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quested him not to obtain his warrant immediately, as he had an engagement for Christmas-day. No arrest however took place, nor was any bail required on the part of the Attorney General, who was an honourable fellow, when compared with his successor Gifford.
The sale of the work went on very slow and the Publisher had began to fear that it would not be prosecuted, as a month elapsed without hearing of any thing of the kind. On the 16th January he was agreeably disappointed, at the information, that, the Vice Society had submitted a bill to the Grand Jury which was found true, and to prevent an arrest he took his bail to the Old Bailey the sanje evening. This happened on the Saturday evening: the circumstance was noticed in a few of the Sunday papers, and subsequently in all the daily ones: the sale increased rapidly-the first edition of one thousand copies was quickly sold, and an edition of 3000 more got up with all expedition.
The indictment at the instance of the prosecutors was moved into the Court of King's Bench, to which the Publisher imparled on the first day of Hilary Term. At the same time he was called upon to plead to an Information ex officio by the Attorney General for the same publication; to this he also imparled, which circumstance, it appearel, subsequently produced one of the Six Acts to put a stop to imparling!
Enraged at the extensive circulation of the work, the Vice Society sent their Solicitor to Chief Justice Abbott to obtain a 'warrant on the ground that the sale of the work was continued, and that they intended to prosecute a second' indictment. This piece of villainy was arquiesced in by the Judge, and the Publisher was arrested on the evening of the 11th February, so late as eight o'clock, and on going before Mr. Justice Holroyd at his Chambers in Sergeant's Inn, he protested against the legality, or the necessity of the arrest, and refused to give bail, upon which the agent of the Society moved for his committal to Newgate, and the pliant old Judge acquiesced by saying, that the sale of every book was a distinct offence and indictable. He was answered, if such was the case, he would find enough to do to try them all. That this arrest was a piece of villainy the result proved, as there could be no possible means of stopping the sale of the books, and the trial of one indictment would be as well as the trial of one hundred, or the whole '4000 copies which have een actually sold, so as not to have a dozen copies left, and even now, so great is the private demand for them, that it atswers any and every person's parpose to print them. The sale of them never can be suppressed in this country, therefore all further prosecution is vain, and mere personal malignity and annoyance. The publisher will now through his agents print, and sell another erlition before he quits his Prison, and what proof is further necessary of the inutility of all such prosecutions ?
He found himself within the walls of Newgate, soon after ten o'clock, at an hour when he could not even a find a prison-bed' to lay on, and was obliged to sit up the whole night; but was made comfortable, as far as fire, and candle, and a decent room could be so.
THE FOLLOWING ARE THE COPIES OF THE WARRANT
AND COMMITTAL TO NEWGATE.
COPY OF WARRANT. “ ENGLAND, (to wit).-Whereas it appeareth unto me by the affidavit of George Prichard, and the affidavit of Thomas Fair, that an indictment was found by the Grand Jury for the city of London, against Richard Carlile, late of London, bookseller, for selling a certain blasphemous libel, intitled “ Paine's Age of Reason,” which indictment has been removed and filed in his Majesty's Court of King's Bench, and to which the said Richard Carlile appeared in the said Court, and gave recognizance to plead thereto within the first eight days of the next Easter Term. And that since the said Richard Carlile hath entered into the said recognizance, he hath sold another copy of the said libel to the said Thomas Fair, for which said last mentioned offence, the said George Prichard intends to prosecute the said Richard Carlile in the said Court of King's Bench. These are therefore to will and require, and in his Majesty's name, strictly to charge and command you, and every of you on sight hereof, to apprehend and take the body of the said Richard, and bring him before me or one other of the said Judges of his Majesty's Court of King's Bench, if taken in or near the cities of London and Middlesex, if elswhere, before some Justice of the Peace near to the place where he shall be herewith taken. To the end that he the said Richard Carlile may become bound to the King's Majesty in the sum of £200, together with two sufficient sureties in the sum of £ 100 each, for the appearance of the said Richard Carlile in his Majesty's Court of King's Bench, on the first day of next Easter Term, to answer to all and singular indictments against him for publishing the said libel, and to appear from day to day in the said Court, and not depart until discharged by the said Court. Hereof fail not at your peril. Given under my hand and seal the eleventh day of February, 1819.
« C. ABBOTT." “ To Thomas Gibbons, gentleman, my tipstaff
, or any other tipstaff of his Majesty's Court of King's Bench, and to all chief and petty constables, headboroughs, tything man, and all others whom these may conceio.”
“ COPY OF COMMITTAL. 6 Tue within named Richard Carlile having been brought before me this day, by virtue of the within warrant, and not having sufficient sureties to answer to the offence in the within mentioned warrant, is committed to the custody of the Keeper of his Majesty's goal of Newgate, being the common gaol of the city of London, where tảe said Richard Carlile was apprehended upon the said warrant.
“Receive the body of the within named Richard
Carlile into your custody, and him safely keep until he the said Richard Carlile shall be
discharged by due course of law. « Dated the 11th of February, 1819.
“ G. S. HOLROYD." “ To Mr. William Robert Henry Brown, Keeper
of his Majesty's gaol of Newgate."
This arrest and committal to Newgate gave a fresh stimulus to the sale of the publication, and the Publisher having tried the Gang to see how far they would go, had nothing to do but to get out again, which he did on the 15th, and on being reinoved again to the Judge's Chambers to give bail, an attempt was made to extort a promise to sell no more of the same work. Mr. Justice Bailey the celebrated political economist, who sees a vast benefit to the country from a ruinous debt and taxation, and the no less celebrated theologian, who allows every one to think as they like, but if they write, or speak, it must be by some rule and standard to avoid fine and imprisonment, was the Judge present.
Mr. Justice Bailey.—Will the Defendant give a promise not to sell any more of the same work ?
Defendant.--No. I act under my own conception of right and shall proceed.
His Judgeship then gave his politico-theologico-economico head a Christian shake, but made no answer. The agent of the gang moved for heavy bail, which was refused, and common bail taken. Whilst in Newgate the Publisher wrote the following letter to his Persecutors, which, as it is out of print, is here reprinted beivg strictly a part of this narrative.
“A LETTER TO THE SOCIETY FOR THE SUPPRESSION
“ On their malignant Efforts to prevent a free Enquiry after Truth and Reason.
“ ASSOCIATED PERSECUTORS, “ That envenomed and malign spirit which you have so prominently displayed, during the short time since you have turned your attentions towards my publications, precludes the necessity of my offering any apology for addressing you in a public letter.
“Having immured me within the walls of a prison, methinks I see a demoniac smile glide over your several cheeks with the glowing espression of “ we have now crushed him.”-Be not too sanguine ; feeble as my efforts may be to propagate those principles, on which, (according to my humble conceptions, the basis of true morality and virtue must be founded, nor the fear of imprisonment, nor the fear of death shall deter me from a persever
What is the religion you profess, that you are so much alarmed at every attempt to investigate its merits? What is the basis of your pretended morality and virtue, when you betray a fear of being left naked as the breeze leaves the stem of the wooly dandelion? What is that chimerical faith in which you pretend to centre your future hopes, if you fear the result of your fellow mortal's enquiry into it? On what ground must the established and dissenting codes of religion of which you boast, (and express your determination to support, by imprisonments and punishments of such persons as shall atempt to inspect its foundation,) be raised, when a small volume of enquiry into its origin shakes its very centre, and threatens a total annihilation ? Pause! ye deluded and deluding hypocrites, and I will comproruise the matter with you. But how? Shall it be an instance
of that nature where many individuals whom you have laid under the charge of vending, what both you and I consider obscene and objectionable books and prints, have more than once satisfied your virtuous scruples by a fee? Pray, would my paying all the expences you have incurred in this prosecution, satiate that appetite which feeds on virtue whilst it falsely affects to destroy vice? Is your answer-yes? I disdain it. Nothing but a fair exposition of both our views shall induce me to compromise this important question; rendered the more important, because a sycophantic and hypocritical society—a refined banditti attempts to crush it in its bud. No, the compromise I will make with you shall be, either, that
shall renouce those persecutious you have instituted against me, or I will expose your object in all its hideous features. Although, like the assassin, you endeavour to conceal both your names and intentions, and make a hungry Lawyer* your instrument, yet the community at large, who have been more injured than amended by your false pretences, will assist me in depicting your banditti in its real colours.
“ By every exertion and enquiry that I could make, I have not been able to obtain a list of your names, and am given to understand that no such thing has been published for many years past. It appears, that in the earlier
of your institution, you regularly published your names, but that the infamy which has, of late, been attached to your proceedings, has deterred you from continuing it. As the best proof of virtue arises when it is exposed to the fangs of vice, I challenge you to proceed in your persecutions. But let us here examine how the question stands between us. I have published a book, the contents of which you charge to be impious, blasphemous, and profane, tending to bring into disrepute the Christian Religion. I reply, that this book does not merit the charge instituted against it, nor has it any other tendency than that of bringing into disrepute the religions that are not supported by human reason or divine authority.
“ Did any thing but vindictive malice guide your councils, you would have waited the time when I should have been placed before a jury of my own countrymen, and there receive the reward, or punishment consequent on their verdict. But no! the Society for the Suppression of Vice cannot suppress their appetite for rancorous punishment, but seize their victim, tear him him from a fond agonized family, and within two hours lodge him within the walls of Newgate. For what? for doing that, which, whether it is an offence or not, is but matter of opinion. The publication can injure no one but those panders who prey on the vitals of their country. “The publication, I admit, may be offensive to some, but not to the virtuous and well meaning part the community; it is offensive to those persons only who are interested in supporting the corruptions and abuses of the system we live under.
“ You appear to be following the course which the Attorney General (Shepherd) followed towards me in 1817, in regard to the Parodies t; that is you have no hopes of being able to obtain the verdict of a jury against
Prichard, of Essex.street, in the Strand, whose clerks and inmates are used as informers to this Society.
+ The writer of this letter was eighteen weeks in the King's Bench Prison for re-publishing the Parodies, and was never brought to trial; it was hie who challenged the Attorney General to bring the Parodies before a jury, which led to so grand and noble a result.
the work, and you are anxious to glut your vengeance with punishment before trial.
“1 doubt whether any of you who have instigated these Prosecutions have ever read the Theological Writings of Thomas Paine, for if you had read them, and had possessed the least conception of vice and virtue, you would have found nothing of a vicious tendency in thein, you would have found nothing that came within the province of your professions to pro
“ Have you no priests in your Society? Why do you not set them to write a volume of the same size to refute the arguments and assertions of Paine? I will pledge myself to sell it with the other. Is there not a Bishop amongst you that can again attempt to do what Watson has vainly attempied? I'or shame! do not attempt to destroy by the sword of perverted law what so many bishops and priests are so well qualified to destroy by argu: ment and reason. For what do they receive so many thousands of the public money? For what have we universities and colleges, and so many thousand Priests who have to boast of collegiate education? unless it is to support by argument, intellectual reasoning, and controversial disputation, the several doctrines and dogmas which they profess to teach, and wish us to believe. For shame! I say again, spur them on, and do not let their professions be set at nought by a few untutored minds. They must either do this, or raise again the blood-stained standard of the cross, and again enforce their doctrines by the sword.
“ Christianity, like the material world, has had its rise, its progress, and is now experiencing its decay, but differs in this point, that there is no hope of its regenerating or revivifying. And vain will be the attempt to oppose it to human reason. The press, that dreadful park of artillery, will continue to open its destructive fire on superstition, bigotry, and religious and civil despotism ; and what shall check its career?
“Hear, ye promoters of theological dissensions, and tremble, whilst I tell you, that you possess the same dispositions as your ancestors, who kindled the flames in Smithfield. Would public opinion tolerate it, you would pursue me to the stake with the same satisfaction you lave pursued me to a prison. Reserving for a better opportunity any further opinions and observations on your character, conduct, and views as a Society, I would beg leave to call your attention to a work lately published in London, entitled the Principles of Nature," by Elihu Palmer, the first chapter of which 'I will here insert as a specimen, which is strictly applicable to our relative situations, with the exception of a few of the first sentences.
[As this work was subsequently prosecuted and as the chapter forms part of the Report of these Proceedings it is omitted here.]
" I presume, Gentlemen, since you have attempted to suppress certain creeds as well as vice, that each of you are in duty bound to peruse this work, of which this is a part and specimen, it is a work which I hold in estimation, and consequently requires your attention.
"I hope I shall have the pleasure of selling a few copies of this work to your Honourable Society, whether for the purpose of a prosecution or not, I am quite indifferent, as I hold Paine's opinion to be good, that under a bad government it is well to have a good work prosecuted.
“I am, Gentlemen, your firm opponent, “ Newgate, Feb. 13th, 1819."
“ R. CARLILE."