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peculiar situation, nor that of your hated persecutors, “the general plunderers and stultifiers of mankind.” And though we feel acutely for the situations of the prosecuted and persecuted champions of free discussion, yet we are sorry the prosecuting tyrants bave relaxed in their holy Christian zeal, so sure are we, that it would ere long have produced the climax of our wishes-the universal reformation of men and things, tyranny of every kind powerless, and in reality a highly civilized state of society.
That you may long live to expose the many headed monster-religion, with all the rant and cant of the age, is the sincere wish of
Yours most respectfully,
200 John Nicholson of TodJ. France
2 6 morden Hiram France
2 6 A Friend to Freedom J. Gibson
1 0. G. Swinden W. Kilbourn
2 6 Every man enjoy his own An Enemy to Prosecu
opinion tions for matters of
S. A. Opinion
16 D. Naylor J. Nicholson
1 O J. Horsfall A Female Republican 1 Ο Η. M. Howell
04 3 0 1 0 2 0 5 0
TO MR. JOHN DICKINSON, DEWSBURY,
Dorchester Gaol, Sept. 21, 1824. The age of prosecution seems to have passed; but so long as any person be kept in prison for the publication of a matter of opinion, and that of things, not of men, the age of persecution remains. Of this you and your fellow subscribers have evinced your sense, by your subscriptions, by your names, which are always felt by me much heavier, much more important than the sums of money attached to them, though money, it is not to be denied, constitutes with us, as well as with our tyrants, the principal weapon of warfare, and is uot to be slighted or treated as a matter of indifference. We certainly can do with less, with a very small amount, a mere nothing, in comparison with the sums which our tyrants require to maintain their ground; and this because our little is honestly and reasonably applied, and supported by honesty and reason: theirs bas, no ally but intrigue, bribery, corruption, and mere brute physical force: no honest, no reasonable, no voluntary ally. So long as we can command as many farthings as they command pounds, we shall exbibit superiority over them.
A farthing ip the pound do I say. I have been calculating. With a farthing in the pound of what is raised in this country in the shape of tax, I would engage to overthrow the Christianity, and all the tyrants of the country in seven years. By the government, for the purposes of state, corruption, &c.; by the priests for the purposes of religion, that is in a great measure for themselves; and by parochial, corporate, and county taxes, there is not less than a sum of a hundred millions of pounds sterling raised in this country. The same number of farthings would amount to hear as one to a thousand, there being nine hundred aud sixty farthings in a pouud; which would make a sum total of nine bundred and sixty pounds to a million, or the enormous sum of ninety-six thousand pounds per annum; which is more than a bundred times that wbich I have bad as an income, to combat the whole hundred millions with, for the last six years. That is to say, I have successfully combatted the revenue of a hundred millions, with the hundredth part of a farthing in the pound: and with all the power that this sum of money
gives the tyrants, they cannot put me down, with the weapons of reason, honesty, and common sense in my hands. I have included the parochial, corporate, and county taxes; for they are so many weapons in the hands of the little ty. rants, these who have the aggregate of private and direct individual influence. When I see a tradesman or any otber man, and I do see and hear of many such, who says to me: “ I am a friend of yours, and decidedly of your opinions; but I dare not let it be known among my neighbours." I see a man who is subject to a bad magistracy, and to the bad influence of priests, to those who levy and expend parochial, county and corporate taxes. These little tyrants are my most powerful enemies; for they deter my actual friends from giving me open support.
The Bishop of Bristol bas lately been on a confirming tourin this bis diocese; but the Vicar of Cerne turned away every applicant for a ticket, or warrant of fitness, of those whom be suspected to have fingered one of my publications! Have you, or hare you not, seen any of Carlile's publications, was his catechetical examination as to fitness; and not, can you repeat the Lord's Prayer, the Creed, and the Ten Commandments, as I have knowo many learn, for no other purpose than to pass a confirmation! Dreadful is the power
of superstitious customs! This redoubtable Vicar was so gallant, as to insolently turn away Mr. Hassell's sister, a young woman about or under twenty, because her brother had identified himself with me! He declares, that he cannot ensure a passport to heaven for more than seventeen or eighteen of the present inbabitants of Cerne: and some of these bave shewn that an amorous disposition is one of the essentials for admission to that heaven, where there is to be a community of women upon Plato's plan, and none to be married or given in marriage. The Vicar bimself evinces, that the spirit of faith renders him exceedingly amorous; for he has been courting and preparing for another marriage, almost every day since be buried bis first wife: and though his friends beg him to be so decent as to let a year pass over between the death of one and marriage of another, his looks and actions seem to curse all such recommendations, customis, and prude-like notions. This man is almost a caricature of a priest. To foibles as a man, so much more than ordinary, as to amount to silliness, he adds all the licentious hypocrisy, and licentious tyranny, that a priest can exhibit. I have been desired to explain, that the maid whom be kissed in the bower, in so singularly a pressivg manner, was the daughter
of a former Vicar, to whom his son, lately dead, had paid addresses up to the time of his death: and that on feeling the amorous propensity, he said: “ I will give you a blessed kiss for the sake of my dear son.” On turning round, he saw, in an adjoining garden, the servant maid of a neighbour, and, on moving off, he cautioned her, in a very imperative tone, not to say any thing about what she had seen! He might as well have employed the Cerne crier to forbid the inhabitants to talk about it!
Returning you and fellow subscribers, thanks; I remain, devotedly yours, whilst you are such men as at present,
TO RICHARD CARLILE, DORCHESTER GAOL.
Edinburgh, Sept. 1st, in the year 1824 SIR,
of the Carpenter's Wife's Son. I MENTIONED in my last published letter, that I had commenced business as a bookseller, to have a better opportunity of coming in contact with liberal-minded men, and of disseminating such books as tend to uproot the Christian superstition; but I have been rather unsuccessful in my attempt, and shall now relate wbat has been the consequence.
On the 20th of February last, the Sheriff of Edinburgh, with some of his clerks and officers, entered my shop, made me a prisoner, and commenced plundering the shop of such books and pamphlets as they thought fit; which they took away with myself. It seems to be the practice of the authorities in Scotland, wben they apprehend a bookseller, or any other person wbom they suspect to be of Anti-Christian principles, to seize their books at the same time. Whether these proceedings are authorized by Statute law, I do not know; but such is their practice: perhaps such proceedings are necessary for the support of the Holy Christian Religion, now in its dotage. However, I do not think it was just or honest, to seize and carry away from my shop, such books as are sold by every other bookseller; or even to take away any of my books they ought to have been content with those purchased by their spies, as it was only upon these that they could form an indictment.
I was kept in close confinement six days, and no person,
except my keepers, allowed to see me. During that time, I was twice examined by the Sheriff, about selling Deistical books, I told him, that I had sold some, and did not conceive that I had done wrong, as I knew of no law to probibit the sale of such books. That I bad not publicly exbibited for sale, books that I knew to bave been made the subject of prosecution; as I bad no wish to give offence to such of my custoiners as did not like them, but that I acted on a conscientious principle, and was convinced that there was no harm in selling Deistical books to those who were anxious to have them, or to men who were of Deistical opinions. That I had furnished the books wbich were now laid down before me, to a person who informed me that bis name was Mr. Smith, and who also professed to be a Deist; but I now saw that his real name was John Nugent, and by his base proceedings I have every reason to believe that he was a Christian. Tbe other person, whose name was written on the title pages of the books, as a witness that they were bought from me, I knew nothing about, as he had never made himself known to me.
After the examination of myself and some printers who had wrought for me, I was liberated on finding bail to the amount of £ 200. to appear at any time when called upon within the period of six months. On the first of May I was served with two indictments: the first contained the Prayer of Nang-Si, and extracts from the 7th number of the 9th volume of the Republican, Jehovah Unveiled, and the Age of Reason. The second contained the Zetetic Society's Shorther Catechism, and extracts from the first and second letters from the President of the Zetetic Society, to the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and from Queen Mab. According to the summons that was sent with the indictments, my trial was to have taken place ou the 17th of May; but it was put off to the 31st, on account, I believe, of the death of a daughter of the Lord Justice Clerk, the presiding Judge in our criminal Court.
For some time, it was my intention to make a defence, both of the principles which the books advanced, and of the sale of them; but after many consultations with my counsel, I was strongly advised by them not to attempt it, as any kind of defence, they said, would assuredly be the ruin of myself and family*; nor would the newspapers give it the
The truth is that Mr. Affleck received bints not to be misunderstood that if he did defend the publications, the consequence would be transportation, of which the Judges had the power.