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P. S. Since writing the foregoing, I have learned that you have again actually refused the Queen one of the Royal Palaces, and have anwered her application for that object through Lord Liverpool, in just the same manner as might have been expected, if the Bill of Pains and Penalties had passed. You are evidently as much a fool as a rogue, and justify the observation I have before applied to you, of being nothing better than a great obstinate boy, whom nothing but the lash can convince of error or set him to do that which is right. Do you think that the slander of your courtiers can convince any virtuous man or woman in the country, that the slightest impropriety of conduct has been discovered in the Queen, even after passing so dreadful a tribunal? If you think so, you are thoroughly ignorant of the public feeling. All, who dare hold and avow an opinion of their own, are satisfied that the Queen is a virtuous and persecuted woman, and that with her enemies her real virtues are her only crimes. You may continue to insult her, but those insults will recoil upon your head in a tenfold degree. The language in which I have now addressed you is quite moderate when compared with the common topics of conversation. It would be well if you could mask yourself and visit the places of public resort in the Metropolis: you might then soon form an estimate of the popular feeling. You are certainly one of the best and boldest Republicans in this country. On this head I yield the palm to you, with all due submission; and if I find that you are determined to proceed in your present career, I shall leave off writing in a few weeks, as altogether unnecessary. I am thoroughly sincere in what I am now writing to you, it is not even a joke or a sarcasm. I perceive that you hold just the same feelings of contempt and indifference towards the Queen, as I hold towards all crowned heads; you are bold enough to avow those opinions, and your example will render any farther exertions on my part, as to the abolition of monarchy, totally unnecessary. I shall take my rest and watch your progress, until we reach the goal of a representative system of government. You have answered the Queen just as if she had been a parish pauper, and you the overseer, a comparison which I make of monarchical government. I could never have contemplated such a circumstance, can scarcely believe what I read, and anxiously wait some further corroboration of the account. If you go on at this rate, I shall soon change the stile of my address to you, and hail you as the great advocate of Revolution. I shall
begin to tune God save the King, instead of God save the Queen, and lose sight of the virtues and the sufferings of the latter, in the contemplation of the beatitudes you will confer upon this nation. Recollect, Sir, there is but one step from the ridiculous to the sublime, and I verily think that you are passing the verge of the ridiculous: and oh! in what glowing language shall I hail George the sublime, the great, the noble Republican. I feel that I must hide my head; your splendour is becoming too great for my popularity.
TO THE READER.
The Editor has now the pleasure of saying, that he has secured the means of having his articles printed according to the manuscript. Scarce an article has been printed from him during his imprisonment, but what has undergone a . most wanton and unwarrantable mangling; and such unfortunately and inevitably has been his connection with a Printer, that remonstrance has been vain. Since Mr. Davison relinquished the printing of the Republican, the Editor could find but one individual that would undertake it, and he has proved himself any thing but an honest Republican. The gross errors which have appeared week after week, carry the appearance of unparalleled stupidity or treachery; and the Editor will endeavour to shew in his future numbers, that he has been ill used, and that those errors were not his. Frequently a sentence, and sometimes a paragraph have been omitted, and the surrounding matter has been jammed together, without paying the least attention to its bearing or connection. Even balf sentences have been omitted in this manner; and the insertion of errata in the following week has been wantonly overlooked. The future numbers shall say whose fault it has been. It is not possible to keep the publication free from grammatical and typographical errors under the present situation of the Editor. The best of writers are not at all times correct in their manuscripts, particularly when their articles are not copied, but might rather be called the momentary effusions of the brain, than composition. For all imperfections, and they are not a few, the Editor must beg the liberal indulgence of his readers.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE REPUBLICAN.
Ir is almost impossible to extend our ideas and enquiries far enough to collect and arrange all the evil consequences that are occasioned in society, by what is called religion. It is almost impossible to remove all those deep-rooted prejudices that we have imbibed from our infancy up to the period of manhood. If interest, fear, or a long established custom makes any impression on our ideas, on any subject, it is then an undeniable fact, that our minds are become enslaved; consequently, we cannot think freely, fairly, or judge rationally, unless our thoughts are unimpeded by any such circumstances. We have always been taught by the priests, that religion is a delicate and dangerous subject to discuss; and particularly at public places where men assemble for social and friendly information. At such places where men have a right to deliver their opinions fairly and freely, religious subjects are forbidden. They also tell us that we should not enter into religious questions, because in arguing on matters that we do not, nor cannot of ourselves clearly comprehend, we are too apt to decide upon our own natural and reasoning powers, and such a decision would so mislead us on this most serious subject, as to destroy all our fu ture happiness, and make us dangerous members of society. They say we must have faith, for without that we cannot be good Christians, nor can we enjoy future happiness. In what do they say we must have faith? Not in the wonderful and sublime creation of nature, which cannot be forged, or altered; but in the word of God, written in a book, which might have been forged, for a corrupt and wicked purpose. In the order and creation of nature, man does not require faith to believe. It is clear to his sight, plain to his understanding, that it is not the work of man, but of nature, and that is all he knows about it. It is only the works of man that requires our faith, that he may practise craft upon the credulity of his brethren. The priests say that churches, chapels, and prayer-meetings, are the only proper places for religious discussions. Now I would ask how is a rational discussion to take place at these places, if we go to church we shall hear the parson give his own explanation of some particular passage in the Bible, and no one is allowed to make any reply to him; the Methodist, Catholic, Baptists, the Unitarians, and many other different sects of Christians all do the same, all equally believing themselves to be right. How is it there are so many different sects of Christians? is it not because each is blind with its own bigoted opinions, or is it
one of the crafts of man, practised on our credulity for some sinister motives. If truth and an universal good, were the only objects of the leaders of the different sects, would they not have public conferences to discuss those different points; that Christians might become one undivided sect. It is the height of folly to go to church or meeting-house, to hear one man deliver his opinions and condemn all others that differ from him; why does he not invite them to come to deliver their opinions and argue the matter fairly, and there would then be a possibility of their convincing each other of their errors. As they do not do it, is it not a clear proof, that they are blind with their own conceit, and bigots to their own opinions? and, as the Scripture says, the blind lead the blind till they all tumble in the ditch together. Is it not a subject worth our consideration, whether we are not a portion of their blind followers. Every man knows how necessary it is to hear both sides of a case; we all know that to hear a man of superior education and talent, deliver an opinion upon any question-we almost at once conceive it is impossible for any person however clever he may be, to refute what we have heard; but if we hear another of equal talents and education reply to him, it would then force our own judgment into action, which perhaps would have laid dormant if we had only heard one side. Religion is a subject that requires our most serious consideration, it is the most important of all our enquiries, for unless we have a clear understanding between right and wrong, it is impossible we can be right, except by chance. How are we to come to any fair conclusion on the wonderful and sublime works of the God of Nature, and our real duty to our fellows, except by that reasoning power with which we are endowed; and can it be wrong to bring it into action in any particular place. How are we to divest ourselves from early and vicious habits, deep rooted prejudices, and false conceptions, except by a communication of ideas? How is knowledge acquired but by a collection of each others ideas? And why should that bar be placed to prevent a free current of thoughts on religion, which is not considered necessary on any other subject? Just as much right would they have to check the free circulation of the air we breathe, and give it out to us as they thought proper; as to check the free circulation of thought and reason. Our nature has become so corrupt by the unnatural laws with which we are governed, that there cannot be a doubt in the mind of any being, but that our rulers would, if they had it in their power, monopolize the air and direct the sun to be partial in the distribution of his heat. They have left nothing undone, that possibly they could do towards making an inequality among mankind; they have claimed as their privileged right, the birds, the beasts of the field, the fishes in the rivers, the land and the water, the vegetation, and almost every thing that nature has sent; nay, their folly, wickedness, or presumption has carried them to such a pitch, that they have even laid a tax on the light of heaven. Who can say that the light is
not sent for the benefit of all? it makes no distinction between high and low, 'rich and poor. Then is it not dictating to that Almighty Power, to say that we shall not have it in common, unless we can pay for it? Has not the God of nature given to us the land we inhabit, climate, soil, and seasons, and caused the sun to shine equally on all, to produce every thing our nature requires? has he relaxed of his bounties? has he changed the seasons, that they should be more agreeable to some than to others? has he directed the sun to shine with more brilliancy and comfort on some than on others? has he caused the tempestuous wind, the rigid cold, and melting heat to be more favourable and temperate to one class than to another? in short, is not every thing that is out of the power of man to alter, equally enjoyed by us all? Every being should study the works of nature before he can form any proper conception of religion. It is all a matter of opinion, which sect is right and which is wrong, for it is possible that all may be wrong; therefore, it is a delicate subject to impress on the mind of another, and particularly children, a firm belief on such doctrinal points. It must be clear to the understanding of every man, that there must be something more in religion than what is told us by the encouragers and promoters of it, or else why do rich men give vast sums of money towards encouraging it, rather than to fill hungry bellies? Why are they so terrified that men should not be religious? Why are they so alarmed at such books as the Age of Reason? Why do they say you are the worst of all the Reformers? Why are they not as anxious for a poor man's welfare on earth as for his happiness hereafter? Why are they so vigilant in educating poor children in their pretended religious principles, and will not educate them without? Why do they purchase Bibles for the poor when bread is unattainable? These, and a variety of other questions, we must ask ourselves before we can believe that it is encouraged from a pure and disinterested principle. Some persons believe that priests are appointed by God to direct us in the road to Heaven; but can such persons believe that that Supreme Power has directed them to take from us the common necessaries and comforts of life? Priests say it is for our good that we are so starved, wretched, and persecuted, it draws us nearer to our Maker; it is the way the Lord tries his people, and if they can bear up against all these miseries without a murmur, they will be sure to be rewarded after death. If their Lord suffers all the good to be so tried to prove whether they can forsake all earthly enjoyments to follow him; how is it that the priests are not so tried? they are not infallible; they are subject to all the frailties of human nature as we are; they live in idleness, and enjoy all the luxuries that nature produces. They are the rich of whom they say few are good, and if they believe in what they tell us, that the worldly comforts and riches we should not crave, why do they crave them, and take from the hard earnings of the industrious poor to support them in idleness? There are but few parsons but what have private property sufficient to procure them all the common necessaries of life, and yet
Vol. IV. No. 13.