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purpose of criminating each other; it goes much further, and precludes any evidence which has the least tendency to it." Lord Justice Hardwich said, "The reason why the law will not suffer the wife to be a witness for or against her husband is, to preserve the peace of the families, and, therefore, I shall never encourage such a consent.' Peake, p. 179, 180. How contrary to this prudent, scriptural, and legal doctrine, has been the current coin of thousands, even in the bosom of the sanctuary, we leave to the judgment of the tru ly prudent and experienced. O! what villainies go down under the garb of power!
Partial or interested sheriffs are not competent to empannel a jury: yet thousands of the clergy, in ancient and modern times, have produced, and still re-produce multifarious oppression, by such. illegal, partial conduct, to the great scandal of religion. Witnesses are not allowed to be competent who are propter delictum, that is, guilty of certain crimes; still, however, any ruffian, will serve the turn of an open-mouthed, hard-hearted, humped-up railer, with a beam in his eye! Jurors must not be propter defectum, defective in understanding; yet weak heads and narrow hearts often serve the turn of ambitious judges better than long heads or strong heads. Jurors are not allowed to be propter affectum, that is, given to bias or partiality; nevertheless, those are always the choice of the judges who form the devil's council chamber of injustice, conclave, and exparte defamation. Jurors must be omni exceptione majores; that is to say, above or beyond all exception.
This is what we ought to aim at, namely, to lay aside partiality and tyranny. If a juror mentions any thing against the accused, which was not said
in open court, it vitiates and destroys the verdict ; yet thousands of sacerdotal conclaves in caucuses, throughout the four quarters of the globe, have allowed the introduction of such private villainies, without even admitting the person accused to have any hand in the oppressive ecclesiastical laws, under the purview of which they were to have their civil and religious rights administered, prejudiced, and taken away, or even to appear, as did the heathen Romans, by impartial impleadings face to face. This is lording it over God's heritage with a witness, with no better satisfaction, check, or remuneration, than the inflammatory haughty answer, that "we are sent of God to rule over you." Upon this point the church has been much harrassed; we do not pretend, in the present work, to enter upon what is too heavy for us, we mean church government; but just to give some hints to those whom Paul calls novices, that is, "young plants," "puffed up" like bladders, "puff balls."
Although not learned, we may receive help to the meaning of the word Slander, in two or three languages; shewing in association some law authorities. With diffidence we object to the present mode of punishing slanderers, and would recommend statute law well defined by the legisla ture; that when the slanderer of malice and felony committed evils as great as other murderers and thieves; he should, when it was legally proved upon him, suffer equal punishment; still leaving it with the jury under the direction of the court to find guilty, according to the intention of the legis lature. We therefore have drawn up a number of indictments, as though such laws were actually in force; the objections to such statutes, from the dif ficulty of the mode of proof, and the number of
guilty persons, should be no objection to such acts; for, in the first place, the law in Virginia of 1810, to punish whoever had a slandering hand in a duel, had a happy and immediate effect, to break up the fire and brimstone consequences of those vallainies; and secondly, the longer the legislature put off punishing the slandering thief and murderer, the more will the iniquity increase in the community, until, as in the reign of Antonius Pius and Commodus, the malicious state informer or prosecutor is severely punished, even with death, one of whom had his legs broken by Perennius, in the reign of Commodus, for informing against that great philosophical christian, Apollonius.
You ask why we harp so much upon one string? We answer, because all men are set as spies upon each other; because the preachers have harped upon the other strings till they have made the slandering string too strong for the rest; because population languishes under slander; because the states and the churches are poisoned therewith; the winds putrescent thereby; fatherless, widows, slaves, orphans, and strangers, with mechanics, merchants, sailors, farmers, and preachers, are ruined by it: officers upon sea and land are broke and kept back from promotion by its fangs; and men in power belied by the envious, ambitious, and avaricious; because St. James wrote almost all his epistle against it; Moses and the prophets, Jesus Christ and the apostles called it stealing, foolishness, hypocrisy, lies, murder, and a world of iniquity!
Why does a citizen run with a bucket? A house, a city is on fire; and shall we stand all the day idle, and see this Canaan turned into an aceldema, a field of blood, of fire, the fire of hell, and not run with our buckets of law and Gospel ?
Let us form the line, and pass the water of Christian faith, love, meekness, gentleness, and unwearied diligence, until the fire engine of charity, fed from the water of life, shall have extinguished the electric dæmon, slander, and thrown his infernal rider, the complicated steam boat of political, mechanical, mercantile, incontinent, sensual, and all religious illicit smuggling, trading, and pedling, into the shoreless, bottomless sea of the love of God and man; so shall there be a great calm.
Commonwealth of Israel, to wit:
The law and the testimony, Moses and the prophets, Messiah and the apostles, do present for Jehovah, the King, the Lord of Hosts, that, whereas, hard-hearted malignant, envious invidious, covetous lovemoney, ambitious terrorum, vain double-tongue, hypocritical beam eye, young inflated novice, worrying Lord over God's heritage; with a troop of church gossippers and state lickplates, of the church of the malignants, all being devil's pedlers and postriders in the circulation of slander, not having the fear of God before their eyes, but being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, at every favorable opportunity, in the reign of the King, whose name is the Lord of Hosts, King, defender of the faith that works by love, and plays no slandering slight of hand; in this reign, we repeat, in the parish of political shuffling, and religious scuffling, and in all the wards and wardrobes of whispering, backbiting, and hating of God, as aforesaid, and with force of armis, of railing and controversial preaching, in the places aforesaid, feloniously, and of their aforethought malice, in and upon sincere lover, one flesh, husband and wife, disappointed, broken heart, sinking Peter, rising Corinthian, weeping and returning prodigal, forgiven David, sobbing and grateful Magdalene, then and there, in the peace of God, and of the said Lord of Hosts, the only lawful King then being, made an assault, and slandering church affray, and the aforesaid novices, lords, whiflers, groaners, controversial priests, hard-hearted Levites, bruisers of broken reeds, whisperers, state and church receivers, tea, wine, grog, snuffing and smoking slanderers, double-tongued, high-eyed,