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ligions, has it been seen that the blood of the Martyrs has 6 been the seed of the Church.'

These arguments, and such as these, were, and will ever be felt to be resistless against the ancient and only consistent scheme of persecution. No wonder, then, that men who could not gainsay, and yet would not adopt them, should seek some mitigated system which might leave them still the luxury of persecution, or secure their darling idol of uniformity with less expense to humanity and logic. It is curious to see the efforts which from time to time have been made to discover this tertium quid--a sort of purgatory between the heaven of perfect freedom and the hell of perfect despotism. But there is in truth no medium. The two extremes are alone consistent-and, so far as that goes, both are equally so. All intermediate systems are absurd and inconsistent; they are examples, every one of them, of unstable equilibrium—the slightest breath of wind suffices to throw them down. The old system is at least a strong-looking symmetrical fabric, cemented though it be with blood from the foundation-stone to the topmost pinnacle. The system which says, “You shall be of my religion, or • at all events pretend you are, whether you be or not; therefore • bethink you betimes whether you love truth better than the rack,

or if need be, better than burning fagots or molten lead,' is at least perfectly intelligible and consistent, however hideous. This is an iron-hearted, brazenfaced Devil enough, and one has some involuntary, shuddering awe of him. How far the petty imps who aspire to share his guilt, but dare not emulate such sublimity of wickedness, are entitled to respect of any kind, we shall presently see.

Some of the most obvious modifications by which the unqualified system of persecution might be stripped of its most revolting features, suggested themselves to the anonymous writer who undertook the perilous task of answering Locke's first letter on Toleration, and were indeed anticipated by Bayle in that part of his Philosophical Commentary where he examines, with deliberate and minute attention, the objections' to his principles. First, Locke's adversary declared that it was far from his purpose to undertake the defence of the horrid cruelties by which history is disfigured. No-it was only' moderate penalties' and 'convenient punishments' for which he pleaded! And here—not to insist that almost all the arguments above stated against the most unqualified system, apply with unabated force to this and every


* We learn from Wood's Athena Oxonienses, that the author was Jonas Proast, of Queen's College, Oxford.

modification of it-we come at once to the first of those symptoms of instability, which, as we have said, characterizes the whole. What are moderate penalties' and gentle punishments ?' Hanging is moderate compared with burning, and branding gentle compared with the rack. "To some men of squeamish sensibility, even the cropping of the ears, the free use of the scourge, a few years' imprisonment or banishment, might foolishly be considered excessive. Nay, we know not whether there might not be found some who would object to ruin men even by regular process of law, by quirks and quibbles-perhaps, even to the pillory, fines, confiscation; while there might be others, (as there undoubtedly have been many,) who would say of all heretics, that “hanging is too good for them;' and who would not only show their charity by sending them, if obstinate, to perdition, but that, too, by methods which should convince them that they did not lose much by exchanging earth for hell.

As we have already remarked, our modern champion of persecution, who confesses a satisfaction' (we admire the felicity no less than the honesty of the phrase) in the infliction of penalties' for change of opinion, has left this matter equally in the dark. For this he is not to be blamed; it was impossible for him to assign limits, and he has therefore wisely refrained from attempting it. Whether a fine of a hundred pounds be thought equivalent to the luxury of a new opinion--whether such a bonne bouche ought to still higher—whether it be dear at imprisonment, confiscation, banishment-whether his clemency would be satisfied' with the stocks, or the pillory, or branding—or whether he would confess a satisfaction' (in very obstinate cases) at hanging or burning, is all unhappily matter of conjecture.

Locke's adversary further modified the system, by declaring that the moderate penalties' and the convenient punishments’ for which he contended, were not designed to compel those on whom they were inflicted, to adopt a particular form of religion at the option of the magistrate ; but to induce them to examine,' to • consider,' calmly and deliberately, that they might not, as too often happens, be led by passion or caprice, or any other motive which ought to have no influence in the determination of the question ! Whereupon he was asked whether he considered the fear of torture or banishment, and the hope of recompense or impunity, amongst the passions ? Whether he seriously thought that the rack or the thumbscrew would favour that calm and equal consideration which he was so charitably desirous of promoting ? Whether a man under the

of torture, or the dread of confiscation or banishment, is in a better condition for the exercise of his logic? Whether the mind, under such



discipline, would not be as effectually under a sinister bias as if left to the dominion of any other passions whatsoever ? Whether the author would have this charitable expression of concern for the souls of men fairly applied to all who, it might be deemed, had not given the subject of religion an equal and conscientious examination;' and, amongst the rest, to the multitudes of inconsiderate professors' of the national religion, who, as they are often more liable to take their religion on trust and in haste, than those who must suffer something for it, stand in more urgent need of such a provocative to deliberation ? Whether, if he replied in the negative, “his remedy would not re

semble the helleboraster that grew in the woman's garden for 'the cure of worms in her neighbours' children, for that it wrought too roughly to give it to any of her own ?'* Whether it could be thought that the magistrate who had established a given religion, or the clergy who preached it, would tolerate such an impartial application of the system of moderate and convenient penalties' to those of their own communion, however little they may have • examined ?' Whether the plan had ever been acted upon, or was ever likely to be ? Whether it would not be a most curious and unprecedented act of legislation, to inflict penalties with the vague object of making people .examine’ whether they are in the right or not; or, rather, with the still more vague object of making them seek truth' till they find it, in the absence of a judge to determine what that truth is ? Whether it would not be very much like whipping a scholar to make him • find out the square root of a number you do not know ?' Whether he who declares he has examined, and is still of the same mind, and that not the mind of a conformist, is to be released from all further punishment; or whether public officials are to be appointed to examine whether he has examined' enough? Whether these are to be satisfied that he has examined enough, or are likely to be so, till he has examined’himself into the state of mind which will induce him to conform ? and whether, if they are not to be satisfied till then, this system of moderate penalties' does not, after all, resolve itself into the system of compelling men to conform to the religion of the magistrate ?There are some things in the extract from that writer on whom we have been animadverting, which remind one of this system :- Penalties bring home to a man his own responsibility?

they are a memento to him of a great moral law, and • warn him that his private judgment, if not a duty, is a sin.'


* Locke's Second Letter. Works, vol. v. p. 99.

- If persons have strong feelings, they should pay for them ; if • they think it a duty to unsettle things established, they should show their earnestness by being willing to suffer. Here one would think that the charitable object, like that of Locke's antagonist, was to secure conscientiousness and deliberation on the part of the sufferers for supposed truth, or to sublime their virtues into heroism. But we have already shown, and the former part of the paragraph indeed avows it, that it is for the sake of peace and quietness-on behalf of the established opinions'—that he chiefly desires these penalties to be inflicted.

Locke's adversary subsequently shuffled out of his original position, and affirmed that magistrates were at liberty to persecute only for the true religion; and that it was at their peril if they indulged in any eccentricities of the kind in favour of any false religion. Locke, of course, unmercifully exposes this childish fallacy. For who is to be the judge of truth but the magistrate himself; and, if it be his duty to enforce obedience to some religion, he must of course enforce obedience to that which he deems true.

Even after the general principles of toleration were established, it was long before the spirit of persecution was quite subdued; indeed, as we all know, it was only within the last few years

that our statutes were purged from the last traces of it. Men found out, it seems, after the more violent forms of persecution were abandoned, that it was still very proper to visit those who did not conform to the religion of the magistrate, with the privation of some of their civil rights ! This was no punishment, forsooth, it was simply a negation. To be kept without a thing is something very different from having something taken away from us, and what a man never had, of course he can never much miss; and thus, by this subtle distinction of negations,' men managed at the same time to gratify their bigotry and to cloak their absurdity. Happily we have got beyond this also.

'The writer who has detained us so long, is, in as far as we know, the only living avower of his preference of the ancient system of persecution—the ' suppression’ of the Right of Private Judgment' by pains and penalties. But there are not a few who would attempt to limit its exercise by an appeal to human authority; though they would not advocate the employment of violence for that purpose. We confess we think this system better than that of force, just upon the principle, that he who simply steals is less guilty than he who commits both theft and murder. But the system itself is far less compact and consistent. If man be rightfully accountable to his fellows for the formation or expression of bis religious opinions-if he ought to adopt those which he is told to adopt-one would imagine that it is but reasonable to arm authority with some means of enforcing its mandates. The duty of submission to any human authority, would seem to imply the correlative right of visiting disobedience with some sort of penalties. If not, it is authority only in name. What should we say to a legislator, who, enacting certain laws, should set forth in the preamble, that they were binding only on those who choose to be bound by them, and that those who did not might throw them into the five? It reminds us of the humorous case cited by Pelisson in his controversy with Leibnitz.* An inconstant lover' and his volatile mistress' gravely lay down the laws which are to regulate their courtship, and the last of them is, that both should break any of them they thought proper. South, consistently arguing on his principles, that ecciesiastical authority ought to be backed by temporal power,' anticipated and rebuked the inconsistency of all half-hearted apologists for the suppression of conscience. He ridiculed the idea of authority without coercion—of laws without penalties—of obligation to obey conjoined with liberty to rebel.

He consistently preferred persecution to the sanction of so singular a freedom. He exposes the fallacy in his own ludicrous manner : Some,' he says, will by no means allow the • Church any further power than only to exhort and advise ; and o this but with a proviso too, that it extends not to such as think o themselves too wise and too great to be advised ; according to o the hypothesis of which persons, the authority of the Church, 6 and the obliging force of all Church-sanctions, can bespeak men

only thus : These and these things it is your duty to do, and if you will not do them, you may as well let them alone.' †

But whether it be that the enemies of religious freedom despair of reviving the ancient opinions, or think that there is little present chance of success, or are really weary of them, it is certain that, while there is no lack of theories by which the Right of Private Judgment’ is virtually denied, or curiously circumscribed, few, like the author on whose fanatical extravagances


* Je n'ose faire une comparaison trop peu sérieuse, et prise de ces lectures frivoles, qui ont amusé mon enfance ; mais je ne sçaurois pour tant m'empêcher d'y penser. Dans une de nos Fables Françoises, (l'ingénieux roman de Monsieur D'Urfé, que tous le monde connoit,) l'amant inconstant et la maitresse volage font avec grand soin les loix de leur amitié ; mais la dernière de toutes est qu'on n'en observera pas une, si l'on ne veut.'-Leibnitzii Opera, tom. i. p. 689

† South's Sermons, vol. i. p. 132.

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