« ZurückWeiter »
X1733 Piterson, Thomas defendant
O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God to whom
Great men may jest at Saints, 'tis wit in them,
But in the less, foul Profanation.-Shakspere.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY
AND ALL BOOKSELLERS AND NEWSVENDERS.
N.B. Profits of the Sale to go to the Anti-Persecution Union.
“Greatest blasphemy ever uttered."--Times. “ An abomination.”—Chronicle. “ A tissue of abuse of all constituted authorities, and of blasphemy.”—John Bull. "A tirade of the most infamous description.”-Observer.
“ The dreadful language of your defence is ten times more awful than the blasphemy charged against you.”—Jardine.
• The court made an arena of ribaldry." Chambers.
The Public ought to be made aware that the aim of the parties carrying on the Oracie of Reason, and establishing “a manufactory of Atheism,” as some have been pleased to term it, was not only to disseminate their principles, but to establish the right of private judgment; in the only sense in which it has existence, unlimited freedom of expression. In all cases between man and man we contend for this general rule without exception. We demand it, as we grant it, in writing, reading, or speaking, in all the varieties of language, the strongest or the mildest, which makes man intelligible and different from the brute. We ask for ourselves as we freely give to others, every form, fashion, method, opportunity, and facility of statement and reply. What is conceded to freedom of expression in mention of facts, in the discussion of politics, on subjects of philosophy, even in orthodox controversy, we demand for the airy nothings of the mind, which do not appeal to the senses, which are not the affairs of man or known living beings, which have nothing to show in the heavens above or the earth beneath ; and which have nothing yet settled in ideas or words. Much more license do we demand for the supernatural than the natural, for the superhuman than the human, for the irreligious than the religious. We demand greater indulgence for theological speculations more fleeting than the clouds, than for opinions social, moral, and political, which we all believe affect the permanent interests of humanity, the progress of the species, and the eternity of the universe ; for what merely fills up the passing period of a man's life time, than for what in comparison occupies all time.
Surely greater latitude should be allowed in adopting and discarding the creations of fancy than the realities which form the intercourse of society and connect man with the rest of matter. Surely mythology is more a subject of unqualified discussion than history, poetry than prose, fiction than reason, mysteries than facts, and the secrets more than the unreserved communications of nature. “ The ills we know not of," the happiness we cannot conceive, are surely to be spoken of with more impunity than “the ills we have to bear,” the enjoyments we have to create.
The indistinct and isolated cries of revelation should be subjected to more searching and uncompromising inquiry than the loud and concurrent voice of nature; the invisible light and individual witnesses than the evidence of things seen and the universal testimony of mankind.
Thought should be free as air, since, like the wind, nature has fixed no bound to its exercise ; its expression should come and go where it listeth ; we should no more endeavour to silence thought than to suppress the elements, as the two objects, if attempted, are alike impossible of attainment.
vi. his anxiety for refreshment, that the man Paterson had been without food from eleven in the morning, and in that situation was left till eleven at night-standing in the dock from four o'clock; whilst Jardine and Chambers ordered in a bottle of wine and sandwiches. These two Grcedys were able to restrain their feelings-until their stomachs were filled, then they would no longer bear the blasphemy, and full of wine and meat, would make sport and quick work of their victim,
Whether the conscience of Jardine was most pricked, and therefore, like Festus with Paul, he wished to put off the hearing of the third case to another day, or whether tea and supper were uppermost--the fate of the dinner being irrevocably sealed--we leave to the searcher of hearts and mover of bowels. “I am desirous to restrain my feelings,” says Jardine, after having heard a man defend his liberty at stake, and his right to the expression of his opinions; after having abused and wronged him, and deprived him of every means of defence, “ that I may without loss of time sentence him to the treatment of a felon.” We will try and restrain our feelings, though our most esteemed friends have had to bear long imprisonments, pay heavy fines, and in the last case of Mr. Thomas Paterson, had property destroyed, lise threatened, justice denied, mockery, insult, cruelty, and injustice dealt out. .
While restraining our feelings, however, we do not forget to render our assistance. We beg no boon from the public. From all who profess to understand the principle of Free Discussion on speculative subjects, without restriction, limitation, or dictation, we demand co-operation, and expect that they will open their purses.
· The EDITORS.
PATERSON VINDICATED.. . [The following letter was received from Mr. Holyoake just at the moment of going to press :)
The rancour of politics is bad enough, but the rancour of religion is worse. Poli. ticians professedly appeal to reason, and though they always hold that their opponepts are wrong, they often credit them with good intentions; but religionists chiefly appeal to faith, and own no virtue where they find heterodoxy. The man who believes less than themselves, is considered not only to be mistaken, but to be a monster. With them the Atheist is always wicked, and without enquiry they paint him in that character. This has been done to Mr. Paterson. The religious journals have been violent, abusive and bitter, without measure and without mercy
from no other provocation than that Mr. Paterson differed from them, and, from no other reason than that he did, what they did, expressed his opipions.
The Times tells us “that Mr. Jardine was exceedingly glad that Paterson's windows were broken, and tbat there was a fair prospect of his bones sharing the same fate.” A correspondere in the Morning Herald asks “ why not crush Paterson with penal. ties ?” and the editor echoes the query, “why not crush the reptile.” The Standard calls him a “ ruffian ;” the Post calls him "infamous ;"! and the Age a “wretch." The epithets of “ villain” and “miscreant,” are also unsparingly applied, and unequivocal recommendations are given to place him without the pale of the law, to treat him with “ harshness" and to refuse him redress.
Notwithstanding this somewhat unattractive description of an old acquaintance, I have pleasure and pride in calling Paterson my friend, and, in saying that I know few men more disinterested, more estimable or more honourable. Those who know him, know him to be incapable of performing an unjust action--knowing it to be unjust. Paterson, like other people, may do improper things, but his intentions are of the best kind-his opposition to religion arises only from a well grounded and conscientious conviction that its influence ic injurious. He resembles Luther and
Knox, he opposes with manly honesty and uncompromising steadiness, popular and venerated opinions. He differs from them in this particular-they sought to reform religion. Paterson seeks to destroy it. They thought the religion of their day mixed up with abuse, Paterson thinks the religion of his day to be all abuse--an abuse of reason-an abuse of truth-an abuse of morality. The Calvinist differs from the Churchman, and the methodist differs from both, and the conduct of Cal. vinist and Methodist is consistent with their dissent from the church. Here is the key to Paterson's conduct, he differs and dissents from all three, and he conscientiously and consistently acts out that difference. Were christians but as just as they pretend to be, they would concede Paterson's equal right to express his opinions, and not imprison him for taking a liberty, which is every day taken by themselves.
I do not contend, and it is not necessary to contend here, that Paterson is right or that he is wrong; but this I do coutend, that Paterson is conscientious, and this the public ought to respect that Paterson means well in his way, and this the pub. lic ought to regard. For good intentions, although they may not disarm opposition, ought always to disarm ill feelings.
I remember that in Sheffield when the lecture entitled, the “Spirit of Bonner," was announced for delivery, it was announced also, that the Jew book article, for which Southwell was just then thrown into prison, should be read for an evening lesson. The magistrates ordered the bills to be taken from the walls, threatened indictments, and sent policemen to report proceedings. On the night of the lecture, every man who usually sat on the rostrum, deserted his post through fear of consequences Seeing this, Mr. Paterson walked up and said, “Mr. Holy. oake, I will sit upon the rostrum to-night and if you will permit me, I will read the Jew book article. Remember, you are just pledged to conduct the Oracle while Southwell is in prison, and if you are taken it may interfere with that. I am of less consequence than you, and less useful, and there are fewer to care for my absence than for yours. Therefore, let me read it.” He did so, but as he was not the person fixed upon, no proceedings were taken against him. Still the disregard of self, the generous concern for his friend, and his readiness to be of service in danger, remain the same, and are above comment. I could give other anecdotes of a similar kind.
Paterson is a man who will perform a noble act when no one looks on, and will find satisfaction in it, though no one should applaud. He has no ambition but to be useful, and no desire but to save from danger those whom he thinks more useful than himself.
In private life, Paterson is one of the most sensitive of men. An unkind word, or a cold look from a friend, will wither him, while the affection of a child will fill him with joy. But in the public support of what he deems useful and just, no dangers will intimidate, and I believe no severity will subdue bim. ; The object of these remarks is to give the public correcter notions of Mr. Paterson's real motives, feelings, and character, than can be obtained from the newspaper press. For in the excitement of bigot rage, principle is overlooked, right is disregarded, and motives forgotten. It is unfortunate that orthodoxy seldom stops to discrimi. nate, but cries down all who differ. But he who battles for religion, should remember that he will do his cause little honour while he forgets to be just.
G. J. H,