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Title: A Letter to the Right Honourable the Earl of Derby - on the cruelty and injustice of opening the Crystal Palace on the Sabbath
Author: Parsons, Benjamin
Language: English
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Transcribed from the 1853 John Snow edition by David Price, email

                          [Picture: Book cover]

                                 A LETTER
                           THE RIGHT HONOURABLE
                            THE EARL OF DERBY,
                      CRYSTAL PALACE ON THE SABBATH.

    “Remember the Day of Rest to keep it holy.”—_Fourth Commandment_.

    “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”—_The Gospels_.

                                * * * * *

                           THE REV. B. PARSONS,
                                OF EBLEY;


                                * * * * *

                     JOHN SNOW, 35, PATERNOSTER ROW;


                          _Price One Shilling_.

A LETTER, _&c._ _&c._


Divided as the country is in its political and religious sentiments,
there is one subject on which there is a very great unanimity: and I may
add also that this union of opinion exists among the most moral of your
countrymen; the most loyal supporters of the throne and the constitution;
the most enlightened members of the community; and the most benevolent
and philanthropic individuals in the empire.  I need not say that the
point on which all these persons are agreed is “THE OBSERVANCE OF
SABBATH.”  Here, my Lord, you have thousands or rather millions of
citizens who never trouble the realm in any way by their vices or
disorderly conduct; who are never brought before magistrates or judges
for their offences; and who require no soldiers or police to watch over
them and keep them from disturbing the commonwealth.

It is a matter of surprise to all sober and reflecting minds that you, my
Lord, should wish to set yourself in an attitude of antagonism towards
all these peaceful and religious men and women; and especially that you
should do this most _gratuitously_ and in _defiance of your own creed_.

In proposing to have the Pleasure Grounds of the new Crystal Palace
thrown open during one half of the Lord’s-day, you involved yourself in a
responsibility which no one called upon you to incur, except a small body
of railway speculators, and a few theoretic and practical rejectors of
the commandments of the Most High.  Your coadjutors and instigators are
those who never allow a word of Scripture to stand in the way of their
views, their pleasures, their prejudices, or their love of gain.  It has
become popular of late years for prime ministers “to do evil that good
may come.”  The Maynooth grant was asked for by few.  The Catholics
themselves did not want it.  There has rarely been a measure which met
with such unanimous opposition; but still it was carried—_most
tyrannically_ carried—in defiance of the voice of the nation: and, how
has it worked?  The believers in Roman Catholicism knew that it was
intended as a bribe, and therefore an insult; and have resolved that they
will not be converted into spiritual chattels, or have their zeal
quenched or consciences silenced by Government pay.  The money was taken
from our pockets to purchase state patronage for the premier and his
partisans, but the artifice has proved a perfect failure, for the
followers of _Pio Nono_ have shown that they are not to be bought.  Your
measure, my Lord, concerning the Sabbath is as perfectly gratuitous as
the Maynooth scheme.

I.  In wishing to grant a charter for the violation of the Lord’s-day,
you, my Lord, tried to play the same game as your predecessors.  The
profit of a small company of railway kings was the chief thing sought;
and to obtain their smile, you were willing to risk the favour of the
King of Kings, to endanger the morals of the country, and consequently
the Throne, the Constitution, and the Church; and you were also setting
yourself in an attitude of defiance against the best and most patriotic
of your countrymen.  There might, my Lord, have been boldness in this
effort of yours to undermine the Sabbath and trample upon the consciences
of the majority of the nation, but the infatuation was equal to the
courage.  You have long been ambitious of power.  The deep and settled
opinion in your own mind for a long time has been, that both as a
profoundly wise and apostolically religious man, you, my Lord, and you
alone, were the _only_ person in the realm qualified to guide the affairs
of this great empire.  Your Lordship has for some years put yourself
forward as the bulwark of the Church and of pure Christianity.  All
persons who differed from you have been viewed as heretics and sinners
exceedingly; and you are, according to your own showing, a model saint,
the moral hero and spiritual Wellington of religion and the Bible; and
yet, after all these high pretensions, no sooner were you in power than
your first effort on behalf of Christianity was to announce to the
country that you were about to set the authority of your royal mistress
against the command of the King of Heaven; and, in doing so, you
alienated from yourself and your administration the minds of the majority
of the religious people whom you promised to serve if you could only
obtain the reins of government.

By many of the most devout members of your Church, your premiership was
hailed as the advent of another Luther or Wickliffe, and you covered all
these with chagrin and shame by your gratuitous violation of the law of
the Most High.  There never was a specimen of greater infatuation in a
statesman who aimed at popularity and almost vaunted of preeminence in
religious zeal.  You, my Lord, great as your power may have been, were
hardly high enough to despise the favour or indignation of the Ruler of
the Universe.  Read history, my Lord, and you cannot find a single
Sabbath breaking nation but has paid dearly for its ungodliness.  The
Lord’s-day, scripturally observed, would have saved France from the
convulsions and bloodshed which have made it a warning to the world.
Sabbath breaking sent the Jews to Babylon, and gave them seventy years of
captivity that “the land might enjoy her Sabbath,” and that all ages
might learn that the Almighty will not have His commands set at nought
with impunity.

But supposing you had possessed such power that you could have said, “_I
fear not God_,” yet sound policy might have suggested that it would be
well to have some “_regard to man_.”  You really were not quite secure in
your post as prime minister.  A few votes of the senate deprived you in
an instant of all your authority; and you fell because you rendered
yourself unpopular in the estimation of the nation.  You ought also to
know that religion is a sacred thing in the eyes of all, whether Pagans,
Jews, Mahommedans, or Christians.  To touch the ark has brought
destruction upon many an “Uzzah” without any special intervention of
heaven; and you, my Lord, are not too high for their doom.  The majority
which sustained you in office was very small and doubtful; and nothing
sunk you so low in the estimation of thousands as this Sabbath
desecration, which you proposed to establish by a royal charter!!  By
many you were looked upon as the bulwark of the Church and religion; and
by your own speeches you wished to make the country believe that you were
a very godly man; and yet without the least substantial reason you
blasted all their hopes, and, in their estimation, you have denied the
faith, and become worse than an infidel—because an _unbeliever_ has no
reverence, and can have no reverence for the Word of God; but you profess
to _believe_ in its divine origin, and to be guided by its sacred
injunctions, and thus sinned with your eyes open: you have therefore
foolishly, most gratuitously, alienated your friends, and hastened your
own downfal, and all to please the avarice and fill the coffers of a
small clique of gentlemen who prefer “gain to godliness.”

                                * * * * *

II.  You have not only been guilty of the most gratuitous presumption and
rashness, but you have also acted in defiance of your own creed.  You, my
Lord, according to your own showing, are a very religious, indeed, an
apostolically religious, man—a believer in the Church Catechism, and in
the doctrine of confirmation.  Doubtless your Lordship has been
confirmed; and I may presume that you go to church as often as the
majority of your order; and, when there, you listen very attentively to
the reading of the decalogue, and after each precept you most devoutly
and sincerely repeat the prayer, “_Lord have mercy upon us_, _and incline
our hearts to keep this law_!”  At the end of the tenth command you vary
the words, and say, “_Lord have mercy upon us_, AND WRITE ALL THESE THY

In the Communion Service of the Prayer Book, I read the following
words:—“Then shall the priest, turning to the people, rehearse distinctly
ALL THE TEN commandments; and the _people_, _still kneeling_, shall after
_every_ commandment _ask mercy for their transgression_ thereof, and
grace to _keep_ the same for time to come.”  In accordance with this
direction the clergyman in a solemn voice commences with Exodus xx. 1:
“GOD SPAKE THESE WORDS AND SAID;” and thus wishes to impress upon the
devout and kneeling audience before him, that the laws which he is about
to rehearse are the identical laws which were once proclaimed by Jehovah
himself, and that they have now all the majesty and authority of the
Divine Legislator which they have ever had.  When he comes to the
_fourth_, he reads, “Remember that thou keep holy the Sabbath-day.  Six
days shalt thou labour, and do _all_ that thou hast to do; but the
seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God.  In it thou shalt do no
manner of work, _thou_, and thy son, and thy daughter, thy man servant,
and thy maid servant, thy cattle, and the stranger that is within thy
gates.  For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all
that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed
the seventh day, and hallowed it.”  No sooner are these words ended, than
you, my Lord, and all true Churchmen, all newspaper editors and railway
directors, who go to church on Sunday mornings, repeat the solemn prayer
given above.  In the sentence, “_Lord have mercy upon us_,” you confess
that you have broken the commandment, and pray the God of Heaven to grant
you “_mercy_” for the past; and in the following words, “_Incline our
hearts to keep this law_,” you entreat Jehovah to renew your hearts, and
give you an inclination to obey the “_Fourth Commandment_” in future.
Are you, my Lord, sincere in this prayer and supplication?  Are your
Church friends among the nobility, railway companies, and newspaper
editors, who use this form of devotion, sincere?  The Son of God tests
our love by our obedience.  “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” are
his sacred injunctions, plainly teaching us that if we violate his
commands we give a public demonstration that we do not love him.  Now, to
keep the Sabbath _one half_ of the day and violate it the other, is to
furnish but a very poor proof that we feel any deference for the Fourth

My Lord, would you be satisfied that your commands to your servants
should be _half_ broken and _half_ kept?  Are you pleased with your
coachman if he drives you _half_ way to church on the Sabbath when your
command is to be driven _all_ the way?  Do you like to have your will in
any other particular but _half_ done?  Would you be pleased to have your
hunters and racehorses but _half_ fed and _half_ groomed, or your food
but _half_ cooked?  Yet we may ask, Who is the Earl of Derby, that his
commands should be _perfectly_ obeyed to the very letter, while the God
of Heaven, at the instance of this same Earl of Derby, is to be satisfied
with only a moiety of that obedience which he has enjoined in the

What, my Lord, if you comprehended all your own wishes in “_Ten
Commands_,” and summoned all your servants into your presence once a week
and directed your chief steward to read in their ears your injunctions,
commencing with the sentence, “The Earl of Derby spake these words and
said”; and what if all your attendants fell on their knees before you,
and, in the most pitiful language, confessed that they had rebelled
against your precepts; implored mercy for their transgressions; earnestly
entreated you to assist them in their future efforts to do your pleasure;
and, having satisfied themselves that you had pardoned them, immediately
rose from the ground and resolved in future to be more guilty than ever
by neglecting your commands altogether, or by only attending to _half_
their import!  Could you put up, my Lord, with this farce week after week
and year after year?  Would it require fifty-two repetitions of such
insolence to exhaust your patience?  Would the Earl of Derby allow
himself to be thus insulted even a second time?  Would you not denounce
these impudent menials as a set of mocking hypocrites?  But is it a
matter of more importance that the Earl of Derby should not be mocked
than that the God of Heaven should be worshipped in sincerity and in
truth?  Let me then entreat your Lordship, as you value your present
consistency and future happiness, either to reverence the Fourth
Commandment, or else cease to use the prayer attached to it in the

But perhaps you may say, “that you neither disobey it, nor teach others
to do so.”  I need not tell your Lordship, as a learned man, and the
Chancellor of one of the great seats of learning, that the day mentioned
by Moses, and which you pray the Almighty to give you grace to observe,
is TWENTY-FOUR HOURS LONG; that during these twenty-four hours we are
commanded to abstain from all manner of work; that we are “to keep the
day holy to Jehovah,” and consequently to observe it religiously by not
“doing our own ways, finding our own pleasure, or speaking our own
words.”  Such is the command of the King of Kings.  How then can the
_half_ observance of the Lord’s-day be reconciled with the divine command
to keep the _whole_?  If the railway to Sydenham is to be worked on the
Sabbath, and the pleasure grounds thrown open, you will of necessity doom
a large number of clerks, stokers, drivers, porters, waiters and others
to labour on that day on which Jehovah has commanded that no work shall
be done.  The God of Heaven says, “Thou shalt do no manner of work”; but
the Earl of Derby tells the people that they _may_ work on the Sabbath!
You thus set yourself in a position of antagonism against the Creator of
the Universe.  The Scriptures assert that “The Son of Man is the Lord of
the Sabbath”; but you, my Lord, intimate that the Earl of Derby is the
Lord of the Sabbath!!  When “God spake,” he solemnly commanded that the
_whole_ day should be observed; but when the Earl of Derby spoke, he said
“_Let half the day be kept_,” thus making himself not only equal but
superior to the Almighty!

It is no use, my Lord, to plead that only a few hands comparatively will
be employed, because you have no right to doom even _one_ man to lose his
day of rest and sin against God, for the gain and gratification of
others.  One soul is of more value than the whole world; and I query
whether your Lordship will be willing to stand at the bar of the Eternal
in the stead of the poor labourers whom you condemned to toil on the
seventh day, and thus converted into Sabbath breakers.  And it would not
be one, two, or ten, who would be robbed of the rest of the Sabbath, but
the opening the grounds at Sydenham on Sunday would be the condemnation
of hundreds of our countrymen to this seventh-day slavery.  Why should
railway companies be permitted to exact Sunday labour from their
servants, and yet grocers, drapers, tradesmen, and manufacturers be
prohibited from similar gains?  The age is passing away for legislative
favouritism; and if one company may have royal authority to work, oppress
and destroy their vassals, why should not all the shops be thrown open:
why should not the anvil, the saw and the spade be used, and all
apprentices and labourers be called upon to be Sunday slaves?  Such
labour will minister to the pleasure and profit of many.  It is rather
remarkable, that almost the same day in which your good lady was
announced, in connection with the Duchess of Sutherland and others, as an
opponent to American slavery, you, my Lord, proclaimed yourself as the
patron of English slavery! and might have founded your arguments on the
same principles as the Transatlantic planters.  Uncle Tom was enslaved
for the profit and pleasure of his masters; and clerks, drivers, stokers,
&c., &c., are to be enslaved on the Sabbath to enrich their employers,
and to minister to the gratification of the irreligious portion of the
community who “are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”  Indeed,
the American slave in many instances is allowed his full day of rest on
the Sabbath; but the white slave of the railway and of Sydenham is to
know nothing of the repose of that day which Jehovah has set apart for
the benefit not only of the sons and daughters of toil, but also of
animals, for it was one of God’s commands to the Jews that “the ox and
the ass should rest.”

Of course, my Lord, if you persevere now you are out of office, in this
wish to have the Sabbath desecrated, you will also, in accordance with
your public DISSENT from the Church of England, demand that the Prayer
Book shall be altered.  You will for consistency sake request the
Convocation, to which you are said to be very favourable, to immediately
set about the re-formation of the Liturgy as their very first work.  By
all means let the Fourth Commandment be omitted from the Catechism; let
all reference to it be erased from the Baptismal Service; let sponsors no
longer be called upon “to promise and vow” that their godchildren shall
“keep God’s holy will and commandments and walk in the same all the days
of their life”; and, in the service of Confirmation, let the candidates
be duly taught that in taking their vows upon them, they are, on the
authority of the Earl of Derby, freed from the observance of the Sabbath;
let the priests of the Church also be informed that to read the Fourth
Commandment is an absurdity now it is abolished; and above all, never
again let heaven be mocked, piety outraged, and common sense insulted by
the repetition of the prayer, “Lord have mercy upon us, and incline our
hearts to keep this law.”  Why should not a second book of sports be read
from the pulpits of the Establishment, and the people be duly apprised
that the words of the Eternal respecting the seventh day, “In it thou
shalt do no manner of work, _thou_, nor _thy son_, nor _thy daughter_,
_thy man servant_, _thy maid servant_, _thy cattle_, and _the stranger_
within thy gates,” are now of no force, for the Earl of Derby has
proclaimed that railway speculators may compel their servants to work on
the seventh day, and as a consequence that all other persons may “go and
do likewise”?

You have, my Lord, by your changing, often surprised your countrymen; but
this wish to trample the Prayer Book in the dust, to set Baptism,
Catechism, Confirmation, the Communion Service, and the Word of God at
defiance, is a revolution which none of your friends or foes were
prepared to expect, and should you succeed will be attended with greater
evils to the masses and greater calamities to the nation than have ever
yet occurred.  England owes all to her Bible and her Sabbaths; and I may
add, that the Scriptures would have been of little good without her
_Sabbaths_.  Abolish, my Lord, the rest of the seventh day, and you may
write “Ichabod” on our walls.  The Bible has been but partially studied
by those nations who reject the Lord’s-day, and their history and present
condition show that they have paid very dearly for this neglect.

But, my Lord, if you have power, supposing you were prime minister, to
annul the Fourth Commandment, then you have power to abolish all the
rest.  If you can command that the Sabbath shall be _half_ kept and can
give men a charter to break the other _half_, you certainly have power to
allow them to break it altogether; and if you can grant a royal
commission to violate _one_ precept of the decalogue, you can license the
people to break the whole.  And, my Lord, you must not stop, for there
are persons to whom the _Sixth_, the _Seventh_ and _Eighth_ Commandments
are as great an obstruction to their profit or pleasure as the Fourth
Command is to the Sydenham gentlemen.  How many thieves could enrich
themselves but for the Eighth Command; and how many might relieve
themselves of the burden of dependents or jump into rich inheritances, by
trampling the Sixth in the dust!  Yea, my Lord, were they only allowed by
a royal charter to violate one _half_ of these commandments, by half
starving, half killing and half robbing their fellow creatures, no one
can tell the property that might be saved or gained.  Here would be a
“MAGNA CHARTA” with a vengeance, and one, my Lord, which would
immortalize your name to all eternity.  The dead, by the million, would
proclaim your fame or your infamy.  And there can be no just reason given
why, if you granted a charter to railway speculators to enable them to
rob their servants of the Sabbath, you should not give other worshippers
of Mammon equal power to plunder and oppress; for I shall presently have
to show that to deprive the physical frame of rest once in seven days is
both robbery and murder, and therefore if you begin to charter these
outrages, you will find it difficult to stop.  It will be only for any
company to make out a case and prove that _pleasure_ and _profit_ will be
the result of oppression, robbery and death, and you, to be consistent,
must advocate their cause.

The change in The Prayer Book too must be greater than at first was
contemplated.  Instead of praying “Lord have mercy upon us, and write ALL
these THY commandments in our hearts, we beseech thee”; or, when the
fourth is abolished, “Lord have mercy upon us, and write NINE of these
THY commandments in our hearts, we beseech thee,” you will have to
obliterate them from the Liturgy altogether.  And indeed wherever in the
prayers, thanksgivings, or collects there is any reference to the
commandments of Jehovah, the words must be omitted in the re-formed
Prayer Book.  Of course, my Lord, after this great and stupendous change,
we shall hear no more of the heresy of Nonconformists, and the wonder of
modern times will be, not, “Is Saul among the prophets?” but, “Is the
Earl of Derby among dissenters?”

Other Prayer Book reforms, my Lord, will have to follow.  To preserve
your consistency it will be needful to omit the Lord’s Prayer.  Five
times in the full morning service of your Church the petition is offered,
“Lead us not into temptation,” and yet when your devotions are ended you
wish to proclaim by royal charter that the people shall be _tempted_ to
break the Sabbath.  I need not tell your Lordship as a learned divine,
that “temptation,” in the prayer alluded to, means, temptation “_to
sin_,” and that “_to sin_” is to violate the commandments of Jehovah.
When therefore you pray not to be led “into temptation,” you intimate
that your nature is weak, and entreat our heavenly Father to prevent your
being placed in any position in which your pious principles would be
likely to give way.  How strange then that you, who are so sensitive of
your own frailty, notwithstanding the robustness of your piety, should
propose to have the young, the morally feeble and undecided, tempted
every seventh day to trample the commandment of heaven in the dust!
Surely, my Lord, if it is of so much importance that yourself and all the
railway directors and pious newspaper editors who go to church, should be
kept from temptation, that you pray _five times_ in the morning service
for divine protection, then it is also necessary that the poor vulgar
herd of sinners, who have so little of your apostolical godliness, should
also be preserved from temptation.  It seems inexplicably marvellous that
you should exhibit so much care of your own piety and morality, and yet
be so reckless about the virtue of your poorer neighbours as actually to
propose that other persons, by royal charter, should be led into that
very temptation to sin from which you _five times_ on the Sabbath morning
entreat the Almighty to enable you to escape.  Either, my Lord, invite
the Convocation to obliterate the Lord’s Prayer as well as the ten
commandments from the Liturgy, or else cease to instigate the nation to
rebel against the Word of God.  In fact, if you continue to advocate
Sabbath breaking, you ought to leave the Church and reject the Liturgy,
or to have the words “_command_” and “_commandments_” expunged from every
prayer and collect in the Prayer Book.

Need I remind your Lordship, that the words “Thy kingdom come, thy will
be done in earth as it is in heaven,” refer to the ten commandments?  The
kingdom of God will come when his commands are obeyed, just as the
kingdom of our Queen extends wherever her laws are observed.  Where the
laws of England are trampled in the dust, there the sceptre of Victoria
is set at nought; and just in the same manner, so long as the laws of the
decalogue are disregarded, the kingdom of God cannot come.  “The will of
God” will “be done in earth as it is in heaven,” when his laws are
obeyed, because his will is embodied in his commandments.  But if you
propose to grant the nation or a few of your favourites a royal charter
to break the divine commands, doubtless you will also have the petitions
“Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,”
“deliver us from evil,” &c., &c., erased from the Lord’s Prayer and from
the Prayer Book.  Indeed so few of the words of the Saviour will remain,
when all reference to obedience to the laws of God is obliterated, that
for very shame the mutilated part must be abandoned.

I cannot imagine that after proposing this charter for Sabbath breaking,
you will ever repeat the words, “God be merciful unto us and bless us,
and show us the light of his countenance and be merciful unto us.  _That
thy way may be known upon earth_, _thy saving health among all nations_.”
God’s “way” is his commandments, and there is no “_saving health_” except
in obeying them.  But to give a royal charter to set at nought the Fourth
or any other Command, is to do what you can to prevent God’s “way” from
being “known upon the earth,” and therefore of course you will have this
Psalm expunged from evening service, or else never unite in repeating or
chanting it.  Your conduct, my Lord, for the sake of consistency, must
demand the most sweeping alterations in the Prayer Book.

I have thus shown, my Lord, that you cannot be a true Churchman, nor a
devout worshipper according to the forms of the Liturgy, if you advocate
Sabbath desecration; and hence your desire to make such an irreligious
use of your power has not only been gratuitous, unwise, and impolitic,
but also a most glaring contradiction of your own professed principles.
James speaks of “the _superfluity_ of naughtiness,” and you, my Lord,
have given to the nation a public commentary on the words, and to do so
have deeply reflected on your own consistency.

III.  Truth and humanity tell us, my Lord, that your proposition is not
only inconsistent with your creed, but also that it is very CRUEL to a
large number of your fellow citizens.  The Redeemer has said that “_The
Sabbath was made for man_.”  Now man is a compound being, consisting of a
frail body and an immortal soul.  His body requires periodical rest; his
soul stands in need of religious instruction; and the Fourth Command
contains _two_ parts exactly corresponding with these _two_ exigencies of
our race.  It demands “_rest_” from labour for the body; it enjoins
“_holiness to the Lord_” for the soul.  “Remember the Sabbath-day to keep
it holy: six days shalt thou labour and do all that thou hast to do,”
&c., &c., are words which embrace these two principles.  Holiness is the
work of the soul.  You cannot make a body holy; because holiness, or
religion, is an intellectual and spiritual business.  It is true you may
employ the body in a holy or unholy manner, but then the moral principle,
which sins or obeys, is in the soul, and the bodily members are only the
instruments with which the heart accomplishes its good or wicked desires.
When therefore the Scriptures command us to hallow or consecrate one day
in seven, they enjoin a duty which can only be performed by an
intelligent and voluntary being; and consequently one with which human
legislation has nothing to do, except to see that no one shall be robbed
of the liberty or power of attending to it.  There is no government,
prince, monarch, or emperor in the world that has a right to dictate to
mankind respecting the _religious_ observance of the Lord’s-day.  Here
men must be left to persuasion, exhortation, and the power of conscience.
And therefore, my Lord, you are not called upon to legislate on the
worship of the Sabbath.  You must leave to others the same right which
you claim for yourself.  Doubtless you, my Lord, go to church, or not,
according to your inclination; the rest of the nobility act in like
manner; some of them are said to be Homœopaths in Sabbath worship; and
you really must permit your countrymen and countrywomen to enjoy the same
freedom.  The business of legislation is with man’s mortal and corporeal
nature, with his property and liberties.  You have to guard that he be
robbed of no right, that he receive no personal injury, that his life be
safe, and his property secure; and it is on these principles of physical,
civil, and social legislation that we demand that _one_ day in seven
shall be the possession of every British subject.

The Fourth Commandment enjoins a day of _rest_ for man’s body.  Jehovah,
who “knoweth our frame,” who made us, and fully understands the
capabilities of our brain, nerves and muscles, and who may with the
profoundest reverence be termed, _The Great Physiologist_, has set apart
one day in seven for bodily rest from labour.  The body of Adam was
stronger than ours.  It knew no infirmity, was enfeebled by no disease;
the labour of Paradise was comparatively light; and yet to Adam was given
the rest of the seventh day.  And to enforce this duty on our first
parents, our merciful Creator not only sanctified the day, or made it a
_holy_ and _sanctifying day_ for them, but rested himself as our example.
There is no doubt that antediluvian believers kept the Sabbath, and they
were as strong as we.  We read of the observance of the Sabbath in the
wilderness _before_ the law was given on Sinai, and Jehovah worked
especial miracles on the manna to enable the children of Israel to rest
on this holy day; for on the sixth he rained twice as much food from
heaven as on any other morning, and on the seventh he preserved it from
putrefaction, which always occurred on any other day, except the Sabbath,
if the manna was kept until the morrow.  God also said to these
Israelites in the wilderness, before the law was given on Sinai, that the
law of the Sabbath was to be observed “as a SIGN between himself” and his
worshippers.  We have reason to believe that these children of Abraham
were quite as strong in nerve and muscle as we are, and we know that
their labour was not very hard, for they had during their wanderings in
the wilderness but few occupations, and yet they were commanded to rest
on the seventh day.

Some persons ask, Why did they rest on the _seventh_ day, and not on the
_sixth_, the _eighth_, or the _tenth_?  Our only answer to this question
is, that God, “who knoweth our frame,” judged it to be best and ordained
that it should be so.  A man may ask me why the earth moves on her axis
from the west to the east, and I confess that I cannot give any better
answer than that it is the will of the all-wise Creator.  I cannot give a
reason why the centipede has so many feet.  If any person asked whether
eighty, or one hundred and one would not have been as well, I must leave
the matter in the hands of God.  I say, “it is the will of God,” and “God
is merciful.”  Ten thousand questions in physics might be put to me which
I could only answer by saying, “God is wise,” “God is powerful,” “God is
love,” “God is merciful, and has made the world and our corporeal frame
what they are.”

But I may add one word respecting the rest of the seventh day.  The most
distinguished physiologists assure us that both men and cattle require to
be relieved from toil at the end of every six days.  Gentlemen who have
had much to do with horses have assured me that it was always a dead loss
to rob those animals of the physical rest of the Sabbath, and that horses
which are so worked invariably become diseased and die before their time.
Before observation and physiology brought out these facts, the great and
merciful Creator gave the command to Moses that “_the ox and the ass
should rest_” _on the seventh day_.  In the evidence on “SABBATH
OBSERVANCE” which was given before the “PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE,” and
which, as a Government document, your Lordship has doubtless read, it is
stated by several eminent physiologists, that man’s _corporeal_ frame
requires the rest of the Sabbath, and that to rob him of this is to
injure his health and shorten his days.  Yea, they show that tea gardens
and other places of excitement produce baneful effects upon the brain and
nerves, and eventually lead to premature decay and dissolution.  Hence,
my Lord, _physiology_ teaches that our merciful Father, the maker of our
frame, was right and kind and compassionate in ordaining _one_ day in
_seven_ as a rest from toil.  The refreshment of sleep teaches us that
the body needs repose from continuous labour, and the Sabbath was
intended to be still more invigorating.

I must here remind your Lordship that _rest_ is the meaning of the word
_Sabbath_.  A sage reviewer in one of our “Quarterlies,” who has been
pompously quoted by a literary brother of the “DAILY” press, has told us
with much learned _naïveté_, that the word “_Sabbath_” means “_seven_”!!
Doubtless we shall soon hear from the same philosophical philologer that
the moon is made out of gossamer.  The one will be as true and as
scientific as the other.  But we may leave these critics to the lexicons.
You, my Lord, are distinguished as a scholar, and therefore know full
well that our term “_Sabbath_” is the very identical Hebrew word for
“_Rest_,” and that a literal translation of the first words of the Fourth
Commandment would be, “Remember the _Day of Rest_ to keep it holy.”
“_Rest_” from labour, then, is the exact meaning of the word “_Sabbath_.”
History and physiology show that man’s corporeal frame requires rest from
toil every seventh day; and the Bible teaches that our heavenly Father,
who made us thus frail, has, in pure love and mercy, commanded that one
day in seven for the repose and consequent reinvigoration of the body
shall be reserved from worldly occupations.  Physical laws, as well as
revealed laws, are the laws of God; and in the law of the Sabbath we have
both combined to preserve the health and life of man.  We have here a
sacred bulwark of philanthropy, proving that the Sabbath, or _Rest-day_,
was made for man.  The labourer, therefore, has a _Divine right_ to one
day in seven as his own property.  The charter or title deeds which give
him a claim to the full enjoyment of the Sabbath for twenty-four hours,
were signed by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  The great seal of
heaven is upon them.  They are inscribed on the bones, muscles, nerves,
brain, heart, lungs, and digestive organs of the human constitution, and
were solemnly proclaimed by Jehovah himself amidst the thunders of Sinai.
No work, except what can be shown to be absolutely necessary, must be
done on the seventh day: and he who deprives the servant, operative, or
labourer of this sacred claim to rest from toil, is both a robber and
murderer, and will be treated as such at the great day.

You, my Lord, must enter eternity as a child of Adam, and not as a
nobleman; and you will be acquitted or condemned accordingly as you
observed or violated the ten commandments.  As a sinner you may trust in
the merits of Christ, but at the bar of God your faith will be tested by
your observance of the decalogue.  “Faith without works is dead,” and
cannot justify the soul.  You will there have no ancestry to plead, no
titles to wear, and no wealth or influence to bribe.  Death, as to all
these advantages or disadvantages of your earthly existence, will leave
you as bare and naked as Lazarus.  Nor will forms and ceremonies be
admitted as a substitute for the “weightier matters of the law.”
Baptismal regeneration, sacramental grace, the repetition of forms of
prayer, going to church once a day, the _half_ observance of the Sabbath,
and zeal for tithes and offerings, will not stand in the place of
obedience to the law uttered on Mount Sinai.  You must obey, or be
excluded from Paradise.  Your obedience also must proceed from faith and
love; not a deed must be done to merit the kingdom of heaven, but every
act of piety and devotion must proceed from pure gratitude to HIM who
died to procure eternal life for all who believe with a practical faith.

You know, my Lord, who has said, “Whosoever therefore shall break one of
these _least_ commandments, and shall teach men so, the same shall be
called _least_ in the kingdom of heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach
them, shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”  I need not say
that the precepts here referred to are the ten commandments; because
Christ came to abolish the ceremonial law; but to fulfil and establish
the laws of the decalogue.  Of these “one jot or tittle was not to be
abolished”; for “on them hang all the law and the prophets.”  The period
also in which they were to be observed and kept is the Gospel
dispensation, here emphatically called “the kingdom of Heaven.”  The
kingdom of Victoria is the kingdom where her laws are to be observed, and
“the kingdom of Heaven,” or “kingdom of God,” is the Gospel kingdom in
which the laws of God are to be carefully taught and devoutly obeyed.
Your Lordship will hardly assert that the divine law of the Sabbath is
one of “the least of the commandments”; because an injunction which is
intended to preserve human life, and give the soul leisure to prepare for
a better world, can scarcely be called _little_, and certainly not the
“_least_”; but if it was “_the least_,” yet even then the Earl of Derby,
if he broke it, or taught men to break it, or gave them a royal charter
to do so, would incur the wrath of “The Lord of the Sabbath.”

It would be easy to show that the Fourth Commandment, far from being the
“_least_” is one of the very “_greatest_” of the laws of the decalogue;
for without it the other precepts would be to a great extent unheeded;
man’s life would be shortened, and his soul lost.  Many have separated
the ten commandments into two classes—the first four referring to
Jehovah, and the remaining six to our fellow man.  The Lord Jesus
evidently sums up the whole under the two ideas of “Love to God,” and
“Love to our neighbour.”  We have therefore the authority of the Divine
Lawgiver himself for this twofold division; and a very little reflection
will show us that the Fourth Command is the bond or _vinculum_ which
unites the two tables of the law together.  “Remember the day of rest to
keep it holy,” refers to the worship of God, and consequently to the
first table.  “In it thou shalt do no manner of work, thou, nor thy son,
thy daughter, thy man servant, thy maid servant, thy cattle, nor the
stranger that is within thy gates, or jurisdiction,” embraces our
neighbour or universal man as far as our influence or legislative power
may extend; for your Lordship knows very well that the words, “_within
thy gates_,” include political and magisterial dominion.  The Fourth
Commandment, then, is a Janus—it has two faces and looks both ways: it
regards what is due to our heavenly Father, and what is due to our
brethren and sisters.  It teaches the worship which must be paid to the
former, and the rest from labour which is needed by the latter.  Abolish
this command, and you do away with the public worship of Jehovah; and at
the same time rob the physical frame of your brother of that repose, and
his mind of that edification, which are absolutely necessary to his
corporeal, moral, and eternal well being.

Instead, then, of saying that the precept concerning the Sabbath is a
ritual, ceremonial, or positive law which is abolished, we are fully
warranted in asserting that it is one of the very “greatest” of the MORAL
commandments.  For if the worship of Jehovah is a _moral_ duty of all
ages, times, and dispensations—if to regard the health, life, rights, and
universal welfare of our neighbour is also a _moral_ obligation founded
in nature, and therefore immutable as eternal justice—then the observance
of the Sabbath, like the prohibition of idolatry, murder, and theft, is
based in the natural and everlasting laws of rectitude, which remain
unchanged from age to age.  If we “love God with all our heart, mind,
soul, and strength,” we shall hail the opportunity of ceasing from
worldly pursuits one day in seven, that we may meditate upon him, worship
him, and study his word “without distraction”; and if we “love our
neighbour as we love ourselves,” we shall neither rob him of his day of
rest, nor hurry him to the grave by continuous labour.  You might, my
Lord, as well strive to stay the planets in their flight, as endeavour to
be a Christian while you encourage Sabbath labour.  The sum and substance
of all law, all justice, all mercy, all worship, is _love_.  The Apostle
says, “Love is the fulfilling (_πλήρωμα_, the fulfilment, the completion)
of law,”—of _law_, _καr’ ἐξοχῆν_—the fulfilling of all good, sound,
healthy, equitable law.  In connection with the words just quoted from
Rom. xiii., the inspired writer, after mentioning the prohibition of
“adultery, murder, theft, false witness, and avarice,” adds, “and if
there be any other law, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, ‘_Thou
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself_.’”  Now the Fourth Commandment is
especially comprehended in this love to our fellow man.

You, my Lord, would not like to be robbed of the comforts of home on a
Sabbath; to have your health broken up by incessant labour; and, if a
Christian, nothing would be more painful to you than to be deprived of
the rest and spiritual enjoyments of the Lord’s-day: then how can you
wish stokers, porters, clerks, and waiters to be thus injured?  You must,
my Lord, you must “love your neighbour as yourself,” or you cannot be a
Christian; and therefore you cannot be a Christian if you encourage
Sabbath labour.  And the railway speculators who wanted you by royal
charter to sacrifice the liberties, comforts, health, and lives of your
fellow citizens, at once deprived themselves of all claim to Christian,
humane, or equitable principle.  To enrich themselves, they were willing
to barter away all the dearest rights of their brethren and sisters by
robbing them of the rest of the Sabbath; and what is worse still, they
tried to cover over all this wickedness with the pretence of having a
regard to the happiness of the working classes.  Judas of old professed
to have very great sympathy for the poor; but we are told that his
seemingly pious considerations arose rather from avarice than
benevolence.  “This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because
he was a thief and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”  If the
Sydenham philanthropists feel so much for the comforts of the poor, let
them become clerks, drivers, and waiters themselves, and carry the people
for nothing: or let them devote a week-day to the gratuitous conveyance
of the masses to the Crystal Palace, and not a voice, even in obedience
to the sophistry of pseudo philanthropists, will be raised to have the
building open on the Sabbath.

Sabbath labour, then, my Lord, is a gross violation of the law, “Thou
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”; and I am persuaded that even the
misled Spitalfields weavers, and others, when they understand the bearing
of the whole subject, have too much humanity and justice about them to
wish that workmen employed on the railway should be enslaved on the
Sabbath to minister to their pleasure.  The operatives of our country
generally demand, “JUSTICE FOR ALL, AND FAVOUR TO NONE,” and therefore
will hardly desire that one portion of their brethren should be deprived
of the rest and comforts of home on the Sunday to enable another portion
to indulge in various amusements.  This would be to imitate the slave
owners, oppressors, and tyrants whom they so loudly denounce, and would
prove that, were they in power, they would wield the iron rod of the
despot as cruelly as any Pharaoh, Nero, or Russian Czar.  The stoker, the
clerk, and the porter have bodies and souls.  Six days’ toil on a
railway, over the same ground and subject to the same monotony of duties,
is as fatiguing to them as driving the shuttle or superintending the
spindle.  There is generally no very great variety of scenery for the
clerk who gives out the tickets or the porters who traverse the platform.
I have known the poor railway clerk doomed to be at his post from eight
in the morning until eleven at night during _all the seven days_ of the
week, and all this for a very paltry remuneration.  While waiting for a
train, some time ago, I had the following dialogue with a young man who
filled the office of clerk and porter, and attended to the telegraph:—

  _Myself_.  Are you the only person employed here?

  _Clerk_.  Yes, Sir.

  _Myself_.  Are you here many hours?

  _Clerk_.  I come before seven in the morning and leave about nine at

  _Myself_.  Then you have _fourteen_ hours a day?

  _Clerk_.  I have two hours to spare in the middle of the day, when I go
  home to dinner.

  _Myself_.  Have you to be here the same time on Sundays as weekdays?

  _Clerk_.  Just the same.

  _Myself_.  Can you ever go to a place of worship?

  _Clerk_.  Never, Sir.

  _Myself_.  How long have you been on the line?

  _Clerk_.  Upwards of five years; and have not had an opportunity of
  going to a place of worship all that time.

  _Myself_.  Did you ever attend church or chapel?

  _Clerk_.  I was brought up in a Sunday School, my parents are members
  of a Christian Church, and I always attended myself until I was
  occupied on the railway.

  _Myself_.  What wages do you obtain?

  _Clerk_.  I am paid eighteen shillings a week.

Here, my Lord, are some facts worthy of your consideration.  You have
heard a great deal about Millocracy and the cruelties practised in the
manufacturing districts.  I live among factories and we have “_A Ten
Hours Bill_,” and our operatives leave work at four, some at two, o’clock
on Saturday, and have the whole Sabbath to themselves.  The wages on an
average are quite equal to those of this railway clerk.  And yet we are
told that these masters are tyrants, oppressors, and care nothing for
their workpeople.  But if so, what shall we say of the “_Railocracy_”
which is springing up among us?  The poor railway operative in a great
number of cases has no Saturday afternoon to himself, no Good Friday, no
Christmas-day, no Sunday, no holiday throughout the year.  He must never
attend a place of worship, and in some instances he is prohibited from
reading during the hours that he is on the line.  Such a monotonous life,
though spent on Parnassus, or in the pleasant vale of Tempe, would prove
fatal to all physical, intellectual, and moral health.  And when we
consider that some of the buildings and localities in which these poor
fellows are imprisoned are almost as comfortless as an Irish cabin, and
far worse than many gaols, we must blush for the system which thus
violates all the dictates of humanity and religion.  We spend some
thousands a year to send missionaries to the heathen, to teach barbarians
to keep the Sabbath, but how little do those simple hearted savages dream
that, at home, we doom our own Christian brethren to break the Sabbath
and become pagans in a land of Bibles and Gospel light, or that we have
Lords who wish for royal charters to sanction this cruelty and

At the time that our peeresses and other ladies are bestirring themselves
to move the heart of woman in America to feel for her coloured brethren
and sisters in bondage, we, who boast of being quite free from all the
prejudices of colour, wish to doom our own fellow countrymen to the
slavery of the rail and Crystal Palace, and then “thank God that we are
not as other men are,” nor even as those vile Americans!!  Is it any
wonder that Brother Jonathan laughs at our philanthropy, or tauntingly
retorts, “Physician, heal thyself!”  The most complete specimen of
religious grimace and morbid sentimentalism is to see an Englishman or
Englishwoman alternately shedding tears, or burning with indignation over
the fetters of a negro on the other side of the Atlantic, and yet, at the
same moment, condemning his own free born brethren and fellow citizens to
the murderous slavery of the rail, because it will add to the pelf of
some and minister to the pleasure of others!  Talk, indeed, of Judas
being dead; why, Mr. Mayhew, kissing the mob in order that he may induce
them first to doom their brethren and then themselves to all the fatal
consequences of Sabbath labour and Sabbath dissipation, is a sufficient
proof that the spirit of the arch traitor is still living among us!

We have of late been very fond of commissions and commissioners.  It has
been quite a money speculation.  We first create an evil and then employ
men to inquire into the extent of the mischief.  We have sent into the
factories, the mines, and the agricultural districts, and children have
been expected to answer questions in religion which would have puzzled
not a few of our Lords temporal and spiritual; but let our present
Sabbath railway system continue, let the Sydenham grounds be open, and
other modes of Sabbath slavery be adopted, and we shall soon want a
Committee of the House of Commons, and a host of commissioners to inquire
into the disease, insanity, crime, ignorance, premature deaths, and
frequent accidents connected with railways.  It is well known that the
late catastrophe on the North-Western line near Oxford, by which six
lives were sacrificed, was mainly owing to the immoral character of the
driver.  This man, with several other drivers and firemen, was drinking
and carousing the night before.  His wife, the _Daily News_ tells us, had
only the day preceding the fatal collision been obliged to flee and take
refuge in a neighbour’s house from his violence; and when he mounted the
engine, with which he hurried himself so recklessly into destruction, and
involved others in his ruin, he had just come from a pothouse, and was
under the maddening influence of liquor.  It has been my lot, when
waiting for night trains, to have to stay for a considerable time in
station houses and elsewhere, and there listen to the conversation of
drivers, firemen, porters, and others; and the profanity and obscenity
would hardly have been surpassed by pagans.  And is it any wonder, seeing
Sabbath breaking, in many cases, must be an essential trait in the
character of the servants of our different railway companies?

No man who reverences and worships God will break his commandments by
working on the Sabbath, and therefore in a very little time no truly
religious person will have anything to do with railways; and hence it
will come to this, that the lives and property of millions of Her
Majesty’s subjects will be entrusted to Sabbath breakers who neither
“fear God nor regard man.”  Formerly we were taught that Sabbath
desecration led to every vice; but now, forsooth, all kinds of good are
to flow from the transgression of the command of the King of Kings, and
the whole community is to be placed, to a great extent, at the mercy of
those who are prohibited by their masters from having any mercy on

Volumes upon volumes of facts, my Lord, might be written to show that
without a Sabbath you cannot have a _healthy_ or _moral_ population.  And
surely I need not spend any time to prove that _health_ and _morality_
are essential to national prosperity and greatness.  People destitute of
health cannot be strong and enterprising; and citizens without good
morals will bring themselves to ruin by their own vices.  Hence the
Sabbath was divinely instituted to preserve both.  The rest was intended
for the invigoration of the body; and the leisure for religious tuition,
study, and worship was ordained for the moral edification of the soul;
and therefore if you grant royal charters for Sabbath labour, you will
shorten the days of the workpeople, and at the same time deprive their
minds of the means of religious improvement.  On God’s own day you lock
up or chain the man from the sanctuary, and then on the week-day you lock
the sanctuary from the man!  For the sake of Mammon and the Moloch of
pleasure, you slay men’s bodies and ruin their souls.  Whole hecatombs of
human victims are to be immolated for the purpose of increasing the
dividends of railway speculators, and gratifying those who delight in
Sabbath desecration and in trampling the laws of God under their feet.
Wealth is of course valuable, and pleasure desirable, but no one has a
right to obtain either of these blessings at the expense of his brother
man.  Money gained at the risk of the health or life of but a single
servant or operative is the price of blood; and that cup of pleasure will
end in the bitterest sorrow which was procured by violating the divine
injunction, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

You are therefore, my Lord, on the plain principles of humanity, called
upon to use your influence that the grounds of the Crystal Palace shall
not be opened on the Sabbath.  Though you rejected revelation; though you
supposed the moral law abolished; though you believed that human senators
are prohibited from legislating on any subject on which Jehovah has given
a law; yet it would then be your duty to exert yourself to prevent Sunday
trading and labour.  All persons admit that life and property are proper
objects for political laws.  Hence you have various sanitary regulations.
There are laws respecting public nuisances, drainage, and common sewers:
you have statutes prohibiting the keeping of pigs and other animals in
cities and towns: you have enactments concerning public houses, gin
palaces, putrescent fish and vegetables: you have penalties to protect
persons from dangerous footpaths, machinery, and poisonous gases; murder
and theft are punishable by law; and neither parents, masters, nor
mistresses are allowed to maltreat their children, servants, or
dependents.  If I mistake not, I was in the House of Commons, when I
heard your Lordship advocate the Factory Act; and you have the Ten Hours
Bill and laws respecting the labour of women and children in mines and
factories: the sale of intoxicating liquors in the Crystal Palace was
forbidden; and ale houses are closed until noon on the Lord’s-day; and we
have reason to believe that your Lordship approves of all these
enactments.  And we presume that you do so because all of them, either
directly or indirectly, involve the preservation of the health, lives or
property of Her Majesty’s subjects.  And now, my Lord, upon the very same
grounds and reasons we call upon you to interfere in the case of the
Sydenham Palace.  We know, and you, my Lord, know full well, that higher
motives might be urged; but we now pass these by, and simply plead, that
the opening of the said pleasure gardens on the Lord’s-day, in
consequence of the Sabbath labour that would be attended therewith, would
be an infraction of the natural rights of many of your neighbours and
fellow citizens, and therefore ought to be prohibited by law.

It is now demonstrated beyond all controversy that man’s body wants rest
at the end of every six days.  History and physiology, independent of
religion, assure us of this fact.  If you deny to the horse, the ox, the
ass, or the man the rest of the Sabbath, you kill him before his time;
and consequently on the same principle of humanity on which you passed
“_The Ten Hours Bill_,” and uphold laws against murder, we call on you to
defend the clerks, porters, drivers, and other servants of the Sydenham
speculators from the evils of Sabbath occupation.  It is said by some
that we are a godless age; and by others that we are a most enlightened
and religious generation; and somehow or other both these classes
coalesce to crush the poor labourer and shorten his life by robbing him
of his Sunday.  The godless people beg us not to be so fanatical as to
make any law on any subject on which Jehovah has legislated; and the
enlightened and hyper-religious entreat us not to sanction any statute
respecting the right of the labourer to rest from toil on the seventh
day, because it is a religious question!!  You may make a “_Ten Hours
Bill_” because it is not mentioned in the Bible; you may even enact a law
against murder and theft, although both are mentioned in the Word of God;
but alas! alas! to make a law to save the poor tired, worn out, weary,
oppressed operative or clerk from being injured by Sabbath labour, would
be to un-Protestant yourself and prove that you do not understand
religious liberty!!  As if religious liberty consisted in the liberty to
kill our brethren and sisters by continuous labour!!  If there had been
no Fourth Commandment, given by God himself, we should have heard nothing
about this matter.  There was no Fourth Command about the “_Ten Hours
Bill_” and therefore it passed; but now our poor operatives and peasants
are to be robbed of their rights and burdened with over work, because
their heavenly Father has said, “Remember the rest-day to keep it holy.
Six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work; but the seventh is the
Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt do no manner of work,” &c.
Therefore, as Jehovah has said we shall do “no manner of work,” you, my
Lord, propose that a royal charter shall be given to railway directors to
enable them to exact labour from their servants on the “Lord’s-day.”  Who
can after this doubt our piety, our enlightenment, our staunch
Protestantism, or our love to religious liberty?

These are some of the blessings which we are told belong to Christian
freedom, and the Gospel dispensation!  If our overworked mechanics,
operatives, and labourers lived under the darkness and bondage of the
Mosaic law, then, poor souls! they might have a good week’s wages for
_six_ days’ work, and have one day in seven to rest, recruit their
strength, enjoy their homes, bless their families, and improve their
minds and morals; but seeing they live in an age of Gospel light, they
are to be blessed with _seven_ days’ hard work, no rest from toil, no
leisure day to taste the sweetness of home and train themselves and their
families for this world and that to come!  It will require no common
sophistry to persuade the simple minds of the masses that it is an
overwhelming privilege, to work _seven_ days instead of _six_, and often
without any increase of wages!  Many of them will wish they were Jews,
and that the law of Moses was still in force, that they might rest one
day in seven, and enjoy the sweets of home and the blessings of religious
worship and instruction.

Then how absurd to suppose that we must not legislate concerning the
Sabbath, because Jehovah has legislated on it!  And yet we legislate on
murder, theft, &c., although both these crimes are forbidden in the
decalogue.  Is this because there are no Sydenham speculators in the way
of observing these commands?  But if we legislate concerning the right of
the labourer to rest on the Sabbath, we shall prevent certain gentlemen
from robbing the poor to enrich themselves, and from shortening the lives
of one body of citizens to increase the profits of another.  Of course it
would be vastly inconvenient to give every one license to rob, steal, and
take away life; but forsooth, the case is much changed when, instead of
licensing all to plunder and destroy, you make a monopoly of the
business, and grant to Crystal Palace adventurers the privilege of
defrauding their servants of one day in seven, of corrupting the morals
of their fellow citizens, and shortening their days by oppressive toil.
There is a tribunal before which Lords and Commons, employers and
employed must appear, and before which a director has lately been
suddenly summoned.  There, my Lord, the highwayman who robbed with the
pistol, and the noble or squire who more genteelly, with an Act of
Parliament, or royal charter, plundered the labourer of one day in seven,
will be placed in the same company and indicted for the same offence; and
where also those who destroyed their brethren more speedily by prussic
acid; and those who did it more slowly, but not less cruelly, by hard and
continuous labour, will be ranked with Cain and his fraternity.  Nor will
it be any mitigation of their crime to plead that they would have granted
“A SEVENTH DAY BILL” as well as “A TEN HOURS BILL,” if it had not been
that the Bible forbad Sabbath labour.  But as the Universal Father out of
pure love to his children commanded that labour should not be exacted on
the seventh day, therefore it behoved human legislators to countenance
Sunday occupations, lest by following the dictates of heaven, of justice
and humanity, they should violate the principles of religious liberty!!!

How many persons will be employed every Sabbath on the Sydenham Railway
and in the gardens we cannot tell, nor need we trouble to inquire,
because it is too much to sacrifice the liberties, rights, health and
life of but ONE INDIVIDUAL.  Were the French, the Russians, or the Turks
wantonly to kill but _one_ Englishman, we should demand satisfaction.
And shall we allow ourselves to plunder and destroy our poor brethren
because we hope to enrich a few speculators thereby?  Granted that the
pleasure of a thousand, or of a hundred thousand may be obtained by such
cruelty, yet the amusement and recreation of millions is but as the small
dust of the balance when weighed against the rights and the life of but
ONE labourer or operative.  But, my Lord, the mischief will not be
confined to _one_, or _two_.  We are told that the working of the Sunday
train from Edinburgh to Glasgow compels at least one hundred persons to
break the Sabbath.  Probably quite as many will be required for the
Sydenham business; and therefore the sacrifice of human comfort, rights,
health and life will be very great.

And it must be remembered that but few of the men and women employed will
have time to enter a place of worship on the former part of the
Lord’s-day.  Granted that the visitors to the grounds may very devoutly
go to church and pay their devotions to the Eternal before they hasten to
break his Sabbath!! yet firemen, porters, waiters, &c., will hardly have
time to repair to the sanctuary before they put the engines, &c., in
readiness for their masters’ customers; so that the majority of these
railway servants will be deprived of the opportunity of worshipping God
and learning their duty.  Here then, my Lord, will be robbery and cruelty
of the worst kind, and therefore we call on you as a man to interfere
between the oppressor and the oppressed.  If you never went to church,
and prayed that God would have mercy upon you and “incline your heart to
keep the Fourth Commandment”; if you disbelieved revelation altogether;
if you were a Jew, Turk, infidel, or the most ultra dissenter, yet then
we would appeal to your humanity and entreat you to interpose the shield
of the law and protect the servants of the Sydenham directors, and indeed
all labourers, from being robbed and destroyed by Sabbath occupations.

The question then, my Lord, is a _physical_ one, and just as much within
the range of parliamentary prohibition as any other which involves the
property and lives of Her Majesty’s subjects.  There is not a law in the
statute book more just or humane than the enactments against Sabbath
labour.  The poor man has as equitable a claim to rest for twenty-four
hours, every seventh day, as he has to sleep, to food, or protection from
the thief and the assassin.  Sunday is his own property, and no other day
can now be substituted in its place.  His physical frame demands it, and
must be injured if deprived of its refreshing repose; and his family and
home must be rendered desolate if robbed of the presence and smile of its
husband, father, instructor and companion.  We pity the orphan and the
widow, but Sunday labour deprives the mother and her children of their
best friend for months and years in succession.  It is true he may come
home every night, but then it is generally when his little ones are in
bed, and he leaves in the morning before they are up; and should he visit
his house during the day, in many cases they are at work, or at school.
You cannot, my Lord, give another day that will be a compensation for the
loss of the Sunday.  Should our railway directors resolve to grant their
servants a day every week as a substitute for the Sabbath, still the
exchange would not be an equivalent.  On the Sunday the whole family
rests from labour; all the members are at home; the house is nicely
cleaned; wife and children are dressed in their best, and all their
resources of domestic happiness are at hand.  These blessings cannot be
had on the Monday, Tuesday, or any other day of the week.  On the Sabbath
the labourer is as free from toil and care as the nobleman, the prince,
or the monarch; and this weekly leisure and independence are enjoyed by
all his family.  The whole community also has an opportunity of
participating in these comforts, so that the people sympathize with each
other in their rest from work, and the endearments of home which are thus
elicited and cherished.  Very great also are the intellectual, moral, and
religious privileges of the Sabbath.  But these physical, social and
spiritual advantages and pleasures cannot be shared on any other day.
All sorts of occupations will call the various members of the family from
home; instead of the neat and quiet Sabbath appearance of the house,
wife, children, neighbours and friends, all will be bustle and confusion,
and everything will wear the aspect of business, labour and toil.  No one
will sympathize with the week-day rest of the railway operative.  His
wife is in her every day garb, and perhaps obliged to leave home to
follow her calling.  Did he rest on the ordinary Sabbath, he would enjoy
it along with others; but by the unjust arrangement which makes his
Sunday a week-day, and his week-day a Sunday, he has to work when others
are free from toil; and when he has a period of repose, others are at
work; and the noise and labour with which he is surrounded prevent him
from having that rest and social enjoyment which he might share with his
friends and relatives on the general Sabbath.  And then most of the
sanctuaries are closed, and thus he is as much shut up from the means of
salvation as if he were transported to some heathen land.

You are therefore, my Lord, about to inflict incalculable evils and
injuries upon a large portion of the most valuable of your fellow
citizens.  The working classes are very important members of the
commonwealth.  We cannot all be kings and queens; and trade, commerce,
agriculture, manufactures, railways and domestic life, would be in a very
pitiable condition if all were lords, squires, great capitalists, and
Crystal Palace speculators.  Our clerks, operatives, peasants, hard
handed fustain jackets, smock frocks, &c., make the wealth and the
comforts of the nation.

    “Princes and peers may flourish or may fade—
    A breath can make them, as a breath has made;
    But a bold peasantry, their country’s pride,
    If once destroyed, can never be supplied.”

Thanks to our Sabbaths, Sabbath Schools, Bibles, and Gospel Ministry, we
have in this favoured land of ours, the most industrious, upright,
contented, and moral population under heaven.  It may suit speculators in
State Education to malign the working classes, and to exaggerate the
ignorance and vice that may exist among us, but still after making every
just allowance for our intellectual and moral defects, we are prepared to
prove, that there is no country on the globe which can boast of a race of
operatives and peasants equal to the English.  And are these the men and
women who are to be robbed of their Sabbaths and the comforts of home?
Is this the return which lords and gentlemen are about to make for their
large revenues and peaceful mansions?  It is no use, my Lord, to say that
you only propose to injure, corrupt, and destroy a few, for the benefit
of the many, because the country may have all necessary amusement without
Sabbath desecration and without inflicting an evil on anyone; but if it
could not, you have no right to rob even ONE man of his day of rest, his
health and his home, to increase the wealth or minister to the recreation
of others; and therefore, instead of sanctioning this injustice, it is
the solemn duty of the Government to enact such laws as shall secure to
the labourer full exemption from toil on every seventh day.  Works of
absolute necessity and deeds of charity and mercy may be attended to.
All _requisite_ domestic duties may be performed: the sick and the young
may be nursed: the ox and the ass may be led away to watering: or if
either fall into a pit, it may be helped out; but then these occupations
and occurrences will interfere very little with the rest of the Sabbath,
and therefore can bear no comparison with continuous employment on that
sacred day during the whole year.

Should your Lordship, or any of my readers, be doubtful respecting the
physical evils arising from Sabbath labour, I may again refer to the Blue
Book, containing the Parliamentary Evidence respecting Sabbath
occupations.  The testimony of the medical men and especially of Dr. Farr
on this point is particularly worthy of notice.  I may also quote the
following words of another well known London Physician of long experience
and great practice.  The venerable Dr. Conquest of Finsbury Square, in a
letter to the churchwardens of St. Luke’s, says,

    “I regret my inability to be at the vestry this evening.  Had it been
    in my power to be there, I should have endeavoured to prove, as _a
    medical man_, that it is _absolutely necessary_ for the _human
    constitution_ to have _one day in seven for rest_, because _without
    it_, its _powers_ become _enfeebled_ and _impaired_.—_Daily exertion_
    and _excitement_ and _fatigue_ during the week, without this one
    day’s rest, _prematurely break down_ the _strength_ and _vigour_ of
    the _animal system_, _shorten life_, and _deprive old age_ of that
    _energy_ and _cheerfulness_ which usually attend it in _those who
    have rested from mental and bodily toil on the Lord’s-day_.”

There is not a physiologist or medical man in the country who understands
the physical and metaphysical nature of man, but would subscribe to these
sentiments.  Here then you are shown that health, corporeal, mental and
moral energy, and longevity, depend upon the rest of the Sabbath, and
consequently that disease and premature death will arise from Sunday
labour, and yet we are told that we must not legislate on this subject
because it is a religious question.  We grant that it is a religious
question, but then it is a physical and social question also.  Are not
legislative enactments on murder, theft, on the cholera, factory labour
and poisons, physical and religious questions at the same time?  Yea, are
they not religious because they are physical?  Is it not a social, a
physical, and a religious duty to preserve life and protect the rights of
the labourer from the injustice of the oppressor?  No one has a greater
dread of over legislation, or legislation where conscience is concerned,
than the writer of this Letter, but then who would say that legislating
against murder and robbery must be shunned out of deference to the
consciences of murderers and thieves; or because the duty to avoid these
crimes is a religious duty; and therefore in making any laws respecting
them we should violate the great principles of Religious Liberty, as
though it was a part of Religious Liberty to grant to all sorts of
assassins, plunderers, and speculators, the liberty to defraud and slay
their brethren and dependents?  Dr. Conquest, Dr. Farr, and many other
skilful and experienced physiologists have proved, and are prepared to
prove, that Sabbath labour shortens life, and this fact alone renders
legislation on the subject the solemn duty of every humane government,
whether that government consists of pagans, Jews, Turks, infidels, or

The remarks given above from Dr. Conquest have been borne out by all
history and observation.  Some years ago, Mr. Wilberforce endeavoured to
persuade certain lawyers and barristers that Sunday occupations and
consultations would shorten their days.  They laughed at his fanaticism,
sneered at him as a “_Saint_,” and were quite ready to “_Charivari_” him;
but all these mockers died before their time.  Some of them became
melancholy imbeciles, and more than one committed suicide.  We cannot, my
Lord, violate the laws of God, whether written on the digestive organs,
muscles and brain, or in the Bible, without having to pay the dire
penalty of rebellion against the benevolent regulations of our heavenly

We have heard a great deal of late concerning the Anglo-Saxon race, and
its native vigour, enterprise, intelligence, &c.  All our greatness has
been attributed to physical causes, and these causes have been supposed
to originate in the purity of our race.  But the argument is absurd,
because we are the most mixed and mongrel people under heaven.  We have
all sorts of blood in our veins.  We are a compound of Ancient Britons,
Romans, Scots, Irish, Saxons, Danes, Normans, French, Germans,
Phenicians, &c., &c.  And yet we boast of being Anglo-Saxons!!  There is
more scepticism than science in this vaunting.  Men are unwilling to do
homage to Christianity, and “to render to God the things that are God’s.”
We owe all to the Bible and the Sabbath.  The former, by circulating
sound principles among us, has given us vigorous minds, and the latter by
the repose of one day in seven, has imparted to us healthy physical
constitutions.  The rest from toil and worldly anxiety; the soothing
associations of leisure, home, moral principle, and religious hope, have
wrought wonders on our muscles, nerves, brain, and digestive organs, and
thus have given us vigorous bodies; intrepid, enterprising, and
persevering minds; moral courage; and honourable, humane, and
philanthropic sentiments.  What made the sturdy men of the Reformation
and of the Commonwealth, but the Bible and the Sabbath?  And if
Anglo-Saxon must be a synonym for physical vigour and moral courage, then
history, science, philosophy, and religion allow us to say, that the
Bible and the Sabbath would make Anglo-Saxons of the Celts, the French,
the Germans, the Chinese, and of all the world.  Our venerable ancestors,
both Episcopalians and Puritans, who built up the British constitution
and rendered it the wonder, the glory, and terror of the world, saw that
man must have a day of rest, and therefore made it a statute of the realm
that labour should cease on the Lord’s-day; and we owe our national
preeminence to their wisdom and piety.  You ought therefore, my Lord, to
hesitate before you remove those “ancient landmarks which your fathers
set up”; for you may rest assured that as soon as you break up the good
old Sabbath observance habits of our forefathers, and introduce, in its
stead, Sunday labour and dissipation, you will hear no more of the vigour
of the Anglo-Saxon race; for with a continental Sabbath you will have
continental frivolity, effeminacy, fickleness, and revolutions; and it
may be well for your Lordship to consider whether under such a change the
nobility of England will share better than the clergy, the gentry, the
nobles and princes of France under the reign of terror.  The Bible and
the Sabbath, if duly studied and observed, would have saved that country
from all the melancholy and frightful calamities which it has had to
suffer during the last sixty or seventy years.

Everyone, my Lord, who advocates Sunday labour, is not only an enemy to
the working man, but an adversary to the country at large.  It is
impossible for such a man to be a patriot, because he endeavours to
undermine the physical and moral vigour of the empire.  It is no use to
say, that in opening the Crystal Palace on the Sabbath, you advocate the
amusement and not the labour of the masses; because you are going to doom
one body of your countrymen to toil that they may enrich and please
others.  And depend upon it, when it is generally understood that railway
directors can have _seven days’ labour_ for fifteen or twenty shillings a
week, other masters will exact the same hard terms from their workpeople.
They will naturally ask, Who are we that we should pay as much for _six
days_, as the railway lords do for _seven_?  The certain result to the
working classes will be increased labour and diminished wages; and thus
under this pretence of giving Sunday recreation to operatives and others,
one of the most deadly injuries will be inflicted upon them.  They have
often been duped by designing demagogues, but now it seems Conservative
Lords and Radical Dissenters are to be their deceivers.  Of old Herod and
Pontius Pilate were made friends when the Son of God was to be crucified;
and in our time, we have lords and plebeians, Conservatives, Whigs,
Radicals, Chartists, Atheists, debauchees, Episcopalians and
ultra-Dissenters—all leagued together to rob the poor brethren of Jesus
Christ, of their day of rest, and the ten thousand blessings connected
therewith.  We congratulate you, my Lord, on your companions, coadjutors,
and fellow labourers: though we know that you must not hope much from the
certain result of your zeal.  It is often said that our Norman nobility
have never naturalized themselves in this foreign land, and the present
effort to destroy the physical and moral greatness of the nation by
Sunday labour will go far to prove that they have not as yet become
English patriots.  Sabbath amusement for one class will be Sabbath
slavery to another; and as this Sabbath labour and desecration increases,
the nation will fall and will most certainly involve the nobility in its

Much is said of recreation and comfort for the working classes, but we
must be just before we are generous, and not forget the rights and
happiness of those who are to be worked.  I have before said that England
owes much to its domestic circles and its homes.  “Home! sweet Home!” is
an air which charms everyone among us; but do away with the Sabbath, and
you destroy the English home.  “Mother,” said a child, “you seem so happy
always on a Sunday, I wish it were Sunday every day.”  “You are always
better on a Sunday when father’s at home,” said a little girl to her sick
mother.  Another said, “Oh, we are so uncomfortable to-day, it don’t seem
like Sunday, because father has been at work all day, and has not cleaned
himself.”  “Don’t the sun always shine brighter on the Sunday? and it is
never such nasty wet rain on a Sunday as on other days,” exclaimed
another group of children.  But the sick wife of the railway servant, and
the fond children, are to know nothing of these Sabbath endearments.
Sunday suns and Sunday rains will be week day suns and rains to them, and
this will continue from year’s end to year’s end.  Really, my Lord, as a
religious individual, and consequently a very feeling, sympathetic, and
humane man, you ought to hesitate before you resolve to destroy domestic
ties and affections to which your country owes so much of its happiness,
prosperity, and greatness.  Your good Lady, the Duchess of Sutherland,
and others, are calling loudly upon the Americans to pity the poor negro,
and we beg your Lordship to have some compassion for these intended
Crystal Palace slaves, and not allow their homes to be broken up and
their wives to be as widows and their children orphans.

The idea, my Lord, that large numbers of the masses will run down to the
Crystal Palace _every_ Sunday is an idle fancy.  What will it cost for a
man to take his wife and children to Sydenham?  In many instances from
six to ten shillings will be needed!  Will Mr. Mayhew’s Spitalfields
weavers be able to spare this sum?  How many times a year will they go?
How many of them will go?  For unless they go very often, we are afraid
that their moral improvement will not be very great; and, during the
Sabbaths that the people stay at home, there will be no very great
diminution of the crowds that occupy the filthy lanes and alleys of
London.  Will enough on any one Sunday leave their houses to cause any
visible decrease of the inhabitants?  Will whole families go? or will
there not be a separation of its members—some gone to the Crystal Palace,
and coming home drunk or ruined, while the poor wife and other portions
of the household will be left in solitude at home?  One would suppose, to
hear some people talk, that as soon as Sydenham is opened, all the
miserable wretches in London, all the ragged half starved creatures, and
especially all the poor operatives in Spitalfields, will, by some magic
or miracle, be well clothed, have plenty of cash in their pockets, and
after going to church very devoutly one half of the Sabbath, hurry away
in full glee to the Crystal Palace on the other, and thus their future
Sundays all through the year will be passed between the celestial
paradise of the temple and the earthly Elysium at Sydenham!!  No one
after this will laugh, if a new body of speculators should arise and
propose to take these said paupers and operatives to visit the moon and
all the planets every Lord’s-day.  And thus, my Lord, for an imagined
good, which it would be the most arrant folly to anticipate, you are
about to sacrifice the home comforts, the health, the morals, and the
lives of a large number of the most valuable of your countrymen.  The
same principle that led you to legislate respecting cruelty to animals,
and to the men, women, and children in factories and mines, calls upon
you to interpose the authority of the law, and say to the Sydenham
gentlemen, “There shall be no labour on the Sabbath.”

We are told that if the men hire themselves out to this drudgery it will
be a _voluntary_ act of their own.  Granted, my Lord; but still when a
husband and father, who has a wife and family crying for bread, is told
that he may have employment if he will break the Sabbath, but that famine
shall be the result of his resting on the Lord’s-day, there is great
danger that many will prefer transgression to poverty and want.  All
persecutors are perfect voluntaries.  It was quite optional for Stephen
to be stoned; for the disciples to be imprisoned; for Huss, Latimer, and
Hooper to be burnt; for the pilgrim fathers to emigrate to America; and
for the Madiai to go to gaol.  Persecutors are among the fairest people
under heaven.  They generally set comfort and torture, life and death,
before their victims, and give them a perfect choice of either.  Formerly
burning was fashionable; but now starvation is nearly all the rage.  We
do not burn people in this enlightened day.  We are too refined, for we
live in the nineteenth century, to be sure.  No persecution now,
forsooth, we are too humane for that.  We only say to the famishing
operative or peasant, “You must go to church, or starve!” “you must go to
chapel, or starve!” “you must spend your Sabbaths on Sydenham Railway, or
starve!”  Now I really think, my Lord, if you had your choice,
notwithstanding all our boasting of religious liberty and charity, that
you would as soon be burnt by Bonner as starved to death, wife, family
and all, by these more refined modern persecutors.  For say what you
will, Sunday labour is not only inhuman and cruel, but it is persecution,
and ought to be as much restrained by the hand of the law as any other
oppression which would prevent men from worshipping God.  I knew one of
the best of men in London leave his fatherland and become an emigrant
because of the Sunday labour at the Post Office, and thus the government
lost a good servant by this persecution.  And we shall soon have on a
large scale a new race of pilgrim fathers, who will seek refuge in a
foreign land that they may enjoy the Sabbath which they are refused in
their own Christian country.  To turn a man off from work because he
fears God and keeps the Sabbath is persecution.  The civil government is
as much bound to protect the day for worship as the temple in which the
man worships.

Again we repeat, we desire no interference with the religious opinions of
anyone.  Let men spend their Sabbath as they please, provided they do not
compel others to any unnecessary work.  The laws respecting murder,
theft, cruelty to animals, prisons, nuisances, factory labour, do not
interfere with the religion of Catholic, Protestant, Episcopalian, or
Dissenter.  They merely protect the health, the bodies and rights of the
people, and on these principles we call on the legislature in the name of
humanity, of justice, of health, life, right, and freedom, to prohibit
Sabbath labour.

Drowning men catch at straws, and you are in danger, my Lord, of being
seduced by certain individuals who call themselves liberal dissenters,
and profess to expound the sentiments of their brethren.  They will tell
you that you must not legislate to prevent the poor man from being robbed
and killed by Sunday labour, because it is a religious question!!  But
you must beware of these gentlemen.  They have not the confidence of
their brethren, nor do they represent their views.  Their sentiments are
as outrageous as they are ultra.  To say that Dissent allows the working
man to be robbed and slain by oppressive masters; to be starved to death,
or persecuted into exile, is one of the foulest libels that has ever been
uttered.  These men have not yet learnt the duties of civil legislation.
They have not distinguished between physical and religious—between bodily
and spiritual matters; they have not learnt that in some points human and
divine legislation must go hand in hand; nor have they ascertained where
the one is to stop or where the two are to diverge.  A man who holds with
a “Ten Hours Bill,” with laws to prevent cruelty to women, children, and
animals; with statutes to prevent murder, theft, and swindling, and yet
protests that you must not protect the bodies of men from Sabbath labour,
is a novice in humanity, and has yet to learn his political alphabet.
Sabbath labour is inhuman; Sabbath labour is robbery; Sabbath labour is
cruelty; Sabbath labour is persecution; Sabbath labour is deadly; and
therefore ought to be restrained by the authority of the law.

Some of them become very religious and tell you that every day, under the
Christian dispensation, is to be a Sabbath; but they do not mean what
they say.  Sabbath, my Lord, signifies REST from labour; and if every day
is to be a Sabbath, then we must rest from labour everyday, and never do
any work at all!  Jehovah has said, “six days shalt thou labour and do
all that thou hast to do, but the seventh is the DAY OF REST.”  Rest from
labour is one of the _essential_ ideas included in the word Sabbath; and
these pious people say that every day is to be a _Sabbath_, and therefore
a day of _rest_ from toil; for where there is no cessation from labour,
there is no _Sabbath_ in the scriptural meaning of the term.  But so
perverted are these reasoners, that they tell us though Sabbath means
rest from labour, yet people are now at perfect liberty to work all the
day, and Sydenham adventurers ought therefore to be allowed to rob,
demoralize, and kill a portion of the population by Sunday toil!!  The
reasoning of these gentlemen is as logical as their legislation is
liberal and humane.

“Ah, but” they say, “The Sabbath is abolished!”  But where, my Lord, is
the repeal mentioned?  “Oh,” they gravely reply, “The Sabbath was made
for man.”  That is, it was benevolently instituted for the rest of his
physical frame and the edification of his soul.  _Ergo_, it is
abolished!!  Glorious reasoning, my Lord!  But still they argue, “The Son
of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”  _Ergo_, the Sabbath is abrogated, and he
is the Lord of a nonentity!!

“No _man_ is to judge us in respect of new moons and Sabbaths.”  ERGO,
the _Lord_ is not to judge us, although he has given us the ten
commandments, and told us that they are not abolished, and that the law
is not in any point made void by faith.

“The day is changed from the seventh to the first.  _Ergo_, it is
abolished!!” _Change_ and _abolition_ synonyms!!  The Apostles for a
while observed the seventh day that they might preach to the Jews, and
the _first_ day that they might assemble as Christians, and at length, in
obedience to their Lord’s will, these _inspired_ men dropped the seventh
and kept the first alone, but retained the spirit of the law by
assembling _every seventh_ day, and therefore, to be sure, broke up the
Sabbath altogether!!  Whether these are “_sequiturs_” or “_non
sequiturs_,” I leave your Lordship to judge.

But then we are so spiritual in these Gospel days, that we do not need a
Sabbath.  ERGO, we show our spirituality by _secularizing_ the Sabbath!!
Of course we are more spiritual than the Creator who consecrated one day
in seven; more spiritual than Adam in innocency; than Moses, Samuel,
Isaiah, the Prophets, our Lord, or the Apostles; and therefore we can do
without such vulgar things as Sabbaths or religious instruction.
Doubtless the Gospel has given us iron nerves and muscles to labour
incessantly; and now forsooth we are all born with instinctive morality,
theology, and devotion, and can do without such old fashioned, obsolete
lumber as religious edification!  And yet, my Lord, we who thus boast are
the most Mammon worshipping, worldly minded people under heaven.  We are
so spiritually minded that we wish the labourer to work _seven_ days
instead of _six_; that we open the Crystal Palace on Sundays for the sole
purpose of getting money out of the pockets of the people!  We are so
spiritual that almost everything we do is contaminated with selfishness!
We are so evangelical and heavenly that we are robbing and killing our
fellow creatures by Sunday labour, and are agitating to increase these
hecatombs of human victims offered to avarice.  “The Song of the Shirt”
is no exaggeration, and therefore what a spiritual and benevolent people
we must be!  What wicked fellows those infidels are who doubt the divine
origin of this cruel caricature of Christianity which we give them in our
deeds, and how depraved they must be to say to such spiritually minded
souls, “What do ye more than others?”  What a blessed proof of heavenly
mindedness, that we can rob men of their Sabbath and lives, and then
thank God that we are not as other men are!

“But the early Christians did not legislate concerning the Sabbath,” say
your new friends.  But then you know, my Lord, that they did not ask the
government to make any laws against murder or theft; they did not agitate
against slavery; for the franchise; for corn-laws, or their repeal; for
the Union, or “The Separation of the Church and State,” &c. &c.; and if
we imitate them, we shall give up civil legislation altogether.  What
Paul would have done, if he had been a Member of Parliament, we can
hardly say; still, we may safely affirm that he would as soon have voted
to keep men from being robbed, persecuted, and killed by Sabbath labour,
as he would for a bill to prevent cruelty to men, women, children, or
animals, and would hardly have dreamt that in so doing he was violating
the great principles of religious liberty.

Another favourite argument which some use and urge, they tell us, “with
tears in their eyes,” is that you will draw people from the gin palaces.
That is, my Lord, you are “to do evil that good may come.”  You have
committed ONE great crime by licensing men to poison, corrupt, and
destroy the population by strong drink; and now you are to give a royal
charter for a second crime, that you may counteract the first!  This is
adding sin to sin.  Why not shut up all public houses on the Sabbath?  It
is as much our duty to do so as to legislate concerning the sale of
stinking fish, or to prevent any nuisance which endangers the health and
rights of the people.  And then do you think, my Lord, that these gin
palace visitors will go every Sunday to Sydenham?  Some of them now idle
away one, two, or three days a week in pothouses, and spend money enough
to pay for sight seeing and a railway excursion every week.  Will Sabbath
breaking and the Crystal Palace convert them into pious men and women?
“Credat Judæus.”

There are at present in London several parks, which any of these persons
may visit for nothing, and without enslaving any of their fellow citizens
to minister to their amusement; and therefore it is perfectly superfluous
to open the Sydenham Railway on the Sabbath.  London, for its wide
thoroughfares, fine buildings, and extensive walks, is one of the most
healthy and splendid cities in the world; and is continually being made
more and more so.  Why then wish to license by royal charter a system of
amusement which must be attended with Sabbath desecration and the slavery
of the workmen employed in conducting it?  Besides, if there are not
walks enough, let others be made, that the masses may have all the
resources of health at command without injury to the domestic comforts,
rights, and liberties of any of their fellow citizens.  We do not want to
shut every man, woman, and child up on a Sabbath.  All that we desire is,
that Sunday labour shall be restrained by law; and we demand this on the
same broad principle of justice that we ask for any regulation connected
with the civil rights of the country.

It is a fact that numbers of those who now keep public houses, &c., would
be glad to have a general law passed to close them on the Sabbath.  At a
public dinner of licensed victuallers and publicans in Manchester last
October, one of the speakers, who had several houses and carried on a
large trade, entreated his brethren to shut up on the Sabbath; and
assured them that he always did so himself, and had been a great gainer
in consequence of the improved character of his servants, which arose
from their being allowed to rest on the Sabbath, and attend to their
moral improvement.  Our gin palaces might all be closed on the
Lord’s-day, and then there would be no drunken population on the Sunday,
and no need of a Sydenham claptrap to pretend to cure one crime by the
committal of another.

Most of our pseudo philanthropists who are agitating for Sabbath
recreations, are after all no real friends to the masses.  They seem to
take it for granted that operatives and labourers should never have any
time for amusement but on a Sunday; and that nature intended them to be
“hewers of wood and drawers of water” for twelve or fourteen hours during
every week-day.  But we protest against this cruel creed.  Let taxes be
lowered, national expenditure economised, sinecures abolished, peace and
free trade with all countries be cultivated; let especially the taxes on
knowledge be repealed, and the lords and squires show that they are
patriots by giving up their pensions and refusing to receive such
enormous salaries; let the wages of the labourer and mechanic be just and
equitable, and let the nobility, clergy, gentry, and religious people do
their duty by teaching and encouraging provident and moral habits; and
then the working men and women of England will be able to enjoy week-day
recreation much more frequently than they would go to the Crystal Palace
on a Sunday: and thus they will be saved the moral deterioration which
must invariably attend on Sabbath desecration, and will have no need to
enslave any of their brethren to minister to their happiness.

It is said we are losing hold of the masses.  But, my Lord, this is a
great delusion.  The fact is we have never as yet laid hold of them as a
body; and we have not done so, because we have never used the proper
means.  And yet, bad as things are, I never walked through any of the
worst haunts of London without being assured by persons of age and
experience, that things are not half so bad as they were twenty or thirty
years ago.  And the improvement is going on.  There are more churches,
chapels, and schools than were in existence in former years, and more
persons attending them; there never was in the whole history of the
country so many of the masses found in the house of God, or under a
course of religious instruction; and the only thing that can prevent this
reformation from going on, is Sabbath labour and the opening such places
as the Crystal Palace on the Lord’s-day.  I have, Sabbath after Sabbath,
preached in Sion Chapel, Whitechapel, to between three and four thousand
persons, most of them operatives from Spitalfields and the neighbourhood,
and yet within a stone’s throw the Rev. Mr. Champneys had Whitechapel
Church thronged; and just at hand other churches and chapels were well
filled.  It is untrue to talk of our losing hold of the masses; they
never attended on the house of God in such numbers as now, nor were they
ever in so favourable a condition to be won by Christian exertion.
Infidelity, trades unions, socialism, halls of sciences, dissipation,
thieving, &c., &c., have all failed, and they are now literally waiting
to be gathered to the fold of Christ.  But if they were not, the man who
would suppose, that opening a Crystal Palace on Sundays would supply
these poor souls with funds to go there, and would catch them all and
make them first-water citizens and Christians, must be a wilder
enthusiast than has ever yet entered the walls of Bedlam or St. Luke’s.
My Lord, there never was a greater hoax than this Sydenham speculation;
and the arguments used in its favour, show us what sanctimonious fanatics
some men will stoop to be if gain can be won by pretended philanthropy
and godliness.

But it is added, that we are to use _moral_ means to win the masses; and
we reply that we propose to employ no other.  We view the Sabbath in its
two aspects as a civil and a religious institution—as a physical and a
spiritual boon to mankind; and we do not wish that the legislature should
enact one law respecting the religious observance of the day; we only ask
the Government to fulfil its political duty by securing to the labourer
that exemption from toil which would injure his health, and of which
wicked men would rob him if the civil power did not interfere.  We are
not so foolish as to suppose that mere rest from labour is religion or
holiness to the Lord; but we do believe that the rest is necessary for
instruction in holiness; and therefore we say to the State, You do your
duty and protect the labourer from toil, and then let the Church use all
proper moral means to influence him to spend his Sabbath in such a manner
as shall conduce to his intellectual, moral, and eternal welfare.  But
our ultra liberals, after becoming quite angry and calling us a number of
ugly names, exclaim, “We depend on the omnipotence of moral means”; and
then turn around to a host of sharpers and say, “You may depend upon our
utmost aid in enabling you to keep these poor fellows from ever having
the least chance of coming within the reach of these moral means!  Work
the slaves as much as you like, work them seven days a week, we will see
that no legislative enactment shall secure them from being slain by
labour, or give them leisure to come to the house of God”!  How infidels,
atheists, the speculators in the nerves and muscles of their fellow man,
and all who view the operative as a mere beast of burden, exult as they
thus behold religious liberty voluntarily stooping to minister at the
altar of Mammon, and victimize the working classes; boasting of moral
force, and labouring hard to put the people beyond the reach of its

It is said, “The rich break the Sabbath, and that many professing
Christians pay little attention to its sacred dictates”; _ergo_, the poor
man must be robbed of his day of rest!  This, my Lord, is the logic of
your friends, as though doubling or trebling a crime could consecrate it.
Every Sabbath breaker, whether monarch, lord, priest, or pretended saint,
is really and truly a Sabbath breaker, and therefore is no Christian; and
as a thousand thefts or murders cannot sanctify one, so thousands or
millions of acts of Sabbath desecration cannot alter God’s law or man’s
physical constitution.  There stands the law engraved on man’s muscles,
nerves, and brain; and written also by the same Divine Physiologist and
Lawgiver in the sacred volume: “Remember the day of rest”—“in it thou
shalt do no manner of work,” &c., are the words; and woe be to him who
dares break this “commandment, or teach men to do so.”

I was surprised to read in several newspapers the reasons which you, my
Lord, assigned for granting a charter for this Sabbath cruelty.  You
stated that you wished to open the Palace for “the HEALTH, COMFORT, and
MORALS of the people.”  I confess that I hardly believed my own eyes, and
I perused several reports of your speech before I gave them credit.  But
let us examine them a little.

I.  Sabbath desecration for “_the health of the people_”: that is, you
propose to shorten the lives of one class of men, for the supposed health
of others!  This is not very humane.  And then, Sabbath desecration
injures rather than promotes health.  This was shown long since in the
Parliamentary evidence on the observance of the Sabbath.  Masters who
employ large bodies of men, know full well how to distinguish the workman
who spends his Sabbath in a moral and religious manner, from those who
pass it in tea gardens, travelling, and dissipation.  The latter are said
to be frequently “not worth their salt” on a Monday; while the former are
healthy, strong, and vigorous for labour, showing that the Sabbath has
had its intended refreshing, re-creating, and quickening influence on
their bodies, minds, and morals.  There is plenty of Sabbath amusement in
Paris and on the Continent; but then many of these poor creatures are
half dead on the morrow, and require a Saint Monday to restore them.  The
bills of mortality also of London, for many years past, without a Crystal
Palace, will bear comparison with any of the great cities abroad.  And
if, my Lord, you will obtain correct statistics of the health and
longevity in the metropolis or the country of those who break and of
those who rigidly observe the Sabbath, you will never say another word
about Sabbath desecration as necessary to health.  I am quite willing to
stake the whole question on the health of the Sabbath School teachers of
London.  With all due deference, you must allow us to believe that the
Great Physiologist who made man’s body and breathed into it an immortal
soul, was not inattentive to our health and life, when he gave the Fourth
Commandment; and certainly viewed the human family with as much
tenderness as the Earl of Derby.

II.  Sabbath desecration for “_the comfort of the people_.”  Of course,
my Lord, you intended to omit the comfort of the men and their wives and
families who are to be employed in the Sydenham speculation.  These poor
creatures will have little comfort on the Sabbath.  The father will be at
work and the family will be at home bereft of its best friend.  And then
as to the others, who are to be amused and comforted, I am prepared to
show that the families of those who keep the Sabbath are ten thousand
times more comfortable than of those who break it.  Let the homes of the
working men in England who observe the Lord’s-day, be examined in
connection with the homes of labourers and artisans on the continent, and
we do not fear what will be the result of such an investigation even in
this single matter of comfort.  Yes, and let Spitalfields be scrutinized,
and a fair report be given of the condition of those who keep, and of
those who break the Sabbath, and, my Lord, the comparison will most
triumphantly prove that there can be a far higher degree of comfort
enjoyed from religion than any Crystal Palace can yield.  There are
hundreds of happy families in Spitalfields and elsewhere, who are happy
because they are pious and keep the Lord’s-day holy.  To them the Sabbath
is a foretaste and earnest of heaven.  When the morning of the day of
rest dawns, they hail it with the words of Newton,

    “How welcome to the saint, when pressed
    With six days’ care and pain and toil,
    Is the reviving day of rest,
    Which hides him from the world awhile!”

Or else they sing, with Watts,

    “Welcome, sweet day of rest,
    That saw the Lord arise,
    Welcome to this reviving breast
    And these rejoicing eyes”!!!

Among these poor people you will find some of the happiest persons upon
the face of the globe, and in their homes ten times more comfort than is
enjoyed by their Sabbath breaking neighbours who have better wages.
Keeping the Sabbath aright invariably leads to domestic comfort and
happiness; while breaking it, as certainly produces misery; and
therefore, my Lord, it was bad domestic, bad political economy; bad
physiology, bad morality and divinity to talk of increasing the comforts
of the people by Sabbath dissipation.  All history, all statistics, all
observation, all nations, all Scripture are against your proposition.

III.  Sabbath desecration for “_The Morality of the People_!!”  This, my
Lord, is certainly the climax of all.  We used to be sent to the “Newgate
Calendar,” and were told that Sabbath breaking led to all sorts of vice,
but now the tables are turned, and working on the Sabbath and the neglect
of divine worship and religious instruction are to bring the Millennium!
You have been, my Lord, in France and especially in Paris on the Sabbath.
There they have all sorts of pleasure gardens, costly trees and shrubs,
museums, picture galleries, crystal fountains, &c., &c., open to all the
public without a fee on the Sabbath.  The Palais Royal; the Palace of
Vendôme; the Palace of the Tuileries, and its gardens; and the Champs
Elysées, with its splendid walks, will perhaps bear comparison with
anything we shall have at Sydenham; and I certainly never expect to see
any exhibition in this country that will vie with the palaces,
waterworks, and illuminations at Versailles and St. Cloud.  These, my
Lord, have been for years thrown open to the people.  France from time
immemorial has been renowned for its popular amusements and Sunday sights
and recreations, and yet these did not save the nation from “_Sans
Culottism_,” “The Reign of Terror,” and all sorts of mad revolutions.
With all these grand sights and the morality of Sabbath breaking, the
French and the Continentals cannot be trusted with scarcely a particle of
liberty, but must be kept in order with the bayonet; while your own
immoral countrymen, who are in danger of becoming savages without a
Crystal Palace, know so well how to take care of themselves that you
trusted the Crystal Palace in their hands without a single soldier to
protect it.  With these facts before us, it sounds rather strange to hear
your Lordship talk of improving the morality of the people by Sabbath
desecration, when it is as clear as any fact of the present time that we
owe our morality, our national contentment, security, progress, and
preeminence, to our observance of the Lord’s-day.  Do away with the
Sabbath, my Lord, and Sans Culottism may yet reign in England, even
though the Sydenham Palace may very far surpass Versailles and St. Cloud.

But if Crystal Palaces have such virtue that a visit once or twice a year
to its gardens will make the vilest of the people moral, I am thinking,
my Lord, that some will begin to imagine that we may soon dispense with
archbishops, bishops, deans, and all the other expensive apparatus of a
State Establishment.  We may be sure that not one in ten of those who go
to Sydenham will think of going to church before they start on the
railway.  Indeed, many argue that the Palace is to be opened to moralize
and spiritualize those who will not at the present time enter our
churches or chapels.  And this said Sydenham is to perform such marvels
in virtue and piety as Joanna Southcott and Mormonites never ventured
even in their wildest flights to anticipate.  And if so, why not plant
gardens, construct fountains, and erect Crystal Palaces generally?  Many
of the clergy and dissenting ministers we are told have miserable
congregations at present: why not make them porters and waiters at
Sydenham, seeing railway men, it is supposed, will produce more morality
in a few hours than some of your clergy and dissenting ministers can call
forth in many years?  And if the plan will work so well in the afternoon,
why not have it in the morning? and then there will be no need of mocking
the Almighty by praying for grace to keep the Fourth Commandment at the
moment that we intend to trample it under our feet.  Depend upon it, my
Lord, there are not a few who will conclude that under such a moral and
religious dispensation as that which the Crystal Palace adventurers have
proposed to bring in, the property of the Church may go to pay off the
national debt.

I may have seemed to treat this matter with levity, but was it possible
to discuss such arguments with seriousness? to talk of gardens, &c.,
producing morality, when history shows us what architecture, pleasure
grounds, and such like inventions did for Egypt, Nineveh, Babylon, Rome,
and other countries, who with all these incentives to piety became the
victims of their own vices?  But I will not enlarge except to say that
you cannot, my Lord, follow a better guide than the Bible, nor confer a
greater boon on the nation than to preserve its Sabbaths from being
violated by labour.  I have now been nearly thirty years at Ebley, and
during that time have preached to a large congregation, most of them poor
people, and have had ample opportunity of seeing the effects of Sabbath
breaking and Sabbath observance.  I am told that our chapel and schools,
as seen from the Great Western Railway, look like a little paradise, and
I could show your Lordship as many happy homes as perhaps any minister in
any agricultural and manufacturing district in the country.  I wish your
Lordship would send a commissioner to look at us, for we could then prove
by visible facts, that “health,” “comfort,” “morality,” intelligence and
pure religion flow, and flow alone, from strict obedience to the Fourth
Commandment.  I had intended to say more to prove that the keeping of the
seventh day is as obligatory now as in the days of Moses, but I will
reserve those arguments for a separate essay, and in the meantime remain,
my Lord,

                    Your Lordship’s obedient Servant,

                                                               B. PARSONS.

            _March_ 10_th_, 1853.

P.S.—I ought, my Lord, to have added above that some persons, from this
expected rage of the poor people to go to the Crystal Palace on Sundays,
and its moralizing influence, will draw an argument in favour of the
Voluntary Principle in religion which your Lordship has so long
condemned.  For if these children of destitution will pay such large sums
to be educated and moralized at Sydenham, what need of State Education,
tithes, or religious endowments?  I should not be surprised to hear it
proposed to have St. Paul’s and Westminster Abbey turned into Crystal
Palaces.  In making these remarks I am only reasoning on the premises
laid down by your Lordship, that the people would be rendered “_moral_”
by going to the Crystal Palace on Sundays.  Bishops, priests, deacons,
and dissenting ministers, it is presumed, have failed; and now dram shops
are to be emptied, and Spitalfields, St. Giles, and Rosemary Lane
regenerated by the Sydenham grounds!  Certainly, my Lord, before this new
experiment is tried, it would be well to inquire, whether the Bible,
Christianity, and Religious Instruction are a failure? whether Sabbath
breaking will be more moralizing than Sabbath observance? whether the
poor people in London will have money enough to go in shoals to Sydenham?
and whether those who will really go will not be the persons who have
ample time and means to go on the week?

                                * * * * *

                                * * * * *

           London: Printed for John Snow, 35, Paternoster Row.

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