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laws against its publishers. It was a matter of notoriety, that a person named Carlile had been found guilty of a similar offence, and imprisoned in Dorchester Gaol; but this punishment had failed of producing its legitimate effect-of removing the offender, or even of warning others; for the sale of similar works had, until lately, been continued in the same shop by other members of the family. They, too, had been visited with penalties ; but others had arisen to supply the poison on the same scene; and among these unhappy persons was the Defendant, who had no necessities to plead, for she was the wife of a person engaged in trade, which enabled him to support bis family in comfort. In the first of the pamphlets in question, dated, “Dorchester Gaol, March 3, second year of the Spanish Revolution,” and entitled, “ An Address to the Reformers of Great Britain,” Mr. Carlile stated what the Jury would be glad to hear, that the sale of his works had decreased, because persons were afraid to sell them, but promising that individuals should be found hardy en gh to undertake the task. The passages complained of in this pamphlet were part of a letter, purporting to be a reply from Mr. Carlile to admonitions addressed to him by the Rev. Mr. Wait of Bristol. Whether this was a genuine correspondence, or only a subtile means of conveying the venom to be diffused, was unimportant; for there could be no excuse for such a sentence as the following :-" I am bound to tell you, Sir, that you are either an impostor, as a priest, or an idolator as a believer and worshipper of what is called the Christian Religion; but which I deem to be a mythology as ridiculous in its present state, as it has been cruel in its origin and progress.” In another part of the same article, the writer, alluding to the wish of his correspondent for universal peace, thus proceeded in his calumnies:--" Religion has been the chief source of war, and has vied with every other power and plague in inflicting misery and destruction on the human race. If you wish for universal and constant peace, in preference to all other objects, you must advocate the Representative System of Government, the abolition of religion established by law, or the laws relating to it, and the mutual toleration of all opinions.' There was one line, not included in the Indictment, which would sufficiently show the spirit in which this system of blasphemy was pursued. “ All our motto is perseverance.” The next passage was an article purporting to be a letter to Mr. Carlile, signed “ Amicus," of so revolting a description that he trusted it would not find its way into any report of the trial. “Though Iadmire men of a patriotic and bold spirit that will dare to publish the truth, yet I would not, for my own part, sacrifice my comforts as you have done, for all the truth on all the subjects in the world. 1 church every Sunday, and as loud as any of my neighbours repeat the Creed, that I believe in God the Father, who manufactured all things, and in his Son Jesus Christ, who went to Hell for three days, quite long enough to stop there ; and also the Holy Ghost, who
the Virgin Mary, who was a virgin before he visited her. I
am not like the narrow-minded Unitarians, who only believe in one God; I acknowledge three Gods in one God, and one great Devil.”
The next libel was contained in another “ Address to the Reformers,” dated 23d of April, in the same year, and was in the form of a letter from Mr. Carlile to Mr. Abraham Taylor. Here, amidst some anticipations of a change in the system of Government now under discussion, the writer thus continued his attacks on our faith ;-"A Representative System of Government would soon see the propriety of turning our churches and chapels into temples of science, and cherishing the philosopher instead of the priest. Kingcraft and Priestcraft I hold to be the bane of society, and to entail all those miseries which are now and have been constantly felt by the great body of mankind. These two evils operate jointly against the welfare of our mind and body; and to palliate our iniseries in this life, the latter endeavours to bamboozle us with the hope of eternal happiness -a vain and ridiculous notion.” The learned Counsel then proceeded to read another paragraph from a letter again professing to be a correspondence with the Rev. Mr. Wait, as follows:-“I would not put the Bible as a whole into the hands of my children, because it abounds in fictions and obscenities. The Book of Proverbs is the only book in it that I could consider fit for them to read. With respect to your Tracts, and I believe those printed at Bristol are of your own composition, Mrs. Carlile and myself have amused ourselves in reading them, and as they are sacred Scriptures, I have put them into the water-closet as an appropriate sacrifice to Jehovah. Do not call me blasphemous ! I consider Jehovah no more allied to the God of Nature than was Jupiter. Jehovah is the Jupiter of the Jews, whom the Christians admit also as the chief Deity in their mythology, but to whom, in imitation of the Pagans of old, they have given a wife and a son ; and with whom they have allied a number of inferior deities, such as the Holy Ghost and his army of angels, and Satan with his host of devils. All religion is in my eye Paganism, and such as Christians call the offspring of heathen darkness. He then concluded by expressing his assurance, that if any repetition of the crime should now be attempted under colour of defence, it would be treated as it ought by the authority of the Court.
James Rignal proved that he purchased the two påmphlets in question for 2d. each, at No. 55, Fleet-Street, and that they were delivered to him by the hand of the Defendant. He was then crossexamined by Mrs. Wright.
How do you get your living ? --- I have a pension from the Government, and ain agent to the Society for the Suppression of Vice.
How have you obtained a pensiou from the Government?-1 was thirty years in the service of the Customis.
But you was dismissed without a. pension ?-1 was dismissed with several others, but afterwards received a pension.
Were you not discharged for giving false evidence !-- No, I was
or eighteen of us were discharged at once; but since that time the Lords of the Treasury have taken our case into consideration, and have allowed me a pension of seventy pounds a year.
When you were in the Customs what religion did you profess :No answer.
What is the ninth commandment ?
The Chief Justice interfered, and said such questions were improper.
Defendant.— I do not think this man is to be believed upon his oath; if I had a little more time I could prove it.
Chief Justice.-You have had abundance of time to prepare your defence. It is for the Jury to say whether he is to be believed on his oath.
Defendant.—I did not expect to see this man here, I knew him, and refused to sell him any thing; and one day I went with another female to put him out of the shop. I do not deny that I have sold the publications before the Court, but not to this man.
The passages charged as libellous were then read by the officer. At the request of Mrs. Wright, the whole of the articles from which the passages indicted were selected were then read, and also the two letters from Mr. Wait to Mr. Carlile. In these the writer, who appeared to be a clergyman, exhorted Mr. Carlile to abandon bis Deistical opinions, and proposed several Christian writers for his peru-, sal. Mrs. Wright was called on for her defence.
Gentlemen of the Jury, I have anticipated all the stale and common-place logic which you have heard from my opponent in wig and robes, and as I could have almost told you to a' letter what would have been urged agaiost me from that quarter, I shall not answer the nonsense of my very mild, very tolerant, and very liberal accuser, but endeavour to stifle it by a little plain truth and common sense. What you have heard against me, Gentlemen, you ought to attend to with as much gravity as you would if you had heard a parrot repeat as much jargon: by discipline and lure a parrot might be made to say as much and with just the same feeling, and gold is the lure which has purchased declamation against me. You must not imagine for a moment, Gentlement, that any thing that has been said against me by my bired and well paid opponent, bas proceeded from any thing like conscientious feeling, or from any honester source thau the hypocrisy of that disposition which will support any side or opinions for a fee.
I challenge my accusers to shew, that I have any sinister motives or lucrative ideas in this affair. No, Gentlemen, I
have not. I am a married woman and a mother. I live on terms of affection and conjugal fidelity with my husband, whose earnings are regular and fully competent to make us comfortable; besides this, I have myself been bred to a genteel employ, as a lace-mender, and an embroiderer, at which I could earn double the wages that I have received from Mr. Carlile. I might almost say, that I have served him gratuitously, for I have received no more than the additional expence which has accrued from my absence from home, and from my putting out my child to the care of a nurse. I have stood forward in this righteous cause, by and with the consent and advice of my bus. band. I am not related to Mr. Carlile in the most distant degree. I am scarcely known to him further than as a customer who has regularly called for his publications. I have imbibed his principles, and I stand forward this day to defend them, and to say to you, Gentlemen, that I am so far proud of them; I am so far convinced they are virtuous, to the very extreme of virtue, that with a better heart and motives than the Christian Martyrs of old, who fell as ignorant and fanatical victims to Pagan persecution, I shall submit with pleasure and with joy to any pains and penalties, that may fall upon me from this worse than Pagan persecution. Worse, because it is hypocritical, and because, the pretended suppressors of vice are the actual suppressors of moral virtue!
But do not imagine, Gentlemen, that I anticipate a verdict of Guilty. I do not.
I do not. I know it is a matter of chance, and not of law or justice, and as such my conscience makes me careless about your verdict. I know well, that if there be one honest, intelligent, and conscientious man among you, Gentlemen of the Jury, and I hope you are all such, you will never find me guilty of publishing, with a wicked intention, the pamphlets which have given rise to this Indictment. I know that all verdicts in such cases are regulated by the previous opinions and prejudices of the persons called on the Jury; and I know that the influence of my persecutors, in selecting a Jury of their own opinions, turns the chance of acquittal ten to one against me. But I fear not; I know my own heart, and I know that a dungeon cannot damp it.
I declare before God and my country that I have no malicious motive in publishing these pamphlets. Malice or wickedness never entered my bosom. I declare before God and my country that my motive is not gain.
motive is not gain. My chief ambition, and I glory in it, has been to serve and obtain the esteem of Mr. Carlile, bis family, and the honest part of the public, and to annoy their robbers.
Standing before you, Gentlemen, in this state of mind, I feel, that I have a claim on your peculiar attention; for since I challenge my persecutors to shew, that my principles and motives are any thing but honest, pure and conscientious, I shall defend myself freely, and in the same spirit, hoping that my defence may please all, but not caring about whom it may offend.
I do not mean to deny that I did sell the two pamphlets which form the subject of this Indictment: I have no wish to put in such a defence. I did sell them to all enquirers whilst I was in Mr. Carlile's shop, and had it not been for the risk of forfeiting my recognizances, I would have continued the sale to this day: however, it has been continued by others to my great joy and satisfaction. I have read every thing that Mr. Carlile has written and published, and I never read any of his publications but I would defend, and if further martyrdom be necessary for the propagation of principles, here I stand both ready and willing to fill the gap made by persecution.
Having said thus much, Gentlemen of the Jury, that you might have a full view of the disposition and character, as well as of the person before you, for I protest that I do not wish to deceive you on any one point, nor to make any thing like a hypocritical defence, I shall proceed minutely to examine the contents of
Indictment. It first charges me with being an evil disposed and wicked person, disregarding the Laws and Religion of this realm, and wickedly and profanely devising and intending to bring the Christian Religion into disbelief and contempt among the people of this kingdom, and that I did sell and utter certain impious, blasphemous, and profane pamphlets, of which this Indictment sets forth extracts.
Now, Gentlemen, I answer, that I have no desire either to bring the religion or the laws of this country into contempt, although I am a believer in no kind of religion whatever, nor do I like the laws under which I live; but all I wish for on the score of religion is, that it be brought to the touchstone of free discussion, and that there shall be no persecution for matters of opinion.
This certainly cannot be deemed a bringing it into contempt: but the conduct of my persecutors is that which brings their religion into contempt, by proclaiming to the people of these realms, through these persecutions, that it