« AnteriorContinua »
to public notice and support. Almost every county contains now its political victims, and a small weekly contribution would gladden their hearts, not only with necessaries, but with the satisfaction that they were not forgotten. For myself, I ask nothing, I have never wanted since my confinement, and my prospects at this moment, are better than they were twelve months since. I flatter myself that I shall manage to struggle on by my own exertions, but there are those confined who have not the means of turning a penny. Such is the case of Wedderburn in this-prison, shut up in solitary confinement, and has no fire but what he purchases. I have no means of communication with him, as the keeper has told me that he has an order not to allow the least to pass between him and me, under any circumstances whatever. I sometimes see him at a distance, and as far as the courage and mind of the man can support him I believe he bears all with a becoming fortitude. Amidst the multitude of prisoners in different parts of the country, it would be invidious to mention any by name; but now is the severe moment of trial in a prison. This is the winter of a prisoner indeed. It reflects no small disgrace on the many men of property who are continually babbling about the injustice of this, that, and the other person's case, to see that they do not take the least notice of an individual after he passes the prison door, and becomes a prisoner. We see them forming a joint stock company to establish a provident society, but this has as much the appearance of a desire for profit as public good. Let them visit our prisons— let them assist those who are disabled, from their political opinions only, from making a provision for sickness-and then they shall have the epithet of philanthropist and patriot bestowed upon them, which they now pompously seek without merit or good intention. I do not recommend the thief or felon to their notice. No. Their punishment is due: but those men who are confined for what are called seditious or blasphemous libels, or seditious or blasphemous expressions, are, I venture to say, some of the best and most honest members of society.
Congratulating you, my fellow Reformers, on our present prospects, and exhorting you to perseverance,
I subscribe myself,
Your devoted servant,
Dorchester Gaol, Jan. 1st, Second Year of the
Printed and Published by R. CARLILE, 55, Fleet-Street, where all Communications (postage paid) are requested to be addressed.--Orders, with remittances, or references for payment, will be punctually attended to. Country Agents will find the most liberal Terms for prompt Payment.
REFORMERS OF GREAT BRITAIN.
Dorchester Gaol, March 3,
FELLOW COUNTRYMEN, Year 2, of the Spanish Revolution. THE present short address comes to you by way of a preface to some correspondences I have thought proper to print. As I calculate, by a perseverance, on producing some effect in regard to beating down superstition and idolatry, both theological and political, I am anxious to afford you every opportunity of marking my progress and conduct. This induces me to print every thing which passes my hand in the shape of a correspondence on the subject, as the best index to my own mind and character, and the dispositions and feelings of others with regard to my exertions, whether friends or foes, for I shall give even the latter fair play and candour.
Nothing particular has occurred, in our domestic affairs, since my last address to you on the 1st of January, farther than that the present Assembly, which we call Parliament, has given us additional proofs that it does not, in the least instance, represent the people of this or the sister island. That we shall succeed in reforming it I have no fear. The time cannot be exactly marked. A month might do it, or a year might leave it incomplete. Our best ally, at home, is the debt and funding system, and the real distress which it produces proves to be the only real enlightener of the people of this island. As far as that distress reaches, the people have opened their eyes, and some of them have opened their mouths to complain or to threaten, but those who have contrived to keep it off either by cunning or corruption, sedu-, lously endeavour to make us believe that all is well. Whatever insight I have acquired of the nature and effect of the British funding system, I owe it to the writings of Mr. Paine and Mr. Cobbett, and as the latter continues his weekly luminous exposition on the subject, I cannot presume to touch upon it, but I cordially agree with him, that there is now no visible chance of reforming the system of government, but by the breaking up of the funding system. Should any other incident lead us toward a reformation of the government, that incident would be to the funding and paper system, as a spark of fire to a powder magazine; or should the death of this system be natural, which Paine twenty-five years since said, was as certain as that man must die, that incident would operate in the same manner on the corruptions of the government. The corruptions of our government, and our tyranny, and the funding and paper system Printed and Published by M. A. Carlile, 55, Fleet Street, London.
will co-exist and will fall together. The one cannot outlive the other a month, or a week, or scarce a day.
The war which despotism has again waged with liberty on the Continent, I consider to be of the greatest importance I wait, with the greatest anxiety, for the first meeting of the Neapolitans and the slavish Austrians. If the former are. filled with that republican fire which burned in the bosoms of the French republicans, the despotism of Europe is near its end, as it will lead to a general war, in which, the whole population of Europe must take part. It is the war of a few robbers, under the title of monarchs, against the peace, the happiness, the welfare, and the liberties of the whole. European population. Those Crowned Robbers will be supported by the priests, as they are of the same birth and origin, and they together may for a few months bamboozle a few thousands of the ignorant, bigotted, and brutish part of the people under their sway, to fight for them, but let an Austrian army, fighting under the orders of their present despot, find a check from the freemen of Naples, the torch of freedom will immediately blaze with an inextinguishable splendour, and every man in Europe will burn with a desire to assist in rooting out those robbers, which inflict an endless misery on all over whom they bear their ruthless sway. It will be the final struggle of a continent for the representative system of government, against the monarchical despots which infest and disgrace it.
Correspondence between Mr. John Harper of Manchester and R. Carlile.
"Unblest by virtue, Government, a league, becomes a circling junto of the great, to rob by law, Religion, mild, a yoke to tame the stooping soul, a trick of state, to mask their rapine, and to share the prey. THOMSON.
TO MR. RICHARD CARLILE, DORCHESTER GAOL.
SIR, Manchester, Feb. 5, 1821. A FEW Friends of Civil and Religious Liberty who meet together to read the Republican, Deist, System of Nature, and such books as are adapted (not for the oppression of virtue) but for the promulgation of general knowledge, view with feelings of detestation and abhorrence the many attempts of that horde of Swindlers, the Christian Priests, alias Vice Society, to crush and reduce to starvation and beggary, your virtuous and truly patriotic family; but it is to be hoped, they will be foiled in their murderous career by the liberal generosity of enlightened Englishmen. We feel ourselves called upon openly to avow our warm admiration of
the noble, daring, and evincing manner in which you have advocated the cause of truth, justice, and universal philan thropy, in opposition to those hydra-headed monsters, Monarchy and religious fanaticism. We request you will accept the sum of six pounds as a trifling acknowledgment of our gratitude, and assure you, Sir, that had our means been equal to our wishes, we would have sent you a more lasting declaration of our esteem, but though we cannot do all we would, we will do all we can, and hope your numerous admirers in every part of the country will emulate our example. We shall continue to send you, out of our scanty pittance, some small requital for the base robbery of your property, your uncalled for, cruel, and unmerited Imprisonment, and the persevering, inflexible, and praiseworthy manner in which you still continue to wield the pen of truth in the cause of justice and humanity, for the amelioration of the present degraded condition of the human race.
To search for and promulgate truth is the greatest benefit man can confer on society, and that government stands in need of reformation where a man by publishing his opinions on its religious or political institutions incurs the danger of being prosecuted and imprisoned, if those opinions should in any manner tend to call in question the truth of a religion, which takes for its support, out of the pockets of the people, more than six millions in a year, and the policy of a political system, which pampers the few with heretofore (in this country) unknown luxuries, and keeps the many in a state of heretofore unknown misery, in the want of common necessaries of life; imprisonments and fine merely for differing with them in our thoughts; just heaven! fanatic tyrants (as that able writer Voltaire exclaims) "you had better first cut off our hands that we may not write, tear out our tongues that speak against you, pluck out our souls whose thoughts of you are really horrible." It is now useless for priests to call upon the people to bear their burdens with patience, for it is the hand of God which afflicts them. The people now ask those hypocritical dastards, if God be just why does he permit you to revel and wallow in luxury, and deny to us the common necessaries of subsistence? If there be a definition of blasphemy, this must be blasphemy, to tax the Almighty with being the cause of the miseries of his creatures, when they proceed from a wicked, corrupt, and abominable system of government, from the licentiousness of the King and the rapacity of priests. But, thanks to you, Sir, and a few others, the bright sun of reason has already shed his refulgent rays upon the people, they now well know that all power is concentred in themselves, and, ere that sun arrives at his meridian splendour, there will be one sudden exertion to regain their lost rights and liberties, before which kings
and priests, crowns and mitres, thrones and monasteries, will be swept away, and like the baseless fabric of a vision leave not a wreck behind; you, Sir, are a bright example of the inefficacy of bolts, bars, and dungeons, to stifle the voice of reason and of truth, and we entertain no doubt, but that in some form or other you will continue to tread in the path you have already marked out for yourself, and that, in the end, your able endeavours will be crowned with success; you, Sir, have made more proselytes to the cause of Deism, than any of the writers that have preceded you, and we hope the day is not far distant when you will receive some compensation for the many sufferings you cheerfully undergo in the cause you have so ably defended, at least you will receive the thanks of all true lovers of liberty, and your name will be cherished and revered to the latest posterity; for
Though truths firm sons imprisoned lie,
And priests the reasoning powers decry;
Yet soon, like those brutes who shur the nightly fire,
We return our most sincere thanks to Mrs. Carlile, and your patriotic sister, as women they have acted nobly, and deserve well of their country. In times, like the present, when truth has to crouch and bend beneath the iron rod of despotism, to come forward and offer themselves voluntarily, as candidates for a dungeon, in which Christian priests very charitably have been long labouring to consign them, are instances rarely to be met with in the page of history.
That you, Sir, may live to see the downfal of tyranny and superstition, enjoy good health, and number many happy days, is the heartfelt prayer of your
Obedient Servant, and respectful Admirer,
P. S. The greater part of this letter was wrote previous to receiving your 17th Republican, in which you inform your readers of your intention to decline publishing it for a time, and in its pages it was hoped this letter would have been inserted. Under existing circumstances you can do with it what you think proper, but by inserting the subscriptions in your next address, or in any manner you may think best, you will further oblige your sincere friends in Manchester.
TO MR. JOHN HARPER OF MANCHESTER. SIR, Dorchester Gaol, March 1, 1821. YOUR very flattering and cheering address came duly to hand, and I beg leave to return to you, and all my friends in Manchester and its vicinity, my heartfelt thanks for your kind recollections and exertions in my behalf. The circumstance of the enemy removing Mrs. Carlile from her busi