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however furiously they may contend with each other respecting the superior importance of their respective dogmas, appear unaninious in opposing the progress of Deism and deluding or bribing its professors to the belief of their mysterious nonsense. But to what in reality do they wish to convert us? They may reply indeed to a belief in the divine origin of their Bible, but this is mere subterfuge, for they know well that unless we add to this belief the adoption also of their theological tenets, we may as well remain infidels. Yet is there a single theological tenet in which these multifarious and eternally divided and dividing sects are agreed, I may safely affirm, not
The most favorite tenet of one sect is sure to be denounced and anathematized by a dozen others with that rancour and venom so peculiar to the followers of Christ ! In truth they know not what to believe, and to throw some light on so obscure and mystified a subject may perhaps have been one reason, which induced the head of the church, his most gracious and religious majesty King George IV. to order the translation and publication of the divine Milton's work on Christian Doctrine, which has just issued from the Press, in the Latin and English languages. But as the head of the Romish church is assuredly uot infallible, so neither can the head of the English church lay any claim to the privilege of inerrancy, and if we may believe the orthodox theologian of the Quarterly Review, his Majesty's interference has only served to render confusion more confounded. “When we inform our readers (says the Reviewer) that the result of the whole work (of Milton) is a system of theology, not merely in discordance with the church of England, but with every sect by which we are divided; an incoherent and confiicting theory, which combines arianism, anabaptism, latitudinarianisin, quakerism, and we know not what to add, on account of his opinions on polygamy, but Mahometanism: we anticipate much serious apprehension from the pious and devout; many will deprecate the appearance of a work so full, they will consider, of dangerous matter; and lament the liberality with which his Majesty decided on the publication of this treatise." (No.ol, Oct. 1825.) Such (if ve may credit the Quarterly Reviewers) is the Christian religion according to John Milton, a hideous mass of absurdities! Yet Milton, as we are informed, prosecuted his inquiries with the most deliberate attention and impartiality. It is well known that the poet in his latter days rejected the service of the Christian ministry of every persuasion, and declined attending all public worship. He flourished when all sort of rational investigation into the truth of Christianity was strictly prohibited. Ilad his lot been cast in our days, to have beheld the flood of light shed on subjects connected with revealed religion, and the Scriptures,* it is highly propable that so intrepid a REPUBLICAN, a title in which he gloried, would have been among the first to declare himself an advocate of your principles and a partaker of your fame. Believe me to be, Citizen, your sincere admirer, Dec. 3, 1825.
* I allude in particular to A Critical Examination of the Four Gospels, and Letters to Dr. Adam Clarke, by John Clarke, both sold at No. 135, Fleet Street. The latter very able and powerful work is the production of one of Mr. Carlile's slopmen, of whom four still linger in the dungeons of Newgate, to the disgrace of this protestant country!
TO MR. RICHARD CARLILE, 135, FLEET STREET, LONDON.
No. 6, Charlotte-Place, Kennington-lane, Vauxhall, Lo:don, SIR,
5th December, 1825, I BEG leave to congratulate you, though a stranger to me, on your libera-. tion from Dorchester Gaol. A stranger to me I say, for I never saw you but twice that I know of, yet I have felt a great deal for you, more, indeed, I may say, than I ever felt for any other man in my life! It was your hunesty, and the brutality of the ignorant, ferocious goaler, that caused me to feel so acutely. A gaol ought not to be a Paradise; but then reason should always guide the keepers, when they are opposed by nothing but. good sense. A Gaol may be compared to a house where mad people are confined; and where reason, in some cases, is quite out of the question ;; but
yours was not one of those cases; and I hope and trust, that if the Gaoler exceeded his orders to gratify bis malignity, he may be dismissed instantly.
I have particularly observed, that, during your long and close confinement, you have always acted in a cheerful manner; but the sufferings that you have bad to undergo, must have given great pain to all the readers of ibe Republican! and more especially to those who think for themselves, and who'well know, that your punishment was unjust, unmeasured, and inflicted by unfeeling, ferocious inen, in an outrageous, unpardonable manner! When you informed your readers, that you were confined twenty-three hours and a half out of every twenty-four hours of the day, and, that, you were obliged to ease nature, in the same room with your wife and sister. I cried out in my study, 0! ferocious unfeeling monsters, on your beds of down! O! crafty inquisitors clothed in lamb-skins, with the most refined humanity on your lips; never talk about Christianity nor humanity in England, for you practice neither! Never talk, nor write Plays about the tyrannical conduet of the Spanish Inquisitors, for they are « Heaven born Ministers” to you! Never openly talk about the savages in Africa, for, in ferocity, they are not to be compared to yon! and in future get bird-lime to close your Serpentine lips, to prevent you from boasting of any sort of freedom or mercy in this our well beloved country, while an honesi, humane, well-meaning inan, is receiving more really severe punishment, and inflicted in a more disgusting manner, than any punishment inflicted on any blackguard, thief, robber, or even murderer in the whole world ! and inflicted too, for having performed his duty to his fellow-creatures to the best of his judgment. While those who really deserve to be punished, those who pretend that their blood is superior to ours, those real devils who are tormenters of the whole human race, ride off in a triumphant manner, grinning ar:d laughing at their more sensible, feeling, harmless, but less powerful fellow creatures !
When I have reflected seriously in my room, I have often wondered and been much vexed at the ingratitude of the people, perhaps not wilful but thoughtless ingratitude, to allow a man to be contined such a long time, over his sentence, for fifteen hundred pounds; this paltry sum to thousands in good circumstances, to say nothing at all about the whole nation! But perhaps if we take all the circumstal:ces into our consideration, we shall be convinced, that, bad your fine been paid, by a few persons, or by the nation, every thing connected with your case, would have presented a different appe nce to what it does now. Every thing would have been more gloomy, more thunder-cloud-like, more beart-breaking; we should have stood 'trembling before our tyrants, like tamed children, with the inattentive cap
on, placed in one corner of the school-room! I, for my part, have been afraid to put my pen on the paper, positively afraid, because when I write I am determined to make an impression; to stamp on the mind that which shall not be easily erased; to finish every thing in a workman-like manner. I am disgusted when I read the “ Education" inilk and water stuff! When I have to read a thing two or three times over to get at the writer's meaning, I throw the thing down in disgust; or, if I should not do that, I may put a wrong construction on the meaning of the writer, and nothing can be worse than that. Let us all understand what we read! Make every sentence as clear as the pebbled brook; then we are sure not to make any inistake. This being the case, I shall endeavour to use words which are constantly used in common conversation; and to place them in the best manner that I am able. To know how to write well is a super-ex-, cellent thing. It loosens the tongue; gives unbounded power; changes the face of every thing ; causes profound reflection on human nature; shows us that, if God has made a difference in the blood of human beings, the higher the blood is the greater the ignorance!
You have proved to this nation by your long confinement, that a man of good spirit and good understanding cannot be put down by any punishment short of death. But a man may have a good understanding, that is to say, he may believe that his understanding is good, yet his ideas may be all erroneous : if they be erroneous, he should not be punished; because he is convinced in his own mind, that he is right; and that every opponent is wrong; therefore the most trivial punishment should not be inflicted on him, till every, just, fair and honourable argument has been used to convince him that he is wrong; and even then, after every just argument has been used, he should not be punished for mere matter of opinion.
This being the case, I beg leave to challenge you, Mr. Carlile, to fight me with a goose quill, till one of us be fairly driven out of the field. I advocate for religion and you against religion. This fight, or engagement, must be carried on in an honourable manner on both sides : indeed, I believe that you have nothing dishonourable in you. You have never had a fair opponent; never had one to give you the why and the wherefore. I shall give you both; and, in language that you shall clearly un · derstand.
Now, then, Sir, I begin; but I am almost afraid, because I may be laughed at, for attempting to cope against you who have studied so long and written very ably iii support of Materialism against Religion. And another very great advantage you have on your side, I am prejudiced against so many religions: that is to say, I am prejudiced against so much fanaticism ; so many outward forms and ceremonies of persons who really believe that they are religious ; and another thing you have on your side too, I am now a Christian, and, of course, do not believe in a great number of very necessary fooleries : but I must believe in them and so must you, and go back to Paganism too, or at any rate we must hold our tongues. Afier we have fought our religious battle, I will discuss the great advantage and benefit of a kingly goveroment in England over that of a republican form.
Now, Mr. Carlile, what is the meaning of the word religion? That we are to worship God in spirit and in truth, very sublime precepts, and to act justly to all our neighbours. You say that there is no God, nor Spirit! You are not sure of that, neither am I ; but for argument's sake, and to prevent all misunderstanding, you shall have your own way. Here you see I retreat a little; you are driving me before you; but I shall presently arrive in a good position, then I make a firm stand against all your superior force;
No. 24. Vol. XII.
you do not play your cannon well, I shall drive you back in a panic and finally overthrow you.
You say that all religion is vice! This is an error on your part, because to act justly to all our neighbours (which means every body) cannot be construed to mean any thing vicious. Vice is not a companion of religion,
was, nor never can be ! When a man kneels himself down to say his prayers, he beiieves that lie is doing good. He prays to God, who you say is a Phantom; but I shall presently show that it is a very necessury Phantom, to forgive him his sins. He has done that which troubles his mind, which makes him feel uneasy, he cannot rest till he has asked pardon, and this prevents a repetition of the same sin !
Religion has brought us to what we are ! We should have remained in our original uncultivated savage state, but for religion! How would you begin to civilize a savage black African being, called man? Have the goodness to answer this question.
I will acknowledge that there are thousands of very wicked, almost unpardonable acts, committed by man under a cloak of religion ; but, still, I say that those acts have nothing to do with religion itself. Religion means goodness, to soften men's ferocious hearts, to make them humane beiogs. And if a man committed a wicked act under a cloak of religion, I would pardon him, unless it could be proved to the satisfaction of all, that he acted bad wilfully. Our minds are very narrow.
We cannot see far; then, is it not impossible, impossible I say, for a great many yery intelligent men, to forsee the final effects of their religious actions. A religious act, like a political act, may be very good to day, and in a short time
very bad. If every political writer in England at this time, and we have some very able gentlemen, could always foresee the effects of his writings on the people, or even tendency towards the effects, he would never have any occasion to retrace his steps! The same thing holds good to a government, if the members of it were able to tell how their actions would ultimately affect the nation, human wisdom would then have arrived at the highest state of perfection.
A gentleman ought never to be a member of any government, till he has reflected sufficiently to convince himself, that religion is only true in politics! This, and this only, is what he must look at. A thing may be notoriously salse in fact, but still perfectly true in politics; and I will now endeavour to convince you of this truth.
But, stop a minute; you have read of Mr. Canning and the AttorneyGeneral, giving dinners and so on, on a Sunday! This is political, and a very good political act too. It prevents many a poor man from being prosecuted, for selling a penny's worth of greens on a Sunday; and it would prevent more if the editor of every paper would call on the magistrates to go and punish these two gentlemen, instead of punishing a poor man.
Now I will endeavour to convince you that religion is true in politics; and that we can never do without it.
When I look at and reflect on all the various sorts of human beings around me, I am perfectly satisfied that the thoughtlessness of a great many of the people, their ignorance, their credulity, their fulseness, their ingraiitude, their disposition to drink till they are senseless, then their ferociousness, will always require something of a sublime or mysterious nature, past finding out, to guide them in the paths of virtue, for their own good and for the good of society generally.
You will acknowledge, I dare say, that the dispositions of men are as various and contradictory, as the tempers are of all 'four-legged animals;
and some of these are more crafty than human beings. Now I will class them with, or compare them to, the four-legged animals.
There are the foxes, though small animals, they must come first, because they are so exceeding crafty, so full of deception, naturally cunning, and the only animals capable to rule the whole. . Then there are the lions, the tigers, the bears, and the wolves of the savage tribe. The camels, the mules, the asses, and the hogs of the stupid tribe. The horses, the bulls, the dogs, and the cats of the cunning tribe. The sheep and the hares of the harmless tribe. The rats exceeding crafty next to the fox, and the mice of the troublesome tribe. The frogs of the neuter tribe, and the toads of the venomous tribe. Then there are all the she's of these different tribes, in which we may find the noisy goose and the quackling duck!
What would you do with all these creatures without religion? How would you guide them along and keep them together? The government has the charge of all this medley of beings, and it is forced to keep them together! Are they to be instructed in any thing to make them sensitive beings, and, if they are, in what way, and are the instructors to be paid ? Have the goodness to give answers to these questions, and also to the following if you please.
How would you bring them, or cause them to assemble together in a room, or a church, I will say? If you were to propose that we lions should sit in the same place with the toads, what would the lions do? They would smack their tails against their sides, scrape the earth up with their feet, and be ready with the tigers, the bears and the wolves, to devour you in a minute! But place a most odious frightful cloven-footed black devil with long claws before them, then you have them under your command; more especially if his satanic majesty be placed grinning in a savage ferocious manner, in the middle of a great blazing hell fire, then they will drop their tails between their legs, go down on their marrow bones in an humble position, remain in that state trembling like the leaves on a weeping willow; there ferocity is banished in an instant; you may take them by the nose and lead thein where and how you like. Their hairy purse-strings fly open in the twinkling of an eye, for you to take out what inoney you please to make the whole comfortable and happy.
Religion gives ease to my heart,
Deception and fraud bears tbe sway!
SAMUEL HARDMAN. Late Adjutant of the 10th Royal Hussars.