known, yet found no difference but in their sev 275 eral capacities; all were alike wicked to the utmost of their power. In pride, contention, avarice, cruelty and revenge, the reverend priesthood were my unerring guides. From suburb-magistrates, who live by ruined reputations,1 as the unhospitable na 280 tives of Cornwall do by shipwrecks,2 I learned that to charge my innocent neighbors with my crimes, was to merit their protection; for to screen the guilty is the less scandalous when many are suspected, and detraction, like darkness and death, black 285 ens all objects and levels all distinction. Such are your venal magistrates, who favor none but such as, by their office, they are sworn to punish. With them, not to be guilty is the worst of crimes, and large fees privately paid are every needful 290 virtue.
THOR. Your practice has sufficiently discovered your contempt of laws, both human and divine; no wonder then that you should hate the officers of both. 295
MILL. I know you and I hate you all. I expect no mercy and I ask for none; I followed my inclinations, and that the best of you do every day. All actions seem alike natural and indifferent to man and beast, who devour, or are devoured, as 300 they meet with others weaker or stronger than themselves.
THOR. What pity it is, a mind so comprehensive, daring, and inquisitive, should be a stranger to religion's sweet and powerful charms! 305
MILL. I am not fool enough to be an atheist, though I have known enough of men's hypocrisy to make a thousand simple women so. Whatever religion is in itself, as practised by mankind it has caused the evils you say it was designed to cure. 310
War, plague, and famine, has not destroyed so many of the human race as this pretended piety has done, and with such barbarous cruelty, as if the only way to honor heaven were to turn the present world into hell. 315
THOR. Truth is truth, though from an enemy and spoke in malice. You bloody, blind, and superstitious bigots, how will you answer this?
MILL. What are your laws, of which you make your boast, but the fool's wisdom and the 320 coward's valor -- the instrument and screen of all your villainies, by which you punish in others what you act yourselves, or would have acted had you been in their circumstances? The judge who condemns the poor man for being a thief had been 325 a thief himself had he been poor. Thus you go on deceiving and being deceived, harassing, plaguing, and destroying one another: but women are your universal prey.
Women, by whom you are, the source of joy, 330 With cruel arts you labor to destroy;
A thousand ways our ruin you pursue,
Yet blame in us those arts first taught by you.
O may, from hence, each violated maid,
By flatt'ring, faithless, barb'rous man betrayed, 335 When robbed of innocence and virgin fame, From your destruction raise a nobler name;
To right their sex's wrongs devote their mind,
And future Millwoods prove, to plague mankind!
A room in a prison.
Enter THOROWGOOD, BLUNT and LUCY.
THOR. I have recommended to Barnwell a reverend divine, whose judgment and integrity I am well acquainted with: nor has Millwood been neglected, but she, unhappy woman, still obstinate, refuses his assistance. 5
LUCY. This pious charity to the afflicted well becomes your character; yet pardon me, sir, if I wonder you were not at their trial.
THOR. I knew it was impossible to save him, and I and my family bear so great apart in his distress, 10 that to have been present would but have aggravated our sorrows without relieving his.
BLUNT. It was mournful, indeed. Barnwell's youth and modest deportment, as he passed, drew tears from every eye. When placed at the bar 15 and arraigned before the reverend judges, with many tears and interrupting sobs he confessed and aggravated his offences, without accusing or once reflecting on Millwood, the shameless author of his ruin -- who, dauntless and unconcerned, stood by his 20 side, viewing with visible pride and contempt the vast assembly, who all with sympathizing sorrow wept for the wretched youth. Millwood, when called upon to answer, loudly insisted upon her innocence, and made an artful and a bold defence; 25 but, finding all in vain, the impartial jury and the____________________