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ORACLE OF REASON,

EDINBURGH

SEGE

Or, Philosophy Vindicated. "TAITH'S EMPIRE IS THE WORLD; ITS MONARCH, GOD; ITS MINISTER

ITS SLAVES, THE PEOPLE.”

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PATESTS

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EDITED FOR CHARLES SOUTHWELL, DURING HIS IMPRISONMENT,
No. 29.]
BY G. JACOB HOLYOAKE.

[PRICE ID.

THE TRIAL.

ham as to threaten the total loss of his sight.

On the first day of the sessions, I and a friend Gloucester, July 2.

had to lead him to his lodgings, so painful The trial that was to be is all of which I was it to him to endearour to see his way. can speak. The judges of the sessions have yet in this state had he to dance attendance postponed it until the assizes of August next. for three days on these lowly and humane So all the expenses, whish have been neither servants of the most high. Still more disfew nor small, incurred on this occasion, will tressing was it to see Mrs. Adams, an interhave to be incurred again. By way of com: esting and intelligent woman and most affecpensation, I suppose, £1 93. were extracted tionate mother, parading for hours the cold or extorted, I scarcely know which is proper, aisles of the court, with endeavours to quiet under the head of court-fees for discharging her little infant-until an order was sent perforiner bail and registering new recognizan- mitting her absence. The man who could ces for my appearance at the assizes. My look upon or hear of a scene like this, and not friends, Messrs. Stevenson and Barnes bad to execrate the name of religion, must be lost proceed from Worcester to become my sure to all sense of dignity, humanity, mapliness, ties again. The amount now is only £100 and virtue! Is there a woman that can -half the former.

behold an amiable and virtuous mother thus The work of god goes bravely on, you dragged from her home and family-90 bruwould say were you here. Poor Mr. Adams, tally exposed and tortured by still prospective though still suffering most painfully from op- imprisonment with the most degraded of manthalmia, and Mrs. HARRIETT ADAMS, his kind--and not tell how infernal is the spirit wife, and infant child, were dragged over of piety, and how revoltingly inhuman the here too for trial. The cause of the lord sacrifices offered up at the shrine of the lord ? must be woful indeed, if the miserable shifts The expences entailed upon Mr. Adams had recourse to, and the injustice and harba- are such already as would quite ruin him rits their case evidences, are necessary for were they not to be defrayed by the subscripits support. Their trials also are postponed tions made for the defence. Thus the enerto the assizes. Although no one was bound gies of an industrious family would be prosover to prosecute Mrs. Adams, yet was she trated for ever by this pious prosecution. compelled to appear, and £1 17s.6d. charged How intensely sickening to talk of god being for discharging the bail for her and Mr. Adams good to all, and that his tender mercies are and entering new sureties of the same amount over all, after this! Had it not been for the as before, for their appearance at the assizes, subscriptions sent in they must have both inand the clerk of the sessions threatened in evitably gone to gaol until the assizes, for the open court to estreat their hail unless they court was prepared to award that sentence, immediately upon that notice appeared. He aod, as it has been remarked, were even prewas told that they would rather take their pared to do it. Had this been done, Mrs. trials than endanger the property of the friends Adams's family and the pour orphan wcom who had become pureties for them; then time they have kept, would have been consigned to was allowed to fetch them, Mr. H. Fry and the poor-bouse, unless funds bad been found Mr, H. Beckett, from Cheltenham, who for their support; and not knowing whether again became bail for their appearance. Mr. this would be done the parents expected this Adams, and Mrs. Adams, with her infant at fate for their poor children when they parted her breast, will have annther time to leave from them to go to Gloucester. Conjure up, their home and family and present themselves if you can, the horrors of an English poorfor torture and punishment at the bar of this house to a fond mother's mind as the house Christian inquisition. The affection of the of her children whom she has for years nura eyes under which Mr. Adams has been for tured with the tenderest care ; see the desosometime suffering, was so much increased lation cast over the domestic hearth -all lone by the cold draughts to which he was subo and forsaken- and fancy, if you can, the jected during his imprisonment n Chelten- anguish of mind for both mother and father,

änd say, if Christian malignity ever gloated

CORRESPONDENCE. upon a.more torturing spectacle ! Collect all the misery that irreligion, according to To the Editor of the Oracle of Reason. the most rabid priest, ever produced, and I deny that, congregated together, it could

“Who by searching can find out god; who can equal in cold blooded barbarity this one scene

find out the almighty to perfection."-JOB. prepared for—and, if the preparers are to be The above is, perhaps, the only sensible helieved, commanded by-a god of mercy-a passage upon this subject in the holy book. kind father ! A mother made childless and a Much, very much bas been said and written widow ; children, orphans; and father, mother, and children shut up in so many living

on both sides the question," Is there a god?' tombs to suffer all the indignities a Christian And in their speculations upon the visionary tan so well heap npon the helpless in his and useless, men seem in accordance with power, and all the cruelties a priest can in the subject to have forgotten all their philoflict -- how delectable the music of their sophy, they seem to have thrown experience groans for the ear of god ! How sweet the to the wivds, and to have built castles in the harmony of their sighs for the portals of hea- air to their hearts' delight; men or gods of ven!! What acceptable offerings their inise: straw have been continually set up, and like ties must be at the throne of mercy !!! punch's wife, they are do sooner up than When will the time arrive for insulted rea

down. son and humanity to speak out;

Every possible incovsistency with

every personation of folly and abomination When man shall proudly scorn to nurse has been called by the name, until it has be.

Religion-earth's most direful curse ? come such a cominon-place thing with us to And it may be added, earth's most direful have, or to say we have, a god—that we know mockery too! Give us the gory wheels of not how to speak without him, or her, or it. Juggernaut to crush us at once out of con

The subject of deity is one which has sciousness and life ; Moloch, with his swift grown into importance from the neglect of and ready sacrifices, or catholicism, with her the first rule in philosophy; it has no impoisoned bowl, faggot, and rack! They are portance in itself, and the speculations and better than the mode in which the victims of prejudices, we can't call them beliefs, apon Chrigt are now sacrificed; for it is done with the matter, are the result of ignorance or of us under the pretence of promoting virtue and reason run wild. morality, and the glory of god, at a time

The proper study of mankind is mad; and when people see not and dream not of the if men had attended to the axiom, had fulfilinfernal demonism these pretensions always led its dictates, if the recommendation, know cover in the cause of religion. With catho thyself, had been adopted, we had never been licism we had open undying detestation ; we pestered with the thousands of fancies reprehad that glorious hate which hurled the firm- sentiug do tangible idea and called by the est, subtlest, greatest, most impregnable name-god. church the world ever saw, or ever will see,

Suppose the existence of the purest of into the dust, and the recollection of her men's viss in a personal form, what is it? cruelties will ever keep her there, and send and what ft to us? These questions for every other religion of the same revolting their proper solution involve others which practice to the same long account. Let these every person engaged in the study had belter Christian men but go on as they have begun, put to himself. What am I? What can I and we shall soon have this scorn, contempt,

know? And let us be sure that it is know. and detestation of their principles and preten- ledge we seek, remembering that the meaning - sion; let but a small band of men be called of the term is "things known,” not be. out with the nerve of the brave old martyrs; lieved, supposed, or fancied. let but a few glorious, courageous, unbend. What is all our experience ? A series of ing women, like Mrs. Adams (from the spirit excitements caused in the mind by passing in which she has borne her persecution she events, and treasured up in the mind's store. well merits this character), and the fierce, house, memory, to be recalled at pleasure. tyrannical, intolerant, and mind-crushing Can we comprehend aught beyond the capa. spirit of christianity will no longer bestride city of our own mind ? . The question itself our country like a colossus, and we petty is absurd! We are mer, with men's thoughts, men creep under its bloated legs to find our- | men's minds, men's capacities; and if the selves dishonourable graves ! G. J. H. believers in and preachers about a god would

only bestow a few minutes in analyzatiou of

the idea, if they would only ask of what is A Plain Answer to the Query, 'Ought there to be a

it composed, they would find that in their Law against Blasphemy?' By C. SOUTHWELL, now highest aspirations and loftiest conceptions, in Bristol Gaol. Price Threepenee. This work in their noblest and purest ideas, they have should be universally read.

just embodied their own conceptions of a

NOW READY.

min, christened him afresh, and called him

IS CHRISTIANITY FAVORABLE TO LIBERTY god!

OF SPEECH AND ACTION? If we could by any possibility comprehend To the Editor of the Oracle of Rcason. and appreciate anything above ourselves, we Yes, the Christian' will answer, we are told in must necessarily become the very image and

sacred writ to prove all things and hold fast counterpart of the being appreciated; by that which is good, but this good precept this means men learn; objects cause excite

like the few others that appear in the Jew ments, pleasurable or painful; and we endea- Book, is forgotten in theological strife, One vour to renew the pleasure and avoid the thing is certain, and that is, that if people pain in future: the ignorant listens to the had proved the goodness of the Christian reliintelligent man and acquires his ideas, his gion by their practice, Infidelity, long ere this, koowledge, and thereby becomes in this re.

would have been banished from the world. It spect the personation of his teacher.

is said, that we have no right, nor is it sound Here, then (supposing the existence of god logic to cast the failings of Christians upon as a fact), there is an impassable barrier to christianity';, we answer, that the characters our knowledge, it is far, far beyond the cir- of Christians have been formed for them by eumference of our circle; and though we

their system; that their characters and princontinually stretch forth into the darkness ciples, stand in the same relation to each beyond, glean new facts and enlarge our ca-other, as effect to cause, and that which pacity, yet we do not comprehend the infi- condemns the one will condemn the other, nite, and until we do that, or in other words, by their fruits shall ye know them, is the test until we ourselves become gods, we caunot laid down by the supposed founder of the comprehend god.

system, and by this do we judge, from the It may be answered to this argument, that time of Constantine, falsely called the great god could assist us to comprehend the sub-|(for he was great only in crimes), down to the ject of his existence; to this we answer, yo, present moment. Christians, when they have he could not! All that could be done by had the power, have done the utmost to de. what is called divine inspiration would be to

stroy the right of free discussion; they pre. change the nature of the inspired, and to

tend to believe that the gates of hell will not make him as useless to us as the supposed prevail against their system, and yet they are deity is; for, if a man's nature be changed afraid of every wind that blows; if they had he can no longer associate with or teach his confidence in the truth of their doctrines they fellow man, any more than we cau teach would not invoke the strong arm of the law arithmetic to a mouse, or logic to a bird.

to keep it in existence; the fact, that they do If man's nature be not changed by inspira- so, is a clear proof that they have no other tion, then we, the mass of society, could only effectual argument to vise, and even this is get a repetition of the tale told by an ancient effectual only for a time, it becomes effecone, that he had been into the seventh hea: tual by silencing the objector by the dunven, aud had seen sights upon which mortal geau's gloom, not by imparting conviction to could not gaze and live, that he had heard his mind; a system that can be supported by words which it was unlawful for man to

no other means than these ought not to exutter; that eye hath not seen nor ear heard, ist.' Not one of the 40,000 priests in Britian neither hath it entered into the heart of who are pocketing £20,000,000 per annum; man to conceive the things in store.” All

not one of this vast number with this immense this might be done, and there we should find, revenue at cominand is bold enough to chalwhat the readers of our holy volume know lenge a Southwelu or a HOLYOAKÉ to public already; that revelation means not a bring. discussion, on a public platform, on the exising to light, an opening up; but that it means

tence of a god and the truth of the bible; darkness, ignorance, and folly.

this, iņ my opinion, proves the dishonesty We have said that it is of no consequence and hypocrisy of the paid advocates of christo us whether there exist a god or not, and tianity, and yet these men, in the face of we are not afraid to repeat the assertion. wholesale prosecution and persecution have Oar knowledge is made up of experience; the effrontery to declare that christianity we have to find out the things which make for our good, and to pursue them; we know ticised the brighter it will shine. There is

courts investigation—that the more it is crithat “virtue is its own reward," and we shall

one comfort for them, according to their own therefore, without any help from above, follow its dictates. Admitting the existence of doctrine, for they can wash away these fulsea deity, if he incline to good, we cannot then hoods in the blood of Christ, and sing suffer; and if the “old man in the clouds

I, the chief of sinners am; love “ darkness rather than light," aud "evil rather than good," we have no depen-“Commit ten thousand crimes (says Rich. dence upon and nothing to hope from him. ardson), all of the blackest hue, all will be

W. forgiven, for Christ has said, come to me;"

But Jesus died for me.

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verily, verily, there is no comforts like those the following disgraceful and atrocions law, of the gospel, for godliness is great gain and entitled the “ Act of A postacy;" this law is profitable for all things, especially for the on the statute book at the present hour, and priests.

may be enforced at any moment; hence, the It is the fashion of some Christians, when necessity of demanding its immediate repeal, they are told of the wholesale intolerance of let us call on the bible-believers tu help us to their “ brethren in the world,” to say, oh, I test their sincerity. disapprove of that, christianity does not By the 9th & 10th of William the Third, sanction that, and yet they will do nothing c. 32, it is enacted that “If any person eduto prevent it; they forget that they who allow cated in, or having made profession of, the oppression share the crime, and in fact, they Christian religion, shall, by writing, printing, sanction the doctrine of persecution to the teaching, or advised speaking, deny the Coris. fullest extent, by advocating the doctrine," he tian religion to be true, or the holy scriptures that believeth shall be saved, he that be to be of divine authority, he shall, upon the lieveth not shall be damned." i deny the first offence, be rendered' incapable to hold right of any power, divine, infernal, or human, any office or place of trust; and for the seto punish any one in this world, or “that cond be incapable of bringing any action, which is to come,” for his opinions; man can being guardian, executor, legatee, or purnot believe as he likes, he must believe ac- chaser of lands, and sutfer three years' io pricording to the strongest conviction made sonment. Such disabilities may for ouce be upon bis mind; no power, therefore, has any aroided by a public recaptation, withio four right to send a man to hell, any more than months after.' one man has a right to punish another for There, Christians, what think you of that? his convictions; in fact, the doctrine of dam- Infidels, what think you of that law? Surely, nation for belief is the foundation of all in the first will be ashamed of his own system; tolerance, and I therefore maintain that and the second redouble his exertions to dechristianity is not a tolerant system, that it is stroy it. Oh, religion, what innumerable not worth what it costs, that it has been atrocities have been committed in thy name, prored a failure, if it ever was intended to do what a curse hast thou been in all ages of the good, and that, in consequence, it ought to world. The Jew.Book sanctions these things; be destroyed, root and branch; its scraps of the truth-telling, faithful apostle, Peter, tells morality have been gathered from other us, to submit to every ordinance of man for sources; its theology nothing but reformed the lord's sake,” and of course this apostacy paganism; at best, iu short, its place can be law among the number. Rare doctrive this! supplied very easily, by a much better sys- To be given by divide inspiration. Christianity tein, in every respect. If Christians wish it favourable to iberty! Out upon such nonto retain any portion of respect--if they wish sense-it is scarce worth a refutation. Paul, it not to be considered the greatest curse that another of the faithful, says, let erery soul ever afflicted humanity, they must oppose be subject to the bigher powers; for there firmly and unitedly, both prosecution and is no power but of god, the powers that be, persecution, in principle and detail, other are ordained of god; whosoever, therefore, wise, their wishes will not be gratified. resisteth the power, resistetb the ordinance of

If we were to inquire of the Prostestant, god; and they that resist shall recicve to what he means by the principles of protes themselves damnation, so that the penalty of tantism, he would say, the principles of unfet- seeking liberty of speech and action, in this tered thought and speech, and yet, the whole world, is to be, damvation in the next, accordhistory of Protestant christianity, proves that ing to the Jew.Book. Hence, it is evident, Protestant Christians have done their utmost that that which promotes the best interests of to fetter the one by supernatural fears, and humanity in this world, is heresy, infidelity, the other by the strong arm of the law, such blaspheiny, atheism; and yet, we have nen are the professed principles and real practice declaring in the present day, what Lord of the Protestant world. Professing to discard Bacon ignorantly declared in his, pamely, the authority of the church in religious mat- “there werer was found in any age of the ters, they have retained it in practice, and world either philosopher, or sect, or law, or thus have they cheated the world into a be- discipline, which did so highly exalt the publief that there has been a change for the bet lic good as the Christian faits.” Of the ig. ter; the fact is, that Protestants have been norance of Christians, of the contents of their as intolerant as they could, and dared. Ca- own book, we shall have something more to tholics have been no more; previous to the say in a future article. What is a Christino, revolution of 1688, the churchmen and dis- measured by the orthodox standard ? He senters were continually engaged in virulent must express no doubt of the truth of the ex. contests with each other; as soon as these traordinary statements contained in the sacred quarrels had, in part, subsided, they joined books, be must implicitly believe the duotrives their forces for an Infidel crusade, and passed drawn from those statements by holy.ghose

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inspired priest; pot daring to exercise his / will exert themselves individually to bring reason, thereon, he must attend the “house about this state of things, I am yours, iu of god,” twice or thrice on the sabbath day, the cause,

J. C. F. and also during the week, if possible; he must condemn in strong terins, in others, all at- | {The following letter was received from Mr. CHAS. tempts to enlighten the mind or to improve SOUTHWELL by a friend of his, and being of opi. the health of the body by exercise and amuse- nion that anything emanating from Mr. S. would ment, especially on the sabbath day; he must be interesting to the readers of the Oracle, he has denounce as blasphemous every thing that kindly forwarded it to the editor.] has a tendency to thin the temple of the priest; however good it may be in itself, he

Bristol Gaol, Friday, July 1, 1842. must pay well to the religious funds, from MY DEAR SIR.-I am sorry Mr. MACKINTOSH has motives of benevolence, and yet expect for been affronted; if possible he should have been his payments, in the world to come, interest, soothed-not shocked. His excuse for abandoning at the rate of some millious per cent; he the contest was paltry; but I presume he thought must be very devout in appearance, and any excrise was better than none. It is, however though professing to be very humble, he must, to be regretted that our friends furnished him with if a Calvinist, fancy himself one of the elect, the ghost of one. The net was well thrown, but not and cannot fall from grace; if a Methodist, well lined, so the big bird, the only Social philosohe must have the witness of the spirit “ that pher, contrived to break away from it. he is a child of god,” and consider, when

I have been visited by one Mr. BAIRSTOW, a crack speaking of the divine goodness, that all Chartist leader. The coversation was spirited and other sects but his own are more or less miscellaneous. My tongue is growing too large for damnably in error. He must be sensibly my mouth from sheer want of exercise ; but please alive to the interests of religion, and neglect don't mean shorten it, but rather gain in length what

god, as the folks say, I will reduce it by and by. I the public affairs of this world, by being con

I intend it should lose in thickness. But I have tent in his situation; he must not suppose that not quite done about Mr. Bairstow. He is a Theist, science is superior to faith; he must abandou and kas gallantly undertaken to prove in the sight reason when it militates against doctrine; and of all who have intellectual eyes to see, that there denounce knowledge when it is opposed to is at least one god. We agreed to have a single bis creed ; last, but not least, he must be an combat, a fair stand up fight, when I am out of the avowed hater and denouncer of infidelity, and state's keeping, and an allowed to pay my own if he can throw in a little slander and perse lodging. The war is to be a paper one. I have cution, now and then, so much the better; agreed to allow him equal space, in whatever paper finally, he must be a physical, mental and I have to do with. If he can convince me that there moral slave, be a stumbling block in the is one or many gods, 1 shall be greatly obliged to path of human improvement and human him. He will have nothing to do or say for the god happiness, and then it will be said to him at of revelation, but undertakes to show a bright and the great day--" well done, good and faithful shining god of nature. He is a clever young manservant, entur ye into the joy of your lord.” talks to admiration, and, I am told, writes as cleSuch are the effects of religion on the indivi. verly as he talks. Success to him! If he combine dual and general character of the people; it better for the cause of truth, whether that truth be

the talents of Demosthenes and Cicero, so much the un 11st be removed before the world can be ef.

material or spiritual, polytheistical, pantheistical, lectually reformed. Cut it down! Why

theistical, or atheistical. I really long for a dicus. cumbereth it the ground ?

sion with some one who is competent for the task, Survey the varied globe, and mark the spot and having appealed to reason, dares abide by it; Where superstitious fears and dreams are not. such men are rare, almost as rare as flowers in In every clime, from pole to pole,

December. Discussion is, as Tully well observed, Some fancied vengeance territies the soul. the file which best polishes our intellectual weapons;

The universality of its domains does not but where are the men who profit by old opinions, prove its impregnability or utility; it must, it however crazy, and are well pleased to wear the shall be destroyed. The utility of fearless ex- tottering, rich and respectable livery of cant; where uminations, uo one can doubt, who has thought are there, I say, such men, who dare discuss freely upon the subject. Already, inquiry has buried all questions, and hold fast only that which is good? the toinb of oblivion an immense number of Echo answers, where ?

Give those offsprings of human insanity, the religious

my love to H., the trial will not, I learn, of the world. May all those that remain soon

come on till the assizes; well, so much the better. experience the same fate, and man learn that The 18th of August, I believe, the assizes commence, he is destined for, and capable of happiness weeks to prepare his paper pellets, and maufacture

so that our friend will have more than seven clear in this state of existence, and that, whether

some thunder. He should pay Bristol a visit on he is happy or miserable does not depend his way, or out of his way to Gloucester, when, as upup the influence or decrees of any super- the advertising people gay, he will undoubtedly natural power; but upon his own conduct. hear of something to his advantage. The petition Trusting that each and all of your readers from Cheltenham, condemnatory of the conduct of

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