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[James Grahame]
Another Letter: being the third.
 (Edinburgh:  John Fairbairn,  1817)
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The Farther Letters, formerly announced, (which, among other matters, will contain a short Calvinistic View of Ministerial Character and Duty,) will be speedily published, uniformly with, and as a sequel to the three letters already given to the public.



“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”—“or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” II. Corinth. vi. 14, 15.



As the only lawful end of warfare and controversy is the production of peace, I think myself bound to resist the inclination I feel to graft one discussion on another, and vindicate myself from the aspersions that have been cast on certain passages of my preceding letters,—from charges of vehemence and asperity, that only prove me a man “in whose eyes a vile person is despised,” and who “hates the work of them that turn aside.” I neither expected nor desired that my sentiments
should be universally approved, or my service acceptable to every master; and should indeed have suspected the accuracy with which I had summed up the approving testimonies of good men if the result had not been checked and confirmed by the opposite sentiments of men of opposite character. But though I scorn the aspersions to which my performance has been exposed, I have no desire to press unnecessarily the same fortitude on others; and I sincerely regret that the concealment of my name, which I think proper to preserve till the conclusion of this controversy, should have given ignorance or malice a pretence for besprinkling those to whom these letters have been erroneously imputed, with a portion of the gall that is properly due and perfectly inoffensive to me. One of the clergymen to whom they have been ascribed, is a great deal too busy calling sinners to repentance, to spare time for reminding just men like you of their duty: and the well-meaning long-worded vindicator of the Covenanters, I suspect, is too much of a lawyer to hazard his declamation in a cause that yet can shew no illustrious precedent.


I am sorry to find that you have not yet judged it meet to give satisfaction to those who have seen with regret your connection with a Magazine that has so grossly insulted religion and humanity, by disclaiming it as publicly as you have already countenanced it; and conveying prompt and clear assurance, that you will neither by your names “strengthen the hands of the wicked,” nor by your contributions continue even sleeping partners of their adventure. You are surely not deliberating whether to screen the inmates of this den of impurity from a part of their punishment, by suffering them to retain two righteous men among them, or to forsake, like Lot, a society where worth can no longer reside without dishonour and danger. Dwelling, as you have unfortunately done for a season, “in the midst of a rebellious house,” and “vexed,” as you must have been, “with the filthy conversation of the wicked,” you should not defer a moment to “prepare stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight.” You cannot be deluded by the hollow penitence of an Editor or Publisher, who may repent of his chastisement, but never of his of-
fence. Every felon becomes a saint at Tyburn,—repenting, however, much less sincerely of having put forth the tender leaves of felonious hope, than of the killing frost that nips them. Let his penitence purchase his pardon, and, like a washed sow, he will return at the first convenient season to wallowing in the mire. In some cases it is the duty of your function to soften the horrors of legal punishment, without defeating the efficacy of penal law: but here you are yourselves the officers of that law which has been broken, the ministers of him whom the transgression has immediately dishonoured and braved. “Take heed what ye do; for ye judge not for man but for the Lord.” The offence you are bound to resent, is but feebly reprobated by the bulk of mankind; and the offenders will receive consolation and encouragement from men with whom you should be ashamed to co-operate in making your own law “of none effect.” You may already see the effects of that laxity which it is your duty to discourage: for although nobody has yet been so audacious as to print a defence of the parody, some have dared to propagate, in con-
versation, that there is no blasphemy in that production which profanes the most awful images in the Book of Revelations, and burlesques the description of our Saviour at that period of his mortal life when we might have expected all nature to sympathise in the anguish of its Creator. Surely, of such laughter, we may say that “it is mad.” Remember the fate of that priest who associated himself with the infidel compilers of the French
Encyclopaedia. His name was employed to blind the public whose religion and morality it was intended to corrupt and destroy; his contributions were garbled by his associates; and the sower of tares whom he had countenanced, rooted up the better seeds he had vainly hoped to cherish. I hope there is not a priest in this country capable of being made, like this man, a decoy-duck of the foolish and unwary, whom his experience should guide aright: nor willing for a moment to let it be supposed that he receives wages from a till that is replenished by the dissemination of blasphemy.

It is impossible to suppose that you can be deterred from giving prompt satisfaction to the public by apprehensions of the vengeance
of this Editor and
Publisher. They may hiss your secession, as Abdiel was derided by the associates he forsook; and they will probably lampoon you, as they have lampooned the friends they once professed to value just as highly. For all that, “Enter not ye into their assembly,”—“come not into their secret:” nor, because iniquity abounds, let your fervour wax cold; rather walk ye so as to “redeem the time because the days are evil;” gird up the loins of your mind; rebuke with all authority, let no man despise you:” recollect St Paul’s exhortation, to avoid “profane and vain babblings;” and his example in denouncing those whom he declares that he “delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” While you teach others, shew them that you enjoin even a severer law to yourselves, and that, like the great Teacher I have named, you forbear even what you have power to do, “that you may be an example to them that follow you.” If for doing this, fools should laugh you to scorn, and profligate men revile you, who is it that has declared that his blessing shall accompany. such revilement? Is it not the same Divine Person, of
whom it is commanded, that his scorners and they who love him not, shall be “Anathema Maranatha” to you? “Woe unto you” when such men “shall speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets.” With what sort of associates are you here united? With men who have just enough of brains to despise what the wise look up to wit reverence, and enough of bowels to ridicule and insult what the good contemplate with compassion and kindness. Whether it be the pen of an inspired writer, or not, it is the pen of a wise and admirable moralist, which has recorded the precept of “Laugh not a lame man to scorn.” What sort of companions for you, are a shop-full of maukish mewers to the muses, dozing drivellers who sneak about the skirts of Parnassus, but have never got hold of Pegasus even by the tail?

With what patience can you bear the idea of being tarred with the same stick that designates this literary drove,—of wearing the livery of dulness turned up with blasphemy, which the Editor has given to his menials? You are associated with a distracted Dunce, who seems to have drammed himself for inspiration, till he has tumbled from his stool,
and “his heels have kicked at heaven,” in this blasphemous parody. It was a severe wish of Job, that some blockhead of an enemy “had written a book;” but no good man could wish his worst enemy the disgrace and infamy of having penned such a performance as this. Since I last addressed you, I have endeavoured to pick up some farther acquaintance with your copartners, by reading the
first article in the Magazine, which is one of the coarsest and stupidest literary larcenies I ever saw. The author struggles to be smart, and sweats to be witty; but in wit, we can never take the will for the deed. He is enamoured of metaphors; but all his metaphors are evidently begotten on the body of that celebrated one in The Rovers, of “Despair sitting brooding over the putrid eggs of hope.” He has rifled the pockets, of some happier wits, but picked the marks out of the stolen goods so ill, that he has all the disgrace without the cleverness of a robbery. Yet the clothes he has stolen sit so awkwardly on him, that, losing their original elegance, they seem to acquire a new relation to their present wearer, and to be no longer the same article that they formerly were.

Sense, passed through him, no longer is the same,
As food digested takes another name.”

This fore-horse of the bookseller’s team, is so eager to be cock of the dunghill, that he must have a hit even at his own brethren; and, as if a wandering ray of reason had stolen into his skull, he declares that he will stand up “in the cause of morality and religion,” and condemns his own literary mess-mate, by charging Coleridge with “indecent applications of scriptural language!” Indeed, the paymaster of these gentry, I suspect, finds his kingdom divided against itself; he seems to have acted rather as their bottle-holder than their purse-bearer, and, by his generous administration of the bottle, to have fuddled more than one of his literary bruisers; for I never beheld, even in a general assembly of cats, less appearance of good fellowship and subordination than this association displays.

The crapulous witling, for example, who expresses so much drunken dolour for the wife of an elegant poet and respectable gentleman, seems obviously to intend a side hit at one of his own patrons, who will certainly never be served heir (as I believe lawyers
express themselves) to the youngest son of Jacob. Well has it been said that his hands should be clean who casts the first stone, or even proposes to cast it. This witling cannot cast a stone, but he can cast his spittle; and on this occasion he spits against the wind, while his mouth is close to his patron’s face.

Then, are not you shocked and ashamed to be chained at the same oar with such a rueful Coxcomb as he must be, who having received an order from his bookseller for something daring and impressive, compounded the prescription by sweating out such stuff as the “Strictures on the Edinburgh Review,” and producing a narcotic in place of a provocative. In order to fulfil his patron’s high behest, he bethought him of some mighty adversary, by whose heel it might be an honour for such an animal as himself to be crushed, and easily pitched on the Edinburgh Review,
Iste tulit pretium jam nunc certaminis hujus,
Qui, cum victus erit, mecum certasse feretur.
Then, his search for a theme which might promote the exercise of staring, soon conducted him to the disputes respecting the
West India slave-drivers, and their wretched Negro slaves, whose interests have been asserted with such enlightened humanity by the Edinburgh Review.
Fielding has written an Essay to shew that an author will write all the better for understanding the subject he handles. This author, however, is of a different opinion; for he has chosen a subject in which he is as competent to write, as a carrier is able to discourse on the Logos, or a hangman to review the controversy between Clarke and Leibnitz. He has conned over two or three of the slave-drivers’ pamphlets; but they can no more transform him into a politician, than his washerwoman’s tub could convert him into a Diogenes. If he had wit enough even to darken the truth in the debate between money and blood, be might attain the honour of being thought an unprincipled moral prizefighter; but nobody who has patience to listen to his gabble, will now think of him otherwise than as an harmless dunce, willing to hang himself, so that he may be looked at, and rending his lungs by bawling out, challenge to the man in the moon. It is not with the jawbone of such an ass that
the Editor of this Magazine will be able to smite the derided by others, ought, I think, to be seriously considered by you.
Rousseau has told us that the blow which we laugh at from an infant, would be murder from a man. I would feel equally ashamed and indignant to be associated with a writer who had at once such brains as could not frame an apology for oppression, and such bowels as could not deter him from attempting it. Really the livery of such a fatuous footboy in Letters would be too dull to attract even a momentary gaze, without a flaming facing of blasphemy.

Your Editor or Publisher has declared, as I am credibly assured, that the first numbers of his Magazine shall be chiefly filled with articles calculated captare vulgus. I wish the purchasers and admirers of the Magazine much joy of the foresight of their chapman and purveyor. Though many respectable persons (and among others the distinguished lawyer and accomplished man who conveyed your contribution, Dr M’Crie, to the Magazine,) have returned the copies they were per-
suaded to take, with expressions of the utmost contempt, the swinish rabble of readers, whose tastes the publisher had in view, have rushed in to prey on the offal prepared for them, and carried off as many copies as will enable the publisher sibi plaudere domi. We all recollect the exquisite performance by which Pallet the painter boasted of having set a pigstye in an uproar. Yet even this rabble paused for a while; for some days the book would not sell; people feared to share the disgrace, if not the punishment, which was confidently expected to fall on the heads of the guilty, and which was the more confidently looked for from your hands, from the insult that had been offered to yourselves. But sentence against the evil work not having been executed speedily, the mischief has had time to spread; the guilty have recovered their assurance; and the weak have thought that they safely indulged in what you thought it unnecessary to reprobate and disclaim. You might, perhaps, have trampled out at first the spark that was cast among the stubble; but you will not find it now so easy to quench the flame. You might have been heard even
by the weak, had you timeously exclaimed, “Eat not of that fruit; the planting of that tree was never sanctioned by us, but done by an enemy;” but you will not find it so easy to eradicate the corruption which fools, unwarned, may have contracted. “If I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord, unto you, Oh Priests.” The same prophet, from whom these words are taken, has pronounced, that “the Priests’ lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth; for he is the messenger of the Lord.”

I trust, however, nay I am sure, that you can assign satisfactory reasons for your silence hitherto. You may have been unwilling to come out, like the King of Israel, “after a dead dog, after a flea.” But when you see how even such a carcase can poison the air, and how venomously such a reptile can bite, you will not delay to bestir yourselves; and when you raise your voices to warn and to chasten, you will, I am sure, confirm and realize the truth, that “the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment.” You will not
“heal this hurt slightly;” nor cry peace, when there is no peace.

If I have presumed to speak strongly where I feel strongly, my plainness I trust, will not be offensive to the manly champion of John Knox, or to the pious and eloquent preacher of “The sin and danger of being lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God.”

Perhaps this very time is the most proper and fitting that you could have found, for humbling and punishing presumptuous wickedness. Periods of calamity are the proper seasons for bracing virtue and purifying morality. Lustrations have been instituted by every wise people in seasons of distress, to improve the public sadness, to cleanse the armour of religion from the rust it may have gathered and to wash away the impurity that might obstruct the supplications of men for help and consolation from the author of their being. What a loss is ours and what heart is not torn with regret for her who has fled with so many hopes and virtues from earth
to heaven? It has pleased God, by one awful stroke, to convert our gladness into mourning and gloom,—to extinguish the sweetest ray of our temporal glory, to wither the fairest bloom of sublunary bliss, and to blast the nation’s hope. In this crush of affliction, we find united, whatever is most touching in domestic calamity, whatever is most striking in national misfortune, whatever is most appalling and confounding to human hope, ambition, and grandeur. No lingering disease has prepared our disappointment or softened our grief; but the stroke has been as sudden and as destructive as a hurricane. The grave is opened by the side of the cradle, and at the foot of the throne: and virtue and happiness, innocence and youth, have fallen from the elevation of royal empire into the prison-house of death. We see life abruptly stripped of every thing that the gifts of nature, the graces of art, the smiles of fortune, can lend to gild and adorn it. The youthful
Royal Mother and her Child, the heir of so many hopes, are now to be laid “where all the kindred of the Capulets lie.” And what an example of private purity, what a
promise of public worth, what a grace to nature and to royalty was she?—
—————“Her look and mind
At once were lofty, and at once were kind.
Her bounty, sweetness, beauty, goodness such,
That none e’er thought her happiness too much:
So well inclined her favours to confer,
And kind to all as heaven had been to her!”
But it is unnecessary to pursue such recollections, or to suggest what can only enhance affliction, so acutely and so generally felt. To improve our calamity, to obtain consolation by deserving it, and to follow the great and good who have departed from among us, on the wings of hope that are lent by religion, is at once the wiser task, and the peculiar duty of that venerable function which you adorn. Let us all hope and seek this sad but effectual mitigation, that the phial of vengeance be not poured on our heads in vain. I commit what I have said to your candid and serious consideration; and remain with unaltered (and I hope unalterable) respect,

Reverend Sirs,
Your obedient humble Servant,