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still. And yet this Mr. Foley, whom I never saw, and who could not have had any particular cause of enmity to me, had, like Mr. Madan of Birmingham, a character for liberality. What, then, have we to expect from others, when we find so much bigotry and rancor in such men as these?
Many times, by the encouragement of persons from whom better things might have been expected, I have been burned in effigy along with Mr. Paine; and numberless insulting and threatening letters have been sent to me from all parts of the kingdom. It is not possible for any man to have conducted himself more peaceably than I have done all the time that I have lived at Clapton, yet it has not exempted me not only from the worst suspicions, but very gross insults. A very friendly and innocent club, which I found in the place, has been considered as jacobin, chiefly on my account ; and at one time there was cause of apprehension that I should have been brought into danger for lending one of Mr. Paine's books. But with some difficulty the neighbourhood was satisfied that I was innocent.
As nothing had been paid to me on account of damages in the riot, when I published the second part of my “ Appeal E to the Public on the subject, it may proper to say, that
it was paid some time in the beginning of the year 1793, E with interest only from the first of January of the same year,
though the injury was received in July, 1791 ; when equity evidently required, that it ought to have been allowed from the time of the riot, especially as, in all the cases, the allowance was far short of the loss. In my case it fell short, as I have shown, not less than two thousand pounds. And the losses
sustained by the other sufferers far exceeded mine. Public - justice also required that, if the forms of law, local enmity or
any other cause, had prevented our receiving full indemnification, it should have been made up to us from the public
treasury, the great end of all civil government being protec- tion from violence, or an indemnification for it. Whatever
we might in equity claim, the country owes us, and, if it be just, will some time or other pay, and with interest.
I would farther observe, that since, in a variety of cases, money is allowed where the injury is not of a pecuniary nature, merely because no other compensation can be given, the same should have been done with respect to me, on account of the destruction of my manuscripts, the interruption of my pursuits, the loss of a pleasing and advantageous situation, &c. &c. and had the injury been sustained by a clergyman, he would, I doubt not, have claimed, and been allowed, very large damages on this account. So far, however, was there from being any idea of the kind in my favor, that my counsel advised me to make no mention of my manuscript “Lectures on the Constitution of England," a work about as large as that of Blackstone (as may be seen by the syllabus of the particular lectures, sixty-three in all, published in the first edition of my “Essays on a Course of Liberal Education, for Civil and Active Life”), because it would be taken for granted, that they were of a seditious nature, and would therefore have been of disservice to me with the jury. Accordingly they were, in the account of my losses, included in the article of so much paper. After these losses, had there been nothing but the justice of my country to look to, I must have sunk under the burden, incapable of any farther exertions. It was the seasonable generosity of my friends that prevented this, and put it in my power, though with the unavoidable loss of nearly two years, to resume my former pursuits.
A farther proof of the excessive bigotry of this country is, that, though the clergy of Birmingham resenting what I advanced in the first part of my “ Appeal,” replied to it, and pledged themselves to go through with the inquiry along with me, till the whole truth should be investigated, they have made no reply to the “Second Part of my Appeal,” in which I brought specific charges against themselves, and other persons by name, proving them to have been the promoters and abettors of the riot; and yet they have as much respect shown
to them as ever, and the country at large pays no attention to it. Had the clergy been the injured persons, and Dissenters the rioters, unable to answer the charges brought against them, so great would have been the general indignation at their conduct, that I am persuaded it would not have been possible for them to continue in the country.
I could, if I were so disposed, give my readers many more instances of the bigotry of the clergy of the church of England with respect to me, which could not fail to excite, in generous minds, equal indignation and contempt; but I forbear. Had I, however, forseen what I am now witness to, I certainly should not have made any attempt to replace my library or apparatus, and I soon repented of having done it. But this being done, I was willing to make some use of both before another interruption of my pursuits. I began to philosophize and make experiments rather late in life, being nearly forty, for want of the necessary means of doing any thing in this way; and my pursuits have been much interrupted by removals (never indeed chosen by myself, but rendered necessary by circumstances), and my time being now short, I hoped to have had no occasion for more than one, and that a final remove.
But the circumstances above mentioned have induced me, though with great and sincere regret, to undertake another, and to a greater distance than any that I have hitherto made. i I profess not to be unmoved by the aspect of things exhibsited in this discourse. But notwithstanding this, I should willingly have awaited my fate in my native country, whatever \ it had been, if I had not had sons in America, and if I did not think that a field of public usefulness, which is evidently sclosing upon me here, might open to more advantage there. * I own also, that I am not unaffected by such unexampled punishments as those of Mr. Muir, and my friend, Mr. Pal. mer, for offences, which, if, in the eye of reason, they be any si at all, are slight, and very insufficiently proved; a measure so y subversive of that freedom of speaking and acting, which has
hitherto been the great pride of Britons. But the sentence of Mr. Winterbotham, for delivering from the pulpit what I am pursuaded he never did deliver, and which, similar evidence might have drawn upon myself, or any other Dissenting minister who was an object of general dislike, has something in it still more alarming. But I trust that conscious innocence would support me as it does him, under whatever prejudiced and violent men might do to me, as well as say of me. But I see no occasion to expose myself to danger, without any prospect of doing good, or to continue any longer in a country in which I am so unjustly become the object of general dislike, and not retire to another, where I have reason to think I shall be better received. And I trust that the same good Providence which has attended me hitherto, and made me happy in my present situation and all
will attend and bless me in what may still be before me. all events, the will of God be done.
I cannot refrain from repeating again, that I leave my native country with real regret, never expecting to find any where else society so suited to my disposition and habits, such friends as I have here (whose attachment has been more than a balance to all the abuse I have met with from others), and especially to replace one particular Christian friend, in whose absence I shall, for some time at least, find all the world a blank. Still less can I expect to resume my favorite pursuits with any thing like the advantages I enjoy here. In leaving this country, I also abandon a source of maintenance, which I can but ill bear to lose. I can, however, truly say that I leave it without any resentment or ill will. the contrary, I sincerely wish my countrymen all happiness; and when the time for reflection (which my absence may accelerate) shall come, they will, I am confident, do me more justice. They will be convinced that every suspicion they
ave been led to entertain to my disadvantage, has been ill ounded, and that I have even some claim to their gratitude and esteem. In this case, I shall look with satisfaction to the
time when, if my life be prolonged, I may visit my friends in this country ; and perhaps I may, notwithstanding my removal for the present, find a grave (as I believe is naturally the wish of every man) in the land that gave me birth.”
As the time drew near when he was to sail, testimonials of respect and regret poured in upon him from various quarters. Of these one of the most gratifying was from Cambridge. “ A few gentlemen of the University, of all ranks,” (to use the words of one of them), “justly indignant that this great philosopher and most amiable man should be banished his country by a church-and-king mob, connived at, if not encouraged by, the government of the day," presented him on his departure a handsome silver inkstand, with this inscription: “To Joseph PRIESTLEY, LL. D. &c. on his departure into exile, from a few members of the University of Cambridge, who regret that this expression of their esteem should be occasioned by the ingratitude of their country.”
On the 30th of March, he delivered his farewell sermon at Hackney, from Acts xx. 32. His chapel was crowded, as it had been for many successive Sabbaths, by those who were anxious to receive the last instructions of so eminent a teacher. The next Sabbath, April 6, he passed in the family of his friends in Essex street, and worshipped in Essex street chapel. It was his last day in England. He sailed the 7th of April, and arrived at New York, after a long and unpleasant voyage, the 4th of June. While at sea he wrote his “Observations on the prevalence of Infidelity," and occupied himself in the study of the New Testament; "which," he says in a letter to Mr. Lindsey, “I think I read with more satisfaction than ever. Unbelievers, I am confident, do not read it, except with a predisposition to cavil.” In another letter, immediately on his arrival, he writes thus.
“Our society in the cabin was agreeable enough, though' the majority were aristocratically inclined; but all in the steerage were zealous republicans, and persons of good character, and several of good property. In the steerage, also,