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INTRODUCTION

TO THE

DEFENCE

OF

ABNER KNÉ ELAND,

CHARGED WITH

BLASPHEMY;

BEFORE THE

MUNICIPAL COURT, IN BOSTON, MASS.

AT THE JANUARY TERM, IN 1834.

BY ABNER KNEELAND,

THE DEFENDANT.

BOSTON:

PRINTED FOR THE PUBLISHER.

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Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1834,

By ABNER KNEELAND, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts.

INTRODUCTION.

WRITTEN BY THE ACCUSED, BEFORE THE TRIAL.

As the following trial is to be published, and not knowing yet how it will terminate,-whether I shall be condemned as a blasphemer, or acquitted as an honest man,—it is but an act of justice I owe to myself, as well as to the public, to state the whole amount of my offending. To do which, I must republish the articles, of which, the extracts set up in the indictment constitute but a very small part.

To know the full bearing and import of any paragraph, we must take it in connection with the whole of the article in which it is found. Nothing perhaps would be more disgusting to most people, who had not been accustomed to behold such an object, than a human eye, when separated from the other features of the face, where it formed a just symmetry, though it should be taken from the countenance of the most beautiful female that ever graced the most brilliant assembly of ladies. So you may often select a paragraph from a well written article, and take it away from the whole piece, and hold it up to view in its naked deformity, which will appear very disgusting indeed; when the same paragraph, viewed in connection with the whole article, will be considered as very passable, to say the least. This is said in extenuation, though not intended as a justification, of the first article in the indictment; or of the first paragraph of the article, “ No. 3. On Prejudice.” I say not as a justification, for I do not approve of the paragraph myself; it is an offence against taste and manners; but the term used is a scientific term, not the vulgar term used in the bible to express the idea, (see Deut. xxiii. 1,) and therefore is no more obscene than any, and every medical work, that treats on the genital organs; much less can I perceive any thing blasphemous in it. But let it be what it may, I am as innocent of writing or publishing it, except it be by some technicality or quibble of the law, as though it had never been written; for I never saw it, to my knowledge or belief, till I heard of it through the medium of some of my own subscribers who found fault with it; of course, not till several days after it was printed in the Investi

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