantly sweep down the tide of public opinion: a case now
hangs upon the point of my pen, which shall set aside all thou hast written, and all they have said about the non-existence of a God. Yes, Richard (excuse my familiarity, for I mean to be serious), I will prove, and that on the oath of twelve honest men, that our God was in a house of ill fame, in London, not a fortnight ago*. Thou mayst smile at his being in such company; but when he hath made sinners which he cannot reclaim, he sees it expedient to cut them off. The old procuress or duenna having, suffocated herself with intoxicating liquors, a Jury was chosen to sit upon the body, and they unaniinously decided that she had died by the visitation of God. Thou wilt not, surely, after this, have the hardihood to deny his existence, lest he visit thee in thy prison house; nor thy followers, the temerity to question the correctness of the decision of these Jurors.
By way of illustration, I will recite to thee another case, to prove how far party spirit is engaged in this spiritual warfare. A female of my acquaintance, who is a dress maker, happening to be at work at a respectable house, a few weeks ago, the subject of Religion was started, when she thoughtlessly (though honestly) avowed her principles, not the most favourable to our holy religion. The consequence of which was, that an immediate coolness took place on the part of some of her employers, and had the dresses not been already cut, they, of course, would not have had them polluted by the hands of an unbeliever. A gloom oe'r cast the scene during a whole week, when the suppressed storm burst with reiterated violence. One of the
ladies would not sit at table with my friend, and all but one manifested their abhorrence at her principles. At length, an explanation took place, and this hitherto unaccountable behaviour was accounted for. It was the apowal of principles not consonant with true orthodoxy, that called down the vengeance of a family of sound believers upon her head. The old lady was more liberal than some of her daughters and confessed, that she had read “ Tom Paine" and found nothing immoral in him," and must confess, that she “ agreed with him in every thing but the principal of equalityt. Two of the young ladies remained quite orthodox; but the third was wicked enough to declare herself privately to be entirely of thy opinion, and acknowledged, that the unfortunate wight, who first shook her faith, a son of St. Crispin, experienced the same treatment, that she the dress maker had done, and by honestly declaring his principles, lost the custom of the house. The young lady who became a convert to the persuasion of honest Crispin, declared, that she was much shocked at his first atheistical declaration; but now, that she had removed the veil of prejudice, by reading and reflection, she had no hesitation in saying,
* See the Weekly Dispatch of Sunday 12th June. † In this, the old Lady had misunderstood him; for Mr. Paine advocates no other equality than that of knowledge, law and justice. R. C.
that this prior monster of a shoe-maker had regularly dwindled away into a mere man, and she believed, she durst now venture him to measure her even for a pair of boots. This, my first communication, which I am afraid is already too long, thou mayest insert in thy Republican, if thou thinkest it expedient. It may be interesting to some, inasmuch as it conveys some ideas regarding public feeling on religion, and also proves, on the veracity of twelve honest men, the exact number of the apostles, without the shadow of a Judas, and the ipse dixit of a coroner, the existence of a God.
COPY OF A LETTER SENT TO THE KING,
Dorchester Gaol, July 4, 1825. This being the anniversary of the establishment of the first step towards real Republicanism, in the declaration of the independence of the United States of America towards this country, or rather, its monarchial government, I was glad to see you making it a holiday for the rising generation of Lords and Ladies. It is a specimen of that wisdom, or cunning rather, which should always follow the circumstances it cannot controul.
The Republic of the United States of America, was but a shabby imitation of the form of government in this country, with an elective instead of a heriditary executive, and with smaller payments to public officers for more efficient duties; but it has the germ of improvement in its independence of hereditary rule, and all other forms of government of the hereditary kind will fall before it. Though we may not have so much of individual splendour as the monarchial form of government produces, there will not be one happy man or woman the less, but a great increasè of happiness among the mass. Under this view of the change, a monarch or his family may well rejoice at it and mark its progress by a festival. I am Sir, your Prisoner, for no offence and to no good purpose,
Printed and Published by R. CarliLE, 133, Fleet Street.-All Correspor:
dences for “ The Republican” to be left at the place of publication.
No. 3, Vol. 12.] London, Friday, July 22, 1825. [PRICE 6d.
TO WILLIAM WILLIAMS, ESQ., M. P. PROVINCIAL GRAND MASTER OF THE ASSOCIATION OF FREE MASONS FOR THE COUNTY OF DORSET.
Dorchester Gaol, July 14, Anno Tenebræ Sir,
1825. Anno Lucis (to masons) 1. THERE will of necessity be much of apparent repetition in my description of the three degrees of masonry; but I can. not make that description complete without that repetition The same frivolity is seen tbrough every degree, and with the exception of the oaths and the moral Lectures, we find nothing serious, nothing that arrests respect.
In the first degree, I have given quite enough of what is called the working part to shew the spirit of it. Notbing has been omitted of which any mason can complain as an unfair withholding. In the second degree, we shall find a -Smattering about science, which captivated me as I began to read; but I soon found, that it was all hollow, and that though it recommended the study of the old known sciences, it taught nothing relating to them. This is the ground of my complaint against Freemasonry ; that its good is but theoretical, and tbat its evils or mischiefs are practical: that amidst a mass of evil in practice, it covers its designs with moral recommendations. This is the common characteristic of vice in all its grades. In proportion to its odiousness, it professes a regard for tbat which is good: it professes virtue as a cloak for the practice of vice. It is thus, that the most upprincipled characters among mankind are ever to be found among the most religious; religion passing with them as the chief nominal good. Masonry is at all points decked in this religious, I may add, meretricious, garb and alterpately charms and poisons, poisons and charms: allures with its tiosel, and cements by its common powers to prostrate reason and to degrade its members
Printed and Published by R. Carlile, 135, Fleet Street.