« PreviousContinue »
ON RELIGIOUS PERSECUTIUN. be so sincere and serions as those wlio
are induced to officiate through the • We do not pretend to destrogʻerror by force and impulse of their own feelings, which is
commonly termed. “a call of God.” " " violence."
If a nobleman or gentleman has several Discourse of the Clergy of France 10 Louis 13ib.
sons, the principal part of his fortune MIBABAND, in his System de la Nalure, goes to the eldest, and the remainder which may be considered the Bible of must fieece the public in the character Materialism, says, that " Preists unceas of a priest, a soldier, or a legalizer! pick
ingly repeat, it is pride, vanity, anci pocket. Ilow many a young man is " the desire of distinguisbing himself frons brought up to the trade of a priest with" the generality of mankind, that deter- out having the least taste for the craft, “ mies man to incredulity. In this they or a single serious view; yet, before he
act like the great, u bo treat all those as can be's admitted into the exercise of his “ insolent who refuse to cringe liefore business," he is obliged to make a false o them. Would not every rational man vatii, and" swear he is moved by the " have a right to ask a Priest-Where Holy Gliost to take that office upon him, " is thy superiority in matters of reason when be ought rather to say, '“ I am “ ing! - lihat motives can I have to sub- inoved by the spirit of emolument."'" mit my reason to thy deliriumi? ---On But even these kind of men, unless they of the other hand, may it not be said to are thinkers, not: always hypo" the Clergy, that it is Interest that crites. Though they do not act up to " makes thein priests; that it is Interest the character of a spiritual ciristian, " wbich renders them Theologians; that their cuucation has led them to believe " It is the Interest of their pride, of their in the truth of their religion.--- an aware “avarice; and their Systems, of which that thousands of them do not credit
tliey alone reap te leistini."- 1 is a what they preach, because the studies of i great misfortune that the bulk of Man- many learted men have the unfortunate kind can seldom give those persons cre- tendency of leading them to scepticism; dit for lirive (ir Sincerity whose opinions but I will be boid to assert, that the are AUCK (posed to tlieir own.- l'or my bulk of them firmly believe their religion jait, is a pozitive i bristian) I am a to be genuine and authentic, and thiet decided enemy loan order of men calied some few have that warm interest in their Priests, because I am convinced that Jeslis syster wbich is called piety was fou'sensible a person to bave invent- Esuterical and exotericai doctrines, ure ext, or encouraged, in the slightest degree, not so much in use now, as they were an instituiva so ples nani with Caani- among the ancients, who inculcated sity to the Church of God as that of Priest-perstition only among the lower orders, craft.-And ihough I think that the Sys- while they initiated every enlightened temis cf Religion mest in
rogue at person into the pure and simple precepis present cult to be denominated of NATURE. But with us there are thou
Priestianity, instead of Christianity, sands of accomplished scholars, and perI am by no means so i liberal as to assert sous of rank, who still retain the prethat all priests are hypocrites. I am judices of education, it being no part seriously persuader ibat numbers of of our civil or religious polity, to free sliem - jate up their office entirely them from these shackles. I am willing through zeal and enthusiasm in the to admit, what Miraband says of the cause of Christ, and with the sole view Priests, that their interest must necessain the salvation of souls, by bringing rily atiach them to systems from which ilem within the paie or their conventicle. they reap so much benefit, We all 'l his, to be sure; is - most applicable to know that nothing is more than interest the dissenting interest; for having, in calculated to entrap us. But how weak The days of my youth, been a fanatic, is their argument, when they assert, aid a'preacher among them, I ought to that it is pride, vanity, and a desire of keracefuainted with sonie of the niotives distinguishing tbeniselves from their felthat influence their conduct. With low creatures, that determines them to regard to the State religion, ils ministers infidelity.--I should like to be informed ärë buought' rp. to it in a more trades- wliat advantage any man has gained, by Hinta-like manier, and are tot likely to being a professed unbeliever. Or, wlies
ther the acknowledgement of such sen emanateil from Priesteraft. If in the timents has not always been attended present instance, therefore, I labour wore with certain loss, and caused the indi- in developing the cause, than in describe vidual to be viewed with horror and susing the effect, I trust I shail be considered picion, by the ignorant and narrow as still supporting the title I am writing minded, who form the mass of society;. under, which I deem equally comprebesides being persecuted by the Priests hensive with that of toleration, upon and all fanatical bigots. A man can only which entire treatises have been published. be credulous, or abound in faith, or incre- The Priesthood of every Sect promuldulous, and be a sceptic,according as those gate dogmas, which they assert are esthings which are proposed for his belief sentially necessary to be believed by those strike his understanding, over which he who wish to obtain salvation. has no command; he must submit to be slew sonie ancient traditions, which they guided by the impressions it receives, tell us are infallible, and were written by whether strong or weak, right or wrong. (ivine inspiration ; that they are the lle is much more likely to be governed words of eternal truth ; and that'if wo by ambition, pride, vanity, ostentation, cannot enthusiastically believe every iota and sordiii avarice, wlien he puts on the of them, we sha! be consigned to evergarb of religion, (so current a commo. lasting damination. dity with the world in general,) than if In conseqnence of these doctrines, the be confesser himself an intidel, which nurse begins to impress certain notions on would immediately raise the public voice our memory the moment we can talk; against him, and cause bim to he looked next the school-master confining them upon as a bal maa, who, wanting faith through the medium of a catechism, in incomprehensibles and incredibles, whereby we are asked certain questions could not possibly possess good! morals, (the wisdom or absurdity of which our or l'e a worly member of socieiy. The infantine capacities are not capable of ignorant, bigotted, and superstitious, are comprehending) and answers are put into many ; the enlightener, rational, and our mouths, ready cut and contrived xceptical, very few, and those few often These, by constant recapitulation, are concealed. The stimulus to action must deeply imprinted on our minds, and we therefore be on the side of the hypocri- believe them the dictates of reason and tical religious, rather than on that of the truth. Then comes the Priest, who puts ostentatious Deist. But I cannot, easily his seal to the statement, already writen believe that there are any persons who upon the blank sheet of cur youthful unhave faith and profess infidelity, because Jerstandings; inforecs, with a particular I can see so sew cases where a person emphasis, those ideas which have previ- • would have an interest in so doing. No- ously been infused in the mind; and inthing is more absurd than to think people spires us with a peculiar reverence for cannot be sincere in the opinions they sacerdotal oflce. Having been brought profess, merely because they appear to this trade, like other men to their remonstrous or ridiculous to us. Such is spective avocations, he works upon the igthe effect of education, habit, situation, norant and superstitious with the same and circunstances, that I can credit the facility that tlie ski)ful superstition even of learned Bishops, and plays upon a weil tuned insirument. eminent Philosophers; and such is the We are instructed by him to read certain force of human reason, when once the books and to believe implicitly every mind is set free, that I can equally give werd they contain; to study them with credence to its arrival at the speculations a view to applaud and adore the matof Deism, the doubts of Scepticism, and ters they treat of; and we are terrified even the cold and cheerless decisions of at the infamy with which those are Materialism (so unflattering to sell) with branded who are so unfortunate as to the same implicit sincerity as the dying doubt or disrespect any thing mentioned Christian, or Mahomedan, yields his soul in those books, or that is uttered by the into the hands of his Maker.—The reason priest. We are honored up by the horrid why I have said thus much of the Priest- sentence of an eternal roasting, if we hood, without coming to Religious Per- should die without being able to believe secution, my favourite theme, is that I those points, which our priest says are consider the spirit of persecution to have I requisite to procure us a pass-port to the
mansion of bliss. He carefully conceals | Louis, and
called from our knowledge every thing likely
consider this trifting coterie of the to bring his calling into discredit, or to friends of parental sovereignty, as thie injure the profits of bis craft. We thus nation of France. “Oh, it is quite grow up, bigotted to a variety of opinions
"impossible (says the Times) but that adopted without examination, and which
" there must be a great many that are we have no better ground for erediticg
“ devoted to the parental government of than that we have been told they Louis.” And this great number did are correct, and that our friends and absolutely nothing at the only time when those around us think as we do. We any thing could be done. Unattended by are taught to refuse the evidence of an armed force that deserves any consideour senses, to give up our reason as an
ration in a country like France, the Emunfaithful guide, and blindly to conform peror reached his capital without any ourselves to the mandates of our spiri
molestation: yet this we are told is no tual director, whose interest it is to con- proof he was wishedl-for by the people. tinue us in these errors, of which he only The air resounds with general acclamatireaps the advantage.
ons and 'tis merely ile cry of the rabble. ERASMUS PERKINS.
But when the real raible begin to cry out
on their side, their feeble cries are the Mr. Cobeett,- The infamy of the voice of the nation, forsooth! and we
Times” newspaper needs not any fur- are not to look in the capital of France
PEACE OR WAR?
To what experience must have tauglit mankind ?
Raisid to the dang’rous hight, by foreign choice, You have duaistless perceived. Sir, float the editor of ile Times, constantly because they've placed the sceptre in the hand
By foreign arms, against the people's voice;
Tf Britisha lioud stiil flows within our veins,
If love of country still can warm the heart,
That she must bend beneath a foreign yoke, not be seriously contemplated without It by CORRUPTION, her proud spirit's broke ; hopel.ss dismay, seems to form the grand Or, that her sons, to desperation driv'n,
object of the parliamentary session. The
representative interests of the country Wi!l seek, by force, those rights by Charter giv'n?
would appear to be contined to authoWho could extinguish then the dreadful flame ? rising chemes of finance of an almost une Who the wild spirit of the People tame?
bounded extent, and of course, fraught From fatal blindness let us now a wake,
with the eventual ruin of the people. To
speak of the extravagant wasting of pub. When all that's dear to Britons is at stake;
lic money, of the corrupt purposes for Let us the proffer'd olive branch receive,
which it is expended, and the grinding And by. REFORM, our tarnislı'd name retri ere; system of taxation by which it is furBy War we are to certain ruiu hurlid,
nished, is now become so very trite, so Disgrac'd, despis’d, unpilied by the world.
tamely common place, that it makes but
little more impression on our thinking Buckinghamshire.
people” (as they have been plirased)
than the usual cursory remarks on the RETRENCHMENT AND REFORM.
prevailing weather. What is all this
senseless apathy, this, base supineness, Mr. COBBETT.The gross mis-na- this stupid direliction of public spirit nagement of the political concerns of the owing to? To say that we are degeneUnited Kingdom of Great Britain, seems raied, is a simple affirmation of an to have acquired a sort of sanction from undeniable fact; but it would be imporhabit, so that all animadversion on the tant to state the cause of the degeneracy, subject is deemed hackneyed, is regarded for the purpose of retracing our wayward as a story too often told to interest fur- steps, that some chance may be afforded ther attention. But, Sir, you know very of the British Isles being once again will, that the axioms of morals are not inhabited by Britons ; that is to say, by less steady in their influence than those a people worthy of those, who by manliof physics, and that if it be physically uess, simplicity, courage, aud wisdon, impossible to render unequal means ade- acquired the renown that raised and esa quate to given ends, so is it alike innprac- tablished the British name and character, ticable to pursue ruinous courses of con- This luckless degeneracy has for the duct, without ultimately incurring the most part grown out of the miserable taxinevitable ruin, attending such moral ne- ing system, and the consequent unblushcessity. Is not, therefore, the scheme of ing dissipation of public money for ends expending national treasure at the rate and objects, at irreconcilable variance planned by the British Government, so with the constitutional laws and liberties widely unequal to the resources of the of the land. Money is a powerful encountry, that it must, sooner or later, in- gine of corruption, and the immense sums duce unavoidable ruin? Can the indi-that have been wrung from the lavidual having five : hundred pounds a bours, and from the necessities even, of year, afford to expend at the rate of five the people have been audaciously emihousand? Would he who could be at ployed in purchasing, pensioning, and once so profligate and entertain an idea enslaving a large portion of the political of lasting solvency, he deemed compos independence of the country. mentis ? Would not the Lord Chancellor No character is so despicable, either of these realms, on application for that in self estimation or in public opinion, as purpose, issue a decree of lunacy against the person who accepts a pecuniary conThe person who would attempt to vindi- sideration for indefinite services. În nacate such an insane-procedure? If small tive and in boncurable feeling, the Golley things then may be compared with great, slave is a magnanimous being, compared what a dwarfish case of wasteful and wild to such a revolting wretch. The senexpenditure is this, compared with what tenced slave, has his person only fastened
gravely, is indeed legislatively, done to the Galley, whilst bis mind may be as and doing by the existing mode of Go- free as the air he breathes, and alive 10 vernment? To provide for the exigen- every just and generous sentiment that cies of the day, without regarding the constitutes - the genuine pride and ornatremendous workings of a debt that can-ment of human existence; but the bought
and sold parasite, the dangler after pelf and authorises its application ; but Briat the expence of all morality, possesses tish apathy and corruption have at least not a feeling but what degrades him be- suspended, if not annulled this sacred neath the beast of the field, and marks privilege. If this master right were - him out as an object of universal disdain fully resumed, corruption, in all its forms and contempt. How is this annihilating and degrees, would soon shrink out of degeneracy to be reclaimed? You, Sir, sight, and quickly cease under its benehave often answered the question, and if ficial influence; and without it no radiyour admonition bad been adopted, this cal or lasting amendment can be effected. country would have been at the present --Retrenchment means lopping off usemoment, at once the model and envy of less places, pensions, and emoluments, the civilized world, You, Sir, have re- as the morbid excrescences of a corrupt peatedly said, that an unrestrained li- and vitiating Government. The labourer berty of the press, a real annual represen- is, indeed, worthy of his lire, but there tation of the people in parliament, with should be no worthless lirelings for sisuch retrenchment and economy in the nister purposes. The indispensable ofnational expenditure, as would supersede fices of Government should be frugally all necessity for burthensome taxation, filled, and the most rigid economy sliould would strike the hydra evil at its very be observed in every department of the source, would regenerate our fallen state, State. A system of Government founded and cause our once happy nation, Phæ- on public justice and economy, will susnix-like, to emerge from the ashes of its tain itself by its own importance to the own destruction, into resuscitater purity, people. It becomes at once the basis of vigour, and prosperity. --Why then is not social order and of all public and private this remedy tried? Can there be any risk virtue. It will therefore be invulnerably in the experiment ? America has furnish- secure ; the shafts of falsehood will not ed a convincing proof of the beneficial reach it, whilst the purity of truih will effects of an unshackled press. It is, imperishably establish it. The American indeed, true, that it prints a great deal of Government has this sort of moral secufalsehood; but then it also fearlessly tellsrity, and will continue to have it as long the whole truth, which infinitely counter- as it shall retain its present equitable and balances and destroys the intiuence of enlightened system of legislation. Its inwhat is false. It is the liberty to publish trinsic worth will be its stable support, the false, and the restriction imposed on and all the powers on earth will not be making known what is true, that do all able to overthrow it whilst it remains true the mischief. Mr. Sheridan once affirmed to the sacred principles of freedom on in the British House of Commons, that which it is bottomed. Let the decrepid, with the aid of a free press, he would defy the mutilated, and debased parent rewhatever fleets and armies, state in- ceive wholesome instruction from its offtriguers, spies, parasites, and tradncers, spring. Let America, in all its youth and that might be marshalled against him ; vigour of legislative wisdom, admonish with that weapon alone, he would repel the councils of the British Government them all, would strip them of their ima- to unshackle the press, to give truth an ginary power, and triumphantly hold unlimited imprimature, to be real in its them up to merited derision and execra- representation, to be annual only in its tion! By a real and an annual represen- legislative confidence, to abolish all usetation all the sham work and foolish less expences, to be economical in all the mockery of a wise institution would be out-goings of the State, to bring taxation avoided, whilst the shortness of the sit- within the moderate and natural limits ting would soon repossess the electors of prescribed by the unavoidable disbursethat suffrage which they would take care ments of Government. Then, indeed, to confide where it would not be likely to and not till then, will the political condibe abused. By this only wise and poli- tion of the British realms be regenerated tic mode of procedure, an incessant check and become worthy of her American sons, would be imposed on the representative, whose inimitable greatness, however, it and the represented would be always able must be confessed, originated from a to correct the faults of representation. virtuous abandonment of British , degene The British Constitution has provided this @ry. guardian principle of political justice,
A TRUE BRITON.