« הקודםהמשך »
ever were and ever will be the most cruel and detestable of all armed ruffians and assassins; because they have another spur beside their shilling a day, to fight upon. The ignorant and furious Christians begin to cry out for this religious soldiery; for, from the Bible, they learn nothing but war. They have it in history and in prophecy, in miracle and in mystery, throughout the sacred volume.”
All the monarcbies throughout Europe, Asia and Africa, to say the best for the best of them, are but refined relics of rapide and conquest. There is not a moral goverment in those three quarters of the globe. The grand object of the moral politician sbould be, and is beginning to be, to proceed in improving mankind by moral conquests. This is what infidelity means; this is what blasphemy means; this is wbat modern sedition means. I declare, that I have no object beyond this moral improvement of mankind, making self the centre of the circle, or, to be more explicit, studying to make that happiness and improvement begin with self.
This moral power, that is to accomplish these moral conquests, is the pivot of my thoughts ; and you would be so much the more a happy mau, if you were to follow my advice and my plan. I am thoroughly happy under the longest imprisonment, by the sentence of a court, that is recorded in the annals of this country, and this too for the crime of using this moral power against your physical power!
I am, Sir,
COPY OF A LETTER SENT TO THE KING,
Dorchester Gaol, Sept. 14th, 1825. It is an old and correct maxim; that proffered advice is never welcome, and, as some apology for my intrusions, I have to say, that I should not write, if I could not print. Instruction is good to all, through whatever medium it may come: and there are still those so badly educated as to think, that letters addressed to a king must be of more importance than
the same instruction addressed to a labouring man; though, I confess, that I have no such potion ; but hold the labouring man to be greater, in every point of national welfare, than the king. There are two classes of what may be termed good writers, they who write to give instruction, and they who write to yield nothing but amusemeňt. The first can alone be-considered politically useful; the last can only thrive among an ignorant and vacantly minded people. They who read for instruction find but little pleasure in that which is written for amusement. And they, on the other hand, who read for amusement, find but little pleasure in that which is written for instruction. As the desire for knowledge increases, novels and all mere illusive writings will lose their market: and well too; for there is not a more insipid and vapid class of beings in existence than they who are to be enchanted with the present state of novel writing. They have no solid knowledge on any point, and they are amused with such writings from their want of knowledge, from the absence of a desire for improvement in knowledge that can be applied to advance their condition and happiness in life.
My conclusion is to be a piece of that unwelcome advice, that, as far as you can, you should encourage those writings which are written for instruction, in the spirit of free and fair discussion, before, or to the exclusion of those which are written for mere momentary amusement.
I am, Sir, Your prisoner,
RICHARD CARLILE. ·
TO MR. R. CARLILE, DORCHESTER GAOL.
WORTHY CITIZEN, Bolton, September 4th, 1895. If you think the following letter, worthy of insertion in your valuable publication, you will much oblige
Your sincere admirer,
TO THE REVEREND GEORGE HARRIS, UNI
TARIAN PARSON, BOLTON.
Bolton, December 20th, 1824. In the course of your Lecture last evening, you boldly and
ostentatiously asserted, that “all nature proved the existence of a Gud.” Now, Sir, if I were to put the question to you, as to what you mean by the word God, what kind of answer would you give me? Perhaps, you would tell me, as I have been often told, that God is a spirit. It unfortuDately happens, that I am as ignorant of the word spirit, as I am of the word God. It would only be a shifting of me from one difficulty to another as great. You assert, that God is infinite. The materialist can demonstrate that matter is infinite or that pothing can be so. Now, Sir, your's is only assertion, while that of the Materialist is demonstration; one of the two must be wrong ; because two infinities cannot exist. Let us suppose, for the sake of an argument, that the Materialist is wrong, in his demonstration of the Infinity of matter. We all know that matter does exist, and this very existence of matter at once proves, that your God is not Infiuite; for this obvious reason, two bodies cannot occupy one part of space, at one and the same time. To come more closely to the point. If Christianity, or any other kind of Theism, be the result of knowledge; it must evidently follow, that Atheism is the result of ignorance. This being the case, how does it bappen, that the wise and learned Christian or Theist does not instruct the foolish and ignorant Atheist. Knowledge is a property that can be communicated from one individual to another, and that individual who communicates bis knowledge to his fellow man, loses nothing of that knowledge of wbich he was previously possessed. If you, Mr. Harris, have any knowledge of a God, or of a Son of God, be so kind as to communicate your knowledge of them to me, and I will instantly give up my present opinions; but if you cannot do this, or will not do this, I must still remain ignorant of a God, or of a Son of God, and die an Atheist from necessity.
Your Lecture for next Sunday evening is to be on the evidences of the Christian Religion. Now, Sır, bear in mind, that there is a negative put on the existence of Jesus Christ, and the whole story declared to be without foundation. If you cannot prove the asfirmative, and that too, from contemporary historical writers, that such a person as Jesus did exist, the whole of your other evidences, will not weigh a feather in the scale, except with those persons, that are determined to be the dupes of their own credulity. I will admit for the sake of another argument, that you can prove Jesus to have existed. After this admission, what inode or plan will you take to prove that he ascended into
heaven? It is not from the New Testament that you will be able to prove this; for no one individual, who is said to bave seen it, makes the least mention of such a circumstance. If these persons, who are said to have written the life of Jesus, and wbo are likewise said to have been eyewitnesses of his assepsion; if they are entirely silent on the subject; I would ask, where, in the name of common sense, are we to get our information? Surely it cannot be from those persons, who, are confessedly said not to have seen it. If you can remove all or any of these difficulties, you will receive the bearty thanks of
TO MR. CARLILE.
I went to bear Mr. Harris deliver bis Lecture for the purpose of taking Notes of any particular evidences he might adduce in favour of Christianity ; but I will leave you to judge, how I was both chagrined and disappointed, when I heard him announce from the pulpit, that the Lecture was to be on the evidences of the establisbment of Christianity, and that only! Surely, Mr. Harris must have been aware, tbat it could require no other proof that Christianity had been established, than the fact, that he was well paid for preaching it.
I have long wished to take an active part in tbe expulsion from this country of that Hydra-headed Monster, yclept Christianity. If I be not mistaken in my calculations, I shall be able to commence my career on the first of January 1826. I think I see you sinile and say to yourself: well, wbat does this fellow mean by the word career ? If you will have a little patience, I will tell you. I find, by con. sulting my Lexicography, that, amongst a variety of other significations, it signifies a course of action: Well, the course of action that I mean to pursue is, to commence dealing in “ BLASPHEMY” and to expose your publications for open sale in every market town in Lancashire, or any part of England, that I can conveniently reach.
Yours in civic esteem,
TO MR. RICHARD CARLILE DORCHESTER GAOL.
Norwich September 11, 1825. A Few readers of the Republican (of the working class) beg your acceptance of £1. 10s. Od., as a tribute of their respect for the exertions you have made, and are still making in the cause of Civil and Religious Liberty.
Your sincere friend,
TO MR. ROBERT GREEN, NORWICH.
Dorchester Goal, September 19, 1825. I THANK you and your fellow subscribers for this mark of your approbation of my conduct. The question of titbes or no tithes, of Church Property, or no Church Property, is to them vastly important; and all the sects, if they can agree in nothing else, should agree in dispersing that which is mischievously called the property of ihe church establisbment of England and Ireland. This property is now the only source of open persecution. They who share in holding it, or in wishing to hold a share, will persecute all who seek to break it up for the benefit of the widows and orphans who are involved as the creditors of wbat is falsely called the national debt. I see that Mr. Cobbett has been calling your attention to a once famous priory of Norwich,“ wbich gave, every year, to the poor and the stranger, who fed at their table, the beer of eight bundred quarters of malt and the bread of a thousand quarters of wheat.” Mr. Cobbett is a a man who has never been able to reason himself out of deep rooted prejudices, and, consequently, bis reasonings and arguments are shallow and rarely useful to the working class of people. Delightful, be seems to say, to see so many persons supported by charity from a religious establishment! But is there a man among you, who capnot see, that it would be more delightful to bave pone among us to need this charitable or religious feeding ? How came all this property, this means of feeding so many to be invested in this priory? How, but in having first robbed those who pro