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speedier foot overtook a pig-driver ; by and by, observing that the greater part of the pigs had no tail, I asked, if it was the fashion thereabout to dock pigs " Oh no," said the driver," the father ofthem pig* had no tail." Could you tell me how this takes place, I should then proceed with you to points of greater moment, relating to materialism, God, and religion.
The above is copied from a scroll written some four months ago; a momentary effusion, which has ever since lain among my loose papers. Mean time 1 have addressed a series of letters to our Chaplain, in consequence of the affray spoken of. From what I read in your first volume, having formed an opinion that you were honest and brave, I was induced, ou being denied your Volumes, to ask a friend to furnish me with your Numbers as they came out, and have now had a dozen of them. I shall subjoin copies of my letters, from which you will see that I am neither a Materialist nor Atheist. I was bred up in the belief that the Bible is the best book in the world: 1 still think so; and your Republican has strengthened my belief; nay with fair and full opportunity, I should hope to convince even you of this; for, though you have an interest otherwise, and must be strongly hiased to your present opinions, you appear to respect sound argument,and to be of a frank, open, aud generousdisposition.
I now address you especially, to express my sense of the infinite good which you, and those who support you, are doing to mankind, by comhating for freedom of opinion. In that cause all your evasiveness, and abuse, and vulgarity, and dirt, is allowable, just as honourable warfare admits of dashing out brains, and surgery, of fingering filth. I sincerely hope that you, and the Newgate Corps, whose Magazine I have also from curiosity had sent me, will be able to bold out till persecution sickens, and no British jury will find a verdict against any thing called blasphemy, or libel on government. Then I should hopet neither you, nor those in Newgate, should write as you do: indeed, you would not be countenanced; and the Gospel, having free course would be glorified. Travelling extensively in the United States of America, I saw that any thing but harm resulted from the unrestrained expression of opinion on politics and religion. Private affairs, and private characters cannot be too powerfully guarded: public functionaries and public institutions cannot be too open to exposure: nor the circulation of opinion too free. Our Chaplain has told me, that if we doubt one part of the Bible we must discredit all, adding that " he that believeth not shall be damned." My belief is of a general nature: and, shaking hands with the Chaplain, who is a worthy sincere man, respected by every body here; remind him of charity, and hope that all of us may be saved; as, '' with God nothing is impossible."
LETTERS TO THE CHAPLAIN.
House of Correction, Cold Bath Fields, Dear Sir, August 27, 1824.
The first time that we met, you held in your hand a number of Carlile S Republican; and were making comments upon it. This led us to converse on religion. You spoke of Dwight's Theology, and soon after sent me the first volume. I have read the first chapter on the existence of God several times over, and mean to copy it out. -Tunbridge lent me at the same time, several volumes of the Republican and this too I began to peruse. Having a handful of Carlile's pointing to certain passages of Scripture, with a view to ridicule and disgust, 1 set to work, and turned over the Bible to find these; after reading some of them without discovering any thing wrong, I addressed you to make this known, but you became alarmed with the sight of the handhill, and from some mistake conceiving that it belonged to Tunbridge, you run off to him, and immediately after, he came to me violently agitated, saying, you had accused him of giving me the handbill. I desired him to tell you it was mine, and he returned to deliver it to me: he has since, however, refused to lend me the Republican, or any other book, being afraid of censure. Now, let us reflect on this: First, when you read, and made comments on Carlile's publications, why should you be suspicious of others doing the same? why should you be suspicious at all, or afraid for the Bible? should you not remember the words of Gamaliel, " if this work be of man it will come to nought, but if it be of God you cannot overthrow it." You will not, I trust, think it wrong of me to discover error: it is my duty; mark then, you are first, contrary to Gospel instruction, suspicious, uncharitable, and hasty in judgment: you accuse an innocent man, you set him up against me, and thereby I am deprived of a book, which I was reviewing, in order to defend the Bible. Mark, I say, this train, repent, and sin no more. As a proof of practical amendment, procure me a loan of Carlile's volumes: and then having Dwights Theology, I shall proceed with my review, which will occupy my time, I hope, profitably for myself, and others.
Very sincerely yours,
House of Correction, Cold Bath Fields, Dear Sir, September 19, 1824.
I Herewith return Dwights Theology, which you are to lend to Tunbridgc, having still hope of reforming him. I have copied out proofs of the Existence of God, and read forward a little further. The author, says, in the first page, that the existence of God is the hasis of religion, and in the ninth, that his manner of being is utterly incomprehensible. If so, why should we endeavour to comprehend God, or think more of religion? We can comprehend man and morality. I still think it a moral duty incumbent on you, to furnish me with Carlile's Republican, which you deprived me of, and which I hope to use in defending religion, and upholding the existence of God. I shall annex a copy of
the letter, which I read to you on the subject, and after reflection at home, shall expect of you, to furnish me with the book in question. Further, you told me, that you could make £500. or £600...a*year, by teaching the classics, but were so fond of your present care, worth only £300, a year, that you would not leave it to have £1000. a year elsewhere. Do you think that I could assist you, by reading moral lectures to the prisoners? I flatter myself, that I could, and for my time, should be contented with very little pay. Be so good as to submit this to the Magistrates.
House of Correction, Cold Bath Fields, Dkarsir, October 11, 1824.
Annexed, is a copy of a letter, handed last Thursday, to the visiting Magistrates in conformity, with what I told you before hand. 1 have received a verhal reply, through the governor, that the Magistrates give you £300. a year, for doing the whole duty, and leave every thing to your own discretion. Think then still of my proposal. My only wish, is, to employ my idle time, and do good. It would please me greatly, to visit the yards with you daily: learn the situation of prisoners; bear your advice to them, and suggest matters to you, for their farther improvement. As to moral lectures, any thing 1 should write, you should see before it
was delivered. The has objected to my proposal,
because he says I am confined for a misdemeanor, this I deny; but were it so, surely the precedent of Barrington, at Botany Bay, should remove the objection; and I shall begin my duties towards the himself. He told me one day, that
he would, to save his life, turn King's evidence; now, were I an accomplice in crime, I would think myself bound to suffer death, rather than betray trust, and hang another person; speak to the clerk on this subject, and say whether he is right. It is a case in point, for the commencement of scrutiny into morals, and submission to your opinion. Think of all this, and communicate frankly.
Dear Sir, House of Correction, October 13, 1824.
You have told me that you shewed my last letter to the
, and that he was augry; now, it is an exercise of
morals, to enquire into this. Did be say that any thing in my letter was untrue, I suppose not; and feel that it is right, for you and him, to consider whether it is sound principle, to save ones own life at the expense of anothers, if it is sound principle, all men should have the benefit of it: if unsound, every man should be cautioned against so thinking and acting; I was convinced, that, the clerk thought it justifiable, and therefore acquitting him, have no object, but, to come at abstract truth. Study the matter, shew these, aud converse calmly with him again.
1 proposed to you yesterday, to take as subjects for lecture here, the specific crimes and circumstances, which had brought people to confinement; but this you objected to, saying it would be preaching at individuals. Preaching ^individuals out of prison, is odious, and unwarrantable; but, Sir, I maintain that it would be beneficial, and proper in this
Elace. The cases of prisoners are already known: have een commented on, in open Court; and no malice can be inferred from farther discussion of the same. Think of this too; and I shall argue the point at leisure if you choose. There are clever men in this prison; they might be allowed to defend themselves in writing. It is possible there are some innocent, even after condemnation under the law; and it would be a fineexercise of Christian charity, for you to rescue such men; you might lay their statement before visiting magistrates, and they might forward the same to the Secretary of State, Chancellor, or the King. Thus there would be free scope for grace. Judges may have committed mistake: juries may have been wrong; and statute law itself, may be found at variance with thegreaterlaw of the Gospels. If you will begin by preaching at me, I shall thank you, and uo harm could ensue: or, if you like better, I shall argue Tunbridge's case, or, that, of my next door neighbour, both, of whom, I consider innocent. 1 neither approve of laws against blasphemy, nor gambling. Blasphemy is mere matter of opinion; aud a man who plays at a game of chance, is not a whit worse than speculators in the funds. Christ, you know, was accused, of blasphemy, and handed over to the fury of the moh, without fair trial. The Priests were the prime instigators; but admirable would it be for the Priests of these enlightened days, to prove all things, and be charitable.