Imatges de pÓgina
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first satisfying ourselves of the etymology and meaning of the word Republican, we find that it really means nothing more when applied to government, than a government which consults the public interest-the interest of the whole people. Although in almost all instances where governments have been denominated Republican, monarchy has been practically abolished; yet it does not argue the necessity of abolishing monarchy to establish a Republican government. The idea that the Editor has invariably held on this subject is: first, let us have a fair and equal system of representation without excluding the suffrage of any one man of sound mind and unimpeached conduct: then let every other thing stand or fall with it, as may be found convenient or conducive to the general interest. A House of real representatives, possessing & Democratic ascendancy, renewed every year, free from the influence or controul of any other bodies or establisments. This, I conceive, would be a real Republican government. Whether the present system of hereditary monarchy could exist under such a change I am quite indifferent, knowing, that if those representatives found it beneficial, it would continue to exist; and if found to be injurious, it would be abolished. The man that would consult the welfare of a single family in preference to the welfare of a community, can neither be a patriot, philanthropist, or a social being. Those political writers who urge the necessity of preserving and adhering to that part of the English legislature which at present consists of King and Lords, and who wish to extend the suffrage of representation to every man, evasively argue an absurdity which they previously know to be impracticable. A conflict might be carried on for some years between the powers, a continual dispute about rights and privileges would be inevitable, irritation would increase. and an appeal to force for the decision would be the conse

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quence, as was the case in the reign of Charles the First. I should much doubt the honesty and integrity of that man who called himself a Radical Reformer, (which is considered to apply as a term of distinction to those who advocate universal suffrage,) when he should say, "I do not contemplate any change in the present state of the monarchy, in case of gaining the point in reforming the House of Commons." will admit candidly on my own part that such an incongruous idea does not exist in my bosom. I cannot reconcile it with my idea of the effects of equal and full representation. I hold as opinion, that an expensive hereditary system of monarchy as existing at present in this country, would not be countenanced by the representatives of the whole people. -If ever the contrary is shown to me, I will become as good a subject to that monarchy as any subject that ever existed under any former monarchy: but until then I must beg the indulgence of retaining my opinions.-A free and perfect House of Commons, and every other department subservient to that. These are my republican ideas.

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With respect to the aboliton of established religious creeds, I do not contend for its necessity in any other instance than where they are attempted to be enforced as a matter of uniformity by the secular arm: they then become disgusting, degrading, and injurious. I maintain on this head, that no goverment should legislate as to what shall or shall not be the religion of its subjects; or what differences should exist in their creeds. It is a subject connected with the mind; the mind may be debased and rendered hypocritcal, but can never be regulated by any standard. The question has been asked, Whether I consider every believer in divine Revelation the foe to civil liberty, or even republican government? I answer by no means: I know the contrary. I can have no objection, that a certain number of persons or families holding similar

opinions, should have a chapel and a preacher agreeable to their minds, provided they meet the expences themselves: but if I am called on to contribute, I should object, and say, I see no need for any species of public worship of any Being, real or imaginary. I am very willing to contribute to the support of public lectures on the various sciences; of the one I can see utility, of the other I cannot. But whilst religion is made the engine of the state to forge fresh fetters, and whilst the established priesthood who are supported out of the taxes, are the supple tools of every existing authority; I for one shall live and die its foe. I have an uniform opinion of every species of religion; that is, wherever it is allowed to predominate over dissenting opinions, it becomes the worst of despotisms. I again repeat that an established priesthood, of whatever tenets, is incompatible with civil liberty. Look for instance to the local magistracy of this country, and see what it is composed of: you will find the majority to be priests of the Established Church, and we have not been without some rare specimens of their conduct of late. It has been said in St. Stephen's Chapel, that the unpaid magistracy of this country was of the greatest importance, and should not be spoken of disrespectfully that if persons who devoted their time and services to the administration of the laws and of justice, without fee or reward, were exposed to censure or disrespect, they would cease to act. How can it possibly be said to be without fee or reward, when every priest knows, whatever may be his ability, or whether he has any or not, that there are rich benefices in store if his conduct affords a little gratification to those who have them at their disposal. Every man is more or less guided by self interest. I do not believe there is such a being as a disinterested man: there may be shades of difference in this respect. Let us for a moment take a view of the conduct of the Rev. Parson

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Hay, of Manchester repute. This man was first intended by his friends for the Bar-was actually sent to study and to pass the degrees to: that purpose, but turned out to be what is vulgarly called a numskull. And as the Rev. Parson was not adapted for the Bar, he must step into the pulpit, where he would not have to deliver himself extempore, but where every thing necessary to be said might be said from written or printed books: this answers very well. The gentleman obtains a living, and soon after the Commission of the Peace in the County of York, near Doncaster, where be continues to exercise his influence over a weekly newspaper published in that town. The magistrates of Manchester and its neighbourhood, each and individually have an objection to preside as Chairman at the Quarter Sessions. What is to be done? Why there is this Reverend Magistrate in Yorkshire, who will jump at at any thing in the shape of stipend, is applied to, and agrees to perform the office as Chairman (although commissioned for another county) for the sum of £400 per year. By this means Mr. Hay bears the title of a Manchester magistrate. His further acts and deeds, are they not written in the Chronicles of the Boroughmongers, in the PEOPLE'S BOOK? The Rev. Mr. Ethelstone who ascends his pulpit to preach peace and the Christian religion, surrounded with military and fixed bayonets, is another of these respectable unpaid magistracy. These are a sample of the whole, allowing for the difference of circumstances and situation. As a proof of the despotism of every species of religion, I would instance the Scottish Covenanters, who, when by the aid of John Knox, and other furious fanatics, they had thrown down the despotism of the Roman Catholic religion, assumed a despotism in their new form as Covenanters, or adhering to a certain covenant which they presumed to have made with the person they called Lord Jesus, still more

odious, cruel, and destructive, and afterwards their presbytery became very little better. The same was the case of what is called the present Established Church of England, who threw off only the shadow of the Roman Catholic system, and retained the substance: it harassed in an unparallelled manner the poor Scottish Covenanters, and Presbyterians, because they would not embrace the Episcopacy and Liturgy of the English Church. History does not display more cruelty and horrible barbarity under any other Church,、 than has been practised by the present established Church of England on the Scottish Covenanters and Presbyterians: it nearly approached to an extermination by the faggot and sword in the time of the Stuarts. If the form of worship in the Established Church was now to be deprived of the support of the statute law, and any other system, such as Calvinism, Arminianism, or Socinianism, were to predominate, the same system of persecution would revive: every other sect would be proscribed as in error. I would carry this idea and assertion even to the Quakers, quiet and inoffensive as they now are: I doubt not, but in case of prevalence as a system of religion, a thorough change would take place in their characters, and that arrogance and conceit which has been invariably found in the strongest sect, would be found amongst them. The United States of America are evidently degenerating in character and morals, in consequence of the prevalence of fanaticism amongst them. This fanatic poison had so deeply imbued the inhabitants of that neighbourhood. where Paine's remains lay, that a mound of earth was not allowed to mark the spot; it was no sooner raised, than these gentry, in honour to their Lord and Master, would come and kick and scuffle it down. America may regenerate before its degeneration becomes dangerous. A few men with splendid talents, and the free exercise of the press, may soon

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