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more at that time. I believe that my ideas of all religion are the motives for locking me so close, as I have been informed that the Gaolor, and Reverend Magistrates, and Vice Society Magistrate, have said openly in the town of Dorchester, that they will lock me up close enough, and take care that I shall not corrupt any one here. Poor creatures, they know but little of my feeling and disposition, I have not the slightest wish to promulgate my sentiments on politics or theology among the general run of men who are confined in such place as this. I speak of dishonest men, those who are here for crimes. As this county is on the coast, and opposite to that of France, there are always a great number of smugglers here, a class of men whose conduct I would applaud rather than condemn, and many of the poor fellows suffer a long imprisonment, frequently upwards of twelve months.Another circumstance is, that I have never given away my opinions, I consider when they are purchased they make a greater impression, and I would really rather converse on any domestic or indifferent topic, than enter into a vocal dispute on politics or theology. It formed but very little of my conversation out of my shop. When I first entered this prison, I was aware what was the notion of those opinions I have promulgated in this part of the country, therefore, I took the earliest opportunity to give the governor of the gaol a distinct pledge, that as far as the prisoners under his care, or any person belonging to the prison was concerned, I would confine my opinions on politics and theology within my own bosom, which pledge, although it has never lessened the rigour of my confinement, I have sacredly observed. I have no wish to force my opinions on any man-if he wishes to have them, he must either buy them, or challenge me to defend them; and in this last instance, it must be some one whom I should consider worth contending with, before I would open my mouth on the subject. However, I must confess that my situation and treatment from the moment of my entering the gaol up to the present, has been very different in respect to comfort, to what Mr. Hunt represents his to be. On entering the prison, I told the keeper that as far as money would go to make me more comfortable, and to make the prison less a prison, I would spend; but I was immediately taught, that all money could do for me was to obtain me a good dinner from the governor's table, not at his table; but as I eat to live, and don't live to eat, I viewed this but as a secondary object, and have ever been eareless of what my food consisted, so as it was suf
ficient and wholesome; and on the other hand, to live on luxuries and superfluities, and to have but little or no exercise, I knew to be the straight road to premature death, or a life of pain, so as soon as I learnt that I could not have my dinner of two or three dishes without being locked up alone whilst I ate it, and as soon as I learnt that all the fear was of my corrupting the inmates of this most respectable place, I resolved to economize and to teach them temperance by example; and this I have done to their surprise, for I have shewn them, that a man with a contented mind and no labour, has need but of a small quantity of food to keep him fat and in good health. I have lately felt one of the ill effects of close confinement, for having my room washed over, and neglecting to have a fire to air and dry it, and having my couch on a damp floor, it has given me a killing fit of rheumatic pain, so as to have made me almost despair of recovery. I have no blame to attach to any one but for close confinement, as I have the means of lighting a fire whenever I please, therefore, my pain has been the cause of my own neglect, and a lesson I shall never forget.
In noticing the rejection to my sending a plate of fruit to Wedderburn lately, I ignorantly made a false statement-I mentioned the place of his confinement as continued where he was first placed for several weeks, but after I had sent off that statement to London, I accidentally discovered that his situation had been changed for the better, and he is now confined in the Bridewell, or Ward of Solitude, where he has a small cell with a fire-place in it, and is not locked up close as before, but has an airy passage near six feet wide, and from thirty to forty long, to walk in the day time, with the additional privilege of being dogged about the gravel walk contiguous to the interior of the gaol walls, a privilege that I feel more satisfaction from the relinquishment than the acceptance. Mr. Wedderburn has also the honour and the privilege of being admitted on each holyday into the congregation of the faithful Christians who assemble in the chapel for worship, or idolatry rather; but whether it is the governor or the chaplain that considers me incorrigible I know not, for I have never been asked whether I would partake of this "soul-refreshing repast. The reader might form some idea of the distance kept between myself and Wedderburn, when I state that he was removed from his first cell to his present for five or six weeks before I knew any thing about it; and even then, I discovered it by accident, in the course of exchanging a few
words with one of the turnkeys. Such has been the solitude of my confinement in this prison, and so little conversation' have I had, that on attempting to speak, I have in a manner found my voice gone, and have been obliged to make an effort to be heard. I have a couch which forms a sofa chair, and on which I consider that I lay sleeping, waking, and reading, on an average, sixteen hours out of each twenty-four; and I' walk about the room or sit in a chair as an ease and relief, excepting the few hours that I am at the writing-desk. I am sensible that the habit is a bad one, but I have no alternative. I believe that I have said quite enough of myself; but on reading Mr. Hunt's complaint and explanation of his situation, I found that mine was preferable, and I am at all times ready to give the devil his due, (if I may use a vulgar phrase, and speak of a gentleman in whom I have no faith nor belief.) As my confinement is at present, I am quite comfortable, but I consider my reverend keepers fear I should feel no punishment if I were allowed to walk out freely in the open air in the day time, as is the common case with all other prisoners save myself and Wedderburn, and those who are sentenced to solitary confinement. The prison is altogether a neat and clean place, or as far as it is possible for labour to keep it so; and I attribute the closeness of my confinement to the pretended horror which clerical and fanatical magistrates profess to feel at what they call SEDITION and BLASPHEMY.
I have now to take up another subject, a subject which regret, but which I feel it an imperative duty to perform. Mr. Hunt has published three pages of nonsense and ribaldry which he has called a "National Prayer," and I am sorry indeed to see such a man assume so much of the Priest. I am compelled to quarrel with it, not with Mr. Hunt, but with his "National Prayer." I would first beg leave to say, that I admire his political opinions, and the uniform and undaunted,' manner in which he has advocated the right of UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE. I have heard Mr. Hunt object to my public and present manner of advocating the abolition of monarchy, and say, that whilst he lived a private citizen, under a monarchical government, he would not support the avowed abolition of it, for this I always gave him credit, but I cannot give him credit for candour in publishing his "National Prayer." It is not a promulgation of any particular opinions, but it is an avowed support to that priestcraft and fanaticism which I know that he privately abhors, and is the effect of an idea, that the attack of such opinions is not yet sufficiently popular to be considered
respectable. This is the ground on which thousands seem to support Priestcraft and fanaticism, even whilst their better knowledge of its falsehood makes them privately hate and condemn it. It is thus the hateful thing has been so long supported, and the imposture continued. It has been rendered universal in Europe by violence, and the fashion of it is not quite gone. Fashion and custom are the only props left it, and as soon as we can wipe them off, it falls to rise no more. I must be candid enough to repeat what I have before stated, namely, that Mr. Hunt has repeatedly said in my presence that he would not allow Mr. Paine or any other person to form his opinions on theology, and by all that I could discover, I considered that Mr. Hunt never suffered the thing to disturb his mind for a moment. I considered that he had discovered the whole to be Priestcraft, and resolved at the same time, neither to make himself uncomfortable about it, nor to gain the ill will of any one individual by attacking it: but what are we to think of the "National Prayer?" I am bold to say, that I never before met with a more contemptible string of sophistry and nonsense. There is nothing in the Bible that beats it on this head. I would wish to be considered as standing in the same situation towards Mr. Hunt, as I stand in towards Paine, a name which Mr. H. has professed an admiration of: I am thoroughly the disciple of Paine in politics, but I cannot help laughing at his "private thoughts of a future state." Paine, like his old friend Clio Rickman, could never give up that sensual and childish idea of a paradisaical future state. Let me be understood as standing in the same relation with Mr. Hunt as with Mr. Paine, I approve his political ideas, but I must reprobate his "National Prayer:" he has made it public, as he did his proposition for a fast and prayers, of which this is the finish. The thing being in print, and being what I consider extremely mischievous as coming from such a man, (instead of an avowed and beneficed priest to whom it more properly belongs) I feel that I am in duty bound, as the open enemy of fanaticism, to exercise my humble powers in endeavouring to dissect and expose it. I do not believe that Mr. Hunt prays privately, and from his heart to any idol, therefore, I hope, that should I have the pleasure of ever meeting him again, we shall have a laugh over his "National Prayer," and my notice of it.
In the first place I shall hope, that the signification formed of an M and seven asterisks, which I construe to be massacre, And the seven asterisks in another place, which I construe to
be murders, arose from the timidity either of the printer or publisher: I cannot believe that Mr. Hunt would send a manuscript in that state to the press, and I am more surprized at the supposed caution, when the word massacre is filled out in the foregoing article. If a man commits an atrocious murder on his fellow man, shall I seek a new name, less harsh than murder, to call it by? Forbid it justice! ! have always considered when I have seen the letter and dash" C -h" intended for Castlereagh, and something strong applied to it, that it has been, in fact, a greater aggravation than the spelling of the name in full, and if a jury were inclined to inflict a punishment, the candour of the latter would deserve less punishment than the timidity of the former. Such a circumstance has once occurred in the Republican, but it was without my knowledge or consent, and reaped my reprobation. The act to me appears like that of secret assassination; or one that would plunge a dagger into the bosom of another if he could do it undiscovered. My idea is this, that an honest and conscientious man would not write at all, what he durst not print in full and be responsible for it; for the author and not the printer, should be always forthcoming. But to begin with this sublime "National Prayer:" the first sentence is this, "Almighty God! Creator of the universe, Father and Judge of all mankind! Look down from the high, an holy place which thou hast inhabited from eternity, and lend a merciful ear to the prayers of an oppressed people." What do you mean by looking down, Mr. Hunt? Did you write by day or by night? Recollect in the regions of space which are filled by what I call the God of Nature, there is neither up nor down, circle nor centre, at least, the human idea cannot embrace it. Besides, by your asking your God to "lend a merciful ear," you make him an idol with one, or a pair of ears just like yourself. I shall not allow you to shelter under metaphor, for I recollect well, that the first time I ever saw you or heard you speak, you reprobated metaphorical expres sions when addressed to a public meeting in Palace-yard by the celebrated Parson Parkes, and received considerable ap plause, by observing, that you felt it your duty to state a few plain facts. Even the faults of Mr. Hunt should not pass without censure, for the "Champion of Reform” must be considered a mirror, and should be kept clear of imperfections. In the third sentence you speak of "the sun in thy heavens:" here you are as bad as Paul or Mahomet: pray have you also