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able, but would have entitled his chising to catechising, the consolaLordship to the esteem and grati. tions and admonitions of the regular tude of the whole body of protestant priesthood, to the consolations and dissenters.” Who were those tempe- admonitions of the unlearned secrate and judicious friends of the bill tary. This is the only allowable, we are not informed. Indeed every and the only effectual mode of conbody but its noble author, and his ducting the contest; and where it is reverend panegyrist, the minister of adopted by the regular clergy, they Essex Street chapel, seem to have have little cause to complain of the been ashamed of it; even the latter success of the dissenters."-But we does not seem to half like it, and are sorry to perceive how soon the he cannot help at times, damning it author relapses. In the very next with his faint praise ! But where is page to that we last quoted he dethe consistent friend to religious lic clares--" I am bold to assert,” (and berty who would think it a “desi- a very bold assertion it is)“ that your rable object,” that Lord Sidinouih, lordship's bill might with great ease or indeed any other statesman, or have been so modificd, as to have any legislative body, should possess answered every practicable purpose the power of determining on the abi. of its advocates, and at the same lities or other qualifications of a time to have merited the warmest christian teacher: Mr. B. cannot gratitude of the dissenters, and to help perpetually snecring at and have entailed blessings on your lordshewing his contempt for the metho- ship's name !!!!" dists, which he might surely have Mr. Belsham, if we may judge refrained from doing, had he recol from this pamphlet in connection lected the well known encomium with his Jubilee sermon, of which passed on them by his friend Dr. we took due notice ;* has so thoPriestley, who considered their la roughly imbibed the spirit of a cour bours in reforming and civilizing the tier, that he compliments statesmen lower classes, as having been more of totally opposite characters and effectual than the united labours of opinions in the same adulatory the whole body of the established strain. Thus Lords Sidmouth, clergy: but Mr. B. could not so Holland, Stanhope, Grey, Ellen. exclude his usual good sense, as to borough &c. &c. are equally the prevent his answering one part of objects of his panegyric, although his pamphlet in another part. He it is impossible for any persons to himself, has briefly, but forcibly have more severely reprobated Lord overturned every thing that can be Sidmouth's 'bill, or to have expres, urged in favour of the “ desirable sed greater contempt for it, than object," of allowing the legislature two of the noble Lords above named. to exclude even ignorant or vicious Whether " the noble and learned men from the ministry. “ There is lord who," as he expresses it, “ so only one way” (he observes). “in “ worthily and ably presides in the which the intrusion of sectaries can “high and honourable Court of be successfully opposed. Let not “ King's Bench, whose character the priest call in the unballowed “and known liberality" are so highaid of the secular arm. Let him ly panegyrised, has drawn forth employ less offensive but more effec- these encomiums by certain recent tual means to expel the officious in- proceedings in that court; by the truders. Let him fight them with revival of the doctrine, “ the greater their own weapons. Let zeal be" the truth, the greater the libel;" opposed to zeal, instruction to instruction, visiting to visiting, çate. * Pol. Rev. Vol. VI. p. 375.
be brought about at any tiine with prisonment. Under the second head as much advantage as at the pre- are the pillory, banishment, and cisent?"-Without encountering these vil degradation. The correctional approved excuses of indolence and punishments are temporary impriinactivity by other topics as general sonment in a place of correction, in their nature, but of an opposite temporary interdiction from certain tendency,--and without citing or rights, either of a civic or a domeseven insinuating the instructive tic nature, and fines. In the details proof which recent circumstances which regulate the inode of inflicthave afforded, of the immense dan- ing these punishments, it is enacted ger of unnecessary postponements, that a parricide shall be taken in
we shall merely observe that at his shirt to the place of execution, the present epoch ihe public mind barefooted, and his head covered does happen to be peculiarly alive with a black veil ; that he shall be to the doctrines of criminal juris, exposed on the scaffold while bis prudence, and the defects in our 'sentence is read aloud; that his own penal system. Undismayed by right hand shall be cut off, and he the various objections and imputa. shall then be instantly executed. tions which are calculated to deter Decapitation is the only mode in them from the inquiry, several of which capital punishment can be the most distinguished members of administered. our legislature have presumed to [The Reviewer then proceeds more question the policy, the justice, and particularly to examine the various the humanity of our existing laws, branches of this code, but our liand have most certainly been secon- mits prevent us from extracting any ded by a very strong opinion out of other part than that relative to the dours. The opportunity, therefore, LAW OF LIBELS.) appears to be favourable for giving In the seventh section, directed circulation to a rather ample ex- against false , testimony, calumny, position of the course pursued on insult, and the revelation of secrets ihe same subject by a great and en professionally intrusted, we discover lightened people ; and we design to a principle of some importance, as state fully the contents of the work to the law of libel affecting the cha. before us, for the information of our racter and feelings of individuals, own countrymen,- without institu- which is not quite inapplicable to ting any parallel, or obtruding ma- the question so often agitated among ny remarks, except for the purpose us, “how far that which is true of renderings more intelligible, bị can justly be styled libellous.”— the contrast, that which, standing "Every imputation,' says this Penal alone, it might be difficult to ex. Code, is reputed false, which is plain.
not supported by legal proof. Io « The penal code of France begins consequence, the author of the imwith certain preliminary disposi. putation shall not be allowed to detions, comprising little more than a mand, in his defence, that the proof definition of the legal terms most be entered into: neither shall he be constantly employed; and the first able to allege as an excuse that the book operis with a table of punish- documents or the facts are notori. ments, which are divided into, 1, ous; or that the imputations which the afflictive and infanious; 2, the give rise to the prosecutions are com infamous; 3, the correctional. Those pied or extracted from foreign paof the first description are, death, pers, or other printed writings.'compulsory labour for life or for a : When the fact imputed shall be certain time, deportation, and im- legally proved true, the author of the imputation shall be exempted chase at the dreadful price of subfrom all penalty : but nothing shall version, massacre, and desolation ! be considered as a legal proof, but that which results from a judgment, or some other authentic act.-In CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN short, as we understand the provi
THE EDITOR OF THE şion, the defendant who is accused EVANGELICAL MAGAZINE, AND of calumny shall not be allowed to THE EDITOR OF THE PO. . repel that accusation, by proving
LITICAL REVIEW. his charge to be true : but he may institute another proceeeding for the [The following correspondence was purpose of doing this, and, if he be
printed on the cover of the Political
Review, for Jan. 1809, but at the resuccessful, he shall escape punish
quest of several of our readers, we here ment. We think that this is a wise
insert it, that it may be the better preand simple expedient, in a case na served, as a memorial of the regard turally involved in great difficulty, shewn to moral character, and to the infor reconciling the interests of truth terests of practical piety by an Evanwith the public tranquillity and gelical Editor.] the protection of private character. To the Rev. George Burder, Hatton [The Reviewer concludes with the
Garden, London. following general remarks.)
Harlow, Dec. 6, 1808. " We have judged it sufficient to Rev. SIR, call the attention of the public to Understanding that you are the the more material parts of the code, Editor of the Evangelical Magazine, and have laboured to compress them, I beg leave to trouble you with a as well as our opinions on them, few lines on a subject of no inconinto the smallest space; for we are siderable importance to your own persuaded that those who are in character, as well as to mine. trusted with the reform and the pre- On the 21st of last month, I sent servation of the English system will to the publishers of the Magazine profit by studying that of France. an advertisement, a copy of which Not that we recommend it for in- I enclose ; and which I naturally discriminate imitation, or are blind expected to see on the cover of the to its numerous defects of arrange- ensuing number. On the 301b. I, ment, precision, and subject : 'but however, to my surprise, received since nothing can keep the foundations a letter from the publisher, of which of society clear of corruption and dethe following is a copy : cay, ercept a frequent recurrence to “ Mr. B. Flower, Harlow." first principles, we think that much " Sir, benefit may be derived from attend
“ I think it necessary to inform ing to the practical discussion of “ you that the Editors of the Evans them, by some of the first men in a “ gelical Magazine have rejected neighbouring nation, in many in. “ your advertisement against Claystances closely resembling our own: “ ton as inadmissible, consequently happy, we repeat, that, on this as “it was not in our power to insert on every other subject, the very na. “ it. Yours respectfully. ture of our constitution provides the (Signed) T. WILLIAMS.” means of peaceably introducing those “ Stationers Court, Nov. 29, 1808." remedies of wbat is wrong, and those It appears, Sir, by this letter, improvements of what is incomplete that the publisher has no choice rely right, which countries less fa. . specting the insertion of advertisevoured have been compelled to pur. monts; that the Editors have the
or by the declaration “ that truths ship“ how easy retaliation is in his « are not to be published which may power, and of the ample vengeance « hurt the feelings of men in office," which his lordship and his friends we must leave to Mr. B. to deter- may take on the friends of religious mine: but we cannot but remark liberty hy raising a clamour against in general, that there is no levelling them which shall spread like wild principle more hurtful to the inte fire through the country, and shall rests of virtue and patriotism, than effectually check any beneficent inthat which places the characters of · tentions of the legislature in their men of opposite opinions in the same favour!"-With nu common share of light, and which impels a writer effrontery in a dissenting teacher, to mingle together, and equally to the late just complaint-“ Tolerapraise the precious and the vile ! tion is in danger”—is ridiculed in
After spending much uscless la- the same terms as the unprincipled bour in suggesting 'modificatious of and senseless howls---Great is Diawhat Lord Stanhope justly lermed, na-No Popery--the church is in " a most wietched bill, now de danger !- The pamphlet concludes funct," and in covering the defor with expressions of the most humble mities, and preparing a shroud for permission “ to hope that his lordthe hideous corpse, Mr. B. at length, ship, forgetting the feeling excited weary we hope, of, such degrading by the misconstruction of his designs employment, turns to what is of the and motives, will demonstrate the last importance, and suggests the excellence of his principles, and his only effectual measure to put an disinterested attachment to justice, end to all discontents on this suh. liberty, and the rights of conscience, ject. “ This most desirable mea. by giving them his support even in s sure" be adds, “ the repeal of the behalf of those of whom his lordsbip “ penal statutes relating to religion, may conceive he has just reason to “ will sooner or later be brought complain -Virtue is never more 6 forward by the enlightened friends illustrious, or more dignified, than " to religious liberty ;" but the lan. when it is practised for its own sake!" guage in which he addresses Lord Had Mr. B. meant to have severeSidmouth is so unworthy of the sub- ly satyrised the noble lord, for whom ject, so mean, obsequious, and pi- “ he has the honour to be with the tiful, as must excite the indignation “ truest respect his lordship's most and contempt of every one who pos- "obedient servant,” he could not sesses the feelings of manly and vir- have used language more suitable tuous independence. Mr. B.“ hopes for the purpose. Such language his lordship, when the day for the if serious, addressed to the oppoproposed application shall arrive, ser of the catholic claims, and to will have too much magnanimity and the friend of negro slavery, &c. &c. real goodness of heart to retaliate the is fit only for some creeping and errors, which the Dissenters have cringing animal who is anxiously committed in opposing his late bill on watching for a smile or something themselves !” “We," adds the au- a little more substanial, for himthor, daring to use such language self or his connections. Shades of in the name of the body of the dis- the mighty dead ! Ye christian senters" We have placed ourselves heroes, the firm and consistent in your lordship's power.” A ridi- friends of liberty, civil and religious culous falsehood; for we have by the intrepid PRIESTLEY and the our united exertions completely res. venerable LINDSEY_were it possicued ourselves from his lordship’s ble for you to re-visit our earth, power. Mr. B. reminds his lord. what must be your feelings un pe. rusing the sentiments and language than before the passing of the act. of your apostate brother !-What- It is absolutely impossible for this to ever may be the contempt expressed have been the design of the framers, by the author of this worse than or of the legislature which passed it. useless performance, for “ the igno- What a pity that the very few per“ rant boobies amongst the metho- sons amongst the Dissenters, who “ dists,” we deem it scarcely possi- instead of openly joining in the geble for the most “ignorant" of those neral opposition to the late bill, “ boobies” to have blundered, more should have been wasting their time egregiously on the subject of Tole. in suggesting modifications of a bill ration and religious liberty, than odious in its principle; and in sug. the learned, the polite, the liberal, gesting doubts respecting the interthe philosophical, the enlightened pretation of the act of the 19th of Unitarian minister of Essex-Street George III. (which for a course of Chapel!
upwards of thirty years, appears Since writing the preceding re- to have been understood according marks, we are informed that doubts to the manifest design of the legishave lately arisen respecting the des. lature. This circumstance, howe cription of persons mentioned in the ever, tends further to enforce the Act of the 19th, of his present Manecessity of the proposed society for jesty " being preachers or teacher of protecting the Rights of Protestant “ congregations of dissenting protes- Dissenters, and which we hope will “ tants ;" and that an instance ur consider as one of its most impora two have recently occurred, in which tant objects The promoting of pemagistrates have presumed to refuse titions to the legislature in sup. a licence to persons applying, be- port of Lord Stanhope's motion for cause they were not settled ministers the repeal of all the remaining penal of regular congregations. That ma- statutes in matters of religion, which gistrates are to be found ignorant of are now the PECULIAR disgrace of the real meaning of the laws, and this country. Such a society must prone to put their own arbitrary and not, however, expect the assistance, intolerant sense upon them, is too or encouragement of those persons evident from the case of Mr. Kent, who are of opinion that the late bill a farmer in Berkshire, who, for the “would have been upon the balance, crime of holding a prayer meeting in “ a very considerable extension of his house, was, by certain wiseacres “ religious liberty,” (that is to them. in the commission of the peace with selves) and who have the boldness Lord Radnor at their head, fined "10 assert, that it might with great twenty pounds. The Court of King's “case, have been so modified, as to Bench quashed the proceedings, and “ answer every practicable purpose ordered the fine to be returned.- “ of its advocates," (one of which Common sense, and common libe. was professedly, to diminish the numrality are surely sufficient to inter- ber of dissenters) “ and at the same pret the clause in the act alluded to. “ time to have merited the warmest No one will deny that its design “gratitude of the Dissenters, and to was, not to narrow but to enlarge “ have entailed blessings upon the the boundaries of Toleration. If the “ name of Lord Sidmouth!” In description does not comprise all what denomination of dissenters to preachers or teachers of congrega. class the mongrels holding such opi. tions, occasional as well as stated, it nions we know not. Non descript is places such persons in a worse state the only term we can apply to them.