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“ Render therefore unto Cæsar, the things which are Cæsar's; and unto
“My kingdom is not of this world : if my kingdom were of this world,
A VARIETY OF TRACTS, ON MORAL AND RELIGIOUS SUBJECTS, ARE
FOR SALE AT THE BOOK-STORES OF SAMUEL WOOD AND SONS,
A LETTER, &c.
"I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness."
SIRE, When a subject presumes publicly to address his sovereign, on a matter which be deems of the very highest importance to the welfare and happiness of mankind, he cannot, if his motives are pure, help feeling much anxiety to acquit himself in a way that may best promote his views; that may give no offence to the sovereign he addresses ; and that may, as much as possible, disarın public censure.
This, Sire, is my case : and when I inform Your Majesty that the purport of this letter is to announce my resignation of the commission and rank I hold in Your Majesty's Naval Service, from a conviction that my retaining them is incompatible with my Christian profession, it will be obvious that my situation, if not one of great difficulty, is, at least, one of peculiar delicacy. It will be equally obvious, that it is no easy matter for me to avoid giving offence, or even to escape censure.
The difficulties of my situation are increased by the consideration that I have no precedent for my guidance, either as to the letter I am addressing to Your Majesty, or to the important and unusual act to which this letter relates. In both cases I am acting, and I feel the weighty responsibility, solely on my own judgment, and without the aid of precedent or example. This consideration ought to make me both humble and circumspect; that I may neither do nor say any thing of
which I may hereafter see just cause to repent. I trust, Sire, this will not be my case; for on the subject of these pages I have not thought lightly or casually, but seriously and intensely; and this not merely during a week, a month, or even a year, but almost daily for the last tbree years. After endeavouring to gain the best information on a subject continually becoming more interesting to me; and after imploring the guidance of that Being who alone can direct the hearts of men to what is right; my, scruples concerning the accordancy of the military profession with the precepts of the Christian religion have ended in the conviction, that the du. ties of this profession are altogether irreconcilable with the plain fundamental principles of our holy religion.
Considering the subject matter of this letter, and the profession of its writer, it might be deemed more respectful to Your Majesty, as well as to the distinguished persons who compose the Board of Admiralty, that I should, according to professional etiquette, address myself to them, through their Secretary. After due consideration, it appears necessary for me, on the present occasion, to depart from this custom. Whether, Sire, I regard Your Majesty as the fountain of military rank and honour, or as the Supreme Head of the Church of Cbrist in the nation you govern, but more especially as the latter, 1 feel it to be my duty to address these pages to Your Majesty, and I trust that my boldness, in doing so, will not be considered as a departure from Christian bumility, or from the deference and duty justly required from a subject to bis sovereign.
When a man, by many years of assiduity and active exertion; bas gained a highly respectable rank in his profession; when, indeed, he has nearly arrived at the goal of his wishes, it may be expected that he will