« VorigeDoorgaan »
ftanding, and establish a kingdom of darkness, is just so far more barbarous than even that monstrous cruelty, as the mind excels the body; or as understanding and reason are superior to sense. Cardinal Richlieu fays, in his Political Teftament, “ That subjects with know“ ledge, sense, and reason, are as mon66 ftrous as a beast with hundreds of eyes 66 would be; and that such a beast will “ never bear its burden peaceably. 6 Whence he infers, it is impossible to “ promote despotick power, while learn“ing is encouraged and extended. The “ people must be hood-winked, or ra“ther blinded, if one would have them “ tame and patient drudges. In short, " you must treat them every way like P 2
6 pack horses or múlés, not excepting " the bells about their necks, which by “ their perpétual jingling may be of use úto drown their cares.” Now this is plain dealing, and consistent póliticks. But to talk of Liberty and Fréé Government, Publick Good and Rational Happiness, as requiring limitations on the Press, and Licensers of books, is as absurd as to speak of liberty in a dungeon with chains on every limb. Hobbes too was consistent with himself, and advises those who aini at absolute dominion, to destroy all the antient Greek and Latin authors; because, if those are read, Principles of Liberty, and just Sentiments of the Dignity and Rights of Mankind must be imbib'd. But can there be more glaring bare-faced nonsense than to say, “That the very support of a free “ constitution requires the Extinction of *the Press,” that is, the Extinction of the only Means of knowing what we are as Men and Christians; what our natures are capable of; what is our just - happiness, and how we ought to be treated by our governors ; that is, by those whom we have entrusted with the management of our interests and con.cerns!
I hope it will never be this nation's misfortune to fall into the hands of an administration that do not from their esouls abhor any thing that has, but the remotest tendency towards the erection of a new and arbitrary jurisdiction over the P3
press : darkness?
press: or can otherwise look upon any attempt that way, than as the greatest impiety, the cruelleft, the wickedest, the most irreligious thing that can be imagined. Would it not be sacrilegioufly robbing God of the only worship he delights in, “the worship of the heart and “ understanding? Can there be Religion or Virtue without Reason, Thought, and Choice? Or can Reason, Thinking, Knowledge, and Choice, fubfift without the only conceivable means of making men wise and and understanding, Tational, and virtuous ? What is the kingdom of Christ? doth not our Saviour delight in calling it Light, and a Kingdom of Light? And what did he come to destroy but the kingdom of darkness? And can there be a kingdom of light, without the liberty, the unconstrained liberty, of diffusing light and knowledge? What is the Reformation, or what does it mean, but the Liberty, the absolute and perfect Liberty of correcting and refuting errors, and of undeceiving mankind? What is it that we call PROTESTANTISM, but a resolution stedfastly and undauntedly to oppose all encroachments upon rational Liberty, the Liberty of the judgment and under, standing; and to maintain it as our most ..valuable treasure, our greatest and no