« PreviousContinue »
all appellations. I could look up to Jupiter, Apollo, and Mars, to Moses, Christ, and Mahomed, and not even, from my errors and faults, be afraid to wear their names: but to be called after a name appropriated to that perfectly wise and good Being who animates and blesses the universe, seems to call for a character of understanding and virtue which is alarming, and though I should rejoice in deserving it, I should be very cautious in assuming it." And Chubb of Salisbury says, "Deism is the belief of and the having a just sense of the Deity impressed on the mind, which sense is the governing principle of a man's affections and actions: this is Deism properly so called, which character is most worthy and desirable, and yet now, like free-thinking, it is treated with contempt." Notwithstanding the thick mist which Prejudice and Bigotry have spread over the human mind, an individual here and there has had the spirit (or what is called maduess) to cultivate the benign lights of Philosophy and Truth, and to assert those rights of human nature, without which society is an evil and not a blessing, and none hath been more successful than that Theo-pbilanthropist, Thomas Paine, to whom not only his own nation, but all Europe have paid their grateful tribute to his manes. The above-named David Williams says, "The Deists have been the greatest benefactors to mankind, they have assisted in freeing them from the worst of slavery, that of the mind, to principles and opinions. It is by such men that happiness and knowledge are diffused." It is Deists who strive to metamorphose the monsters of Intolerance, Fanaticism, and Blood, into humane and sociable beings. The potentates of the earth, kings, princes, and lords, ought to esteem themselves happy in obtaining Deists as their friendly advisers, in opening their minds to the mild impressions of a benevolent system of philosophy. Therefore, gentle reader, divest yourself of the prejudice arising from education! Let no childish fear deter you from exercising your reason; "Search the Scriptures," and think as freely of them, as you would of any other writings! Let your minds be unbiassed, and as the "truth is great, and stronger than all things," so will it in the end most powerfully prevail.
Camberwell, Dec. 1, 1820.
J. J. BRAYFIELD.
PROGRESS OF PERSECUTION.
The Christian Judge (Bailey) has found a new grave for Messrs. Davison and Lewis in Okeham in the county of Rutlandshire. This spot is no great distance from Mr. Lewis's friends in Warwickshire, but it is altogether a retired place, in which perhaps the Judge thought there were but few blasphemous and seditious Reformers. If this was his object I rather think he has been mistaken, as there is not a county in England but swarms with them. Although this county of Dorsetshire has received none of the seditious or blasphemous writings of the day, as corruption calls them, as almost all other counties have done, the Keeper of this Prison told me in the last week, that he had refused a thousand applicants to see me, out of whom there has not been half a dozen who had any personal knowledge of me. The plan of my keepers is, that I shall not corrupt, as they call it, any person in this neighbourhood, and I don't know what Mr. Hunt would think of exchanging places with me. I understand that I have the advantage of him in an apartment, but I have never been in the open air since February last. I am locked up in one room throughout the 24 hours of each day and night, and I have had but one visitant admitted, except my own family, ever since I have been here. I fear Mr. Hunt will gain nothing by his application to the Court of King's Bench, but give one of Mr. Brougham's rabid animals (Scarlett) an opportunity of saying some pleasing things to the Judges, about his (Mr. Hunt's) family. I tell my keeper candidly, that I shall make no further complaint whilst I am here, as I see it is but a pleasure to the fanatics and bypocrites who controul this place, but that I shall bring an action for damages against him the Keeper and the Sheriff, as soon as I see the new System of Government established: to attempt any thing under the present Government would be quite idle, and Mr. Hunt will find nothing but further annoyance by it. I defy my keepers to annoy me, I have a mind that is not to be annoyed by trifles, and I can laugh at all their plans and schemes to that effect. I doubt whether ever I shall pass another year so contented and happy as I have passed this which is now drawing to a close.
But to return to Messrs. Lewis and Davison: it is a wender that the Christian Judge (Bailey) should expose Mr. Lewis's Christianity to the danger of being corrupted by Mr.
Davison's Deism! This Christian Judge will have to answer for this neglect before his three Gods at the day of judgment! To throw a Christian brother into the arms of an infidel is a sin that purgatory cannot expiate! It is a proof that there is no fraternity among Christians! The sentence of Mr. Lewis is also a proof that these Judges receive their instructions on this head from the ministers through the Attorney or Solicitor General. By the bye, Gifford appears afraid to shew himself, and the German Toy face Apostate, has to do all the drudgery in the King's Bench. It must be a most galling thing to Copley to be under the orders of such a nincompoop as Gifford. This I should think ten times more grating to his feelings than his apostasy. Gifford is but a boy at the Bar when compared with Copley, and in point of ability, the former is but an idiot when compared with the latter. Gifford's answer to the unfortunate Doctor Halloran must not be forgotten. The Doctor was Gifford's schoolmaster at Alphington near Exeter, and when the former got into trouble by forging a frank to a tenpenny letter, Gifford had become Solicitor Genera!, to whom he wrote for assistance and interference to rescue him from that dilemna. Gifford replied by letter that it did not become His Majesty's Solicitor General to interfere in any business of the kind, and accompanied that answer with a greater insult-a small sum of money! This is another digression but to the point again..
It seems to be the object of the Ministers, and their tools the Judges, to confine the most annoying of the Reformers to an imprisonment that shall end about the same time, or that shall survive the present system of government. Thus in November 1819 I was sentenced to three years imprisonment. In May 1820, Mr. Hunt was sentenced to two years and a half imprisonment a period of time which is not to be found in any other sentence on record, and I verily think was regulated by the expiration of my imprisonment. In November, 1820, Messrs. Lewis and Davison are sentenced to two years, so that all our periods of imprisonment expire in November, 1822, if the God of Revolution sleeps until that time, which is a necessary exception to make. There is an exception in Sir Charles Wolsely's period of imprisonment, but Sir Charles had not been that constant and perpetual torment to them that many others have been, though as a man of property and a country Gentleman he has done his duty nobly.
I am heartly glad to see Major Cartwright keep out of a
Prison, I now think there is some hope of the Major's escape, as I care not who among the reformers goes to Prison, so that the Major keeps out, and lives to see a Reformed Parliament. I fear a prison would shorten his days, and I consider the Major might be compared to the Simeon mentioned in the New Testament, and that on witnessing a Reformed Parliament, which has been for forty years the object nearest the Major's heart, he might well exclaim: "Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation." But if the Major has to visit a prison, as a prisoner, it will reflect no small degree of honour upon bis fellow sufferers. However, I do hope, that I shall see the Major presiding at a festival to celebrate the triumph of that cause, of which he has been worthily and justly stiled the Father.
I consider Mr. Lewis's sentence to be infamous. Two years imprisonment for copying an article from a London Paper which had never been prosecuted in London! I did not expect any feeling to be shewn towards Mr. Davison, because the persecuting Christian Religion was brought into play against him, but I was in hopes of seeing Mr. Davison put in a strong and well written protest against any punishment being passed upon him. I reflect with pleasure that I have followed the wisest course throughout my career, by doing all I could to annoy the common enemy. I gained something for myself before they could check me in the slightest instance.
Dorchester Gaol, Dec. 4th, 1820.
PROGRESS OF LIBERAL FEELING AND DECAY OF SUPERSTITION.
We are again drawn to this head by the appearance of a Prospectus for a new weekly newspaper to be called "The Catholic Advocate of Civil and Religious Liberty." Anxious as we are to hold the hand of fellowship to the liberalminded of all sects, we have felt it our duty in furtherance of that profession to give further publicity to this Prospectus, as far as our means admit. None have reflected on the degraded state of Ireland with more acute pain than ourselves. Ireland, strictly speaking, is a country where the Catholic religion predominates, and it therefore suffers the more from being oppressed and degraded by a country
whose religious establishment is Protestant. Persecution on matters of religion is the same under whatever name it appears, and dissensions in society will never cease whilst it be tolerated, or whilst any religious profession debars a man from the exercise of his political rights. Strictly speaking, a man ought not to be known a religious sectarian, but as a citizen: his opinions on matters of religion should be confined to his own bosom, his family, his congregated sect, or to the Printing Press. In either of those instances he has a right to display himself as he thinks proper, but he ought to leave his religion at home when he meets his fellow citizens in any capacity whatever on political business, or when he associates with an indiscriminate body of citizens who might hold different opinions on the subject of religion. However, we rejoice to see that our most ardent hopes are fast accomplishing and accordingly we shew ourselves disposed to assist those with whom we do not agree in religious creed by inserting the following.
On Saturday Evening, Dec. 2, and Sunday, the 3d, 1820, was published, No. 1, of a London Weekly Newspaper, intitled "THE CATHOLIC ADVOCATE OF CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY."
THE regenerating spirit of Liberty has walked forth among the nations. Countries that had for ages groaned under the iron yoke of despotism have broken their chains. Public opinion has proved an overmatch for power, and even standing armies have suddenly started into legions of patriots. Religious antipathies, national jealousies, the prejudices and customs of centuries, have melted away before the purifying flame of political knowledge, and the civilized world presents the spectacle of one immense family, in which millions of brothers, however distinguished by country or religion, raise one universal voice for the liberty and happiness of all. The Protestant of England and of Germany, the Catholic of Ireland and of Belgium, rejoice alike at the glorious revolutions which have liberated Spain, Portugal, Naples and Sicily; revolutions, which form so many moral and political phenomena of which history furnishes no previous example; revolutions peaceful and bloodless, affected by the pure force of public opinion; revolutions which have redeemed the sacred name of Liberty from the horrors which had disgraced it in France; revolutions, in fine, which are become the beacons of the human race, to guide the nations of the world through the boisterous ocean of politics, to pilot them safely between the Scylla of anarchy and the Charyb