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TO SIR ROBERT GIFFORD, KNT.
MY CONSTANT AND VERY LEARNED FRIEND, BETWEEN you and the Vice Society, I am at a loss how to pay my little courtesies so as to make a distribution satisfactory to both. I feel some little alarm, lest my motives be misconstrued, and a jealous imagination arise, that I am more attentive and grateful to the one than to the other. As far as my professions and protestations will avail any thing, I beg to assure you, that I have made an equal division of my gratitude for past favours, and should any future partiality arise on my part, it can only correspond with greater favours conferred by the one party than the other. You, Sir Robert, I believe, are anxious to outstrip the members of the Vice Society, for whilst they have never meddled with more than one number of the Republican, you, I believe, have encouraged the sale of upwards of a dozen.
You acted nobly with the first volume, but I must say that I considered you negligent with the second volume; and I was, in the spring of the present year, almost ready to tax you with ingratitude, under the idea that you neglected me because I was in prison. I began to despair when I found the third volume complete without being noticed by you, and after having passed nearly through the present volume, I resolved to finish it and then stop the work in its present shape. Whether you had heard my resolution or not, or whether I was too impatient, and overlooked the tremendous
affair you had in hand, in conjunction with Majocchi, Sacchi, Cuchi, Rastelli, De Mont, Liverpool, Eldon, Lauderdale, and George the Fourth, I am at a loss to say, but now it is too late, you are come forward to assist me. You have now announced to me that you have filed an Information against the 8th No. of Vol. 3, and against the 3d, 4th, and 13th numbers of the present volume, with some others, the particulars of which I have not yet heard. I am sorry that we did not understand each other better before, as after having come to a resolution, I never change, but I will endeavour to do business with you in some other way. I have resolved to discontinue this periodical work, and as your late Act of Parliament does not affect any cheap writings, unless they have a title and are published periodically, for the short time you have to remain in office I shall return to the two-penny trash stile of writing and publication. I had this method in my eye in January last, but I then thought, that if I relinquished the style and title of "Republican," it would be imputed to me as fear, or being humbled by imprisonment, and I resolved to go on for a time, to convince both my friends and my enemies that imprisonment can make no alteration for the worse in my mind. I trust that I have now 'done enough to convince both that I am an unchangeable being, and therefore, I have less hesitation in commencing the campaign of 1821 with a new mode of warfare.
It is not my intention, Sir Robert, to change the character or appearance of an iota of my principles, and your principles; therefore, I would entreat you not to be dissatisfied, but to favour me with just the same attention as if I was going on with the 5th volume of the Republican. My whole and sole object is to produce a greater effect; an object which I feel assured you will pronounce meritorious.
As it is the practice of all authors who write upon any spe cific principle, to dedicate their works to some distinguished individual who is known to be the patron of such principle, so also I, knowing that you are the secret admirer of Republican and Deistical principles, have taken the liberty to
place this work under your patronage, and to pay you the usual compliment of a dedication. Your distinction is too great to authorize me to adopt the vulgar method of writing dedications; 1 feel that I shall do the greatest justice both to your private and public virtues, by saying nothing about them, as a dumb eloquence often produces an effect quite as theatrical as that which is ever so boisterous. I consider, that I shall best display your manifold virtues by a delineation of the principles of the "Republican," of which I have made you the patron, quite to your liking, I flatter myself. The" Republican" might be said to comprise two distinct principles, although the eye of reason might unite them, which I shall now lay before you, under the deuomination of anti-monarchical and anti-idolatrous, or in their common acceptation of Republican and Deistical.
By the term anti-monarchichal or republican, I mean where the sovereignty of a nation is vested in the people instead of an individual. This is a principle as important as truth and reason, for it cannot be called civilization or a social state, where an individual makes ten, twelve, or twenty millions of people bend to his will, inclination, and caprice, whatever may be his vices, and from which they can find no relief but in his death. Such a state of society is a disgrace to the present age, and evinces a slavish brutality not at all consonant with the common cant and boast of civilization. It is evident in this country, at this moment, that all the incorrupt part of the community is struggling to emancipate itself from this degradation. It is seen that nothing but the representative system of government can confer a dignity on a civilized society, and support the progress of its moral virtue. It is as often seen to retrograde as to advance, under an absolute monarchy, and such a disease in the body politic can no longer be tolerated.
To assist in working this emancipation has been my object in writing the Republican. I have overlooked all dangers and obstacles, under the idea, that the first and greatest object was to impress the minds of my countrymen with the
real character of the monarchy under which they live, and that when they saw it clearly, nature would point out the means of delivery. The timid have charged me with violence, but I have looked beyond the present moment, and I feel assured that whoever shall read the pages of the Republican two or three years hence, will see nothing violent in them, and nothing asserted but what shall then be found to be true. It is altogether a work of principle, and will be thought better of as a knowledge of the value and advantage of those principles increases. It has met the opposition of all parties and all factions, that is to say, all but the sincere advocates of the representative system of government. For the man who has this object in view, is not a party man, he identifies himself with the interest of his country, and looks to that alone. I feel this satisfaction, that I have flattered no man, or no party; neither have I troubled myself about obtaining the approbation of any individual, or any party: I have taken the straight forward line, and to the best of my ability have advocated the republican principle of government, which principle I have felt assured, must necessarily abolish superstition, as far as possible, and discountenance or prevent all persecution, or even interruption, for matters of opinion. Where opinions are restrained there must con. sequently be something wrong in the management of the state, for it is by the operation and clashing of opinions, that correct principles are produced. Besides, nothing is better calculated to prevent improper actions than by giving vent to all opinions. Il founded opinions would never produce improper actions whilst they were met by opinions of more weight and effect. The good would be certain to prevail over the bad, for the former is a work of nature itself, whilst the latter is but a disease. From the corrupt nature of all the European governments, through all past time of which we have any historical knowledge, we have found every kind of rank delusion in matters connected with religion freely encouraged, whilst every attempt to encourage libe rality in the human mind bas met with a long and direful op
position. Its degrees have been obtained but by the continued sacrifice of its abettors, and fanaticism and wickedness. have continued to prey upon the best blood of society.
I need say no more, Sir Robert, upon the political principles of the Republican, further than that I think the publication has been well timed, aud what is occurring in other countries all round us, bas rendered my continuation of the work somewhat unnecessary, as example is more impressive than precept. In fact, from the present situation of this country, I have for some time past had an idea that I should further the cause of republicanism by ceasing to write for a few months, at least, in the same manner and under the same title as at present, because I can clearly perceive, Sir Robert, that you and your coadjutors are working practically and most effectually, in that same line as I have been advancing theoretically. Your efforts to destroy one branch of the monarchy, and that by far the best, have given the Republican an admirable opportunity to play upon the corrupt part, and to exhibit its vicious character. You have encountered the more arduous task, and have left me and others but little more to do than look on, and give you ap plause; and I hereby, in the name of all the republicans in this Island, return you our thanks, and hope your future efforts will be as unceasing as the past, and equally availing.
It is almost unnecessary for me to attempt to explain the Deistical part of the Republican to you who have been so constant a reader, and so great an admirer of those principles; but as most dedications are intended to enhance the dignity of the patron in the public view, I must not lose sight of this object in the present instance; as I fear that I shall not again find you alive when I have to dedicate another volume: I will therefore make a brief recapitulation. It must have been visible to all the readers of the Republican that a persecution for the publication of Mr. Paine's Theological Works drew me into a defence of Deistical opinions. With out that persecution I should have considered myself the most unfit man living to bave undertaken any thing of the