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means follows that the to * has : and that , on the contrary ! if the law makes auy pretensions to justice , all persons should be equal in its eyes , especially where the free exercise and profession of religious opinions has been formally granted and mi aran t **(* r \ _______ __ iri
Intelligence . ^ -Foreign . 307
wonder has wot been exploded as superstitious and unpleasant—that of kissing the Gospels ; the consequence of which is , that when a witness appears who is not a believer in the Gospels , either some other book must be found for hini , as if some book were part of the magic , or some rite ( never mind how ridiculous ) must be substituted ; and if the man has no rite at all to practise , our law knows no other course than to refuse his
testimony altogether . The French law having provided a simple , solemn form , which suits every oue who has any religious opinion at all , no difficulty whatever arises on the subject . Some over-zealous people , however , lately before the Cour Royale of Nismes , wished to bring iu all the objectionable
points of our practice by objecting to a Jew ' s being sworn in the simple , comprehensive form of the law , and requiring that his religious opinions should be inquired into and recognized by the Court , aud that he should not be allowed the oath in the usual form , but should take the oath " more judaico . "
On the other hand , the counsel on his behalf ( himself a Jew ) contended , that any inquiries of the sort by the court , into the opiuions of a man who attended them as a citizen , ready to take the oath required by law , was an attack on the
religious liberty secured by the charter ; that the court had no right to put a mark of singularity upon any one ; that if a man was obliged to declare his opinions for any purpose , his liberty was incomplete ; that he owed au account of them to no one , uot even to the law ; that the law could not have
either the desire or the power to inquire into the matter ; that it knew men neither as Catholics , Protestauts , nor Jews , but as citizens ; that though the Catholic religion was , by the charter , the religion of the state , it was uot and could not be the religion of the law , without destroyiug those other provisions of the charter which secured to all the free exercise of their religion . The court decided in favour of these
arguments , holding that all Frenchmen were equal in the eye of the law , and that the principles of equality towards all religious opinions guaranteed by the charter , would be violated if a French Jew were compelled against his will to take the oath in a different foim from that prescribed to hi » fellow-citizens . The distinction appears to us as a sensible one , of holding , that though the state may have made a particular form of religion part and parcel of itsejf , it by no
Liberty of the Press . We have more than once ( says the Globe ) had occasion to notice the resistance of the judicial authorities in France to the attacks of the Government on the Liberty of the Press . We are happy to be able to record an iustauce of similar
conduct on the part of a body of English Judges—the Supreme Court of Bombay , who have disallowed a Regulation for the suppression of the freedom of printing , which was passed by the Governor in Council of that Presidency . The regulation was similar to that registered in Calcutta by Sir F . JVIacnaghten , ( at the time the only Judge of the Supreme Court there , ) and confirmed on appeal before the Privy Council . —We have been
favoured by the Editor of the Oriental Herald , to whom the judgment delivered in the case has been transmitted , with a copy of this valuable document . Of the three Judges of the Supreme Court , Sir E . West ( the Chief ) and Mr . Justice Chambers concurred in disallowing the regulation . Mr . Justice Rice would have allowed it * The language of this Judge , however , it will be seen , is not less remarkable than that of his
colleagues , for he does not hesitate to say , that , as far as his own opinion went , the regulation , even at Calcutta , was inexpedient , as well as repugnant to the laws of England , though , on the question of expediency he thought fit to defer to the Government ; and on that of the repugnancy , to the appellate authority . He says , ** I have read the case of
the press of India before the King in Council ; but still I think the clause as to the change iu the proposed rule is repugnant to the law of England , and that policy did not , and does not , require it . It is argued , I think , too much as if the Natives had been at all affected by the licentiousness of the press ; the mibchief in Calcutta was wholly , 1 think , confined
to the English , and would , £ am persuaded , have remedied itself . Considering , as 1 dothat the liberties of England are part of the law of the laud , and that they depeud on ( he freedom of the press , I cannot conceive how a licence , which is to stop its mouth and stifle its voice , can be consistent with ^ nct not repugnant to , the law of England " >
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Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), April 2, 1827, page 307, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct1795/page/75/