« ForrigeFortsæt »
the Crown, arrived and took their seate. Comparative order was now restored, and the Court being full, the obtrusion of other persons was prevented. It appears from the list of the Sheritfs, that the five charges against Mr. Carlile stand upon the paper in succession for trial.
Mr. Carlile made an appeal to Mr. Sheriff Parkins, and stated that his friends were not admitted. Mr. Parkins addressed Mr. Collenridge, and desired that his orders should be attended to.-Mr. Collenridge, “ Mr. Carlile has already five friends in Court.”—Mr. Sheriff Parkins, “ I suppose, Mr. Carlile, those persons are necessary to your defence."--Mr. Carlile, “ They are laden with books, to which I shall have occasion to refer.”—Mr. Sheriff Parkins,
They must be admitted.”—The names of the four persons were then given in, and they were ordered to be admitted. The cause of “ The King against Carlile” was then called
Mr. Hunt instantly rose, and adverting to his own cause against Stoddart and others, stated that he had understood from his Lordship that no cause should be taken out of its turn. His cause stood before that now called on, and he claimed his prior right.—The Chief Justice desired Mr. Hunt not to interrupt the Court, but to be silent and depart.
Mr. Hunt, “ Be silent and depart! Your Lordship said no cause should be taken out of its turn.”-The Chief Justice, “ I never said any such thing. I said that the causes should be taken as near as possible in their order. You were cousulted on the fixing of your own cause, and I understand from the officer of the Court that you have chosen next Thursday, for which day your trial stands appointed.” --Mr. Hunt, "I am satisfied with your Lordship's explanation, but five causes are now called, which may last three weeks or a month. Will your Lordship allow my witnesses to retire !”—The Chief Justice, “ You may have your trial put off to a more distant day, if you like.” -Mr. Hunt, “ If your Lordship pleases, for a week or ten days.”—The Chief Justice, “ You will settle that with the Solicitors on the other side."
The list of Special Jurymen was then called over, and the following persons answered :-Charles Wood, Abchurchlane; Robert Hutchinson, Clement's-lane; John Hanson, Crooked-lane; George Harvey, Lawrence-lane; Arthur Chichester Allen, Ironmonger-lane; John Wilson, Queen-street; Richard Chambers, Dove-court; William Parker, Johnstreet,
Mr. Bellamy was then about to swear those Gentlemen,
when Mr. Carlile submitted that this Court was not competent to try the charge against him.-The Chief Justice replied, “ The Court is competent to try any criminal information filed by the Attorney-General.”-Mr. Carlile: “I submit there is no law which applies to this case.”—The Chief Justice: “If there is no such law, you will be acquitted.”-Mr. Carlile: “I protest against the proceeding.” - The Chief Justice: “ You protest. Very well. ”
The Attorney-General then prayed a tales, and the Jury was made perfect by the following Common Jurymen : R. Plant; G. Coates, baker; J. Triggie, chairmaker; Matthew Holyer, glazier.
The Jury having been sworn, Mr. Campbell, who was also retained for the Crown, shortly opened the pleadings. Mr. Carlile now addressed the Court, and required that the Information should be read at the proper season. The Chief Justice: “You must not interrupt the proceedings of the Court. This case shall be tried in a similar manner with all others.”—Mr. Carlile: “I only requested that the Information might be read, in order that the Jury might understand the question which they are about to try.”The Chief Justice: 66 The Information shall be read at the proper season.”-Mr. Carlile: “ That is all I desire.”
The Attorney-General (Sir R. Gifford) then addressed the Jury, and after a long and laboured speech, which lasted nearly an hour, concluded by calling on the Jury, if they were satisfied of this being a libellous publication, to acquit their consciences, and find the prisoner guilty.
The Solicitor General now called" Griffin Swanson,* who, on his being sworn deposed that he was Clerk to the Solicitors of the Treasury. On the 17th of December he went to the house of the defendant in Fleet Street. He saw the defendant himself, and asked him for * Paine's Age of Reason.” He delivered it to him, and charged him for it 10s. 6d. They had very little conversation. Mr. Carlile knew witness to be the Clerk to the Solicitors of the Treasury, and sent his compliments to Mr. Maule, adding, if he would allow him to eat his Christmas dinner at home, he would be prepared to meet him.
* This person is a native of Lynn, in Norfolk, where for some years he resided with a pettifogging, attorney bat not exactly contented with the profits of his office, we understand he granted protections to seamen, emanating solely from his own authority, for which, we believe, the town has lost the bcriefit of his legal services. In the course of the proceedings we shall be able more fully to illustrate the merit of this important and convenient personage, he being the same individual to whom Mr. Hone is indebted for his present good fortune, for giving the information relative to the Jeu d'esprits for which that Gentleman was tried and honourably acquitted.-What a pity that the cause of Christianily should be reduced to such a dilemma as to seek support from a character like this!
Cross-examined by Mr. Curlile.-Was there any besitation on my part to serve you?
Witness - None at all. You did it rather cheerfully. You asked me if I did not want half a dozen copies.
The Chief Justice now said, that as the defendant wished the information to be read, the counts, and the passages in the book to which they referred had better now be read to the Jury.
The information was then read by Mr. Bellamy, the officer of the Court.
Mr. Carlife admitted that the passages in the book corresponded with the passages
set forth in the information, and added, that it was unnecessary to read the passages twice over, as he should read the book himself as a part of his defence.
During the reading of the information, the Archbishop of Canterbury entered the Court and took his seat beside the Chief Justice.
Mr. Hunt, Mr. Carlile, and some other persons, friends of the latter, were busily engaged in taking notes of the Atorney-General's speech, and of the evidence.
The case for the prosecution having been closed, Mr. Carlile then rose to make his defence.
“Gentlemen of the Jury-I now rise to make my defence agaiñst the charge against me by the Attorney-General, and believe me I am deeply im. pressed with the great importance of the subject. Of deep importance, indeed, it is ; for it is no less a question, than to try, whether a man may, or may not, be tolerated in indulging whatever creed or opinion he pleases in religious affairs. The Attorney-General has boasted much of the liberty of the press, and of free discussion : but I do not think that he has evinced much of this spirit of liberality on the present occasion. It is my desire, therefore, Gentlemen, to go into this case more fully than he has done, and to examine it in all its bearings, for I think iť a question of the first magnitude. In doing this, I shall endeavour to convince you, Gentlemen, of not alone what were my motives for publishing Paine's Age of Reason, but what were the motives of Paine himself, in the original publication. I will shew you, also, I am sure, that it is is not that blasphemous work it is described to be nor am I that impious and wicked individual deseribed in the Attorney Ge. neral's information. That Learned Gentleman has said, that the eyes of the country, and Europe, are upon you this day. I say so too, for I have hadi communications from all quarters, expressing the deepest anxiety upon the subject, and even letters of condolence that I should thus be persecnted, and of a sympathy which is, I believe, in accordance with the public feeling, under the influence of which I have no doubt that you will this day pronounce me--Not Guilty. For, who are those gentlemen who seek a verdict against me on the present occasion ? Are they not those who, as in times of old, lit up fires in-Smithfield, and sanctioned the massacres, and murders, and tortures of their fellow creatures? It is not upon such a principle, surely, that the Attorney-Generel would this day defend the Christian Religion. The speech of the Attorney-General, he continued, was a repetition of common place expressions from one end to the other; and as to religion, it was but a parody upon all the Attorney-Generals who had gone before him. He had talked as they did of the liberty of the press, and as they would have done, charged him with licentiousness, but he denied it. The At torney-General saiủ, that the present prosecution was founded on tbe law of the land, but he had not shewn it, nor could he prove it. The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Christian Religion, it was true, contained the doctrine of the Trinity, the very first article in particular. It was well known, however, that in order to relieve individuals from persecution, who did not believe in the Trinity, there was a Toleration Act. This was as juge as it was rational, for the Article mentioned was irreconcileable, one part describing the Deity as a Being without substance or matter; and the other shewing that there was an unity of three persons with substance and matter. The Act of Toleration he contended, went to the repeal of this very Article, b ecause wen were allowed, by law, to worship God, without being call upon to believe in the Trinity. The Attorney General, therefore, in saying that the Christian Religion was the law of the land, might 'have added that Deism was also the law of the land, for the Act protected those who did not be lieve the Christian doctrines. There was no law he knew of, which defined or took cognizance of blasphemy; and it was therefore he felt himself justified in publishing Paine's Age of Reason. He denied that he had any malicious or impious intention, as alleged against him, and remiöded the Jury that the Jews considered the Christian Religion a cheat; the Christians thought the same of the Jews; both thought alike of the Hindoos, and all thought the religion of the Mahometans a cheat.
He then cited at length the cases of those who had been convicted before, but on different grounds, for publishing the Age of Reason, and charged the Attorney-General himself with being a professed Unitarian. His father, brothers, and relations, he could undertake to say, were of that sect; but it was probable that the exaltation of the Attorney-General might have induced an abandonment of those religious principles.
Mr. Carlile went on expressing his conviction of an acquittal, and having obtained leave to hand to a few of the Jury, copies of the Age of Reason, we left him, reading and descanting upon it, page by page, and sentence by sentende. CHRISTIAN TOLERANCE, AND CHRISTIAN
We cannot avoid noticing a paragraph of a most maligrtant tendency, which appeared in The Courier a few evenings since, relative to the approaching trial of Mr. Carlile. That vile Print, after informing its readers that the above Gentleman had issued subpænas against several persons of distinction in the ecclesiastical and astronomical world, (amongst whom is the Astronomer from the Royal Obseryatory at Greenwich,) observes that they are not compelled to attend, unless their expenses are tendered to them beforehand. The malicious intention of this remark is easily seen through; the Editor of that prop to religious as well as political tyranny, wishes to throw every obstacle in Mr. Carlile's way, that he may not be able to meet the advocates of Christianity on fair grounds. If this be Christian charity, we disclaim it, as being unjust in its principle; but when, we ask, were any sect of Christians actuated by principles of justice ?-Never. Every other sect cries out against the Catholics for their cruelty, intolerance, and rapacity, when power was vested or reposed in their hands, and truly they made a cloak of religion to sanctify their wickedness and villainy. Thus an inveterate hatred is kept up amongst the Protestants of this country for that religion, and they are told that their own is the most authentic, the most just
in principle, and the most tolerant of all others. These lessons being instilled in childhood, are not easily erased or forgotten; but let us just see how the Protestants acted when they got into power, and if we find that their conduct was as gross as that of their Catholic brethren, it is but fair to conclude that the foundation of the doctrines of both is. false and absurd. We will take the Inquisition of Spain as the criterion of Catholic enormities, and seek for a parallel in these free, happy, and contented countries. In Ireland, when first the Protestant religion was established there by the Government, penal laws were instituted against those who adhered to the Catholic faith, inflicting pains and penalties of a description, if not so‘atrocious as those of the Inquisition, were at least as abhorrent to every principle of justice, honor, filial love, and every nobler sentiment of the heart. We will quote from memory a few examples of those laws, in support of our assertion, and leave it to the unbiassed judgment of the reader, if the Christian religion has not been rather a curse than a blessing to the world.
"If a Protestant stabbed, or in any other manner put a Catholic to death ; by paying a fine of one mark to the King, he was discharged. If, however, a Catholic put to death a Protestant, instant death was the forfeit of his crime, nor would any fine in such case be received as an atonement."*-Christian justice !!!
“ If any Catholic clergyman was observed to perform the service of the mass, himself and his followers might be mássacred with impunity.”--Christian mercy!!!
“If any Catholic be possessed of property, and that any of his children (the eldest always having the preference) choose to read their recantation, they are forthwith put in possession of such property, and the unfortunate parent is driven forth, houseless and pennyless, together with those children who, like their father, proudly refuse to be com- pelled to give up à religion, of the absurdity of which, reason and argument would convince them, without resorting to force. Should the unfortunate parent retire to some other part of the country, and there by his industry and application to business accumulate a comfortable independence, this same child, or any other of them who chose to take advantage of the offers held out to them as a reward for abandoning every principle of yirtue and honor, might: again turn their aged and miserable father a wanderer
*The Courier absolutely has this week held forth, that it would be less criminal for a constable to murder a Radical Reformer, than for a Radical Reformer to murder a constable! God forbid that tlie constables should take the hint!