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Robert G. Ingersoll 













Introduction by Frederick Douglass ("Abou Ben Adhem") Decis 
ion of the United States Supreme Court pronouncing the Civil Rights 
Act Unconstitutional Limitations of Judges Illusion Destroyed by 
the Decision in the Dred Scott Case Mistake of Our Fathers in adopt 
ing the Common Law of England The i3th Amendment to the Con 
stitution Quoted The Clause of the Constitution upholding Slavery 
Effect of this Clause Definitions of a State by Justice Wilson and 
Chief Justice Chase Effect of the Thirteenth Amendment Justice 
Field on Involuntary Servitude Civil Rights Act Quoted Definition 
of the Word Servitude by the Supreme Court Obvious Purpose of 
the Amendment Justice Miller on the i4th Amendment Citizens 
Created by this Amendment Opinion of Justice Field Rights and 
Immunities guaranteed by the Constitution Opinion delivered by 
Chief-Justice Waite Further Opinions of Courts on the question of 
Citizenship Effect of the i3th, I4th and I5th Amendments "Cor 
rective" Legislation by Congress Denial of equal "Social" Privi 
leges Is a State responsible for the Action of its Agent when acting 
contrary to Law? The Word "State" must include the People of 
the State as well as the Officers of the State The Louisiana Civil 
Rights Law, and a Case tried under it Uniformity of Duties essential 
to the Carrier Congress left Powerless to protect Rights conferred 
by the Constitution Definition of " Appropriate Legislation " Prop 
ositions laid down regarding the Sovereignty of the State, the powers 
of the General Government, etc. A Tribute to Justice Harlan A 
Denial that Property exists by Virtue of Law Civil Rights not a Ques 
tion of Social Equality Considerations upon which Social Equality 
depends Liberty not a Question of Social Equality The Superior 
Man Inconsistencies of the Past No Reason why we should Hate the 
Colored People The Issues that are upon Us. . . . 1-52 


Report of the Case from the New York Times (note) The 
Right to express Opinions Attempts to Rule the Minds of Men 
by Force Liberty the Greatest Good Intellectual Hospitality De 
fined When the Catholic Church had Power Advent of the 
.Protestants The Puritans, Quakers, Unitarians, Universalists 
What is Blasphemy ? Why this Trial should not have Taken Place 

(v) VOL. xi. 


Argument cannot be put in Jail The Constitution of New Jersey 
A higher Law than Men can Make The Blasphemy Statute Quoted 
and Discussed Is the Statute Constitutional ? The Harm dune by 
Blasphemy Laws The Meaning of this Persecution Religions are 
Ephemeral Let us judge each other by our Actions Men who have 
braved Public Opinion should be Honored The Blasphemy Law if 
enforced would rob the World of the Results of Scientific Research 
It declares the Great Men of to-day to be Criminals The Indictment 
Read and Commented upon Laws that go to Sleep Obsolete 
Dogmas the Denial of which was once punished by Death Blasphemy 
Characterized On the Argument that Blasphemy Endangers the 
Public Peace A Definition of real Blasphemy Trials for Blasphemy 
in England The case of Abner Kneeland True Worship, Prayer, 
and Religion What is Holy and Sacred What is Claimed in this 
Case For the Honor of the State The word Liberty Result of the 
Trial (note). 55-H7 


The Feudal System Office and Purpose of our Constitution 
Which God shall we Select? The Existence of any God a Matter of 
Opinion What is entailed by a Recognition of a God in the Con 
stitution Can the Infinite be Flattered with a Constitutional Amend 
ment ? This government is Secular The Government of God a 
Failure The Difference between the Theological and the Secular 
Spirit A Nation neither Christian nor Infidel -The Priest no longer 
a Necessity Progress of Science and the Development of the Mind. 



On God in the Constitution Why the Constitutional Convention 
ignored the Question of Religion The Fathers Misrepresented 
Reasons why the Attributes of God should not form an Organic 
Part of the Law of the Land The Effect of a Clause Recognizing 
God 137-140 


The Three Pests of a Community I. Forms of Punishment and 
Torture More Crimes Committed than Prevented by Governments 
II. Are not Vices transmitted by Nature? III. Is it Possible for all 
People to be Honest? Children of Vice as the natural Product of 
Society Statistics : the Relation between Insanity, Pauperism, and 
Crime IV. The Martyrs of Vice Franklin's Interest in the Treat 
ment of Prisoners V. Kindness as a Remedy Condition of the 
Discharged Prisoner VI. Compensation for Convicts VII. Pro 
fessional Criminals Shall the Nation take Life ? Influence of Public 
Executions on the Spectators Lynchers for the Most Part Criminals 
at Heart VIII. The Poverty of the Many a perpetual Menace 
Limitations of Land-holding. IX. Defective Education by our 
Schools Hands should be educated as well as Head Conduct 

VOL. . 


improved by a clearer Perception of Consequences X. The Disci 
pline of the average Prison Hardening and Degrading While Soci 
ety cringes before Great Thieves there will be Little Ones to fill the 
Jails XI. Our Ignorance Should make us Hesitate, . 143-166 


On Christian and Chinese worship Report of the Select Committee 
on Chinese Immigration The only true God as contrasted with Joss 
Sacrifices to the " Living God" Messrs. Wright, Dickey, O'Con 
nor and Murch on the " Religious System " of the American Union 
How to prove that Christians are better than Heathens Injustice 
in the Name of God An honest Merchant the best Missionary A 
Few Extracts from Confucius The Report proves that the Wise 
Men of China who predicted that Christians could not be Trusted 
were not only Philosophers but Prophets, .... 169-177 


A New Party and its Purpose The Classes that Exist in every 
Country Effect of Education on the Common People Wants In 
creased by Intelligence The Dream of 1776 The Monopolist and 
the Competitor The War between the Gould and Mackay Cables 
Competition between Monopolies All Advance in Legislation made 
by Repealing Laws Wages and Values not to be fixed by Law 
Men and Machines The Specific of the Capitalist : Economy The 
poor Man and Woman devoured by their Fellow-men Socialism one 
of the Worst Possible forms of Slavery Liberty not to be exchanged 
for Comfort Will the Workers always give their Earnings for the 
Useless? Priests, Successful Frauds, and Robed Impostors, 181-199 


The Origin of Man's Thoughts The imaginative Man " Medicinal 
View" of Poetry Rhyme and Religion The theological Poets and 
their Purpose in Writing Moral Poets and their ' ' Unwelcome Truths ' ' 
The really Passionate are the Virtuous Difference between the Nude 
and the Naked Morality the Melody of Conduct The inculcation of 
Moral Lessons not contemplated by Artists or great Novelists Mis 
taken Reformers Art not a Sermon Language a Multitude of Pic 
tures Great Pictures and Great Statues painted and chiseled with 
Words Mediocrity moral from a Necessity which it calls Virtue Why 
Art Civilizes The Nude The Venus de Milo This is Art, 203-211 


The Way in which Theological Seminaries were Endowed Re 
ligious Guide-boards Vast Interests interwoven with Creeds Pre 
tensions of Christianity Kepler's Discovery of his Three Great Laws 
Equivocations and Evasions of the Church Nature's Testimony 
against the Bible The Age of Man on the Earth " Inspired" Morality 
of the Bible Miracles Christian Dogmas What the church has 
been Compelled to Abandon The Appeal to Epithets, Hatred and 
Punishment "Spirituality" the last Resource of the Orthodox 
What is it to be Spiritual? Two Questions for the Defenders of 

Orthodox Creeds, 215-233 

VOL. xi. 



Part I. Inharmony of Nature and the Lot of Man with the Goodness 
and Wisdom of a supposed Deity Why a Creator is Imagined Diffi 
culty of the Act of Creation Belief in Supernatural Beings Belief and 
Worship among Savages Questions of Origin and Destiny Progress 
impossible without Change of Belief Circumstances Determining Be 
lief How may the True Religion be Ascertained? Prosperity of Na 
tions nor Virtue of Individuals Dependent on Religions or Gods Unin 
spired Books Superior Part II. The Christian Religion Credulity 
Miracles cannot be Established Effect of Testimony Miraculous 
Qualities of all Religions Theists and Naturalists The Miracle of In 
spiration How can the alleged Fact of Inspiration be Established ? 
God's work and Man's Rewards for Falsehood offered by the 
Church 237-259 


Statement by the Principal of King's College On the Irrelevancy 
of a Lack of Scientific Knowledge Difference between the Agnostic 
and the Christian not in Knowledge but in Credulity The real name 
of an Agnostic said to be " Infidel" What an Infidel is " Unpleas 
ant" significance of the Word Belief in Christ " Our Lord and his 
Apostles " possibly Honest Men Their Character not Involved 
Possession by evil spirits Professor Huxley's Candor and Clearness 
The splendid Dream of Auguste Conite Statement of the Positive 
Philosophy Huxley and Harrison, 263-279 


His Rearing and his Anticipated Biography The complex Char 
acter of the Christ of the Gospels Regarded as a Man by Renan 
The Sin against the Holy Ghost Renan on the GospelsNo Evi 
dence that they were written by the Men whose Names they Bear 
Written long after the Events they Describe- -Metaphysics of the 
Church found in the Gospel of John Not Apparent why Four Gos 
pels should have been Written Regarded as legendary Biographies 
In "flagrant contradiction one with another" The Divine Origin 
of Christ an After-growth Improbable that he intended to form a 
Church Renan's Limitations Hebrew Scholarship His " People of 
Israel " His Banter and Blasphemy, . . . . 283-301 


Tolstoy's Belief and Philosophy His Asceticism His View of 
Human Love Purpose of "The Kreutzer Sonata" Profound Dif 
ference between the Love of Men and that of Women Tolstoy can 
not now found a Religion, but may create the Necessity for another 
Asylum The Emotions The Curious Opinion Dried Apples have of 
Fruit upon the Tree Impracticability of selling All and giving to the 
Poor Love and Obedience Unhappiness in the Marriage Relation 
not the fault of Marriage, . . , . . , , . 305-318 

VOL. xi. 



Life by Moncure D. Conway Early Advocacy of Reforms against 
Dueling and Cruelty to Animals The First to write "The United 
States of America" Washington's Sentiment against Separation 
from Great Britain Paine's Thoughts in the Declaration of Independ 
ence Author of the first Proclamation of Emancipation in America 
Establishment of a Fund for the Relief of the Army His " Farewell 
Address" The "Rights of Man "Elected to the French Con 
vention Efforts to save the Life of the King His Thoughts on 
Religion Arrested The " Age of Reason " and the Weapons it has 
furnished "Advanced Theologians " Neglect by Gouverneur Morris 
and Washington James Monroe's letter to Paine and to the Com 
mittee of General Safety The vaunted Religious Liberty of Colonial 
Maryland Orthodox Christianity at the Beginning of the igth Cen 
tury New Definitions of God The Funeral of Paine, . 321-339 


I. Mr. A., the Professional Philanthropist, who established a Col 
ony for the Enslavement of the Poor who could not take care of 
themselves, amassed a large Fortune thereby, built several churches, 
and earned the Epitaph, "He was the Providence of the Poor" II. 
Mr. B., the Manufacturer, who enriched himself by taking Advantage 
of the Necessities of the Poor, paid the lowest Rate of Wages, con 
sidered himself one of God's Stewards, endowed the "B Asylum" 
and the " B College," never lost a Dollar, and of whom it was re 
corded, " He Lived for Others "III. Mr. C., who divided his Profits 
with the People who had earned it, established no Public Institutions, 
suppressed Nobody ; and those who have worked for him said, " He 
allowed Others to live for Themselves," .... 343*353 


Trampling on the Rights of Inferiors Rise of the Irish and Ger 
mans to Power The Burlingame Treaty Character of Chinese 
Laborers Their Enemies in the Pacific States Violation of Treaties 
The Geary Law The Chinese Hated for their Virtues More 
Piety than Principle among the People's Representatives Shall we 
go back to Barbarism ? 357-365 


What the Educated Man Knows Necessity of finding out the Facts 
of Nature " Scholars " not always Educated Men ; from necessaries 
to luxuries ; who may be called educated ; mental misers ; the first 
duty of man ; university education not necessary to usefulness, no 
advantage in learning useless facts, 369-371 


Would have the Kings and Emperors resign, the Nobility drop 

their Titles, the Professors agree to teach only What they Know, the 

^Politicians changed to Statesmen, the Editors print only the Truth 

'Would like to see Drunkenness and Prohibition abolished, Corporal 

Punishment done away with, and the whole World free, . 375-376 

VOL, xi. 



The Fool Friend believes every Story against you, never denies a 
Lie unless it is in your Favor, regards your Reputation as Common 
Prey, forgets his Principles to gratify your Enemies, and is so friendly 
that you cannot Kick him, 379-380 


Nature tells a different Story to all Eyes and Ears Horace Greeley 
and the Big Trees The Man who " always did like rolling land " 
What the Snow looked like to the German Shakespeare's different 
Story for each Reader As with Nature so with the Bible, 383-387 


People who live by Lying A Case in point H. Hodson Rugg's 
Account of the Conversion of Ingersoll and 5,000 of his Followers 
The "Identity of Lost Israel with the British Nation" Old False 
hoods about Infidels The New York Observer and Thomas Paine 
A Rascally English Editor -The Charge that Ingersoll's Son had 
been Converted The Fecundity of Falsehood, . . 391-395 


The Editor should not narrow his Horizon so that he can see only 
One Thing To know the Defects of the Bible is but the Beginning of 
Wisdom The Liberal Paper should not discuss Theological Ques 
tions Alone A Column for Children -Candor and Kindness Noth 
ing should be Asserted that is not Known Above All, teach the 
Absolute Freedom of the Mind, ..... 399-401 


The religion of Humanity ; what it Embraces and what it Advo 
catesA Protest against Ecclesiastical Tyranny Believes in Building 
a Home here Means Food and Fireside The Right to express your 
Thought Its advice to every Human Being A Religion without 
Mysteries, Miracles, or Persecutions, .... 405-406 


Religion unsoftened by Infidelity The Orthodox Minister whose 
Wife has a Heart Honesty of Opinion not a Mitigating Circumstance 
Repulsiveness of an Orthodox Life John Ward an Object of Pity 
Lyndall of the " African Farm "The Story of the Hunter Death 
of Waldo Women the Caryatides of the Church Attitude of Chris 
tianity toward other Religions Egotism of the ancient Jews, 409-418 


All Articles appearing in a newspaper should be Signed by the 
Writer The Law if changed should throw greater Safeguards around 
the Reputation of the Citizen Pains should be taken to give Promi 
nence to Retractions The Libel Laws like a Bayonet in War, 419-420 

VOL. xi. 



Mr. Newton not Regarded as a Sceptic New Meanings given to 
Old Words The vanishing Picture of Hell The Atonement 
Confidence being Lost in the Morality of the Gospel Exclusiveness 
of the Churches The Hope of Immortality and Belief in God have 
Nothing to do with Real Religion Special Providence a Mistake, 



The Day regarded as a Holiday A Festival far older than Chris 
tianity Relics of Sun-worship in Christian Ceremonies Christianity 
furnished new Steam for an old Engine Pagan Festivals correspond 
to Ours Why Holidays are Popular They must be for the Benefit 
of the People, 431-433 


The Object of Freethought what the Religionist calls "Affirma 
tive and Positive " The Positive Side of Freethought Constructive 
Work of Christianity, 437-44* 


He will be in Favor of universal Liberty, neither Master nor Slave ; 
of Equality and Education ; will develop in the Direction of the 
Beautiful ; will believe only in the Religion of this World His 
Motto Will not endeavor to change the Mind of the " Infinite " 
Will have no Bells or Censers Will be satisfied that the Supernatural 
does not exist Will be Self-poised, Independent, Candid and Free, 


The Working People should be protected by Law Life of no par 
ticular Importance to the Man who gets up before Daylight and 
works till after Dark A Revolution probable in the Relations be 
tween Labor and Capital Working People becoming Educated and 
more Independent The Government can Aid by means of Good 
Laws Women the worst Paid There should be no Resort to Force 
by either Labor or Capital, . . . . . . 451-453 


Much like People of other Religions Teaching given Christian 
Children about those who die in the Faith of Abraham Dr. John 
Hall on the Persecution of the Jews in Russia as the Fulfillment of 
Prophecy Hostility of Orthodox early Christians excited by Jewish 
Witnesses against the Faith An infamous Chapter of History 
Good and bad Men of every Faith Jews should outgrow their own 
Superstitions What the intelligent Jew Knows, . . 457-460 

Vol. JU. 



The Common People called upon to Decide as between the Uni 
versities and the Synods Modern Medicine, Law, Literature and 
Pictures as against the Old Creeds agree with the Sciences of their 
Day Apology the Prelude to Retreat The Presbyterian Creed In 
famous, but no worse than the Catholic Progress begins when Ex 
pression of Opinion is Allowed Examining the Religions of other 
Countries The Pulpit's Position Lost The Dogma of Eternal Pain 
the Cause of the orthodox Creeds losing Popularity Every Church 
teaching this Infinite Lie must Fall, 463-470 


Education the only Lever capable of raising Mankind The School- 
house more Important than the Church Criticism of New York's 
School-Buildings The Kindergarten System Recommended Poor 
Pay of Teachers The great Danger to the Republic is Ignorance, 



The Hell of Science Brutal Curiosity of Vivisectors The Pretence 
that they are working for the Good of Man Have these scientific 
Assassins added to useful Knowledge ? No Good to the Race to be 
Accomplished by Torture The Tendency to produce a Race of 
intelligent Wild Beasts, 473-474 


Right of the Government to ask Questions and of the Citizen to 
refuse to answer them Matters which the Government has no Right 
to pry into Exposing the Debtor's financial Condition A Man 
might decline to tell whether he has a Chronic Disease or not, 



Natural Phenomena and Myths celebrated The great Day of the 
first Religion, Sun-worship A God that Knew no Hatred nor Sought 
Revenge The Festival of Light, . . . . . . 477 


A much-abused Word The Early Christians too Spiritual to be 
Civilized Calvin and Knox Paine, Voltaire and Humboldt not 
Spiritual Darwin also Lacking What it is to be really Spiritual 
No connection with Superstition, . . . . . 481-485 


What were thereby blown into Rags and Ravelings The Birth of 
a new Epoch announced Lincoln made the most commanding Fig 
ure of the Century Story of its Echoes, . . . . 487-488 

VOL. xi. 



What might have been Asked of a Christian 100 years after 
Christ Hospitals and Asylums not all built for Charity Girard Col 
legeLick Observatory Carnegie not an Orthodox Christian 
Christian Colleges Give us Time, 491-495 


Brockway a Savage The Lash will neither develop the Brain nor 
cultivate the Heart Brutality a Failure Bishop Potter's apostolical 
Remark, 497-498 


The Object of a Trial Justice can afford to Wait The right of 
Appeal Case of Mrs. Maybrick Life Imprisonment for Murderers 
American Courts better than the English, . . . 501-503 


Universities naturally Conservative Kansas State University's Ob 
jection to Ingersoll as a commencement Orator Comment by Mr. 
Depew (note; Action of Cornell and the University of Missouri, 



The Chances a few Years ago Capital now Required Increasing 
competition in Civilized Life Independence the first Object If he 
has something to say, there will be plenty to listen, . 509-514 


Science goes hand in hand with Imagination Artistic and Ethical 
Development Science destroys Superstition, not true Religion 
Education preferable to Legislation Our Obligation to our Children, 



Moody's Belief accounted for A dishonest and corrupting Doc 
trine A want of Philosophy and Sense Have Souls in Heaven no 
Regrets ? Mr. Moody should read some useful Books, . 523-527 


Teachings of orthodox Sunday Schools The ferocious God of the 
Bible Miracles A Christian in Constantinople would not send his 
Child to a Mosque Advice to all Agnostics Strangle the Serpent of 

Superstition, . 531-534 

VOL. xi. 



Character of the Bible Men and Women not virtuous because of 
any Book The Commandments both Good and Bad Books that do 
not help Morality Jehovah not a moral God What is Morality? 
Intelligence the only moral guide, . . .... 537*544 


Decline of the Christian Religion in New Hampshire Outgrown 
Beliefs Present-day Views of Christ and the Holy Ghost Aban 
doned Notions about the Atonement Salvation for Credulity The 
Miracles of the New Testament The Bible " not true but inspired " 
The " Higher Critics " riding two Horses Infidelity in the Pulpit 
The "restraining Influences of Religion " as illustrated by Spain 
and Portugal Thinking, Working and Praying The kind of Faith 
that has Departed, 547-559 


The Truth Seeker congratulated on its Twenty-fifth Birthday 
Teachings of Twenty-five Years ago Dodging and evading The 
Clerical Assault on Darwin Draper, Buckle, Hegel, Spencer, Em 
erson Comparison of Prejudices Vanished Belief in the Devil 
Matter and Force Contradictions Dwelling in Unity Substitutes 
for Jehovah A Prophecy, 563-576 


Argument in the contested Election Case of Strobach against Her 
bert The Importance of Honest Elections Poisoning the Source of 
justice The Fraudulent Voter a Traitor to his Sovereign, the Will 
of the People Political Morality Imperative, . . . 577*578 


Date and Manner of Composing the Old Testament Other Books 
not now in Existence, and Disagreements about the Canon Com 
posite Character of certain Books Various Versions Why was 
God's message given to the Jews alone? The Story of the Creation, 
of the Flood, of the Tower, and of Lot's wife Moses and Aaron and 
the Plagues of Egypt Laws of Slavery Instructions by Jehovah 
Calculated to excite Astonishment and Mirth Sacrifices and the 
Scapegoat Passages showing that the Laws of Moses were made 
after the Jews had left the Desert Jehovah's dealings with his People 
The Sabbath Law Prodigies Joshua's Miracle Damned Igno 
rance and Infamy Jephthah's Sacrifice Incredible Stories The 
Woman of Endor and the Temptation of David Elijah and Elisha 
Loss of the Pentateuch from Moses to Josiah The Jews before and 
after being Abandoned by Jehovah Wealth of Solomon and other 
Marvels 581-607 

VOL. zi. 



ON the 22d of October, 1883, a vast number of citizens 
met at Lincoln Hall, Washington, D. C., to give ex 
pression to their views concerning the decision of the 
Supreme Court of the United States, in which it is held that 
the Civil Rights Act is unconstitutional. 

Col. Robert G. Ingersoll was one of the speakers. 

The Hon. Frederick Douglass introduced him as follows : 

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase !) 
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace, 
And saw within the moonlight of his room, 
Making it rich and like a lily in bloom, 
An angel writing in a book of gold : 
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold ; 
And to the presence in the room he said, 

" What writest thou? " The vision raised its head, 
And, with a look made all of sweet accord, 
Answered, " The names of those who love the Lord." 

"And is mine one? " asked Abou. " Nay, not so," 
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low, 
But cheerily still ; and said, " I pray thee, then, 
Write me as one that loves his fellow-men." 
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night 
It came again, with a great wakening light, 
And showed the names whom love of God had blest ; 
And, lo ! Ben Adhem 's name led all the rest. 

I have the honor to introduce Robert G. Ingersoll. 


We have met for the purpose of saying a few words 
about the recent decision of the Supreme Court, in which 
that tribunal has held the first and second sections of the 

Civil Rights Act to be unconstitutional ; and so held in 



spite of the fact that for years the people of the North and 
South have, with singular unanimity, supposed the Act to 
be constitutional supposed that it was upheld by the i3th 
and 1 4th Amendments, and so supposed because they 
knew with certainty the intention of the framers of the 
amendments. They knew this intention, because they 
knew what the enemies of the amendments and the ene 
mies of the Civil Rights Act claimed was the intention. 
And they also knew what the friends of the amendments 
and the law admitted the intention to be. The prejudices 
born of ignorance and of slavery had died or fallen asleep, 
and even the enemies of the amendments and the law had 
accepted the situation. 

But I shall speak of the decision as I feel, and in the 
same manner as I should speak even in the presence of the 
Court. You must remember that I am not attacking per 
sons, but opinions not motives, but reasons not judges, 
but decisions. 

The Supreme Court has decided : 

1. That the first and second sections of the Civil Rights 
Act of March i, 1875, are unconstitutional, as applied to 
the States not being authorized by the I3th and i4th 

2. That the i4th Amendment is prohibitory upon the 
States only, and the legislation forbidden to be adopted by 
Congress for enforcing it, is not " direct " legislation, but 
"corrective," such as may be necessary or proper for 
counteracting and restraining the effect of laws or acts 
passed or done by the several States. 

3. That the i3th Amendment relates only to slavery and 
involuntary servitude, which it abolishes. 

4. That the i3th Amendment establishes universal free 
dom in the United States. 

5. That Congress may probably pass laws directly en- 
to.rcing its provisions. 


6. That such legislative power in Congress extends only 
to the subject of slavery, and its incidents. 

7. That the denial of equal accommodations in inns, 
public conveyances and places of public amusement, im 
poses no badge of slavery or involuntary servitude upon 
the party, but at most infringes rights which are protected 
from State aggression by the I4th Amendment. 

8. The Court is uncertain whether the accommodations 
and privileges sought to be protected by the first and 
second sections of the Civil Rights Act are or are not 
rights constitutionally demandable, and if they are, in 
what form they are to be protected. 

9. Neither does the Court decide whether the law, as it 
stands, is operative in the Territories and the District of 

10. Neither does the Court decide whether Congress, 
under the commercial power, may or may not pass a law 
securing to all persons equal accommodations on lines of 
public conveyance between two or more States. 

11. The Court also holds, in the present case, that until 
some State law has been passed, or some State action 
through its officers or agents has been taken adverse to the 
rights of citizens sought to be protected by the i4th Amend 
ment, no legislation of the United States under said amend 
ment, or any proceeding under such legislation, can be 
called into activity, for the reason that the prohibitions of 
the amendment are against State laws and acts done under 
State authority. The essence of said decision being, that 
the managers and owners of inns, railways, and all public 
conveyances, of theatres and all places of public amuse 
ment, may discriminate on account of race, color, or pre 
vious condition of servitude, and that the citizen so dis 
criminated against, is without redress. 

* This decision takes from seven millions of people the 
shield of the Constitution. It leaves the best of the col- 


ored race at the mercy of the meanest of the white. It 
feeds fat the ancient grudge that vicious ignorance bears 
toward race and color. It will be approved and quoted by 
hundreds of thousands of unjust men. The masked 
wretches who, in the darkness of night, drag the poor 
negro from his cabin, and lacerate with whip and thong 
his quivering flesh, will, with bloody hands, applaud the 
Supreme Court. The men who, by mob violence, prevent 
the negro from depositing his ballot who with gun and 
revolver drive him from the polls, and those who insult 
with vile and vulgar words the inoffensive colored girl, 
will welcome this decision with hyena joy. The basest 
will rejoice the noblest will mourn. 

But even in the presence of this decision, we must re 
member that it is one of the necessities of government that 
there should be a court of last resort ; and while all courts 
will more or less fail to do justice, still, the wit of man has, 
as yet, devised no better way. Even after reading this 
decision, we must take it for granted that the judges of the 
Supreme Court arrived at their conclusions honestly and 
in accordance with the best light they had. While they 
had the right to render the decision, every citizen has the 
right to give his opinion as to whether that decision is 
good or bad. Knowing that they are liable to be mistaken, 
and honestly mistaken, we should always be charitable 
enough to admit that others may be mistaken ; and we 
may also take another step, and admit that we may be mis 
taken about their being mistaken. We must remember, 
too, that we have to make judges out of men, and that by 
being made judges their prejudices are not diminished and 
their intelligence is not increased. No matter whether a 
man wears a crown or a robe or a rag. Under the emblem 
of power and the emblem of poverty, the man alike resides. 
The real thing is the man the distinction often exists 
only in the clothes. Take away the crown there is only 


a man. Remove the robe there remains a man. Take 
away the rag, and we find at least a man. 

There was a time in this country when all bowed to a 
decision of the Supreme Court. It was unquestioned. It 
was regarded as " a voice from on high." The people 
heard and they obeyed. The Dred Scott decision destroyed 
that illusion forever. From that day to this the people 
have claimed the privilege of putting the decisions of the 
Supreme Court in the crucible of reason. These decisions 
are no longer exempt from honest criticism. While the 
decision remains, it is the law. No matter how absurd, no 
matter how erroneous, no matter how contrary to reason 
and justice, it remains the law. It must be overturned 
either by the Court itself (and the Court has overturned 
hundreds of its own decisions), or by legislative action, or 
by an amendment to the Constitution. We do not appeal 
to armed revolution. Our Government is so framed that it 
provides for what may be called perpetual peaceful revolu 
tion. For the redress of any grievance, for the purpose of 
righting any wrong, there is the perpetual remedy of an 
appeal to the people. 

We must remember, too, that judges keep their backs to 
the dawn. They find what has been, what is, but not what 
ought to be. They are tied and shackled by precedent, 
fettered by old decisions, and by the desire to be consistent, 
even in mistakes. They pass upon the acts and words of 
others, and like other people, they are liable to make mis 
takes. In the olden time we took what the doctors gave 
us, we believed what the preachers said ; and accepted, 
without question, the judgments of the highest court. 
Now it is different. We ask the doctor what the medicine 
is, and what effect he expects it to produce. We cross- 
examine the minister, and we criticise the decision of the 
Chief-Justice. We do this, because we have found that 
some doctors do not kill, that some ministers are quite 


reasonable, and that some judges know something about 
law. In this country, the people are the sovereigns. All 
officers including judges are simply their servants, and 
the sovereign has always the right to give his opinion as to 
the action of his agent. The sovereignty of the people is 
the rock upon which rests the right of speech and the 
freedom of the press. 

Unfortunately for us, our fathers adopted the common 
law of England a law poisoned by kingly prerogative 
by every form of oppression, by the spirit of caste, and 
permeated, saturated, with the political heresy that the 
people received their rights, privileges and immunities from 
the crown. The thirteen original colonies received their 
laws, their forms, their ideas of justice, from the old 
world. All the judicial, legislative, and executive springs 
and sources had been touched and tainted. 

In the struggle with England, our fathers justified their 
rebellion by declaring that Nature had clothed all men 
with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 
The moment success crowned their efforts, they changed 
their noble declaration of equal rights for all, and basely 
interpolated the word " white." They adopted a Consti 
tution that denied the Declaration of Independence a Con 
stitution that recognized and upheld slavery, protected the 
slave-trade, legalized piracy upon the high seas that 
demoralized, degraded, and debauched the nation, and that 
at last reddened with brave blood the fields of the Republic. 

Our fathers planted the seeds of injustice, and we 
gathered the harvest. In the blood and flame of civil 
war, we retraced our fathers' steps. In the stress of 
war, we implored the aid of Liberty, and asked once more 
for the protection of Justice. We civilized the Constitution 
of our fathers. We adopted three Amendments the i3th, 
X4th and x 5th the Trinity of Liberty. 

Let us examine these amendments : 


" Neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, except as a punish 
ment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, 
shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their 

" Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate 

Before the adoption of this amendment, the Constitution 
had always been construed to be the perfect shield of 
slavery. In order that slavery might be protected, the 
slave States were considered as sovereign. Freedom was 
regarded as a local prejudice, slavery as the ward of the 
Nation, the jewel of the Constitution. For three-quarters 
of a century, the Supreme Court of the United States ex 
hausted judicial ingenuity in guarding, protecting and 
fo tering that infamous institution. For the purpose of 
preserving that infinite outrage, words and phrases were 
warped, and stretched, and tortured, and thumbscrewed, 
and racked. Slavery was the one sacred thing, and the 
Supreme Court was its constitutional guardian. 

To show the faithfulness of that tribunal, I call your 
attention to the 3d clause of the 2d section of the 4th article 
of the Constitution : 

"No person held to service or labor in any State under the laws 
thereof, escaping to another, shall, in consequence of any law or reg 
ulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but shall be 
delivered up on the claim of the party to whom such service or labor 
may be due." 

The framers of the Constitution were ashamed to use the 
word "slave," and thereupon they said "person." They 
were ashamed to use the word " slavery," and they evaded 
it by saying, "held to service or labor." They were 
ashamed to put in the word "master," so they called him 
"the party to whom service or labor may be due." 

How can a slave owe service? How can a slave owe 
labor? How could a slave make a contract? How could 
the master have a legal claim against a slave? And yet, 


the Supreme Court of the United States found no difficulty 
in upholding the Fugitive Slave Law by virtue of that 
clause. There were hundreds of decisions declaring that 
Congress had power to pass laws to carry that clause into 
effect, and it was carried into effect. 
You will observe the wording of this clause : 

" No person held to service or labor in any State under the laws 
thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or 
regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor, but 
shall be delivered up on the claim of the party to whom such service 
or labor may be due." 

To whom was this clause directed? To individuals or to 
States? It expressly provides that the "person" held to 
service or labor shall not be discharged from such service 
or labor in consequence of any law or regulation in the 
"State" to which he has fled. Did that law apply to 
States, or to individuals ? 

The Supreme Court held that it applied to individuals as 
well as to States. Any "person," in any State, interfering 
with the master who was endeavoring to steal the person 
he called his slave, was liable to indictment, and hundreds 
and thousands were indicted, and hundreds languished in 
prisons because they were noble enough to hold in infinite 
contempt such infamous laws and such infamous decisions. 
The best men in the United States the noblest spirits 
under the flag were imprisoned because they were chari 
table, because they were just, because they showed the 
hunted slave the path to freedom, and taught him where to 
find amid the glittering host of heaven the blessed Northern 

Every fugitive slave carried that clause with him when 
he entered a free State ; carried it into every hiding place ; 
and every Northern man was bound, by virtue of that 
clause, to act as the spy and hound of slavery. The Su 
preme Court, with infinite ease, made a club of that clause 


with which to strike down the liberty of the fugitive and 
the manhood of the North. 

In the Dred Scott decision it was solemnly decided that a 
man of African descent, whether a slave or not, was not, 
and could not be, a citizen of a State or of the United States. 
The Supreme Court held on the even tenor of its way, and 
in the Rebellion that tribunal was about the last fort to 

The moment the i3th Amendment was adopted, the slaves 
became freemen. The distinction between " white " and 
" colored " vanished. The negroes became as though they 
had never been slaves as though they had always been 
free as though they had been white. They became citi 
zens they became a part of "the people," and "the people" 
constituted the State, and it was the State thus constituted 
that was entitled to the constitutional guarantee of a re 
publican government. 

These freed men became citizens became a part of the 
State in which they lived. 

The highest and noblest definition of a State, in our Re 
ports, was given by Justice Wilson, in the case of Chisholm, 
&c., vs. Georgia; 

" By a State, I mean a complete body of free persons, united for their 
common benefit, to enjoy peaceably what is their own, and to do jus' 
tice to others." 

Chief Justice Chase declared that : 

"The people, in whatever territory dwelling, whether temporaril> 
or permanently, or whether organized under regular government, o f 
united by less definite relations, constitute the State." 

Now, if the people, the moment the i3th Amendment was 
adopted were all free, and if these people constituted the 
State ; if, under the Constitution of the United States, every 
State is guaranteed a republican government, then it is the 
duty of the General Government to see to it that every 
State has such a government. If distinctions are made be 
tween free men on account of race or color, the govern- 


ment is not republican. The manner in which this guarantee 
of a republican form of government is to be enforced or 
made good, must be left to the wisdom and discretion of 

The 1 3th Amendment not only destroyed, but it built. It 
destroyed the slave-pen, and on its site erected the temple of 
Liberty. It did not simply free slaves it made citizens. 
It repealed every statute that upheld slavery. It erased 
from every Report every decision against freedom. It took 
the word " white " from every law, and blotted from the 
Constitution all clauses acknowledging property in man. 

If, then, all the people in each State, were, by virtue of the 
I3th Amendment, free, what right had a majority to enslave 
a minority ? What right had a majority to make any dis 
tinctions between free men ? What right had a majority to 
take from a minority any privilege, or any immunity, to 
which they were entitled as free men ? What right had the 
majority to make that unequal which the Constitution made 
equal ? 

Not satisfied with saying that slavery should not exist, we 
find in the amendment the words " nor involuntary servi 
tude." This was intended to destroy every mark and badge 
of legal inferiority. 

Justice Field upon this very question, says : 

" It is, however, clear that the words ' involuntary servitude ' in 
clude something more than slavery, in the strict sense of the term. 
They include also serfage, vassalage, villanage, peonage, and all 
other forms of compulsory service for the mere benefit or pleasure of 
others. Nor is this the full import of the term. The abolition of 
slavery and involuntary servitude was intended to make every one 
born in this country a free man, and as such to give him the right to 
pursue the ordinary avocations of life without other restraint than 
such as affects all others, and to enjoy equally with them the fruits of 
his labor. A person allowed to pursue only one trade or calling, and 
only in one locality of the country, would not be, in the strict sense of 
the term, in a condition of slavery, but probably no one would deny 
that he would be in a condition of servitude. He certainly would not 
possess the liberties, or enjoy the privileges of a freeman." 


Justice Field also quotes with approval the language of 
the counsel for the plaintiffs in the case : 

" Whenever a law of a State, or a law of the United States, makes 
a discrimination between classes of persons which deprives the one 
class of their freedom or their property, or which makes a caste of 
them, to subserve the power, pride, avarice, vanity or vengeance of 
others there involuntary servitude exists within the meaning of the 
I3th Amendment." 

To show that the framers of the i3th Amendment intended 
to blot out every form of slavery and servitude, I call at 
tention to the Civil Rights Act, approved April 9, 1866, 
which provided, among other things, that : 

"All persons born in the United States, and not subject to any 
foreign power excluding Indians not taxed are citizens of the 
United States ; and such citizens, of every race and color, without 
regard to any previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude, 
are entitled to the full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings 
for the security of person and property enjoyed by white citizens, and 
shall be subject to like punishments, pains and penalties and to 
none other any law, statute, ordinance, regulation or custom to the 
contrary notwithstanding ; and they shall have the same rights in 
every State and Territory of the United States as white persons." 

The Supreme Court, in The Slaughter- House Cases, (16 
Wallace, 69) has said that the word servitude has a larger 
meaning than the word slavery. " The word ' servitude ' 
implies subjection to the will of another contrary to the 
common right." A man is in a state of involuntary servi 
tude when he is forced to do, or prevented from doing, a 
thing, not by the law of the State, but by the simple will of 
another. He who enjoys less than the common rights of a 
citizen, he who can be forced from the public highway at the 
will of another, who can be denied entrance to the cars of a 
common carrier, is in a state of servitude. 

The 1 3th Amendment did away with slavery not only, and 
with involuntary servitude, but with every badge and brand 
and stain and mark of slavery. It abolished forever distinc 
tions on account of race and color. 

In the language of the Supreme Court : 


" It was the obvious purpose of the i3th Amendment to forbid all 
shades and conditions of African slavery." 

And to that I add, it was the obvious purpose of that 
amendment to forbid all shades and conditions of slavery, 
no matter of what sort or kind all marks of legal inferiority. 
Each citizen was to be absolutely free. All his rights com 
plete, whole, unmaimed and unabridged. 

From the moment of the adoption of that amendment, the 
law became color-blind. All distinctions on account of com 
plexion vanished. It took the whip from the hand of the 
white man, and put the nation's flag above the negro's hut. 
It gave horizon, scope and dome to the lowest life. It 
stretched a sky studded with stars of hope above the hum 
blest head. 

The Supreme Court has admitted, in the very case we are 
now discussing, that : 

"Under the i3th Amendment the legislation "meaning the legis 
lation of Congress "so far as necessary or proper to eradicate all 
forms and incidents of slavery and involuntary servitude, may be 
direct and primary, operating upon the acts of individuals, whether 
sanctioned by State legislation or not." 

Here we have the authority for dealing with individuals. 

The only question then remaining is, whether an individual, 
being the keeper of a public inn, or the agent of a railway 
corporation, created by a State, can be held responsible in a 
Federal Court for discriminating against a citizen of the 
United States on account of race, color, or previous condi 
tion of servitude. If such discrimination is a badge of 
slavery, or places the party discriminated against in a con 
dition of involuntary servitude, then the Civil Rights Act 
may be upheld by the i3th Amendment. 

In The United Slates vs. Harris, 106 U. S., 640, the Supreme 
Court says : 

" It is clear that the i3th Amendment, besides abolishing forever 
slavery and involuntary servitude within the United States, gives 
power to Congress to protect all citizens from being in any way sub- 


jected to slavery or involuntary servitude, except for the punishment 
of crime, and in the enjoyment of that freedom which it was the ob 
ject of the amendment to secure." 

This declaration covers the entire case. 
I agree with Justice Field : 

"The i3th Amendment is not confined to African slavery. It is 
general and universal in its application prohibiting the slavery of 
white men as well as black men, and not prohibiting mere slavery in 
the strict sense of the term, but involuntary servitude in every form." 
1 6 Wallace, 90. 

The 1 3th Amendment declares that neither slavery nor 
involuntary servitude shall exist. Who must see to it that 
this declaration is carried out ? There can be but one 
answer. It is the duty of Congress. 

At last the question narrows itself to this : Is a citizen 
of the United States, when denied admission to public inns, 
railway cars and theatres, on account of his race or color, in 
a condition of involuntary servitude? If he is, then he is 
under the immediate protection of the General Government, 
by virtue of the 1 3th Amendment ; and the Civil Rights 
Act is clearly constitutional. 

If excluded from one inn, he may be from all ; if from one 
car, why not from all ? The man who depends for the 
preservation of his privileges upon a conductor, instead of 
the Constitution, is in a condition of involuntary servitude. 
He who depends for his rights not upon the laws of the 
land, but upon a landlord, is in a condition of involuntary 

The framers of the i3th Amendment knew that the ne 
gro would be persecuted on account of his race and color 
knew that many of the States could not be trusted to protect 
the rights of the colored man ; and for that reason, the 
General Government was clothed with power to protect the 
colored people from all forms of slavery and involuntary 

Of what use are the declarations in the Constitution that 


slavery and involuntary servitude shall not exist, and that 
all persons born or naturalized in the United States shall 
be citizens not only of the United States, but of the States 
in which they reside if, behind these declarations, there is 
no power to act no duty for the General Government to 
discharge ? 

Notwithstanding the i3th Amendment had been adopted 
notwithstanding slavery and involuntary servitude had 
been legally destroyed it was found that the negro was 
still the helpless victim of the white man. Another amend 
ment was needed ; and all the Justices of the Supreme 
Court have told us why the i4th Amendment was adopted. 

Justice Miller, speaking for the entire court, tells us that: 

" In the struggle of the civil war, slavery perished, and perished as 
a necessity of the bitterness and force of the conflict." 

That : 

" When the armies of freedom found themselves on the soil of slav 
ery, they could do nothing else than free the victims whose enforced 
servitude was the foundation of the war." 

He also admits that : 

"When hard pressed in the contest, the colored men (for they 
proved themselves men in that terrible crisis) offered their services, 
and were accepted, by thousands, to aid in suppressing the unlawful 

He also informs us that : 

" Notwithstanding the fact that the Southern States had formerly 
recognized the abolition of slavery, the condition of the slave, without 
further protection of the Federal Government, was almost as bad as 
it had been before." 

And he declares that : 

"The Southern States imposed upon the colored race onerous 
disabilities and burdens curtailed their rights in the pursuit of liberty 
and property, to such an extent that their freedom was of little value, 
while the colored people had lost the protection which they had re 
ceived from their former owners from motives of interest." 

And that : 

"The colored people in some States were forbidden to appear in 
the towns in any other character than that of menial servants that 
they were required to reside on the soil without the right to purchase 


or own it that they were excluded from many occupations of gain 
and profit that they were not permitted to give testimony in the 
courts where white men were on trial and it was said that their lives 
were at the mercy of bad men, either because laws for their protection 
were insufficient, or were not enforced." 

We are informed by the Supreme Court that, "under 
these circumstances," the proposition for the i4th Amend 
ment was passed through Congress, and that Congress 
declined to treat as restored to full participation in the Gov 
ernment of the Union, the States which had been in insur 
rection, until they ratified that article by a formal vote of 
their legislative bodies. 

Thus it will be seen that the rebel States were restored to 
the Union by adopting the i4th Amendment. In order to 
become equal members of the Federal Union, these States 
solemnly agreed to carry out the provisions of that amend 

The 1 4th Amendment provides that : 

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject 
to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States, and of the 
State wherein they reside." 

That is affirmative in its character. That affirmation im 
poses the obligation upon the General Government to pro 
tect its citizens everywhere. That affirmation clothes the 
Federal Government with power to protect its citizens. 
Under that clause, the Federal arm can reach to the bound 
ary of the Republic, for the purpose of protecting the weak 
est citizen from the tyranny of citizens or States. That 
clause is a contract between the Government and every 
man a contract wherein the citizen promises allegiance, and 
the nation promises protection. 

By this clause, the Federal Government adopted ill the 
citizens of all the States and Territories, including tli.e Dis 
trict of Columbia, and placed them under the shield ot the 
Constitution made each one a ward of the Republic. 

Under this contract, the Government is under direct 


obligation to the citizen. The Government cannot shirk 
its responsibility by leaving a citizen to be protected in his 
rights, as a citizen of the United States, by a State. 
The obligation of protection is direct. The obligation on 
the part of the citizen to the Government is direct. The 
citizen cannot be untrue to the Government because his 
State is, The action of the State under the i4th Amend 
ment is no excuse for the citizen. He must be true to the 
Government. In war, the Government has a right to his 
service. In peace, he has the right to be protected. 

If the citizen must depend upon the State, then he owes 
the first allegiance to that government or power that is under 
obligation to protect him. Then, if a State secedes from the 
Union, the citizen should go with the State should go with 
the power that protects. 

That is not my doctrine. My doctrine is this : The first 
duty of the General Government is to protect each citizen. 
The first duty of each citizen is to be true not to his State, 
but to the Republic. 

This clause of the i4th Amendment made us all citizens 
of the United States all children of the Republic. Under 
this decision, the Republic refuses to acknowledge her 
children. Under this decision of the Supreme Court, they 
are left upon the doorsteps of the States. Citizens are 
changed to foundlings. 

If the 1 4th Amendment created citizens of the United 
States, the power that created must define the rights of the 
citizens thus created, and must provide a remedy where such 
rights are infringed. The Federal Government speaks 
through its representatives through Congress ; and Con 
gress, by the Civil Rights Act, defined some of the rights, 
privileges and immunities of a citizen of the United States 
and Congress provided a remedy when such rights and 
privileges were invaded, and gave j urisdiction to the Federal 


No State, or the department of any State, can authori 
tatively define the rights, privileges and immunities of a citi 
zen of the United States. These rights and immunities 
must be defined by the United States, and when so defined, 
they cannot be abridged by State authority. 

In the case of Bartemeyer vs. Iowa, 18 Wall., p. 140, Jus 
tice Field, in a concurring opinion, speaking of the i4th 
Amendment, says: 

" It grew out of the feeling that a nation which had been maintained 
by such costly sacrifices was, after all, worthless, if a citizen could not 
be protected in all his fundamental rights, everywhere North and 
South, East and West throughout the limits of the Republic. The 
amendment was not, as held in the opinion of the majority, primarily 
intended to confer citizenship on the negro race. It had a much 
broader purpose. It was intended to justify legislation extending the 
protection of the National Government over the common rights of all 
citizens of the United States, and thus obviate objection to the legis 
lation adopted for the protection of the emancipated race. It was in 
tended to make it possible for all persons which necessarily included 
those of every race and color to live in peace and security wherever 
the jurisdiction of the nation reached. It therefore recognized, if it 
did not create, a national citizenship. This national citizenship is 
primary and not secondary." 

I cannot refrain from calling attention to the splendor 
and nobility of the truths expressed by Justice Field in this 

So, Justice Field, in his dissenting opinion in what are 
known as The Slaughter- House Cases, found in 16 Wallace, 
p. 95, still speaking of the i4th Amendment, says: 

" It recognizes in express terms if it does not create citizens of 
the United States, and it makes their citizenship dependent upon the 
place of their birth or the fact of their adoption, and not upon the 
constitution or laws of any State, or the condition of their ancestry. 
A citizen of a State is now only a citizen of the United States residing 
in that State. The fundamental rights, privileges and immunities 
which belong to him as a free man and a free citizen of the United 
States, are not dependent upon the citizenship of any State. * * * 
" "They do not derive their existence from its legislation, and cannot 
be destroyed by its power." 



What are 'the fundamental rights, privileges and 
immunities " which belong to a free man ? Certainly the 
rights of all citizens of the United States are equal. Their 
immunities and privileges must be the same. He who 
makes a discrimination between citizens on account of 
color, violates the Constitution of the United States. 

Have all citizens the same right to travel on the high 
ways of the country ? Have they all the same right to 
ride upon the railways created by State authority ? A 
railway is an improved highway. It was only by holding 
that it was an improved highway that counties and States 
aided in their construction. It has been decided, over and 
over again, that a railway is an improved highway. A 
railway corporation is the creation of a State an agent of 
the State. It is under the control of the State and upon 
what principle can a citizen be prevented from using the 
highways of a State on an equality with all other citizens ? 

These are all rights and immunities guaranteed by the 
Constitution of the United States. 

Now, the question is and it is the only question can 
these rights and immunities, thus guaranteed and thus 
confirmed, be protected by the General Government ? 

In the case of The U. S. vs. Reese, et a/., 92 U. S., p. 207, 
the Supreme Court decided, the opinion having been 
delivered by Chief- Justice Waite, as follows : 

"Rights and immunities created by, and dependent upon, the 
Constitution of the United States can be protected by Congress. The 
form and the manner of the protection may be such as Congress in 
the legitimate exercise of its legislative discretion shall provide. 
This may be varied to meet the necessities of the particular right to 
be protected." 

This decision was acquiesced in by Justices Strong, 
Bradley, Swayne, Davis, Miller and Field. Dissenting 
opinions were filed by Justices Clifford and Hunt, but 
neither dissented from the proposition that; 


" Rights and immunities created by or dependent upon the Constitu 
tion of the United States can be protected by Congress," and that 
" the form and manner of the protection may be such as Congress in 
the exercise of its legitimate discretion shall provide." 

So, in the same case, I find this language : 

"It follows that the Amendment "meaning the I5th " has in 
vested the citizens of the United States with a new constitutional 
right, which is within the protecting power of Congress. This, under 
the express provisions of the second section of the Amendment, Con 
gress may enforce by appropriate legislation." 

If the 1 5th Amendment invested the citizens of the 
United States with a new constitutional right that is, the 
right to vote and if for that reason that right is within 
the protecting power of Congress, then I ask, if the i4th 
Amendment made certain persons citizens of the United 
States, did such citizenship become a constitutional right ? 
And is such citizenship within the protecting power of 
Congress ? Does citizenship mean anything except certain 
"rights, privileges and immunities"? 

Is it not an invasion of citizenship to invade the immuni 
ties or privileges or rights belonging to a citizen ? Are 
not, then, all the immunities and privileges and rights 
under the protecting power of Congress ? 

The i3th Amendment found the negro a slave, and made 
him a free man. That gave to him a new constitutional 
right, and according to the Supreme Court, that right is 
within the protecting power of Congress. 

What rights are within the protecting power of Congress? 
All the rights belonging to a free man. 

The i4th Amendment made the negro a citizen. What 
then is under the protecting power of Congress ? All the 
rights, privileges and immunities belonging to him as a 

So, in the case of Tennessee vs, Davis, zoo U. S., 263, the 
Supreme Court, held that : 


" The United States is a government whose authority extends over 
the whole territory of the Union, acting upon all the States, and 
upon all the people of all the States. 

" No State can exclude the Federal Government from the exercise 
of any authority conferred upon it by the Constitution, or withhold 
' from it for a moment the cognizance of any subject which the Con 
stitution has committed to it." 

This opinion was given by Justice Strong, and acquiesced 
in by Chief-Justice Waite, Justices Miller, Swayne, Bradley 
and Harlan. 

So in the case of Pensacola Tel, Co. vs. Western Union Tel. 
Co., 96 U. S., p. 10, the opinion having been delivered by 
Chief -Justice Waite, I find this : 

' ' The Government of the United States, within the scope of its 
power, operates upon every foot of territory under its jurisdiction. It 
legislates for the whole Nation, and is not embarrassed by State 

This was acquiesced in by Justices Clifford, Strong, 
Bradley, Swayne and Miller. 

So we are told by the entire Supreme Court in the case 
of Tiernan vs. Rynker, 102 U. S., 126, that: 

"When the subject to which the power applies is national in its 
character, or of such a nature as to admit of uniformity of regulation, 
the power is exclusive of State authority." 

Surely the question of citizenship is " national in its 
character." Surely the question as to what are the rights, 
privileges and immunities of a citizen of the United States 
is " national in its character." 

Unless the declarations and definitions, the patriotic 
paragraphs, and the legal principles made, given, uttered 
and defined by the Supreme Court are but a judicial 
jugglery of words, the Civil Rights Act is upheld by the 
intent, spirit and language of the i4th Amendment. 

It was found that the i3th Amendment did not protect 
the negro. Then the I4th was adopted. Still the colored 
citizen was trodden under foot. Then the ith was 


adopted. The i3th made him free, and, in my judgment, 
made him a citizen, and clothed him with all the rights of 
a citizen. That was denied, and then the i4th declared 
that he was a citizen. In my judgment, that gave him the 
right to vote. But that was denied then the isth was 
adopted, declaring that his right to vote should never be 

The i3th Amendment made all free. It broke the 
chains, pulled up the whipping-posts, overturned the 
auction-blocks, gave the colored mother her child, put the 
shield of the Constitution over the cradle, destro3'ed all 
forms of involuntary servitude, and in the azure heaven of 
our flag it put the Northern Star. 

The 1 4th Amendment made us all citizens. It is a con 
tract between the Republic and each individual a contract 
by which the Nation agrees to protect the citizen, and the 
citizen agrees to defend the Nation. This amendment 
placed the crown of sovereignty on every brow. 

The 1 5th Amendment secured the citizen in his right to 
vote, in his right to make and execute the laws, and put 
these rights above the power of any State. This amend 
ment placed the ballot the sceptre of authority in every 
sovereign hand. 

We are told by the Supreme Court, in the case under 
discussion, that: 

" We must not forget that the province and scope of the ijth and 
i4th Amendments are different ; " that the i3th Amendment " simply 
abolished slavery," and that the I4th Amendment "prohibited the 
States from abridging the privileges and immunities of citizens of the 
United States ; from depriving them of life, liberty or property, with 
out due process of law ; and from denying to any the equal protection 
of the laws." 

We are told that : 

"The amendments are different, and the powers of Congress under 
them are different. What Congress has power to do under one it 
may not have power to do under the other." That "under the i3th 


Amendment it has only to do with slavery and its incidents ; " but 
that "under the i4th Amendment it has power to counteract and 
render nugatory all State laws or proceedings which have the effect 
to abridge any of the privileges or immunities of the citizens of the 
United States, or to deprive them of life, liberty or property, without 
due process of law, or to deny to any of them the equal protection of 
the laws." 

Did not Congress have that power under the 1 3th Amend 
ment? Could the States, in spite of the i3th Amendment, 
deprive free men of life or property without due process of 
law? Does the Supreme Court wish to be understood, 
that until the I4th Amendment was adopted the States had 
the right to rob and kill free men? Yet, in its effort to 
narrow and belittle the i3th Amendment, it has been 
driven to this absurdity. Did not Congress, under the i3th 
Amendment, have power to destroy slavery and involun 
tary servitude ? Did not Congress, under that amendment, 
have the power to protect the lives, liberty and property of 
freemen? And did not Congress have the power "to 
render nugatory all State laws and proceedings under which 
free men were to be deprived of life, liberty or property, 
without due process of law "? 

If Congress was not clothed with such power by the i3th 
Amendment, what was the object of that amendment ? 
Was that amendment a mere opinion, or a prophecy, or the 
expression of a hope ? 

The 1 4th Amendment provides that : 

" No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the 
privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. Nor shall 
any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due 
process of law ; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the 
equal protection of its laws." 

We are told by the Supreme Court that Congress has no 
right to enforce the i4th Amendment by direct legisla 
tion, but that the legislation under that amendment can 
only be of a "corrective" character such as may be 


necessary or proper for counteracting and redressing the 
effect of unconstitutional laws passed by the States. In 
other words, that Congress has no duty to perform, except 
to counteract the effect of unconstitutional laws by corrective 

The Supreme Court has also decided, in the present case, 
that Congress has no right to legislate for the purpose of 
enforcing these clauses until the States shall have taken 
action. What action can the State take ? If a State passes 
laws contrary to these provisions or clauses, they are void. 
If a State passes laws in conformity to these provisions, 
certainly Congress is not called on to legislate. Under 
what circumstances, then, can Congress be called upon to 
act by way of "corrective" legislation, as to these particu 
lar clauses ? What can Congress do ? Suppose the State 
passes no law upon the subject, but allows citizens of the 
State managers of railways, and keepers of public inns, to 
discriminate between their passengers and guests on ac 
count of race or color what then ? 

Again, what is the difference between a State that has no 
law on the subject, and a State that has passed an uncon 
stitutional law? In other words, what is the difference be 
tween no law and a void law? If the "corrective " legisla 
tion of Congress is not needed where the State has passed 
an unconstitutional law, is it needed where the State has 
passed no law? What is there in either case to correct? 
Surely it requires no particular legislation on the part of 
Congress to kill a law that never had life. 

The States are prohibited by the Constitution from mak 
ing any regulations of foreign commerce. Consequently, 
all regulations made by the States are null and void, no 
matter what the motive of the States may have been, and it 
requires no law of Congress to annul such laws or regula 
tions. This was decided by the Supreme Court of the 
United States, long ago, in what are known as The License 


Cases. The opinion ma)' be found in the 5th of Howard, 


" The nullity of any act inconsistent with the Constitution, is pro 
duced by the declaration that the Constitution is supreme." 

This was decided by the Supreme Court, the opinion 
having been delivered by Chief Justice Marshall, in the 
case of Gibbons vs. Ogden, 9 Wheat, 210. 

The same doctrine was held in the case of Henderson et 
al., -vs. Mayor of New York, et at., 92 U. S. 272 the opinion 
of the Court being delivered by Justice Miller. 

So it was held in the case of The Board of Liquidation vs. 
McComb 2 Otto, 541 

" That an unconstitutional law will be treated by the courts as null 
and void" 

citing Osborn vs. The Bank of the United States, 9 Wheaton, 
859, and Davis vs. Gray, 16 Wallace, 220. 

Now, if the legislation of Congress must be " corrective," 
then I ask, corrective of what? Certainly not of unconsti 
tutional and void laws. That which is void, cannot be cor 
rected. That which is unconstitutional is not the subject 
of correction. Congress either has the right to legislate 
directly, or not at all ; because indirect or corrective legis 
lation can apply only, according to the Supreme Court, to 
unconstitutional and void laws that have been passed by a 
Stale ; and as such laws cannot be " corrected," the doc 
trine of "corrective legislation " dies an extremely natural 

A State can do one of three things: i. It can pass an 
unconstitutional law ; 2. It can pass a constitutional law ; 
3. It can fail to pass any law. The unconstitutional law. 
being void, cannot be corrected. The constitutional law 
does not need correction. And where no law has been 
passed, correction is impossible. 

The Supreme Court insists that Congress can not take 


action until the State does. A State that fails to pass any 
law on the subject, has not taken action. This leaves the 
person whose immunities and privileges have been invaded, 
with no redress except such as he may find in the State 
Courts in a suit at law ; and if the State Court takes the 
same view that is apparently taken by the Supreme Court 
in this case, namely, that it is a " social question," one 
not to be regulated by law, and not covered in any way 
by the Constitution then, discrimination can be made 
against citizens by landlords and railway conductors, and 
they are left absolutely without remedy. 
The Supreme Court asks, in this decision, 

"Can the act of a mere individual the owner of the inn, or public 
conveyance, or place of amusement, refusing the accommodation, be 
justly regarded as imposing any badge of slavery or servitude upon 
the applicant, or only as inflicting an ordinary civil injury properly 
cognizable by the laws of the State, and presumably subject to re 
dress by those laws, until the contrary appears ? " 

How is "the contrary to appear"? Suppose a person 
denied equal privileges upon the railway on account of race 
and color, brings suit and is defeated? And suppose the 
highest tribunal of the State holds that the question is of a 
"social" character what then? If, to use the language of 
the Supreme Court, it is "an ordinary civil injury, imposing 
no badge of slavery or servitude," then, no Federal question 
is involved. 

Why did not the Supreme Court tell us what may be done 
when "the contrary appears"? Nothing is clearer than the 
intention of the Supreme Court in this case and that is, 
to decide that denying to a man equal accommodations at 
public inns on account of race or color, is not an abridg 
ment of a privilege or immunity of a citizen of the United 
States, and that such person, so denied, is not in a condi 
tion of involuntary servitude, or denied the equal protec 
tion of the laws. In other words that it is a "social 


I have been told by one who heard the decision when it 
was read from the bench, that the following phrase was in 
the opinion : 

' 'There are certain physiological differences of race that cannot be 

That phrase is a lamp, in the light of which the whole 
decision should be read. 

Suppose that in one of the Southern States, the negroes 
being in a decided majority and having entire control, had 
drawn the color line, had insisted that : 

"There were certain physiological differences between the races 
that could not be ignored," 

and had refused to allow white people to enter their hotels, 
to ride in the best cars, or to occupy the aristocratic portion 
of a theatre; and suppose that a white man, thrust from 
the hotels, denied the entrance to cars, had brought his 
suit in the Federal Court. Does any one believe that the 
Supreme Court would have intimated to that man that 
" there is only a social question involved, a question with 
which the Constitution and laws have nothing to do, and 
that he must depend for his remedy upon the authors of the 
injury " ? Would a white man, under such circumstances, 
feel that he was in a condition of involuntary servitude ? 
Would he feel that he was treated like an underling, 
like a menial, like a serf? Would he feel that he was 
under the protection of the laws, shielded like other men 
by the Constitution ? Of course, the argument of color is 
just as strong on one side as on the other. The white man 
says to the black, " You are not my equal because you are 
black ; " and the black man can with the same propriety, 
reply, "You are not my equal because you are white." 
The difference is just as great in the one case as in the 
other. The pretext that this question involves, in the 
remotest degree, a social question, is cruel, shallow, and 


The Supreme Court, some time ago, held that the 4th 
Section of the Civil Rights Act was constitutional. That 
section declares that : 

" No citizen possessing all other qualifications which are or may be 
prescribed by law, shall be disqualified for service as grand or petit 
juror in any court of the United States or of any State, on account of 
color or previous condition of servitude." 

It also provides that: 

" If any officer or other person charged with any duty in the selec 
tion or summoning of jurors, shall exclude, or fail to summon, any 
citizen in the case aforesaid, he shall, on conviction, be guilty of mis 
demeanor and be fined not more than five hundred dollars." 

In the case known as Ex-parte vs. Virginia found in 100 
U. S. 339 it was held that an indictment against a State 
officer, under this section, for excluding persons of color 
from the jury, could be sustained. Now, let it be re 
membered, there was no law of the State of Virginia, by 
virtue of which a man was disqualified from sitting on the 
jury by reason of race or color. The officer did exclude, 
and did fail to summon, a citizen on account of race or 
color or previous condition of servitude. And the Supreme 
Court held : 

"That whether the Statute-book of the State actually laid down 
any such rule of disqualification or not, the State, through its officer, 
enforced such rule ; and that it was against such State action, through 
its officers and agents, that the last clause of the section was 

The Court further held that: 

"This aspect of the law was deemed sufficient to divest it of any 
unconstitutional character." 

In other words, the Supreme Court held that the officer 
was an agent of the State, although acting contrary to the 
statute of the State ; and that, consequently, such officer, 
acting outside of law, was amenable to the Civil Rights 
Act, under the i4th Amendment, that referred only to 
States. The question arises : Is a State responsible for the 
action of its agent when acting contrary to law ? In other 


words: Is the principal bound by the acts of his agent, that 
act not being within the scope of his authority ? Is a State 
liable or is the Government liable for the act of any 
officer, that act not being authorized by law ? 

It has been decided a thousand times, that a State is not 
liable for the torts and trespasses of its officers. How then 
can the agent, acting outside of his authority, be prosecuted 
under a law deriving its entire validity from a constitu 
tional amendment applying only to States? Does an 
officer, by acting contrary to State law, become so like a 
State that the word State, used in the Constitution, includes 

So it was held in the case of Nealvs. Delaware, 103 U. 
S., 307, that an officer acting contrary to the laws of the 
State in defiance of those laws would be amenable to the 
Civil Rights Act, passed under an amendment to the Con 
stitution now held applicable only to States. 

It is admitted, and expressly decided in the case of The 
U. S. vs. Reese etal., (already quoted) that when the wrong 
ful refusal at an election is because of race, color, or 
previous condition of servitude, Congress can interfere and 
provide for the punishment of any individual guilty of such 
refusal, no matter whether such individual acted under or 
against the authority of the State. 

With this statement I most heartily agree. I agree that: 

" When the wrongful refusal is because of race, color, or previous 
condition of servitude, Congress can interfere and provide for the pun 
ishment of any individual guilty of such refusal." 

That is the key that unlocks the whole question. Con 
gress has power full, complete, and ample, to protect all 
citizens from unjust discrimination, and from being de 
prived of equal privileges on account of race, color, or 
previous condition of servitude. And this language is just 
as applicable to the i3th and i4th,astothe 1 5th Amendment. 
If a citizen is denied the acconrnodations of a public inn, 


or a seat in a railway car, on account of race or color, or 
deprived of liberty on account of race or color, the Consti 
tution has been violated, and the citizen thus discriminated 
against or thus deprived of liberty, is entitled to redress in 
a Federal Court. 

It is held by the Supreme Court that the word "State" 
does not apply to the "people" of the State that it applies 
only to the agents of the people of the State. And yet, the 
word " State," as used in the Constitution, has been held to 
include not only the persons in office, but the people who 
elected them not only the agents, but the principals. In 
the Constitution it is provided that "no State shall coin 
money ; and no State shall emit bills of credit." Accord 
ing to this decision, any person in any State, unless pre 
vented by State authority, has the right to coin money and 
to emit bills of credit, and Congress has no power to legis 
late upon the subject provided he does not counterfeit 
any of the coins or current money of the United States. 
Congress would have to deal not with the individuals, but 
with the State ; and unless the State had passed some act 
allowing persons to coin money, or emit bills of credit, 
Congress could do nothing. Yet, long ago, Congress passed 
a statute preventing any person in any State from coining 
money. No matter if a citizen should coin it of pure gold, 
of the requisite fineness and weight, and not in the likeness 
of United States coins.he would be a criminal. We have a 
silver dollar, coined by the Government, worth eighty-five 
cents; and yet, if any person, in any State, should coin 
what he called a dollar, not like our money, but with a dol 
lar's worth of silver in it, he would be guilty of a crime. 

It may be said that the Constitution provides that Con 
gress shall have power to coin money, and provide for the 
punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin 
of the United States ; in other words, that the Constitution 
gives power to Congress to coin money and denies it to the 


States, not only, hut gives Congress the power to legislate 
against counterfeiting. So, in the i3th, I4th, and i5th 
Amendments, power is given to Congress, and power is 
denied to the States, not only, but Congress is expressly 
authorized to enforce the amendments by appropriate 
legislation. Certainly the power is as broad in the one case 
as in the other ; and in both cases, individuals can be 
reached as well as States. 

So the Constitution provides that : 

" Congress shall have power to regulate commerce among the 
several States." 

Under this clause Congress deals directly with individuals. 
The States are not engaged in commerce, but the people are ; 
and Congress makes rules and regulations for the govern 
ment of the people so engaged. 

The Constitution also provides that : 

"Congress shall have power to regulate commerce with the Indian 

It was held in the case of The United States vs. Holliday, 
3 Wall., 407, that : 

"Commerce with the Indian tribes means commerce with the 
individuals composing those tribes." 

And under this clause it has been further decided that 
Congress has the power to regulate commerce not only 
between white people and Indian tribes, but between 
Indian tribes ; and not only that, but between individual 
Indians. Worcester vs. The State, 6 Pet., 575; The United 
States vs. 4.3 Gallons, 93 U. S., 188; The United States vs. 
Shawmux, 2 Saw., 304. 

Now, if the word "tribe" includes individual Indians, 
may not the word " State " include citi-ens ? 

In this decision it is admitted by the Supreme Court that 
where a subject is submitted to the general legislative 
power of Congress, then Congress has plenary powers of 
legislation over the whole subject. Let us apply these 


words to the i3th Amendment. In this very decision I 
find that the i3th Amendment : 

" By its own unaided force and effect, abolished slavery and estab 
lished universal freedom." 

The Court admits that : 

" Legislation may be necessary and proper to meet all the various 
cases and'circumstances to be affected by it, and to prescribe proper 
modes of redress for its violation in letter or spirit." 

The Court further admits : 

"And such legislation may be primary and direct in its character." 

And then gives the reason : 

" For the amendment is not a mere prohibition of State laws estab 
lishing or upholding slavery, but an absolute declaration that slavery 
or involuntary servitude shall not exist in any part of the United 

I now ask, has that subject that is to say, Liberty, 
been submitted to the general legislative power of Congress ? 
The 1 3th Amendment provides that Congress shall have 
power to enforce that amendment by appropriate legislation. 

In construing the i3th and i4th Amendments and the 
Civil Rights Act, it seems to me that the Supreme Court 
has forgotten the principle of construction that has been 
laid down so often by courts, and that is this : that in 
construing statutes, courts may look to the history and 
condition of the country as circumstances from which to 
gather the intention of the Legislature. So it seems to me 
that the Court failed to remember the rule laid down by 
Story in the case of Prigg vs. The Commonwealth of 
Pennsylvania, 16 Pet., 611, a rule laid down in the interest 
of slavery laid down for the purpose of depriving human 
beings of their liberty : 

" Perhaps the safest rule of interpretation, after all, will be found 
to be to look to the nature and objects of the particular powers, 
duties and rights with all the lights and aids of contemporary history, 
and to give to the words of each just such operation and force con- 


Distent with their legitimate meaning, as may fairly secure and attain 
the ends proposed." 

It must be admitted that certain rights were conferred 
by the i3th Amendment. Surely certain rights were con 
ferred by the i4th Amendment ; and these rights should be 
protected and upheld by the Federal Government. And it 
was held in the case last cited, that : 

" If by one mode of interpretation the right must become shadowy 
and unsubstantial, and without any remedial power adequate to the 
end, and by another mode it will attain its just end and secure its 
manifest purpose it would seem, upon principles of reasoning 
absolutely irresistable, that the latter ought to prevail. No court ol 
justice can be authorized so as to construe any clauses of the Consti 
tution as to defeat its obvious ends, when another construction, 
equally accordant with the words and sense thereof, will enforce and 
protect them." 

In the present case, the Supreme Court holds, that Con 
gress can not legislate upon this subject until the State has 
passed some law contrary to the Constitution. 

I. call attention in reply to this, to the case of Hall vs. De 
Cuir, 95 U. S., 486. The State of Louisiana, in 1869, acting 
in the spirit of these amendments to the Constitution, 
passed a law requiring that all persons engaged within 
that State in the business of common carriers of passengers, 
should make no discrimination on account of race, color, or 
previous condition of servitude. Under this law, Mrs. De 
Cuir, a colored woman, took passage on a steamer, buying 
a ticket from New Orleans to Hermitage the entire trip 
being within the limits of the State. The captain of the 
boat refused to give her equal accommodations with other 
passengers the refusal being on the ground of her color. 
She commenced suit against the captain in the State Court 
of Louisiana, and recovered judgment for one thousand 
dollars. The defendant appealed to the Supreme Court of 
that State, and the judgment of the lower court was sus 
tained. Thereupon, the captain died, and the case was 
taken to the Supreme Court of the United States by his 


administrator, on the ground that a Federal question was 

You will see that this was a case where the State had 
acted, and had acted exactly in accordance with the con 
stitutional amendments, and had by law provided that the 
privileges and immunities of the citizen of the United 
States residing in the State of Louisiana should not be 
abridged, and that no distinction should be made on 
account of race or color. But in that case the Supreme 
Court of the United States solemnly decided that the legis 
lation of the State was void that the State of Louisiana 
had no right to interfere no right, by law, to protect a 
citizen of the United States from being discriminated 
against under such circumstances. 

You will remember that the plaintiff, Mrs. De Cuir, was 
to be carried from New Orleans to Hermitage, and that 
both places were within the State of Louisiana. Notwith 
standing this, the Supreme Court held : 

"That if the public good required such legislation, it must come 
from Congress and not from the State." 

What reason do you suppose was given ? It was this : 
The Constitution gives to Congress power to regulate com 
merce between the States ; and it appeared from the evi 
dence given in that case, that the boat plied between the 
ports of New Orleans and Vicksburg. Consequently, it 
was engaged in interstate commerce. Therefore, it was 
under the protection of Congress ; and being under the 
protection of Congress, the State had no authority to pro 
tect its citizens by a law in perfect harmony with the Con 
stitution of the United States, while such citizens were 
within the limits of Louisiana. The Supreme Court scorns 
the protection of a State ! 

In the case recently decided, and about which we are 
talking to-riight, the Supreme Court decides exactly the 
other way. It decides that if the public good requires such 


legislation, it must come from the States, and not from Con 
gress ; that Congress cannot act until the State has acted, 
and until the State has acted wrong, and that Congress can 
then only act for the purpose of "correcting" such State 
action. The decision in Hall -vs. De Cuir was rendered in 
1877. The Civil Rights Act was then in force, and applied 
to all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States, 
and provided expressly that : 

"All persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall be 
entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations, privi 
leges, and facilities of inns, public conveyances on land or water, 
theatres, and other places of public amusement, without regard to 
race or color." 

And yet the Supreme Court said : 

" No carrier of passengers can conduct his business with satisfac 
tion to himself, or comfort to those employing him, if on one side of 
a State line his passengers, both white and colored, must be per 
mitted to occupy the same cabin, and on the other to be kept separate." 

What right had the other State to pass a law that pas 
sengers should be kept separate, on account of race or color ? 
How could such a law have been constitutional? The 
Civil Rights Act applied to all States, and to both sides of 
the lines between all States, and produced absolute uni 
formity and did not put the captain to the trouble of 
dividing his passengers. The Court further said : 

"Uniformity in the regulations by which the carrier is to be gov 
erned from one end to the other of his route, is a necessity in his 

The uniformity had been guaranteed by the Civil Rights 
Act, and the statute of the State of Louisiana was in exact 
conformity with the i4th Amendment and the Civil Rights 
Act. The Court also said : 

"And to secure uniformity, Congress, which is untrammeled by 
State lines, has been invested with the exclusive power of determining 
what such regulations shall be." 

Yes. Congress has been invested with such power, and 


Congress has used it in passing the Civil Rights Act and 
yet, under these circumstances, the Court proceeds to im 
agine the difficulty that a captain would have in dividing 
his passengers as he crosses a State line, keeping them 
apart until he reaches the line of another State, and then 
bringing them together, and so going on through the pro 
cess of dispersing and huddling, to the end of his unfor 
tunate route. 

It is held by the Supreme Court, that uniformity of duties 
is essential to the carrier, and so essential, that Congress 
has control of the whole matter. If uniformity is so de 
sirable for the carrier that Congress takes control, then uni 
formity as to the rights of passengers is equally desirable ; 
and under the i3th and i4th Amendments, Congress has 
the exclusive power to state what the rights, privileges and 
immunities of passengers shall be. So that, in 1877, the 
Supreme Court decided that the States could not legislate; 
and in 1883, that Congress could not, unless the State had. 
If Congress controls interstate commerce upon the naviga 
ble waters, it also controls interstate commerce upon the 
railways. And if Congress has exclusive jurisdiction in 
the one case, it has in the other. And if it has exclusive 
jurisdiction, it does not have to wait until States take action. 
If it does not have to wait until States take action, then the 
Civil Rights Act, in so far as it refers to the rights of pas 
sengers going from one State to another, must be constitu 

It must be remembered, in this discussion, that the 8th 
Section of the Constitution conferred upon Congress the 
power : 

"To make all laws that may be necessary and proper for carrying 
into execution the powers vested by the Constitution in the Govern 
ment of the United States." 

So the 2nd Section of the i3th Article provides: 

. " Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate 


The same language is used in the i4th and i5th Amend 

" This clause does not limit it enlarges the powers vested in the 
General Government. It is an additional power not a restriction on 
those already granted. It does not impair the right of the Legislature 
to exercise its best judgment in the selection of measures to carry into 
execution the constitutional powers of the Government A sound 
construction of the Constitution must allow to the National Legisla 
ture that discretion with respect to the means by which the powers it 
confers are to be carried into execution, which will enable that body 
to perform the high duties assigned to it in the manner most beneficial 
to the people. Let the end be legitimate let it be within the scope 
of the Constitution, and all means which are appropriate which are 
plainly adapted to that end are constitutional." 

This is the language of Chief Justice Marshall, in the 
case of M'Caulcy, vs. The State, 4 Wheaton, 316. 

" Congress must possess the choice of means, and must be em 
powered to use any means which are in fact conducive to the exer 
cise of a power granted by the Constitution." U. S. vs. Fisher, 2 
Cranch, 358. 
Again : 

" The power of Congress to pass laws to enforce rights conferred 
by the Constitution is not limited to the express powers of legislation 
enumerated in the Constitution. The powers which are necessary 
and proper as means to carry into effect rights expressly given and 
duties expressly enjoined, are always implied. The end being given, 
the means to accomplish it are given also." Prigg vs. The Common 
wealth, 16 Peters, 539. 

This decision was delivered by Justice Story, and is the 
same one already referred to, in which liberty was taken 
from a human being by judicial construction. It was held 
in that case that the 2nd Section of the 4th Article of the 
Constitution, to which I have already called attention, 
contained " a positive and unqualified recognition of the 
right " of the owner in a slave, unaffected by any State law 
or regulation. If this is so, then I assert that the i3th 
Amendment " contains a positive and unqualified recognition 
of the right" of every human being to liberty ; that the I4th 
Amendment " contains a positive and unqualified recognition 


of the right " to citizenship ; and that the i5th Amendment 
"contains a positive and unqualified recognition of the 
right " to vote. 

Justice Story held in that case that : 

" Under and by virtue of that section of the Constitution the owner 
of a slave was clothed with entire authority in every State in the na 
tion to seize and recapture his slave." 

He also held that : 

" In that sense, and to that extent, that clause of the Constitution 
might properly be said to execute itself, and to require no aid from 
legislation State or National." 

" But," says Justice Story : 

" The clause of the Constitution does not stop there, but says that 
he, the slave, shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whomsuch 
service or labor may be due. " 

And he holds that : 

" Under that clause of the section Congress became clothed with 
the appropriate authority to legislate for its enforcement." 

Now let us look at the i3th and i4th Amendments in the 
light of that decision. 

First. Liberty and citizenship were given the colored 
people by this amendment. And Justice Story tells us that : 

"The power of Congress to enforce rights conferred by the Constitu 
tion is not limited to the express powers of legislation enumerated in 
the Constitution, but the powers which are necessary to protect such 
rights are always implied." 

Language cannot be stronger ; words cannot be clearer. 
But now this decision has been reversed by the Supreme 
Court, and Congress is left powerless to protect rights con 
ferred by the Constitution. It has been shorn of implied 
powers. It has duties to perform, and no power to act. 
It has rights to protect, but cannot choose the means. It 
is entangled in its own strength. It is a prisoner in the 
bastile of judicial construction. 
, Let us go further. Justice Story tells us that : 

"The words 'but shall be given up on the claim of the person to 
whom such labor or service may be due,' clothes Congress with the 
appropriate authority to legislate for its enforcement." 


In the light of this remark, let us look at the i4th Amend 

" All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject 
to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the 
State wherein they reside." 

To which are added these words : 

" No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the 
privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States ; nor shall 
any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due 
process of law ; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the 
equal protection of the laws." 

Now, if the words: "But shall be delivered up on claim 
of the party to whom such service or labor may be due," 
clothes Congress with power to legislate upon the entire 
subject, then I ask if the words in the i4th Amendment 
declaring that " no law shall be made by any State, or en 
forced, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of 
citizens of the United States; and that no State shall de 
prive any person of life, liberty or property without due 
process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdic 
tion the equal protection of the laws," does not clothe Con 
gress with the power to legislate upon the entire subject? 

In the two cases there is only this difference : The first 
decision was made in the interest of human slavery made 
to protect property in man ; and the second decision ought 
to have been made for exactly the opposite purpose. Under 
the first decision, Congress had the right to select the 
means but now that is denied. And yet it was decided 
in M'Cauky -vs. The State, 4 Wheaton, 316, that: 

"When the Government has a right to do an act, and has imposed 
on it the duty of performing an act, then it must, according to the 
dictates of reason, be allowed to select the means." 

Again : 

" The Government has the right to employ freely every means not 
prohibited, for the fulfillment of its acknowledged duties." 

The Legd Tender Cases 12 Wallace, 457, 


It will thus be seen that Congress has the undoubted right 
to make all laws necessary for the exercise of all the powers 
vested in it by the Constitution. When the Constitution 
imposes a duty upon Congress, it grants the necessary 
means. Congress certainly, then, has the right to pass all 
necessary laws for the enforcement of the i3th, i4th and 
1 5th Amendments. Any legislation is "appropriate" that 
is calculated to accomplish the end sought and that is not 
repugnant to the Constitution. Within these limits Con 
gress has the sovereign power of choice. No better defi 
nition of " appropriate legislation" has been given than that 
by the Supreme Court of California, in the case of The 
People vs. Washington, 38 California, 658 : 

"Legislation which practically tends to facilitate the securing to 
all, through the aid of the judicial and executive departments of the 
Government, the full enjoyment of personal freedom, is appro 

The Supreme Court despairingly asks : 

" If this legislation is appropriate for enforcing the prohibitions of 
the Amendment, it is difficult to see where it is to stop. Why may 
not Congress, with equal show of authority, enact a code of laws for 
the enforcement and vindication of all rights of life, liberty and prop 
erty ? " 

My answer is : The legislation will stop when and where 
the discriminations on account of race, color or previous 
condition of servitude, stop. Whenever an immunity or 
privilege of a citizen of the United States is trodden down 
by the State, or by an individual, under the circumstances 
mentioned in the Civil Rights Act that is to say, on ac 
count of race, color, or previous condition of servitude 
then the Federal Government must interfere. The Govern 
ment must defend the immunities and privileges of its citi 
zens, not only from State invasion, but from individual 
invaders, when that invasion is based upon the distinction 
of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, The 


Government has taken upon itself that duty. This duty 
can be discharged by a law making a uniform rule, obliga 
tory not only upon States, but upon individuals. All this 
will stop when the discriminations stop. 

After such examination of the authorities as I have been 
able to make, I lay down the following propositions, 
namely : 

1. The sovereignty of a State extends only to that which 
exists by its own authority. 

2. The powers of the General Government were not con 
ferred by the people of a single State ; they were given by 
the people of the United States; and the laws of the 
United States, in pursuance of the Constitution, are supreme 
over the entire Republic. 

3. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme 
law of each State. 

4. The United States is a Government whose authorit}' 
extends over the whole territory of the Union, acting upon 
all the States and upon all the people of all the States. 

5. No State can exclude the Federal Government from 
the exercise of any authority conferred upon it by the Con 
stitution, or withhold from it, for a moment, the cognizance 
of any subject which that instrument has committed 
to it. 

6. It is the duty of Congress to enforce the Constitution, 
and it has been clothed with power to make all laws neces 
sary and proper for carrying into execution all the 
powers vested by the Constitution in the General Govern 

7. It is the duty of the Government to protect every 
citizen of the United States in all his rights, everywhere, 
without regard to race, color, or previous condition of 
servitude; and this the Government has the right to do by 
direct legislation. 

8. Every citizen, when his privileges and immunities are 


invaded by the legislature of a State, has the right of ap 
peal from such State to the Supreme Court of the nation. 

9. When a State fails to pass any law protecting a citizen 
from discrimination on account of race or color, and fails, 
in fact, to protect such citizen, then such citizen has the 
right to find redress in the Federal Courts. 

10. Whenever, in the Constitution, a State is prohibited 
from doing anything that in the nature of the thing can be 
done by any citizen of that State, then the word " State " 
embraces and includes all the people of a State. 

11. The 1 3th Amendment declares that neither slavery 
nor involuntary servitude shall exist within the jurisdiction 
of the United States. 

This is not a mere negation it is a splendid affirmation. 
The duty is imposed upon the General Government by 
that amendment to see to it that neither slavery nor invol 
untary servitude shall exist. 

It is a question absolutely within the power of the Fed 
eral Government, and the Federal Government is clothed 
with power to make all necessary laws to enforce that 
amendment against States and persons. 

12. The 1 4th Amendment provides that all persons born 
or naturalized in the United States and subject to the juris 
diction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the 
States wherein they reside. This is also an affirmation. It 
is not a prohibition. The moment that amendment was 
adopted, it became the duty of the United States to protect- 
the citizens recognized or created by that amendment. We 
are no longer citizens of the United States because we are 
citizens of a State, but we are citizens of the United States 
because we have been born or have been naturalized 
within the jurisdiction of the United States. It therefore 
follows, that it is not only the right, but it is the duty, of 
Congress, to pass all laws necessary for the protection of 
citizens of the United States. 


13. Congress can not shirk this responsibility by leaving 
citizens of the United States to the care and keeping of the 
several States. 

The recent decision of the Supreme Court cuts, as with a 
sword, the tie that binds the citizen to the nation. Under 
the old Constitution, it was not certainly known who were 
citizens of the United States. There were citizens of the 
States, and such citizens looked to their several States for 
protection. The Federal Government had no citizens. 
Patriotism did not rest on mutual obligation. Under the 
i4th Amendment, we are all citizens of a common country ; 
and our first duty, our first obligation, our highest allegi 
ance, is not to the State in which we reside, but to the 
Federal Government. The i4th Amendment tends to de 
stroy State prejudices and lays a foundation for national 

14. All statutes all amendments to the Constitution 
in derogation of natural rights, should be strictly con 

15. All statutes and amendments for the preservation of 
natural rights should be liberally construed. Every court 
should, by strict construction, narrow the scope of every 
law that infringes upon any natural human right ; and every 
court should, by construction, give the broadest meaning to 
every statute or constitutional provision passed or adopted 
for the preservation of freedom. 

1 6. In construing the i3th, i4th and i5th Amendments, 
the Supreme Court need not go back to decisions rendered 
in the days of slavery when every statute was construed in 
favor of the sovereignty of the State and the rights of the 
master. These amendments utterly obliterated such de 
cisions. The Supreme Court should begin with the amend 
ments. It need not look behind them. They are a part of 
the fundamental organic law of the nation. They were 
adopted to destroy the old statutes, to obliterate the in- 


famous clauses in the Constitution, and to lay a new foun 
dation for a new nation. 

17. Congress has the power to eradicate all forms and 
incidents of slavery and involuntary servitude, by direct and 
primary legislation binding upon States and individuals 
alike. And when citizens are denied the exercise of common 
rights and privileges when they are refused admittance to 
public inns and railway cars, on an equality with white 
persons and when such denial and refusal are based upon 
race and color, such citizens are in a condition of involun 
tary servitude. 

The Supreme Court has failed to take into consideration 
the intention of the framers of these amendments. It has 
failed to comprehend the spirit of the age. It has under 
valued the accomplishment of the war. It has not grasped 
in all their height and depth the great amendments to the 
Constitution and the real object of government. To pre 
serve liberty is the only use for government. There is no 
other excuse for legislatures, or presidents, or courts, for 
statutes or decisions. Liberty is not simply a means it 
is an end. Take from our history, our literature, our laws, 
our hearts that word, and we are naught but moulded clay. 
Libert}' is the one priceless jewel. It includes and holds and is 
the weal and wealth of life. Liberty is the soil and light and 
rain it is the plant and bud and flower and fruit and in 
that sacred word lie all the seeds of progress, love and joy. 

This decision, in my judgment, is not worthy of the Court 
by which it was delivered. It has given new life to the 
serpent of State Sovereignty. It has breathed upon the dy 
ing embers of ignorant hate. It has furnished food and 
drink, breath and blood, to prejudices that were perishing 
of famine, and in the old case of Civilization vs. Barbarism, 
it has given the defendant a new trial. 

From this decision, John M. Harlan had the breadth of 
brain, the goodness of heart, and the loyalty to logic, tc 


dissent. By the fortress of Liberty, one sentinel remains 
at his post. For moral courage I have supreme respect, and 
I admire that intellectual strength that breaks the cords and 
chains of prejudice and damned custom as though they were 
but threads woven in a spider's loom. This judge has as 
sociated his name with freedom, and he will be remembered 
as long as men are free. 

We are told by the Supreme Court that : 

' ' Slavery cannot exist without law, any more than property and 
lands and goods can exist without law." 

I deny that property exists by virtue of law. I take ex 
actly the opposite ground. It was the fact that man had 
property in lands and goods, that produced laws for the 
protection of such property. The Supreme Court has mis 
taken an effect for a cause. Laws passed for the protection of 
property, sprang from the possession and ownership of the 
thing to be protected. When one man enslaves another, it is 
a violation of all justice a subversion of the foundation of 
all law. Statutes passed for the purpose of enabling man to 
enslave his fellow-man, resulted from a conspiracy entered 
into by the representatives of brute force. Nothing can be 
more absurd than to call such a statute, born of such a conspir 
acy a law. According to the idea of the Supreme Court, 
man never had property until he had passed a law upon the 
subject. The first man who gathered leaves upon which to 
sleep, did not own them, because no law had been passed on 
the leaf subject. The first man who gathered fruit the 
first man who fashioned a club with which to defend him 
self from wild beasts, according to the Supreme Court, had 
no property in these things, because no laws had been passed, 
and no courts had published their decisions. 

So the defenders of monarchy have taken the ground 
that societies were formed by contract as though at one 
time men all lived apart, and came together by agreement 
and formed a government. We might just as well say that 


the trees got into groves by contract or conspiracy. Man is 
a social being. By living together there grow out of the re 
lation, certain regulations, certain customs. These at last 
hardened into what we call law into what we call forms of 
government and people who wish to defend the idea that 
we got everything from the king, say that our fathers made 
a contract. Nothing can be more absurd. Men did not 
agree upon a form of government and then come together ; 
but being together, they made rules for the regulation of 
conduct. Men did not make some laws and then get some 
property to fit the laws, but having property they made 
laws for its protection. 

It is hinted by the Supreme Court that this is in some 
way a question of social equality. It is claimed that social 
equality cannot be enforced by law. Nobody thinks it can. 
This is not a question of social equality, but of equal 
rights. A colored citizen has the same right to ride upon 
the cars to be fed and lodged at public inns, and to visit 
theatres, that I have. Social equality is not involved. 

The Federal soldiers who escaped from Libby and Ander- 
sonville, and who in swamps, in storm, and darkness, were 
rescued and fed by the slave, had no scruples about eating 
with a negro. They were willing to sit beneath the same 
tree and eat with him the food he brought. The white 
soldier was then willing to find rest and slumber beneath 
the negro's roof. Charity has no color. It is neither white 
nor black. Justice and Patriotism are the same. Even 
the Confederate soldier was willing to leave his wife and 
children under the protection of a man whom he was fight 
ing to enslave. 

Danger does not draw these nice distinctions as to race 
or color. Hunger is not proud. Famine is exceedingly 
democratic in the matter of food. In the moment of peril, 
prejudices perish. The man fleeing for his life does not 
have the same ideas about social questions as he who sits 


in the Capitol, wrapped in official robes. Position is apt to 
be supercilious. Power is sometimes cruel. Prosperity is 
often heartless. 

This cry about social equality is born of the spirit of 
caste the most fiendish of all things. It is worse than 
slavery. Slavery is at least justified by avarice by a 
desire to get something for nothing by a desire to live in 
idleness upon the labor of others but the spirit of caste is 
the offspring of natural cruelty and meanness. 

Social relations depend upon almost an infinite number of 
influences and considerations. We have our likes and dis 
likes. We choose our companions. This is a natural right. 
You cannot force into my house persons whom I do not 
want. But there is a difference between a public house and 
a private house. The one is for the public. The private 
house is for the family and those they may invite. The 
landlord invites the entire public, and he must serve those 
who come if they are fit to be received. A railway is public, 
not private. It derives its powers and its rights from the 
State. It takes private land for public purposes. It is in 
corporated for the good of the public, and the public must 
be served. The railway, the hotel, and the theatre, have a 
right to make a distinction between people of good and bad 
manners between the clean and the unclean. There are 
white people who have no right to be in any place except 
a bath-tub, and there are colored people in the same con 
dition. An unclean white man should not be allowed to 
force himself into a hotel, or into a railway car neither 
should the unclean colored. What I claim is, that in public 
places, no distinction should be made on account of race 
or color. The bad black man should be treated like the 
bad white man, and the good black man like the good white 
man. Social equality is not contended for neither between 
white and white, black and black, nor between white and 


In all social relations we should have the utmost liberty 
but public duties should be discharged and public rights 
should be recognized, without the slightest discrimination 
on account of race or color. Riding in the same cars, stop 
ping at the same inns, sitting in the same theatres, no more 
involve a social question, or social equality, than speaking 
the same language, reading the same books, hearing the 
same music, traveling on the same highway, eating the 
same food, breathing the same air, warming by the same 
sun, shivering in the same cold, defending the same flag, 
loving the same country, or living in the same world. 

And yet, thousands of people are in deadly fear about 
social equality. They imagine that riding with colored 
people is dangerous that the chance acquaintance may 
lead to marriage. They wish to be protected from such 
consequences by law. They dare not trust themselves. 
They appeal to the Supreme Court for assistance, and wish 
to be barricaded by a constitutional amendment. They are 
willing that colored women shall prepare their food that 
colored waiters shall bring it to them willing to ride in 
the same cars with the porters and to be shown to their 
seats in theatres by colored ushers willing to be nursed 
in sickness by colored servants. They see nothing danger 
ous nothing repugnant, in any of these relations, but the 
idea of riding in the same car, stopping at the same hotel, 
fills them with fear fear for the future of our race. Such 
people can be described only in the language of Walt Whit 
man. " They are the immutable, granitic pudding-heads of 
the world." 

Liberty is not a social question. Civil equality is not 
social equality. We are equal only in rights. No two per 
sons are of equal weight, or height. There are no two 
leaves in all the forests of the earth alike no two blades of 
grass no two grains of sand no two hairs. No two any- 
things in the physical world are precisely alike. Neither 


mental nor physical equality can be created by law, but 
law recognizes the fact that all men have been clothed with 
equal rights by Nature, the mother of us all. 

The man who hates the black man because he is black, 
has the same spirit as he who hates the poor man because 
he is poor. It is the spirit of caste. The proud useless 
despises the honest useful. The parasite idleness scorns the 
greax. oak of labor on which it feeds, and that lifts it to the 

I am the inferior of any man whose rights I trample 
under foot. Men are not superior by reason of the accidents 
of race or color. They are superior who have the best 
heart the best brain. Superiority is born of honesty, of 
virtue, of charity, and above all, of the love of liberty. The 
superior man is the providence of the inferior. He is eyes 
for the blind, strength for the weak, and a shield for the 
defenceless. He stands erect by bending above the fallen. 
He rises by lifting others. 

In this country all rights must be preserved, all wrongs 
redressed, through the ballot. The colored man has in his 
possession, in his care, a part of the sovereign power of the 
Republic. At the ballot-box he is the equal of judges and 
senators, and presidents, and his vote, when counted, is the 
equal of any other. He must use this sovereign power for 
his own protection, and for the preservation of his children. 
The ballot is his sword and shield. It is his political provi 
dence. It is the rock on which he stands, the column 
against which he leans. He should vote for no man 
who dees not believe in equal rights for all in the same 
privileges and immunities for all citizens, irrespective of 
race or color. 

He should not be misled by party cries, or by vague 
promises in political platforms. He should vote for the 
men, for the party, that will protect him ; for congressmen 
who believe in liberty, for judges who worship justice 


whose brains are not tangled by technicalities, and whose 
hearts are not petrified by precedents ; and for presidents 
who will protect the blackest citizen from the tyranny of the 
whitest State. As you cannot trust the word of some white 
people, and as some black people do not always tell the 
truth, you must compel all candidates to put their principle- 
in black and white. 

Of one thing you can rest assured : The best white peo 
ple are your friends. The humane, the civilized, the just, 
the most intelligent, the grandest, are on your side. The 
sympathies of the noblest are with you. Your enemies are 
also the enemies of liberty, of progress and of justice. The 
white men who make the white race honorable believe in 
equal rights for you. The noblest living are, the noblest 
dead were, your friends. I ask you to stand with your 

Do not hold the Republican party responsible for this 
decision, unless the Republican party endorses it. Had the 
question been submitted to that party, it would have been 
decided exactly the other way at least a hundred to one. 
That party gave you the i3th, i4th and i5th Amendments. 
They were given in good faith. These amendments put 
you on a constitutional and political equality with white 
men. That they have been narrowed in their application 
by the Supreme Court, is not the fault of the Republican 
party. Let us wait and see what the Republican party will 
do. That party has a strange history, and in that history 
is a mingling of cowardice and courage. The army of pro 
gress always becomes fearful after victory, and courageous 
after defeat. It has been the custom for principle to apolo 
gize to prejudice. The Proclamation of Emancipation gave 
liberty only to slaves beyond our lines those beneath our 
flag were left to wear their chains. We said to the Southern 
States: "Lay down your arms, and you shall keep your 
slaves," We tried to buy peace at the expense of the negro, 


We offered to sacrifice the manhood of the North, and the 
natural rights of the colored man, upon the altar of the 
Union. The rejection of that offer saved us from infamy. 
At one time we refused to allow the loyal black man to 
come within our lines. We would meet him at the outposts, 
receive his information, and drive him back to chain and 
lash. The Government publicly proclaimed that the war 
was waged to save the Union, with slavery. We were 
afraid to claim that the negro was a man afraid to admit 
that he was property and so we called him "contraband." 
We hesitated to allow the negro to fight for his own free 
dom hesitated to let him wear the uniform of the nation 
while he battled for the supremacy of its flag. 

These are some of the inconsistencies of the past. In 
spite of them we advanced. We were educated by events, 
and at last we clearly saw that slavery was rebellion ; 
that the "institution" had borne its natural fruit civil 
war; that the entire country was responsible for slavery, 
and that slavery was responsible for rebellion. We de 
clared that slavery should be extirpated from the Republic. 
The great armies led by the greatest commander of the 
modern world, shattered, crushed and demolished the Re 
bellion. The North grew grand. The people became 
sublime. The three sacred amendments were adopted. 
The Republic was free. 

Then came a period of hesitation, apology and fear. The 
colored citizen was left to his fate. For years the Federal 
arm, palsied by policy, was powerless to protect; and this 
period of fear, of hesitation, of apology, of lack of confi 
dence in the right, has borne its natural fruit this decision 
of the Supreme Court. . 

But it is not for me to give you advice. Your conduct 
has been above all praise. You have been as patient as the 
earth beneath, as the stars above. You have been law- 
abiding and industrious. You have not offensively as- 


serted your rights, or offensively borne your wrongs. 
You have been modest and forgiving. You have returned 
good for evil. When I remember that the ancestors of my 
race were in universities and colleges and common schools 
while you and your fathers were on the auction-block, in 
the slave-pen, or in the field beneath the cruel lash, in 
States where reading and writing were crimes, I am 
astonished at the progress you have made. 

All that I all that any reasonable man can ask is, that 
you continue doing as you have done. Above all things 
educate your children strive to make yourselves independent 
work for homes work for yourselves and wherever it 
is possible become the masters of yourselves. 

Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see your little 
children with books under their arms, going and coming 
from school. 

It is very easy to see why colored people should hate us, 
but why we should hate them is beyond my comprehension. 
They never sold our wives. They never robbed our 
cradles.. They never scarred our backs. They never 
pursued us with bloodhounds. They never branded our 

It has been said that it is hard to forgive a man to whom 
we have done a great injury. I can conceive of no other 
reason why we should hate the colored people. To us they 
are a standing reproach. Their history is our shame. 
Their virtues seem to enrage some white people their 
patience to provoke, and their forgiveness to insult. Turn 
the tables change places and with what fierceness, with 
what ferocity, with what insane and passionate intensity 
we would hate them ! 

The colored people do not ask for revenge they simply 
ask for justice. They are willing to forget the past will 
ing to hide their scars anxious to bury the broken chains, 


and to forget the miseries and hardships, the tears and 
agonies, of two hundred years. 

The old issues are again upon us. Is this a Nation? 
Have all citizens of the United States equal rights, without 
regard to race or color? Is it the duty of the General 
Government to protect its citizens ? Can the Federal arm 
be palsied by the action or non-action of a State ? 

Another opportunity is given for the people of this 
country to take sides. According to my belief, the supreme 
thing for every man to do is to be absolutely true to him 
self. All consequences whether rewards or punishments, 
whether honor and power, or disgrace and poverty, are as 
dreams undreamt. I have made my choice. I have taken 
my stand. Where my brain and heart go, there I will 
publicly and openly walk. Doing this, is my highest con 
ception of duty. Being allowed to do this, is liberty. 

If this is not now a free Government ; if citizens cannot 
now be protected, regardless of race or color ; if the three 
sacred amendments have been undermined by the Supreme 
Court we must have another; and if that fails, then 
another; and we must neither stop, nor pause, until the 
Constitution shall become a perfect shield for every right, 
of every human being, beneath our flag. 



/"""> ENTLEMEN OP THE JURY : I regard this as one of the 
V_J most important cases that can be submitted to a jury. 
It is not a case that involves a little property, neither is it one 
that involves simply the liberty of one man. It involves 
the freedom of speech, the intellectual liberty of every 
citizen of New Jersey. 

The question to be tried by you is whether a man has the 
right to express his honest thought; and for that reason 
there can be no case of greater importance submitted to a 
jury. And it may be well enough for me, at the outset, to 
admit that there could be no case in which I could take a 
greater a deeper interest. For my part, I would not wish 

* Within thirty miles of New York, in the city of Morristown, New Jersey, & man was 
put on trial yesterday for distributing a pamphlet argument against the infallibility of 
the Bible. The crime which the indictment alleges is olasphemy, for which the statutes 
of New Jersey provide a penalty of two hundred dollars fine, or twelve months imprison 
ment, or both. It is the first case of the kind ever tried in New Jersey, although the law 
dates back to colonial days. Charles B. Reynolds is the man on trial, and the State of 
New Jersey, through the Prosecuting Attorney of Morris County, is the prosecutor. 
The Circuit Court, Judge Francis Child, assisted by County Judges Munson and Ouimby, 
sit upon the case. Prosecutor Wilder W. Cutler represents the State, and Rooert G. 
Ingersoll appears for the defendant. 

Mr. Reynolds went to Boonton last summer to hold "free-thought" meetings. An 
nouncing his purpose without any flourish, he secured a piece of ground, pitched a tent 
npon it, and invited the towns-people to come and hear him. It was understood that he 
had been a Methodist minister : that, finding it impossible to reconcile his mind to some 
of the historical parts of the Bible, and unable to accept it in its entirety as a moral guide, 
he left the church and set out to proclaim his conclusions. The churches in Boonton 
arrayed themselves against him. The Catholics and Methodists were especially active. 
Taking this opposition as an excuse, one element of the town invaded his tent. They 
pelted Reynolds with ancient eggs and vegetables. They chopped away the guy ropes 
of the tent and slashed the canvas with their knives. When the tent collapsed, the crowd 
rushed for the speaker to inflict further punishment by plunging him in the duck pond 
They rummaged the wrecked tent, but m vain. He had made Sis way out in the coufu- 
ion and was no more seen in Boonton. 

But what he had said did not leave Boonton with him, and the pamphlets he had dis 
tributed were read by many who probably would not have looked between their covers 
had his visit been attended by no unusual circumstances. Boonton was still agitated up- 
on the subject when Mr. Reynolds appeared in Morristown. This time he did not try to 
liold meetings, but had his pamphlets with him. 

Mr. Reynolds appeared in Morristown with the pamphlets on October thirteenth. A 
Boonton delegation was there, clamoring for his indictment for blasphemy. The Grand 
J ory heard of his visit and found two indictments against him; one for blasphemy at 



to live in a world where I could not express my honest 
opinions. Men who deny to others the right of speech 
are not fit to live with honest men. 

I deny the right of any man, of any number of men, of 
any church, of any State, to put a padlock on the lips to 
make the tongue a convict. I passionately deny the right 
of the Herod of authority to kill the children of the brain. 

A man has a right to work with his hands, to plow the 

Boonton and the second for blasphemy at Morristown. He furnished a five hundred dol 
lar bond to appear for trial. On account of Colonel Ingersoll's throat troubles the case 
was adjourned several times through the winter and until Monday last, when it was set 
peremptorily for trial yesterday. 

The public feeling excited at Boonton was overshad9wed by that at Morristown and the 
neighboring region. For six months no topic was so interesting to the public as this. It 
monopolized attention at the stores, and became a fruitful subject of gossip in social and 
church circles. Under such circumstances it was to be expected that eveiybodywho 
could spare the time would go to court yesterday. Lines of people began to cliiub the 
court house hill early in the morning. At the hour of opening court the room set apart 
for the trial was packed , and distaffs had to be stationed at the foot of the stairs to keep 
back those who were not early enough. From nine thirty to eleven o'clock the crowd in 
side talked of blasphemy in all the phases suggested by this case, and the outsiders waited 
patiently on the lawn and steps and along the dusty approaches to the gray building. 

Eleven o'clock brought the train from New 1'ork and on it Colonel Ingersoll. His 
arrival at the court house with his clerk opened a new chapter in the day's gossip. The 
event was so absorbing indeed, that the crowd failed entirely to notice an elderly man 
wearing a black frock suit, a silk hat. with an army badge pinned to his coat, and looking 
like a merchant of means, who entered the court house a few minutes behind the famous 
lawyer. The last comer was the defendant. 

All was ready for the case. Within five minutes five jurors were in the box. Then 
Colonel Ingersoll asked what were his rights about challenges. He was informed that he 
might make six peremptory challenges and must challenge before the jurors took their 
seats. The only disqualification the Court would recognize would be the inability of a 
Juror to change his opinion in spite of evidence. Colonel Ingersoll induced the Court to 
let him examine the five in the box and promptly ejected two Presbyterians. 

Thereafter Colonel Ingersoll examined every juror as soon as presented. He asked 
particularly about the nature of each man's prejudice, if he had one. To a juror who did 
not know that he understood the word, the Colonel replied : " I may not define the word 
legally, but my own idea is that a man is prejudiced when he has made up his mind on a 
case without knowing anything about it. This juror thought that he came under that 

Presbyterians had a rather hard time with the examiner. After twenty men had been 
examined and thedefence had exercised five of its peremptory challenges, the following 
were sworn as jurymen. * * * * 

The jury having been sworn, Prosecutor Cutler announced that he would try only the 
Indictment for the offence in Morristown. He said that Reynolds was charged with dis 
tributing pamphlets containing matter claimed to be blasphemous under the law. If the 
charge could be proved he asked a verdict of guilty. Then he called sixteen towns-peo 
ple, to most of whom Reynolds had given a pamphlet. 

Colonel Ingersoll tried to get the Presbyterian witnesses to say that they had read the 
pamphlet. Not one of them admitted it. Further than this he attempted no cross- 

"I do not know that I shall have any witnesses one way or the other, " Colonel 
Ingersoll said, rising to suggest a recess. " Perhaps after dinnerl may feel like making a 
few remarks." 

" There will be great disappointment if you do not " Judge Child responded, in a tone 
that meant a word for himself as well as tor the other listeners. The spectators nodded 
approval to this sentiment. At 4:20 o'clock Col. Ingersoll having spoken since 2 o'clock, 
Judge Child adjourned court until this morning. 

As Colonel Ingersoll left the room a throng pressed after him to offer congratulations. 
One old man said : " Colonel Ingersoll I am a Presbyterian pastor, but I must say that 
was the noblest speech indeienceof liberty I ever Jieard 1 Your hand, eir ; your hand." 
Th* Times, New York, May tt), 1887, 


earth, to sow the seed, and that man has a right to reap the 
harvest. If we have not that right, then all are slaves ex 
cept those who take these rights from their fellow-men. If 
you have the right to work with your hands and to gather 
the harvest for yourself and your children, have you not a 
right to cultivate your brain ? Have you not the right to 
read, to observe, to investigate and when you have so read 
and so investigated, have you not the right to reap that 
field ? And what is it to reap that field ? It is simply to 
express what you have ascertained simply to give your 
thoughts to your fellow-men. 

If there is one subject in this world worthy of being dis 
cussed, worthy of being understood, it is the question of 
intellectual liberty. Without that, we are simply painted 
clay; without that, we are poor, miserable serfs and slaves. 
If you have not the right to express your opinions, if the 
defendant has not this right, then no man ever walked be 
neath the blue of heaven that had the right to express his 
thought. If others claim the right, where did they get it ? 
How did they happen to have it, and how did you happen 
to be deprived of it? Where did a church or a nation get 
that right ? 

Are we not all children of the same Mother ? Are we not 
all compelled to think, whether we wish to or not? Can 
you help thinking as you do ? When you look out upon 
the woods, the fields, when you look at the solemn splen 
dors of the night these things produce certain thoughts in 
your mind, and they produce them necessarily. No man 
can think as he desires. No man controls the action of his 
brain, any more than he controls the action of his heart. 
The blood pursues its old accustomed ways in spite of you. 
The eyes see, if you open them, in spite of you. The ears 
hear, if they are unstopped, without asking your permis 
sion. And the brain thinks in spite of you. Should you 
express that thought ? Certainly you should, if others ex- 


press theirs. You have exactly the same right. He who 
takes it from you is a robber. 

For thousands of years people have been trying to force 
other people to think their way. Did they succeed ? No. 
Will they succeed ? No. Why ? Because brute force is 
not an argument. You can stand with the lash over a 
man, or you can stand by the prison door, or beneath the 
gallows, or by the stake, and say to this man : " Recant 
or the lash descends, the prison door is locked upon you, 
the rope is put about your neck, or the torch is given to the 
fagot." And so the man recants. Is he convinced ? Not 
at all. Have you produced a new argument ? Not the 
slightest. And yet the ignorant bigots of this world have 
been tr}ung for thousands of years to rule the minds of 
men by brute force. They have endeavored to improve 
the mind by torturing the flesh to spread religion with the 
sword and torch. They have tried to convince their 
brothers by putting their feet in iron boots, by putting 
fathers, mothers, patriots, philosophers and philanthropists 
in dungeons. And what has been the result ? Are we any 
nearer thinking alike to-day than we were then ? 

No orthodox church ever had power that it did not 
endeavor to make people think its way by force and 
flame. And yet every church that ever was established 
commenced in the minority, and while it was in the 
minority advocated free speech every one. John Calvin, 
the founder of the Presbyterian Church, while he lived in 
France, wrote a book on religious toleration in order to 
show that all men had an equal right to think ; and yet 
that man afterward, clothed in a little authority, forgot all 
his sentiments about religious liberty, and had poor 
Servetus burned at the stake, for differing with him on a 
question that neither of them knew anything about. In 
the minority, Calvin advocated toleration in the majority, 
he practiced murder. 


I want you to understand what has been done in the 
world to force men to think alike. It seems to me that if 
there is some infinite being who wants us to think alike, 
he would have made us alike. Why did he not do so ? 
Why did he make your brain so that you could not by any 
possibility be a Methodist ? Why did he make yours so 
that you could not be a Catholic ? And why did he make 
the brain of another so that he is an unbeliever why the 
brain of another so that he became a Mohammedan if he 
wanted us all to believe alike ? 

After all, may be Nature is good enough and grand 
enough and broad enough to give us the diversity born of 
liberty. May be, after all, it would not be best for us all 
to be just the same. What a stupid world, if everybody 
said yes to everything that everybody else might say. 

The most important thing in this world is liberty. More 
important than food or clothes more important than gold 
or houses or lands more important than art or science 
more important than all religions, is the liberty of man. 

If civilization tends to do away with liberty, then I agree 
with Mr. Buckle that civilization is a curse. Gladly would 
I give up the splendors of the nineteenth century gladly 
would I forget every invention that has leaped from the 
brain of man gladly would I see all books ashes, all works 
of art destroyed, all statues broken, and all the triumphs of 
the world lost gladly, joyously would I go back to the 
abodes and dens of savagery, if that were necessary to pre 
serve the inestimable gem of human liberty. So would 
every man who has a heart and brain. 

How has the church in every age, when in authority, 
defended itself ? Always by a statute against blasphemy, 
against argument, against free speech. And there never 
was such a statute that did not stain the book that it was 
in, and that did not certify to the savagery of the men who 
passed it. Never. By making a statute and by defining 


blasphemy, the church sought to prevent discussion- 
sought to prevent argument sought to prevent a man 
giving his honest opinion. Certainly a tenet, a dogma, a 
doctrine, is safe when hedged about by a statute that pre 
vents your speaking against it. In the silence of slavery it 
exists. It lives because lips are locked. It lives because 
men are slaves. 

If I understand myself, I advocate only the doctrines 
that in my judgment will make this world happier and 
better. If I know myself, I advocate only those things 
that will make a man a better citizen, a better father, a 
kinder husband that will make a woman a better wife, a 
better mother doctrines that will fill every home with sun 
shine and with joy. And if I believed that anything I 
should say to-day would have any other possible tendency, 
I would stop. I am a believer in liberty. That is my 
religion to give to every other human being every right 
that I claim for myself, and I grant to every other human 
being, not the right because it is his right but instead 
of granting I declare that it is his right, to attack every 
doctrine that I maintain, to answer every argument that I 
ma}' urge in other words, he must have absolute freedom 
of speech. 

I am a believer in what I call " intellectual hospitality." 
A man comes to your door. If you are a gentleman and 
he appears to be a good man, you receive him with a 
smile. You ask after his health. You say : " Take a 
chair ; are you thirsty, are you hungry, will you not break 
bread with me ? " That is what a hospitable, good man 
does he does not set the dog on him. Now, how should 
we treat a new thought? I say that the brain should be 
hospitable and say to the new thought : " Come in ; sit 
down ; I want to cross-examine you ; I want to find 
whether you are good or bad ; if good, stay ; if bad, I don't 
want to hurt you probably you think you are all right, 


but your room is better than your company, and I will take 
another idea in your place." Why not? Can any man 
have the egotism to say that he has found it all out ? No. 
Every man who has thought, knows not only how little he 
knows, but how little every other human being knows, and 
how ignorant, after all, the world must be. 

There was a time in Europe when the Catholic Church 
had power. And I want it distinctly understood with this 
jury, that while I am opposed to Catholicism I am not op 
posed to Catholics while I am opposed to Presbyterianism 
I am not opposed to Presbyterians. I do not fight people, 
I fight ideas, I fight principles, and I never go into per 
sonalities. As I said, I do not hate Presbyterians, but 
Presbyterianism that is, I am opposed to their doctrine. 
I do not hate a man that has the rheumatism I hate the 
rheumatism when it has a man. So I attack certain prin 
ciples because I think they are wrong, but I always want 
it understood that I have nothing against persons 
nothing against victims. 

There was a time when the Catholic Church was in 
power in the Old World. All at once there arose a man 
called Martin Luther, and what did the dear old Catholics 
think ? " Oh," they said, " that man and his followers are 
going to hell." But they did not go. They were very 
good people. They may have been mistaken I do not 
know. I think they were right in their opposition to 
Catholicism but I have just as much objection to the 
religion they founded as I have to the church they left. 
But they thought they were right, and they made very 
good citizens, and it turned out that their differing from 
the Mother Church did not hurt them. And then after 
awhile they began to divide, and there arose Baptists ; and 
-the other gentlemen, who believed in this law that is now 
in New Jersey, began cutting off their ears so that they 
could hear better ; they began putting them in prison so 


that they would have a chance to think. But the Baptists 
turned out to be good folks first rate good husbands, 
good fathers, good citizens. And in a little while, in 
England, the people turned to be Episcopalians, on account 
of a little war that Henry VIII. had with the Pope, 
and I always sided with the Pope in that war but it made 
no difference; and in a little while the Episcopalians 
turned out to be just about like other folks no worse 
and, as I know of, no batter. 

After awhile arose the Puritan, and the Episcopalian 
said, "We don't want anything of him he is a bad man ; " 
and they finally drove some of them away and they settled 
in New England, and there were among them Quakers, than 
whom there never were bettei people on the earth indus 
trious, frugal, gentle, kind and loving and yet these Puri 
tans began hanging them. They said : " They are cor 
rupting our children ; if this thing goes on, everybody will 
believe in being kind and gentle and good, and what will 
become of us ?" They were honest about it. So they went 
to cutting off ears. But the Quakers were good people and 
none of the prophecies were fulfilled. 

In a little while there came some Unitarians and they 
said, " The world is going to ruin, sure ; " but the world 
went on as usual, and the Unitarians produced men like 
Channing one of the teuderest spirits that ever lived 
they produced men like Theodore Parker one of the 
greatest brained and greatest hearted men produced upon 
this continent a good man and yet they thought he was 
a blasphemer they even prayed for his death on their 
bended knees they asked their God to take time to kill him. 
Well, they were mistaken. Honest, probably. 

After awhile came the Universal ists, who said : " God is 
good. He will not damn anybody always, just for a little 
mistake he made here. This is a very short life ; the path we 
travel is very dim, and a great many shadows fall in the 


way, and if a man happens to stub his toe, God will not burn 
him forever." And then all the rest of the sects cried out, 
" Why, if you do away with hell, everybody will murder 
just for pastime everybody will go to stealing just to en 
joy themselves." But they did not. The Universalists 
were good people just as good as any others. Most of 
them much better. None of the prophecies were fulfilled, 
and yet the differences existed. 

And so we go on until we find people who do not believe 
the Bible at all, and when they say they do not, they come 
within this statute. 

Now, gentlemen, I am going to try to show you, first, 
that this statute under which Mr. Reynolds is being tried 
is unconstitutional that it is not in harmony with the con 
stitution of New Jersey ; and I am going to try to show you 
in addition to that, that it was passed hundreds of years 
ago, by men who believed it was right to burn heretics and 
tie Quakers to the end of a cart; men and even modest 
women stripped naked and lash them from town to town. 
They were the men who originally passed that statute, and 
I want to show you that it has slept all this time, and I am 
informed I do not know how it is that there never has 
been a prosecution in this State for blasphemy. 

Now, gentlemen, what is blasphemy ? Of course nobody 
knows what it is, unless he takes into consideration where 
he is. What is blasphemy in one country would be a re 
ligious exhortation in another. It is owing to where you 
are and who is in authority. And let me call your attention 
to the impudence and bigotry of the American Christians. 
We send missionaries to other countries. What for ? To 
tell them that their religion is false, that their gods are 
myths and monsters, that their saviors and apostles were 
impostors, and that our religion is true. You send a man 
from Morristown a Presbyterian, over to Turkey. He 
goes there, and he tells the Mohammedans and he has it 


in a pamphlet and he distributes it that the Koran is a 
lie, that Mohammed was not a prophet of God, that the 
angel Gabriel is not so large that it is four hundred leagues 
between his eyes that it is all a mistake there never was 
an angel so large as that. Then what would the Turks do? 
Suppose the Turks had a law like this statute in New Jer 
sey. They would put the Morristown missionary in jail, 
and he would send home word, and then what would the 
people of Morristown say ? Honestly what do you think 
they would say ? They would say, " Why, look at those 
poor, heathen wretches. We sent a man over there armed 
with the truth, and yet they were so blinded by their 
idolatrous religion, so steeped in superstition, that they 
actually put that man in prison." Gentlemen, does not 
that show the need of more missionaries ? I would say, yes. 

Now, let us turn the tables. A gentleman conies from 
Turkey to Morristown. He has got a pamphlet. He says, 
"The Koran is the inspired book, Mohammed is the real 
prophet, your Bible is false and your Savior simply a 
myth." Thereupon the Morristown people put him in 
jail. Then what would the Turks say? They would say, 
" Morristown needs more missionaries," and I would agree 
with them. 

In other words, what we want is intellectual hospitality. 
Let the world talk. And see how foolish this trial is. I 
have no doubt that the prosecuting attorney agrees with 
rne to-day, that whether this law is good or bad, this trial 
should not have taken place. And let me tell you why. 
Here comes a man into your town and circulates a pam 
phlet. Now, if they had just kept still, very few would ever 
have heard of it. That would have been the end. The 
diameter of the echo would have been a few thousand feet. 
But in order to stop the discussion of that question, they 
indicted this man, and that question has been more dis 
cussed in this country since this indictment than all the 


discussions put together since New Jersey was first granted 
to Charles II. 's dearest brother James, the Duke of York. 
And what else? A trial here that is to be reported 
and published all over the United States, a trial that will 
give Mr. Reynolds a congregation of fifty millions of 
people. And yet this was done for the purpose of stop 
ping a discussion of this subject. I want to show you that 
the thing is in itself almost idiotic that it defeats itself, 
and that you cannot crush out these things by force. Not 
only so, but Mr. Reynolds has the right to be defended, 
and his counsel has the right to give his opinions on this 

Suppose that we put Mr. Reynolds in jail. The argu 
ment has not been sent to jail. That is still going the 
rounds, free as the winds. Suppose you keep him at hard 
labor a year all the time he is there, hundreds and thou 
sands of people will be reading some account, or some 
fragment, of this trial. There is the trouble. If you 
could only imprison a thought, then intellectual tyranny 
might succeed. If you could only take an argument and 
put a striped suit of clothes on it if you could only take 
a good, splendid, shining fact and lock it up in some 
dungeon of ignorance, so that its light would never again 
enter the mind of man, then you might succeed in stopping 
human progress. Otherwise, no. 

Let us see about this particular statute. In the first 
place, the State has a constitution. That constitution is 
a rule, a limitation to the power of the Legislature, and a 
certain breastwork for the protection of private rights, and 
the constitution says to this sea of passions and pre 
judices : " Thus far and no farther." The constitution 
says to each individual: "This shall panoply you; this 
is your complete coat of mail; this shall defend your 
rights." And it is usual in this country to make as a part 
of each constitution several general declarations called 


the Bill of Rights. So I find that in the old constitution 
of New Jersey, which was adopted in the year of grace 
1776, although the people at that time were not educated 
as they are now the spirit of the Revolution at that time 
not having permeated all classes of society a declaration 
in favor of religious freedom. The people were on the eve 
of a revolution. This constitution was adopted on the 
third day of July, 1776, one day before the immortal 
Declaration of Independence. Now, what do we find in 
this and we have got to go by this light, by this torch, 
when we examine the statute. 

I find in that constitution, in its Eighteenth Section, 
this : "No person shall ever in this State be deprived of 
the inestimable privilege of worshiping God in a manner 
agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience; nor under 
any pretence whatever be compelled to attend any place of 
worship contrary to his own faith and judgment; nor shall 
he be obliged to pay tithes, taxes, or any other rates for the 
purpose of building or repairing any church or churches, 
contrary to what he believes to be true." That was a very 
great and splendid step. It was the divorce of church and 
state. It no longer allowed the State to levy taxes for the 
support of a particular religion, and it said to every citizen 
of New Jersey : All that you give for that purpose must 
be voluntarily given, and the State will not compel you to 
pay for the maintenance of a church in which you do not 
believe. So far so good. 

The next paragraph was not so good. " There shall be 
no establishment of any one religious sect in this State in 
preference to another, and no Protestant inhabitants of 
this State shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil right 
merely on account of his religious principles ; but all per 
sons professing a belief in the faith of any Protestant sect, 
who shall demean themselves peaceably, shall be capable 
of being elected to any office of profit or trust, and shall 


fully and freely enjoy every privilege and immunity 
enjoyed by other citizens." 

What became of the Catholics under that clause, I do not 
know whether they had any right to be elected to office 
or not under this Act. But in 1844, the State having 
grown civilized in the meantime, another constitution was 
adopted. The word Protestant was then left out. There 
was to be no establishment of one religion over another. 
But Protestantism did not render a man capable of being 
elected to office any more than Catholicism, and nothing 
is said about any religious belief whatever. So far, so 

" No religious test shall be required as a qualification 
for any office of public trust. No person shall be denied 
the enjoyment of any civil right on account of his religious 

That is a very broad and splendid provision. " No per 
son shall be denied any civil right on account of his relig 
ious principles." That was copied from the Virginia 
constitution, and that clause in the Virginia constitution 
was written by Thomas Jefferson, and under that clause 
men were entitled to give their testimony in the courts of 
Virginia whether they believed in any religion or not, in 
any bible or not, or in any god or not. 

That same clause was afterward adopted by the State 
of Illinois, also by many other States, and wherever that 
clause is, no citizen can be denied any civil right on 
account of his religious principles. It is a broad and 
generous clause. This statute, under which this indict 
ment is drawn, is not in accordance with the spirit of that 
splendid sentiment. Under that clause, no man can be 
deprived of any civil right on account of his religious 
principles, or on account of his belief. And yet, on account 
of this miserable, this antiquated, this barbarous and 
savage statute, the same man who cannot be denied any 


political or civil right, can be sent to the penitentiary as a 
common felon for simply expressing his honest thought. 
And before I get through I hope to convince you that this 
statute is unconstitutional. 

But we will go another step: " Every person may freely 
speak, write, or publish his sentiments on all subjects, 
being responsible for the abuse of that right," 

That is in the constitution of nearly every State in 
the Union, and the intention of that is to cover slanderous 
words to cover a case where a man under pretence of 
enjoying the freedom of speech falsely assails or accuses 
his neighbor. Of course he should be held responsible for 
that abuse. 

Then follows the great clause in the constitution of 
1844 more important than any other clause in that in 
strument a clause that shines in that constitution like a 
star at night. 

" No law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the 
liberty of speech or of the press." 

Can anything be plainer anything be more forcibly 
stated ? 

" No law shall be passed to abridge the liberty of 

Now, while you are considering this statute, I want you 
to keep in mind this other statement : 

" No law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the 
liberty of speech or of the press." 

And right here there is another thing I want to call your 
attention to. There is a constitution higher than any 
statute. There is a law higher than any constitution. It is 
the law of the human conscience, and no man who is a man 
will defile and pollute his conscience at the bidding of any 
legislature. Above all things, one should maintain his self- 
respect, and there is but one way to do that, and that is to 
live in accordance with your highest ideal. 


There is a law higher than men can make. The facts as 
they exist in this poor world the absolute consequences of 
certain acts they are above all. And this higher law is 
the breath of progress, the very outstretched wings of 
civilization, under which we enjoy the freedom we have. 
Keep that in your minds. There never was a legislature 
great enough there never was a constitution sacred 
enough, to compel a civilized man to stand between a 
black man and his liberty. There never was a constitution 
great enough to make me stand between any human being 
and his right to express his honest thoughts. Such a con 
stitution is an insult to the human soul, and I would care 
no more for it than I would for the growl of a wild beast. 
But we are not driven to that necessity here. This con 
stitution is in accord with the highest and noblest aspira 
tions of the heart " No law shall be passed to restrain or 
abridge the liberty of speech." 

Now let us come to this old law this law that was 
asleep for a hundred years before this constitution was 
adopted this law coiled like a snake beneath the founda 
tions of the Government this law, cowardly, dastardly 
this law passed by wretches who were afraid to discuss 
this law passed by men who could not, and who knew they 
could not, defend their creed and so they said : " Give us 
the sword of the State and we will cleave the heretic down." 
And this law was made to control the minority. When 
the Catholics were in power they visited that law upon 
their opponents. When the Episcopalians were in power, 
they tortured and burned the poor Catholic who had scoffed 
and who had denied the truth of their religion. Whoever 
was in power used that, and whoever was out of power 
cursed that and yet, the moment he got in power he used 
it: The people became civilized but that law was on the 
statute book. It simply remained. There it was, sound 
asleep its lips drawn over its long and cruel teeth. No- 


body savage enough to waken it. And it slept on, and 
New Jersey has flourished. Men have done well. You 
have had average health in this country. Nobody roused 
the statute until the defendant in this case went to Boon- 
ton, and there made a speech in which he gave his honest 
thought, and the people not having an argument handy, 
threw stones. Thereupon Mr. Reynolds, the defendant, 
published a pamphlet on Blasphemy and in it gave a 
photograph of the Boonton Christians. That is his offence. 
Now let us read this infamous statute : 

" If any person shall willfully blaspheme the holy name 
of God by denying, cursing, or contumeliously reproaching 
his being " 

I want to say right here many a man has cursed the 
God of another man. The Catholics have cursed the God 
of the Protestant. The Presbyterians have cursed the God 
of the Catholics charged them with idolatry cursed their 
images, laughed at their ceremonies. And these compli 
ments have been interchanged between all the religions of 
the world. But I say here to-day that no man, unless a 
raving maniac, ever cursed the God in whom he believed. 
No man, no human beiftg, has ever lived who cursed his 
own idea of God. He always curses the idea that some 
body else entertains. No human being ever yet cursed 
what he believed to be infinite wisdom and infinite good 
ness and you know it. Every man on this jury knows 
that. He feels that that must be an absolute certainty. 
Then what have they cursed? Some God they did not 
believe in that is all. And has a man that right ? I say, 
yes. He has a right to give his opinion of Jupiter, and 
there is nobody in Morristown who will deny him that 
right. But several thousands years ago it would have 
been very dangerous for him to have cursed Jupiter, and 
yet Jupiter is just as powerful now as he was then, but the 
Roman people are not powerful, and that is all there was to 
Jupiter the Roman people. 


So there was a time when you could have cursed Zeus, 
the god of the Greeks, and like Socrates, they would have 
compelled you to drink hemlock. Yet now everybody can 
curse this god. Why ? Is the god dead ? No. He is 
just as alive as he ever was. Then what has happened ? 
The Greeks have passed away. That is all. So in all of 
our churches here. Whenever a church is in the minority 
it clamors for free speech. When it gets in the majority, 
no. I do not believe the history of the world will show 
that any orthodox church when in the majority ever had 
the courage to face the free lips of the world. It sends for 
a constable. And is it not wonderful that they should do 
this when they preach the gospel of universal forgiveness 
when they say, " if a man strike you on one cheek turn 
to him the other also but if he laughs at your religion, 
put him in the penitentiary"? Is that the doctrine? Is 
that the law? 

Now, read this law. Do you know as I read it I 
can almost hear John Calvin laugh in his grave. That 
would have been a delight to him. It is written exactly as 
he would have written it. There never was an inquisitor 
who would not have read that law with a malicious smile. 
The Christians who brought the fagots and ran with all 
their might to be at the burning, would have enjoyed that 
law. You know that when they used to burn people for 
having said something against religion, they used to cut 
their tongues out before they burned them. Why ? For 
fear that if they did not, the poor, burning victims might 
say something that would scandalize the Christian gentle 
men who were building the fire. All these persons would 
have been delighted with this law. 

Let us read a little further : 

" Or by cursing or coutumeliously reproaching Jesus 

Why, whoever did, since the poor man, or the poor God, 


was crucified ? How did they come to crucify him ? Be 
cause they did not believe in free speech in Jerusalem. 
How else? Because there was a law against blasphemy in 
Jerusalem a law exactly like this. Just think of it. Oh, 
I tell you we have passed too many mile-stones on the shi 
ning road of human progress to turn back and wallow in 
that blood, in that mire. 

No: Some men have said that he was simply a man. 
Some believed that he was actually a God. Others believed 
that he was not only a man, but that he stood as the repre 
sentative of infinite love and wisdom. No man ever said 
one word against that Being for saying " Do unto others as 
ye would that others should do unto you." No man 
ever raised his voice against him because he said, "Blessed 
are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." And are 
they the " merciful " who when some man endeavors to 
answer their argument, put him in the penitentiary ? No. 
The trouble is, the priests the trouble is, the ministers 
the trouble is, the people whose business it was to tell the 
meaning of these things, quarreled with each other, and 
they put meanings upon human expressions by malice, mean 
ings that the words will not bear. And let me be just to them. 
I believe that nearly all that has been done in this world 
has been honestly done. I believe that the poor savage 
who kneels down and prays to a stuffed snake prays that 
his little children may recover from the fever is honest, 
and it seems to me that a good God would answer his 
prayer if he could, if it was in accordance with wisdom, 
because the poor savage was doing the best he could, and 
no one can do any better than that. 

So I believe that the Presbyterians who used to think 
that nearly everybody was going to hell, said exactly what 
they believed. They were honest about it, and I would not 
send one of them to jail would never think of such a 
thing even if he called the unbelievers of the world 


"wretches," "dogs," and "devils." What would I do? 
I would simply answer him that is all ; answer him kindly. 
I might laugh at him a little, but I would answer him in 

So these divisions of the human mind are natural. They 
are a necessity. Do you know that all the mechanics that 
ever lived take the best ones cannot make two clocks 
that will run exactly alike one hour, one minute ? They 
cannot make two pendulums that will beat in exactly the same 
time, one beat. If you cannot do that, how are you going 
to make hundreds, thousands, billions of people, each with 
a different quality and quantity of brain, each clad in a robe 
of living, quivering flesh, and each driven by passion's 
storm over the wild sea of life how are you going to make 
them all think alike? This is the impossible thing that 
Christian ignorance and bigotry and malice have been try. 
ing to do. This was the object of the Inquisition and of 
the foolish Legislature that passed this statute. 

Let me read you another line from this ignorant statute: 

" Or the Christian religion" 

Well, what is the Christian religion ? " If you scoff at 
the Christian religion if you curse the Christian religion." 
Well what is it ? Gentlemen, you hear Presbyterians every 
day attack the Catholic Church. Is that the Christian re 
ligion ? The Catholic believes it is the Christian religion, 
and you have to admit that it is the oldest one, and then 
the Catholics turn round and scoff at the Protestants. Is 
that the Christian religion ? If so, every Christian religion 
has been cursed by every other Christian religion. Is not 
that an absurd and foolish statute ? 

I say that the Catholic has the right to attack the 
Presbyterian and tell him, " Your doctrine is all wrong." 
I -think he has the right to say to him, "You are leading 
thousands to hell." If he believes it, he not only has the 
right to say it, but it is his duty to say it ; and if the Pres- 


byterian really believes the Catholics are all going to the 
devil, it is his duty to say so. Why not ? I will never have 
any religion that I cannot defend that is, that I do not 
believe I can defend. I may be mistaken, because no man 
is absolutely certain that he knows. We all understand 
that. Every one is liable to be mistaken. The horizon of 
each individual is very narrow, and in his poor sky the 
stars are few and very small. 

"Or the Word of God " 

What is that ? 

" The canonical Scriptures contained in the books of the Old 
and New Testaments" 

Now, what has a man the right to say about that? Has 
he the right to show that the book of Revelation got into 
the canon by one vote, and one only ? Has he the right to 
show that they passed in convention upon what books they 
would put in and what they would not ? Has he the right 
to show that there were twenty-eight books called 
"The Books of the Hebrews"? Has he the right 
to show that? Has he the right to show that Martin 
Luther said he did not believe there was one solitary 
word of gospel in the Epistle to the Romans ? Has he 
the right to show that some of these books were not written 
till nearly two hundred years afterward? Has he the 
right to say it, if he believes it ? I do not say whether this 
is true or not, but has a man the right to say it if he be 
lieves it ? 

Suppose I should read the Bible all through right 
here in Morristown, and after I got through I should make 
up my mind that it is not a true book what ought I to say ? 
Ought I to clap my hand over my mouth and start for 
another State, and the minute I got over the line say, " It 
is not true, It is not true " ? Or, ought I to have the right 
and privilege of saying right here in New Jersey, " My fel 
low-citizens, I have read the book I do not believe that it 


is the word of God"? Suppose I read it and think it is 
true, then I am bound to say so. If I should go to Tur 
key and read the Koran and make up my mind that it is 
false, you would all say that I was a miserable poltroon if 
I did not say so. 

By force you can make hypocrites men who will agree 
with you from the teeth out, and in their hearts hate you. 
We want no more hypocrites. We have enough in every 
community. And how are you going to keep from having 
more? By having the air free, by wiping from your 
statute books such miserable and infamous laws as 

" The Holy Scriptures." 

Are they holy? Must a man be honest? Has he the 
right to be sincere? There are thousands of things in the 
Scriptures that everybody believes. Everybody believes 
the Scriptures are right when they say, "Thou shalt not 
steal " everybody. And when they say " Give good 
measure, heaped up and running over," everybody says, 
" Good ! " So when they say " Love your neighbor," 
everybody applauds that. Suppose a man believes that, 
and practices it, does it make any difference whether he 
believes in the flood or not ? Is that of any importance ? 
Whether a man built an ark or not does that make the 
slightest difference? A man might deny it and yet be a 
very good man. Another might believe it and be a very 
mean man. Could it now, by any possibility, make a man 
a good father, a good husband, a good citizen ? Does it 
make any difference whether you believe it or not ? Does 
it make any difference whether or not you believe that a 
man was going through town, and his hair was a little 
short, like mine, and some little children laughed at him, 
and thereupon two bears from the woods came down and 
tore to pieces about forty of these children ? Is it neces 
sary to believe that ? Suppose a man should say, " I guess 


that is a mistake ; they did not copy that right ; I guess 
the man that reported that was a little dull of hearing and 
did not get the story exactly right." Any harm in saying 
that ? Is a man to be sent to the penitentiary for that ? 
Can you imagine an infinitely good God sending a man to 
hell because he did not believe the bear story ? 

So I say if you believe the Bible, say so ; if you do not 
believe it, say so. And here is the vital mistake, I might 
almost say, in Protestantism itself. The Protestants when 
they fought the Catholics said : " Read the Bible for your 
selves stop taking it from your priests read the sacred 
volume with your own eyes ; it is a revelation from God 
to his children, and you are the children." And then they 
said : " If after you read it you do not believe it, and you 
say anything against it, we will put you in jail, and God 
will put you in hell." That is a fine position to get a man 
in. It is like a man who invited his neighbor to come and 
look at his pictures, saying : " They are the finest in the 
place, and I want your candid opinion. A man who looked 
at them the other day said they were daubs, and I kicked 
him downstairs now I want your candid judgment." So 
the Protestant Church says to a man, " This Bible is a mes 
sage from your Father, your Father in heaven. Read it. 
Judge for yourself. But if after you have read it you say 
it is not true, I will put you in the penitentiary for one 

The Catholic Church has a little more sense about 
that at least more logic. It says: " This Bible is not given 
to everybody. It is given to the world, to be sure, but it 
must be interpreted by the church. God would not give a 
Bible to the world unless he also appointed some one, some 
organization, to tell the world what it means." They said: 
" We do not want the world filled with interpretations, and 
all the interpreters fighting each other." And the Protest 
ant has gone to the infinite absurdity of saying : " Judge 


for yourself, but if you judge wrong you will go to the 
penitentiary here and to hell hereafter." 

Now, let us see further : 

" Or by profane scoffing expose them to ridicule" 

Think of such a law as that, passed under a constitution 
that says, " No law shall abridge the liberty of speech." 
But you must not ridicule the Scriptures. Did anybody 
ever dream of passing a law to protect Shakespeare from 
being laughed at ? Did anybody ever think of such a thing? 
Did anybody ever want any legislative enactment to keep 
people from holding Robert Burns in contempt? The 
songs of Burns will be sung as long as there is love in the 
human heart. Do we need to protect him from ridicule by 
a statute ? Does he need assistance from New Jersey ? Is 
any statute needed to keep Euclid from being laughed at 
in this neighborhood ? And is it possible that a work writ 
ten by an infinite Being has to be protected by a legisla 
ture ? Is it possible that a book cannot be written by a 
God so that it will not excite the laughter of the human 

Why, gentlemen, humor is one of the most valuable 
things in the human brain. It is the torch of the mind 
it sheds light. Humor is the readiest test of truth of the 
natural, of the sensible and when you take from a man 
all sense of humor, there will only be enough left to make 
a bigot. Teach this man who has no humor no sense of 
the absurd the Presbyterian creed, fill his darkened brain 
with superstition and his heart with hatred then frighten 
him with the threat of hell, and he will be ready to vote for 
that statute. Such men made that law. 

Let us read another clause: 

" And every person so offending shall, on conviction, be fined 
noj, exceeding two hundred dollars, or imprisoned at hard labor 
not exceeding tivelve months, or both." 

I want you to remember that this statute was passed in 


England hundreds of years ago just in that language. 
The punishment, however, has been somewhat changed. 
In the good old days when the king sat on the throne in 
the good old days when the altar was the right-bower of 
the throne then, instead of saying: "Fined two hundred 
dollars and imprisoned one year," it was: "All his goods 
shall be confiscated; his tongue shall be bored with a hot 
iron, and upon his forehead he shall be branded with the 
letter B ; and for the second offence he shall suffer death 
by burning." Those were the good old days when people 
maintained the orthodox religion in all its purity and in all 
its ferocity. 

The first question for you, gentlemen, to decide in this 
case is: Is this statute constitutional? Is this statute in 
harmony with the part of the constitution of 1844 which 
says : " The liberty of speech shall not be abridged " ? That 
is for you to say. Is this law constitutional, or is it simply 
an old statute that fell asleep, that was forgotten, that peo 
ple simply failed to repeal? I believe I can convince you, 
if you will think a moment, that our fathers never intended 
to establish a government like that. When they fought for 
what they believed to be religious liberty when they 
fought for what they believed to be liberty of speech, they 
believed that all such statutes would be wiped from the 
statute books of all the States. 

Let me tell you another reason why I believe this. We 
have in this country naturalization laws. People may 
come here irrespective of their religion. They must simply 
swear allegiance to this country they must forswear 
allegiance to every other potentate, prince and power but 
they do not have to change their religion. A Hindoo may 
become a citizen of the United States, and the Constitution 
of the United States, like the constitution of New Jersey, 
guarantees religious liberty. That Hindoo believes in a 
God in a God that no Christian does believe in. He 


believes in a sacred book that every Christian looks upon 
as a collection of falsehoods. He believes, too, in a 
Savior in Buddha. Now, I ask you, when that man 
conies here and becomes a citizen when the Constitution 
is about him, above him has he the right to give his ideas 
about his religion ? Has he the right to say in New Jersey : 
" There is no God except the Supreme Brahm there is no 
Savior except Buddha, the Illuminated, Buddha the 
Blest"? I say that he has that right and you have no 
right, because in addition to that he says, " You are mis 
taken ; your God is not God ; your Bible is not true, and 
your religion is a mistake," to abridge his liberty of speech. 
He has the right to say it, and if he has the right to say it, 
I insist before this Court and before this jury, that he has 
the right to give his reasons for saying it ; and in giving 
those reasons, in maintaining his side, he has the right, not 
simply to appeal to history, not simply to the masonry of 
logic, but he has the right to shoot the arrows of wit, and 
to use the smile of ridicule. Anything that can be laughed 
out of this world ought not to stay in it. 

So the Persian the believer in Zoroaster, in the spirits of 
Good and Evil, and that the spirit of Evil will finally 
triumph forever if that is his religion has the right to 
state it, and the right to give his reasons for his belief. 
How infinitely preposterous for you, one of the States of 
this Union, to invite a Persian or a Hindoo to come to 
your shores. You do not ask him to renounce his God. 
You ask him to renounce the Shah. Then when he be 
comes a citizen, having the rights of every other citizen, he 
has the right to defend his religion and to denounce yours. 

There is another thing. What was the spirit of our 
Government at that time ? You must look at the leading 
men. Who were they ? What were their opinions ? Were 
most of them as guilty of blasphemy as is the defendant in 
this case? Thomas Jefferson and there is, in my judg- 


ment, only one name on the page of American history 
greater than his only one name for which I have a greater 
and tenderer reverence and that is Abraham Lincoln, 
because of all men who ever lived and had power, he was 
the most merciful. And that is the way to test a man. 
How does he use power ? Does he want to crush his fellow 
citizens ? Does he like to lock somebody up in the peni 
tentiary because he has the power of the moment ? Does 
he wish to use it as a despot, or as a philanthropist like a 
devil, or like a man ? Thomas Jefferson entertained about 
the same views entertained by the defendant in this case, 
and he was made President of the United States. He was 
the author of the Declaration of Independence, founder of 
the University of Virginia, writer of that clause in the con 
stitution of that State, that made all the citizens equal 
before the law. And when I come to the very sentences 
here charged as blasphemy, I will show you that these were 
the common sentiments of thousands of very great, of very 
intellectual and admirable men. 

I have no time, and it may be this is not the place and 
the occasion, to call your attention to the infinite harm 
that has been done in almost every religious nation by 
statutes such as this. Where that statute is, liberty can not 
be; and if this statute is enforced by this jury and by this 
Court, and if it is afterwards carried out, and if it could be 
carried out in the States of this Union, there would be an 
end of all intellectual progress. We would go back to the 
Dark Ages. Ever}' man's mind, upon these subjects at 
least, would become a stagnant pool, covered with the scum 
of prejudice and meanness. 

And wherever such laws have been enforced, have the 
people been friends? Here we are to-day in this blessed 
air here amid these happy fields. Can we imagine, with 
these surroundings, that a man for having been found with 
a crucifix in his poor little home, had been taken from his 


wife and children and burned burned by Protestants? 
You cannot conceive of such a thing now. Neither can 
you conceive that there was a time when Catholics found 
some poor Protestant contradicting one of the dogmas of 
the church, and took that poor honest wretch while his 
wife wept while his children clung to his hands to the 
public square, drove a stake in the ground, put a chain or 
two about him, lighted the fagots, and let the wife whom 
he loved and his little children see the flames climb around 
his limbs you cannot imagine that any such infamy was 
ever practiced. And yet I tell you that the same spirit 
made this detestable, infamous, devilish statute. 

You can hardly imagine that there was a time when the 
same kind of men that made this law said to another man : 
"You say this world is round?" "Yes, sir; I think it is, 
because I have seen its shadow on the moon." "You 
have?" Now, can you imagine a society, outside of hyenas 
and boa-constrictors, that would take that man, put him in the 
penitentiary, in a dungeon, turn the key upon him, and let 
his name be blotted from the book of human life? Years 
afterward some explorer amid ruins finds a few bones. The 
same spirit that did that, made this statute the same spirit 
that did that, went before the grand jury in this case 
exactly. Give the men that had this man indicted, the 
power, and I would not want to live in that particular part 
of the country. I would not willingly live with such men. 
I would go somewhere else, where the air is free, where I 
could speak my sentiments to my wife, to my children, and 
to my neighbors. 

Now, this persecution differs only in degree from the in 
famies of the olden times. What does it mean ? It means 
that the State of New Jersey has all the light it wants. 
And what does that mean ? It means that the State of New 
Jersey is absolutely infallible that it has got its growth 
and does not propose to grow any more. New Jersey 


knows enough, and it will send teachers to the peniten 

It is hardly possible that this State has accomplished all 
that it is ever going to accomplish. Religions are for a 
day. They are the clouds. Humanity is the eternal blue. 
Religions are the waves of the sea. These waves depend 
upon the force and direction of the wind that is to say, of 
passion; but Humanity is the great sea. And so our 
religions change from day to day, and it is a blessed thing 
that they do. Why ? Because we grow, and we are getting 
a little more civilized every day, and any man that is not 
willing to let another man express his opinion, is not a 
civilized man, and you know it. Any man that does not 
give to everybody else the rights he claims for himself, is 
not in honest man. 

Here is a man who says, "I am going to join the Metho 
dist Church." What right has he? Just the same right to 
join it that I have not to join it no more, no less. But if 
you are a Methodist and I am not, it simply proves that you 
do not agree with me, and that I do not agree with you 
that is all. Another man is a Catholic. He was born a 
Catholic, or is convinced that Catholicism is right. That 
is his business, and any man that would persecute him on 
that account, is a poor barbarian a savage; any man 
that would abuse him on that account, is a barbarian a 

Then I take the next step. A man does not wish to be 
long to any church. How are you going to judge him? 
Judge him by the way he treats his wife, his children, his 
neighbors. Does he pay his debts ? Does he tell the truth ? 
Does he help the poor ? Has he got a heart that melts when 
he hears grief's story? That is the way to judge him. I 
do not care what he thinks about the bears, or the flood, 
about bibles or gods. When some poor mother is found 
wandering in the street with a babe at her breast, does he 


quote Scripture, or hunt for his pocket-book? That is the 
way to judge. And suppose he does not believe in any 
bible whatever? If Christianity is true, that is his mis 
fortune, and everybody should pity the poor wretch that is 
going down the hill. Why kick him? You will get 
your revenge on him through all eternity is not that 

So I say, let us judge each other by our actions, not by 
theories, not by what we happen to believe because that 
depends very much on where we were born. 

If you had been born in Turkey, you probably would 
have been a Mohammedan. If I had been born among the 
Hindoos, I might have been a Buddhist I can't tell. If I 
had been raised in Scotland, on oatmeal, I might have been 
a Covenanter nobody knows. If I had lived in Ireland, 
and seen my poor wife and children driven into the street, 
I think I might have been a Home-ruler no doubt of it. 
You see it depends on where you were born much depends 
on our surroundings. 

Of course, there are men born in Turkey who are not 
Mohammedans, and there are men born in this country who 
are not Christians Methodists, Unitarians, or Catholics, 
plenty of them, who are unbelievers plenty of them who 
deny the truth of the Scriptures plenty of them who say : 
" I know not whether there be a God or not." Well, it is a 
thousand times better to say that honestly than to say dis 
honestly that you believe in God. 

If you want to know the opinion of your neighbor, you 
want his honest opinion. You do not want to be deceived. 
You do not want to talk with a hypocrite. You want to 
get straight at his honest mind and then you are going 
to judge him, not by what he says but by what he does. It 
is very easy to sail along with the majority easy to sail 
the way the boats are goingeasy to float with the stream ; 
but when you come to swim against the tide, with the men 


on the shore throwing rocks at you, you will get a good 
deal of exercise in this world. 

And do you know that we ought to feel under the 
greatest obligation to men who have fought the prevailing 
notions of their day ? There is not a Presbyterian in 
Morristown that does not hold up for admiration the man 
that carried the flag of the Presbyterians when they were 
in the minority not one. There is not a Methodist in this 
State who does not admire John and Charles Wesley and 
Whitefield, who carried the banner of that new and de 
spised sect when it was in the minority. They glory in 
them because they braved public opinion, because they 
dared to oppose idiotic, barbarous and savage statutes like 
this. And there is not a Universalist that does not worship 
dear old Hosea Ballou I love him myself because he said 
to the Presbyterian minister : " You are going around try 
ing to keep people out of hell, and I am going around try 
ing to keep hell out of the people." Every Universalist 
admires him and loves him because when despised and 
railed at and spit upon, he stood firm, a patient witness for 
the eternal mercy of God. And there is not a solitary 
Protestant who does not honor Martin Luther who does not 
honor the Covenanters in poor Scotland, and that poor girl 
who was tied out on the sand of the sea by Episcopalians, 
and kept there till the rising tide drowned her, and all she 
had to do to save her life was to say, " God save the king ;" 
but she would not say it without the addition of the words, 
" If it be God's will." No one, who is not a miserable, con 
temptible wretch, can fail to stand in admiration before such 
courage, such self-denial such heroism. No matter what 
the attitude of your body may be, your soul falls on its 
knees before such men and such women. 

Let us take another step. Where would we have been if 
authority had always triumphed ? Where would we have 
been if such statutes had always been carried out ? We 


have now a science called astronomy. That science has 
done more to enlarge the horizon of human thought than 
all things else. We now live in an infinite universe. We 
know that the sun is a million times larger than our earth, 
and we know that there are other great luminaries millions 
of times larger than our sun. We know that there are 
planets so far away that light, traveling at the rate of one 
hundred and eighty-five thousand miles a second, requires 
fifteen thousand years to reach this grain of sand, this tear, 
we call the earth and we now know that all the fields of 
space are sown thick with constellations. If that statute 
had been enforced, that science would not now be the property 
of the human mind. That science is contrary to the Bible, 
and for asserting the truth you become a criminal. For 
what sum of money, for what amount of wealth, would the 
world have the science of astronomy expunged from the 
brain of man ? We learned the story of the stars in spite 
of that statute. 

The first men who said the world was round were scourged 
for scoffing at the Scriptures. And even Martin Luther, 
speaking of one of the greatest men that ever lived, said : 
" Does he think with his little lever to overturn the Uni 
verse of God?" Martin Luther insisted that such men 
ought to be trampled under foot. If that statute had been 
carried into effect, Galileo would have been impossible. 
Kepler, the discoverer of the three laws, would have died 
with the great secret locked in his brain, and mankind 
would have been left ignorant, superstitious, and besotted. 
And what else ? If that statute had been carried out, the 
world would have been deprived of the philosophy of 
Spinoza; of the philosophy, of the literature, of the wit and 
wisdom, the justice and mercy of Voltaire, the greatest 
Frenchman that ever drew the breath of life the man who 
by his mighty pen abolished torture in a nation, and helped 
to civilize a world. 


If that statute had been enforced, nearly all the books 
that enrich the libraries of the world could not have been 
written. If that statute had been enforced, Humboldt 
could not have delivered the lectures now known as " The 
Cosmos." If that statute had been enforced, Charles Dar 
win would not have been allowed to give to the world his 
discoveries that have been of more benefit to mankind than 
all the sermons ever uttered. In England they have placed 
his sacred dust in the great Abbey. If he had lived in New 
Jersey, and this statute could have been enforced, he would 
have lived one year at least in your penitentiary. Why ? 
That man went so far as not simply to deny the truth of 
your Bible, but absolutely to deny the existence of your 
God. Was he a good man ? Yes, one of the noblest and 
greatest of men. Humboldt, the greatest German who 
ever lived, was of the same opinion. 

And so I might go on with the great men of to-day. 
Who are the men who are leading the race upward and 
shedding light in the intellectual world? They are the 
men declared by that statute to be criminals. Mr. Spencer 
could not publish his books in the State of New Jersey. 
He would be arrested, tried, and imprisoned; and yet that 
man has added to the intellectual wealth of the world. 

So with Huxley, so with Tyndall, so with Helmholtz so 
with the greatest thinkers and greatest writers of modern 

You may not agree with these men and what does that 
prove? It simply proves that they do not agree with you 
that is all. Who is to blame? I do not know. They 
may be wrong, and you may be right ; but if they had the 
power, and put you in the penitentiary simply because you 
differed with them, they would be savages; and if you have 
the power and imprison men because they differ from you, 
why then, of course, you are savages. 

No; I believe in intellectual hospitality. I love men 


that have a little horizon to their minds a little sky, a 
little scope. I hate anything that is narrow and pinched 
and withered and mean and crawling, and that is willing to 
live on dust. I believe in creating such an atmosphere 
that things will burst into blossom. I believe in good will, 
good health, good fellowship, good feeling and if there is 
any God on the earth, or in heaven, let us hope that he will 
be generous and grand. Do you not see what the effect 
will be? I ain not cursing you because you are a Methodist, 
and not damning you because you are a Catholic, or because 
you are an Infidel a good man is more than all of these. 
The grandest of all things is to be in the highest and 
noblest sense a man. 

Now let us see the frightful things that this man, the 
defendant in this case, has done. Let me read the charges 
against him as set out in this indictment. 

I shall insist that this statute does not cover any pub 
lication that it covers simply speech not in writing, not 
in book or pamphlet. Let us see: 

" This Bible describes God as so loving that he drowned the 
whole world in his mad fury" 

Well, the great question about that is, is it true? Does 
the Bible describe God as having drowned the whole world 
with the exception of eight people? Does it, or does it not? 
I do not know whether there is anybody in this county who 
has really read the Bible, but I believe the story of the flood 
is there. It does say that God destroyed all flesh, and that 
he did so because he was angry. He says so himself, if the 
Bible be true. 

The defendant has simply repeated what is in the Bible. 
The Bible says that God is loving, and says that he drowned 
the world, and that he was angry. Is it blasphemy to 
quote from the " Sacred Scriptures " ? 

" Becazise it was so much worse than he, knowing all things, 
ever supposed it could be." 


Well, the Bible does say that he repented having 
made man. Now, is there any blasphemy in saying that 
the Bible is true? That is the only question. It is a fact 
that God, according to the Bible, did drown nearly every 
body. If God knows all things, he must have known at 
the time he made them that he was going to drown them. 
Is it likely that a being of infinite wisdom would delib 
erately do what he knew he must undo ? Is it blasphemy 
to ask that question ? Have you a right to think about it 
at all ? If you have, you have the right to tell somebody 
what you think if not, you have no right to discuss it, no 
right to think about it. All you have to do is to read it 
and believe it to open your mouth like a young robin, and 
swallow worms or shingle nails no matter which. 

The defendant further blasphemed and said that : 

" An all-wise, unchangeable God, who got out of patience 
with a world which was just what his own stupid blundering 
had made it, knew no better way out of the muddle than to de 
stroy it by drowning ! " 

Is that true ? Was not the world exactly as God made 
it ? Certainly. Did he not, if the Bible is true, drown the 
people? He did. Did he know he would drown them 
when he made them ? He did. Did he know they ought 
to be drowned when they were made ? He did. Where 
then, is the blasphemy in saying so ? There is not a min 
ister in this world who could explain it who would be 
permitted to explain it under this statute. And yet you 
would arrest this man and put him in the penitentiary. 
But after you lock him in the cell, there remains the ques 
tion still. Is it possible that a good and wise God, knowing 
that he was going to drown them, made millions of people? 
What did he make them for ? I do not know. I do not 
pretend to be wise enough to answer that question. Of 
course, you cannot answer the question. Is there anything 
blasphemous in that ? Would it be blasphemy in me to say 


I do not believe that any God ever made men, women and 
children mothers, with babes clasped to their breasts, and 
then sent a flood to fill the world with death ? 

A rain lasting for forty days the water rising hour by 
hour, and the poor wretched children of God climbing to the 
tops of their houses then to the tops of the hills. The 
water still rising no mercy. The people climbing higher 
and higher, looking to the mountains for salvation the 
merciless rain still falling, the inexorable flood still rising. 
Children falling from the arms of mothers no pity. The 
highest hills covered infancy and old age mingling in 
death the cries of women, the sobs and sighs lost in the 
roar of waves the heavens still relentless. The moun 
tains are covered a shoreless sea rolls round the world, 
and on its billows are billions of corpses. 

This is the greatest crime that man has imagined, and 
this crime is called a deed of infinite mercy. 

Do you believe that ? I do not believe one word of it, 
and I have the right to say to all the world that this is 

If there be a good God, the story is not true. If there be 
a wise God, the story is not true. Ought an honest man to 
be sent to the penitentiary for simply telling the truth ? 

Suppose we had a statute that whoever scoffed at science 
whoever by profane language should bring the rule of 
three into contempt, or whoever should attack the proposi 
tion that two parallel lines will never include a space, 
should be sent to the penitentiary what would you think 
of it? It would be just as wise and just as idiotic 
as this. 

And what else says the defendant? 

" The Bible-God says that his people made him jealous" 
-" Provoked him to anger" 

Is that true ? It is. If it is true, is it blasphemous ? 

Let us read another line 


"And now he will raise ike mischief with them ; that his 
anger burns like hell" 

That is true. The Bible says of God " My anger burns 
to the lowest hell." And that is all that the defendant 
says. Every word of it is in the Bible. He simply does 
not believe it and for that reason is a " blasphemer." 

I say to you now, gentlemen, and I shall argue to the 
Court, that there is not in what I have read a solitary 
blasphemous word not a word that has not been said in 
hundreds of pulpits in the Christian world. Theodore 
Parker, a Unitarian, speaking of this Bible-God said: 
" Vishnu with a necklace of skulls, Vishnu with bracelets of 
living, hissing serpents, is a figure of Love and Mercy 
compared to the God of the Old Testament." That, we 
might call " blasphemy," but not what I have read. 

Let us read on : 

" He would destroy them all were it not that he feared the 
wrath of the enemy." 

That is in the Bible word for word. Then the defend 
ant in astonishment says : 

" The Almighty God afraid of his enemies ! " 

That is what the Bible says. What does it mean ? If 
the Bible is true, God was afraid. 

" Can the mind conceive of more horrid blasphemy ? " 

Is not that true? If God be infinitely good and wise 
and powerful, is it possible he is afraid of anything ? If 
the defendant had said that God was afraid of his enemies, 
that might have been blasphemy but this man says the 
Bible says that, and you are asked to say that it is blas 
phemy. Now, up to this point there is no blasphemy, even 
if you were to enforce this infamous statute this savage 

"The Old Testament records for our instruction in morals, the 
most foul and bestial instances of fornication, incest, and 
polygamy, perpetrated by God's own saints, and the New Testa- 


ment indorses these lecherous wretches as examples for aU good 
Christians to follow." 

Now, is it not a fact that the Old Testament does uphold 
polygamy ? Abraham would have gotten into trouble in 
New Jersey no doubt of that. Sarah could have obtained 
a divorce in this State, no doubt of that. What is the use 
of telling a falsehood about it? Let us tell the truth about 
the patriarchs. 

Everybody knows that the same is true of Moses. We 
have all heard of Solomon a gentleman with five or six 
hundred wives, and three or four hundred other ladies 
with whom he was acquainted. This is simply what the 
defendant says. Is there any blasphemy about that ? It is 
only the truth. If Solomon were living in the United States 
to-day, we would put him in the penitentiary. You know 
that under the Edmunds Mormon law he would be locked 
up. If you should present a petition signed by his eleven 
hundred wives, you could not get him out. 

So it was with David. There are some splendid things 
about David, of course. I admit that, and pay my tribute 
of respect to his courage but he happened to have ten or 
twelve wives too many, so he shut them up, put them in 
a kind of penitentiary and kept them there till they died. 
That would not be considered good conduct even in Morris- 
town. You know that. Is it any harm to speak of it ? 
There are plenty of ministers here to set it right thou 
sands of them all over the country, every one with his 
chance to talk all day Sunday and nobody to say a word 
back. The pew cannot reply to the pulpit, you know ; it 
has just to sit there and take it. If there is any harm in 
this, if it is not true, they ought to answer it. But it is 
here, and the only answer is an indictment. 

I say that Lot was a bad man. So I say of Abraham, 
and of Jacob. Did you ever know of a more despicable 
fraud practiced by one brother on another than Jacob prac- 


ticed on Esau ? My sympathies have always been with 
Esau. He seemed to be a manly man. Is it blasphemy 
to say that you do not like a hypocrite, a murderer, or a 
thief, because his name is in the Bible ? How do you know 
what such men are mentioned for ? May be they are 
mentioned as examples, and you certainly ought not to be 
led away and induced to imagine that a man with seven 
hundred wives is a pattern of domestic propriety, one to 
be followed by yourself and your sons. I might go on 
and mention the names of hundreds of others who com 
mitted every conceivable crime, in the name of religion 
who declared war, and on the field of battle killed men, 
women and babes, even children yet unborn, in the name of 
the most merciful God. The Bible is filled with the names 
and crimes of these sacred savages, these inspired beasts. 
Any man who says that a God of love commanded the 
commission of these crimes is, to say the least of it, mis 
taken. If there be a God, then it is blasphemous to charge 
him with the commission of crime. 

But let us read further from this indictment : 
" The aforesaid printed document contains other scan 
dalous, infamous and blasphemous matters and things, to 
the tenor and effect following, that is to say " 
Then comes this particularly blasphemous line : 
"Now, reader, take time and calmly think it over." 
Gentlemen, there are many things I have read that I 
should not have expressed in exactty the same language 
used by the defendant, and many things that I am going 
to read I might not have said at all, but the defendant had 
the right to say every word with which he is charged in 
this indictment. He had the right to give his honest 
thought, no matter whether any human being agreed with 
what he said or not, and no matter whether any other man 
approved of the manner in which he said these things. I 
defend his right to speak, whether I believe in what he 


spoke or not, or in the propriety of saying what he did. I 
should defend a man just as cheerfully who had spoken 
against niy doctrine, as one who had spoken against the 
popular superstitions of ray time. It would make no dif 
ference to me how unjust the attack was upon my belief 
how maliciously ingenious ; and no matter how sacred the 
conviction that was attacked, I would defend the freedom 
of speech. And why ? Because no attack can be answered 
by force, no argument can be refuted by a blow, or by im 
prisonment, or by fine. You may imprison the man, but 
the argument is free ; you may fell the man to the earth, 
but the statement stands. 

The defendant in this case has attacked certain beliefs, 
thought by the Christian world to be sacred. Yet, after 
all, nothing is sacred but the truth, and by truth I mean 
what a man sincerely and honestly believes. The defend 
ant says : 

"Take time to calmly think it over : Was a Jewish girl the 
mother of God, the mother of your God ? " 

The defendant probably asked this question, supposing 
that it must be answered by all sensible people in the neg 
ative. If the Christian religion is true, then a Jewish girl 
was the mother of Almighty God. Personally, if the doc 
trine is true, I have no fault to find with the statement that 
a Jewish maiden was the mother of God. Millions believe 
that this is true I do not believe, but who knows? If a 
God came from the throne of the universe, came to this 
world and became the child of a pure and loving woman, 
it would not lessen, in my eyes, the dignity or the great 
ness of that God. 

There is no more perfect picture on the earth, or within 
the imagination of man, than a mother holding in her 
thrilled and happy arms a child, the fruit of love. 

No matter how the statement is made, the fact remains 
the same. A Jewish girl became the mother of God. If 


the Bible is true, that is true, and to repeat it, even accord 
ing to your law, is not blasphemous, and to doubt it, or to 
express the doubt, or to deny it, is not contrary to your 

To this defendant it seemed improbable that God was 
ever born of woman, was ever held in the lap of a mother ; 
and because he cannot believe this, he is charged with 
blasphemy. Could you pour contempt on Shakespeare by 
saying that his mother was a woman, by saying that he 
was once a poor, crying, little, helpless child ? Of course he 
was ; and he afterwards became the greatest human being 
that ever touched the earth, the only man whose intel 
lectual wings have reached from sky to sky ; and he was 
once a crying babe. What of it? Does that cast any 
scorn or contempt upon him ? Does this take any of the 
music from " Midsummer Night's Dream " ? any of the 
passionate wealth from " Antony and Cleopatra," any 
philosophy from " Macbeth," any intellectual grandeur 
from "King Lear " ? On the contrary, these great produc 
tions of the brain show the growth of the dimpled babe, 
give every mother a splendid dream and hope for her child, 
and cover every cradle with a sublime possibility. 

The defendant is also charged with having said that : 
" God cried and screamed." 

Why not ? If he was absolutely a child, he was like 
other children, like yours, like mine. I have seen the 
time, when absent from home, that I would have given 
more to have heard my children cry, than to have heard 
the finest orchestra that ever made the air burst into 
flower. What if God did cry ? It simply shows that his 
humanity was real and not assumed, that it was a tragedy, 
real, and not a poor pretence. And the defendant also 
says that if the orthodox religion be true, that the 

" God of the Universe kicked, and flung about his little arms, 
and made aimless dashes into space with his little fists" 


Is there anything in this that is blasphemous? One of 
the best pictures I ever saw of the Virgin and Child was 
painted by the Spaniard, Murillo. Christ appears to be a 
truly natural, chubby, happy babe. Such a picture takes 
nothing from the majesty, the beauty, or the glory of the 

I think it is the best thing about the Catholic Church 
that it lifts up for adoration and admiration, a mother, 
that it pays what it calls "Divine honors " to a woman. 
There is certainly goodness in that, and where a church 
has so few practices that are good, I am willing to point 
this one out. It is the one redeeming feature about Cath 
olicism, that it teaches the worship of a woman. 

The defendant says more about the childhood of Christ. 
He goes so far as to say, that : 

" He was found staring foolishly at his own little toes." 

And why not ? The Bible says, that " he increased in 
wisdom and stature." The defendant might have referred 
to something far more improbable. In the same verse in 
which St. Luke says that Jesus increased in wisdom and 
stature, will be found the assertion that he increased in 
favor with God and man. The defendant might have 
asked how it was that the love of God for God increased. 

But the defendant has simply stated that the child Jesus 
grew, as other children grow; that he acted like other 
children, and if he did, it is more than probable that he 
did stare at his own toes. I have laughed many a time to 
see little children astonished with the sight of their feet. 
They seem to wonder what on earth puts the little toes in 
motion. Certainly there is nothing blasphemous in sup 
posing that the feet of Christ amused him, precisely as the 
feet of other children have amused them. There is noth 
ing blasphemous about this ; on the contrary, it is beauti 
ful. If I believed in the existence of God, the Creator of 
this world, the Being who, with the hand of infinity, sowed 


the fields of space with stars, as a farmer sows his grain, I 
should like to think of him as a little, dimpled babe, over 
flowing with joy, sitting upon the knees of a loving mother. 
The ministers themselves might take a lesson even from 
the man who is charged with blasphemy, and make an 
effort to bring an infinite God a little nearer to the human 

The defendant also says, speaking of the infant Christ, 
"He was nursed at Mary's breast'' 

Yes, and if the story be true, that is the tenderest fact in 
it. Nursed at the breast of woman. No painting, no 
statue, no words can make a deeper and a tenderer impres 
sion upon the heart of man than this : The infinite God, a 
babe, nursed at the holy breast of woman. 

You see these things do not strike all people the same. 
To a man that has been raised on the orthodox desert, 
these things are incomprehensible. He has been robbed 
of his humanity. He has no humor, nothing but the 
stupid and the solemn. His fancy sits with folded wings. 

Imagination, like the atmosphere of spring, woos every 
seed of earth to seek the blue of heaven, and whispers of 
bud and flower and fruit. Imagination gathers from every 
field of thought and pours the wealth of many lives into 
the lap of one. To the contracted, to the cast-iron people 
who believe in heartless and inhuman creeds, the words of 
the defendant seem blasphemous, and to them the thought 
that God was a little child is monstrous. 

They cannot bear to hear it said that he nursed at the 
breast of a maiden, that he was wrapped in swaddling 
clothes, that he had the joys and sorrows of other babes. 
I hope, gentlemen, that not only you, but the attorneys for 
the prosecution, have read what is known as the " Apocry 
phal New Testament," books that were once considered in 
spired, once admitted to be genuine, and that once formed 
a part of our New Testament. I hope you have read the 


books of Joseph and Mary, of the Shepherd of Hermes, of 
the Infancy and of Mary, in which many of the things 
done by the youthful Christ are described books that 
were once the delight of the Christian world; books that 
gave joy to children, because in them they read that Christ 
made little birds of clay, that would at his command stretch 
out their wings and fly with joy above his head. If the 
defendant in this case had said anything like that, here in 
the State of New Jersey, he would have been indicted ; the 
orthodox ministers would have shouted "blasphemy," 
and yet, these little stories made the name of Christ dearer 
to children. 

The church of to-day lacks sympathy ; the theologians 
are without affection. After all, sympathy is genius. A 
man who really sympathizes with another understands 
him. A man who sympathizes with a religion, instantly 
sees the good that is in it, and the man who sympathizes 
with the right, sees the evil that a creed contains. 

But the defendant, still speaking of the infant Christ, is 
charged with having said : 

" God smiled when he was comfortable. He lay in a cradle 
and was rocked to sleep' 1 

Yes, and there is no more beautiful picture than that. 
Let some great religious genius paint a picture of this kind 
of a babe smiling with content, rocked in the cradle by 
the mother who bends tenderly and proudly above him. 
There could be no more beautiful, no more touching, pic 
ture than this. What would I not give for a picture of 
Shakespeare as a babe, a picture that was a likeness, 
rocked by his mother ? I would give more for this than 
for any painting that now enriches the walls of the world. 

The defendant also says, that : 

-" God was sick when cutting his teeth." 

And what of that ? We are told that he was tempted in 
all points, as we are. That is to say, he was afflicted, he 


was hungry, he was thirsty, he suffered the pains and 
miseries common to man. Otherwise, he was not flesh, he 
was not human. 

"He caught the measles, the mumps, the scarlet fever and the 
whooping cough" 

Certainly he was liable to have these diseases, for he was, 
in fact, a child. Other children have them. Other chil 
dren, loved as dearly by their mothers as Christ could have 
been by his, and yet they are taken from the little family 
by fever; taken, it may be, and buried in the snow, while 
the poor mother goes sadly home, wishing that she was 
lying by its side. All that can be said of every word in this 
address, about Christ and about his childhood, amounts to 
this ; that he lived the life of a child ; that he acted like 
other children. I have read you substantially what he has 
said, and this is considered blasphemous. 

He has said, that: 

"According to the Old Testament, the God of the Christian 
world commanded people to destroy each other." 

If the Bible is true, then the statement of the defendant 
is true. Is it calculated to bring God into contempt to deny 
that he upheld polygamy, that he ever commanded one of 
his generals to rip open with the sword of war, the woman 
with child ? Is it blasphemy to deny that a God of infinite 
love gave such commandments? Is such a denial calcu 
lated to pour contempt and scorn upon the God of the or-- 
thodox? Is it blasphemous to deny that God commanded 
his children to murder each other? Is it blasphemous to 
say that he was benevolent, merciful and just? 

It is impossible to say that the Bible is true and that God 
is good. I do not believe that a God made this world, filled 
it with people and then drowned them. I do not believe 
that infinite wisdom ever made a mistake. If there be any 
God he was too good to commit such an infinite crime, too 
wise to make such a mistake. Is this blasphemy? Is it 


blasphemy to say that Solomon was not a virtuous man, or 
that David was an adulterer? 

Must we say when this ancient King had one of his best 
generals placed in the front of the battle deserted him and 
had him murdered for the purpose of stealing his wife, that 
he was " a man after God's own heart " ? Suppose the de 
fendant in this case were guilty of something like that? 
Uriah was fighting for his country, fighting the battles of 
David, the King. David wanted to take from him his wife. 
He sent for Joab, his commander-in-chief, and said to him : 

" Make a feint to attack a town. Put Uriah at the front 
of the attacking force, and when the people sally forth from 
the town to defend its gate, fall back so that this gallant, 
noble, patriotic man may be slain." 

This was done and the widow was stolen by the King. Is 
it blasphemy to tell the truth and to say exactly what 
David was ? Let us be honest with each other ; let us be 
honest with this defendant. 

For thousands of years men have taught that the ancient 
patriarchs were sacred, that they were far better than the 
men of modern times, that what was in them a virtue, is in 
us a crime. Children are taught in Sunday schools to ad 
mire and respect these criminals of the ancient days. The 
time has come to tell the truth about these men, to call 
things by their proper names, and above all, to stand by 
the right, by the truth, by mercy and by justice. If what 
the defendant has said is blasphemy under this statute then 
the question arises, is the statute in accordance with the 
constitution ? If this statute is constitutional, why has it 
been allowed to sleep for all these years? I take this 
position : Any law made for the preservation of a human 
right, made to guard a human being, cannot sleep long 
enough to die ; but any law that deprives a human being of 
a natural right if that law goes to sleep, it never wakes, 
it sleeps the sleep of death. 


I call the attention of the Court to that remarkable case 
in England where, only a few years ago, a man appealed to 
trial by battle. The law allowing trial by battle had been 
asleep in the statute book of England for more than two 
hundred years, and yet the court held that, in spite of the 
fact that the law had been asleep it being a law in favor 
of a defendant he was entitled to trial by battle. And 
why ? Because it was a statute at the time made in defence 
of a human right, and that statute could not sleep long 
enough or soundly enough to die. In consequence of this 
decision, the Parliament of England passed a special act, 
doing away forever with the trial by battle. 

When a statute attacks an individual right, the State 
must never let it sleep. When it attacks the right of the 
public at large and is allowed to pass into a state of 
slumber, it cannot be raised for the purpose of punishing 
an individual. 

Now, gentlemen, a few words more. I take an almost 
infinite interest in this trial, and before you decide, I am 
exceedingly anxious that you should understand with 
clearness the thoughts I have expressed upon this subject 
I want you to know how the civilized feel, and the position 
now taken by the leaders of the world. 

A few years ago almost everything spoken against the 
grossest possible superstition was considered blasphemous. 
The altar hedged itself about with the sword ; the Priest 
went in partnership with the King. In those days statutes 
were leveled against all human speech. Men were con 
victed of blasphemy because they believed in an actual per 
sonal God ; because they insisted that God had body and 
parts. Men were convicted of blasphemy because they 
denied that God had form. They have been imprisoned for 
denying the doctrine of transubstantiation, and they have 
been torn in pieces for defending that doctrine. There are 
but few dogmas now believed by any Christian church 


that have not at some time been denounced as blasphe 

When Henry VIII. put himself at the head of the 
Episcopal Church a creed was made, and in that creed 
there were five dogmas that must, of necessity, be believed. 
Anybody who denied any one, was to be punished for the 
first offence, with fine, with imprisonment, or branding 1 , and 
for the second offence, with death. Not one of these five 
dogmas is now a part of the creed of the Church of Eng 

So I could go on for days and weeks and months, show 
ing that hundreds and hundreds of religious dogmas, to 
deny which was death, have been either changed or aban 
doned for others nearly as absurd as the old ones were. It 
may be, however, sufficient to say, that wherever the 
church has had power it has been a crime for any man to 
speak his honest thought. No church has ever been will 
ing that any opponent should give a transcript of his mind. 
Every church in power has appealed to brute force, to the 
sword, for the purpose of sustaining its creed. Not one has 
had the courage to occupy the open field. The church has 
not been satisfied with calling Infidels and unbelievers 
blasphemers. Each church has accused nearly every 
other church of being a blasphemer. Every pioneer has 
been branded as a criminal. The Catholics called Martin 
Luther a blasphemer, and Martin Luther called Copernicus 
a blasphemer. Pious ignorance always regards intelligence 
as a kind of blasphemy. Some of the greatest men of the 
world, some of the best, have been put to death for the 
crime of blasphemy, that is to say, for the crime of 
endeavoring to benefit their fellow-men. 

As long as the church has the power to close the lips of 
men, so long and no longer will superstition rule this world. 

"Blasphemy is the word that the majority hisses into the. 
ear of the few. 


After every argument of the church has been answered, 
has been refuted, then the church cries, "blasphemy!" 

Blasphemy is what an old mistake says of a newly dis 
covered truth. 

Blasphemy is what a withered last year's leaf says to a 
this year's bud. 

Blasphemy is the bulwark of religious prejudice. 

Blasphemy is the breastplate of the heartless. 

And let me say now, that the crime of blasphemy, as set 
out in this statute, is impossible. No man can blaspheme a 
book. No man can commit blasphemy by telling his 
honest thought. No man can blaspheme a God, or a Holy 
Ghost, or a Son of God. The Infinite cannot be blas 

In the olden time, in the days of savagery and superstition, 
when some poor man was struck by lightning, or when a 
blackened mark was left on the breast of a wife and mother, 
the poor savage supposed that some god, angered by some 
thing he had done, had taken his revenge. What else did 
the savage suppose? He believed that this god had the 
same feelings, with regard to the loyalty of his subjects, that 
an earthly chief had, or an earthly king had, with regard to 
the loyalty or treachery of members of his tribe, or citizens 
of his kingdom. So the savage said, when his country was 
visited by a calamity, when the flood swept the people 
away, or the storm scattered their poor houses in fragments : 
" We have allowed some Freethinker to live ; some one is in 
our town or village who has not brought his gift to the 
priest, his incense to the altar ; some man of our tribe or ot 
our country does not respect our god." Then, for the pur 
pose of appeasing the supposed god, for the purpose of 
again winning a smile from heaven, for the purpose of se 
curing a little sunlight for their fields and homes, they 
drag the accused man from his home, from his wife and 
Children, and with all the ceremonies of pious brutality, shed 


his blood. They did it in self-defence ; they believed that 
they were saving their own lives and the lives of their 
children ; they did it to appease their god. Most people are 
now beyond that point. Now when disease visits a com 
munity, the intelligent do not say the disease came because 
the people were wicked ; when the cholera comes, it is not 
because of the Methodists, of the Catholics, of the Presby 
terians, or of the Infidels. When the wind destroys a town 
in the far West, it is not because somebody there had spoken 
his honest thoughts. We are beginning to see that the wind 
blows and destroys without the slightest reference to man, 
without the slightest care whether it destroys the good or 
the bad, the irreligious or the religious. When the light 
ning leaps from the clouds it is just as likely to strike a 
good man as a bad man, and when the great serpents of 
flame climb around the houses of men, they burn just as 
gladly and just as joyously, the home of virtue, as they do 
the den and lair of vice. 

Then the reason for all these laws has failed. The laws 
were made on account of a superstition. That superstition 
has faded from the minds of intelligent men, and, as a conse 
quence, the laws based on the superstition ought to fail. 

There is one splendid thing in nature, and that is that 
men and nations must reap the consequences of their acts 
reap them in this world, if they live, and in another if there 
be one. The man who leaves this world a bad man, a 
malicious man, will probably be the same man when he 
reaches another realm, and the man who leaves this shore 
good, charitable and honest, will be good, charitable and 
honestj no matter on what star he lives again. The world 
is growing sensible upon these subjects, and as we grow 
sensible, we grow charitable. 

.Another reason has been given for these laws against 
blasphemy, the most absurd reason that can by any possi 
bility be given. It is this : There should be laws against 


blasphemy, because the man who utters blasphemy en 
dangers the public peace. 

Is it possible that Christians will break the peace ? Is it 
possible that they will violate the law? Is it probable 
that Christians will congregate together and make a mob, 
simply because a man has given an opinion against their 
religion? What is their religion? They say, "If a man 
smites you on one cheek, turn the other also." They say, 
" We must love our neighbors as we love ourselves." Is it 
possible then, that you can make a mob out of Christians, 
that these men, who love even their enemies, will attack 
others, and will destroy life, in the name of universal love ? 
And yet, Christians themselves say that there ought to be 
laws against blasphemy, for fear that Christians, who are 
controlled by universal love, will become so outraged, when 
they hear an honest man express an honest thought, that 
they will leap upon him and tear him in pieces. 

What is blasphemy ? I will give you a definition ; I 
will give you my thought upon this subject. What is real 
blasphemy ? 

To live on the unpaid labor of other men that is blas 

To enslave your fellow-man, to put chains upon his body 
that is blasphemy. 

To enslave the minds of men, to put manacles upon the 
brain, padlocks upon the lips that is blasphemy. 

To deny what you believe to be true, to admit to be true 
what you believe to be a lie that is blasphemy. 

To strike the weak and unprotected, in order that you 
may gain the applause of the ignorant and superstitious 
mob that is blasphemy. 

To persecute the intelligent few, at the command of the 
ignorant many that is blasphemy. 

To forge chains, to build dungeons, for your honest fellow- 
rnen that is blasphemy, 


To pollute the souls of children with the dogma of eternal 
pain that is blasphemy. 

To violate your conscience that is blasphemy. 

The jury that gives an unjust verdict, and the judge 
who pronounces an unjust sentence, are blasphemers. 

The man who bows to public opinion against his better 
judgment and against his honest conviction, is a blasphemer. 

Why should we fear our fellow-men ? Why should not 
each human being have the right, so far as thought and 
its expression are concerned, of all the world ? What 
harm can come from an honest interchange of thought ? 

I have been giving you my real ideas. I have spoken 
freely, and yet the sun rose this morning, just the same as 
it always has. There is no particular change visible in the 
world, and I do not see but that we are all as happy to-day 
as though we had spent yesterday in making somebody 
else miserable. I denounced on yesterday the superstitions 
of the Christian world, and yet, last night I slept the sleep 
of peace. You will pardon me for saying again that I feel 
the greatest possible interest in the result of this trial, in 
the principle at stake. This is my only apology, my only 
excuse, for taking your time. For years I have felt that 
the great battle for human liberty, the battle that has cov 
ered thousands of fields with heroic dead, had finally been 
won. When I read the history of this world, of what has 
been endured, of what has been suffered, of the heroism 
and infinite courage of the intellectual and honest few, 
battling with the countless serfs and slaves of kings and 
priests, of tyranny, of hypocrisy, of ignorance and prej 
udice, of faith and fear, there was in my heart the hope that 
the great battle had been fought, and that the human race, 
in its march towards the dawn, had passed midnight, and 
that the " great balance weighed up morning." This hope, 
this feeling, gave me the greatest possible joy. When I 
thought of the many who had been burnt, of how often 


the sons of liberty had perished in ashes, of how many of 
the noblest and greatest had stood upon scaffolds, and of 
the countless hearts, the grandest that ever throbbed in 
human breasts, that had been broken by the tyranny of 
church and state, of how many of the noble and loving 
had sighed themselves away in dungeons, the only consola 
tion was that the last bastile had fallen, that the dungeons 
of the Inquisition had been torn down and that the scaf 
folds of the world could no longer be wet with heroic blood. 

You know that sometimes, after a great battle has been 
fought, and one of the armies has been broken, and its 
fortifications carried, there are occasional stragglers beyond 
the great field, stragglers who know nothing of the fate of 
their army, know nothing of the victory, and for that 
reason, fight on. There are a few such stragglers in the 
State of New Jersey. They have never heard of the great 
victory. They do not know that in all civilized countries 
the hosts of superstition have been put to flight. They do 
not know that Freethinkers, Infidels, are to-day the leaders of 
the intellectual armies of the world. 

One of the last trials of this character, tried in Great 
Britain, and that is the country that our ancestors fought 
in the sacred name of liberty, one of the last trials in that 
country, a country ruled by a state church, ruled by a 
woman who was born a queen, ruled by dukes and nobles 
and lords, children of ancient robbers was in the year 
1843. George Jacob Holyoake, one of the best of the 
human race, was imprisoned on a charge of Atheism, 
charged with having written a pamphlet and having made 
a speech in which he had denied the existence of the 
British God. The judge who tried him, who passed sen 
tence upon him, went down to his grave with a stain upon 
his intellect and upon his honor. All the real intelligence 
of Great Britain rebelled against the outrage. There was 
a trial after that to which I will call your attention. Judge 


Coleridge, father of the present Chief Justice of England," 
presided at this trial. A poor man by the name of Thomas 
Pooley, a man who dug wells for a living, wrote on the 
gate of a priest, that, if people would burn their Bibles and 
scatter the ashes on the lands, the crops would be better, 
and that they would also save a good deal of money in 
tithes. He wrote several sentences of a kindred character. 
He was a curious man. He had an idea that the world 
was a living, breathing animal. He would not dig a well 
beyond a certain depth for fear he might inflict pain upon 
this animal, the earth. He was tried before Judge Col 
eridge, on that charge. An infinite God was about to be 
dethroned, because an honest well-digger had written his 
sentiments on the fence of a parson. He was indicted, tried, 
convicted and sentenced to prison. Afterward, many in 
telligent people asked for his pardon, on the ground that 
he was in danger of becoming insane. The judge refused 
to sign the petition. The pardon was refused. Long 
before his sentence expired, he became a raving maniac. 
He was removed to an asylum and there died. Some of 
the greatest men in England attacked that judge, among 
these, Mr. Buckle, author of " The History of Civilization 
in England," one of the greatest books in this world. Mr. 
Buckle denounced Judge Coleridge. He brought him be 
fore the bar of English opinion, and there was not a man 
in England, whose opinion was worth anything, who did 
not agree with Mr. Buckle, and did not with him, declare 
the conviction of Thomas Pooley to be an infamous out 
rage. What were the reasons given ? This, among 
others : The law was dead ; it had been asleep for many 
years ; it was a law passed during the ignorance of the 
Middle Ages, and a law that came out of the dungeon of 
religious persecution; a law that was appealed to by 
bigots and by hypocrites, to punish, to imprison an honest 


In many parts of this country, people have entertained 
the idea that New England was still filled with the spirit 
of Puritanism, filled with the descendants of those who 
killed Quakers in the name of universal benevolence, and 
traded Quaker children in the Barbadoes for rum, for the 
purpose of establishing the fact that God is an infinite 

Yet, the last trial in Massachusetts on a charge like this, 
was when Abner Kneeland was indicted on a charge of 
Atheism. He was tried for having written this sentence : 
" The Universalists believe in a God which I do not." He 
was convicted and imprisoned. Chief Justice Shaw upheld 
the decision, and upheld it because he was afraid of public 
opinion ; upheld it, although he must have known that the 
statute under which Kneeland was indicted was clearly 
and plainly in violation of the Constitution. No man can 
read the decision of Justice Shaw without being convinced 
that he was absolutely dominated, either by bigotry, or 
hypocrisy. One of the judges of that court, a noble man, 
wrote a dissenting opinion, and in that dissenting opinion 
is the argument of a civilized, of an enlightened jurist. No 
man can answer the dissenting opinion of Justice Morton. 
The case against Kneeland was tried more than fifty years 
ago, and there has been none since in the New England 
States ; and this case, that we are now trying, is the first 
ever tried in New Jersey. The fact that it is the first, cer 
tifies to my interpretation of this statute, and it also certifies 
to the toleration and to the civilization of the people of this 
State. The statute is upon your books. You inherited it 
from your ignorant ancestors, and they inherited it from 
their savage ancestors. The people of New Jersey were 
heirs of the mistakes and of the atrocities of ancient En 

It is too late to enforce a law like this. Why has it been 
allowed to slumber ? Who obtained this indictment ? Were 


they actuated by good and noble motives ? Had they the 
public weal at heart, or were they simply endeavoring to be 
revenged upon this defendant ? Were they willing to dis 
grace the State, in order that they might punish him ? 

I have given you my definition of blasphemy, and now 
the question arises, what is worship? Who is a worshiper? 
What is prayer ? What is real religion ? Let me answer 
these questions. 

Good, honest, faithful work, is worship. The man who 
ploughs the fields and fells the forests; the man who works 
in mines, the man who battles with the winds and waves out 
on the wide sea, controlling the commerce of the world ; 
these men are worshipers. The man who goes into the 
forest, leading his wife by the hand, who builds him a 
cabin, who makes a home in the wilderness, who helps to 
people and civilize and cultivate a continent, is a worshiper. 

Labor is the only prayer that Nature answers ; it is the 
only prayer that deserves an answer, good, honest, noble 

A woman whose husband has gone down to the gutter, 
gone down to degradation and filth ; the woman who fol 
lows him and lifts him out of the mire and presses him to 
her noble heart, until he becomes a man once more, this 
woman is a worshiper. Her act is worship. 

The poor man and the poor woman who work night and 
day, in order that they may give education to their children, 
so that they may have a better life than their father and 
mother had ; the parents who deny themselves the comforts 
of life, that they may lay up something to help their chil 
dren to a higher place they are worshipers ; and the 
children who, after they reap the benefit of this worship, 
become ashamed of their parents, are blasphemers. 
. The man who sits by the bed of his invalid wife, a wife 
prematurely old and gray, the husband who sits by her 
bed and holds her thin, wan hand in his as lovingly, and 


kisses it as rapturously, as passionately, as when it was 
dimpled, that is worship ; that man is a worshiper ; that 
is real religion. 

Whoever increases the sum of human joy, is a worshiper. 
He who adds to the sum of human misery, is a blasphemer. 

Gentlemen, you can never make me believe no statute 
can ever convince me, that there is any infinite Being in this 
universe who hates an honest man. It is impossible to 
satisfy me that there is any God, or can be any God, who 
holds in abhorrence a soul that has the courage to express 
his thought. Neither can the whole world convince me 
that any man should be punished, either in this world or in 
the next, for being candid with his fellow-men. If you 
send men to the penitentiary for speaking their thoughts, 
for endeavoring to enlighten their fellows, then the peni 
tentiary will become a place of honor, and the victim will 
step from it not stained, not disgraced, but clad in robes of 

Let us take one more step. 

What is holy, what is sacred ? I reply that human hap 
piness is holy, human rights are holy. The body and soul 
of man these are sacred. The liberty of man is of far 
more importance than any book; the rights of man. more 
.sacred than any religion than any Scriptures, whether in 
spired or not. 

What we want is the truth, and does any one suppose 
that all of the truth is confined in one book that the 
mysteries of the whole world are explained by one volume ? 

All that is all that conveys information to man all 
that has been produced by the past all that now exists 
should be considered by an intelligent man. All the 
known truths of this world all the philosophy, all the 
poems, all the pictures, all the statues, all the entrancing 
music the prattle of babes, the lullaby of mothers, the 
words of honest men, the trumpet calls to duty all these 


make up the bible of the world everything that is noble 
and true and free, you will find in this great book. 

If we wi-sh to be true to ourselves, if we wish to benefit 
our fellow-men if we wish to live honorable lives we 
will give to every other human being every right that we 
claim for ourselves. 

There is another thing that should be remembered by 
you. You are the judges of the law, as well as the judges 
of the facts. In a case like this, you are the final judges as 
to what the law is ; and if you acquit, no court can reverse 
your verdict. To prevent the least misconception, let me 
state to you again what I claim : 

First. I claim that the constitution of New Jersey de 
clares that: 

" The liberty of speech shall not be abridged." 

Second. That this statute, under which this indictment is 
found, is unconstitutional, because it does abridge the 
liberty of speech ; it does exactly that which the constitution 
emphatically says shall not be done. 

Third. I claim, also, that under this law even if it be 
constitutional the words charged in this indictment do not 
amount to blasphemy, read even in the light, or rather in 
the darkness, of this statute. 

Do not, I pray you, forget this point. Do not forget, that, 
no matter what the Court may tell you about the law how 
good it is, or how bad it is no matter what the Court may 
instruct you on that subject do not forget one thing, and 
that is : That the words charged in the indictment are the 
only words that you can take into consideration in this case. 
Remember that no matter what else may be in the pamphlet 
no matter what pictures or cartoons there may be of the 
gentlemen in Boonton who mobbed this man in the name of 
universal liberty and love do not forget that you have 
no right to take one word into account except the exact 
words set out in this indictment that is to say, the words 


that I have read to you. Upon this point the Court 
will instruct you that you have nothing to do with any 
other line in that pamphlet ; and I now claim, that should 
the Court instruct you that the statute is constitutional, 
still I insist that the words set out in this indictment do not 
amount to blasphemy. 

There is still another point. This statute says: "Who 
ever shall willfully speak against." Now, in this case, you 
must find that the defendant " willfully " did so and so that 
is to say, that he made the statements attributed to him 
knowing that they were not true. If you believe that he 
was honest in what he said, then this statute does not touch 
him. Even under this statute, a man may give his honest 
opinion. Certainly, there is no law that charges a man 
with "willfully" being honest "willfully" telling his real 
opinion " willfully" giving to his fellow-men his thought. 

Where a man is charged with larceny, the indictment 
must set out that he took the goods or the property with 
the intention to steal with what the law calls the animus 
furandi. If he took the goods with the intention to steal, 
then he is a thief; but if he took the goods believing them 
to be his own, then he is guilty of no offence. So in this 
case, whatever was said by the defendant must have been 
" willfully " said. And I claim that if you believe that what 
the man said was honestly said, you cannot find him guilty 
under this statute. 

One more point: This statute has been allowed to slum 
ber so long, that no man had the right to awaken it. For 
more than one hundred years it has slept ; and so far as 
New Jersey is concerned, it has been sound asleep since 
1664. For the first time it is dug out of its grave. The 
breath of life is sought to be breathed into it, to the end 
that some people may wreak their vengeance on an honest 

Is there any evidence has there been any to show that 


the defendant was not absolutely candid in the expression 
of his opinions ? Is there one particle of evidence tending 
to show that he is not a perfectly honest and sincere man ? 
Did the prosecution have the courage to attack his reputa 
tion ? No. The State has simply proved to you that he 
circulated that pamphlet that is all. 

It was claimed, among other things, that the defendant 
circulated this pamphlet among children. There was no 
such evidence not the slightest. The only evidence 
about schools, or school-children was, that when the de 
fendant talked with the bill-poster, whose business the 
defendant was interfering with, he asked him something 
about the population of the town, and about the schools. 
But according to the evidence, and as a matter of fact, not 
a solitary pamphlet was ever given to any child, or to any 
youth. According to the testimony, the defendant went 
into two or three stores, laid the pamphlets on a show 
case, or threw them upon a desk put them upon a stand 
where papers were sold, and in one instance handed a 
pamphlet to a man. That is all. 

In my judgment, however, there would have been no 
harm in giving this pamphlet to every citizen of your place. 

Again I say, that a law that has been allowed to sleep 
for all these years allowed to sleep by reason of the good 
sense and by reason of the tolerant spirit of the State of 
New Jersey, should not be allowed to leap into life because 
a few are intolerant, or because a few lacked good sense and 
judgment. This snake should not be warmed into vicious 
life by the blood of anger. 

Probably not a man on this jury agrees with me about 
the subject of religion. Probably not a member of this 
jury thinks that I am right in the opinions that I have en 
tertained and have so often expressed. Most of you belong 
to some church, and I presume that those who do, have 
the good of what they call Christianity at heart. There 


maybe among you some Methodists. If so, they have read 
the history of their church, and they know that when it 
was in the minority, it was persecuted, and they know that 
they can not read the history of that persecution without 
becoming indignant. They know that the early Methodists 
were denounced as heretics, as ranters, as ignorant pre 

There are also on this jury, Catholics, and they know 
that there is a tendency in many parts of this country to 
persecute a man now because he is a Catholic. They also 
know that their church has persecuted in times past, when 
ever and wherever it had the power ; and they know that 
Protestants, when in power, have always persecuted Catho 
lics; and they know, in their hearts, that all persecution, 
whether in the name of law, or religion, is monstrous, sav 
age, and fiendish. 

I presume that each one of you has the good of what you 
call Christianity at heart. If you have, I beg of you to 
acquit this man. If you believe Christianity to be a good, 
it never can do any church any good to put a man in jail 
for the expression of opinion. Any church that imprisons 
\ man because he has used an argument against its creed, 
will simply convince the world that it cannot answer the 

Christianity will never reap any honor, will never reap 
any profit, from persecution. It is a poor, cowardly, 
dastardly way of answering arguments. No gentleman 
will do it no civilized man ever did do it no decent hu 
man being ever did, or ever will. 

I take it for granted that you have a certain regard, a 
certain affection, for the State in which you live that you 
take a pride in the Commonwealth of New Jersey. If you 
do, I beg of you to keep the record of your State clean. 
Allow no verdict to be recorded against the freedom of 
speech, At present there is not to be found on the records 


of any inferior court, or on those of the Supreme tribunal 
any case in which a man has been punished for speaking 
his sentiments. The records h?ve not been stained have 
not been polluted with such a verdict. 

Keep such a verdict from the Reports of your State 
from the Records of your courts. No jury has yet, in the 
State of New Jersey, decided that the lips of honest men are 
not free that there is a manacle upon the brain. 

For the sake of your State for the sake of her reputa 
tion throughout the world for your own sakes and those 
of your children, and their children yet to be say to the 
world that New Jersey shares in the spirit of this age, 
that New Jersey is not a survival of the Dark Ages, that 
New Jersey does not still regard the thumbscrew as an 
instrument of progress, that New Jersey needs no 
dungeon to answer the arguments of a free man, and does 
not send to the penitentiary, men who think, and men who 
speak. Say to the world, that where arguments are with 
out foundation, New Jersey has confidence enough in the 
brains of her people to feel that such arguments can be 
refuted by reason. 

For the sake of your State, acquit this man. For the 
sake of something of far more value to this world than New 
Jersey for the sake of something of more importance to 
mankind than this continent for the sake of Human 
Liberty, for the sake of Free Speech, acquit this man. 

What light is to the eyes, what love is to the heart, 
Liberty is to the soul of man. Without it, there come 
suffocation, degradation and death. 

In the name of Liberty, I implore and not only so, but 
I insist that you shall find a verdict in favor of this 
defendant. Do not do the slightest thing to stay the march 
of human progress. Do not carry us back, even for a 
moment, to the darkness of that cruel night that good men 
hoped had passed away forever, 


Liberty is the condition of progress. Without Liberty, 
there remains only barbarism. Without Liberty, there can 
be no civilization. 

If another man has not the right to think, you have not 
even the right to think that he thinks wrong. If every man 
has not the right to think, the people of New Jersey had no 
right to make a statute, or to adopt a constitution no jury 
has the right to render a verdict, and no court to pass its 

In other words, without liberty of thought, no human 
being has the right to form a judgment. It is impossible 
that there should be such a thing as real religion without 
liberty. Without liberty there can be no such thing as 
conscience, no such word as justice. All human actions 
all good, all bad have for a foundation the idea of human 
liberty, and without Liberty there can be no vice, and there 
can be no virtue. 

Without Liberty there can be no worship, no blasphemy 
no love, no hatred, no justice, no progress. 

Take the word Liberty from human speech and all the 
other words become poor, withered, meaningless sounds 
but with that word realized with that word understood, the 
world becomes a paradise. 

Understand me. I am not blaming the people. I am not 
blaming the prosecution, or the prosecuting attorney. The 
officers of the court are simply doing what they feel to be 
their duty. They did not find the indictment. That was 
found by the grand jury. The grand jury did not find the 
indictment of its own motion. Certain people came before 
the grand jury and made their complaint gave their testi 
mony, and upon that testimony, under this statute, the 
indictment was found. 

While I do not blame these people they not being on 
trial I do ask you to stand ou the side of right. 

I cannot conceive of much greater happiness than to dis- 


charge a public duty, than to be absolutely true to con 
science, true to judgment, no matter what authority may say, 
no matter what public opinion may demand. A man who 
stands by the right, against the world, cannot help applaud 
ing himself, and saying : " I am an honest man." 

I want your verdict a verdict born of manhood, of 
courage ; and I want to send a dispatch to-day to a woman 
who is lying sick. I wish you to furnish the words of this 
dispatch only two words and these two words will fill an 
anxious heart with joy. They will fill a soul with light. 
It is a very short message only two words and I ask you 
to furnish them : "Not guilty." 

You are expected to do this, because I believe you will 
be true to your consciences, true to your best judgment, true 
to the best interests of the people of New Jersey, true to 
the great cause of Liberty. 

I sincerely hope that it will never be necessary again, 
under the flag of the United States that flag for which has 
been shed the bravest and best blood of the world under 
that flag maintained by Washington, by Jefferson, by 
Franklin and by Lincoln under that flag in defence of 
which New Jersey poured out her best and bravest blood 
I hope it will never be necessary again for a man to stand 
before a jury and plead for the Liberty of Speech. 

NOTE : The Jury in this case brought in a verdict of guilty. The Judge imposed a fine 
of twenty-five dollars and costs amounting in all to seventy-five dollars, which Colonel 
Ingersoll paid, giving his services free. (X P. FAERELL. 



"All governments derive their just powers from the consent of the 

IN this country it is admitted that the power to govern 
resides in the people themselves ; that they are the only 
rightful source of authority. For many centuries before the 
formation of our Government, before the promulgation of 
the Declaration of Independence, the people had but little 
voice in the affairs of nations. The source of authority was 
not in this world ; kings were not crowned by their sub 
jects, and the sceptre was not held by the consent of the 
governed. The king sat on his throne by the will of God, 
and for that reason was not accountable to the people for 
the exercise of his power. He commanded, and the people 
obeyed. He was lord of their bodies, and his partner, the 
priest, was lord of their souls. The government of earth 
was patterned after the kingdom on high. God was a su 
preme autocrat in heaven, whose will was law, and the king 
was a supreme autocrat on earth whose \vill was law. The 
God in heaven had inferior beings to do his will, and the 
king on earth had certain favorites and officers to do his. 
These officers were accountable to him, and he was respon 
sible to God. 

The Feudal system was supposed to be in accordance 
with the divine plan. The people were not governed by 
intelligence, but by threats and promises, by rewards and 
punishments. No effort was made to enlighten the common 
people ; no one thought of educating a peasant of develop 
ing the mind of a laborer. The people were created to sup 
port thrones and altars. Their destiny was to toil and 



obey to work and want. They were to be satisfied with 
huts and hovels, with ignorance and rags, and their chil 
dren must expect no more. In the presence of the king 
they fell upon their knees, and before the priest they 
groveled in the very dust. The poor peasant divided his 
earnings with the state, because he imagined it protected his 
body ; he divided his crust with the church, believing that 
it protected his soul. He was the prey of Throne and 
Altar one deformed his body, the other his mind and 
these two vultures fed upon his toil. He was taught by the 
king to hate the people of other nations, and by the priest 
to despise the believers in all other religions. He was 
made the enemy of all people except his own. He had no 
sympathy with the peasants of other lands, enslaved and 
plundered like himself. He was kept in ignorance, because 
education is the enemy of superstition, and because educa 
tion is the foe of that egotism often mistaken for patriotism. 

The intelligent and good man holds in his affections the 
good and true of every land the boundaries of countries 
are not the limitations of his sympathies. Caring nothing 
for race, or color, he loves those who speak other languages 
and worship other gods. Between him and those who 
suffer, there is no impassable gulf. He salutes the world, 
and extends the hand of friendship to the human race. He 
does not bow before a provincial and patriotic god one who 
protects his tribe or nation, and abhors the rest of mankind. 

Through all the ages of superstition, each nation has 
insisted that it was the peculiar care of the true God, and 
that it alone had the true religion that the gods of other 
nations were false and fraudulent, and that other religions 
were wicked, ignorant and absurd. In this way the seeds 
of hatred had been sown, and in this way have been kindled 
the flames of war. Men have had no sympathy with those 
of a different complexion, with those who knelt at other 
altars and expressed their thoughts in other words and 


even a difference in garments placed them beyond the 
sympathy of others. Every peculiarity was the food of 
prejudice and the excuse for hatred. 

The boundaries of nations were at last crossed by com 
merce. People became somewhat acquainted, and they 
found that the virtues and vices were quite evenly distrib 
uted. At last, subjects became somewhat acquainted with 
kings peasants had the pleasure of gazing at princes, and 
it was dimly perceived that the differences were mostly in 
rags and names. 

In 1776 our fathers endeavored to retire the gods from 
politics. They declared that "all governments derive their 
just powers from the consent of the governed." This was a 
contradiction of the then political ideas of the world ; it was, 
as many believed, an act of pure blasphemy a renunciation 
of the Deity. It was in fact a declaration of the independ 
ence of the earth. It was a notice to all churches and 
priests that thereafter mankind would govern and protect 
themselves. Politically it tore down every altar and denied 
the authority of every "sacred book," and appealed from the 
Providence of God to the Providence of Man. 

Those who promulgated the Declaration adopted a Con 
stitution for the great Republic. 

What was the office or purpose of that Constitution ? 

Admitting that all power came from the people, it was 
necessary, first, that certain means be adopted for the pur 
pose of ascertaining the will of the people, and second, it 
was proper and convenient to designate certain departments 
that should exercise certain powers of the Government. 
There must be the legislative, the judicial and the executive 
departments. Those who make laws should not execute 
them. Those who execute laws should not have the power 
of absolutely determining their meaning or their constitu- 
tio'nality. For these reasons, among others, a Constitution 
was adopted. 


This Constitution also contained a declaration of rights. 
It marked out the limitations of discretion, so that in the 
excitement of passion, men shall not go beyond the point 
designated in the calm moment of reason. 

When man is unprejudiced, and his passions subject to 
reason, it is well he should define the limits of power, so 
that the waves driven by the storm of passion shall not over 
bear the shore. 

A constitution is for the government of man in this 
world. It is the chain the people put upon their servants, 
as well as upon themselves. It defines the limit of power 
and the limit of obedience. 

It follows, then, that nothing should be in a constitution 
that cannot be enforced by the power of the state that is, 
by the army and navy. Behind every provision of the Con 
stitution should stand the force of the nation. Every 
sword, every bayonet, every cannon should be there. 

Suppose, then, that we amend the Constitution and ac 
knowledge the existence and supremacy of God what 
becomes of the supremacy of the people, and how is this 
amendment to be enforced ? A constitution does not en 
force itself. It must be carried out by appropriate legisla 
tion. Will it be a crime to deny the existence of this con 
stitutional God ? Can the offender be proceeded against in 
the criminal courts ? Can his lips be closed by the power 
of the state? Would not this be the inauguration of relig 
ious persecution ? 

And if there is to be an acknowledgment of God in the 
Constitution, the question naturally arises as to which God 
is to have this honor. Shall we select the God of the 
Catholics he who has established an infallible church 
presided over by an infallible pope, and who is delighted 
with certain ceremonies and placated by prayers uttered in 
exceedingly common Latin ? Is it the God of the Presby 
terian with the Five Points of Calvinism, who is ingenious 


enough to harmonize necessity and responsibility, and who 
in some way justifies himself for damning most of his own 
children? Is it the God of the Puritan, the enemy of joy 
of the Baptist, who is great enough to govern the uni 
verse, and small enough to allow the destiny of a soul to 
depend on whether the body it inhabited was immersed or 

What God is it proposed to put in the Constitution ? Is 
it the God of the Old Testament, who was a believer in 
slavery and who justified polygamy ? If slavery was right 
then, it is right now ; and if Jehovah was right then, the 
Mormons are right now. Are we to have the God who 
issued a commandment against all art who was the enemy 
of investigation and of free speech ? Is it the God who 
commanded the husband to stone his wife to death because 
she differed with him on the subject of religion? Are we 
to have a God who will re-enact the Mosaic code and pun 
ish hundreds of offences with death ? What court, what 
tribunal of last resort, is to define this God, and who is to 
make known his will ? In his presence, laws passed by 
men will be of no value. The decisions of courts will be 
as nothing. But who is to make known the will of this 
supreme God ? Will there be a supreme tribunal composed 
of priests ? 

Of course all persons elected to office will either swear 
or affirm to support the Constitution. Men who do not 
believe in this God, cannot so swear or affirm. Such men 
will not be allowed to hold any office of trust or honor. A 
God in the Constitution will not interfere with the oaths or 
affirmations of hypocrites. Such a provision will only ex 
clude honest and conscientious unbelievers. Intelligent 
people know that no one knows whether there is a God or 
not. The existence of such a Being is merely a matter of 
opinion. Men who believe in the liberty of man, who are 
willing to die for the honor of their country, will be ex- 


eluded from taking any part in the administration of its 
affairs. Such a provision would place the country under 
the feet of priests. 

To recognize a Deity in the organic law of our country 
would be the destruction of religious liberty. The God in 
the Constitution would have to be protected. There would 
be laws against blasphemy, laws against the publication of 
honest thoughts, laws against carrying books and papers 
in the mails in which this constitutional God should be 
attacked. Our land would be filled with theological spies, 
with religious eavesdroppers, and all the snakes and reptiles 
of the lowest natures, in this sunshine of religious au 
thority, would uncoil and crawl. 

It is proposed to acknowledge a God who is the lawful 
and rightful Governor of nations ; the one who ordained 
the powers that be. If this God is really the Governor of 
nations, it is not necessary to acknowledge him in the Con 
stitution. This would not add to his power. If he governs 
all nations now, he has always controlled the affairs of 
men. Having this control, why did he not see to it that he 
was recognized in the Constitution of the United States ? 
If he had the supreme authority and neglected to put him 
self in the Constitution, is not this, at least, prima facie evi 
dence that he did not desire to be there ? 

For one, I am not in favor of the God who has "ordained 
the powers that be." What have we to say of Russia of 
Siberia ? What can we say of the persecuted and enslaved ? 
What of the kings and nobles who live on the stolen labor 
of others ? What of the priest and cardinal and pope who 
wrest, even from the hand of poverty, the single coin thrice 
earned ? 

Is it possible to flatter the Infinite with a constitutional 
amendment? The Confederate States acknowledged God 
in their constitution, and yet they were overwhelmed by 
a people in whose organic law no reference to God is 


made. All the kings of the earth acknowledge the exist 
ence of God, and God is their ally ; and this belief in God is 
used as a means to enslave and rob, to govern and degrade 
the people whom they call their subjects. 

The Government of the United States is secular. It de 
rives its power from the consent of man. It is a Govern 
ment with which God has nothing whatever to do and all 
forms and customs, inconsistent with the fundamental fact 
that the people are the source of authority, should be 
abandoned. In this country there should be no oaths no 
man should be sworn to tell the truth, and in no court 
should there be any appeal to any supreme being. A rascal 
by taking the oath appears to go in partnership with God, 
and ignorant jurors credit the firm instead of the man. A 
witness should tell his story, and if he speaks falsely should 
be considered as guilty of perjury. Governors and Presi 
dents should not issue religious proclamations. They 
should not call upon the people to thank God. It is no 
part of their official duty. It is outside of and beyond the 
horizon of their authority. There is nothing in the Con 
stitution of the United States to justify this religious 

For many years priests have attempted to give to our 
Government a religious form. Zealots have succeeded in 
putting the legend upon our money : " In God We Trust ; " 
and we have chaplains in the army and navy, and legisla 
tive proceedings are usually opened with prayer. All this 
is contrary to the genius of the Republic, contrary to th^ 
Declaration of Independence, and contrary really to the 
Constitution of the United States. We have taken the 
ground that the people can govern themselves without the 
assistance of any supernatural power. We have taken the 
position that the people are the real and only rightful source 
of" authority. We have solemnly declared that the people 
must determine what is politically right and what is wrong, 


aud that their legally expressed will is the supreme law. 
This leaves no room for national superstition no room for 
patriotic gods or supernatural beings and this does away 
with the necessity for political prayers. 

The government of God has been tried. It was tried in 
Palestine several thousand years ago, and the God of the 
Jews was a monster of cruelty and ignorance, and the people 
governed by this God lost their nationality. Theocracy was 
tried through the Middle Ages. God was the Governor 
the pope was his agent, and every priest and bishop and 
cardinal was armed with credentials from the Most High 
and the result was that the noblest and best were in prisons, 
the greatest and grandest perished at the stake. The result 
was that vices were crowned with honor, and virtues whip 
ped naked through the streets. The result was that hypoc 
risy swayed the sceptre of authority, while honesty lan 
guished in the dungeons of the Inquisition. 

The government of God was tried in Geneva when John 
Calvin was his representative ; and under this government 
of God the flames climbed around the limbs and blinded 
the eyes of Michael Servetus, because he dared to express 
an honest thought. This government of God was tried in 
Scotland, and the seeds of theological hatred were sown, 
that bore, through hundreds of years, the fruit of massacre 
and assassination. This government of God was established 
in New England, and the result was that Quakers were 
hanged or burned the laws of Moses re-enacted and the 
'' witch was not suffered to live." The result was that 
investigation was a crime, and the expression of an honest 
thought a capital offence. This government of God was 
established in Spain, and the Jews were expelled, the Moors 
were driven out, Moriscoes were exterminated, and nothing 
left but the ignorant and bankrupt worshipers of this 
monster. This government of God was tried in the United 
States when slavery was regarded as a divine institution, 


when men and women were regarded as criminals because 
they sought for liberty by flight, and when others were 
regarded as criminals because they gave them food and 
shelter. The pulpit of that day defended the buying and 
selling of women and babes, and the mouths of slave-traders 
were filled with passages of Scripture, defending and up 
holding the traffic in human flesh. 

We have entered upon a new epoch. This is the century 
of man. Every effort to really better the condition of man 
kind has been opposed by the worshipers of some God. 
The church in all ages and among all peoples has been the 
consistent enemy of the human race. Everywhere and at 
all times, it has opposed the liberty of thought and expres 
sion. It has been the sworn enemy of investigation and of 
intellectual development. It has denied the existence of 
facts, the tendency of which was to undermine its power. It 
has always been carrying fagots to the feet of Philosophy. 
It has erected the gallows for Genius. It has built the 
dungeon for Thinkers. And to-day the orthodox church is 
as much opposed as it ever was to the mental freedom of 
the human race. 

Of course, there is a distinction made between churches 
and individual members. There have been millions of 
Christians who have been believers in liberty and in the 
freedom of expression millions who have fought for the 
rights of man but churches as organizations, have been on 
the other side. It is true that churches have fought 
churches that Protestants battled with the Catholics for 
what they were pleased to call the freedom of conscience ; 
and it is also true that the moment these Protestants 
obtained the civil power, they denied this freedom of con 
science to others. 

" Let me show you the difference between the theological 
and the secular spirit. Nearly three hundred years ago, one 
of the noblest of the human race, Giordano Bruno, was 


burned at Rome by the Catholic Church that is to say, by 
the " Triumphant Beast." This man had committed certain 
crimes he had publicly stated that there were other worlds 
than this other constellations than ours. He had ventured 
the supposition that other planets might be peopled. More 
than this, and worse than this, he had asserted the helio 
centric theory that the earth made its annual joifrney 
about the sun. He had also given it as his opinion that 
matter is eternal. For these crimes he was found unworthy 
to live, and about his body were piled the fagots of the 
Catholic Church. This man, this genius, this pioneer of the 
science of the nineteenth century, perished as serenely as 
the sun sets. The Infidels of to-day find excuses for his 
murderers. They take into consideration the ignorance and 
brutality of the times. They remember that the world was 
governed by a God who was then the source of all 
authority. This is the charity of Infidelity, of philosophy. 
But the church of to-day is so heartless, is still so cold and 
cruel, that it can find no excuse for the murdered. 

This is the difference between Theocracy and Democracy 
between God and man. 

If God is allowed in the Constitution, man must abdicate. 
There is no room for both. If the people of the great 
Republic become superstitious enough and ignorant enough 
to put God in the Constitution of the United States, the 
experiment of self-government will have failed, and the 
great and splendid declaration that " all governments 
derive their just powers from the consent of the governed" 
will have been denied, and in its place will be found this: 
All power comes from God ; priests are his agents, and the 
people are their slaves. 

Religion is an individual matter, and each soul should be 
left entirely free to form its own opinions and to judge ot 
its accountability to a supposed supreme being. With relig 
ion, government has nothing whatever to do. Govern- 


ment is founded upon force, and force should never inter 
fere with the religious opinions of men. Laws should 
define the rights of men and their duties toward each other, 
and these laws should be for the benefit of man in this 

A nation can neither be Christian nor Infidel a nation 
is incapable of having opinions upon these subjects. If a 
nation is Christian, will all the citizens go to heaven ? If 
it is not, will they all be damned ? Of course it is admitted 
that the majority of citizens composing a nation may be 
lieve or disbelieve, and they may call the nation what they 
please. A nation is a corporation. To repeat a familiar 
saying, "it has no soul." There can be no such thing as a 
Christian corporation. Several Christians may form a 
corporation, but it can hardly be said that the corporation 
thus formed was included in the atonement. For instance : 
Seven Christians form a corporation that is to say, there 
are seven natural persons and one artificial can it be said 
that there are eight souls to be saved ? 

No human being has brain enough, or knowledge enough, 
or experience enough, to say whether there is, or is not, a 
God. Into this darkness Science has not yet carried its 
torch. No human being has gone beyond the horizon of 
the natural. As to the existence of the supernatural, one 
man knows precisely as much, and exactly as little as 
another. Upon this question, chimpanzees and cardinals, 
apes and popes, are upon- exact equality. The smallest 
insect discernible only by the most powerful microscope, is 
as familiar with this subject, as the greatest genius that has 
been produced by the human race. 

Governments and laws are for the preservation of rights 
and the regulation of conduct. One man should not be 
allowed to interfere with the liberty of another. In the 
metaphysical world there should be no interference what 
ever. The same is true in the world of art. Laws cannot 


regulate what is or is not music, what is or what is not 
beautiful and constitutions cannot definitely settle and 
determine the perfection of statues, the value of paintings, 
or the glory and subtlety of thought. In spite of laws and 
constitutions the brain will think. In every direction con 
sistent with the well-being and peace of society, there should 
be freedom. No man should be compelled to adopt the 
theology of another; neither should a minority, however 
small, be forced to acquiesce in the opinions of a majority, 
however large. 

If there be an infinite Being, he does not need our help 
we need not waste our energies in his defence. It is enough 
for us to give to every other human being the liberty we 
claim for ourselves. There may or may not be a Supreme 
Ruler of the universe but we are certain that man exists, 
and we believe that freedom is the condition of progress ; 
that it is the sunshine of the mental and moral world, and 
that without it man will go back to the den of savagery, and 
will become the fit associate of wild and ferocious beasts. 

We have tried the government of priests, and we know 
that such governments are without mercy. In the admin 
istration of theocracy, all the instruments of torture have 
been invented. If any man wishes to have God recognized 
in the Constitution of our country, let him read the history 
of the Inquisition, and let him remember that hundreds of 
millions of men, women and children have been sacrificed 
to placate the wrath, or win the approbation of this God. 

There has been in our country a divorce of church and 
state. This follows as a natural sequence of the declara 
tion that "governments derive their just powers from the 
consent of the governed." The priest was no longer a 
necessity. His presence was a contradiction of the princi 
ple on which the Republic was founded. He represented, 
not the authority of the people, but of some " Power from 
on High," and to recognize this other Power was inconsist- 


ent with free government. The founders of the Republic 
at that time parted company with the priests, and said to 
them : " You may turn your attention to the other world 
we will attend to the affairs of this." Equal liberty was 
given to all. But the ultra theologian is not satisfied with 
this he wishes to destroy the liberty of the people he 
wishes a recognition of his God as the source of authority, 
to the end that the church may become the supreme 

But the sun will not be turned backward. The people of 
the United States are intelligent. They no longer believe 
implicitly in supernatural religion. They are losing con 
fidence in the miracles and marvels of the Dark Ages. 
They know the value of the free school. They appreciate 
the benefits of science. They are believers in education, 
in the free play of thought, and there is a suspicion that 
the priest, the theologian, is destined to take his place 
with the necromancer, the astrologer, the worker of magic, 
and the professor of the black art. 

We have already compared the benefits of theology and 
science. When the theologian governed the world, it was 
covered with huts and hovels for the many, palaces and 
cathedrals for the few. To nearly all the children of men, 
reading and writing were unknown arts. The poor were 
clad in rags and skins they devoured crusts, and gnawed 
bones. The day of Science dawned, and the luxuries of a 
century ago are the necessities of to-day. Men in the 
middle ranks of life have more of the conveniences and 
elegancies than the princes and kings of the theological 
times. But above and over all this, is the development of 
mind. There is more of value in the brain of an average 
man of to-day of a master-mechanic, of a chemist, of a 
naturalist, of an inventor, than there was in the brain of 
the world four hundred years ago. 

These blessings did not fall from the skies, These bene- 


fits did not drop from the outstretched hands of priests. 
They were not found in cathedrals or behind altars 
neither were they searched for with holy candles. They 
were not discovered by the closed eyes of prayer, nor 
did they come in answer to superstitious supplication. 
They are the children of freedom, the gifts of reason, ob 
servation and experience and for them all, man is in 
debted to man. 

Let us hold fast to the sublime declaration of Lincoln. 
Let us insist that this, the Republic, is "A government 
of the people, by the people, and for the people." The Arena, 
Boston, Mass., January, 1890. 


BISHOP SPALDING admits that " The introduction of 
the question of religion would not only have brought 
discord into the Constitutional convention, but would have 
also engendered strife throughout the land." Undoubtedly 
this is true. I am compelled to admit this, for the reason 
that in all times and in all lands the introduction of the ques 
tion of religion has brought discord and has engendered 

He also says: "In the presence of such danger, like 
wise men and patriots, they avoided irritating subjects " the 
irritating subject being the question of religion. I admit 
that it always has been, and promises always to be, an 
"irritating subject," because it is not a subject decided by 
reason, but by ignorance, prejudice, arrogance and super 
stition. Consequently he says: " It was prudence, then, 
not skepticism, which induced them to leave the question 
of religion to the several States." The Bishop admits that 
it was prudent for the founders of this Government to leave 
the question of religion entirely to the States. It was 
prudent because the question of religion is irritating be 
cause religious questions engender strife and hatred. Now, 
if it was prudent for the framers of the Constitution to leave 
religion out of the Constitution, and allow that question to 
be settled by the several States themselves under that clause 
preventing the establishment of religion or the free exercise 
thereof, why is it not wise still why is it not prudent 

An unfinished reply to Bishop J. L. Spalding's article "God in the Constitu 
tion," which appeared in the Arena. Boston, Mass., April, 1890. (137) 


My article was written against the introduction of re 
ligion into the Constitution of the United States. I am 
opposed to a recognition of God and of Jesus Christ in that 
instrument ; and the reason I am opposed to it is, that: "The 
introduction of the question of religion would not only 
bring discord, but would engender strife throughout the 
land." I am opposed to it for the reason that religion is an 
"irritating subject," and also because if it was prudent when 
the Constitution was made, to leave God out, it is prudent 
now to keep him out. 

The Bishop is mistaken as bishops usually are when 
he says : " Had our fathers been skeptics, or anti-theists, 
they would not have required the President and Vice-Pres 
ident, the Senators and Representatives in Congress, and all 
executive and judicial officers of the United States, to call 
God to witness that they intended to perform their duties 
under the Constitution like honest men and loyal citizens." 

The framers of the Constitution did no such thing. They 
allowed every officer, from the President down, either to 
swear or to affirm, and those who affirmed did not call God to 
witness. In other words, our Constitution allowed every 
officer to abolish the oath and to leave God out of the 

The Bishop informs us, however, that : " The causes 
which would have made it unwise to introduce any phase of 
religious controversy into the Constitutional convention 
have long since ceased to exist." Is there as much division 
now in the religious world as then? Has the Catholic 
Church thrown away the differences between it and the 
Protestants? Are we any better friends to-day than we 
were in 1789 ? As a matter of fact, is there not now a cause 
which did not to the same extent exist then ? Have we not 
in the United States, millions of people who believe in no 
religion whatever, and who regard all creeds as the work of 
ignorance and superstition ? 


The trouble about putting God in the Constitution in 
1789 was, that they could not agree on the God to go in ; 
and the reason why our fathers did not unite church and 
state was, that they could not agree on which church was to 
be the bride. The Catholics of Maryland certainly would 
not have permitted the nation to take the Puritan Church, 
neither would the Presbyterians of Pennsylvania have 
agreed to this, nor would the Episcopalians of New York, 
or of any Southern State. Each church said : " Marry me, 
or die a bachelor." 

The Bishop asks whether there are '" still reasons why 
an express recognition of God's sovereignty and providence 
should not form part of the organic law of the land " ? I 
ask, were there any reasons, in 1789, why an express recog 
nition of God's sovereignty and providence should not form 
part of the organic law of the land ? Did not the Bishop 
say, only a few lines back of that, "that the introduction of 
the question of religion into that body would have brought 
discord, and would have engendered strife throughout the 
land." What is the " question of religion " to which he re 
ferred? Certainly "the recognition of God's sovereignty 
and providence," with the addition of describing the God as 
the author of the supposed providence. Thomas Jefferson 
would have insisted on having a God in the Constitution 
who was not the author of the Old and New Testaments. 
Benjamin Franklin would have asked for the same God; 
and on that question John Adams would have voted yes. 
Others would have voted for a Catholic God others for an 
Episcopalian, and so on, until the representatives of the 
various creeds were exhausted. 

I took the ground, and I still take the ground, that there 
is nothing in the Constitution that cannot on occasion be 
enforced by the army and navy that is to say, that cannot 
be 'defended and enforced by the sword. Suppose God is 
acknowledged in the Constitution, and somebody denies the 


existence of this God what are you to do with him? 
Every man elected to office must swear or affirm that he 
will support the Constitution. Can one who does not be 
lieve in this God, conscientiously take such oath, or make 
such affirmation ? 

The effect, then, of such a clause in the Constitution 
would be to drive from public life all except the believers 
in this God, and this providence. The Government would 
be in fact a theocracy and would resort for its preservation 
to one of the old forms of religious persecution. 

I took the ground in my article, and still maintain it, that 
all intelligent people know that no one knows whether 
there is a God or not. This cannot be answered by saying, 
" that nearly all intelligent men in every age, including our 
own, have believed in God and have held that they had 
rational grounds for such faith." This is what is called a 
departure in pleading it is a shifting of the issue. I did 
not say that intelligent people do not believe in the exist 
ence of God. What I did say is, that intelligent people 
know that no one knows whether there is a God or not. 

It is not true that we know the conditions of thought. 
Neither is it true that we know that these conditions are 
unconditioned. There is no such thing as the unconditioned 
conditional. We might as well say that the relative is un 
related that the unrelated is the absolute and therefore 
that there is no difference between the absolute and the 

The Bishop says we cannot know the relative without 
knowing the absolute. The probability is that he means 
that we cannot know the relative without admitting the ex 
istence of the absolute, and that we cannot know the 
phenomenal without taking the noumenal for granted. 
Still, we can neither know the absolute nor the noumenal 
for the reason that our mind is limited to relations. 



IN this brief address, the object is to suggest there being 
no time to present arguments at length. The subject has 
been chosen for the reason that it is one that should interest 
the legal profession, because that profession to a certain 
extent controls and shapes the legislation of our country 
and fixes definitely the scope and meaning of all laws. 

Lawyers ought to be foremost in legislative and judicial 
reform, and of all men they should understand the philos 
ophy of mind, the causes of human action, and the real 
science of government. 

It has been said that the three pests of a community are : 
A priest without charity ; a doctor without knowledge, and 
a lawyer without a sense of justice. 


All nations seem to have had supreme confidence in the 
deterrent power of threatened and inflicted pain. They 
have regarded punishment as the shortest road to reforma 
tion. Imprisonment, torture, death, constituted a trinity 
under whose protection society might feel secure. 

In addition to these, nations have relied on confiscation 
and degradation, on maimings, whippings, brandings, and 
exposures to public ridicule and contempt. Connected with 
the court of justice was the chamber of torture. The in 
genuity of man was exhausted in the construction of instru 
ments that would surely reach the most sensitive nerve. All 
this was done in the interest of civilization for the protec 
tion of virtue, and the well-being of states. Curiously 

An Address delivered before the State Bar Association at Albany, N. Y., January 
81, 1890. (148) ' 


enough, the fact is that, no matter how severe the punish 
ments were, the crimes increased. 

It was found that the penalty of death made little differ 
ence. Thieves and highwaymen, heretics and blasphemers, 
went on their way. It was then thought necessary to add 
to this penalty of death, and consequently, the convicted 
were tortured in every conceivable way before execution. 
They were broken on the wheel their joints dislocated on 
the rack. They were suspended by their legs and arms, 
while immense weights were placed upon their breasts. 
Their flesh was burned and torn with hot irons. They were 
roasted at slow fires. They were buried alive given to 
wild beasts molten lead was poured in their ears their 
eye-lids were cut off and the wretches placed with their 
faces toward the sun others were securely bound, so that they 
could move neither hand nor foot, and over their stomachs 
were placed inverted bowls ; under these bowls rats were con 
fined; on top of the bowls were heaped coals of fire, so that the 
rats in their efforts to escape would gnaw into the bowels of 
the victims. They were staked out on the sands of the sea, 
to be drowned by the slowly rising tide and every means 
by which human nature can be overcome slowly, painfully 
and terribly, was conceived and carried into execution. 
And yet the number of so-called criminals increased. 

For petty offences men were degraded given to the 
mercy of the rabble. Their ears were cut off, their nostrils 
slit, their foreheads branded. They were tied to the tails of 
carts and flogged from one town to another. And yet, in 
?pite of all, the poor wretches obstinately refused to become 
good and useful citizens. 

Degradation has been thoroughly tried, with its maimings 
and brandings, and the result was that those who inflicted 
the punishments became as degraded as their victims. 

Only a few years ago there were more than two hundred 
offences in Great Britain punishable by death. The gal- 


lows-tree bore fruit through all the year, and the hangman 
was the busiest official in the kingdom but the criminals 

Crimes were committed to punish crimes, and crimes 
were committed to prevent crimes. The world has been 
filled with prisons and dungeons, with chains and whips, 
with crosses and gibbets, with thumbscrews and racks, with 
hangmen and headsmen and yet these frightful means and 
instrumentalities and crimes have accomplished little for 
the preservation of property or life. It is safe to say that 
governments have committed far more crimes than they 
have prevented. 

Why is it that men will suffer and risk so much for the 
sake of stealing? Why will they accept degradation and 
punishment and infamy as their portion ? Some will answer 
this question by an appeal to the dogma of original sin; 
others by saying that millions of men and women are under 
the control of fiends that they are actually possessed by 
devils; and others will declare that all these people act from 
choice that they are possessed of free wills, of intelligence 
that they know and appreciate consequences, and that, in 
spite of all, they deliberately prefer a life of crime. 


Have we not advanced far enough intellectually to deny 
the existence of chance? Are we not satisfied now that 
back of every act and thought and dream and fancy is an 
efficient cause ? Is anything, or can anything, be produced 
that is not necessarily produced ? Can the fatherless and 
motherless exist? Is there not a connection between all 
events, and is not every act related to all other acts? Is it 
not possible, is it not probable, is it not true, that the 
actions of all men are determined by countless causes over 
which they have no positive control ? 

Certain it in that men do not prefer unhappiness to joy. 


It can hardly be said that man intends permanently to injure 
himself, and that he does what he does in order that he may 
live a life of misery. On the other hand, we must take it 
for granted that man endeavors to better his own condition, 
and seeks, although by mistaken ways, his own well-being. 
The poorest man would like to be rich the sick desire 
health and no sane man wishes to win the contempt and 
hatred of his fellow-men. Every human being prefers 
liberty to imprisonment. 

Are the brains of criminals exactly like the brains of 
honest men ? Have criminals the same ambitions, the same 
standards of happiness or of well-being? If a difference 
exists in brain, will that in part account for the difference 
in character ? Is there anything in heredity ? Are vices 
as carefully transmitted by nature as virtues? Does each 
man in some degree bear burdens imposed by ancestors? 
We know that diseases of flesh and blood are transmitted 
that the child is the heir of physical deformity. Are dis 
eases of the brain are deformities of the soul, of the mind, 
also transmitted ? 

We not only admit, but we assert, that in the physical 
world there are causes and effects. We insist that there is 
and can be no effect without an efficient cause. When any 
thing happens in that world, we are satisfied that it was 
naturally and necessarily produced. The causes may be 
obscure, but we as implicitly believe in their existence as 
when we know positively what they are. In the physical 
world we have taken the ground that there is nothing 
miraculous that everything is natural and if we cannot 
explain it, we account for our inability to explain, by our 
own ignorance. Is it not possible, is it not probable, that 
what is true in the physical world is equally true in the 
realm of mind in that strange world of passion and desire ? 
Is it possible that thoughts or desires or passions are the 
children of chance, born of nothing ? Can we conceive of 


Nothing as a force, or as a cause ? If, then, there is behind 
every thought and desire and passion an efficient cause, we 
can, in part at least, account for the actions of men. 

A certain man under certain conditions acts in a certain 
way. There are certain temptations that he, with his 
brain, with his experience, with his intelligence, with his 
surroundings cannot withstand. He is irresistibly led to 
do, or impelled to do, certain things ; and there are other 
things that he can not do. If we change the conditions of 
this man, his actions will be changed. Develop his mind, 
give him new subjects of thought, and you change the 
man ; and the man being changed, it follows of necessity 
that his conduct will be different. 

In civilized countries the struggle for existence is severe 
the competition far sharper than in savage lands. The 
consequence is that there are many failures. These 
failures lack, it may be, opportunity or brain or moral 
force or industry, or something without which, under the 
circumstances, success is impossible. Certain lines of con 
duct are called legal, and certain others criminal, and the 
men who fail in one line may be driven to the other. How 
do we know that it is possible for all people to be honest ? 
Are we certain that all people can tell the truth ? Is it 
possible for all men to be generous or candid or cour 
ageous ? 

I am perfectly satisfied that there are millions of people 
incapable of committing certain crimes, and it may be true 
that there are millions of others incapable of practicing 
certain virtues. We do not blame a man because he is not 
a sculptor, a poet, a painter, or a statesman. We say he 
has not the genius. Are we certain that it does not re 
quire genius to be good ? Where is the man with intelli 
gence enough to take into consideration the circumstances 
of each individual case? Who has the mental balance 
with which to weigh the forces of heredity, of want, of 


temptation, and who can analyze with certainty the mys 
terious motions of the brain? Where and what are the 
sources of vice and virtue ? In what obscure and shadowy 
recesses of the brain are passions born ? And what is it 
that for the moment destroys the sense of right and 
wrong ? 

Who knows to what extent reason becomes the prisoner 
of passion of some strange and wild desire, the seeds of 
which were sown, it may be, thousands of years ago in the 
breast of some savage? To what extent do antecedents 
and surroundings affect the moral sense ? 

Is it not possible that the tyranny of governments, the 
injustice of nations, the fierceness of what is called the 
law, produce in the individual a tendency in the same 
direction ? Is it not true that the citizen is apt to imitate 
his nation ? Society degrades its enemies the individual 
seeks to degrade his. Society plunders its enemies, and 
now and then the citizen has the desire to plunder his. 
Society kills its enemies, and possibly sows in the heart 
of some citizen the seeds of murder. 


Is it not true that the criminal is a natural product, and 
that society unconsciously produces these children of vice ? 
Can we not safely take another step, and say that the crim 
inal is a victim, as the diseased and insane and deformed 
are victims ? We do not think of punishing a man because 
he is afflicted with disease our desire is to find a cure. We 
send him, not to the penitentiary, but to the hospital, to 
an asylum. We do this because we recognize the fact that 
disease is naturally produced that it is inherited from 
parents, or the result of unconscious negligence, or it may 
be of recklessnessbut instead of punishing, we pity. If 
there are diseases of the mind, of the brain, as there are 
diseases of the body ; and if these diseases of the mind, 


these deformities of the brain, produce, and necessarily 
produce, what we call vice, why should we punish the 
criminal, and pity those who are physically diseased? 

Socrates, in some respects at least one of the wisest of 
men, said : " It is strange that you should not be angry 
when you meet a man with an ill-conditioned body, and 
yet be vexed when you encounter one with an ill-con 
ditioned soul." 

We know that there are deformed bodies, and we are 
equally certain that there are deformed minds. 

Of course, society has the right to protect itself, no mat 
ter whether the persons who attack its well-being are re 
sponsible or not, no matter whether they are sick in mind, 
or deformed in brain. The right of self-defence exists, 
not only in the individual, but in society. The great 
question is, How shall this right of self-defence be exer 
cised ? What spirit shall be in the nation, or in society 
the spirit of revenge, a desire to degrade and punish and 
destroy, or a spirit born of the recognition of the fact that 
criminals are victims ? 

The world has thoroughly tried confiscation, degradation, 
imprisonment, torture and death, and thus far the world 
has failed. In this connection I call your attention to the 
following statistics gathered in our own country : 

In 1850, we had twenty-three millions of people, and be 
tween six and seven thousand prisoners. 

In 1860 thirty -one millions of people, and nineteen 
thousand prisoners. 

In 1870 thirty-eight millions of people, and thirty-two 
thousand prisoners. 

In 1880 fifty millions of people, and fifty -eight thou 
sand prisoners. 

It may be curious to note the relation between insanity, 
pauperism and crime : 

In 1850, there were fifteen thousand insane; in 1860, 


tweuty-four thousand; in 1870, thirty-seven thousand ; in 
1880, ninety-one thousand. 

In the light of these statistics, we are not succeeding in 
doing away with crime. There were in 1880, fifty-eight 
thousand prisoners, and in the same year fifty-seven thou 
sand homeless children, and sixty-six thousand paupers 
in almshouses. 

Is it possible that we must go to the same causes for 
these effects? 


There is no reformation in degradation. To mutilate a 
criminal is to say to all the world that he is a criminal, 
and to render his reformation substantially impossible. 
Whoever is degraded by society becomes its enemy. The 
seeds of malice are sown in his heart, and to the day of his 
death he will hate the hand that sowed the seeds. 

There is also another side to this question. A punish 
ment that degrades the punished will degrade the man who 
inflicts the punishment, and will degrade the government 
that procures the infliction. The whipping-post pollutes, 
not only the whipped, but the whipper, and not only the 
whipper, but the community at large. Wherever its 
shadow falls it degrades. 

If, then, there is no reforming power in degradation no 
deterrent power for the reason that the degradation of the 
criminal degrades the community, and in this way pro 
duces more criminals, then the next question is, Whether 
there is any reforming power in torture ? The trouble with 
this is that it hardens and degrades to the last degree the 
ministers of the law. Those who are not affected by the 
agonies of the bad will in a little time care nothing for the 
sufferings of the good. There seems to be a little of the 
wild beast in men a something that is fascinated by suffer 
ing, and that delights in inflicting pain. When a govern- 


ment tortures, it is in the same state of mind that the 
criminal was when he committed his crime. It requires as 
much malice in those who execute the law, to torture a 
criminal, as it did in the criminal to torture and kill his 
victim. The one was a crime by a person, the other by a 

There is something in injustice, in cruelty, that tends to 
defeat itself. There were never as many traitors in Eng 
land as when the traitor was drawn and quartered when 
he was tortured in every possible way when his limbs, 
torn and bleeding, were given to the fury of mobs or ex 
hibited pierced by pikes or hung in chains. These fright 
ful punishments produced intense hatred of the govern 
ment, and traitors continued to increase until they became 
powerful enough to decide what treason was and who 
the traitors were, and to inflict the same torments on 

Think for a moment of what man has suffered in the 
cause of crime. Think of the millions that have been im 
prisoned, impoverished and degraded because they were 
thieves and forgers, swindlers and cheats. Think for a 
moment of what they have endured of the difficulties 
under which they have pursued their calling, and it will be 
exceedingly hard to believe that they were sane and natural 
people possessed of good brains, of minds well-poised, and 
that they did what they did from a choice unaffected by 
heredity and the countless circumstances that tend to de 
termine the conduct of human beings. 

The other day I was asked these questions : " Has there 
been as much heroism displayed for the right as for the 
wrong? Has virtue had as many martyrs as vice? " 

For hundreds of years the world has endeavored to de 
stroy the good by force. The expression of honest thought 
was regarded as the greatest of crimes. Dungeons were 
filled by the noblest and the best, and the blood of the 


bravest was shed by the sword or consumed by flame. It 
was impossible to destroy the longing in the heart of man 
for liberty and truth. Is it not possible that brute force 
and cruelty and revenge, imprisonment, torture and death 
are as impotent to do away with vice as to destroy 
virtue ? 

In our country there has been for many years a growing 
feeling that convicts should neither be degraded nor tor 
tured. It was provided in the Constitution of the United 
States that " cruel and unusual punishments should not be 
inflicted." Benjamin Franklin took great interest in the 
treatment of prisoners, being a thorough believer in the 
reforming influence of justice, having no confidence what 
ever in punishment for punishment's sake. 

To me it has always been a mystery how the average 
man, knowing something of the weakness of human nature, 
something of the temptations to which he himself has been 
exposed remembering the evil of his life, the things he 
would have done had there been opportunity, had he ab 
solutely known that discovery would be impossible 
should have feelings of hatred toward the imprisoned. 

Is it possible that the average man assaults the criminal 
in a spirit of self-defence ? Does he wish to convince his 
neighbors that the evil thought and impulse were never in 
his mind ? Are his words a shield that he uses to protect 
himself from suspicion ? For my part, I sympathize sin 
cerely with all failures, with the victims of society, with 
those who have fallen, with the imprisoned, with the hope 
less, with those who have been stained by verdicts of 
guilty, and with those who, in the moment of passion have 
destroyed, as with a blow, the future of their lives. 

How perilous, after all, is the state of man. It is the 
work of a life to build a great and splendid character. It 
is the work of a moment to destroy it utterly, from turret 
to foundation stone. How cruel hypocrisy is ! 



Is there any remedy ? Can anything be done for the 
reformation of the criminal ? 

He should be treated with kindness. Every right should 
be given him, consistent with the safety of society. He 
should neither be degraded nor robbed. The State should 
set the highest and noblest example. The powerful should 
never be cruel, and in the breast of the supreme there 
should be no desire for revenge. 

A man in a moment of want steals the property of 
another, and he is sent to the penitentiary first, as it is 
claimed, for the purpose of deterring others ; and secondly, 
of reforming him. The circumstances of each individual 
case are rarely inquired into. Investigation stops when 
the simple fact of the larceny has been ascertained. No 
distinctions are made except as between first and sub- 
sequent offences. Nothing is allowed for surroundings. 

All will admit that the industrious must be protected. In 
this world it is necessary to work. Labor is the foundation 
of all prosperity. Larceny is the enemy of industry. So 
ciety has the right to protect itself. The question is, Has it 
the right to punish ? has it the right to degrade ? or 
should it endeavor to reform the convict ? 

A man is taken to the penitentiary. He is clad in the 
garments of a convict. He is degraded he loses his name 
he is designated by a number. He is no longer treated as 
a human being he becomes the slave of the State. Nothing 
is done for his improvement nothing for his reformation. 
He is driven like a beast of burden; robbed of his labor; 
leased, it may be, by the State to a contractor, who gets out 
of his hands, out of his muscles, out of his poor brain, all the 
toil that he can. He is not allowed to speak with a fellow- 
" prisoner. At night he is alone in his cell. The relations 
that should exist between men are destroyed. He is a con 
vict. He is no longer worthy to associate even with his 


keepers. The jailer is immensely his superior, and the man 
who turns the key upon him at night regards himself, in 
comparison, as a model of honesty, of virtue and manhood. 
The convict is pavement on which those who watch him 
walk. He remains for the time of his sentence, and when 
that expires he goes forth a branded man. He is given 
money enough to pay his fare back to the place from whence 
he came. 

What is the condition of this man ? Can he get employ 
ment ? Not if he honestly states who he is and where he 
has been. The first thing he does is to deny his personality, 
to assume a name. He endeavors by telling falsehoods to 
lay the foundation for future good conduct. The average 
man does not wish to employ an ex-convict, because the 
average man has no confidence in the reforming power of 
the penitentiary. He believes that the convict who comes 
out is worse than the convict who went in. He knows that 
in the penitentiary the heart of this man has been hardened 
that he has been subjected to the torture of perpetual 
humiliation that he has been treated like a ferocious 
beast ; and so he believes that this ex-convict has in his 
h^art hatred for society, that he feels he has been degraded 
and robbed. Under these circumstances, what avenue is 
opened to the ex-convict ? If he changes his name, there 
will be some detective, some officer of the law, some meddle 
some wretch, who will betray his secret. He is then dis 
charged. He seeks employment again, and he must seek it 
by again telling what is not true. He is again detected and 
again discharged. And finally he becomes convinced that 
he cannot live as an honest man. He naturally drifts back 
into the society of those who have had a like experience ; 
and the result is that in a little while he again stands in the 
dock, charged with the commission of another crime. 
A^ain he is sent to the penitentiary and this is the end. 
H^ feels that his day is done, that the future has only deg 
radation for him. 


The men in the penitentiaries do not work for themselves. 
Their labor belongs to others. They have no interest in 
their toil no reason for doing the best they can and the 
result is that the product of their labor is poor. This prod 
uct comes in competition with the work of mechanics, 
honest men, who have families to support, and the cry is 
that convict labor takes the bread from the mouths of vir 
tuous people. 


Why should the State take without compensation the 
labor of these men ; and why should they, after having been 
imprisoned for years, be turned out without the means of 
support ? Would it not be far better, far more economical, 
to pay these men for their labor, to lay aside their earnings 
from day to day, from month to month, and from year to 
year to put this money at interest, so that when the con 
vict is released after five years of imprisonment he will have 
several hundred dollars of his own not merely money 
enough to pay his way back to the place from which he was 
sent, but enough to make it possible for him to commence 
business on his own account, enough to keep the wolf of 
crime from the door of his heart ? 

Suppose the convict comes out with five hundred dollars. 
This would be to most of that class a fortune. It would 
form a breastwork, a fortress, behind which the man could 
fight temptation. This would give him food and raiment, 
enable him to go to some other State or country where he 
could redeem himself. If this were done, thousands of 
convicts would feel under immense obligation to the Govern 
ment. They would think of the penitentiary as the place in 
which they were saved in which they were redeemed and 
.they would feel that the verdict of guilty rescued them from 
the abyss of crime. Under these circumstances, the law 
would appear beneficent, and the heart of the poor convict, 


instead of being filled with malice, would overflow with 
gratitude. He would see the propriety of the course pur 
sued by the Government. He would recognize and feel 
and experience the benefits of this course, and the result 
would be good, not only to him, but to the nation as well. 
If the convict worked for himself, he would do the best he 
could, and the wares produced in the penitentiaries would 
not cheapen the labor of other men. 


There are, however, men who pursue crime as a vocation 
as a profession men who have been convicted again 
and again, and who will persist in using the liberty of in 
tervals to prey upon the rights of others. What shall be 
done with these men and women ? 

Put one thousand hardened thieves on an island compel 
them to produce what they eat and use and I am almost 
certain that a large majority would be opposed to theft. 
Those who worked would not permit those who did not, to 
steal the result of their labor. In other words, self-preser 
vation would be the dominant idea, and these men would in 
stantly look upon the idlers as the enemies of their society. 

Such a community would be self-supporting. Let women 
of the same class be put by themselves. Keep the sexes ab 
solutely apart. Those who are beyond the power of refor 
mation should not have the liberty to reproduce themselves. 
Those who cannot be reached by kindness by justice 
those who under no circumstances are willing to do their 
share, should be separated. They should dwell apart, and 
dying, should leave no heirs. 

What shall be done with the slayers of their fellow-men 
with murderers? Shall the nation take life? 

It has been contended that the death penalty deters 
others that it has far more terror than imprisonment for 
life. What is the effect of the example set by a nation ? Is 


not the tendency to harden and degrade not only those who 
inflict and those who witness, but the entire community as 

A few years ago a man was hanged in Alexandria, 
Virginia. One who witnessed the execution, on that very 
day, murdered a peddler in the Smithsonian grounds at 
Washington. He was tried and executed, and one who wit 
nessed his hanging went home, and on the same day mur 
dered his wife. 

The tendency of the extreme penalty is to prevent con 
viction. In the presence of death it is easy for a jury 
to find a doubt. Technicalities become important, and 
absurdities, touched with mercy, have the appearance for 
a moment of being natural and logical. Honest and con 
scientious men dread a final and irrevocable step. If the 
penalty were imprisonment for life, the jury would feel 
that if any mistake were made it could be rectified ; but 
where the penalty is death a mistake is fatal. A conscien 
tious man takes into consideration the defects of human 
nature the uncertainty of testimony, and the countless 
shadows that dim and darken the understanding, and re 
fuses to find a verdict that, if wrong, cannot be righted. 

The death penalty, inflicted by the Government, is a 
perpetual excuse for mobs. 

The greatest danger in a Republic is a mob, and as 
long as States inflict the penalty of death, mobs will follow 
the example. If the State does not consider life sacred, 
the mob, with ready rope, will strangle the suspected. 
The mob will say : " The only difference is in the trial ; 
the State does the same we know the man is guilty why 
should time be wasted in technicalities ? " In other 
words, why may not the mob do quickly that which the 
. State does slowly ? 

Every execution tends to harden the public heart tends 
to lessen the sacreduess of human life. In many States of 


this Union the mob is supreme. For certain offences the 
mob is expected to lynch the supposed criminal. It is the 
duty of every citizen and as it seems to me especially of 
every lawyer to do what he can to destroy the mob spirit. 
One would think that men would be afraid to commit any 
crime in a community where the mob is in the ascendency, 
and yet, such are the contradictions and subtleties of 
human nature, that it is exactly the opposite. And there 
is another thing in this connection the men who consti 
tute the mob are, as a rule, among the worst, the lowest, 
and the most depraved. 

A few years ago, in Illinois, a man escaped from jail, and, 
in escaping, shot the sheriff. He was pursued, overtaken 
lynched. The man who put the rope around his neck 
was then out on bail, having been indicted for an assault 
to murder. And after the poor wretch was dead, another 
man climbed the tree from which he dangled and, in 
derision, put a cigar in the mouth of the dead ; and this 
man was on bail, having been indicted for larceny. 

Those who are the fiercest to destroy and hang their 
fellow-men for having committed crimes, are, for the most 
part, at heart, criminals themselves. 

As long as nations meet on the fields of war as long as 
the}' sustain the relations of savages to each other as long 
as they put the laurel and the oak on the brows of those 
who kill just so long will citizens resort to violence, 
and the quarrels of individuals be settled by dagger and 


If we are to change the conduct of men, we must change 
their conditions. Extreme poverty and crime go hand in 
hand. Destitution multiplies temptations and destroys 
the finer feelings. The bodies and souls of men are apt to 
be clad in like garments. If the body is covered with 
rags, the soul is generally in the same condition. Self- 


respect is gone the man looks down he has neither hope 
nor courage. He becomes sinister he envies the prosper 
ous hates the fortunate, and despises himself. 

As long as children are raised in the tenement and gut 
ter, the prisons will be full. The gulf between the rich 
and poor will grow wider and wider. One will depend 
on cunning, the other on force. It is a great question 
whether those who live in luxury can afford to allow others 
to exist in want. The value of property depends, not on 
the prosperity of the few, but on the prosperity of a very 
large majority. Life and property must be secure, or that 
subtle thing called "value" takes its leave. The poverty 
of the many is a perpetual menace. If we expect a pros 
perous and peaceful country, the citizens must have homes. 
The more homes, the more patriots, the more virtue, and 
the more security for all that gives worth to life. 

We need not repeat the failures of the old world. To 
divide lands among successful generals, or among favorites 
of the crown, to give vast estates for services rendered in 
war, is no worse than to allow men of great wealth to pur 
chase and hold vast tracts of land. The result is precisely 
the same that is to say, a nation composed of a few 
landlords and of many tenants the tenants resorting from 
time to time to mob violence, and the landlords depending 
upon a standing army. The property of no man, however, 
should be taken for either private or public use without 
just compensation and in accordance with law. There is 
in the State what is known as the right of eminent domain. 
The State reserves to itself the power to take the land of 
any private citizen for a public use, paying to that private 
citizen a just compensation to be legally ascertained. 
When a corporation wishes to build a railway, it exercises 
this right of eminent domain, and where the owner of land 
refuses to sell a right of way, or land for the establishment 
of stations or shops, and the corporation proceeds to con- 


demn the land to ascertain its value, and when the amount 
thus ascertained is paid, the property vests in the corpora 
tion. This power is exercised because in the estimation 
of the people the construction of a railway is a public good. 

I believe that this power should be exercised in another 
direction. It would be well as it seems to me, for the Legis 
lature to fix the amount of land that a private citizen may 
own, that will not be subject to be taken for the use of 
which I am about to speak. The amount to be thus held 
will depend upon many local circumstances, to be decided 
by each State for itself. Let me suppose that the amount 
of land that may be held for a farmer for cultivation has 
been fixed at one hundred and sixty acres and suppose 
that A has several thousand acres. B wishes to buy one 
hundred and sixty acres or less of this land, for the purpose 
of making himself a home. A refuses to sell. Now, I 
believe that the law should be so that B can invoke this 
right of eminent domain, and file his petition, have the case 
brought before a jury, or before commissioners, who shall 
hear the evidence and determine the value, and on the pay 
ment of the amount the land shall belong to B. 

I would extend the same law to lots and houses in cities 
and villages the object being to fill our country with the 
owners of homes, so that every child shall have a fireside, 
every father and mother a roof, provided they have the 
intelligence, the energy and the industry to acquire the 
necessary means. 

Tenements and flats and rented lands are, in my judg 
ment, the enemies of civilization. They make the rich 
richer, and the poor poorer. They put a few in palaces, 
but they put many in prisons. 

I would go a step further than this. I would exempt 
homes of a certain value not only from levy and sale, but 
from every kind of taxation, State and National so that 
these poor people would feel that they were in partnership 


with nature that some of the land was absolutely theirs, 
and that no one could drive them from their home so that 
mothers could feel secure. If the home increased in value, 
and exceeded the limit, then taxes could be paid on the 
excess; and if the home were sold, I would have the money 
realized exempt for a certain time in order that the family 
should have the privilege of buying another home. 

The home, after all, is the unit of civilization, of good 
government; and to secure homes for a great majority of 
our citizens, would be to lay the foundation of our Govern 
ment deeper and broader and stronger than that of any 
nation that has existed among men. 


No one places a higher value upon the free school than I 
do ; and no one takes greater pride in the prosperity of our 
colleges and universities. But at the same time, much that is 
called education simply unfits men successfully to fight the 
battle of life. Thousands are to-day studying things that 
will be of exceedingly little importance to them or to others. 
Much valuable time is wasted in studying languages that 
long ago were dead, and histories in which there is no truth. 

There was an idea in the olden time and it is not yet 
dead that whoever was educated ought not to work ; that 
he should use his head and not his hands. Graduates were 
ashamed to be found engaged in manual labor, in plough 
ing fields, in sowing or in gathering grain. To this manly 
kind of independence they preferred the garret and the pre 
carious existence of an unappreciated poet, borrowing their 
money from their friends, and their ideas from the dead. 
The educated regarded the useful as degrading they were 
willing to stain their souls to keep their hands white. 

The object of all education should be to increase the use- 

' fulness of man usefulness to himself and others. Every 

human being should be taught that his first duty is to take 

care of himself, and that to be self-respecting he must be 


self-supporting. To live on the labor of others, either by 
force which enslaves, or by cunning which robs, or by bor 
rowing or begging, is wholly dishonorable. Every man 
should be taught some useful art. His hands should be 
educated as well as his head. He should be taught to deal 
with things as they are with life as it is. This would 
give a feeling of independence, which is the firmest founda 
tion of honor, of character. Every man knowing that he is 
useful, admires himself. 

In all the schools children should be taught to work in 
wood and iron, to understand the construction and use of 
machinery, to become acquainted with the great forces that 
man is using to do his work. The present system of edu 
cation teaches names, not things. It is as though we 
should spend years in learning the names of cards, without 
playing a game. 

In this way boys would learn their aptitudes would 
ascertain what they were fitted for what they could do. It 
would not be a guess, or an experiment, but a demonstra 
tion. Education should increase a boy's chances for getting 
a living. The real good of it is to get food and roof and 
raiment, opportunity to develop the mind and the body and 
live a full and ample life. 

The more real education, the less crime and the more 
homes, the fewer prisons. 


The fear of punishment may deter some, the fear of ex 
posure others ; but there is no real reforming power in fear 
or punishment. Men cannot be tortured into greatness, into 
goodness. All this, as I said before, has been thoroughly 
tried. The idea that punishment was the only relief, found 
its limit, its infinite, in the old doctrine of eternal pain ; 
but the believers in that dogma stated distinctly that the 
victims never would be, and never could be, reformed. 

As men become civilized they become capable of greater 


pain and of greater joy. To the extent that the average 
man is capable of enjoying or suffering, to that extent he 
has sympathy with others. The average man, the more 
enlightened he becomes, the more apt he is to put himself 
in the place of another. He thinks of his prisoner, of his 
employe, of his tenant and he even thinks beyond these ; 
he thinks of the community at large. As man becomes 
civilized he takes more and more into consideration circum 
stances and conditions. He gradually loses faith in the 
old ideas and theories that every man can do as he wills, 
and in the place of the word " wills," he puts the word 
" must." The time comes to the intelligent man when in 
the place of punishments he thinks of consequences, 
results that is to say, not something inflicted by some 
other power, but something necessarily growing out of 
what is done. The clearer men perceive the consequences 
of actions, the better they will be. Behind consequences 
we place no personal will, and consequently do not regard 
them as inflictions, or punishments. Consequences, no 
matter how severe they may be, create in the mind no feel 
ing of resentment, no desire for revenge. We do not feel 
bitterly toward the fire because it burns, or the frost that 
freezes, or the flood that overwhelms, or the sea that drowns 
because we attribute to these things no motives, good or 
bad. So, when through the development of the intellect 
man perceives not only the nature, but the absolute certainty 
of consequences, he refrains from certain actions, and this 
may be called reformation through the intellect and surely 
there is no better reformation than this. Some may be, 
and probably millions have been, reformed, through kind 
ness, through gratitude made better in the sunlight of 
charity. In the atmosphere of kindness the seeds of virtue 
burst into bud and flower. Cruelty, tyranny, brute force, 
do not and can not by any possibility better the heart of 
man. He who is forced upon his knees has the attitu.le, 
but never the feeling, of prayer. 


I am satisfied that the discipline of the average prison 
hardens and degrades. It is for the most part a perpetual 
exhibition of arbitrary power. There is really no appeal. 
The cries of the convict are not heard beyond the walls. 
The protests die in cells, and the poor prisoner feels that 
the last tie between him and his fellow-men has been 
broken. He is kept in ignorance of the outer world. The 
prison is a cemetery, and his cell is a grave. 

In many of the penitentiaries there are instruments of 
torture, and now and then a convict is murdered. In 
spections and investigations go for naught, because the 
testimony of a convict goes for naught. He is generally 
prevented by fear from telling his wrongs ; but if he 
speaks, he is not believed he is regarded as less than a 
human being, and so the imprisoned remain without 
remedy. When the visitors are gone, the convict who 
has spoken is prevented from speaking again. 

Every manly feeling, every effort toward real reforma 
tion, is trampled under foot, so that when the convict's 
time is out there is little left on which to build. He has 
been humiliated to the last degree, and his spirit has so 
long been bent by authority and fear that even the desire 
to stand erect has almost faded from the mind. The 
keepers feel that they are safe, because no matter what 
they do, the convict when released will not tell the story 
of his wrongs, for if he conceals his shame, he must also 
hide their guilt. 

Every penitentiary should be a real reformatory. That 
should be the principal object for the establishment of the 
prison. The men in charge should be of the kindest and 
noblest. They should be filled with divine enthusiasm for 
humanity, and every means should be taken to convince 
the prisoner that his good is sought that nothing is done 
for revenge nothing for a display of power, and nothing 
for the gratification of malice. He should feel that the 


warden is his unselfish friend. When a convict is charged 
with a violation of the rules with insubordination, or 
with any offence, there should be an investigation in due 
and proper form, giving the convict an opportunity to be 
heard. He should not be for one moment the victim of 
irresponsible power. He would then feel that he had 
some rights, and that some little of the human remained 
in him still. They should be taught things of value 
instructed by competent men. Pains should be taken, not 
to punish, not to degrade, but to benefit and ennoble. 

We know, if we know anything, that men in the peni 
tentiaries are not altogether bad, and that many out are not 
altogether good ; and we feel that in the brain and heart 
of all, there are the seeds of good and bad. We know, too, 
that the best are liable to fall, and it may be that the worst, 
under certain conditions, may be capable of grand and 
heroic deeds. Of one thing we may be assured and that 
is, that criminals will never be reformed by being robbed, 
humiliated and degraded. 

Ignorance, filth, and poverty are the missionaries of crime. 
As long as dishonorable success outranks honest effort as 
long as societ}' bows and cringes before the great thieves, 
there will be little ones enough to fill the jails. 


All the penalties, all the punishments, are inflicted 
under a belief that man can do right under all circum 
stances that his conduct is absolutely under his control, 
and that his will is a pilot that can, in spite of winds and 
tides, reach any port desired. All this is, in my judgment, 
a mistake. It is a denial of the integrity of nature. It is 
based upon the supernatural and miraculous, and as long 
as this mistake remains the corner-stone of criminal juris 
prudence, reformation will be impossible. 

We must take into consideration the nature of man 
the facts of mind the power of temptation the limita- 


tions of the intellect the force of habit the result of 
heredity the power of passion the domination of want 
the diseases of the brain the tyranny of appetite the 
cruelty of conditions the results of association the effects 
of poverty and wealth, of helplessness and power. 

Until these subtle things are understood until we know 
that man, in spite of all, can certainly pursue the highway 
of the right, society should not impoverish and degrade, 
should not chain and kill those who, after all, may be the 
helpless victims of unknown causes that are deaf and 

We know something of ourselves of the average man 
of his thoughts, passions, fears and aspirations something 
of his sorrows and his joys, his weakness, his liability to 
fall something of what he resists the struggles, the vic 
tories and the failures of his life. We know something of the 
tides and currents of the mysterious sea something of the 
circuits of the wayward winds but we do not know where 
the wild storms are born that wreck and rend. Neither 
do we know in what strange realm the mists and clouds are 
formed that darken all the heaven of the mind, nor from 
whence comes the tempest of the brain in which the will 
to do, sudden as the lightning's flash, seizes and holds the 
man until the dreadful deed is done that leaves a curse 
upon the soul. 

We do not know. Our ignorance should make us hesi 
tate. Our weakness should make us merciful. 

I cannot more fittingly close this address than by quot 
ing the prayer of the Buddhist : " I pray thee to have pity 
on the vicious thou hast already had pity on the virtu 
ous by making them so." 



TO THE EDITOR: To-day Messrs. Wright, Dickey, 
O'Connor, and Murch, of the select committee on the 
causes of the present depression of labor, presented the 
majority special report upon Chinese immigration. 

These gentlemen are in great fear for the future of our 
most holy and perfectly authenticated religion, and have, 
like faithful watchmen, from the walls and towers of Zion, 
hastened to give the alarm. They have informed Congress 
that "Joss has his temple of worship in the Chinese quar 
ters, in San Francisco. Within the walls of a dilapidated 
structure is exposed to the view of the faithful the god of 
the Chinaman, and here are his altars of worship. Here 
he tears up his pieces of paper; here he offers up his 
prayers; here he receives his religious consolations, and 
here is his road to the celestial land ; " that " Joss is lo 
cated in a long, narrow room in a building in a back alley, 
upon a kind of altar ; " that "he is a wooden image, looking 
as much like an alligator as like a human being; " that the 
Chinese " think there is such a place as heaven ; " that 
"all classes of Chinamen worship idols ; " that " the temple 
is open every day at all hours;" that "the Chinese have 
no Sunday;" that this heathen god has "huge jaws, a big 
red tongue, large white teeth, a half-dozen arms, and big, 
fiery eyeballs. About him are placed offerings of meat and 
other eatables a sacrificial offering." 

A letter to the Chicago Times, written at Washington, D. C., March 27, 1880. 



No wonder that these members of the committee were 
shocked at such an image of God, knowing as they did that 
the only true God was correctly described by the inspired 
lunatic of Patmos in the following words : 

"And there sat in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks one like 
unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and 
girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs 
were white like wool, as white as snow ; and his eyes were as a flame 
of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace ; 
and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right 
hand seven stars : and out of his mouth went a sharp, two-edged 
sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength." 

Certainly a large mouth filled with white teeth is pref 
erable to one used as the scabbard of a sharp, two-edged 
sword. Why should these gentlemen object to a god with 
big, fiery eyeballs, when their own Deity has eyes like a 
flame of fire ? 

Is it not a little late in the day to object to people because 
they sacrifice meat and other eatables to their god? We 
all know that for thousands of years the " real " God was 
exceedingly fond of roasted meat ; that he loved the savor 
of burning flesh, and delighted in the perfume of fresh, 
warm blood. 

The following account of the manner in which the 
" living God " desired that his chosen people should sacri- 
fice, tends to show the degradation and religious blindness 
of the Chinese : 

"Aaron therefore went unto the altar, and slew the calf of the sin 
offering, which was for himself. And the sons of Aaron brought the 
blood unto him : and he dipped his finger in the blood, and put it 
upon the horns of the altar, and poured out the blood at the bottom 
of the altar : But the fat, and the kidneys, and the caul above the liver 
of the sin offering, he burnt upon the altar ; as the Lord commanded 
Moses. And the flesh and the hide he burnt with fire without the camp. 
And he slew the burnt offering ; and Aaron's sons presented unto 
him the blood, which he sprinkled round about upon the altar. * * * 
And he brought the meat offering, and took a handful thereof, and 


Durnt it upon the altar. * * * He slew also the bullock and the 
ram for a sacrifice of peace offering, which was for the people : and 
Aaron's sons presented unto him the blood, which he sprinkled upon 
the altar round about, and the fat of the bullock and of the ram, the 
rump, and that which covereth the inwards and the kidneys, and the 
caul above the liver, and they put the fat upon the breasts, and he 
burnt the fat upon the altar. And the breast and the right shoulder 
Aaron waved for a wave offering before the Lord, as Moses com 

If the Chinese only did something like this, we would 
know that they worshiped the " living " God. The idea 
that the supreme head of the " American system of relig 
ion" can be placated with a little meat and "ordinary 
eatables" is simply preposterous. He has always asked 
for blood, and has always asserted that without the shed 
ding of blood there is no remission of sin. 

The world is also informed by these gentlemen that " the 
idolatry of the Chinese produces a demoralizing effect upon 
our American youth by bringing sacred things into dis 
respect, and making religion a theme of disgust and con 

In San Francisco there are some three hundred thousand 
people. Is it possible that a few Chinese can bring our 
" holy religion " into disgust and contempt ? In that city 
there are fifty times as many churches as joss- houses. 
Scores of sermons are uttered every week ; religious books 
and papers are plentiful as leaves in autumn, and some 
what dryer ; thousands of Bibles are within the reach of 
all. And there, too, is the example of a Christian city. 

Why should we send missionaries to China if we can not 
convert the heathen when they come here ? When mis 
sionaries go to a foreign land, the poor, benighted people 
have to take their word for the blessings showered upon 
a Christian people ; but when the heathen come here they 
can see for themselves. What was simply a story becomes 
a demonstrated fact. They come in contact with people 


who love their enemies. They see that in a Christian land 
men tell the truth ; that they will not take advantage of 
strangers; that they are just and patient, kind and tender; 
that they never resort to force ; that they have no prejudice 
on account of color, race, or religion ; that they look upon 
mankind as brethren ; that they speak of God as a uni 
versal Father, and are willing to work, and even to suffer, 
for the good not only of their own countrymen, but of the 
heathen as well. All this the Chinese see and know, and 
why they still cling to the religion of their country is to 
me a matter of amazement. 

We all know that the disciples of Jesus do unto others 
as they would that others should do unto them, and that 
those of Confucius do not unto others anything that they 
would not that others should do unto them. Surely, such 
peoples ought to live together in perfect peace. 

Rising with the subject, growing heated with a kind of 
holy indignation, these Christian representatives of a 
Christian people most solemnly declare that : 

"Anyone who is really endowed with a correct knowledge of our re 
ligious system, which acknowledges the existence of a living God 
and an accountability to him, and a future state of reward and punish 
ment, who feels that he has an apology for this abominable pagan 
worship is not a fit person to be ranked as a good citizen of the 
American Union. It is absurd to make any apology for its toleration. 
It must be abolished, and the sooner the decree goes forth by the 
power of this Government the better it will be for the interests of 
this land." 

I take this, the earliest opportunity, to inform these 
gentlemen composing a majority of the committee, that we 
have in the United States no " religious system " ; that this 
is a secular Government. That it has no religious creed ; 
that it does not believe or disbelieve in a future state of 
reward and punishment ; that it neither affirms nor denies 
the existence of a " living God " ; and that the only god, so 
far as this Government is concerned, is the legally expressed 


will of a majority of the people. Under our flag the Chinese 
have the same right to worship a wooden god that you 
have to worship any other. The Constitution protects 
equally the church of Jehovah and the house of Joss. What 
ever their relative positions may be in heaven, they stand 
upon a perfect equality in the United States. 

This Government is an Infidel Government. We have a 
Constitution with man put in and God left out ; and it is 
the glory of this county that we have such a Constitution. 

It may be surprising to you that I have an apology for 
pagan worship, yet I have. And it is the same one that I 
have for the writers of this report. I account for both by 
the word superstition. Why should we object to their wor 
shiping God as they please ? If the worship is improper, 
the protestation should come not from a committee of Con 
gress, but from God himself. If he is satisfied that is 

Our religion can only be brought into contempt by the 
actions of those who profess to be governed by its teachings. 
This report will do more in that direction than millions of 
Chinese could do by burning pieces of paper before a wooden 
image. If you wish to impress the Chinese with the value 
of your religion, of what you are pleased to call " The 
American system," show them that Christians are better 
than heathens. Prove to them that what you are pleased to 
call the " living God " teaches higher and holier things, a 
grander and purer code of morals than can be found upon 
pagan pages. Excel these wretches in industry, in hon 
esty, in reverence for parents, in cleanliness, in frugality 
and above all by advocating the absolute liberty of human 

Do not trample upon these people because they have a 
different conception of things about which even this com 
mittee knows nothing. 

Give them the same privilege you enjoy of making a God 


after their own fashion. And let them describe him as 
they will. Would you be willing to have them remain, if 
one of their race, thousands of years ago, had pretended to 
have seen God, and had written of him as follows : 

"There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his 
mouth devoured : coals were kindled by it, * * * and he rode 
upon a cherub and did fly." 

Why should you object to these people on account of 
their religion ? Your objection has in it the spirit of hate 
and intolerance. Of that spirit the Inquisition was born. 
That spirit lighted the fagot, made the thumbscrew, put 
chains upon the limbs, and lashes upon the backs of men. 
The same spirit bought and sold, captured and kidnapped 
human beings; sold babes, and justified all the horrors of 

Congress has nothing to do with the religion of the peo 
ple. Its members are not responsible to God for the opinions 
of their constituents, and it may tend to the happiness of the 
constitutents for me to state that they are in no way re 
sponsible for the religion of the members. Religion is an 
individual, not a national, matter. And where the nation 
interferes with the right of conscience, the liberties of the 
people are devoured by the monster superstition. 

If 3 7 ou wish to drive out the Chinese, do not make a pre 
text of religion. Do not pretend that you are trying to do 
God a favor. Injustice in his name is doubly detestable. 
The assassin can not sanctify his dagger by falling on his 
knees, and it does not help a falsehood if it be uttered as a 
prayer. Religion, used to intensify the hatred of men to 
ward men under the pretence of pleasing God, has cursed 
this world. 

A portion of this most remarkable report is intensely 
religious. There is in it almost the odor of sanctity ; and 
when reading it, one is impressed with the living piety of 
its authors. But on the twenty -fifth page there are a few 
passages that must pain the hearts of true believers. 


Leaving their religious views, the members immediately 
betake themselves to philosophy and prediction. Listen : 

" The Chinese race and the American citizen, whether native-born or 
one who is eligible to our naturalization laws and becomes a citizen, are 
in a state of antagonism. They cannot, or will not, ever meet upon 
common ground, and occupy together the same social level. This 
is impossible. The pagan and the Christian travel different paths. 
This one believes in a living God ; and that one in a type of mon 
sters and the worship of wood and stone. Thus in the religion of the 
two races of men they are as wide apart as the poles of the 
two hemispheres. They cannot now and never will approach the 
same religious altar. The Christian will not recede to barbarism, 
nor will the Chinese advance to the enlightened belt (whatever it is) 
of civilization. * * * He cannot be converted to those modern 
ideas of religious worship which have been accepted by Europe and 
which crown the American system." 

Christians used to believe that through their religion all 
the nations of the earth were finally to be blest. In ac 
cordance with that belief missionaries have been sent to 
every land, and untold wealth has been expended for what 
has been called the spread of the gospel. 

I am almost sure that I have read somewhere that 
" Christ died for all men," and that " God is no respecter 
of persons." It was once taught that it was the duty of 
Christians to tell all people the " tidings of great joy." I 
have never believed these things myself, but have always 
contended that an honest merchant was the best mission 
ary. Commerce makes friends, religion makes enemies; 
the one enriches and the other impoverishes ; the one 
thrives best where the truth is told, the other where false 
hoods are believed. For myself, I have but little confi 
dence in any business or enterprise or investment that 
promises dividends only after the death of the stockholders. 

But I am astonished that four Christian statesmen, four 
members of Congress, in the last quarter of the nineteenth 
century, who seriously object to people on account of their 
religious convictions, should still assert that the very relig- 


ion in which they believe and the only religion established 
by the "living God," head of the American system is 
not adapted to the spiritual needs of one-third of the human 
race. It is amazing that these four gentlemen have, in the 
defence of the Christian religion, announced the discovery 
that it is wholly inadequate for the civilization of mankind ; 
that the light of the cross can never penetrate the darkness 
of China; "that all the labors of the missionary, the 
example of the good, the exalted character of our civiliza 
tion, make no impression upon the pagan life of the 
Chinese;" and that even the report of this committee will 
not tend to elevate, refine, and Christianize the yellow 
heathen of the Pacific coast. In the name of religion these 
gentlemen have denied its power, and mocked at the enthu 
siasm of its founder. Worse than this, they have predicted 
for the Chinese a future of ignorance and idolatry in this 
world, and, if the " American system " of religion is true, 
hell-fire in the next. 

For the benefit of these four philosophers and prophets I 
will give a few extracts from the writings of Confucius, that 
will, in my judgment, compare favorably with the best 
passages of their report : 

"My doctrine is that man must be true to the principles of his 
nature, and the benevolent exercise of them toward others. 

With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and with my bended 
arm for a pillow, I still have joy. 

Riches and honor acquired by injustice are to me but floating 

The man who, in view of gain, thinks of righteousness ; who, in 
view of danger, forgets life, and who remembers an old agreement, 
however far back it extends, such a man may be reckoned a complete 

Recompense injury with justice, and kindness with kindness. 

There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's 
life: Reciprocity is that word." 

When the ancestors of the four Christian Congressmen 
were barbarians, when they lived in caves, gnawed bones, 


and worshiped dried snakes, the infamous Chinese were 
reading these sublime sentences of Confucius. When the 
forefathers of these Christian statesmen were hunting toads 
to get the jewels out of their heads, to be used as charms, 
the wretched Chinese were calculating eclipses, and measur 
ing the circumference of the earth. When the progenitors 
of these representatives of the " American system of relig 
ion" were burning women charged with nursing devils, 
the people " incapable of being influenced by the exalted 
character of our civilization," were building asylums for the 

Neither should it be forgotten that, for thousands of 
years, the Chinese have honestly practiced the great prin 
ciple known as Civil Service Reform a something that 
even the administration of Mr. Hayes has reached only 
through the proxy of promise. 

If we wish to prevent the immigration of the Chinese, let 
us reform our treaties with the vast empire from whence 
they came. For thousands of years the Chinese secluded 
themselves from the rest of the world. They did not deem 
the Christian nations fit to associate with. We forced our 
selves upon them. We called, not with cards, but with 
cannon. The English battered down the door in the names 
of opium and Christ. This infamy was regarded as another 
triumph for the gospel. At last, in self-defence, the Chinese 
allowed Christians to touch their shores. Their wise men, 
their philosophers, protested, and prophesied that time 
would show that Christians could not be trusted. This re 
port proves that the wise men were not only philosophers, 
but prophets. 

Treat China as you would England. Keep a treaty while 
it is in force. Change it if you will, according to the laws 
of nations, but on no account excuse a breach of national 
faith by pretending that we are dishonest for God's sake. 



A NEW party is struggling for recognition a party with 
/~\ leaders who are not politicians, with followers who are 
not seekers after place. Some of those who suffer and some of 
those who sympathize, have combined. Those who feel 
that they are oppressed are organized for the purpose of 
redressing their wrongs. The workers for wages, and the 
seekers for work have uttered a protest. This party is an 
instrumentality for the accomplishment of certain things 
that are very near and very dear to the hearts of many 

The object to be attained is a fairer division of profits 
between employers and employed. There is a feeling that 
in some way the workers should not want that the indus 
trious should not be the indigent. There is a hope that 
men and women and children are not forever to be the 
victims of ignorance and want that the tenement house is 
not always to be the home of the poor, or the gutter the 
nursery of their babes. 

As yet, the methods for the accomplishment of these aims 
have not been agreed upon. Many theories have been 
advanced and none has been adopted. The question is so 
vast, so complex, touching human interests in so many 
ways, that no one has yet been great enough to furnish a 
solution, or, if any one has furnished a solution, no one 
else has been wise enough to understand it. 

"The hope of the future is that this question will finally be 
understood. It must not be discussed in anger. If a broad 



and comprehensive view is to be taken, there is no place for 
hatred or for prejudice. Capital is not to blame. Labor is 
not to blame. Both have been caught in the net of circum 
stances. The rich are as generous as the poor would be if 
they should change places. Men acquire through the 
noblest and the tenderest instincts. They work and save 
not only for themselves, but for their wives and for their 
children. There is but little confidence in the charity of 
the world. The prudent man in his youth makes prepara 
tion for his age. The loving father, having struggled him 
self, hopes to save his children from drudgery and toil 

In every country there are classes that is to say, the 
spirit of caste, and this spirit will exist until the world is 
truly civilized. Persons in most communities are judged 
not as individuals, but as members of a class. Nothing is 
more natural, and nothing more heartless. These lines 
that divide hearts on account of clothes or titles, are grow 
ing more and more indistinct, and the philanthropists, the 
lovers of the human race, believe that the time is coming 
when they will be obliterated. We may do away with 
kings and peasants, and yet there may still be the rich and 
poor, the intelligent and foolish, the beautiful and deformed, 
the industrious and idle, and it may be, the honest and 
vicious. These classifications are in the nature of things. 
They are produced for the most part by forces that are now 
beyond the control of man but the old rule, that men are 
disreputable in the proportion that they are useful, will 
certainly be reversed. The idle lord was always held to 
be the superior of the industrious peasant, the devourer 
better than the producer, and the waster superior to the 

While in this country we have no titles of nobility, we 
have the rich and the poor no princes, no peasants, but 
millionaires and mendicants. The individuals composing 
these classes are continually changing. The rich of to-day 


may be the poor of to-morrow, and the children of the poor 
may take their places. In this country, the children of the 
poor are educated substantially in the same schools with 
those of the rich. All read the same papers, many of the 
same books, and all for many years hear the same questions 
discussed. They are continually being educated, not only 
at schools, but by the press, by political campaigns, by 
perpetual discussions on public questions, and the result is 
that those who are rich in gold are often poor in thought, 
and many who have not whereon to lay their heads have 
within those heads a part of the intellectual wealth of the 

Years ago the men of wealth were forced to contribute 
toward the education of the children of the poor. The 
support of schools by general taxation was defended on 
the ground that it was a means of providing for the public 
welfare, of perpetuating the institutions of a free country 
by making better men and women. This policy has been 
pursued until at last the schoolhouse is larger than the 
church, and the common people through education have 
become uncommon. They now know how little is really 
known by what are called the upper classes how little 
after all is understood by kings, presidents, legislators, 
and men of culture. They are capable not only of under 
standing a few questions, but they have acquired the art 
of discussing those that no one understands. With the 
facility of politicians they can hide behind phrases, make 
barricades of statistics, and chevaux-de-frise of inferences 
and assertions. They understand the sophistries of those 
who have governed. 

In some respects these common people are the superiors 
of the so-called aristocracy. While the educated have 
been turning their attention to the classics, to the dead 
la'nguages, and the dead ideas and mistakes that they con 
tain while they have been giving their attention to 


ceramics, artistic decorations, and compulsory prayers, 
the common people have been compelled to learn the prac 
tical things to become acquainted with facts by doing 
the work of the world. The professor of a college is no 
longer a match for a master mechanic. The master 
mechanic not only understands principles, but their appli 
cation. He knows things as they are. He has come in 
contact with the actual, with realities. He knows some 
thing of the adaptation of means to ends, and this is the 
highest and most valuable form of education. The men 
who make locomotives, who construct the vast engines 
that propel ships, necessarily know more than those who 
have spent their lives in conjugating Greek verbs, looking 
for Hebrew roots, and discussing the origin and destiny of 
the universe. 

Intelligence increases wants. By education the neces 
sities of the people become increased. The old wages will 
not supply the new wants. Man longs for a harmony be 
tween the thought within and the things without. When 
the soul lives in a palace the body is not satisfied with rags 
and patches. The glaring inequalities among men, the 
differences in condition, the suffering and the poverty, 
have appealed to the good and great of every age, and 
there has been in the brain of the philanthropist a dream 
a hope, a prophecy, of a better day. 

It was believed that tyranny was the foundation and 
cause of the differences between men that the rich were 
all robbers and the poor all victims, and that if a society or 
government could be founded on equal rights and privi 
leges, the inequalities would disappear, that all would have 
food and clothes and reasonable work and reasonable 
leisure, and that content would be found by every hearth. 

There was a reliance on nature an idea that men had 
interfered with the harmonious action of great principles 
which if left to themselves would work out universal well- 



being for the human race. Others imagined that the 
inequalities between men were necessary that they were 
part of a divine plan, and that all would be adjusted in 
some other world that the poor here would be the rich 
there, and the rich here might be in torture there. 
Heaven became the reward of the poor, of the slave, and 
hell their revenge. 

When our Government was established it was declared 
that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain 
inalienable rights, among which were life, liberty, and the 
pursuit of happiness. It was then believed that if all men 
had an equal opportunity, if they were allowed to make 
and execute their own laws, to levy their own taxes, the 
frightful inequalities seen in the despotisms and mon 
archies of the old world would entirely disappear. This 
was the dream of 1776. The founders of the Government 
knew how kings and princes and dukes and lords and 
barons had lived upon the labor of the peasants. They 
knew the history of those ages of want and crime, of 
luxury and suffering. But in spite of our Declaration, in 
spite of our Constitution, in spite of universal suffrage, the 
inequalities still exist. We have the kings and princes, 
the lords and peasants, in fact, if not in name. Monopo 
lists, corporations, capitalists, workers for wages, have 
taken their places, and we are forced to admit that even 
universal suffrage cannot clothe and feed the world. 

For thousands of years men have been talking and wri 
ting about the great law of supply and demand and insist 
ing that in some way this mysterious law has governed 
and will continue to govern the activities of the human 
race. It is admitted that this law is merciless that when 
the demand fails, the producer, the laborer, must suffer, 
must perish that the law feels neither pity nor malice 
it simply acts, regardless of consequences. Under this law, 
capital will employ the cheapest. The single man can work 


for less than the married. Wife and children are luxuries 
not to be enjoyed under this law. The ignorant have 
fewer wants than the educated, and for this reason can 
afford to work for less. The great law will give employ 
ment to the single and to the ignorant in preference to the 
married and intelligent. The great law has nothing to do 
with food or clothes, with filth or crime. It cares nothing 
for homes, for penitentiaries, or asylums. It simply acts 
and some men triumph, some succeed, some fail, and some 

Others insist that the curse of the world is monopoly. 
And yet, as long as some men are stronger than others, as 
long as some are more intelligent than others, they must 
be, to the extent of such advantage, monopolists. Every 
man of genius is a monopolist. 

We are told that the great remedy against monopoly 
that is to say, against extortion, is free and unrestricted 
competition. But after all, the history of this world shows 
that the brutalities of competition are equaled only by 
those of monopoly. The successful competitor becomes a 
monopolist, and if competitors fail to destroy each other, 
the instinct of self-preservation suggests a combination. 
In other words, competition is a struggle between two or 
more persons or corporations for the purpose of determin 
ing which shall have the uninterrupted privilege of ex 

In this country the people have had the greatest reliance 
on competition. If a railway company charged too much a 
rival road was built. As a matter of fact, we are indebted 
for half the railroads of the United States to the extortion 
of the other half, and the same may truthfully be said of 
telegraph lines. As a rule, while the exactions of mo 
nopoly constructed new roads and new lines, competition 
has either destroyed the weaker, or produced the pool which 
is a means of keeping both monopolies alive, or of produc- 


ing a new monopoly with greater needs, supplied by methods 
more heartless than the old. When a rival road is built the 
people support the rival because the fares and freights are 
somewhat less. Then the old and richer monopoly inaug 
urates war, and the people, glorying in the benefits of com 
petition, are absurd enough to support the old. In a little 
while the new company, unable to maintain the contest, left 
by the people at the mercy of the stronger, goes to the wall, 
and the triumphant monopoly proceeds to make the intelli 
gent people pay not only the old price, but enough in 
addition to make up for the expenses of the contest. 

Is there any remedy for this? None, except with the 
people themselves. When the people become intelligent 
enough to support the rival at a reasonable price ; when 
they know enough to allow both roads to live ; when they 
are intelligent enough to recognize a friend and to stand by 
that friend as against a known enemy, this question will be 
at least on the edge of a solution. 

So far as I know, this course has never been pursued except 
in one instance, and that is the present war between the Gould 
and Mackay cables. The Gould system had been charging 
from sixty to eighty cents a word, and the Mackay system 
charged forty. Then the old monopoly tried to induce the 
rival to put the prices back to sixty. The rival refused, 
and thereupon the Gould combination dropped to twelve 
and a half, for the purpose of destroying the rival. The 
Mackay cable fixed the tariff at twenty-five cents, sa} 7 ing to 
its customers, " You are intelligent enough to understand 
what this war means. If our cables are defeated, the Gould 
system will go back not only to the old price, but will add 
enough to reimburse itself for the cost of destroying us. If 
you really wish for competition, if you desire a reasonable 
service at a reasonable rate, you will support us." Fortu 
nately an exceedingly intelligent class of people does business 
by the cables. They are merchants, bankers, and brokers, 


dealing with large amounts, with intricate, complicated, and 
international questions. Of necessity, they are used to 
thinking for themselves. They are not dazzled into blind 
ness by the glare of the present. They see the future. 
They are not duped by the sunshine of a moment or the 
promise of an hour. They see beyond the horizon of a 
penny saved. These people had intelligence enough to say, 
"The rival who stands between us and extortion is our 
friend, and our friend shall not be allowed to die." 

Does not this tend to show that people must depend upon 
themselves, and that some questions can be settled by the 
intelligence of those who buy, of those who use, and that 
customers are not entirely helpless ? 

Another thing should not be forgotten, and that is this : 
there is the same war between monopolies that there is be 
tween individuals, and the monopolies for many years have 
been trying to destroy each other. They have unconsciously 
been working for the extinction of monopolies. These 
monopolies differ as individuals do. You find among them 
the rich and the poor, the lucky and the unfortunate, mill 
ionaires and tramps. The great monopolies have been de 
vouring the little ones. 

Only a few years ago, the railways in this country were 
controlled by local directors and local managers. The 
people along the lines were interested in the stock. As a 
consequence, whenever any legislation was threatened hos 
tile to the interests of these railways, they had local friends 
who used their influence with legislators, governors and 
juries. During this time they were protected, but when the 
hard times came many of these companies were unable to 
pay their interest. They suddenly became Socialists. They 
cried out against their prosperous rivals. They felt like 
joining the Knights of Labor. They began to talk about 
rights and wrongs. But in spite of their cries, they have 
passed into the hands of the richer roads they were seized 


by the great monopolies. Now the important railways are 
owned by persons living in large cities or in foreign coun 
tries. They have no local friends, and when the time conies, 
and it may come, for the General Government to say how 
much these companies shall charge for passengers and 
freight, they will have no local friends. It may be that the 
great mass of the people will then be on the other side. So 
that after all, the great corporations have been busy settling 
the question against themselves. 

Possibly a majority of the American people believe to-day 
that in some way all these questions between capital and 
labor can be settled by constitutions, laws, and judicial de 
cisions. Most people imagine that a statute is a sovereign 
specific for any evil. But while the theory has all been one 
way, the actual experience has been the other just as the 
free traders have all the arguments and the protectionists 
most of the facts. 

The truth is, as Mr. Buckle says, that for five hundred 
years all real advance in legislation has been made by re 
pealing laws. Of one thing we must be satisfied, and 
that is that real monopolies have never been controlled by 
law, but the fact that such monopolies exist, is a demon 
stration that the law has been controlled. In our country, 
legislators are for the most part controlled by those who, 
by their wealth and influence, elect them. The few, in 
reality, cast the votes of the many, and the few influence 
the ones voted for by the many. Special interests, being 
active, secure special legislation, and the object of special 
legislation is to create a kind of monopoly that is to say, 
to get some advantage. Chiefs, barons, priests, and kings 
ruled, robbed, destroyed, and duped, and their places have 
been taken by corporations, monopolists, and politicians. 
The large fish still live on the little ones, and the fine 
theories have as yet failed to change the condition of man 


Law in this country is effective only when it is the re 
corded will of a majority. When the zealous few get con 
trol of the Legislature, and laws are passed to prevent 
Sabbath-breaking, or wine- drinking, they succeed only in 
putting their opinions and provincial prejudices in legal 
phrase. There was a time when men worked from four 
teen to sixteen hours a day. These hours have not been 
lessened, they have not been shortened by law. The 
law has followed and recorded, but the law is not a 
leader and not a prophet. It appears to be impossible to 
fix wages just as impossible as to fix the values of all 
manufactured things, including works of art. The field is 
too great, the problem too complicated, for the human 
mind to grasp. 

To fix the value of labor is to fix all values labor being 
the foundation of all values. The value of labor cannot 
be fixed unless we understand the relations that all things 
bear to each other and to man. If labor were a legal 
tender if a judgment for so many dollars could be dis 
charged by so many days of labor, and the law was that 
twelve hours of work should be reckoned as one day, then 
the law could change the hours to ten or eight, and the 
judgments could be paid in the shortened days. But it is 
easy to see that in all contracts made after the passage of 
such a law, the difference in hours would be taken into 

We must remember that law is not a creative force. It 
produces nothing. It raises neither corn nor wine. The 
legitimate object of law is to protect the weak, to prevent 
violence and fraud, and to enforce honest contracts, to the 
end that each person may be free to do as he desires, pro 
vided only that he does not interfere with the rights of 
otneis. Our fathers tried to make people religious by law. 
They failed. Thousands are now trying to make people 
temperate in the same manner. Such efforts always have 


been and probably always will be failures. People who 
believe that an infinite God gave to the Hebrews a perfect 
code of laws, must admit that even this code failed to civil 
ize the inhabitants of Palestine. 

It seems impossible to make people just or charitable 
or industrious or agreeable or successful, by law, any 
more than you can make them physically perfect or 
mentally sound. Of course we admit that good people in 
tend to make good laws, and that good laws faithfully and 
honestly executed, tend to the preservation of human 
rights and to the elevation of the race, but the enactment 
of a law not in accordance with a sentiment already exist 
ing in the minds and hearts of the people the very people 
who are depended upon to enforce this law is not a help, 
but a hindrance. A real law is but the expression, in an 
authoritative and accurate form, of the judgment and de 
sire of the majority. As we become intelligent and kind, 
this intelligence and kindness find expression in law. 

But how is it possible to fix the wages of every man ? To 
fix wages is to fix prices, and a government to do this intel 
ligently, would necessarily have to have the wisdom general 
ly attributed to an infinite Being. It would have to supervise 
and fix the conditions of every exchange of commodities 
and the value of every conceivable thing. Many things 
can be accomplished by law. Employers may be held re 
sponsible for injuries to the employed. The mines can be 
ventilated. Children can be rescued from the deformities 
of toil burdens taken from the backs of wives and 
mothers houses made wholesome, food healthful that 
is to say, the weak can be protected from the strong, the 
honest from the vicious, honest contracts can be enforced, 
and many rights protected. 

The men who have simply strength, muscle, endurance, 
compete not only with other men of strength, but with the 
inventions of genius. What would doctors say if physi- 


cians of iron could be invented with curious cogs and 
wheels, so that when a certain button was touched the 
proper prescription would be written ? How would law 
yers feel if a lawyer could be invented in such a way that 
questions of law, being put in a kind of hopper and a crank 
being turned, decisions of the highest court could be 
prophesied without failure ? And how would the minis 
ters feel if somebody should invent a clergyman of wood 
that would to all intents and purposes answer the purpose ? 

Invention has filled the world with the competitors not 
only of laborers, but of mechanics mechanics of the 
highest skill. To-day the ordinary laborer is for the most 
part a cog in a wheel. He works with the tireless he 
feeds the insatiable. When the monster stops, the man is 
out of employment, out of bread. He has not saved any 
thing. The machine that he fed was not feeding him, was 
not working for him the invention was not for his bene 
fit. The other day I heard a man say that it was almost 
impossible for thousands of good mechanics to get em 
ployment, and that, in his judgment, the Government ought 
to furnish work for the people. A few minutes after, I 
heard another say that he was selling a patent for cutting 
out clothes, that one of his machines could do the work 
of twenty tailors, and that only the week before he had 
sold two to a great house in New York, and that over 
forty cutters had been discharged. 

On every side men are being discharged and machines 
are being invented to take their places. When the great 
factory shuts down, the workers who inhabited it and 
gave it life, as thoughts do the brain, go away and it stands 
there like an empty skull. A few workmen, by the force 
of habit, gather about the closed doors and broken windows 
and talk about distress, the price of food and the coming 
winter. They are convinced that they have not had their 
share of what their labor created. They feel certain that 


the machines inside were not their friends. They look at 
the mansion of the employer and think of the places where 
they live. They have saved nothing nothing but them 
selves. The employer seems to have enough. Even when 
employers fail, when they become bankrupt, they are far 
better off than the laborers ever were. Their worst is bet 
ter than the toilers' best. 

The capitalist comes forward with his specific. He tells 
the workingman that he must be economical and yet, 
under the present system, economy would only lessen 
wages. Under the great law of supply and demand every 
saving, frugal, self-denying workingman is unconsciously 
doing what little he can to reduce the compensation of 
himself and his fellows. The slaves who did not wish to 
run away helped fasten chains on those who did. So the 
saving mechanic is a certificate that wages are high enough. 
Does the great law demand that every worker live on the 
least possible amount of bread ? Is it his fate to work one 
day, that he may get enough food to be able to work an 
other ? Is that to be his only hope that and death ? 

Capital has always claimed and still claims the right to 
combine. Manufacturers meet and determine upon prices, 
even in spite of the great law of supply and demand. 
Have the laborers the same right to consult and combine ? 
The rich meet in the bank, the clubhouse, or parlor. 
Workingmen, when they combine, gather in the street. 
All the organized forces of society are against them. 
Capital has the army and the navy, the legislative, the 
judicial, and the executive departments. When the rich 
combine, it is for the purpose of " exchanging ideas." 
When the poor combine, it is a " conspiracy." If they act 
in concert, if they really do something, it is a " mob." If 
they defend themselves, it is " treason." How is it that 
the rich control the departments of government ? In this 
country the political power is equally divided among the 


men. There are certainly more poor than there are rich. 
Why should the rich control ? Why should not the 
laborers combine for the purpose of controlling the execu 
tive, legislative, and judicial departments ? Will they ever 
find how powerful they are ? 

In every country there is a satisfied class too satisfied 
to care. They are like the angels in heaven, who are never 
disturbed by the miseries of earth. They are too happy to 
be generous. This satisfied class asks no questions and 
answers none. They believe the world is as it should be. 
All reformers are simply disturbers of the peace. When 
they talk low, they should not be listened to ; when they 
talk loud, they should be suppressed. 

The truth is to-day what it always has been what it 
always will be those who feel are the only ones who 
think. A cry comes from the oppressed, from the hungry, 
from the down-trodden, from the unfortunate, from men 
who despair and from women who weep. There are times 
when mendicants become revolutionists when a rag 
becomes a banner, under which the noblest and bravest 
battle for the right. 

How are we to settle the unequal contest between men 
and machines ? Will the machine finally go into partner 
ship with the laborer ? Can these forces of nature be con 
trolled for the benefit of her suffering children? Will 
extravagance keep pace with ingenuity ? Will the workers 
become intelligent enough and strong enough to be the 
owners of the machines ? Will these giants, these Titans, 
shorten or lengthen the hours of labor ? Will they give 
leisure to the industrious, or will they make the rich richer, 
and the poor poorer ? 

Is man involved in the "general scheme of things"? Is 
there no pity, no mercy? Can man become intelligent 
enough to be generous, to be just ; or does the same law or 
fact control him that controls the animal and vegetable 


world ? The great oak steals the sunlight from the smaller 
trees. The strong animals devour the weak everything 
eating something else everything at the mercy of beak 
and claw and hoof and tooth of hand and club, of brain 
and greed inequality, injustice, everywhere. 

The poor horse standing in the street with his dray, over 
worked, over-whipped, and under-fed, when he sees other 
horses groomed to mirrors, glittering with gold and silver, 
scorning with proud feet the very earth, probably indulges 
in the usual socialistic reflections, and this same horse, 
worn out and old, deserted by his master, turned into the 
dusty road, leans his head on the topmost rail, looks at 
donkeys in a field of clover, and feels like a Nihilist. 

In the days of savagery the strong devoured the weak 
actually ate their flesh. In spite of all the laws that man 
has made, in spite of all advance in science, literature and 
art, the strong, the cunning, the heartless still live on the 
weak, the unfortunate, and foolish. True, they do not 
eat their flesh, they do not drink their blood, but they live 
on their labor, on their self-denial, their weariness and 
want. The poor man who deforms himself by toil, who 
labors for wife and child through all his anxious, barren, 
wasted life who goes to the grave without even having 
had one luxury has been the food of others. He has 
been devoured by his fellow-men. The poor woman living 
in the bare and lonely room, cheerless and fireless, sewing 
night and day to keep starvation from a child, is slowly 
being eaten by her fellow-men. When I take into con 
sideration the agony of civilized life the number of fail 
ures, the poverty, the anxiety, the tears, the withered 
hopes, the bitter realities, the hunger, the crime, the hu 
miliation, the shame I am almost forced to say that canni 
balism, after all, is the most merciful form in which man 
has ever lived upon his fellow-man. 

Some of the best and purest of our race have advocated 


what is known as Socialism. They have not only taught, 
but, what is much more to the purpose, have believed that 
a nation should be a family ; that the government should 
take care of all its children ; that it should provide work 
and food and clothes and education for all, and that it 
should divide the results of all labor equitably with all. 

Seeing the inequalities among men, knowing of the desti 
tution and crime, these men were willing to sacrifice, not 
only their own liberties, but the liberties of all. 

Socialism seems to be one of the worst possible forms of 
slavery. Nothing, in my judgment, would so utterly 
paralyze all the forces, all the splendid ambitions and aspi 
rations that now tend to the civilization of man. In or 
dinary systems of slavery there are some masters, a few 
are supposed to be free; but in a socialistic state all would 
be slaves. 

If the government is to provide work it must decide for 
the worker what he must do. It must say who shall chisel 
statues, who shall paint pictures, who shall compose music, 
and who shall practice the professions. Is any government, 
or can any government, be capable of intelligently perform 
ing these countless duties? It must not only control 
work, it must not only decide what each shall do, but it 
must control expenses, because expenses bear a direct rela 
tion to products. Therefore the government must decide 
what the worker shall eat and wherewithal he shall be 
clothed ; the kind of house in which he shall live ; the 
manner in which it shall be furnished, and, if this gov 
ernment furnishes the work, it must decide on the days or 
the hours of leisure. More than this, it must fix values ; 
it must decide not only who shall sell, but who shall buy, 
and the price that must be paid and it must fix this value 
not simply upon the labor, but on everything that can be 
produced, that can be exchanged or sold. 

Is it possible to conceive of a despotism beyond this ? 


The present condition of the world is bad enough, with its 
poverty and ignorance, but it is far better than it could by any 
possibility be under any government like the one described. 
There would be less hunger of the body, but not of the 
mind. Each man would simply be a citizen of a large 
penitentiarj 7 , and, as in every well regulated prison, some 
body would decide what each should do. The inmates of 
a prison retire early ; they rise with the sun ; they have 
something to eat ; they are not dissipated ; they have 
clothes ; they attend divine service ; they have but little to 
say about their neighbors ; they do not suffer from cold; 
their habits are excellent, and yet, no one envies their 
condition. Socialism destroys the family. The children 
belong to the state. Certain officers take the places of 
parents. Individuality is lost. 

The human race cannot afford to exchange its liberty for 
any possible comfort. You remember the old fable of the 
fat dog that met the lean wolf in the forest. The wolf, 
astonished to see so prosperous an animal, inquired of the 
dog where he got his food, and the dog told him that there 
was a man who took care of him, gave him his breakfast, 
his dinner, and his supper with the utmost regularity, and 
that he had all that he could eat and very little to do. The 
wolf said, "Do you think this man would treat me as he 
does you?" The dog replied, "Yes, come along with me." 
So they jogged on together toward the dog's home. On 
the way the wolf happened to notice that some hair was 
worn off the dog's neck, and he said, " How did the hair 
become worn?" "That is," said the dog, "the mark of 
the collar my master ties me at night." "Oh," said the 
wolf, " Are you chained ? Are you deprived of your lib 
erty ? I believe I will go back. I prefer hunger." 

It -is impossible for any man with a good heart to be 
satisfied with this world as it now is. No one can truly 
enjoy even what he earns what he knows to be his own 


knowing that millions of his fellow-men are in misery and 
want. When we think of the famished we feel that it is 
almost heartless to eat. To meet the ragged and shivering 
makes one almost ashamed to be well dressed and warm 
one feels as though his heart was as cold as their bodies. 

In a world filled with millions and millions of acres of 
land waiting to be tilled, where one man can raise the food 
for hundreds, millions are on the edge of famine. Who 
can comprehend the stupidity at the bottom of this truth ? 

Is there to be no change ? Are " the law of supply and 
demand," invention and science, monopoly and competition, 
capital and legislation always to be the enemies of those 
who toil ? 

Will the workers always be ignorant enough and stupid 
enough to give their earnings for the useless ? Will they 
support millions of soldiers to kill the sons of other work- 
ingmen ? Will they always build temples for ghosts and 
phantoms, and live in huts and dens themselves ? Will 
they forever allow parasites with crowns, and vampires 
with mitres, to live upon their blood ? Will they remain 
the slaves of the beggars they support ? How long will 
they be controlled by friends who seek favors, and by re 
formers who want office ? Will they always prefer famine 
in the city to a feast in the fields ? Will they ever feel 
and know that they have no right to bring children into 
this world that they cannot support ? Will they use their 
intelligence for themselves, or for others ? Will they be 
come wise enough to know that they cannot obtain their 
own liberty by destroying that of others? Will they finally 
see that every man has a right to choose his trade, his pro 
fession, his employment, and has the right to work when, 
and for whom, and for what he will ? Will they finally say 
that the man who has had equal privileges with all others 
has no right to complain, or will they follow the example 
that has been set by their oppressors? Will they learn 


that force, to succeed, must have a thought behind it, and 
that anything done, in order that it may endure, must rest 
upon the corner-stone of justice ? 

Will they, at the command of priests, forever extinguish 
the spark that sheds a little light in every brain? Will 
they ever recognize the fact that labor, above all things, is 
honorable that it is the foundation of virtue ? Will they 
understand that beggars cannot be generous, and that 
every healthy man must earn the right to live? Will 
honest men stop taking off their hats to successful fraud ? 
Will industry, in the presence of crowned idleness, forever 
fall upon its knees, and will the lips unstained by lies 
forever kiss the robed impostor's hand? North American Re 
view, March, 1887. 



ART is the highest form of expression, and exists for the 
sake of expression. Through art thoughts become visi 
ble. Back of forms are the desire, the longing, the brooding 
creative instinct, the maternity of mind and the passion 
that give pose and swell, outline and color. 

Of course there is no such thing as absolute beauty or 
absolute morality. We now clearly perceive that beauty 
and conduct are relative. We have outgrown the provin 
cialism that thought is back of substance, as well as the 
old Platonic absurdity, that ideas existed before the 
subjects of thought. So far, at least, as man is concerned, 
his thoughts have been produced by his surroundings, by 
the action and interaction of things upon his mind ; and so 
far as man is concerned, things have preceded thoughts. 
The impressions that these things make upon us are what 
we know of them. The absolute is beyond the human 
mind. Our knowledge is confined to the relations that 
exist between the totality of things that we call the uni 
verse, and the effect upon ourselves. 

Actions are deemed right or wrong, according to experi 
ence and the conclusions of reason. Things are beautiful 
by the relation that certain forms, colors, and modes of 
expression bear to us. At the foundation of the beautiful 
will be found the fact of happiness, the gratification of the 
senses, the delight of intellectual discovery and the sur 
prise and thrill of appreciation. That which we call the 
beautiful, wakens into life through the association of ideas, 
of memories, of experiences, of suggestions of pleasure past 
and" the perception that the prophecies of the ideal have 
been and will be fulfilled. (aw) 


Art cultivates and kindles the imagination, and quickens 
the conscience. It is by imagination that we put ourselves 
in the place of another. When the wings of that faculty 
are folded, the master does not put himself in the place of 
the slave ; the tyrant is not locked in the dungeon, chained 
with his victim. The inquisitor did not feel the flames 
that devoured the martyr. The imaginative man, giving to 
the beggar, gives to himself. Those who feel indignant at 
the perpetration of wrong, feel for the instant that they are 
the victims ; and when they attack the aggressor they feel 
that they are defending themselves. Love and pity are the 
children of the imagination. 

Our fathers read with great approbation the mechanical 
sermons in rhyme written by Milton, Young and Pollok. 
Those theological poets wrote for the purpose of convincing 
their readers that the mind of man is diseased, filled with 
infirmities, and that poetic poultices and plasters tend to 
purify and strengthen the moral nature of the human race. 
Nothing to the true artist, to the real genius, is so contempt 
ible as the " medicinal view." 

Poems were written to prove that the practice of virtue 
was an investment for another world, and that whoever 
followed the advice found in those solemn, insincere and 
lugubrious rhymes, although he might be exceedingly 
unhappy in this world, would with great certainty be 
rewarded in the next. These writers assumed that there 
was a kind of relation between rhyme and religion, between 
verse and virtue ; and that it was their duty to call the 
attention of the world to all the snares and pitfalls of 
pleasure. They wrote with a purpose. They had a dis 
tinct moral end in view. They had a plan. They were 
missionaries, and their object was to show the world how 
wicked it was and how good they, the writers, were. They 
could not conceive of a man being so happy that everything 
in nature partook of his feeling; that all the birds were 


singing for him, and singing by reason of his joy; that 
everything sparkled and shone and moved in the glad 
rhythm of his heart. They could not appreciate this feel 
ing. They could not think of this joy guiding the artist's 
hand, seeking expression in form and color. They did not 
look upon poems, pictures, and statues as results, as children 
of the brain fathered by sea and sky, by flower and star, by 
love and light. They were not moved by gladness. They 
felt the responsibility of perpetual duty. They had a 
desire to teach, to sermonize, to point out and exaggerate 
the faults of others and to describe the virtues practiced by 
themselves. Art became a colporteur, a distributer of 
tracts, a mendicant missionary whose highest ambition was 
to suppress all heathen joy. 

Happy people were supposed to have forgotten, in a 
reckless moment, duty and responsibility. True poetry 
would call them back to a realization of their meanness 
and their misery. It was the skeleton at the feast, the 
rattle of whose bones had a rhythmic sound. It was the 
forefinger of warning and doom held up in the presence of 
a smile. 

These moral poets taught the " unwelcome truths," and 
by the paths of life put posts on which they painted hands 
pointing at graves. They loved to see the pallor on the 
cheek of youth, while they talked, in solemn tones, of age, 
decrepitude and lifeless clay. 

Before the eyes of love they thrust, with eager hands, 
the skull of death. They crushed the flowers beneath their 
feet and plaited crowns of thorns for every brow. 

According to these poets, happiness was inconsistent 
with virtue. The sense of infinite obligation should be per 
petually present. They assumed an attitude of superiority. 
They denounced and calumniated the reader. They en 
joyed his confusion when charged with total depravity. 
They loved to paint the sufferings of the lost, the worth- 


lessness of human life, the littleness of mankind, and the 
beauties of an unknown world. They knew but little of 
the heart. They did not know that without passion there 
is no virtue, and that the really passionate are the virtuous. 

Art has nothing to do directly with morality or immoral 
ity. It is its own excuse for being; it exists for itself. 

The artist who endeavors to enforce a lesson, becomes a 
preacher ; and the artist who tries by hint and suggestion 
to enforce the immoral, becomes a pander. 

There is an infinite difference between the nude and the 
naked, between the natural and the undressed. In the 
presence of the pure, unconscious nude, nothing can be- 
more contemptible than those forms in which are the hints 
and suggestions of drapery, the pretence of exposure, and 
the failure to conceal. The undressed is vulgar the nude 
is pure. 

The old Greek statues, frankly, proudly nude, whose free 
and perfect limbs have never known the sacrilege of clothes, 
were and are as free from taint, as pure, as stainless, as the 
image of the morning star trembling in a drop of perfumed 

Morality is the harmony between act and circumstance. 
It is the melody of conduct. A wonderful statue is the 
melody of proportion. A great picture is the melody of 
form and color. A great statue does not suggest labor ; it 
seems to have been created as a joy. A great painting sug 
gests no weariness and no effort ; the greater, the easier it 
seems. So a great and splendid life seems to have been 
without effort. There is in it no idea of obligation, no idea ot 
responsibility or of duty. The idea of duty changes to a 
kind of drudgery that which should be, in the perfect man, 
a perfect pleasure. 

The artist, working simply for the sake of enforcing a 
moral, becomes a laborer. The freedom of genius is lost, 
and the artist is absorbed in the citizen. The soul of the 


real artist should be moved by this melody of proportion as 
the body is unconsciously swayed by the rhythm of a 
symphony. No one can imagine that the great men who 
chiseled the statues of antiquity intended to teach the 
youth of Greece to be obedient to their parents. We can 
not believe that Michael Angelo painted his grotesque and 
somewhat vulgar " Day of Judgment " for the purpose of 
reforming Italian thieves. The subject was in all proba 
bility selected by his employer, and the treatment was a 
question of art, without the slightest reference to the moral 
effect, even upon priests. We are perfectly certain that 
Corot painted those infinitely poetic landscapes, those cot 
tages, those sad poplars, those leafless vines on weather- 
tinted walls, those quiet pools, those contented cattle, those 
fields flecked with light, over which bend the skies, tender 
as the breast of a mother, without once thinking of the ten 
commandments. There is the same difference between 
moral art and the product of true genius, that there is be 
tween prudery and virtue. 

The novelists who endeavor to enforce what they are 
pleased to call " moral truths," cease to be artists. They 
create two kinds of characters types and caricatures. The 
first never has lived, and the second never will. The real 
artist produces neither. In his pages you will find indi 
viduals, natural people, who have the contradictions and 
inconsistencies inseparable from humanity. The great 
artists "hold the mirror up to nature," and this mil ror re 
flects with absolute accuracy. The moral and the immoral 
writers that is to say, those who have some object besides 
that of art use convex or concave mirrors, or those with 
uneven surfaces, and the result is that the images are 
monstrous and deformed. The little novelist and the 
_little artist deal either in the impossible or the exceptional. 
The men of genius touch the universal. Their words and 
works throb in unison with the great ebb and flow of 


things. They write and work for all races and for all 

It has been the object of thousands of reformers to de 
stroy the passions, to do away with desires ; and could this 
object be accomplished, life would become a burden, with 
but one desire that is to say, the desire for extinction. 
Art in its highest forms increases passion, gives tone and 
color and zest to life. But while it increases passion, it 
refines. It extends the horizon. The bare necessities of 
life constitute a prison, a dungeon. Under the influence of 
art the walls expand, the roof rises, and it becomes a temple. 

Art is not a sermon, and the artist is not a preacher. Art 
accomplishes by indirection. The beautiful refines. The 
perfect in art suggests the perfect in conduct. The harmony 
in music teaches, without intention, the lesson of proportion 
in life. The bird in his song has no moral purpose, and yet 
the influence is humanizing. The beautiful in nature acts 
through appreciation and sympathy. It does not browbeat, 
neither does it humiliate. It is beautiful without regard to 
you. Roses would be unbearable if in their red and per 
fumed hearts were mottoes to the effect that bears eat bad 
boys and that honesty is the best policy. 

Art creates an atmosphere in which the proprieties, the 
amenities, and the virtues unconsciously grow. The rain 
does not lecture the seed. The light does not make rules 
for the vine and flower. 

The heart is softened by the pathos of the perfect. 

The world is a dictionary of the mind, and in this dic 
tionary of things genius discovers analogies, resemblances, 
and parallels amid opposites, likeness in difference, and cor-, 
roboration in contradiction. Language is but a multitude 
of pictures. Nearly every word is a work of art, a picture 
represented by a sound, and this sound represented by a 
mark, and this mark gives not only the sound, but the pic 
ture of something in the outward world and the picture of 


something within the mind, and with these words which 
were once pictures, other pictures are made. 

The greatest pictures and the greatest statues, the most 
wonderful and marvelous groups, have been painted and 
chiseled with words. They are as fresh to-day as when 
they fell from human lips. Penelope still ravels, weaves, 
and waits; Ulysses' bow is bent, and through the level 
rings the eager arrow flies. Cordelia's tears are falling 
now. The greatest gallery of the world is found in Shakes 
peare's book. The pictures and the marbles of the Vatican 
and Louvre are faded, crumbling things, compared with his, 
in which perfect color gives to perfect form the glow and 
movement of passion's highest life. 

Everything except the truth wears, and needs to wear, a 
mask. Little souls are ashamed of nature. Prudery pre 
tends to have only those passions that it cannot feel. 
Moral poetry is like a respectable canal that never over 
flows its banks. It has weirs through which slowly and 
without damage any excess of feeling is allowed to flow. 
It makes excuses for nature, and regards love as an inter 
esting convict. Moral art paints or chisels feet, faces, and 
rags. It regards the body as obscene. It hides with 
drapery that which it has not the genius purely to portray. 
Mediocrity becomes moral from a necessity which it has 
the impudence to call virtue. It pretends to regard 
ignorance as the foundation of purity and insists that 
virtue seeks the companionship of the blind. 

Art creates, combines, and reveals. It is the highest 
manifestation of thought, of passion, of love, of intuition. 
It is the highest form of expression, of history and 
prophecy. It allows us to look at an unmasked soul, to 
fathom the abysses of passion, to understand the heights 
and depths of love. 

Compared with what is in the mind of man, the outward 
world almost ceases to excite our wonder. The impression 


produced by mountains, seas, and stars is not so great, so 
thrilling, as the music of Wagner. The constellations 
themselves grow small when we read " Troilus and Cres- 
sida," " Hamlet," or " Lear." What are seas and stars in 
the presence of a heroism that holds pain and death as 
naught? What are seas and stars compared with human 
hearts? What is the quarry compared with the statue ? 

Art civilizes because it enlightens, develops, strengthens, 
ennobles. It deals with the beautiful, with the passionate, 
with the ideal. It is the child of the heart. To be great, 
it must deal with the human. It must be in accordance 
with the experience, with the hopes, with the fears, and 
with the possibilities of man. No one cares to paint a 
palace, because there is nothing in such a picture to touch 
the heart. It tells of responsibility, of the prison, of the 
conventional. It suggests a load it tells of apprehension, 
of weariness and ennui. The picture of a cottage, over 
which runs a vine, a little home thatched with content, 
with its simple life, its natural sunshine and shadow, its 
trees bending with fruit, its hollyhocks and pinks, its 
happy children, its hum of bees, is a poem a smile in the 
desert of this world. 

The great lady, in velvet and jewels, makes but a poor 
picture. There is not freedom enough in her life. She is 
constrained. She is too far away from the simplicity of 
happiness. In her thought there is too much of the mathe 
matical. In all art you will find a touch of chaos, of liberty ; 
and there is in all artists a little of the vagabond that is 
to say, genius. 

The nude in art has rendered holy the beauty of woman. 
Every Greek statue pleads for mothers and sisters. From 
these marbles come strains of music. They have filled 
the heart of man with tenderness and worship. They have 
kindled reverence, admiration and love. The Venus de 
Milo, that even mutilation cannot mar, tends only to the 


elevation of our race. It is a miracle of majesty and beauty, 
the supreme idea of the supreme woman. It is a melody 
in marble. All the lines meet in a kind of voluptuous and 
glad content. The pose is rest itself. The eyes are filled 
with thoughts of love. The breast seems dreaming of a child. 

The prudent is not the poetic ; it is the mathematical. 
Genius is the spirit of abandon ; it is joyous, irresponsible. 
It moves in the swell and curve of billows ; it is careless 
of conduct and consequence. For a moment, the chain of 
cause and effect seems broken ; the soul is free. It gives 
an account not even to itself. Limitations are forgotten ; 
nature seems obedient to the will ; the ideal alone exists ; 
the universe is a sym phony. 

Every brain is a gallery of art, and every soul is, to a 
greater or less degree, an artist. The pictures and statues 
that now enrich and adorn the walls and niches of the 
world, as well as those that illuminate the pages of its liter 
ature, were taken originally from the private galleries of 
the brain. 

The soul that is to say the artist compares the pic 
tures in its own brain with the pictures that have been 
taken from the galleries of others and made visible. This 
soul, this artist, selects that which is nearest perfection in 
each, takes such parts as it deems perfect, puts them to 
gether, forms new pictures, new statues, and in this way 
creates the ideal. 

To express desires, longings, ecstasies, prophecies and 
passions in form and color ; to put love, hope, heroism and 
triumph in marble ; to paint dreams and memories with 
words; to portray the purity of dawn, the intensity and 
glory of noon, the tenderness of twilight, the splendor and 
mystery of night, with sounds ; to give the invisible to 
sight and touch, and to enrich the common things of earth 
with gems and jewels of the mind this is Art. North 

ican Review, March, 1888. 




" Let determined things to destiny hold unbewailed their way." 
'HERE is a continual effort in the mind of man to find the 

harmony that he knows must exist between all known 
facts. It is hard for the scientist to implicitly believe anything 
that he suspects to be inconsistent with a known fact. He 
feels that every fact is a key to many mysteries that every 
fact is a detective, not only, but a perpetual witness. He 
knows that a fact has a countless number of sides, and that 
all these sides will match all other facts, and he also suspects 
that to understand one fact perfectly like the fact of the 
attraction of gravitation would involve a knowledge of the 

It requires not only candor, but courage, to accept a fact. 
When a new fact is found it is generally denied, resisted, and 
calumniated by the conservatives until denial becomes ab 
surd, and then they accept it with the statement that they 
always supposed it was true. 

The old is the ignorant enemy of the new. The old has 
pedigree and respectability ; it is filled with the spirit of 
caste; it is associated with great events, and with great 
names ; it is intrenched ; it has an income it represents 
property. Besides, it has parasites, and the parasites al 
ways defend themselves. 

Long ago frightened wretches who had by tyranny or 
piracy amassed great fortunes, were induced in the moment 
of death to compromise with God and to let their money 


fall from their stiffening hands into the greedy palms of 
priests. In this way many theological seminaries were 
endowed, and in this way prejudices, mistakes, absurdities, 
known as religious truths, have been perpetuated. In this 
way the dead hypocrites have propagated and supported 
their kind. 

Most religions no matter how honestly they originated 
have been established by brute force. Kings and nobles 
have used them as a means to enslave, to degrade and rob. 
The priest, consciously and unconsciously, has been the be 
trayer of his followers. 

Near Chicago there is an ox that betrays his fellows. 
Cattle twenty or thirty at a time are driven to the place 
of slaughter. This ox ' leads the way the others follow. 
When the place is reached, this Bishop Dupanloup turns and 
goes back for other victims. 

This is the worst side : There is a better. 

Honest men, believing that they have found the whole 
truth the real and only faith filled with enthusiasm, give 
all for the purpose of propagating the " divine creed." They 
found colleges and universities, and in perfect, pious, igno 
rant sincerity, provide that the creed, and nothing but the 
creed, must be taught, and that if any professor teaches 
anything contrary to that, he must be instantly dismissed 
that is to say, the children must be beaten with the bones of 
the dead. 

These good religious souls erect guide-boards with a 
provision to the effect that the guide-boards must remain, 
whether the roads are changed or not, and with the further 
provision that the professors who keep and repair the guide- 
boards must always insist that the roads have not been 

There is still another side. 

Professors do not wish to lose their salaries. They love 
their families and have some regard for themselves. There 


is a compromise between their bread and their brain. On 
pay-day they believe at other times they have their 
doubts. They settle with their own consciences by giving 
old words new meanings. They take refuge in allegory, 
hide behind parables, and barricade themselves with oriental 
imagery. They give to the most frightful passages a spirit 
ual meaning and while they teach the old creed to their 
followers, they speak a new philosophy to their equals. 

There is still another side. 

A vast number of clergymen and laymen are perfectly 
satisfied. They have no doubts. They believe as their 
fathers and mothers did. The " scheme of salvation " suits 
them because they are satisfied that they are embraced 
within its terms. They give themselves no trouble. They 
believe because they do not understand. They have no 
doubts because they do not t'-iink. They regard doubt as a 
thorn in the pillow of orthodox slumber. Their souls are 
asleep, and they hate only those who disturb their dreams. 
These people keep their creeds for future use. They intend 
to have them ready at the moment of dissolution. They 
sustain about the same relation to daily life that the small 
boats carried by steamers do to ordinary navigation they 
are for the moment of shipwreck. Creeds, like life-pre 
servers, are to be used in disaster. 

We must also remember that everything in nature bad 
as well as good has the instinct of self-preservation. All 
lies go armed, and all mistakes carry concealed weapons. 
Driven to the last corner, even non-resistance appeals to 
the dagger. 

Vast interests political, social, artistic, and individual 
are interwoven with all creeds. Thousands of millions of 
dollars have been invested ; many millions of people obtain 
their bread by the propagation and support of certain re 
ligious doctrines, and many millions have been educated for 
that purpose and for that alone. Nothing is more natural 


than that they should defend themselves that they should 
cling to a creed that gives them roof and raiment. 

Only a few years ago Christianity was a complete system. 
It included and accounted for all phenomena; it was a 
philosophy satisfactory to the ignorant world; it had an 
astronomy and geology of its own ; it answered all questions 
with the same readiness and the same inaccuracy ; it had 
within its sacred volumes the history of the past, and the 
prophecies of all the future ; it pretended to know all that 
was, is, or ever will be necessary for the well-being of the 
human race, here and hereafter. 

When a religion has been founded, the founder admitted 
the truth of everything that was generally believed that did 
not interfere with his system. Imposture always has a 
definite end in view, and for the sake of the accomplishment 
of that end, it will admit the truth of anything and every 
thing that does not endanger its success. 

The writers of all sacred books the inspired prophets 
had no reason for disagreeing with the common people 
about the origin of things, the creation of the world, the 
rising and setting of the sun, and the uses of the stars, and 
consequently the sacred books of all ages have indorsed the 
belief general at the time. You will find in our sacred books 
the astronomy, the geology, the philosophy and the morality 
of the ancient barbarians. The religionist takes these general 
ideas as his foundation, and upon them builds the super 
natural structure. For many centuries the astronomy, 
geology, philosophy and morality of our Bible were ac 
cepted. They were not questioned, for the reason that the 
world was too ignorant to question. 

A few centuries ago the art of printing was invented. A 
new world was discovered. There was a complete revolu 
tion in commerce. The arts were born again. The world 
was filled with adventure ; millions became self-reliant ; old 
ideas were abandoned old theories were put aside and 


suddenly, the old leaders of thought were found to be 
ignorant, shallow and dishonest. The literature of the 
classic world was discovered and translated into modern 
languages. The world was circumnavigated; Copernicus 
discovered the true relation sustained by our earth to the 
solar system, and about the beginning of the seventeenth 
century many other wonderful discoveries were made. In 
1609, a Hollander found that two lenses placed in a certain 
relation to each other magnified objects seen through them. 
This discovery was the foundation of astronomy. In a 
little while it came to the knowledge of Galileo ; the result 
was a telescope, with which man has read the volume of 
the skies. 

On the 8th day of May, 1618, Kepler discovered the 
greatest of his three laws. These were the first great blows 
struck for the enfranchisement of the human mind. A 
few began to suspect that the ancient Hebrews were not 
astronomers. From that moment the church became the 
enemy of science. In every possible way the inspired 
ignorance was defended the lash, the sword, the chain, the 
fagot and the dungeon were the arguments used by the 
infuriated church. 

To such an extent was the church prejudiced against the 
new philosophy, against the new facts, that priests refused 
to look through the telescope of Galileo. 

At last it became evident to the intelligent world that 
the inspired writings, literally translated, did not contain 
the truth the Bible was in danger of being driven from 
the heavens. 

The church also had its geology. The time when the 
earth was created had been definitely fixed and was cer 
tainly known. This fact had not only been stated by 
jnspired writers, but their statement had been indorsed by 
priests, by bishops, cardinals, popes and ecumenical coun 
cils ; that was settled. 


But a few men had learned the art of seeing. There 
were some eyes not always closed in prayer. They looked 
at the things about them ; they observed channels that had 
been worn in solid rock by streams; they saw the vast 
territories that had been deposited by rivers ; their atten 
tion was called to the slow inroads upon continents by seas 
to the deposits by volcanoes to the sedimentary rocks 
to the vast reefs that had been built by the coral, and to the 
countless evidences of age, of the lapse of time and 
finally it was demonstrated that this earth had been pur 
suing its course about the sun for millions and millions of 

The church disputed every step, denied every fact, re 
sorted to every device that cunning could suggest or inge 
nuity execute, but the conflict could not be maintained. 
The Bible, so far as geology was concerned, was in danger 
of being driven from the earth. 

Beaten in the open field, the church began to equivocate, 
to evade, and to give new meanings to inspired words. 
Finally, falsehood having failed to harmonize the guesses 
of barbarians with the discoveries of genius, the leading 
churchmen suggested that the Bible was not written to 
teach astronomy, was not written to teach geology, and 
that it was not a scientific book, but that it was written in 
the language of the people, and that as to unimportant 
things it contained the general beliefs of its time. 

The ground was then taken that, while it was not 
inspired in its science, it was inspired in its morality, in its 
prophecy, in its account of the miraculous, in the scheme 
of salvation, and in all that it had to say on the subject of 

The moment it was suggested that the Bible was not in 
spired in everything within its lids, the seeds of suspicion 
were sown. The priest became less arrogant. The church 
was forced to explain. The pulpit had one language for 


the faithful and another for the philosophical, i. e., it be 
came dishonest with both. 

The next question that arose was as to the origin of man. 

The Bible was being driven from the skies. The testi 
mony of the stars was against the sacred volume. The 
church had also been forced to admit that the world was 
not created at the time mentioned in the Bible so that the 
very stones of the earth rose and united with the stars in 
giving testimony against the sacred volume. 

As to the creation of the world, the church resorted to 
the artifice of saying that " days " in reality meant long 
periods of time ; so that no matter how old the earth was, the 
time could be spanned by six periods in other words, that 
the years could not be too numerous to be divided by six. 

But when it came to the creation of man, this evasion, or 
artifice, was impossible. The Bible gives the date of the 
creation of man, because it gives the age at which the first 
man died, and then it gives the generations from Adam to 
the flood, and from the flood to the birth of Christ, and in 
many instances the actual age of the principal ancestor is 
given. So that, according to this account according to 
the inspired figures man has existed upon the earth only 
about six thousand years. There is no room left for any 
people beyond Adam. 

If the Bible is true, certainly Adam was the first man ; 
consequently, we know, if the sacred volume be true, just 
how long man has lived and labored and suffered on this 

The church cannot and dare not give up the account of 
the creation of Adam from the dust of the earth, and of 
Eve from the rib of the man. The church cannot give up 
the story of the Garden of Eden the serpent the fall and 
the expulsion ; these must be defended because they are vital. 
Without these absurdities, the system known as Christian 
ity cannot exist. Without the fall, the atonement is a non 


sequitur. Facts bearing upon these questions were dis 
covered and discussed by the greatest and most thoughtful 
of men. Lamarck, Humboldt, Haeckel, and above all, 
Darwin, not only asserted, but demonstrated, that man is 
not a special creation. If anything can be established by 
observation, by reason, then the fact has been established 
that man is related to all life below him that he has been 
slowly produced through countless years that the story of 
Eden is a childish myth that the fall of man is an infinite 

If anything can be established by analogy and reason, 
man has existed upon the earth for many millions of ages. 
We know now, if we know anything, that people not only 
existed before Adam, but that they existed in a highly 
civilized state; that thousands of years before the Garden 
of Eden was planted men communicated to each other their 
ideas by language, and that artists clothed the marble with 
thoughts and passions. 

This is a demonstration that the origin of man given in 
the Old Testament is untrue that the account was written 
by the ignorance, the prejudice and the egotism of the olden 

So, if anything outside of the senses can be known, we 
do know that civilization is a growth that man did not 
commence a perfect being, and then degenerate, but that 
from small beginnings he has slowly risen to the intellectual 
height he now occupies. 

The church, however, has not been willing to accept 
these truths, because they contradict the sacred word. 
Some of the most ingenious of the clergy have been 
endeavoring for years to show that there is no conflict 
that the account in Genesis is in perfect harmony with the 
theories of Charles Darwin, and these clergymen in some 
way manage to retain their creed and to accept a philosophy 
that utterly destroys it. 


But in a few years the Christian world will be forced to 
admit that the Bible is not inspired in its astronomy, in its 
geology, or in its anthropology that is to say, that the 
inspired writers knew nothing of the sciences, knew noth 
ing of the origin of the earth, nothing of the origin of man 
in other words, nothing of any particular value to the 
human race. 

It is, however, still insisted that the Bible is inspired in 
its morality. Let us examine this question. 

We must admit, if we know anything, if we feel anything, 
if conscience is more than a word, if there is such a thing 
as right and such a thing as wrong beneath the dome of 
heaven we must admit that slavery is immoral. If we are 
honest, we must also admit that the Old Testament upholds 
slavery. It will be cheerfully admitted that Jehovah was 
opposed to the enslavement of one Hebrew by another. 
Christians may quote the commandment " Thou shalt not 
steal " as being opposed to human slavery, but after that 
commandment was given, Jehovah himself told his chosen 
people that they might "buy their bondmen and bond 
women of the heathen round about, and that they should 
be their bondmen and their bondwomen forever." So all 
that Jehovah meant by the commandment " Thou shalt not 
steal " was that one Hebrew should not steal from another 
Hebrew, but that all Hebrews might steal from the people 
of any other race or creed. 

It is perfectly apparent that the Ten Commandments were 
made only for the Jews, not for the world, because the 
author of these commandments commanded the people to 
whom they were given to violate them nearly all as against 
the surrounding people. 

A few years ago it did not occur to the Christian world 
that slavery was wrong. It was upheld by the church. 
Ministers bought and sold the very people for whom they 
declared that Christ had died. Clergymen of the English 

224 MlSCfeLLANl?. 

church owned stock in slave-ships, and the man who 
denounced slavery was regarded as the enemy of morality, 
and thereupon was duly mobbed by the followers of Jesus 
Christ. Churches were built with the results of labor 
stolen from colored Christians. Babes were sold from 
mothers and a part of the money given to send missionaries 
from America to heathen lands with the tidings of great 
joy. Now every intelligent man on the earth, every decent 
man, holds in abhorrence the institution of human slavery. 

So with the institution of polygamy. If anything on the 
earth is immoral, that is. If there is anything calculated to 
destroy home, to do away with human love, to blot out the 
idea of family life, to cover the hearthstone with serpents, 
it is the institution of polygamy. The Jehovah of the Old 
Testament was a believer in that institution. 

Can we now say that the Bible is inspired in its morality? 
Consider for a moment the manner in which, under the 
direction of Jehovah, wars were waged. Remember the 
atrocities that were committed. Think of a war where 
everything was the food of the sword. Think for a 
moment of a deity capable of committing the crimes that are 
described and gloated over in the Old Testament. The 
civilized man has outgrown the sacred cruelties and absurdi 

There is still another side to this question. 

A few centuries ago nothing was more natural than the 
unnatural. Miracles were as plentiful as actual events. In 
those blessed days, that which actually occurred was not 
regarded of sufficient importance to be recorded. A relig 
ion without miracles would have excited derision. A 
creed that did not fill the horizon that did not account for 
everything that could not answer every question, would 
have been regarded as worthless. 

After the birth of Protestantism, it could not be admitted 
by the leaders of the Reformation that the Catholic Church 


still had the power of working miracles. If the Catholic 
Church was still in partnership with God, what excuse 
could have been made for the Reformation ? The Protes 
tants took the ground that the age of miracles had passed. 
This was to justify the new faith. But Protestants could 
not say that miracles had never been performed, because 
that would take the foundation not only from the Catholics 
but from themselves ; consequently they were compelled to 
admit that miracles were performed in the apostolic days, but 
to insist that, in their time, man must rely upon the facts in 
nature. Protestants were compelled to carry on two kinds of 
war ; they had to contend with those who insisted that mira 
cles had never been performed ; and in that argument they 
were forced to insist upon the necessity for miracles, on the 
probability that they were performed, and upon the truthful 
ness of the apostles. A moment afterward, they had to 
answer those who contended that miracles were performed 
at that time ; then they brought forward against the Catholics 
the same arguments that their first opponents had brought 
against them. 

This has made every Protestant brain "a house divided 
against itself." This planted in the Reformation the 
" irrepressible conflict." 

But we have learned more and more about what we call 
Nature about what we call facts. Slowly it dawned upon 
the mind that force is indestructible that we cannot 
imagine force as existing apart from matter that we can 
not even think of matter existing apart from force that we 
cannot by any possibility conceive of a cause without an 
effect, of an effect without a cause, of an effect that is not 
also a cause. We find no room between the links of cause 
and effect for a miracle. We now perceive that a miracle 
must be outside of Nature that it can have no father, no 
mother that is to say, that it is an impossibility. 

The intellectual world has abandoned the miraculous. 


Most ministers are now ashamed to defend a miracle. 
Some try to explain miracles, and yet, if a miracle is 
explained, it ceases to exist. Few congregations could 
keep from smiling were the minister to seriously assert the 
truth of the Old Testament miracles. 

Miracles must be given up. That field must be aban 
doned by the religious world. The evidence accumulates 
every day, in every possible direction in which the human 
mind can investigate, that the miraculous is simply the 

Confidence in the eternal constancy of Nature increases 
day by day. The scientist has perfect confidence in the 
attraction of gravitation in chemical affinities in the 
great fact of evolution, and feels absolutely certain that the 
nature of things will remain forever the same. 

We have at last ascertained that miracles can be per 
fectly understood ; that there is nothing mysterious about 
them ; that they are simply transparent falsehoods. 

The real miracles are the facts in nature. No one can 
explain the attraction of gravitation. No one knows why 
soil and rain and light become the womb of life. No one 
knows why grass grows, why water runs, or why the mag 
netic needle points to the north. The facts in nature are 
the eternal and the only mysteries. There is nothing 
strange about the miracles of superstition. They are noth 
ing but the mistakes of ignorance and fear, or falsehoods 
framed by those who wished to live on the labor of others. 

In our time the champions of Christianity, for the most 
part, take the exact ground occupied by the Deists. They 
dare not defend in the open field the mistakes, the cruelties, 
the immoralities and the absurdities of the Bible. They shun 
the Garden of Eden as though the serpent was still there. 
They have nothing to say about the fall of man. They 
are silent as to the laws upholding slavery and polygamy. 
They are ashamed to defend the miraculous. They talk 


about these things to Sunday schools and to the elderly 
members of their congregations ; but when doing battle for 
the faith, they misstate the position of their opponents and 
then insist that there must be a God, and that the soul is 

We may admit the existence of an infinite Being ; we 
may admit the immortality of the soul, and yet deny the 
inspiration - of the Scriptures and the divine origin of the 
Christian religion. These doctrines, or these dogmas, have 
nothing in common. The pagan world believed in God 
and taught the dogma of immortality. These ideas are far 
older than Christianity, and they have been almost uni 

Christianity asserts more than this. It is based upon the 
inspiration of the Bible, on the fall of man, on the atone 
ment, on the dogma of the Trinity, on the divinity of Jesus 
Christ, on his resurrection from the dead, on his ascension 
into heaven. 

Christianity teaches not simply the immortality of the 
soul not simply the immortality of joy but it teaches the 
immortality of pain, the eternity of sorrow. It insists that 
evil, that wickedness, that immorality and that every form 
of vice are and must be perpetuated forever. It believes in 
immortal convicts, in eternal imprisonment and in a world 
of unending pain. It has a serpent for every breast and a 
curse for nearly every soul. This doctrine is called the 
dearest hope of the human heart, and he who attacks it is 
denounced as the most infamous of men. 

Let us see what the church, within a few years, has been 
compelled substantially to abandon, that is to say, what it 
is now almost ashamed to defend. 

First, the astronomy of the sacred Scriptures ; second, the 
geology ; third, the account given of the origin of man ; 
fourth, the doctrine of original sin, the fall of the human 
race ; fifth, the mathematical contradiction known as the 


Trinity ; sixth, the atonement because it was only on the 
ground that man is accountable for the sin of another, that 
he could be justified by reason of the righteousness of 
another ; seventh, that the miraculous is either the misunder 
stood or the impossible; eighth, that the Bible is not in 
spired in its morality, for the reason that slavery is not 
moral, that polygamy is not good, that wars of extermin 
ation are not merciful, and that nothing can be more im 
moral than to punish the innocent on account of the sins of 
the guilty ; and ninth, the divinity of Christ. 

All this must be given up by the really intelligent, by 
those not afraid to think, by those who have the courage 
of their convictions and the candor to express their 
thoughts. What then is left ? 

Let me tell you. Everything in the Bible that is true, is 
left ; it still remains and is still of value. It cannot be said 
too often that the truth needs no inspiration ; neither can 
it be said too often that inspiration cannot help falsehood. 
Every good and noble sentiment uttered in the Bible is 
still good and noble. Every fact remains. All that is 
good in the Sermon on the Mount is retained. The Lord's 
Prayer is not affected. The grandeur of self-denial, the 
nobility of forgiveness, and the ineffable splendor of mercy 
are with us still. And besides, there remains the great hope 
for all the human race. 

What is lost ? All the mistakes, all the falsehoods, all 
the absurdities, all the cruelties and all the curses contained 
in the Scriptures. We have almost lost the " hope " of 
eternal pain the " consolation " of perdition ; and in time 
we shall lose the frightful shadow that has fallen upon so 
many hearts, that has darkened so many lives. 

The great trouble for many years has been, and still is, 
that the clergy are not quite candid. They are disposed to 
defend the old creed. They have been educated in the uni 
versities of the Sacred Mistake universities that Bruno 


would call " the widows of true learning." They have been 
taught to measure with a false standard ; they have weighed 
with inaccurate scales. In youth, they became convinced 
of the truth of the creed. This was impressed upon them 
by the solemnity of professors who spoke in tones of awe. 
The enthusiasm of life's morning was misdirected. They 
went out into the world knowing nothing of value. They 
preached a creed outgrown. Having been for so many 
years entirely certain of their position, they met doubt with 
a spirit of irritation afterward with hatred. They are 
hardly courageous enough to admit that they are wrong. 

Once the pulpit was the leader it spoke with authority. 
By its side was the sword of the state, with the hilt toward 
its hand. Now it is apologized for it carries a weight. 
It is now like a living man to whom has been chained a 
corpse. It cannot defend the old, and it has not accepted 
the new. In some strange way it imagines that morality 
cannot live except in partnership with the sanctified follies 
and falsehoods of the past. 

The old creeds cannot be defended by argument. They 
are not within the circumference of reason they are not 
embraced in any of the facts within the experience of man. 
All the subterfuges have been exposed ; all the excuses 
have been shown to be shallow, and at last the church must 
meet, and fairly meet, the objections of our time. 

Solemnity is no longer an argument. Falsehood is no 
longer sacred. People are not willing to admit that mis 
takes are divine. Truth is more important than belief 
far better than creeds, vastly more useful than superstitions. 
The church must accept the truths of the present, must ad 
mit the demonstrations of science, or take its place in the 
mental museums with the fossils and monstrosities of the 

The time for personalities has passed ; these questions 
cannot be determined by ascertaining the character of the 


disputants ; epithets are no longer regarded as arguments ; 
the curse of the church produces laughter ; theological 
slander is no longer a weapon ; argument must be answered 
with argument, and the church must appeal to reason, and 
by that standard it must stand or fall. The theories and 
discoveries of Darwin cannot be answered by the resolu 
tions of synods, or by quotations from the Old Testament. 

The world has advanced. The Bible has remained the 
same. We must go back to the book it cannot come to 
us or we must leave it forever. In order to remain 
orthodox we must forget the discoveries, the inventions, 
the intellectual efforts of many centuries ; we must go back 
until our knowledge or rather our ignorance will har 
monize with the barbaric creeds. 

It is not pretended that all the creeds have not been 
naturally produced. It is admitted that under the same 
circumstances the same religions would again ensnare the 
human race. It is also admitted that under the same cir 
cumstances the same efforts would be made by the great 
and intellectual of every age to break the chains of super 

There is no necessity of attacking people we should 
combat error. We should hate hypocrisy, but not the 
hypocrite larceny, but not the thief superstition, but not 
its victim. We should do all within our power to inform, 
to educate, and to benefit our fellow-men. 

There is no elevating power in hatred. There is no 
reformation in punishment. The soul grows greater and 
grander in the air of kindness, in the sunlight of intelligence. 

We must rely upon the evidence of our senses, upon the 
conclusions of our reason. 

For many centuries the church has insisted that man is 
totally depraved, that he is naturally wicked, that all of his 
natural desires are contrary to the will of God. Only a 
few years ago it was solemnly asserted that our senses were 


originally honest, true and faithful, but having been de 
bauched by original sin, were now cheats and liars ; that 
they constantly deceived and misled the soul; that they 
were traps and snares ; that no man could be safe who re 
lied upon his senses, or upon his reason ; he must simply 
rely upon faith ; in other words, that the only way for man 
to really see was to put out his eyes. 

There has been a rapid improvement in the intellectual 
world. The improvement has been slow in the realm of 
religion, for the reason that religion was hedged about, 
defended and barricaded by fear, by prejudice and by law. 
It was considered sacred. It was illegal to call its truth in 
question. Whoever disputed the priest became a criminal ; 
whoever demanded a reason, or an explanation, became a 
blasphemer, a scoffer, a moral leper. 

The church defended its mistakes by every means within 
its power. 

But in spite of all this there has been advancement, and 
there are enough of the orthodox clergy left to make it 
possible for us to measure the distance that has been 
traveled by sensible people. 

The world is beginning to see that a minister should be 
a teacher, and that " he should not endeavor to inculcate a 
particular system of dogmas, but to prepare his hearers 
for exercising their own judgments." 

As a last resource, the orthodox tell the thoughtful that 
they are not " spiritual " that they are " of the earth, earthy " 
that they cannot perceive that which is spiritual. They 
insist that "God is a spirit, and must be worshiped in 

But let me ask, What is it to be spiritual? In order to 
be really spiritual, must a man sacrifice this world for the 
sake of another? Were the selfish hermits, who deserted 
their wives and children for the miserable purpose of sav 
ing their own little souls, spiritual ? Were those who put 


their fellow-men in dungeons, or burned them at the 
on account of a difference of opinion, all spiritual people ? 
Did John Calviti give evidence of his spirituality by burn 
ing Servetus? Were they spiritual people who invented 
and used instruments of torture who denied the liberty of 
thought and expression who waged wars for the propaga 
tion of the faith ? Were they spiritual people who insisted 
that Infinite Love could punish his poor, ignorant children 
forever ? Is it necessary to believe in eternal torment to 
understand the meaning of the word spiritual ? Is it nec 
essary to hate those who disagree with you, and to calum 
niate those whose argument you cannot answer, in order to 
be spiritual ? Must you hold a demonstrated fact in con 
tempt ; must you deny or avoid what you know to be true, 
in order to substantiate the fact that you are spiritual ? 

What is it to be spiritual ? Is the man spiritual who 
searches for the truth who lives in accordance with his 
highest ideal who loves his wife and children who dis 
charges his obligations who makes a happy fireside for 
the ones he loves who succors the oppressed who gives 
his honest opinions who is guided by principle who is 
merciful and just ? 

Is the man spiritual who loves the beautiful who is 
thrilled by music, and touched to tears in the presence of 
the sublime, the heroic and the self-denying ? Is the man 
spiritual who endeavors by thought and deed to ennoble 
the human race ? 

The defenders of the orthodox faith, by this time, should 
know that the foundations are insecure. 

They should have the courage to defend, or the candor 
to abandon. If the Bible is an inspired book, it ought to 
be true. Its defenders must admit that Jehovah knew the 
facts not only about the earth, but about the stars, and that 
the Creator of the universe knew all about geology and 
astronomy even four thousand years ago. 


The champions of Christianity must show that the 
Bible tells the truth about the creation of man, the Garden 
of Eden, the temptation, the fall and the flood. They must 
take the ground that the sacred book is historically correct; 
that the events related really happened ; that the miracles 
were actually performed ; that the laws promulgated from 
Sinai were and are wise and just, and that nothing is up 
held, commanded, indorsed, or in any way approved or 
sustained that is not absolutely right. In other words, if 
they insist that a being of infinite goodness and intel 
ligence is the author of the Bible, they must be ready to 
show that it is absolutel) r perfect. They must defend its 
astronomy, geology, history, miracle and morality. 

If the Bible is true, man is a special creation, and if man 
is a special creation, millions of facts must have conspired, 
millions of ages ago, to deceive the scientific world of to-day. 

If the Bible is true, slavery is right, and the world should 
go back to the barbarism of the lash and chain. If the 
Bible is true, polygamy is the highest form of virtue. If 
the Bible is true, nature has a master, and the miraculous 
is independent of and superior to cause and effect. If the 
Bible is true, most of the children of men are destined to 
suffer eternal pain. If the Bible is true, the science known 
as astronomy is a collection of mistakes the telescope is a 
false witness, and light is a luminous liar. If the Bible is 
true, the science known as geology is false and every fossil 
is a petrified perjurer. 

The defenders of orthodox creeds should have the cour 
age to candidly answer at least two questions : First, Is the 
Bible inspired ? Second, Is the Bible true ? And when 
they answer these questions, they should remember that if 
the Bible is true, it needs no inspiration, and that if not 

true, inspiration Can do it no gOOd. North American Review, 
August, 1888. 



"With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls." 

'T'HEsame rules or laws of probability must govern in relig- 
1 ious questions as in others. There is no subject and 
can be none concerning which any human being is under any 
obligation to believe without evidence. Neither is there any 
intelligent being who can, by any possibility, be flattered by 
the exercise of ignorant credulity. The man who, without 
prejudice, reads and understands the Old and New Testaments 
will cease to be an orthodox Christian. The intelligent man 
who investigates the religion of any country without fear and 
without prejudice will not and cannot be a believer. 

Most people, after arriving at the conclusion that Jehovah is 
not God, that the Bible is not an inspired book, and that the 
Christian religion, like other religions, is the creation of man, 
usually say : ' ' There must be a Supreme Being, but Jehovah 
is not his name, and the Bible is not his word. There must be 
somewhere an over-ruling Providence or Power." 

This position is just as untenable as the other. He who can 
not harmonize the cruelties of the Bible with the goodness of 
Jehovah, cannot harmonize the cruelties of Nature with the 
goodness and wisdom of a supposed Deity. He will find it 
impossible to account for pestilence and famine, for earthquake 
and storm, for slavery, for the triumph of the strong over the 
weak, for the countless victories of injustice. He will find it 
impossible to account for martyrs for the burning of the good, 



the noble, the loving, by the ignorant, the malicious, and the 

How can the Deist satisfactorily account for the sufferings of 
women and children ? In what way will he justify religious 
persecution the flame and sword of religious hatred ? Why 
did his God sit idly on his throne and allow his enemies to wet 
their swords in the blood of his friends ? Why did he not 
answer the prayers of the imprisoned, of the helpless ? And 
when he heard the lash upon the naked back of the slave, why 
did he not also hear the prayer of the slave ? And when chil 
dren were sold from the breasts of mothers, why was he deaf 
to the mother's cry? 

It seems to me that the man who knows the limitations of 
the mind, who gives the proper value to human testimony, is 
necessarily an Agnostic. He gives up the hope of ascertaining 
first or final causes, of comprehending the supernatural, or of 
conceiving of an infinite personality. From out the words 
Creator, Preserver, and Providence, all meaning falls. 

The mind of man pursues the path of least resistance, and 
the conclusions arrived at by the individual depend upon the 
nature and structure of his mind, on his experience, on heredi 
tary drifts and tendencies, and on the countless things that 
constitute the difference in minds. One man, finding himself 
in the midst of mysterious phenomena, comes to the conclusion 
that all is the result of design ; that back of all things is an 
infinite personality that is to say, an infinite man ; and he 
accounts for all that is by simply saying that the universe was 
created and set in motion by this infinite personality, and that 
it is miraculously and supernaturally governed and preserved. 
This man sees with perfect clearness that matter could not 
create itself, and therefore he imagines a creator of matter. 
He is perfectly satisfied that there is design in the world, and 
that consequently there must have been a designer. It does 


not occur to him that it is necessary to account for the exist 
ence of an infinite personality. He is perfectly certain that 
there can be no design without a designer, and he is equally 
certain that there can be a designer who was not designed. 
The absurdity becomes so great that it takes the place of a 
demonstration. He takes it for granted that matter was 
created and that its creator was not. He assumes that a creator 
existed from eternity, without cause, and created what is called 
matter out of nothing ; or, whereas there was nothing, this 
creator made the something that we call substance. 

Is it possible for the human mind to conceive of an infinite 
personality ? Can it imagine a beginningless being, infinitely 
powerful and intelligent ? If such a being existed, then there 
must have been an eternity during which nothing did exist 
except this being ; because, if the Universe was created, there 
must have been a time when it was not, and back of that there 
must have been an eternity during which nothing but an 
infinite personality existed. Is it possible to imagine an infi 
nite intelligence dwelling for an eternity in infinite nothing ? 
How could such a being be intelligent ? What was there to 
be intelligent about? There was but one thing to know, 
namely, that there was nothing except this being. How could 
such a being be powerful? There was nothing to exercise 
force upon. There was nothing in the universe to suggest an 
idea. Relations could not exist except the relation between 
infinite intelligence and infinite nothing. 

The next great difficulty is the act of creation. My mind is 
so that I cannot conceive of something being created out of 
nothing. Neither can I conceive of anything being created 
without a cause. Let me go one step further. It is just as 
difficult to imagine something being created with, as without, 
a cause. To postulate a cause does not in the least lessen the 
difficulty. In spite of all, this lever remains without a fulcrum. 


We cannot conceive of the destruction of substance. The 
stone can be crushed to powder, and the powder can be ground 
to such a fineness that the atoms can only be distinguished by 
the most powerful microscope, and we can then imagine these 
atoms being divided and subdivided again and again and 
again ; but it is impossible for us to conceive of the annihilation 
of the least possible imaginable fragment of the least atom of 
which we can think. Consequently the mind can imagine 
neither creation nor destruction. From this point it is very 
easy to reach the generalization that the indestructible could 
not have been created. 

These questions, however, will be answered by each individual 
according to the structure of his mind, according to his ex 
perience, according to his habits of thought, and according to 
his intelligence or his ignorance, his prejudice or his genius. 

Probably a very large majority of mankind believe in the 
existence of supernatural beings, and a majority of what are 
known as the civilized nations, in an infinite personality. In 
the realm of thought majorities do not determine. Each brain 
is a kingdom, each mind is a sovereign. 

The universality of a belief does not even tend to prove its 
truth. A large majority of mankind have believed in what is 
known as God, and an equally large majority have as implicitly 
believed in what is known as the Devil. These beings have 
been inferred from phenomena. They were produced for the 
most part by ignorance, by fear, and by selfishness. Man in 
all ages has endeavored to account for the mysteries of life and 
death, of substance, offeree, for the ebb and flow of things, for 
earth and star. The savage, dwelling in his cave, subsisting 
on roots and reptiles, or on beasts that could be slain with 
club and stone, surrounded by countless objects of terror, 
standing by rivers, so far as he knew, without source or end, 
by seas with but one shore, the prey of beasts mightier than 


himself, of diseases strange and fierce, trembling at the voice 
of thunder, blinded by the lightning, feeling the earth shake 
beneath him, seeing the sky lurid with the volcano's glare, 
fell prostrate and begged for the protection of the Unknown. 

In the long night of savagery, in the midst of pestilence and 
famine, through the long and dreary winters, crouched in dens 
of darkness, the seeds of superstition were sown in the brain of 
man. The savage believed, and thoroughly believed, that 
everything happened in reference to him ; that he by his actions 
could excite the anger, or by his worship placate the wrath, of 
the Unseen. He resorted to flattery and prayer. To the best 
of his ability he put in stone, or rudely carved in wood, his 
idea of this god. For this idol he built a hut, a hovel, and at 
last a cathedral. Before these images he bowed, and at these 
shrines, whereon he lavished his wealth, he sought protection 
for himself and for the ones he loved. The few took advantage 
of the ignorant many. They pretended to have received mes 
sages from the Unknown. They stood between the helpless 
multitude and the gods. They were the carriers of flags of 
truce. At the court of heaven they presented the cause of 
man, and upon the labor of the deceived they lived. 

The Christian of to-day wonders at the savage who bowed 
before his idol ; and yet it must be confessed that the god of 
stone answered prayer and protected his worshipers precisely 
as the Christian's God answers prayer and protects his wor 
shipers to-day. 

My mind is so that it is forced to the conclusion that sub 
stance is eternal ; that the universe was without beginning and 
will be without end ; that it is the one eternal existence ; that 
relations are transient and evanescent ; that organisms are pro 
duced and vanish ; that forms change, but that the substance 
of things is from eternity to eternity. It may be that planets 
are born and die, that constellations will fade from the infinite 


spaces, that countless suns will be quenched, but the substance 
will remain. 

The questions of origin and destiny seem to be beyond the 
powers of the human mind. 

Heredity is on the side of superstition. All our ignorance 
pleads for the old. In most men there is a feeling that their 
ancestors were exceedingly good and brave and wise, and that 
in all things pertaining to religion their conclusions should be 
followed. They believe that their fathers and mothers were of 
the best, and that that which satisfied them should satisfy their 
children. With a feeling of reverence they say that the religion 
of their mother is good enough and pure enough and reasonable 
enough for them. In this way the love of parents and the 
reverence for ancestors have unconsciously bribed the reason 
and put out, or rendered exceedingly dim, the eyes of the 

There is a kind of longing in the heart of the old to live and 
die where their parents lived and died a tendency to go back 
to the homes of their youth. Around the old oak of manhood 
grow and cling these vines. Yet it will hardly do to say that 
the religion of my mother is good enough for me, any more 
than to say the geology or the astronomy or the philosophy 
of my mother is good enough for me. Every human being is 
entitled to the best he can obtain ; and if there has been the 
slightest improvement on the religion of the mother, the son is 
entitled to that improvement, and he should not deprive himself 
of that advantage by the mistaken idea that he owes it to his 
mother to perpetuate, in a reverential way, her ignorant mis 

If we are to follow the religion of our fathers and mothers, 
our fathers and mothers should have followed the religion of 
theirs. Had this been done, there could have been no im 
provement in the world of thought. The first religion would 


have been the last, and the child would have died as ignorant 
as the mother. Progress would have been impossible, and on 
the graves of ancestors would have been sacrificed the intelli 
gence of mankind. 

We know, too, that there has been the religion of the tribe, 
of the community, and of the nation, and that there has been a 
feeling that it was the duty of every member of the tribe or 
community, and of every citizen of the nation, to insist upon 
it that the religion of that tribe, of that community, of that 
nation, was better than that of any other. We know that all 
the prejudices against other religions, and all the egotism of 
nation and tribe, were in favor of the local superstition. Each 
citizen was patriotic enough to denounce the religions of other 
nations and to stand firmly by his own. And there is this 
peculiarity about man : he can see the absurdities of other 
religions while blinded to those of his own. The Christian can 
see clearly enough that Mohammed was an impostor. He is 
sure of it, because the people of Mecca who were acquainted 
with him declared that he was no prophet ; and this declaration 
is received by Christians as a demonstration that Mohammed 
was not inspired. Yet these same Christians admit that the 
people of Jerusalem who were acquainted with Christ rejected 
him ; and this rejection they take as proof positive that Christ 
was the Son of God. 

The average man adopts the religion of his country, or, 
rather, the religion of his country adopts him. He is domin 
ated by the egotism of race, the arrogance of nation, and the 
prejudice called patriotism. He does not reason he feels. 
He does not investigate he believes. To him the religions 
of other nations are absurd and infamous, and their gods mon 
sters of ignorance and cruelty. In every country this average 
man is taught, first, that there is a supreme being ; second, 
that he has made known his will ; third, that he will reward 


the true believer ; fourth, that he will punish the unbeliever, 
the scoffer, and the blasphemer ; fifth, that certain ceremonies 
are pleasing to this god ; sixth, that he has established a 
church ; and seventh, that priests are his representatives on 
earth. And the average man has no difficulty in determining 
that the God of his nation is the true God ; that the will of 
this true God is contained in the sacred scriptures of his nation ; 
that he is one of the true believers, and that the people of other 
nations that is, believing other religions are scoffers ; that 
the only true church is the one to which he belongs ; and that 
the priests of his country are the only ones who have had or 
ever will have the slightest influence with this true God. All 
these absurdities to the average man seem self-evident propo 
sitions ; and so he holds all other creeds in scorn, and con 
gratulates himself that he is a favorite of the one true God. 

If the average Christian had been born in Turkey, he would 
have been a Mohammedan ; and if the average Mohammedan 
had been born in New England and educated at Andover, he 
would have regarded the damnation of the heathen as the 
" tidings of great joy." 

Nations have eccentricities, peculiarities, and hallucinations, 
and these find expression in their laws, customs, ceremonies, 
morals, and religions. And these are in great part determined 
by soil, climate, and the countless circumstances that mould 
and dominate the lives and habits of insects, individuals, and 
nations. The average man believes implicitly in the religion 
of his country, because he knows nothing of any other and has 
no desire to know. It fits him because he has been deformed 
to fit it, and he regards this fact of fit as an evidence of its 
inspired truth. 

Has a man the right to examine, to investigate, the religion 
of his own country the religion of his father and mother ? 
Christians admit that the citizens of all countries not Christian 


have not only this right, but that it is their solemn duty. 
Thousands of missionaries are sent to heathen countries to 
persuade the believers in other religions not only to examine 
their superstitions, but to renounce them, and to adopt those 
of the missionaries. It is the duty of a heathen to disregard 
the religion of his country and to hold in contempt the creed 
of his father and of his mother. If the citizens of heathen 
nations have the right to examine the foundations of their 
religion, it would seem that the citizens of Christian nations 
have the same right. Christians, however, go further than 
this ; they say to the heathen : You must examine your re 
ligion, and not only so, but you must reject it ; and, unless 
you do reject it, and, in addition to such rejection, adopt ours, 
you will be eternally damned. Then these same Christians 
say to the inhabitants of a Christian country : You must not 
examine ; you must not investigate ; but whether you examine 
or not, you must believe, or you will be eternally damned. 

If there be one true religion, how is it possible to ascertain 
which of all the religions the true one is ? There is but one 
way. We must impartially examine the claims of all. The 
right to examine involves the necessity to accept or reject. 
Understand me, not the right to accept or reject, but the 
necessity. From this conclusion there is no possible escape. 
If, then, we have the right to examine, we have the right to 
tell the conclusion reached. Christians have examined other 
religions somewhat, and they have expressed their opinion 
with the utmost freedom that is to say, they have denounced 
them all as false and fraudulent ; have called their gods idols 
and myths, and their priests impostors. 

The Christian does not deem it worth while to read the 
Koran. Probably not one Christian in a thousand ever saw a 
copy of that book. And yet all Christians are perfectly satis 
fied that th K oran is the, work of an impostor. No Presby- 


terian thinks it is worth his while to examine the religious 
systems of India ; he knows that the Brahmins are mistaken, 
and that all their miracles are falsehoods. No Methodist cares 
to read the life of Buddha, and no Baptist will waste his time 
studying the ethics of Confucius. Christians of every sort and 
kind take it for granted that there is only one true religion, and 
that all except Christianity are absolutely without foundation. 
The Christian world believes that all the prayers of India are 
unanswered ; that all the sacrifices upon the countless altars of 
Egypt, of Greece, and of Rome were without effect. They 
believe that all these mighty nations worshiped their gods in 
vain ; that their priests were deceivers or deceived ; that their 
ceremonies were wicked or meaningless ; that their temples 
were built by ignorance and fraud, and that no God heard their 
songs of praise, their cries of despair, their words of thankful 
ness ; that on account of their religion no pestilence was 
stayed ; that the earthquake and volcano, the flood and storm 
went on their ways of death while the real God looked on 
and laughed at their calamities and mocked at their fears. 

We find now that the prosperity of nations has depended, 
not upon their religion, not upon the goodness or providence 
of some god, but on soil and climate and commerce, upon the 
ingenuity, industry, and courage of the people, upon the de 
velopment of the mind, on the spread of education, on the 
liberty of thought and action; and that in this mighty pan 
orama of national life, reason has built and superstition has 

Being satisfied that all believe precisely as they must, and 
that religions have been naturally produced, I have neither 
praise nor blame for any man. Good men have had bad 
creeds, and bad men have had good ones. Some of the noblest 
of the human race have fought and died for the wrong. The 
brain of man has been the trysting-place of contradictions. 


Passion often masters reason, and ' ' the state of man, like 
to a little kingdom, suffers then the nature of an insurrec 

In the discussion of theological or religious questions, we 
have almost passed the personal phase, and we are now 
weighing arguments instead of exchanging epithets and curses. 
They who really seek for truth must be the best of friends. 
Each knows that his desire can never take the place of fact, and 
that, next to finding truth, the greatest honor must be won in 
honest search. 

We see that many ships are driven in many ways by the 
same wind. So men, reading the same book, write many 
creeds and lay out many roads to heaven. To the best of my 
ability, I have examined the religions of many countries and 
the creeds of many sects. They are much alike, and the tes 
timony by which they are substantiated is of such a character 
that to those who believe is promised an eternal reward. In 
all the sacred books there are some truths, some rays of light, 
some words of love and hope. The face of savagery is some 
times softened by a smile the human triumphs, and the heart 
breaks into song. But in these books are also found the 
words of fear and hate, and from their pages crawl serpents 
that coil and hiss in all the paths of men. 

For my part, I prefer the books that inspiration has not 
claimed. Such is the nature of my brain that Shakespeare 
gives me greater joy than all the prophets of the ancient world. 
There are thoughts that satisfy the hunger of the mind. I am 
convinced that Humboldt knew more of geology than the au 
thor of Genesis ; that Darwin was a greater naturalist than he 
who told the story of the flood ; that Laplace was better ac 
quainted with the habits of the sun and moon than Joshua 
could liave been, and that Haeckel, Huxley, and Tyndall know 
more about the earth and stars, about the history of man, the 


philosophy of life more that is of use, ten thousand times 
than all the writers of the sacred books. 

I believe in the religion of reason the gospel of this world ; 
in the development of the mind, in the accumulation of intel 
lectual wealth, to the end that man may free himself from su 
perstitious fear, to the end that he may take advantage of the 
forces of nature to feed and clothe the world. 

Let us be honest with ourselves. In the presence of count 
less mysteries ; standing beneath the boundless heaven sown 
thick with constellations ; knowing that each grain of sand, 
each leaf, each blade of grass, asks of every mind the answer- 
less question ; knowing that the simplest thing defies solution ; 
feeling that we deal with the superficial and the relative, and 
that we are forever eluded by the real, the absolute, let us 
admit the limitations of our minds, and let us have the cour 
age and the candor to say : We do not know. 

North American Review, December, 1889. 


THE Christian religion rests on miracles. There are no 
miracles in the realm of science. The real philosopher 
does not seek to excite wonder, but to make that plain which 
was wonderful. He does not endeavor to astonish, but to 
enlighten. He is perfectly confident that there are no miracles 
in nature. He knows that the mathematical expression of the 
same relations, contents, areas, numbers and proportions must 
forever remain the same. He knows that there are no miracles 
in chemistry ; that the attractions and repulsions, the loves 
and hatreds, of atoms are constant. Under like conditions, he 
is certain that like will always happen ; that the product ever 
has been and forever will be the same ; that the atoms or par 
ticles unite in definite, unvarying proportions, so many of 
one kind mix, mingle, and harmonize with just so many of an 
other, and the surplus will be forever cast out. There are no 
exceptions. Substances are always true to their natures. They 
have no caprices, no prejudices, that can vary or control their 
action. They are " the same yesterday, to-day, and forever." 

In this fixedness, this constancy, this eternal integrity, the 
intelligent man has absolute confidence. It is useless to tell 
him that there was a time when fire would not consume the 
combustible, when water would not flow in obedience to the 
attraction of gravitation, or that there ever was a fragment of 
a moment during which substance had no weight. 

Credulity should be the servant of intelligence. The igno- 



rant have not credulity enough to believe the actual, because 
the actual appears to be contrary to the evidence of their 
senses. To them it is plain that the sun rises and sets, and 
they have not credulity enough to believe in the rotary motion 
of the earth that is to say, they have not intelligence enough 
to comprehend the absurdities involved in their belief, and the 
perfect harmony between the rotation of the earth and all 
known facts. They trust their eyes, not their reason. Igno 
rance has always been and always will be at the mercy of 
appearance. Credulity, as a rule, believes everything except 
the truth. The semi-civilized believe in astrology, but who 
could convince them of the vastness of astronomical spaces, 
the speed of light, or the magnitude and number of suns and 
constellations? If Hermann, the magician, and Humboldt, the 
philosopher, could have appeared before savages, which would 
have been regarded as a god ? 

When men knew nothing of mechanics, nothing of the corre 
lation of force, and of its indestructibility, they were believers 
in perpetual motion. So when chemistry was a kind of sleight- 
of-hand, or necromancy, something accomplished by the aid 
of the supernatural, people talked about the transmutation of 
metals, the universal solvent, and the philosopher's stone. 
Perpetual motion would be a mechanical miracle ; and the 
transmutation of metals would be a miracle in chemistry ; and 
if we could make the result of multiplying two by two five, 
that would be a miracle in mathematics. No one expects to 
find a circle the diameter of which is just one fourth of the cir 
cumference. If one could find such a circle, then there would 
be a miracle in geometry. 

In other words, there are no miracles in any science. The 
moment we understand a question or subject, the miraculous 
necessarily disappears. If anything actually happens in the 
chemical world, it will, under like conditions, happen agaia 


No one need take an account of this result from the mouths of 
others : all can try the experiment for themselves. There is 
no caprice, and no accident. 

It is admitted, at least by the Protestant world, that the age 
of miracles has passed away, and, consequently, miracles can 
not at present be established by miracles ; they must be sub 
stantiated by the testimony of witnesses who are said by certain 
writers or, rather, by uncertain writers to have lived several 
centuries ago ; and this testimony is given to us, not by the 
witnesses themselves, not by persons who say that they talked 
with those witnesses, but by unknown persons who did not 
give the sources of their information. 

The question is : Can miracles be established except by 
miracles ? We know that the writers may have been mistaken. 
It is possible that they may have manufactured these accounts 
themselves. The witnesses may have told what they knew to 
be untrue, or they may have been honestly deceived, or the 
stories may have been true as at first told. Imagination may 
have added greatly to them, so that after several centuries of 
accretion a very simple truth was changed to a miracle. 

We must admit that all probabilities must be against mira 
cles, for the reason that that which is probable cannot by any 
possibility be a miracle. Neither the probable nor the possible, 
so far as man is concerned, can be miraculous. The proba 
bility therefore says that the writers and witnesses were either 
mistaken or dishonest. 

We must admit that we have never seen a miracle ourselves, 
and we must admit that, according to our experience, there 
are no miracles. If we have mingled with the world, we are 
compelled to say that we have known a vast number of persons 
including ourselves to be mistaken, and many others who 
have failed to tell the exact truth. The probabilities are on 
the side of our experience, and, consequently, against the 


miraculous; and it is a necessity that the free mind moves 
along the path of least resistance. 

The effect of testimony depends on the intelligence and 
honesty of the witness and the intelligence of him who weighs. 
A man living in a community where the supernatural is ex 
pected, where the miraculous is supposed to be of almost daily 
occurrence, will, as a rule, believe that all wonderful things are 
the result of supernatural agencies. He will expect providen 
tial interference, and, as a consequence, his mind will pursue 
the path of least resistance, and will account for all phenomena 
by what to him is the easiest method. Such people, with the 
best intentions, honestly bear false witness. They have been 
imposed upon by appearances, and are victims of delusion and 

In an age when reading and writing were substantially un 
known, and when history itself was but the vaguest hearsay 
handed down from dotage to infancy, nothing was rescued from 
oblivion except the wonderful, the miraculous. The more 
marvelous the story, the greater the interest excited. Narra 
tors and hearers were alike ignorant and alike honest. At that 
time nothing was known, nothing suspected, of the orderly 
course of nature of the unbroken and unbreakable chain of 
causes and effects. The world was governed by caprice. 
Everything was at the mercy of a being, or beings, who were 
themselves controlled by the same passions that dominated 
man. Fragments of facts were taken for the whole, and the 
deductions drawn were honest and monstrous. 

It is probably certain that all of the religions of the world 
have been believed, and that all the miracles have found cre 
dence in countless brains ; otherwise they could not have been 
perpetuated. They were not all born of cunning. Those who 
told were as honest as those who heard. This being so, noth 
ing has been too absurd for human credence. 


All religions, so far as I know, claim to have been miracu 
lously founded, miraculously preserved, and miraculously 
propagated. The priests of all claimed to have messages from 
God, and claimed to have a certain authority, and the miracu 
lous has always been appealed to for the purpose of substanti 
ating the message and the authority. 

If men believe in the supernatural, they will account for all 
phenomena by an appeal to supernatural means or power. 
We know that formerly everything was accounted for in this 
way except some few simple things with which man thought 
he was perfectly acquainted. After a time men found that 
under like conditions like would happen, and as to those things 
the supposition of supernatural interference was abandoned ; 
but that interference was still active as to all the unknown 
world. In other words, as the circle of man's knowledge 
grew, supernatural interference withdrew and was active only 
just beyond the horizon of the known. 

Now, there are some believers in universal special providence 
that is, men who believe in perpetual interference by a super 
natural power, this interference being for the purpose of pun 
ishing or rewarding, of destroying or preserving, individuals 
and nations. 

Others have abandoned the idea of providence in ordinary 
matters, but still believe that God interferes on great occasions 
and at critical moments, especially in the affairs of nations, and 
that his presence is manifest in great disasters. This is the 
compromise position. These people believe that an infinite 
being made the universe and impressed upon it what they are 
pleased to call "laws," and then left it to run in accordance 
with those laws and forces ; that as a rule it works well, and 
that the divine maker interferes only in cases of accident, or at 
moments when the machine fails to accomplish the original 


There are others who take the ground that all is natural ; 
that there never has been, never will be, never can be any 
interference from without, for the reason that nature embraces 
all, and that there can be no without or beyond. 

The first class are Theists pure and simple ; the second are 
Theists as to the unknown, Naturalists as to the known ; and 
the third are Naturalists without a touch or taint of superstition. 

What can the evidence of the first class be worth ? This 
question is answered by reading the history of those nations 
that believed thoroughly and implicitly in the supernatural. 
There is no conceivable absurdity that was not established by 
their testimony. Every law or every fact in nature was vio 
lated. Children were born without parents ; men lived for 
thousands of years ; others subsisted without food, without 
sleep ; thousands and thousands were possessed with evil 
spirits controlled by ghosts and ghouls ; thousands confessed 
themselves guilty of impossible offences, and in courts, with 
the most solemn forms, impossibilities were substantiated by 
the oaths, affirmations, and confessions of men, women, and 

These delusions were not confined to ascetics and peasants, 
but they took possession of nobles and kings ; of people who 
were at that time called intelligent ; of the then educated. No 
one denied these wonders, for the reason that denial was a 
crime punishable generally with death. Societies, nations, 
became insane victims of ignorance, of dreams, and, above 
all, of fears. Under these conditions human testimony is not 
and cannot be of the slightest value. We now know that 
nearly all of the history of the world is false, and we know this 
because we have arrived at that phase or point of intellectual 
development where and when we know that effects must have 
causes, that everything is naturally produced, and that, conse 
quently, no nation could ever have been great, powerful, and 


rich unless it had the soil, the people, the intelligence, and the 
commerce. Weighed in these scales, nearly all histories are 
found to be fictions. 

The same is true of religions. Every intelligent American 
is satisfied that the religions of India, of Egypt, of Greece and 
Rome, of the Aztecs, were and are false, and that all the mira 
cles on which they rest are mistakes. Our religion alone is 
excepted. Every intelligent Hindoo discards all religions and 
all miracles except his own. The question is : When will peo 
ple see the defects in their own theology as clearly as they 
perceive the same defects in every other ? 

All the so-called false religions were substantiated by mira 
cles, by signs and wonders, by prophets and martyrs, precisely 
as our own. Our witnesses are no better than theirs, and our 
success is no greater. If their miracles were false, ours cannot 
be true. Nature was the same in India and in Palestine. 

One of the corner-stones of Christianity is the miracle of 
inspiration, and this same miracle lies at the foundation of all 
religions. How can the fact of inspiration be established? 
How could even the inspired man know that he was inspired ? 
If he was influenced to write, and did write, and did express 
thoughts and facts that to him were absolutely new, on subjects 
about which he had previously known nothing, how could he 
know that he had been influenced by an infinite being ? And 
if he could know, how could he convince others ? 

What is meant by inspiration ? Did the one inspired set 
down only the thoughts of a supernatural being? Was he 
simply an instrument, or did his personality color the message 
received and given ? Did he mix his ignorance with the divine 
information, his prejudices and hatreds with the love and jus 
tice of the Deity ? If God told him not to eat the flesh of any 
beast that dieth of itself, did the same infinite being also tell 
him to sell this meat to the stranger within his gates ? 


A man says that he is inspired that God appeared to him 
in a dream, and told him certain things. Now, the things said 
to have been communicated may have been good and wise ; 
but will the fact that the communication is good or wise estab 
lish the inspiration ? If, on the other hand, the communication 
is absurd or wicked, will that conclusively show that the man 
was not inspired ? Must we judge from the communication ? 
In other words, is our reason to be the final standard ? 

How could the inspired man know that the communication 
was received from God ? If God in reality should appear to a 
human being, how could this human being know who had 
appeared? By what standard would he judge? Upon this 
question man has no experience ; he is not familiar enough 
with the supernatural to know gods even if they exist. Al 
though thousands have pretended to receive messages, there 
has been no message in which there was, or is, anything above 
the invention of man. There are just as wonderful things in 
the uninspired as in the inspired books, and the prophecies of 
the heathen have been fulfilled equally with those of the Judean 
prophets. If, then, even the inspired man cannot certainly 
know that he is inspired, how is it possible for him to demon 
strate his inspiration to others ? The last solution of this ques 
tion is that inspiration is a miracle about which only the inspired 
can have the least knowledge, or the least evidence, and this 
knowledge and this evidence not of a character to absolutely 
convince even the inspired. 

There is certainly nothing in the Old or the New Testament 
that could not have been written by uninspired human beings. 
To me there is nothing of any particular value in the Penta 
teuch. I do not know of a solitary scientific truth contained in 
the five books commonly attributed to Moses. There is not, 
as far as I know, a line in the book of Genesis calculated to 
make a human being better. The laws contained in Exodus, 


Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are for the most part 
puerile and cruel. Surely there is nothing in any of these 
books that could not have been produced by uninspired men. 
Certainly there is nothing calculated to excite intellectual ad 
miration in the book of Judges or in the wars of Joshua ; and 
the same may be said of Samuel, Chronicles, and Kings. The 
history is extremely childish, full of repetitions of useless de 
tails, without the slightest philosophy, without a generalization 
born of a wide survey. Nothing is known of other nations; 
nothing imparted of the slightest value ; nothing about edu 
cation, discovery, or invention. And these idle and stupid 
annals are interspersed with myth and miracle, with flattery 
for kings who supported priests, and with curses and denun 
ciations for those who would not hearken to the voice of the 
prophets. If all the historic books of the Bible were blotted 
from the memory of mankind, nothing of value would be lost. 

Is it possible that the writer or writers of First and Second 
Kings were inspired, and that Gibbon wrote ' ' The Decline and 
Fall of the Roman Empire ' ' without supernatural assistance ? 
Is it possible that the author of Judges was simply the instru 
ment of an infinite God, while John W. Draper wrote "The 
Intellectual Development of Europe ' ' without one ray of light 
from the other world? Can we believe that the author of 
Genesis had to be inspired, while Darwin experimented, ascer 
tained, and reached conclusions for himself. 

Ought not the work of a God to be vastly superior to that 
of a man ? And if the writers of the Bible were in reality in 
spired, ought not that book to be the greatest of books? For 
instance, if it were contended that certain statues had been 
chiselled by inspired men, such statues should be superior to 
any that uninspired man has made. As long as it is admitted 
that the Venus de Milo is the work of man, no one will believe 
in inspired sculptors at least until a superior statue has been 


found. So in the world of painting. We admit that Corot 
was uninspired. Nobody claims that Angelo had supernatural 
assistance. Now, if some one should claim that a certain 
painter was simply the instrumentality of God, certainly the 
pictures produced by that painter should be superior to all 

I do not see how it is possible for an intelligent human being 
to conclude that the Song of Solomon is the work of God, and 
that the tragedy of Lear was the work of an uninspired 
man. We are all liable to be mistaken, but the Iliad seems 
to me a greater work than the Book of Esther, and I prefer it to 
the writings of Haggai and Hosea. ^Eschylus is superior to 
Jeremiah, and Shakespeare rises immeasurably above all the 
sacred books of the world. 

It does not seem possible that any human being ever tried 
to establish a truth anything that really happened by what 
is called a miracle. It is easy to understand how that which 
was common became wonderful by accretion, by things added, 
and by things forgotten, and it is easy to conceive how that 
which was wonderful became by accretion what was called su 
pernatural. But it does not seem possible that any intelligent, 
honest man ever endeavored to prove anything by a miracle. 

As a matter of fact, miracles could only satisfy people who 
demanded no evidence ; else how could they have believed the 
miracle ? It also appears to be certain that, even if miracles 
had been performed, it would be impossible to establish that 
fact by human testimony. In other words, miracles can only 
be established by miracles, and in no event could miracles be 
evidence except to those who were actually present ; and in 
order for miracles to be of any value, they would have to be 
perpetual. It must also be remembered that a miracle actually 
performed could by no possibility shed any light on any moral 
truth, or add to any human obligation. 


If any man has ever been inspired, this is a secret miracle, 
known to no person, and suspected only by the man claiming 
to be inspired. It would not be in the power of the inspired 
to give satisfactory evidence of that fact to anybody else. 

The testimony of man is insufficient to establish the super 
natural. Neither the evidence of one man nor of twelve can 
stand when contradicted by the experience of the intelligent 
world. If a book sought to be proved by miracles is true, 
then it makes no difference whether it was inspired or not ; 
and if it is not true, inspiration cannot add to its value. 

The truth is that the church has always unconsciously, per 
haps offered rewards for falsehood. It was founded upon the 
supernatural, the miraculous, and it welcomed all statements 
calculated to support the foundation. It rewarded the traveller 
who found evidences of the miraculous, who had seen the 
pillar of salt into which the wife of Lot had been changed, and 
the tracks of Pharaoh's chariots on the sands of the Red Sea. 
It heaped honors on the historian who rilled his pages with the 
absurd and impossible. It had geologists and astronomers of 
its own who constructed the earth and the constellations in 
accordance with the Bible. With sword and flame it destroyed 
the brave and thoughtful men who told the truth. It was the 
enemy of investigation and of reason. Faith and fiction were 
in partnership. 

To-day the intelligence of the world denies the miraculous. 
Ignorance is the soil of the supernatural. The foundation of 
Christianity has crumbled, has disappeared, and the entire fab 
ric must fall. The natural is true. The miraculous is false. 

North American Review, March, 1890. 



IN the February number of the Nineteenth Century, 1889,13 
an article by Professor Huxley, entitled ' 'Agnosticism. ' ' It 
seems that a church congress was held at Manchester in Octo 
ber, 1888, and that the Principal of King's College brought 
the topic of Agnosticism before the assembly and made the 
following statement : 

" But if this be so, for a man to urge as an escape from this article 
of belief that he has no means of a scientific knowledge of an unseen 
world, or of the future, is irrelevant. His difference from Christians lies, 
not in the fact that he has no knowledge of these things, but that he 
does not believe the authority on which they are stated. He may 
prefer to call himself an Agnostic, but his real name is an older one 
he is an infidel ; that is to say, an unbeliever. The word infidel, per 
haps, carries an unpleasant significance. Perhaps it is right that it 
should. It is, and it ought to be, an unpleasant thing for a man to 
have to say plainly that he does not believe in Jesus Christ." 

Let us examine this statement, putting it in language that is 
easily understood ; and for that purpose we will divide it into 
several paragraphs. 

First. ' ' For a man to urge that he has no means of a scien 
tific knowledge of the unseen world, or of the future, is 

Is there any other knowledge than a scientific knowledge ? 
Are there several kinds of knowing ? Is there such a thing as 
scientific ignorance ? If a man says, ' ' I know nothing of the 
unseen world because I have no knowledge upon that subject," 


is the fact that he has no knowledge absolutely irrelevant ? 
Will the Principal of King's College say that having no knowl 
edge is the reason he knows ? When asked to give your 
opinion upon any subject, can it be said that your ignorance 
of that subject is irrelevant ? If this be true, then your knowl 
edge of the subject is also irrelevant ? 

Is it possible to put in ordinary English a more perfect 
absurdity ? How can a man obtain any knowledge of the un 
seen world? He certainly cannot obtain it through the 
medium of the senses. It is not a world that he can visit. He 
cannot stand upon its shores, nor can he view them from the 
ocean of imagination. The Principal of King's College, 
however, insists that these impossibilities are irrelevant. 

No person has come back from the unseen world. No 
authentic message has been delivered. Through all the centu 
ries, not one whisper has broken the silence that lies beyond 
the grave. Countless millions have sought for some evidence, 
have listened in vain for some word. 

It is most cheerfully admitted that all this does not prove 
the non-existence of another world all this does not demon 
strate that death ends all. But it is the justification of the 
Agnostic, who candidly says, ' ' I do not know. ' ' 

Second. The Principal of King's College states that the 
difference between an Agnostic and a Christian ' ' lies, not in 
the fact that he has no knowledge of these things, but that he 
does not believe the authority on which they are stated." 

Is this a difference in knowledge, or a difference in belief 
that is to say, a difference in credulity ? 

The Christian believes the Mosaic account. He reverently 
hears and admits the truth of all that he finds within the Scrip 
tures. Is this knowledge ? How is it possible to know whether 
the reputed authors of the books of the Old Testament were 
the real ones ? The witnesses are dead. The lips that could 


testify are dust. Between these shores roll the waves of many 
centuries. Who knows whether such a man as Moses existed 
or not ? Who knows the author of Kings and Chronicles ? 
By what testimony can we substantiate the authenticity of the 
prophets, or of the prophecies, or of the fulfillments ? Is there 
any difference between the knowledge of the Christian and of 
the Agnostic? Does the Principal of King's College know 
any more as to the truth of the Old Testament than the man 
who modestly calls for evidence? Has not a mistake been 
made ? Is not the difference one of belief instead of knowl 
edge ? And is not this difference founded on the difference in 
credulity? Would not an infinitely wise and good being 
where belief is a condition to salvation supply the evidence ? 
Certainly the Creator of man if such exist knows the exact 
nature of the human mind knows the evidence necessary to 
convince ; and, consequently, such a being would act in ac 
cordance with such conditions. 

There is a relation between evidence and belief. The mind 
is so constituted that certain things, being in accordance with 
its nature, are regarded as reasonable, as probable. 

There is also this fact that must not be overlooked : that is, 
that just in the proportion that the brain is developed it re 
quires more evidence, and becomes less and less credulous. 
Ignorance and credulity go hand in hand. Intelligence under 
stands something of the law of average, has an idea of proba 
bility. It is not swayed by prejudice, neither is it driven to 
extremes by suspicion. It takes into consideration personal 
motives. It examines the character of the witnesses, makes 
allowance for the ignorance of the time, for enthusiasm, for 
fear, and comes to its conclusion without fear and without 

What knowledge has the Christian of another world ? The 
senses of the Christian are the same as those of the Agnostic. 


He hears, sees, and feels substantially the same. His vision 
is limited. He sees no other shore and hears nothing from 
another world. 

Knowledge is something that can be imparted. It has a 
foundation in fact. It comes within the domain of the senses. 
It can be told, described, analyzed, and, in addition to all this, 
it can be classified. Whenever a fact becomes the property of 
one mind, it can become the property of the intellectual world. 
There are words in which the knowledge can be conveyed. 

The Christian is not a supernatural person, filled with super 
natural truths. He is a natural person, and all that he knows 
of value can be naturally imparted. It is within his power to 
give all that he has to the Agnostic. 

The Principal of King's College is mistaken when he says 
that the difference between the Agnostic and the Christian does 
not lie in the fact that the Agnostic has no knowledge, ' ' but 
that he does not believe the authority on which these things 
are stated. ' ' 

The real difference is this : the Christian says that he has 
knowledge ; the Agnostic admits that he has none ; and yet 
the Christian accuses the Agnostic of arrogance, and asks him 
how he has the impudence to admit the limitations of his mind. 
To the Agnostic every fact is a torch, and by this light, and 
this light only, he walks. 

It is also true that the Agnostic does not believe the authority 
relied on by the Christian. What is the authority of the Chris 
tian ? Thousands of years ago it is supposed that certain men, 
or, rather, uncertain men, wrote certain things. It is alleged 
by the Christian that these men were divinely inspired, and 
that the words of these men are to be taken as absolutely true, 
no matter whether or not they are verified by modern discovery 
and demonstration. 

How can we know that any human being was divinely in- 


spired ? There has been no personal revelation to us to the 
effect that certain people were inspired it is only claimed that 
the revelation was to them. For this we have only their word, 
and about that there is this difficulty : we know nothing of 
them, and, consequently, cannot, if we desire, rely upon their 
character for truth. This evidence is not simply hearsay it 
is far weaker than that. We have only been told that they 
said these things ; we do not know whether the persons claim 
ing to be inspired wrote these things or not ; neither are we 
certain that such persons ever existed. We know now that 
the greatest men with whom we are acquainted are often mis 
taken about the simplest matters. We also know that men 
saying something like the same things, in other countries and 
in ancient days, must have been impostors. The Christian 
has no confidence in the words of Mohammed ; the Moham 
medan cares nothing about the declarations of Buddha ; and 
the Agnostic gives to the words of the Christian the value only 
of the truth that is in them. He knows that these sayings get 
neither truth nor worth from the person who uttered them. 
He knows that the sayings themselves get their entire value 
from the truth they express. So that the real difference be 
tween the Christian and the Agnostic does not lie in their 
knowledge, for neither of them has any knowledge on this 
subject, but the difference does lie in credulity, and in noth 
ing else. The Agnostic does not rely on the authority of 
Moses and the prophets. He finds that they were mistaken 
in most matters capable of demonstration. He finds that their 
mistakes multiply in the proportion that human knowledge 
increases. He is satisfied that the religion of the ancient Jews 
is, in most things, as ignorant and cruel as other religions of 
the ancient world. He concludes that the efforts, in all ages, 
to answer the questions of origin and destiny, and to account 
for the phenomena of life, have all been substantial failures. 


In the presence of demonstration there is no opportunity for 
the exercise of faith. Truth does not appeal to credulity it 
appeals to evidence, to established facts, to the constitution of 
the mind. It endeavors to harmonize the new fact with all 
that we know, and to bring it within the circumference of 
human experience. 

The church has never cultivated investigation. It has never 
said : Let him who has a mind to think, think ; but its cry 
from the first until now has been : Let him who has ears to 
hear, hear. 

The pulpit does not appeal to the reason of the pew ; it 
speaks by authority and it commands the pew to believe, and 
it not only commands, but it threatens. 

The Agnostic knows that the testimony of man is not suffi 
cient to establish what is known as the miraculous. We would 
not believe to-day the testimony of millions to the effect that 
the dead had been raised. The church itself would be the 
first to attack such testimony. If we cannot believe those 
whom we know, why should we believe witnesses who have 
been dead thousands of years, and about whom we know 
nothing ? 

Third. The Principal of King's College, growing some 
what severe, declares that ' ' he may prefer to call himself an 
Agnostic, but his real name is an older one he is an infidel ; 
that is to say, an unbeliever." 

This is spoken in a kind of holy scorn. According to this 
gentleman, an unbeliever is, to a certain extent, a disreputable 

In this sense, what is an unbeliever ? He is one whose mind 
is so constituted that what the Christian calls evidence is not 
satisfactory to him. Is a person accountable for the consti 
tution of his mind, for the formation of his brain ? Is any 
human being responsible for the weight that evidence has upon 


him ? Can he believe without evidence ? Is the weight of 
evidence a question of choice? Is there such a thing as 
honestly weighing testimony ? Is the result of such weighing 
necessary? Does it involve moral responsibility? If the 
Mosaic account does not convince a man that it is true, is he a 
wretch because he is candid enough to tell the truth ? Can he 
preserve his manhood only by making a false statement ? 

The Mohammedan would call the Principal of King's Col 
lege an unbeliever, so would the tribes of Central Africa, 
and he would return the compliment, and all would be equally 
justified. Has the Principal of King's College any knowledge 
that he keeps from the rest of the world ? Has he the confi 
dence of the Infinite ? Is there anything praiseworthy in be 
lieving where the evidence is sufficient, or is one to be praised 
for believing only where the evidence is insufficient ? Is a man 
to be blamed for not agreeing with his fellow-citizen ? Were 
the unbelievers in the pagan world better or worse than their 
neighbors? It is probably true that some of the greatest 
Greeks believed in the gods of that nation, and it is equally 
true that some of the greatest denied their existence. If cre 
dulity is a virtue now, it must have been in the days of Athens. 
If to believe without evidence entitles one to eternal reward in 
this century, certainly the same must have been true in the 
days of the Pharaohs. 

An infidel is one who does not believe in the prevailing relig 
ion. We now admit that the infidels of Greece and Rome 
were right. The gods that they refused to believe in are dead. 
Their thrones are empty, and long ago the sceptres dropped 
from their nerveless hands. To-day the world honors the 
men who denied and derided these gods. 

Fourth. The Principal of King's College ventures to sug 
gest that ' ' the word infidel, perhaps, carries an unpleasant sig 
nificance ; perhaps it is right that it should. ' ' 


A few years ago the word infidel did carry ' ' an unpleasant 
significance. ' ' A few years ago its significance was so unpleasant 
that the man to whom the word was applied found himself in 
prison or at the stake. In particularly kind communities he 
was put in the stocks, pelted with offal, derided by hypocrites, 
scorned by ignorance, jeered by cowardice, and all the priests 
passed by on the other side. 

There was a time when Episcopalians were regarded as infi 
dels ; when a true Catholic looked upon a follower of Henry 
VIII. as an infidel, as an unbeliever ; when a true Catholic 
held in detestation the man who preferred a murderer and 
adulterer a man who swapped religions for the sake of ex 
changing wives to the Pope, the head of the universal church. 

It is easy enough to conceive of an honest man denying the 
claims of a church based on the caprice of an English king. 
The word infidel ' ' carries an unpleasant significance ' ' only 
where the Christians are exceedingly ignorant, intolerant, big 
oted, cruel, and unmannerly. 

The real gentleman gives to others the rights that he claims 
for himself. The civilized man rises far above the bigotry of 
one who has been ' ' born again." Good breeding is far gentler 
than " universal love." 

It is natural for the church to hate an unbeliever natural 
for the pulpit to despise one who refuses to subscribe, who re 
fuses to give. It is a question of revenue instead of religion. 
The Episcopal Church has the instinct of self-preservation. 
It uses its power, its influence, to compel contribution. It 
forgives the giver. 

Fifth. The Principal of King's College insists that " it is, 
and it ought to be, an unpleasant thing for a man to have to 
say plainly that he does not believe in Jesus Christ." 

Should it be an unpleasant thing for a man to say plainly 
what he believes ? Can this be unpleasant except in an unciv- 


ilized community a community in which an uncivilized church 
has authority ? 

Why should not a man be as free to say that he does not 
believe as to say that he does believe ? Perhaps the real ques 
tion is whether all men have an equal right to express their 
opinions. Is it the duty of the minority to keep silent ? Are 
majorities always right ? If the minority had never spoken, 
what to-day would have been the condition of this world ? 
Are the majority the pioneers of progress, or does the pioneer, 
as a rule, walk alone ? Is it his duty to close his lips ? Must 
the inventor allow his inventions to die in the brain ? Must 
the discoverer of new truths make of his mind a tomb ? Is 
man under any obligation to his fellows ? Was the Episcopal 
religion always in the majority? Was it at any time in the 
history of the world an unpleasant thing to be called a Pro 
testant ? Did the word Protestant ' ' carry an unpleasant sig 
nificance " ? Was it " perhaps right that it should " ? Was 
Luther a misfortune to the human race ? 

If a community is thoroughly civilized, why should it be an 
unpleasant thing for a man to express his belief in respectful 
language? If the argument is against him, it might be un 
pleasant ; but why should simple numbers be the foundation 
of unpleasantness ? If the majority have the facts, if they 
have the argument, why should they fear the mistakes of the 
minority ? Does any theologian hate the man he can answer ? 

It is claimed by the Episcopal Church that Christ was in fact 
God ; and it is further claimed that the New Testament is an 
inspired account of what that being and his disciples did and 
said. Is there any obligation resting on any human being to 
believe this account ? Is it within the power of man to deter 
mine the influence that testimony shall have upon his mind ? 

If one denies the existence of devils, does he, for that reason, 
cease to believe in Jesus Christ ? Is it not possible to imagine 


that a great and tender soul living in Palestine nearly twenty 
centuries ago was misunderstood ? Is it not within the realm 
of the possible that his words have been inaccurately reported? 
Is it not within the range of the probable that legend and 
rumor and ignorance and zeal have deformed his life and be 
littled his character ? 

If the man Christ lived and taught and suffered, if he was, in 
reality, great and noble, who is his friend the one who attri 
butes to him feats of jugglery, or he who maintains that these 
stories were invented by zealous ignorance and believed by 
enthusiastic credulity ? 

If he claimed to have wrought miracles, he must have been 
either dishonest or insane ; consequently, he who denies mir 
acles does what little he can to rescue the reputation of a great 
and splendid man. 

The Agnostic accepts the good he did, the truth he said, 
and rejects only that which, according to his judgment, is 
inconsistent with truth and goodness. 

The Principal of King's College evidently believes in the 
necessity of belief. He puts conviction or creed or credulity 
in place of character. According to his idea, it is impossible 
to win the approbation of God by intelligent investigation and 
by the expression of honest conclusions. He imagines that 
the Infinite is delighted with credulity, with belief without evi 
dence, faith without question. 

Man has but little reason, at best ; but this little should be 
used. No matter how small the taper is, how feeble the ray 
of light it casts, it is better than darkness, and no man should 
be rewarded for extinguishing the light he has. 

We know now, if we know anything, that man in this, the 
nineteenth century, is better capable of judging as to the 
happening of any event, than he ever was before. We know 
that the standard is higher to-day we know that the intel- 


lectual light is greater we know that the human mind is better 
equipped to deal with all questions of human interest, than at 
any other time within the known history of the human race. 

It will not do to say that " our Lord and his apostles must at 
least be regarded as honest men." Let this be admitted, and 
what does it prove ? Honesty is not enough. Intelligence 
and honesty must go hand in hand. We may admit now 
that ' ' our Lord and his apostles ' ' were perfectly honest men ; 
yet it does not follow that we have a truthful account of what 
they said and of what they did. It is not pretended that "our 
Lord ' ' wrote anything, and it is not known that one of the 
apostles ever wrote a word. Consequently, the most that we 
can say is that somebody has written something about ' ' our 
Lord and his apostles." Whether that somebody knew or 
did not know is unknown to us. As to whether what is writ 
ten is true or false, we must judge by that which is written. 

First of all, is it probable ? is it within the experience of 
mankind ? We should judge of the gospels as we judge of 
other histories, of other biographies. We know that many 
biographies written by perfectly honest men are not correct. 
We know, if we know anything, that honest men can be mis 
taken, and it is not necessary to believe everything that a man 
writes because we believe he was honest. Dishonest men 
may write the truth. 

At last the standard or criterion is for each man to judge 
according to what he believes to be human experience. We 
are satisfied that nothing more wonderful has happened than 
is now happening. We believe that the present is as wonder 
ful as the past, and just as miraculous as the future. If we are 
to believe in the truth of the Old Testament, the word evidence 
loses its meaning ; there ceases to be any standard of proba 
bility, and the mind simply accepts or denies without reason. 

We are told that certain miracles were performed for the 


purpose of attesting the mission and character of Christ. How 
can these miracles be verified ? The miracles of the Middle 
Ages rest upon substantially the same evidence. The same 
may be said of the wonders of all countries and of all ages. 
How is it a virtue to deny the miracles of Mohammed and to 
believe those attributed to Christ ? 

You may say of St. Augustine that what he said was true or 
false. We know that much of it was false ; and yet we are not 
justified in saying that he was dishonest. Thousands of errors 
have been propagated by honest men. As a rule, mistakes 
get their wings from honest people. The testimony of a wit 
ness to the happening of the impossible gets no weight from 
the honesty of the witness. The fact that falsehoods are in the 
New Testament does not tend to prove that the writers were 
knowingly untruthful. No man can be honest enough to sub 
stantiate, to the satisfaction of reasonable men, the happening 
of a miracle. 

For this reason it makes not the slightest difference whether 
the writers of the New Testament were honest or not. Their 
character is not involved. Whenever a man rises above his 
contemporaries, whenever he excites the wonder of his fellows, 
his biographers always endeavor to bridge over the chasm be 
tween the people and this man, and for that purpose attribute to 
him the qualities which in the eyes of the multitude are desirable. 

Miracles are demanded by savages, and, consequently, the 
savage biographer attributes miracles to his hero. What 
would we think now of a man who, in writing the life of 
Charles Darwin, should attribute to him supernatural powers ? 
What would we say of an admirer of Humboldt who should 
claim that the great German could cast out devils ? We would 
feel that Darwin and Humboldt had been belittled ; that the 
biographies were written for children and by men who had not 
outgrown the nursery. 


If the reputation of ' ' our Lord " is to be preserved if he 
is to stand with the great and splendid of the earth if he is to 
continue a constellation in the intellectual heavens, all claim to 
the miraculous, to the supernatural, must be abandoned. 

No one can overestimate the evils that have been endured by 
the human race by reason of a departure from the standard of 
the natural. The world has been governed by jugglery, by 
sleight-of-hand. Miracles, wonders, tricks, have been re 
garded as of far greater importance than the steady, the sub 
lime and unbroken march of cause and effect. The improbable 
has been established by the impossible. Falsehood has fur 
nished the foundation for faith. 

Is the human body at present the residence of evil spirits, or 
have these imps of darkness perished from the world ? Where 
are they ? If the New Testament establishes anything, it is 
the existence of innumerable devils, and that these satanic be 
ings absolutely took possession of the human mind. Is this 
true ? Can anything be more absurd ? Does any intellectual 
man who has examined the question believe that depraved 
demons live in the bodies of men ? Do they occupy space ? 
Do they live upon some kind of food ? Of what shape are 
they ? Could they be classified by a naturalist ? Do they 
run or float or fly ? If to deny the existence of these sup 
posed beings is to be an infidel, how can the word infidel 
" carry an unpleasant significance " ? 

Of course it is the business of the principals of most colleges, 
as well as of bishops, cardinals, popes, priests, and clergymen 
to insist upon the existence of evil spirits. All these gentle 
men are employed to counteract the influence of these sup 
posed demons. Why should they take the bread out of their 
own mouths? Is it to be expected that they will unfrock 
themselves ? 

The church, like any other corporation, has the instinct of 


self-preservation. It will defend itself ; it will fight as long as it 
has the power to change a hand into a fist. 

The Agnostic takes the ground that human experience is the 
basis of morality. Consequently, it is of no importance who 
wrote the gospels, or who vouched or vouches for the genu 
ineness of the miracles. In his scheme of life these things are 
utterly unimportant. He is satisfied that " the miraculous " is 
the impossible. He knows that the witnesses were wholly in 
capable of examining the questions involved, that credulity had 
possession of their minds, that "the miraculous" was ex 
pected, that it was their daily food. 

All this is very clearly and delightfully stated by Professor 
Huxley, and it hardly seems possible that any intelligent man 
can read what he says without feeling that the foundation of 
all superstition has been weakened. The article is as remark 
able for its candor as for its clearness. Nothing is avoided 
everything is met. No excuses are given. He has left all 
apologies for the other side. When you have finished what 
Professor Huxley has written, you feel that your mind has been 
in actual contact with the mind of another, that nothing has 
been concealed ; and not only so, but you feel that this mind 
is not only willing, but anxious, to know the actual truth. 

To me, the highest uses of philosophy are, first, to free the 
mind of fear, and, second, to avert all the evil that can be 
averted, through intelligence that is to say, through a knowl 
edge of the conditions of well-being. 

We are satisfied that the absolute is beyond our vision, be 
neath our touch, above our reach. We are now convinced 
that we can deal only with phenomena, with relations, with 
appearances, with things that impress the senses, that can be 
reached by reason, by the exercise of our faculties. We are 
satisfied that the reasonable road is "the straight road," the 
only "sacred way." 


Of course there is faith in the world faith in this world 
and always will be, unless superstition succeeds in every land. 
But the faith of the wise man is based upon facts. His faith is 
a reasonable conclusion drawn from the known. He has 
faith in the progress of the race, in the triumph of intelligence, 
in the coming sovereignty of science. He has faith in the de 
velopment of the brain, in the gradual enlightenment of the 
mind. And so he works for the accomplishment of great ends, 
having faith in the final victory of the race. 

He has honesty enough to say that he does not know. He 
perceives and admits that the mind has limitations. He 
doubts the so-called wisdom of the past. He looks for evi 
dence, and he endeavors to keep his mind free from prejudice. 
He believes in the manly virtues, in the judicial spirit, and in 
his obligation to tell his honest thoughts. 

It is uselesss to talk about a destruction of consolations. 
That which is suspected to be untrue loses its power to console. 
A man should be brave enough to bear the truth. 

Professor Huxley has stated with great clearness the attitude 
of the Agnostic. It seems that he is somewhat severe on the 
Positive Philosophy, While it is hard to see the propriety 
of worshiping Humanity as a being, it is easy to understand 
the splendid dream of August Comte. Is the human race 
worthy to be worshiped by itself that is to say, should the 
individual worship himself? Certainly the religion of human 
ity is better than the religion of the inhuman. The Positive 
Philosophy is better far than Catholicism. It does not fill the 
heavens with monsters, nor the future with pain. 

It may be said that Luther and Comte endeavored to re 
form the Catholic Church. Both were mistaken, because the 
only reformation of which that church is capable is destruction. 
It is a mass of superstition. 

The mission of Positivism is, in the language of its founder, 


"to generalize science and to systematize sociality." It seems 
to me that Comte stated with great force and with absolute 
truth the three phases of intellectual evolution or progress. 

First. " In the supernatural phase the mind seeks causes 
aspires to know the essence of things, and the How and Why 
of their operation. In this phase, all facts are regarded as the 
productions of supernatural agents, and unusual phenomena 
are interpreted as the signs of the pleasure or displeasure of 
some god." 

Here at this point is the orthodox world of to-day. The 
church still imagines that phenomena should be interpreted as 
the signs of the pleasure or displeasure of God. Nearly every 
history is deformed with this childish and barbaric view. 

Second. The next phase or modification, according to 
Comte, is the metaphysical. c ' The supernatural agents are 
dispensed with, and in their places we find abstract forces or 
entities supposed to inhere in substances and capable of engen 
dering phenomena. ' ' 

In this phase people talk about laws and principles as 
though laws and principles were forces capable of producing 

Third. "The last stage is the Positive. The mind, con 
vinced of the futility of all enquiry into causes and essences, 
restricts itself to the observation and classification of phenom 
ena, and to the discovery of the invariable relations of succes 
sion and similitude in a word, to the discovery of the relations 
of phenomena." 

Why is not the Positive stage the point reached by the 
Agnostic ? He has ceased to inquire into the origin of things. 
He has perceived the limitations of the mind. He is thor 
oughly convinced of the uselessness and futility and absurdity 
of theological methods, and restricts himself to the examination 
of phenomena, to their relations, to their effects, and endeav- 


ors to find in the complexity of things the true conditions of 
human happiness. 

Although I am not a believer in the philosophy of Auguste 
Comte, I cannot shut my eyes to the value of his thought ; 
neither is it possible for me not to applaud his candor, his in 
telligence, and the courage it required even to attempt to lay 
the foundation of the Positive Philosophy. 

Professor Huxley and Frederic Harrison are splendid soldiers 
in the army of Progress. They have attacked with signal suc 
cess the sacred and solemn stupidities of superstition. Both 
have appealed to that which is highest and noblest in man. 
Both have been the destroyers of prejudice. Both have shed 
light, and both have won great victories on the fields of intel 
lectual conflict. They cannot afford to waste time in attacking 
each other. 

After all, the Agnostic and the Positivist have the same end 
in view both believe in living for this world. 

The theologians, finding themselves unable to answer the 
arguments that have been urged, resort to the old subterfuge 
to the old cry that Agnosticism takes something of value 
from the life of man. Does the Agnostic take any consolation 
from the world ? Does he blot out, or dim, one star in the 
heaven of hope ? Can there be anything more consoling than 
to feel, to know, that Jehovah is not God that the message 
of the Old Testament is not from the infinite? 

Is it not enough to fill the brain with a happiness unspeaka 
ble to know that the words, ' ' Depart from me, ye cursed, into 
everlasting fire, ' ' will never be spoken to one of the children 
of men ? 

, Is it a small thing to lift from the shoulders of industry the 
burdens of superstition ? Is it a little thing to drive the mon 
ster of fear from the hearts of men ? North American Review, April, 



" Blessed are those 

Whose blood and judgment are so well co-mingled 
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger 
To sound what stop she please." 

ERNEST RENAN is dead. Another source of light ; an 
other force of civilization ; another charming personality; 
another brave soul, graceful in thought, generous in deed ; a 
sculptor in speech, a colorist in words clothing all in the 
poetry born of a delightful union of heart and brain has 
passed to the realm of rest. 

Reared under the influences of Catholicism, educated for the 
priesthood, yet by reason of his natural genius, he began to 
think. Forces that utterly subjugate and enslave the mind of 
mediocrity sometimes rouse to thought and action the superior 

Renan began to think a dangerous thing for a Catholic to 
do. Thought leads to doubt, doubt to investigation, investi 
gation to truth the enemy of all superstition. 

He lifted the Catholic extinguisher from the light and flame 
of reason. He found that his mental vision was improved. 
He read the Scriptures for himself, examined them as he did 
other books not claiming to be inspired. He found the same 
mistakes, the same prejudices, the same miraculous impossibil 
ities in the book attributed to God that he found in those 
known to have been written by men. 


Into the path of reason, or rather into the highway, Renan 
was led by Henriette, his sister, to whom he pays a tribute 
that has the perfume of a perfect flower. 

"I was," writes Renan, "brought up by women and 
priests, and therein lies the whole explanation of my good 
qualities and of my defects." In most that he wrote is the 
tenderness of woman, only now and then a little touch of the 
priest showing itself, mostly in a reluctance to spoil the ivy 
by tearing down some prison built by superstition. 

In spite of the heartless ' ' scheme ' ' of things he still found 
it in his heart to say, " When God shall be complete, He will 
be just," at the same time saying that "nothing proves to us 
that there exists in the world a central consciousness a soul 
of the universe and nothing proves the contrary." So, what 
ever was the verdict of his brain, his heart asked for immortal 
ity. He wanted his dream, and he was willing that others 
should have theirs. Such is the wish and will of all great 

He knew the church thoroughly and anticipated what 
would finally be written about him by churchmen : " Having 
some experience of ecclesiastical writers I can sketch out in 
advance the way my biography will be written in Spanish in 
some Catholic review, of Santa Fe, in the year 2,000. Heavens! 
how black I shall be ! I shall be so all the more, because the 
church when she feels that she is lost will end with malice. 
She will bite like a mad dog. ' ' 

He anticipated such a biography because he had thought for 
himself, and because he had expressed his thoughts because 
he had declared that ' ' our universe, within the reach of our 
experience, is not governed by any intelligent reason. God, 
as the common herd understand him, the living God, the 
acting God the God-Providence, does not show himself in 
the universe" because he attacked the mythical and the 


miraculous in the life of Christ and sought to rescue from the 
calumnies of ignorance and faith a serene and lofty soul. 

The time has arrived when Jesus must become a myth or a 
man. The idea that he was the infinite God must be abandon 
ed by all who are not religiously insane. Those who have 
given up the claim that he was God, insist that he was divinely 
appointed and illuminated ; that he was a perfect man the 
highest possible type of the human race and, consequently, a 
perfect example for all the world. 

As time goes on, as men get wider or grander or more com 
plex ideas of life, as the intellectual horizon broadens, the idea 
that Christ was perfect may be modified. 

The New Testament seems to describe several individuals 
under the same name, or at least one individual who passed 
through several stages or phases of religious development. 
Christ is described as a devout Jew, as one who endeavored to 
comply in all respects with the old law. Many sayings are 
attributed to him consistent with this idea. He certainly was 
a Hebrew in belief and feeling when he said, ' ' Swear not by 
Heaven, because it is God's throne, nor by earth, for it is his 
footstool ; nor by Jerusalem, for it is his holy city. ' ' These 
reasons were in exact accordance with the mythology of 
the Jews. God was regarded simply as an enormous man, 
as one who walked in the garden in the cool of the evening, 
as one who had met man face to face, who had conversed 
with Moses for forty days upon Mount Sinai, as a great king, 
with a throne in the heavens, using the earth to rest his feet 
upon, and regarding Jerusalem as his holy city. 

Then we find plenty of evidence that he wished to reform the 
religion of the Jews ; to fulfill the law, not to abrogate it. 
Then there is still another change : he has ceased his efforts to 
reform that religion and has become a destroyer. He holds 
the Temple in contempt and repudiates the idea that Jerusalem 


is the holy city. He concludes that it is unnecessary to go to 
some mountain or some building to worship or to find God, 
and insists that the heart is the true temple, that ceremonies 
are useless, that all pomp and pride and show are needless, 
and that it is enough to worship God under heaven's dome, in 
spirit and in truth. 

It is impossible to harmonize these views unless we admit 
that Christ was the subject of growth and change ; that in con 
sequence of growth and change he modified his views ; that, 
from wanting to preserve Judaism as it was, he became con 
vinced that it ought to be reformed. That he then abandoned 
the idea of reformation, and made up his mind that the only 
reformation of which the Jewish religion was capable was de 
struction. If he was in fact a man, then the course he pur 
sued was natural ; but if he was God, it is perfectly absurd. 
If we give to him perfect knowledge, then it is impossible to 
account for change or growth. If, on the other hand, the 
ground is taken that he was a perfect man, then, it might be 
asked, Was he perfect when he wished to preserve, or when 
he wished to reform, or when he resolved to destroy, the relig 
ion of the Jews ? If he is to be regarded as perfect, although 
not divine, when did he reach perfection ? 

It is perfectly evident that Christ, or the character that bears 
that name, imagined that the world was about to be destroyed, 
or at least purified by fire, and that, on account of this curious 
belief, he became the enemy of marriage, of all earthly ambi 
tion and of all enterprise. With that view in his mind, he said 
to himself, " Why should we waste our energies in producing 
food f >r destruction ? Why should we endeavor to beautify a 
world that is so soon to perish? " Filled with the thought of 
coming change, he insisted that there was but one important 
thing, and that was for each man to save his soul. He should 
care nothing for the ties of kindred, nothing for wife or child 


or property, in the shadow of the coming disaster. He should 
take care of himself. He endeavored, as it is said, to induce 
men to desert all they had, to let the dead, bury the dead, 
and follow him. He told his disciples, or those he wished to 
make his disciples, according to the Testament, that it was 
their duty to desert wife and child and property, and if they 
would so desert kindred and wealth, he would reward them 
here and hereafter. 

We know now if we know anything that Jesus was mis 
taken about the coming of the end, and we know now that he 
was greatly controlled in his ideas of life, by that mistake. 
Believing that the end was near, he said, ' ' Take no thought 
for the morrow, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink or 
wherewithal ye shall be clothed. ' ' It was in view of the de 
struction of the world that he called the attention of his disci 
ples to the lily that toiled not and yet excelled Solomon in the 
glory of its raiment. Having made this mistake, having acted 
upon it, certainly we cannot now say that he was perfect in 

He is regarded by many millions as the impersonation of 
patience, of forbearance, of meekness and mercy, and yet, 
according to the account, he said many extremely bitter words, 
and threatened eternal pain. 

We also know, if the account be true, that he claimed to 
have supernatural power, to work miracles, to cure the blind 
and to raise the dead, and we know that he did nothing of the 
kind. So if the writers of the New Testament tell the truth as 
to what Christ claimed, it is absurd to say that he was a per 
fect man. If honest, he was deceived, and those who are de 
ceived are not perfect. 

There is nothing in the New Testament, so far as we know, 
that touches on the duties of nation to nation, or of nation to 
its citizens ; nothing of human liberty ; not one word about 


education ; not the faintest hint that there is such a thing as 
science ; nothing calculated to stimulate industry, commerce, 
or invention ; not one word in favor of art, of music or any 
thing calculated to feed or clothe the body, nothing to develop 
the brain of man. 

When it is assumed that the life of Christ, as described in 
the New Testament, is perfect, we at least take upon ourselves 
the burden of deciding what perfection is. People who as 
serted that Christ was divine, that he was actually God, 
reached the conclusion, without any laborious course of rea 
soning, that all he said and did was absolute perfection. 
They said this because they had first been convinced that he 
was divine. The moment his divinity is given up and the 
assertion is made that he was perfect, we are not permitted to 
reason in that way. They said he was God, therefore perfect. 
Now, if it is admitted that he was human, the conclusion that 
he was perfect does not follow. We then take the burden 
upon ourselves of deciding what perfection is. To decide 
what is perfect is beyond the powers of the human mind. 

Renan, in spite of his education, regarded Christ as a man, 
and did the best he could to account for the miracles that had 
been attributed to him, for the legends that had gathered 
about his name, and the impossibilities connected with his 
career, and also tried to account for the origin or birth of these 
miracles, of these legends, of these myths, including the res 
urrection and ascension. I am not satisfied with all the con 
clusions he reached or with all the paths he traveled. The 
refraction of light caused by passing through a woman's tears 
is hardly a sufficient foundation for a belief in so miraculous a 
miracle as the bodily ascension of Jesus Christ. 

There is another thing attributed to Christ that seems to me 
conclusive evidence against the claim of perfection. Christ is 
reported to have said that all sins could be forgiven except the 


sin against the Holy Ghost. This sin, however, is not de 
nned. Although Christ died for the whole world, that through 
him all might be saved, there is this one terrible exception : 
There is no salvation for those who have sinned, or who may 
hereafter sin, against the Holy Ghost. Thousands of persons 
are now in asylums, having lost their reason because of their 
fear that they had committed this unknown, this undefined, 
this unpardonable sin. 

It is said that a Roman Emperor went through a form of 
publishing his laws or proclamations, posting them so high on 
pillars that they could not be read, and then took the lives of 
those who ignorantly violated these unknown laws. He was 
regarded as a tyrant, as a murderer. And yet, what shall we 
say of one who declared that the sin against the Holy Ghost 
was the only one that could not be forgiven, and then left an 
ignorant world to guess what that sin is ? Undoubtedly this 
horror is an interpolation. 

There is something like it in the Old Testament. It is as 
serted by Christians that the Ten Commandments are the 
foundation of all law and of all civilization, and you will find 
lawyers insisting that the Mosaic Code was the first informa 
tion that man received on the subject of law ; that before that 
time the world was without any knowledge of justice or mercy. 
If this be true the Jews had no divine laws, no real instruction 
on any legal subject until the Ten Commandments were given. 
Consequently, before that time there had been proclaimed or 
published no law against the worship of other gods or of idols. 
Moses had been on Mount Sinai talking with Jehovah. At 
the end of the dialogue he received the Tables of Stone and 
started down the mountain for the purpose of imparting this 
information to his followers. When he reached the camp he 
heard music. He saw people dancing, and he found that in 
his absence Aaron and the rest of the people had cast a molten 


calf which they were then worshiping. This so enraged 
Moses that he broke the Tables of Stone and made prepara 
tions for the punishment of the Jews. Remember that they 
knew nothing about this law, and, according to the modern 
Christian claims, could not have known that it was wrong to 
melt gold and silver and mould it in the form of a calf. And 
yet Moses killed about thirty thousand of these people for 
having violated a law of which they had never heard ; a law 
known only to one man and one God. Nothing could be 
more unjust, more ferocious, than this ; and yet it can hardly 
be said to exceed in cruelty the announcement that a certain 
sin was unpardonable and then fail to define the sin. Possi 
bly, to inquire what the sin is, is the sin. 

Renan regards Jesus as a man, and his work gets its value 
from the fact that it is written from a human standpoint. At 
the same time he, consciously or unconsciously, or may be 
for the purpose of sprinkling a little holy water on the heat of 
religious indignation, now and then seems to speak of him as 
more than human, or as having accomplished something that 
man could not. 

He asserts that " the Gospels are in part legendary ; that 
they contain many things not true ; that they are full of mira 
cles and of the supernatural." At the same time he insists 
that these legends, these miracles, these supernatural things 
do not affect the truth of the probable things contained in 
these writings. He sees, and sees clearly, that there is no 
evidence that Matthew or Mark or Luke or John wrote the 
books attributed to them ; that, as a matter of fact, the mere 
tide of "according to Matthew," "according to Mark," 
shows that they were written by others who claimed them to 
be in accordance with the stories that had been told by 
Matthew or by Mark. So Renan takes the ground that the 
Gospel of Luke is founded on anterior documents and "is the 


work of a man who selected, pruned and combined, and that 
the same man wrote the Acts of the Apostles and in the same 

The gospels were certainly written long after the events 
described, and Renan finds the reason for this in the fact that 
the Christians believed that the world was about to end ; that, 
consequently, there was no need of composing books ; it was 
only necessary for them to preserve in their hearts during the 
little margin of time that remained a lively image of Him whom 
they soon expected to meet in the clouds. For this reason the 
gospels themselves had but little authority for 150 years, the 
Christians relying on oral traditions. Renan shows that there 
was not the slightest scruple about inserting additions in the 
gospels, variously combining them, and in completing some 
by taking parts from others ; that the books passed from hand 
to hand, and that each one transcribed in the margin of his 
copy the words and parables he had found elsewhere which 
touched him; that it was not until human tradition became 
weakened that the text bearing the names of the apostles be 
came authoritative. 

Renan has criticised the gospels somewhat in the same spirit 
that he would criticise a modern work. He saw clearly that 
the metaphysics filling the discourses of John were deformities 
and distortions, full of mysticism, having nothing to do really 
with the character of Jesus. He shows too ' ' that the simple 
idea of the Kingdom of God, at the time the Gospel according 
to St. John was written, had faded away ; that the hope of the 
advent of Christ was growing dim, and that from belief the 
disciples passed into discussion, from discussion to dogma, 
from dogma to ceremony," and, finding that the new Heaven 
and the new Earth were not coming as expected, they turned 
their attention to governing the old Heaven and the old Earth. 
The disciples were willing to be humble for a few days, with 


the expectation of wearing crowns forever. They were satis 
fied with poverty, believing that the wealth of the world was to 
be theirs. The coming of Christ, however, being for some 
unaccountable reason delayed, poverty and humility grew irk 
some, and human nature began to assert itself. 

In the Gospel of John you will find the metaphysics of the 
church. There you find the Second Birth. There you find 
the doctrine of the atonement clearly set forth. There you 
find that God died for the whole world, and that whosoever 
believeth not in him is to be damned. There is nothing of the 
kind in Matthew. Matthew makes Christ say that, if you will 
forgive others, God will forgive you. The Gospel ' ' according 
to Mark " is the same. So is the Gospel "according to Luke." 
There is nothing about salvation through belief, nothing about 
the atonement. In Mark, in the last chapter, the apostles are 
told to go into all the world and preach the gospel, with the 
statement that whoever believed and was baptised should be 
saved, and whoever failed to believe should be damned. But 
we now know that that is an interpolation. Consequently, 
Matthew, Mark and Luke never had the faintest conception of 
the ' ' Christian religion. ' ' They knew nothing of the atone 
ment, nothing of salvation by faith nothing. So that if a 
man had read only Matthew, Mark and Luke, and had strictly 
followed what he found, he would have found himself, after 
death, in perdition. 

Renan finds that certain portions of the Gospel "according 
to John " were added later ; that the entire twenty-first chap 
ter is an interpolation ; also, that many places bear the traces 
of erasures and corrections. So he says that it would be " im 
possible for any one to compose a life of Jesus, with any mean 
ing in it, from the discourses which John attributes to him, and 
he holds that this Gospel of John is full of preaching, Christ 
demonstrating himself; full of argumentation, full of stage 


effect, devoid of simplicity, with long arguments after each mir 
acle, stiff and awkward discourses, the tone of which is often 
false and unequal. ' ' He also insists that there are evidently 
"artificial portions, variations like that of a musician improvising 
on a given theme." 

In spite of all this, Renan, willing to soothe the prejudice of 
his time, takes the ground that the four canonical gospels are 
authentic, that they date from the first century, that the authors 
were, generally speaking, those to whom they are attributed ; 
but he insists that their historic value is very diverse. This is 
a back-handed stroke. Admitting, first, that they are authen 
tic ; second, that they were written about the end of the first 
century ; third, that they are not of equal value, disposes, so 
far as he is concerned, of the dogma of inspiration. 

One is at a loss to understand why four gospels should have 
been written. As a matter of fact there can be only one true 
account of any occurrence, or of any number of occurrences. 
Now, it must be taken for granted, that an inspired account is 
true. Why then should there be four inspired accounts ? It 
may be answered that all were not to write the entire story. 
To this the reply is that all attempted to cover substantially the 
same ground. 

Many years ago the early fathers thought it necessary to say 
why there were four inspired books, and some of them said, 
because there were four cardinal directions and the gospels 
fitted the north, south, east and west. Others said that 
there were four principal winds a gospel for each wind. They 
might have added that some animals have four legs. 

Renan admits that the narrative portions have not the same 
authority ; " that many legends proceeded from the zeal of the 
second Christian generation ; that the narrative of Luke is 
historically weak ; that sentences attributed to Jesus have 
been distorted and exaggerated ; that the book was written out- 


side of Palestine and after the siege of Jerusalem ; that Luke 
endeavors to make the different narratives agree, changing 
them for that purpose ; that he softens the passages which had 
become embarrassing ; that he exaggerated the marvelous, 
omitted errors in chronology ; that he was a compiler, a man 
who had not been an eye-witness himself, and who had not 
seen eye-witnesses, but who labors at texts and wrests their 
sense to make them agree." This certainly is very far from 
inspiration. So ' ' Luke interprets the documents according to 
his own idea ; being a kind of anarchist, opposed to proper 
ty, and persuaded that the triumph of the poor was ap 
proaching ; that he was especially fond of the anecdotes show 
ing the conversion of sinners, the exaltation of the humble, 
and that he modified ancient traditions to give them this 
meaning. ' ' 

Renan reached the conclusion that the gospels are neither 
biographies after the manner of Suetonius nor fictitious le 
gends in the style of Philostratus, but that they are legendary 
biographies like the legends of the saints, the lives of Plotinus 
and Isidore, in which historical truth and the desire to present 
models of virtue are combined in various degrees ; that they 
are "inexact ;" that they " contain numerous errors and dis 
cordances." So he takes the ground that twenty or thirty 
years after Christ, his reputation had greatly increased, that 
" legends had begun to gather about Him like clouds," that 
"death added to His perfection, freeing Him from all defects 
in the eyes of those who had loved Him, that His followers 
wrested the prophecies so that they might fit Him. They said, 
' He is the Messiah.' The Messiah was to do certain things ; 
therefore Jesus did certain things. Then an account would be 
given of the doing." All of which of course shows that there 
can be maintained no theory of inspiration. 

It is admitted that where individuals are witnesses of the 


same transaction, and where they agree upon the vital points 
and disagree upon details, the disagreement may be consistent 
with their honesty, as tending to show that they have not 
agreed upon a story ; but if the witnesses are inspired of 
God then there is no reason for their disagreeing on anything, 
and if they do disagree it is a demonstration that they were 
not inspired, but it is not a demonstration that they are not. 
honest. While perfect agreement may be evidence of re 
hearsal, a failure to perfectly agree is not a demonstration of 
the truth or falsity of a story ; but if the witnesses claim to be 
inspired, the slightest disagreement is a demonstration that 
they were not inspired. 

Renan reaches the conclusion, proving every step that he 
takes, that the four principal documents that is to say, the 
four gospels are in "flagrant contradiction one with another." 
He attacks, and with perfect success, the miracles of the 
Scriptures, and upon this subject says : " Observation, which 
has never once been falsified, teaches us that miracles never 
happen, but in times and countries in which they are believed 
and before persons disposed to believe them. No miracle 
ever occurred in the presence of men capable of testing its 
miraculous character. ' ' He further takes the ground that no 
contemporary miracle will bear inquiry, and that consequently 
it is probable that the miracles of antiquity which have been 
performed in popular gatherings would be shown to be simple 
illusion, were it possible to criticise them in detail. In the 
name of universal experience he banishes miracles from his 
tory. These were brave things to do, things that will bear 
good fruit. As long as men believe in miracles, past or pres- 
enta they remain the prey of superstition. The Catholic is 
taught that miracles were performed anciently not only, but 
that they are still being performed. This is consistent incon 
sistency. Protestants teach a double doctrine : That miracles 


used to be performed, that the laws of nature used to be vio 
lated, but that no miracle is performed now. No Protestant 
will admit that any miracle was performed by the Catholic 
Church. Otherwise, Protestants could not be justified in leav 
ing a church with whom the God of miracles dwelt. So 
every Protestant has to adopt two kinds of reasoning : that 
the laws of Nature used to be violated and that miracles 
used to be performed, but that since the apostolic age Nature 
has had her way and the Lord has allowed facts to exist and to 
hold the field. A supernatural account, according to Renan, 
" always implies credulity or imposture," probably both. 

It does not seem possible to me that Christ claimed for him 
self what the Testament claims for him. These claims were 
made by admirers, by followers, by missionaries. 

When the early Christians went to Rome they found plenty 
of demigods. It was hard to set aside the religion of a demi 
god by telling the story of a man from Nazareth. These mis 
sionaries, not to be outdone in ancestry, insisted and this was 
after the Gospel "according to St. John " had been written 
that Christ was the Son of God. Matthew believed that he 
was the son of David, and the Messiah, and gave the geneal 
ogy of Joseph, his father, to support that claim. 

In the time of Christ no one imagined that he was of divine 
origin. This was an after-growth. In order to ,'place them 
selves on an equality with Pagans they started the claim of 
divinity, and also took the second step requisite in that coun 
try : First, a god for his father, and second, a virgin for his 
mother. This was the Pagan combination of greatness, and 
the Christians added to this that Christ was God. 

It is hard to agree with the conclusion reached by Renan, 
that Christ formed and intended to form a church. Such evi 
dence, it seems to me, is hard to find in the Testament. 
Christ seemed to satisfy himself, according to the Testament, 


with a few statements, some of them exceedingly wise and 
tender, some utterly impracticable and some intolerant. 

If we accept the conclusions reached by Renan we will throw 
away, the legends without foundation ; the miraculous legends ; 
and everything inconsistent with what we know of Nature. 
Very little will be left a few sayings to be found among those 
attributed to Confucius, to Buddha, to Krishna, to Epictetus, 
to Zeno, and to many others. Some of these sayings are full 
of wisdom, full of kindness, and others rush to such extremes 
that they touch the borders of insanity. When struck on one 
cheek to turn the other, is really joining a conspiracy to secure 
the triumph of brutality. To agree not to resist evil is to be 
come an accomplice of all injustice. We must not take from 
industry, from patriotism, from virtue, the right of self-defence. 

Undoubtedly Renan gave an honest transcript of his mind, 
the road his thought had followed, the reasons in their order 
that had occurred to him, the criticisms born of thought, and 
the qualifications, softening phrases, children of old senti 
ments and emotions that had not entirely passed away. 
He started, one might say, from the altar and, during a con 
siderable part of the journey, carried the incense with him. 
The farther he got away, the greater was his clearness of vision 
and the more thoroughly he was convinced that Christ was 
merely a man, an idealist. But, remembering the altar, he 
excused exaggeration in the ' ' inspired ' ' books, not because it 
was from heaven, not because it was in harmony with our 
ideas of veracity, but because the writers of the gospel were 
imbued with the Oriental spirit of exaggeration, a spirit per 
fectly understood by the people who first read the gospels, 
because the readers knew the habits of the writers. 

It had been contended for many years that no one could 
pass judgment on the veracity of the Scriptures who did not 
understand Hebrew. This position was perfectly absurd. No 


man needs to be a student of Hebrew to know that the shadow 
on the dial did not go back several degrees to convince a petty 
king that a boil was not to be fatal. Renan, however, filled the 
requirement. He was an excellent Hebrew scholar. This was 
a fortunate circumstance, because it answered a very old 

The founder of Christianity was, for his own sake, taken 
from the divine pedestal and allowed to stand like other men 
on the earth, to be judged by what he said and did, by his 
theories, by his philosophy, by his spirit. 

No matter whether Renan came to a correct conclusion or 
not, his work did a vast deal of good. He convinced many 
that implicit reliance could not be placed upon the gospels, 
that the gospels themselves are of unequal worth ; that they 
were deformed by ignorance and falsehood, or, at least, by 
mistake ; that if they wished to save the reputation of Christ 
they must not rely wholly on the gospels, or on what is found 
in the New Testament, but they must go farther and examine 
all legends touching him. Not only so, but they must throw 
away the miraculous, the impossible and the absurd. 

He also has shown that the early followers of Christ endeav 
ored to add to the reputation of their Master by attributing to 
him the miraculous and the foolish ; that while these stories 
added to his reputation at that time, since the world has ad 
vanced they must be cast aside or the reputation of the Master 
must suffer. 

It will not do now to say that Christ himself pretended to do 
miracles. This would establish the fact at least that he was 
mistaken. But we are compelled to say that his disciples in 
sisted that he was a worker of miracles. This shows, either 
that they were mistaken or untruthful. 

We all know that a sleight-of-hand performer could gain a 
greater reputation among savages than Darwin or Humboldt; 


and we know that the world in the time of Christ was filled 
with barbarians, with people who demanded the miraculous, 
who expected it ; with people, in fact, who had a stronger be 
lief in the supernatural than in the natural ; people who never 
thought it worth while to record facts. The hero of such 
people, the Christ of such people, with his miracles, cannot be 
the Christ of the thoughtful and scientific. 

Renan was a man of most excellent temper ; candid ; not 
striving for victory, but for truth ; conquering, as far as he 
could, the old superstitions ; not entirely free, it may be, but 
believing himself to be so. He did great good. He has 
helped to destroy the fictions of faith. He has helped to 
rescue man from the prison of superstition, and this is the 
greatest benefit that man can bestow on man. 

He did another great service, not only to Jews, but to Chris 
tendom, by writing the history of "The People of Israel." 
Christians for many centuries have persecuted the Jews. They 
have charged them with the greatest conceivable crime with 
having crucified an infinite God. This absurdity has hardened 
the hearts of men and poisoned the minds of children. The 
persecution of the Jews is the meanest, the most senseless and 
cruel page in history. Every civilized Christian should feel 
on his cheeks the red spots of shame as he reads the wretched 
and infamous story. 

The flame of this prejudice is fanned and fed in the Sun 
day schools of our day, and the orthodox minister points 
proudly to the atrocities perpetrated against the Jews by 
the barbarians of Russia as evidences of the truth of the in 
spired Scriptures. In every wound God puts a tongue to 
proclaim the truth of his book. 

If the charge that the Jews killed God were true, it is hardly 
reasonable to hold those who are now living responsible for 
what their ancestors did nearly nineteen centuries ago. 


But there is another point in connection with this matter : If 
Christ was God, then the Jews could not have killed him with 
out his consent ; and, according to the orthodox creed, if he 
had not been sacrificed, the whole world would have suffered 
eternal pain. Nothing can exceed the meanness of the preju 
dice of Christians against the Jewish people. They should not 
be held responsible for their savage ancestors, or for their be 
lief that Jehovah was an intelligent and merciful God, superior 
to all other gods. Even Christians do not wish to be held re 
sponsible for the Inquisition, 'for the Torquemadas and the 
John Calvins, for the witch-burners and the Quaker-whippers, 
for the slave-traders and child-stealers, the most of whom were 
believers in our ' ' glorious gospel, ' ' and many of whom had 
been born the second time. 

Renan did much to civilize the Christians by telling the 
truth in a charming and convincing way about the " People of 
Israel." Both sides are greatly indebted to him : one he has 
ably defended, and the other greatly enlightened. 

Having done what good he could in giving what he believed 
was light to his fellow-men, he had no fear of becoming a vic 
tim of God's wrath, and so he laughingly said: "For my 
part I imagine that if the Eternal in his severity were to send 
me to hell I should succeed in escaping from it. I would send 
up to my Creator a supplication that would make him smile. 
The course of reasoning by which I would prove to him that it 
was through his fault that I was damned would be so subtle 
that he would find some difficulty in replying. The fate 
which would suit me best is Purgatory a charming place, 
where many delightful romances begun on earth must be con 

Such cheerfulness, such good philosophy, with cap and bells, 
such banter and blasphemy, such sound and solid sense drive 
to madness the priest who thinks the curse of Rome can fright 


the world. How the snake of superstition writhes when he 
finds that his fangs have lost their poison. 

He was one of the gentlest of men one of the fairest in dis 
cussion, dissenting from the views of others with modesty, 
presenting his own .with clearness and candor. His mental 
manners were excellent. He was not positive as to the ' ' un 
knowable. ' ' He said ' ' Perhaps. ' ' He knew that knowledge 
is good if it increases the happiness of man ; and he felt that 
superstition is the assassin of liberty and civilization. He lived 
a life of cheerfulness, of industry, devoted to the welfare of 

He was a seeker of happiness by the highway of the natural, 
a destroyer of the dogmas of mental deformity, a worshiper 
of Liberty and the Ideal. As he lived, he died hopeful and 
serene and now, standing in imagination by his grave, we 
ask : Will the night be eternal ? The brain says, Perhaps ; while 
the heart hopes for the Dawn. 



COUNT TOLSTOI is a man of genius. He is acquainted 
with Russian life from the highest to the lowest that 
is to say, from the worst to the best. He knows the vices of 
the rich and the virtues of the poor. He is a Christian, a real 
believer in the Old and New Testaments, an honest follower of 
the Peasant of Palestine. He denounces luxury and ease, art 
and music ; he regards a flower with suspicion, believing that 
beneath every blossom lies a coiled serpent. He agrees with 
Lazarus and denounces Dives and the tax-gatherers. He is 
opposed, not only to doctors of divinity, but of medicine. 

From the Mount of Olives he surveys the world. 

He is not a Christian like the Pope in the Vatican, or a car 
dinal in a palace, or a bishop with revenues and retainers, or 
a millionaire who hires preachers to point out the wickedness 
of the poor, or the director of a museum who closes the doors 
on Sunday. He is a Christian something like Christ. 

To him this life is but a breathing-spell between the verdict 
and the execution ; the sciences are simply sowers of the seeds 
of pride, of arrogance and vice. Shocked by the cruelties and 
unspeakable horrors of war, he became a non-resistant and 
averred that he would not defend his own body or that of his 
daughter from insult and outrage. In this he followed the 
command of his Master : " Resist not evil." He passed, not 
simply from war to peace, but from one extreme to the other, 
and advocated a doctrine that would leave the basest of man- 



kind the rulers of the world. This was and is the error of a 
great and tender soul. 

He did not accept all the teachings of Christ at once. His 
progress has been, judging from his writings, somewhat grad 
ual ; but by accepting one proposition he prepared himself for 
the acceptance of another. He is not only a Christian, but has 
the courage of his convictions, and goes without hesitation to 
the logical conclusion. He has another exceedingly rare 
quality ; he acts in accordance with his belief. His creed is 
translated into deed. He opposes the doctors of divinity, be 
cause they darken and deform the teachings of the Master. 
He denounces the doctors of medicine, because he depends on 
Providence and the promises of Jesus Christ. To him that 
which is called progress is, in fact, a profanation, and property 
is a something that the organized few have stolen from the 
unorganized many. He believes in universal labor, which is 
good, each working for himself. He also believes that each 
should have only the necessaries of life which is bad. Ac 
cording to his idea, the world ought to be filled with peasants. 
There should be only arts enough to plough and sow and 
gather the harvest, to build huts, to weave coarse cloth, to 
fashion clumsy and useful garments, and to cook the simplest 
food. Men and women should not adorn their bodies. They 
should not make themselves desirable or beautiful. 

But even under such circumstances they might, like the 
Quakers, be proud of humility and become arrogantly meek. 

Tolstoi would change the entire order of human develop 
ment. As a matter of fact, the savage who adorns himself or 
herself with strings of shells, or with feathers, has taken the 
first step towards civilization. The tatooed is somewhat in 
advance of the unfrescoed. At the bottom of all this is the 
love of approbation, of the admiration of their fellows, and 
this feeling, this love, cannot be torn from the human heart 


In spite of ourselves we are attracted by what to us is beautiful, 
because beauty is associated with pleasure, with enjoyment. 
The love of the well-formed, of the beautiful, is prophetic of 
the perfection of the human race. It is impossible to admire 
the deformed. They may be loved for their goodness or 
genius, but never because of their deformity. There is within 
us the love of proportion. There is a physical basis for the 
appreciation of harmony, which is also a kind of proportion. 

The love of the beautiful is shared with man by most animals. 
The wings of the moth are painted by love, by desire. This 
is the foundation of the bird's song. This love of approbation, 
this desire to please, to be admired, to be loved, is in some 
way the cause of all heroic, self-denying, and sublime ac 

Count Tolstoi', following parts of the New Testament, re 
gards love as essentially impure. He seems really to think 
that there is a love superior to human love ; that the love of 
man for woman, of woman for man, is, after all, a kind of glit 
tering degradation ; that it is better to love God than woman ; 
better to love the invisible phantoms of the skies than the 
children upon our knees in other words, that it is far better 
to love a heaven somewhere else than to make one here. He 
seems to think that women adorn themselves simply for the 
purpose of getting in their power the innocent and unsuspect 
ing men. He forgets that the best and purest of human beings 
are controlled, for the most part unconsciously, by the hidden, 
subtle tendencies of nature. He seems to forget the great fact 
of " natural selection," and that the choice of one in preference 
to all others is the result of forces beyond the control of the 
individual. To him there seems to be no purity in love, be 
cause men are influenced by forms, by the beauty of women ; 
and women, knowing this fact, according to him, act, and con 
sequently both are equally guilty. He endeavors to show that 


love is a delusion ; that at best it can last but for a few days; 
that it must of necessity be succeeded by indifference, then by 
disgust, lastly by hatred ; that in every Garden of Eden is a 
serpent of jealousy, and that the brightest days end with the 
yawn of ennui. 

Of course he is driven to the conclusion that life in this world 
is without value, that the race can be perpetuated only by vice, 
and that the practice of the highest virtue would leave the 
world without the form of man. Strange as it may sound to 
some, this is the same conclusion reached by his Divine Mas 
ter : " They did eat, they drank, they married, they were 
given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered the ark and 
the flood came and destroyed them all. " " Every one that 
hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or 
mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, 
shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. ' ' 

According to Christianity, as it really is and really was, the 
Christian should have no home in this world at least none 
until the earth has been purified by fire. His affections should 
be given to God ; not to wife and children, not to friends or 
country. He is here but for a time on a journey, waiting for 
the summons. This life is a kind of dock running out into the 
sea of eternity, on which he waits for transportation. Nothing 
here is of any importance ; the joys of life are frivolous and 
corrupting, and by losing these few gleams of happiness in this 
world he will bask forever in the unclouded rays of infinite joy. 
Why should a man risk an eternity of perfect happiness for 
the sake of enjoying himself a few days with his wife and 
children ? Why should he become an eternal outcast for the 
sake of having a home and fireside here ? 

The ' ' Fathers ' ' of the church had the same opinion of mar 
riage. They agreed with Saint Paul, and Tolstoi agrees with 
them. They had the same contempt for wives and mothers, 


and uttered the same blasphemies against that divine passion 
that has filled the world with art and song. 

All this is to my mind a kind of insanity ; nature soured or 
withered deformed so that celibacy is mistaken for virtue. 
The imagination becomes polluted, and the poor wretch be 
lieves that he is purer than his thoughts, holier than his desires, 
and that to outrage nature is the highest form of religion. But 
nature imprisoned, obstructed, tormented, always has sought 
for and has always found revenge. Some of these victims, re 
garding the passions as low and corrupting, feeling humiliated 
by hunger and thirst, sought through maimings and mutila 
tions the purification of the soul. 

Count Tolstoi in "TheKreutzer Sonata," has drawn, with 
a free hand, one of the vilest and basest of men for his hero. 
He is suspicious, jealous, cruel, infamous. The wife is infi 
nitely too good for such a wild unreasoning beast, and yet the 
writer of this insane story seems to justify the assassin. If this 
is a true picture of wedded life in Russia, no wonder that 
Count Tolstoi looks forward with pleasure to the extinction of 
the human race. 

Of all passions that can take possession of the heart or brain 
jealousy is the worst. For many generations the chemists 
sought for the secret by which all metals could be changed to 
gold, and through which the basest could become the best. 
Jealousy seeks exactly the opposite. It endeavors to trans 
mute the very gold of love into the dross of shame and crime. 

The story of ' ' The Kreutzer Sonata ' ' seems to have been 
written for the purpose of showing that woman is at fault ; that 
she has no right to be attractive, no right to be beautiful ; and 
that she is morally responsible for the contour of her throat, 
for the pose of her body, for the symmetry of her limbs, for 
the red of her lips, and for the dimples in her cheeks. 

The opposite of this doctrine is nearer true. It would be 


far better to hold people responsible for their ugliness than for 
their beauty. It may be true that the soul, the mind, in some 
wondrous way fashions the body, and that to that extent every 
individual is responsible for his looks. It may be that the 
man or woman thinking high thoughts will give, necessarily, a 
nobility to expression and a beauty to outline. 

It is not true that the sins of man can be laid justly at the 
feet of woman. Women are better than men ; they have 
greater responsibilities ; they bear even the burdens of joy. 
This is the real reason why their faults are considered greater. 

Men and women desire each other, and this desire is a con 
dition of civilization, progress, and happiness, and of every 
thing of real value. But there is this profound difference in 
the sexes : in man this desire is the foundation of love, while 
in woman love is the foundation of this desire. 

Tolstoi seems to be a stranger to the heart of woman. 

Is it not wonderful that one who holds self-denial in such 
high esteem should say, ' ' That life is embittered by the fear 
of one's children, and not only on account of their real or 
imaginary illnesses, but even by their very presence " ? 

Has the father no real love for the children ? Is he not paid 
a thousand times through their caresses, their sympathy, their 
love? Is there no joy in seeing their minds unfold, their 
affections develop ? Of course, love and anxiety go together. 
That which we love we wish to protect. The perpetual fear of 
death gives love intensity and sacredness. Yet Count Tolstoi 
gives us the feelings of a father incapable of natural affection ; 
of one who hates to have his children sick because the orderly 
course of his wretched life is disturbed. So, too, we are told 
that modern mothers think too much of their children, care too 
much for their health, and refuse to be comforted when they 
die. Lest these words may be thought libellous, the following 
^xtract is given ; 


"In old times women consoled themselves with the belief, The 
Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the 
name of the Lord. They consoled themselves with the thought that 
the soul of the departed had returned to him who gave it ; that it was 
better to die innocent than to live in sin. If women nowadays had 
such a comfortable faith to support them, they might take their mis 
fortunes less hard." 

The conclusion reached by the writer is that without faith in 
God, woman's love grovels in the mire. 

In this case the mire is made by the tears of mothers falling 
on the clay that hides their babes. 

The one thing constant, the one peak that rises above all 
clouds, the one window in which the light forever burns, the 
one star that darkness cannot quench, is woman's love. 

This one fact justifies the existence and the perpetuation of 
the human race. Again I say that women are better than men ; 
their hearts are more unreservedly given ; in the web of their 
lives sorrow is inextricably woven with the greatest joys ; self- 
sacrifice is a part of their nature, and at the behest of love and 
maternity they walk willingly and joyously down to the very 
gates of death. 

Is there nothing in this to excite the admiration, the adora 
tion, of a modern reformer? Are the monk and nun superior 
to the father and mother ? 

The author of " The Kreutzer Sonata" is unconsciously the 
enemy of mankind. He is filled with what might be called a 
merciless pity, a sympathy almost malicious. Had he lived a 
few centuries ago, he might have founded a religion ; but the 
most he can now do is, perhaps, to create the necessity for 
another asylum. 

Count Tolstoi objects to music not the ordinary kind, but 
to great music, the music that arouses the emotions, that ap 
parently carries us beyond the limitations of life, that for the 


moment seems to break the great chain of cause and effect, and 
leaves the soul soaring and free. "Emotion and duty," he 
declares, " do not go hand in hand." All art touches and 
arouses the emotional nature. The painter, the poet, the 
sculptor, the composer, the orator, appeal to the emotions, to 
the passions, to the hopes and fears. The commonplace is 
transfigured ; the cold and angular facts of existence take form 
and color ; the blood quickens ; the fancies spread their wings ; 
the intellect grows sympathetic ; the river of life flows full and 
free ; and man becomes capable of the noblest deeds. Take 
emotion from the heart of man and the idea of obligation would 
be lost ; right and wrong would lose their meaning, and the 
word "ought" would never again be spoken. We are sub 
ject to conditions, liable to disease, pain, and death. We are 
capable of ecstasy. Of these conditions, of these possibilities, 
the emotions are born. 

Only the conditionless can be the emotionless. 

We are conditioned beings ; and if the conditions are 
changed, the result may be pain or death or greater joy. We 
can only live within certain degrees of heat. If the weather 
were a few degrees hotter or a few degrees colder, we could 
not exist. We need food and roof and raiment. Life and 
happiness depend on these conditions. We do not certainly 
know what is to happen, and consequently our hopes and fears 
are constantly active that is to say, we are emotional 
beings. The generalization of Tolstoi, that emotion never 
goes hand in hand with duty, is almost the opposite of the 
truth. The idea of duty could not exist without emotion. 
Think of men and women without love, without desires, with 
out passions ? Think of a world without art or music a world 
without beauty, without emotion. 

And yet there are many writers busy pointing out the loath 
someness of love and their own virtues. Only a little \\hile 


ago an article appeared in one of the magazines in which all 
women who did not dress according to the provincial prudery 
of the writer were denounced as impure. Millions of refined 
and virtuous wives and mothers were described as dripping 
with pollution because they enjoyed dancing and were so well 
formed that they were not obliged to cover their arms and 
throats to avoid the pity of their associates. And yet the 
article itself is far more indelicate than any dance or any dress, 
or even lack of dress. What a curious opinion dried apples 
have of fruit upon the tree ! 

Count Tolstoi is also the enemy of wealth, of luxury. In 
this he follows the New Testament. " It is easier for a camel 
to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter 
the Kingdom of Heaven." He gathers his inspiration from 
the commandment, " Sell all that thou hast and give to the 

Wealth is not a crime any more than health or bodily or 
intellectual strength. The weak might denounce the strong, 
the sickly might envy the healthy, just as the poor may de 
nounce or envy the rich. A man is not necessarily a criminal 
because he is wealthy. He is to be judged, not by his wealth, 
but by the way he uses his wealth. The strong man can use 
his strength, not only for the benefit of himself, but for the 
good of others. So a man of intelligence can be a benefactor 
of the human race. Intelligence is often used to entrap the 
simple and to prey upon the unthinking, but we do not wish 
to do away with intelligence. So strength is often used to 
tyrannize over the weak, and in the same way wealth may be 
used to the injury of mankind. To sell all that you have and 
give to the poor is not a panacea for poverty. The man of 
wealth should help the poor man to help himself. Men can 
not receive without giving some consideration, and if they have 
not labor or property to give, they give their manhood, their 


self-respect. Besides, if all should obey this injunction, ' ' Sell 
what thou hast and give to the poor, ' ' who would buy ? We 
know that thousands and millions of rich men lack generosity 
and have but little feeling for their fellows. The fault is not in 
the money, not in the wealth, but in the individuals. They 
would be just as bad were they poor. The only difference is 
that they would have less power. The good man should re 
gard wealth as an instrumentality, as an opportunity, and he 
should endeavor to benefit his fellow-men, not by making them 
the recipients of his charity, but by assisting them to assist 
themselves. The desire to clothe and feed, to educate and 
protect, wives and children, is the principal reason for making 
money one of the great springs of industry, prudence, and 

Those who labor have a right to live. They have a right to 
what they earn. He who works has a right to home and fire 
side and to the comforts of life. Those who waste the spring, 
the summer, and the autumn of their lives must bear the win 
ter when it comes. Many of our institutions are absurdly 
unjust. Giving the land to the few, making tenants of the 
many, is the worst possible form of socialism of paternal 
government. In most of the nations of our day the idlers and 
non-producers are either beggars or aristocrats, paupers or 
princes, and the great middle laboring class support them both. 
Rags and robes have a liking for each other. Beggars and 
kings are in accord ; they are all parasites, living on the same 
blood, stealing the same labor one by beggary, the other by 
force. And yet in all this there can be found no reason for 
denouncing the man who has accumulated. One who wishes 
to tear down his barns and build greater has laid aside some 
thing to keep the wolf of want from the door of home when he 
is dead. 

Even the beggars see the necessity of others working, and 


the nobility see the same necessity with equal clearness. But it 
is hardly reasonable to say that all should do the same kind of 
work, for the reason that all have not the same aptitudes, the 
same talents. Some can plough, others can paint ; some can 
reap and mow, while others can invent the instruments that 
save labor ; some navigate the seas ; some work in mines ; 
while others compose music that elevates and refines the heart 
of the world. 

But the worst thing in "The Kreutzer Sonata" is the 
declaration that a husband can by force compel the wife to love 
and obey him. Love is not the child of fear ; it is not the re 
sult of force. No one can love on compulsion. Even Jehovah 
found that it was impossible to compel the Jews to love him. 
He issued his command to that effect, coupled with threats of 
pain and death, but his chosen people failed to respond. 

Love is the perfume of the heart ; it is not subject to the will 
of husbands or kings or God. 

Count Tolstoi' would establish slavery in every house ; he 
would make every husband a tyrant and every wife a trembling 
serf. No wonder that he regards such marriage as a failure. 
He is in exact harmony with the curse of Jehovah when he said 
unto the woman : " I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy 
conception ; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy 
desire shall be unto thy husband, and he shall rule over thee." 

This is the destruction of the family, the pollution of home, 
the crucifixion of love. 

Those who are truly married are neither masters nor servants. 
The idea of obedience is lost in the desire for the happiness of 
each. Love is not a convict, to be detained with bolts and 
chains. Love is the highest expression of liberty. Love 
neither commands nor obeys. 

The curious thing is that the orthodox world insists that all 
men and women should obey the injunctions of Christ ; that 


they should take him as the supreme example, and in all 
things follow his teachings. This is preached from countless 
pulpits, and has been for many centuries. And yet the man 
who does follow the Savior, who insists that he will not resist 
evil, who sells what he has and gives to the poor, who deserts 
his wife and children for the love of God, is regarded as insane. 

Tolstoi, on most subjects, appears to be in accord with the 
founder of Christianity, with the apostles, with the writers of 
the New Testament, and with the Fathers of the church ; and 
yet a Christian teacher of a Sabbath school decides, in the 
capacity of Postmaster- General, that "The Kreutzer Sonata" 
is unfit to be carried in the mails. 

Although I disagree with nearly every sentence in this book, 
regard the story as brutal and absurd, the view of life pre 
sented as cruel, vile, and false, yet I recognize the right of 
Count Tolstoi to express his opinions on all subjects, and the 
right of the men and women of America to read for themselves. 

As to the sincerity of the author, there is not the slightest 
doubt. He is willing to give all that he has for the good of 
his fellow-men. He is a soldier in what he believes to be a 
sacred cause, and he has the courage of his convictions. He 
is endeavoring to organize society in accordance with the most 
radical utterances that have been attributed to Jesus Christ. 
The philosophy of Palestine is not adapted to an industrial and 
commercial age. Christianity was born when the nation that 
produced it was dying. It was a requiem a declaration that 
life was a failure, that the world was about to end, and that 
the hopes of mankind should be lifted to another sphere. 
Tolstoi" stands with his back to the sunrise and looks mourn 
fully upon the shadow. He has uttered many tender, noble, 
and inspiring words. There are many passages in his works 
that must have been written when his eyes were filled 
with tears. He has fixed his gaze so intently on the miseries 


and agonies of life that he has been driven to the conclusion 
that nothing could be better than the effacement of the human 

Some men, looking only at the faults and tyrannies of gov 
ernment, have said: "Anarchy is better." Others, looking 
at the misfortunes, the poverty, the crimes, of men, have, in a 
kind of pitying despair, reached the conclusion that the best 
of all is death. These are the opinions of those who have 
dwelt in gloom of the self-imprisoned. 

By comparing long periods of time, we see that, on the 
whole, the race is advancing ; that the world is growing steadily, 
and surely, better ; that each generation enjoys more and 
suffers less than its predecessor. We find that our institutions 
have the faults of individuals. Nations must be composed of 
men and women ; and as they have their faults, nations cannot 
be perfect. The institution of marriage is a failure to the ex 
tent, and only to the extent, that the human race is a failure. 
Undoubtedly it is the best and the most important institution 
that has been established by the civilized world. If there is 
unhappiness in that relation, if there is tyranny upon one side 
and misery upon the other, it is not the fault of marriage. 
Take homes from the world and only wild beasts are left. 

We cannot cure the evils of our day and time by a return to 
savagery. It is not necessary to become ignorant to increase 
our happiness. The highway of civilization leads to the light. 
The time will come when the human race will be truly en 
lightened, when labor will receive its due reward, when the 
last institution begotten of ignorance and savagery will disap 
pear. The time will come when the whole world will say that 
the love of man for woman, of woman for man, of mother for 
child, is the highest, the noblest, the purest, of which the heart 
is capable. 

Love, human love, love of men and women, love of mothers 


fathers, and babes, is the perpetual and beneficent force. Not 
the love of phantoms, the love that builds cathedrals and dun 
geons, that trembles and prays, that kneels and curses ; but 
the real love, the love that felled the forests, navigated the 
seas, subdued the earth, explored continents, built count 
less homes, and founded nations the love that kindled the 
creative flame and wrought the miracles of art, that gave us all 
there is of music, from the cradle-song that gives to infancy its 
smiling sleep to the great symphony that bears the soul away 
with wings of fire the real love, mother of every virtue and of 
every joy. North American Review^ September, 1890. 




" A great man's memory may outlive his life half a year, 
But, by'r lady, he must build churches then." 

rj IGHTY-THREE years ago Thomas Paine ceased to de 
ll^ fend himself. The moment he became dumb all his ene 
mies found a tongue. He was attacked on every hand. The 
Tories of England had been waiting for their revenge. The 
believers in kings, in hereditary government, the nobility of 
every land, execrated his memory. Their greatest enemy 
was dead. The believers in human slavery, and all who 
clamored for the rights of the States as against the sover 
eignty of a Nation, joined in the chorus of denunciation. In 
addition to this, the believers in the inspiration of the 
Scriptures, the occupants of orthodox pulpits, the professors 
in Christian colleges, and the religious historians, were his 
sworn and implacable foes. 

This man had gratified no ambition at the expense of his 
fellow-men ; he had desolated no country with the flame and 
sword of war ; he had not wrung millions from the poor 
and unfortunate ; he had betrayed no trust, and yet he was 
almost universally despised. He gave his life for the benefit 
of mankind. Day and night for many, many weary years, 
he labored for the good of others, and gave himself body 
and soul to the great cause of human liberty. And yet he 
won the hatred of the people for whose benefit, for whose 
emancipation, for whose civilization, for whose exaltation 
he gave his life. 

Against him every slander that malignity could coin and 
hypocrisy pass was gladly and joyously taken as genuine, 



and every truth with regard to his career was believed to 
be counterfeit. He was attacked by thousands where he 
was defended by one, and the one who defended him was 
instantly attacked, silenced, or destroyed. 

At last his life has been written by Moncure D. Conway, 
and the real history of Thomas Paine, of what he attempted 
and accomplished, of what he taught and suffered, has been 
intelligently, truthfully and candidly given to the world. 
Henceforth the slanderer will be without excuse. 

He who reads Mr. Conway's pages will find that Thomas 
Paine was more than a patriot that he was a philanthropist 
a lover not only of his country, but of all mankind. He 
will find that his sympathies were with those who suffered, 
without regard to religion or race, country or complexion. 
He will find that this great man did not hesitate to attack 
the governing class of his native laud to commit what was 
called treason against the king, that he might do battle for 
the rights of men ; that in spite of the prejudices of birth, he 
took the side of the American Colonies ; that he gladly at 
tacked the political abuses and absurdities that had been 
fostered by altars and thrones for many centuries ; that he 
was for the people against nobles and kings, and that he put 
his life in pawn for the good of others. 

In the winter of 1774, Thomas Paine came to America. 
After a time he was employed as one of the writers on the 
Pennsylvania Magazine. 

Let us see what he did, calculated to excite the hatred of 
his fellow-men. 

The first article he ever wrote in America, and the first 
ever published by him anywhere, appeared in that magazine 
on the 8th of March, 1775. It was an attack on American 
slavery a plea for the rights of the negro. In that article 
will be found substantially all the arguments that can be 
urged against that most infamous of all institutions. Every 
js full of humanity, pity, tenderness, and love of justice. 


Five days after this article appeared the American Anti- 
Slavery Society was formed. Certainly this should not ex 
cite our hatred. To-day the civilized world agrees with the 
essay written by Thomas Paine in 1775. 

At that time great interests were against him. The 
owners of slaves became his enemies, and the pulpits, sup 
ported by slave labor, denounced this abolitionist. 

The next article published by Thomas Paine, in the 
same magazine, and for the next month, was an attack on 
the practice of dueling, showing that it was barbarous, that 
it did not even tend to settle the right or wrong of a dispute, 
that it could not be defended on any just grounds, and that 
its influence was degrading and cruel. The civilized world 
now agrees with the opinions of Thomas Paine upon that 
barbarous practice. 

In May, 1775, appeared in the same magazine another 
article written by Thomas Paine, a Protest Against Cruelty 
to Animals. He began the work that was so successfully 
and gloriously carried out by Henry Bergh, one of the 
noblest, one of the grandest, men that this continent has 

The good people of this world agree with Thomas Paine. 

In August of the same year he wrote a plea for the 
Rights of Woman, the first ever published in the New World. 
Certainly he should not be hated for that. 

He was the first to suggest a union of the colonies. Be 
fore the Declaration of Independence was issued, Paine had 
written of and about the Free and Independent States of 
America. He had also spoken of the United Colonies as 
the " Glorious Union," and he was the first to write these 
words : " The United States of America." 

'In May, 1775, Washington said: "If you ever hear of 
me joining in any such measure (as separation from Great 
Britain) you have my leave to set me down for everything 
wicked." He had also said : " It is not the wish or inter- 


est of the government (meaning Massachusetts), or of any 
other upon this continent, separately or collectively, to set 
up for independence." And in the same year Benjamin 
Franklin assured Chatham that no one in America was in 
favor of separation. As a matter of fact, the people of the 
colonies wanted a redress of their grievances they were not 
dreaming of separation, of independence. 

In 1775 Paine wrote the pamphlet known as " Common 
Sense." This was published on the loth of January, 1776. 
It was the first appeal for independence, the first cry for 
national life, for absolute separation. No pamphlet, no 
book, ever kindled such a sudden conflagration, a purify 
ing flame, in which the prejudices and fears of millions were 
consumed. To read it now, after the lapse of more than a 
hundred years, hastens the blood. It is but the meagre 
truth to say that Thomas Paine did more for the cause of 
separation, to sow the seeds of independence, than any other 
man of his time. Certainly we should not despise him for 
this. The Declaration of Independence followed, and in 
that declaration will be found not only the thoughts, but 
some of the expressions of Thomas Paine. 

During the war, and in the very darkest hours, Paine 
wrote what is called " The Crisis," a series of pamphlets 
giving from time to time his opinion of events, and his 
prophecies. These marvelous publications produced an 
effect nearly as great as the pamphlet "Common Sense." 
These strophes, written by the bivouac fires, had in them 
the soul of battle. 

In all he wrote, Paine was direct and natural. He 
touched the very heart of the subject. He was not awed 
by names or titles, by place or power. He never lost his 
regard for truth, for principle never wavered in his 
allegiance to reason, to what he believed to be right. His 
arguments were so lucid, so unanswerable, his comparisons 
and analogies so apt, so unexpected, that they excited the 


passionate admiration of friends and the unquenchable 
hatred of enemies. So great were these appeals to patriot 
ism, to the love of liberty, the pride of independence, the 
glory of success, that it was said by some of the best and 
greatest of that time that the American cause owed as 
much to the pen of Paine as to the sword of Washington. 

On the 2d day of November, 1779, there was introduced 
into the Assembly of Pennsylvania an act for the abolition 
of slavery. The preamble was written by Thomas Paine. 
To him belongs the honor and glory of having written the 
first Proclamation of Emancipation in America Paine the 
first, Lincoln the last. 

Paine, of all others, succeeded in getting aid for the 
struggling colonies from France. " According to Lamar- 
tine, the King, Louis XVI., loaded Paine with favors, and a 
gift of six millions was confided into the hands of Franklin 
and Paine. On the 25th of August, 1781, Paine reached 
Boston bringing two million five hundred thousand livres 
in silver, and in convoy a ship laden with clothing and 
military stores." 

" In November, 1779, Paine was elected clerk to the 
General Assembly of Pennsylvania. In 1 780, the Assembly 
received a letter from General Washington in the field, say 
ing that he feared the distresses in the army would lead to 
mutiny in the ranks. This letter was read by Paine to the 
Assembly. He immediately wrote to Blair McClenaghan, a 
Philadelphia merchant, explaining the urgency, and inclos 
ing five hundred dollars, the amount of salary due him as 
clerk, as his contribution towards a relief fund. The 
merchant called a meeting the next day, and read Paine's 
letter. A subscription list was immediately circulated, and 
in JSL short time about one million five hundred thousand 
dollars was raised. With this capital the Pennsylvania 
bank afterwards the bank of North America was estab 
lished for the relief of the army," 


In 1783 " Paine wrote a memorial to Chancellor Living 
ston, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Robert Morris, Minister 
of Finance, and his assistant, urging the necessity of adding 
a Continental Legislature to Congress, to be elected by the 
several States. Robert Morris invited the Chancellor and 
a number of eminent men to meet Paine at dinner, where 
his plea for a stronger Union was discussed and approved. 
This was probably the earliest of a series of consultations 
preliminary to the Constitutional Convention." 

"On the i gth of April, 1783, it being the eighth anniver 
sary of the Battle of Lexington, Paine printed a little 
pamphlet entitled ' Thoughts on Peace and the Probable 
Advantages Thereof.' " In this pamphlet he pleads for "a 
supreme Nationality absorbing all cherished sovereignties." 
Mr. Con way calls this pamphlet Paine's " Farewell Ad 
dress," and gives the following extract : 

" It was the cause of America that made me an author. The force 
with which it struck my mind, and the dangerous condition in which 
the country was in, by courting an impossible and an unnatural recon 
ciliation with those who were determined to reduce her, instead of 
striking out into the only line that could save her, a Declaration of 
Independence, made it impossible for me, feeling as I did, to be 
silent ; and if, in the course of more than seven years, I have ren 
dered her any service, I have likewise added something to the repu 
tation of literature, by freely and disinterestedly employing it in the 
great cause of mankind. . . . But as the scenes of war are closed, 
and every man preparing for home and happier times, I therefore 
take leave of the subject. I have most sincerely followed it from be 
ginning to end, and through all its turns and windings ; and whatever 
country I may hereafter be in, I shall always feel an honest pride at 
the part I have taken and acted, and a gratitude to nature and prov 
idence for putting it in my power to be of some use to mankind." 

Paine had made some enemies, first, by attacking African 
slavery, and, second, by insisting upon the sovereignty of 
the Nation. 

During the Revolution our forefathers, in order to justify 
making war on Great Britain, were compelled to take the 
ground that all men are entitled to life, liberty and the 


pursuit of happiness. In no other way could they justify 
their action. After the war, the meaner instincts began to 
take possession of the inind, and those who had fought for 
their own liberty were perfectly willing to enslave others. 
We must also remember that the Revolution was begun and 
carried on by a noble minority that the majority were 
really in favor of Great Britain and did what they dared to 
prevent the success of the American cause. The minority, 
however, had control of affairs. They were active, ener 
getic, enthusiastic, and courageous, and the majority were 
overawed, shamed, and suppressed. But when peace came, 
the majority asserted themselves and the interests of trade 
and commerce were consulted. Enthusiasm slowly died, 
and patriotism was mingled with the selfishness of traffic. 

But, after all, the enemies of Paine were few, the friends 
were many. He had the respect and admiration of the 
greatest and the best, and was enjoying the fruits of his 

The Revolution was ended, the colonies were free. They 
had been united, they formed a Nation, and the United 
States of America had a place on the map of the world. 

Paine was not a politician. He had not labored for 
seven years to get an office. His services were no longer 
needed in America. He concluded to educate the English 
people, to inform them of their rights, to expose the 
pretences, follies and fallacies, the crimes and cruelties of 
nobles, kings, and parliaments. In the brain and heart of 
this man were the dream and hope of the universal repub 
lic. He had confidence in the people. He hated tyranny 
and war, despised the senseless pomp and vain show of 
crowned robbers, laughed at titles, and the " honorable " 
badges worn by the obsequious and servile, by fawners 
and followers ; loved liberty with all his heart, and bravely 
fought against those who could give the rewards of place 
and gold, and for those who could pay only with thanks. 


Hoping to hasten the day of freedom, he wrote the 
" Rights of Man" a book that laid the foundation for all 
the real liberty that the English now enjoy a book that 
made known to Englishmen the Declaration of Nature, and 
convinced millions that all are children of the same 
mother, entitled to share equally in her gifts. Every 
Englishman who has outgrown the ideas of 1688 should 
remember Paine with love and reverence. Every English 
man who has sought to destroy abuses, to lessen or limit 
the prerogatives of the crown, to extend the suffrage, to do 
away with " rotten boroughs," to take taxes from knowl 
edge, to increase and protect the freedom of speech and the 
press, to do away with bribes under the name of pensions, 
and to make England a government of principles rather 
than of persons, has been compelled to adopt the creed and 
use the arguments of Thomas Paine. In England every 
step toward freedom has been a triumph of Paine over 
Burke and Pitt. No man ever rendered a greater service 
to his native land. 

The book called the " Rights of Man " was the greatest 
contribution that literature had given to liberty. It rests 
on the bed-rock. No attention is paid to precedents ex 
cept to show that they are wrong. Paine was not misled 
by the proverbs that wolves had written for sheep. He 
had the intelligence to examine for himself, and the 
courage to publish his conclusions. As soon as the 
" Rights of Man " was published the Government was 
alarmed. Every effort was made to suppress it. The 
author was indicted ; those who published, and those who 
sold, were arrested and imprisoned. But the new gospel 
had been preached a great man had shed light a new 
force had been born, and it was beyond the power of 
nobles and kings to undo what the author-hero had done. 

To avoid arrest and probable death, Paine left England. 
He had sown with brave hand the seeds of thought, and he 


knew that he had lighted a fire that nothing could ex 
tinguish until England should be free. 

The fame of Thomas Paine had reached France in many 
ways principally through Lafayette. His services in 
America were well known. The pamphlet "Common 
Sense" had been published in French, and its effect had 
been immense. "The Rights of Man" that had created, 
and was then creating, such a stir in England, was also 
known to the French. The lovers of liberty everywhere 
were the friends and admirers of Thomas Paine. In 
America, England, Scotland, Ireland, and France he was 
known as the defender of popular rights. He had preached 
a new gospel. He had given a new Magna Charta to the 

So popular was Paine in France that he was elected by 
three constituencies to the National Convention. He 
chose to represent Calais. From the moment he entered 
French territory he was received with almost royal honors. 
He at once stood with the foremost, and was welcomed by 
all enlightened patriots. As in America, so in France, he 
knew no idleness he was an organizer and worker. The 
first thing he did was to found the first Republican Society, 
and the next to write its Manifesto, in which the ground 
was taken that France did not need a king ; that the people 
should govern themselves. In this Manifesto was this 
argument : 

" What kind of office must that be in a government which requires 
neither experience nor ability to execute ? that may be abandoned to 
the desperate chance of birth ; that may be filled with an idiot, a mad 
man, a tyrant, with equal effect as with the good, the virtuous, the 
wise ? An office of this nature is a mere nonentity ; it is a place of 
show, not of use." 

He said : 

" I am not the personal enemy of kings. Quite the contrary. No 
man wishes more heartily than myself to see them all in the happy 
and honorable state of private individuals ; but I am the avowed, 


open and intrepid enemy of what is called monarchy ; and I am such 
by principles which nothing can either alter or corrupt, by my attach 
ment to humanity, by the anxiety which I feel within myself for the 
dignity and honor of the human race." 

One of the grandest things done by Thomas Paine was 
his effort to save the life of Louis XVI. The Convention 
was in favor of death. Paine was a foreigner. His career 
had caused some jealousies. He knew the danger he was 
in that the tiger was already crouching for a spring but 
he was true to his principles. He was opposed to the 
death penalty. He remembered that Louis XVI. had been 
the friend of America, and he very cheerfully risked his 
life, not only for the good of France, not only to save the 
king, but to pay a debt of gratitude. He asked the Con 
vention to exile the king to the United States. He asked 
this as a member of the Convention and as a citizen of the 
United States. As an American he felt grateful not only 
to the king, but to every Frenchman. He, the adversary 
of all kings, asked the Convention to remember that kings 
were men, and subject to human frailties. He took still 
another step, and said : " As France has been the first of 
European nations to abolish royalty, let us also be the first 
to abolish the punishment of death." 

Even after the death of Louis had been voted, Paine 
made another appeal. With a courage born of the highest 
possible sense of duty he said : 

" France has but one ally the United States of America. That is 
the only nation that can furnish France with naval provisions, for the 
kingdoms of Northern Europe are, or soon will be, at war with her. 
It happens that the person now under discussion is regarded in 
America as a deliverer of their country. I can assure you that his 
execution will there spread universal sorrow, and it is in your power 
not thus to wound the feelings of your ally. Could I speak the 
French language I would descend to your bar, and in their name be 
come your petitioner to respite the execution of your sentence on 
Louis. Ah, citizens, give not the tyrant of England the triumph of 
seeing the man perish on the scaffold who helped my dear brothers 
of America to break his chains." 


This was worthy of the man who had said: "Where 

Liberty is not, there is my country." 

Paine was second on the committee to prepare the draft' 
of a constitution for France to be submitted to the Conven 
tion. He was the real author, not only of the draft of the 
Constitution, but of the Declaration of Rights. 

In France, as in America, he took the lead. His first 
thoughts seemed to be first principles. He was clear be 
cause he was profound. People without ideas experience 
great difficulty in finding words to express them. 

From the moment that Paine cast his vote in favor of 
mercy in favor of life the shadow of the guillotine was 
upon him. He knew that when he voted for the King's 
life, he voted for his own death. Paine remembered that 
the king had been the friend of America, and to him in 
gratitude seemed the worst of crimes. He worked to de 
stroy the monarch, not the man ; the king, not the friend. 
He discharged his duty and accepted death. This was the 
heroism of goodness the sublimity of devotion. 

Believing that his life was near its close, he made up his 
mind to give to the world his thoughts concerning " re 
vealed religion." This he had for some time intended to 
do, but other matters had claimed his attention. Feeling 
that there was no time to be lost, he wrote the first part of 
the " Age of Reason," and gave the manuscript to Joel 
Barlow. Six hours after, he was arrested. The second 
part was written in prison while he was waiting for death. 

Paine clearly saw that men could not be really free, or 
defend the freedom they had, unless they were free to think 
and speak. He knew that the church was the enemy of 
liberty, that the altar and throne were in partnership, that 
they helped each other and divided the spoils. 

He felt that, being a man, he had the right to examine 
the creeds and the Scriptures for himself, and that, being 
an honest man, it was his duty and his privilege to tell his 
fellow-men the conclusions at which he arrived. 


He found that the creeds of all orthodox churches were 
absurd and cruel, and that the Bible was no better. Of 
course he found that there were some good things in the 
creeds and in the Bible. These he defended, but the 
infamous, the inhuman, he attacked. 

In matters of religion he pursued the same course that 
he had in things political. He depended upon experience, 
and above all on reason. He refused to extinguish the 
light in his own soul. He was true to himself, and gave to 
others his honest thoughts. He did not seek wealth, or 
place, or fame. He sought the truth. 

He had felt it to be his duty to attack the institution of 
slavery in America, to raise his voice against dueling, to 
plead for the rights of woman, to excite pity for the suffer 
ings of domestic animals, the speechless friends of man ; to 
plead the cause of separation, of independence, of Ameri 
can nationality, to attack the abuses and crimes of mon- 
archs, to do what he could to give freedom to the world. 

He thought it his duty to take another step. Kings as 
serted that they derived their power, their right to govern, 
from God. To this assertion Paine replied with the 
" Rights of Man." Priests pretended that they were the 
authorized agents of God. Paine replied with the " Age of 

This book is still a power, and will be as long as the 
absurdities and cruelties of the creeds and the Bible have 
defenders. The "Age of Reason" affected the priests just 
as the " Rights of Man " affected nobles and kings. The 
kings answered the arguments of Paine with laws, the 
priests with lies. Kings appealed to force, priests to fraud. 
Mr. Con way has written in regard to the "Age of Reason" 
the most impressive and the most interesting chapter in 
his book. 

Paine contended for the rights of the individual, 
tor the jurisdiction of the soul. Above all religions he 


placed Reason, above all kings, Men, and above all men, 

The first part of the " Age of Reason " was written in 
the shadow of a prison, the second part in the gloom of 
death. From that shadow, from that gloom, came a flood 
of light. This testament, by which the wealth of a mar 
velous brain, the love of a great and heroic heart were 
given to the world, was written in the presence of the 
scaffold, when the writer believed he was giving his last 
message to his fellow-men. 
The " Age of Reason " was his crime. 
Franklin, Jefferson, Sumner and Lincoln, the four great 
est statesmen that America has produced, were believers in 
the creed of Thomas Paine. 

The Universalists and Unitarians have found their best 
weapons, their best arguments, in the " Age of Rea 

Slowly, but surely, the churches are adopting not only 
the arguments, but the opinions of the great Reformer. 
Theodore Parker attacked the Old Testament and Cal- 
vinistic theology with the same weapons and with a bitter 
ness excelled by no man who has expressed his thoughts in 
our language. 

Paine was a century in advance of his time. If he were 
living now his sympathy would be with Savage, Chadwick, 
Professor Briggs and the " advanced theologians." He, 
too, would talk about the " higher criticism " and the 
latest definition of " inspiration." These advanced thinkers 
substantially are repeating the "Age of Reason." They 
still wear the old uniform clinging to the toggery of 
theology but inside of their religious rags they agree with 
Thomas Paine. 

Not one argument that Paine urged against the inspira 
tion of the Bible, against the truth of miracles, against the 
barbarities and infamies of the Old Testament, against the 


pretensions of priests and the claims of kings, has ever 
been answered. 

His arguments in favor of the existence of what he was 
pleased to call the God of Nature were as weak as those of 
all Theists have been. But in all the affairs of this world, 
his clearness of vision, lucidity of expression, cogency of 
argument, aptness of comparison, power of statement and 
comprehension of the subject in hand, with all its bearings 
and consequences, have rarely, if ever, been excelled. 

He had no reverence for mistakes because they were 
old. He did not admire the castles of Feudalism even when 
they were covered with ivy. He not only said that the 
Bible was not inspired, but he demonstrated that it could 
not all be true. This was " brutal." He presented argu 
ments so strong, so clear, so convincing, that they could not 
be answered. This was " vulgar." 

He stood for liberty against kings, for humanity against 
creeds and gods. This was " cowardly and low." He gave 
his life to free and civilize his fellow-men. This was 
" infamous." 

Paine was arrested and imprisoned in December, 1793. 
He was, to say the least, neglected by Gouverneur Morris 
and Washington. He was released through the efforts of 
James Monroe, in November, 1794. He was called back to 
the Convention, but too late to be of use. As most of the 
actors had suffered death, the tragedy was about over and 
the curtain was falling. Paine remained in Paris until the 
" Reign of Terror " was ended and that of the Corsican 
tyrant had commenced. 

Paine came back to America hoping to spend the re 
mainder of his life surrounded by those for whose happi 
ness and freedom he had labored so many years. He ex 
pected to be rewarded with the love and reverence of the 
American people. 

In 1794 James Monroe had written to Paine these words : 


" It is unnecessary for me to tell you how much all your country 
men, I speak of the great mass of the people, are interested in your 
welfare. They have not forgot the history of their own Revolution 
and the difficult scenes through which they passed ; nor do they re 
view its several stages without reviving in their bosoms a due sensi 
bility of the merits of those who served them in that great and arduous 
conflict. The crime of ingratitude has not yet stained, and I hope 
never will stain, our national character. You are considered by them 
as not only having rendered important services in our own Revolu 
tion, but as being on a more extensive scale the friend of human 
rights and a distinguished and able advocate of public liberty. To 
the welfare of Thomas Paine we are not and cannot be indifferent." 

In the same year Mr. Monroe wrote a letter to the Com 
mittee of General Safety, asking for the release of Mr. 
Paine, in which, among other things, he said : 

"The services Thomas Paine rendered to his country in its struggle 
for freedom have implanted in the hearts of his countrymen a sense 
of gratitude never to be effaced as long as they shall deserve the title 
of a just and generous people." 

On reaching America, Paine found that the sense of 
gratitude had been effaced. He found that the Federalists 
hated him with all their hearts because he believed in the 
rights of the people and was still true to the splendid prin 
ciples advocated during the darkest days of the Revolution. 
In almost every pulpit he found a malignant and implacable 
foe, and the pews were filled with his enemies. The slave 
holders hated him. He was held responsible even for the 
crimes of the French Revolution. He was regarded as a 
blasphemer, an Atheist, an enemy of God and man. The 
ignorant citizens of Bordentown, as cowardly as orthodox, 
longed to mob the author of "Common Sense" and "The 
Crisis." They thought he had sold himself to the Devil 
because he had defended God against the slanderous charges 
th'at he had inspired the writers of the Bible because he 
had said that a being of infinite goodness and purity did 
not establish slavery and polygamy. 

Paine had insisted that men had the right to think for 


themselves. This so enraged the average American citizen 
that he longed for revenge. 

In 1802 the people of the United States had exceedingly 
crude ideas about the liberty of thought and expressioa 
Neither had they any conception of religious freedom. 
Their highest thought on that subject was expressed by 
the word " toleration," and even this toleration extended 
only to the various Christian sects. Even the vaunted re 
ligious liberty of colonial Maryland was only to the effect 
that one kind of Christian should not fine, imprison and 
kill another kind of Christian, but all kinds of Christians 
had the right, and it was their duty, to brand, imprison and 
kill Infidels of every kind. 

Paine had been guilty of thinking for himself and giv 
ing his conclusions to the world without having asked the 
consent of a priest just as he had published his political 
opinions without leave of the king. He had published his 
thoughts on religion and had appealed to reason to the 
light in every mind, to the humanity, the pity, the goodness 
which he believed to be in every heart. He denied the 
right of kings to make laws and of priests to make creeds. 
He insisted that the people should make laws, and that 
every human being should think for himself. While some 
believed in the freedom of religion, he believed in the re 
ligion of freedom. 

If Paine had been a hypocrite, if he had concealed his 
opinions, if he had defended slavery with quotations from 
the " sacred Scriptures " if he had cared nothing for the 
liberties of men in other lands if he had said that the 
state could not live without the church if he had sought 
for place instead of truth, he would have won wealth and 
power, and his brow would have been crowned with the 
laurel of fame. 

He made what the pious call the " mistake " of being 
true to himself of living with an unstained soul. He had 


lived and labored for the people. The people were untrue 
to him. They returned evil for good, hatred for benefits 
received, and yet this great chivalric soul remembered their 
ignorance and loved them with all his heart, and fought 
their oppressors with all his strength. 

We must remember what the churches and creeds were in 
that day, what the theologians really taught, and what the 
people believed. To save a few in spite of their vices, and to 
damn the many without regard to their virtues, and all for 
the glory of the Damner : this was Calvinism. " He that 
hath ears to hear, let him hear," but he that hath a brain to 
think must not think. He that believeth without evidence 
is good, and he that believeth in spite of evidence is a 
saint. Only the wicked doubt, only the blasphemer denies. 
This was orthodox Christianity. 

Thomas Paine had the courage, the sense, the heart, to 
denounce these horrors, these absurdities, these infinite in 
famies. He did what he could to drive these theological 
vipers, these Calvinistic cobras, these fanged and hissing 
serpents of superstition from the heart of man. 

A few civilized men agreed with him then, and the world 
has progressed since 1809. Intellectual wealth has accumu 
lated ; vast mental estates have been left to the world. 
Geologists have forced secrets from the rocks, astronomers 
from the stars, historians from old records and lost lan 
guages. In every direction the thinker and the investigator 
have ventured and explored, and even the pews have begun 
to ask questions of the pulpits. Humboldt has lived, and 
Darwin and Haeckel and Huxley, and the armies led by 
them, have changed the thought of the world. 

The churches of 1 809 could not be the friends of Thomas 
Paine. No church asserting that belief is necessary to 
salvation ever was, or ever will be, the champion of true 
liberty. A church founded on slavery that is to say, on 
blind obedience, worshiping irresponsible and arbitrary 


power, must of necessity be the enemy of human free 

The orthodox churches are now anxious to save the little 
that Paine left of their creed. If one now believes in God, 
and lends a little financial aid, he is considered a good and 
desirable member. He need not define God after the manner 
of the catechism. He may talk about a " Power that works 
for righteousness, " or the tortoise Truth that beats the 
rabbit Lie in the long run, or the "Unknowable," or the 
"Unconditioned," or the "Cosmic Force," or the "Ulti 
mate Atom," or " Protoplasm," or the " What " provided 
he begins this word with a capital. 

We must also remember that there is a difference between 
independence and liberty. Millions have fought for inde 
pendence to throw off some foreign yoke and yet were at 
heart the enemies of true liberty. A man in jail, sighing to 
be free, may be said to be in favor of liberty, but not from 
principle; but a man who, being free, risks or gives his 
life to free the enslaved, is a true soldier of liberty. 

Thomas Paine had passed the legendary limit of life. 
One by one most of his old friends and acquaintances had 
deserted him. Maligned on every side, execrated, shunned 
and abhorred his virtues denounced as vices his services 
forgotten his character blackened, he preserved the poise 
and balance of his soul. He was a victim of the people, 
but his convictions remained unshaken. He was still a 
soldier in the army of freedom, and still tried to enlighten 
and civilize those who were impatiently waiting for his 
death. Even those who loved their enemies hated him, 
their friend the friend of the whole world with all their 

On the 8th of June, 1809, death came Death, almost his 
only friend. 

At his funeral no pomp, no pageantry, no civic procession, 
no military display. In a carriage, a woman and her sou 


who had lived on the bounty of the dead On horseback, a 
Quaker, the humanity of whose heart dominated the creed 
of his head and, following on foot, two negroes rilled with 
gratitude constituted the funeral cortege of Thomas Paine. 

He who had received the gratitude of many millions, the 
thanks of generals and statesmen he who had been the 
friend and companion of the wisest and best he who had 
taught a people to be free, and whose words had inspired 
armies and enlightened nations, was thus given back to 
Nature, the mother of us all. 

If the people of the great Republic knew the life of this 
generous, this chivalric man, the real story of his services, 
his sufferings and his triumphs of what he did to compel 
the robed and crowned, the priests and kings, to give back 
to the people liberty, the jewel of the soul ; if they knew that 
he was the first to write, "The Religion of Humanity " ; if 
they knew that he, above all others, planted and watered 
the seeds of independence, of union, of nationality, in the 
hearts of our forefathers that his words were gladly re 
peated by the best and bravest in many lands ; if they 
knew that he attempted, by the purest means, to attain the 
noblest and loftiest ends that he was original, sincere, in 
trepid, and that he could truthfully say : " The world is my 
country, to do good my religion " if the people only knew 
all this the truth they would repeat the words of Andrew 
Jackson : " Thomas Paine needs no monument made with 
hands ; he has erected a monument in the hearts of all 

lovers of liberty." North American Review, August, 1898, 




" Well, while I am a beggar, I will rail, 
And say there is no sin but to be rich. " 

R. A. lived in the kingdom of . He was a sincere 

professional philanthropist. He was absolutely cer 
tain that he loved his fellow-men, and that his views were 
humane and scientific. He concluded to turn his attention 
to taking care of people less fortunate than himself. 

With this object in view he investigated the common peo 
ple that lived about him, and he found that they were ex 
tremely ignorant, that many of them seemed to take no 
particular interest in life or in business, that few of them 
had any theories of their own, and that, while many had 
muscle, there was only now and then one who had any 
mind worth speaking of. Nearly all of them were destitute 
of ambition. They were satisfied if they got something to 
eat, a place to sleep, and could now and then indulge in 
some form of dissipation. They seemed to have great con 
fidence in to-morrow trusted to luck, and took no thought 
for the future. Many of them were extravagant, most of 
them dissipated, and a good many dishonest. 

Mr. A. found that many of the husbands not only failed 
to support their families, but that some of them lived on the 
labor of their wives ; that many of the wives were careless 
of their obligations, knew nothing about the art of cook 
ing", nothing about keeping house; and that parents, as a 
general thing, neglected their children or treated them with 
cruelty. He also found that many of the people were so 
shiftless that they died of want and exposure. (343) 


After having obtained this information Mr. A. made up 
his mind to do what little he could to better their condition. 
He petitioned the king to assist him, and asked that he be 
allowed to take control of five hundred people in considera 
tion that he would pay a certain amount into the treasury 
of the kingdom. The king being satisfied that Mr. A. could 
take care of these people better than they were taking care 
of themselves, granted the petition. 

Mr. A., with the assistance of a few soldiers, took these 
people from their old homes and haunts to a plantation of 
his own. He divided them into groups, and over each 
group placed a superintendent. He made certain rules and 
regulations for their conduct. They were only compelled 
to work from twelve to fourteen hours a day, leaving ten 
hours for sleep and recreation. Good and substantial food 
was provided. Their houses were comfortable and their 
clothing sufficient. Their work was laid out from day to 
day and from month to month, so that they knew exactly 
what they were to do in each hour of every day. These 
rules were made for the good of the people, to the end that 
they might not interfere with each other, that they might at 
tend to their duties, and enjoy themselves in a reasonable 
way. They were not allowed to waste their time, or to use 
stimulants or profane language. They were told to be re 
spectful to the superintendents, and especially to Mr. A. ; 
to be obedient, and, above all, to accept the position in 
which Providence had placed them, without complaining, 
and to cheerfully perform their tasks. 

Mr. A. had found out all that the five hundred persons 
had earned the year before they were taken control of by 
him just how much they had added to the wealth of the 
world. He had statistics taken for the year before with 
great care showing the number of deaths, the cases of sick 
ness and of destitution, the number who had committed 
suicide, how many had been convicted of crimes and mis- 


demeanors, how many days they had been idle, and how 
much time and money they had spent in drink and for 
worthless amusements. 

During the first year of their enslavement he kept like 
statistics. He found that they had earned several times as 
much; that there had been no cases of destitution, no 
drunkenness ; that no crimes had been committed ; that 
there had been but little sickness, owing to the regular 
course of their lives ; that few had been guilty of misde 
meanors, owing to the certainty of punishment ; and that 
they had been so watched and superintended that for the 
most part they had traveled the highway of virtue and 

Mr. A. was delighted, and with a vast deal of pride 
showed these statistics to his friends. He not only demon 
strated that the five hundred people were better off than 
they had been before, but that his own income was very 
largely increased. He congratulated himself that he had 
added to the well-being of these people not only, but had 
laid the foundation of a great fortune for himself. On 
these facts and these figures he claimed not only to be a 
philanthropist, but a philosopher ; and all the people who 
had a mind to go into the same business agreed with him. 

Some denounced the entire proceeding as unwarranted, 
as contrary to reason and justice. These insisted that the 
five hundred people had a right to live in their own way 
provided they did not interfere with others; that they had 
the right to go through the world with little food and with 
poor clothes, and to live in huts, if such was their choice. 
But Mr. A. had no trouble in answering these objectors. 
He insisted that well-being is the only good, and that every 
human being is under obligation, not only to take care of 
himself, but to do what little he can towards taking care of 
others ; that where five hundred people neglect to take care 
of themselves, it is the duty of somebody else, who has 


more intelligence and more means, to take care of them ; that 
the man who takes five hundred people and improves their 
condition, gives them on the average better food, better 
clothes, and keeps them out of mischief, is a benefactor. 

" These people," said Mr. A., " were tried. They were 
found incapable of taking care of themselves. They lacked 
intelligence or will or honesty or industry or ambition or 
something, so that in the struggle for existence they fell 
behind, became stragglers, dropped by the wayside, died in 
gutters ; while many were destined to end their days either 
in dungeons or on scaffolds. Besides all this, they were a 
nuisance to their prosperous fellow-citizens, a perpetual 
menace to the peace of society. They increased the burden 
of taxation ; they filled the ranks of the criminal classes, 
they made it necessary to build more jails, to employ more 
policemen and judges ; so that I, by enslaving them, not 
only assisted them, not only protected them against them 
selves, not only bettered their condition, not only added to 
the well-being of society at large, but greatly increased my 
own fortune." 

Mr. A. also took the ground that Providence, by giving 
him superior intelligence, the genius of command, the 
aptitude for taking charge of others, had made it his duty 
to exercise these faculties for the well-being of the people 
and for the glory of God. Mr. A. frequently declared that 
he was God's steward. He often said he thanked God that 
he was not governed by a sickly sentiment, but that he was 
a man of sense, of judgment, of force of character, and that 
the means employed by him were in accordance with the 
logic of facts. 

Some of the people thus enslaved objected, saying that 
they had the same right to control themselves that Mr. A. 
had to control himself. But it only required a little disci 
pline to satisfy them that they were wrong. Some of the 
people were quite happy, and declared that nothing gave 


them such perfect contentment as the absence of all respon 
sibility. Mr. A. insisted that all men had not been endowed 
with the same capacity ; that the weak ought to be cared 
for by the strong ; that such was evidently the design of 
the Creator, and that he intended to do what little he could 
to carry that design into effect. 

Mr. A. was very successful. In a few years he had 
several thousands of men, women, and children working for 
him. He amassed a large fortune. He felt that he had 
been intrusted with this money by Providence. He there 
fore built several churches, and once in a while gave large 
sums to societies for the spread of civilization. He passed 
away regretted by a great many people not including 
those who had lived under his immediate administration. 
He was buried with great pomp, the king being one of the 
pall-bearers, and on his tomb was this : 



" And, being rich, my virtue then shall be 
To say there is no vice but beggary." 

Mr. B. did not believe in slavery. He despised the 
institution with every drop of his blood, and was an advocate 
of universal freedom. He held all the ideas of Mr. A. in 
supreme contempt, and frequently spent whole evenings in 
denouncing the inhumanity and injustice of the whole 
business. He even went so far as to contend that many of 
A.'s slaves had more intelligence than A. himself, and that, 
whether they had intelligence or not, they had the right to 
be -free. He insisted that Mr. A.'s philanthropy was a 
sham ; that he never bought a human being for the purpose 
of bettering that being's condition ; that he went into the 
business simply to make money for himself ; and that his 


talk about his slaves committing less crime than when they 
were free was simply to justify the crime committed by 
himself in enslaving his fellow-men. 

Mr. B. was a manufacturer, and he employed some five 
or six thousand men. He used to say that these men were 
not forced to work for him ; that they were at perfect lib 
erty to accept or reject the terms; that, so far as he was 
concerned, he would just as soon commit larceny or robbery 
as to force a man to work for him. " Every laborer under 
my roof," he used to say, " is as free to choose as I am." 

Mr B. believed in absolutely free trade ; thought it an 
outrage to interfere with the free interplay of forces ; said 
that every man should buy, or at least have the privilege 
of buying, where he could buy cheapest, and should have 
the privilege of selling where he could get the most. He 
insisted that a man who has labor to sell has the right to 
sell it to the best advantage, and that the purchaser has the 
right to buy it at the lowest price. He did not enslave 
men he hired them. Some said that he took advantage of 
their necessities ; but he answered that he created no neces 
sities, that he was not responsible for their condition, that 
he did not make them poor, that he found them poor and 
gave them work, and gave them the same wages that he 
could employ others for. He insisted that he was abso 
lutely just to all ; he did not give one man more than 
another, and he never refused to employ a man on account 
of the man's religion or politics ; all that he did was simply 
to employ that man if the man wished to be employed, and 
give him the wages, no more and no less, that some other 
man of like capacity was willing to work for. 

Mr. B. also said that the price of the article manufac 
tured by him fixed the wages of the persons employed, and 
that he, Mr. B., was not responsible for the price of the 
article he manufactured ; consequently he was not responsi 
ble for the wages of the workmen. He agreed to pay them 


a certain price, he taking the risk of selling his articles, and 
he paid them regularly just on the day he agreed to pay 
them, and if they were not satisfied with the wages, they 
were at perfect liberty to leave. One of his private say 
ings was : " The poor ye have always with you." And 
from this he argued that some men were made poor so that 
others could be generous. "Take poverty and suffering 
from the world," he said, " and you destroy sympathy and 

Mr. B. made a large amount of money. Many of his 
workmen complained that their wages did not allow them 
to live in comfort. Many had large families, and therefore 
but little to eat. Some of them lived in crowded rooms. 
Many of the children were carried off by disease ; but Mr. 
B, took the ground that all these people had the right to 
go, that he did not force them to remain, that if they were 
not healthy it was not his fault, and that whenever it 
pleased Providence to remove a child, or one of the parents, 
he, Mr. B., was not responsible. 

Mr. B. insisted that many of his workmen were extrava 
gant ; that they bought things that they did not need ; that 
they wasted in beer and tobacco, money that they should 
save for funerals ; that many of them visited places of 
amusement when they should have been thinking about 
death, and that others bought toys to please the children 
when they hardly had bread enough to eat. He felt that 
he was in no way accountable for this extravagance, nor 
for the fact that their wages did not give them the neces 
saries of life, because he not only gave them the same 
wages that other manufacturers gave, but the same wages 
that other workmen were willing to work for. 

Mr. B. said, and he always said this as though it ended 
the argument, and he generally stood up to say it : " The 
great law of supply and demand is of divine origin ; it is 
the only law that will work in all possible or conceivable 


cases; and this law fixes the price of all labor, and from it 
there is no appeal. If people are not satisfied with the 
operation of the law, then let them make a new world for 

Some of Mr. B.'s friends reported that on several occa 
sions, forgetting what he had said on others, he did declare 
that his confidence was somewhat weakened in the law of 
supply and demand ; but this was only when there seemed 
to be an over-production of the things he was engaged in 
manufacturing, and at such times he seemed to doubt the 
absolute equity of the great law. 

Mr. B. made even a larger fortune than Mr. A., because 
when his workmen got old he did not have to care for them, 
when they were sick he paid no doctors, and when their 
children died he bought no coffins. In this way he was 
relieved of a large part of the expenses that had to be borne 
by Mr. A. When his workmen became too old, they were 
sent to the poorhouse; when they were sick, they were 
assisted by charitable societies ; and when they died, they 
were buried by pity. 

In a few years Mr. B. was the owner of many millions. 
He also considered himself as one of God's stewards ; felt 
that Providence had given him the intelligence to combine 
interests, to carry out great schemes, and that he was 
specially raised up to give employment to many thousands 
of people. He often regretted that he could do no more 
for his laborers without lessening his own profits, or, rather, 
without lessening his fund for the blessing of mankind 
the blessing to begin immediately after his death. He was 
so anxious to be the providence of posterity that he was 
sometimes almost heartless in his dealings with contem 
poraries. He felt that it was necessary for him to be 
economical, to save every dollar that he could, because in 
this way he could increase the fund that was finally to 
bless mankind. He also felt that in this way he could lay 


the foundations of a permanent fame that he could build, 
through his executors, an asylum to be called the " B. 
Asylum," that he could fill a building with books to be 
called the " B, Library," and that he could also build and 
endow an institution of learning to be called the " B. 
College," and that, in addition, a large amount of money 
could be given for the purpose of civilizing the citizens of 
less fortunate countries, to the end that they might become 
imbued with that spirit of combination and manufacture 
that results in putting large fortunes in the hands of those 
who have been selected by Providence, on account of their 
talents, to make a better distribution of wealth than those 
who earned it could have done. 

Mr. B. spent many thousands of dollars to procure such 
legislation as would protect him from foreign competition. 
He did not believe the law of supply and demand would 
work when interfered with by manufacturers living in 
other countries. 

Mr. B., like Mr. A., was a man of judgment. He had 
what is called a level head, was not easily turned aside 
from his purpose, and felt that he was in accord with the 
general sentiment of his time. By his own exertions he 
rose from poverty to wealth. He was born in a hut and 
died in a palace. He was a patron of art and enriched his 
walls with the works of the masters. He insisted that 
others could and should follow his example. For those 
who failed or refused he had no sympathy. He accounted 
for their poverty and wretchedness by saying: "These 
paupers have only themselves to blame." He died without 
ever having lost a dollar. His funeral was magnificent, 
and clergymen vied with each other in laudations of the 
dead. Over his dust rises a monument of marble with *^ 2 
words : 




" But there are men who steal, and vainly try 
To gild the crime with pompous charity." 

There was another man, Mr. C., who also had the genius 
for combination. He understood the value of capital, the 
value of labor ; knew exactly how much could be done 
with machinery ; understood the economy of things ; knew 
how to do everything in the easiest and shortest way. And 
he, too, was a manufacturer and had in his employ many 
thousands of men, women, and children. He was what is 
called a visionary, a sentimentalist, rather weak in his will, 
not very obstinate, had but little egotism ; and it never 
occurred to him that he had been selected by Providence, or 
any supernatural power, to divide the property of others. 
It did not seem to him that he had any right to take from 
other men their labor without giving them a full equivalent. 
He felt that if he had more intelligence than his fellow-men 
he ought to use that intelligence not only for his own good 
but for theirs ; that he certainly ought not to use it for the 
purpose of gaining an advantage over those who were his 
intellectual inferiors. He used to say that a man strong 
intellectually had no more right to take advantage of a man 
weak intellectually than the physically strong had to rob 
the physically weak. 

He also insisted that we should not take advantage of 
each other's necessities ; that you should not ask a drown 
ing man a greater price for lumber than you would if he 
stood on the shore ; that if you took into consideration the 
necessities of your fellow-man, it should be only to lessen 
the price of that which you would sell to him, not to 
increase it. He insisted that honest men do not take 
advantage of their fellows. He was so weak that he had 
not perfect confidence in the great law of supply and 
demand as applied to flesh and blood. He took into consider- 


ation another law of supply and demand ; he knew that the 
workingman had to be supplied with food, and that his 
nature demanded something to eat, a house to live in, 
clothes to wear. 

Mr. C. used to think about this law of supply and demand 
as applicable to individuals. He found that men would 
work for exceedingly small wages when pressed for the 
necessaries of life; that under some circumstances they 
would give their labor for half of what it was worth to the 
employer, because they were in a position where they must 
do something for wife or child. He concluded that he had 
no right to take advantage of the necessities of others, and 
that he should in the first place honestly find what the work 
was worth to him, and then give to the man who did the 
work that amount. 

Other manufacturers regarded Mr. C. as substantially 
insane, while most of his workmen looked upon him as 
an exceedingly good-natured man, without any particular 
genius for business. Mr. C., however, cared little about 
the opinions of others, so long as he maintained his respect 
for himself. 

At the end of the first year he found that he had made a 
large profit, and thereupon he divided this profit with the 
people who had earned it. Some of his friends said to him 
that he ought to endow some public institution ; that there 
should be a college in his native town ; but Mr. C. was of 
such a peculiar turn of mind that he thought justice ought 
to go before charity, and a little in front of egotism, and a 
desire to immortalize one's self. He said that it seemed to 
him that of all persons in the world entitled to this profit 
were the men who had earned it, the men who had made it 
by their labor, by days of actual toil. He insisted that, as 
they had earned it, it was really theirs, and if it was theirs, 
they should have it and should spend it in their own way. 
Mr. C. was told that he would make the workmen in 


other factories dissatisfied, that other manufacturers would 
become his enemies, and that his course would scandalize 
some of the greatest men who had done so much for the 
civilization of the world and for the spread of intelligence. 
Mr. C. became extremely unpopular with men of talent, 
with those who had a genius for business. He, however, 
pursued his way, and carried on his business with the idea 
that the men who did the work were entitled to a fair share 
of the profits ; that, after all, money was not as sacred as 
men, and that the law of supply and demand, as understood, 
did not apply to flesh and blood. 

Mr. C. said : " I cannot be happy if those who work for 
me are defrauded. If I feel I am taking what belongs to 
them, then my life becomes miserable. To feel that I have 
done justice is one of the necessities of my nature. I do 
not wish to establish colleges. I wish to establish no 
public institution. My desire is to enable those who work 
for me to establish a few thousand homes for themselves. 
My ambition is to enable them to buy the books they really 
want to read. I do not wish to establish a hospital, but I 
want to make it possible for my workmen to have the 
services of the best physicians physicians of their own 

It is not for me to take their money and use it for 
the good of others or for my own glory. It is for me to 
give what they have earned to them. After I have given 
them the money that belongs to them, I can give them my 
advice I can tell them how I hope they will use it ; and 
after I have advised them, they will use it as they please. 
You cannot make great men and great women by suppres 
sion. Slavery is not the school in which genius is born. 
Every human being must make his own mistakes for him 
self, must learn for himself, must have his own experience ; 
and if the world improves, it must be from choice, not from 
force; and every man who does justice, who sets the 


example of fair dealing, hastens the coming of universal 
honesty, of universal civilization." 

Mr. C. carried his doctrine out to the fullest extent, 
honestly and faithfully. When he died, there were at the 
funeral those who had worked for him, their wives and their 
children. Their tears fell upon his grave. They planted 
flowers and paid to him the tribute of their love. Above 
his silent dust they erected a monument with this inscrip 


North American Review^ December, 1891. 



THE average American, like the average man of any 
cotmtry, has but little imagination. People who speak a 
different language, or worship some other god, or wear 
clothing unlike his own, are beyond the horizon of his 
sympathy. He cares but little or nothing for the suffer 
ings or misfortunes of those who are of a different com 
plexion or of another race. His imagination is not power 
ful enough to recognize the human being, in spite of 
peculiarities. Instead of this he looks upon every differ 
ence as an evidence of inferiority, and for the inferior he 
has but little if any feeling. If these " inferior people " 
claim equal rights he feels insulted, and for the purpose of 
establishing his own superiority tramples on the rights of 
the so-called inferior. 

In our own country the native has always considered 
himself as much better than the immigrant, and as far 
superior to all people of a different complexion. At one 
time our people hated the Irish, then the Germans, then 
the Italians, and now the Chinese. The Irish and Ger 
mans, however, became numerous. They became citizens, 
and, most important of all, they had votes. They com 
bined, became powerful, and the political parties sought 
their aid. They had something to give in exchange for 
protection in exchange for political rights. In conse 
quence of this they were flattered by candidates, praised by 
the political press, and became powerful enough not only 



to protect themselves, but at last to govern the principal 
cities in the United States. As a matter of fact the Irish 
and the Germans drove the native Americans out of the 
trades and from the lower forms of labor. They built the 
railways and canals. They became servants. Afterward 
the Irish and the Germans were driven from the canals and 
railways by the Italians. 

The Irish and Germans improved their condition. They 
went into other businesses, into the higher and more lucra 
tive trades. They entered the professions, turned their 
attention to politics, became merchants, brokers, and pro 
fessors in colleges. They are not now building railroads 
or digging on public works. They are contractors, legis 
lators, holders of office, and the Italians and Chinese are 
doing the old work. 

If matters had been allowed to work in a natural way, 
without the interference of mobs or legislators, the Chinese 
would have driven the Italians to better employments, and 
all menial labor would, in time, be done by the Mongo 

In olden times each nation hated all others. This was 
considered natural and patriotic. Spain, after many cen 
turies of war, expelled the Moors, then the Moriscoes, and 
then the Jews. And Spain, in the name of religion and 
patriotism, succeeded in driving from its territory its in 
dustry, its taste and its intelligence, and by these mistakes 
became poor, ignorant and weak. France started on the 
same path when the Huguenots were expelled, and even 
England at one time deported the Jews. In those days a 
difference of race or religion was sufficient to justify any 
absurdity and any cruelty. 

In our country, as a matter of fact, there is but little 
prejudice against emigrants coming from Europe, except 
among naturalized citizens ; but nearly all foreign-born 
citizens are united in their prejudice against the Chinese. 


The truth is that the Chinese came to this country by in- 
vitation. Under the Burlingame Treaty, China and the 
United States recognized : 

"The inherent and inalienable right of man to change his home 
and allegiance, and also the mutual advantage of free migration and 
emigration of their citizens and subjects respectively from one country 
to the other for purposes of curiosity, of trade, or as permanent resi 

And it was provided : 

"That the citizens of the United States visiting or residing in 
China and Chinese subjects visiting or residing in the United States 
should reciprocally enjoy the same privileges, immunities and ex 
emptions, in respect to travel or residence, as shall be enjoyed by 
the citizens or subjects of the most favored nation, in the country 
in which they shall respectively be visiting or residing." 

So, by the treaty of 1 880, providing for the limitation or 
suspension of emigration of Chinese labor, it was declared : 

"That the limitation or suspension should apply only to Chinese 
who emigrated to the United States as laborers ; but that Chinese 
laborers who were then in the United States should be allowed to go 
and come of their own free will and should be accorded all the rights, 
privileges, immunities and exemptions, which were accorded to the 
citizens and subjects of the most favored nations." 

It will thus be seen that all Chinese laborers who came 
to this country prior to the treaty of 1880 were to be treated 
the same as the citizens and subjects of the most favored 
nation ; that is to say, they were to be protected by our 
laws the same as we protect our own citizens. 

These Chinese laborers are inoffensive, peaceable and 
law-abiding. They are honest, keeping their contracts, 
doing as they agree. They are exceedingly industrious, 
always ready to work and always giving satisfaction to 
their employers. They do not interfere with other people. 
They cannot become citizens. They have no voice in the 
making or the execution of the laws. They attend to their 
own business. They have their own ideas, customs, re- 


ligion and ceremonies about as foolish as our own; but 
they do not try to make converts or to force their dogmas 
on others. They are patient, uncomplaining, stoical and 
philosophical. They earn what they can, giving reason 
able value for the money they receive, and as a rule, when 
they have amassed a few thousand dollars, they go back to 
their own country. They do not interfere with our ideas, 
our ways or customs. They are silent workers, toiling 
without any object, except to do their work and get their 
pay. They do not establish saloons and run for Congress. 
Neither do they combine for the purpose of governing others. 
Of all the people on our soil they are the least meddlesome. 
Some of them smoke opium, but the opium-smoker does not 
beat his wife. Some of them play games of chance, but 
they are not members of the Stock Exchange. They eat 
the bread that they earn ; they neither beg nor steal, but 
they are of no use to parties or politicians except as they 
become fuel to supply the flame of prejudice. They are 
not citizens and they cannot vote. Their employers are 
about the only friends they have. 

In the Pacific States the lowest became their enemies and 
asked for their expulsion. They denounced the Chinese 
and those who gave them work. The patient followers of 
Confucius were treated as outcasts stoned by boys in the 
streets and mobbed by the fathers. Few seemed to have 
any respect for their rights or their feelings. They were 
unlike us. They wore different clothes. They dressed 
their hair in a peculiar way, and therefore they were beyond 
our sympathies. These ideas, these practices, demoralized 
many communities ; the laboring people became cruel and 
the small politicians infamous. 

When the rights of even one human being are held in 
contempt the rights of all are in danger. We cannot de 
stroy the liberties of others without losing our own. By 
exciting the prejudices of the ignorant we at last produce 


a contempt for law and justice, and sow the seeds of 
violence and crime. 

Both of the great political parties pandered to the leaders 
of the crusade against the Chinese for the sake of electoral 
votes, and in the Pacific States the friends of the Chinese 
were forced to keep still or to publicly speak contrary to 
their convictions. The orators of the " Sand Lots " were 
in power, and the policy of the whole country was dictated 
by the most ignorant and prejudiced of our citizens. Both 
of the great parties ratified the outrages committed by the 
mobs, and proceeded with alacrity to violate the treaties 
and solemn obligations of the Government. These treaties 
were violated, these obligations were denied, and thousands 
of Chinamen were deprived of their rights, of their prop 
erty, and hundreds were maimed or murdered. The}' were 
driven from their homes. They were hunted like wild 
beasts. All this was done in a country that sends mission 
aries to China to tell the benighted savages of the blessed 
religion of the United States. 

At first a demand was made that the Chinese should be 
driven out, then that no others should be allowed to come, 
and laws with these objects in view were passed, in spite 
of the treaties, preventing the coming of any more. For a 
time that satisfied the haters of the Mongolian. Then 
came a demand for more stringent legislation, so that 
many of the Chinese already here could be compelled to 
leave. The answer or response to this demand is what is 
known as the Geary Law. 

By this act it is provided, among other things, that any 
Chinaman convicted of not being lawfully in the country 
shall be removed to China, after having been imprisoned at 
hard.labor for not exceeding one year. This law also does 
away with bail on habeas corpus proceedings where the 
right to land has been denied to a Chinaman. It also com 
pels all Chinese laborers to obtain, within one year after the 


passage of the law, certificates of residence from the revenue 
collectors, and if found without such certificate they shall 
be held to be unlawfully in the United States. 

It is further provided that if a Chinaman claims that he 
failed to get such certificate by " accident, sickness or other 
unavoidable cause," then he must clearly establish such 
claim to the satisfaction of the judge "by at least one credi 
ble white witness." 

If we were at war with China then we might legally con 
sider every Chinaman as an enemy, but we were and are at 
peace with that country. The Geary Act was passed by 
Congress and signed by the President simply for the sake 
of votes. The Democrats in Congress voted for it to save 
the Pacific States to the Democratic column; and a Re 
publican President signed it so that the Pacific States should 
vote the Republican ticket. Principle was forgotten, or 
rather it was sacrificed, in the hope of political success. It 
was then known, as now, that China is a peaceful nation, 
that it does not believe in war as a remedy, that it relies on 
negotiation and treaty. It is also known that the Chinese 
in this country were helpless, without friends, without 
power to defend themselves. It is possible that many mem 
bers of Congress voted in favor of the Act believing that 
the Supreme Court would hold it unconstitutional, and that 
in the meantime it might be politically useful. 

The idea of imprisoning a man at hard labor for a year, 
and this man a citizen of a friendly nation, for the crime of 
being found in this country without a certificate of resi 
dence, must be abhorrent to the mind of every enlightened 
man. Such punishment for such an " offence " is barbar 
ous and belongs to the earliest times of which we know. 
This law makes industry a crime and puts one who works 
for his bread on a level with thieves and the lowest crimin 
als, treats him as a felon, and clothes him in the stripes 
of a convict, and all this is done at the demand of the 


ignorant, of the prejudiced, of the heartless, and because 
the Chinese are not voters and have no political 

The Chinese are not driven away because there is no 
room for them. Our country is not crowded. There are 
many millions of acres waiting for the plow. There is 
plenty of room here under our flag for five hundred mil 
lions of people. These Chinese that we wish to oppress 
and imprison are people who understand the art of irriga 
tion. They can redeem the deserts. They are the best 
of gardeners. They are modest and willing to occupy the 
lowest seats. They only ask to be day-laborers, washers 
and ironers. They are willing to sweep and scrub. They 
are good cooks. They can clear lands and build railroads. 
They do not ask to be masters they wish only to serve. 
In every capacity they are faithful; but in this country 
their virtues have made enemies, and they are hated 
because of their patience, their honesty and their in 

The Geary Law, however, failed to provide the ways and 
means for carrying it into effect, so that the probability is 
it will remain a dead letter upon the statute book. The 
sum of money required to carry it out is too large, and the 
law fails to create the machinery and name the persons 
authorized to deport the Chinese. Neither is there any 
mode of trial pointed out. According to the law there 
need be no indictment by a grand jury, no trial by a jury, 
and the person found guilty of being here without a cer 
tificate of residence can be imprisoned and treated as a 
felon without the ordinary forms of trial. 

This law is contrary to the laws and customs of nations. 
The punishment is unusual, severe, and contrary to our 
Constitution, and under its provisions aliens citizens of a 
friendly nation can be imprisoned without due process of 
law. The law is barbarous, contrary to the spirit and 


genius of American institutions, and was passed in viola 
tion of solemn treaty stipulations. 

The Congress that passed it is the same that closed the 
gates of the World's Fair on the " blessed Sabbath," think 
ing it wicked to look at statues and pictures on that day. 
These representatives of the people seem to have had more 
piety than principle. 

After the passage of such a law by the United States is 
it not indecent for us to send missionaries to China ? Is 
there not work enough for them at home ? We send min 
isters to China to convert the heathen ; but when we find a 
Chinaman on our soil, where he can be saved by our ex 
ample, we treat him as a criminal. 

It is to the interest of this country to maintain friendly 
relations with China. We want the trade of nearly one- 
fourth of the human race. We want to pay for all we get 
from that country in articles of our own manufacture. We 
lost the trade of Mexico and the South American Republics 
because of slavery, because we hated people in whose veins 
was found a drop of African blood, and now we are losing 
the trade of China by pandering to the prejudices of the 
ignorant and cruel. 

After all, it pays to do right. This is a hard truth to 
learn especially for a nation. A great nation should be 
bound by the highest conception of justice and honor. 
Above all things it should be true to its treaties, its con 
tracts, its obligations. It should remember that its re 
sponsibilities are in accordance with its power and intel 

Our Government is founded on the equality of human 
rights on the idea, the sacred truth, that all are entitled 
to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Our country 
is an asylum for the oppressed of all nations of all races. 
Here, the Government gets its power from the consent of 
the governed. After the abolition of slavery these great 


truths were not only admitted, but they found expression 
in our Constitution and laws. 

Shall we now go back to barbarism? 

Russia is earning the hatred of the civilized world by 
driving the Jews from their homes. But what can the 
United States say ? Our mouths are closed by the Geary 
Law. We are in the same business. Our law is as in 
human as the order or ukase of the Czar. 

Let us retrace our steps, repeal the law and accomplish 
what we justly desire by civilized means. Let us treat 
China as we would England ; and, above all, let us respect 
the rights of men, North American Review, July, 1893. 



THE end of life the object of life is happiness Noth 
ing can be better than that nothing higher. In order 
to be really happy, man must be in harmony with his 
surroundings, with the conditions of well-being. In order 
to know these surroundings, he must be educated, and 
education is of value only as it contributes to the well- 
being of man, and only that is education which increases 
the power of man to gratify his real wants wants of body 
and of mind. 

The educated man knows the necessity of finding out 
the facts in nature, the relations between himself and his 
fellow-men, between himself and the world, to the end that 
he may take advantage of these facts and relations for the 
benefit of himself and others. He knows that a man may 
understand Latin and Greek, Hebrew and Sanscrit, and be 
as ignorant of the great facts and forces in nature as a 
native of Central Africa. 

The educated man knows something that he can use, not 
only for the benefit of himself, but for the benefit of others. 
Every skilled mechanic, every good farmer, every man who 
knows some of the real facts in nature that touch him, is 
to that extent an educated man. The skilled mechanic and 
the intelligent farmer may not be what we call " scholars," 
and what we call scholars may not be educated men. 

Man is in constant need. He must protect himself from 

cold and heat, from sun and storm. He needs food and 



raiment for the body, and he needs what we call art for the 
development and gratification of his brain. Beginning with 
what are called the necessaries of life, he rises to what are 
known as the luxuries, and the luxuries become necessaries, 
and above luxuries he rises to the highest wants of the 

The man who is fitted to take care of himself, in the 
conditions he may be placed, is, in a very important sense, 
an educated man. The savage who understands the habits 
of animals, who is a good hunter and fisher, is a man of 
education, taking into consideration his circumstances. 
The graduate of a university who cannot take care of him 
self no matter how much he may have studied is not an 
educated man. 

In our time, an educated man, whether a mechanic, a 
farmer, or one who follows a profession, should know some 
thing about what the world has discovered. He should 
have an idea of the outlines of the sciences. He should 
have read a little, at least, of the best that has been written. 
He should know something of mechanics, a little about 
politics, commerce, and metaphysics ; and in addition to 
all this, he should know how to make something. His 
hands should be educated, so that he can, if necessary, 
supply his own wants by supplying the wants of others. 

There are mental misers men who gather learning all 
their lives and keep it to themselves. They are worse than 
hoarders of gold, because when they die their learning dies 
with them, while the metal miser is compelled to leave his 
gold for others. 

The first duty of man is to support himself to see to it 
that he does not become a burden. His next duty is to 
help others if he has a surplus, and if he really believes 
they deserve to be helped. 

It is not necessary to have what is called a university 
education in order to be useful or to be happy, any more 


than it is necessary to be rich, to be happy. Great wealth 
is a great burden, and to have more than you can use, is to 
care for more than you want. The happiest are those who 
are prosperous, and who by reasonable endeavor can sup 
ply their reasonable wants and have a little surplus year by 
year for the winter of their lives. 

So, it is no use to learn thousands and thousands of use 
less facts, or to fill the brain with unspoken tongues. This 
is burdening yourself with more than you can use. The 
best way is to learn the useful. 

We all know that men in moderate circumstances can 
have just as comfortable houses as the richest, just as com 
fortable clothing, just as good food. They can see just as 
fine paintings, just as marvelous statues, and they can hear 
just as good music. They can attend the same theatres 
and the same operas. They can enjoy the same sunshine, 
and above all, can love and be loved just as well as kings 
and millionaires. 

So the conclusion of the whole matter is, that he is edu 
cated who knows how to take care of himself ; and that the 
happy man is the successful man, and that it is only a bur 
den to have more than you want, or to learn those things 

that yOU Cannot USe. The High School Register^ Omaha, Nebraska, Janu 
ary, 1891. 



IF I had the power to produce exactly what I want for 
next Christmas, I would have all the kings and emperors 
resign and allow the people to govern themselves. 

I would have all the nobility drop their titles and give 
their lands back to the people. I would have the Pope 
throw away his tiara, take off his sacred vestments, and 
admit that he is not acting for God is not infallible but 
is just an ordinary Italian. I would have all the car 
dinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and clergymen admit 
that they know nothing about theology, nothing about hell 
or heaven, nothing about the destiny of the human race, 
nothing about devils or ghosts, gods or angels. I would 
have them tell all their "flocks" to think for themselves, 
to be manly men and womanly women, and to do all in 
their power to increase the sum of human happiness. 

I would have all the professors in colleges, all the 
teachers in schools of every kind, including those in Sun 
day schools, agree that they would teach only what they 
know, that they would not palm off guesses as demon 
strated truths. 

I would like to see all the politicians changed to states 
men, to men who long to make their country great and 
free, to men who care more for public good than private 
gain men who long to be of use. 

I would like to see all the editors of papers and maga 
zines agree to print the truth and nothing but the truth, to 
avoid all slander and misrepresentation, and to let the 
private affairs of the people alone. (876) 


I would like to see drunkenness and prohibition both 

I would like to see corporal punishment done away with 
in every home, in every school, in every asylum, reforma 
tory, and prison. Cruelty hardens and degrades, kindness 
reforms and ennobles. 

I would like to see the millionaires unite and form a 
trust for the public good. 

I would like to see a fair division of profits between 
capital and labor, so that the toiler could save enough to 
mingle a little June with the December of his life. 

I would like to see an international court established in 
which to settle disputes between nations, so that armies 
could be disbanded and the great navies allowed to rust 
and rot in perfect peace. 

I would like to see the whole world free free from in 
justice free from superstition. 

This will do for next Christmas. The following Christ 
mas, I may Want more. TAeArtna,Bo*tou, December, 1897. 



NOTHING hurts a man, nothing hurts a party so terri 
bly as fool friends. 

A fool friend is the sewer of bad news, of slander and all 
base and unpleasant things. 

A fool friend always knows every mean thing that has 
been said against you and against the party. 

He always knows where your party is losing, and the 
other is making large gains. 

He always tells you of the good luck your enemy has 

He implicitly believes every story against you, and kindly 
suspects your defence. 

A fool friend is always full of a kind of stupid candor. 

He is so candid that he always believes the statement of 
an enemy. 

He never suspects anything on your side. 

Nothing pleases him like being shocked by horrible news 
concerning some good man. 

He never denies a lie unless it is in your favor. 

He is always finding fault with his party, and is continu 
ally begging pardon for not belonging to the other side. 

He is frightfully anxious that all his candidates should 
stand well with the opposition. 

He is forever seeing the faults of his party and the virtues 
of the other. 

He generally shows his candor by scratching the ticket. 



He always searches every nook and corner of his con- 
science to find a reason for deserting a friend or a principle. 

In the moment of victory he is magnanimously on your 

In defeat he consoles you by repeating prophecies made 
after the event. 

The fool friend regards your reputation as common prey 
for all the vultures, hyenas and jackals. 

He takes a sad pleasure in your misfortunes. 

He forgets his principles to gratify your enemies. 

He forgives your maligner, and slanders you with all his 

He is so friendly that you cannot kick him. 

He generally talks for you but always bets the other 

\ ' \ 



WE are told that we have in our possession the inspired 
will of God. What is meant by the word " inspired " 
is not exactly known ; but whatever else it may mean, cer 
tainly it means that the " inspired " must be the true. If 
it is true, there is in fact no need of its being inspired the 
truth will take care of itself. 

The church is forced to say that the Bible differs from 
all other books; it is forced to say that it contains the 
actual will of God. Let us then see what inspiration really 
is. A man looks at the sea, and the sea says something to 
him. It makes an impression upon his mind. It awakens 
memory, and this impression depends upon the man's ex 
perience upon his intellectual capacity. Another looks 
upon the same sea. He has a different brain ; he has had 
a different experience. The sea may speak to him of joy ; 
to the other of grief and tears. The sea cannot tell the 
same thing to any two human beings, because no two 
human beings have had the same experience. 

Another, standing upon the shore, listening to what the 
great Greek tragedian called " The multitudinous laughter 
of the sea," may say : Every drop has visited all the shores 
of the earth ; every one has been frozen in the vast and icy 
North ; every one has fallen in snow, has been whirled by 
storms around mountain peaks ; every one has been kissed 
to vapor by the sun ; every one has worn the seven-hued 
garment of light; every one has fallen in pleasant rain, 



gurgled from springs and laughed in brooks while lovers 
wooed upon the banks, and every one has rushed with 
mighty rivers back to the sea's embrace. Everything in 
Nature tells a different story to all eyes that see, and to all 
ears that hear. 

Once in my life, and once only, I heard Horace Greeley 
deliver a lecture. I think the title was " Across the Con 
tinent." At last he reached the mammoth trees of Cali 
fornia, and I thought, "Here is an opportunity for the old 
man to indulge his fancy. Here are trees that have out 
lived a thousand human governments. There are limbs 
above his head older than the pyramids. While man was 
emerging from barbarism to something like civilization, 
these trees were growing. Older than history, every one 
appeared to be a memory, a witness, and a prophecy. The 
same wind that filled the sails of the Argonauts had swayed 
these trees." But these trees said nothing of this kind to 
Mr. Greeley. Upon these subjects not a word was told 
him. Instead, he took his pencil, and after figuring awhile, 
remarked : " One of these trees, sawed into inch boards, would 
make more than three hundred thousand feet of lumber." 

I was once riding in the cars in Illinois. There had 
been a violent thunder storm. The rain had ceased, the 
sun was going down. The great clouds had floated toward 
the west, and there they assumed most wonderful archi 
tectural shapes. There were temples and palaces domed 
and turreted, and they were touched with silver, with ame 
thyst and gold. They looked like the homes of the Titans, 
or the palaces of the gods. A man was sitting near me. I 
touched him and said, " Did you ever see anything so 
beautiful ? " He looked out. He saw nothing of the cloud, 
nothing of the sun, nothing of the color ; he saw only the 
country, and replied, "Yes, it is beautiful; I always did 
like rolling land." 

On another occasion I was riding in a stage. There had 


been a snow, and after the snow a sleet, and all the trees 
were bent, and all the boughs were arched. Every fence, 
every log cabin, had been transfigured, touched with a glory 
almost beyond this world. The great fields were a pure and 
perfect white ; the forests.drooping beneath their load of gems, 
made wonderful caves, from which one almost expected to 
see troops of fairies come. The whole world looked like a 
bride, jeweled from head to foot. A German on the back 
seat, hearing our talk, and our exclamations of wonder, 
leaned forward, looked out of the stage window, and said, 
" Y-a-a-s ; it looks like a clean table cloth ! " 

So, when we look upon a flower, a painting, a statue, a 
star, or a violet, the more we know, the more we have ex 
perienced, the more we have thought, the more we remem 
ber, the more the statue, the star, the painting, the violet, 
has to tell. Nature says to me all that I am capable of 
understanding gives all that I can receive. 

As with star or flower or sea, so with a book. A man 
reads Shakespeare. What does he get from him ? All that 
he has the mind to understand. He gets his little cup full. 
Let another read him who knows nothing of the drama, 
nothing of the impersonations of passion, and what does he 
get ? Almost nothing. Shakespeare has a different story 
for each reader. He is a world in which each recognizes 
his acquaintances he may know a few he may know all. 

The impression that Nature makes upon the mind, the 
stories told by sea and star and flower, must be the natural 
food of thought. Leaving out for the moment the im 
pression gained from ancestors, the hereditary fears and 
drifts and trends the natural food of thought must be the 
impression made upon the brain by coming in contact, 
through the medium of the five senses, with what we call 
the outward world. The brain is natural. Its food is 
natural. The result thought must be natural. The 
supernatural can be constructed with no material except 


the natural. Of the supernatural we can have no con 

" Thought " may be deformed, and the thought of one 
may be strange to, and denominated as unnatural by, an 
other; but it cannot be supernatural. It may be weak, it 
may be insane, but it is not supernatural. Above the 
natural, man cannot rise. There can be deformed ideas, as 
there are deformed persons. There can be religious mon 
strosities and misshapen, but they must be naturally pro 
duced. Some people have ideas about what they are pleased 
to call the supernatural; what they call the supernatural 
is simply the deformed. The world is to each man accord 
ing to each man. It takes the world as it really is, and 
that man to make that man's world, and that man's world 
cannot exist without that man. 

You may ask, and what of all this ? I reply : As with 
everything in Nature, so with the Bible. It has a dif 
ferent story for each reader. Is then, the Bible a different 
book to every human being who reads it ? It is. Can God, 
then, through the Bible, make the same revelation to two 
persons ? He cannot. Why ? Because the man who reads 
it is the man who inspires. Inspiration is in the man, as 
well as in the book. God should have " inspired " readers 
as well as writers. 

You may reply, God knew that his book would be under 
stood differently by each one ; really intended that it should 
be understood as it is understood by each. If this is so, 
then my understanding of the Bible is the real revelation 
to me. If this is so, I have no right to take the understand 
ing of another. I must take the revelation made to me 
through my understanding, and by that revelation I must 
stand. Suppose, then, that I do read this Bible honestly, 
carefully, and when I get through I am compelled to say, 
"The book is not true!" 

If this is the honest result, then you are compelled to 


say, either that God has made no revelation to me, or that 
the revelation that it is not true is the revelation made 
to me, and by which I am bound. If the book and my 
brain are both the work of the same infinite God, whose 
fault is it that the book and the brain do not agree? 
Either God should have written a book to fit my brain, or 
should have made my brain to fit his book. 

The inspiration of the Bible depends upon the igno 
rance Of him who reads. The Truth Steker Annual, New York, 1885. 



THOUSANDS of Christians have asked : How was it pos 
sible for Christ and his apostles to deceive the people of 
Jerusalem ? How came the miracles to be believed ? Who 
had the impudence to say that lepers had been cleansed, and 
that the dead had been raised ? How could such impostors 
have escaped exposure ? 

I ask : How did Mohammed deceive the people of Mecca ? 
How has the Catholic Church imposed upon millions of 
people ? Who can account for the success of falsehood ? 

Millions of people are directly interested in the false. 
They live by lying. To deceive is the business of their 
lives. Truth is a cripple; lies have wings. It is almost 
impossible to overtake and kill and bury a lie. If you do, 
some one will erect a monument over the grave, and the lie 
is born again as an epitaph. Let me give you a case in 

A few days ago the Matlock Register, a paper published 
in England, printed the following : 


" Mr. Isaac Loveland, of Shoreham, desires us to insert the follow 
ing : 

November 27, 1886. 

" DEAR MR. LOVELAND. A day or two since, I received from Mr. 
- Hine the exhilarating intelligence that through his lectures on the 
' Identity of the British Nation with Lost Israel,' in Canada and the 
United States, that Col. Bob Ingersoll, the arch Atheist, has been 
converted to Christianity, and has joined the Episcopal Church. 
Praise the Lord! I I 5,000 of his followers have been won for 



Christ through Mr. Hine's grand mission work, the other side of the 
Atlantic. The Colonel's cousin, the Rev. Mr. Ingersoll, wrote to Mr. 
Hine soon after he began lecturing in America, informing him that his 
lectures had made a great impression on the Colonel and other 
Atheists. I noted it at the time in the Messenger. Bradlaugh will yet 
be converted ; his brother has been, and has joined a British Israel 
Identity Association. This is progress, and shows what an energetic, 
determined man (like Mr. Hine), who is earnest in his faith, can do. 

" Very faithfully yours, 

I, Grove-road, H. HODSON RUGG." 

St. John's Wood, London." 

How can we account for an article like that ? Who 
made up this story ? Who had the impudence to publish it ? 

As a matter of fact, I never saw Mr. Hine, never heard of 
him until this extract was received by me in the month of 
December. I never read a word about the " Identity of 
Lost Israel with the British Nation." It is a question in 
which I never had, and never expect to have, the slightest 
possible interest. 

Nothing can be more preposterous than that the English 
man in whose veins can be found the blood of the Saxon, 
the Dane, the Norman, the Pict, the Scot and the Celt, is 
the descendant of " Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." The 
English language does not bear the remotest resemblance 
to the Hebrew, and yet it is claimed by the Reverend Hod- 
son Rugg that not only myself, but five thousand other 
Atheists, were converted by the Rev. Mr. Hine, because of 
his theory that Englishmen and Americans are simply Jews 
in disguise. 

This letter, in my judgment, was published to be used by 
missionaries in China, Japan, India and Africa. 

If stories like this can be circulated about a living man, 
what may we not expect concerning the dead who have 
opposed the church ? 

Countless falsehoods have been circulated about all the 
opponents of superstition. Whoever attacks the popular 
falsehoods of his time will find that a lie defends itself by 


telling other lies. Nothing is so prolific, nothing can so 
multiply itself, nothing can lay and hatch as many eggs, as 
a good, healthy, religious lie. 

And nothing is more wonderful than the credulity of 
the believers in the supernatural. They feel under a kind 
of obligation to believe every thing in favor of their religion, 
or against any form of what they are pleased to call 
" Infidelity." 

The old falsehoods about Voltaire, Paine, Hume, Julian, 
Diderot and hundreds of others, grow green every spring. 
They are answered ; they are demonstrated to be without 
the slightest foundation ; but they rarely die. And when 
one does die there seems to be a kind of Caesarian operation, 
so that in each instance although the mother dies the 
child lives to undergo, if necessary, a like operation, leaving 
another child, and sometimes two. 

There are thousands and thousands of tongues ready to 
repeat what the owners know to be false, and these lies are 
a part of the stock in trade, the valuable assets, of super 
stition. No church can afford to throw its property away. 
To admit that these stories are false now, is to admit that 
the church has been busy lying for hundreds of years, and 
it is also to admit that the word of the church is not and 
cannot be taken as evidence of any fact. 

A few years ago, I had a little controversy with the editor 
of the New York Observer, the Rev. Irenaeus Prime, (who 
is now supposed to be in heaven enjoying the bliss of see 
ing Infidels in hell), as to whether Thomas Paine recanted 
his religious opinions. I offered to deposit a thousand 
dollars for the benefit of a charity, if the reverend doctor 
would substantiate the charge that Paine recanted. I forced 
the New York Observer to admit that Paine did not recant, 
and compelled that paper to say that " Thomas Paine died 
a blaspheming Infidel." 

A few months afterward an English paper was sent to 


me a religious paper and in that paper was a statement 
to the effect that the editor of the New York Observer had 
claimed that Paine recanted ; that I had offered to give a 
thousand dollars to any charity that Mr. Prime might 
select, if he would establish the fact that Paine did recant ; 
and that so overwhelming was the testimony brought for 
ward by Mr. Prime, that I admitted that Paine did recant, 
and paid the thousand dollars. 

This is another instance of what might be called the 
truth of history. 

I wrote to the editor of that paper, telling the exact facts, 
and offering him advertising rates to publish the denial, and 
in addition, stated that if he would send me a copy of his 
paper with the denial, I would send him twenty-five dollars 
for his trouble. I received no reply, and the lie is in all 
probability still on its travels, going from Sunday school to 
Sunday school, from pulpit to pulpit, from hypocrite to 
savage, that is to say, from missionary to Hottentot 
without the slightest evidence of fatigue fresh and strong, 
and in its cheeks the roses and lilies of perfect health. 

Some person, expecting to add another gem to his crown 
of glory, put in circulation the story that one of my 
daughters had joined the Presbyterian Church, a story 
without the slightest foundation and although denied a 
hundred times, it is still being printed and circulated for the 
edification of the faithful. Every few days I receive some 
letter of inquiry as to this charge, and I have industriously 
denied it for years, but up to the present time, it shows no 
signs of death not even of weakness. 

Another religious gentleman put in print the charge that 
my son, having been raised in the atmosphere of Infidelity, 
had become insane and died in an asylum. Notwithstand 
ing the fact that I never had a son, the story still goes right 
on, and is repeated day after day without the semblance of 
a blush. 


Now, if all this is done while I am alive and well, and 
while I have all the facilities of our century for spreading 
the denials, what will be done after my lips are closed ? 

The mendacity of superstition is almost enough to make 
a man believe in the supernatural. 

And so I might go on for a hundred columns. Billions 
of falsehoods have been told and there are trillions yet to 
come. The doctrines of Malthus have nothing to do with 
this particular kind of reproduction. 

" And there are also many other falsehoods which the 
church has told, the which if they should be written every 
one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain 

the books that Should be Written." T^ Truth Seeker, New York, 
February, 19, 1887. 



A LIBERAL paper should be edited by a Liberal man. 
And by the word Liberal I mean, not only free, not only 
one who thinks for himself, not only one who has escaped 
from the prisons of customs and creed, but one who is 
candid, intelligent and kind that is to say, Liberal toward 

This Liberal editor should not forever play upon one 
string, no matter how wonderful the music. He should 
not have his attention forever fixed upon one question 
that is to say, he should not look through a reversed tele 
scope and narrow his horizon to that degree that he sees 
only one thing. 

To know that the Bible is the literature of a barbarous 
people, to know that it is uninspired, to be certain that the 
supernatural does not and cannot exist all this is but 
the beginning of wisdom. This only lays the foundation 
for unprejudiced observation. To kill weeds, to fell 
forests, to drive away or exterminate wild beasts this is 
preparatory to doing something of greater value. Of 
course the weeds must be killed, the forests must be felled, 
and the beasts must be destroyed before the building of 
homes and the cultivation of fields. 

A Liberal paper should not discuss theological questions 
alone. Intelligent people everywhere have given up most 
of the old superstitions. They have pretty well made up 

their minds what is false, and they want to know some- 



thing that is true. For this reason, a Liberal paper should 
keep abreast of the discoveries of the human mind. No 
science should be neglected ; no fact should be overlooked. 
Inventions should be described and understood. And not 
only this, but the beautiful in thought, in form and color, 
should be preserved. The paper should be filled with 
things calculated to interest thoughtful, intelligent and 
serious people. There should be a column for children as 
well as for men. 

Above all, it should be perfectly kind and candid. In 
discussion there is no place for hatred, no opportunity for 
slander. A personality is always out of place. An angry 
man can neither reason himself, nor perceive the reason 
of what another says. The orthodox world has always 
dealt in personalities. Every minister can answer the 
argument of an opponent by attacking the character of the 
opponent. This example should never be followed by a 
Liberal man. Nobody can be bad enough to prove that 
the Bible is uninspired, and nobody can be good enough to 
prove that it is the word of God. These facts have no re 
lation. They neither stand nor fall together. 

Nothing should be asserted that is not known. Nothing 
should be denied, the falsity of which has not been, or can 
not be, demonstrated. Opinions are simply given for what 
they are worth. They are guesses, and one guesser should 
give to another guesser all the right of guessing that he 
claims for himself. Upon the great questions of origin, 
of destiny, of immortality, of punishment and reward in 
other worlds, every honest man must say, " I do not know." 
Upon these questions, this is the creed of intelligence. 
Nothing is harder to bear than the egotism of ignorance 
and the arrogance of superstition. The man who has 
some knowledge of the difficulties surrounding these sub 
jects, who knows something of the limitations of the 
human mind, must, of necessity, be mentally modest, And 


this condition of mental modesty is the only one consistent 
with individual progress. 

Above all, and over all, a Liberal paper should teach the 
absolute freedom of the mind, the utter independence of 
the individual, the perfect liberty of speech. We should 
remember that the world is as it must be ; that the present 
is the necessary offspring of the past ; that the future must 
be what the present makes it, and that the real work of the 
reformer, of the philanthropist, is to change the conditions 
of the present, to the end that the future may be better. 

Secular Thought, Toronto, January 8, 1887. 



OEVERAL people have asked ine the meaning of this 
O term. 

Secularism is the religion of humanity ; it embraces the 
affairs of this world; it is interested in everything that 
touches the welfare of a sentient being ; it advocates atten 
tion to the particular planet in which we happen to live ; it 
means that each individual counts for something ; it is a 
declaration of intellectual independence ; it means that the 
pew is superior to the pulpit, that those who bear the 
burdens shall have the profits and that they who fill the 
purse shall hold the strings. It is a protest against theo 
logical oppression, against ecclesiastical tyranny, against 
being the serf, subject or slave of any phantom, or of the 
priest of any phantom. It is a protest against wasting this 
life for the sake of one that we know not of. It proposes 
to let the gods take care of themselves. It is another name 
for common sense ; that is to say, the adaptation of means 
to such ends as are desired and understood. 

Secularism believes in building a home here, in this 
world. It trusts to individual effort, to energy, to intelli 
gence, to observation and experience rather than to the 
unknown and the supernatural. It desires to be happy on 
this side of the grave. 

Secularism means food and fireside, roof and raiment, 
reasonable work and reasonable leisure, the cultivation of 
the tastes, the acquisition of knowledge, the enjoyment of 
the arts, and it promises for the human race comfort, inde- 



pendence, intelligence, and above all, liberty. It means the 
abolition of sectarian feuds, of theological hatreds. It 
means the cultivation of friendship and intellectual hospi 
tality. It means the living for ourselves and each other ; for 
the present instead of the past, for this world rather than for 
another. It means the right to express your thought in 
spite of popes, priests, and gods. It means that impudent 
idleness shall no longer live upon the labor of honest men. 
It means the destruction of the business of those who trade 
in fear. It proposes to give serenity and content to the 
human soul. It will put out the fires of eternal pain. It 
is striving to do away with violence and vice, with igno 
rance, poverty and disease. It lives for the ever present 
to-day ', and the ever coming to-morrow. It does not believe 
in praying and receiving, but in earning and deserving. It 
regards work as worship, labor as prayer, and wisdom as 
the savior of mankind. It says to every human being, 
Take care of yourself so that you may be able to help 
others; adorn your life with the gems called good deeds; 
illumine your path with the sunlight called friendship and 

Secularism is a religion, a religion that is understood. It 
has no mysteries, no mummeries, no priests, no ceremonies, 
no falsehoods, no miracles, and no persecutions. It con 
siders the lilies of the field, and takes thought for the mor 
row. It says to the whole world, Work that you may eat, 
drink, and be clothed; work that you may enjoy; work 
that you may not want ; work that you may give and never 

need. The Independent Pulpit, Waco, Texas, 1687. 






F one wishes to know what orthodox religion really is I 


mean that religion tmsoftened by Infidelity, by doubt 
let him read "John Ward, Preacher." This book shows 
exactly what the love of God will do in the heart of man. 
This shows what the effect of the creed of Christendom is, 
when absolutely believed. In this case it is the woman 
who is free and the man who is enslaved. In "Robert Els- 
mere " the man is breaking chains, while the woman pre 
fers the old prison with its ivy-covered walls. 

Why should a man allow human love to stand between 
his soul and the will of God between his soul and eternal 
joy? Why should not the true believer tear every blossom 
of pity, of charity, from his heart, rather than put in peril 
his immortal soul ? 

An orthodox minister has a wife with a heart. Having 
a heart she cannot believe in the orthodox creed. She 
thinks God better than he is. She flatters the Infinite. 
This endangers the salvation of her soul. If she is upheld 
in this the souls of others may be lost. Her husband feels 
not only accountable for her soul, but for the souls of others 
that may be injured by what she says, and by what she 
does. He is compelled to choose between his wife and his 
duty, between the woman and God. He is not great 
enough to go with his heart. He is selfish enough to side 
with the administration, with power. He lives a miserable 
life and dies a miserable death. (409) 


The trouble with Christianity is that it has no element 
of compromise it allows no room for charity so far as be 
lief is concerned. Honesty of opinion is not even a 
mitigating circumstance. You are not asked to understand 
you are commanded to believe. There is no common 
ground. The church carries no flag of truce. It does not 
say, Believe you must, but, You must believe. No excep 
tion can be made in favor of wife or mother, husband or 
child. All human relations, all human love must, if nec 
essary, be sacrificed with perfect cheerfulness. "Let the 
dead bury their dead follow thou me. Desert wife and 
child. Human love is nothing nothing but a snare. You 
must love God better than wife, better than child." John 
Ward endeavored to live in accordance with this heartless 

Nothing can be more repulsive than an orthodox life 
than one who lives in exact accordance with the creed. It 
is hard to conceive of a more terrible character than John 
Calvin. It is somewhat difficult to understand the Puri 
tans, who made themselves unhappy by way of recreation, 
and who seemed to enjoy themselves when admitting their 
utter worthlessness and in telling God how richly they 
deserved to be eternally damned. They loved to pluck 
from the tree of life every bud, every blossom, every leaf. 
The bare branches, naked to the wrath of God, excited their 
admiration. They wondered how birds could sing, and the 
existence of the rainbow led them to suspect the seriousness 
of the Deity. How can there be any joy if man believes 
that he acts and lives under an infinite responsibility, when 
the only business of this life is to avoid the horrors of the 
next ? Why should the lips of men feel the ripple of 
laughter if there is a bare possibility that the creed of 
Christendom is true ? 

I take it for granted that all people believe as they must 
that all thoughts and dreams have been naturally pro- 


duced that what we call the unnatural is simply the un 
common. All religions, poems, statues, vices and virtues, 
have been wrought by nature with the instrumentalities 
called men. No one can read "John Ward, Preacher," 
without hating with all his heart the creed of John Ward ; 
and no one can read the creed of John Ward, preacher, with 
out pitying with all his heart John Ward ; and no one can 
read this book without feeling how much better the wife was 
than the husband how much better the natural sympathies 
are than the religions of our day, and how much superior 
common sense is to what is called theology. 

When we lay down the book we feel like saying: No 
matter whether God exists or not ; if he does, he can take 
care of himself; if he does, he does not take care of us ; and 
whether he lives or not we must take care of ourselves. 
Human love is better than any religion. It is better to 
love your wife than to love God. It is better to make a 
happy home here than to sunder hearts with creeds. This 
book meets the issues far more frankly, with far greater 
candor. This book carries out to its logical sequence the 
Christian creed. It shows how uncomfortable a true be 
liever must be, and how uncomfortable he necessarily makes 
those with whom he comes in contact. It shows how 
narrow, how hard, how unsympathetic, how selfish, how 
unreasonable, how unpoetic, the creed of the orthodox 
church is. 

In " Robert Elsmere" there is plenty of evidence of read 
ing and cultivation, of thought and talent. So in "John 
Ward, Preacher," there is strength, purpose, logic, power of 
statement, directness and courage. But " The Story of an 
African Farm" has but little in common with the other 

It is a work apart belonging to no school, and not to be 
judged by the ordinary rules and canons of criticism. 
There are some puerilities and much philosophy, trivialities 


and some of the profoundest reflections. In addition to this, 
there is a vast and wonderful sympathy. 

The following upon love is beautiful and profound: 
"There is a love that begins in the head and goes down to 
the heart, and grows slowly, but it lasts till death and asks 
less than it gives. There is another love that blots out wis 
dom, that is sweet with the sweetness of life and bitter with 
the bitterness of death, lasting for an hour ; but it is worth 
having lived a whole life for that hour. It is a blood-red 
flower, with the color of sin, but there is always the scent 
of a god about it." 

There is no character in " Robert Elsmere " or in " John 
Ward, Preacher," comparable for a moment to Lyndall in 
the " African Farm." In her there is a splendid courage. 
She does not blame others for her own faults ; she accepts. 
There is that splendid candor that you find in Juliet in 
'' Measure for Measure." She is asked: 

" Love you the man that wronged you?" 

And she replies : 

"Yes ; as I love the woman that wronged him." 

The death of this wonderful girl is extremely pathetic. 
None but an artist could have written it : 

" Then slowly, without a sound, the beautiful eyes closed. The 
dead face that the glass reflected was a thing of marvellous beauty 
and tranquillity. The gray dawn crept in over it and saw it lying 

So the story of the hunter is wonderfully told. This 
hunter climbs above his fellows day by day getting away 
from human sympathy, away from ignorance. He lost at 
last his fellow-men, and truth was just as far away as ever. 
Here he found the bones of another hunter, and as he 
looked upon the poor remains the wild faces said : 

"So he lay down here, for he was very tired. He went to sleep 
forever. He put himself to sleep. Sleep is very tranquil. You are 
not lonely when you are asleep, neither do your hands ache nor your 


So the death of Waldo is most wonderfully told. The 
book is filled with thought, and with thoughts of the 
writer nothing is borrowed. It is original, true and ex 
ceedingly sad. It has the pathos of real life. There is in 
it the hunger of the heart, the vast difference between the 
actual and the ideal : 

" I like to feel that strange life beating up against me. I like to 
realize forms of life utterly unlike my own. When my own life feels 
small and I am oppressed with it, I like to crush together and see it 
in a picture, in an instant, a multitude of disconnected, unlike phases 
of human life a mediaeval monk with his string of beads pac 
ing the quiet orchard, and looking up from the grass at his feet to the 
heavy fruit trees ; little Malay boys playing naked on a shining sea- 
beach ; a Hindoo philosopher alone under his banyan tree, thinking, 
thinking, thinking, so that in the thought of God he may lose himself; 
a troop of Bacchanalians dressed in white, with crowns of vine- 
leaves, dancing along the Roman streets ; a martyr on the night of 
his death looking through the narrow window to the sky and feeling 
that already he has the wings that shall bear him up; an epicurean 
discoursing at a Roman bath to a knot of his disciples on the nature 
of happiness ; a Kafir witch-doctor seeking for herbs by moonlight, 
while from the huts on the hillside come the sound of dogs barking 
and the voices of women and children ; a mother giving bread and 
milk to her children in little wooden basins and singing the evening 
song. I like to see it all ; I feel it run through me that life belongs 
to me ; it makes my little life larger, it breaks down the narrow walls 
that shut me in." 

The author, Olive Schreiner, has a tropic zone in her 
heart. She sometimes prattles like a child, then suddenly, 
and without warning, she speaks like a philosopher like 
one who had guessed the riddle of the Sphinx. She, too, 
is overwhelmed with the injustice of the world with the 
negligence of nature and she finds that it is impossible 
to find repose for heart or brain in any Christian creed. 

These books show what the people are thinking the 
tendency of modern thought. Singularly enough the three 
are written by women. Mrs. Ward, the author of " Robert 
Elsmere," to say the least is not satisfied with the Episcopal 
Church. She feels sure that its creed is not true. At the 
same time, she wants it denied in a respectful tone of voice, 


and she really pities people who are compelled to give up 
the consolation of eternal punishment, although she has 
thrown it away herself and the tendency of her book is to 
make other people do so. It is what the orthodox call " a 
dangerous book." It is a flank movement calculated to 
suggest a doubt to the unsuspecting reader, to some sheep 
who has strayed beyond the shepherd's voice. 

It is hard for any one to read " John Ward, Preacher," 
without hating Puritanism with all his heart and without 
feeling certain that nothing is more heartless than the 
" scheme of salvation ; " and whoever finishes " The Story 
of an African Farm " will feel that he has been brought in 
contact with a very great, passionate and tender soul. Is it 
possible that women, who have been the Caryatides of the 
church, who have borne its insults and its burdens, are to 
be its destroyers ? 

Man is a being capable of pleasure and pain. The fact 
that he can enjoy himself that he can obtain good gives 
him courage courage to defend what he has, courage to 
try to get more. The fact that he can suffer pain sows in 
his mind the seeds of fear. Man is also filled with curiosity. 
He examines. He is astonished by the uncommon. He is 
forced to take an interest in things because things affect 
him. He is liable at every moment to be injured. Count 
less things attack him. He must defend himself. As a 
consequence his mind is at work ; his experience in some 
degree tells him what may happen ; he prepares ; he de 
fends himself from heat and cold. All the springs of action 
lie in the fact that he can suffer and enjoy. The savage 
has great confidence in his senses. He has absolute confi 
dence in his eyes and ears. It requires many years of edu 
cation and experience before he becomes satisfied that 
things are not always what they appear. It would be hard 
to convince the average barbarian that the sun does not ac 
tually rise and set hard to convince him that the earth 


turns. He would rely upon appearances and would record 
you as insane. 

As man becomes civilized, educated, he finally has more 
confidence in his reason than in his eyes. He no longer 
believes that a being called Echo exists. He has found 
out the theory of sound, and he then knows that the wave 
of air has been returned to his ear, and the idea of a being 
who repeats his words fades from his mind ; he begins then 
to rely, not upon appearances, but upon demonstration, up 
on the result of investigation. At last he finds that he has 
been deceived in a thousand ways, and he also finds that he 
can invent certain instruments that are far more accurate 
than his senses instruments that add power to his sight, to 
his hearing and to the sensitiveness of his touch. Day by 
day he gains confidence in himself. 

There is in the life of the individual, as in the life of the 
race, a period of credulity, when not only appearances are 
accepted without question, but the declarations of others. 
The child in the cradle or in the lap of its mother, has 
implicit confidence in fairy stories believes in giants and 
dwarfs, in beings who can answer wishes, who create 
castles and temples and gardens with a thought. So the 
race, in its infancy, believed in such beings and in such 
creations. As the child grows, facts take the place of the 
old beliefs, and the same is true of the race. 

As a rule, the attention of man is drawn first, not to his 
own mistakes, not to his own faults, but to the mistakes and 
faults of his neighbors. The same is true of a nation it 
notices first the eccentricities and peculiarities of other 
nations. This is especially true of religious systems. 
Christians take it for granted that their religion is true, 
that there can be about that no doubt, no mistake. They 
begin to examine the religions of other nations. They take 
it for granted that all these other religions are false. They 
are in a frame of mind to notice contradictions, to discover 


mistakes and to apprehend absurdities. In examining 
other religions they use their common sense. They carry 
in the hand the lamp of probability. The miracles of 
other Christs, or of the founders of other religions, appear 
unreasonable they find that they are not supported by evi 
dence. Most of the stories excite their laughter. Many of 
the laws seem cruel, many of the ceremonies absurd. 
These Christians satisfy themselves that they are right in 
their first conjecture that is, that other religions are all 
made by men. Afterward the same arguments they 
have used against other religions were found to be equally 
forcible against their own. They find that the miracles of 
Buddha,rest upon the same kind of evidence as the mira 
cles in the Old Testament, as the miracles in the New 
that the evidence in the one case is just as weak and 
unreliable as in the other. They also find that it is just as 
easy to account for the existence of Christianity as for the 
existence of any other religion, and they find that the 
human mind in all countries has traveled substantially the 
same road and has arrived at substantially the same con 

It may be truthfully said that Christianity by the exam 
ination of other religions laid the foundation for its own 
destruction. The moment it examined another religion it 
became a doubter, a sceptic, an investigator. It began to 
call for proof. This course being pursued in the examina 
tion of Christianity itself, reached the result that had been 
reached as to other religions. In other words, it was im 
possible for Christians successfully to attack other religions 
without showing that their own religion could be de 
stroyed. The fact that only a few years ago we were all 
provincial should be taken into consideration. A few 
years ago nations were unacquainted with each other no 
nation had any conception of the real habits, customs, re 
ligions and ideas of any other. Each nation imagined 


itself to be the favored of heaven the only one to whom 
God had condescended to make known his will the only 
one in direct communication with angels and deities. 
Since the circumnavigation of the globe, since the inven 
tion of the steam engine, the discovery of electricity, the 
nations of the world have become acquainted with each 
other, and we now know that the old ideas were born of 
egotism, and that egotism is the child of ignorance and 

Think of the egotism of the ancient Jews, who imagined 
that they were "the chosen people" the only ones in 
whom God took the slightest interest! Imagine the 
egotism of the Catholic Church, claiming that it is the 
only church that it is continually under the guidance of 
the Holy Ghost, and that the pope is infallible and occupies 
the place of God. Think of the egotism of the Presbyte 
rian, who imagines that he is one of "the elect," and that 
billions of ages before the world was created, God, in the 
eternal counsel of his own good pleasure, picked out this 
particular Presbyterian, and at the same time determined to 
send billions and billions to the pit of eternal pain. Think 
of the egotism of the man who believes in special provi 
dence. The old philosophy, the old religion, was made in 
about equal parts of ignorance and egotism. This earth 
was the universe. The sun rose and set simply for the 
benefit of "God's chosen people." The moon and stars 
were made to beautify the night, and all the countless hosts 
of heaven were for no other purpose than to decorate what 
might be called the ceiling of the earth. It was also be 
lieved that this firmament was solid that up there the gods 
lived, and that they could be influenced by the prayers and 
desires of men. 

We have now found that the earth is only a grain of 
sand, a speck, an atom in an infinite universe. We now 
know that the sun is a million times larger than the earth, 


and that other planets are millions of times larger than the 
sun ; and when we think of these things, the old stories of 
the Garden of Eden and Sinai and Calvary seem infinitely 
out of proportion. 

At last we have reached a point where we have the can 
dor and the intelligence to examine the claims of our 
own religion precisely as we examine those of other 
countries. We have produced men and women great 
enough to free themselves from the prejudices born of 
provincialism from the prejudices, we might almost say, 
of patriotism. A few people are great enough not to be 
controlled by the ideas of the dead great enough to know 
that they are not bound by the mistakes of their ancestors 
and that a man may actually love his mother without 
accepting her belief. We have even gone further than this, 
and we are now satisfied that the only way to really honor 
parents is to tell our best and highest thoughts. These 
thoughts ought to be in the mind when reading the books 
referred to. There are certain tendencies, certain trends of 
thought, and these tendencies these trends bear fruit; 
that is to say, they produce the books about which I have 
spoken as well as many others. 


Question. Have you any suggestions to make in regard to 
remodeling the libel laws? 

Answer. I believe that every article appearing in a paper 
should be signed by the writer. If it is libelous, then the 
writer and the publisher should both be held responsible in 
damages. The law on this subject, if changed, should 
throw greater safeguards around the reputation of the 
citizen. It does not seem to me that the papers have any 
right to complain. Probably a good many suits are brought 
that should not be instituted, but just think of the suits that 
are not brought. 

Personally I have no complaint to make, as it would be 
very hard to find anything in any paper against me, but it 
has never occurred to me that the press needed any greater 
liberty than it now enjoys. 

It might be a good thing for a paper to publish each 
week, a list of mistakes, if this could be done without 
making that edition too large. But certainly when a false 
and scandalous charge has been made by mistake or as the 
result of imposition, great pains should be taken to give the 
retraction at once and in a way to attract attention. 

I suppose the papers are liable to be imposed upon 
liable to print thousands of articles to which the attention 
of the editor or proprietor was not called. Still, that is not 
the fault of the man whose character is attacked. On the 
whole I think the papers have the advantage of the average 
citizen as the law now is. <w 


If all articles had to be signed by the writer, I am satis 
fied the writer would be more careful and less liable to 
write anything of a libelous nature. I am willing to 
admit that I have given but little attention to the subject, 
probably for the reason that I have never been a sufferer. 

It would hardly do to hold only the writer responsible. 
Suppose a man writes a libelous article, leaves the country, 
and then the article is published ; is there no remedy ? A 
suit for libel is not much of a remedy, I admit, but it is 
some. It is like the bayonet in war. Very few are injured 
by bayonets, but a good many are afraid that they may be. 

The Herald, New York, October 26, 1888. 



I HAVE read the report of the Rev. R. Heber Newton's 
sermon and I am satisfied, first, that Mr. Newton simply 
said what he thoroughly believes to be true, and second, 
that some of the conclusions at which he arrives are cer 
tainly correct. I do not regard Mr. Newton as a heretic or 
sceptic. Every man who reads the Bible must, to a greater 
or less extent, think for himself. He need not tell his 
thoughts ; he has the right to keep them to himself. But if 
he undertakes to tell them, then he should be absolutely 

The Episcopal creed is a few ages behind the thought of 
the world. For many . years the foremost members and 
clergymen in that church have been giving some new 
meanings to the old words and phrases. Words are no 
more exempt from change than other things in nature. A 
word at one time rough, jagged, harsh and cruel, is finally 
worn smooth. A word known as slang, picked out of the 
gutter, is cleaned, educated, becomes respectable and finally 
is found in the mouths of the best and purest. 

We must remember that in the world of art the picture 
depends not alone on the painter, but on the one who sees 
it , So words must find some part of their meaning in the 
man who hears or the man who reads. In the old times 
the word " hell" gave to the hearer or reader the picture of 
a vast pit filled with an ocean of molten brimstone, in 



which innumerable souls were suffering the torments of fire, 
and where millions of devils were engaged in the cheerful 
occupation of increasing the torments of the damned. This 
was the real old orthodox view. 

As man became civilized, however, the picture grew less 
and less vivid. Finally, some expressed their doubts about 
the brimstone, and others began to think that if the Devil 
was, and is, really an enemy of God he would not spend his 
time punishing sinners to please God. Why should the 
Devil be in partnership with his enemy, and why should 
he inflict torments on poor souls who were his own friends, 
and who shared with him the feeling of hatred toward the 
Almighty ? 

As men became more and more civilized, the idea began 
to dawn in their minds that an infinitely good and wise 
being would not have created persons, knowing that they 
would be eternal failures, or that they were to suffer eternal 
punishment, because there could be no possible object in 
eternal punishment no reformation, no good to be accomp 
lished and certainly the sight of all this torment would 
not add to the joy of heaven, neither would it tend to the 
happiness of God. 

So the more civilized adopted the idea that punishment 
is a consequence and not an infliction. Then they took 
another step and concluded that every soul, in every world, 
in every age, should have at least the chance of doing right. 
And yet persons so believing still used the word " hell," 
but the old meaning had dropped out. 

So with regard to the atonement. At one time it was 
regarded as a kind of bargain in which so much blood was 
shed for so many souls. This was a barbaric view. After 
ward, the mind developing a little, the idea got in the 
brain that the life of Christ was worth its moral effect. 
And yet these people use the word " atonement," but the 
bargain idea has been lost. 


Take for instance the word "justice." The meaning 
that is given to that word depends upon the man who uses 
it depends for the most part on the age in which he lives, 
the country in which he was born. The same is true of 
the word "freedom." Millions and millions of people 
boasted that they were the friends of freedom, while at the 
same time they enslaved their fellow-men. So, in the 
name of justice every possible crime has been perpetrated 
and in the name of mercy every instrument of torture has 
been used. 

Mr. Newton realizes the fact that everything in the 
world changes ; that creeds are influenced by civilization, 
by the acquisition of knowledge, by the progress of the 
sciences and arts in other words, that there is a tendency 
in man to harmonize his knowledge and to bring about a 
reconciliation between what he knows and what he believes. 
This will be fatal to superstition, provided the man knows 

Mr. Newton, moreover, clearly sees that people are los 
ing confidence in the morality of the gospel ; that its 
foundation lacks common sense; that the doctrine of for 
giveness is unscientific, and that it is impossible to feel that 
the innocent can rightfully suffer for the guilty, or that 
the suffering of innocence can in any way justify the crimes 
of the wicked. I think he is mistaken, however, when he 
says that the early church softened or weakened the bar 
baric passions. I think the early church was as barbarous 
as any institution that ever gained a footing in this world. 
I do not believe that the creed of the early church, as 
understood, could soften anything. A church that preaches 
the eternity of punishment has within it the seed of all 
barbarism and the soil to make it grow. 

So Mr. Newton is undoubtedly right when he says that 
the organized Christianity of to-day is not the leader in 
social progress. No one now goes to a synod to find a fact 


in science or on any subject. A man in doubt does not 
ask the average minister; he regards him as behind the 
times. He goes to the scientist, to the library. He de 
pends upon the untrammelled thought of fearless men. 

The church, for the most part, is in the control of the 
rich, of the respectable, of the well-to-do, of the unsympa 
thetic, of the men who, having succeeded themselves, 
think that everybody ought to succeed. The spirit of caste 
is as well developed in the church as it is in the average 
club. There is the same exclusive feeling, and this feeling 
in the next world is to be heightened and deepened to such 
an extent that a large majority of our fellow-men are to be 
eternally excluded. 

The peasants of Europe the workingmen do not go to 
the church for sympathy. If they do they come home 
empty, or rather empty hearted. So, in our own country 
the laboring classes, the mechanics, are not depending on 
the churches to right their wrongs. They do not expect 
the pulpits to increase their wages. The preachers get 
their money from the well-to-do from the employer class 
and their sympathies are with those from whom they re 
ceive their wages. 

The ministers attack the pleasures of the world. They 
are not so much scandalized by murder and forgery as by 
dancing and eating meat on Friday. They regard unbelief 
as the greatest of all sins. They are not touching the real, 
vital issues of the day, and their hearts do not throb in 
unison with the hearts of the struggling, the aspiring, the 
enthusiastic and the real believers in the progress of the 
human race. 

It is all well enough to say that we should depend on 
Providence, but experience has taught us that while it may 
do no harm to say it, it will do no good to do it. We have 
found that man must be the Providence of man, and that 
one plow will do more, properly pulled and properly held, 


toward feeding the world, than all the prayers that ever 
agitated the air. 

So, Mr. Newton is correct in saying, as I understand 
him to say, that the hope of immortality has nothing to do 
with orthodox religion. Neither, in my judgment, has 
the belief in the existence of a God anything in fact to do 
with real religion. The old doctrine that God wanted man 
to do something for him, and that he kept a watchful eye 
upon all the children of men ; that he rewarded the virtuous 
and punished the wicked, is gradually fading from the 
mind. We know that some of the worst men have what 
the world calls success. We know that some of the best 
men lie upon the straw of failure. We know that honesty 
goes hungry, while larceny sits at the banquet. We know 
that the vicious have every physical comfort, while the 
virtuous are often clad in rags. 

Man is beginning to find that he must take care of him 
self; that special providence is a mistake. This being so, 
the old religions must go down, and in their place man 
must depend upon intelligence, industry, honesty; upon 
the facts that he can ascertain, upon his own experience, 
upon his own efforts. Then religion becomes a thing of 
this world a religion to put a roof above our heads, a 
religion that gives to every man a home, a religion that 
rewards virtue here. 

If Mr. Newton's sermon is in accordance with the 
Episcopal creed, I congratulate the creed. In any event, I 
think Mr. Newton deserves great credit for speaking his 
thought. Do not understand that I imagine that he agrees 
with me. The most I will say is that in some things I 
agree with him, and probably there is a little too much 
truth and a little too much humanity in his remarks to 
please the bishop. 

There is this wonderful fact, no man has ever yet been 
persecuted for thinking God bad. When any one has said 


that he believed God to be so good that he would, in his 
own time and way, redeem the entire human race, and that 
the time would come when every soul would be brought 
home and sit on an equality with the others around the 
great fireside of the universe, that man has been denounced 

as a poor, miserable, wicked Wretch. Neva York Herald, December 



MY family and I regard Christmas as a holiday that is to 
say, a day of rest and pleasure a day to get acquaint 
ed with each other, a day to recall old memories, and for the 
cultivation of social amenities. The festival now called 
Christmas is far older than Christianity. It was known 
and celebrated for thousands of years before the establish 
ment of what is known as our religion. It is a relic of sun- 
worship. It is the day on which the sun triumphs over the 
hosts of darkness, and thousands of years before the New 
Testament was written, thousands of years before the 
republic of Rome existed, before one stone of Athens was 
laid, before the Pharaohs ruled in Egypt, before the religion 
of Brahma, before Sanscrit was spoken, men and women 
crawled out of their caves, pushed the matted hair from 
their eyes, and greeted the triumph of the sun over the 
powers of tlie night. 

There are many relics of this worship among which is 
the shaving of the priest's head, leaving the spot shaven 
surrounded by hair, in imitation of the rays of the sun. 
There is still another relic the ministers of our day close 
their eyes in prayer. When men worshiped the sun when 
they looked at that luminary and implored its assistance 
they shut their eyes as a matter of necessity. Afterward 
the -priests looking at their idols glittering with gems, 
shut their eyes in flattery, pretending that they could not 
bear the effulgence of the presence ; and to-day, thousands 
of years after the old ideas have passed away, the modern 



parson, without knowing the origin of the custom, closes his 
eyes when he prays. 

There are many other relics and souvenirs of the dead 
worship of the sun, and this festival was adopted by 
Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and by Christians. As a mat 
ter of fact, Christianity furnished new steam for an old 
engine, infused a new spirit into an old religion, and, as a 
matter of course, the old festival remained. 

For all of our festivals you will find corresponding 
pagan festivals. For instance, take the eucharist, the com 
munion, where persons partake of the body and blood of 
the Deity. This is an exceedingly old custom. Among 
the ancients they ate cakes made of corn, in honor of Ceres 
and they called these cakes the flesh of the goddess, and 
they drank wine in honor of Bacchus, and called this the 
blood of their god. And so I could go on giving the pagan 
origin of every Christian ceremony and custom. The prob 
ability is that the worship of the sun was once substantially 
universal, and consequently the festival of Christ was 
equally wide spread. 

As other religions have been produced, the old customs 
have been adopted and continued, so that the result is, this 
festival of Christmas is almost world-wide. It is popular 
because it is a holiday. Overworked people are glad of days 
that bring rest and recreation and allow them to meet their 
families and their friends. They are glad of days when 
they give and receive gifts evidences of friendship, of 
remembrance and love. It is popular because it, is really 
human, and because it is interwoven with our customs, 
habits, literature, and thought. 

For my part I am willing to have two or three a year 
the more holidays the better. Many people have an idea 
that I am opposed to Sunday. I am perfectly willing to 
have two a week. All I insist on is that these days shall 
be for the benefit of the people, and that they shall be 


kept not in a way to make folks miserable or sad or hungry, 
but in a way to make people happy, and to add a little to 
the joy of life. Of course, I am in favor of everybody 
keeping holidays to suit himself, provided he does not 
interfere with others, and I am perfectly willing that every 
body should go to church on that day, provided he is will 
ing that I Should gO Somewhere else. The Tribune^ New York, 
December, 1889. 



'T'HE object of the Freethinker is to ascertain the truth 
1 the conditions of well-being to the end that this life 
will be made of value. This is the affirmative, positive, 
and constructive side. 

Without liberty there is no such thing as real happiness. 
There may be the contentment of the slave of one who is 
glad that he has passed the day without a beating one 
who is happy because he has had enough to eat but the 
highest possible idea of happiness is freedom. 

All religious systems enslave the mind. Certain things 
are demanded certain things must be believed certain 
things must be done and the man who becomes the sub 
ject or servant of this superstition must give up all idea of 
individuality or hope of intellectual growth and progress. 

The religionist informs us that there is somewhere in the 
universe an orthodox God, who is endeavoring to govern 
the world, and who for this purpose resorts to famine and 
flood, to earthquake and pestilence and who, as a last re 
sort, gets up a revival of religion. That is called " affirm 
ative and positive." 

The man of sense knows that no such God exists, and 
thereupon he affirms that the orthodox doctrine is in 
finitely absurd. This is called a " negation." But to my 
mind it is an affirmation, and is a part of the positive side 
of Freethought. 

A man who compels this Deity to abdicate his throne 
renders a vast and splendid service to the human race. 



As long as men believe in tyranny in heaven they will 
practice tyranny on earth. Most people are exceedingly 
imitative, and nothing is so gratifying to the average ortho 
dox man as to be like his God. 

These same Christians tell us that nearly everybody is 
to be punished forever, while a few fortunate Christians 
who were elected and selected billions of ages before the 
world was created, are to be happy. This they call the 
" tidings of great joy." The Freethinker denounces this 
doctrine as infamous beyond the power of words to ex 
press. He says, and says clearly, that a God who would 
create a human being, knowing that that being was to be 
eternally miserable, must of necessity be an infinite fiend. 

The free man, into whose brain the serpent of supersti 
tion has not crept, knows that the dogma of eternal pain is 
an infinite falsehood. He also knows if the dogma be 
true that every decent human being should hate, with 
every drop of his blood, the creator of the universe. He 
also knows if he knows anything that no decent human 
being could be happy in heaven with a majority of the 
human race in hell. He knows that a mother could not 
enjoy the society of Christ with her children in perdition ; 
and if she could, he knows that such a mother is simply 
a wild beast. The free man knows that the angelic hosts, 
under such circumstances, could not enjoy themselves un 
less they had the hearts of boa-constrictors. 

It will thus be seen that there is an affirmative, a positive, 
a constructive side to Freethought. 

What is the positive side ? 

First: A denial of all orthodox falsehoods an ex 
posure of all superstitions. This is simply clearing the 
ground, to the end that seeds of value may be planted. It 
is necessary, first, to fell the trees, to destroy the poisonous 
vines, to drive out the wild beasts. Then comes another 
phase another kind of work. The Freethinker knows 


that the universe is natural that there is no room, even in 
infinite space, for the miraculous, for the impossible. The 
Freethinker knows, or feels that he knows, that there is no 
sovereign of the universe, who, like some petty king or 
tyrant, delights in showing his authority. He feels that 
all in the universe are conditioned beings, and that only 
those are happy who live in accordance with the conditions 
of happiness, and this fact or truth or philosophy embraces 
all men and all gods if there be gods. 

The positive side is this: That every good action has 
good consequences that it bears good fruit forever and 
that every bad action has evil consequences, and bears bad 
fruit. The Freethinker also asserts that every man must 
bear the consequences of his actions that he must reap 
what he sows, and that he cannot be justified by the good 
ness of another, or damned for the wickedness of another. 

There is still another side, and that is this : The Free 
thinker knows that all the priests and cardinals and popes 
know nothing of the supernatural they know nothing 
about gods or angels or heavens or hells nothing about 
inspired books or Holy Ghosts, or incarnations or atone 
ments. He knows that all this is superstition pure and sim 
ple. He knows also that these people from pope to priest, 
from bishop to parson, do not the slightest good in this 
world that they live upon the labor of others that they 
earn nothing themselves that they contribute nothing 
toward the happiness, or well-being, or the wealth of man 
kind. He knows that they trade and traffic in ignorance 
and fear, that they make merchandise of hope and grief 
and he also knows that in every religion the priest insists 
on five things First : There is a God. Second : He has 
made known his will. Third : He has selected me to ex 
plain this message. Fourth : We will now take up a col 
lection ; and Fifth : Those who fail to subscribe will cer 
tainly be damned. 


The positive side of Freethought is to find out the truth 
the facts of nature to the end that we may take advant 
age of those truths, of those facts for the purpose of feed 
ing and clothing and educating mankind. 

In the first place, we wish to find that which will lengthen 
human life that which will prevent or kill disease that 
which will do away with pain that which will preserve or 
give us health. 

We also want to go in partnership with these forces of 
nature, to the end that we may be well fed and clothed 
that we may have good houses that protect us from heat 
and cold. And beyond this beyond these simple neces 
sities there are still wants and aspirations, and free- 
thought will give us the highest possible in art the most 
wonderful and thrilling in music the greatest paintings, 
the most marvelous sculpture in other words, free- 
thought will develop the brain to its utmost capacity. 
Freethought is the mother of art and science, of morality 
and happiness. 

It is charged by the worshipers of the Jewish myth, 
that we destroy, that we do not build. 

What have we destroyed ? We have destroyed the idea 
that a monster created and governs this world the declara 
tion that a God of infinite mercy and compassion upheld 
slavery and polygamy and commanded the destruction of 
men, women, and babes. We have destroyed the idea that 
this monster created a few of his children for eternal joy, 
and the vast majority for everlasting pain. We have de 
stroyed the infinite absurdity that salvation depends upon 
belief, that investigation is dangerous, and that the torch of 
reason lights only the way to hell. We have taken a 
grinning devil from every grave, and the curse from death 
and in the place of these dogmas, of these infamies, we 
have put that which is natural and that which commends 
itself to the heart and brain. 


Instead of loving God, we love each other. Instead of 
the religion of the sky the religion of this world the 
religion of the family the love of husband for wife, of wife 
for husband the love of all for children. So that now the 
real religion is: Let us live for each other; let us live for 
this world, without regard for the past and without fear for 
the future. Let us use our faculties and our powers for 
the benefit of ourselves and others, knowing that if there be 
another world, the same philosophy that gives us joy here 
will make us happy there. 

Nothing can be more absurd than the idea that we can 
do something to please or displease an infinite Being. If 
our thoughts and actions can lessen or increase the happi 
ness of God, then to that extent God is the slave and victim 
of man. 

The energies of the world have been wasted in the serv 
ice of a phantom millions of priests have lived on the 
industry of others and no effort has been spared to prevent 
the intellectual freedom of mankind. 

We know, if we know anything, that supernatural relig 
ion has no foundation except falsehood and mistake. To 
expose these falsehoods to correct these mistakes to 
build the fabric of civilization on the foundation of demon 
strated truth is the task of the Freethinker. To destroy 
guide-boards that point in the wrong direction to correct 
charts that lure to reef and wreck to drive the fiend of 
fear from the mind to protect the cradle from the serpent 
of superstition and dispel the darkness of ignorance with 
the sun of science is the task of the Freethinker. 

What constructive work has been done by the church ? 
Christianity gave us a flat world a few thousand 3^ears ago 
a heaven above it where Jehovah dwells and a hell below 
it where most people will dwell. Christianity took the 
ground that a certain belief was necessary to salvation and 
that this belief was far better and of more importance than 


the practice of all the virtues. It became the enemy of 
investigation the bitter and relentless foe of reason and 
the liberty of thought. It committed every crime and 
practiced every cruelty in the propagation of its creed. It 
drew the sword against the freedom of the world. It 
established schools and universities for the preservation of 
ignorance. It claimed to have within its keeping the 
source and standard of all truth. If the church had suc 
ceeded the sciences could not have existed. 

Freethought has given us all we have of value. It has 
been the great constructive force. It is the only discoverer, 

and every Science is its Child. The Truth Seeker, New York 1890. 



HE Improved Man will be in iavor of universal liberty 
1 that is to say, he will be opposed to all kings and 
nobles, to all privileged classes. He will give to all 
others the rights he claims for himself. He will neither 
bow nor cringe, nor accept bowing and cringing from 
others. He will be neither master nor slave, neither prince 
nor peasant simply man. 

He will be the enemy of all caste, no matter whether its 
foundation be wealth, title or power, and of him it will be 
said : " Blessed is that man who is afraid of no man and of 
whom no man is afraid.'' 

The Improved Man will be in favor of universal educa 
tion. He will believe it the duty of every person to shed 
all the light he can, to the end that no child may be reared 
'in darkness. By education he will mean the gaining of 
useful knowledge, the development of the mind along the 
natural paths that lead to human happiness. 

He will not waste his time in ascertaining the foolish 
theories of extinct peoples or in studying the dead lan 
guages for the sake of understanding the theologies of ig 
norance and fear, but he will turn his attention to the 
affairs of life, and will do his utmost to see to it that every 
child has an opportunity to learn the demonstrated facts of 
science, the true history of the world, the great principles 
of- right and wrong applicable to human conduct the 
things necessary to the preservation of the individual and 
of the state, and such arts and industries as are essential 
to the preservation of all. (44B) 


He will also endeavor to develop the mind in the direc 
tion of the beautiful of the highest art so that the 
palace in which the mind dwells may be enriched and 
rendered beautiful, to the end that these stones, called facts, 
may be changed into statues. 

The Improved Man will believe only in the religion of 
this world. He will have nothing to do with the miracu 
lous and supernatural. He will find that there is no room 
in the universe for these things. He will know that hap 
piness is the only good, and that everything that tends to 
the happiness of sentient beings is good, and that to do the 
things and no other that add to the happiness of man 
is to practice the highest possible religion. His motto 
will be: "Sufficient unto each world is the evil thereof." 
He will know that each man should be his own priest, and 
that the brain is the real cathedral. He will know that in 
the realm of mind there is no authority that majorities in 
this mental world can settle nothing that each soul is the 
sovereign of its own world, and that it cannot abdicate 
without degrading itself. He will not bow to numbers or 
force; to antiquity or custom. He, standing under the 
flag of nature, under the blue and stars, will decide for him 
self. He will not endeavor by prayers and supplication, by 
fastings and genuflections, to change the mind of the " In 
finite " or alter the course of nature, neither will he employ 
others to do those things in his place. He will have no 
confidence in the religion of idleness, and will give no part 
of what he earns to support parson or priest, archbishop or 
pope. He will know that honest labor is the highest form 
of prayer. He will spend no time in ringing bells or 
swinging censers, or in chanting the litanies of barbarism, 
but he will appreciate all that is artistic that is beautiful 
that tends to refine and ennoble the human race. He will 
not live a life of fear. He will stand in awe neither of man 
nor ghosts. He will enjoy not only the sunshine of life, 


but will bear with fortitude the darkest days. He will have 
no fear of death, About the grave, there will be no terrors, 
and his life will end as serenely as the sun rises. 

The Improved Man will be satisfied that the supernatural 
does not exist that behind every fact, every thought and 
dream is an efficient cause. He will know that every human 
action is a necessary product, and he will also know that 
men cannot be reformed by punishment, by degradation or 
by revenge. He will regard those who violate the laws of 
nature and the laws of States as victims of conditions, of 
circumstances, and he will do what he can for the well- 
being of his fellow-men. 

The Improved Man will not give his life to the accumu 
lation of wealth. He will find no happiness in exciting the 
envy of his neighbors. He will not care to live in a palace 
while others who are good, industrious and kind are com 
pelled to huddle in huts and dens. He will know that 
great wealth is a great burden, and that to accumulate be 
yond the actual needs of a reasonable human being is to 
increase not wealth, but responsibility and trouble. 

The Improved Man will find his greatest joy in the hap 
piness of others and he will know that the home is the 
real temple. He will believe in the democracy of the fire 
side, and will reap his greatest reward in being loved by 
those whose lives he has enriched. 

The Improved Man will be self-poised, independent, 
candid and free. He will be a scientist. He will observe, 
investigate, experiment and demonstrate. He will use his 
sense and his senses. He will keep his mind open as the 
day to the hints and suggestions of nature. He will al 
ways be a student, a learner and a listener a believer in 
intellectual hospitality. In the world of his brain there 
will be continuous summer, perpetual seed-time and har 
vest. Facts will be the foundation of his faith. In one 
hand he will carry the torch of truth, and with the other 

false the fallen. Tht World, New York, February 28, 1890. 



I HARDLY know enough on the subject to give an opin 
ion as to the time when eight hours are to become a 
day's work, but I am perfectly satisfied that eight hours 
will become a labor day. 

The working people should be protected by law ; if they 
are not, the capitalists will require just as many hours as 
human nature can bear. We have seen here in America 
street-car drivers working sixteen and seventeen hours a 
day. It was necessary to have a strike in order to get to 
fourteen, another strike to get to twelve, and nobody could 
blame them for keeping on striking till they get to eight 

For a man to get up before daylight and work till after 
dark, life is of no particular importance. He simply earns 
enough one day to prepare himself to work another. His 
whole life is spent in want and toil, and such a life is with 
out value. 

Of course, I cannot say that the present effort is going to 
succeed all I can say is that I hope it will. I cannot see 
how any man who does nothing who lives in idleness 
can insist that others should work ten or twelve hours a 
day. Neither can I see how a man who lives on the 
luxuries of life can find it in his heart, or in his stomach, to 
say that the poor ought to be satisfied with the crusts and 
crumbs they get. 

I believe there is to be a revolution in the relations 
between labor and capital. The laboring people a few 



generations ago were not very intellectual. There were no 
schoolhouses, no teachers except the church, and the 
church taught obedience and faith told the poor people 
that although they had a hard time here, working for noth 
ing, they would be paid in Paradise with a large interest. 
Now the working people are more intelligent they 
are better educated they read and write. In order to 
carry on the works of the present, many of them are 
machinists of the highest order. They must be reasoners. 
Every kind of mechanism insists upon logic. The work 
ing people are reasoners their hands and heads are in 
partnership. They know a great deal more than the 
capitalists. It takes a thousand times the brain to make a 
locomotive that it does to run a store or a bank. Think of 
the intelligence in a steamship and in all the thousand 
machines and devices that are now working for the world. 
These working people read. They meet together they 
discuss. They are becoming more and more independent 
in thought. They do not believe all they hear. They may 
take their hats off their heads to the priests, but they keep 
their brains in their heads for themselves. 

The free school in this country has tended to put men on 
an equality, and the mechanic understands his side of the 
case, and is able to express his views. Under these cir 
cumstances there must be a revolution. That is to say, the 
relations between capital and labor must be changed, and 
the time must come when they who do the work they 
who make the money will insist on having some of the 

I do not expect this remedy to come entirely from the 
Government, or from Government interference. I think 
the Government can aid in passing good and wholesome 
laws laws fixing the length of a labor day ; laws prevent 
ing the employment of children ; laws for the safety and 
security of workingmen in mines and other dangerous 


places. But the laboring people must rely upon themselves ; 
on their intelligence, and especially on their political power. 
They are in the majority in this country. They can if 
they wish if they will stand together elect Congresses 
and Senates, Presidents and Judges. They have it in 
their power to administer the Government of the United 

The laboring man, however, ought to remember that all 
who labor are their brothers, and that all women who labor 
are their sisters, and whenever one class of workingmen or 
working women is oppressed all other laborers ought to 
stand by the oppressed class. Probably the worst paid 
people in the world are the workingwomen. Think of the 
sewing women in this city and yet we call ourselves 
civilized ! I would like to see all working people unite 
for the purpose of demanding justice, not only for men, but 
for women. 

All my sympathies are on the side of those who toil of 
those who produce the real wealth of the world of those 
who carry the burdens of mankind. 

Any man who wishes to force his brother to work to 
toil more than eight hours a day is not a civilized man. 

My hope for the workingman has its foundation in the 
fact that he is growing more and more intelligent. I have 
also the same hope for the capitalist. The time must come 
when the capitalist will clearly and plainly see that his in 
terests are identical with those of the laboring man. He 
will finally become intelligent enough to know that his 
prosperity depends on the prosperity of those who labor. 
When both become intelligent the matter will be settled. 

Neither labor nor capital should resort to force. The Mom. 

ing Journal, April 27, 1890. 



WHEN I was a child, I was taught that the Jews were an 
exceedingly hard-hearted and cruel people, and that 
they were so destitute of the finer feelings that they had a lit 
tle while before that time crucified the only perfect man who 
had appeared upon the earth; that this perfect man was 
also perfect God, and that the Jews had really stained their 
hands with the blood of the Infinite. 

When I got somewhat older, I found that nearly all 
people had been guilty of substantially the same crime 
that is, that they had destroyed the progressive and the 
thoughtful ; that religionists had in all ages been cruel ; 
that the chief priests of all people had incited the mob, to 
the end that heretics that is to say, philosophers that is 
to say, men who knew that the chief priests were hypocrites 
might be destroyed. 

I also found that Christians had committed more of these 
crimes than all other religionists put together. 

I also became acquainted with a large number of Jewish 
people, and I found them like other people, except that, as 
a rule, they were more industrious, more temperate, had 
fewer vagrants among them, no beggars, very few criminals ; 
and in addition to all this, I found that they were intelli 
gent, kind to their wives and children, and that, as a rule, 
they kept their contracts and paid their debts. 

The prejudice was created almost entirely by religious, 
or rather irreligious, instruction. All qhildren in Christian 



countries are taught that all the Jews are to be eternally 
damned who die in the faith of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob ; 
that it is not enough to believe in the inspiration of the Old 
Testament not enough to obey the Ten Commandments 
not enough to believe the miracles performed in the days of 
the prophets, but that every Jew must accept the New 
Testament and must be a believer in Christianity that is 
to say, he must be regenerated or he will simply be 
eternal kindling wood. 

The church has taught, and still teaches, that every Jew 
is an outcast ; that he is to-day busily fulfilling prophecy ; 
that he is a wandering witness in favor of " the glad tidings 
of great joy ; " that Jehovah is seeing to it that the Jews 
shall not exist as a nation that they shall have no abiding 
place, but that they shall remain scattered, to the end that 
the inspiration of the Bible may be substantiated. 

Dr. John Hall of this city, a few years ago, when the 
Jewish people were being persecuted in Russia, took the 
ground that it was all fulfillment of prophecy, and that 
whenever a Jewish maiden was stabbed to death, God put a 
tongue in every wound for the purpose of declaring the 
truth of the Old Testament. 

Just as long as Christians take these positions, of course 
they will do what they can to assist in the fulfillment of 
what they call prophecy, and they will do their utmost to 
keep the Jewish people in a state of exile, and then point 
to that fact as one of the corner-stones of Christianity. 

My opinion is that in the early days of Christianity all 
sensible Jews were witnesses against the faith, and in this 
way excited the hostility of the orthodox. Every sensible 
Jew knew that no miracles had been performed in Jerusalem. 
They all knew that the sun had not been darkened, that 
the graves had not given up their dead, that the veil of the 
temple had not been rent in twain and they told what they 
knew. They were then denounced as the most infamous 

THE JEWS. 459 

of human beings, and this hatred has pursued them from 
that day to this. 

There is no other chapter in history so infamous, so bloody, 
so cruel, so relentless, as the chapter in which is told the man 
ner in which Christians those who love their enemies 
have treated the Jewish people. This story is enough to 
bring the blush of shame to the cheek, and the words of 
indignation to the lips of every honest man. 

Nothing can be more unjust than to generalize about 
nationalities, and to speak of a race as worthless or 
vicious, simply because you have met an individual who 
treated you unjustly. There are good people and bad 
people in all races, and the individual is not responsible for 
the crimes of the nation, or the nation responsible for the 
actions of the few. Good men and honest men are found 
in every faith, and they are not honest or dishonest be 
cause they are Jews or Gentiles, but for entirely different 

Some of the best people I have ever known are Jews, 
and some of the worst people I have known are Christians. 
The Christians were not bad simply because they were 
Christians, neither were the Jews good because they were 
Jews. A man is far above these badges of faith and race. 
Good Jews are precisely the same as good Christians, and 
bad Christians are wonderfully like bad Jews. 

Personally, I have either no prejudices about religion, or 
I have equal prejudice against all religions. The conse 
quence is that I judge of people not by their creeds, not by 
their rites, not by their mummeries, but by their actions. 

In the first place, at the bottom of this prejudice lies the 
coiled serpent of superstition. In other words, it is a 
religious question. It seems impossible for the people of 
one religion to like the people believing in another religion. 
They have different gods, different heavens, and a great 
variety of hells. For the followers of one god to treat the 


followers of another god decently is a kind of treason. In 
order to be really true to his god, each follower must not 
only hate all other gods, but the followers of all other gods. 

The Jewish people should outgrow their own super 
stitions. It is time for them to throw away the idea of 
inspiration. The intelligent jew of to-day knows that the 
Old Testament was written by barbarians, and he knows 
that the rites and ceremonies are simply absurd. He knows 
that no intelligent man should care anything about 
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, three dead barbarians. In 
other words, the Jewish people should leave their super 
stition and rely on science and philosophy. 

The Christian should do the same. He, by this time, 
should know that his religion is a mistake, that his creed 
has no foundation in the eternal verities. The Christian 
certainly should give up the hopeless task of converting the 
Jewish people, and the Jews should give up the useless task 
of converting the Christians. There is no propriety in 
swapping superstitions neither party can afford to give 
any boot. 

When the Christian throws away his cruel and heartless 
superstitions, and when the Jew throws away his, then they 
can meet as man to man. 

In the meantime, the world will go on in its blundering 
way, and I shall know and feel that everybody does as he 
must, and that the Christian, to the extent that he is prej 
udiced, is prejudiced by reason of his ignorance, and that 
consequently the great lever with which to raise all man* 
kind into the sunshine of philosophy, is intelligence. 



'TTHERE is a desire in each brain to harmonize the knowl- 
1 edge that it has. If a man knows, or thinks he knows, 
a few facts, he will naturally use those facts for the pur 
pose of determining the accuracy of his opinions on other 
subjects. This is simply an effort to establish or prove 
the unknown by the known a process that is constantly 
going on in the minds of all intelligent people. 

It is natural for a man not governed by fear, to use what 
he knows in one department of human inquiry, in every 
other department that he investigates. The average of 
intelligence has in the last few years greatly increased. 
Man may have as much credulity as he ever had, on some 
subjects, but certainly on the old subjects he has less. 
There is not as great difference to-day between the mem 
bers of the learned professions and the common people. Man 
is governed less and less by authority. He cares but 
little for the conclusions of the universities. He does not 
feel bound by the actions of synods or ecumenical councils 
neither does he bow to the decisions of the highest tri 
bunals, unless the reasons given for the decision satisfy his 
intellect. One reason for this is, that the so-called " learned " 
do not agree among themselves that the universities dis 
pute each other that the synod attacks the ecumenical 
council that the parson snaps his fingers at the priest, and 
even the Protestant bishop holds the pope in contempt. If 
the learned can thus disagree, there is no reason why the 
common people should hold to one opinion. They are at 

least called upon to decide as between the universities or 



synods ; and in order to decide, they must examine both 
sides, and having examined both sides, they generally 
have an opinion of their own. 

There was a time when the average man knew nothing 
of medicine he simply opened his mouth and took the 
dose. If he died, it was simply a dispensation of Provi 
dence if he got well, it was a triumph of science. Now 
this average man not only asks the doctor what is the mat 
ter with him not only asks what medicine will be good 
for him, but insists on knowing the philosophy of the 
cure asks the doctor why he gives it what result he ex 
pects and, as a rule, has a judgment of his own. 

So in law. The average business man has an exceed 
ingly good idea of the law affecting his business. There 
is nothing now mysterious about what goes on in courts 
or in the decisions of judges they are published in every 
direction, and all intelligent people who happen to read 
these opinions have their ideas as to whether the opinions 
are right or wrong. They are no longer the victims of 
doctors, or of lawyers, or of courts. 

The same is true in the world of art and literature. The 
average man has an opinion of his own. He is no longer a 
parrot repeating what somebody else says. He not only 
has opinions, but he has the courage to express them. In 
literature the old models fail to satisfy him. He has the 
courage to say that Milton is tiresome that Dante is prolix 
that they deal with subjects having no human interest. 
He laughs at Young's "Night Thoughts" and Pollok's 
" Course of Time " knowing that both are filled with 
hypocrisies and absurdities. He no longer falls upon his 
knees before the mechanical poetry of Mr. Pope. He 
chooses and stands by his own opinion. I do not mean 
that he is entirely independent, but that he is going in that 

The same is true of pictures, He prefers the modern to 


the old masters. He prefers Corot to Raphael. He gets 
more real pleasure from Millet and Troyon than from all 
the pictures of all the saints and donkeys of the Middle 

In other words, the days of authority are passing away. 

The same is true in music. The old no longer satisfies, 
and there is a breadth, color, wealth, in the new that makes 
the old poor and barren in comparison. 

To a far greater extent this advance, this individual in 
dependence, is seen in the religious world. The religion 
of our day that is to say, the creeds at the time they 
were made, were in perfect harmony with the knowledge, 
or rather with the ignorance, of man in all other depart 
ments of human inquiry. All orthodox creeds agreed with 
the sciences of their day with the astronomy and geology 
and biology and political conceptions of the Middle Ages. 
These creeds were declared to be the absolute and eternal 
truth. They could not be changed without abandoning 
the claim that made them authority. The priests, through 
a kind of unconscious self-defence, clung to every word. 
They denied the truth of all discovery. They measured 
every assertion in every other department by their creeds. 
At last the facts against them became so numerous their 
congregations became so intelligent that it was necessary 
to give new meanings to the old words. The cruel was 
softened the absurd was partially explained, and they 
kept these old words, although the original meanings had 
fallen out. They became empty purses, but they retained 
them still. 

Slowly but surely came the time when this course could 
not longer be pursued. The words must be thrown away 
the creeds must be changed they were no longer 
believed only occasionally were they preached. The 
ministers became a little ashamed they began to apolo 
gize. Apology is the prelude to retreat. 


Of all the creeds, the Presbyterian, the old Congrega 
tional, were the most explicit, and for that reason the most 
absurd. When these creeds were written, those who wrote 
them had perfect confidence in their truth. They did not 
shrink because of their cruelty. They cared nothing for 
what others called absurdity. They failed not to declare 
what they believed to be " the whole counsel of God." 

At that time, cruel punishments were inflicted by all 
governments. People were torn asunder, mutilated, burned. 
Every atrocity was perpetrated in the name of justice, and 
the limit of pain was the limit of endurance. These people 
imagined that God would do as they would do. If they 
had had it in their power to keep the victim alive for years 
in the flames, they would most cheerfully have supplied 
the fagots. They believed that God could keep the victim 
alive forever, and that therefore his punishment would be 
eternal. As man becomes civilized he becomes merciful, and 
the time came when civilized Presbyterians and Congrega- 
tionalists read their own creeds with horror. 

I am not saying that the Presbyterian creed is any worse 
than the Catholic. It is only a little more specific. Neither 
am I saying that it is more horrible than the Episcopal. 
It is not. All orthodox creeds are alike infamous. All of 
them have good things, and all of them have bad things. 
You will find in every creed the blossom of mercy and the 
oak of justice, but under the one and around the other are 
coiled the serpents of infinite cruelty. 

The time came when orthodox Christians began dimly 
to perceive that God ought at least to be as good as they 
were. They felt that they were incapable of inflicting 
eternal pain, and they began to doubt the propriety of say 
ing that God would do that which a civilized Christian 
would be incapable of. 

We have improved in all directions for the same reasons. 
We have better laws now because we have a better sense of 


justice. We are believing more and more in the govern 
ment of the people. Consequently we are believing more 
and more in the education of the people, and from that 
naturally results greater individuality and a greater desire 
to hear the honest opinions of all. 

The moment the expression of opinion is allowed in any 
department, progress begins. We are using our knowledge 
in every direction. The tendency is to test all opinions by 
the facts we know. All claims are put in the crucible of 
investigation the object being to separate the true from 
the false. He who objects to having his opinions thus 
tested is regarded as a bigot. 

If the professors of all the sciences had claimed that 
the knowledge they had was given by inspiration that it 
was absolutely true, and that there was no necessity of ex 
amining further, not only, but that it was a kind of blas 
phemy to doubt all the sciences would have remained as 
stationary as religion has. Just to the extent that the 
Bible was appealed to in matters of science, science was re 
tarded ; and just to the extent that science has been 
appealed to in matters of religion, religion has advanced 
so that now the object of intelligent religionists is to 
adopt a creed that will bear the test and criticism of 

Another thing may be alluded to in this connection. All 
the countries of the world are now, and have been for 
years, open to us. The ideas of other people their 
theories, their religions are now known ; and we have 
ascertained that the religions of all people have exactly the 
.same' foundation as our own that they all arose in the 
same way, were substantiated in the same way, were main 
tained by the same means, having precisely the same ob 
jects in view. 

For many years, the learned of the religious world were 
examining the religions, 9$ other countries, and, in that 


work they established certain rules of criticism pursued 
certain lines of argument by which they overturned the 
claims of those religions to supernatural origin. After 
this had been successfully done, others, using the same 
methods on our religion, pursuing the same line of argu 
ment, succeeded in overturning ours. We have found that 
all miracles rest on the same basis that all wonders were 
born of substantially the same ignorance and the same 

The intelligence of the world is far better distributed 
than ever before. The historical outlines of all countries 
are well known. The arguments for and against all 
systems of religion are generally understood. The average 
of intelligence is far higher than ever before. All dis 
coveries become almost immediately the property of the 
whole civilized world, and all thoughts are distributed by 
the telegraph and press with such rapidity, that provincial 
ism is almost unknown. The egotism of ignorance and 
seclusion is passing away. The prejudice of race and 
religion is growing feebler, and everywhere, to a greater 
extent than ever before, the light is welcome. 

These are a few of the reasons why creeds are crum 
bling, and why such a change has taken place in the relig 
ious world. 

Only a few years ago the pulpit was an intellectual 
power. The pews listened with wonder, and accepted 
without question. There was something sacred about the 
preacher. He was different from other mortals. He had 
bread to eat which they knew not of. He was oracular, 
solemn, dignified, stupid. 

The pulpit has lost its position. It speaks no longer 
with authority. The pews determine what shall be 
preached. They pay only for that which they wish to buy 
for that which they wish to hear. Of course in every 
church there is an advance guard and a conservative party, 


and nearly every minister is obliged to preach a little for 
both. He now and then says a radical thing for one part 
of his congregation, and takes it mostly back on the next 
Sabbath, for the sake of the others. Most of them ride 
two horses, and their time is taken up in urging one for 
ward and in holding the other back. 

The great reason why the orthodox creeds have become 
unpopular is, that all teach the dogma of eternal pain. 

In old times, when men were nearly wild beasts, it was 
natural enough for them to suppose that God would do 
as they would do in his place, and so they attributed to this 
God infinite cruelty, infinite revenge. This revenge, this 
cruelty, wore the mask of justice. They took the ground 
that God, having made man, had the right to do with him 
as he pleased. At that time they were not civilized to the 
extent of seeing that a God would not have the right to 
make a failure, and that a being of infinite wisdom and 
power would be under obligation to do the right, and that 
he would have no right to create any being whose life 
would not be a blessing. The very fact that he made man, 
would put him under obligation to see to it that life should 
not be a curse. 

The doctrine of eternal punishment is in perfect harmony 
with the savagery of the men who made the orthodox 
creeds. It is in harmony with torture, with flaying alive 
and with burnings. The men who burned their fellow-men 
for a moment, believed that God would burn his enemies 

No civilized men ever believed in this dogma. The be 
lief in eternal punishment has driven millions from the 
church. It was easy enough for people to imagine that the 
children of others had gone to hell; that foreigners had 
been doomed to eternal pain; but when it was brought 
home when fathers and mothers bent above their dead who 
had died in their sins when wives shed their tears on the 


faces of husbands who had been born but once love sug 
gested doubts and love fought the dogma of eternal revenge. 

This doctrine is as cruel as the hunger of hyenas, and is 
infamous beyond the power of any language to express 
yet a creed with this doctrine has been called "the glad 
tidings of great joy" a consolation to the weeping world. 
It is a source of great pleasure to me to know that all intelli 
gent people are ashamed to admit that they believe it 
that no intelligent clergyman now preaches it, except with 
a preface to the effect that it is probably untrue. 

I have been blamed for taking this consolation from the 
world for putting out, or trying to put out, the fires of 
hell; and many orthodox people have wondered how I 
could be so wicked as to deprive the world of this hope. 

The church clung to the doctrine because it seemed a 
necessary excuse for the existence of the church. The 
ministers said : " No hell, no atonement ; no atonement, no 
fall of man; no fall of man, no inspired book; no in 
spired book, no preachers ; no preachers, no salary ; no 
hell, no missionaries; no sulphur, no salvation." 

At last, the people are becoming enlightened enough to 
ask for a better philosophy. The doctrine of hell is now 
only for the poor, the ragged, the ignorant. Well-dressed 
people won't have it. Nobody goes to hell in a carriage 
they foot it. Hell is for strangers and tramps. No soul 
leaves a brown-stone front for hell they start from the 
tenements, from jails and reformatories. In other words, 
hell is for the poor. It is easier for a camel to go through 
the eye of a needle than for a poor man to get into heaven, 
or for a rich man to get into hell. The ministers stand by 
their supporters. Their salaries are paid by the well-to-do, 
and they can hardly afford to send the subscribers to hell. 
Every creed in which is the dogma of eternal pain is 
doomed. Every church teaching the infinite lie must fall, 

and the SOOner the better. TheTwentieth Century, N, Y., April 81. 1890. 


{BELIEVE that education is the only lever capable of 
raising mankind. If we wish to make the future of the 
Republic glorious we must educate the children of the 
present. The greatest blessing conferred by our Govern 
ment is the free school. In importance it rises above 
every thing else that the Government does. In its influence 
it is far greater. 

The schoolhouse is infinitely more important than the 
church, and if all the money wasted in the building of 
churches could be devoted to education we should become 
a civilized people. Of course, to the extent that churches 
disseminate thought they are good, and to the extent that 
they provoke discussion they are of value, but the real ob 
ject should be to become acquainted with nature with the 
conditions of happiness to the end that man may take ad 
vantage of the forces of nature. I believe in the schools 
for manual training, and that every child should be taught 
not only to think, but to do, and that the hand should be 
educated with the brain. The money expended on schools 
is the best investment made by the Government. 

The schoolhouses in New York are not sufficient. Many 
of them are small, dark, unventilated, and unhealthy. They 
should be the finest public buildings in the city. It would 
be far better for the Episcopalians to build a university 
than a cathedral. Attached to all these schoolhouses there 
should be grounds for the children places for air and sun 
light. They should be given the best. They are the hope 
of the Republic and, in my judgment, of the world. 



We need far more schoolhouses than we have, and while 
money is being wasted in a thousand directions, thousands 
of children are left to be educated in the gutter. It is far 
cheaper to build schoolhouses than prisons, and it is much 
better to have scholars than convicts. 

The Kindergarten system should be adopted, especially 
for the young ; attending school is then a pleasure the 
children do not run away from school, but to school. We 
should educate the children not simply in mind, but edu 
cate their eyes and hands, and they should be taught some 
thing that will be of use, that will help them to make a liv 
ing, that will give them independence, confidence that is to 
say, character. 

The cost of the schools is very little, and the cost of land 
giving the children, as I said before, air and light would 
amount to nothing. 

There is another thing : Teachers are poorly paid. Only 
the best should be employed, and they should be well paid. 
Men and women of the highest character should have 
charge of the children, because there is a vast deal of edu 
cation in association, and it is of the utmost importance 
that the children should associate with real gentlemen 
that is to say, with real men ; with real ladies that is to 
say, with real women. 

Every schoolhouse should be inviting, clean, well venti 
lated, attractive. The surroundings should be delightful. 
Children forced to school, learn but little. The schoolhouse 
should not be a prison or the teachers turnkeys. 

I believe that the common school is the bread of life, and 
all should be commanded to eat of the fruit of the tree of 
knowledge. It would have been far better to have ex 
pelled those who refused to eat. 

The greatest danger to the Republic is ignorance. In 
telligence is the foundation of free government. The world, 

New York, September 7, 1890. 


VIVISECTION is the Inquisition the Hell of Science. 
All the cruelty which the human or rather the in 
human heart is capable of inflicting, is in this one word. 
Below this there is no depth. This word lies like a coiled 
serpent at the bottom of the abyss. 

We can excuse, in part, the crimes of passion. We take 
into consideration the fact that man is liable to be caught 
by the whirlwind, and that from a brain on fire the soul 
rushes to a crime. But what excuse can ingenuity form 
for a man who deliberately with an unaccelerated pulse 
with the calmness of John Calvin at the murder of 
Servetus seeks, with curious and cunning knives, in the 
living, quivering flesh of a dog, for all the throbbing nerves 
of pain? The wretches who commit these infamous crimes 
pretend that they are working for the good of man ; that 
they are actuated by philanthropy ; and that their pity for 
the sufferings of the human race drives out all pity for the 
animals they slowly torture to death. But those who are 
incapable of pitying animals are, as a matter of fact, incapa 
ble of pitying men. A physician who would cut a living 
rabbit in pieces laying bare the nerves, denuding them 
with knives, pulling them out with forceps would not 
hesitate to try experiments with men and women for the 
gratification of his curiosity. 

To settle some theory, he would trifle with the life of any 
patient in his power. By the same reasoning he will justify 
Ihe vivisection of animals and patients. He will say that 
it is better that a few animals should suffer than that one 
human being should die ; and that it is far better that one 
patient should die, if through the sacrifice of that one, 
several may be saved. 

A letter written to Philip Q. Peabody. May 37, 1890. 


Brain without heart is far more dangerous than heart 
without brain. 

Have these scientific assassins discovered anything of 
value ? They may have settled some disputes as to the 
action of some organ, but have they added to the useful 
knowledge of the race ? 

It is not necessary for a man to be a specialist in order 
to have and express his opinion as to the right or wrong of 
vivisection. It is not necessary to be a scientist or a 
naturalist to detest cruelty and to love mercy. Above all 
the discoveries of the thinkers, above all the inventions of 
the ingenious, above all the victories won on fields of in 
tellectual conflict, rise human sympathy and a sense of 

I know that good for the human race can never be 
accomplished by torture. I also know that all that has 
been ascertained by vivisection could have been done by 
the dissection of the dead. I know that all the torture has 
been useless. All the agony inflicted has simply hardened 
the hearts of the criminals, without enlightening their 

It may be that the human race might be physically im 
proved if all the sickly and deformed babes were killed, 
and if all the paupers, liars, drunkards, thieves, villains, 
and vivisectionists were murdered. All this might, in a 
few ages, result in the production of a generation of 
physically perfect men and women ; but what would such 
beings be worth, men and women healthy and heartless, 
muscular and cruel that is to say, intelligent wild beasts? 

Never can I be the friend of one who vivisects his 
fellow-creatures. I do not wish to touch his hand. 

When the angel of pity is driven from the heart ; when 
the fountain of tears is dry, the soul becomes a serpent 
srawling in the dust of a desert. 


{SUPPOSE the Government has a right to ask all of these 
questions, and any more it pleases, but undoubtedly the 
citizen would have the right to refuse to answer them. 
Originally the census was taken simply for the purpose of 
ascertaining the number of people first, as a basis of 
representation ; second, as a basis of capitation tax ; third, 
as a basis to arrive at the number of troops that might be 
called from each State ; and it may be for some other pur 
poses, but I imagine that all are embraced in the foregoing. 

The Government has no right to invade the privacy of 
the citizen; no right to inquire into his financial condition, 
as thereby his credit might be injured ; no right to pry into 
his affairs, into his diseases, or his deformities ; and, while 
the Government may have the right to ask these questions, 
I think it was foolish to instruct the enumerators to ask 
them, and that the citizens have a perfect right to refuse to 
answer them. Personally, I have no objection to answering 
any of these questions, for the reason that nothing is the 
matter with me that money will not cure. 

I know that it is thought advisable by many to find out 
the amount of mortgages in the United States, the rate of 
interest that is being paid, the general indebtedness of 
individuals, counties, cities and States, and I see no im 
propriety in finding this out in any reasonable way. But 
I think it improper to insist on the debtor exposing his 



financial condition. My opinion is that Mr. Porter only 
wants what is perfectly reasonable, and if left to himself, 
would ask only those questions that all people would 
willingly answer. 

I presume we can depend on medical statistics on the 
reports of hospitals, etc., in regard to diseases and deformi 
ties, without interfering with the patients. As to the 
financial standing of people, there are already enough of 
spies in this country attending to that business. I don't 
think there is any danger of the courts compelling a man 
to answer these questions. Suppose a man refuses to tell 
whether he has a chronic disease or not, and he is brought 
up before a United States Court for contempt. In my 
opinion the judge would decide that the man could not be 
compelled to answer. It is bad enough to have a chronic 
disease without publishing it to the world. All intelligent 
people, of course, will be desirous of giving all useful in 
formation of a character that cannot be used to their injury, 
but can be used for the benefit of society at large. 

If, however, the courts shall decide that the enumerators 
have the right to ask these questions, and that everybody 
must answer them, I doubt if the census will be finished 
for many years. There are hundreds and thousands of 
people who delight in telling all about their diseases, when 
they were attacked, what they have taken, how many 
doctors have given them up to die, etc., and if the 
enumerators will stop to listen, the census of 1890 will not 
be published until the next century. The Worid^w York, June 

8, 1890. 


AGAIN we celebrate the victory of Light over Darkness, 
of the God of day over the hosts of night. Again Sara- 
son is victorious over Delilah, and Hercules triumphs once 
more over Omphale. In the embrace of Isis, Osiris rises 
from the dead, and the scowling Typhon is defeated once 
more. Again Apollo, with unerring aim, with his arrow 
from the quiver of light, destroys the serpent of shadow. 
This is the festival of Thor, of Baldur and of Prometheus. 
Again Buddha by a miracle escapes from the tyrant of 
Madura, Zoroaster foils the King, Bacchus laughs at the 
rage of Cadmus, and Chrishna eludes the tyrant. 

This is the festival of the sun-god, and as such let its 
observance be universal. 

This is the great day of the first religion, the mother of 
all religions the worship of the sun. 

Sun worship is not only the first, but the most natural 
and most reasonable of all. And not only the most natural 
and the most reasonable, but by far the most poetic, the 
most beautiful. 

The sun is the god of benefits, of growth, of life, of 
warmth, of happiness, of joy. The sun is the all-seeing, 
the all-pitying, the all-loving. 

This bright God knew no hatred, no malice, never 
sought for revenge. 

All evil qualities were in the breast of the God of dark 
ness, of shadow, of night. And so I say again, this is the 
festival of Light. This is the anniversary of the triumph 
of the Sun over the hosts of Darkness. 

Let us all hope for the triumph of Light of Right and 
Reason for the victory of Fact over Falsehood, of Science 
over Superstition. 

And so hoping, let us celebrate the venerable festival 

of the Sun. The Journal, New York, December 25, 1892. (477) 



IF there is an abused word in our language, it is " spirit 

It has been repeated over and over for several hundred 
years by pious pretenders and snivelers as though it be 
longed exclusively to them. 

In the early days of Christianity, the "spiritual " re 
nounced the world with all its duties and obligations. 
They deserted their wives and children. They became 
hermits and dwelt in caves. They spent their useless years 
in praying for their shriveled and worthless souls. They 
were too " spiritual " to love women, to build homes and to 
labor for children. They were too " spiritual " to earn their 
bread, so they became beggars and stood by the highways 
of Life and held out their hands and asked alms of Indus 
try and Courage. They were too " spiritual " to be merciful. 
They preached the dogma of eternal pain and gloried in "the 
wrath to come." They were too "spiritual" to be civilized, so 
they persecuted their fellow-men for expressing their honest 
thoughts. They were so "spiritual " that they invented in 
struments of torture, founded the Inquisition, appealed to 
the whip, the rack, the sword and the fagot. They tore the 
flesh of their fellow-men with hooks of iron, buried their 
neighbors alive, cut off their eyelids, dashed out the brains 
of babes and cut off the breasts of mothers. These " spirit 
ual " wretches spent day and night on their knees, praying 
for their own salvation and asking God to curse the best and 
noblest of the world. 

John Calvin was intensely " spiritual " when he warmed 
his fleshless hands at the flames that consumed Servetus. 



John Knox was constrained by his " spirituality " to 
utter low and loathsome calumnies against all women. All 
the witch-burners and Quaker-maimers and mutilators were 
so " spiritual " that they constantly looked heavenward and 
longed for the skies. 

These lovers of God these haters of men looked upon 
the Greek marbles as unclean, and denounced the glories of 
Art as the snares and pitfalls of perdition. 

These " spiritual " mendicants hated laughter and smiles 
and dimples, and exhausted their diseased and polluted im 
aginations in the effort to make love loathsome. 

From almost every pulpit was heard the denunciation of 
all that adds to the wealth, the joy and glory of life. It 
became the fashion for the " spiritual " to malign every 
hope and passion that tends to humanize and refine the 
heart. Man was denounced as totally depraved. Woman 
was declared to be a perpetual temptation her beauty a 
snare and her touch pollution. 

Even in our own time and country some of the ministers, 
no matter how radical they claim to be, retain the aroma, 
the odor, or the smell of the " spiritual." 

They denounce some of the best and greatest some of 
the benefactors of the race for having lived on the low 
plane of usefulness and for having had the pitiful ambi 
tion to make their fellows happy in this world. 

Thomas Paine was a groveling wretch because he de 
voted his life to the preservation of the rights of man, and 
Voltaire lacked the " spiritual " because he abolished tor 
ture in France and attacked, with the enthusiasm of a divine 
madness, the monster that was endeavoring to drive the 
hope of liberty from the heart of man. 

Humboldt was not " spiritual " enough to repeat with 
closed eyes the absurdities of superstition, but was so lost 
to all the "skyey influences" that he was satisfied to add 
to the intellectual wealth of the world. 


Darwin lacked "spirituality," and in its place had noth 
ing but sincerity, patience, intelligence, the spirit of in 
vestigation and the courage to give his honest conclusions 
to the world. He contented himself with giving to his 
fellow-men the greatest and the sublimest truths that man 
has spoken since lips have uttered speech. 

But we are now told that these soldiers of science, these 
heroes of liberty, these sculptors and painters, these singers 
of songs, these composers of music, lack " spirituality " and 
after all were only common clay. 

This word " spirituality " is the fortress, the breastwork, 
the rifle-pit of the Pharisee. It sustains the same relation 
to sincerity that Dutch metal does to pure gold. 

There seems to be something about a pulpit that poisons 
the occupant that changes his nature that causes him 
to denounce what he really loves and to laud with the 
fervor of insanity a joy that he never felt a rapture that 
never thrilled his soul. Hypnotized by his surroundings, 
he unconsciously brings to market that which he supposes 
the purchasers desire. 

In every church, whether orthodox or radical, there are 
two parties one conservative, looking backward, one radi 
cal, looking forward, and generally a minister " spiritual " 
enough to look both ways. 

A minister who seems to be a philosopher on the street, 
or in the home of a sensible man, cannot withstand the 
atmosphere of the pulpit. The moment he stands behind 
the Bible cushion, like Bottom, he is " translated " and the 
Titania of superstition " kisses his large, fair ears." 

Nothing is more amusing than to hear a clergyman de 
nounce worldliness ask his hearers what it will profit 
them to build railways and palaces and lose their own 
souls inquire of the common folks before him why they 
waste their precious years in following trades and pro 
fessions, in gathering treasures that moths corrupt and rust 


devours, giving their days to the vulgar business of making 
money, and then see him take up a collection, knowing 
perfectly well that only the worldly, the very people he 
has denounced, can by any possibility give a dollar. 

" Spirituality " for the most part is a mask worn by idle 
ness, arrogance and greed. 

Some people imagine that they are "spiritual" when 
they are sickly. 

It may be well enough to ask : What is it to be really 
spiritual ? 

The spiritual man lives to his ideal. He endeavors to 
make others happy. He does not despise the passions that 
have filled the world with art and glory. He loves his 
wife and children home and fireside. He cultivates the 
amenities and refinements of life. He is the friend and 
champion of the oppressed. His sympathies are with the 
poor and the suffering. He attacks what he believes to be 
wrong, though defended by the many, and he is willing to 
stand for the right against the world. He enjoys the 
beautiful. In the presence of the highest creations of Art 
his eyes are suffused with tears. When he listens to the 
great melodies, the divine harmonies, he feels the sorrows 
and the raptures of death and love. He is intensely 
human. He carries in his heart the burdens of the world. 
He searches for the deeper meanings. He appreciates the 
harmonies of conduct, the melody of a perfect life. 

He loves his wife and children better than any god. He 
cares more for the world he lives in than for any other. 
He tries to discharge the duties of this life, to help those 
that he can reach. He believes in being useful in mak 
ing money to feed and clothe and educate the ones he loves 
to assist the deserving and to support himself. He does 
not wish to be a burden on others. He is just, generous 
and sincere. 

Spirituality is all of this world, It is a child of this 


earth, born and cradled here. It comes from no heaven, 
but it makes a heaven where it is. 

There is no possible connection between superstition and 
the spiritual, or between theology and the spiritual. 

The spiritually-minded man is a poet. If he does not 
write poetry, he lives it. He is an artist. If he does not 
paint pictures or chisel statues, he feels them, and their 
beauty softens his heart. He fills the temple of his soul 
with all that is beautiful, and he worships at the shrine of 
the Ideal. 

In all the relations of life he is faithful and true. He 
asks for nothing that he does not earn. He does not wish 
to be happy in heaven if he must receive happiness as alms 
He does not rely on the goodness of another. He is not 
ambitious to become a winged pauper. 

Spirituality is the perfect health of the soul. It is noble, 
manly, generous, brave, free-spoken, natural, superb. 

Nothing is more sickening than the "spiritual" whine 
the pretence that crawls at first and talks about humility 
and then suddenly becomes arrogant and says: "I am 
' spiritual.' I hold in contempt the vulgar joys of this life. 
You work and toil and build homes and sing songs and 
weave your delicate robes. You love women and children 
and adorn yourselves. You subdue the earth and dig for 
gold. You have your theatres, your operas and all the 
luxuries of life ; but I, beggar that I am, Pharisee that I 
am, am your superior because I am ' spiritual.' " 

Above all things, let us be sincere. The Conservator, 

phia, 1891. 

1861 April izth 

FOR about three-quarters of a century the statesmen, 
that is to say, the politicians, of the North and South, 
had been busy making compromises, adopting constitutions 
and enacting laws; busy making speeches, framing plat 
forms and political pretences, to the end that liberty and 
slavery might dwell in peace and friendship under the 
same flag. 

Arrogance on one side, hypocrisy on the other. 

Right apologized to Wrong for the sake of the Union. 

The sources of justice were poisoned, and patriotism be 
came the defender of piracy. In the name of humanity 
mothers were robbed of their babes. 

Thirty years ago to-day a shot was fired, and in a mo 
ment all the promises, all the laws, all the constitutional 
amendments, and all the idiotic and heartless decisions of 
courts, and all the speeches of orators inspired by the hope 
of place and power, were blown into rags and ravelings, 
pieces and patches. 

The North and South had been masquerading as friends, 
and in a moment, while the sound of that shot was ringing 
in their ears, they faced each other as enemies. 

The roar of that cannon announced the birth of a new 
epoch. The echoes of that shot went out, not only over 
the bay of Charleston, but over the hills, the prairies and 
forests of the continent. 

These echoes said marvelous things and uttered proph 
ecies that none were wise enough to understand. 

Who at that time had the slightest conception of the im 
mediate future? Who then was great enough to see the 



end ? Who then was wise enough to know that the echoes 
would be kept alive and repeated for years by thousands 
and thousands of cannon, by millions of muskets, on the 
fields of ruthless war? 

At that time Abraham Lincoln, an Illinois lawyer, was 
barely a month in the President's chair, and that shot made 
him the most commanding and majestic figure of the nine 
teenth century a figure that stands alone. 

Who could have guessed the names of the heroes to be 
repeated by countless lips before the echoes of that shot 
should have died away ? 

There was at that time a young man at Galena, silent, 
unobtrusive, unknown ; and yet, the moment that shot was 
fired he was destined to lead the greatest host ever 
marshaled on a field of war, destined to receive the final 
sword of the Rebellion. 

There was another, in the Southwest, who heard one of 
the echoes of that shot, and who afterward marched from 
Atlanta to the sea ; and another, far away by the Pacific, 
who also heard one of the echoes, and who became one of 
the immortal three. 

But, above all, the echoes were heard by millions of men 
and women in the fields of unpaid toil, and they knew not 
the meaning, but felt that they had heard a prophecy of 
freedom. And the echoes told of death and glory for 
man} 7 thousands of the agonies of women the sobs of 
orphans the sighs of the imprisoned, and the glad shouts 
of the delivered, the enfranchised, the redeemed. 

They who fired that gun did not dream that they were 
giving liberty to millions of people, including themselves, 
white as well as black, North as well as South, and that 
before the echoes should die away, all the shackles would 
be broken, all the constitutions and statutes of slavery re 
pealed, and all the compromises merged and lost in a great 
compact made to preserve the liberties of all. 



ONE HUNDRED years after Christ had died suppose 
some one had asked a Christian, What hospitals have 
you built? What asylums have you founded? They would 
have said " None." Suppose three hundred years after the 
death of Christ the same questions had been asked the 
Christian, he would have said "None, not one." Two 
hundred years more and the answer would have been the 
same. And at that time the Christian could have told the 
questioner that the Mohammedans had built asylums be 
fore the Christians. He could also have told him that 
there had been orphan asylums in China for hundreds and 
hundreds of years, hospitals in, India, and hospitals for the 
sick at Athens. 

Here it may be well enough to say that all hospitals and 
asylums are not built for charity. They are built because 
people do not want to be annoyed by the sick and the in 
sane. If a sick man should come down the street and sit 
upon your doorstep, what would you do with him ? You 
would have to take him into your house or leave him to 
suffer. Private families do not wish to take the burden of 
the sick. Consequently, in self-defence, hospitals are built 
so that any wanderer coming to a house, dying, or suffering 
from any disease, may immediately be packed off to a 
hospital and not become a burden upon private charity. 
The fact that many diseases are contagious rendered hospi 
tals necessary for the preservation of the lives of the 
citizens. The same thing is true of the asylums. People do 



not, as a rule, want to take into their families, all the 
children who happen to have no fathers and mothers. So 
they endow and build an asylum where those children can 
be sent and where they can be whipped according to law. 
Nobody wants an insane stranger in his house. The con 
sequence is, that the community, to get rid of these people, 
to get rid of the trouble, build public institutions and send 
them there. 

Now, then, to come to the point, to answer the interroga 
tory often flung at us from the pulpit, What institutions 
have Infidels built ? In the first place, there have not been 
many Infidels for many years and, as a rule, a known 
Infidel cannot get very rich, for the reason that the 
Christians are so forgiving and loving they boycott him. 
If the average Infidel, freely stating his opinion, could get 
through the world himself, for the last several hundred 
years, he has been in good luck. But as a matter of fact 
there have been some Infidels who have done some good, 
even from a Christian standpoint. The greatest charity 
ever established in the United States by a man not by a 
community to get rid of a nuisance, but by a man who 
wished to do good and wished that good to last after his 
death is the Girard College in the city of Philadelphia. 
Girard was an Infidel. He gained his first publicity by 
going like a common person into the hospitals and taking 
care of those suffering from contagious diseases from 
cholera and smallpox. So there is a man by the name of 
James Lick, an Infidel, who has given the finest observatory 
ever given to the world. And it is a good thing for an 
Infidel to increase the sight of men. The reason people 
are theologians is because they cannot see. Mr. Lick basin- 
creased human vision, and I can say right here that nothing 
has been seen through the telescope calculated to prove the 
astronomy of Joshua. Neither can you see with that 
telescope a star that bears a Christian name. The reason 


is that Christianity was opposed to astronomy. So astron 
omers took their revenge, and now there is not one star 
that glitters in all the vast firmament of the boundless 
heavens that has a Christian name. Mr. Carnegie has been 
what they call a public-spirited man. He has given mil 
lions of dollars for libraries and other institutions, and he 
certainly is not an orthodox Christian. 

Infidels, however, have done much better even than that. 
They have increased the sum of human knowledge. John 
W. Draper, in his work on " The Intellectual Development 
of Europe," has done more good to the American people 
and to the civilized world than all the priests in it. He was 
an Infidel. Buckle is another who has added to the sum of 
human knowledge. Thomas Paine, an Infidel, did more 
for this country than any other man who ever lived in it. 

Most of the colleges in this country have, I admit, been 
founded by Christians, and the money for their support 
has been donated by Christians, but most of the colleges of 
this country have simply classified ignorance, and I think 
the United States would be more learned than it is to-day 
if there never had been a Christian college in it. But 
whether Christians gave or Infidels gave has nothing to 
do with the probability of the Jonah story or with the proba 
bility that the mark on the dial went back ten degrees 
to prove that a little Jewish king was not going to die of 
a boil. And if the Infidels are all stingy and the Christians 
are all generous it does not even tend to prove that three 
men were in a fiery furnace heated seven times hotter than 
was its wont without even scorching their clothes. 
- The best college in this country or, at least, for a long 
time the best was the institution founded by Ezra Cornell. 
That is a school where people try to teach what they know 
instead of what they guess. Yet Cornell Universit) 7 was 
attacked by every orthodox college in the United States at 
the time it was founded, because they said it was without 


Everybody knows that Christianity does not tend to 
generosity. Christianity says: "Save your own soul, 
whether anybody else saves his or not." Christianity says : 
"Let the great ship go down. You get into the little 
life -boat of the gospel and paddle ashore, no matter 
what becomes of the rest." Christianity says you must 
love God, or something in the sky, better than you love 
your wife and children. And the Christian, even when 
giving, expects to get a very large compound interest in 
another world. The Infidel who gives, asks no return ex 
cept the joy that comes from relieving the wants of 

Again the Christians, although they have built colleges, 
have built them for the purpose of spreading their super 
stitions, and have poisoned the minds of the world, while 
the Infidel teachers have filled the world with light. 
Darwin did more for mankind than if he had built a 
thousand hospitals. Voltaire did more than if he had 
built a thousand asylums for the insane. He will prevent 
thousands from going insane that otherwise might be 
driven into insanity by the "glad tidings of great joy." 
Haeckel is filling the world with light. 

I am perfectly willing that the results of the labors of 
Christians and the labors of Infidels should be compared. 
Then let it be understood that Infidels have been in this 
world but a very short time. A few years ago there were 
hardly any. I can remember when I was the only Infidel 
in the town where I lived. Give us time and we will build 
colleges in which something will be taught that is of use. 
We hope to build temples that will be dedicated to reason 
and common sense, and where every effort will be made to 
reform mankind and make them better and better in this 

I am saying nothing against the charity of Christians ; 
nothing against any kindness or goodness. But I say the 


Christians, in my judgment, have done more harm than 
they have done good. They may talk of the asylums they 
have built, but they have not built asylums enough to hold 
the people who have been driven insane by their teachings. 
Orthodox religion has opposed liberty. It has opposed 
investigation and free thought. If all the churches in 
Europe had been observatories, if the cathedrals had been 
universities where facts were taught and where nature was 
studied, if all the priests had been real teachers, this world 
would have been far, far beyond what it is to-day. 

There is an idea that Christianity is positive, and Infidel 
ity is negative. If this be so, then falsehood is positive and 
truth is negative. What I contend is that Infidelity is a 
positive religion; that Christianity is a negative religion. 
Christianity denies and Infidelity admits. Infidelity stands 
by facts ; it demonstrates by the conclusions of the reason. 
Infidelity does all it can to develop the brain and the heart 
of man. That is positive. Religion asks man to give up 
this world for one he knows nothing about. That is 
negative. I stand by the religion of reason. I stand by 
the dogmas of demonstration. 


IN my judgment, no human being was ever made better, 
nobler, by being whipped or clubbed. 

Mr. Brockway, according to his own testimony, is simply 
a savage. He belongs to the Dark Ages to the Inquisition, 
to the torture-chamber, and he needs reforming more than 
any prisoner under his control. To put any man within 
his power is in itself a crime. Mr. Brockway is a believer 
in cruelty an apostle of brutality. He beats and bruises 
flesh to satisfy his conscience his sense of duty. He 
wields the club himself because he enjoys the agony he 

When a poor wretch, having reached the limit of endur 
ance, submits or becomes unconscious, he is regarded as 
reformed. During the remainder of his term he trembles 
and obeys. But he is not reformed. In his heart is the 
flame of hatred, the desire for revenge ; and he returns to 
society far worse than when he entered the prison. 

Mr. Brockway should either be removed or locked up, 
and the Eltnira Reformatory should be superintended by 
some civilized man some man with brain enough to know, 
and heart enough to feel. 

I do not believe that one brute, by whipping, beating and 
lacerating the flesh of another, can reform him. The lash 
will neither develop the brain nor cultivate the heart. 
There should be no bruising, no scarring of the body in 
families, in schools, in reformatories, or prisons. A civilized 
man does not believe in the methods of savagery. Brutality 



has been tried for thousands of years and through all these 
years it has been a failure. 

Criminals have been flogged, mutilated and maimed, tor 
tured in a thousand ways, and the only effect was to de 
moralize, harden and degrade society and increase the 
number of crimes. In the army and navy, soldiers and 
sailors were flogged to death, and everywhere by church 
and state the torture of the helpless was practiced and up 

Only a few j^ears ago there were two hundred and twenty- 
three offences punished with death in England. Those who 
wished to reform this savage code were denounced as the 
enemies of morality and law. They were regarded as weak 
and sentimental. 

At last the English code was reformed through the efforts 
of men who had brain and heart. But it is a significant 
fact that no bishop of the Episcopal Church, sitting in the 
House of Lords, ever voted for the repeal of one of those 
savage laws. Possibly this fact throws light on the recent 
poetic and Christian declaration by Bishop Potter to the 
effect that " there are certain criminals who can only be 
made to realize through their hides the fact that the State 
has laws to which the individual must be obedient." 

This orthodox remark has the true apostolic ring, and is 
in perfect accord with the history of the church. But it 
does not accord with the intelligence and philanthropy 
of our time. Let us develop the brain by education, the 
heart by kindness. Let us remember that criminals are 
produced by conditions, and let us do what we can to 
change the conditions and to reform the criminals. 



THE object of a trial is not to convict neither is it to 
acquit. The object is to ascertain the truth by legal 
testimony and in accordance with law. 

In this country we give the accused the benefit of all 
reasonable doubts. We insist that his guilt shall be really 
established by competent testimony. 

We also allow the accused to take exceptions to the rul 
ings of the judge before whom he is tried, and to the ver 
dict of the jury, and to have these exceptions passed upon 
by a higher court. 

We also insist that he shall be tried by an impartial jury, 
and that before he can be found guilty all the jurors must 
unite in the verdict. 

Some people, not on trial for any crime, object to our 
methods. They say that time is wasted in getting an im 
partial jury ; that more time is wasted because appeals are 
allowed, and that by reason of insisting on a strict com 
pliance with law in all respects, trials sometimes linger 
for years, and that in many instances the guilty escape. 

No one, so far as I know, asks that men shall be tried by 
partial and prejudiced jurors, or that judges shall be al 
lowed to disregard the law for the sake of securing con 
victions, or that verdicts shall be allowed to stand unsup 
ported by sufficient legal evidence. Yet they talk as if 
they asked for these very things. We must remember that 
revenge is always in haste, and that justice can always 
afford to wait until the evidence is actually heard. 


There should be no delay except that which is caused by 
taking the time to find the truth. Without such delay 
courts become mobs, before which, trials in a legal sense 
are impossible. It might be better, in a city like New 
York, to have the grand jury in almost perpetual session, 
so that a man charged with crime could be immediately in 
dicted and immediately tried. So, the highest court to 
which appeals are taken should be in almost constant ses 
sion, in order that all appeals might be quickly decided. 

But we do not wish to take away the right of appeal. 
That right tends to civilize the trial judge, reduces to a 
minimum his arbitrary power, puts his hatreds and passions 
in the keeping and control of his intelligence. That right 
of appeal has an excellent effect on the jury, because they 
know that their verdict may not be the last word. The ap 
peal, where the accused is guilty, does not take the sword 
from the State, but it is a shield for the innocent. 

In England there is no app2al. The trials are shorter, 
the judges more arbitrary, the juries subservient, and the 
verdict often depends on the prejudice of the judge. The 
judge knows that he has the last guess that he cannot be 
reviewed and in the passion often engendered by the con 
flict of trial he acts much like a wild beast. 

The case of Mrs. Maybrick is exactly in point, and shows 
how dangerous it is to clothe the trial judge with supreme 

Without doubt there is in this country too much delay, 
and this, it seems to tne, can be avoided without putting 
the life or liberty of innocent persons in peril. Take only 
such time as may be necessary to give the accused a fair 
trial, before an impartial jury, under and in accordance with 
the established forms of law, and to allow an appeal to the 
highest court. 

The State in which a criminal cannot have an impartial 
trial is not civilized. People who demand the conviction of 


the accused without regard to the forms of law are sav 

But there is another side to this question. Many people 
are losing confidence in the idea that punishment reforms 
the convict, or that capital punishment materially decreases 
capital crimes. 

My own opinion is that ordinary criminals should, if 
possible, be reformed, and that murderers and desperate 
wretches should be imprisoned for life. I am inclined to 
believe that our prisons make more criminals than they 
reform ; that places like the Reformatory at Elmira plant 
and cultivate the seeds of crime. 

The State should never seek revenge ; neither should it 
put in peril the life or liberty of the accused for the sake of 
a hasty trial, or by the denial of appeal. 

In my judgment, defective as our criminal courts and 
methods are, they are far better than the English. 

Our judges are kinder, more humane; our juries nearer 
independent, and our methods better calculated to ascertain 
the truth. 


T TNIVERSITIES are naturally conservative. They 
LJ know that if suspected of being really scientific, or 
thodox Christians will keep their sons away, so they 
pander to the superstitions of the times. 

Most of the universities are exceedingly poor, and 
poverty is the enemy of independence. Universities, like 
people, have the instinct of self-preservation. The Uni- 
versit)' of Kansas is like the rest. 

The faculty of Cornell, upon precisely the same ques 
tion, took exactly the same action, and the faculty of the 
University of Missouri did the same. These institutions 
must be the friends and defenders of superstition. 

The Vanderbilt College, or University of Tennessee, 
discharged Professor Winchell because he differed with the 
author of Genesis on geology. 

* A newspaper dispatch from Lawrence, Kansas, published yesterday, stated that Col. 
Robert (i. Ingersoll had been invited by the law students of the Kansas Sta e University 
to address them at the commencement exercises, and that the faculty council had objected 
and had invited Chauncey M. Depew instead. 

The dispatch also stared that the council had notified representatives of the law pchool 
that if they insisted on the great Agnostic speaking before the school, the 1 acuity would 
take heroic measures to thwart their design. 

It was also stated that the law students had made it clearly understood that the lecture 
Ingersoll had been invited to deliver was to be on the subject of law, and that his views 
on religion, the Bible and the Deity were not to be alluded to, and they considered that 
the faculty council had " subjected them to an insult," and had gone out of its way, also, 
to affront rolonel Ingersoll without cause. 

Colonel Ingersoll, when seen yesterday and questioned about the matter, took it, as he 
does all things of that nature, philosophically and in a true manly spirit. 

CUauncey M. Depew wits seen at bis residence, No. 43 West Fifty-fourth Street, last 
night and asked if he had been invited to address the students of the Kansas University 
in the place of Colonel Ingersoll. He said he had not. 

" Would you go if you were invited ?" he was asked. 

" No ; 1 would not," he answered. " You see, I am BO busy here ; besides, my social 
and semi-political engagements are such that I would not have time to go to such a dis 
tant point, anyhow. 

' No. 1 do not care to express any opinion regarding the action of the faculty council 
of the Kansas University, but I consider Colonel Ingersoll one of the greatest imellectsof 
the centnrv. from wbo-e teaching all can profit." The Jo urnal, New York, January 24, 
1SOG. (605) 


These colleges act as they must, and we should blame 
nobody. If Humboldt and Darwin were now alive they 
would not be allowed to teach in these institutions of 
" learning." 

We need not find fault with the president and professors. 
They want to keep their places. The probability is that 
they would like to do better that they desire to be free, 
and, if free, would, with all their hearts, welcome the truth. 
Still, these universities seem to do good. The minds of 
their students are developed to that degree, that they natur 
ally turn to me as the defender of their thoughts. 

This gives me great hope for the future. The young, 
the growing, the enthusiastic, are on my side. All the 
students who have selected me are my friends, and I thank 
them with all my heart. 



A FEW years ago there were many thousand miles of 
railroads to be built, a great many towns and cities 
to be located, constructed and filled; vast areas of unculti 
vated land were waiting for the plow, vast forests the 
axe, and thousands of mines were longing to be opened. 
In those days every young man of energy and industry had 
a future. The professions were not overcrowded; there 
were more patients than doctors, more litigants than 
lawyers, more buyers of goods than merchants. The } r oung 
man of that time who was raised on a farm got a little edu- 

Col. Roberto. Ingersoll represents what is intellectually highest among the 
whole world' s opponents of religion. He counts theology as the science of a super 
stition. He decries reli~ion r.3 it exists, and holds that the broadest thing a man, 
or all human nature, can do is to acknowledge ignorance when it cannot know. 
He accepts nothing on faith. He h the American who is forever asking, " Why ? " 
who demands a reason and material proof before believing. 

As Christianity's corner-stone is faith, ho rejects Christianity, and argues that 
all men who are broad enough to know when to narrow their ideas down to fact or 
demonstrable theory mut reject it. Believe as he does or not, all Americans must 
be interested in him. His mind is marvelous, his tongue is silvern, his logic is in- 
vincible as logic. 

Col. Ingersoll is a shining example of the oft-quoted fact that, given mental abil 
ity, health and industry, a young man may make for himself Avhatever place in life 
he desires and is fitted to nil. His early advantages were limited, for his father, a 
Congregational minister whose fieid of labor often changed, was a man 9f far too 
small an income to send his sons to college. Whatever of mental training the 
young man had he was obliged to get by reason of his own exertion, and his splendid 
triumphs as an orator, and his solid achievements as a lawyer are all the result of 
his own e flfbrts. The only help he had was that which is the common heritage of 
all American young men the chance to fight even handed for success. It is not 
surprising, therefore, that Col. Ingersoll feels a deep interest in every bright young 
man of his acquaintance who is struggling manfully for the glittering prize so 
brilliantly won by the great Agnostic himself. He does not believe, however, that 
the young man who goes out into the world nowadays to seek his fortune has so 
easy a battle to fight as had the young men of thirty years ago. In conversation with 
the writer Col. Ingersoll spoke earnestly upon this subject. 

Col. Inger-ioll' s views regarding the Bible and Christianity were not generally 
understood by the public for some time after he had become famous as an orator, 
although he began to diverge from orthodoxy when quite young, and was as pro 
nounced an Agnostic when he went into the army, as he is now. 

Col. Ingersoll is an inch less th^n six feet tall, and weighs ten more than two 
hundred pounds. He will be sixty-one next August, and his hair is snowy. Hia 
shoulders are broad and as straight as they were eighteen years ago when he electri 
fied a people and place 1 his own name upon the list of a nation' s greate-4 orators with 
bis matchless ' Plumed Knight " speech in nominating James Q. Blaine for the 


cation, taught school, read law or medicine some of the 
weaker ones read theology and there seemed to be plenty 
of room, plenty of avenues to success and distinction 

So, too, a few years ago a political life was considered 
honorable, and so in politics there were many great careers. 
So, hundreds of towns wanted newspapers, and in each of 
those towns there was an opening for some energetic young 
man. At that time the plant cost but little ; a few dollars 
purchased the press the young publisher could get the 
paper stock on credit. 

Now the railroads have all been built; the canals are 
finished ; the cities have been located ; the outside property 
has been cut into lots, and sold and mortgaged many times 
over. Now it requires great capital to go into business. 
The individual is counting for less and less ; the corpora- 
presidency. His blue eyes look straight into yours when he speaks to you, and his 
sentences are punctuated by engaging little tricks of facial expression now the 
brow is criss-crossed with the lines of a frown, sometimes quizzical and sometimes 
indignant next, the smooth-shaven lips break into a curving smile, which may 
grow into a broad grin if the point just made were a. humorous one, and this is 
quite likely to be followed by a look of such intense earnestness that you wonder 
if he will ever smile again. And all the time his eyes flash, illuminating,6ometimes 
anticipatory, glances that add immensely to the clearness with which the thought 
he is expressing is set before you. He delights to tall a story, and he never tells any 
bat good ones, but^-and in this he is like Lincoln he is apt to use his stories to 
drive some proposition home. This is almost invariably true, even when he sets 
out to spin a yarn for the story's simple sake. His mentality seems to be duplex, 
quadruplex, multiplex, if you please and while his Hps and tongue are effectively 
delivering the story, his wonderful brain is, seemingly, unconsciously applying the 
point of the .story to the proving of a pet theory, and when the tale has been told 
the verbal application follows. 

His birthplace was Dresden, N. Y. His early boyhood was pnssed In New York 
State and his youth and young manhood in Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin. 

His handgrasp is hearty and his manner and words are the very essence of 
straightforward directness. I called at his office once when the Colonel was closeted 
with a person who wished to retain him in a law case involving a good deal of 
money. After a bit I was told that I could see him, and as I entered he was saying : 
" The case can' t be won, for you are in the wrong. I don' t want it " 

"But," pleaded the would-be client, "it seems to ms that a good deal can be 
done in such a case by the way it is handled before the jury, and I thought if you 
were to be the man I might get a verdict." 

"No, sir," was the reply, and the words fell like the lead of a plumb line; "I 
won't take it. Good morning, sir." 

It has been sometimes said, indulgentlv, of Col. Insersoll that he is indolent, but 
no one can hold thit view who is at all familiar with him or his work. As a mat 
ter of fact, his industry is phenomenal, though, indeed, it is not carried on aftjr 
the fashion of less brainy men. When he has an Important case ahead of him his 
devotion to the mastery of its details absorbs him at once and completely. It some 
times becomes necessary for him to take up a line of chemical inquiry entirely new 
to him; again, to elaborate genealogical researches are necessary; still again, it 
may be essential for him to thoroughly inform himself concerning hitherto unin- 
vestigated local historical records. But whatever is needful to be studied he 
studies, and so thoroughly that his mind becomes saturated wHh the knowledge 
required. And once acquired uo sort of information ever leuves him, for he has 


tion, the trust, for more and more. Now a great merchant 
employs hundreds of clerks ; a few years ago most of those 
now clerks would have been merchants. And so it seems 
to be in nearly every department of life. Of course, I do 
not know what inventions may leap from the brains of the 
future; there may be millions and millions of fortunes yet 
to be made in that direction, but of that I am not speaking. 

So, I think that a few years ago the chances were far 
more numerous and favorable to young men who wished to 
make a name for themselves, and to succeed in some de 
partment of human energy than now. 

In savage life a living is very easy to get. Most any 
savage can hunt or fish ; consequently there are few failures. 
But in civilized life competition becomes stronger and 

a memory quite as marvelous as any other of his altogether marvelous character 

It is the same when he has an address to prepare. Every authority that can be 
consulted upon the subject to be treated in the address, is consulted, and often the 
material that suggests some of the most telling points is one which no one but 
Ingersoll himself would think of referring to. Here again his wonderful memory 
stands him in good stead for he has packed away within the convolutions of his 
brain a lot of facts that bear upon almost every conceivable branch of human 
thought or investigation. 

His memory is quite as retentive of the features of a man he has seen as of other 
matters ; it retains voices also, as a war time friend of his discovered last summer. 
It was a busy day with the Colonel, who had given instructions to his office boy 
that under no circumstances was he to be disturbed ; so when his old friend called 
he was told that Col. Ingersoll could not see him 

" But, " said the visitor: " I must see him. I haven' t seen him for twenty years ; 
I am going out of town this afternoon, and I wouldn't miss talking with him for a 
few minutes for a good deal of money." 

"Well, "said the boy, " he wasn't to be disturbed by anybody." 

At this moment the door of the Colonel's private office opened, and the Colonel's 
portly form appeared upon the scene. 

" Why, Maj. Blank," he said, " come in. I did tell the b9y I wouldn't see any 
body, but you are more important than the biggest law case in the world." 

The Colonel's memory hud retained the sound of the major's voice, and because 
of that, the latter was not obliged to leave New York without seeing and renewing 
his old acquaintance. 

Col. Ingersoll' s retorts are as quick as a flash-light and as searching. One of 
them was so startling and so effective as to give a certain famous long drawn out 
railroad suit the nickname. "The Ananias and Sapphira case." Ingersoll was 
speaking and had made certain statements highly damaging to the other side, in 
such a way as to thoroughly anger a member of the opposing counsel, who sud 
denly interrupted the speaker with the abrupt and sarcastic remark : 

" I suppo<e the Colonel, in the nature of things, never heard of the story of Ana- 
nia and Sapphira." 

There were those present who expected to witness an angry outburst on the part 
of Ingersoll in response to this plain implication that his statement had not the 
quality of veracity, but they were disappointed. Ingersoll didn't even get angry. 
He turned slightly, fixed his limpid blue eyes upon the speaker, and looked cherub 
ically. Then he gently drawled out. 

" Oh, yes, I have, yes, I have. And I've watched the gentleman, who has Just 


sharper; consequently, the percentage of failures increases, 
and this seems to be the law. The individual is constantly 
counting for less. It may be that, on the average, people 
live better than they did formerly, that they have more to 
eat, drink and wear ; but the individual horizon has less 
ened ; it is not so wide and cloudless as formerly. So I 
say that the chances for great fortunes, for great success, 
are growing less and less. 

I think a young man should do that which is easiest for 
him to do, provided there is an opportunity ; if there is 
none, then he should take the next. The first object of 
every young man should be to be self-supporting, no matter 
in what direction be independent. He should avoid being 
a clerk and he should avoid giving his future into the 

spoken all through this case with a curious interest. I've been expecting every 
once in a while to see him drop dead, but he seems to be all right down to the 
present moment." 

Ingersoll never gets angry when he is interrupted, even if it is in the middle of 
an addre-s or a lecture. A man interrupted him in Cincinnati once, cutting right 
into one of the lecturer's most resonant periods with a yell : 

" That's a lie. Bob Ingersoll, and you know it." 

The audience was in an uproar in an instant, and cries of "Put him out ! " " Throw 
him down stairs!" and the like were heard from all parts of the house. Ingersoll 
stopped talking for a moment and held up his hands, smiling. 

"Don't hurt the man," he said. "He thinks he is right. But let me explain this 
thing for his especial benefit." 

Then he reasoned the matter out in language so simple and plain that no one of any 
intelligence whatever could fail to comprehend. The man was not ejected, but pat 
througli the entire address, and at the close asked the privilege of begging the lecturer's 

Like most men of genius, Colonel Ingersoll is a passionate lover of music, and the 
harmonies of Wagner seem to him to be the very acme of musical expression 

Notwithstanding his thoroughly heretical beliefs or lack of beliefs, or, as he would 
say, because of them, Colonel Ingersoll is a very tender-hearted man. No one has ever 
made so strong an argument against vivisection in the alleged interests of science as 
Ingersoll did in a speech a few years ago. To the presentation of his views against the 
refinements of scientific cruelty he brought his most vivid imagination, his most careful 
thought and his most impassioned oratory. 

Colonel Ingersoll's popularity with those who Know him is proverbial. The clerks 
in his offices not only admire him for his ability and his achievements, but they esteem 
him for his kindliness of heart and his invariable courtesy in his intercourse with them. 
His offices are located in one of the buildings devoted to corporations and professional 
' men on the lower part of Nassau street and consist of three rooms. The one used by 
the head of the firm is farthest from the entrance. All are furnished in solid black wal 
nut. In the Colonel's room there is a picture of his loved brother Ebon, and hanging 
below the frame thereof is the tin sign that the two brothers hung out for a shingle 
when they went into the law business in Peoria. There are also pictures of a judge or 
two. The desks in all the ro >ms are littered with papers. Books are piled to the ceiling. 
Everywhere there is an air of personal freedom. There is no servility either to client* 
or the head of the business, but there is everywhere an informal courtesy somewhat 
akin to that which is born of a fueling of groat comradeship. 

Of the Colonel's ideal home life the world has often been told. He lives during the 
winter at his town house in Fifth Avenue ; in the summer at Dobbs Ferry, a charming 
place a few miles up the Hudson froci New York,oston Herald, July, 1894, 


hands of any one person. He should endeavor to get a 
business in which the community will be his patron, and 
whether he is to be a lawyer, a doctor or a day-laborer 
depends on how much he has mixed mind with muscle. 

If a younor man imagines that he has an aptitude for 
public speakmg that is, if he has a great desire to make 
his ideas known to the world the probability is that the 
desire will choose the way, time and place for him to make 
the effort. 

If he really has something to say, there will be plenty to 
listen. If he is so carried away with his subject, is so in 
earnest that he becomes an instrumentality of his thought 
so that he is forgotten by himself ; so that he cares neither 
for applause nor censure simply caring to present his 
thoughts in the highest and best and most comprehensive 
way, the probability is that he will be an orator. 

I think oratory is something that cannot be taught. Un 
doubtedly a man can learn to be a fair talker. He can by 
practice learn to present his ideas consecutively, clearly 
and in what you may call " form," but there is as much 
difference between this and an oration as there is between a 
skeleton and a living human being clad in sensitive, throb 
bing flesh. 

There are millions of skeleton makers, millions of people 
who can express what may be called "the bones" of a dis 
course, but not one in a million who can clothe these bones. 

You can no more teach a man to be an orator than you 
can teach him to be an artist or a poet of the first class. 
When you teach him, there is the same difference between 
the man who is taught, and the man who is what he is by 
virtue of a natural aptitude, that there is between a pump 
and a spring between a canal and a river between April 
rain and water-works. It is a question of capacity and 
feeling not of education. There are some things that you 
can tell an orator not to do. For instance, he should ne\ er 


drink water while talking, because the interest is broken, 
and for the moment he loses control of his audience. He 
should never look at his watch for the same reason. He 
should never talk about himself. He should never deal in 
personalities. He should never tell long stories, and if he 
tells any story he should never say that it is a true story, 
and that he knew the parties. This makes it a question of 
veracity instead of a question of art. He should never clog 
his discourse with details. He should never dwell upon 
particulars he should touch universals, because the great 
truths are for all time. 

If he wants to know something, if he wishes to feel 
something, let him read Shakespeare. Let him listen to 
the music of Wagner, of Beethoven, or Schubert. If he 
wishes to express himself in the highest and most perfect 
form, let him become familiar with the great paintings of 
the world with the great statues all these will lend grace, 
will give movement and passion and rhythm to his words. 
A great orator puts into his speech the perfume, the feel 
ings, the intensity of all the great and beautiful and mar 
velous things that he has seen and heard and felt. An 
orator must be a poet, a metaphysician, a logician and 
above all, must have sympathy with all. 



IT was thought at one time by many that science would 
do away with poetry that it was the enemy of the 
imagination. We know now that is not true. We know 
that science goes hand in hand with imagination. We 
know that it is in the highest degree poetic and that the 
old ideas once considered so beautiful are flat and stale. 
Compare Kepler's laws with the old Greek idea that the 
planets were boosted or pushed by angels. The more we 
know, the more beauty, the more poetry we find. Igno 
rance is not the mother of the poetic or artistic. 

So, some people imagine that science will do away with 
sentiment. In my judgment, science will not only increase 
sentiment but sense. 

A person will be attracted to another for a thousand 
reasons, and why a person is attracted to another, may, and 
in some degree will, depend upon the intellectual, artistic 
and ethical development of each. 

The handsomest girl in Zululand might not be attractive 
to Herbert Spencer, and the fairest girl in England might 
not be able to hasten the pulse of a Choctaw brave. This 
does 'not prove that there is any lack of sentiment. Men 
are influenced according to their capacity, their temper 
ament, their knowledge. 

Some men fall in love with a small waist, an arched in 
step or curly hair, without the slightest regard to mind or 
muscle, This we call sentiment (sir) 


Now, educate such men, develop their brains, enlarge 
their intellectual horizon, teach them something of the 
laws of health, and then they may fall in love with women 
because they are developed grandly in body and mind. 
The sentiment is still there still controls but back of 
the sentiment is science. 

Sentiment can never be destroyed, and love will forever 
rule the human race. 

Thousands, millions of people fear that science will de 
stroy not only poetry, not only sentiment, but religion. 
This fear is idiotic. Science will destroy superstition, but 
it will not injure true religion. Science is the foundation 
of real religion. Science teaches us the consequences of 
actions, the rights and duties of all. Without science there 
can be no real religion. 

Only those who live on the labor of the ignorant are the 
enemies of science. Real love and real religion are in no 
danger from science. The more we know the safer all 
good things are. 

Do I think that the marriage of the sickly and diseased 
ought to be prevented by law ? 

I have not much confidence in law in law that I know 
cannot be carried out. The poor, the sickly, the diseased, 
as long as they are ignorant, will marry and help fill the 
world with wretchedness and want. 

We must rely on education instead of legislation. 

We must teach the consequences of actions. We must 
show the sickly and diseased what their children will be. 
We must preach the gospel of the body. I believe the 
time will come when the public thought will be so great 
and grand that it will be looked upon as infamous to perpet 
uate disease to leave a legacy of agony. 

I believe the time will come when men will refuse to fill 
the future with consumption and insanity. Yes, we shall 
study ourselves. We shall understand the conditions of 


health and then we shall say : We are under obligation to 
put the flags of health in the cheeks of our children. 

Even if I should get to heaven and have a harp, I know 
that I could not bear to see my descendants still on the 
earth, diseased, deformed, crazed all suffering the penal 
ties of my ignorance. Let us have more science and more 
sentiment more knowledge and more conscience more 
liberty and more love. 



1HAVE read the sermon on " Sowing and Reaping," and 
I now understand Mr. Moody better than I did before. 
The other da)', in New York, Mr. Moody said that he 
implicitly believed the story of Jonah and really thought 
that he was in the fish for three days. 

When I read it I was surprised that a man living in the 
century of Humboldt, Darwin, Huxley, Spencer and 
Haeckel, should believe such an absurd and idiotic story. 

Now I understand the whole thing. I can account for 
the amazing credulity of this man. Mr. Moody never read 
one of my lectures. That accounts for it all, and no 
wonder that he is a hundred years behind the times. He 
never read one of my lectures ; that is a perfect explana 

Poor man ! He has no idea of what he has lost. He 
has been living on miracles and mistakes, on falsehood and 
foolishness, stuffing his mind with absurdities when he 
could have had truth, facts and good, sound sense. 

Poor man ! 

Probably Mr. Moody has never read one word of Darwin 
and so he still believes in the Garden of Eden and the 
talking snake and really thinks that Jehovah took some 
mud, moulded the form of a man, breathed in its nostrils, 
stood it up and called it Adam, and that he then took 
one of Adam's ribs and some more mud and manufactured 
Eve. Probibly he has never read a word written by any 
great geologist and consequently still believes in the story 



of the flood. Knowing nothing of astronomy, he still 
thinks that Joshua stopped the sun. 

Poor man ! He has neglected Spencer and has no idea 
of evolution. He thinks that man has, through all the 
ages, degenerated, the first pair having been perfect. He 
does not believe that man came from lower forms and has 
gradually journeyed upward. 

He really thinks that the Devil outwitted God and vac 
cinated the human race with the virus of total depravity. 

Poor man ! 

He knows nothing of the great scientists of the great 
thinkers, of the emancipators of the human race ; knows 
nothing of Spinoza, of Voltaire, of Draper, Buckle, of Paine 
or Ren an. 

Mr. Moody ought to read something besides the Bible 
ought to find out what the really intelligent have thought 
He ought to get some new ideas a few facts and I think 
that, after he did so, he would be astonished to find how 
ignorant and foolish he had been. He is a good man. His 
heart is fairly good, but his head is almost useless. 

The trouble with this sermon, "Sowing and Reaping," is 
that he contradicts it. I believe that a man must reap 
what he sows, that every human being must bear the 
natural consequences of his acts. Actions are good or bad 
according to their consequences. That is my doctrine. 

There is no forgiveness in nature. But Mr. Moody tells 
us that a man may sow thistles and gather figs, that having 
acted like a fiend tor seventy years, he can, between his last 
dose of medicine and his last breath, repent; that he can be 
washed clean by the blood of the lamb, and that myriads of 
angels will carry his soul to heaven in other words, that 
this man will not reap what he sowed, but what Christ 
sowed, that this man's thistles will be changed to figs. 

This doctrine, to my mind, is not only absurd, but dis 
honest and corrupting. 


This is one of the absurdities in Mr. Moody's theology. 
The other is that a man can justly be damned for the sin 
of another. 

Nothing can exceed the foolishness of these two ideas 
first: " Man can be justly punished forever for the sin of 
Adam." Second : " Man can be justly rewarded with eternal 
joy for the goodness of Christ." 

Yet the man who believes this, preaches a sermon in 
which he says that a man must reap what he sows. 
Orthodox Christians teach exactly the opposite. They 
teach that no matter what a man sows, no matter how 
wicked his life has been, that he can by repentance change 
the crop. That all his sins shall be forgotten and that only 
the goodness of Christ will be remembered. 

Let us see how this works : 

Mr. A. has lived a good and useful life, kept his contracts, 
paid his debts, educated his children, loved his wife and 
made his home a heaven, but he did not believe in the in 
spiration of Mr. Moody's Bible. He died and his soul was 
sent to hell. Mr. Moody says that as a man sows so 
shall he reap. 

Mr. B. lived a useless and -wicked life. By his cruelty 
he drove his wife to insanity, his children became vagrants 
and beggars, his home was a perfect hell, he committed 
many crimes, he was a thief, a burglar, a murderer. A few 
minutes before he was hanged he got religion and his soul 
went from the scaffold to heaven. And yet Mr. Moody 
says that as a man sows so shall he reap. 

Mr. Moody ought to have a little philosophy a little 
good sense. 

' So Mr. Moody says that only in this life can a man secure 
the reward of repentance. 

Just before a man dies, God loves him loves him as a 
mother loves her babe but a moment after he dies, he 
sends his soul to hell. In the other world nothing can be 


done to reform him. The society of God and the angels 
can have no good effect. Nobody can be made better in 
heaven. This world is the only place where reform is pos 
sible. Here, surrounded by the wicked in the midst of 
temptations, in the darkness of ignorance, a human being 
may reform if he is fortunate enough to hear the words of 
some revival preacher, but when he goes before his maker 
before the Trinity he has no chance. God can do noth 
ing for his soul except to send it to hell. 

This shows that the power for good is confined to people 
in this world and that in the next world God can do noth 
ing to reform his children. This is theology. This is 
what they call "Tidings of great joy." 

Every orthodox creed is savage, ignorant and idiotic. 

In the orthodox heaven there is no mercy, no pity. In 
the orthodox hell there is no hope, no reform. God is an 
eternal jailer, an everlasting turnkey. 

And yet Christians now say that while there may be 
no fire in hell no actual flames yet the lost souls will 
feel forever the tortures of conscience. 

What will conscience trouble the people in hell about ? 
They tell us that they will remember their sins. 

Well, what about the souls in heaven ? They committed 
awful sins, they made their fellow-men unhappy. They 
took the lives of others sent many to eternal torment. 
Will they have no conscience? Is hell the only place 
where souls regret the evil they have done? Have the 
angels no regret, no remorse, no conscience ? 

If this be so, heaven must be somewhat worse than 

In old times, if people wanted to know anything they 
asked the preacher. Now they do if they don't. 

The Bible has, with intelligent men, lost its authority. 

The miracles are now regarded by sensible people as the 
spawn of ignorance and credulity. On every hand people 


are looking for facts for truth and all religions are 
taking their places in the museum of myths. 

Yes, the people are becoming civilized, and so they are 
putting out the fires of hell. They are ceasing to believe 
in a God who seeks eternal revenge. 

The people are becoming sensible. They are asking for 
evidence. They care but little for the winged phantoms of 
the air for the ghosts and devils and supposed gods. The 
people are anxious to be happy here and they want a little 
heaven in this life. 

Theology is a curse. Science is a blessing. We do not 
need preachers, but teachers ; not priests, but thinkers ; not 
churches, but schools ; not steeples, but observatories. We 
want knowledge. 

Let us hope that Mr. Moody will read some really useful 



OHOULD parents, who are Infidels, unbelievers or 
O Atheists, send their children to Sunday schools and 
churches to give them the benefit of Christian education ? 

Parents who do not believe the Bible to be an inspired 
book should not teach their children that it is. They 
should be absolutely honest. Hypocrisy is not a virtue, 
and, as a rule, lies are less valuable than facts. 

An unbeliever should not allow the mind of his child to 
be deformed, stunted and shriveled by superstition. He 
should not allow the child's imagination to be polluted. 
Nothing is more outrageous than to take advantage of the 
helplessness of childhood to sow in the brain the seeds of 
falsehoods, to imprison the soul in the dungeon of Fear, to 
teach dimpled infancy the infamous dogma of eternal pain 
filling life with the glow and glare of hell. 

No unbeliever should allow his child to be tortured in the 
orthodox inquisitions. He should defend the mind from 
attack as he would the body. He should recognize the 
rights of the soul. In the orthdox Sunday schools, children 
are taught that it is a duty to believe that evidence is not 
essential that faith is independent of facts and that relig 
ion is superior to reason. They are taught not to use their 
natural sense not to tell what they really think not to 
entertain a doubt not to ask wicked questions, but to ac 
cept an4 believe wha| $heir teachers say. In this way the 



minds of the children are invaded, corrupted and conquered. 
Would an educated man send his child to a school in which 
Newton's statement in regard to the attraction of gravita 
tion was denied in which the law of falling bodies, as 
given by Galileo, was ridiculed Kepler's three laws de 
clared to be idiotic, and the rotary motion of the earth held 
to be utterly absurd ? 

Why then should an intelligent man allow his child to 
be taught the geology and astronomy of the Bible? Chil 
dren should be taught to seek for the truth to be honest, 
kind, generous, merciful and just. They should be taught 
to love liberty and to live to the ideal. 

Why then should an unbeliever, an Infidel, send his child 
to an orthodox Sunday school where he is taught that he 
has no right to seek for the truth no right to be mentally 
honest, and that he will be damned for an honest doubt 
where he is taught that God was ferocious, revengeful, 
heartless as a wild beast that he drowned millions of his 
children that he ordered wars of extermination and told 
his soldiers to kill gray-haired and trembling age, mothers 
and children, and to assassinate with the sword of war the 
babes unborn ? 

Why should an unbeliever in the Bible send his child to 
an orthodox Sunday school where he is taught that God 
was in favor of slavery and told the Jews to buy of the 
heathen and that they should be their bondmen and bond 
women forever ; where he is taught that God upheld 
polygamy and the degradation of women? 

Why should an unbeliever, who believes in the uni 
formity of Nature, in the unbroken and unbreakable chain 
of cause and effect, allow his child to be taught that 
miracles have been performed ; that men have gone bodily 
to heaven ; that millions have been miraculously fed with 
manna and quails ; that fire has refused to burn clothes and 
flesh of men ; that iron has been made to float ; that the 


earth and moon have been stopped and that the earth has 
not only been stopped, but made to turn the other way ; 
that devils inhabit the bodies of men and women ; that dis 
eases have been cured with words, and that the dead, with 
a touch, have been made to live again ? 

The thoughtful man knows that there is not the slightest 
evidence that these miracles ever were performed. Why 
should he allow his children to be stuffed with these foolish 
and impossible falsehoods? Why should he give his lambs 
to the care and keeping of the wolves and hyenas of 
superstition ? 

Children should be taught only what somebody knows. 
Guesses should not be palmed off on them as demonstrated 
facts. If a Christian lived in Constantinople he would not 
send his children to the mosque to be taught that Mo 
hammed was a prophet of God and that the Koran is an 
inspired book. Why? Because he does not believe in 
Mohammed or the Koran. That is reason enough. So, 
an Agnostic, living in New York, should not allow his 
children to be taught that the Bible is an inspired book. I 
use the word " Agnostic " because I prefer it to the word 
Atheist. As a matter of fact, no one knows that God exists 
and no one knows that God does not exist. To my mind 
there is no evidence that God exists that this world is 
governed by a being of infinite goodness, wisdom and 
power, but I do not pretend to know. What I insist upon 
is that children should not be poisoned should not be 
taken advantage of that they should be treated fairly, 
honestly that they should be allowed to develop from the 
inside instead of being crammed from the outside that 
they should be taught to reason, not to believe to think, to 
investigate and to use their senses, their minds. 

Would a Catholic send his children to a school to be 
taught that Catholicism is superstition and that Science is 
the only savior of mankind? 


Why then should a free and sensible believer in Science, 
in the naturalness of the universe, send his child to a 
Catholic school ? 

Nothing could be more irrational, foolish and absurd. 

My advice to all Agnostics is to keep their children from 
the orthodox Sunday schools, from the orthodox churches, 
from the poison of the pulpits. 

Teach your children the facts you know. If you do not 
know, say so. Be as honest as you are ignorant. Do all 
you can to develop their minds, to the end that they may 
live useful and happy lives. 

Strangle the serpent of superstition that crawls and hisses 
about the cradle. Keep your children from the augurs, the 
soothsayers, the medicine-men, the priests of the super 
natural. Tell them that all religions have been made by 
folks and that all the "sacred books" were written by 
ignorant men. 

Teach them that the world is natural. Teach them to be 
absolutely honest. Do not send them where they will con 
tract diseases of the mind the leprosy of the soul. Let us 
do all we can to make them intelligent. 



YOU ask me what I would " substitute for the Bible as a 
moral guide." 

I know that many people regard the Bible as the only 
moral guide and believe that in that book only can be 
found the true and perfect standard of morality. 

There are many good precepts, many wise sayings and 
many good regulations and laws in the Bible, and these 
are mingled with bad precepts, with foolish sayings, with 
absurd rules and cruel laws. 

But we must remember that the Bible is a collection of 
many books written centuries apart, and that it in part 
represents the growth and tells in part the history of a 
people. We must also remember that the writers treat of 
many subjects. Many of these writers have nothing to 
say about right or wrong, about vice or virtue. 

The book of Genesis has nothing about morality. 
There is not a line in it calculated to shed light on the 
path of conduct. No one can call that book a moral guide. 
It is made up of myth and miracle, of tradition and legend. 

In Exodus we have an account of the manner in which 
Jehovah delivered the Jews from Egyptian bondage. 

We now know that the Jews were never enslaved by the 
Egyptians; that the entire stor)' is a fiction. We know 
this, because there is not found in Hebrew a word of Egyp 
tian origin, and there is not found in the language of the 
Egyptians a word of Hebrew origin. This being so, we 

Written for The Boston Investigator. <6ff 


know hat the Hebrews and Egyptians could not have 
lived together for hundreds of years. 

Certainly Exodus was not written to teach morality. 
In that book yon cannot find one word against human 
slavery. As a matter of fact, Jehovah was a believer in 
that institution. 

The killing of cattle with disease and hail, the murder of 
the first-born, so that in every house was death, because 
the king refused to let the Hebrews go, certainly was not 
moral ; it was fiendish. The writer of that book regarded 
all the people of Egypt, their children, their flocks and 
herds, as the property of Pharaoh, and these people and 
these cattle were killed, not because they had done anything 
wrong, but simply for the purpose of punishing the king. 
Is it possible to get any morality out of this history ? 

All the laws found in Exodus, including the Ten Com 
mandments, so far as they are really good and sensible, 
were at that time in force among all the peoples of the 

Murder is, and always was, a crime, and always will be, 
as long as a majority of people object to being murdered. 

Industry always has been and always will be the enemy 
of larceny. 

The nature of man is such that he admires the teller of 
truth and despises the liar. Among all tribes, among all 
people, truth-telling has been considered a virtue and false 
swearing or false speaking a vice. 

The love of parents for children is natural, and this love 
is found among all the animals that live. So the love of 
children for parents is natural, and was not and cannot be 
created by law. Love does not spring from a sense of 
duty, nor does it bow in obedience to commands. 

So men and women are not virtuous because of anything 
in books or creeds. 

All the Ten Commandments that are good were old, were 


the result of experience. The commandments that were 
original with Jehovah were foolish. 

The worship of " any other God " could not have been 
worse than the worship of Jehovah, and nothing could have 
been more absurd than the sacredness of the Sabbath. 

If commandments had been given against slavery and 
potygamy, against wars of invasion and extermination, 
against religious persecution in all its forms, so that the 
world could be free, so that the brain might be developed 
and the heart civilized, then we might, with propriety, call 
such commandments a moral guide. 

Before we can truthfully say that the Ten Command 
ments constitute a moral guide, we must add and subtract. 
We must throw away some, and write others in their 

The commandments that have a known application here, 
in this world, and treat of human obligations are good, the 
others have no basis in fact, or experience. 

Many of the regulations found in Exodus, Leviticus, 
Numbers and Deuteronomy, are good. Many are absurd 
and cruel. 

The entire ceremonial of worship is insane. 

Most of the punishment for violations of laws are un- 
philosophic and brutal. . . . The fact is that the Pen 
tateuch upholds nearly all crimes, and to call it a moral 
guide is as absurd as to say that it is merciful or true. 

Nothing of a moral nature can be found in Joshua or 
Judges. These books are 'filled with crimes, with mas 
sacres and murders. They are about the same as the real 
history of the Apache Indians. 

The story of Ruth is not particularly moral. 

In first and second Samuel there is not one word cal 
culated to develop the brain or conscience. 

Jehovah murdered seventy thousand Jews because David 
took a census of the people. David, according to the ac- 


count, was the guilty one, but only the Innocent were 

In first and second Kings can be found nothing of ethical 
value. All the kings who refused to obey the priests were 
denounced, and all the crowned wretches who assisted the 
priests, were declared to be the favorites of Jehovah. In 
these books there cannot be found one word in favor of 

There are some good Psalms, and there are some that are 
infamous. Most of these Psalms are selfish. Many of 
them ,are passionate appeals for revenge. 

The story of Job shocks the heart of every good man. 
In this book there is some poetry, some pathos, and some 
philosophy, but the story of this drama called Job, is heart 
less to the last degree. The children of Job are murdered 
to settle a little wager between God and the Devil. After 
ward, Job having remained firm, other children are given 
in the place of the murdered ones. Nothing, however, is 
done for the children who were murdered. 

The book of Esther is utterly absurd, and the only re 
deeming feature in the book is that the name of Jehovah is 
not mentioned. 

I like the Song of Solomon because it tells of human 
love, and that is something I can understand. That book 
in my judgment, is worth all the ones that go before it, and 
is a far better moral guide. 

There are some wise and merciful Proverbs. Some are 
selfish and some are flat and commonplace. 

I like the book of Ecclesiastes because there you find 
some sense, some poetry, and some philosophy. Take 
away the interpolations and it is a good book. 

Of course there is nothing in Nehemiah or Ezra to make 
men better, nothing in Jeremiah or Lamentations calculated 
to lessen vice, and only a few passages in Isaiah that can 
be used in a good cause. 


In Ezekiel and Daniel we find only ravings of the insane. 

In some of the minor prophets there is now and then a 
good verse, now and then an elevated thought. 

You can, by selecting passages from different books, 
make a very good creed, and by selecting passages from 
different books, you can make a very bad creed. 

The trouble is that the spirit of the Old Testament, its 
disposition, its temperament, is bad, selfish and cruel. The 
most fiendish things are commanded, commended and 

The stories that are told of Joseph, of Elisha, of Daniel 
and Gideon, and of many others, are hideous ; hellish. 

On the whole, the Old Testament cannot be considered a 
moral guide. 

Jehovah was not a moral God. He had all the vices, 
and he lacked all the virtues. He generally carried out 
his threats, but he never faithfully kept a promise. 

At the same time, we must remember that the Old Testa 
ment is a natural production, that it was written by savages 
who were slowly crawling toward the light. We must 
give them credit for the noble things they said, and we 
must be charitable enough to excuse their faults and even 
their crimes. 

I know that many Christians regard the Old Testament 
as the foundation and the New as the superstructure, and 
while many admit that there are faults and mistakes in the 
Old Testament, they insist that the New is the flower and 
perfect fruit. 

I admit that there are many good things in the New 
Testament, and if we take from that book the dogmas of 
eternal pain, of infinite revenge, of the atonement, of human 
sacrifice, of the necessity of shedding blood ; if we throw 
away the doctrine of non-resistance, of loving enemies, the 
idea that prosperity is the result of wickedness, that poverty 
is a preparation for Paradise, if we throw all these away 


and take the good, sensible passages, applicable to conduct, 
then we can make a fairly good moral guide, narrow, but 

Of course, many important things would be left out. 
You would have nothing about human rights, nothing in 
favor of the family, nothing for education, nothing for in 
vestigation, for thought and reason, but still you would 
have a fairly good moral guide. 

On the other hand, if you would take the foolish pas 
sages, the extreme ones, you could make a creed that 
would satisfy an insane asylum. 

If }'ou take the cruel passages, the verses that inculcate 
eternal hatred, verses that writhe and hiss like serpents, 
you can make a creed that would shock the heart of a hyena. 

It may be that no book contains better passages than the 
New Testament, but certainly no book contains worse. 

Below the blossom of love you find the thorn of hatred; 
on the lips that kiss, you find the poison of the cobra. 

The Bible is not a moral guide. 

Any man who follows faithfully all its teachings is an 
enemy of society and will probably end his days in a prison 
or an asylum. 

What is morality ? 

In this world we need certain things. We have many 
wants. We are exposed to many dangers. We need food, 
fuel, raiment and shelter, and besides these wants, there is, 
what may be called, the hunger of the mind. 

We are conditioned beings, and our happiness depends 
upon conditions. There are certain things that diminish, 
certain things that increase, well-being. There are certain 
things that destroy and there are others that preserve. 

Happiness, including its highest forms, is after all the 
only good, and everything, the result of which is to pro 
duce or secure happiness, is good, that is to say, moral. 
Everything that destroys or diminishes well-being is bad, 


that is to say, immoral. In other words, all that is good 
is moral, and all that is bad is immoral. 

What then is, or can be called, a moral guide? The 
shortest possible answer is one word : Intelligence. 

We want the experience of mankind, the true history of 
the race. We want the history of intellectual development, 
of the growth of the ethical, of the idea of justice, of con 
science, of charity, of self-denial. We want to know the 
paths and roads that have been traveled by the human 

These facts in general, these histories in outline, the 
results reached, the conclusions formed, the principles 
evolved, taken together, would form the best conceivable 
moral guide. 

We cannot depend on what are called " inspired books," 
or the religions of the world. These religions are based on 
the supernatural, and according to them we are under obli 
gation to worship and obey some supernatural being, or 
beings. All these religions are inconsistent with intellec 
tual liberty. They are the enemies of thought, of investi 
gation, of mental honesty. They destroy the manliness of 
man. They promise eternal rewards for belief, for credu 
lity, for what they call faith. 

This is not only absurd, but it is immoral. 

These religions teach the slave virtues. They make 
inanimate things holy, and falsehoods sacred. They create 
artificial crimes. To eat meat on Friday, to enjoy yourself 
on Sunday, to eat on fast-days, to be happy in Lent, to 
dispute a priest, to ask for evidence, to deny a creed, to 
express your sincere thought, all these acts are sins, crimes 
against some god. To give your honest opinion about 
Jehovah, Mohammed or Christ, is far worse than to mali 
ciously slander your neighbor. To question or doubt 
miracles, is far worse than to deny known facts. Only the 
Obedient, the credulous, the wingers, the koeelers, the meek, 


the unquestioning, the true believers, are regarded as 
moral, as virtuous. It is not enough to be honest, generous 
and useful ; not enough to be governed by evidence, by 
facts. In addition to this, you must believe. These things 
are the foes of morality. They subvert all natural concep 
tions of virtue. 

All "inspired books," teaching that what the super 
natural commands is right, and right because commanded, 
and that what the supernatural prohibits is wrong, and 
wrong because prohibited, are absurdly unphilosophic. 

And all " inspired books," teaching that only those who 
obey the commands of the supernatural are, or can be, truly 
virtuous, and that unquestioning faith will be rewarded 
with eternal joy, are grossly immoral. 

Again I say : Intelligence is the only moral guide. 



THE Governor of New Hampshire, undoubtedly a good 
and sincere man, issued a Fast-Da}' Proclamation to 
the people of his State, in which I find the following 
paragraph : 

"The decline of the Christian religion, particularly in our rural 
communities, is a marked feature of the times, and steps should be 
taken to remedy it. No matter what our belief may be in religious 
matters, every good citizen knows that when the restraining influences 
of religion are withdrawn from a community, its decay, moral, mental 
and financial, is swift and sure. To me this is one of the strongest 
evidences of the fundamental truth of Christianity. I suggest to-day, 
as far as possible on Fast-Day, union meetings be held, made up of 
all shades of belief, including all who are interested in the welfare of 
our State, and that in your prayers and other devotions and in your 
mutual councils you remember and consider the problem of the con 
dition of religion in the rural communities. There are towns where 
no church bell sends forth its solemn call from January to January. 
There are villages where children grow to manhood unchristened. 
There are communities where the dead are laid away without the 
benison of the name of the Christ, and where marriages are solemnized 
only by Justices of the Peace. This is a matter worthy of your 
thoughtful consideration, citizens of New Hampshire. It does not 
augur well for the future. You can afford to devote one day in the 
year to your fellow-men, to work and thought and prayer for your 
children and your children's children." 

'These words of the Governor have caused surprise, dis 
cussion and danger. Many ministers have denied that 
Christianity is declining, and have attacked the Governor 
with the malice of meekness and the savagery of humility. 

The question is: Is Christianity declining? <w> 


In order to answer this question we must state what 
Christianity is. 

Christians tell us that there are certain fundamental 
truths that must be believed. 

We must believe in God, the creator and governor of the 
universe ; in Jesus Christ, his only begotten son ; in the 
Holy Ghost; in the atonement made by Christ; in salvation 
by faith; in the second birth; in heaven for believers, in 
hell for deniers and doubters, and in the inspiration of the 
Old and New Testaments. They must also believe in a 
prayer-hearing and prayer-answering God, in special provi 
dence, and in addition to all this they must practice a few 
ceremonies. This, I believe, is a fair skeleton of Chris 
tianity. Of course I cannot give an exact definition. 
Christian s do not and never have agreed among themselves. 
They ha"e been disputing and fighting for many centuries, 
and to-d^iy they are as far apart as ever. 

A few years ago Christians believed the "fundamental 
truths " They had no doubts. They knew that God ex 
isted ; that he made the world. They knew when he com 
menced to work at the earth and stars and knew when he 
finished. They knew that he, like a potter, mixed and 
moulded clay into the shape of a man and breathed into its 
nostrils the breath of life. They knew that he took from 
this man a rib and framed the first woman. 

It must be admitted that sensible Christians have out 
grown this belief. Jehovah the gardener, the potter, the 
tailor, has been dethroned. The story of creation is be 
lieved only by the provincial, the stupid, the truly orthodox. 
People who have read Darwin and Haeckel and had sense 
enough to understand these great men, laugh at the legends 
of the Jews. 

A few years ago most Christians believed that Christ was 
the son of God, and riot only the son of God, but God 


This belief is slowly fading from the minds of Christians, 
from the minds of those who have minds. 

Many Christians now say that Christ was simply a man 
a perfect man. Others say that he was divine, but not 
actually God a union of God and man. Some say that 
while Christ was not God, he was as nearly like God as it 
is possible for man to be. 

The old belief that he was actually God that he sacri 
ficed himself unto himself that he deserted himself ; thac 
he bore the burden of his own wrath ; that he made it pos 
sible to save a few of his children by shedding his own 
blood ; that he could not forgive the sins of men until they 
murdered him this frightful belief is slowly dying day by 
day. Most ministers are ashamed to preach these cruel 
and idiotic absurdities. The Christ of our time is not the 
Christ of the New Testament not the Christ of the Middle 
Ages ; nor of Luther, Wesley or the Puritan fathers. 

The Christ who was God who wns his own son and his 
own father who was born of a virgin, cast out devils, 
rose from the dead, and ascended bodily to heaven is not 
the Christ of to-day. 

The Holy Ghost has never been accurately defined or 
described. He has always been a winged influence a di 
vine aroma ; a disembodied essence ; a spiritual climate ; an 
enthusiastic flame; a something sensitive and unforgiving; 
the real father of Jesus Christ. 

A few years ago the clergy had a great deal to say about 
the Holy Ghost, but now the average minister, while he 
alludes to this shadowy deity to round out a prayer, seems 
ta have but little confidence in him. This deity is and 
always has been extremely vague. He has been repre 
sented in the form of a dove; but this form is not associated 
with much intelligence. 

Formerly it was believed that all men were by nature 
wicked, and that it would be perfectly just for God to 


damn the entire human race. In fact, it was thought that 
God, feeling that he had to damn all his children, invented 
a scheme by which some could be saved and at the same 
time justice could be satisfied. God knew that without the 
shedding of blood there could be no remission of sin. For 
many centuries he was satisfied with the blood of oxen, 
lambs and doves. But the sins continued to increase. A 
greater sacrifice was necessary. So God concluded to make 
the greatest possible sacrifice to shed his own blood, that 
is to say, to have it shed by his chosen people. This was 
the atonement the scheme of salvation a scheme that 
satisfied justice and partially defeated the Devil. 

No intelligent Christians believe in this atonement. It 
is utterly unphilosophic. The idea that man made salva 
tion possible by murdering God is infinitely absurd. This 
makes salvation the blossom of a crime the blessed fruit 
of murder. According to this the joys of heaven are born 
of the agonies of innocence. If the Jews had been civilized 
if they had believed in freedom of conscience and had 
listened kindly and calmly to the teachings of Christ, the 
whole world, including Christ's mother, would have gone 
to hell. 

Our fathers had two absurdities. They balanced each 
other. They said that God could justly damn his children 
for the sin of Adam, and that he could justly save his 
children on account of the sufferings and virtues of Christ; 
that is to say, on account of his own sufferings and virtues. 

This view of the atonement has mostly been abandoned. 
It is now preached, not that Christ bought souls wdth his 
blood, but that he has ennobled souls by his example. The 
supernatural part of the atonement has, by the more intelli 
gent, been thrown away. So the idea of imputed sin of 
vicarious vice has been by many abandoned. 

Salvation by faith is growing weak. People are be 
ginning to see that character is more important than belief; 


that virtue is above all creeds. Civilized people no longer 
believe in a God who will damn an honest, generous man. 
They see that it is not honest to offer a reward for belief. 
The promise of reward is not evidence. It is an attempt to 

If God wishes his children to believe, he should furnish 
evidence. He should not endeavor to make promises and 
threats take the place of facts. To offer a reward for 
credulity is dishonest and immoral infamous. 

To say that good people who never heard of Christ ought 
to be damned for not believing on him is a mixture of 
idiocy and savagery. 

People are beginning to perceive that happiness is a re 
sult, not a reward ; that happiness must be earned ; that it 
is not alms. It is also becoming apparent that sins cannot 
be forgiven ; that no power can step between actions and 
consequences ; that men must "reap what they sow ;" that 
a man who has lived a cruel life cannot, by repenting be 
tween the last dose of medicine and the last breath, be 
washed in the blood of the Lamb, and become an angel 
an angel entitled to an eternity of joy. 

All this is absurd, but you may say that it is not cruel. 
But to say that a man who has lived a useful life; who has 
made a happy home; who has lifted the fallen, succored the 
oppressed and battled to uphold the right ; to say that such 
a man, because he failed to believe M ithout evidence, will 
suffer eternal pain, is to say that God is an infinite wild 

Salvation for credulity means damnation for investigation. 

'At one time the " second birth" was regarded as a divine 
mystery as a miracle a something done by a supernatural 
power; probably by the Holy Ghost. Now ministers are 
explaining this mystery. A change of heart is a change of 
ideas. About this there is nothing miraculous. 

This happens to most men and women happens many 


times in the life of one man. If this happens without ex 
citement as the result of thought it is called reformation. 
If it occurs in a revival if it is the result of fright it is 
called the "second birth." 

A few years ago Christians believed in the inspiration of 
the Bible. They had no doubts. The Bible was the stand 
ard. If some geologist found a fact inconsistent with the 
Scriptures he was silenced with a text. If some doubter 
called attention to a contradiction in the Bible he was de 
nounced as an ungodly and blaspheming wretch. Chris 
tians then knew that the universe was only about six thou 
sand years old, and any man who denied this was an enemy 
of Christ and a friend of the Devil. 

All this has changed. The Bible is no longer the stand 
ard. Science has dethroned the inspired volume. Even 
theologians are taking facts into consideration. Only 
ignorant bigots now believe in the plenary inspiration of 
the Bible. 

The intelligent ministers know that the Holy Scriptures 
are filled with mistakes, contradictions and interpolations. 
They no longer believe in the flood, in Babel, in Lot's wife 
or in the fire and brimstone storm. They are not sure 
about the burning bush, the plagues of Egypt, the division 
of the Red Sea or the miracles in the wilderness. All these 
wonders are growing foolish. They belong to the Mother 
Goose of the past, and many clergymen are ashamed to say 
that they believe them. So, the lengthening of the day in 
order that General Joshua might have more time to kill, 
the journey of Elijah to heaven, the voyage of Jonah in the 
fish, and many other wonders of a like kind, have become 
so transparently false that even a theologian refuses to 

The same is true of many of the miracles of the New 
Testament. No sensible man now believes that Christ cast 
devils and unclean spirits out of the bodies of men and 


women. A few years ago all Christians believed all these 
devil miracles with all the mind they had. A few years 
ago only Infidels denied these miracles, but now the theo 
logians who are studying the "Higher Criticism" are 
reaching the conclusions of Voltaire and Paine. They have 
just discovered that the objections made to the Bible by the 
Deists are supported by the facts. 

At the same time these " Higher Critics," while they 
admit that the Bible is not true, still insist that it is in 

The other evening I attended Forepaugh & Sell's Circus 
at Madison Square Garden and saw a magnificent panorama 
of performances. While looking at a man riding a couple 
of horses I thought of the " Higher Critics." They accept 
Darwin and cling to Genesis. They admit that Genesis is 
false in fact, and then assert that in a higher sense it is 
absolutely true. 

A lie bursts into blossom and has the perfume of truth. 
These critics declare that the Bible is the inspired word of 
God, and then establish the tiuth of the declaration by 
showing that it is filled with contradictions, absurdities and 
false prophecies. 

The horses they ride, sometimes get so far apart that it 
seems to me that walking would be easier on the legs. 

So, I saw at the circus the " Snake Man." I saw him 
tie himself into all kinds of knots ; saw him make a necktie 
of his legs; saw him throw back his head and force it 
between his knees ; saw him twist and turn as though his 
bones were made of rubber, and as I watched him I thought 
of the mental doublings and contortions of the preachers 
who have answered me. 

Let Christians say what they will, the Bible is no longer 
the actual word of God ; it is no longer perfect ; it is no 
longer quite true. 

The most that is now claimed for the Bible by the 


" Higher Critics " is, that some passages are inspired ; that 
some passages are true, and that God has left man free to 
pick these passages out. 

The ministers are preaching Infidelity. What would 
Lyinan Beecher have thought of a man like Dr. Abbott ? 
He would have consigned him to hell. What would John 
Wesley have thought of a Methodist like Dr. Cadman ? He 
would have denounced him as a child of the Devil. What 
would Calvin have thought of a Presbyterian like Pro 
fessor Briggs ? He would have burned him at the stake, 
and through the smoke and flame would have shouted, 
" You are a dog of Satan." How would Jeremy Taylor 
have treated an Episcopalian like Heber Newton? 

The Governor of New Hampshire is right when he says 
that Christianity has declined. The flames of faith are 
flickering, zeal is cooling and even bigotry is beginning to 
see the other side. I admit that there are still millions of 
orthodox Christians whose minds are incapable of growth, 
and who care no more for facts than a monitor does for 
bullets. Such obstructions on the highway of progress 
are removed only by death. 

The dogma of eternal pain is no longer believed by the 
reasonably intelligent. People who have a sense of justice 
know that eternal revenge cannot be enjoyed by infinite 
goodness. They know that hell would make heaven im 
possible. If Christians believed in hell as they once did, 
the fagots would be lighted again, heretics would be stretched 
on the rack, and all the instruments of torture would again 
be stained with innocent blood. Christianity has declined 
because intelligence has increased. 

Men and women who know something of the history of 
man, of the horrors of plague, famine and flood, of earth 
quake, volcano and cyclone, of religious persecution and 
slavery, have but little confidence in special providence. 
They do not believe that a prayer was ever answered. 


Thousands of people who accept Christ as a moral guide 
have thrown away the supernatural. 

Christianity does not satisfy the brain and heart. It 
contains too many absurdities. It is unphilosophic, un 
natural, impossible. Not to resist evil is moral suicide. 
To love your enemies is impossible. To desert wife and 
children for the sake of heaven is cowardly and selfish. 
To promise rewards for belief is dishonest. To threaten 
torture for honest unbelief is infamous. Christianity is 
declining because men and women are growing better. 

The Governor was not satisfied with saying that Chris 
tianity had declined, but he added this : " Every good citi 
zen knows that when the restraining influences of religion 
are withdrawn from a community, its decay, moral, mental 
and financial is swift and sure." 

The restraining influences of religion have never been 
withdrawn from Spain or Portugal, from Austria or Italy. 
The " restraining influences " are still active in Russia. 
Emperor William relies on them in Germany, and the same 
influences are very busy taking care of Ireland. If these 
influences should be withdrawn from Spain there would be 
"mental, moral and financial decay." Is not this statement 
perfectly absurd? 

The fact is that religion has reduced Spain to a guitar, 
Italy to a hand organ and Ireland to exile. What are the 
restraining influences of religion ? I admit that religion 
can prevent people from eating meat on Friday, from 
dancing in Lent, from going to the theatre on holy days 
and from swearing in public. In other words, religion can 
restrain people from committing artificial offences. But 
the real question is : Can religion restrain people from com 
mitting natural crimes? 

The church teaches that God can and will forgive sins. 

Christianity sells sin on a credit. It says to men and 
women, " Be good ; do right ; but no matter how many 


crimes you commit you can be forgiven." How can such 
a religion be regarded as a restraining influence ! There 
was a time when religion had power; when the church 
ruled Christendom ; when popes crowned and uncrowned 
kings. Was there at that time moral, mental and financial 
growth ? Did the nations thus restrained by religion, 
prosper ? When these restraining influences were weakened, 
when popes were humbled, when creeds were denied, did 
morality, intelligence and prosperity begin to decay ? 

What are the restraining influences of religion ? Did 
anybody ever hear of a policeman being dismissed because 
a new church had been organized ? 

Christianity teaches that the man who does right carries 
a cross. The exact opposite of this is true. The cross is 
carried by the man who does wrong. I believe in the re 
straining influences of intelligence. Intelligence is the only 
lever capable of raising mankind. If you wish to make 
men moral and prosperous develop the brain. Men must 
be taught to rely on themselves. To supplicate the super 
natural is a waste of time. 

The only evils that have been caused by the decline of 
Christianity, as pointed out by the Governor, are that in 
some villages they hear no solemn bells, that the dead are 
buried without Christian ceremony, that marriages are 
contracted before Justices of the Peace, and that children 
go unchristened. 

These evils are hardly serious enough to cause moral, 
mental and financial decay. The average church bell is 
not very musical not calculated to develop the mind or 
quicken the conscience. The absence of the ordinary fumeral 
sermon does not add to the horror of death, and the failure 
to hear a minister say, as he stands by the grave, " One 
star differs in glory from another star. There is a differ 
ence between the flesh of fowl and fish. Be not deceived. 
Evil communications corrupt good manners," does cot 


necessarily increase the grief of the mourners. So far as 
children are concerned, if they are vaccinated, it does not 
make much difference whether they are christened or not. 

Marriage is a civil contract, and God is not one of the 
contracting parties. It is a contract with which the church 
has no business to interfere. Marriage with us is regula 
ted by law. The real marriage the uniting of hearts, the 
lighting of the sacred flame in each is the work of Nature, 
and it is the best work that nature does. The ceremony 
of marriage gives notice to the world that the real marriage 
has taken place. Ministers have no real interest in mar 
riages outside of the fees. Certainly marriages by Justices 
of the Peace cannot cause the mental, moral and financial 
decay of a State. 

The things pointed out by the Governor were undoubt 
edly produced by the decline of Christianity, but the} 7 are 
not evils, and they cannot possibly injure the people morally, 
mentally or financially. The Governor calls on the people 
to think, work and pray. With two-thirds of this I agree. 
If the people jpf New Hampshire will think and work with 
out praying they will grow morally, mentally and finan 
cially. If they pray without working and thinking, they 
will decay. 

Prayer is beggary an effort to get something for noth 
ing. Labor is the honest prayer. 

I do not think that the good and true in Christianity are 
declining. The good and true are more clearly perceived 
and more precious than ever. The supernatural, the mirac 
ulous part of Christianity is declining. The New Testa- 
ment has been compelled to acknowledge the jurisdiction 
of reason. If Christianity continues to decline at the same 
rate and ratio that it has declined in this generation, in a 
few years all that is supernatural in the Christian religion 
will cease to exist. There is a conflict a battle between 


the natural and the supernatural. The natural was baffled 
and beaten for thousands of years. The flag of defeat was 
carried by the few, by the brave and wise, by the real 
heroes of our race. They were conquered, captured, im 
prisoned, tortured and burned. Others took their places. 
The banner was kept in the air. In spite of countless de 
feats the army of the natural increased. It began to gain 
victories. It did not torture and kill the conquered. It 
enlightened and blessed. It fought ignorance with science, 
cruelty with kindness, slavery with justice, and all vices 
with virtues. In this great conflict we have passed mid 
night. When the morning comes its rays will gild but 
one flag the flag of the natural. 

All over Christendom religions are declining. Only 
children and the intellectually undeveloped have faith the 
old faith that defies facts. Only a few j'ears ago to be ex 
communicated by the pope blanched the cheeks of the 
bravest. Now the result would be laughter. Only a few 
years ago, for the sake of saving heathen souls, priests 
would brave all dangers and endure all hardships. 

I once read the diary of a priest one who long ago went 
down the Illinois River, the first white man to be borne on its 
waters. In this diary he wrote that he had just been paid 
for all that he had suffered. He had added a gem to the 
crown of his glory had saved a soul for Christ. He had 
baptized a papoose. 

That kind of faith has departed from the world. 

The zeal that flamed in the hearts of Calvin, Luther and 
Knox, is cold and dead. Where are the Wesleys and Whit- 
fields ? Where are the old evangelists, the revivalists who 
swayed the hearts of their hearers with words of flarne? 
The preachers of our day have lost the Promethean fire. 
They have lost the tone of certainty, of authority. "Thus 
saith the Lord" has dwindled to "perhaps." Sermons, 


messages from God, promises radiant with eternal joy, 
threats lurid with the flames of hell have changed to 
colorless essays ; to apologies and literary phrases ; to in 
ferences and peradventures. 

" The blood-dyed vestures of the Redeemer are not wav 
ing in triumph over the ramparts of sin and rebellion," but 
over the fortresses of faith float the white flags of truce. 
The trumpets no longer sound for battle, but for parley. 
The fires of hell have been extinguished, and heaven itself 
is only a dream. The "eternal verities" have changed to 
doubts. The torch of inspiration, choked with ashes, has 
lost its flame. There is no longer in the church " a sound 
from heaven as of a rushing, mighty wind ; " no " cloven 
tongues like as of fire ; " no " wonders in the heaven above," 
and no " signs in the earth beneath." The miracles have 
faded away and the sceptre is passing from superstition to 
science science, the only possible savior of mankind. 



I CONGRATULATE The Truth Seeker on its twenty- 
1 fifth birthday. It has fought a good fight. It has 
always been at the front. It has carried the flag, and its 
flag is a torch that sheds light. 

Twenty -five years ago the people of this country, for the 
most part, were quite orthodox. The great " fundamental " 
falsehoods of Christianity were generally accepted. Those 
who were not Christians, as a rule, admitted that they ought 
to be; that the)' ought to repent and join the church, and 
this they generally intended to do. 

The ministers had few doubts. The most of them had 
been educated not to think, but to believe. Thought was 
regarded as dangerous, and the clergy, as a rule, kept on 
the safe side. Investigation was discouraged. It was de 
clared that faith was the only road that led to eternal joy. 
Most of the schools and colleges were under sectarian 
control, and the presidents and professors were defenders 
of their creeds. The people were crammed with miracles 
and stuffed with absurdities. They were taught that the 
Bible was the "inspired" word of God, that it was abso 
lutely perfect, that the contradictions were only apparent, 
and that it contained no mistakes in philosophy, none in 
science. The great scheme of salvation was declared to be 
the result of infinite wisdom and mercy. Heaven and hell 
were waiting for the human race. Only those could be 
saved who had faith and who had been born twice. 

Written f~r t*ie T"-enty-fiftlj Anniversary Nunaber of the Ntw York TrutK 
Seeker, September 3, 1898. ! (> 


Most of the ministers taught the geology of Moses, the 
astronomy of Joshua, and the philosophy of Christ. They 
regarded scientists as enemies, and their principal business 
was to defend miracles and deny facts. They knew, how 
ever, that men were thinking, investigating in every direc 
tion, and they feared the result. They became a little 
malicious somewhat hateful. With their congregations 
they relied on sophistry, and they answered their enemies 
with epithets, with misrepresentations and slanders ; and 
yet their minds were filled with a vague fear, with a sicken 
ing dread. Some of the people were reading and some were 
thinking. Lyell had told them something about geology, 
and in the light of facts they were reading Genesis again. 
The clergy called Lyell an Infidel, a blasphemer, but the 
facts seemed to care nothing for opprobrious names. Then 
the " called," the "set apart," the " Lord's anointed " began 
changing the " inspired " word. They erased the word 
" day " and inserted " period," and then triumphantly ex 
claimed : "The world was created in six periods." This 
answer satisfied bigotry, hypocrisy, and honest ignorance, 
but honest intelligence was not satisfied. 

More and more was being found about the history of life, 
of living things, the order in which the various forms had 
appeared and the relations they hid sustained to each other. 
Beneath the gaze of the biologist the fossils were again 
clothed with flesh, submerged continents and islands re 
appeared, the ancient forest grew once more, the air was 
filled with unknown birds, the seas with armored monsters, 
and the land with beasts of many forms that sought with 
tooth and claw each other's flesh. 

Haeckel and Huxley followed life through all its chang 
ing forms from monad up to man. They found that men, 
women, and children had been on this poor world for hun 
dreds of thousands of years. 

The clergy could not dodge these facts, this conclusion, 


by calling "days" periods, because the Bible gives the age 
of Adam when he died, the lives and ages to the flood, to 
Abraham, to David, and from David to Christ, so that, ac 
cording to the Bible, man at the birth of Christ had been 
on this earth four thousand and four years and no more. 

There was no way in which the sacred record could be 
changed, but of course the dear ministers could not admit 
the conclusion arrived at by Haeckel and Huxley. If they 
did they would have to give up original sin, the scheme of 
the atonement, and the consolation of eternal fire. 

They took the only course they could. They promptly 
and solemnly, with upraised hands, denied the facts, de 
nounced the biologists as irreverent wretches, and defended 
the Book. With tears in their voices they talked about 
"Mother's Bible," about the "faith of the fathers," about 
the prayers that the children had said, and they also talked 
about the wickedness of doubt. This satisfied bigotry, 
hypocrisy, and honest ignorance, but honest intelligence 
was not satisfied. 

The works of Humboldt had been translated, and were 
being read ; the intellectual horizon was enlarged, and the 
fact that the endless chain of cause and effect had never 
been broken, that Nature had never been interfered with, 
forced its way into many minds. This conception of na 
ture was beyond the clergy. They did not believe it ; they 
could not comprehend it. They did not answer Humboldt, 
but they attacked him with great virulence. They meas 
ured his works by the Bible, because the Bible was then 
the standard. 

In examining a philosophy, a system, the ministers 
asked : " Does it agree with the sacred book ? " With the 
Bible they separated the gold from the dross. Every science 
had to be tested by the Scriptures. Humboldt did not agree 
with Moses. He differed from Joshua. He had his doubts 
about the flood. That was enough. 


Yet, after all, the ministers felt that they were standing 
on thin ice, that they were surrounded by masked batteries, 
and that something unfortunate was liable at any moment 
to happen. This increased their efforts to avoid, to escape. 
The truth was that they feared the truth. They were 
afraid of facts. They became exceedingly anxious for 
morality, for the young, for the inexperienced. They were 
afraid to trust human nature. They insisted that without 
the Bible the world would rush to crime. They warned 
the thoughtless of the danger of thinking. They knew that 
it would be impossible for civilization to exist without the 
Bible. They knew this because their God had tried it. 
He gave no Bible to the antediluvians, and they became so 
bad that he had to destroy them. He gave the Jews only 
the Old Testament, and they were dispersed. Irreverent 
people might say that Jehovah should have known this 
without a trial, but after all that has nothing to do with 

Attention had been called to the fact that two accounts 
of creation are in Genesis, and that they do not agree and 
cannot be harmonized, and that, in addition to that, the di 
vine historian had made a mistake as to the order of crea 
tion ; that according to one account Adam was made before 
the animals, and Eve last of all, from Adam's rib; and by 
the other account Adam and Eve were made after the 
animals, and both at the same time. A good many people 
were surprised to find that the Creator had written contra 
dictory accounts of the creation, and had forgotten the 
order in which he created. 

Then there was another difficulty. Jehovah had de 
clared that on Tuesday, or during the second period, he 
had created the " firmament " to divide the waters which 
were below the firmament from the waters above the firma 
ment. It was found that there is no firmament ; that the 
moisture in the air is the result of evaporation, and that 


there was nothing to divide the waters above from the 
waters below. So that, according to the facts, Jehovah did 
nothing on the second day or period, because the moisture 
above the earth is not prevented from falling by the firma 
ment, but because the mist is lighter than air. 

The preachers, however, began to dodge, to evade, to 
talk about " oriental imagery." They declared that Gene 
sis was a "sublime poem," a divine " panorama of creation," 
an " inspired vision ; " that it was not intended to be exact 
in its details, but that it was true in a far higher sense, in 
a poetical sense, in a spiritual sense, conveying a truth much 
higher, much grander than simple fact. The contradic 
tions were covered with the mantle of oriental imagery. 
This satisfied bigotry, hypocrisy, and honest ignorance, but 
honest intelligence, was not satisfied. 

People were reading Darwin. His works interested not 
only the scientific, but the intelligent in all the walks of 
life. Darwin was the keenest observer of all time, the 
greatest naturalist in all the world. He was patient, mod 
est, logical, candid, courageous, and absolutely truthful. 
He told the actual facts. He colored nothing. He was 
anxious only to ascertain the truth. He had no prejudices, 
no theories, no creed. He was the apostle of the real. 

The ministers greeted him with shouts of derision. From 
nearly all the pulpits came the sounds of ignorant laughter, 
one of the saddest of all sounds. The clergy in a vague 
kind of way believed the Bible account of creation ; they 
accepted the Miltonic view; they believed that all animals, 
including man, had been made of clay, fashioned by 
Jehovah's hands, and that he had breathed into all forms, 
not only the breath of life, but instinct and reason. They 
were not in the habit of descending to particulars ; they did 
not describe Jehovah as kneading the clay or modeling his 
forms like a sculptor, but what they did say included these 


The theory of Darwin contradicted all their ideas on the 
subject, vague as they were. He showed that man had not 
appeared at first as man, that he had not fallen from per 
fection, but had slowly risen through many ages from lower 
forms. He took food, climate, and all conditions into con 
sideration, and accounted for difference of form, function, 
instinct, and reason, by natural causes. He dispensed with 
the supernatural. He did away with Jehovah the potter. 

Of course the theologians denounced him as a blas 
phemer, as a dethroner of God. They even went so far as 
to smile at his ignorance. They said : " If the theory of 
Darwin is true the Bible is false, our God is a myth, and 
our religion a fable." 

In that they were right. 

Against Darwin they rained texts of Scripture like shot 
and shell. They believed that they were victorious and 
their congregations were delighted. Poor little frightened 
professors in religious colleges sided with the clergy. 
Hundreds of backboneless " scientists " ranged themselves 
with the enemies of Darwin. It began to look as though 
the church was victorious. 

Slowly, steadily, the ideas of Darwin gained ground. 
He began to be understood. Men of sense were reading 
what he said. Men of genius were on his side. In a little 
while the really great in all departments of human thought 
declared in his favor. The tide began to turn. The smile 
on the face of the theologian became a frozen grin. The 
preachers began to hedge, to dodge. They admitted that 
the Bible was not inspired for the purpose of teaching 
science only inspired about religion, about the spiritual, 
about the divine. The fortifications of faith were crumb 
ling, the old guns had been spiked, and the armies of the 
"living God" were in retreat. 

Great questions were being discussed, and freely dis 
cussed. People were not afraid to give their opinions, 


and they did give their honest thoughts. Draper had 
shown in his " Intellectual Development of Europe " that 
Catholicism had been the relentless enemy of progress, the 
bitter foe of all that is really useful. The Protestants were 
delighted with this book. 

Buckle had shown in his " History of Civilization in 
England " that Protestantism had also enslaved the mind, 
had also persecuted to the extent of its power, and that 
Protestantism in its last analysis was substantially the 
same as the creed of Rome. 

This book satisfied the thoughtful. 

Hegel in his first book had done a great work and it did 
great good in spite of the fact that his second book was 
almost a surrender. Lecky in his first volume of " The 
History of Rationalism " shed a flood of light on the mean 
ness, the cruelty, and the malevolence of " revealed relig 
ion," and this did good in spite of the fact that he almost 
apologizes in the second volume for what he had said in 
the first. 

The Universalists had done good. They had civilized a 
great many Christians. They declared that eternal punish 
ment was infinite revenge, and that the God of hell was an 
infinite savage. 

Some of the Unitarians, following the example of Theo 
dore Parker, denounced Jehovah as a brutal, tribal God. 
All these forces worked together for the development of the 
orthodox brain. 

Herbert Spencer was being read and understood. The 
theories of this great philosopher were being adopted. He 
overwhelmed the theologians with facts, and from a great 
height he surveyed the world. Of course he was attacked, 
but not answered. 

Emerson had sowed the seeds of thought of doubt in 
many minds, and from many directions the world was being 
flooded with intellectual light. The clergy became apolo- 


getic ; they spoke with less certainty ; with less emphasis, 
and lost a little confidence in the power of assertion. They 
felt the necessity of doing something, and they began to 
harmonize as best they could the old lies and the new 
truths. They tried to get the wreck ashore, and many of 
them were willing to surrender if they could keep their side- 
arms ; that is to say, their salaries. 

Conditions had been reversed. The Bible had ceased to 
be the standard. Science was the supreme and final test. 

There was no peace for the pulpit; no peace for the 
shepherds. Students of the Bible in England and Germany 
had been examining the inspired Scriptures. They had 
been trying to find when and by whom the books of the 
Bible were written. They found that the Pentateuch was 
not written by Moses ; that the authors of Joshua, Judges, 
Ruth, vSamuel, Kings, Chronicles, Esther, and Job were not 
known ; that the Psalms were not written by David ; that 
Solomon had nothing to do with Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, or 
the Song ; that Isaiah was the work of at least three authors ; 
that the prophecies of Daniel were written after the hap 
pening of the events prophesied. They found many mis 
takes and contradictions, and some of them went so far as 
to assert that the Hebrews had never been slaves in Egypt ; 
that the story of the plagues, the exodus, and the pursuit 
was only a myth. 

The New Testament fared no better than the Old. These 
critics found that nearly all of the books of the New Testa 
ment had been written by unknown men ; that it was im 
possible to fix the time when they were written; that many 
of the miracles were absurd and childish, and that in ad 
dition to all of this, the gospels were found filled with mis 
takes, with interpolations and contradictions ; that the 
writers of Matthew, Mark, and Luke did not understand 
the Christian religion as it was understood by the author 
of the gospel according to John. 


Of course, the critics were denounced from most of the 
pulpits, and the religious papers, edited generally by men 
who had failed as preachers, were filled with bitter denials 
and vicious attacks. The religious editors refused to be 
enlightened. They fought under the old flag. When 
dogmas became too absurd to be preached, they were 
taught in the Sunday schools; when worn out there, they 
were given to the missionaries ; but the dear old religious 
weeklies, the Banners, the Covenants, the Evangelists, con 
tinued to feed their provincial subscribers with known 
mistakes and refuted lies. 

There is another fact that should be taken into considera 
tion. All religions are provincial. Mingled with them all 
and at the foundation of all are the egotism of ignorance, 
of isolation, the pride of race, and what is called patriotism. 
Every religion is a natural product the result of conditions. 
When one tribe became acquainted with another, the ideas 
of both were somewhat modified. So when nations and 
races come into contact a change in thought, in opinion, is 
a necessary result. 

A few years ago nations were strangers, and consequent 
ly hated each other's institutions and religions. Commerce 
has done a great work in destroying provincialism. To 
trade commodities is to exchange ideas. So the press, the 
steamships, the railways, cables, and telegraphs have 
brought the nations together and enabled them to compare 
their prejudices, their religions, laws and customs. 

Recently many scholars have been studying the religions 
of the world and have found them much the same. They 
have also found that there is nothing original in Chris 
tianity; that the legends, miracles, Christs, and conditions 
of salvation, the heavens, hells, angels, devils, and gods 
were the common property of the ancient world. They 
found that Christ was a new name for an old biography ; 
that he was not a life, but a legend ; not a man, but a myth. 


People began to suspect that our religion had not been 
stipernaturally revealed, while others, far older and sub 
stantially the same, had been naturally produced. They 
found it difficult to account for the fact that poor, ignorant 
savages had in the darkness of nature written so well that 
Jehovah thousands of years afterwards copied it and 
adopted it as his own. They thought it curious that God 
should be a plagiarist. 

These scholars found that all the old religions had 
recognized the existence of devils, of evil spirits,who sought 
in countless ways to injure the children of men. In this 
respect they found that the sacred books of other nations 
were j ust the same as our Bible, as our New Testament. 

Take the Devil from our religion and the entire fabric 
falls. No Devil, no fall of man. No Devil, no atonement. 
No Devil, no hell. 

The Devil is the keystone of the arch. 

And yet for many years the belief in the existence of the 
Devil of evil spirits has been fading from the minds of 
intelligent people. This belief has now substantially van 
ished. The minister who now seriously talks about a per 
sonal Devil is regarded with a kind of pitying contempt. 

The Devil has faded from his throne and the evil spirits 
have vanished from the air. 

The man who has really given up a belief in the exist 
ence of the Devil cannot believe in the inspiration of the 
New Testament in the divinity of Christ. If Christ 
taught anything, if he believed in anything, he taught a 
belief in the existence of the Devil. His principal business 
was casting out devils. He himself was taken possession 
of by the Devil and carried to the top of the temple. 

Thousands and thousands of people have ceased to be 
lieve the account in the New Testament regarding devils, 
and yet continue to believe in the dogma of " inspiration " 
and the divinity of Christ. 


In the brain of the average Christian, contradictions dwell 
in unity. 

While a belief in the existence of the Devil has almost 
faded away, the belief in the existence of a personal God 
has been somewhat weakened. The old belief that back of 
nature, back of all substance and force, was and is a per 
sonal God, an infinite intelligence who created and governs 
the world, began to be questioned. The scientists had 
shown the indestructibility of matter and force. Blichner's 
great work had convinced most readers that matter and 
force could not have been created. They also became 
satisfied that matter cannot exist apart from force and that 
force cannot exist apart from matter. 

They found, too, that thought is a form of force, and that 
consequently intelligence could not have existed before 
matter, because without matter, force in any form cannot 
and could not exist. 

The creator of anything is utterly unthinkable. 

A few years ago God was supposed to govern the world. 
He rewarded the people with sunshine, with prosperity and 
health, or he punished with drought and flood, with plague 
and storm. He not only attended to the affairs of nations, 
but he watched the actions of individuals. He sank ships, 
derailed trains, caused conflagrations, killed men and 
women with his lightnings, destroyed some with earth 
quakes, and tore the homes and bodies of thousands into 
fragments with his cyclones. 

In spite of the church, in spite of the ministers, the peo 
ple began to lose confidence in Providence. The right did 
not seem always to triumph. Virtue was not always re 
warded and vice was not always punished. The good 
failed ; the vicious succeeded ; the strong and cruel enslaved 
the weak ; toil was paid with the lash ; babes were sold from 
the breasts of mothers, and Providence seemed to be abso 
lutely heartless. 


In other words, people began to think that the God of 
the Christians and the God of nature were about the same, 
and that neither appeared to take any care of the human 

The Deists of the last century scoffed at the Bible God. 
He was too cruel, too savage. At the same time they 
praised the God of nature. They laughed at the idea of 
inspiration and denied the supernatural origin of the Scrip 

Now, if the Bible is not inspired, then it is a natural pro 
duction, and nature, not God, should be held responsible 
for the Scriptures. Yet the Deists denied that God was the 
author and at the same time asserted the perfection of 

This shows that even in the minds of Deists contradic 
tions dwell in unity. 

Against all these facts and forces, these theories and ten 
dencies, the clergy fought and prayed. It is not claimed 
that they were consciously dishonest, but it is claimed that 
they were prejudiced that they were incapable of ex 
amining the other side that they were utterly destitute of 
the philosophic spirit. They were not searchers for the 
facts, but defenders of the creeds, and undoubtedly they 
were the product of conditions and surroundings, and acted 
as they must. 

In spite of everything a few rays of light penetrated the 
orthodox mind. Many ministers accepted some of the new 
facts, and began to mingle with Christian mistakes a few 
scientific truths. In many instances they excited the in 
dignation of their congregations. Some were tried for heresy 
and driven from their pulpits, and some organized new 
churches and gathered about them a few people willing to 
listen to the sincere thoughts of an honest man. 

The great body of the church, however, held to the creed 
not quite believing it, but still insisting that it was true. 


In private conversation they would apologize and admit 
that the old ideas were outgrown, but in public they were 
as orthodox as ever. In every church, however, there were 
many priests who accepted the new gospel ; that is to say, 
welcomed the truth. 

To-day it may truthfully be said that the Bible in the 
old sense is no longer regarded as the inspired word of 
God. Jehovah is no longer accepted or believed in as the 
creator of the universe. His place has been taken by the 
Unknown, the Unseen, the Invisible, the Incomprehensible 
Something, the Cosmic Dust, the First Cause, the Incon 
ceivable, the Original Force, the Mystery. The God of the 
Bible, the gentleman who walked in the cool of the evening, 
who talked face to face with Moses, who revenged himself 
on unbelievers and who gave laws written with his finger 
on tables of stone, has abdicated. He has become a 

So, too, the New Testament has lost its authority. Peo 
ple reason about it now as they do about other books, and 
even orthodox ministers pick out the miracles that ought 
to be believed, and when anything is attributed to Christ 
not in accordance with their views, they take the liberty of 
explaining it away by saying "interpolation." 

In other words, we have lived to see Science the standard 
instead of the Bible. We have lived to see the Bible tested 
by Science, and, what is more, we have lived to see reason 
the standard not only in religion, but in all the domain of 
science. Now all civilized scientists appeal to reason. 
They get their facts, and then reason from the foundation. 
Now the theologian appeals to reason. Faith is no longer 
considered a foundation. The theologian has found that 
he must build upon the truth and that he must establish 
this truth by satisfying human reason. 

This is where we are now. 

What is to be the result? Is progress to stop? Are we 


to retrace our steps ? Are we going back to superstition ? 
Are we going to take authority for truth ? 

Let me prophesy. 

In modern times we have slowly lost confidence in the 
supernatural and have slowly gained confidence in the 
natural. We have slowly lost confidence in gods and have 
slowly gained confidence in man. For the cure of disease, 
for the stopping of plague, we depend on the natural on 
science. We have lost confidence in holy water and re 
ligious processions. We have found that prayers are never 

In my judgment, all belief in the supernatural will be 
driven from the human mind. All religions must pass 
away. The augurs, the soothsayers, the seers, the preach 
ers, the astrologers and alchemists will all lie in the same 
cemetery and one epitaph will do for them all. In a little 
while all will have had their day. They were naturally 
produced and they will be naturally destroyed. Man at 
last will depend entirely upon himself on the development 
of the brain to the end that he may take advantage of the 
forces of nature to the end that he may supply the wants 
of his body and feed the hunger of his mind. 

In my judgment, teachers will take the place of preachers 
and the interpreters of nature will be the only priests. 


THE room of the House Committee on Elections was crowded 
this morning with committeemen and spectators to listen to an 
argument by Col. Robert G. Ingersoll in the contested election case 
of Strobach against Herbert, of the lid Ababama district. Colonel 
Ingersoll appeared for Strobach, the contestant. While most of his 
argument was devoted to the dry details of the testimony, he entered 
into some discussion of the general principles involved in contested 
election cases, and spoke with great eloquence and force. In part 
he said : 

The mere personal controversy, as between Herbert and 
Strobach, is not worth talking about. It is a question as 
to whether or not the republican system is a failure. Un 
less the will of the majority can be ascertained, and surely 
ascertained, through the medium of the ballot, the founda 
tion of this Government rests upon nothing the Govern 
ment ceases to be. I would a thousand time rather a Demo 
crat should come to Congress from this district, or from 
any district, than that a Republican should come who was 
not honestly elected. I would a thousand times rather that 
this country should honestly go to destruction than dis 
honestly and fraudulently go anywhere. We want it set 
tled whether this form of government is or is not a failure. 
That is the real question, and it is the question at issue in 
every one of these cases. Has Congress power and has 
Congress the sense to say to-day, that no man shall sit as a 
maker of laws for the people who has not been honestly 
elected ? Whenever you admit a man to Congress and allow 
him to vote and make laws, and there is any doubt as to 



his title, you poison the source of justice you poison the 
source of power ; and the moment the people begin to think 
that many members of Congress are there through fraud, 
that moment they cease to have respect for the legislative 
department of this Government that moment they cease 
to have respect for the sovereignty of the people represented 
by fraud. 

Now, as I have said, I care nothing about the personal 
part of it, and, maybe you will not believe me, but I care 
nothing about the political part. The question is, Who has 
the right on his side? Who is honestly entitled to this seat? 
That is infinitely more important than any personal or party 
question. My doctrine is that a majority of the people 
must control that we have in this country a king, that we 
have in this country a sovereign, just as truly as they can 
have in any other, and, as a matter of fact, a republic is the 
only country that does in truth have a sovereign, and that 
sovereign is the legally expressed will of the people. So 
that any man that puts in a fraudulent vote is a traitor to 
that sovereign; any man that knowingly counts an illegal 
vote is a traitor to that sovereign, and is not fit to be a citi 
zen of the great Republic. Any man who fraudulently 
throws out a vote, knowing it to be a legal vote, tampers 
with the source of power, and is, in fact, false to our insti 
tutions. Now, these are the questions to be decided, and I 
want them decided, not because this case happens to come 
from the South any more than if it came from the North. 
It is a matter that concerns the whole country. We must 
decide it. There must be a law on the subject. We have 
got to lay down a stringent rule that shall apply to these 
cases. There should be there must be such a thing as 
political morality so far as voting is concerned. New York 

Tribune, May 13, 1888. 



THE Old Testament must have been written nearly two 
thousand years before the invention of printing. 
There were but few copies, and these were in the keeping 
of those whose interest might have prompted interpolations, 
and whose ignorance might have led to mistakes. 

Second. The written Hebrew was composed entirely of 
consonants, without any points or marks standing for 
vowels, so that anything like accuracy was impossible. 
Anyone can test this for himself by writing an English 
sentence, leaving out the vowels. It will take far more 
inspiration to read than to write a book with consonants 

Third. The books composing the Old Testament were 
not divided into chapters or verses, and no system of punc 
tuation was known. Think of this a moment and you will 
see how difficult it must be to read such a book. 

Fourth. There was not among the Jews any dictionary of 
their language, and for this reason the accurate meaning of 
words could not be preserved. Now the different meanings 
of words are preserved so that by knowing the age in 
which a writer lived we can ascertain with reasonable cer 
tainty his meaning. 

Printed from iranuerript notes found among Colonel Irjjersoll's papers, evidently 
wrinen in tie e;:r)y 'tO's. While much of the argument ai-U criticism \\illbe found 
embodied in his various lectures magazine urticles arid contributions to the prees, it was 
thought to he too valuable in its present form 10 be left cut of a compute edition of 
bis works, on account of too much repetition Undoubtedly it was the author's intention 
to g through the Bible in this same manner and to publish in book form. "A few 
Keasoas for doubting the inspiration of th Bible."' (681) 


Fifth. The Old Testament was printed for the first time 
in 1488. Until this date it existed only in manuscript, and 
was constantly exposed to erasures and additions. 

Sixth. It is now admitted by the most learned in the 
Hebrew language that in our present English version of 
the Old Testament there are at least one hundred thousand 
errors. Of course the believers in inspiration assert that 
these errors are not sufficient in number to cast the least 
suspicion upon any passages upholding what are called the 

Seventh. It is not certainly known who in fact wrote any 
of the books of the Old Testament. For instance, it is now 
generally conceded that Moses was not the author of the 

Eighth. Other books, not now in existence, are referred to 
in the Old Testament as of equal authority, such as the 
books of Jasher, Nathan, Ahijah, Iddo, Jehu, Sayings of 
the Seers. 

Ninth. The Christians are not agreed among themselves 
as to what books are inspired. The Catholics claim as in 
spired the books of Maccabees, Tobit, Esdras, etc. Others 
doubt the inspiration of Esther, Ecclesiastes, and the Song 
of Solomon. 

Tenth. In the book of Esther and the Song of Solomon 
the name of God is not mentioned, and no reference is 
made to any supreme being, nor to any religious duty. 
These omissions would seem sufficient to a little doubt 
upon these books. 

Eleventh. Within the present century manuscript copies of 
the Old Testament have been found throwing new light 
and changing in many instances the present readings. In 
consequence a new version is now being made by a theolog 
ical syndicate composed of English and Amerian divines, 
and after this is published it may be that our present Bible 
will fall into disrepute. 


Twelfth. The fact that language is continually changing, 
that words are constantly dying and others being born ; 
that the same word has a variety of meanings during its 
life, shows hew hard it is to preserve the original ideas that 
might have been expressed in the Scriptures, for thousands 
of years, without dictionaries, without the art of printing, 
and without the light of contemporaneous literature. 

Thirteenth. Whatever there was of the Old Testament 
seems to have been lost from the time of Moses until the 
days of Josiah, and it is probable that nothing like the 
Bible existed in any permanent form among the Jews until 
a few hundred years before Christ. It is said that Ezra 
gave the Pentateuch to the Jews, but whether he found or 
originated it is unknown. So it is claimed that Nehemiah 
gathered up the manuscripts about the kings and prophets, 
while the books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ruth, Eccle- 
siastes, and some others were either collected or written 
long after. The Jews themselves did not agree as to what 
books were really inspired. 

Foiirteenth. In the Old Testament we find several contra 
dictory laws about the same thing, and contradictory ac 
counts of the same occurrences. In the twentieth chapter 
of Exodus we find the first account of the giving of the 
Ten Commandments. In the thirty-fourth chapter another 
account is given. These two accounts could never have 
been written by the same person. Read these two accounts 
and you will be forced to admit that one of them cannot be 
true. So there are two histories of the creation, of the 
flood, and of the manner in which Saul became king. 

Fifteenth. It is now generally admitted that Genesis must 
have been written by two persons, and the parts written by 
each can be separated, and when separated they are found 
to contradict each other in many important particulars. 

Sixteenth. It is also admitted that copyists made verbal 
changes not only, but pieced out fragments; that the 


speeches of Elihu in the book of Job were all interpolated, 
and that most of the prophecies were made by persons 
whose names we have never known. 

Seventeenth. The manuscripts of the Old Testament were 
not alike, and the Greek version differed from the Hebrew, 
and there was no absolutely received text of the Old Testa 
ment until after the commencement of the Christian era. 
Marks and points to denote vowels were invented probably 
about the seventh century after Christ. Whether these 
vowels were put in the proper places or not is still an open 

Eighteenth. The Alexandrian version, or what is known 
as the Septuagint, translated by seventy learned Jews, 
assisted by " miraculous power," about two hundred years 
before Christ, could not have been, it is said, translated 
from the Hebrew text that we now have. The differences 
can only be accounted for by supposing that they had a 
different Hebrew text. The early Christian Churches 
adopted the Septuagint, and were satisfied for a time. But 
so many errors were found, and so many were scanning 
every word in search of something to sustain their peculiar 
views, that several new versions appeared, all different 
somewhat from the Hebrew manuscripts, from the Septua 
gint, and from each other. All these versions were in 
Greek. The first Latin Bible originated in Africa, but no 
one has ever found out which Latin manuscript was the 
original. Many were produced, and all differed from each 
other. These Latin versions were compared with each 
other and with the Hebrew, and a new Latin version was 
made in the fifth century, but the old Latin versions held 
their own for about four hundred years, and no one yet 
knows which were right. Besides these there were Egyp 
tian, Ethiopic, Armenian, and several others, all differing 
from each other as well as from all others in the world. 

It was not until the fourteenth century that the Bible 


was translated into German, and not until the fifteenth that 
Bibles were printed in the principal languages of Europe. 
Of these Bibles there were several kinds Luther's, the 
Dort, King James's, Genevan, French, besides the Danish 
and Swedish. Most of these differed from each other, and 
gave rise to infinite disputes and crimes without number. 
The earliest fragment of the Bible in the " Saxon " lan 
guage known to exist was written sometime in the seventh 
century. The first Bible was printed in England in 1538. 
In 1560 the first English Bible was printed that was 
divided into verses. Under Henry VIII. the Bible was 
revised ; again under Queen Elizabeth, and once again 
under King James. This last was published in 1611, and 
is the one now in general use. 

Nineteenth. No one in the world has learning enough, 
nor has he time enough even if he had the learning, and 
could live a thousand years, to find out what books really 
belong to and constitute the Old Testament, the authors of 
these books, when they were written, and what they really 
mean. And until a man has the learning and the time to 
do all this he cannot certainly tell whether he believes the 
Bible or not. 

Twentieth. If a revelation from God was actually necessary 
to the happiness of man here and to his salvation hereafter, 
it is not easy to see why such revelation was not given to 
all the nations of the earth. Why were the millions of 
Asia, Egypt, and America left to the insufficient light of 
nature. Why was not a written, or what is still better, a 
printed revelation given to Adam and Eve in the Garden of 
Eden ? And why were the Jews themselves without a 
Bible until the days of Ezra the scribe ? Why was nature 
not so made that it would give light enough? Why did 
God mike men and leave them in darkness a darkness 
that he, knew would fill the world with want and crime, and 
crowd rrith damned souls the dungeons of his hell ? Were 


the Jews the only people who needed a revelation ? It may 
be said that God had no time to waste with other nations, 
and gave the Bible to the Jews that other nations through 
them might learn of his existence and his will. If he 
wished other nations to be informed, and revealed himself 
to but one, why did he not choose a people that mingled 
with others ? Why did he give the message to those who 
had no commerce, who were obscure and unknown, 
and who regarded other nations with the hatred born of 
bigotry and weakness? What would we now think of a 
God who made his will known to the South Sea Islanders 
for the benefit of the civilized world ? If it was of such 
vast importance for man to know that there is a God, why 
did not God make himself known ? This fact could have 
been revealed by an infinite being instantly to all, and 
there certainly was no necessity of telling it alone to the 
Jews, and allowing millions for thousands of years to die 
in utter ignorance. 

Twenty-first. The Chinese, Japanese, Hindus, Tartars, 
Africans, Eskimo, Persians, Turks, Kurds, Arabs, Poly 
nesians, and many other peoples, are substantially ignorant 
of the Bible. All the Bible societies of the world have pro 
duced only about one hundred and twenty millions of 
Bibles, and there are about fourteen hundred million people. 
There are hundreds of languages and tongues in which no 
Bible has yet been printed. Why did God allow, and why 
does he still allow, a vast majority of his children to remain 
in ignorance of his will ? 

Twenty-second. If the Bible is the foundation of all civili 
zation, of all just ideas of right and wrong, of our duties to 
God and each other, why did God not give to each nation 
at least one copy to start with ? He must have known that 
no nation could get along successfully without a Bible, and 
he also knew that man could not make one for himself. 
Why, then, were not the books furnished ? He must have 


known that the light of nature was not sufficient to reveal 
the scheme of the atonement, the necessity of baptism, the 
immaculate conception, transubstantiation, the arithmetic of 
the Trinity, or the resurrection of the dead. 

Twenty-third. It is probably safe to say that not one- 
third of the inhabitants of this world ever heard of the Bible, 
and not one-tenth ever read it. It is also safe to say that 
no two persons who ever read it agreed as to its meaning, 
and it is not likely that even one person has ever under 
stood it. Nothing is more needed at the present time than 
an inspired translator. Then we shall need an inspired 
commentator, and the translation and the commentary 
should be written in an inspired universal language, in 
capable of change, and then the whole world should be in 
spired to understand this language precisely the same. 
Until these things are accomplished, all written revelations 
from God will fill the world with contending sects, con 
tradictory creeds and opinions. 

Twenty-fourth. All persons who know anything of con 
stitutions and laws know how impossible it is to use words 
that will convey the same ideas to all. The best statesmen, 
the profcundest lawyers, differ as widely about the real 
meaning of treaties and statutes as do theologians about 
the Bible. When the differences of lawyers are left to 
courts, and the courts give written decisions, the lawyers 
will again differ as to the real meaning of the opinions. 
Probably no two lawyers in the United States understand 
our Constitution alike. To allow a few men to tell what 
the Constitution means, and to hang for treason all who 
refuse to accept the opinions of these few men, would ac 
complish in politics what most churches have asked for in 

Twenty-ffth. Is it very wicked to deny that the uni 
verse was created of nothing by an infinite being who ex 
isted from all eternity ? The human mind is such that it 


cannot possibly conceive of creation, neither can it conceive 
of an infinite being who dwelt in infinite space an infinite 
length of time. 

Twenty-sixth. The idea that the universe was made in 
six days, and is but about six thousand years old, is too 
absurd for serious refutation. Neither will it do to say 
that the six days were six periods, because this does away 
with the Sabbath, and is in direct violation of the text. 

Twenty -seventh. Neither is it reasonable that this God 
made man out of dust, and woman out of one of the ribs 
of the man ; that this pair were put in a garden; that they 
were deceived by a snake that had the power of speech ; 
that they were turned out of this garden to prevent them 
from eating of the tree of life and becoming immortal ; 
that God himself made them clothes ; that the sons of God 
intermarried with the daughters of men ; that to destroy all 
life upon the earth a flood was sent that covered the high 
est mountains ; that Noah and his sons built an ark and 
saved some of all animals as well as themselves ; that the 
people tried to build a tower that would reach to heaven ; 
that God confounded their language, and in this way frus 
trated their design. 

Twenty-cigh.h. It is hard to believe that God talked to 
Abraham as one man talks to another ; that he gave him 
land that he pointed out ; that he agreed to give him land 
that he never did; that he ordered him to murder his own 
son ; that angels were in the habit of walking about the 
earth eating veal dressed with butter and milk, and making 
bargains about the destruction of cities. 

Twenty-ninth. Certainly a man ought not to be eternally 
damned for entertaining an honest doubt about a woman 
having been turned into a pillar of salt, about cities being 
destroyed by storms of fire and brimstone, and about people 
once having lived for nearly a thousand years. 

Thirtieth. Neither is it probable that God really wrestled 


with Jacob and put his thigh out of joint, and that for that 
reason the Jews refused " to eat the sinew that shrank," as 
recounted in the thirty-second chapter of Genesis; that God 
in the likeness of a flame inhabited a bush ; that he amused 
himself by changing the rod of Moses into a serpent, and 
making his hand leprous as snow. 

Thirty-first. One can scarely be blamed for hesitating to 
believe that God met Moses at a hotel and tried to kill him ;' 
that afterward he made this same Moses a god to Pharaoh, 
and gave him his brother Aaron for a prophet; 2 that he 
turned all the ponds and pools and streams and all the 
rivers into blood, 3 and all the water in vessels of wood and 
stone ; that the rivers thereupon brought forth frogs ;* that 
the frogs covered the whole land of Egypt ; that he changed 
dust into lice, so that all the men, women, children, and 
animals were covered with them ; s that he sent swarms of 
flies upon the Egyptians ;' that he destroyed the innocent 
cattle with painful diseases ; that he covered man and 
beast with blains and boils ; 7 that he so covered the magi 
cians of Egypt with boils that they could not stand before 
Moses for the purpose of performing the same feat ;" that 
he destroyed every beast and every man that was in the fields, 
and every herb, and broke every tree with storm of hail 
and fire; 9 that he sent locusts that devoured every herb 
that escaped the hail, and devoured every tree that grew; 10 
that he caused thick darkness over the land and put lights 
in the houses of the Jews; 11 that he destroyed all of the 
firstborn of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh upon the 
throne to the firstborn of the maidservant that sat behind 
the mill, 13 together with the firstborn of all beasts, so that 
there was not a house in which the dead were not. 13 

'Ex. iv, 24. B Ex. viii, 16, 17. 9 Ex. ix, 25. 

8 Ex. vii i. 'Ex. viii, 21. 10 Ex. x, 15. 

8 Ex. viii, 19. 7 Ex. iv, 9. "Kx. x, 22, 23. 

4 Ex. viii, 3. 8 Ex. i.v, n. "Ex. xi, 5. 

u iix. xii, 29. 


Thirty-second. It is very hard to believe that three millions 
of people left a country and marched twenty or thirty miles 
all in one day. To notify so many people would require a 
long time, and then the sick, the halt, and the old would 
be apt to impede the march. It seems impossible that such 
a vast number six hundred thousand men, besides women 
and children could have been cared for, could have been 
fed and clothed, and the sick nursed, especially when we 
take into consideration that " they were thrust out of 
Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for 
themselves any victual." ' 

Thirty-third. It seems cruel to punish a man forever for 
denying that God went before the Jews by day " in a 
pillar of a cloud to lead them the way, and by night in a 
pillar of fire to give them light to go by day and night," 
or for denying that Pharaoh pursued the Jews with six 
hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, and 
that the six hundred thousand men of war of the Jews 
were sore afraid when they saw the pursuing hosts. It 
does seems strange that after all the water in a country had 
been turned to blood after it had been overrun with 
frogs and devoured with flies ; after all the cattle had died 
with the murrain, and the rest had been killed by the fire 
and hail and the remainder had suffered with boils, and 
the firstborn of all that were left had died ; that after locusts 
had devoured every herb and eaten up every tree of the 
field, and the firstborn had died, from the firstborn of the 
king on the throne to the firstborn of the captive in the 
dungeon ; that after three millions of people had left, car 
rying with them the jewels of silver and gold and the 
raiment of their oppressors, the Egyptians still had enough 
soldiers and chariots and horses left to pursue and destroy 
an army of six hundred thousand men, if God had not 


'Ex. xii, 37-39. 


Thirty -fourth. It certainly ought to satisfy God to torment 
a man for four or five thousand years for insisting that it 
is but a small thing for an infinite being to vanquish an 
Egyptian army ; that it was rather a small business to 
trouble people with frogs, flies, and vermin ; that it looked 
almost malicious to cover people with boils and afflict cat 
tle with disease ; that a real good God would not torture 
innocent beasts on account of something the owners had 
done ; that it was absurd to do miracles before a king to in 
duce him to act in a certain way, and then harden his heart 
so that he would refuse; and that to kill all the firstborn 
of a nation was the act of a heartless fiend. 

Thirty-fifth. Certainly one ought to be permitted to 
doubt that twelve wells of water were sufficient for three 
millions of people, together with their flocks and herds, 1 
and to inquire a little into the nature of manna that was 
cooked by baking and seething and yet would melt -in the 
suu, a and that would swell or shrink so as to make an ex 
act omer, no matter how much or how little there really 
was. 3 Certainly it is not a crime to say that water cannot 
be manufactured by striking a rock with a stick, and that 
the fate of battle cannot be decided by lifting one hand up 
or letting it fall." Must we admit that God really did come 
down upon Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people ; that 
he commanded that all who should go up into the Mount 
or touch the border of it should be put to death, and that 
even the beasts that came near it should be killed ?* Is it 
wrong to laugh at this ?* Is it sinful to say that God never 
spoke from the top of a mountain covered with clouds these 
words to Moses, "Go down, charge the people, lest they 
break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them 
perish ; and let the priests also, which come near to the 
Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon 
them " ? ' Can it be that an infinite intelligence takes delight 

'Ex. xv. 27. "Ex. xix. 12. 'Ex. xix, la, 13. 

Ex. xvl, 33, ax, Bx. xvii, H, ia. 'Ex, xix, ai, aa, 


in scaring savages, and that he is happy only when some 
body trembles ? Is it reasonable to suppose that God sur 
rounded himself with thunderings and lightnings and thick 
darkness to tell the priests that they should not make altars 
of hewn stones, nor with stairs ?' And that this God at the 
same time he gave the Ten Commandments ordered the 
Jews to break the most of them ? According to the Bible 
these infamous words came from the mouth of God while 
he was wrapped and clothed in darkness and clouds upon 
the Mount of Sinai : 

If them buy an Hebrew servant six years he shall serve : and in the 
seventh he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself he 
shall go out by himself; if he were married, then his wife shall go out 
with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have borne 
him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master's, 
and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, 
I love my master, my wife, and my children ; I will not go out free : 
then his master shall bring him unto the judges ; he shall also bring 
him to the door or unto the doorpost ; and his master shall bore his 
ear through with an awl ; and he shall serve him forever. 2 And if a 
man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his 
hand, he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a 
day or two, he shall not be punished ; for he is his money. 3 

Do you really think that a man will be eternally damned 
for endeavoring to wipe from the record of God those bar 
baric words? 

Thirty-sixth. Is it because of total depravity that some peo 
ple refuse to believe that God went into partnership with 
insects and granted letters of marque and reprisal to 
hornets; 4 that he wasted forty days and nights furnishing 
Moses with plans and specifications for a tabernacle, an ark, 
a mercy seat and two cherubs of gold, a table, four rings, 
some dishes and spoons, one candlestick, three bowls, seven 
lamps, a pair of tongs, some .snuff dishes (for all of which 
God had patterns), ten curtains with fifty loops, a roof for 
the tabernacle of rams' skins dyed red, a lot of boards, an 

1 Ex, xix, 25, 26, 8 Ex. xxi, 2-6, 'Ex. xxi, 20, 21, *Ex, xxiii, 28, 


altar with horns, ash pans, basins, and flesh hooks, and fil 
lets of silver and pins of brass; that he told Moses to speak 
unto all the wise-hearted that he had filled with wisdom, 
that they might make a suit of clothes for Aaron, and that 
God actually gave directions that an ephod " shall have the 
two shoulder-pieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof," 
and gave all the orders concerning mitres, girdles, and onyx 
stones, ouches, emeralds, breastplates, chains, rings, Urim 
and Thunimim, and the hole in the top of the ephod like 
the hole of a habergeon ?' 

Thirly-sev nth. Is there a Christian missionary who could 
help laughing if in any heathen country he had seen the 
following command of God carried out? "And thou shalt 
take the other ram ; and Aaron and his sons shall put their 
hands upon the head of the ram. Then shalt thou kill the 
ram and take of his blood and put it upon the tip of the 
right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his 
sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the 
great toe of their right foot.* Does one have to be born 
again to appreciate the beauty and solemnity of such a per 
formance ? Is not the faith of the most zealous Christian 
somewhat shaken while reading the recipes for cooking 
mutton, veal, beef, birds, and unleavened dough, found in 
the cook book that God made for Aaron and his sons ? 

Thirty-eighth. Is it to be wondered at that some people 
have doubted the statement that God told Moses how to 
make some ointment, hair oil, and perfume, and then made 
it a crime punishable with death to make any like them ? 
Think of a God killing a man for imitating his ointment ! 8 
Think of a God saying that he made heaven and earth in 
six days and rested on the seventh day and was refreshed! 4 
Think of this God threatening to destroy the Jews, and be 
ing turned from his purpose because Moses told him that 
the Egyptians might mock him ! s 

Ex. xxviiandxxvUi. 8 E*. xxx, 23, *Ex, xxxii, II, J?. 

'Ex. xxix, 19, ao, *Ex. xxxi, 17. 


Thirty-ninth. What must we think of a man impudent 
enough to break in pieces tables of stone upon which God 
had written with his finger? What must we think of the 
goodness of a man that would issue the following order : 
" Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his 
sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate 
throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and 
every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. 
Consecrate yourselves to-day to the Lord, even every man 
upon his son, and upon his brother ; that he may bestow 
upon you a blessing this day " ? ' Is it true that the God of 
the Bible demanded human sacrifice ? Did it please him 
for man to kill his neighbor, for brother to murder his 
brother, and for the father to butcher his son ? If there is 
a God let him cause it to be written in the book of his 
memory, opposite my name, that I refuted this slander and 
denied this lie. 

Fortieth. Can it be true that God was afraid to trust him 
self with the Jews for fear he would consume them ? Can it 
be that in order to keep from devouring them he kept away 
and sent one of his angels in his place ? 3 Can it be that this 
same God talked to Moses " face to face, as a man speaketh 
unto his friend," when it is declared in the same chapter, 
by God himself, " Thou canst not see my face : for there 
shall no man see me, and live " ? 8 

Forty-first. Why should a man, because he has done a 
bad action, go and kill a sheep ? How can man make 
friends with God by cutting the throats of bullocks and 
goats? Why should God delight in the shedding of 
blood ? Why should he want his altar sprinkled with 
blood, and the horns of his altar tipped with blood, and his 
priests covered with blood ? Why should burning flesh be 
a sweet savor in the nostrils of God ? Why did he compel 
his priests to be butchers, cutters and stabbers? Why 

* Ex, xxxii, 37-39. * Ex, xxxiii, 3, 3. * Ex. xxxiii, , 20. 


should the same God kill a man for eating the fat of an ox, 
a sheep, or a goat ? 

Forty-second. Could it be a consolation to a man when 
dying to think that he had always believed that God told 
Aaron to take two goats and draw cuts to see which goat 
should be killed and which should be a scapegoat ? l And 
that upon the head of the scapegoat Aaron should lay both 
his hands and confess over him all the iniquities of the 
children of Israel, and all their transgressions, and put 
them all on the head of the goat, and send him away by the 
hand of a fit man into the wilderness ; and that the goat 
should bear upon him all the iniquities of the people into a 
land not inhabited ? * How could a goat carry away a load 
of iniquities and transgressions? Why should he carry 
them to a land uninhabited ? Were these sins contagious ? 
About how many sins could an average goat carry? Could 
a man meet such a goat now without laughing ? 

Forty -third. Why should God object to a man wearing a 
garment made of woolen and linen? Why should he care 
whether a man rounded the corners of his beard ? 9 Why 
should God prevent a man from offering the sacred bread 
merely because he had a flat nose, or was lame, or had five 
fingers on one hand, or had a broken foot, or was a dwarf ? 
If he objected to such people, why did he make them ? * 

Forty-fourth. Why should we believe that God insisted 
upon the sacrifice of human beings ? Is it a sin to deny 
this, and to deny the inspiration of a book that teaches it ? 
Read the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth verses of the last 
chapter of Leviticus, a book in which there is more folly 
and cruelty, more stupidity and tyranny, than in any other 
book in this world except some others in the same Bible. 
Read the thirty-second chapter of Exodus and you will see 
how by the most infamous of crimes man becomes recou- 

1 Ley, xyi, 8. Lev. xvi, 21, 22. * Lev. xix, 19, 27, 

4 Lev. xxi, 18-20. 


ciled to this God. You will see that he demands of fathers 
the blood of their sons. Read the twelfth and thirteenth 
verses of the third chapter of Numbers, "And I, behold, I 
have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel," 

How, in the desert of Sinai, did the Jews obtain curtains 
of fine linen? How did these absconding slaves make 
cherubs of gold ? Where did they get the skins of badgers, 
and how did they dye them red ? How did they make 
wreathed chains and spoons, basins and tongs ? Where did 
they get the blue cloth and their purple ? Where did they 
get the sockets of brass ? How did they coin the shekel of 
the sanctuary ? How did they overlay boards with gold ? 
Where did they get the numberless instruments and tools 
necessary to accbmplish all these things ? Where did they 
get the fine flour and the oil ? Were all these found in the 
desert of Sinai ? Is it a sin to ask these questions ? Are 
all these doubts born of a malignant and depraved heart ? 
Why should God in this desert prohibit priests from drink 
ing wine, and from eating moist grapes ? How could these 
priests get wine ? 

Do not these passages show that these laws were made 
long after the Jews had left the desert, and that they were 
not given from Sinai ? Can you imagine a God silly 
enough to tell a horde of wandering savages upon a desert 
that they must not eat any fruit of the trees they planted 
until the fourth year ? 

Forty-fifth. Ought a man to be despised and persecuted 
for denying that God ordered the priests to make women 
drink dirt and water to test their virtue? ' Or for denying 
that over the tabernacle there was a cloud during the day 
and fire by night, and that the cloud lifted up when God 
wished the Jews to travel, and that until it was lifted they 
remained in their tents ? * Can it be possible that the " ark 
1 Num. v, 12-31. *Num. ix, 16-18. 


of the covenant " traveled on its own account, and that 
" when the ark set forward " the people followed, as is 
related in the tenth chapter of the holy book of Numbers ? 

Forty-sixth. Was it reasonable for God to give the Jews 
manna, and nothing else, year after year? He had infinite 
power, and could just as easily have given them something 
good, in reasonable variety, as to have fed them on manna 
until they loathed the sight of it, and longingly remembered 
the fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic of 
Egypt. And yet when the poor people complained of the 
diet and asked for a little meat, this loving and merciful 
God became enraged, sent them millions of quails in his 
wrath, and while they were eating, while the flesh was yet 
between their teeth, before it was chewed, this amiable God 
smote the people with a plague and killed all those that 
lusted after meat. In a few days after, he made up his 
mind to kill the rest, but was dissuaded when Moses told 
him that the Canaanites would laugh at him. 1 No won 
der the poor Jews wished they were back in Egypt. No 
wonder they had rather be the slaves of Pharaoh than the 
chosen people of God. No wonder they preferred the 
wrath of Egypt to the love of heaven. In my judgment, 
the Jews would have fared far better if Jehovah had let 
them alone, or had he even taken the side of the Egyptians. 

When the poor Jews were told by their spies that the 
Canaanites were giants, they, seized with fear, said, " Let us 
go back to Egypt." For this, their God doomed all except 
Joshua and Caleb to a wandering death. Hear the words 
of this most merciful God : " But as for you, your carcasses 
they shall fall in this wilderness, and your children shall 
wander in the wilderness forty years and bear your" sins 
" until your carcasses be wasted in the wilderness." * And 
yet this same God promised to give unto all these people a 
land flowing with milk and honey. 

'Num. xiv, 15, 16. 'Num. xiv. 33-33, 


Forty-seventh. " And while the children of Israel were in 
the wilderness they found a man that gathered sticks 
upon the Sabbath day. 

" And they that found him gathering sticks brought him 
unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation. 

" And they put him in ward, because it was not declared 
what should be done to him. 

" And the Lord said unto Moses, The man shall be 
surely put to death ; all the congregation shall stone him 
with stones without the camp. 

" And all the congregation brought him without the 
camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died." ' 

When the last stone was thrown, and he that was a man 
was but a mangled, bruised, and broken mass, this God 
turned, and, touched with pity, said : " Speak unto the 
children of Israel, and bid them that they make them 
fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their 
generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the bor 
ders a riband of blue." * 

In the next chapter, this Jehovah, whose loving kind 
ness is over all his works, because Korah, Dathan, and 
Abiram objected to being starved to death in the wilder 
ness, made the earth open and swallow not only them, but 
their wives and their little ones. Not yet satisfied, he sent 
a plague and killed fourteen thousand seven hundred more. 
There never was in the history of the world such a cruel, 
revengeful, bloody, jealous, fickle, unreasonable, and fiend 
ish ruler, emperor, or king as Jehovah. No wonder the 
children of Israel cried out, "Behold we die, we perish, 
we all perish." 

Forty-eighth. I cannot believe that a dry stick budded, 

blossomed, and bore almonds ; that the ashes of a red 

heifer are a purification for sin ;" that God gave the cities 

into the hands of the Jews because they solemnly agreed 

'Num. xv, 32-36. 'Num. xv, 38. Num. xix, 2-10, 


to murder all the inhabitants ; that God became enraged 
and induced snakes to bite his chosen people ; that God 
told Balaam to go with the Princess of Moab, and then got 
angry because he did go ; that an animal ever saw an 
angel and conversed with a man. I cannot believe that 
thrusting a spear through the body of a woman ever stayed 
a plague ; ' that any good man ever ordered his soldiers to 
slay the men and keep the maidens alive for themselves ; 
that God commanded men not to show mercy to each 
other ; that he induced men to obey his commandments 
by promising them that he would assist them in murdering 
the wives and children of their neighbors ; or that he ever 
commanded a man to kill his wife because she differed with 
him about religion;* or that God was mistaken about 
hares chewing the cud ; 3 or that he objected to the people 
raising horses ; 4 or that God wanted a camp kept clean 
because he walked through it at night; 6 or that he com 
manded widows to spit in the faces of their brothers-in-law ;' 
or that he ever threatened to give anybody the itch ; 7 or 
that he ever secretly buried a man and allowed the corpse 
to write an account of the funeral. 

Forty-ninth. Does it necessarily follow that a man wishes 
to commit some crime if he refuses to admit that the river 
Jordan cut itself in two and allowed the lower end to run 
away?" Or that seven priests could blow seven ram's 
horns loud enough to throw down the walls of a city ; ' or 
that God, after Achan had confessed that he had secreted 
a garment and a wedge of gold, became good natured as 
soon as Achan and his sons and daughters had been stoned 
to death and their bodies burned? " Is it not a virtue to 
abhor such a God ? 

Must we believe that God sanctioned and commanded all 

'Num. xxv, 8. 4 Deut. xvii, 16. T Deut. xxviii, 27. 

*Deut. xiii, 6-10. * Deut. xxiii, 13, 14. " Josh. Hi, 16. 

8 Deut. xiv, 7. Deut. xxv, 9., Josh. vi, 20. 

10 Josh, vii, 24, 25. 


the cruelties and horrors described in the Old Testament ; 
that lie waged the most relentless and heartless wars ; that 
he declared mercy a crime ; that to spare life was to excite 
his wrath ; that he smiled when maidens were violated, 
laughed when mothers were ripped open with a sword, and 
shouted with joy when babes were butchered in their 
mothers' arms ? Read the infamous book of Joshua, and 
then worship the God who inspired it if you can. 

Fiftieth. Can any sane man believe that the sun stood still 
in the midst of heaven and hasted not to go down about a 
whole day, and that the moon stayed ? ' That these 
miracles were performed in the interest of massacre and 
bloodshed ; that the Jews destroyed men, women, and chil 
dren by the million, and practiced every cruelty that the 
ingenuity of their God could suggest ? Is it possible that 
these things really happened ? Is it possible that God com 
manded them to be done ? Again I ask you to read the 
book of Joshua. After reading all its horrors you will feel 
a grim satisfaction in the dying words of Joshua to the 
children of Israel: "Know for a certainty that the Lord 
your God will no more drive out any of these nations from 
before you ; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, 
and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until 
ye perish from off this good land." a 

Think of a God who boasted that he gave the Jews a 
land for which they did not labor, cities which they did 
not build, and allowed them to eat of oliveyards and vine 
yards which they did not plant. 3 Think of a God who 
murders some of his children for the benefit of the rest, 
and then kills the rest because they are not thankful 
enough. Think of a God who had the power to stop the 
sun and moon, but could not defeat an army that had iron 
chariots. 4 

Fifty-first. Can we blame the Hebrews for getting tired 

'Josh, x, 13. . 8 Josh. xiii, 13. 3 Josh. xxiv, 13. * Judges i, 19. 


of their God? Never was a people so murdered, starved, 
stoned, burned, deceived, humiliated, robbed, and outraged. 
Never was there so little liberty among men. Never did 
the meanest king so meddle, eavesdrop, spy out, harass, tor 
ment, and persecute his people. Never was ruler so jealous, 
unreasonable, contemptible, exacting, and ignorant as this 
God of the Jews. Never was such ceremony, such mum 
mery, such stuff about bullocks, goats, doves, red heifers, 
lambs, and unleavened dough never was such directions 
about kidneys and blood, ashes and fat, about curtains, 
tongs, fringes, ribands, and brass pins never such details 
for killing of animals and men and the sprinkling of blood 
and the cutting of clothes. Never were such unjust laws, 
such punishments, such damned ignorance and infamy ! 

Fifty-second. Is it not wonderful that the creator of all 
worlds, infinite in power and wisdom, could not hold his 
own against the gods of wood and stone? Is it not strange 
that after he had appeared to his chosen people, delivered 
them from slavery, fed them by miracles, opened the sea 
for a path, led them by cloud and fire, and overthrown their 
pursuers, they still preferred a calf of their own making? 
Is it not beyond belief that this God, by statutes and com 
mandments, by punishments and penalties, by rewards and 
promises, by wonders and plagues, by earthquakes and 
pestilence, could not in the least civilize the Jews could 
not get them bayond a point where they deserved killing ? 
What shall we think of a God who gave his entire time for 
forty years to the work of converting three millions of peo 
ple, and succeeded in getting only two men, and not a single 
woman, decent enough to enter the promised land ? Was 
there ever in the history of man so detestible an administra 
tion of public affairs ? Is it possible that God sold his chil 
dren to the king of Mesopotamia ; that he sold them to Jabin, 
king of Canaan, to the Philistines, and to the children of Am- 
mon ? Is it possible that an angel of the Lord devoured 


unleavened cakes and broth with fire that came out of the end 
of a stick as he sat under an oak-tree ? ' Can it be true that 
God made known his will by making dew fall on wool 
without wetting the ground around it ? ' Do you really be 
lieve that men who lap water like a dog make the best 
soldiers ? 3 Do you think that a man could hold a lamp in 
his left hand, a trumpet in his right hand, blow his trumpet, 
shout " the sword of the Lord and of Gideon," and break 
pitchers at the same time ?* 

Fifty-third. Read the story of Jephthah and his daughter, 
and then tell me what you think of a father who would 
sacrifice his daughter to God, and what you think of a God 
who would receive such a sacrifice. This one story should 
be enough to make every tender and loving father hold this 
book in utter abhorrence. Is it necessary, in order to be 
saved, that one must believe that an angel of God appeared 
unto Manoah in the absence of her husband ; that this an 
gel afterward went up in a flame of fire ; that as a result of 
this visit a child was born whose strength was in his hair? 
a child that made beehives of lions, incendiaries of foxes, 
and had a wife that wept seven days to get the answer to 
his riddle ? Will the wrath of God abide forever upon a 
man for doubting the story that Samson killed a thousand 
men with a new jawbone ? Is there enough in the Bible to 
save a soul with this story left out ? Is hell hungry for 
those who deny that water gushed from a "hollow place" 
in a dry bone ? Is it evidence of a new heart to believe 
that one man turned over a house so large that over three 
thousand people were on the roof ? For my part, I cannot 
believe these things, and if my salvation depends upon my 
credulity I am as good as damned already. I cannot be 
lieve that the Philistines took back the ark with a present 
of five gold mice, and that thereupon God relented.' I can- 

1 Judges vi, 21. 'Judges vii, 5. * i Sam. vi. 4. 

'Judges vi, 37. 4 Judges vii, 20. 


not believe that God killed fifty thousand men for looking 
into a box. 1 It seems incredible, after all the Jews had 
done, after all their wars and victories, even when Saul was 
king, that there was not among them one smith who could 
make a sword or spear, and that they were compelled to go 
to the Philistines to sharpen every plowshare, coulter, and 
mattock.* Can you believe that God said to Saul, " Now 
go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, 
and spare them not ; but slay both man and woman, infant 
and suckling " ? Can you believe that because Saul took 
the king alive after killing every other man, woman, and 
child, the ogre called Jehovah was displeased and made 
up his mind to hurl Saul from the throne and give his place 
to another ? ' I cannot believe that the Philistines all ran 
away because one of their number was killed with a stone. 
I cannot justify the conduct of Abigail, the wife of Nabal, 
who took presents to David. David hardly did right when 
he said to this woman, " I have hearkened to thy voice, and 
have accepted thy person." It could hardly have been 
chance that made Nabal so deathly sick next morning and 
killed him in ten days. All this looks wrong, especially as 
David married his widow before poor Nabal was fairly 
cold. 4 

Fifty-fourth. Notwithstanding all I have heard of Katie 
King, I cannot believe that a witch at Endor materialized 
the ghost of Samuel and caused it to appear with a cloak 
on.* I cannot believe that God tempted David to take the 
census, and then gave him his choice of three punishments : 
First, Seven years of famine ; Second, Flying three months 
before their enemies; Third, A pestilence of three days; 
that David chose the pestilence, and that God destroyed 
seventy thousand men.' Why should God kill the people 
for what David did ? Is it a sin to be counted ? Can 

1 1 Sam. vi, 19. * I Sam. xv. i Sam. xxyiii. 

I Sam. xiii, 19, 20. I Sam. xxv. 2 Sam. xxiv. 


anything more brutally hellish be Conceived ? Why should 
man waste prayers upon such a God ? 

Fifty-fifth. Must we admit that Elijah was fed by ravens; 
that they brought him bread and flesh every morning and 
evening? Must we believe that this same prophet could 
create meal and oil, and induce a departed soul to come 
back and take up its residence once more in the body ? 
That he could get rain by pra3 r ing for it ; that he could 
cause fire to burn up a sacrifice and altar, together with 
twelve barrels of water ?' Can we believe that an angel of 
the Lord turned cook and prepared two suppers in one 
night for Elijah, and that the prophet ate enough to last 
him forty days and forty nights?* Is it true that when a 
captain with fifty men went after Elijah, this prophet caused 
fire to come down from heaven and consume them all? 
Should God allow such wretches to manage his fire? Is it 
true that Elijah consumed another captain with fifty men 
in the same way ? ' Is it a fact that a river divided because 
the water was struck with a cloak ? Did a man actually 
go to heaven in a chariot of fire drawn by horses of fire, or 
was he carried to Paradise by a whirlwind ? Must we be 
lieve, in order to be good and tender fathers and mothers, 
that because some "little children" mocked at an old man 
with a bald head, God the same God who said, " Suffer 
little children to come unto me" sent two she-bears out 
of the wood and tare forty-two of these babes ? Think of 
the mothers that watched and waited for their children. 
Think of the wailing when these mangled ones were found, 
when they were brought back and pressed to the breasts of 
weeping women. What an amiable gentleman Mr. Elisha 
must have been. 4 

Fifty-sixth. It is hard to believe that a prophet by lying on 
a dead body could make it sneeze seven times ;* or that being 

'i Kings xyiii. "2 Kings i. a Kings iv. 

* I Kings xix. * 2 Kings ii. 


dipped seven times in the Jordan could cure the leprosy. 1 
Would a merciful God curse children, and children's chil 
dren yet unborn, with leprosy for a father's fault ? * Is it 
possible to make iron float in water?' Is it reasonable to 
say that when a corpse touched another corpse it came to 
life? 4 Is it a sign that a man wants to commit a crime 
because he refuses to believe that a king had a boil and 
that God caused the sun to go backward in heaven so that 
the shadow on a sun-dial went back ten degrees as a sign 
that the aforesaid would get well? 6 Is it true that this 
globe turned backward, that its motion was reversed as a 
sign to a Jewish king ? If it did not, this story is false, 
and that part of the Bible is not true even if it is inspired. 

Fifty-seventh. How did the Bible get lost? 6 Where was the 
precious Pentateuch from Moses to Josiah? How was it 
possible for the Jews to get along without the directions as 
to fat and caul and kidney contained in Leviticus ? With 
out that sacred book in his possession a priest might take 
up ashes and carry them out without changing his panta 
loons. Such mistakes kindled the wrath of God. 

As soon as the Pentateuch was found Josiah began kill 
ing wizards and such as had familiar spirits. 

Fifty-eighth. I cannot believe that God talked to Solomon, 
that he visited him in the night and asked him what he 
should give him ; I cannot believe that he told him, " I will 
give thee riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the 
kings have had before thee, neither shall there any after thee 
have the like." ' If Jehovah said this he was mistaken. It 
is not true that Solomon had fourteen hundred chariots of 
war in a country without roads. It is not true that he 
made gold and silver at Jerusalem as plenteous as stones. 
There were several kings in his day, and thousands since, 
that could have thrown away the value of Palestine without 

'2 Kings v. 8 2 Kings, yi. 6. 5 2 Kings xx, i-n. 

* 2 Kings v. 27. 4 2 Kings xiii, 21. 2 Kings xxii, 8. 

T 2 Chron. i, 7, 12. 

606 MISCfiLLAtfY. 

missing the amount. The Holy Land was and is a 
wretched country. There are no monuments, no ruins at 
testing former wealth and greatness. The Jews had no 
commerce, knew nothing of other nations, had no luxuries, 
never produced a painter, a sculptor, architect, scientist, or 
statesman until after the destruction of Jerusalem. As 
long as Jehovah attended to their affairs they had nothing 
but civil war, plague, pestilence, and famine. After he 
abandoned, and the Christians ceased to persecute them, 
they became the most prosperous of people. Since Jehovah, 
in anger and disgust, cast them away they have produced 
painters, sculptors, scientists, statesmen, composers, and 

Fifty-ninth. I cannot admit that Hiram, the King of Tyre, 
wrote a letter to Solomon in which he admitted that the 
" God of Israel made heaven and earth." l This King was 
not a Jew. It seems incredible that Solomon had eighty 
thousand men hewing timber for the temple, with seventy 
thousand bearers of burdens, and thirty-six hundred over 

Sixtieth. I cannot believe that God shuts up heaven and 
prevents rain, or that he sends locusts to devour a land, or 
pestilence to destroy the people. 3 I cannot believe that God 
told Solomon that his eyes and heart should perpetually 
be in the house that Solomon had built. 4 

Sixty-first. I cannot believe that Solomon passed all the 
kings of the earth in riches ; that all the kings of the earth 
sought his presence and brought presents of silver and 
gold, raiment, harness, spices, and mules a rate year by 
year. 6 Is it possible that Shishak, a King of Egypt, in 
vaded Palestine with seventy thousand horsemen and 
twelve hundred chariots of war ? * I cannot believe that in 
a battle between Jeroboam and Abijah, the army of Abijah 

1 2 Chron. ii, 12. *2 Chron. vii, 73. 8 2 Chron. ix, 22-24. 

* 2 Chron. ii, 18. 4 2 Chron. vii, 16. 2 Chron. xii, 2, 3. 


actually slew in one day five hundred thousand chosen men. 1 
Does anyone believe that Zerah, the Ethiopian, invaded 
Palestine with a million men ? 3 I cannot believe that 
Jehoshaphat had a standing army of nine hundred and 
sixty thousand men.* I cannot believe that God adver 
tised for a liar to act as his messenger.* I cannot believe 
that King Amaziah did right in the sight of the Lord, and 
that he broke in pieces ten thousand men by casting them 
from a precipice. 5 I cannot think that God smote a king 
with leprosy because he tried to burn incense.' I cannot 
think that Pekah slew one hundred and twenty thousand 
men in one day. 7 

1 2 Chron. xiii, 17. 3 2 Chron. xvii, 14-19. *2 Chron. xxv, 12. 
8 2 Chron. xiv, 9. 4 2 Chron. xviij, 19-22. *2 Chron. xxvi, 19. 
* 2 Chron. xxviii, 6. 


ii in i ii in i ii i inn i 

A 001 341 935 3