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"To put men in prison merely on account of their religious belief, or

persuasion is a great oppression, and properly speaking FALSB IM. PRISONMENT ; to fine them, or take away their estates for that cause, is ROBBERY: to put them to death for not acting against their consciences, is MURDER."-GROTIOUS, Epistolarum, Amicorum.

Drictated by Truth and Dedicated by Friendship.


IN THE TEMPLE OF REASON. Who for pretended impiety and blasphemy, was buried alive in a dud.

goon of despotism, io Dorchester Bastille, Nov. 16th, 1819.

If moral virtue lead to moral good,
And bright example make it understood:
Here read the lesson, from immured worth,
Which few dare teach on this servile earth.

Here rests a mau who always dar'd be brave,
And scorned the falsehood of each vicious slave,
Was free to think and act by virtue's laws,
And,strove to conquer in pure Reason's cause,
He strove—but not basely, by the sophist's art,
But with sincere, honest, and zealous heart;
A conduct founded on fair candour's rules,
Unknown to subtle hypocritic fools;
“Slave to no sect, he took no private road,
“ But look'd through Nature up to Nature's God."
Such Carlile was, and how he did excel,
In friendship, let recording friendship tell.
His pray'r" dear Liberty" (for when she's
Then vice and virtue interweave in one,)
"O guard thy Briton's to the latest hour,
“O guard thy Briton's from proud pricstcraft's power."

Camberwell, June 19, 1820.





As this might be presumed to form the origin of all law relative to the idle and vague charge of blasphemy, I conceive, that my situation will, in some measure, excuse a short digression on this subject. The common acceptation of the word blasphemy has been, in Greece and in Rome, a cursing or evil speaking of the IMMORTAL GODS, such as Jupiter and others, Amongst the Jews, it related to Jehovah; and throughout Christendom, it has been made applicable to Jehovah, Jesus, and some anonymous Ghost, called Holy. It has in all countries been a word considered as applicable to the defamation of some deity. I felt a little staggered when receiving the sentence of the Court of King's Bench on a conviction for blasphemy; and when I stated to the court, that Jesus himself had been convicted and put to death on a charge of blasphemy, to hear Mr. Justice Bajley deny it, and say

that Jesus was not charged with blasphemy. Not having a copy of the New Testament with me, I could not refer to it extempore, and although I was contradicted by the pious judge a second time, I knew that I was right and that he was wrong.

We find the assertion in the Gospel according to St. Mark, the fourteenth chapter, and at the sixty-first and four following verses:"Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the son of the Blessed ? And Jesus said, I am: And ye shall see the son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of Heaven. Then the priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy; what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy; and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.' One would have imagined that Mr. Justice Bailey knew the contents of the New Testament better, but I verily think that the pious judge was staggered at my observation, and that he was obliged to wipe the impression from his mind, the better to go through the severe sentence, which he was instructed from the cabinet to pass upon me. Yes, yes, Mr. Jus



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tice Bailey, the whole of that business has left a stain upon the court, and many other stains have been left on it since that time, which I hope you will live to answer for in this life. Mr. Justice Bailey put a new construction on the word blasphemy, and when he knew that I had no further

opportunity of speaking on that occasion, he said, “You are not charged with committing blasphemy against God, but yours is a blasphemy against men in wishing to deprive them of the comforts of religion.” I wish Judge Abbott had told me that on the Mock Trial, I should have had more to say. My information charged me with having incurred the “high displeasure of Almighty God!" I rather think that Mr, Justice Bailey had read the Theological Works of Paine, and if he had, he must have been well aware, that, the name of Jesus out of the question, Paine strives to inculcate piety towards the Almighty God. It is Jehovah, the Jewish God, that he wishes to draw the minds of men from, and elevate them to seek and adore the Almighty God of Nature. As sure as I am in Dorchester Gaol, the Bible must fall before such books as that of Paine's. The priests well know this, and they would gladly crucify me or any other publisher, who publishes books such as I have done, and will continue to do whilst I have the means and the opportunity, I have no inspiration to boast of: I have no new religion to inculcate ; I only wish every human being to examine well the ground of that which the priest and the law imposes upon him,

The word blasphemy applied to men has been left to Mr. Justice Bayley, it has never been thought of before, but as it applies more strictly to men than to God, meaning nothing more than to speak evil of, I cannot well dispute the propriety of his observation. But I ever will dispute the propriety of Mr. Justice Bailey's sending me to three years solitary confinement, where I cannot breathe the open air, nor see a friend, and emptying my house of its contents, merely for speaking evil of his religion! I should think that if he had the least idea of a future day of judgment, where he would have to account for the actions of this life, he would not feel an easy mind under it. I do not believe that he has any such idea, or he could not so bely his conscience, as he has done in my case, and some subsequent to mine. I plead guilty to speaking evil of the Christian religion, and my excuse for doing it is, that I believe it to be opposed to the truth. As for blasphemy, in its common acceptation, I never did commit įt, neither baye I ever published a book that has contained a

blasphemous sentence, nor an obscene sentence, unless it has been to mark it with reprobation. I have opposed the religion of a party with power, whose private, or secular interest it is to protect that religion, whether true or false, they care not. Judge Abbott's whole conduct was an admission that his religion was founded in error, for he never attempted to contradict my assertions to that point, but merely observed, “ I shall not sit here and allow you to shew that the Christian religion is falsc!" If we reason rightly on the word blasphemy, we must come to the conclusion, that there can be no such an act committed as blasphemy, against an omnipotent God, in the common acceptation of the word. It is impossible, that any human being can, at the same time, believe in an omnipotent God, such as the God of Nature must be, and speak evil of him. He who ridicules, or speaks evil of the God of Nature, must be either insaneorignorant, in either case he cannot be said to havea sufficient idea or comprehension of the wonderful powers of nature, so as to excite his mind to admiration. True veneration of God consists in a knowledge of his works, sufficient to excite admiration in the mind. When we know God we cannot fail to admire him, and to admire is the true definition of worship. Therefore all public worship must, in some measure, fall short of its professed object, since where one ritual is the continued form of worship for centuries, the minds of such pretended worshippers are habituated from their infancy to their death to contain words, and they regularly go through the form of this professed worship, without having ever once for a moment had their minds elevated to the knowledge and admiration of the God of Nature. It is a fictitious form of worship which has created nothing but hypocrites and tyrants. I must confess that some parts of the language in the ritual of the established church is very good, and perhaps approaches as near to natural religion, as any other existing mode of worship. The Dissenters from the established church have, in one instance, improved on its ritual, they say, that where a person prays, or reads a sermon from a written or printed book, it is not a genuine form of prayer and worship, and does not proceed from the heart and the understanding of the individual. They are so far right, but the the same thing might be retort

upon them, by he who worships the God of Nature only; he might say to the Dissenters, where is the difference, whether you write your ideas agreeable to the religion taught in a printed book, or whether you deliver them extempore? in either case your ideas have the same origin, or at least your


words. The difference only is this, the one proceeds by a retentive memory, the other assists his memory by a written or printed copy of what he wishes to offer. Both are the religion of a book, and neither constitutes a worship of the God

of Nature. We must read and understand the Book of Nature before we are competent to worship the God of Nature. It is on this ground that I would abolish all public worship, and turn the minds of mankind to the study of nature by instructing them in all kinds of art and science, which have their foundation in nature and nature alone. Such instruc tions alone can elevate the mind to a true worship of God.” Our present religious sectarians have no idea of a God: it is the name only which they are taught to worship, and each forms and fashions it agreeable to his own phantasy. Each condemns the notions of the other, and thus mankind are kept in a continued broil on the subject of a false and unmeaning system of worship. Had I lived in Greece, or in Rome, with my present disposition, I should have been put to death for want of a due respect to the “ IMMORTAL Gods.” Such as they were taught to believe their Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Apollo, Bacchus, and others to be, and no doubt, but that the most moral and pious men in those days held a sincere belief of their existence and immortality. Did I now live in Turkey, I should be disposed to say that Mahomet was nothing better than a successful impostor, and most likely should suffer death for promulgating such an opinion. As I live in what is called Christendom, I am punished for saying that Jehovah and Jesus have no connection with the God of Nature, which I alone admire and contemplate. But it is in the bosoms of those visionary sectarians alone that I can be conceived to have promulgated blasphemy. He who worships the God of Nature adınires those publications for which I am punished, to an equal or superior degree, than the Christian admires his gospels and epistles, the Jew, his Pentateuchs and Prophets, the Turk his Koran, or the inhabitants of Greece and Rome, admired the temples and statues of the “ Immortal Gods. To the Christian, Jew, and Turk, I appear as a blasphemer, for na other cause, than that I disapprove their ideas of a God: each of those sects thinks the ideas which the other holds of the Deity to be wrong, and I view them as all alike and equally

The man, or rather the philosopher, who is called an Atheist, because he says that matter is eternal and selfexisting, and that motion is a property inherent in matter, and that matter with this inherent property is the sole cause of all that the eye beholds, or that the imagination can conceive, has

in error.

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