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either in cases of government abroad, or in cases of trial in our Courts of Law at home, I will war with it to the utmost of my power:

It is curious to observe, and worthy of your Lordship's notice, how the advocates of these persecutions have been obliged to shift their positions, and excuses for their conduct, with the growing knowledge of mankind. When heretics were burnt, a plausible reason was assigned, that it was to the advantage of the victim to destroy his body for the purpose of saving his soul. Had the idea been founded in truth, it would have been not only plausible, bnt praiseworthy, and taking a comparative view of the knowledge of the times, then and now, there is a greater excuse for those who destroyed heretics, than for those who now imprison the bodies and confiscate the property of individuals, for publishing philosophical books, the truth and morality of which are unimpeachable, and the arguments they contain unanswerable. Yes, my Lords, I look upon the Bonnors and the Gardiners of former times, as much less criminal and mischievous to society, and as possesing more of humanity and patriotism, than the present Judges and Law Officers, who of late have been so much employed in ruining and destroying the healths of moral and honest individuals, whose only crime was, and is, a desire to improve the condition of mankind.

When the cry of heresy ceased, that was, when the majority of the people became heretics, as they will soon become Deists, and when it was no longer fashionable to burn bodies for the purpose of keeping up that brutal notion of preserving an ideal phantom called the soul, from eternal burning, power was gratified with the increase of human misery upon the pretence that those men who differed from men in power were blasphemers. When there were no Deists, different sects of Christians were the blasphemers, and the established Church punished all as blasphemers who dissented from her tenets, until the dissenters became very numerous, and exhibited the madness of persecution in its proper colours and its inefficacy to produce the desired effects.

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Now the Deists are become the only blasphemers; and Churchmen, Dissenters, and all, are united to persecute them: until it has become a question, which has the majority of the people, Deists or Christians. The first cry against the Deists was about the horrors which follow an absence of all religion, and the destruction of public morals arising therefrom; but it has been both theoretically and practically proved, that morals have no connection with, or dependence upon, religion, that the Deists and Atheists of this and other countries are most distinguished moralists, and that social order and social improvement are matters wholly connected with morality, totally unconnected with religion, and in a great measure dependant upon free discussion, and the absence of all persecution and mental fear.


Under all these views of my case, considering, first, that there is no evidence of my having sold the book: second, that I have had no trial, that I was not allowed to read my prepared defence to the Jury: third, that there is in fact no breach of law in this case; and

fourth, that the impolicy, the immortality, and the mischief of all such prosecutions, to say nothing of the odious hypocrisy which every where attends them, and results from them; I feel proud and undaunted, at my position, and am confident, that the law does not allow, and that the Court cannot justly award me any punishment; but that, your Lordships are bound in duty, in truth, in mortality, in justice, and by your oaths of office, to set me free from this pro


After some consulation with the other Judges,

Mr. Justice Bailey, pronounced the following judgment:William Tunbrige, you are here to receive the judgment of this Court. You have been convicted by a Jury, upon an Information exhibited against you by his Majesty's Attorney-General, for the publication of a blasphemous libel. This is not the first time that prosecutions have been instituted for publishing the same libel. It has at an early period been prosecuted, and a person of the name of Carlile convicted, who afterwards received the sentence of this Court. That, therefore, was a warning to you and others, that this book ought not to be sold. You state to day, that before the time of Judge Hale, blasphemy was not an offence by the law of the land. It is quite clear that in his time-in the time of a most pious and conscientious Judge, the question was carefully considered, and that, from that time to this, blasphemy has been held to be a crime by the law of the land, and prosecutions have been instituted which would have never been passed over by the Legislature unnoticed, if they did not think them justifiable by the law of the land. The law of this country, upon religious opinions, is as liberal as the law of any country in the world. It allows every man to judge for himself. It does not prescribe system of faith to any man. It leaves every man at liberty to adopt any what species of worship he pleases, and it leaves him at liberty not to adopt any if he pleases, but it does not suffer any man to abuse and vilify the religion of the land. You are not aware of the mischief, which, by these publications, you might do, nor of the high religious crime which you might have to answer for. If you unsettle the opinions of the young and unwary, who have not had an opportunity of judging for themselves if you take from their minds the sentiments which religion had inspired, you might be the author of all their future crimes; that is a most serious and important view which you ought to take of your conduct. This is not a place for discussing the principles of the Christian Religion; but this I must say, that the wisest and the best of men have applied themselves to the subject, and have believed it; and whoever looks to the principles and doctrines of the Christian Religion, will see, that they are calculated for the suppression of vice, that they are calculated for the suppression of the violence of the strong; and whoever looks to the tenets of the religion, if he believe their truth, will be thankful that so much light has been shed upon the world, and such a restraint placed upon those who, but for the sanction of religion, might apply their strength and violence to the oppression of the weak and unprotected. Thank God, that I myself have examined that book, and

have formed a firm belief of the doctrines which it contains and the principles which it inculcates. That is not a foundation for the Court to act upon, but the ground upon which the Court proceeds is this-although it is legal for any man, temperately and decorously, to examine and discuss the evidences of the Christian Religion, yet it is not competent for any man to vilify and abuse it; and no man can read the paragraphs in the record without seeing that it is abuse, and nothing else, of the Christian Religion. If this, or similar publications, have the effect of unsettling the minds of the young-of removing from their minds that belief which the Christian Religion inculcates that there is another world, and that all must answer for their actions here, before Him who can see the heart-they do not advance mortality or the good of society, but they strike at the root of the best interest of society; and whoever, by such publications, unsettles the opinions of the young, may conscientiously have to answer for whatever crimes they may subse quently be guilty of; that is one of the reasons for which they have considered offences of this kind, offences against the law of the land; your publication was one for which another has been convicted, and therefore, the publication by you, was a publication in defiance of law. You state there was no evidence of publication by you; I think there was an abundant evidence to satisfy the minds of the Jury, and that it was impossible for them to come to any other conclusion. As to your having been stopped by my Lord chief Justice in the progress of your speech, that seems to me most proper. You had a right to use topics, in your address to the Jury, to shew that in publishing this book you had no guilty intentions, but you had no right to make an attack upon the religion of the land. The Court, taking into consideration all the circumstances, and feeling it their bounden duty to protect those who have not an opportunity of judging for themselves, from the mischievous and poisonous influence of such publications doth order and adjudge, that you be imprisoned in his Majesty's House of Correction, Cold Bath-fields, for two years; that you pay to the King a fine of £100.; that you enter into recognizance for your good behaviour for five years, yourself in £100. and two sureties in £50. each, and that you be imprisoned until such fine be paid, and such recognizances entered into.

The Defendant then exclaimed-" There is a pious sentence, pronounced by a Christian tribunal, for opposing a Christian Church, of which the Right reverend Father in God, Percy Jocelyn, Lord Bishop of Clogher, is one of the ornaments!" He was immediately removed from the Court.

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Printed and Published by R. Carlile, 135, Fleet Street.

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Palmer's Principles of Nature,






Adjourned Sessions for the County of Middlesex,


24TH DAY OF APRIL, 1823,









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