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know their powers, and when they see foul play, will step in between the prisoner and judicial chicanery.
I could with pleasure accompany Mr. Carlile through every part of this manly letter, and shew to you, the benefits which must arise to society, were his opinions acted upon; but, having read the whole book, it is needless to go into detail upon all the topics. By this time you must have made up your minds for or against me. Two things I wish to impress upon you ;-first, Mr. Carlile is a total stranger to me: secondly; that I had never read his book till I was prosecuted for it.
You must also have made up your minds upon the conduct pursued by my prosecutors; and I will here ask, what right have they to set themselves up as public censors? The laws know them not: and I am not a little astonished that the learned Judge has not long ago so decided.
The proper law officers, not undertaking to prosecute, shew their opinion to be, that no offence has been committed.
Gentlemen, it is time to bring my defence to a conclusion; I have trespassed long on your patience; I felt warmly against the spirit of intolerance; and, therefore, have been interested in the cause, as well as for my own personal liberty.
This is a new era in religion and politics. New principles are rooting up old prejudices and unjust practices; therefore, cannot fail to disturb the frame of society. The persecutors only raise a ferment, when, by a little good and gentle management, opinions would lead to practices without ruffling the public mind. But, Gentlemen, if it was now the fashion to impale men, or to consume them by fire and faggot for heresy, my enemies seem willing enough to go to such cruel extremities.
But I do believe you will teach them better, and, I flatter myself, that the Judge, with a true regard for the honour and dignity of the Bench, will advise an acquittal, and restore the harmony of the public mind, as far as my case can go.
I commit my liberty to you, and God direct you to return the verdict according to your consciences; then shall I be satisfied that I have been tried by a fair and honest Jury.
I would just observe to you, Gentlemen, that, in the evidence offered by Duke, he said he saw nothing particular in Mr. Carlile's shop; but when the words were put in his mouth by Mr. Adolphus, he said he saw the "TEMPLE OF REASON," and a placard in the window.
The Com. Serj. then summed up at great length, for upwards of two hours, in the course of which be adverted to the sentences of several who had been convicted for publishing libels, on whom fine, imprisonment, corporal punishment, and the pillory, had been inflicted; and said, under the sanction of his oath, he considered the publication to be a most atrocious libel.
The Jury considered the verdict for about a quarter of an hour, and then asked whether a verdict could be returned upon any particular count in the indictment, or only generally.
Com. Serj.-A verdict may be returned either generally, or upon a particular count or counts. The Jury then retired for about twenty minutes, and on their return gave a general verdict-Guilty!!!
The prisoner was sentenced to two years imprisonment in the House of Correction, Giltspur-street, and to be of good behaviour during life, under recognizances of 500l.!!!
The Common Serjeant told the Governor of the Compter, Mr. Teague, after Holmes got there, that, if hard labour was not expressed in the sentence, it was implied.
W. V. Holmes completed the period of his imprisonment in Fe bruary, 1824, and after visiting Mr. Carlile in Dorchester Gaol, set out instantly to open a shop in Sheffield, 28, West Bar Green, where
be commenced the open sale of all the publications, similar to that for which he had been imprisoned, and of those which had been prosecuted in particular. He was menaced with new prosecutions, but nobly defied them, and is now proceeding in his business unmolested. SO POWERFUL IS TRUTH AND HONESTY!
The following is the list of monies he received as subscriptions from strangers, during his imprisonment:
£ s. d.
Left at shop at various
A friend to merit....
Isle of Wight Lady
0 14 0
An unknown friend
W. D. 0
A Leicester Republican 0 6
0 3 6 0 1 0
0 1 0
A Friend in Derbyshire 0
A. S. a widow's mite...... 0
£ s. d.
An enemy to persecution 4
D. King and J. R.
Mr. Wroe, Manchester
Printed and Published by R. Carlile, 84, Fleet-street.
GIRT OF IRVING LEVY
TRIAL OF JOHN BARKLEY,
(ONE OF THE SHOP-MEN OF RICHARD CARLILE,)
The Constitutional Association
A SEDITIOUS AND BLASPHEMOUS LIBEL.
But some are ready to cry out, What shall there be done to blasphemie? Them I would first exhort, not thus to terrifie and pose the people with a Greek word; but to teach them better what it is.
WITH AN APPENDIX
Containing an ACCOUNT of the PROCEEDINGS in the HOUSE of COMMONS on the PETITION of the DEFENDANT.
PRINTED BY R. AND A. TAYLOR, SHOE-LANE;
AND PUBLISHED BY EFFINGHAM WILSON, ROYAL EXCHANGE.
Testimonies of several Eminent Advocates of Christianity against the Prosecution of Deistical Writers.
"Christianity itself was published to the world in the most enlightened age; it invited and challenged the examination of the ablest judges, and stood the test of the severest scrutiny: the more it is brought to the light, to the greater advantage will it appear. When, on the other hand, the dark ages of barbarism came on, as every art and science was almost extinguished, so was Christianity in proportion oppressed and overwhelmed by error and superstition. It hath always flourished or decayed together with learning and liberty: it will ever stand or fall with them. It is therefore of the utmost importance to the cause of true religion, that it be submitted to an open and impartial examination; that every disquisition concerning it be allowed its free course; that even the malice of its enemies should have its full scope, and try its utmost strength of argument against it. Let no man be alarmed at the attempts of atheists or infidels; let them produce their cause, let them bring forth their strong reasons to their own confusion; afford them not the advantage of restraint, the only advantage their cause admits of: let them not boast the false credit of supposed arguments and pretended demonstrations which they are forced to suppress." Sermon, 1758.
"Mistake me not," says Bishop Warburton, addressing the Freethinkers, "here are no insinuations intended against liberty. For surely whatever be the cause of this folly (free-thinking), it would be unjust to ascribe it to the freedom of the press, which wise men will ever hold one of the most precious branches of civil liberty.......Nor less friendly is this liberty to the generous advocate of religion: for how could such a one, when in earnest convinced of the strength of evidence in his cause, desire an adversary whom the laws had before disarmed; or value a victory, where the magistrate must triumph with him? Even I, the meanest in this controversy, should have been ashamed of projecting the defence of the great Jewish legislator, did not I know that his assailants and defenders skirmished all under one equal law of liberty.This liberty then may you long possess !" Dedication to the Freethinkers of The Divine Legation of Moses.
"The freedom of inquiry, which has subsisted in this country during the present century, has eventually been of great service to the cause of Christianity. It must be acknowledged that the works of our deistical writers have made some converts to infidelity ;......but at the same time we must needs allow, that these works have stimulated some distinguished characters amongst the laity, and many amongst the clergy, to exert their talents in removing such difficulties in the Christian system, as would otherwise be likely to perplex the unlearned, to shipwreck the faith of the unstable, and to induce a reluctant scepticism into the minds of the most serious and best intentioned...... The Christian religion has nothing to fear from the strictest investigation of the most learned of its adversaries.' Tracts, p. 12, preface.
"The proper punishment of a low, mean, indecent scurrilous way of writing seems to be neglect, contempt, scorn, and general indignation.......This punishment he (Woolston) has already had in part, and will probably have more and more, if he should go on in his rude and brutal way of writing; and if we leave all further punishment to Him to whom vengeance belongs, I have thought it might be much for the honour of ourselves and of our religion. But if he should be punished farther, the stream of resentment and indignation will turn; especially if the punishment should be severe; and it is likely that a small punishment will not suffice to engage to silence nor to an alteration of the manner of writing." Letter to the Bishop of Chester, respecting the prosecution of Woolston, 1729.
IN consequence of the interest excited by the proceedings detailed in this little publication, a new edition has been called for, which the Editor hastens to lay before the public. His sole object is, to diffuse more generally the sentiments and reasoning contained in the address of the Defendant's Counse', by presenting them to the world in a form which is likely to attract attention. The Editor is only desirous of making converts to the doctrine, that to prosecute opinions is to confirm and circulate them; and that the chains of error are never so firmly riveted, as when the hand of power attempts to break them*.
Much irreparable evil has arisen from the late prosecutions for Deistical publications. As an instance of this it is proper to state that two of the four persons, who have lately been prosecuted for selling the paltry pamphlet which was the subject of this trial, were, previously to the prosecutions of Carlile and his family, industrious mechanics in the north of England, respectably educated and connected. Their attention was first attracted by those prosecutions to an examination of the ol noxious doctrines: they naturally concluded, that such opinions were only opposed by force because they could not be answered by argument; and they felt that prejudice in favour of the promulgators, which always arises in the human mind in behalf of the supposed victims of oppression. They therefore studied the writings of the opponents of religion, under circumstances very unfavourable to the formation of a just and
"It is," says Bishop TAYLOR, “ unnatural and unreasonable to persecute disagreeing opinions. Unnatural; for understanding, being a thing wholly spiritual, cannot be restrained, and, therefore, neither punished by corporal inflictions. It is in aliena republica, a matter of another world. You may as well cure the colic by brushing a man's clothes, or fill a man's belly with a syllogism....... For, is an opinion ever the more true or false for being persecuted? Some men have believed it the more, as being provoked into a confidence and vexed into a resolution. But the thing itself is not the truer: and though the hangman may confute a man with an inexplicable dilemma, yet not convince his understanding.......Force, in matters of opinion, can do no good; but is very apt to do hurt; for no man can change his opinion when he will, or be satisfied in his reason that his opinion is false because discountenanced. ......But if a man cannot change his opinion when he lists, nor ever does, heartily or resolutely, but when he cannot do otherwise; then, to use force may make him an hypocrite, but never to be a right believer: and so, instead of erecting a trophy to God and true religion, we build a monument for the devil." Liberty of Prophesying, 13, § 10. See also the opinions of eminent Christian writers on this subject in the preceding page, and that of Professor Campbell, cited in page 12,