תמונות בעמוד

and fair discussion. And, I think, that it is sophistical, not to say hypocritical, to assert that we are criminal who publish works both pro et contra; while the legislature of the bation recognizes and protects sectarians, who, from the pulpit, promulgate doctrines with ours equally bostile; though perfectly as unreasonable as your own. and their hostility is aggravated inasmuch, as, unlike our works, their assertions cannot be answered. Their minister, in his pulpit, is as much beyond controul or contradiction, as is the learned Judge wbile delivering his charge to you. The only difference is, that the argumeuts of the former may annoy an individual of susceptible feelings, while the charge of the latter may, and in many cases has done so, injure the prisoner, who, be it observed, is then incapable of replying to his arguments or defending himself against his assertions: he is, in fact, tongue-tied. Gentlemen, you will shortly have to decide between religion as by law establised,” and myself as its reviler. Bear in mind, Gentlemen, that the Christian religion is not founded on truth; nor do the Christians believe in it as a result of their philosophical researcbes; but merely because their fathers and moibers have told them that it is true, and it pleases the noble and learned keeper of the King's conscience, and oppouent of the liberty of the press, that they shall believe so. I must here observe, that I think it very degrading to the government, that they now occupy the situation so lately vacated by the Anti-Constitutional Society; of wbom it may be said in the words of Ju. venal:

Sanguinis in facie, non hceret gutta morantur

Pauci ridiculum et fugienter exurbe, pudorem.Nor is it by those pests of society, the informers, oply, that we are harassed. Those very persons who ought to applaud is, are continually abusing us; they cannot see that the blow which is apparently intended to crush only these particular publications, is in reality a deadly blow aimed at the whole press. For having carried to such an extent their definition, or no definition, of the word, and the publication of--libel; what paper, obuoxious to the existing governnient, can be published, or who, being an independent man, would continue to be an editor? There is a part of this PRESS which I would not at present notice; but that it become me to caution you against every source of prejudice. It is worse than the most servile of the avowed ministerial journals, iuasmuch as it has all its sycophancy and time-serving baseness, without the talent to support-or the boldness to avow it-possessed by the former: and, in addition to its baseness, it has the impudence to arrogate to itself the title of the “liberal press;" and is it from the filthy and ignorant assertions of such a press as this, Gentlemen of the Jury, that you are to receive your ideas of right and wrong-or is it from the fiorid and overcharged speeches of a well-paid Counsel, that you are to form your judgment as to our guilt or innocence? or is it from witnesses, such as the learned Counsel has tbis day called, that you are to learn what is “contra bonos mores," and what is not? What, has the time theu arrived, wben twelve weil informed merchants of the world's first city, are to consider themselves bound to cast into prison, all who sball dare stand forward to advocate the cause of mental freedom, merely on the dictum of an bired idvocate, supported only by the testimony of a bribed and ignorant witness? No, Gentlemen, I trust that his Lordship will, as is his bounden duty, tell you, that with the learned gentleman's eloquionce you lave nothing to do. You must view every attempt at eloquence, or more properly speaking, interested exaggeration, as an insult to you, and as an attempt to prejudice your minds, and render you unequal to the just execution of your arduous duties. In short, is an attack on your niedlal righis, similar to those apparently liberal, but certainly destructive, nets laid for the upipiliated gamester in the form of wine and meretricious beauty. I should insult your understandings were I to warn you farther against the insidious arts of the base and contemptible press; and, confident I am, that you bave already perceived, and perceived, too, with bouest indignation, the Christian motives of the winess for the prosecution. Consider well, Gentlenien, the evidence adduced ; strip the speech of the learned Counsel of its rhetorical flourish and interested cant; restore me to liberty, and consigu to contempt the hireling crew, who, in our persons, have aimed a disguised, but not less deadly blow at your own mental and corporeal liberty. You are now jurors, you may on a fixture occasion be defendauts. You will be told tbat Judge Hale and other Judges laid down and practised ibis law of punishing for matters of opinion; but if the world have been cursed witb some unjust judges, ought their conduct to be followed as a precedent in ages long subsequent, and every way superior to theirs? ridiculous idea. So then, while every science, every handicraft, is improving daily, the lawyers, who should be the peoples' proiectors, are obliged to refer back some one or two (epluries to find authorities for plundering and oppressing their fellow subjects. To you, my Lord, I have but little exclusively to address, and that little I trust will not offend. On your feelings as an independent man, I ask, and as a British Judge holding the commission of your soverign, I demand your protection: pot for myself merely, for even should you consigu me to the dungeon for my abode, and the wretched door-mat for my bed, which Christianity has provided for me; still, I would scorn to ask forbearence. But, my Lord, on you Europe, nay the whole civilized world, all who dare claim, or know bow to appreciate mental freedom, are now anxiously gazing. You cannot, it is true, confine the mind; but you can avert the aim of our persecutors. Do so, my Lord and Gentlemen, and your own hearts, and the gratitude of thousands will richly reward you. Tu your bands I sball shortly leave the question, not merely of my liberty, but the mental liberty of mankind. As you hope for a subject for self-gratificalion in your declining years, crush the reviving spirit of persecution, give to us liberty of publication, and thus aid the work so well commenced by the undaunted and highly taleuted, though calumuiated Carlile. By so doing, you will open the way for fair and dispassionate argument, the right most then prevail-in prison me, aud you make inveterate foes of candid opponents. Every good nian of erery sect must pity us as oppressed, and admire us as undaunted, and thus afford you another proof, that “ Jus summen sæpe summa est malitia.”

The Recorder then charged the Jury, he said, that the publication of blasphemy was punishable by law. The question for the Jury to determine was, did ihe defendaut publish the book? The witness for the prosecution had sworn to the fact of having purchased it from the defendant, and indeed the delendant had admitted having published it; but denied that it was blasphemous. For his part, he had no hesitation in saying that it was a most blaspbemous libel. The Jury turned round in the box, and baving consulted for about ten minutes, returned a verdict of Guilty. The defendaut was then asked if he had any thing to say.

Defendant-My Lord, you observed in your charge to the Jury on a late occasion, that it was a proof of the consciousness of guilt on the part of all who bad been sentenced for this description of libel, that none of them bad ventured to appeal to an higher Court. Tois assertion sounded a lit- tle strange to me, inasmuch as I am not aware of any Court

to which I can appeal. I put the question to your Lordship. because, if there is a possibility of appeal, I will avail myself of it?

Recorder (besitating)—You cannot appeal.

Defendant-- Then, my Lord, your assertion was gratuitous and absurd.

Recorder- You can only proceed by obtaining a writ of error from the Attorney General.

Defendant–That would, indeed, be realising the rulgar proverb of “ out of the frying pap into the fire.”

Recorder– You have been found guilty of publishing a blasphemous libel. That the libel is blasphemous no reasonable man can deny; but you have this day uttered blas

phemies terrible to Christian ears. Your vanity is intolerable; for you bave taken upon yourself to define, aud even to defy the law. That you have received a liberal education is evident-but you have turned your abilities to a purpose of wbich you will one day be ashamed. I hope, I siucerely hope, that 'ere the period of your imprisonment is expired, you will bave seen the error of your opinions, and repented the hardihood you have displayed in support of them, and in defiance of the law. Noihing but your youth induces the court to refrain from passing a more severe punishment on you, than on any of your compeers. But the Court find, that you are only twenty-oue years of age, and they bope, that you will yet atone for your conduct. The sentence of the Court is that you be imprisoned in his Majesty's Gaol of Newgate for Three Years, and at the expiration of that term, your are to enter into your own recognizance in the sum of One Hundred Pounds, to keep the peace for your life; aud I take this opportunity of informiug you, that should you forfeit those recognizances you will be liable to banishment for seven years—and sbould you be found in England before the expiration of that term, you wiil be liable to transportation for fourteen years. I mention this that you may not be ignorant of the consequences of offending in future.

Defendaut-My Lord, in your address to the Jury, you asserted, wbich is utterly

Recorder- The Court cannot hear any thing you have to


The defendant was then couducted back to prison.



The readers of “ The Republican" are aware, that I purposed to send such a petition to the House of Commons, if a member could be found to present it: the following letters will explain what has been done in the matter, and the Petition, when read, may excite wonder, that Sir Francis Burdett should decline to present it. Its seriousness could have been the only obstacle. Nothing has been heard in answer to No. 3, nor is the disposal of the Petition krowni. TO SIR F. BURDETT, M. P., WESTMINSTER. No. 1. Sir,

Dorchester Goal, May 30, 1824. In writing the accompanying petition, my purpose was to send it direct to Mr. Peel, with the accompanying letter; but thinking, that, from the most important character of the petition, it would be more desirable to have it presented by some one of the members, really the representative of a respectable portion of the peo

ple, I feel no encouragement to ask such a favour from any other member than yourself.

'Should you, Sir Francis, deem it prudent on your part, to present this Petition for me, I have only to ask that you will be pleased to destroy the enclosed letter addressed to Mr. Peel; but should you deem it imprudent, may I solicit your aid in furtherance of my object, so far as to request that you will be pleased to allow your servant to deliver the petition and letter to Mr. Peel. .

My view of the subject of the petition is this, that if Christianity be really what its preachers represent, no discussion can injure it; if not, that we cannot too soon be rid of it. Without an exception, it is the most important public question in existence, and points to greater, more certain, more speedy benefits, than any other now under consideration, not only to the people of this and the neighbouring Island, but all over the earth. Tam Sir, your obedient Servant,


Dorchester Goal, June 14, 1824. On the 30th of May, I addressed a packet containing a petition to the House of Commons, and two letters to your house in St. James' Place, and sent them through the post. It will be a great satisfaction to me to know that they have passed your hand, a few days before parliament be prorogued : a word in answer will be esteemed a favour. I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,


House of Communs, June 17, 1824. I Am exceedingly sorry you did not get my answer to your first letter - I have, however, no one to blame as its not being sent was owing to my own forgetfulness. It was however to say, that I was very desirous not to have it just low presented for reasons too many here to be repeated. At the same time, in case you insisted upon it, I should do it.

I think the same now, and that it can have no good effect either personally or publicly. I remain, Sir, with great sorrow for your situation, your humble Servant,


Dorchester Gaol, June 18, 1824. I HAVE just received yours of yesterday's date, and trouble you in reply to say, that I take a different view as to the personal and public utility of my Petition to the House of Commons, and am certainly most anxious that it be presented and printed; but at the same time, Sir Francis, I cannot urge it upon your attention, as I make it a common principle in my own conduct, not to do that to please another which I do not think well to be done, and which would be painful to myself. It was under this sentiment, that I adopted

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