תמונות בעמוד

is a most potent orator. Yet we may infer an adjunct which renders it still more forcible. They who, for the love of God, introduce fear of the world to come, to make converts here on earth, would also, most devoutly, for his honeur, and to gratify their own desperate malignity, add the faggot. My charity neither begins nor ends at home; and as such, teaches me to be lieve, that there is not a real believer in a divinity in existence. They, who profess to be such, are compelled, by the superior impulses of fear, hatred, interest, pride, power, superstition, idiot ism or ignorance; consequently I pity them, as men labouring under these diseases of the mind, subject to poor human frailty.

There is another, (Mr. Beard) who is going to say something on the subject, what is God? He may enlighten our understanding. I am almost impatient for the moment of his divine pro jection. The idea which some of your correspondents have of logic is, I think, very good, and from the specimen which they produce, implies the never-failing power of confounding right and wrong, time and place, sense and reason, conjecture and experience, contingent and incontingent-farce, fable, comedy, and tragedy; matter, motion, existence and non-existence; and boldly produces words without meaning, as an equivalent for thought, sense and argument. Teaching us, like the dog in the fable, to forsake the substance and grasp at the shadow. I dare say, Sir, it is all very fine; but I, like yourself, really do not unstand it; therefore, on me their logic is lost, and I must remain decidedly an unbeliever. Their round-about unmeaning mass of words convince us they know. nothing about the matter; for what we understand, we can explain ; bot when we attempt to explain what we do not understand and cannot comprehend, we only expose our own folly and ignorance and must expect to meet both ridicule and contempt. If God was and willed it, he could make himself known to all mankind in a moment: and we may rely on it that omnipotence will never be revealed by secondary agents. Beginning or end, we know nothing of; that we are is all we know; nothing farther has been imparted to man.

You will please to observe, Sir, that I have anticipated almost every thing which Christians and Unitarian believers may object, and I am not offended with seeing them borrow my words. i seldom quote, for that which is already known is endless to be repeated. A gentleman, calling himself “ Homo," does not be lieve what he advances, when he says, he does not believe there is an atheist in existence, It has been said before, and I believe by real sceptics. I certainly care little about precedents. It is a matter of indifference to me what Lucretius wrote, is only the work of a philosopher; Spinoza's' is nearer the mark. Hume chose to be sceptical, out of compliment to bis countrymeni Hobbes and Tindall were philosophical reasoners. Shaftesbury was witty and logical. He observed, by the bye, that it was sin

His poem


gular, that Verulam, Lord Bacon, escaped being called an Atheist. Bolingbroke cared very little what any body said about him, and he appears undecided between Atheism and Deism. Burns, Gibbon and Lord Byron are decidedly sceptics. Now, what is this to me, or rather to us ? Let experience be our guide. I care not what the wisest and best of man" say, when they express their conjectures. On the being of a God all is conjectute, and it is not against or for, that I argue; but against the vanity and arrogance of men, who presume to dictate in matters, where something more than bare ignorance is evident. The gentlemen, who believe in God, through the medium of the priest, will not take No for an answer, They will not take our word, our reasoning, our argument; nor admit from them that we believe; what will the gentlemen take? I would believe if I could, and can I say

? I want demonstration. I want proofs of the being of a God. Bring forward your proofs or be silent. God himself, if he were (I shall always use that irreconcileable if, until I am satisfied, and it will not be a litile which will do that,)God himself, if he were, would not be so unreasonable as to require me to believe without some proof; and if he did - then it is a problem whether the majesty of heaven could force a belief contrary to reason and experience.

But the learned gentlemen will give no proofs of their Idol ; I shall, therefore, give them some proofs of the non-existence of a divine being. m the first place, by their own account and corfession, he is immaterial, incomprehensible, unsearchable, not even perceptible in the remotest degree of tangibility to the most active and penetrating mind.

Here I leave them and him; and now for my proofs. Observe, I am not going to demonstrate that I allow to be impossible, equally to those who pretend to believe, and those who candidly say they cannot both rest on suppositions which are perhaps equally hazardous, and inconclusive.

If then, there was a benevolent, omnipotent being, who could comprehend all things moods and tenses, the past, the present and the future, in a moments and could regulate a

all to his will in an instant, whether would he perform good or evil? If both were equal to him, they and be must be indifferent to us.

The power which can do good and will not, is an evil power. The power which creates evil is an evil power. The power which permits vice to predominate over virtue ; itself being capable of controuling the evil, is an evil power. These, if not proofs, strongly imply, that there is no omnipotent good. But to cotoinue; for we too can ask questions, answer them who

may. Did God create the Devil on purpose to mar bis creation? Or is God, being a good power, inferior, in action, to the malignant genius of evil? Was this world created good; and what destroyed its virtue? Does omnipotent good permit omnipotent

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


evil to reign paramount by will or by force? mhence came the first cause of evil? Can God, beings omnipotently good, permit a majority of evil to exist contrary to his will and pleasure ? Would God allow mankind to be deceived in hisnanie merely to gratify the devil? These are, in my opinion, proofs against

'' exist under his reign and if omnipotently evil, vittue would not be known.

Who created this world, and made man and woman? I do not know. But, as I have said before, it is easier for me to suppose, that it never had a beginning, than that nothing could make it out of nothing. Although I may be led to believe man had a beginning, how I know not; yet I feel confident that the world never had, and, at least, its matter can have no end, though its form may undergo change. 'I could form opinions and do, but forming conjectures, however ingenious, or asking questions equally vain and unanswerable, will never promote either knowledge or happiness. 112001

I confess, Sir, that I do not understand what they mean by the gloomy doctrine of the Atheists, or how Atheism can sweep away morality. Do they mean to say, that the unmeaning ceremony of public worship, every seventh day, is morality? If so, and that is what they do mean, the most immoral men in the kingdom go regularly to church one day out of seven and submit themselves regularly to the practice of every vice they can commit for the six days following ; serving the devil duly and truly in word and deed six sevenths

of their time at least. "I shall say something at another time about the gloomy doctrines of the Christians, and a word or two on the comparative state of the minds of believers and unbelievers. I am not offended with those who cast reflections, or differ from me in spiritual concerns, I know the burden the poor people bear on their mind, and pity their condition, compelled as they are by terror of their idols to work out their own misery with fear and trembling. I condole with them while they serve under that hideous gloom of perstition which makes them wretched here, and qualifies their present misery, by seriously promising them a great deal worse hereafter. Nor do I much mind what they say abúut my creed, when I tell them, that one of the articles of my belief, is, that I do not believe there is a man or woman in existence who rationally be

For this simple reason. It is impossible to be lieve in what we do not understand and are incapable of comprehending. This world must have had a God to ereate it, they say, and i say, again, who created him?' for that required rather a superior creator: and according to the logic of the schools, there can be no effect without a cause. In att humility and charity,

I submit to whatever the advocates for a God may say of me, and whatever they may be; I am satisfied I have bere produced some arguments, which are equal to proofs, let them give us as good on the other side of the question, and I dare say we shall agree. But, indeed, it is useless to argue on a subject we neither of us know anything about. I wish, Sir, to observe, that I will answer no sopbistry, nor impertinent questions; but in fair legible reasoning, no man can be more humble or open to conviction than I am, and they will find, too, that I am not exhausted. I am, Sir, yours, &c.



SIR, Tue general tenour of the Petitions for the abolition of the Corn Laws, contain so much extraneous matter, and diverge into such a number of different directions, that their force is much diminished. Would it not be better to condense both matter and manner? The direct objeet is the abolition of the Corn Laws, therefore let all the Petitions converge to that point, and it must, and will be conceded. Should distress fall upon the farmer by this concession, it will then be the duty of the people to unite their voices to redress such grievance-thus by a concentrated power attacking one evil after another, the whole might be swept away. The worst sign of the times, is the want of sympathy in the sufferings of the different, clashes of society. The “ well-aswe-are” class, see the people worried by the fiscal wolf, little thinking, that their turn must follow when the cravings of Corruption will render the calls for plunder irresistible. With this view of the subject, I am induced to send you the copy of a Petition directed to this one point. Thanks to your schooling, Mr. Peel and the Honourable House generally seem more docile, and readier to receive the Petitions of the people than they were in the time of Pitt, Perceval, and, Castlereagh. Mr. Taylor's Petition seems to have tried them a little ; it would not have passed so quietly formerly, but the times are favourable. Allow me to congratulate you upon your liberation, and to thank you for your courageous, and successful defence of the Liberty of the Press, and of Free Discussion in all matters-of opinion. However men may differ from you in opipion, yet the conquest you have so ably and so undauntedly achieved for them, will be more duly appre

ciated by posterity than by the present race. Believe me, that none more sincerely rejoice in your triumph, than

Your well-wisher,

CADUCEUS. Clifton, Dec. 10, 1826.



Petition against the MONOPOLY of CORN.

SHEWETH, That the distress which has existed, which now does exist, and which is still likely to exist, amongst the poor of England, is too notorious to need other proof, than reference to the Journals of your Honourable House, and to the speech of His Majesty when last he addressed you.

That this distress arises from the poverty of the people, who are not enabled to purchase sufficient bread for their support.

That the price of bread in England, is double the price it is upon the Continent.

* That the prohibition against foreign corn being brought into this country, is a monopoly of the most cruel kind, as it tends to starve the poor, some of whom have actually died from want.

That all monopolies are unjust, because they give to an individual, or to a class, the right which belongs to the whole.

That monopolies of the articles of the first necessity, such as corn, are the most nefarious of alt. riveste

That the monopoly of rice, in Lord Clive's government at Calcutta, is the most cruel monopoly recorded in modern times ; it is said that the natives died in the streets for want, whilst the warehouses were falling down with their overloaded contents. That this cruelty was committed by the tyrannical power of one individual,

That the present Corn Laws were passed by a House of Commons, for their own express benefit, as Cort-dealers, surrounded and defended by armed soldiers, against the petitions, feelings, and best wishes of the people. For these reasons, your Petitioners pray, that you will abolish the present Corn Laws,

That in your future Jegislative acts, you will be governed by the moral principle which you all profess, of doing to others as you would they should do unto you--and for which your Petis tioners will ever pray.

« הקודםהמשך »