« VorigeDoorgaan »
and intermix with every clafs of fociety. If there be truth in this, it behoves the people to be on their guard.
To a mind of any difcernment, if not overwhelmed by bigotry and fuperftition, it must be aftonishing to obferve, (as we may in fome parts of this volume,) the nonfenfe, folly, and blafphemy, which the priests of Popery have vended, even in later years; and it is yet more aftonishing that fuch abfurdities fhould be received with any kind of patience at the fame time it may also occafion furprize, but of an agreeable and pleasing nature, to learn that many publications have appeared favour able to reason, truth, religion, and liberty; and that fome of these have Roman Catholic authors. One memorable inftance of the latter kind is afforded by Koltner, a Francifcan, who pub lifhed a fermon at Vienna, replete with virtuous truth :-but, it is added, Koltner's honeft zeal has been rewarded with the lofs of his office as teacher of ecclefiaftical law, and with perfecution. Several of thefe relations are given, in a chapter of felections from Dr. Seiler's German Literary Journals, 1776 ~1778.
Though this work is compofed principally from foreign materials, yet to make extracts from a book of extračts, does not well accord with the nature of our Review; befide which, fome account of the originals have, in different ways, been offered to the public. We cannot, however, refrain from taking fome notice of a tranflation from the Spanish, of GARCIAS's Guide to eternal happiness, concerning which we are gravely and wifely informed, that eight days religious retirement, and following the exercifes here prefcribed, will procure eight thousand degrees of grace and glory.'-Farther, among the pious emotions recommended, are thanks to God for damning Julian, Mahomet, Luther, and Calvin.'-An anonymous piece, by a Roman Catholic, printed at Francfort in 1784, contains many fenfible remarks on ecclefiaftical impofition and craft among others, we notice the following fhort sentence: • Good fenfe has forced itself into palaces, and monarchs entertain just and liberal fentiments of the rights of mankind, and of the limits of religious zeal. But how long will this light fhine?'-If the remark be true, as we heartily with it may be, we rejoice; we wish alfo, and we would willingly hope, that it may long continue, and greatly improve!-We will just add to the above, a few lines of a remarkable paffage from HELVETIUS de l'Homme, fect. 4. c. 21. There is one only cafe, where toleration may be highly hurtful to a nation. That cafe is, when a nation tolerates an intolerant religion; and fuch a religion is the Catholic. When their religion becomes powerful, it will fhed the blood of its thoughtlefs protectors, and as a
ferpent, poifon the bofom which cherished it. The intereft of German princes tempts them to Popery, as affording beneficial offices to their families and friends. When they embrace Popery, they will conftrain their fubjects to embrace it also; and if for this purpose they muft fhed human blood, human blood they will fhed.'
This little volume is chiefly confined to obfervations on the ancient and modern ftate of Chriftianity, &c.: but we meet with one short chapter on the poems of Offian; in which the author infifls on a remarkable resemblance that the Song of the Bards over Cuchullin bears to the Lamentation of David over Saul and Jonathan. The book concludes with an account of fome different denominations of Chriftians in North America.
ART. XX. A Reply to the Rev. Dr. Priestley's Appeal to the Public, on the Subject of the late Riots at Birmingham, in Vindication of the Clergy and other respectable Inhabitants of the Town. By the Rev. Edward Burn, M. A. 8vo. pp. 125. 28. Baldwin. 1792.
AUDI alteram partem is the motto that Mr. Burn has chofen; and to all controverfies, in which the paffions of men, as in the present inftance, are excited into violent action, it may with the utmost propriety be prefixed. When our readers confider how eafily facts, or parts of facts, may be omitted, overlooked, or mil-ftated; and how differently different men, furveying the fame occurrences through media variously coloured by their respective interefts, habits, or prejudices, will defcribe and argue on them; they will perceive the neceffity of hearing opposite statements, if they with to acquire any accuracy of knowlege. Dr. Prieftley, whofe " Appeal to the Public" we have already noticed, and which, on the whole, must be allowed to do him credit, has been too great a sufferer by the Birmingham riots to be admitted as a calm and difpaffionate hiftorian. "Some natural tears," he may be fuppofed to have dropped on the recording page, and fome portion of regret and refentment must have clung about his mind, which, in spite of all his philofophy and religious principles, may probably, at times, have feduced him from the path of folid evidence, found reasoning, and Chriftian candour. With refpect to the clergy, we apprehended that this was indeed the cafe, as we intimated in our Review of the "Appeal;" nor could we imagine that the party accused would remain filent under the feveral charges
* See Monthly Review, New Series, vol. vii. p. 286.
and infinuations exhibited against them by Dr. Priestley. They have chofen Mr. Burn for their advocate on the present occa fion; and the Reply now before us is entitled to attention, from its having been drawn up and published, as we learn from the Introduction, with the general concurrence and approbation of the clergy of Birmingham.'
Mr. Burn meets Dr. P. with boldness, and evinces confiderable ability and adroitnefs as a writer. While he affures us that the clergy of Birmingham felt for Dr. Priestley in his fufferings, he does not omit to remind us that their present bufinefs with him is not in the character of an injured man, but in that of an accufer. How far he is juftified in the charges which he exhibits against the clergy and other inhabitants of Birmingham, Mr. Burn invites the public to examine. He particularly notices the feveral articles of impeachment; and we hope, for the fate of truth and juftice, that every reader of the "Appeal" will become a reader of this Reply. We have omitted articles which have long waited for infertion, that the attack and the vindication may appear as nearly together as poffible.
According to this pamphlet, Dr. Priestley has been inaccurate in feveral particulars; and, of courfe, his reafonings on falfe facts must be deemed irrelevant. Mr. Burn does not altogether deny the circumftance mentioned by Dr. Priestley, refpecting the refufal of the clergy to walk or ride with Diffenting minifters at funerals. He allows this to be true of some of the clergy of Birmingham: but he obferves, that this conduct arofe from their perfonal objection to Dr. P. whofe oppofition to the church they deemed fo indecent, that fome of them thought they could not with propriety act officially with him; Mr. Curtis, he fays, had no objection to Mr. Scholefield, yet, if he did it with him, he would not have been able to have drawn the line. Prefuming on the truth of this statement, the removal of Dr. Priestley from Birmingham must contribute to unite the clergy and the Diffenting minifters, at least over the grave. When the former are employed in depofiting the remains of a Nonconformist in the duft, we do not fee the propriety of their attempting to draw any line of difcrimination between one Diffenting minifter and another. We are always forry when the teachers of religion appear to fall out by the way. All refentment should disappear at the fight of that place, where the wicked and difputatious ceafe from troubling.
If Mr. Burn feems rather to retire from the defence of Mr. Madan's fermon, he is firm in his vindication of the clergy; and he avers that the paffage in Dr. Priestley's first letter to the inhabitants of B. in which the difcourfes of
the clergy are accufed of inflaming the populace to violence, ' was as great an outrage upon character, as the conduct of the rioters had been on property.'
On the subject of the famous hand-bill, our author takes, what is called in parliamentary language, high ground; and as to the mode of their refifting the repeal of the corporation and teft acts, Mr. B. reminds the Doctor, that they were taught to adopt it by the very example of the Diffenters. This is the truth fome of the Diffenters threatened; and when minorities threaten, they are generally defeated.
It appears by the pamphlet now under our notice, that Mr. Ruffell, and not Mr. Dadley the master of the hotel, was the perfon who prevented the dinner being put off, as was recommended. Mr. Dadley's folemn depofition, to prove this, is opposed to Mr. Ruffell's statement. It alfo appears, that the addrefs to the mob, which has been fo much difcuffed, and which began," Friends, and fellow churchmen," was intended as a quieting fop for Cerberus, and was prepared and thrown to the many-headed monfter, with the concurrence and at the express defire of the Diffenters. The name of Mr. Taylor is mentioned on the occafion.
With a view of vindicating the inhabitants of Birmingham from being the cause of the riots, feveral inftances of prudent exertion are mentioned, and thefe inftances merit being recorded: but we fear that it will be replied, exceptio confirmat regulam. Highly to be commended are thofe individuals who acted in the manner defcribed by Mr. B. (p. 51.); yet it does not neceffarily follow that this was the general conduct of the master manufacturers: for if all the workmen had been kept in their fhops by rewards, by looks, or by threats, whence ould come the rioters?
We wish not, however, to be prolix on the fubject of riots and rioters, More particulars are here difcuffed than we have space or time to notice. The conduct of the clergy, after the riot, appears to do them honour. We fay appears; for, while facts thus meet facts in battle array, we know not what to believe.
There are several paffages in this Reply which are open to animadverfion: but, having faid the needful, we shall make no remarks on the fpirit and temper with which these counterfacts are recorded: leaving this office to Dr. Priestley in his Rejoinder; which, no doubt, will foon appear.
ART. XXI. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects. By Mary Wollstonecraft. 8vo. PP. 452. 6s. Boards. Johnfon. 1792.
PHILOSOPHY, which, for fo many ages, has amufed the indolent reclufe with fubtle and fruitlefs fpeculations, has, at length, ftepped forth into the public walks of men, and offers them her friendly aid in correcting thofe errors which have hitherto retarded their progrefs toward perfection, and in eftablishing those principles and rules of action, by which they may be gradually conducted to the fummit of human felicity. Inveloped as mankind at prefent are with the mifts of prejudice, and encumbered on every fide with inftitutions and cuftoms, which prevent the free expanfion of their intellectual and moral powers, it is the intereft of private individuals, and the duty of those who are entrusted with the care of the public welfare, whereever, or in whatever character, this divine Inftru&refs appears, to give her an honourable reception, and an attentive hearing. Among the moft enlightened people of antiquity, Wisdom, as well as Beauty, was deified under a female form; and in modern language it is ftill ufual to give Philosophy and Wisdom a female perfonification. What is this but a tacit conceffion in favour of the female part of the fpecies, that they are no less capable of inftructing than of pleafing?-and how jealous foever we may be of our right to the proud pre-eminence which we have affumed, the women of the prefent age are daily giving us indubitable proofs that mind is of no fex, and that, with the foftering aid of education, the world, as well as the nursery, may be benefited by their inftructions.
In the clafs of philofophers, the author of this treatifewhom we will not offend by ftyling, authorefs-has a right to a diftinguished place. The important bufinefs, here undestaken, is to correct errors, hitherto univerfally embraced, concerning the female character; and to raise woman, from a state of degradation and vaffalage, to her proper place in the scale of exiftence; where, with the dignity of independence, the may difcharge the duties and enjoy the happiness of a rational Being. The fundamental principle, on which the whole argument of this work is founded, is that, except in affairs of love, fexual diftinctions ought to be difregarded, and women be confidered in the light of rational creatures; who, in common with men, are placed in this world to unfold their faculties, and whofe first object of ambition ought to be to obtain a character as a human Being. It is acknowleged that more attention has lately been paid to the education of women than formerly: but it is at the fame time maintained, that the method, in which they are commonly educated, only tends to enfeeble both the body and the mind,