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be no malice even implied. In a moral sense, what one man may deem an injury another may deem a benefit, and both be equally honest in their judgments. It is too much, then, Gentlemen, to charge malice upon any philosophical opinion, even if it be published. It is a subject to be answered with a pen, and not with a prison.

Religion is a thing much talked of, but in no two persons is it alike. In some instances it is meant to express morality, but as an expression of vicc and hypocrisy it greatly preponderates. Science is its eneiny, and as science is the source of human happiness, Religion must be opposed to it. It is altogether a mistaken notion of mo, ality; and although it is thcoretically assumed to civilize human nature, the bistory of Religion is a history of every thing that disgraces it. It has been the emblem of every vice and wickedness, the excuse for every species of misery and torture, and a justification for millions of murders. In no part of the earth, in no part of time, has it ever made mankind better, or improved their condition. In some instances it has been mistaken for a moral change in individuals; but as a distinct principle, it never yet made one honest man, but has corrupted many.

When Christianity began to rear its head, the followers of the Pagan Religion felt just the same abhorrence of its votaries as Christians now profess to feel of Deists. They were persecut d in the same manner, and in exact the same spirit we:e charged with impiety, blaspherny, and atheism towards the Immortal Gods. The different sects of Christians have uniformly applied the same terms to each other; and let me advise you, Gentlemen, to set a better example. If I'am in error, let that error be corrected by free discussion. You offer free discussion to the Hindoo, the African, and the American Indian, then why do you fear it at home? You send Missionaries among them to impeach all that they venerate, then why do you wish to punish me for doing the same thing at home? It is not sufficient that you believe Christianity to be of divine origin; I dispute it: it is disputed by ali scientific and really intelligent men, and if you feel justified in punishing me, can you complain at any persecution your Missionaries can meet with? This is a subject well worth your consideration, and if you reflect fairly upon it, you will find that you cannot morally return a verdict of Guilty against me.

Not a century since, the sect denominated Unitarians or Socinians were treated as ayowed Deists now are treated. They were scouted, abhorred, and a distinct Statute Law existed for their punishment. Now, a distinct Statute Law exists for their protection, and under the denomination of philosophical Christians, they are becoming the most numerous sect: whilst the name of Christians is merely retained as a cloak to screen them from the effects of other penal laws. Some of them preach and teach materialism direct; others a species of Deism, with a tinge of Christianity, and none of them can fairly be entitled to the denomination of Christiaos, for they are not Christians who do not fully and wholly believe in the doctrine of the Trinity; although the British Parliament has withdrawn its protection from that doccrine, and has left the whole of the divine part of the Christian Religion to take care of itself. Avowed Deists are the next on the scale contending for toleration and the protection of the law, and they will assuredly obtain it as I am standing here, in the height of my pride, to defend those principles. We are fast, and very fast progressing towards a superiority. Therefore, Gentlemen, mete out that measure to me you may by and by wish to receive yourselves.

The next paragraph selected into the Indictment, strange enough, is the writing of the celebrated Archbishop Tillotson; and upon a first view of

the matter, it would seem from this that we were losing instead of gaining ground in the scale of toleration : but I presume that as the writing of the Archbishop it would have passed as orthodox, but having been quoted by Thomas Paine, it is metamorphosed into a blasphemous Libel! Thomas Paine argues that there is no connection between the Books of the Old and New Testaments, and because he found an authority in the writings of an Archbishop, the latter is to be excommunicated a century after his death!

Nothing can be stronger than the contrast in which the character of the Deity is painted in the Books of the New and the Old Testaments. In the former he is painted as a God of love and mercy, in the latter as a fighting God; a God of Hosts and armies; a jealous and avenging God; and one who delighted in the blood of animals and all kinds of savoury smells; a talking God; a walking God; and last of all, a tailor! This is what the Archbishop meant, and this is the objection taken by Thomas Paine to these Jew-book descriptions of Deity-to these degraded notions of the Supreme Being. It is the extreme of madness to attempt in this present age to propagate such ideas of God as the Jew Books contain. It is a vice, a wickedness so to do, and destructive of all morality and humanity,

The next four paragraphs brought into the Indictment are mere passing allusions to the question of Reform, and however offensive they may be to such men as Murray and Sharpe, I cannot imagine, Gentlemen, that you will discover any malice on the part of the writer of them, much less on my part for selling one copy of this publication. The first and second paragraphs are part of an Address to the Reformers of Stockport: the expression of which is, that a Reform of the present Parliament, or the present system of administering the Government, would not be dearly pur, chased at any price; although, an express exception is made that a slight delay would be preferable to bloodshed. This is my sentiment, and I verily believe it to be the sentiment of all the virtue in the country: the sentiment of all but those who thrive and are fed in idleness by the present system of Government.

I will here read to you a brief extract from Oldfield's Representative History of Great Britain, and then judge whether or not a Reform be ne. cessary

in what is called the Commons' House of Parliament.

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Members returned by 87 Peers in England and Wales

21 Peers in Scotland
36 Peers in Ireland .



Total returned by Peers . Members returned by 90 Commoners in England and Wales 137 14 Commoners in Scotland

14 19 Commoners in Ireland


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Total returned by Commoners
Nominated by Government
Total returned by Commoners and Government



Returned by Nomination . .
Returned, independent of nomination, only

487 171

Total of the House of Commons


This is a statement which no man has ever attempted to controvert, and which gives a clearer view of the wretched state of our representation than any other book I have seen published on the subject. This simple exposition of the House of Commons forms a justification for all the strong animadversions of the pamphlet before you for judgment. From the state of such a ouse of Commons it is a moral impossibility that pure laws can exist, or a pure administration of laws be made. The fountain is polluted, and nothing pure can Aow from it, or be in exi tence near it. It renders corrupt every officer of Government, from the Minister to the Parish Constable. This, Gentlemen, is the source of all our evils--this is the sole cause why you are now called upon to judge of the pamphlet before you. Let our verdict, then, shew that you abhor this system of corruption. Shew

my prosecutors that they deserve the animadversions which this pamphlet contains, and your verdict will be echoed with joy throughout the country.

The two remaining paragraphs are quotations from an Address to the Reformers made at the commencement of the last year. They have been the subject of an indictment to Mary Ann Carlile, and were fairly met by the Jury who tried her in July last, hy refusing to find her Guilty. The first of these paragraphs expresses, that, Britain has no Constitution. As far as the word Constitution represents a social compact mutually beneficial ; Britain has no such Constitution ; but in the literal meaning of the word Constitution, every Government is one for the time being, and the word applies as well as to Algiers, Turkey, or Morocco, as to Britain. The word "Constitutional is very much in use, but it implies nothing more than a support of that government which is existing. It forms an antithesis to the word Reform. It is upon this view of the matter that dishonesty is attributed to such persons who, at the same time, profess to be Reformers, and to speak with admiration of the British Constitution. The writer of this paragraph denies that there is any thing to be desired in the present constituted Government of Britain. This is my sentiment, and must neces sarily be the sentiment of every man who honestly avows himself to be a Reformer. If the existing Constitution be admirable there can be no need of Reform: but the effects of this Constitution are miserable to the industrious part of the community, therefore, I, as one of those industrious, or one who has been accustomed to live by bis labour, wish to reform it; and can see nothing to admire in that which is existing. Every species of corruption has reached the climax of notoriety, and the Minister blushes not to avow its necessity to support him and his system, even in the face of Parliament !

The next paragraph expresses, that, “ Reformy will be obtained when the existing auihorities have no longer the power to withhold it, and not before: and that we shall gain it as early without petitioning as with it." This expression is founded upon the axiom that a corrupt Government never did reform itself; an exception to which I challenge any man to produce from the history of the past. To petition a corrupt power to reform itself, is not only a folly, but a vice, and deserves to be treated with contempt.

But what is there in all this, Gentlemen, worthy of your notice? What is there in all this worthy of being deemed seditious or blasphemous? If you cannot tolerate a discussion of this kind, what can you tolerate? The language of these extracts now before you forms the common topics of conversation : almost to the exclusion of all others. The public mind is deeply intent upon them : my prosecutors tremble, and they need your aid to terrify all who clamour against their mis-deeds. But

will you

lend yourselves to their vile wishes ? Will you proclaim yourselves the enemies to all discussion of all subjects of Reform ? If you do, I shall despise your motives--feel contempt for your impotence, and class you with my persecutors. I should smilingly tell you, that the progress of Reform is not to be checked by the verdict of a Jury, and'that I would rather be the subject of your verdict of Guilty, than your Foreman to pronounce it. I am above all punishments, by ihe possession of mental and moral consciousness that I have but done my duty, as an advocate of more extended liberty—as a patriot, and, lastly, as a man. The mind is superior to the body, and I feel the happy pride that I have done nothing disgraceful to the mind: therefore that mind you cannot punish, and vain will be all attempt to punish the body without it. It will be but putting another item to the account, and calculated to hasten the day of reckoning--the day of retribution! But I will yet lope better of you : I will hope that you are twelve intelligent and honest men, and if you

be such, you cannot find me Guilty of any malicious design in publishing this pamphlet. You cannot perceive nothing seditious or blaspbevious in it : for wherever it touches upon public matters, it speaks the language of truth, of reason, and of justice.

The next paragragh in rotation, is a sweeping charge of corruption upon the whole legislature, and upon the administrators of the laws; but there is not a word of untruth in it. Did not Lord Castlereagh lately assert in the face of the country, that he could not carry on what he calls its business without the aid of a corrupt and paid majority of the House of Commons? It is notorious and uncontradicted that he did say so, and I am sure that such an expression was a full defence of the paragraph before us, and does not require a word more from me. The next paragraph in the Indictment is a mere repetition of the former one and has its Defence from the same source.

There are but two other paragraphs remaining to notice; and they are scarcely worth notice; for the only object in adding them to the former matter selected must have been to make the job more profitable to Murray the prosecuting Attorney; whom, you doubtless know, Gentlemen, is paid per folio for the length of his Indictment. This will account for the yards of parchment exhibited before us in this case. Mr. Murray has made it correspond with the purse, into which he puts his own hand for pay

The whole of these passages are selected into the first count of the Indictment; but there are variety of other counts which divide and subdivide them, to make the job the more profitable for Murray. But, Gentlemen, the Indictment charges this pamphlet to be blasphemous. It is altogether a false charge: but the Indictment itself is really blasphemous. At the conclusion of each Count it represents that I have published the extractsto the high displeasure of Almighty God! What Gentlemen! if I were to endeavour to prevent either of your names from being associated with every thing that was vicious and wicked, should I incur your highdispleasure? Would you not in a moral point of view, feel yourselves indebted to me? What then is meant by saying I have incurred the high displeasure of Almighty God? Are we to look at the Constitutional Association as a representation of the Supreme Being? You will feel shocked at the idea, Gentlemen. If you are moral men; if you ever think of Deity: you will mark such a blasphemous record with your reprobation. Blasphemy is understood to mean a speaking evil of the Deity. There is nothing of the kind in the phlet before you but the language of the Indictment is really blasphemous. It is a speaking evil of the Deity, to say that he feels


displeasure towards me. I deny it, and in the name of that Supreme Being I protest that I have done nothing in this case to offend him. I protest that my act has been strictly moral, and that the reverse is to be found in the conduct of my prosecutors. Beware, Gentlernen, how you make yourselves parties to them, and be assured that no man will heed your verdict less than I shall; be it what it may. I am conscious of having done no man an injury in this case; and let me caution you, Gentlemen, to beware of doing one to ine. It will be your case and not mine. I can suffer and be happy in this case.

But, Gentlemen, as I am publicly accused with being a wicked and evil disposed person, I will publicly state what I consider to be true religion and what it is to be pious, or impious: I will give it in the language of a celebrated French Philosopher: “ TRUE RELIGION," says he “is the act of advocating truth; of renouncing error; of contemplating reality; of drawing wisdom from experience; of cultivating man's nature to his own felicity by teaching him to contribute to that of his associates; in short, it is reason, education, and legislation, united to further the great end of human existence, by causing the passions of man, to flow in a current genial to his own happiness.

TO BE IMPIOUS, is to insult systems which we believe; it is knowingly to outrage them.

To be impious, is to admit a benevolent, just God, at the same time we preach up persecution and carnage. To be impious, is to deceive men in the name of a Deity, whom we make use of as a pretext for our own unworthy passions. To be impious, is to speak falsely on the part of a God, whom we suppose to be the enemy of falsehood. 'In fine, to be impious, is to make use of the name of the Divinity, in order to disturb society; to enslave it to tyrants; to persuade man, that the cause of imposture, is the cause of God; it is to impute to God, those crimes which would annihilate his divine perfections. To be impious, and irrational, at the same time, is to make, by the aggregation of discrepant qualities, a mere chimera of the God we adore.

On the other hand, to be pious is to serve our country with fidelity ; it is to be useful to our fellow creatures; to labour to the welfare of

society: every one can put in his claim to this piety, according to his faculties; he who meditates, can render himself useful when he has the courage to announce truth, to attack error; to battle those prejudices which every where oppose themselves to the happiness of mankind; it is to be truly useful, it is even a duty, to wrest from the hands of mortals those homicidal weapons which wretched fanatics so' profusely distribute among them; it is highly praiseworthy to deprive imposture of its influence; it is loving our neighbour as ourself, to despoil tyranny of its fatal empire over opinion, which at all times it so successfully employs to elevate knaves at the expence of public happiness, to erect its power upon the ruins of Liberty, to establish unruly passions upon the wreck of public security. To be truly pious is religiously to observe the wholesome laws of Nature; to follow up faithfully those duties which she prescribes to us; in short, to be pous, :S TO BE HUMANE, EQUITABLE, BENEVOLENT; IT IS TO RESPECT


Now, Gentlemen, these are my sentiments, and if I am an evil disposed and a wicked person for holding and publishing such sentiments, then I glory in my wickedness.

Gentlemen of the Jury, I must again request that you will not be led away by the artful clamour, or poisoned by the bitter malevolence of the


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