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been immoral, and regardless of the dictates of religion. In this, I fear, there is too much truth; but why is the objection to apply against Deists in particular? Let the Attorney-general look at those who profess Christianity--- let him cast his eyes among the saints at the bar--the Christians in the senate and the servants of the Lord in the church.
But mark the manner in which the lawyer anticipates the verdict of the jury—“What reliance had the Attorney-general that he should receive from the jury that honest verdict which he knew he should receive ?-on what were they sworn that their verdict should be true to what did they refer when they called on God to help them accordingly as they should faithfully discharge their duty ?-to what but to the truth of those holy gospels, which the defendant denounced as falsehood and imposture.” This kind of language appears to me a libel on the jury-it supposes they are not bound by any sense of duty, or love of justice, to give a fair and honest verdict, but that the mere form of an oath is the only tie on their consciences.
Oaths are certainly sanctioned by the custom of most coun: tries, but they arise out of the frailty of society. Whoever has attended to the trifling manner of administering the oaths in our courts of justice, will not be disposed to attach much importance to thenı; but even if we are willing to allow some little more weight to them than to a Custom-house oath, one thing is certain--that Jury who cannot be depended on before they are sworn, are not to be trusted afterwards. I do not see that the veracity of the jury is necessarily connected with the truths of the gospels. Suppose,
Suppose, for a moment, that the gospels are a fabrication, will it follow, as a consequence, that the jury are a set of rogues? I cannot perceive the connection between the premises and the conclusion. One would really imagine, from the strain of the Attorney-general's argument, in this respect, that there is not a grain of truth or honesty in the world, but what is prodaced by a belief in the scriptures. But what opinion are we to form of the various nations who have never heard of the gospels? The polished states of antiquity, which have flourished and decayed long before they were written? low was private confidence, and public faith, and jurisprudence, carried on in the absence of Christianity ?
After much more trifling of this sort, the learned gentleman proceeded to call the attention of the jury to the law of the case ; and in order to shew that the court was competent to punish in the present instance, adduced a variety of cases in which similar 'offences had been tried in that court, with the doctrines and opinions of the Judges thereon: to all which it is only necessary to observe, that if it is not just in itself to.prp. ceed against opinion by law, the mere existence of such proceedings, or their frequent repetition, cannot make it so. What is the solemn nothingness of the bench? what is the learned quibbling of the bar? What are musty parchments and the dusty records of legal oppression, if they are opposed by the plain dictates of Reason ! ! and the eternal principles of Right !!
We have thought the idea of the Attorney-general's defending the Christian religi ridiculous enough, but when he declared himself "an advocate for the freedom of the press,' and a protector of moral, political, and religious freedom of discussion," surely the gravity of my Lord Ellenborough must have relaxed into laughter. --The professions of the lawyer will be credited, when people can be brought to believe that the inquisition asserted and'protected the rights of conscience.
The concluding observation of the Attorney-general de serves notice, inasmuch as it tends to develope the whole secret of this prosecution ; for it comes out, that it is the national religion, after all, about which this alarm has been raised. - There was no doubt (said the learned gentleman) but the publication was punishable, and not only in this but in every civilized state it had been held politic so to punish all such attempts to subvert the national religion.” Undoubtedly the policy of states would punish every attempt to subvert the national religion, for national religions have been one of the principal means by which the traffic of governments have been carried on. If national religions have tended to prevent the growth of intellect--to damp the ardour of enquiry=to obstruct the progress of truth-to 'degrade and enervate the human mind and to form and fit men for oppression---the policy of states in punishing every attempt to subvert it, is readily accounted for. But the learned gentleinan need not be told, that the national religion is not the Christian religion--that they are as much opposed to each other, as truth is to falser hood-virtue to kpavery-or the professions of an Attorneygeneral to his practice, who declares himself horror-struck at reading a pamphlet against the Christian religion, and yet'was not ashamed to defend, in the face of modesty and the world, a Royal Adulterer in the violation of all its precepts.
if I could suppose for a moment that the Attorney-general is a Christian (pardon the supposition, gentle reader), and that he is addressing a Christian jury--what can be more truly inconsistent than to hear him arguing the propriety of punishing severy attempt to subvert the national religion, when Christianity itself subverted all the national religions of the countries where it was propagated ? Equally ridiculous is the learned gentleman's reasoning, as a member of the established
church, and as addressing a Protestant jury-when this very national religion which he undertakes to delend, owes its existence to the subversion of the national religion of England POPERY.
On my Lord Ellenborough's Charge to the Jury there is little room for remark-almost every thing that can be said being already anticipated in the observations on the Attorney-general's speech; for by some strange co-incidence it always happens, that the opinions of the Judge nd Attorney-general are precisely the same on the prosecution for libel from the crown; in fact in all such trials there is scarcely any other means of distinguishing the speech of the judge from that of the counsel for the crown, but from his Lordship's name being prefixed to it.
Lord Ellenborough took occasion to confirm the opinions of Hale, Kenyon, and Raymond--that the Christian religion is the law of the land, As this appears the principal poiot of law which was brouglit against the defendant, it is worth examining: the assertion has been so often made by judges, and delivered with all the gravity of the bench, that some persons may be disposed to attach a vast deal of consequence to it. The subject will be too long for this letter, so that I shall have occasion, Mr. Editor, to trespass on your patience in a future communicasion, when ! purpose particularly to examine this opinion of the learned judges.
The point on which Lord Ellenborough , laid the greatest stress, was, that the jury were Christians, and sworn on the evangelists-tacitly inferring, that if they believed the gos. pels true, they must find the defendant guilty. This would naturally place the jury in this unpleasant situation, that if they gave a verdict of not guilty, it would seem to imply their disbelief of the scriptures, - But what, after all, is the mere form of an oath? Do the persons who are sworn on the evangelists think any thing about their truth at the time? I have frequently seen the oaths administered, and as to the effect which the mere kissing the Testament appears to have, or in fact can have, on the minds of honest or even dishonest men, I am persuaded they might just as well kiss the judge's great toe; though in this trial there was something peculiarly appropriate even in the form of the oath, for it might have occurred to the jury, when they were considering their verdiet, that they had been sworn on a "book, which taught a religion abstracted from the policy of this world--a religion which inculcated candour and liberality, and disclaimed all dominion over the faith of men and that the great teacher of this mild and generous system was drag: ged into a court of justice, under the charge of blasphemy, and erucified for attempting to subvert the national religion !
The judge concluded by saying " he should leave it to the jury, as Christian men, sworn on the gospel of Christ, to say whether the present was not an attrocious libel on the Chris. tian religion. It is unnecessary to say they “immediately found the defendant GUILTY !”
EXTRACTS FROM A PORT-FOLIO.
OW dangerous a situation is royalty, in which the wisest are often
the tools of deceit! A throne is surrounded by the train of subtlety and self-interest : Integrity retires, because she will not be introduced by importunity or flattery: Virtue, conscious of her own dignity, waits at a distance till she is sought, and princes seldom know where she may be found ; but Vice and her attendants are impudent and fraudful, insinuating and officious, skilful in dissimulation, and ready to renounce all principles, and to violate every tie, when it becomes necessary to the gratification of the appetites of a prince. How wretched is the man who is thus perpetually exposed to the attempts of guilt, by which hemust inevitably perish, if he do not renounce the music of adulation, and learn not to be offended by the plainness of truth.--Fenelon.
ANNUAL EXPENCE OF THE ENGLISH CHURCH ESTABLISHMENT-
100,000 24 Deans
20,000 50 Archdeacons
15,000 200 Prebends
100,000 100 Canons
30,000 24 Chancellors
7,000 5,000 Rector's
.1,000,000 5,000 Vicars
500,000 10,000 Church Clerks
€1,907,000 The above statement is considerably under-rated, an a number of items are omitted ; but it is sufficient to enable ihe reader to form a tolerably correct idea of the enormous expence attending the church establishment, for doing nothing, or rather worse than nothing.
THE INQUISITION AND LIBERTY OF THE PRESS. The inquisition is incompatable with the liberty of the press, which has been decreed with the applause of the whole nation ; for that tribunal once re-established, no public writer could be free from alarm; even should he abstain from every topic of religion. While discussing any political question, or explaining the very rudiments of the science of verament, he would expose himself to the risk of being accused and punished by that tribunal. We all know, by unfortunate experience, how easy it is to torture the meaning of an expression, and to represent as scandalous. an insulated proposition, which, joined with the context, would appear perfectly innocent. We all know with what cunning policy
our kings have availed themselves of the inquisition, to prohibit useful works, which were guilty of no other offence than that of exposing the abuses of despotism. We have not forgotten how many wise and patriotic men have been persecuted as impious or irreligious ; neither lave we forgotten, that the doctrines of the sovereignty of the nation, of its authority to dictate laws, and of the delegated power of nionarcbs, bave; by a base abuse of texts of holy writ, been condemned as antichristian, and their propagators persecuted, and immured in the dungeons of the inquisition. With such recent facts before our eyes, where is the writer so rash or thoughtless, who would think of instructing the people while such a tribunal existed? The inquisition and the liberty of the press ! it is quite sufficient to mention them, to show that they are placed iu the most determined state of mutual hostility.-Tortado's Speech in the Cortes of Spain, 1811, su svemirunwinsrinivasworromeriwwwwsessment
WHO's he--with stately garb and mien,
The Priest !
The Priest !
The Priest !
The Priest !
The Priest !
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