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point about the defamation of that religion on wbich all our institutions are founded. It must be confessed that religious ceremonies make parts of all our institutions; but it must be also confessed, on the other hand, that they are not necessary or indispensible parts; and it can be proved that they are corrupt and corrupting parts. All religion is proved idolatry: to the contrary of this assertion I challenge disproof. The government of a country may be termed a compound of institutions: those institutions are intended to be or ought to be such as are best adapted for the political welfare of all the members of the community. According to all our notions, in the abstract, of religion or idolatry, it cannot be mixed up with any corporate institution, for any just or praiseworthy purpose, Religion or idolatry to be what it professes to be, consists in individual mental reflection. Paine has well observed that, one man cannot act religion for another, which must be the pretence if religion makes any part of a political institution. Upon this same point of view, that one man cannot perform the religious duties of another, may be seen the futility and hy.. pocrisy of keeping Priests as general actors of religion: it may be also seen that political institutions are neither necessarily nor justly founded upon religion. If there be such a thing as pure religion, it must, to be pure and genuine, be that which is confined to the mind of the individual man: the moment he shares it in common with others, as a matter of form, it ceases to be pure and unadulterated. But I hold that there is no such thing as a pure religion, since the whole thing, in every sense in which the word has ever been used, is a corruption of the mind, and an idea founded upon fraud, fiction and fable: to mix it therefore with any particular political institution or so to partake of it goes beyond a corruption of the mind, and becomes a corrupt action for corrupt purposes.
It is notorious that every thing like religious ceremony connected with the coronation of the King has been a mere pageant and idle form with the present man who fills that office; and that it has regulated no more of his actions than it has of mine. It is equally notorious that the religious ceremonies which are connected with each sitting of the Houses of Parliament are equally unimpressive, and treated by the members as idle forms. It is rare a member attends to partake of the prayers: be considers himself as of no service until prayers are over, and the Speaker and servants are alone left to the chilling process of prayers and religion,
as a proper preface to the corrupt proceedings of each day of session. We do not now, as formerly, see any-furious priestly fanatics engaged to preach sermons to the associated members of parliament, to raise their passions to some party purposes: all now is a cold systematic corruption, which engenders po other passions than a grasping at shares of the revenue to the greatest possible extent.
It is evident, therefore, that the absence of all religion in the three estates here mentioned would not leave them a jot more corrupt than at present; but would certainly guarantee the absence of one vice, the vice of hypocrisy. The Bishop of Clogher is not the first right honourable Lord that has bad to fly the country for that species of crime. Lord Courtenay purchased an ignominious life by a similar bribe and payment for absolution; and it is notorious that this horrid vice is quite common among the members of the aristocracies of all the countries in Europe. It is notorious that the Bishop of Peterborough was the most flippant in conversing upon and giving definition of all the foul linen cases charged upon the late Queen. All these things tend to shew, Mr. Chief Justice, that there is nothing to be admired in the religious institutions of this country as far as morality is concerned, and that they are a grievous taxation upon the industry of the country is now beginning to be well understood.
Religion must be a corruption upon any and upon every political institution, not only because the whole thing is proved to be idolatry, but, admitting religion to be useful and necessary, it is evident, that, one man cannot rightly act it for another, and that its qualities cannot consistently form any thing like a corporate interest, or a stated rule for action with any two persons. It has been introduced into our political institutions as an additional system of plundering industry, which has been its common purpose in all ages and in all nations. It is therefore evident that, whether it be defamed by or against your concession, the act is no less virtuous and patriotic; and such being the case, you had better concede than oppose.
I am not aware that I can add any thing new upon the subject of morality and religion being distinct rules of action. Upon the principle that morality is a common compact between man and man, to do that which is right and to abstain from doing that which is wrong to each other, it is opposed to religion which relates not to the actions of men towards each other, or which has never been so related
unless in the shape of persecution. Morality can also become a corporate interest: It belongs to pations as well as to individuals; and is the only basis for sociality and harmony among the whole fraternity of the human race. Without it there can be no civilization, whatever be the quantity of religion in a community. It is evident to every enquirer, that, the Christian Religion has tended to degenerate and demoralize mankind wherever it has operated. The present apparent improvement is owing to the advance of Science and the decay of tbat religion, where Science has not been extended such as in Spain and Portugal before the French Revolution, there has been no improvement, and the people of those countries exhibited the same degraded and' stupid cast for many centuries. Thanks to Revolution and Science they are now fast improving. Revolutions under bad governments are evidently the greatest blessings that can befal mankind. Look throughout America: look at France, Spain and Portugal, religion has done more of these things, but the Priests of all these countries have done every thing they could to prevent them, and to subvert the benefits which inevitably arise from such a change of institutions.
The whole of morality is summed up in that one maxim of Confucius, “to do unto others, us you would they should do unto you :" religion cannot apply to this case in any shape, nor can the least argument be used, beyond the bare assertion, to connect it with morality. The proof that vice and immorality have abounded, wherever religion has been known, without one single exception, and the further proof that strict morality has been practised where no religion bas existed, not only among individuals but whole tribes or societies, is sufficient to shew the practical part of their being two distinct and unconnected rules of human action. Take whatever nation you please and read its history, and say, whether you do not find vice has grown up with religion, and whether where the most religion has abounded there has not been the greatest degree of vice. You lay: hold of the words morality and public morals as an auxiliary to your fraud of religion, whilst you know, as well as I do, that they have no moral por physical relation. If ever I face you, or any other judge, in a Court of Law again, upon a charge of blasphemy, and hear you say a word about the inseparable connection of religion and morals, in whatever stage of the business it be, I will rise and demand your proofs.
It has given me pleasure to hear that when the second trial of Mrs. Wright was called on, you angrily observed: " it must be postponed; we have had quite enough of Mrs. Wright for to day.” You tried in vain to silence her, and nothing can afford a stronger proof that the Common Law, as it is called, is a common abuse, than the fact that you sat and heard all the arguments about that law addressed to the Jury, for which your mild brother Best denied my Sister a hearing and defence. There was nothing half so strong in the defence of my sister, as in that of Mrs. Wright; a fact which the printing and publishing of the latter will soon exbibit. I am informed that Prichard, the Lawyer and Secretary to the Vice Society, has threatened Mrs. Wright with a very heavy sentence! Is it possible that this Gang can send you' their instructions upon this subject? We shall see. His alleged reason was, because she made such a defence as provoked you and her prosecutors. Before hand, I promise you, that wbatever be the sentence, or whether there be any or not, it will not alter the sale of my publica. tions. I have another young man coming from Leeds, and I have another married woman about to challenge the Vice Society to further prosecution. This game shall never cease as long as you cease to be ashamed of having such cases before
may send each individual to a dungeon for years with a grin; but there shall be another instantly staring you in the face, and daring you to go on. Mrs. Wright annoyed you by a four hours defence; but I datter myself that you shall soon find cases where the defence shall last as many days. We are now making arrangements for this purpose, so prepare for them. PerseVERANCE is our motto : MORALITY our guide; whilst you, and all our opponents, rest on nothing but those corruptions and abuses called Religion, or hypocritical idolatry; and Common Law, or judicial abuse and despotism. Adieu; for a short term. You will never find a comfortable vacation so long as prosecutions for blasphemy are the order of the day.
Vol. VI. No. 10.
A WARNING VOICE: ADDRESSED TO THE PEOPLE
Allow a man who has all the patriotic zeal of a citizen in mind, but living under despotism, and subject to the coercion of a slave, to offer a few opinions, gleaned from his reading, from bis reflection, and from his experience. You are somewhat emancipated from the disgraceful and detestable despotism of Kings and Priests, who had reduced you to the sphere of the brute, to answer their venal bigoted purpose, and now as the children of liberty, you will do honour to ihe rank of freemen. The generous, the candid, and the lionest people of all nations, identify themselves with you, the patriot and the slave, such as breathe the ambrosial zephyrs of freedom, and such as drag about clanking chains, imposed by successful villainy, glow with sympathetic ardour in your cause.
if the fervent prayers of those could avail, incarcerated in the dungeons of Kings and Priests, your cause could never be endangered; the jail walls of the tyrant bear witness of the sympathy of the victim; wherever daylight is permitted to enter, the pale, emaciated, and exhausted inmate has scratched with his nail, “ Spain and Liberty.” The form may differ, but, oh! freemen, be assured, that wherever there are Kings and Priests, there are dungeons and inquisitors: where there are tyrants and bigots, there are victims and martyrs. As the sun of freedom emerges from the horizon and spreads his effulgence upon your renovated country, you will shudder with horror at evils you have endured, and be surprised at your own forbearance; you will blush for
your cowardice when you recollect how long you were slaves, and how little you have been freemen. You will have no degrading thoughts, except such as arise from reflecting that you supinely suffered your country to be ravaged by voracious princes, and slothful, malicious, greedy, plundering priests. Your country for centuries has been the common prey of robbers and impostors. These privileged villains hold nothing sacred, but the spojl acquired by each other; they prostituted the throne and pulpit to the most infamous ends, they even disgraced the disgraceful cause espoused. Your tyrants were the worst of robbers, and the inost shameless of impostors; neither crime nor detection could make the princes and priests blush or stagger; in the plenitude of their turpitudę, moral feeling, and even the religion they prosessed, was treated with contempt, with speers, and with scorn.
With fully, bigotry, and fanaticism, some portion of your people are infected. Ignorance is the cause of reverence for royalty, and of attachment to base, sordid, hypocritical priests. Kings and priesst appear in all their horrid colours, to the eyes of the candid and intelligent. The usurpation, the imposition, and the cruelty of both, excite feelings of horror in the honest man. Such of the base vaga