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TO MR. R. CARLILE.
London, 28th June, 1825, It has long been my intention to address a letter to you on the 'subject of your present publication-namely, the “ Republican;" as 10 whether or not that work might be more advantageously employed thán it is at present, in ever treating on the gloomy subject of Religious Idolatry, which, however interesting at first, becomes in time insipid, ridiculous, and contemptible. While saying this, I am ready to apologize for attempting to dictate to · you any kind of arrangements respecting your own private property; neverilieless, I assure you that I do nol stand alone on this question. Many of your readers are very desirous of a change. Not th they wish to relinquish the subj-ct altogether, but because they think that other subjects miglit be canvassed to the advantage of the reader, and which might be made, at the same time, to bear equally as hard upon the monster, superstition, as on the matter under debate..
The first thing, then, which I advise you to do, is to change the title of the work, from that of “ Republican," 10 that of Fatalist. My reasons for this advice are these. First, because, recommending the people to quit Monarchial principles, and to become Republicans, is as useless as it would be for an Oculist to recommend his patients to become Doctors and. Oculists themselves, before he has cured them of their present blindness. To this, no doubt, you will reply, that, while you are recommending them to adopt those principles, you are endeavouring to restore to them the proper use of their senses. Granted; you are, but the political sky is still enveloped with clouds - the sun of righteousness has not shone forth with sufficient splendour--the people are still voable to perceive their way any further-inany lights are put into their hands, some of which are exceeding faint, arnong the number you have offered your torch, but the opiniun is gone abroad, that the materials of which it is composed, are of so combustible a nature, that should they venture to handle it, it would involve them in au eternal blaze. For this reason, it has been almost relinquished; it is left behind to waste its rays upon the desert air. In short, the Title of the work, and the general cliaracter of its contents, are a complete bar to its circulation.
My next reason, for giving it the title of Fatalist in preference
to that of " Republican,” is, because the doctrine of Fatalism is not sufficiently undersiood; make the people fully acquainted with this doctrine, and the necessity for all religious discussion would be superseded. The name is no way alarming, the doctrines would be a complete novelıy; discussion would follow, and conviction would be the consequence : and besides, while in the act of debating unimportant matters, superstition would be - undermined, and imperceptibly laid prostrate on the earth. As a proof of what I assert, I will cite one instance. Has not Mirabaud done more towards destroying religious bigotry than any other man on the earth, without saying, at the same time, scarcely a word about it? Convince a man, however ignorant he may be, that all bis actions are the result of compulsion, and he will im. mediately discover ile absurdity of ihe doctrine of future rewards and punishments. This I know to be a fact; for, through my acquaintance with the world, I find, that people will converse freely on this subject, without any apparent suspicion that it is at all connected with their idolatry. After I had convinced them that they were compelled to think and act as they have done, I have then asked them what they thought they were deserving of in the way of reward or punishment hereafter. Here they have stood and looked with astonishment for a time, not considering, that by admitting the truth of this doctrine, they were reasoned out of their hobby superstition. Endeavour to provoke discus. sion then; make this your principal themie, and you will never want opponents to argue in favor of Free-agency, in which almost all people more or less believe. Indeed, I am surprised to find that even you, yourself, treat on the conduct of all mankind precisely as if they were free agents; a circumstance, which proves that you lay aside the most powerful weapon requisite for your defence. Adhere to this doctrine then, I advise you again; say but little about Christianiry, you will nevertheless do equally as much towards its downfal; in the mean time your persecutors will have no just prelence for keeping you in prison. Let any man come forward 110 w who thinks that he is a free agent, and state those actions wherein he thinks that he is free, and he will soon receive a satisfactory reply, which will convince him of truths he has never known before.
The next thing I advise you to do, is, though I own it will be attended with some difficulties, nevertheless I advise you to devote soinc portion of the work to the discussion of Moral, Politia cal, and Philosophical Questions. As you are in the habit of inserting correspondences from many of your readers, suppose the lille of a subject to be discussed were printed at the conclusion of a number, with an intimation that such people as were desirous of giving their opivions would communicate the same to the publishers (not exceeding a given number of pages), in a certain time; when four, six, or eight of the best written pieces, agreeable 10 your own judgment, might be inserted in another number, three weeks after the date of the votice. Twenty pages taken up in this way every second or third week (which is about the number of pages devoted to correspondences every week), would be very . ainusing, and of infinite service; and would at the same time leave you twelve pages for other matter. A written placard, in- dependent of the regular notice, hanged in front of the shop, intimaling the subject, and the day on which the discussion would appear, would attract considerable attention. There is no end to the number of problems which require to be solved; and among the number I will here point ont one-an all-important one-one which affects the whole world, and which is shortly to be discussed in a certain great assembly, the members of which are filled with prejudice-namely, Which is the wisest political act for the benefit of a nation and the world at large, to suppress all combination among the people for an advance of wages, and thereby to pay the working part of the community the smallest sum for their labour, for which they can be obtained- or lo encourage peaceable combinations, and by so doing advance the price of labour to its greatest possible elevation? This is a subject which, as it affects all, is worthy the consideration of all. No one in existence, be he rich or poor, be he master or journeyman, let him work or play, can escape the consequences arising from either a free or a restricted sale of manual labour; for, to throw any impediment in the way of a free disposal of labour, is a restriction which affects, in a powerful degree, the whole country: and to leave it without an impediment, has an effect equally as great, though of a contrary description. The only thing, then, that we want to know, as it must be either restricied or free, which of the two is to be preferred. Many violent arguments have, on this subject, lately issued from the press, being the effusions of men who are all on one side of the question. Having in some way acquired property, they think that they have an interest in getting their work done for nothing. Like the labourers, who having the use of their hands, think that they have an interest in
destroying all kinds of machin-ry; so that first by the masters, and then the inen, if both had their wills, we should be compelled to appear as naked and as moneyless as savages. This circumstance shews, that both masters and men are equally intemperate, and equally as unacquainted with the subject on which they attempt to decide. This is, however, neither the time or the place for giving an opinion on either side of the question, though I have thouglit proper to digress thus far from the direct object of this letter, for the purpose of pointing out the necessity i here is for a clear comprehension of this most important measure; therefore I shall conclude these remarks with this observation, lhat the equal wants of mankind are the secret springs to national prosperity: for if those wanis be allayed on one part of the community, they will necessarily be multiplied on the other put, whereby the one will become tyranis and the other slaves; at the same time the energies of both will be destroyed. It is needless that one man -wants employ, if another does n't equally want bis assistance.
The only thing then that requires to be done, is, to point out the method whereby we inay balance the wants of the lwo; the niasters and the men. . Whether any of the suggestions, above stated, are worthy of being adopted, of course you will decide; though I think, that that part which alludes to the doctrine of Faralism, at least is deserving of notice. And if you think the nature of this subject will admit of publication, you are at liberty to print it, with an answer if you think it entitled tv one ; or, otherwise, you may give a public answer to a private perusal, or no answer at all, just as you may think proper, without offending,
Sir, your's respecfully,
Note by R. Carlile. - Almitting the doctrine of fatalism here as far as Candid wishes to carry it, I must be candid enough to say that he has shaken bis own argument, by calling upon me to do that, as a matter of course, at his request, the contrary of which I feel compelled or fated to do. I must also be candid cnough to say, that if I were to change, 10 meci the suggestions of correspondents, I should change the title and character of this publicatiou every week. I persevere in the saine title, because I think it the most useful title that can at this time be adopted. I persevere in the same line of advocating the principles of the work; because I think ibem best, and I must have more powerful arguments, ihan Candid has giveo 10 me, before I can be compelled or futed to change. I hope, at least, that he will admit this conclusion to be substantive of his doctrine of fatalism. Fatalism and Necessily ; I look upon as idle and mischevous words, and even mischievously used, in a moral sense ; for they go to justify vice as well as virtue. Nor can I see them to be applicable to nioral sensations, or those sensations which we call our reasoning powers. Applicable to physical sensations, they may in general be; but these physical sensations form a principle in the human body which we call a mind, and that principle is rather independent of, ihan dependant on fatalism, in the ratio of its increase in the individual body. All the arguments which I have seen upon the doctrine of Liberty and Necessity, I now perceive to have been a useless and inapplicable collection of words. They teach us nothing; they conduce not to our aggregare happiness; they even throw down that little of self importance which I, an Atheist, wish to see sustained by mankind.
With more particular reference to the subjects discussed in the Republican lam of opinion, that if Candid had been a constant reader, he would have known that it has embraced all subjects, and more particularly the very subjects, which he recommends. lis riile being expressive of public good, it is open to every useful subject; and I Aatter myself, that no publication ever preserved more constant readers. One thing, I perceive, its sale mcreases.
TO MR. RICHARD CARLILE, DORCHESTER GAOL.
London, June 24, 1823. AFTEK having heart so much of thine opinions, which are so rapidly propagated in the metropolis and various parts of the country, I could no longer forbear writing to thee, in order, that no stone should be left unturned, which might tend to lead thee to the path of righteousness and reclaim a hardened sinner. Thy writings and publications have been pronounced, by the powers that be, to be very wicked and to the high displeasure of almighty God; therefore, if they are so bad as they are pronounced to be, from their rapid propagation, their evil tendencies must be tremendous ; ard rest assured that thou art in the wrong path.