페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

THE PILLORY.

kingdom of the Deist Frederick. Has which it was formed have been abanthe Christianity of the present mo-doned. No notice, as far as I have narch retrieved its destiny? I shall not been able to discover, has been taken notice the pretext of arrondisement: of it in any of our newspapers, or A soIt would be only the plea of universal other periodical publications. monarchy in its extreme; no arrondise-ciety with such liberal and enlarged ment could be complete, but the cir-views, could not fail, in my opinion, cumference of the globe. In my next to meet with generous support were its I shall offer with your permission, a few intentions made sufficiently public, and remarks on the pretension of Russia to why these should be kept in reserve, Poland. JUVENIS. if the association now exists, is a problem that seems very difficult to solve. It would gratify many of your readers, if any of your correspondents could give some information respecting this society, which might, with great propriety, and without any departure from its original views,connect the subject of pillory with the other important the reforms for which it was instituted. While, however, it may be said, that my censure I have been liberal in of our public writers for neglecting this vital subject, let me not be accused of partiality.---From this general reprehension I am glad to find there is one exception, who has done the subject ample justice, though his modesty,

so

SIR.-The remarks which lately appeared in your journal on the subject of the pillory, do equal credit to the head and to the heart of Benevolus. It is rather extraordinary in these enlightened times, when we hear so much about converting the heathen, emancipating the slaves, and encouraging the Bible Societies, that scarcely one public writer should be found, who possessed the courage, or the inclination, to reprobate a practice so disgraceful to our law, and marked with so many features of a barbarous policy. The public press every where teems with which is always a proof of talent, has I allude idle and contradictory speculations as led him to conceal his name. on the pillory, to the probable result of the discus- to the observations sions at Vienna; whether the system which appeared in the last number of the of aggrandisement attributed to the the periodical work, entitled Emperor Napoleon, is to be adopted Pamphleteer. They appear to me as the law of nations, or whether that excellent, and the writer has discussed state of things which existed previous the subject in so masterly a manner, to the French Revolution, is to be re- that I should like to see the whole of stored. These and some contemptible his remarks published in your Register. new order of knight- But as this may not be altogether conhood, are the only topics for which sistent with your other arrangements, the people of this highly cultivated I have subjoined to this letter a short nation seem at present to have any extract, to which I hope you will relish, or on which the pen of the phi- the more readily give insertion that its lanthropist or of the philosopher is en- whole tendency is to inforce and illusgaged. The amelioration of our laws, trate the arguments of Benevolus, who the state of our prisons, the remains so strenously and so laudably contended of that rudeness which still pervades against the existence of a mode of pu many of our customs, and presents a nishment possessing so many features of formidable barrier to civilization, are savage cruelty and barbarity. Yours, &c. A. B. points that few writers appear interested in, nor which have found many partizans among the people. years ago, I heard something of the existence of a society in the metropolis for the diffusion of knowledge on the punishment of death, and the improvement of prison discipline; but I have yet to learn that any thing was effected by this institution, or if the objects for

matters as to a

Some

"It may indeed be said, that some of the crimes thus visited are well deserv ing the utmost fury of an enraged people, and that there is no punishment denounced against them by our penal code at all equal to the darkness of their guilt. Be it so. That affords no rea son why the defects of the law should

be made up by the assistance of popular | arrayed against their authority; and a tumult, or its necessities supplied by competition is excited where it is the violence and outrage. In short, the noblest policy to conciliate. In the pillory is in direct opposition to the latter, the people act the part of unprinciple upon which all laws are foun- authorized executioners, and become faded, and must serve, as far as its influ-miliar with the most brutal of pleasures, ence extends, to undermine the founda- the delight in pain, the horrible laugh tion of their authority. They were erect- of demoniac exultation at the sufferings ed to control the unbridled passions of of a fellow being. They who look on man, to take from individuals the power the tortures inflicted at a bull-baiting of revenge, to render punishments the or a cock-fight with a virtuous horror, determinate effect of firm and substan- unless they measure out their disgust tial enactments, instead of fluctuating according to law, should feel a much with the rage and the sympathies of stronger indignation at the sight of a individuals, to prevent parties from fellow creature set up to be pelted al being judges of their own injuries, to most to death amidst the drunken accla humanize society by taking from the mation and infernal revelry of the low strongest the power of inflicting arbi- est and most depraved of our species trary penalties by which it was reduced And if thus pernicious in its immeditoate influence, it is not less dangerous in its example. Those whom you suffer to riot on the side of the laws may soon learn to oppose them with similar outrages. By allowing them thus to supply the deficiency of the lawgiver, we educate them for revolution and carnage. We give them arms to be awakened against our bosoms, whenever the breeze of discontent shall sweep over them. The hands that have learned to throw bricks and filth on the criminal, may exercise the same discipline on the judges, if they should be so unfortunate as to incur their displeasure.

a state of perpetual warfare, and impress the mind with awe by the weight and the solemnity of their decisions. But this strange infliction ac tually reverses all these benign intentions which the collective wisdom of ages has gradually matured; it proceeds on antisocial principles, and tends to bring us back to our state of original barbarism. We have all been taught that the sacred throne of justice should be exalled far above the passions and the ever-fluctuating sympathies of man; that its voice should be as certain as it is awful, and its sentences untainted with any of the grosser particles that move in a lowlier atmosphere. We have learnt that while increasing wisdom should improve our laws, their actual dictates should be received during their existence with a noble and generous obedience. But here, in opposition to all these maxims, we see in them a principle which tends to their own destruction, a secret cancer which by insensible degrees is eating away the rital principle on which their vigor and their majesty depend. A judgment of the pillory is the worst of their enemies. If the mob applaud, of his office to give up the reigns to the they are set openly at defiance; and if frenzy of the shameless and the degraon the other hand they break out into violence, the peace they should preserve is broken, the personal feelings they should subdue are excited, and the barbarous spirit of man unsoftened by ci

It is sufficiently melancholy to see such a monument of savage life standing uninjured amidst the trophies of goodness and of virtue; but it is still more offensive to see it regarded as a pillar of our legislative system. It saddens us to see riots at all existing in a well regulated state; but we are doubly provoked by the strange anomaly which makes the laws appear to excite them. We regret to see a popular demagogue lead his followers to confusion and disorder; but our vexation has no bounds when a judge is compelled by the duties

ded."

CEDIPUS JUDAICUS.

vilization which they were formed to The Ancients searched for Truth; the Modern pretend they possess it.-VOLNEY. repress, is aroused by their powerful sanction. In the former case, the best emotions of the heart are injudiciously

[ocr errors]

MR. COBBETT.-When I sent you my two former letters, I endeavoured

to call your readers, not only to consider the situation of Mr. G. Houston, bai also to request they would examine into the liberty of the press in this country; on whose altar that writer is now a victim; for until this "thinking "nation" really understand his situation, and the motives for which he is punished, he will not be the last that will suffer in its cause.

explained to me the design and intention of its author; since which I have had a sight of the book. It has fully answered my expectation, and again I say displays a fund of prodigious erudition. The following short extract will shew its intention, and design, "I contend (preface page ii.) that the Ancient Jews, like other nations of antiquity, had their esoteric, and their exoteric doctrines; they CONcealed the former under innumerable types and symbols, the meaning of which is generally unknown among their descendants. It is the object of my book to explain the hidden sense of many passages in the Hebrew Scripture." Page 22, he says, "I recollect "that Moses was learned in all the wis"dom of the Egyptians, and I expect to

find traces of that wisdem in his works. The learned among the ancient Egyp "tians were pure theists, as Cudworth "has proved. They were deeply skilled

66

in the sciences: but they carefully "concealed their mysteries under innu"merable symbols and allegories. May Iwe not look then for the same thing "in the writings which are ascribed to "the Jewish Lawgiver. It is what I "have done, and I submit to the judg"ment of a few individuals, the result of my researches."

I knew I touched a sore place, when I attempted to shew to your readers the discordant opinionis entertained of that old book for which Eaton, Houston, and thousands more may be sent to prison. I knew that I might be a trinitarian, a unitarian, a Southcotearian, or any other foolarian; but that I must not bring the contradictions, and (what they call) the arguments of one tribe to combat the whims of the other, without" exciting the suspicions of those who call themselves Just! But I have done to; and while I delight in the deed, I smile at their suspicions and contempt." Before I reply to your correspondent Justus, permit me to introduce the origin of my acquaintance with the work in question. You must know there is a town designated by one of the most corrupt of his time as "the toyshop of Europe; whose inhabitants, (I speak generally) in my estimation, rank lower for liberality of sentiment, general in- Of the 250 copies only, which I stated formation, and Christian charity, than to have been printed, 100 now remain any other on the surface of the globe. in the hands of the publisher. You will, The scale by which I estimate them is, therefore, judge whether I have been unthat in and about the place, there are fair in my former communication. As to the remains of half-mutilated houses, quibbling about its method of publication because their inhabitants opposed the and circulation, it would be a ridiculous origin of our war with the French Re-waste of time. I wish a copy was in the public, burnt by Church and King hands of every person in the kingdom; mobs; and that in those receptacles of for Sir Wm. Drummond would then make resort, where its people go to drink a better and more practical use of his mild ale and talk wisdom, there are abilities and learning. With regard to scrolls inscribed with legible English the cruel bint about a prosecution, for characters "No Jacobins admitted blasphemy, and the pillory, its author, "here" I was leaving this town last like D. J. Eaton, will receive more praise, Summer in the Mail, and in passing and of a better description, than if he one of those houses whose uniserable were to be bespangled with orders and appearance appeals, in silent and pa- titles by every King in Christendom, thetic language, to the frigid faculties, O, Sir, it is cruel? You know it is, to and would bush to silence their un- talk of law in a country where it is manly prejudices, if reflection ever an- possible a picked jury may be chosen imated their torpid brains; when I by those who fatten on the wages of cor

soon discovered from the observationsruption, and who delight in persecuting of a gentleman in the coach, that he such as attempt to nndeceive the people, was the Father of the engraver of the As to the writers, whose books I have plates, in the Edipus Judaicus. He fainly quoted, being Sir W. D. himself,

[ocr errors]

"I guess no man in his senses will main- what principle of rule or right any one "tain so wild a position."---Indeed, from dares to interfere and prescribe the the wording of your Correspondent's method by which another is to exerletter, I do not believe he is serious cise his judgment. That a deal of in his assertion. But I challenge him mischief has been the result of this into the proof; for Candidus, one of the terference, no one, acquainted with three, tells Sir Wm. Drummond that he the history of his own country, much prefers the old version best, and cen- more with the history of the world, can sures him for ridiculing the Bible. Sup- deny; and whether the same quantum pose, however, I am wrong in my opi- of mischief would have taken place nion of the author of the dipus Ju- provided the bible had never been daicus; suppose he is the story teller, the known, is, in my opinion, difficult to fool, and the rain jackdaw, they wish prove. At any rate, the system of to represent him, what " necessity" was priestcraft has had a sufficient trial; there for this great and mighty parson, and it would be more becoming in the Christian Advocate, to notice his those who' profess such anxiety for the production? Why did he make such circulation of the bible, to let it take endeavours to obtain a copy, he best its chance. Let them, at any rate, knows how? Surely, the "pious, think- shew their disinterestedness, by giving "ing people of this country," could up the pounds, shillings, and pence not have their "minds tainted" by an it produces; or take pay only in that octavo book of not quite 500 pages, "of manner, and in those quantities, which the most hollow and fallacious de- those who receive their assistance can If they should find that they do not thrive so well under this system, I hope they will recollect, there will be more man

66

scription." But these are the rules agree and afford to give. the hypocrites act upon. I was a boy when Thomas Paine's works were published; but I recollect the writer was

66

at first held too contemptible for no-liness in their adopting the following
tice, and the friends to social order, maxim, than in returning to the old
"and our holy religion," were told they practice:
had nothing to fear. After a while, the
Attorney General interfered, who got a
jury to condemnPaine's books, and then the
canting junto asserted they were answer-
ed and refuted. Read our side, (said

Some other scheme must occupy their brain ;
For those who once have eat must eat again.
VARRO.

66

-LETTER V. "Advise, but force not."

ST. BERNARD's Letters. SIR.Marmontel, in his Bellisarius, [the fifteenth chapter of which, I would particularly recommend to the perusal of every person who has not read it]

66

they,) "see what Bishop Watson says." ON RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION. So says Justus; he calls the author of the Edipus Judaicus a vain jackdaw; tells the people to read the book; (which he knows cannot be had), exhorts them to attend to the Christian Advocate, and censures those who take part against him. Come, come, Justus, give up your prejudices. Let the "Sicilian Knight and British Privy Coun- says, Truth cannot fail to triumph, but "cellor," interpret the Bible his own" it must not be by the arm of flesh. way. You may depend on it I will let " By putting the sword of VENGEANCE the Archbishop's Chaplain, (who ap-" into the hand of TRUTH, you entrust pears blessed with all those amiable "ERROR with it also. The very posqualities that adorned his predecessor" session of that sword, will always be in the ever memorable time of William" deemed a sufficient authority to wield Penn) put what interpretation on it he" it without mercy, and PERSECUTION pleases. Every one that reads the "will always be on the side of the bible may undoubtedly find both in-"strongest."

struction and delight; but he will be How simple, and yet how forcible is . more likely to become a rational being, the mode of reasoning adopted by this if he be allowed to put his own con-beautiful writer. If kings were supstruction upon it, and interpret it his posed to be God's vicegerents upon earth, own way. I should like to know by and, in that capacity were allowed to

[ocr errors]

not examined history for myself; for being of a curious and speculative turn, I have made myself acquainted with most denominations of Christians at present existing in the Christian world; and after having carefully examined their tenets, studied their prejudices, and observed their conduct, I do affirm, that however tame and tolerant they may be, while low in the world, they all possess the latent seeds of persecution. These only want fostering, by the genial warmth of power, to shoot forth with an enthusiastic fury, compounded of envy, ambition, pride, hatred, and fanatic zeal; as if it were commissioned by

commit whatever enormities they pleased, in defence of what they considered, or were told by their priests was the truth, is it not evident, from the diversity of sentiments of different sovereigns, and the opposite persuasions of their various teachers, that they must necessarily, at one time, and in one country, be punishing their subjects for entertaining opinions which, at another time, and in another country, were deemed perfectly orthodox. Does not this prove incontestably, that by once admitting the principle, that the magistrate is to defend Truth, he will much oftener be found defending ERROR? Every one will easily agree, that all systems cannot be right. "Er-heaven. I would except the Quakers "ror," says the same author, "has an from the charge of being likely to evince immensity of space, and Truth is like a persecuting spirit towards other sects, "a mathematical point in the prodigious though they are capable of doing it as "void." Now, although every one claims to their own people; but the Friends of that point to himself, is it not palpable, the present day are not a religious society, as Truth is one, and Error multifarious, like the Weslian or Whitfieldian Methothat the greater portion of religious dists. They are an Aristocratical civil murders, barbarities, robberies, and in- community; a trading company, and a set carceration, must have been in defence of respectable, industrious, economical, of Error rather than of Truth. How money-getting disciplinarians; who posmodest, how humble, ought such consess no more practical religion than the siderations to make us? How cautious members of the Church of England. ought these reflections to render us, of arrogating to ourselves the sole possession of the truth, when we find that thousands who think different from us, claim the same happiness? Ought it not to make us diffident of ourselves, and forbearing towards others? Those who have studied human nature, will have perceived that this violent animosity and furious persecuting zeal, does not arise so much from a generous love of virtue, or an enthusiastic admiration of abstract truth, as from the inordinate thirst for power which pervades the heart of every human being. We wish others to think as we do, and the greater part of us would if we had the power, compel them to do it. The sword of religious persecution is an instrument upon which every party has played its tune, when raised to power. The celebrated Dr. Franklin remarks, that if we look into history, for "the character of the ancient Christians, "we shall find few who have not in their “turn been persecutors, and complainers "of persecution. The primitive Chris"tians thought persecution extremely "wrong in the pagans, but practised it on one another." I could easily give eredit to this assertion, even if I had

<6

But to return to the sentiment of Franklin, respecting the early Christians. It was shewn in my last, that they were persecuted by the Romans, at the instigation of their priests, in the same manner as the Deists are molested by us, at the instance of our priests, on account of the simplicity of their tenets. I cannot illustrate the subject better, than by quoting Justin Martyr, one of the earliest and most learned writers of the Eastern Church, born of heathen parents, educated a pagan, and who was a platonic philosopher, previous to his becoming a Christian, He resided at Rome, during the reign of Antonius Pius; and upon a persecution breaking out against the Christiaus, he presented an Apology in their behalf, pointing out in a very able manner, the impropriety and absurdity of religious persecution; which Apology caused the Emperor to send a letter to the States of Asia, not only forbidding the Christians to be persecuted, but enjoining, "that if any one hereafter shall

""

go on to inform against this sort of

Ratcliff Monthly Meeting, for being SUSPICTI
* See the case of Thomas Fuster, disowned by
of believing in ONLY ONE GOD,

« 이전계속 »