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rulers and established hierarchies in Europe cannot contemplate with much complacency. “The night of darkness is far spent, and the day is at hand.’ It is no longer possible to hide from the people in the different countries of Europe, how well and how cheaply the Americans are governed, how few taxes they have to pay, and how amply they can support their families by their own labour. We trust that the dawnings of this light have not been disregarded by the governors of the old world, and we hope they begin to perceive that the only way to satisfy their subjects, and keep them contentedly at home, is to improve their condition. The hard earnings collected by the hand of labour, must not ever be forcibly wrested from it by the tar-gatherer to support foreign wars and foreign interests, in which the people have no concern. If this practice be longer continued, in vain may the mighty potentates enter into an “holy alliance” to stifle the voice of discontent by their united efforts—a general feeling of indignation will burst forth, and prevent them from trampling on the rights and insulting the common sense of mankind.” With ministers of various denominations in the United States MR. Richards corresponded, particularly Dr. Samuel Jones, Lower Dublin, brother of Dr. Jones, of Hammersmith, and with the venerable Dr. William Rogers, of Philadelphia. Many of their letters are found among his papers, full of good sense, benevolence, and piety. His friend, Dr. Rogers, thus expresses himself in a Letter, dated Philadelphia, May, 23, 1817– “Your letters were never intrusive—use not that inappropriate word again—they were always, and I assure you continue to be, peculiarly gratifying to myself and others. I for ever loved independent men, and you are so, in the strictest sense of the phrase, politically and religiously—as such you have a warm place in my heart | On your “heavy domestic affliction’ which you allude to, I will not now enter, I have no inclination to open afresh the bleeding wound, and fondly hope my deeply distressed brother is now composed and “still, knowing that the Lord he is God.' If the heresies you have been represented by malicious men as adopting, are no others than what the five first numbers of your ingenious tracts (the Seasonable Monitor) make known, and these you say, ‘the worst.’—I bid you God speed—you have the oracles of heaven on your side, and ‘if God be for us, who can be against us?' See Matt. v. 10, 11, 12. But don't we read of one pulpit at least, Ezra's; even though it must have been a large one. Neh. viii.4.” MR. Richards had also corresponded with Dr. James Manning, once president of the Baptist College, Rhode Island. From this gentleman he learned the liberal constitution of that respectable seminary, and for some years previous to his death meant to bequeath to it his library. He
accordingly made inquiry of Dr. Rogers, whether it was still conducted on the same liberal footing, in which case he should cherish the same generous intentions towards it. In consequence of his application, Dr. Asa Messer, the present president of the RhodE IsLAND College, wrote the following admirable letter, which MR. RICHARDs received only three months previous to his decease. To me he expressed how much he was pleased with it, and little did I imagine that it would fall to my lot to acknowledge its reception.
Brown University, Sept. 18, 1817. Providence, Rhode Island. REVEREND SIR,
Having seen your letter of the 5th of Feb. ult, addressed to our common friend, the Rev. Dr. Rogers, of Philadelphia, and making inquiry, whether Mr. Maxey be still the president of Rhode Island College, and also expressing a design to bequeath to that Institution the bulk of your library, I hence take the liberty to state that, on account of a donation to that college, by Nicholas Brown, Esq. a very respectable and wealthy merchant, now living, of this town, the college has been called Brown University; and I herewith send you a catalogue of its graduates. In the year 1802, Dr. Maxey left it; and he is now the President of Columbia College, South Carolina. Over Brown University I have had the honour to preside since the year 1802; and for twelve years before then I was a member of it, either as a professor, or a tutor, or a pupil.-This literary institution was founded by men who breathed the very spirit of religious freedom, which you, as expressed in your letter, breathe yourself. Though the charter of it requires that the President shall for ever be a Baptist, it allows neither him, in his official character, nor any other officer of instruction, to inculcate any sectarian doctrine: it forbids all religious tests; and it requires that all denominations of Christians, behaving alike, shall be treated alike | This charter is congenial with the whole of the civil government established here by the venerable Roger Williams, who allowed no religious Tests; and no pre-eminence of one denomination over another; and none has here been allowed unto this day. This charter is also congenial with the present spirit of this state, and of this town. Nothing here would be more unpopular than an attempt to place one religious sect above another. The ancient Baptist church in this town never had in it, and probably never will have in it, any creed but the word of God; and it is very large, and very flourishing! Of the value of this spirit of religious freedom, no man, perhaps, has a higher estimation than I myself. I abhor a bigot; and I should be unwilling to live among men unwilling that I should think for myself. My sentiments on this subject, (if, indeed, it may be lawful for a man to quote himself) were lately, in a discourse, which I delivered before the BIBLE Society of this state, expressed in the following
words:—“Will not Bible Societies promote religious freedom To them belong all the varieties of the christian denominations; and, however distant in doctrine, in discipline, or affection, these denominations, collected in these societies, seem, to forget their party distinctions and animosities, and for once to become friends, brothers, fellow-labourers, all speaking the same thing, and all animated with the same zeal for the circulation of a book the professed ground of the faith, and practice of all. Is it credible that these denominations, as soon as scattered abroad, will now become enemies and persecutors, and this too on account of that very Book for the circulation of which they before had become friends, brothers, fellow-labourers? In these societies I see great associations of men, formed, indeed, for different objects, but fitted to fan that flame of religious freedom, which warmed the heart of John Carver and his associates, the first settlers of Plymouth; and which also warmed the heart of Roger Williams, and his associates, the first settlers of Providence. God grant that this holy flame may continue to burn until every man on earth shall feel it, and until every one able to read the Bible in his own language, shall be willing that every other should be a disciple of Jesus in his own way!”—“Denominational attachments, I know, are very natural; and, when kept within the bounds of moderation, they are very commendable; but, when carried beyond them, they become bigotry; and bigotry in its worst form is a fury as haggard as