Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

THE ORIGIN AND PROPERTIES OF THE CAP OF

LIBERTY.

The ancient Romans generally went with their heads bare, or in rain or cold weather covered them with the corners of their toga, or robe. Cæsar, their first Emperor, having a bald head, covered it with laurels, as did the late Marquis of Granby, from the same cause. Indeed the ancients, when either old or infirm, indulged themselves with wearing a cap. As age was then honourable, so caps became marks of honour, as none could be then deemed honourable who were not free, the cap, by degrees, became the badge of freedom ; and when a slave was made a free man, be had a cap given to bim which he was permitted to wear. in public. · The Piteus, or Cap of Liberty, is quite simple in its form, common in its texture, and of a whitish colour. It is in the form of a sugar loaf, broad at the bottom, and ending like a cone. This prefigures that freedom stands on the broad basis of humanity; and it runs up to a pyramid, the emblem of eternity, to show it ought to last for ever. It is simple, for liberty is in itself the most shining ornament of manā It hath no gilded trappings, which too often mark the livery of despotism. It is made of wool, to signify that liberty is the birth-right of the shepherd as well as of the senator ; and that although shepherds may lawfully shear the sheep they protect, they ought not to skin them; that being the employment of the butcher. Lastly, the Cap of Liberty is wbitish, the native colour of the wool undyed. This demonstrates that it should be natural without deceiving gloss, unspotted by faction and untainted by tyranny.

"TO CORRESPONDENTS. The Editor has to acknowledge the receipt of many favours, to some of which insertion would be given in the “ CAP OF LIBERTY," but that he conceives in such times as these, it is the imperious daty of every man to avow his sentiments, whether Political or Religious. Although our's is a Political publication, yet in this country our Political situation is so closely interwoven with Theology, that it is at the present period impossible to sem parate the tyranny of the oue from the intolerance and rapacity of the other; indeed each are such a support to the other, that our attempts must be directed against both, or neither will fall. The signatures of individuals of such talent, as is conspicuous, in letters we have received, would add much weight to the cause in which we are embarked; and from this prins cipleal one do we decline inserting anonymous communications unless a reason be given sufficiently important to apologize for the omission. In such cases we would request their name and address, for our private information,

Printed and Published by T. DAVISON, 10, Duke Street, Smithfield.

THE

A London Meekly Political Publication.

No. 5, Vol. 1.)

Wednesday, October 6th, 1819.

[Price 2d.

If Humanity shows to the God of this World,

A sight for his fatherly eye,
'Tis that of # PEOPLE with banner unfurld,

Resolv'd for their FREEDOM TO DIE.
Tis a spark of the Deity bursting to light

Through the darkness of human control,
That fires the bold war arm in Liberty's fight,
And springs from the Patriot burning and bright,

Through the eye of an heavenly.soul. C. PHILLIPS,

LETTER TO LORD VISCOUNT SIDMOUTH.

My Lord, You are a member of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, and also, I suppose of the religious Tract Society, which has within these few days, with such laudable zeal, placed a man at Mr, Carlile's door for the purpose of distributing gratuitously to his customers their libellous attacks upon Deists and Deism, unsupported by any other evidence than their false and calumnious assertions. Is this, my Lord, Christian charity ? If so, I trust in heaven, and in my God, that I have none of it, I see by one of the tracts wbich were thus placed in my hands, that the Society is charged 28. 8d, per hundred, and also that three editions have been thus given away, each edition containing 4000 copies, which at the above rate of 28. 8d. per hundred, must cost the Society £5. 6s. 8d. Now there being a variety of these tracts, and all being given in the same gratuitous manner to casual passengers, the expense to the Society must be enormous, Allow ine to request from your Lordship an explanation of the motive for which this expenditure is incurred ? It cannot be with an intention of promoting truth, for truth would be much better promoted, and Christian charity be more clearly apparent, by giving those sums of money to Mr. Carlile, and thus enable him the better to procure the necessary requisites for his defence. Such a proceediug would prove the disinterestedness of the Society, and the consequent investigation being full and candid, Truth would be discovered, and the question thereby set at rest for ever.

It of course coald matter little whether Mr. T. DAVICON, Priater and Pablishes, 10 Duke Street, Smithfield.

reason.

Carlile or the Attorney-General succeeded, since the great object, Truth, was attained. But unfortunately for the cause of Christian charity and benevolence, your Lordship and the Society have pursued a different mode of action; you, my Lord, stand up for the Christian religion, which inculcates «

peace

and good-will to all men," and yet you seek to immure a man in one of your dungeons, whose name will rank high in the estimation of posterity, when your. Lordship’s will be despised and execrated as the appellation of a being who, with a face of sanctity; would, if sulficiently powerful, consign to inquisitorial torture the man who, in opposition to your Lordship's pretended boliness, had dared to think, to speak, and act according to the dictates of his

The motives for which those pamphlets were thus distri buted, must be to excite horror in the minds of jurymen against Mr; Carlile and Deism, and to prejudice then against him on his approaching trial. This is Christian charity and justice ! such are their motives, but surely means were never

. before made use of, so directly calculated to subvert the. intended motive. What! the tale ot' some whining, canting, hypocritical divine, devoid of all argument, and being in general nothing more than an exposition of the folly and arrogance of the author, by which truly he endeavours to continue the tytbing system ; for self-interest is the motive of every, or nearly every divine in the kingdom. Can your Lordship suppose that such nonsensical trash is capable of shaking the broad basis of truth, nature, and reason, upon which our religion is founded? I will not do such an injustice to your understanding as to imagine that you could for one moment believe it. One of these pampblets is entitled, “ Three Questions to Deists," and is written by a clergyman now dead; to attempt á refutation of such a combination of absurdity and folly as the few pages it contains abound with, would be an insult to the common sense of the great majority of our readers, and I shall therefore not attempt it. I cannot, however, avoid remarking a curious proof which he advances in support of the assertion that Voltaire died a Christian. “A clergyman of the Ca. tholic persuasion called upon him a sbort time previous to his death, and repeatedly required of him to say whether he died in the belief of Jesus Christ? Voltaire at length grew impatient, and raising himself in bed, replied, : In the name of God, Sir, speak to me no more of that man, but let ine die in peace.' How the Right Reverend gentleman could construe this into an argument of his having died a Christian, it is really difficult to determine, but to me it appears a most undeniable proof that he died as he had lived, a Deist.

I do not believe, for my own part, that your Lordship believes in the authenticity of the Christian religion, or you would be so far anxious for its welfare, as to use all means for bringing forward every argument against it, that it might finally triumph, over all the cavillers who are pulling it to pieces. You cannot say that such is your motive in prosecuting Mr. Carlile, for you have commenced several indictments when one would be enough for the purpose of establishing truth. The fact, my Lord, is that you wished to crush him by the enormous expenses

attendant

upon

defending himself in this island, where justice is so easy to be procured by the poor, and to deter others from treading in his steps! You are rich, my Lord, and Christian charity, if in search of truth, (or if there be such a thing) would induce you to reward those whom you made tools

of for that purposé. How much more manly and more becoming the character which Jesus Christ in his system of morality pointed out as worthy of imitation, would it have been had you come to Mr. Carlile and said, “ Sir, in my opinion the doctrines you inculcate are wrong and illegal; the religion I profess myself an unworthy member of, teaches me to avoid oppression, and therefore I mean to try the question, and will pay all your expenses in the action, provided you will give up selling the obnoxious publications, if a verdiet is registered against you by a fairly-chosen jury of your countrymen.” With such a liberal offer Mr. Carlile inust have acquiesced, and your Lordship would bave shared with him the esteem and gratitude of your fellow-country, men. The Society, however, of which your Lordship is a member, has pursued a different line of conduct, and whe. ther reason gets the better of vice or not, neither Mr. Carlile nor the advocates of Deism will have to complain of too much lenity being shewn them.

I confess, my Lord, that 1 view this approaching trial with no small degree of anxiety; it appears to me the most important which has been brought before a Court within the last century, for the question is, whether the rising genera. tion are to be deprived of the exertions of the present towards discovering truth; or in other words, whether truth and reason shall be bauished from the haunts of men, and error aud superstition be inculcated in their room, by a set of hypocritical priests, who find their account in praying and preaching up temperance and sobriety, while at the

[ocr errors]

expense of their flock they revel in all manner of luxury and profusion. They take one-tenth the property of the whole kingdom, and still hanker after more, although the very scriptures which they profess to follow. expressly say, " Amen, I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."

I did not address your lordship with any hope that any thing I could say, would induce you to act more. liberally towards the defendant; no, my lord, I am toofwell acquainted with the persecuting spirit slways evinced by christians towards those who did not happen to coincide with their unreasonable doctrines, for, not content with condemning them to the eternal flames of hell, where power has been placed in their hands, they give them in this world a foretaste of the tortures which they are to-suffer in the next, and this is Christian Charity!-Away with such blasphemous impiety. Reason and truth, my lord, must triumph, in despite of the Religious (how words may be perverted) Tract Society, or the Society for the Suppression of Vice. Think not, my lord, that crushing Mr. Carlile who has nobly placed himself in the van, will effect your purpose, for there are others in case of his fall who are willing to follow up the cause which he is now so ably advocating.

Hypocrisy my lord is the leading feature of your character, and not religion, but your face of sanctity will not impose upon the world, while your actions betray the heart of a demoniacal savage. How dare you, my lord, call yourself a member of the Society for the Suppression of Vice; you who have been a participator in the foul crime of murder, by sanctioning with your pious approbation, the miscreants who dyed their swords in the blood of the innocent, Instead of thus lavishing your thanks upon the assassins, would it not be more humane, more godly, nay more really christian like, to give that money which is squandered in nonsensical tracts towards relieving the sufferers at Manchester, and enquiring into the truth of deeds, which must for ever stain the annals of British history. But no, my Lord truth, whether political or theological, is not what your lordship is advocating the cause of; it is a superstitious error which you pretend to believe in, because its subversion would be destructive to the system of plunder which is so profitable to yourself and to all its supporters. This is the true motive of the enmity to Mr. Carlile, and the consequent informations filed against him. He is the bold advocate of truth, and truth would sou drive the pious Lord Sidmouth, and

« ForrigeFortsæt »