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writers, it may be suitable to make some remarks upon their characters.
The Characters of Dr. Robison, and the Abbe Bar
Much pains have been taken to abate the force of the testimony of these authors; particularly of the former. This perfectly agrees with the well known arts of Illuminism. Men who have adopted such maxims as the following; “The goodness of the end sanctifies the means; We must gain our opposers, or ruin them; Hurl the javelin; strike deep; but conceal the hand that gives the blow;” might be expected to assail, with the weapons of false accusation, the characters of those, who should attempt to unveil their wickedness. Accordingly as soon as Professor Robison's Proofs were circulated in this country, and excited alarm, scandalous accounts were propagated in the newspapers against his character. These accounts have been proved, from authentic documents, to have been utter falsehoods. In the process of these proofs, the excellency of Professor Robison's character has been incontestably substantiated. The history of his life has been made public; which exhibits him as a man of distinguished usefulness; of the first degree of erudition; and of the most unimpeachable veracity and integrity.” From youth he has been in public life. In 1774 he was invited by the Magistrates of Edinburgh to the Professorship of Natural Philosophy, in the University of that city; which ranks very high among the literary institutions of this age. In 1786 he was elected a member of the Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, of which Mr. Jefferson is the President. In 1797, he was elected a member of the Royal Society of Manchester. In 1799, the University of Glasgow, where he had received his education, conferred on him the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws; at which time, contrary to their usual
*See Payson's Modern Antichrist.
custom, they gave a very particular and flattering account of his nine years study in that University. He was Secretary to the Royal Society of Edinburgh. And in 1800 he was unanimously elected a foreign member (of which they admit but six) of the Imperial Academy of Sciences at Petersburgh; which is one of the three highest in reputation in Europe. These facts evince that Dr. Robison was one of the most eminent literary characters in Europe. Would he then have risked his reputation in giving such a publication to the world, if he were not, from the most authentic documents, sure of its correctness? It is incredible! As to Dr. Robison's moral character, it is established beyond doubt. The following is an extract from a letter written by one of the most respectable literary men in Scotland. Leave was not obtained to give his name; though it is presumed he would not have made objection. “Professor Robison’s character is so well established among those, who know him best, that it would be ridiculous, at Edinburgh, to call in question his veracity or abilities. I had read many of his authorities in German originals, before his book was published. And the first notice I received of his book was in the preface to Dr. Erskine’s Sketches of Ecclesiastical History, where you will see the honorable testimony, that he gave to Mr. Robison, and the great expectation that he had from its publication.” The Rev. Dr. Erskine, so celebrated in America, and neighbor to Dr. Robison, in a letter dated Edinburgh, Sept. 25, 1800, says, “I think highly of Professor Robison's book. Some of the most shocking 'facts it contains, I knew, before its publication, from a periodical account of the Church history of the times, by Professor Koester, at Glessen, of which I lent to Professor Robison all the numbers, relating to that subject. In a subsequent letter of June 13th, 1801, Dr. Erskine, having heard of some of the aspersions of Dr. Robison's character circuiating in America, says, “Had these reports been sent to Edinburgh, for their papable falsehood, they would have been despised and detested.” Mr. J. Walker, a reputable inhabitant of Great Britain, wrote an attestation to the excellent character of Dr. Robison, to Professor Boetiger of Germany, who had written some aspersions on Dr. Robison's character; upon which Boetiger honorably retracted those aspersions. Mr. Walker, after giving Dr. Robison's character, says, “Nor is this the exaggerated praise of a friend. No one, who knows Mr. Robison, as I know him, (and he is almost universally known in Britain,) will dare to call it in question.” Thus, notwithstanding these mischievous aspersions, Dr. Robison’s character is fully established. And the information given in his book is entitled to every degree of credit. As to the character of the Abbe Barruel, I know not that it was ever materially impeached. His volumes, while they contain the errors of the Roman Catholic religion, and indicate the indignation of their author against the enormities of the French; they likewise indicate, to an uncommon degree, his strict veracity, in the relation of facts. He would never relate the substance of any account, but with the document before his eyes. And when the enormity of its contents appeared almost incredible, he would subjoin the originals verbatim, that the reader might translate for himself. These two authors, of different nations, religions, and habits, writing their books at the same time; unacquainted with each other's object; and pursuing their inquiries through very different arrangements, arrive at the same points; and unitedly develop the same diabolicalischeme of Illuminism. The evidence therefore, which they afford upon the subject, must by the judicious be deemed irresistible.
Origin of the French Revolution:–And a further description of that Revolution. It has been fully ascertained, that the French revolution was not that virtuous struggle for liberty, which Americans at first apprehended. Nor were its enormities the accidental frenzy of an infuriated mob. But the revolution, and those enormities, were under the direction of a system of wickedness, matured by men of the first taients; and most subtly propagated by multitudes, in hidden concert, for nearly half a century, before its first ripe fruits appeared in that revolution. This we learn from the aforementioned writings of Robison and Barruel; and from numerous other authentic sources. They unfold at large the most diabolical scheme, with its ample evidence. In this I cannot follow them, in a short dissertation. I can only sketch the outlines of the dismal plot. Voltaire, the great French philosopher, who was born at Paris, Feb. 20, 1694, and who died not long before the French revolution, conceived a design in his early days to overturn the Christian Religion. This was his avowed object. And such were his genius, and early turn of mind, for the impious object of his undertaking, that while he was but a youth, he received the following reprimand from his professor; “Unfortunate young man! you will one day come to be the standard bearer of Infidelity.” So he proved in fact; and to a far greater degree, than his professor, or any other man could have conceived. Voltaire was wont to say: “I am weary of hearing people repeat, that twelve men have been sufficient to establish Christianity. I will prove, that one may suffice to overthrow it.”* And would add; “Christianity yields none but poisonous weeds.” And to the object of overturning the Christian Religion, he vowed to dedicate his life. To “crush the wretch,” (as he would express it) meaning Jesus Christ, was henceforth to be the object of all his exertions. And this impious phrase became the watch word of his order, “Crush the wretch then, crush the wretch!” Voltaire associated with himself for his horrid purpose, a group of Infidel philosophers; Diderot, D'Alembert, Rosseau, and Frederic, king of Prussia; and shortly after he subtly found means to unite with him five or six of the crowned heads in Europe, in an im
pious conspiracy to destroy the religion of the Gospel. The numbers and influence of the conspirators rapidly increased. Their success was astonishing, even to themselves, as some of them exultingly acknowledged: So that they would often speak of the amazing power of secret societies; and of the facility with which they might hind the world with invisible hands. Such was the preparedness of the mass of the Roman Catholics for Infidelity, and such the influence of the infernal dragon, who was now furiously intent on erecting this new standard against the cause of Christ, that the scheme of Voltaire took effect, like fire in a field of dry stubble, with a strong wind to accelerate its fury. “Circumstances were favorable. He did not foresee all that he has done. But he has done all that w c now see.” Voltaire boasted, that from Geneva to Berne, not a Christian was to be found; and that if things went on at this rate, “un twenty years God would be in a pretty plight.” This plan was prosecuted with incredible vigor, and success. Secresy was the soul of their order. “Strike deep, but hide the hand that gives the blow,” and similar phrases, were with them watch words of great significancy. Their leaders received fictitious names; and they transacted their business in a language newly invented for the purpose. They prevailed to poison the sources of education. The highest of the French literary Societies, they, after much intrigue and management, filled with their members; and finally rendered the institution wholly subservient to their views. Although the subversion of the Christian Religion was their first object, as has been noted; yet the subversion of civil government was after a while united with it, by these propagators of impiety and licentiousness. It became a principle of their order, that all the restraints of religion, and of civil government, were but an intolerable imposition; and that the goodness of the end sanctifies whatever means may be adopted to abolish such restraints. Free masonry was insidiously perverted, and made a medium and covert of this mischief, in a manner con