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recorded . And we would take , tjiis Opportunity , which we shall on all occasions repeat , of urging the attention of the Deputies , and of all Dissenters , towards the greater questions which press upon them , and which , if favourably decided , would bring with them necessarily relief in all these more trifling particulars . To build up at this time of day f
some new system of expedients , ounded on the present machinery of exclusion and irregularity , seems to us , we confess , to be to despair of the cause of reason and freedom more than we are warranted in doing . Let the Deputies direct half as much attention to enlightening the public mind on their great questions , —to pressing on the Legislature the absurdities and anomalies of their
position , —and to rousing the old spirit of liberty aud manly zeal which animated their fathers , —as they have for thirty years confined to the trivial vexatious which are mere incidents and badges of the system which oppresses them , and our firm conviction is , that we should not have to waste our time in discussing any such topics as many of those which now occupy our attention .
and moderation ) confined their attention to the question before them , which was simply whether a petition should Jb « e ££ * ceiyed , not what should be done upon it . Mr . W . Smith complimented Mr . Peel on his prudence and moderation . Mr . Batley was a young member , and , when he was more experienced in the House , would learu to treat such subjects with more temper . Gentlemen seemed to make no distinction between a Deist and an
Atheist . An Atheist might perhaps be incapable of giving to his testimony the sanction of an oath , but a Deist might assuredly do so . In his opinion , the State , and the interests of all who were conuected with the State , would be in infinitely greater danger from the oaths of those who did not believe the Christian religion , but concealed that disbelief , than from the oaths . of those who openly avowed their opinions .
Mr . Hume observed , that the petition itsel f was a complete answer to the learned Serjeant . He would ask , what was a Jew , but a Deist ? Accordiug to the honourable gentleman , ( Mr . Batley ' s ) principle , a Jew ought not to be allowed to be sworn . The argument of
the hotiourable gentleman , therefore , was directed against the , existing statutes . As to Sir E . Carrington , it really appeared to him ( Mr . Hume ) to be very strange , that an individual who had for such a length of time , in Ceylon / been administering oaths to men who did not believe in the Christian
Revelation , should feel any difficulty on the subject in this country . It only shewed that men might live long without gaining experience . For his own part , he could see no reason why a Jew , a Turk , or the professor of any other religion different from our own , provided that his difference was a conscientious one , should not be considered as credible as
any other person ; and he should be happy to see that liberal policy pursued , by which such an individual should be placed on the same footing as any other . He moved that the petition should lie on the table . The motion was agreed to .
We think it of importance ( recordings as we intend to do , all matters affecting religious opinion ) to give the above short reportof the debate on thesubjectof a petition of an individual sufficiently notorious as a champion o f Deism , who nevertheless , styles himself ' the reverend . " The point , agitated is an important one , and it bears on other questions of still more consequence . However small may be our sympathy with the immediate parties , , there are no questions of this sort which
Intelligence . —Competency of Witnesses not BelieversHn Christianity . 77
Competency of Witnesses not Believers in Christianity . House of Commons , November 29 . Mr . Hume presented a petition from a Mr . Robert Taylor , of Carey Street , Clerk , who stated that he was canonically ordained a clergyman of the Established Church—that after laborious investigation and philosophical research he could not admit the Christian faith — that
he had discovered that he could not on that account give evidence in any court —that he is a believer in a future statethat a short time ago a shopman of Mr . Carlile was robbed of a watch , but was unable to prosecute in consequence of his adherence to the doctrines of Deismand therefore praying that persons professing Deistical principles might be sworn in Courts of Justice in the same way as persons professing Christianity , Judaism or Mahometanism .
Serjeant On slow violently opposed the petition on the ground that the profession of a Deist was too vague—that no form of oath would bind Jura—and that he held in mockery every thing which could give a sound reliance ou his veracity . » Mr . Harrison Batle y ( a young Chancery barrister ) thought it was disgraceful to entertain such a scandalous petition . Sir Edward Carrington expressed his horror at it . , Mr . Peel ( with his usual judgment
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), Jan. 2, 1827, page 77, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1792/page/77/