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never wanting, and many of these weakening their own security. There familiars of the tax-office are amassing is reason sufficient for pardoning a fortunes by this infamous business. criminal, who confesses his own The mose lucrative method of practice guilt, and impeaches his accomplices; is as follows: A fellow surcharges the course of law could not go on half the people in the district; that is, without it, and such men are already he informs the tax-commissioners, infamous. But no such płea can be that such persons have given in a false alleged in this case : it is a miserable account of their windows, dogs, horses, excuse for encouraging informers, 19 carriages, &c. an offence for which say, that the taxes are so clumsily laid the tax is trebled, and half the surplus on, that they can easily be eluded. given to the informer. A day of A far worse instance of this pernicious appeal, however, is allowed for those practice occurs in the system of presswho think they can justify them- ing men for the navy, which the Euselves; but so many have been ag. glish confess to be the opprobrium of grieved, that when they appear 10- their country, while they regret it as gether before the commissioners, there inevitable. In the proclamation issued is not time to hear one in ten. Some upon these occasions, a reward is of these persons live two, four, or six regularly offered to all persons who leagues from the place of appeal : they will give information where a sailor go there a second, and perhaps a third has hidden himself. time in the hope of redress; the in The whole systein of England, from former takes care, by new surcharges, highest to lowest, is, and has been, to keep up the crowd, and the injured one series of antagonisms; strugglepersons find it at last less burthensome struggle-in every thing. Check and to pay the unjust fine, than to be countercheck is the principle of their repeatedly at the trouble and expence constitution, which is the result of of seeking justice in vain.
centuries of contention between the There is nothing, however dis. crown and the people. The struggle honourable or villainous, to which between the clergy and the lawyers these wretches will not stoop. One unfettered their Tands from feudal of them, on his first settling in the tenures. Their church is a half-andprovince which he had chosen for the half mixture of Catholicism and Puscene of his cainpaigns, was invited to ritanism. These contests being over, dinner by a neighbouring, gentleman, it is now a trial between the govern. before his character was known; the ment and the subject, how the one next day he surcharged his host for can lay on taxes, and how the other another servant, because one of the can elude then). men employed about his grounds had
[To be continued.] assisted in waiting at dinner. Another happening to lame his horse, borrowed ,
April 24, 1817. one of a farmer to ride home; the . “a farmer told him it was but an uneasy ries of Popular Essays," pubgoing beast, as he was kept wholly lished about three years before her for the cart, but rather than that the lamented death, directs the attention gentleman should be distressed he of her readers to what she calls “ the would put the saddle on him ;-he selfish principle," or "the propensity to was surcharged the next day for keep- enlarge the idea of self," which she ing a saddle-horse, as his reward. supposes to be a part of the human Can there be a more convincing proof constitution, and to the indulgence of the excellent police of England, and excess of which she justly ascribes and, what is still better, of the ad-, much of the errors, follies and crimes mirable effect of well-executed laws of mankind. I ain not disposed to upon the people, than that such pests assert that throughout these amusing of society as these walk abroad among and instructive volumes the excellent the very, people whom they oppress author is always correct in the use of and insult, with perfect safety both by her terms and arguments ; but here as day and by night!
in every other part of her works she Government do not seem to be displays her good sense, her admirable aware, that when they offer premiums talents in observing and delincating for treachery, they are corrupting the human characters and dispositions, morals of the people, and thereby and above all, that constant and
earnest desire to do good, which was a very few years hung over them, is the distinguishing feature both of her an event of very great importance, not writings and her life. In the tenth less honourabíc to the distinguished chapter of the fourth of these Essays, individual that procured, and to the the author considers the influence of government that conceded it, than the selfish principle as connected with advantageous to the class of Disthe belief and profession of certain senters favoured by it. The laws in religious opinions, and on this subject question were, indeed, become alniost she has many observations which well à dead letter, however distinctly it deserve the attention of zcalots of all may since have appeared that there are sects, parties and systems.
not wanting, persons of no smalt Your extensive and accurate ac. authority and influence desirous of quaintance with life and manners, restoring them with all their original Mr. Editor, must have brought before life and activity, and of arming the you instances of the great variety of magistrate with the means of defendforms and modes under which the ing the faith, and inficting salutary selfish principle shews itself and ope- chastisement on obstinate and unresates. In most instances it disposes pentani heretics. a man lo regard with peculiar favour The old Unitarians, I believe, to a those of his own kindred, name, or man, join' with Mr. Belsham in party, to inagnify their virtues, and to thankful acknowledgments to the exeoverlook or palliate their imperfec- cutive and legislature for so readily tions. I am sorry to say that, with consenting to anual laws inconsistent myself, the case is different. I have with the spirit of the British constithe misfortune to be liable to regard tution, and disgraceful to the statutethe mote in my brother's eye with more book. They well remember that, less attention than that in the cye of than thirty years ago, petitions, ala more distant relative or stranger. though numerously and respectably Whether this be owing to the bulk signed, failed of obtaining the desired and shape of the beam that is in my own repeal, which has at length been eye, to the influence of temperament brought about with little difficulty for which I am not altogether ac by the representations and exertions countable, or to the effect of habit, of the individual above alluded to. the fault of which is all my own, I do But a new class of Unitarians has not pretend to determine. The fact arisen, whose gratitude for this boon I am obliged to acknowledge and (if we may judge from appearances lament, and to this infirmity I must and from the language holden by some request you to be so candid as to ascribe of them) is less than problematical, the desire I now feel of obtaining a and to whom the repeal in question place in your pages.
has proved very little acceptable. I am drawing fast to the close of a They have expressed themselves as it long life. From the earliest years of they were ambitious, not perhaps of it in which I could institute any the crown of martyrdom, bit of some inquiry or form any opinion on the of the inferior honours to be conferred subject, I have never ceased to possess by persecutors for conscience' sake on the full conviction that Unitarianism is the objects of their unhallowed and the doctrine of the gospel. The times antichristian zeal; forgetting no doubt, when the open profession of this per. that such distinctions só obtained suasion exposed him who made it imply the greatest possible wickedness to great and general obloquy, is fresh on the part of those who grant then.. in my remembrance. I have lived to This is an inordinate exercise of the see the hostility which this obnoxious selfish principle, which, I believe, has system has always had to encounter, escaped the animadversions of Mrs. not indeed, less violent, but certainly Hamilton, probably from that amiable more adequately, opposed by, numerous writer not conceiving the existence vi and able defenders. Of the present such an extravagani egotisın possible state of Unitarianism, so far as re- in this (as it is called) liberal and enspects its external relations and in- lightened age. ternal increase, I conceive that few of History has in too many instances its patrons can complain, except such shewn that those, who have proved as are not easily satisfied. The repeal themselves capable of suffering with of the peoal statutes, which till within the most heroic resolution in the cause
of what they deemed to be the truth, not to do less justice than his talents, have not always been the least
willing and attainmenis do honour to it, that to make others suffer on the same unless Christianity be professed under account. In like manner those of our some particular form, it is in itself but own times who have so little objec, a name : the plain English of which tion to persecution that they are al- seems to be, that, if we take from our most prepared to invite its attacks on holy religion the subjects and matters themselves, are, in their turn, not at about which its votarics haşe always all averse to manifest that degree and disagreed, and will probably always measure of intolerance which they disagree, that which is left, and in have it in their power 10 exercise. which they agree, is of little or no They do not wield the sword either value. I fatter myself that many of civil or ecclesiastical authority: Unitarians will not be found to concur they cannot imprison or exconimuni- in this sentiment, or to adopt this lancate; but they are not content with guage. Such as are disposed to do so thinking Unitarianism a good thing: I would refer to the preface to the they will have it that there is nothing late Bishop of Llandafi's Collection of good besides. Justly provoked at the Theological Tracts. “We as Christfoolish and unchristian atteinpts of ians," says this excellent prelate," are their opponents to prove that Uni- under no uncertainty as to the being of tarianism is unfavourable to morality a God; as to his moral government of and piety, they fly to the other ex- the world; as to the terms on which treine, and are disposed to contend sinners inay be reconciled to him; as that the only morality and piety de to the redemption that is in Jesus Christ i serving regard is inseparably connected as to a resurrection from the dead; as with their own views of religious to a future state of retribution; nor truth. They forget that devotion is with respect to other important ques. seated in the heart, and moral virtue tions concerning which the wisest of in the habits of man, and that the the Heathen philosophers were either former may be deeply and permanently wholly ignorant, or had no settled noaffected, and the latter immoveably tions. I would ask, are these points fixed, whatever may be the speculative of no value? Does the man who, opinions of the individual on points withdrawing his attention from every which have long been, and will long other subject, yields a cordial and continue to be, subjects of doubtful practical assent to them, adopt only disputation. I request you, Mr. Edi- name? I am so much shocked at this :or, to pardon any unseemly warmth imputation, that scruple not to use in my expressions; but I must declare the indignant language of the enlightthat, to my mind, this is the most ened and truly catholic writer I have intolerable species of intolerance. just cited.--"What! shall the Church With the foolish violence of the or- of Christ never be freed from the thodox may be joined a compassionate narrow-minded contentions of bisolicitude for the eternal welfare of its gots; from the insults of men who object, and there must le joined a know not what spirit they are of ?picinful apprehension of his everlasting Shall we never learn to think more inisery; but the intolerance of the humbly of ourselves, and less despicably heretic is a cold, philosophic pride, of others?" connected (so far as I can perceive) Further : it is objected, and, I bewith no social affection, with no hope, lieve, with reason that the system of and with no fear, save the hope of Calvinism indisposes its professors to victory and the fear of defeat, in the set a proper value on moral qualities war of controversy.wan dan
and distinctions. This will not surJustly is the Calvinist reproved for prise any one who considers attentively attaching to his particular creed an the leading tenets of that system ; but unreasonable degree of importance, I am much mistaken if I have not and for almost refusing to admit that observed something of the same kind those who differ from him have any in Unitarians of the new school. An claim to the appellation of Christians attention almost exclusive to any parNov, as something to balance this, I ticular object, and an ardent pursuit of have heard it asserted by a young he. it necessarily enlarges its dimensions, retical minister of the new discipline, enhances its importance, brings it for to which his language inay be supposed ward into the strongest light and
throws every thing else into the shade." necessity of zeal in this important Accordingly, proselytes are eagerly re- work, I would remark that changes the ceived among these modern heretics most beneficial to mankind have been without much inquiry being made into brought about by actions and characters any thing beyond their faith and zeal." which we would by no ineans propose Talents, however employed, and men- as models for 'imitation. Luther did tal energy, however directed, are held much more towards rescuing Europe in the highest estimationi
. Licentious from the debasing chains of superstition ness, both in principles and practice, is and imposture than Erasmus either not indeed justified, but it is candidly performed or approved ; but this is palliated. Crimes are represented as totally unconnected with any opinion objects rather of pity than of abhor. we may be led to form of the personal rence. A system of ethics drawn qualities and Christian dispositions chiefly from the German drama seems and virtues of these great men. to have superseded the oldfashioned As connected with the zeal and English morality. Purity and correct- animation of the pupils of the new niess of life and manners is undervalued. Unitarian school nay be considered A fantastic, false, and, in my appre- their fondness for assembling together hension, a most pernicious standard for the purposes of praying, preaching, of morals is exhibited, so that every eating, drinking, toasting, &c. with thing tending to the amelioration of all the concomitant exhibition of clo: the world is hoped for froin every quence whether sacred or convivial. thing, save from orthodoxy, and (what Far be it from me, Mr. Editor, who in these erentful times is its usual aman old recluse, wishing indeed well concomitant) loyalty.1.
to the world, but not mixing in it, to If the young and ardent Unitarian blame or ridicule the social enjoyments happens to be a convert from Calvinism, of enlightened men; but i conceive the danger of his becoming the victim the great cause of the diffusion of reliof these delusions is much increased. gious truth is not likely to be much The lessons of his earlier instructors assisted by these means. The societés haring for the most part been directed ambulantes of our modern heretics, their to infuse a theological system and a visitations at different places in a district vehement zeal, were not likely to fur- in succession, their public preachings nish his mind with any very correct or and advertised festivities, accord ill with vivid ideas of moral truth and beauty. that reserve and modesty which is most The change produced by subsequent suitable to the introduction of unpoinquiry (honourable as it may be re- pular notions into a large community, garded to the talents and spirit with of which a great majority are either which it was pursued) may well be hostile or indifferent. Public attention conceived to be a change in the specu- may, indeed, be somewhat excited, lative system, but no change in the anel occasional recruits are doubtless temper or in the moral feelings. This obtained to extend the ranks of the evil, great as it is, seems to me to be societies alluded to; but it may be very possible: that it has actually hap: questioned whether any number worth pened in the case of any individual I mentioning have been induced by these would not positively assert; but the public efforts to review calmly the foun. intemperate zeal usually found in pro- dation of their religious belief, to discard selytes is, in circumstances like these, former prejudices and to adopt from hardly to be avoided. To be zealously conviction the system recommended affected in a good thing is, indeed, a by an apparatus, of which it may be state of mind recommended by a very truly said that the expence and show high authority, but the connexion in of ii are much more obvious than the which the recommendation stands utility, and by which persons of remakes it extremely obvious that the Aection and moderation, who are of a diffusion of opinions merely speculative different way of thinking, are extremely was not the good thing in the contem- disgusted. It is not at all unlikely plation of the writer.
that some very respectable individuals But without zeal (it may be asked) may be thus irrecoverably lost to the what great good has ever been effected cause, and it is next to certain that the in the way of reforming a corrupted tongues of not a few controversial coxTeligion? While I admit the use combs have been thus let loose to its fulness; or rather the indispensable very great injury and disgrace. We
must be careful to distinguish between quackery and ostentation of some late, an actual change of sentiment and attempts to render an opposite system system froin orthodoxy to the belief of speculative doctrines popular. and profession of Unitarianisın, and Happening to live on terms of fathe mere enrolment of names of such miliarity with several persons zealously as were previously Unitarians in the attached to the coinmunion of the list of the associated members. The Church of England, I have no hesitaformer only is of any consequence. tion in affirming that, to the best of The number and importance of con- my knowledge and belief, they shew versions of this description accom- the marks and bear the fruits of pure plished by the efforts of Unitarian and undefiled religion in as eminent a sncieties travelling from place to place degree as can any where be found, at
is a question of fact, which perhaps least if we agree with the Apostle · might be ascertained without much Jaines in his definition of these terms difficulty, but which, until ascertained, [chap. i. ver. 27). Persons of this it would be impertinent to discuss on description have a claim to much con. merely conjectural grounds.
sideration and respect. Many of them, To Unitarian missionary-preaching holding the institutions of their fore, conducted on a proper plan, such as fathers in great veneration, are afraid that of the able and eminent Mr. to inquire, lest they should find cause Wright and others, I should be dis to give them up as indefensible, I posed to ascribe inuch niore of useful conceive that much tenderness is due cfficacy. Certainly many congregations to these worthy but mistaken indivie professing Unitarianisin have been duals. To liberate them from speculately formed, and their number seems Jative error and from the slavery of to be increasing; but whether the in- prejudices, which, when pursued to dividuals composing them have been their consequences, must materially reclaimed from an opposite system, injure their mental peace, is a most or, having experienced some deflection desirable object. Now this object is from. a faith not very dissimilar, have set at an immeasurable distance by the merely assumed a different name, I language and deportment of several have no means of determining. What modern champions of the Unitarian ever the fact may be, I conceive that if faith, who, when they cannot persuade, a late very distinguished advocate of appear to think that they have done our common Christianity has reference something by producing irritation and to Unitarians in the following sentence, alarm. If they entertain the hope of very few of that description of heretics spreading their heresy through the will be able to read it without a smile. world by dint of numbers and physical Speaking of Sir Isaac Newton and his force, their plan of operation, although theology, Dr. Chalmers * says, “I do not very promising, might be considered 2100 think that, amnid the distraction as not wholly unsuitable to the end in and engrossinent of his other pursuits, view, inasmuch as the generality of he has at all times succeeded in bis mankind are more disposed to yield to interpretation of the book; else he veheinence than to any other attribute would never, in my apprehension, or quality in a speaker or writer; but have abetted the leading doctrine of a on ihe supposition of a different object, Sect or a system, which has now nearly it is of all others the least likely to suco dwindled away from public observation." ceed. The means that are best fitted
The kingdom of God cometh rat with tu infuse into the minds of moderate observation, neither shall they say lo, here, and well-informed lay-members of the or lo, there. I have long persuaded Church of England an attachment to myself that the same may be said of the pure and simple doctrines of the religious truth; and this persuasion has New Testament, and to rescue them led me to view without alarm the from the influence of a priesthood apparently rapid growth of absurdity either on the one hand fanatical, and, and intolerance assuming the titles of from principle, intolerant, or, on the evangelical Christianity, vital religion, other, secular and crafty, are also the &c. &c. and not without pain the means most likely of bringing them to
the adoption and profession of UniA Series of Discourses m the Christ- tarian principles, and ultimately of ian Religion viewed in Connection with diffusing these through the land, and, the Modern Astronomy. Preface, pp. 7,8. by inevitable consequence, of sweeping