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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 1

Appendix. — Letter From Dr. Kalley

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Letter From Dr. Kalley.

My Dear Sin,—On the 25th ult. I received your favour of the 12th, containing a copy of the Resolutions passed at a public Meeting on the previous evening; and I desire to express the gratitude which I feel towards the Right Honourable Gentleman who presided, and towards all those friends who have so kindly interested themselves in the case of an humble individual—a stranger and a prisoner in a foreign land. May He who promised that a cup of cold water given to a disciple in the name of a disciple should not lose its reward, grant to each an abundant blessing out of the infinite stores of His own goodness!

Above all, I desire to thank Him who put it into your hearts to show me this kindness. Your letter and assurances of sympathy and friendly effort on my behalf, coming so unexpectedly and opportunely, were like a refreshing draught of water to the weary, thirsty, and fainting traveller. Nor was my satisfaction merely selfish. While I rejoiced in your letter because of the kindness expressed in it towards me individually, I still more rejoiced in it because of the indication it afforded that Scotchmen still appreciate the inestimable privileges of civil and religious liberty which they enjoy, and gave a hope that, forgetting minor differences, they will unite heart and hand to oppose those destructive errors which seem to be spreading like a mighty flood over our beloved fatherland.

From the expression, "free preaching of the Gospel," in the third Resolution, I am afraid that the idea entertained as to the extent of liberty enjoyed by Protestants in Portugal is not quite correct, and that the actual cause of my imprisonment and reasons of my appeal to our own Government have not been clearly laid before you.

The Constitutional Charter of Portugal declares, that "the Romanist is the religion of the state;" but that "all others are permitted to strangers with their family or private worship," and adds (Art. 145), that "no one shall be persecuted for motives of religion provided he respect that of the State but there is no existing law to define what is meant by respecting the State religion. Not trusting to the continuance of such a Liberal form of Government, Britain has secured to her subjects by treaty the free use and exercise of their religion in their Own Houses and Chapels, without any condition, except that their chapels are not to have steeples and bells; and it is expressly declared that we shall not be in any manner inconvenienced for our religious opinions. In Lisbon, Madeira, and various other places, the British have chapels where Portuguese subjects attend unmolested, and there is no British clergyman proceeded against or imprisoned for preaching in their presence.

Notwithstanding the liberty thus doubly secured, I received a command from the civil governor of this island, dated Kith Murchy to abstain from having any meetings page 18 of Portuguese subjects in my house, and from speaking to them on religious subjects either in my said house or out of it. I respectfully asked on what law he founded his order. He sent no answer, but published a proclamation, denouncing me as a disturber of the peace, and threatening all who might come to my house. Not regarding such an arbitrary and illegal proceeding, I continued my customary worship. Police officers were then posted at the door of my dwelling-house to insult my friends as they went out, which was done most grossly; and having gone to the door with them, I also was, on the public street, in open day, before scores of witnesses, insulted and threatened to be stoned off the island. I complained of this to the Governor through the Consult but the same officers were allowed to return and repeat their insults, and, as many came, notwithstanding the insults, the police were sent earlier, to prevent them from entering. Several were taken to prison merely for seeking to enter my house; and the Rev. Reginald Smith, Rector of Stafford, Dorset; James Abernethy, Esq., Ferryhill, Aberdeen; and others of our countrymen (whose depositions were forwarded to our Government), were present, and heard the officers forbid to enter many patients and persons who came for medicines.

In January, February, and March, about forty witnesses were examined many of them twice, some three times, in order to criminate me. In the whole evidence there is not a single date affixed to anything testified regarding me. Nor do two witnesses agree in any fact and date, except that, on the 22d January, two Portuguese subjects communicated at the Scotch Church, and both of the said communicants declared in the said evidence that I did not invite them to go there. In the whole evidence, there is no scene, mentioned as the place where I performed the religious acts for which I am imprisoned, except my own house. On the 31st March, the whole proceedings being laid before Coelho, the Judge of the district (not as Conservator, though he was then British Judge Conservator), and he declared that the two Portuguese who had communicated should be imprisoned, denying them bail; but that, although my conduct, abusing the liberty granted to strangers, degenerated into crime (delicto), yet there is no law to punish such a crime, and that, especially, on examining the terms of the treaty with Great Britain, it appeared that it was not within the limits of judicial power to take cognisance of the matter.

The Deputy and Public Prosecutor appealed against the Judge's opinion in my favour. An appeal against the sentence of a Portuguese Judge should, when ready, be laid before the Judge, and he has then an opportunity of changing or even reversing his sentence, if he see fit. Before, however, the said appeal was ready, the Judge Coelho went to Lisbon. In his absence, there being no Judge of the district, the appeal was laid before the Juiz Ordinario—who has no power to give any sentence in any criminal case, and whose duties refer chiefly to the interests of Portuguese orphans—and he, though destitute of authority, and though for months he had most grossly abused me in the newspaper of which he is editor, took upon himself to reverse the sentence of his superior Judge, and then gave a sentence against me, requiring me to be imprisoned, and denied bail. Before this illegal sentence was executed, the Judge Coelho had returned from Lisbon, and an order had also come to the Deputy of the Public Prosecutor directing what should be done with respect to the acts incompetently performed by the Juiz Ordinario. In consequence of this order, all the proceedings carried on by the Juiz Ordinario, in criminal cases affecting Portuguese subjects, were annulled, and he was found liable to pay the costs, because he had exceeded his powers, and was incompetent to act in criminal cases. Notwithstanding of this order, Coelho, in virtue of the sentence of the Juiz Ordinario, issued a warrant for my imprisonment, and resigned it as Conservator, Though paid by the British Government for the protection of British interests, he, in virtue of what he knew to be altogether an incompetent and illegal sentence, issued a warrant against a page 19 British subject. Consequently, on the 26th of July, I was seized in my hospital amidst the tears of the poor and sick, and removed from the bosom of my family to the public prison, though my dear wife was so ill that I had required to bleed and blister her two days before. And I have now been upwards of ten weeks in jail, absolutely without any legal sentence against me; for the sentence of a Juiz Ordinario, in the case of a British subject, has no more legal authority than the sentence of the session-cleric of a parish would have in Scotland. It has none even in the case of Portuguese subjects; and I am confident that throughout the Portuguese dominions there is not at present any individual in prison on the sentence of a Juiz Ordinario, except one, and he is a British subject! whose only crime, nay, whose only accusation is, that he has exercised his religion in his own house! and while by treaty it is conceded that British subjects may be Protestants in their own houses and chapels; and what would a Protestant be without his protest against the abominations of Romish idolatry? Even if I had, within my own house, preached in direct strong condemnation of all the errors of Popery, there could be no ground for imprisoning me, because the treaty expressly conveys liberty to follow our own religion in our own houses. There is, however, hardly a sentence testified against me which is not defended by their own Church, because my rule has always been rather to preach truth than to attack error; for the people are most grossly ignorant of the first principles of Divine truth.

It might have been supposed that the Judges, knowing me to be imprisoned in a manner so grossly irregular, and in opposition to existing treaties, would at least hare accepted bail, but instead of that, the individual who had in his hands the aforesaid order from Lisbon respecting the incompetent acts of the Juiz Ordinario, and who, as Deputy of the Public Prosecutor, had petitioned to have a copy of it added to my process, as applicable to it, did actually urge the Judge to deny me bail, upon the ground (as declared in a paper written by his own hand and stamped, now in my desk) that the crimes of which 1 am accused are punishable with death. I have consequently been denial bail, although I offered the best on the island, and have been confined in the heart of the town during such weather as drives all our countrymen to seek a cooler climate. My practice has been, as far as my persecutors could effect it, destroyed. My family has been distressed and harassed; and 1 have been involved in the expenses and horrors of a Portuguese criminal process. I say horrors, for the laws quoted against me are those of the. Inquisition; the newspaper of the Juiz Ordinario advocates having recourse to the gallows and the stake; and the Judges seem utterly void of all idea of truth, justice, humanity, and even common sense.

Being imprisoned unjustly, illegally, against the faith of treaties, and by the sentence of an individual without authority, I appealed to our Consul, and received for answer, "that the law must take, its course." I appealed to the Conservator? for him to order me to be set at liberty, as incompetently imprisoned, but he answered that he could not order any one to be set at liberty who wa3 imprisoned by another jurisdiction. I appealed also to the Relacas, or Supreme Tribunal, in Lisbon. When my appeal was ready, it had (as already mentioned) to go before the Judge here for the sentence to be confirmed or reversed. But it was neither. Coelho had formerly acted as substitute for Negrāō. The latter being now, however, returned from Portugal, the appeal was to him. Knowing that he dared not maintain that the Juiz Ordinario had authority to imprison me—for this might occasion the loss of his Conservatorship, worth 400 dollars per annum—while he was afraid to offend his own Government by annulling the Ordinario's sentence—he was very awkwardly situated. Besides the Delegado do Procurador Regis (Deputy Attorney-General) and Judgo, there is another person with whom, in such cases, there is much to do; it is the Escrivāō, or writer, When the parts of a process page 20 required for an appeal or aggravo, are copied, it is the duty of the Escrivāō to lay it before the appellant for twenty-four hours—then twenty-four before the Deputy-Attorney-General, to answer the remarks of appellant—and, lastly, twenty-four hours before the Judge, for him to give his decision. On the 1st September my aggravo was laid before the Deputy-Attorney-General; on the 2d (Saturday) it was duly returned to the Escrivāō; but the latter, being a creature of the Judges, and nominated by him, kept my aggravo up till Tuesday morning, having himself been with the Judge almost all Monday. On Tuesday morning, Negrāō, the Judge, declared himself ill, and sent his rod of office to Coelho, his colleague, Judge of the next district, who acts as substitute for this on occasion. Although the law, that the sentence of the Judge be given at the expiration of his twenty-four hours, is for the protection of the appellant against unnecessary delay; although it was the fault of the Escrivāō who had not presented the aggravo in time; and although all that was required was, to say that a Juiz Ordinario cannot reverse the sentence of his superior judge, and order the imprisonment of a British subject; although an order had come from Lisbon, in consequence of which the acts of the said Ordinario were annulled in another case, and he obliged to pay costs; yet the Judge Coelho sent the matter to Lisbon to be decided; thus leaving me in prison for an uncertain period, probably months, before an answer returns.

I appealed, also, against the denial of bail. Mascarenhas, the deputy of the Attorney-General, who had said that the crimes I am accused of are punishable with death, marked almost the whole of the process to be copied for the appeal, in order to cause as much delay and expense as possible; for in everything they strive to annoy. It is now, however, before the Judge, and to-morrow he must give an answer either confirming his denial of bail or reversing it. It is most probable that he will still deny it (see P.S.), and that it will be necessary to send this also to Lisbon, in order to decide whether a British subject, imprisoned for the exercise of his religion within his own house, can be liberated on bail!

The aforesaid Mascarenhas, knowing the illegality of the whole proceedings, and that they must be annulled in Lisbon, has already commenced another process, repeating the same accusations, and adding the charge of sedition, founded on the fact that I admitted Portuguese subjects into my house, and spoke about religion while they were present, after the Governor had ordered me to desist. With reference to this, a solitary fact will suffice to show the absurdity of the charge. A gentleman of property, and possessed of a clear judgment, knowing the unconstitutional nature of the Governor's order, came to my house in despite of it, and told the police-officers at my door that "he, denying that the Governor had any right to prohibit him from going to any house, would enter." The police took down his name, and a process was commenced against him; but the delegate of the Attorney-General, on 22d March, gave the following opinion:—"If the intimations had been made (by the police) in virtue of the law, there would be a misdemeanour. There is however, no law which can prohibit one citizen from going to the house of another. On the contrary, this is a power which springs from civil liberty, which cannot be taken away or restrained by the mere fear of authority; therefore I do not proceed." And the Judge gave the following decision:—"In view of the opinion of the public prosecutor, there is no room for a criminal process." Notwithstanding this, and another of similar import (of which documents are forwarded to our Government), the police continued to be posted at my door, and to forbid all and every Portuguese to enter. And my allowing them to enter is the ground of a grave charge of sedition! They actually forbade a person who had been invited to dine with us!

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Some papers, calling the friends of Dr. Kalley to rise and rescue him from the fangs of his enemies, &c., universally believed to be made and affixed to the walls by my persecutors, are added to the process against me. I was in jail when they appeared. It was proposed by the said Mascarenhas to add also that part of the Tract Society's Report for 1842, which refers to Portugal and Portuguese islands. And I am informed, that yesterday the Judge Negrāō found something else to add to the same process. It is as follows—The Bishop published a pastoral letter last Sabbath, declaring Portuguese Bibles published in England anathematized, and that he regarded as excommunicated all who should read or hear them read, and calling on the authorities to assist him in picking them up, and excluding them and our tracts from all schools. Accordingly, Negrāō, our worthy Judge Conservator of British rights, came to the jail yesterday to search for Portuguese Bibles and Testaments, printed in England. He found two—and took them or stole them—for he took them without any law or right, and called witnesses to prove that they were found in jail; that, therefore, these excommunicated books must have come from me, and it is said that this is to be added to the process against me! One of the prisoners who had a Testament was an old soldier, who came to learn to read in my school, and having spoken somewhat freely about images, he was picked up, and being accused of desertion, he produced a proof that he was no deserter. The document was taken from him and kept, and he is in jail. It seems that our Bibles are so vile that they would corrupt Portuguese thieves, &c., though the last Vicar-General sent a copy of the same edition to each priest in order to be read by them in their churches.

The two communicants have been in hiding since the 1st of April. The aunt of one of them has been in jail since the middle of January, for having said that the Virgin Mary was a woman like others, and that her images should not be adored! These were imprisoned a fortnight each for not going to the Vicar when called by him to swear against me. And the Judge who condemned them confessed in my house that there was no law for this, but the priest urged it much.

When I commenced this letter I was labouring under a severe cold. It got so bad that I was confined to bed yesterday; and my head is still so stuffed and confused by it that this must serve for my excuse, if you find things stated in a confused or unintelligible manner. You will, perhaps, be surprised that, under such circumstances, I should have written at such length. I thought it my duty, however, to state the facts, and have endeavoured to condense them, though my endeavours seem not to have had very good success.

No doubt our God has in wisdom permitted all that has occurred. He, and not his enemies, rule: and all He does He does wisely. Man would murmur at what he cannot understand, but Jehovah bids be still, and know that He is God; and it becomes us to be still, and only reply, Thy will be done. Father, glorify Thy name. That He may enable His servants in Scotland, England, and throughout the world, to know His will, and be faithful in doing it, and that His blessing may rest upon us all, is the sincere prayer of yours most truly,

Robert R. Kalley.

P.S.—The Judge has acted as I supposed, and now, unless England act energetically, I must lie in jail for months—it may be, years. It cannot be that she will let one of her sons rot in a foreign jail for acts sanctioned by treaty, and without any legal sentence—without even the form of justice.

I have further to add, that the administrator of the Camara went to-day to a page 22 school, supported chiefly by English charity, and took away thirty Bibles!! He was accompanied by five officials of the Town Council. The administrator is he in whose house the Rev. A. Moody Stuart lived last year, i.e., as tenant. When I called on him he had a large Bible on his own drawing-room table.

I should have mentioned that I have the signatures of upwards of six hundred Mudeirenses, declaring that, though they heard me read and explain the Scriptures, they never heard anything against the religion of the State, and upwards of sixty of the most wealthy and respectable in Madeira declare that they regard the proceedings against me as either the result of ignorance from not understanding, or of malice for certain ends. Their declaration is written, signed by themselves, and stamped as a formal document.

Funchal, Madeira, October 3, 1843.