I have read over the Specimen of the Principles concerning Religion and Morality, said to be maintained in a book lately published, entitled, A Treatise of Human Nature; being an attempt to introduce the experimental method of reasoning into moral subjects. I have also read over what is called the Sum of the Charge. Which papers, as you inform me, have been industriously spread about, and were put into your hands some few days ago.
I was persuaded that the clamour of scepticism, atheism, etc., had been so often employed by the worst of men against the best, that it had now lost all its influence; and should never have thought of making any remarks on these maimed excerpts, if you had not laid your commands on me, as a piece of common justice to the author, and for undeceiving some well-meaning people, on whom it seems the enormous charge has made impression.
I shall insert the accusation at full length, and then go regularly through what is called the Sum of the Charge; because it is intended, I suppose, to contain the substance of the whole. I shall also take notice of the Specimen as I go along.
Specimen of the Principles concerning Religion and Morality, etc.
The author puts on his title-page (Vol. 1) a passage of Tacitus to this purpose: ‘Rare happiness of our times, that you may think as you will, and speak as you think.