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Will an Act of Parliament excuse you in the sight of God, for exacting of any man more than in the eye of reason and equity he
ought to pay? If an Act of Parliament will not justify the taking men's lires, neither will it justify the taking their money.
[The same paragraph-line 13.
II. UPON RESISTANCE TO GOVERNMENT. If government, though legal and constitutional, has not made sufficient provision for the happiness of the people, no other property, or title by which it may be dignified, ought to shelter it from the generous attack of the noble and daring patriot. [Essay on the First Principles of Government, Sect. II. of
Political Liberty—page 35, paragraph 2, line 9, to page
36-published in 1791. Governors will never be awed by the voice of the people, so long as it is a mere voice, without overt acts.
[Ibid. page 46, 47, paragraph 3, line 24.
III. UPON LIBERTY, CIVIL AND POLITICAL.
Civil liberty extends no farther than to a man's own conduct and signifies the right he has to be exempt from the control of the society, or its agents. [Ibid. Sect. I. of the First Principles of Government and the
different kinds of Liberty-p. 9. paragraph 2, line 7.
In countries where a man by his birth or fortune is excluded from the supreme offices, or from a power of voting for proper persons to fill them, that man, whatever may be the form of the government, or whatever civil liberty or power over his own actions he may have, bas no power over those of another, and therefore has no political liberty at all. Nay, his own conduct, as far as the society does interfere, is in all cases directed by others. It
may be said, that no society upon earth was ever formed in the manner represented above.--I answer, it is true, because all governments whatever have been, in some measure, compulsory, tyrannical, and oppressive in their origin; but the method I have described, must be allowed to be the only free, and equitable method of forming a society; and since every man retains, and can never be deprived of his natural right of relieving himself from all oppression, that is, from every thing that has been imposed upon him without his consent; this must be the only true, and proper foun
dation of all the governments subsisting in the world, and that, to which the people who compose them, have an unalienable right to bring them back.
[Ibid. Sect. II. page 11, line 7, to page 12, and the end of
the second paragraph.
IV. OF LEGAL RESTRAINT UPON HUMAN ACTIONS.
In truth, the greater part of human actions are of such a nature, that more inconvenience would follow from their being fixed by laws, than from their being left to every man's arbitrary will.
[Ibid. Sect. III. of Civil Liberty-p. 52, paragraph 2, line 9.
V. OF LEGAL RESTRAINT ON OPINION.
If a man commit murder, let him be punished as a murderer, and let no regard be paid to his plea of conscience for committing the action; but let not the opinions which lead to the action be meddled with.
[Ibid. page 118, line 8.
VI. RELIGION IN GENERAL. BESIDES, though RELIGION, or the belief of a God, a Providence, and a future state, have its use with respect to society, it is not absolutely NECESSARY for that purpose. [Familiar Letters addressed to the Inhabitants of Birmingham,
page 55, paragraph 2, line 1.
VII. THE BISHOPS AND THE INFERIOR CLERGY.
As to the Clergy, we make ourselves perfectly easy about them; for should the Court once more smile upon us, and should the Minister of the day only give a single nod, opposition will vanish as by a charm.
[Ibid. page 36, line 10. The Bishops of this reign would in such a case instantly become as those of the last ; and as to the inferior Clergy, they would wheel about as quickly as soldiers on a parade, when the word of command is given them in the presence of the King in St. James's Park.
[Ibid. line 21.
We are the sheep, and (the Clergy) our accusers are the wolves, and say what we will, we must be guilty.
[Ibid. page 21, paragraph 2, line 18. VOL. VI.
VIII. THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE GOVERNMENT.
We are now in the situation of the primitive Christians, as the friends of reformation have nothing to expect from power or general favour, but must look for every species of abuse and persecution that the spirit of the times will admit of. If even burning alive was a sight that the country would now bear, there exists a spirit that would inflict that horrid punishment, and with as much cool indifference, and savage exultation as in any preceding ages of the world. [Extract from a SERMON preached for the benefit of Hackney
College, and quoted by Dr. Priestley in his “ Appeal to the Public on the Riots at Birmingham," page 23, paragraph 3, line 1, to page 24, line 12.
IX. THE KING.
What has been the return for this unquestionable proof of our loyalty and zeal ?-Has it secured to us the gratitude of the King? [Familiar Letters addressed to the Inhabitants of Birmingham,
page 15, paragraph 3, line 1. , Now it has unfortunately happened, that “ another King is arisen who knoweth not Joseph *," or the obligations that his family are under.
[Ibid. page 14. Should the KING, like Ahasuerus in the book of Esther, vi. 1. not be able to sleep, and call upon one of the Lords of his bedchamber to read to him out of the book of the records of the Chronicles of the Kings of England, and should there find who had been the most zealous for the revolution under King William-for the accession of the House of Hanover—for the suppression of the rebellions in 1715 and 1745--and who took his part in a late change of administration; and then enquire what honour and dig. nity (chap. vi. 6.) had been done to his friends, and the friends of his family; and learn, that instead of any thing being done to reward, much had been done to mortify, and punish them ; that to this very day they had been persecuted by lies, and calumnies, as men whose laws were diverse from those of all other people, and who do not keep the King's laws, and therefore say, that it is not for the King's profit to suffer them (chap. iii. 8.:) poor despised Mordecai
* This passage is taken from Scripture. - “ Now there arose up a new King over Egypt, which knew not Joseph."
That new King was Pharaoh-of all tyrants the most impious and cruel.
may be advanced, and some other use made of the gallows that was erected for him.
[Ibid. p. 36, paragraph 2, line 1.
X. THE AMERICAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT.
The Americans ventured to do a great deal more than our ancestors at the Revolution, and set a glorious example to France and the whole world.
They formed a completely new government on the principles of equal liberty and the rights of men (as Dr. Price expressively and happily said) “ WITHOUT Nobles—WITHOUT BISHOPs—and WITHOUT A KING."
[Letters to Mr. Burke-page 40, line 3-published in 1791.
XI. THE LATE REVOLUTION IN FRANCE. By means of national debts the wheels of several European governments are already so much clogged, that it is impossible they should go on much longer. The very Peace Establishment of France could not be kept up any longer; and the same must soon be the situation of other countries. All the causes which have operated to the augmentation of these debs, continue to operate; so that our approach to THIS GREAT CRISIS in our affairs is not equable, but accelerated.
[Letters to Mr. Burke-page 153, paragraph 2, line 1.
If the condition of other nations be as much bettered, as that of France probably will be by her improved system of government that GREAT CRISIS, dreadful as it appears in prospect, will be a consummation devoutly to be wished.
[Ibid. page 154, paragraph 2, line 1. I rejoice to see the warmth with which the cause of orthodoxy, that is, long established opinions, however erroneous, and that of the hierarchy is now taken up by its friends-because, if their system be not well founded, they are only accelerating its destruction. In fact, they are assisting me in the proper disposal of those trains of gunpowder which have been some time accumulating, and at which they have taken so great an alarm, and which will certainly blow it up at length as suddenly, as unexpectedly, and as completely as the overthrow of the late arbitrary government in France. [Preface to the Letters to Mr. Burn-pages 207 and 208, in the
same volume that contains the Familiar Letters to the Inhabitants of Birmingham.
: What a contrast is now exhibited between the two rival nations of France and England, and how many Englishmen blush to look upon it !
[Familiar Letters, p. 210. How different are the spectacles that are now exhibited in France and in England! Here bigotry has been fostered, and has acquired new strength; there it is almost extinct.
[Preface to the Appeal- page xxiv. note x.
XII. RIOTS AT BIRMINGHAM.
1. THE KING, Only in Part exculpated from the Guilt of them. Of the two parties in whose names the outrages at Birmingham were committed, the Church and the King; the latter has IN A GREAT MEASURE exculpated himself by his proclamation to apprehend and punish the rioters. [An Appeal to the Public on the Riots in Birmingham-page
56, paragraph 2, line 1-published in 1792.
2. THE BISHOPS. Considering the part that many of the lower clergy have acted in this business, the eyes of the country are now upon the Bishops; and their silence will be construed into approbation.
[Ibid. page 75, line 9. 3. THE BISHOP AND CLERGY OF THE DIOCESE. There are several places in Germany, in which the Catholics and Protestants constantly make use of the same places of public worship. Such an offer on the part of the Clergy and the Bishop of the diocese, would have done them the greatest credit, and have contributed very much towards exculpating them from having any share in the outrage. But this natural and easy method, which would have cost them nothing, not having been done, they remain without that exculpation.
[Ibid. page 73.
4. MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH AT BIRMINGHAM. Here, instead of answering our books, the Members of the Church of England at Birmingham have burnt them, together with our houses, and places of public worship.
[Ibid. page 80.
5. THE GREAT BODY OF THE CLERGY, AND THE FRIENDS OF THE
KING. Having always been an avowed advocate of public liberty, and religion, which led me to write in defence of your late glorious re