Page images

some measure to save themselves as well. Not one independent man can be found to support them; so they are now driven to the necessity of chaunting their own praises. Nothing is more easy than to draw up an Address or Declaration and call it the Address and Declaration of such a town, and printing it gives it somewhat the appearance of being the sentiments of the whole place, did we not know that all those Addresses and Declarations are contraband and smuggled, and not only contraband, but valueless and powerless. The trick has been too often practised, and the people, as a whole, are no longer to be deluded by it.

But it is an outrage on truth to say that the loss of the present Ministers, or the present system of government (for I think one will go with the other), would endanger the morals of the country. It is the reverse of truth, for the morals of the country have been both outraged and corrupted by the present Ministers. Their professions about religion is all a trick, for both Plato and Aristotle have represented the profession of religion as the common trick of tyrants. The latter calls it the surest and most powerful art of tyrants. So that here we might learn what Mr. Sidmouth's religion means, and that of Mr. Vansittart, and the crocodile-eyed Eldon, and the saintly Wilberforce. Their profession of religion is a mere delusion to find the support of the bigotted part of the community, Sidmouth is a more dangerous tyrant than Castlereagh, as far as a secret is more dangerous than an open enemy.

Some of the modern addresses and declarations express that the signers will spend both their lives and fortunes to keep the traitor from the throne, and the infidel from the altar! This all sounds well, but who can be deluded by it? What is the throne and the altar? Is either essential to the moral welfare of society? This is the question. Those reptiles talk nothing about endeavouring to ameliorate the distresses of the people; but openly declare that they will study to preserve the causes of all those distresses. I for one can smile at all their declarations, because I feel assured that those individuals who make those pompous declarations about the throne and the altar, would shrink from the defence of either, were hostilities to commence between the people and their oppressors. Those creatures are clamorous, but why? Why because they tremble at the decay of the system which fattens them. They fear that it will become their turn to put a hand to the plough, and that they will not continue, as at present, to live in luxurious idleness.

This is the cause of all their clamours. They are a part of that corrupt system which destroys the peace, the health, and the happiness of the people, by a grinding system of taxation. I would tell those addressers and declarers that we neither wish to meddle with the throne or the altar: that our sole object is to prevent the throne and the altar from robbing us by establishing a representative system of government. Those who admire the throne and the altar may cherish and support it with their lives and fortunes if they like. I wish not to attack the throne or the altar, but to defend myself against both. If the throne or the altar can exist of itself, without plundering the people, let it: I shall not be the enemy of either; but I will not consent to be robbed to support that which I know not to be essential to myself or the people at large.

These are the traitors who hinder all appeal to the people. The people as a whole cannot commit treason, because there is no authority above them; and I solemnly and conscientiously declare that I have no personal or selfish object in view in wishing a change. I wish to leave every thing to the correcting band of the collective sense of the nation. But I do not view the King as the nation: I do not view the aristocracy as the nation: I do not view the Priesthood as the nation: I view them all as excrescences; and I view the people only as the nation, not the fundholder or the landholder, but the whole people. The labouring classes form the nation, as they are the sinews and the nerves, without the health of which the other parts must decay. We are too apt to delude ourselves and others with words which have no real application or meaning; and to frighten ourselves and others with mere sophistries. This is the object of the present abhorrers of and declarers against sedition and blasphemy. If sedition and blasphemy be really predominant in the country, it must be among the rulers of the people, for in the government there is evidently something wrong; or why all the existing misery and distress? Why are so many persons confined in gaols for imaginary offences? Why is Corruption's host alarmed, but for its own safety? The people as a whole or the majority of them can do no wrong. They can neither be guilty of sedition or blasphemy. They can neither do wrong morally or politically, as the Bishop of London says of the King! The whole of the present clamour about sedition and blasphemy is a delusion which I trust is seen through by every man and woman beyond the interested. The same delusions were supported

[ocr errors]

in Spain, Portugal, and Naples before the Revolution; and even now a faint clamour is attempted to be raised in those countries about the throne and the altar. The throne and the altar are mere blocks of wood or marble, and like the arks of old are kept up as a delusion. But, whoever he is who wishes to support such nonsense, let him work and support them himself, but not call upon me to contribute to their support. I despise both the throne and the altar, as something degrading to the dignity of man in society. Both were founded by fraud and force, and I wish to see them fall from the mere want of support. I would not raise & hand against either: I wish the great body of the people to see them clearly, and not to be mistaken in their value. The throne and the altar are a mere hocus-poeus, which will cease to amuse the people when they have discovered all the tricks, and the company of conjurors will be obliged to close their exhibition and look about for an honest method to get a living. Let those declarers and addressers cease their clamour. Experience might teach them the folly. The Priests of the Established Church raised a similar clamour against the Dissenters: but did they put them down? Now the Dissenters unite with Priests of the Established Church against what they jointly call infidelity: but their joint efforts shall avail nothing. Truth will triumph if it be but exhibited; and were I the ouly infidel to Christianity in the whole country (and I know there are millions), I would persevere in opposing truth to superstition, and reason to delusion.


Dorchester Gaol, Dec. 20, 1820.


THE sneaking COURTIER, and CORRUPTION's tool,
Thus speak the language of both knave and fool.
"If you dislike the land you live in-leave it;"
My answer is (in metaphor receive it)
"If BUGS molest me as in BED Ilie,

"I will not quit my BED for them,—not I;—
"But rout the VERMIN, every BUG destroy,
"New make my BED,and all its sweets enjoy."



Concluded from p. 566.

principles of the Jews, he detested their learning, and spoke ill of their despotic government; and thence he looked upon him as a false Messiah. I cannot think, therefore, it was the intention of Jesus to establish bimself as king. His object was of another kind. He preached a different doctrine; his instruction was that of equality; his principles were those of reason and morality. A republican spirit is very evident in his speeches and in his actions. The same in those of his apostles. When James and John, the two sons of Zebedee, were desirous of sitting, the one on his right hand, the other on his left, in his kingdom, nothing could be more plain than his answer to his disciples, who were angry at it. "Ye know," said he, "the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great, exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant, (Matth. xx. 25, 26, 27. Mark x. 35)." Nor can any thing be more expressive of republicanism than what Paul says in his epistle to the Ephesians, when he desires them to put on Truth, the armour of God: "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places," (Eph. vi. 12). Christ had no respect to persons; he taught the most perfect equality, and always spoke in favour of the poor. His expressions are very severe: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven," (Mark x. 25). Nor are his words less expressive when he exclaims, "blessed be ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God; but woe unto you that are rich, for ye


* I understand that the original word means a cable-rope, and not a camel..

[ocr errors]

have received your consolation,” (Luke, vi. 20, 24). Likewise when he spoke to the multitude, according to the same apostle, he told them, "that whosoever did not forsake all he bad," could not be his disciple, (Luke, xiv, 38). And Peter acknowledges, they had left all and followed Christ, (Luke, xviii, 28), for it appears, previously to this, that when a certain rich ruler had asked him what he must do to inherit eternal life, he told him to sell all be had, and give it to the poor, (v. 18, 22); and no doubt but most of the other rich men would become like this ruler, very sorrowful, and would prefer keeping their old inheritance rather than buy a new one upon such conditions. Yet this was the method which Jesus made use of to gain over the minds of the common people, and one reason why the rich and the powerful persecuted him. (Vide likewise Lazarus and the rich man). He spoke the most astonishing and opprobrious language against those who were in the government, against the lawyers, the scribes, and the pharisees; he called them fools, hypocrites, extortioners, oppressors. Sometimes be abused them under the appellation of serpents, of whitened sepulchres; at other times he called them a generation of vipers, threatening them with future punishment, asking them "how they could think to escape the damnation of hell?" In this seditious manner Christ spoke before the people, no doubt with a design to raise an insurrection, of which he might entertain great expectations; for it seems they had heard him with great attention (Luke, xix, 48). These means, which Christ had made use of as a revolutionist, were very flattering to his future expectations, for the people were highly in his favour. Although he had thus abused the elders, the scribes, and the pharisees, with every epithet he could think of, yet so greatly did they fear the populace, that they durst not attempt to seize upon his person, unless it could be proved that he had acted against the laws of the country (Luke xix. 47). They therefore tried every method in their power to put him off his guard, and to entice him unawares into snares they had laid for him. Jesus was apprized of these manœuvres, and as cautiously avoided them. He either spoke in parables or evaded their questions. When they asked him, as he was preaching in the Temple, upon what authority he did those things, what could be more ingenious than the puzzling question he made in reply, not only that they might not lay hold of his words, but to retort it upon themselves, and bring them into a dilemma? "And he auswered and said unto

« PreviousContinue »