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TO MR. WILLIAM ELLIS AND OTHER JOUR
NEYMEN FLAX-DRESSERS OF LEEDS.
Dorchester Gaol, July, 9 1820. Fellow Citizens, I beg you to accept my thanks for the sum of Two Pounds, which you have voluntarily contributed towards my fine; and I am happy to inform you, that although in solitary confinement, and denied the sight of a friend, I pass my time cheerfally-in good health and spirits, with the opinions and principles which have brought me here, rather rivetted than relaxed from confinement.
Such a letter as you have addressed to me, is sufficient to dispel every gloom that naturally attends a prison. Nothing that I have ever met with in life, has afforded me so much secret satisfaction and real pleasure. I am not elevated with the warm adulation, which you have so generously bestowed on my efforts, but that such a letter should come from men in your stations in life, although it may be the hand of a journeyman flax-dresser that has written it, I claim public credit, when I say, that it contains the true dictates of philosophy. I perceive by the writing and the spelling, that it has proceeded from no hired penman; no borrowed ability, but is the effusion of a mind, or minds, where, although the education may have been confined, the ideas are unbounded. It is this that affords me pleasure, and more so, when coming from mechanics. It affords me no small degree of pleasure, to reflect that I quitted the bench, at which I had worked as a journeyman tin-plate worker, for six years, to espouse that great cause, in the behalf of which I have now the honour to be confined. It was the knowledge that the great body of the journeymen mechanics of this country were intelligent men, that has emboldened me to pursue the cause to that extremity, at which many good men have staggered, and have fancied that I had gone too far. If I find any more such, I shall say to them, look at the letter addressed to me by the journeymen flax-dressers of Leeds.
I am, fellow-citizens,
R. CARLILE. VOL III. No. 11.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE REPUBLICAN.
Having a respect for your political opinion and your bold resistance of tyrannical persecution, I have communicated to you the following facts, which shows how malignant the clerical gentry are against you; and even according to their own (professed) "moral maxims" are not justified by “christian liberty." A dissenting parson, alias minister, not a year ago, uttered the following violent sentence respecting you from the pulpit :-Carlile! Carlile !! I say ! that monster among men!! says “ burn the Bible !" for it hath been productive of all the present distresses ! The reverend priest who delivered the above sentence, was the reverend Mr. Freer, of CumberJand-street Chapel, Shoreditch. Although I do not agree that the Bible has been productive of all the present distress, yet I must confess, that the locusts (alias bishops) make it a mask for corruption, that they may get an immense income from a bleeding country; and to support a corrupt government, which cannot exist without priestcraft." The above statement is a fact which you may rely on,
I am, Sir,
We have been induced to give insertion to the foregoing letter, that we might accompany it with a notice of an extract from a letter which appeared in the Imperial Magazine for June. We shall say nothing of the Right Reverend Mr. Freer's exclamations, but leave our readers to amuse themselves with their own observations, after saying that we are not aware of having made use of any such expression, as that the Bible was the sole cause of the present distress ; we consider it to be a main cause, and also that it hath produced general misery wherever it hath been acknowledged to be a sacred and divine book. With respect to the above-mentioned extract, it purported to be a letter from a Scotchman, a gardener to some gentleman in the neighbourhood of London, to his father now resident in Scotland. It appeared that the father had written to him to have his opinions on the propriety of a general toleration of all religious opinions, and was particularly anxious to have his son's opinion of Carlile's trial and
66 As to
punishment; as in Scotland, among his neighbours, there was a difference on the word and nature of blasphemy. The Scotch gardener sets out like an intelligent and liberal minded christian, on the necessity of one christian tolerating another, and pilfers an observation of Paine's, that the legislature might as well pass an act to tolerate the Almighty to receive the worship of his creatures, as to legislate on what form should be observed in worshipping him. The Scotchman's letter read on very smoothly and liberally, until he came to the subject of Carlile, and here, in a moment, he burst into all the intolerant bigotry and fury, that characterizes the christian towards all who dare to say, that Jesus was a man and not God. Carlile, he says, his punishment was just and becoming, but too long delayed. I consider Carlile and all that are like him, to be but one remove from devils;" and again, in another part, “ Carlile is the devil's avowed agent."
Thou liest, Scotchman, for we do not believe in the existence of the devil beyond the brain of a christian. The Scotchman goes on to argue what is blasphemy, and shows that it is justifiable to put a man to death for it, because, we have scripture authority for it; and does not scruple to bring forward that horrible precedent, where Jezebel causes Naboth to be impeached by false witnesses of blasphemy, and to be put to death for it, to enable her busband Ahab to possess his (Naboth’s) vineyard. Our blasphemy somewhat resembles the blasphemy of Naboth, for which we would refer the reader to the 1st Kings, chap. 21. The King wished to rob him of his vineyard, and Naboth stoutly opposed him, for which he was tried and executed for blasphemy! The Scotchman should read the writings of his famous countrymen Lord Kaimes, David Hume, Adam Smith, and some of the present professors at Edinburgh, and he will then be better qualified to write on the subject of blasphemy.
IN THE KING'S BENCH.
The King against JANE CARLILE.
INDICTMENT FOR LIBEL. Richard Carlile, late of London, Bookseller, '
now a prisoner in his Majesty's gaol of Dorchester, maketh oath and saith, That the two publications which now form the subject of this in dictnient against Jane Carlile, this deponent's wife, were first published and publicly sold by his order, in his shop in Fleet Street, in the year 1819. That one of them, which forms a volume, entitled Sherwin's Life of Thomas Paine, was published in the month of July 1819, and that the whole impression was nearly sold off before the month of November; when this deponent's business was violently stopped by a seizure of all his property, to meet a fine of 15001. levied on him by this court.
Apd saith, that the other publication, entitled The Republican, No. 9, Vol. I. was first published in the month of October 1819, under this deponent's direction and by his servants; and that this de. ponent had the sole management of the business during his continement in the King's Bench Prison, from the 15th October to the 16th November 1819, the day on which this deponent's business was stopped.
And saith, that all of the aforesaid publications which have been in the possession of this deponent's wife, must have been a few unsold copies, which were returned from the country in lieu of money, when this deponent's several agents were called on to balance their accounts. And saith, that this deponent's wife has not caused the printing of either of those publications since the month of January last, when she opened the business on her own and children's account. And that any such copy or copies which might have been sold since this depo. nent's wife has managed the business for herselt, must have been under the conviction, tliat as a large edition of each of them had been publislied by this deponent, without any complaint being urged against them, they were harmless and unobjectionable.
And saith, that this deponevt's wife, since she has managed the business for herself, bath often refused to publish such publications as this deponent wished to circulate, particularly the report of the proceedings on his, deponent's, trials; she being anxious to avoid any publication that might bring a prosecution upon her.
And this deponent further saith, that he is not aware that bis wife has ever troubled herself to enquire as to the truth or falsehood on which this or that opinion is founded, but has uniformly retained
those opinions in which she was educated by her parents ; consequently, this deponent verily believes, that his wife would as wil. lingly sell publications containing opinions diametrically opposite to those for which she is now prosecuted, as any other, being guided by the same motive as all other booksellers are, to take orders for and supply all descriptions of publications that the public may be pleased to order from her, provided such publications be consistent with morality and decency.
R. CARLILE. Sworn before
in Dorchester Gaol, this
To the Honourable the House of Commons of Great Britair, and
Ireland, in Parliament assembled. The Petition of Jane Carlile, of Fleet Street, in the City of London,
Bookseller, Humbly sheweth,
That your petitioner, being exposed to a prosecution for libel, at the instance of an association calling itself the Society for the Suppression of Vice, is given to understand that the association is a secret one, and very extensive; and fears that she cannot obtain a just and fair trial, as it is probable that some of her jurymen may be members of this association, or influenced by those who are members.
That your petitioner has used every possible means to obtain a list of such persons as complete this association, but has been informed, that no publication of their names has been made for many years past; she has been further informed, that all the meetings of this association are secret, and none admitted but members ; your petitioner therefore prays, as she has no other means of ascertaining the names of those who have so conspired against her, that your honourable house will be pleased to order that the list of the names of those persons who compose this association, be returned to your honourable house, and be laid upon your table. And your petitioner, as in duty bound,
shall ever pray,
VOL. III. No. 12.