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commit whatever enormities they pleased, in defence of what they considered, or were told by their priests was the truth, is it not evident, from the diversity of sentiments of different, sovereigns, and the opposite persuasions of their various teachers, that they must necessarily, at one time, and in one country, be punishing their subjects for entertaining opinions which, at another time, and in another country, were deemed perfectly orthodox. Does not this prove incontestably, that by once admitting the principle, that the magistrate is to defend Truth, he will much oftener be found defending ERRoRo Every one will easily agree, that all systems cannot be right. “Er“ror,” says the same author, “ has an “immensity of space, and Truth is like “a mathematical point in the prodigious “void.” Now, although every one claims that point to himself, is it not palpable, as Truth is one, and Error multifarious, that the greater portion of religious murders, barbarities, robberies, and incarceration, must have been in defence of Error rather than of Truth. . How modest, how humble, ought such considerations to make us? How cautious
ought these reflections to render us, off
arrogating to ourselves the sole possession of the truth, when we find that thousands who think different from us, claim the same happiness? Ought it not to make us diffident of ourselves, and forbearing towards others? Those who have studied human nature, will have perceived that this violent animosity and furious persecuting zeal, does not arise so much from a generous love of virtue, or an enthusiastic admiration of abstract truth, as from the inordinate thirst for power which pervades the heart of every hilman being. We wish others to think as we do, and the greater part of us would if we had the power, compel them to do it. The sword of religious persecution is an instrument upon which every party has played its tune, when raised to OWer. e celebrated Dr. Franklin remarks, that if we look into history, for
“ the character of the ancient Christians,
“we shall find few who have not in their “turn been persecutors, and complainers “ of persecution. The prinitive Chris“ tians thought persecution extremely “wrong in the pagans, but practised it
credit to this ‘assertion, even if I had
not examined history for myself; for being of a curious and speculative turn, I have made myself acquainted with most denominations of Christians at present existing in the Christian world; and after having carefully examined their tenets, studied their prejudices, and observed their conduct, I do affirm, that however tame and tolerant they may be, while low in the world, they all possess the latent seeds of persecution. These only want fostering, by the genial warmth of power, to 'shoot forth with an enthusiastic fury, compounded, of envy, ambition, pride, hatred, and fanatic zeal; as if it were commissioned by heaven... I would except the Quakers from the charge of being likely to evince a persecuting spirit towards other sects; though they are capable of doing it as to their own people;” but the Friends of the present day are not a religious society, like the Weslian or Whitfieldian, Methodists, They are an Aristocratieal civil community; a trading company, and a set of respectable, industrious, economical,
money-getting disciplinarians; who pos
sess no more practical religion than the members of the Church 6f England. But to return to the sentiment of Franklin, respecting the early Christians. . It was shewn in my last, that they were . . . . persecuted by the Romans, at the instigation of their priests, in the same manner as the Deists are molested by us, at the . instance of our priests, on account of the . simplicity of their tenets. I cannot illus-" trate the subject better, than by quoting." .. Justin Martyr, one of the earliest and ". mest learned writers of the Eastern . . Church, born of heathen parents, edu-oo... . cated a pagan, and who was a platonic". philosopher, previous to his becoming a ': Christian, He resided at Rome, during the reign of Antonius Pius; and #pañ a persecution breaking out against thi Christians, he presented, an Apolog their behalf, pointing out in a very &ble manner, the impropriety and absurdity . of religious persecution; which Apology , caused the Emperor to send a letter too tlie States of Asia, not only forbidding.
the Christians to be persecuted, but cro-f
joining, “that if any one hereafter shall.
“go on to inform against this sort of . - —— * See the case of Thomas Foster, disowned by
“men, purely because they are Christi“ans, let the persons accused be dis“charged, although they be found to be “Christians, and let the informer himself “ undergo the punishment." When shall we see tin Antonius? Yet the Apology
which produced this, contains passages
which no one would, in this enfightened, himane, and liberal age, dare to advance. In the second section, of his second Apology, he says, “Reason informs and ad“nionishes us, that true philosophers and “mien of virtue, who have been filled “with godliness and holiness, have “loved and honoured the simple truth, “ and have turned aside fromi following “the ancients, whenever their opinions “have been found erroneous, or bad. “Both seripture and sound reason enjoin “us, not only to avoid those whose lives “have been wicked; who by teaching, “argument, or other means, have dis“seminated false and impious doctrines; “not to imitate, nor in any respect to be “led by them; but also prescribe, that “the inquisitive lover of truth should “prefer it to his life, and should not be “deterred by the fear of death, or threats “of torture, from speaking and acting “according to justice.” • * These noble sentiments may be used by every reformer; they were appropriate to o: who suffered in Smithfield, to Galileo, Huss, and Jerome of Prague; they may be used with equal propriety ‘by the Beists of the present day, and by -as opersons persecuted for what they believe to be true. Those of my Friends who will take the trouble, will find much learning, philosophy, and curious matter in the works of this Father. I am writing a treatise upon the model of the
Apologies of Justin Martyr; and Tertul
lian, to be entitled, (if God spare my life, and that of the best of Princes, till he
shall ascend the throne of these realins)
“An Apology to King George the Fourth, “in behalf of that most learned and “respectable portion of his subjects, the “Materialists, Sceptics, and Deists; by “a CHR1st IAN:” and intend approaching him in person with a holy boldness, to deliver a copy thereof. Every thing which has been done towards liberalising mankind in this eountry, will be found the
PoliticAL REGISTER—on Religious Persecution.
France some of the greatest geniuses the world has produced, were united hand in hand for fifty years, for the purpose of enlightening their fellow creatures. It is a great pity the enemies of supersti, tion, tyranny, and priestcraft are not better known to each other; and more organized in their exertions. Look at the Fanaties of every description; how they unite, and how successful they are in stultifying the human understanding, that most glorious ornament with which NAtu RE has vouchsafed to embellish mant Would not a general medium of communication for Theology, Metaphysics, and Moral Philosophy, to be open with impartiality to the Churchman, the Dissent. er, the Disciple of NATURE, the follow, ers of Pyrrho, and every class of Lati, tudinarian, be the means of facilitating such an object? It would lead people to think, examine, and judge for themselves: and ultimately inculcate a liberality of 'sentiment, which can only be acquired by the exercise of our reason concerning the nature of man, his intellectual fa. culties, and education, . It would enable them to make that generous allowance for the opinions and prejudices of others, so essentially necessary to the harmony of society; but which they can never possess, while their reading and observation are confined within the pale of a particular seet; and while they are in the habit of implicitly receiving their religious motions,upon thecredit of others, without investigation. A Journal of the above description has long been a desideratum in the republic of letters; for notwithstanding the number and variety of theological and controversial maga. zines, there are none completely open to all parties; whatever liberality they may profess. Some are exclusively the vehi- . cles of one set of opinions only, and refuse insertion to every thing of an opposite tendency. Others admit nothing contrary to their own tenets, but what they think can easily be answered by some of their own partizans. I have taken the liberty of throwing out these few hints, as to the nature of a journal much wanted by the Friends of Free Discussion; . and remain, dear Sir; your's truly. . . . . ERAsmus PERKINs....
isolated efforts of-individuals; but in London, Jau. 18, 1815. . * . . . . . - -- - - *. - . . . -- Piaad and Fabiao by G. Horros, No. 192, Strand; where all Communication, addressed to the
Lditor are requested to be forwarded.
READER, a full report of the proceedings of the Hampshire meeting was sent to the above Printer, together with the PETITIon, which I moved thereat, and which petition (the only copy I had) was obtained from me, by the Reporter of the Chronicle, in order to be sent to London to be printed in that and other papers. It was so sent: but was suppressed by this partial, this mean, this despicable tool of a despieable place-hunting faction. -- I have juxt learnt these facts, and can only now say, that I will, next week, give this trick of PERRY the exposure, which it deserves. wM. copBETT. Botley, Thursday Evening. N.B. Mr. HUNT said, at the time, that this worthy “member of the Hampden “ Club,” would play us this trick. I could not believe it. Mr. Hunt knew the man better than I did.
This poor tax is now become as much the object of senseless abuse as were, in 1798, those who endeavoured to pre vent it from being imposed. In 1812 an unfortunate man, named CARTER, was imprisoned in jaol, for a year, and fined, for having published a paragraph complaining of the operation of this tax. My Lord Folkestone, who made a motion upon this subject, described the paragraph as being moderate and inoffensite. Yet, for republishing the same paragraph,
. . .
Mr. Lovell of the Statesman was imprisoned a year or 18 months in New
: gate, and also fined.—The selfish and ,
unfeeling crowds, who are now clamouring against this tax; who are abusing it;
who are applying to it all sorts of vile
epithets and names, because they now feel the pinch of their pockets; these persons never meet to petition against the prosecutions of the press; no, and they never would have met for that purpose, if every press in England had been demolished and the types thrown into the street, as were those of the American printers at the City of Washington, by command of our military and naval commanders.--These persons now call the tax partial, oppressive, cruel, inquisitorial, tyrannical. They comio.e it to every thing on earth that is odious,
and some of them have gone to Hell
for similies in the way of illustration. They declared, that it is every thing that is tyrannieal, odious and detestable, and that it violates the spirit of our constitution; and all this in its PRINCIPLR; in its very, NATURE; and ES. SENCE.—Now, then, what are these
men? What are these noisy petitioners? What is their character, even upon their
owa shewing? Why, that they are now
calumniators of the government; or, .
that they have been slaves for the last . 18 years.
Let them take their choice.— It is curious enough to see men, and great numbers of them too, who supported this tax when it was laid on, who roted for it in parliament, who, in fact, laid it on ; it is curious to see these men, and in great numbers too, now coming forward and joining in the above horrid descriptions of the tax. They seem to be looking to new scenes. They are ratting from the Government. They begin to suspect, that the taxing and soldiering system must soon undergo a very material change. In short, the system (for it is of no consequence who are ministers) is in a state of great anxiety. at least. The peace has produced theie, D
fects, thus far, that I anticipated; and those effects will now develope themselves, day after day.—In some places, the petitioners have included all the war tares, in others only the malt and property tar, in others only the property tax, The first is the only rational mode of proceeding; for, in fact, all the taxes are equally burdensome. But, in some laces, as at Worcester City, they are /for doing away with all the war-taxes, * except the Landlord's part of the propert tax. What a-whim is this What a childish distinction Is it not clear, that the Landlord's part of the property tax must be included in the rent of the tenant, and that, finally, it must be paid by those who eat the bread, the meat, the butter, the cheese, the poultry, the milk, and the eggs, and who wear the flax and the wool? People are so galled with their difficulties to pay the taxes, that they know not what they say. Political economy is a subject too deep for minds in general; but, as every one now feels, every one cries out. Sir Francis Burdett, in 1811, or 1812, when he moved the address in the House of Commons, was most grossly abused for describing the Property Tax in colours far less
wedious than those, in which “ the loyal”.
now describe it. Thus time makes all
sorts of changes.—But, if other taxes be,
imposed instead of the war taxes, what will the people have gained? If, for instance, JERRY JoBERNoi, the farmer, should get rid of his tempounds a year of war taxes, and should, in future, have to pay ten pounds a year in lieu of it, in his salt, malt, horse, window, soap, candle and leather tax, what would Jerry thereby gain? And, if the petitioners mean, that no other taxes should be laid on in lieu of the war taxes, they should say so. —Then, do they mean, that the funding system should be destroyed, and that the fund-holders should not be paid their dividends? No: they do not mean this. Why then do they not say so 2 And, why do they not point out how faith may be kept with the fundholders, and the war taxes (without substitutes) be done away? The war taxes must be continued; OR
There must be new taxes laid on, equal ** to them in amount ;
- OR There must be Loans in time of peace;
- OR The whole of the army, and nearly all the navy must be discharged;
OR The dividends on the National Debt must go unpaid.
Take your choice, good petitioners. One of the five propositions you must take. I am for the fourth. What say you? What sense is there in your clamours and abuse, unless you think that the war taxes can be dispensed with ; and if you think they can be dispensed with, why do you not say so? One thing, however, in this senseless uproar, I am highly delighted with. It is this: That there are no longer any accusations heard against us Jacobins. It is not we, but “ the loyal,” who now cry out, who clamour, who now deal out abuse on the taxing. system. Mr. HARDY, who escaped with his life, after endeavouring to effect a reform in that body who imposed these taxes, is alive to see the day when those, who clamoured for his destruction, clamour against those taxes. to see “the loyal” pouring forth all sorts of invective against things, which he laboured to prevent. Mr. TookE is not alive to enjoy this spectacle; but, his - the noble stand which he made, will always be remembered with gratitude by those who retain any esteem for the
rights and liberties of their forefathers.
No. I.-CORN BILL.
It is now evident to me, that our ministers mean to propose a law to put a stop to the importation of Corn. I am
confirmed in this opinion by the language
of the CourLER newspaper for some time past; and especially by the following article, which appeared in that paper of the 23d instant, and which article I am morally certain came from a source of authority. The reader will see, from the ability with which it is written, that it never could come from the same pen whence proceed the articles of the Editor of that paper; and the form and place, of it, if the reader could see them, would strengthen the opinion. After inserting it, I shall endeavour to shew, how it blinks all the main points, how fallacious it is, how it is calculated to deceive and to mislead. “The Meetings upon
“ the Agricultural State of the Country.
* are become universal. This is a sub
He is alive
to be classed amongst “those wicked writers of the newspapers, who would inflame the poor against their friends, guardians, patrous, and protectors.”—Upon this subject, more than any other, there are prejudices so strong as almost to resist the evidence of the strongest facts, and these prejudices are infinitely aggravated by the number of idle tales spread about by the industry of faction, and greedily devoured by the malignant credulity of mankind. When grain is dear, the prejudice is against monopolizers; when it is cheap, then the cry is, to give the utmost license and encouragement to importation, in order that it may become cheaper still, and thus, as we have heard it said, to be revenged on the farmer. But revenge ought not to be exercised against the farmer. farmer would soon be accompanied with a much wider vengeance upon theavengers—they would themselves become at no remote period the victims of their vengeance. Evils however at a distance we are too apt neither to see nor care for. “Have not farmers (is the common cry,) been making immense fortunes for the last twenty years? Have they not been living upon the distresses of the people? And ought not the latter to have the advantage which the late harvests and peace have given them, to have bread at as cheap a rate as possible?” We answer each of these questions—That the farmers have been making immense fortunes for the last twenty years, is an assertion which it is as easy to make, as we believe it would be difficult to prove. But if they had, how would that bear upon the subject? The price, how
Revenge on the
sequent necessity under which the " ...
British farmer has been of bringing his grain to market. The generality of mankind, looking only at the present result, will rejoice, and we are not surprised at it, and feel disposed to look with an evil eye upon any thing that would disturb it. Forbearance, and the want of all interference would be a greater disturber than any other cause. For let but the system of eneouraging the free importation of corn be continued, and the vengeance which the ignorant would inflict upon the British farmer would be complete. He would not enter the lists of competition with the foreign grower, for he would not cultivate grain at all. But the British farmer ought not to be so dealt with, nor ought the food of the people of England to depend upon foreign countries. There is not a more obvious principle than this, that men will not apply their industry and their capital to the growing or manufacturing an article which they cannot sell at a price higher than it cost them in growing or manufacturing it; a price that shall enable them if not to lay something by, at least to * them. Wheat 2