rettro to terCatur,
Pra—In your impression of last Saturday there is an article on this subject, in which, after mentioning the "extraordinary doctrine" of Mr. Justice Crampton as confusing "an otherwiae clear case," you add, "as to the out- rageous character of she offence there cannot be two opinions, and the only question for the Jury must have been that of fact." Such a sentiment has double force,, appearing in a journal so candid and free from bigotry as yours; and yet, though I am sincerely what I sign my- self, I cannot comprehend of what offence, either legal or moral, the Bible- burners have been guilty. No doubt, if I, with my opinions, were to commit such an act, I should be guilty of great profanity, and highly culpable morally; though, even then, if you repudiate Mr. Justice Crampton's construction of the law, I do not see what my legal offence would be. But in a Romanist point of view the ques- tion is quite different. The Romanists hold, (how erroneously, in my opinion, I need not say,) that the indiscriminate diffusion of the Bible to the laity is an evil. They also pretend (with equal error) that our version of the Bible is an incorrect one. It seems a reasonable consequence of these opinions, that a sincere Romanist should try to prevent his brethren from reading the Protestant Bible; and that, if (*.pies of it are disseminated among them by Protestants, he should meet the evil by destroying those copies. It is no act of filial Impiety in me to destroy what I believe to be a forged or garbled will of my father, though it would be so if I were to de- tro„jclits real will-
.4•01 another example. If you thought it undesirable that your daughter, at fifteen, should read Shakapere, and, after vainly trying to prevent her by taking-away thelook and looking it up, you at last burnt your copy, to put
it out of her reach, would that be any proof of your want of reverence or admiration of Shakspere ? I confess myself startled by what appears to me an act of religious perse- cution on the part of those of my creed. We first force our books upon a hostile sect; and when they, naturally enough, destroy gifts so pernicious in their eyes, we punish them for it.
[Perhaps the shortest way to answer our correspondent is to quote these few lines from the speech of Mr. 011agan in defence of Father Petcherine- " The common law of England made Christianity a part of the law of the land and the constitution of the country, and identified with the country and the law of the land the Holy Scriptures ; and the man who destroyed these Scriptures has designed to bring religion into contempt, and is guilty under this indictment." Our own view of the ease is stated in one of the Topics of the Day.]