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Title: Ingersollia - Gems of Thought from the Lectures, Speeches, and - Conversations of Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, Representative - of His Opinions and Beliefs
Author: Ingersoll, Robert Green, 1833-1899
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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By Robert G. Ingersoll


Edited By Elmo




Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll occupies a unique position. He is to a large
extent the product of his own generation. A man of the times, for the
times. He has had no predecessor, he will have no successor.

Such a man was impossible a hundred years ago; the probabilities are
that a century hence no such man will be needed. His work needs only
to be done once. One such "voice crying in the wilderness" is enough
to stir the sluggish streams of thought, and set the reeds of the river
trembling. It was said of Edward Irving, when he went to preach in that
great wilderness of London, that he was "not a reed to be shaken by the
wind, but a wind to shake the reeds." It would not be flattery in any
sense if similar words were spoken concerning the man who has uttered
the words of this book.

Daring to stand alone, and speak all the thought that is in him, without
the miserable affectation of singularity, Colonel Ingersoll has reached
a point from which he wields an influence both deep and wide over
thoughtful minds. For the last few years he has been sowing strange
seeds, with unsparing hand, in many fields; and probably no one is
more surprised than he is himself to find how thoroughly the ground was
prepared for such a seed-sowing.

Time is much too precious to discuss the mere methods of the sowing. No
doubt many who have listened to this later Gamaliel, have been startled
and shocked by his bold, and sometimes terrific utterances; but after
the shock--when the nerves have regained their equilibrium--has come
serious, calm-questioning thought. And whoever sets men to asking
earnest questions, whoever provokes men to sincere enquiry, whoever
helps men to think freely, does the Man and the State and the Age good
service. This good service Colonel Ingersoll has rendered. He has sent
the Preachers back to a more careful and diligent study of the Bible;
he has spoken after such a fashion that Students in many departments
of learning have been compelled to reconsider the foundations on which
their theories rest. Above all, he has awakened thousands of thoughtless
people to the luxury of thinking, and he has inspired many a timid
thinker to break all bonds and think freely and fearlessly for himself.

In referring some time ago to the subject matter of Colonel Ingersoll's
teachings, Prof. David Swing, of Chicago, laid special emphasis on
the point, that the man speaking and the thing spoken were entirely
separable, and that no wise criticism of these words could proceed,
unless this fact was kept in view. This word of caution is as timely as
it is wise. We are too much prone to judge the music by the amount of
gilding on the organ-pipes; we are too apt to forget that gold is gold,
whether in the leathern pouch of a beggar or the silken purse of a king.
The doubts expressed, the truths uttered, the questions proposed by the
so-called Infidel, demand of us that for their own sakes we give them
generous, patient audience. The point of supreme importance is, not
whether Mr. Ingersoll is an authority on the grave questions with which
he is pleased to deal, but are these teachings truth? "There's the rub."
If we are wise we shall judge the teachings rather than the teacher.

Affrighted orthodox Christians are perpetually warning their young
friends against Mr. Ingersoll. He is portrayed as a very terrible
personage, going up and down to work sad havoc amongst the unsuspecting
youth of the Time. Orthodoxy would prove itself wiser, it would be
bolder, and it would give some slight guarantee for honesty, if it left
the man alone, and addressed itself seriously to the grave questions at
issue. Colonel Ingersoll shares with Huxley, Darwin and Herbert Spencer
the high distinction of being criticized most vehemently by those who
have never heard his voice, and have never carefully read a page of his
published works; and as is always the case in such circumstances, the
most absurd and exaggerated statements of what Mr. Ingersoll _never_
said have become current, and the speaker has been transformed into a
very Gorgon of horror!

But this is nothing new, this is one of the many tolls that every man
must be willing to pay who marches on the grand highway of freedom.

The pages of this book deserve a careful study, and if it be true that
"out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaketh," we may judge from
what sort of a heart-fountain these streams have flowed.

One purpose steadily kept in view in the editing of these pages has been
to present in compact and reasonable space, a thoroughly representative
consensus of the opinions and beliefs of Mr. Ingersoll. Ha has been
known chiefly by his severe attacks on theological orthodoxy; but
there are a thousand other questions on which he has spoken wise and
impressive words. There are few things in heaven and earth that his
"philosophy" has not embraced, The quiet life of the farm; the romance
and sanctity of home; the charm of childhood; the profound secrets of
philosophy; the horrors of slavery; the dreadful scourge of war; the
patriotism and valor of the soldiers of the Republic; the high calling
of statesmanship, churches and priests; infidels and christians; gods
and devils; orthodox and hetrodox; heaven and hell;--these, and a
thousand other questions have been discussed with wit, and wisdom and
matchless eloquence. This volume might have been increased to twice
or thrice its present size, and then there would have been material to
spare. But in these busy days economy of time is of great importance.
This is a book for busy men in a very busy generation.

It is matter of some little surprise that Mr. Ingersoll should have
yielded--without protest--to the conventional use of the term "Infidel."
The general sense in which the word is used is a gross misrepresentation
of its accurate meaning. "Infidel," is the last word that ought to be
applied to any man who is loyal to his mind; whether that mind summer
in the light of steadfast belief, or wander through the mazy fields
of doubt. "What is Infidelity?" There is no man more able, none more
suitable than Col. Robert Ingersoll to rise and explain.

Mr. Ingersoll has been called the Apostle of Unbelief. But the title
is a misnomer. His mouth is full to the lips of positive statements of
strong conviction. His creed has a thousand articles. He is above all
things the Apostle of Freedom. Freedom for Nations, for Communities, for
Men. Freedom everywhere! Freedom always! the zeal with which he blows
the trumpet of Liberty, the enthusiasm with which he waves the banner of
Freedom, reminds one of Tennyson's fine words:--

     Of old stood Freedom on the heights,
     The thunders breaking at her feet,
     Above her shook the starry lights;
     She heard the torrents meet.
     Then stepped she down thro' town and field
     To mingle with the human race,
     And part by part to men revealed
     The fullness of her face--
     Her open eyes desire the truth,
     The wisdom of a thousand years
     Is in them.   May perpetual youth
     Keep dry their light from tears;
     That her fair form may stand and shine:
     Make bright our days and light our dreams,
     Tuning to scorn with lips divine
     The falsehood of extremes!


1. Ingersoll as a Farmer

When I was a farmer they used to haul wheat two hundred miles in wagons
and sell it for thirty-five cents a bushel. They would bring home about
three hundred feet of lumber, two bunches of shingles, a barrel of salt,
and a cook-stove that never would draw and never did bake.

In those blessed days the people lived on corn and bacon. Cooking was
an unknown art. Eating was a necessity, not a pleasure. It was hard work
for the cook to keep on good terms even with hunger. We had poor houses.
The rain held the roofs in perfect contempt, and the snow drifted
joyfully on the floors and beds. They had no barns. The horses were kept
in rail pens surrounded with straw. Long before spring the sides would
be eaten away and nothing but roofs would be left. Food is fuel. When
the cattle were exposed to all the blasts of winter, it took all
the corn and oats that could be stuffed into them to prevent actual
starvation. In those times farmers thought the best place for the
pig-pen was immediately in front of the house. There is nothing like
sociability. Women were supposed to know the art of making fires without
fuel. The wood-pile consisted, as a general thing, of one log, upon
which an axe or two had been worn out in vain. There was nothing
to kindle a fire with. Pickets were pulled from the garden fence,
clap-boards taken from the house, and every stray plank was seized upon
for kindling. Everything was done in the hardest way. Everything about
the farm was disagreeable.

2. The Happy Life of the Farm

There is a quiet about the life of a farmer, and the hope of a
serene old age, that no other business or profession can promise.
A professional man is doomed some time to find that his powers are
wanting. He is doomed to see younger and stronger men pass him in the
race of life. He looks forward to an old age of intellectual mediocrity.
He will be last where once he was the first. But the farmer goes as it
were into partnership, with nature--he lives with trees and flowers--he
breathes the sweet air of the fields. There is no constant and frightful
strain upon his mind. His nights are filled with sleep and rest. He
watches his flocks and herds as they feed upon the green and sunny
slopes. He hears the pleasant rain falling upon the waving corn, and the
trees he planted in youth rustle above him as he plants others for the
children yet to be.

3. The Ambitious Farmer's Boy

Nearly every farmer's boy took an oath that he would never cultivate
the soil. The moment they arrived at the age of twenty-one they left
the desolate and dreary farms and rushed to the towns and cities. They
wanted to be book-keepers, doctors, merchants, railroad men, insurance
agents, lawyers, even preachers, anything to avoid the drudgery of the
farm. Nearly every boy acquainted with the three R's--reading, writing
and arithmetic--imagined that he had altogether more education than
ought to be wasted in raising potatoes and corn. They made haste to get
into some other business. Those who stayed upon the farm envied those
who went away.

4. Never Be Afraid of Work!

There are hundreds of graduates of Yale and Harvard and other colleges
who are agents of sewing machines, solicitors for insurance, clerks and
copyists, in short, performing a hundred varieties of menial service.
They seem willing to do anything that is not regarded as work--anything
that can be done in a town, in the house, in an office, but they avoid
farming as they would leprosy. Nearly every young man educated in this
way is simply ruined.

Boys and girls should be educated to help themselves; they should be
taught that it is disgraceful to be seen idle, and dishonorable to be

5. Happiness the Object of Life

Remember, I pray you, that you are in partnership with all labor--that
you should join hands with all the sons and daughters of toil, and that
all who work belong to the same noble family.

Happiness should be the object of life, and if life on the farm can be
made really happy, the children will grow up in love with the meadows,
the streams, the woods and the old home. Around the farm will cling and
cluster the happy memories of the delight-ful years.

6. The Sunset of the Farmer's Life

For my part, I envy the man who has lived on the same broad acres from
his boyhood, who cultivates the fields where in youth he played, and
lives where his father lived and died. I can imagine no sweeter way to
end one's life than in the quiet of the country, out of the mad race
for money, place and power--far from the demands of business--out of the
dusty highway where fools struggle and strive for the hoi ow praise of
other fools. Surrounded by these pleasant fields and faithful friends,
by those I have loved, I hope to end my days.

7. Farmers, Protect Yourselves!

The farmers should vote only for such men as are able and willing to
guard and advance the interests of labor. We should know better than
to vote for men who will deliberately put a tariff of three dollars
a thousand upon Canada lumber, when every farmer in the States is a
purchaser of lumber. People who live upon the prairies ought to vote for
cheap lumber. We should protect ourselves. We ought to have intelligence
enough to know what we want and how to get it. The real laboring men of
this country can succeed if they are united. By laboring men, I do not
mean only the farmers. I mean all who contribute in some way to the
general welfare.

8. Roast the Beef, Not the Cook.

Farmers should live like princes. Eat the best things you raise and sell
the rest. Have good things to cook and good things to cook with. Of all
people in our country, you should live the best. Throw your miserable
little stoves out of the window. Get ranges, and have them so built that
your wife need not burn her face off to get you a breakfast. Do not make
her cook in a kitchen hot as the orthodox perdition. The beef, not the
cook, should be roasted. It is just as easy to have things convenient
and right as to have them any other way.

9. Cultivated Farmers.

There is no reason why farmers should not be the kindest and most
cultivated of men. There is nothing in plowing the fields to make men
cross, cruel and crabbed. To look upon the sunny slopes covered with
daisies does not tend to make men unjust. Whoever labors for the
happiness of those he loves, elevates himself, no matter whether he
works in the dreary shop or the perfumed field.

10. The Wages of Slovenly Farming.

Nothing was kept in order. Nothing was preserved. The wagons stood
in the sun and rain, and the plows rusted in the fields. There was
no leisure, no feeling that the work was done. It was all labor and
weariness and vexation of spirit. The crops were destroyed by wandering
herds, or they were put in too late, or too early, or they were blown
down, or caught by the frost, or devoured by bugs, or stung by flies,
or eaten by worms, or carried away by birds, or dug up by gophers, or
washed away by floods, or dried up by the sun, or rotted in the stack,
or heated in the crib, or they all ran to vines, or tops, or straw, or
cobs. And when in spite of all these accidents that lie in wait between
the plow and reaper, they did succeed in raising a good crop and a high
price was offered, then the roads would be impassable. And when the
roads got good, then the prices went down. Everything worked together
for evil.

11. The Farmer's Happy Winter

I can imagine no condition that carries with it such a promise of joy
as that of the farmer in early winter. He has his cellar filled--he had
made every preparation for the days of snow and storm--he looks forward
to three months of ease and rest; to three months of fireside content;
three months with wife and children; three months of long, delightful
evenings; three months of home; three months of solid comfort.

12. The Almighty Dollar

Ainsworth R. Spofford--says Col. Ingersoll--gives the following facts
about interest: "One dollar loaned for one hundred years at six per
cent., with the interest collected annually and added to the principal,
will amount to three hundred and forty dollars. At eight per cent, it
amounts to two thousand two hundred and three dollars. At three per
cent, it amounts only to nineteen dollars and twenty-five cents. At ten
per cent, it is thirteen thousand eight hundred and nine dollars, or
about seven hundred times as much. At twelve per cent, it amounts
to eighty-four thousand and seventy-five dollars, or more than four
thousand times as much. At eighteen per cent, it amounts to fifteen
million one hundred and forty-five thousand and seven dollars. At
twenty-four per cent, it reaches the enormous sum of two billion, five
hundred and fifty-one million, seven hundred and ninety-five thousand,
four hundred and four dollars!" One dollar at compound interest, at
twenty-four per cent., for one hundred years, would produce a sum equal
to our national debt.

13. The Farmer in Debt

Interest eats night and day, and the more it eats the hungrier it grows.
The farmer in debt, lying awake at night, can, if he listens, hear it
gnaw. If he owes nothing, he can hear his corn grow. Get out of debt,
as soon as you possibly can. You have supported idle avarice and lazy
economy long enough.

14. Own Your Own Home

There can be no such thing in the highest sense as a home unless you own
it. There must be an incentive to plant trees, to beautify the grounds,
to preserve and improve. It elevates a man to own a home. It gives a
certain independence, a force of character that is obtained in no other
way. A man without a home feels like a passenger. There is in such a man
a little of the vagrant. Homes make patriots. He who has sat by his
own fireside with wife and children, will defend it. Few men have been
patriotic enough to shoulder a musket in defense of a boarding-house.
The prosperity and glory of our country depend upon the number of people
who are the owners of homes.

15. What to do with the Idlers

Our country is filled with the idle and unemployed, and the great
question asking for an answer is: What shall be done with these men?
What shall these men do? To this there is but one answer: They must
cultivate the soil. Farming must be more attractive. Those who work
the land must have an honest pride in their business. They must educate
their children to cultivate the soil.

16. Farm-Life Lonely

I say again, if you want more men and women on the farms, something must
be done to make farm-life pleasant. One great difficulty is that the
farm is lonely. People write about the pleasures of solitude, but they
are found only in books. He who lives long alone, becomes insane.

17. The Best Farming States

The farmer in the Middle States has the best soil--the greatest return
for the least labor--more leisure--more time for enjoyment than any
other farmer in the world. His hard work ceases with autumn. He has the
long winters in which to become acquainted with his family--with his
neighbors--in which to read and keep abreast with the advanced thought
of his day. He has the time and means of self-culture. He has more time
than the mechanic, the merchant or the professional man. If the farmer
is not well informed it is his own fault. Books are cheap, and every
farmer can have enough to give him the outline of every science, and an
idea of all that has been accomplished by man.

18. The Laborers, the Kings and Queens

The farmer has been elevated through science, and he should not forget
the debt he owes to the mechanic, to the inventor, to the thinker. He
should remember that all laborers belong to the same grand family--that
they are the real kings and queens, the only true nobility.


19. The Family the Only Heaven in this World

Don't make that poor girl play ten years on a piano when she has no
ear for music, and when she has practiced until she can play "Bonaparte
Crossing the Alps," you can't tell after she has played it whether
Bonaparte ever got across or not. Men are oaks, women are vines,
children are flowers, and if there is any Heaven in this world it is
in the family. It is where the wife loves the husband, and the husband
loves the wife, and where the dimpled arms of children are about the
necks of both.

20. The Far-Seeing Eyes of Children.

I want to tell you this, you cannot get the robe of hypocrisy on you so
thick that the sharp eye of childhood will not see through every veil.

21. Love and Freedom in a Cabin

I would rather go to the forest far away and build me a little
cabin--build it myself and daub it with mud, and live there with my wife
aud family--and have a little path that led down to the spring, where
the water bubbled out day and night, like a little poem from the heart
of the earth; a little hut with some hollyhocks at the corner, with
their bannered bosoms open to the sun, and with the thrush in the air,
like a song of joy in the morning; I would rather live there and have
some lattice work across the window, so that the sunlight would fall
checkered on the baby in the cradle; I would rather live there and have
my soul erect and free, than to live in a palace of gold and wear the
crown of imperial power and know that my soul was slimy with hypocrisy.

22. The Turnpike Road of Happiness

Whoever marries simply for himself will make a mistake; but whoever
loves a woman so well that he says, "I will make her happy," makes no
mistake; and so with the woman who says, "I will make him happy." There
is only one way to be happy, and that is to make somebody else so, and
you can't be happy cross-lots; you have got to go the regular turnpike

23. Love Paying Ten Per Cent

I tell you to-night there is on the average more love in the homes of
the poor than in the palaces of the rich; and the meanest hut with love
in it is fit for the gods, and a palace without love is a den only fit
for wild beasts. That's my doctrine! You can't be so poor but that you
can help somebody. Good nature is the cheapest commodity in the world;
and love is the only thing that will pay ten per cent, to borrower and
lender both. Don't tell me that you have got to be rich! We have all a
false standard of greatness in the United States. We think here that a
man to be great must be notorious; he must be extremely wealthy or his
name must be between the lips of rumor. It is all nonsense! It is not
necessary to be rich to be great, or to be powerful to be happy; and the
happy man is the successful man. Happiness is the legal-tender of the
soul. Joy is wealth.

24. A Word to the Cross-Grained

A cross man I hate above all things. What right has he to murder the
sunshine of the day? What right has he to assassinate the joy of life?
When you go home you ought to feel the light there is in the house;
if it is in the night it will burst out of the doors and windows and
illuminate the darkness. It is just as well to go home a ray of sunshine
as an old, sour, cross curmudgeon, who thinks he is the head of the
family. Wise men think their mighty brains have been in a turmoil; they
have been thinking about who will be alderman from the Fifth ward; they
have been thinking about politics; great and mighty questions have been
engaging their minds; they have bought calico at eight cents or six, and
want to sell it for seven. Think of the intellectual strain that must
have been upon a man, and when he gets home everybody else in the house
must look out for his comfort. Head of the house, indeed! I don't like
him a bit!

25. Oh! Daughters and Wives be Beautiful

I am a believer in fashion. It is the duty of every woman to make
herself as beautiful and attractive as she possibly can. "Handsome is
as handsome does," but she is much handsomer if well dressed. Every man
should look his very best. I am a believer in good clothes. The time
never ought to come in this country when you can tell a farmer's
daughter simply by the garments she wears. I say to every girl and
woman, no matter what the material of your dress may be, no matter how
cheap and coarse it is, cut it and make it in the fashion. I believe
in jewelry. Some people look upon it as barbaric, but in my judgment,
wearing jewelry is the first evidence the barbarian gives of a wish to
be civilized. To adorn ourselves seems to be a part of our nature, and
this desire, seems to be everywhere and in everything. I have sometimes
thought that the desire for beauty covers the earth with flowers. It
is this desire that paints the wings of moths, tints the chamber of the
shell, and gives the bird its plumage and its song. Oh! daughters and
wives if you would be loved, adorn yourselves--if you would be adorned,
be beautiful!

26. A Wholesome Word to the Stingy

I despise a stingy man. I don't see how it is possible for a man to die
worth fifty millions of dollars or ten millions of dollars, in a city
full of want, when he meets almost every day the withered hand of
beggary and the white lips of famine. How a man can withstand all
that, and hold in the clutch of his greed twenty or thirty millions
of dollars, is past my comprehension. I do not see how he can do it. I
should not think he could do it any more than he could keep a pile of
lumber where hundreds and thousands of men were drowning in the sea. I
should not think he could do it. Do you know I have known men who would
trust their wives with their hearts and their honor, but not with their
pocketbook; not with a dollar. When I see a man of that kind I always
think he knows which of these articles is the most valuable.

27. The Boss of the Family

If you are the grand emperor of the world, you had better be the grand
emperor of one loving and tender heart, and she the grand empress of
yours. The man who has really won the love of one good woman in this
world, I do not care if he dies a beggar, his life has been a success.
I tell you it is an infamous word and an infamous feeling--a man who is
"boss," who is going to govern in his family; and when he speaks let all
the rest of them be still; some mighty idea is about to be launched from
his mouth. Do you know I dislike this man?

28. Be Honor Bright!

A good way to make children tell the truth is to tell it yourself. Keep
your word with your child the same as you would with your banker. Be
perfectly honor bright with your children, and they will be your friends
when you are old.

29. The Opera at the Table

I like to hear children at the table telling what big things they have
seen during the day; I like to hear their merry voices mingling with the
clatter of knives and forks. I had rather hear that than any opera that
was ever put upon the stage. I hate this idea of authority.

30. A Child's laugh sweeter than Apollo's lyre

I said, and I say again, no day can be so sacred but that the laugh of
a child will make the holiest day more sacred still. Strike with hand
of fire, oh, weird musician, thy harp, strung with Apollo's golden
hair; fill the vast cathedral aisles with symphonies sweet and dim, deft
toucher of the organ keys; blow, bugler, blow, until thy silver notes do
touch the skies, with moonlit waves, and charm the lovers wandering on
the vine-clad hills: but know, your sweetest strains are discords all,
compared with childhood's happy laugh, the laugh that fills the eyes
with light and every heart with joy; oh, rippling river of life, thou
art the blessed boundary-line between the beasts and man, and every
wayward wave of thine doth drown some fiend of care; oh, laughter,
divine daughter of joy, make dimples enough in the cheeks of the world
to catch and hold and glorify all the tears of grief.

31. Don't Wake the Children

Let your children sleep. Do not drag them from their beds in the
darkness of night. Do not compel them to associate all that is tiresome,
irksome and dreadful with cultivating the soil. Treat your children with
infinite kindness--treat them as equals. There is no happiness in a home
not filled with love. When the husband hates his wife--where the wife
hates the husband; where the children hate their parents and each
other--there is a hell upon earth.

32. How to Deal with Children

Some Christians act as though they thought when the Lord said, "Suffer
little children to come unto me," that he had a rawhide under his
mantle--they act as if they thought so. That is all wrong. I tell my
children this: Go where you may, commit what crime you may, fall to what
depths of degradation you may, I can never shut my arms, my heart or my
door to you. As long as I live you shall have one sincere friend; do not
be afraid to tell anything wrong you have done; ten to one if I have not
done the same thing. I am not perfection, and if it is necessary to sin
in order to have sympathy, I am glad I have committed sin enough to have
sympathy. The sterness of perfection I do not want. I am going to live
so that my children can come to my grave and truthfully say, "He who
sleeps here never gave us one moment of pain." Whether you call that
religion or infidelity, suit yourselves; that is the way I intend to do

33. Give a Child a Chance

Do not create a child to be a post set in an orthodox row; raise
investigators and thinkers, not disciples and followers; cultivate
reason, not faith; cultivate investigation, not superstition; and if
you have any doubt yourself about a thing being so, tell them about it;
don't tell them the world was made in six days--if you think six days
means six good whiles, tell them six good whiles. If you have any doubts
about anybody being in a furnace and not being burnt, or even getting
uncomfortably warm, tell them so--be honest about it. If you look upon
the jaw-bone of a donkey as not a good weapon, say so. Give a child a
chance. If you think a man never went to sea in a fish, tell them so, it
won't make them any worse. Be honest--that's all; don't cram their heads
with things that will take them years to unlearn; tell them facts--it
is just as easy. It is as easy to find out botany, and astronomy, and
geology, and history--it is as easy to find out all these things as to
cram their minds with things you know nothing about.

34. The Greatest Liars in Michigan

I was over in Michigan the other day. There was a boy over there at
Grand Rapids about five or six years old, a nice, smart boy, as you will
see from the remark he made--what you might call a nineteenth century
boy. His father and mother had promised to take him out riding for about
three weeks, and they would slip off and go without him. Well, after
a while that got kind of played out with the little boy, and the day
before I was there they played the trick on him again. They went out and
got the carriage, and went away, and as they rode away from the front of
the house, he happened to be standing there with his nurse, and he
saw them. The whole thing flashed on him in a moment. He took in the
situation, and turned to his nurse and said, pointing to his father and
mother: "There go the two biggest liars in the State of Michigan!" When
you go home fill the house with joy, so that the light of it will stream
out the windows and doors, and illuminate even the darkness. It is just
as easy that way as any in the world.

35. Forgive the Children!

When your child confesses to you that it has com mitted a fault, take
the child in your arms, and let it feel your heart beat against its
heart, and raise your children in the sunlight of love, and they will be
sunbeams to you along the pathway of life. Abolish the club and the whip
from the house, because, if the civilized use a whip, the ignorant and
the brutal will use a club, and they will use it because you use the

36. A Solemn Satire on Whipping Children

If there is one of you here that ever expect to whip your child again,
let me ask you something. Have your photograph taken at the time, and
let it show your face red with vulgar anger, and the face of the little
one with eyes swimming in tears. If that little child should die I
cannot think of a sweeter way to spend an Autumn afternoon than to take
that photograph and go to the cemetery, where the maples are clad in
tender gold, and when little scarlet runners are coming, like poems of
regret, from the sad heart of the earth; and sit down upon that mound,
I look upon that photograph, and think of the flesh, made dust, that you
beat. Just think of it. I could not bear to die in the arms of a child
that I had whipped. I could not bear to feel upon my lips, when they
were withering beneath the touch of death, the kiss of one that I had

37. The Whips and Gods are Gone!

Children are better treated than they used to be; the old whips and
gods are out of the schools, and they are governing children by love and
sense. The world is getting better; it is getting better in Maine. It
has got better in Maine, in Vermont. It is getting better in every State
of the North.


38. Absolute Independence of the Individual

What we want to-day is what our fathers wrote. They did not attain to
their ideal; we approach it nearer, but have not yet reached it. We
want, not only the independence of a state, not only the independence of
a nation, but something far more glorious--the absolute independence of
the individual. That is what we want. I want it so that I, one of the
children of Nature, can stand on an equality with the rest; that I can
say this is my air, my sunshine, my earth, and I have a right to live,
and hope, and aspire, and labor, and enjoy the fruit of that labor, as
much as any individual, or any nation on the face of the globe.

39. Saved by Disobedience

I tell you there is something splendid in man that will not always mind.
Why, if we had done as the kings told us five hundred years ago, we
would all have been slaves. If we had done as the priests told us, we
would all have been idiots. If we had done as the doctors told us, we
would all have been dead. We have been saved by disobedience. We have
been saved by that splendid thing called independence, and I want to
see more of it, day after day, and I want to see children raised so they
will have it. That is my doctrine.

40. Intellectual Tyranny

Nothing can be more infamous than intellectual tyranny. To put chains
upon the body is as nothing compared with putting shackles on the brain.
No god is entitled to the worship or the respect of man who does not
give, even to the meanest of his children, every right that he claims
for himself.

41. Say What You Think

I do not believe that the tendency is to make men and women brave and
glorious when you tell them that there are certain ideas upon certain
subjects that they must never express; that they must go through life
with a pretense as a shield; that their neighbors will think much more
of them if they will only keep still; and that above all is a God who
despises one who honestly expresses what he believes. For my part, I
believe men will be nearer honest in business, in politics, grander in
art--in everything that is good and grand and beautiful, if they are
taught from the cradle to the coffin to tell their honest opinions.

42. I Want to Put Out the Fires of Hell

Some people tell me that I take away the hope of immortality. I do not.
Leave heaven as it was! I want to put out the fires of hell. I want to
transfer the war from this earth to heaven. Some tell me Jehovah is God,
and another says Ali is God, and another that Brahma is God. I say, let
Jehovah, and Ali, and Brahma fight it out. Let them fight it out there,
and whoever is victor, to that God I will bow.

43. The Puritans

When the Puritans first came they were narrow. They did not understand
what liberty meant--what religious liberty, what political liberty, was;
but they found out in a few years. There was one feeling among them that
rises to their eternal honor like a white shaft to the clouds--they were
in favor of universal education. Wherever they went they built school
houses, introduced books, and ideas of literature. They believed that
every man should know how to read and how to write, and should find out
all that his capacity allowed him to comprehend. That is the glory of
the Puritan fathers.

44. A Star in the Sky of Despair

Every Christian, every philanthropist, every believer in human liberty,
should feel under obligation to Thomas Paine for the splendid service
rendered by him in the darkest days of the American Revolution. In the
midnight of Valley Forge, "The Crisis" was the first star that glittered
in the wide horizon of despair. Every good man should remember with
gratitude the brave words spoken by Thomas Paine in the French
Convention against the death of Louis. He said: "We will kill the king,
but not the man. We will destroy monarchy, not monarch."

45. Do not Shock the Heathen!

You send missionaries to Turkey, and tell them that the Koran is a lie.
You shock them. You tell them that Mahomet was not a prophet. You shock
them. It is too bad to shock them. You go to India, and you tell them
that Vishnu was nothing, that Purana was nothing, that Buddha was
nobody, and your Brahma, he is nothing. Why do you shock these people?
You should not do that; you ought not to hurt their feelings. I tell you
no man on earth has a right to be shocked at the expression of an honest
opinion when it is kindly done, and I don't believe there is any God in
the universe who has put a curtain over the fact and made it a crime for
the honest hand of investigation to endeavor to draw that curtain.

46. I will Settle with God Myself

They say to me, "God will punish you forever, if you do these things."
Very well. I will settle with him. I had rather settle with him than
any one of his agents. I do not like them very well. In theology I am a
granger--I do not believe in middlemen. What little business I have with
Heaven I will attend to myself.

47. I Claim my Right to Guess

I claim, standing under the flag of nature, under the blue and the
stars, that I am the peer of any other man, and have the right to think
and express my thoughts. I claim that in the presence of the Unknown,
and upon a subject that nobody knows anything about, and never did, I
have as good a right to _guess_ as anybody else.

48. The Brain a Castle

Surely it is worth something to feel that there are no priests, no
popes, no parties, no governments, no kings, no gods, to whom your
intellect can be compelled to pay reluctant homage. Surely it is a joy
to know that all the cruel ingenuity of bigotry can devise no prison,
no dungeon, no cell in which for one instant to confine a thought; that
ideas cannot be dislocated by racks, nor crushed in iron boots, nor
burned with fire. Surely it is sublime to think that the brain is a
castle, and that within its curious bastions and winding halls the
soul, in spite of all words and all beings, is the supreme sovereign of

49. I am Something

The universe is all there is, or was, or will be. It is both subject and
object; contemplator and contemplated; creator and created; destroyer
and destroyed; preserver and preserved; and hath within itself all
causes, modes, motions, and effects. In this there is hope. This is a
foundation and a star. The infinite embraces all there is. Without the
all, the infinite cannot be. I am something. Without me the universe
cannot exist.

50. Every Man a Bight to Think

Now we have come to the conclusion that every man has a right to think.
Would God give a bird wings and make it a crime to fly? Would he give me
brains and make it a crime to think? Any God that would damn one of his
children for the expression of his honest thought wouldn't make a decent
thief. When I read a book and don't believe it, I ought to say so. I
will do so and take the consequence like a man.

51. Too Early to Write a Creed

These are the excuses I have for my race, and taking everything into
consideration, I think we have done extremely well. Let us have more
liberty and free thought. Free thought will give us truth. It is too
early in the history of the world to write a creed. Our fathers were
intellectual slaves; our fathers were intellectual serfs. There never
has been a free generation on the globe. Every creed you have got bears
the mark of whip, and chain, and fagot.

There has been no creed written by a free brain. Wait until we have had
two or three generations of liberty and it will then be time enough to
seize the swift horse of progress by the bridle and say--thus far and
no farther; and in the meantime let us be kind to each other; let us be
decent towards each other. We are all travelers on the great plain we
call life, and there is nobody quite sure what road to take--not just
dead sure, you know. There are lots of guide-boards on the plain and you
find thousands of people swearing to-day that their guide-board is the
only board that shows the right direction. I go and talk to them and
they say: "You go that way, or you will be damned." I go to another and
they say: "You go this way, or you will be damned."

52. Every Mind True to Itself

In my judgment, every human being should take a road of his own. Every
mind should be true to itself--should think, investigate and conclude
for itself. This is a duty alike incumbent upon pauper and prince.


53. The Torch of Progress.

In every age some men carried the torch of progress and handed it
to some other, and it has been carried through all the dark ages of
barbarism, and had it not been for such men we would have been naked
and uncivilized to-night, with pictures of wild beasts tattooed on our
skins, dancing around some dried snake fetish.

54. Gold makes a Barren Landscape

Only a few days ago I was where they wrench the precious metals from
the miserly clutch of the rocks. When I saw the mountains; treeless,
shrubless, flowerless, without even a spire of grass, it seemed to me
that gold had the same effect upon the country that holds it, as upon
the man who lives and labors only for it. It affects the land as it
does the man. It leaves the heart barren without a flower of
kindness--without a blossom of pity.

55. A Grand Achievement

There is nothing grander than to rescue from the leprosy of slander the
reputation of a great and generous name. There is nothing nobler than to
benefit our benefactors.

56. The Divorce of Church and State

The Constitution of the United States was the first decree entered in
the high court of a nation, forever divorcing Church and State.

57. Professors

Instead of dismissing professors for finding something out, let us
rather discharge those who do not. Let each teacher understand that
investigation is not dangerous for him; that his bread is safe, no
matter how much truth he may discover, and that his salary will not be
reduced, simply because he finds that the ancient Jews did not know the
entire history of the world.

58. Developement

I thought after all I had rather belong to a race of people that came
from skulless vertebrae in the dim Laurentian period, that wiggled
without knowing they were wiggling, that began to develope and came up
by a gradual developement until they struck this gentleman in the dugout
coming up slowly--up--up--up--until, for instance, they produced such a
man as Shakespeare--he who harvested all the fields of dramatic thought,
and after whom all others have been only gleaners of straw, he who found
the human intellect dwelling in a hut, touched it with the wand of his
genius and it became a palace--producing him and hundreds of others I
might mention--with the angels of progress leaning over the far horizon
beckoning this race of work and thought--I had rather belong to a race
commencing at the skulless vertebrae producing the gentleman in the
dugout and so on up, than to have descended from a perfect pair, upon
which the Lord has lost money from that day to this. I had rather belong
to a race that is going up than to one that is going down. I would
rather belong to one that commenced at the skulless vertebrae and
started for perfection, than to belong to one that started from
perfection and started for the skulless vertebrae.

59. Poet's Dream

When every church becomes a school, every cathedral a university, every
clergyman a teacher, and all their hearers brave and honest
thinkers, then, and not until then, will the dream of poet, patriot,
philanthropist and philosopher, become a real and blessed truth.

60. The Temple of the Future

We are laying the foundations of the grand temple of the future--not the
temple of all the gods, but of all the people--wherein, with appropriate
rites, will be celebrated the religion of Humanity. We are doing what
little we can to hasten the coming of the day when society shall cease
producing millionaires and mendicants--gorged indolence and famished
industry--truth in rags, and superstition robed and crowned. We are
looking for the time when the useful shall be the honorable; and when
Reason, throned upon the world's brain, shall be the King of Kings, and
God of Gods.

61. The final Goal

We do not expect to accomplish everything in our day; but we want to
do what good we can, and to render all the service possible in the
holy cause of human progress. We know that doing away with gods and
supernatural persons and powers is not an end. It is a means to the end;
the real end being the happiness of man.

62. The Eighteenth Century

At that time the seeds sown by the great Infidels were beginning to
bear fruit in France. The people were beginning to think. The Eighteenth
Century was crowning its gray hairs with the wreath of Progress. On
every hand Science was bearing testimony against the Church. Voltaire
had filled Europe with light; D'Holbach was giving to the _elite_
of Paris the principles contained in his "System of Nature." The
Encyclopedists had attacked superstition with information for the
masses. The foundation of things began to be examined. A few had the
courage to keep their shoes on and let the bush burn. Miracles began to
get scarce. Everywhere the people began to inquire. America had set an
example to the world. The word Liberty was in the mouths of men, and
they began to wipe the dust from their knees. The dawn of a new day had


63. Liberty--Fraternity--Equality!

All who stand beneath our banner are free. Ours is the only flag that
has in reality written upon it: Liberty, Fraternity, Equality--the three
grandest words in all the languages of men. Liberty: Give to every man
the fruit of his own labor--the labor of his hand and of his brain.
Fraternity: Every man in the right is my brother. Equality: The rights
of all are equal. No race, no color, no previous condition, can change
the rights of men. The Declaration of Independence has at last been
carried out in letter and in spirit. To-day the black man looks upon his
child and says: The avenues of distinction are open to you--upon your
brow may fall the civic wreath. We are celebrating the courage and
wisdom of our fathers, and the glad shout of a free people, the anthem
of a grand nation, commencing at the Atlantic, is following the sun to
the Pacific, across a continent of happy homes.

64. Liberty!

Is it nothing to free the mind? Is it nothing to civilize mankind? Is it
nothing to fill the world with light, with discovery, with science?
Is it nothing to dignify man and exalt the intellect? Is it nothing to
grope your way into the dreary prisons, the damp and dropping dungeons,
the dark and silent cells of superstition, where the souls of men
are chained to floors of stone? Is it nothing to conduct these souls
gradually into the blessed light of day,--to let them see again the
happy fields, the sweet, green earth, and hear the everlasting music of
the waves? Is it nothing to make men wipe the dust from their swollen
knees, the tears from their blanched and furrowed cheeks? Is it nothing
to relieve the heavens of an insatiate monster, and write upon the
eternal dome, glittering with stars, the grand word--Liberty?

65. Ingersoll Not a Politician

I want it perfectly understood that I am not a politician. I believe in
liberty, and I want to see the time when every man, woman and child will
enjoy every human right.

66. Civilization

Civilization is the child of free thought. The new world has drifted
away from the rotten wharf of superstition. The politics of this country
are being settled by the new ideas of individual liberty, and parties
and churches that cannot accept the new truths must perish.

67. Cornell University

With the single exception of Cornell, there is not a college in the
United States where truth has ever been a welcome guest. The moment one
of the teachers denies the inspiration of the Bible, he is discharged.
If he discovers a fact inconsistent with that book, so much the worse
for the fact, and especially for the discoverer of the fact. He must not
corrupt the minds of his pupils with demonstrations. He must beware
of every truth that cannot, in some way, be made to harmonize with the
superstitions of the Jews. Science has nothing in common with religion.

68. Church and School Divorced

Our country will never be filled with great institutions of learning
until there is an absolute divorce between church and school. As long
as the mutilated records of a barbarous people are placed by priest and
professor above the reason of mankind, we shall reap but little benefit
from church or school.

69. Laws That Want Repealing

All laws defining and punishing blasphemy--making it a crime to give
your honest ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of
the ancient Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your
opinion of Jehovah, were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at
once repealed by honest men.

70. Government Secular

Our government should be entirely and purely secular. The religious
views of a candidate should be kept entirely out of sight. He should not
be compelled to give his opinion as to the inspiration of the bible,
the propriety of infant baptism, or the immaculate conception. All these
things are private and personal. He should be allowed to settle such
things for himself.

71. 1876! (1776?)

In 1876, our forefathers retired God from politics. They said all
power comes from the people. They kept God out of the Constitution, and
allowed each State to settle the question for itself.

72. Candidates Made Hypocrites

Candidates are forced to pretend that they are Catholics with Protestant
proclivities, or Christians with liberal tendencies, or temperance men
who now and then take a glass of wine, or, that although not members of
any church their wives are, and that they subscribe liberally to
all. The result of all this is that we reward hypocrisy and elect men
entirely destitute of real principle; and this will never change until
the people become grand enough to allow each other to do their own

73. The Church and the Throne

So our fathers said: "We shall form a secular government, and under the
flag with which we are going to enrich the air, we will allow every man
to worship God as he thinks best." They said: "Religion is an individual
thing between each man and his Creator, and he can worship as he pleases
and as he desires." And why did they do this? The history of the world
warned them that the liberty of man was not safe in the clutch and grasp
of any church. They had read of and seen the thumbscrews, the racks and
the dungeons of the inquisition. They knew all about the hypocrisy of
the olden time. They knew that the church had stood side by side with
the throne; that the high priests were hypocrites, and that the kings
were robbers. They also knew that if they gave to any church power, it
would corrupt the best church in the world. And so they said that power
must not reside in a church, nor in a sect, but power must be wherever
humanity is--in the great body of the people. And the officers and
servants of the people must be responsible. And so I say again, as
I said in the commencement, this is the wisest, the profoundest, the
bravest political document that ever was written and signed by man.

74. The Old Idea

What was the old idea? The old idea was that no political power came
from, nor in any manner belonged to, the people. The old idea was that
the political power came from the clouds; that the political power came
in some miraculous way from heaven; that it came down to kings, and
queens, and robbers. That was the old idea. The nobles lived upon the
labor of the people; the people had no rights; the nobles stole what
they had and divided with the kings, and the kings pretended to divide
what they stole with God Almighty. The source, then, of political power
was from above. The people were responsible to the nobles, the nobles to
the king, and the people had no political rights whatever, no more than
the wild beasts of the forest. The kings were responsible to God, not to
the people. The kings were responsible to the clouds, not to the toiling
millions they robbed and plundered.

75. Liberty for Politicians

I would like also to liberate the politician. At present, the successful
office-seeker is a good deal like the centre of the earth; he weighs
nothing himself, but draws everything else to him. There are so many
societies, so many churches, so many isms, that it is almost impossible
for an independent man to succeed in a political career.

76. Tax all Church Property

I am in favor of the taxation of all church property. If that property
belongs to God, he is able to pay the tax. If we exempt anything, let
us exempt the home of the widow and orphan. The church has to-day
$600,000,000 or $700,000,000 of property in this country. It must cost
$2,000,000 a week, that is to say $500 a minute to run these churches.
You give me this money and if I don't do more good with it than
four times as many churches I'll resign. Let them make the churches
attractive and they'll get more hearers. They will have less empty pews
if they have less empty heads in the pulpit. The time will come when the
preacher will become a teacher.

77. The Source of Power

The Declaration of Independence announces the sublime truth, that all
power comes from the people. This was a denial, and the first denial of
a nation, of the infamous dogma that God confers the right upon one man
to govern others. It was the first grand assertion of the dignity of the
human race. It declared the governed to be the source of power, and in
fact denied the authority of any and all gods.

78. The Best Blood of the Old Word come to the New

The kings of the old world endeavored to parcel out this land to their
favorites. But there were too many Indians. There was too much courage
required for them to take and keep it, and so men had to come here
who were dissatisfied with the old country--who were dissatisfied
with England, dissatisfied with France, with Germany, with Ireland and
Holland. The king's favorites stayed at home. Men came here for liberty,
and on account of certain principles they entertained and held dearer
than life. And they were willing to work, willing to fell the forests,
to fight the savages, willing to go through all the hardships, perils
and dangers of a new country, of a new land; and the consequences was
that our country was settled by brave and adventurous spirits, by men
who had opinions of their own, and were willing to live in the wild
forests for the sake of expressing those opinions, even if they
expressed them only to trees, rocks, and savage men. The best blood of
the old world came to the new.

79. No State Church

Happily for us, there was no church strong enough to dictate to the
rest. Fortunately for us, the colonists not only, but the colonies
differed widely in their religious views. There were the Puritans who
hated the Episcopalians, and Episcopalians who hated the Catholics,
and the Catholics who hated both, while the Quakers held them all in
contempt. There they were of every sort, and color, and kind, and how
was it that they came together? They had a common aspiration. They
wanted to form a new nation. More than that, most of them cordially
hated Great Britain; and they pledged each other to forget these
religious prejudices, for a time at least, and agreed that there should
be only one religion until they got through, and that was the religion
of patriotism. They solemnly agreed that the new nation should not
belong to any particular church, but that it should secure the rights of

80. The Enthusiasts of 1776

These grand men were enthusiasts; and the world has only been raised
by enthusiasts. In every country there have been a few who have given
a national aspiration to the people. The enthusiasts of 1776 were the
builders and framers of this great and splendid government; and they
were the men who saw, although others did not, the golden fringe of the
mantle of glory, that will finally cover this world. They knew, they
felt, they believed they would give a new constellation to the political
heavens--that they would make the Americans a grand people--grand as
the continent upon which they lived.

81. The Church Must Have no Sword

Our fathers founded the first secular government that was ever founded
in this world. Recollect that. The first secular government; the first
government that said every church has exactly the same rights and no
more. In other words our fathers were the first men who had the sense,
had the genius, to know that no church should be allowed to have a
sword; that it should be allowed only to exert its moral influence.

82. We are All of Us Kings! I want the power where some one can use
it. As long as a man is responsible to the people there is no fear of
despotism. There's no reigning family in this country. We are all of
us Kings. We are the reigning family. And when any man talks about
despotism, you may be sure he wants to steal or be up to devilment. If
we have any sense, we have got to have localization of brain. If we have
any power, we must have centralization. We want centralization of the
right kind. The man we choose for our head wants the army in one hand,
the navy in the other; and to execute the supreme will of the supreme

83. Honesty Tells!

In the long run the nation that is honest, the people that are
industrious, will pass the people that are dishonest, the people that
are idle; no matter what grand ancestry they might have had.

84. Working for Others.

To work for others is, in reality, the only way in which a man can work
for himself. Selfishness is ignorance. Speculators cannot make unless
somebody loses. In the realm of speculation, every success has at least
one victim. The harvest reaped by the farmer benefits all and injures
none. For him to succeed, it is not necessary that some one should fail.
The same is true of all producers--of all laborers.

85. State Sovereignty

I despise the doctrine of State sovereignty. I believe in the rights
of the States, but not in the sovereignty of the States. States are
political conveniences. Rising above States as the Alps above valleys
are the rights of man. Rising above the rights of the government even in
this Nation are the sublime rights of the people. Governments are good
only so long as they protect human rights. But the rights of a man never
should be sacrificed upon the altar of the State or upon the altar of
the Nation.

86. The King of America

I am not only in favor of free speech, but I am also in favor of an
absolutely honest ballot. There is one king in this country; there
is one emperor; there is one supreme czar; and that is the legally
expressed will of the majority of the people. The man who casts an
illegal vote, the man who refuses to count a legal vote, poisons the
fountain of power, poisons the spring of justice, and is a traitor to
the only king in this land. I have always said, and I say again, that
the more liberty there is given away the more you have. There is room in
this world for us all; there is room enough for all of our thoughts;
out upon the intellectual sea there is room for every sail, and in the
intellectual air there is space for every wing. A man that exercises a
right that he will not give to others is a barbarian. A State that does
not allow free speech is uncivilized, and is a disgrace to the American

87. Years Without Seeing a Dollar!

I have been told that during the war we had plenty of money. I never saw
it. I lived years without seeing a dollar. I saw promises for dollars,
but not dollars. And the greenback, unless you have the gold behind it,
is no more a dollar than a bill of fare is a dinner. You cannot make
a paper dollar without taking a dollar's worth of paper. We must have
paper that represents money. I want it issued by the government, and I
want behind every one of these dollars either a gold or silver dollar,
so that every greenback under the flag can lift up its hand and swear,
"I know that my redeemer liveth."

88. The Wail of Dead Nations

A government founded upon anything except liberty and justice cannot and
ought not to stand. All the wrecks on either side of the stream of time,
all the wrecks of the great cities, and all the nations that have passed
away--all are a warning that no nation founded upon injustice can stand.
From the sand-enshrouded Egypt, from the marble wilderness of Athens,
and from every fallen, crumbling stone of the once mighty Rome, comes
a wail, as it were, the cry that no nation founded upon injustice can
permanently stand.

89. What the Republican Party Did

I am a Republican. I will tell you why: This is the only free government
in the world. The Republican party made it so. The Republican party took
the chains from 4,000,000 of people. The Republican party, with the wand
of progress, touched the auction-block and it became a school-house; The
Republican party put down the rebellion, saved the nation, kept the old
banner afloat in the air, and declared that slavery of every kind should
be exterpated from the face of the continent.

90. Doings of Democrats

I am opposed to the Democratic party, and I will tell you why. Every
State that seceded from the United States was a Democratic State. Every
ordinance of secession that was drawn was drawn by a Democrat. Every man
that endeavored to tear the old flag from the heaven that it enriches
was a Democrat. Every man that tried to destroy the nation was a
Democrat. Every enemy this great republic has had for twenty years has
been a Democrat. Every man that shot Union soldiers was a Democrat.
Every man that starved Union soldiers and refused them in the extremity
of death, a crust, was a Democrat. Every man that loved slavery better
than liberty was a Democrat. The man that assassinated Abraham Lincoln
was a Democrat. Every man that sympathized with the assassin--every
man glad that the noblest President ever elected was assassinated, was a

91. Photograph of a Democrat.

Every man that wanted the privilege of whipping another man to make him
work for him for nothing and pay him with lashes on his naked back, was
a Democrat. Every man that raised blood-hounds to pursue human beings
was a Democrat. Every man that clutched from shrieking, shuddering,
crouching mothers, babes from their breasts, and sold them into slavery,
was a Democrat. Every man that impaired the credit of the United States,
every man that swore we would never pay the bonds, every man that swore
we would never redeem the greenbacks, every maligner of his country's
credit, every calumniator of his country's honor, was a Democrat. Every
man that resisted the draft, every man that hid in the bushes and shot
at Union men simply because they were endeavoring to enforce the laws
of their country, was a Democrat. Every man that wept over the corpse of
slavery was a Democrat.

92. I am a Republican, I Tell You!

The flag that will not protect its protectors is a dirty rag that
contaminates the air in which it waves. The government that will not
defend its defenders is a disgrace to the nations of the world. I am
a Republican because the Republican party says, "We will protect the
rights of American citizens at home, and if necessary we will march
an army into any State to protect the rights of the humblest American
citizen in that State." I am a Republican because that party allows
me to be free--allows me to do my own thinking in my own way. I am a
Republican because it is a party grand enough and splendid enough and
sublime enough to invite every human being in favor of liberty and
progress to fight shoulder to shoulder for the advancement of mankind.
It invites the Methodist; it invites the Catholic; it invites the
Presbyterian and every kind of sectarian; it invites the free-thinker;
it invites the infidel, provided he is in favor of giving to every other
human being every chance and every right that he claims for himself. I
am a Republican, I tell you.

93. Recollect!

Recollect it! Every man that tried to spread smallpox and yellow fever
in the North, as the instrumentalities of civilized war, was a Democrat.
Soldiers, every scar you have got on your heroic bodies was given you
by a Democrat. Every scar, every arm that is lacking, every limb that
is gone, every scar is a souvenir of a Democrat. I want you to recollect
it. Every man that was the enemy of human liberty in this country was a
Democrat. Every man that wanted the fruit of all the heroism of all the
ages to turn to ashes upon the lips--every one was a Democrat.

94. Give Every Man a Chance

Now, my friends, thousands of the Southern people, and thousands of the
Northern Democrats, are afraid that the negroes are going to pass them
in the race for life. And, Mr. Democrat, he will do it unless you attend
to your business. The simple fact that you are white cannot save you
always. You have got to be industrious, honest, to cultivate a justice.
If you don't the colored race will pass you, as sure as you live. I am
for giving every man a chance. Anybody that can pass me is welcome.

95. Who Shall Rule the Country?

Shall the people that saved this country rule it? Shall the men who
saved the old flag hold it? Shall the men who saved the ship of state
sail it? or shall the rebels walk her quarter-deck, give the orders
and sink it? That is the question. Shall a solid South, a united South,
united by assassination and murder, a South solidified by the shot-gun;
shall a united South, with the aid of a divided North, shall they
control this great and splendid country? Well, then, the North must
wake up. We are right back where we were in 1861. This is simply a
prolongation of the war. This is the war of the idea, the other was the
war of the musket. The other was the war of cannon, this is the war of
thought, and we have got to beat them in this war of thought, recollect
that. The question is, Shall the men who endeavored to destroy this
country rule it? Shall the men that said, This is not a nation, have
charge of the nation?

96. The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is the grandest, the bravest, and
the profoundest political document that was ever signed by the
representatives of the people. It is the embodiment of physical and
moral courage and of political wisdom. I say physical courage, because
it was a declaration of war against the most powerful nation then on the
globe; a declaration of war by thirteen weak, unorganized colonies; a
declaration of war by a few people, without military stores, without
wealth, without strength, against the most powerful kingdom on the
earth; a declaration of war made when the British navy, at that day the
mistress of every sea, was hovering along the coast of America, looking
after defenseless towns and villages to ravage and destroy. It was made
when thousands of English soldiers were upon our soil, and when the
principal cities of America were in the substantial possession of
the enemy. And so, I say, all things considered, it was the bravest
political document ever signed by man.

97. The World Grows Brighter.

I have a dream that this world is growing better and better every day
and every year; that there is more charity, more justice, more love
every day. I have a dream that prisons will not always curse the earth;
that the shadow of the gallows will not always fall on the land; that
the withered hand of want will not always be stretched out for charity;
that finally wisdom will sit in the legislature, justice in the courts,
charity will occupy all the pulpits, and that finally the world will be
controlled by liberty and love, by justice and charity. That is my
dream, and if it does not come true, it shall not be my fault.

98. The Column of July

I stood, a little while ago, in the city of Paris, where stood the
Bastile, where now stands the column of July, surmounted by the figure
of Liberty. In its right hand is a broken chain, in its left hand a
hammer; upon its shining forehead a glittering star--and as I looked
upon it I said, such is the Republican party of my country.

99. A Nation of Rascals

Samuel J. Tilden says we are a nation of thieves and rascals. If that is
so he ought to be President. But I denounce him as a calumniator of
my country; a maligner of this nation. It is not so. This country is
covered with asylums for the aged, the helpless, the insane, the orphan,
the wounded soldiers. Thieves and rascals don't build such things.
In the cities of the Atlantic coast this summer, they built floating
hospitals, great ships, and took the little children from the
sub-cellars and narrow, dirty streets of New York city, where the
Democratic party is the strongest--took these poor waifs and put them in
these great hospitals out at sea, and let the breezes of ocean kiss the
rose of health back to their pallid cheeks. Rascals and thieves do not
do so. When Chicago burned, railroads were blocked with the charity of
the American people. Thieves and rascals did not do so.

100. We are a Great People

We are a great people. Three millions have increased to fifty--thirteen
states to thirty-eight. We have better homes, and more of the
conveniences of life than any other people upon the face of the globe.
The farmers of our country live better than did the kings and princes
two hundred years ago--and they have twice as much sense and heart.
Liberty and labor have given us all. Remember that all men have equal
rights. Remember that the man who acts best his part--who loves
his friends the best--is most willing to help others--truest to the
obligation--who has the best heart--the most feeling--the deepest
sympathies--and who freely gives to others the rights that he claims for
himself, is the best man. We have disfranchised the aristocrats of the
air, and have given one country to mankind.

101. Mule Equality

Suppose there was a great horse-race here to-day, free to every horse
in the world, and to all the mules, and all the scrubs, and all the
donkeys. At the tap of the drum they come to the line, and the judges
say "it is a go." Let me ask you, what does the blooded horse, rushing
ahead, with nostrils distended, drinking in the breath of his own
swiftness, with his mane flying like a banner of victory, with his veins
standing out all over him, as if a net of life had been cast around
him--with his thin neck, his high withers, his tremulous flanks--what
does he care how many mules and donkeys run on the track? But the
Democratic scrub, with his chuckle-head and lop-ears, with his tail full
of cockle-burs, jumping high and short, and digging in the ground when
he feels the breath of the coming mule on his cockle-bur tail, he is
the chap that jumps the track and says, "I am down on mule equality." My
friends, the Republican party is the blooded horse in this race.

102. Room for Every Wing.

There is room in the Republican air for every wing; there is room on
the Republican sea for every sail. Republicanism says to every man: "Let
your soul be like an eagle; fly out in the great dome of thought, and
question the stars for yourself."

103. The Republican Platform.

I am a Republican because it is the only free party that ever existed.
It is a party that had a platform as broad as humanity, a platform as
broad as the human race, a party that says you shall have all the
fruit of the labor of your hands, a party that says you may think for
yourself; a party that says no chains for the hands, no fetters for the

104. Our Government the best on Earth

We all want a good government. If we do not we should have none. We
all want to live in a land where the law is supreme. We desire to live
beneath a flag that will protect every citizen beneath its folds. We
desire to be citizens of a government so great and so grand that it will
command the respect of the civilized world. Most of us are convinced
that our government is the best upon this earth.

105. Will the Second Century of America be as good as the First?

Standing here amid the sacred memories of the first, on the golden
threshold of the second, I ask, Will the second century be as good
as the first? I believe it will because we are growing more and more
humane; I believe there is more human kind-ness and a greater desire
to help one another in America, than in all the world besides. We
must progress. We are just at the commencement of invention. The steam
engine--the telegraph--these are but the toys with which science has
been amusing herself. There will be grander things. There will be higher
and wider culture. A grander standard of character, of literature and
art. We have now half as many millions of people as we have years.
We are getting more real solid sense. We are writing and reading more
books. We are struggling more and more to get at the philosophy of
life--trying more and more to answer the questions of the eternal
Sphinx. We are looking in every direction. We are investigating,
thinking, working! The second century will be grander than the first.


106. The Glory of Science.

Science found agriculture plowing with a stick--reaping with a
sickle--commerce at the mercy of the treacherous waves and the
inconstant winds--a world without books--without schools--man denying
the authority of reason, employing his ingenuity in the manufacture
of instruments of torture, in building inquisitions and cathedrals.
It found the land filled with malicious monks--with persecuting
Protestants, and the burners of men. The glory of science is, that it is
freeing the soul--breaking the mental manacles--getting the brain out
of bondage--giving courage to thought--filling the world with mercy,
justice, and joy.

107. The Tables Turned

For the establishment of facts, the word of man is now considered
far better than the word of God. In the world of science, Jehovah was
superseded by Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler. All that God told
Moses, admitting the entire account to be true, is dust and ashes
compared to the discoveries of Des Cartes, La Place, and Humboldt. In
matters of fact, the Bible has ceased to be regarded as a standard.
Science has succeeded in breaking the chains of theology. A few years
ago, science endeavored to show that it was not inconsistent with the
Bible. The tables have been turned, and now, religion is endeavoring to
prove that the Bible is not inconsistent with science. The standard has
been changed.

108. Science Better than a Creed

It seems to me that a belief in the great truths of science are fully as
essential to salvation, as the creed of any church. We are taught that
a man may be perfectly acceptable to God even if he denies the rotundity
of the earth, the Copernican system, the three laws of Kepler, the
indestructibility of matter and the attraction of gravitation. And we
are also taught that a man may be right upon all these questions, and
yet, for failing to believe in the "scheme of salvation," be eternally

109. The Religion of Science

Every assertion of individual independence has been a step toward
infidelity. Luther started toward Humboldt,--Wesley, toward John Stuart
Mill. To really reform the church is to destroy it. Every new religion
has a little less superstition than the old, so that the religion of
science is but a question of time.

110. Science not Sectarian

The sciences are not sectarian. People do not persecute each other on
account of disagreements in mathematics. Families are not divided about
botany, and astronomy does not even tend to make a man hate his father
and mother. It is what people do not know, that they persecute each
other about. Science will bring, not a sword, but peace.

111. The Epitaph of all Religions

Science has written over the high altar its mené, mené, tekel,
UPHARSIN--the old words, destined to be the epitaph of all religions?

112. The Real Priest

When we abandon the doctrine that some infinite being created matter
and force, and enacted a code of laws for their government, the idea
of interference will be lost. The real priest will then be, not the
mouth-piece of some pretended deity, but the interpreter of nature. From
that moment the church ceases to exist. The tapers will die out upon the
dusty altar; the moths will eat the fading velvet of pulpit and pew;
the Bible will take its place with the Shastras, Puranas, Vedas, Eddas,
Sagas and Korans, and the fetters of a degrading faith will fall from
the minds of men.

113. Science is Power

From a philosophical point of view, science is knowledge of the laws
of life; of the conditions of happiness; of the facts by which we are
surrounded, and the relations we sustain to men and things--by means
of which, man, so to speak, subjugates nature and bends the elemental
powers to his will, making blind force the servant of his brain.

114. Science Supreme

The element of uncertainty will, in a great measure, be removed from the
domain of the future, and man, gathering courage from a succession of
victories over the obstructions of nature, will attain a serene grandeur
unknown to the disciples of any superstition. The plans of mankind will
no longer be interfered with by the finger of a supposed omnipotence,
and no one will believe that nations or individuals are protected or
destroyed by any deity whatever. Science, freed from the chains of pious
custom and evangelical prejudice, will, within her sphere, be supreme.
The mind will investigate without reverence, and publish its conclusions
without fear. Agassiz will no longer hesitate to declare the Mosaic
cosmogony utterly inconsistent with the demonstrated truths of geology,
and will cease pretending any reverence for the Jewish scriptures. The
moment science succeeds in rendering the church powerless for evil, the
real thinkers will be outspoken. The little flags of truce carried by
timid philosophers will disappear, and the cowardly parley will give
place to victory--lasting and universal.

115. Science Opening the Gates of Thought

We are not endeavoring to chain the future, but to free the present. We
are not forging fetters for our children, but we are breaking those our
fathers made for us. We are the advocates of inquiry, of investigation
and thought. This of itself, is an admission that we are not perfectly
satisfied with all our conclusions. Philosophy has not the egotism of
faith. While superstition builds walls and creates obstructions, science
opens all the highways of thought.

116. Stars and Grains of Sand

We do not say that we have discovered all; that our doctrines are the
all in all of truth. We know of no end to the development of man. We
cannot unravel the infinite complications of matter and force. The
history of one monad is as unknown as that of the universe; one drop of
water is as wonderful as all the seas; one leaf, as all the forests; and
one grain of sand, as all the stars.

117. The Trinity of Science

Reason, Observation and Experience--the Holy Trinity of Science--have
taught us that happiness is the only good; that the time to be happy is
now, and the way to be happy is to make others so. This is enough for
us. In this belief we are content to live and die. If by any possibility
the existence of a power superior to, and independent of, nature shall
be demonstrated, there will then be time enough to kneel. Until then,
let us all stand nobly erect.

118. The Old and the New Old ideas perished in the retort of the
chemist, and useful truths took their places. One by one religious
conceptions have been placed in the crucible of science, and thus far,
nothing but dross has been found. A new world has been discovered by the
microscope; everywhere has been found the infinite; in every direction
man has investigated and explored, and nowhere, in earth or stars,
has been found the footstep of any being superior to or independent
of nature. Nowhere has been discovered the slightest evidence of any
interference from without.

119. The Triumphs of Science

I do not know what inventions are in the brain of the future; I do not
know what garments of glory may be woven for the world in the loom of
years to be; we are just on the edge of the great ocean of discovery. I
do not know what is to be discovered; I do not know what science will do
for us. I do know that science did just take a handful of sand and make
the telescope, and with it read all the starry leaves of heaven; I know
that science took the thunderbolts from the hands of Jupiter, and now
the electric spark, freighted with thought and love, flashes under the
waves of the sea; I know that science stole a tear from the cheek of
unpaid labor, converted it into steam, and created a giant that turns
with tireless arms the countless wheels of toil; I know that science
broke the chains from human limbs and gave us instead the forces of
nature for our slaves; I know that we have made the attraction of
gravitation work for us; we have made the lightnings our messengers; we
have taken advantage of fire and flames and wind and sea; these slaves
have no backs to be whipped; they have no hearts to be lacerated; they
have no children to be stolen, no cradles to be violated. I know that
science has given us better houses; I know it has given us better
pictures and better books; I know it has given us better wives and
better husbands, and more beautiful children. I know it has enriched
a thousand-fold our life; and therefore I am in favor of perfect
intellectual liberty.

120. What Science Found!

It found the world at the mercy of disease and famine; men trying to
read their fates in the stars, and to tell their fortunes by signs and
wonders; generals thinking to conquer their enemies by making the sign
of the cross, or by telling a rosary. It found all history full of petty
and ridiculous falsehood, and the Almighty was supposed to spend most
of his time turning sticks into snakes, drowning boys for swimming on
Sunday, and killing little children for the purpose of converting their
parents. It found the earth filled with slaves and tyrants, the people
in all countries downtrodden, half naked, half starved, without hope,
and without reason in the world.

121. Science the only Lever

Such was the condition of man when the morning of science dawned upon
his brain, and before he had heard the sublime declaration that the
universe is governed by law. For the change that has taken place we are
indebted solely to science--the only lever capable of raising mankind.
Abject faith is barbarism; reason is civilization. To obey is slavish;
to act from a sense of obligation perceived by the reason, is noble.
Ignorance worships mystery; Reason explains it: the one grovels, the
other soars.


122. The Colonel Short of Words!!!

I have sometimes wished that there were words of pure hatred out of
which I might construct sentences like snakes, out of which I might
construct sentences with mouths fanged, that had forked tongues, out of
which I might construct sentences that writhed and and hissed; then I
could give my opinion of the rebels during the great struggle for the
preservation of this nation.

123. Slavery in the Name of Religion

Just think of it! Our churches and best people, as they call themselves,
defending the institution of slavery. When I was a little boy I used
to see steamers go down the Mississippi river with hundreds of men and
women chained hand to hand, and even children, and men standing about
them with whips in their hands and pistols in their pockets in the name
of liberty, in the name of civilization and in the name of religion! I
used to hear them preach to these slaves in the South and the only text
they ever took was "Servants be obedient unto your masters." That was
the salutation of the most merciful God to a man whose back was bleeding
that was the salutation of the most merciful God to the slave-mother
bending over an empty cradle, to the woman from whose breast a child
had been stolen--"Servants be obedient unto your masters." That was
what they said to a man running for his life and for his liberty through
tangled swamps and listening to the baying of blood-hounds, and when
he listened for them the voice came from heaven:--"Servants be obedient
unto your masters." That is civilization. Think what slaves we have
been! Think how we have crouched and cringed before wealth even! How
they used to cringe in old times before a man who was rich--there are so
many of them gone into bankruptcy lately that we are losing a little of
our fear.

124. The Patrons of Slavery

It is not possible for the human imagination to conceive of the horrors
of slavery. It has left no possible wrong uncommitted, no possible crime
un-perpetrated. It has been practiced and defended by all nations in
some form. It has been upheld by all religions. It has been defended
by nearly every pulpit. From the profits derived from the slave trade,
churches have been built, cathedrals reared and priests paid. Slavery
has been blessed by bishop, by cardinal and by pope. It has received the
sanction of statesmen, of kings, of queens. Monarchs have shared in the
profits. Clergymen have taken their part of the spoil, reciting passages
of scripture in its defense, and judges have taken their portion in the
name of equity and law.

125. A Colored Man in Congress

The world has changed! I have had the supreme pleasure of seeing a
man--once a slave--sitting in the seat of his former master in the
Congress of the United States. When I saw that sight, my eyes were
filled with tears. I felt that we had carried out the Declaration of
Independence, that we had given reality to it, and breathed the breath
of life into every word. I felt that our flag would float over and
protect the colored man and his little children--standing straight in
the sun--just the same as though he were white and worth a million!

126. The Zig-zag Strip

I have some excuses to offer for the race to which I belong. My first
excuse is that this is not a very good world to raise folks in anyway.
It is not very well adapted to raising magnificent people. There's only
a quarter of it land to start with. It is three times better for raising
fish than folks; and in that one-quarter of land there is not a tenth
part fit to raise people on. You can't raise people without a good
climate. You have got to have the right kind of climate, and you have
got to have certain elements in the soil or you can't raise good people.
Do you know that there is only a little zig-zag strip around the world
within which have been produced all men of genius?

127. Black People have Suffered Enough

In my judgment the black people have suffered enough. They have been
slaves for two hundred years. They have been owned two hundred years,
and, more than all, they have been compelled to keep the company of
those who owned them. Think of being compelled to keep the society of
the man who is stealing from you. Think of being compelled to live with
a man that stole your child from the cradle before your very eyes. Think
of being compelled to live with a thief all your life, to spend your
days with a white loafer, and to be under his control.

128. The History of Civilization

The history of civilization is the history of the slow and painful
enfranchisement of the human race. In the olden times the family was a
monarchy, the father being the monarch. The mother and children were the
veriest slaves. The will of the father was the supreme law. He had the
power of life and death. It took thousands of years to civilize this
father, thousands of years to make the condition of the wife and mother
and children even tolerable. A few families constituted a tribe; the
tribe had a chief; the chief was a tyrant; a few tribes formed a nation;
the nation was governed by a king, who was also a tyrant. A strong
nation robbed, plundered and took captive the weaker ones.

129. Does God Uphold Slavery?

Is there, in the civilized world, to-day, a clergyman who believes
in the divinity of slavery? Does the Bible teach man to enslave his
brother? If it does, is it not blasphemous to say that it is inspired
of God? If you find the institution of slavery upheld in a book said
to have been written by God, what would you expect to find in a book
inspired by the devil? Would you expect to find that book in favor of
liberty? Modern Christians, ashamed of the God of the Old Testament,
endeavor now to show that slavery was neither commanded nor opposed by

130. Solemn Defiance

For my part, I never will, I never can, worship a God who upholds the
institution of slavery. Such a God I hate and defy. I neither want his
heaven, nor fear his hell.


131. The Soldiers of the Republic

The soldiers of the Republic were not seekers after vulgar glory. They
were not animated by the hope of plunder or the love of conquest. They
fought to preserve the blessings of liberty and that their children
might have peace. They were the defenders of humanity, the destroyers
of prejudice, the breakers of chains, and in the name of the future they
slew the monster of their time.

132. Honor to the Brave!

All honor, to the Brave! They blotted from the statute books laws that
had been passed by hypocrites at the instigation of robbers, and tore
with indignant hands from the Constitution that infamous clause that
made men the catchers of their fellow men. They made it possible for
judges to be just, for statesmen to be human, and for politicians to be
honest. They broke the shackles from the limbs of slaves, from the souls
of martyrs, and from the Northern brain. They kept our country on the
map of the world and our flag in heaven.

133. What Were We Fighting For?

Seven long years of war--fighting for what? For the principle that
all men were created equal--a truth that nobody ever disputed except
a scoundrel; nobody in the entire history of this world. No man ever
denied that truth who was not a rascal, and at heart a thief; never,
never, and never will. What else were they fighting for? Simply that in
America every man should have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness. Nobody ever denied that except a villain; never, never.
It has been denied by kings--they were thieves. It has been denied by
statesmen--they were liars. It has been denied by priests, by clergymen,
by cardinals, by bishops and by popes--they were hypocrites. What else
were they fighting for? For the idea that all political power is vested
in the great body of the people. They make all the money; do all the
work. They plow the land; cut down the forests; they produce everything
that is produced. Then who shall say what shall be done with what is
produced except the producer?

134. The Revolution Consummated

The soldiers of the Republic finished what the soldiers of the
Revolution commenced. They relighted the torch that fell from their
august hands and filled the world again with light.

135. Fighting Done!--Work Begun!

The soldiers went home to their waiting wives, to their glad children,
and to the girls they loved--they went back to the fields, the shops and
mines. They had not been demoralized. They had been ennobled. They were
as honest in peace as they had been brave in war. Mocking at poverty,
laughing at reverses, they made a friend of toil. They said: "We saved
the nation's life, and what is life without honor?" They worked and
wrought with all of labor's sons, that every pledge the nation gave
should be redeemed. And their great leader, having put a shining hand of
friendship--a girdle of clasped and happy hands--around the globe, comes
home and finds that every promise made in war has now the ring and gleam
of gold.

136. Manhood worth more than Gold

We say in this country manhood is worth more than gold. We say in this
country that without liberty the Nation is not worth preserving. I
appeal to every laboring man, and I ask him, "Is there another country
on this globe where you can have your equal rights with others?" Now,
then, in every country, no matter how good it is, and no matter how bad
it is--in every country there is something worth preserving, and there
is something that ought to be destroyed. Now recollect that every voter
is in his own right a king; every voter in this country wears a crown;
every voter in this country has in his hands the scepter of authority;
and every voter, poor and rich, wears the purple of authority alike.
Recollect it; and the man that will sell his vote is the man that
abdicates the American throne.

137. Grander than Greek or Roman.

Grander than the Greek, nobler than the Roman, the soldiers of the
republic, with patriotism as taintless as the air, battled for the
rights of others; for the nobility of labor; fought that mothers might
own their babes; that arrogant idleness should not scar the back of
patient toil, and that our country should not be a many-headed monster
made of warring States, but a Nation, sovereign, great and free. Blood
was water; money, leaves, and life was common air until one flag floated
over a republic without a master and without a slave.

138. Let us Drink to the Living and the Dead

The soldiers of the Union saved the South as well as the North. They
made us a Nation. Their victory made us free and rendered tyranny in
every other land as insecure as snow upon volcano lips. And now let us
drink to the volunteers, to those who sleep in unknown, sunken graves,
whose names are only in the hearts of those they loved and left--of
those who only hear in happy dreams the footsteps of return. Let us
drink to those who died where lipless famine mocked at want--to all the
maimed whose scars give modesty a tongue, to all who dared and gave to
chance the care and keeping of their lives--to all the living and all
the dead--to Sherman, to Sheridan and to Grant, the foremost soldiers of
the world; and last, to Lincoln, whose loving life, like a bow of peace,
spans and arches all the clouds of war.

139. Will the Wounds of the War be Healed?

There is still another question: "Will all the wounds of the war be
healed?" I answer, Yes. The Southern people must submit, not to the
dictation of the North, but to the nation's will and to the verdict of
mankind. They were wrong, and the time will come when they will say
that they have been vanquished by the right. Freedom conquered them, and
freedom will cultivate their fields, educate their children, weave for
them the robes of wealth, execute their laws, and fill their land with
happy homes.

140. Saviours of the Nation

They rolled the stone from the sepulchre of progress, and found therein
two angels clad in shining garments--nationality and liberty. The
soldiers were the Saviours of the Nation. They were the liberators of
men. In writing the proclamation of emancipation, Lincoln, greatest
of our mighty dead, whose memory is as gentle as the summer air,--when
reapers sing 'mid gathered sheaves,--copied with the pen what Grant and
his brave comrades wrote with swords.

141. General Grant

When the savagery of the lash, the barbarism of the chain, and the
insanity of secession confronted the civilization of our century, the
question, "Will the great republic defend itself?" trembled on the
lips of every lover of mankind. The North, filled with intelligence and
wealth, products of liberty, marshalled her hosts and asked only for
a leader. From civil life a man, silent, thoughtful, poised, and calm;
stepped forth, and with the lips of victory voiced the nation's first
and last demand: "Unconditional and immediate surrender." From that
moment the end was known. That utterance was the real declaration of
real war and in accordance with the dramatic unities of mighty
events, the great soldier who made it, received the final sword of the
rebellion. The soldiers of the republic were not seekers after vulgar
glory; they were not animated by the hope of plunder or the love of
conquest. They fought to preserve the homestead of liberty.


142. Paper is not Money

Some people tell me that the government can impress its sovereignty on
a piece of paper, and that is money. Well, if it is, what's the use of
wasting it making one dollar bills? It takes no more ink and no more
paper--why not make $1000 bills? Why not make $100,000,000 and all be
billionaires? If the government can make money, what on earth does it
collect taxes for you and me for? Why don't it make what money it wants,
take the taxes out, and give the balance to us? Mr. Greenbacker, suppose
the government issued $1,000,000,000 to-morrow, how would you get any of

143. The Debt will be paid

It will be paid. The holders of the debt have got a mortgage on a
continent. They have a mortgage on the honor of the Republican party,
and it is on record. Every blade of grass that grows upon this continent
is a guarantee that the debt will be paid; every field of bannered corn
in the great, glorious West is a guarantee that the debt will be paid;
all the coal put away in the ground, millions of years ago by the old
miser, the sun; is a guarantee that every dollar of that debt will be
paid; all the cattle on the prairies, pastures and plains, every one of
them is a guarantee that this debt will be paid; every pine standing
in the sombre forests of the North, waiting for the woodman's axe, is
a guarantee that this debt will be paid; all the gold and silver hid in
the Sierra Nevadas, waiting for the miner's pick, is a guarantee that
the debt will be paid; every locomotive, with its muscles of iron and
breath of flame, and all the boys and girls bending over their books at
school, every dimpled child in the cradle, every good man and every good
woman, and every man that votes the Republican ticket, is a guarantee
that the debt will be paid.

144. 1873 to 1879!

No man can imagine, all the languages of the world cannot express, what
the people of the United States suffered from 1873 to 1879. Men who
considered themselves millionaires found that they were beggars; men
living in palaces, supposing they had enough to give sunshine to the
winter of their age, supposing they had enough to have all they loved
in affluence and comfort, suddenly found that they were mendicants with
bonds, stocks, mortgages, all turned to ashes in their aged, trembling

The chimneys grew cold, the fires in furnaces went out, the poor
families were turned adrift, and the highways of the United States were
crowded with tramps. Into the home of the poor crept the serpent of
temptation, and whispered in the ear of poverty the terrible word

145. A Voter because a Man

A man does not vote in this country simply because he is rich; he does
not vote in this country simply because he has an education; he does
not vote simply because he has talent or genius; we say that he votes
because he is a man, and that he has his manhood to support; and we
admit in this country that nothing can be more valuable to any human
being than his manhood, and for that reason we put poverty on an
equality with wealth.

146. Keep the Flag in Heaven!

If you are a German, recollect that this country is kinder to you than
your own fatherland,--no matter what country you came from, remember
that this country is an asylum, and vote as in your conscience you
believe you ought to vote to keep this flag in heaven. I beg every
American to stand with that part of the country that believes in law, in
freedom of speech, in an honest vote, in civilization, in progress, in
human liberty, and in universal justice.

147. Prosperity and Resumption hand in hand

The Republicans of the United States demand a man who knows that
prosperity and resumption, when they come, must come together; that when
they come they will come hand in hand through the golden harvest fields;
hand in hand by the whirling spindles and the turning wheels; hand in
hand past the open furnace doors; hand in hand by the chimneys filled
with eager fire, greeted and grasped by the countless sons of toil.
This money has to be dug out of the earth. You cannot make it by passing
resolutions in a political convention.

148. Every Poor Man should Stand by the Government

It is the only Nation where the man clothed in a rag stands upon an
equality with the one wearing purple. It is the only country in the
world where, politically, the hut is upon an equality with the palace.
For that reason, every poor man should stand by the government, and
every poor man who does not is a traitor to the best interests of his
children; every poor man who does not is willing his children should
bear the badge of political inferiority; and the only way to make this
government a complete and perfect success is for the poorest man to
think as much of his manhood as the millionaire does of his wealth.

149. We Will Settle Pair!

I want to tell you that you cannot conceive of what the American people
suffered as they staggered over the desert of bankruptcy from 1873 to

We are too near now to know how grand we were. The poor mechanic said
"No;" the ruined manufacturer said "No;" the once millionaire said "No,
we will settle fair; we will agree to pay whether we ever pay or
not, and we will never soil the American name with the infamous word,
'repudiation.'" Are you not glad? What is the talk? Are you not glad
that our flag is covered all over with financial honors? The stars shine
and gleam now because they represent an honest nation.

150. A Government with a Long Arm

I believe in a Government with an arm long enough to reach the collar
of any rascal beneath its flag. I want it with an arm long enough and
a sword sharp enough to strike down tyranny wherever it may raise its
snaky head. I want a nation that can hear the faintest cries of its
humblest citizen. I want a nation that will protect a freedman standing
in the sun by his little cabin, just as quick as it would protect
Vanderbilt in a palace of marble and gold.

151. No Repudiation

Then it was, that the serpent of temptation whispered in the ear of want
that dreadful word "Repudiation." An effort was made to repudiate. They
appealed to want, to misery, to threatened financial ruin, to the bare
hearthstones, to the army of beggars, We had grandeur enough to say:
"No; we'll settle fair if we don't pay a cent!" And we'll pay-it. 'Twas
grandeur! Is there a Democrat now who wishes we had taken the advice of
Bayard to scale the bonds? Is there an American, a Democrat here, who
is not glad we escaped the stench and shame of repudiation, and did not
take Democratic advice? Is there a Greenbacker here who is not glad we
didn't do it? He may say he is, but he isn't.

152. The Great Crash!

I think there is the greatest heroism in living for a thing! There's no
glory in digging potatoes. You don't wear a uniform when you're picking
up stones. You can't have a band of music when you dig potatoes! In,
1873 came the great crash. We staggered over the desert of bankruptcy.
No one can estimate the anguish of that time! Millionaires found
themselves paupers. Palaces were exchanged for hovels. The aged man,
who had spent his life in hard labor, and who thought he had accumulated
enough to support himself in his old age, and leave a little something
to his children and grandchildren, found they were all beggars. The
highways were filled with tramps.

153. Promises Don't Pay

If I am fortunate enough to leave a dollar when I die, I want it to be
a good one; I don't wish to have it turn to ashes in the hands of
widowhood, or become a Democratic broken promise in the pocket of the
orphan; I want it money. I saw not long ago a piece of gold bearing the
stamp of the Roman Empire. That Empire is dust, and over it has been
thrown the mantle of oblivion, but that piece of gold is as good as
though Julius Caesar were still riding at the head of the Roman Legion.
I want money to that will outlive the Democratic party. They told
us--and they were honest about it--they said, "when we have plenty of
money we are prosperous." And I said: "When we are prosperous, then we
have credit, and, credit inflates the currency. Whenever a man buys a
pound of sugar and says, 'Charge it,' he inflates the currency; whenever
he gives his note, he inflates the currency; whenever his word takes the
place of money, he inflates the currency." The consequence is that when
we are prosperous, credit takes the place of money, and we have what
we call "plenty." But you can't increase prosperity simply by using
promises to pay.

154. Solid and Bright!

I do not wish to trust the wealth of this nation with the demagogues of
the nation. I do not wish to trust the wealth of the country to every
blast of public opinion. I want money as solid as the earth on which we
tread, as bright as the stars that shine above us.

155. The South and the Tariff

Where did this doctrine of a tariff for revenue only come from? From the
South. The South would like to stab the prosperity of the North. They
had rather trade with Old England than with New England. They had rather
trade with the people who were willing to help them in war than those
who conquered the rebellion. They knew what gave us our strength in
war. They knew all the brooks and creeks and rivers in New England were
putting down the rebellion. They knew that every wheel that turned,
every spindle that revolved, was a soldier in the army of human
progress. It won't do. They were so lured by the greed of office that
they were willing to trade upon the misfortune of a nation. It won't
do. I don't wish to belong to a party that succeeds only when my country
falls. I don't wish to belong to a party whose banner went up with
the banner of rebellion. I don't wish to belong to a party that was in
partnership with defeat and disaster.

156. I am for Protection

And I will tell you why I am for protection, too. If we were all farmers
we would be stupid. If we were all shoemakers we would be stupid. If
we all followed one business, no matter what it was, we would become
stupid. Protection to American labor diversifies American industry, and
to have it diversified touches and developes every part of the human
brain. Protection protects integrity; it protects intelligence; and
protection raises sense; and by protection we have greater men and
better-looking women and healthier children. Free trade means that our
laborer is upon an equality with the poorest paid labor of this world.

157. The Old Woman of Tewksbury

You Greenbackers are like the old woman in the Tewksbury, Mass.,
Poor-House. She used to be well off, and didn't like her quarters. You
Greenbackers have left your father's house of many mansions and have fed
on shucks about long enough. The Supervisor came into the Poor-House one
day and asked the old lady how she liked it. She said she didn't like
the company, and asked him what he would advise her to do under similar
circumstances. "Oh, you'd better stay. You're prejudiced," said he.
"Do you think anybody is ever prejudiced in their sleep?" asked the
old lady. "I had a dream the other night. I dreamed I died and went to
Heaven. Lots of nice people were there. A nice man came to me and asked
me where I was from. Says I, 'From Tewksbury, Mass.' He looked in his
book and said, 'You can't stay here.' "I asked what he would advise me
to do under similar circumstances." 'Well,' he said, 'there's hell down
there, you might try that.' "Well, I went down there, and the men told
me my name wasn't on the book and I couldn't stay there. 'Well,' said I,
'What would you advise me to do under similar circumstances?' 'Said he,
'You'll have to go back to Tewksbury.' And when Green-backers remember
what they once were, you must feel now, when you were forced to join
the Democratic party, as bad as the old lady who had to go back to

158. American Muscle, Coined into Gold

I believe in American labor, and I tell you why. The other day a man
told me that we had produced in the United States of America one million
tons of rails. How much are they worth? Sixty dollars a ton. In other
words, the million tons are worth $60,000,000. How much is a ton of iron
worth in the ground? Twenty-five cents. American labor takes 25 cents of
iron in the ground and adds to it $59.75. One million tons of rails, and
the raw material not worth $24,000. We build a ship in the United States
worth $500,000, and the value of the ore in the earth, of the trees in
the great forest, of all that enters into the composition of that ship
bringing $500,000 in gold is only $20,000; $480,000 by American labor,
American muscle, coined into gold; American brains made a legal-tender
the world around.

159. Inflation

I don't blame the man who wanted inflation. I don't blame him for
praying for another period of inflation. "When it comes," said the man
who had a lot of shrunken property on his hands, "blame me, if I don't
unload, you may shoot me." It's a good deal like the game of poker! I
don't suppose any of you know anything about that game! Along towards
morning the fellow who is ahead always wants another deal. The fellow
that is behind says his wife's sick, and he must go home. You ought
to hear that fellow descant on domestic virtue! And the other fellow
accuses him of being a coward and wanting to jump the game. A man whose
dead wood is hung up on the shore in a dry time, wants the water to rise
once more and float it out into the middle of the stream.

160. Resources of Illinois.

Let me tell you something about Illinois. We have fifty-six thousand
square miles of land--nearly thirty-six million acres. Upon these plains
we can raise enough to feed and clothe twenty million people. Beneath
these prairies were hidden, millions of ages ago, by that old miser, the
sun, thirty-six thousand square miles of coal. The aggregate thickness
of these veins is at least fifteen feet. Think of a column of coal one
mile square and one hundred miles high! All this came from the sun. What
a sunbeam such a column would be! Think of all this force, willed and
left to us by the dead morning of the world! Think of the fireside of
the future around which will sit the fathers, mothers and children of
the years to be! Think of the sweet and happy faces, the loving and
tender eyes that will glow and gleam in the sacred light of all these

161. Money!

They say that money is a measure of value. 'Tisn't so. A bushel doesn't
measure values. It measures diamonds as well as potatoes. If it measured
values, a bushel of potatoes would be worth as much as a bushel of
diamonds. A yard-stick doesn't measure values. They used to say,
"there's no use in having a gold yard-stick." That was right. You
don't buy the yard-stick. If money bore the same relation to trade as
a yard-stick or half-bushel, you would have the same money when you
got through trading as you had when you begun. A man don't sell
half-bushels. He sells corn. All we want is a little sense about these
things. We were in trouble. The thing was discussed. Some said there
wasn't enough money. That's so; I know what that means myself. They said
if we had more money we'd be more prosperous. The truth is, if we
were more prosperous we'd have more money. They said more money would
facilitate business.

162. Money by Work

How do you get your money? By work. Where from? You have got to dig it
out of the ground. That is where it comes from. In old times there were
some men who thought they could get some way to turn the baser metals
into gold, and old gray-haired men, trembling, tottering on the verge of
the grave, were hunting for something to turn ordinary metals into gold;
they were searching for the fountain of eternal youth, but they did not
find it. No human ear has ever heard the silver gurgle of the spring of
immortal youth.

163. Meat Twice a Year

I have been in countries where the laboring man had meat once a year;
sometimes twice--Christmas and Easter. And I have seen women carrying
upon their heads a burden that no man would like to carry, and at the
same time knitting busily with both hands. And those women lived without
meat; and when I thought of the American laborer I said to myself,
"After all, my country is the best in the world." And when I came back
to the sea and saw the old flag flying in the air, it seemed to me as
though the air from pure joy had burst into blossom.

164. America a Glorious Land

Labor has more to eat and more to wear in the United States than in
any other land of this earth. I want America to produce everything
that Americans need. I want it so if the whole world should declare war
against us, so if we were surrounded by walls of cannon and bayonets and
swords, we could supply all human wants in and of ourselves. I want to
live to see the American woman dressed in American silk; the American
man in everything from hat to boots produced in America by the cunning
hand of the American toiler.

165. How to Spend a Dollar

If you have only a dollar in the world and have got to spend it, spend
it like a man; spend it like a prince, like a king! If you have to spend
it, spend it as though it were a dried leaf, and you were the owner of
unbounded forests.

166. Honesty is Best always and Everywhere

I am next in favor of honest money. I am in favor of gold and silver,
and paper with gold and silver behind it. I believe in silver, because
it is one of the greatest of American products, and I am in favor of
anything that will add to the value of American products. But I want a
silver dollar worth a gold dollar, even if you make it or have to make
it four feet in diameter. No government can afford to be a clipper of
coin. A great Republic cannot afford to stamp a lie upon silver or gold.
Honest money, an honest people, an honest Nation. When our money is only
worth 80 cents on the dollar, we feel 20 per cent, below par. When our
money is good we feel good. When our money is at par, that is where we
are. I am a profound believer in the doctrine that for nations as well
as men, honesty is the best, always, everywhere and forever.

167. A Fountain of Greenbacks

There used to be mechanics that tried to make perpetual motion by
combinations of wheels, shifting weights, and rolling balls; but somehow
the machine would never quite run. A perpetual fountain of greenbacks,
of wealth without labor, is just as foolish as a fountain of eternal
youth. The idea that you can produce money without labor is just as
foolish as the idea of perpetual motion. They are old follies under new

168. What the Greenback says!

Shall we pay our debts? We had to borrow some money to pay for shot and
shell to shoot Democrats with. We found that we could get along with a
few less Democrats, but not with any less country, and so we borrowed
the money, and the question now is, will we pay it? And which party is
the most apt to pay it, the Republican party, that made the debt--the
party that swore it was constitutional, or the party that said it was
unconstitutional? Whenever a Democrat sees a greenback, the greenback
says to the Democrat, "I am one of the fellows that whipped you."
Whenever a Republican sees a greenback, the greenback says to him, "You
and I put down the rebellion and saved the country."

169. Honest Methods

So many presidents of savings banks, even those belonging to the Young
Men's Christian Association, run off with the funds; so many railroad
and insurance companies are in the hands of receivers; there is so much
bankruptcy on every hand, that all capital is held in the nervous clutch
of fear. Slowly, but surely, we are coming back to honest methods in
business. Confidence will return, and then enterprise will unlock the
safe and money will again circulate as of yore; the dollars will leave
their hitting places, and every one will be seeking investment.

170. Silver demonetized by Fraud!

For my part I do not ask any interference on the part of the government
except to undo the wrong it has done. I do not ask that money be made
out of nothing. I do not ask for the prosperity born of paper. But I do
ask for the remonetization of silver. Silver was demonetized by fraud.
It was an imposition upon every solvent man; a fraud upon every honest
debtor in the United States. It assassinated labor. It was done in the
interest of avarice and greed, and should be undone by honest men.


171. The Crime of Crimes!

Redden your hands with human blood; blast by slander the fair fame
of the innocent; strangle the smiling child upon its mother's knees;
deceive, ruin and desert the beautiful girl who loves and trusts you,
and your case is not hopeless. For all this, and for all these you
may be forgiven. For all this, and for all these, that bankrupt court
established by the gospel, will give you a discharge; but deny the
existence of these divine ghosts, of these gods, and the sweet and
tearful face of Mercy becomes livid with eternal hate. Heaven's golden
gates are shut, and you, with an infinite curse ringing in your
ears, with the brand of infamy upon your brow, commence your endless
wanderings in the lurid gloom of hell--an immortal vagrant--an eternal
outcast--a deathless convict.

172. Faith--A Mixture of Insanity and Ignorance

The doctrine that future happiness depends upon belief is monstrous.
It is the infamy of infamies. The notion that faith in Christ is to
be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason,
observation, and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for
refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity
and ignorance; called "faith."

173. What the Saints Could Cure!

The church in the days of Voltaire contended that its servants were the
only legitimate physicians. The priests cured in the name of the church,
and in the name of God--by exorcism, relics, water, salt and oil. St.
Valentine cured epilepsy, St. Gervasius was good for rheumatism, St.
Michael de Sanatis for cancer, St. Judas for coughs, St. Ovidius
for deafness, St. Sebastian for poisonous bites. St. Apollonia for
toothache, St. Clara for rheum in the eye, St. Hubert for hydrophobia.
Devils were driven out with wax tapers, with incence (sp.), with holy
water, by pronouncing prayers. The church, as late as the middle of the
twelfth century, prohibited good Catholics from having anything to do
with physicians.

174. The Sleep of Persecutors

All the persecutors sleep in peace, and the ashes of those who burned
their brothers in the name of Christ rest in consecrated ground. Whole
libraries could not contain even the names of the wretches who have
filled the world with violence and death in defense of book and creed,
and yet they all died the death of the righteous, and no priest or|
minister describes the agony and fear, the remorse and horror with which
their guilty souls were filled in the last moments of their lives. These
men had never doubted; they accepted the creed; they were not infidels;
they had not denied the divinity of Christ; they had been baptized;
they had partaken of the last supper; they had respected priests; they
admitted that the Holy Ghost had "proceeded;" and these things put
pillows beneath their dying heads and covered them with the drapery of

175. Crime Rampant and God Silent!

There is no recorded instance where the uplifted hand of murder has been
paralyzed--no truthful account in all the literature of the world of the
innocent shielded by God. Thousands of crimes are being committed every
day--men are this moment lying in wait for their human prey; wives
are whipped and crushed, driven to insanity and death; little children
begging for mercy, lifting imploringly tear-filled eyes to the brutal
faces of fathers and mothers; sweet girls are deceived, lured, and
outraged; but God has no time to prevent these things--no time to defend
the good and to protect the pure. He is too busy numbering hairs and
watching sparrows.

176. How Criminals Die Serenely!

All kinds of criminals, except infidels, meet death with reasonable
serenity. As a rule, there is nothing in the death of a pirate to cast
any discredit on his profession. The murderer upon the scaffold, with
a priest on either side, smilingly exhorts the multitude to meet him in
heaven. The man who has succeeded in making his home a hell meets death
without a quiver, provided he has never expressed any doubt as to the
divinity of Christ or the eternal "procession" of the holy ghost. The
king who has waged cruel and useless war, who has filled countries with
widows and fatherless children, with the maimed and diseased, and who
has succeeded in offering to the Moloch of ambition the best and bravest
of his subjects, dies like a saint.

177. The first Corpse and the first Cathedral

Now and then, in the history of this world, a man of genius, of sense,
of intellectual honesty has appeared. These men have denounced the
superstitions of their day. They pitied the multitude. To see priests
devour the substance of the people filled them with indignation. These
men were honest enough to tell their thoughts. Then they were denounced,
condemned, executed. Some of them escaped the fury of the people who
loved their enemies, and died naturally in their beds. It would not be
for the church to admit that they died peacefully. That would show that
religion was not actually necessary in the last moment. Religion got
much of its power from the terror of death. Superstition is the child of
ignorance and fear. The first grave was the first cathedral. The first
corpse was the first priest. It would not do to have the common people
understand that a man could deny the Bible, refuse to look at the cross,
contend that Christ was only a man, and yet die as calmly as Calvin did
after he had murdered Servetus, or as King David, after advising one son
to kill another.

178. The Sixteenth Century

In the sixteenth century every science was regarded as an outcast and an
enemy, and the church influenced the world, which was under its
power, to believe anything, and the ignorant mob was always too ready,
brutalized by the church, to hang, kill or crucify at their bidding.
Such was the result of a few centuries of Christianity.

179. An Orthodox Gentleman

By Orthodox I mean a gentleman who is petrified in his mind, whooping
around intellectually, simply to save the funeral expenses of his soul.

180. A Bold Assertion

The churches point to their decayed saints, and their crumbled Popes
and say, "Do you know more than all the ministers that ever lived?"
And without the slightest egotism or blush I say, yes, and the name of
Humboldt outweighs them all. The men who stand in the front rank, the
men who know most of the secrets of nature, the men who know most are
to-day the advanced infidels of this world. I have lived long enough to
see the brand of intellectual inferiority on every orthodox brain.

181. History a Bloody Farce!

If we admit that some infinite being has controlled the destinies of
persons and peoples, history becomes a most cruel and bloody farce.
Age after age, the strong have trampled upon the weak; the crafty
and heartless have ensnared and enslaved the simple and innocent,
and nowhere, in all the annals of mankind, has any god succored the

182. Weak ones Suffering--Heaven deaf

Most of the misery has been endured by the weak, the loving and the
innocent. Women have been treated like poisonous beasts, and little
children trampled upon as though they had been vermin. Numberless altars
have been reddened, even with the blood of babes; beautiful girls have
been given to slimy serpents; whole races of men doomed to centuries
of slavery, and everywhere there has been outrage beyond the power
of genius to express. During all these years the suffering have
supplicated; the withered lips of famine have prayed; the pale victims
have implored, and Heaven has been deaf and blind.

183. Heaven has no Ear, no Hand

Man should cease to expect aid from on high. By this time he should know
that heaven has no ear to hear, and no hand to help. The present is the
necessary child of all the past. There has been no chance, and there can
be no interference.

184. Religion is Tyrannical

Religion does not, and cannot, contemplate man as free. She accepts only
the homage of the prostrate, and scorns the offerings of those who stand
erect. She cannot tolerate the liberty of thought. The wide and sunny
fields belong not to her domain. The star-lit heights of genius and
individuality are above and beyond her appreciation and power. Her
subjects cringe at her feet, covered with the dust of obedience.

185. Religion and Facts

What has religion to do with facts? Nothing. Is there any such thing
as Methodist mathematics, Presbyterian botany, Catholic astronomy or
Baptist biology? What has any form of superstition or religion to do
with a fact or with any science? Nothing but hinder, delay or embarass.
I want, then, to free the schools; and I want to free the politicians,
so that a man will not have to pretend he is a Methodist, or his wife
a Baptist, or his grandmother a Catholic; so that he can go through
a campaign, and when he gets through will find none of the dust of
hypocrisy on his knees.

186. Religion not the End of Life

We deny that religion is the end or object of this life. When it is so
considered it becomes destructive of happiness--the real end of life.
It becomes a hydra-headed monster, reaching in terrible coils from the
heavens, and thrusting its thousand fangs into the bleeding, quivering
hearts of men. It devours their substance, builds palaces for God, (who
dwells not in temples made with hands,) and allows his children to
die in huts and hovels. It fills the earth with mourning, heaven with
hatred, the present with fear, and all the future with despair.

187. Creeds

Just in proportion that the human race has advanced, the Church has lost
power. There is no exception to this rule. No nation ever materially
advanced that held strictly to the religion of its founders. No nation
ever gave itself wholly to the control of the Church without losing its
power, its honor, and existence. Every Church pretends to have found
the exact truth. This is the end of progress. Why pursue that which you
have? Why investigate when you know? Every creed is a rock in running
water; humanity sweeps by it. Every creed cries to the universe, "Halt!"
A creed is the ignorant Past bullying the enlightened Present.

188. The Worst Religion in the World

The worst religion of the world was the Presbyterianism of Scotland as
it existed in the beginning of the eighteenth century. The kirk had all
the faults of the church of Rome, without a redeeming feature. The kirk
hated music, painting, statuary, and architecture. Anything touched with
humanity--with the dimples of joy--was detested and accursed. God was
to be feared, not loved. Life was a long battle with the devil. Every
desire was of Satan. Happiness was a snare, and human love was wicked,
weak, and vain. The Presbyterian priest of Scotland was as cruel,
bigoted, and heartless as the familiar of the inquisition. One case will
tell it all. In the beginning of this, the nineteenth century, a boy
seventeen years of age, Thomas Aikenhead, was indicted and tried
at Edinburgh for blasphemy. He had on several occasions, when cold,
jocularly wished himself in hell, that he might get warm. The poor,
frightened boy recanted--begged for mercy; but he was found guilty,
hanged, thrown in a hole at the foot of the scaffold; and his weeping
mother vainly begged that his bruised and bleeding body might be given
to her.

189. Religion Demanding Miracles

The founder of a religion must be able to turn water into wine--cure
with a word the blind and lame, and raise with a simple touch the dead
to life. It was necessary for him to demonstrate to the satisfaction
of his barbarian disciple, that he was superior to nature. In times of
ignorance this was easy to do. The credulity of the savage was almost
boundless. To him the marvelous was the beautiful, the mysterious was
the sublime. Consequently, every religion has for its foundation a
miracle--that is to say, a violation of nature--that is to say, a

190. We Want One Fact

We have heard talk enough. We have listened to all the drowsy, idealess,
vapid sermons that we wish to hear. We have read your Bible and the
works of your best minds. We have heard your prayers, your solemn groans
and your reverential amens. All these amount to less than nothing. We
want one fact. We beg at the doors of your churches for just one little
fact. We pass our hats along your pews and under your pulpits and
implore you for just one fact. We know all about your mouldy wonders and
your stale miracles. We want a this year's fact. We ask only one. Give
us one fact for charity. Your miracles are too ancient.

191. The Design Argument

These religious people see nothing but designs everywhere, and personal,
intelligent interference in everything. They insist that the universe
has been created, and that the adaptation of means to ends is perfectly
apparent. They point us to the sunshine, to the flowers, to the April
rain, and to all there is of beauty and of use in the world. Did it ever
occur to them that a cancer is as beautiful in its development as is the
reddest rose? That what they are pleased to call the adaptation of
means to ends, is as apparent in the cancer as in the April rain? How
beautiful the process of digestion! By what ingenious methods the
blood is poisoned so that the cancer shall have food! By what wonderful
contrivances the entire system of man is made to pay tribute to this
divine and charming cancer! See by what admirable instrumentalities it
feeds itself from the surrounding quivering, dainty flesh! See how it
gradually but surely expands and grows! By what marvelous mechanism
it is supplied with long and slender roots that reach out to the most
secret nerves of pain for sustenance and life! What beautiful colors it

192. Down, Forever Down

Down, forever down, with any religion that requires upon its ignorant
altar the sacrifice of the goddess Reason, that compels her to abdicate
forever the shining throne of the soul, strips from her form the
imperial purple, snatches from her hand the sceptre of thought and makes
her the bondwoman of a senseless faith!

193. The Back

Upon this rack I have described, this victim was placed, and those
chains were attached to his ankles and then to his waist, and clergyman,
good men pious men! men that were shocked at the immorality of their
day! they talked about playing cards and the horrible crime of dancing!
Oh! how such things shocked them; men going to the theatres and seeing a
play written by the grandest genius the world ever has produced--how it
shocked their sublime and tender souls! but they commenced turning this
machine and they kept on turning until the ankles, knees, hips, elbows,
shoulders and wrists were all dislocated and the victim was red with the
sweat of agony, and they had standing by a physician to feel the pulse,
so that the last faint flutter of life would not leave his veins. Did
they wish to save his life? Yes. In mercy? No! simply that they might
have the pleasure of racking him once again. That is the spirit, and it
is a spirit born of the doctrine that there is upon the throne of the
universe a being who will eternally damn his children, and they said:
"If God is going to have the supreme happiness of burning them forever,
certainly he might not to begrudge to us the joy of burning them for an
hour or two." That was their doctrine, and when I read these things it
seems to me that I have suffered them myself.

194. An Awful Admission

Just think of going to the day of judgment, if there is one, and
standing up before God and admitting without a blush that you had lived
and died a Scotch Presbyterian. I would expect the next sentence would
be, "Depart ye curged into everlasting fire."


195. The Church Forbids Investigation

The first doubt was the womb and cradle of progress, and from the first
doubt, man has continued to advance. Men began to investigate, and the
church began to oppose. The astronomer scanned the heavens, while the
church branded his grand forehead with the word, "Infidel;" and now,
not a glittering star in all the vast expanse bears a Christian name.
In spite of all religion, the geologist penetrated the earth, read her
history in books of stone, and found, hidden within her bosom souvenirs
of all the ages.

196. The Church Charges Falsely

Notwithstanding the fact that infidels in all ages have battled for
the rights of man, and have at all times been the fearless advocates
of liberty and justice, we are constantly charged by the Church with
tearing down without building again.

197. The Church in the "Dark Ages"

During that frightful period known as the "Dark Ages," Faith reigned,
with scarcely a rebellious subject. Her temples were "carpeted with
knees," and the wealth of nations adorned her countless shrines. The
great painters prostituted their genius to immortalize her vagaries,
while the poets enshrined them in song. At her bidding, man covered the
earth with blood. The scales of Justice were turned with her gold, and
for her use were invented all the cunning instruments of pain. She built
cathedrals for God, and dungeons for men. She peopled the clouds with
angels and the earth with slaves.

198. The Few Say, "Think!"

For ages, a deadly conflict has been waged between a few brave men and
women of thought and genius upon the one side, and the great ignorant
religious mass on the other. This is the war between! science and faith.
The few have appealed to reason, to honor, to law, to freedom, to the
known, and to happiness here in this world. The many have appealed
to prejudice, to fear, to miracle, to slavery, to the unknown, and
to misery hereafter. The few have said, "Think!" The many have said,

199. The Church and the Tree of Knowledge

The gods dreaded education and knowledge then just as they do now. The
church still faithfully guards the dangerous tree of knowledge, and has
exerted in all ages her utmost power to keep mankind from eating the
fruit thereof. The priests have never ceased repeating the old falsehood
and the old threat: "Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it,
lest ye die."

200. The Church Cries, "Believe!"

The church wishes us to believe. Let the church, or one of its
intellectual saints, perform a miracle, and we will believe. We are told
that nature has a superior. Let this superior, for one single instant,
control nature and we will admit the truth of your assertions.

201. The Heretics Cried, "Halt!"

A few infidels--a few heretics cried, "Halt!" to the great rabble of
ignorant devotion, and made it possible for the genius of the nineteenth
century to revolutionize the cruel creeds and superstitions of mankind.

202. The World not so Awful Flat

According to the Christian system this world was the centre of
everything. The stars were made out of what little God happened to have
left when he got the world done. God lived up in the sky, and they said
this earth must rest upon something, and finally science passed its hand
clear under, and there was nothing. It was self-existent in infinite
space. Then the Church began to say they didn't say it was flat, not so
awful flat--it was kind of rounding.

According to the ancient Christians God lived from all eternity, and
never worked but six days in His whole life, and then had the impudence
to tell us to be industrious.

203. From Whence Come Wars?

Christian nations are the warlike nations of this world. Christians have
invented the most destructive weapons of war. Christianity gave us the
revolver, invented the rifle, made the bombshell; and Christian
nations here and there had above all other arts the art of war; and as
Christians they have no respect for the rights of barbarians or for the
rights of any nation or tribe that happens to differ with them. See what
it does in our society; we are divided off into little sects that used
to discuss these questions with fire and sword, with chain and faggot,
and that discuss, some of them, even to-day, with misrepresentation and
slander. Every day something happens to show me that the old spirit that
that was in the inquisition still slumbers in the breasts of men.

204. Another Day of Divine Work

I heard of a man going to California over the plains, and there was a
clergyman on board, and he had a great deal to say, and finally he
fell in conversation with the forty-niner, and the latter said to the
clergyman, "Do you believe that God made this world in six days?" "Yes I
do." They were then going along the Humboldt. Says he, "Don't you think
he could put in another day to advantage right around here?"

205. The Donkey and the Lion

Owing to the attitude of the churches for the last fifteen hundred
years, truth-telling has not been a very lucrative business. As a rule,
hypocrisy has worn the robes, and honesty the rags. That day is passing
away. You cannot now answer the argument of a man by pointing at
the holes in his coat. Thomas Paine attacked the Church when it was
powerful--when it had what is called honors to bestow--when it was
the keeper of the public conscience--when it was strong and cruel. The
Church waited till he was dead, and then attacked his reputation and his
clothes. Once upon a time a donkey kicked a lion, but the lion was dead.

206. The Orthodox Christian

The highest type of the orthodox Christian does not forget; neither
does he learn. He neither advances nor recedes. He is a living fossil
embedded in that rock called faith. He makes no effort to better his
condition, because all his strength is exhausted in keeping other people
from improving theirs. The supreme desire of his heart is to force all
others to adopt his creed, and in order to accomplish this object he
denounces free-thinking as a crime, and this crime he calls heresy. When
he had power, heresy was the most terrible and formidable of words. It
meant confiscation, exile, imprisonment, torture, and death.

207. Alms-Dish and Sword

I will not say the Church has been an unmitigated evil in all respects.
Its history is infamous and glorious. It has delighted in the production
of extremes. It has furnished murderers for its own martyrs. It has
sometimes fed the body, but has always starved the soul. It has been a
charitable highwayman--a profligate beggar--a generous pirate. It
has produced some angels and a multitude of devils. It has built more
prisons than asylums. It made a hundred orphans while it cared for one.
In one hand it has carried the alms-dish and in the other a sword.

208. The Church the Great Robber

The Church has been, and still is, the great robber. She has rifled not
only the pockets but the brains of the world. She is the stone at the
sepulchre of liberty; the upas tree, in whose shade the intellect of man
has withered; the Gorgon beneath whose gaze the human heart has turned
to stone. Under her influence even the Protestant mother expects to be
happy in heaven, while her brave boy, who fell fighting for the rights
of man, shall writhe in hell.

209. The Church Impotent

The Church, impotent and malicious, regrets, not the abuse, but the loss
of her power, and seeks to hold by falsehood what she gained by cruelty
and force, by fire and fear. Christianity cannot live in peace with any
other form of faith.

210. Toleration

Let it be remembered that all churches have persecuted heretics to the
extent of their power. Toleration has increased only when and where the
power of the church has diminished. From Augustine until now the
spirit of the Christians has remained the same. There has been the same
intolerance, the same undying hatred of all who think for themselves,
and the same determination to crush out of the human brain all knowledge
inconsistent with an ignorant creed.

211. Shakespeare's Plays v. Sermons

What would the church people think if the theatrical people should
attempt to suppress the churches? What harm would it do to have an opera
here tonight? It would elevate us more than to hear ten thousand sermons
on the worm that never dies. There is more practical wisdom in one of
the plays of Shakespeare than in all the sacred books ever written. What
wrong would there be to see one of those grand plays on Sunday? There
was a time when the church would not allow you to cook on Sunday. You
had to eat your victuals cold. There was a time they thought the more
miserable you feel the better God feels.

212. Why Should the Church be Merciful?

Give any orthodox church the power, and to-day they would punish heresy
with whip, and chain, and fire. As long as a church deems a certain
belief essential to salvation, just so long it will kill and burn if it
has the power. Why should the Church pity a man whom her God hates? Why
should she show mercy to a kind and noble heretic whom her God will burn
in eternal fire?

213. The Church and the Infidel.

Cathedrals and domes, and chimes and chants--temples frescoed and
groined and carved, and gilded with gold--altars and tapers, and
paintings of virgin and babe--censer and chalice--chasuble, paten
and alb--organs, and anthems and incense rising to the winged and
blest--maniple, amice and stole--crosses and crosiers, tiaras
and crowns--mitres and missals and masses--rosaries, relics and
robes--martyrs and saints, and windows stained as with the blood of
Christ--never, never for one moment awed the brave, proud spirit of the
Infidel. He knew that all the pomp and glitter had been purchased with
Liberty--that priceless jewel of the soul. In looking at the cathedral
he remembered the dungeon. The music of the organ was loud enough to
drown the clank of fetters. He could not forget that the taper had
lighted the fagot. He knew that the cross adorned the hilt of the sword,
and so where others worshiped, he wept and scorned.

214. Back to Chaos

Suppose the Church could control the world today, we would go back to
chaos and old night philosophy would be branded as infamous; science
would again press its pale and thoughtful face against the prison bars,
and round the limbs of liberty would climb the bigot's flame.

215. Infinite Impudence of the Church

Who can imagine the infinite impudence of a Church assuming to think for
the human race? Who can imagine the infinite impudence of a Church
that pretends to be the mouthpiece of God, and in his name threatens to
inflict eternal punishment upon those who honestly reject its claims and
scorn its pretensions? By what right does a man, or an organization
of men, or a god, claim to hold a brain in bondage? When a fact can be
demonstrated, force is unnecessary; when it cannot be demonstrated, an
appeal to force is infamous. In the presence of the unknown all have an
equal right to think.

216. Wanted!--A New Method

The world is covered with forts to protect Christians from Christians,
and every sea is covered with iron monsters ready to blow Christian
brains into eternal froth. Millions upon millions are annually expended
in the effort to construct still more deadly and terrible engines of
death. Industry is crippled, honest toil is robbed, and even beggary is
taxed to defray the expenses of Christian warfare. There must be some
other way to reform this world.

217. The Kirk of Scotland

The Church was ignorant, bloody, and relentless. In Scotland the "Kirk"
was at the summit of its power. It was a full sister of the Spanish
Inquisition. It waged war upon human nature. It was the enemy of
happiness, the hater of joy, and the despiser of religious liberty. It
taught parents to murder their children rather than to allow them to
propagate error. If the mother held opinions of which the infamous
"Kirk" disapproved, her children were taken from her arms, her babe from
her very bosom, and she was not allowed to see them, or to write them a
word. It would not allow shipwrecked sailors to be rescued from drowning
on Sunday. It sought to annihilate pleasure, to pollute the heart by
filling it with religious cruelty and gloom, and to change mankind into
a vast horde of pious, heartless fiends. One of the most famous Scotch
divines said: "The Kirk holds that religious toleration is not far from

218. The Church Looks Back

The Church is, and always has been, incapable of a forward movement.
Religion always looks back. The Church has already reduced Spain to a
guitar, Italy to a hand-organ, and Ireland to exile.

219. Diogenes

The Church used painting, music and architecture, simply to degrade
mankind. But there are men that nothing can awe. There have been at all
times brave spirits that dared even the gods. Some proud head has always
been above the waves. In every age some Diogenes has sacrificed to all
the gods. True genius never cowers, and there is always some Samson
feeling for the pillars of authority.

220. The Church and War

It does seem as though the most zealous Christian must at times
entertain some doubt as to the divine origin of his religion. For
eighteen hundred years the doctrine has been preached. For more than
a thousand years the Church had, to a great extent, the control of the
civilized world, and what has been the result? Are the Christian nations
patterns of charity and forbearance? On the contrary, their principal
business is to destroy each other. More than five millions of Christians
are trained, educated, and drilled to murder their fellow-christians.
Every nation is groaning under a vast debt incurred in carrying on war
against other Christians.

221. The Call to Preach

An old deacon, wishing to get rid of an unpopular preacher, advised him
to give up the ministry and turn his attention to something else. The
preacher replied that he could not conscientiously desert the pulpit, as
he had had a "call" to the ministry. To which the deacon replied, "That
may be so, but it's very unfortunate for you, that when God called you
to preach, he forgot to call anybody to hear you."

222. Burning Servetus

The maker of the Presbyterian creed caused the fugitive Servetus to be
arrested for blasphemy. He was tried. Calvin was his accuser. He was
convicted and condemned to death by fire. On the morning of the fatal
day, Calvin saw him, and Servetus, the victim, asked forgiveness of
Calvin, the murderer. Servetus was bound to the stake, and the faggots
were lighted. The wind carried the flames somewhat away from his body,
so that he slowly roasted for hours. Vainly he implored a speedy death.
At last the flames climbed round his form; through smoke and fire his
murderers saw a white, heroic face. And there they watched until a man
became a charred and shriveled mass. Liberty was banished from Geneva,
and nothing but Presbyterianism was left.

223. Freedom for the Clergy

One of the first things I wish to do is to free the orthodox clergy. I
am a great friend of theirs, and in spite of all they may say against
me, I am going to do them a great and lasting service. Upon their necks
are visible the marks of the collar, and upon their backs those of the
lash. They are not allowed to read and think for themselves. They are
taught like parrots, and the best are those who repeat, with the fewest
mistakes, the sentences they have been taught. They sit like owls upon
some dead limb of the tree of knowledge, and hoot the same old hoots
that have been hooted for eighteen hundred years.

224. The Pulpit Weakening

There was a time when a falsehood, fulminated from the pulpit, smote
like a sword; but, the supply having greatly exceeded the demand,
clerical misrepresentation has at last become almost an innocent
amusement. Remembering that only a few years ago men, women, and even
children, were imprisoned, tortured and burned, for having expressed
in an exceedingly mild and gentle way, the ideas entertained by me, I
congratulate myself that calumny is now the pulpit's last resort.

225. Origin of the Priesthood

This was the origin of the priesthood. The priest pretended to stand
between the wrath of the gods and the helplessness of man. He was man's
attorney at the court of heaven. He carried to the invisible world a
flag of truce, a protest and a request. He came back with a command,
with authority and with power. Man fell upon his knees before his own
servant, and the priest, taking advantage of the awe inspired by his
supposed influence with the gods, made of his fellow-man a cringing
hypocrite and slave.

226. The Clergy on Heaven

The clergy, however, balance all the real ills of this life with the
expected joys of the next. We are assured that all is perfection in
heaven--there the skies are cloudless--there all is serenity and peace.
Here empires may be overthrown; dynasties may be extinguished in blood;
millions of slaves may toil 'neath the fierce rays of the sun, and the
cruel strokes of the lash; yet all is happiness in heaven. Pestilences
may strew the earth with corpses of the loved; the survivors may bend
above them in agony--yet the placid bosom of heaven is unruffled.
Children may expire vainly asking for bread; babes may be devoured by
serpents, while the gods sit smiling in the clouds.

227. The Parson, the Crane and the Fish

A devout clergyman sought every opportunity to impress upon the mind
of his son the fact, that God takes care of all his creatures; that the
falling sparrow attracts his attention, and that his loving-kindness is
over all his works. Happening, one day, to see a crane wading in quest
of food, the good man pointed out to his son the perfect adaptation of
the crane to get his living in that manner. "See," said he, "how his
legs are formed for wading! What a long slender bill he has! Observe how
nicely he folds his feet when putting them in or drawing them out of
the water! He does not cause the slightest ripple. He is thus enabled
to approach the fish without giving them any notice of his arrival.
My son," said he, "it is impossible to look at that bird without
recognizing the design, as well as the goodness of God, in thus
providing the means of subsistence." "Yes," replied the boy, "I think I
see the goodness of God, at least so far as the crane is concerned; but,
after all, father, don't you think the arrangement a little tough on the

228. Banish Me from Eden--But!

Give me the storm of tempest and action, rather than the dead calm of
ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me
eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge!

229. The Pulpit's Cry of Fear

From every pulpit comes the same cry, born of the same fear: "Lest
they eat and become as gods, knowing good and evil." For this reason,
religion hates science, faith detests reason, theology is the sworn
enemy of philosophy, and the church with its flaming sword still guards
the hated tree, and like its supposed founder, curses to the lowest
depths the brave thinkers who eat and become as gods.

230. Restive Clergymen

Some of the clergy have the independence to break away, and the
intellect to maintain themselves as free men, but the most are compelled
to submit to the dictation of the orthodox, and the dead. They are
not employed to give their thoughts, but simply to repeat the ideas of
others. They are not expected to give even the doubts that may suggest
themselves, but are required to walk in the narrow, verdureless path
trodden by the ignorance of the past. The forests and fields on either
side are nothing to them.

231. The Parson Factory at Andover

They have in Massachusetts, at a place called Andover, a kind of
minister-factory; and every professor in that factory takes an oath once
in every five years--that is as long as an oath will last--that not only
has he not during the last five years, but so help him God, he will not
during the next five years intellectually advance; and probably there is
no oath he could easier keep. Since the foundation of that institution
there has not been one case of perjury. They believe the same creed they
first taught when the foundation stone was laid, and now when they send
out a minister they brand him as hardware from Sheffield and Birmingham.
And every man who knows where he was educated knows his creed, knows
every argument of his creed, every book that he reads, and just what he
amounts to intellectually, and knows he will shrink and shrivel.

232. A Charge to Presbyteries

Go on, presbyteries and synods, go on! Thrust the heretics out of the
Church--that is to say, throw away your brains,--put out your eyes. The
infidels will thank you. They are willing to adopt your exiles. Every
deserter from your camp is a recruit for the army of progress. Cling to
the ignorant dogmas of the past; read the 109th Psalm; gloat over the
slaughter of mothers and babes; thank God for total depravity; shower
your honors upon hypocrites, and silence every minister who is touched
with that heresy called genius. Be true to your history. Turn out the
astronomers, the geologists, the naturalists, the chemists, and all the
honest scientists. With a whip of scorpions, drive them all out. We want
them all.


233. Nature the True Bible

The true Bible appeals to man in the name of demonstration. It has
nothing to conceal. It has no fear of being read, of being contradicted,
of being investigated and understood. It does not pretend to be holy, or
sacred; it simply claims to be true. It challenges the scrutiny of
all, and implores every reader to verify every line for himself. It is
incapable of being blasphemed. This book appeals to all the surroundings
of man. Each thing that exists testifies of its perfection. The earth,
with its heart of fire and crowns of snow; with its forests and plains,
its rocks and seas; with its every wave and cloud; with its every leaf
and bud and flower, confirms its every word, and the solemn stars,
shining in the infinite abysses, are the eternal witnesses of its truth.

234. Inspiration

I will tell you what I mean by inspiration. I go and look at the sea,
and the sea says something to me; it makes an impression upon my mind.
That impression depends, first, upon my experience; secondly, upon
my intellectual capacity. Another looks upon the same sea. He has a
different brain, he has had a different experience, he has different
memories and different hopes. The sea may speak to him of joy and to me
of grief and sorrow. The sea cannot tell the same thing to two beings,
because no two human beings have had the same experience. So, when I
look upon a flower, or a star, or a painting, or a statue, the more I
know about sculpture the more that statue speaks to me. The more I have
had of human experience, the more I have read, the greater brain I have,
the more the star says to me. In other words, nature says to me all that
I am capable of understanding.

335. The 109th Psalm!

Think of a God wicked and malicious enough to inspire this prayer in
the 109th Psalm. Think of one infamous enough to answer it. Had this
inspired psalm been found in some temple erected for the worship of
snakes, or in the possession of some cannibal king, written with blood
upon the dried skins of babes, there would have been a perfect harmony
between its surroundings and its sentiments.

236. I Don't Believe the Bible

Now, I read the Bible, and I find that God so loved this world that he
made up his mind to damn the most of us. I have read this book, and what
shall I say of it? I believe it is generally better to be honest. Now,
I don't believe the Bible. Had I not better say so? They say that if you
do you will regret it when you come to die. If that be true, I know a
great many religious people who will have no cause to regret it--they
don't tell their honest convictions about the Bible.

237. The Bible the Real Persecutor

The Bible was the real persecutor. The Bible burned heretics, built
dungeons, founded the Inquisition, and trampled upon all the liberties
of men. How long, O how long will mankind worship a book? How long will
they grovel in the dust before the ignorant legends of the barbaric
past? How long, O how long will they pursue phantoms in a darkness
deeper than death?

238. Immoralities of the Bible

The believers in the Bible are loud in their denunciation of what they
are pleased to call the immoral literature of the world; and yet few
books have been published containing more moral filth than this inspired
word of God. These stories are not redeemed by a single flash of wit or
humor. They never rise above the dull details of stupid vice. For one,
I cannot afford to soil my pages with extracts from them; and all such
portions of the Scriptures I leave to be examined, written upon, and
explained by the clergy. Clergymen may know some way by which they can
extract honey from these flowers. Until these passages are expunged from
the Old Testament, it is not a fit book to be read by either old or
young. It contains pages that no minister in the United States would
read to his congregation for any reward whatever. There are chapters
that no gentleman would read in the presence of a lady. There are
chapters that no father would read to his child. There are narratives
utterly unfit to be told; and the time will come when mankind will
wonder that such a book was ever called inspired.

239. The Bible Stands in the Way

But as long as the Bible is considered as the work of God, it will be
hard to make all men too good and pure to imitate it; and as long as it
is imitated there will be vile and filthy books. The literature of
our country will not be sweet and clean until the Bible ceases to be
regarded as the production of a god.

240. The Bible False

In the days of Thomas Paine the Church believed and taught that every
word in the Bible was absolutely true. Since his day it has been proven
false in its cosmogony, false in its astronomy, false in its chronology,
false in its history, and so far as the Old Testament is concerned,
false in almost everything. There are but few, if any, scientific men
who apprehend that the Bible is literally true. Who on earth at this
day would pretend to settle any scientific question by a text from
the Bible? The old belief is confined to the ignorant and zealous.
The Church itself will before long be driven to occupy the position of
Thomas Paine.

241. The Man I Love

I love any man who gave me, or helped to give me, the liberty I enjoy
to-night. I love every man who helped put our flag in heaven. I love
every man who has lifted his voice in all the ages for liberty, for a
chainless body, and a fetterless brain. I love every man who has given
to every other human being every right that he claimed for himself. I
love every man who thought more of principle than he did of position. I
love the men who have trampled crowns beneath their feet that they might
do something for mankind.

242. Whale, Jonah and All

The best minds of the orthodox world, to-day, are endeavoring to prove
the existence of a personal Deity. All other questions occupy a minor
place. You are no longer asked to swallow the Bible whole, whale,
Jonah and all; you are simply required to believe in God, and pay your
pew-rent. There is not now an enlightened minister in the world who will
seriously contend that Samson's strength was in his hair, or that the
necromancers of Egypt could turn water into blood, and pieces of wood
into serpents. These follies have passed away.

243. Damned for Laughing at Samson

For my part, I would infinitely prefer to know all the results of
scientific investigation, than to be inspired as Moses was. Supposing
the Bible to be true; why is it any worse or more wicked for free
thinkers to deny it, than for priests to deny the doctrine of Evolution,
or the dynamic theory of heat? Why should we be damned for laughing at
Samson and his foxes, while others, holding the Nebular Hypothesis in
utter contempt, go straight to heaven?

244. The Man, Not the Book, Inspired

Now when I come to a book, for instance I read the writings of
Shakespeare--Shakespeare, the greatest human being who ever existed upon
this globe. What do I get out of him? All that I have sense enough to
understand. I get my little cup full. Let another read him who knows
nothing of the drama, who knows nothing of the impersonation of passion;
what does he get from him? Very little. In other words, every man gets
from a book, a flower, a star, or the sea, what he is able to get from
his intellectual development and experience. Do you then believe that
the Bible is a different book to every human being that receives it? I
do. Can God, then, through the Bible, make the same revelation to two
men? He cannot. Why? Because the man who reads is the man who inspires.
Inspiration is in the man and not in the book.

245. The Bible a Chain

The real oppressor, enslaver and corrupter of the people is the Bible.
That book is the chain that binds, the dungeon that holds the clergy.
That book spreads the pall of superstition over the colleges and
schools. That book puts out the eyes of science, and makes honest
investigation a crime. That book unmans the politician and degrades the
people. That book fills the world with bigotry, hypocrisy and fear.

246. Absurd and Foolish Fables

Volumes might be written upon the infinite absurdity of this most
incredible, wicked and foolish of all the fables contained in that
repository of the impossible, called the Bible. To me it is a matter
of amazement, that it ever was for a moment believed by any intelligent
human being.

247. The Bible the Work of Man

Is it not infinitely more reasonable to say that this book is the work
of man, that it is filled with mingled truth and error, with mistakes
and facts, and reflects, too faithfully perhaps, the "very form and
pressure of its time?" If there are mistakes in the Bible, certainly
they were made by man. If there is anything contrary to nature, it
was written by man. If there is anything immoral, cruel, heartless
or infamous, it certainly was never written by a being worthy of the
adoration of mankind.

248. Something to Admire, not Laugh at

It strikes me that God might write a book that would not necessarily
excite the laughter of his children. In fact, I think it would be
safe to say that a real God could produce a work that would excite the
admiration of mankind.

249. An Intellectual Deformity

The man who now regards the Old Testament as, in any sense, a sacred or
inspired book, is, in my judgment, an intellectual and moral deformity.
There is in it so much that is cruel, ignorant, and ferocious, that it
is to me a matter of amazement that it was ever thought to be the work
of a most merciful Deity.

250. The Bible a Poor Product

Admitting that the Bible is the Book of God, is that his only good job?
Will not a man be damned as quick for denying the equator as denying
the Bible? Will he not be damned as quick for denying geology as for
denying the scheme of salvation? When the Bible was first written it was
not believed. Had they known as much about science as we know now, that
Bible would not have been written.

251. The Bible the Battle Ground of Sects

Every sect is a certificate that God has not plainly revealed his will
to man. To each reader the Bible conveys a different meaning. About the
meaning of this book, called a revelation, there have been ages of war,
and centuries of sword and flame. If written by an infinite God, he must
have known that these results must follow; and thus knowing, he must be
responsible for all.

252. The Bible Childish

Paine thought the barbarities of the Old Testament inconsistent with
what he deemed the real character of God. He believed that murder,
massacre and indiscriminate slaughter had never been commanded by
the Deity. He regarded much of the Bible as childish, unimportant
and foolish. The scientific world entertains the same opinion. Paine
attacked the Bible precisely in the same spirit in which he had attacked
the pretensions of kings. He used the same weapons. All the pomp in the
world could not make him cower. His reason knew no "Holy of Holies,"
except the abode of Truth.

253. Where Moses got the Pentateuch

Nothing can be clearer than that Moses received from the Egyptians the
principal parts of his narrative, making such changes and additions as
were necessary to satisfy the peculiar superstitions of his own people.

254. God's Letter to His Children

According to the theologians, God, the Father of us all, wrote a letter
to his children. The children have always differed somewhat as to the
meaning of this letter. In consequence of these honest differences,
these brothers began to cut out each other's hearts. In every land,
where this letter from God has been read, the children to whom and for
whom it was written have been filled with hatred and malice. They have
imprisoned and murdered each other, and the wives and children of each
other. In the name of God every possible crime has been committed, every
conceivable outrage has been perpetrated. Brave men, tender and loving
women, beautiful girls, and prattling babes have been exterminated in
the name of Jesus Christ.

255. Examination a Crime

The Church has burned honesty and rewarded hypocrisy. And all this,
because it was commanded by a book--a book that men had been taught
implicitly to believe, long before they knew one word that was in it.
They had been taught that to doubt the truth of this book--to examine
it, even--was a crime of such enormity that it could not be forgiven,
either in this world or in the next.

256. Read the Bible--and Then!

All that is necessary, as it seems to me, to convince any reasonable
person that the Bible is simply and purely of human invention--of
barbarian invention--is to read it. Read it as you would any other book;
think of it as you would any other; get the bandage of reverence from
your eyes; drive from your heart the phantom of fear; push from the
throne of your brain the cowled form of superstition--then read the Holy
Bible, and you will be amazed that you ever, for one moment, supposed a
being of infinite wisdom, goodness and purity, to be the author of such
ignorance and such atrocity.

257. An Infallible Book Makes Slaves

Whether the Bible is false or true, is of no consequence in comparison
with the mental freedom of the race. Salvation through slavery is
worthless. Salvation from slavery is inestimable. As long as man
believes the Bible to be infallible, that book is his master. The
civilization of this century is not the child of faith, but of
unbelief--the result of free thought.

258. Can a Sane Man Believe in Inspiration?

What man who ever thinks, can believe that blood can appease God? And
yet our entire system of religion is based on that belief. The Jews
pacified Jehovah with the blood of animals, and according to the
Christian system, the blood of Jesus softened the heart of God a little,
and rendered possible the salvation of a fortunate few. It is hard to
conceive how any sane man can read the Bible and still believe in the
doctrine of inspiration.

259. An Inspiration Test

The Bible was originally written in the Hebrew language, and the Hebrew
language at that time had no vowels in writing. It was written entirely
with consonants, and without being divided into chapters and verses, and
there was no system of punctuation whatever. After you go home to-night
write an English sentence or two with only consonants close together,
and you will find that it will take twice as much inspiration to read it
as it did to write it.

260. The Real Bible

The real Bible is not the work of inspired men, nor prophets, nor
evangelists, nor of Christs. The real Bible has not yet been written,
but is being written. Every man who finds a fact adds a word to this
great book.

261. The Bad Passages in the Bible not Inspired

The bad passages in the Bible are not inspired. No God ever upheld
human slavery, polygamy or a war of extermination. No God ever ordered
a soldier to sheathe his sword in the breast of a mother. No God ever
ordered a warrior to butcher a smiling, prattling babe. No God ever
upheld tyranny. No God ever said, be subject to the powers that be. No
God ever endeavored to make man a slave and woman a beast of burden.
There are thousands of good passages in the Bible. Many of them are

There are in it wise laws, good customs, some lofty and splendid things.
And I do not care whether they are inspired or not, so they are true.
But what I do insist upon is that the bad is not inspired.

262. Too much Pictorial

There is no hope for you. It is just as bad to deny hell as it is to
deny heaven. Prof. Swing says the Bible is a poem. Dr. Ryder says it
is a picture. The Garden of Eden is pictorial; a pictorial snake and
a pictorial woman, I suppose, and a pictorial man, and may be it was a
pictorial sin. And only a pictorial atonement!

263. One Plow worth a Million Sermons

Man must learn to rely upon himself. Reading Bibles will not protect
him from the blasts of winter, but houses, fire and clothing will. To
prevent famine one plow is worth a million sermons, and even patent
medicines will cure more diseases than all the prayers uttered since the
beginning of the world.


264. The Infidels of 1776

By the efforts of these infidels--Paine, Jefferson and Franklin--the
name of God was left out of the Constitution of the United States. They
knew that if an infinite being was put in, no room would be left for the
people. They knew that if any church was made the mistress of the state,
that mistress, like all others, would corrupt, weaken, and destroy.
Washington wished a church, established by law, in Virginia. He was
prevented by Thomas Jefferson. It was only a little while ago that
people were compelled to attend church by law in the Eastern States,
and taxes were raised for the support of churches the same as for the
construction of highways and bridges. The great principle enunciated
in the Constitution has silently repealed most of these laws. In the
presence of this great instrument the constitutions of the States grew
small and mean, and in a few years every law that puts a chain upon the
mind, except in Delaware, will be repealed, and for these our children
may thank the infidels of 1776.

265. The Legitimate Influence of Religion

Religion should have the influence upon mankind that its goodness, that
its morality, its justice, its charity, its reason and its argument give
it, and no more. Religion should have the effect upon mankind that it
necessarily has, and no more.

266. Infidels the Flowers of the World

The infidels have been the brave and thoughtful men; the flower of all
the world; the pioneers and heralds of the blessed day of liberty and
love; the generous spirits of the unworthy past; the seers and
prophets of our race; the great chivalric souls, proud victors on the
battle-fields of thought, the creditors of all the years to be.

267. The Noblest Sons of, Earth

Who at the present day can imagine the courage, the devotion to
principle, the intellectual and moral grandeur it once required to be an
infidel, to brave the Church, her racks, her fagots, her dungeons, her
tongues of fire--to defy and scorn her heaven and her hell--her devil
and her God? They were the noblest sons of earth. They were the real
saviors of our race, the destroyers of superstition, and the creators
of Science. They were the real Titans who bared their grand foreheads to
all the thunderbolts of all the gods.

268. How Ingersoll became an Infidel

I may say right here that the Christian idea that any God can make me
His friend by killing mine is about as great a mistake as could be made.
They seem to have the idea that just as soon as God kills all the people
that a person loves, he will then begin to love the Lord. What drew
my attention first to these questions was the doctrine of eternal
punishment. This was so abhorrent to my mind that I began to hate the
book in which it was taught. Then, in reading law, going back to find
the origin of laws, I found one had to go but a little way before the
legislator and priest united. This led me to study a good many of the
religions of the world. At first I was greatly astonished to find most
of them better than ours. I then studied our own system to the best of
my ability, and found that people were palming off upon children
and upon one another as the inspired words of God a book that upheld
slavery, polygamy, and almost every other crime. Whether I am right or
wrong, I became convinced that the Bible is not an inspired book, and
then the only question for me to settle was as to whether I should say
what I believed or not. This realty was not the question in my mind,
because, before even thinking of such a question, I expressed my belief,
and I simply claim that right, and expect to exercise it as long as I
live. I may be damned for it in the next world, but it is a great source
of pleasure to me in this.

269. Why Should Infidels Die in Fear?

Why should it be taken for granted that the men who devoted their lives
to the liberation of their fellowmen should have been hissed at in
the hour of death by the snakes of conscience, while men who defended
slavery--practiced polygamy--justified the stealing of babes from the
breasts of mothers, and lashed the naked back of unpaid labor, are
supposed to have passed smilingly from earth to the embraces of the
angels? Why should we think that the brave thinkers, the investigators,
the honest men must have left the crumbling shore of time in dread and
fear, while the instigators of the massacre of St. Bartholomew, the
inventors and users of thumb screws, of iron boots and racks, the
burners and tearers of human flesh, the stealers, the whippers, and the
enslavers of men, the buyers and beaters of maidens, mothers, and babes,
the founders of the inquisition, the makers of chains, the builders of
dungeons, the calumniators of the living, the slanderers of the
dead, and even the murderers of Jesus Christ, all died in the odor of
sanctity, with white, forgiven hands folded upon the breasts of peace,
while the destroyers of prejudice, the breakers of fetters, the creators
of light, died surrounded by the fierce fiends of God?

270. Infidelity is Liberty

Infidelity is liberty; all religion is slavery. In every creed man is
the slave of God--woman is the slave of man and the sweet children are
the slaves of all. We do not want creeds; we want knowledge--we want

271. The World in Debt to Infidels

What would the world be if infidels had never been? Let us be honest.
Did all the priests of Rome increase the mental wealth of man as much
as Bruno? Did all the priests of France do as great a work for the
civilization of the world as Diderot and Voltaire? Did all the ministers
of Scotland add as much to the sum of human knowledge as David Hume?
Have all the clergymen, monks, friars, ministers, priests, bishops,
cardinals, and popes, from the day of Pentecost to the last election,
done as much for human liberty as Thomas Paine?

272. Infidels the Pioneers of Progress

The history of intellectual progress is written in the lives of
infidels. Political rights have been preserved by traitors--the liberty
of the mind by heretics. To attack the king was treason--to dispute the
priest was blasphemy. The sword and cross were allies. They defended
each other. The throne and the altar were twins--vultures from the same
egg. It was James I. who said: "No bishop, no king." He might have said:
"No cross, no crown." The king owned the bodies, and the priest the
souls, of men. One lived on taxes, the other on alms. One was a robber,
the other a beggar. These robbers and beggars controlled two worlds.
The king made laws, the priest made creeds. With bowed backs the people
received the burdens of the one, and, with wonder's open mouth, the
dogmas of the other. If any aspired to be free, they were slaughtered by
the king, and every priest was a Herod who slaughtered the children
of the brain. The king ruled by force, the priest by fear, and both by
both. The king said to the people: "God made you peasants, and He made
me king. He made rags and hovels for you, robes and palaces for me. Such
is the justice of God." And the priest said: "God made you ignorant and
vile. He made me holy and wise. If you do not obey me, God will punish
you here and torment you hereafter. Such is the mercy of God."

273. Infidels the Great Discoverers

Infidels are the intellectual discoverers. They sail the unknown seas,
and in the realms of thought they touch the shores of other worlds. An
infidel is the finder of a new fact--one who in the mental sky has seen
another star. He is an intellectual capitalist, and for that reason
excites the envy of theological paupers.

274. The Altar of Reason

Virtue is a subordination, of the passions to the intellect. It is to
act in accordance with your highest convictions. It does not consist in
believing, but in doing. This is the sublime truth that the Infidels in
all ages have uttered. They have handed the torch from one to the other
through all the years that have fled. Upon the altar of reason they have
kept the sacred fire, and through the long midnight of faith they fed
the divine flame.


275. Every Nation has Created a God

Each nation has created a God, and the God has always resembled his
creators. He hated and loved what they hated and loved. Each God was
intensely patriotic, and detested all nations but his own. All these
gods demanded praise, flattery and worship. Most of them were pleased
with sacrifice, and the smell of innocent blood has ever been considered
a divine perfume. All these gods have insisted on having a vast number
of priests, and the priests have always insisted upon being supported
by the people; and the principle business of these priests has been
to boast that their God could easily vanquish all the other gods put

276. Gods with Back-Hair

Man, having always been the physical superior of woman, accounts for
the fact that most of the high gods have been males. Had women been the
physical superior; the powers supposed to be the rulers of Nature would
have been woman, and instead of being represented in the apparel of man,
they would have luxuriated in trains, low-necked dresses, laces and

277. Creation the Decomposition of the Infinite

Admitting that a god did create the universe, the question then arises,
of what did he create it? It certainly was not made of nothing. Nothing,
considered in the light of a raw material, is a most decided failure. It
follows, then, that the god must have made the universe out of himself,
he being the only existence. The universe is material, and if it was
made of god, the god must have been material. With this very thought in
his mind, Anaximander of Miletus, said: "Creation is the decomposition
of the infinite."

278. The Gods Are as the People Are

No god was ever in advance of the nation that created him. The negroes
represented their deities with black skins and curly hair: The Mongolian
gave to his a yellow complexion and dark almond-shaped eyes. The Jews
were not allowed to paint theirs, or we should have seen Jehovah with
a full beard, an oval face, and an aquiline nose. Zeus was a perfect
Greek, and Jove looked as though a member of the Roman senate. The gods
of Egypt had the patient face and placid look of the loving people who
made them. The gods of northern countries were represented warmly clad
in robes of fur; those of the tropics were naked. The gods of India
were often mounted upon elephants; those of some islanders were great
swimmers, and the deities of the Arctic zone were passionately fond of
whale's blubber.

279. Gods Shouldn't Make Mistakes

Generally the devotee has modeled them after himself, and has given them
hands, heads, feet, eyes, ears, and organs of speech. Each nation made
its gods and devils not only speak its language, but put in their mouths
the same mistakes in history, geography, astronomy, and in all matters
of fact, generally made by the people.

280. Miracles

No one, in the world's whole history, ever attempted to substantiate a
truth by a miracle. Truth scorns the assistance of miracle. Nothing but
falsehood ever attested itself by signs and wonders. No miracle ever was
performed, and no sane man ever thought he had performed one, and until
one is performed, there can be no evidence of the existence of any power
superior to, and independent of nature.

281. Plenty of Gods on Hand

Man has never been at a loss for gods. He has worshipped almost
everything, including the vilest and most disgusting beasts. He has
worshipped fire, earth, air, water, light, stars, and for hundreds, of
ages prostrated himself before enormous snakes. Savage tribes often make
gods of articles they get from civilized people. The Todas worship
a cowbell. The Kodas worship two silver plates, which they regard as
husband and wife, and another tribe manufactured a god out of a king of

282. The Devil Difficulty

In the olden times the existence of devils was universally admitted. The
people had no doubt upon that subject, and from such belief it followed
as a matter of course, that a person, in order to vanquish these devils,
had either to be a god, or to be assisted by one. All founders of
religions have established their claims to divine origin by controlling
evil spirits, and suspending the laws of nature. Casting out devils was
a certificate of divinity. A prophet, unable to cope with the powers of
darkness, was regarded with contempt. The utterance of the highest and
noblest sentiments, the most blameless and holy life, commanded but
little respect, unless accompanied by power to work miracles and command

283. Was the Devil an Idiot?

The Christians now claim that Jesus was God. If he was God, of course
the devil knew that fact, and yet, according to this account, the devil
took the omnipotent God and placed him upon a pinnacle of the temple,
and endeavored to induce him, to dash himself against the earth. Failing
in that, he took the creator, owner and governor of the universe up into
an exceeding high mountain, and offered him this world--this grain of
sand--if he, the God of all the worlds, would fall down and worship
him, a poor devil, without even a tax title to one foot of dirt! Is it
possible the devil was such an idiot? Should any great credit be given
to this deity for not being caught with such chaff? Think of it! The
devil--the prince of sharpers--the king of cunning--the master of
finesse, trying to bribe God with a grain of sand that belonged to God!

284. Industrious Deities

Few nations have been so poor as to have but one god. Gods were made
so easily, and the raw material cost so little, that generally the god
market was fairly glutted, and heaven crammed with these phantoms. These
gods not only attended to the skies, but were supposed to interfere in
all the affairs of men. They presided over everybody and everything.
They attended to every department. All was supposed to be under their
immediate control. Nothing was too small--nothing too large; the falling
of sparrows and the motions of the planets were alike attended to by
these industrious and observing deities.

285. God in Idleness

If a god created the universe, then, there must have been a time when he
commenced to create. Back of that time there must have been an eternity,
during which there had existed nothing--absolutely nothing--except this
supposed god. According to this theory, this god spent an eternity, so
to speak, in an infinite vacuum, and in perfect idleness.

286. Fancy a Devil Drowning a World

One of these gods, according to the account, drowned an entire world,
with the exception of eight persons. The old, the young, the beautiful
and the helpless were remorselessly devoured by the shoreless sea. This,
the most fearful tragedy that the imagination of ignorant priests ever
conceived, was the act, not of a devil, but of a god, so-called, whom
men ignorantly worship unto this day. What a stain such an act would
leave upon the character of a devil!

287. Some Gods Very Particular About Little Things

From their starry thrones they frequently came to the earth for the
purpose of imparting information to man. It is related of one that he
came amid thunderings and lightnings in order to tell the people that
they should not cook a kid in its mother's milk. Some left their shining
abodes to tell women that they should, or should not, have children, to
inform a priest how to cut and wear his apron, and to give directions as
to the proper manner of cleaning the intestines of a bird.

288 The Gods of To-day the Scorn of To-morrow

Nations, like individuals, have their periods of youth, of manhood and
decay. Religions are the same. The same inexorable destiny awaits them
all. The gods created by the nations must perish with their creators.
They were created by men, and like men, they must pass away. The deities
of one age are the by-words of the next.

289. No Evidence of a God in Nature

The best minds, even in the religious world, admit that in the material
nature there is no evidence of what they are pleased to call a god.
They find their evidence in the phenomena of intelligence, and very
innocently assert that intelligence is above, and in fact, opposed to
nature. They insist that man, at least, is a special creation; that
he has somewhere in his brain a divine spark, a little portion of the
"Great First Cause." They say that matter cannot produce thought; but
that thought can produce matter. They tell us that man has intelligence,
and therefore there must be an intelligence greater than his. Why not
say, God has intelligence, therefore there must be an intelligence
greater than his? So far as we know, there is no intelligence apart
from matter. We cannot conceive of thought, except as produced within a

290. Great Variety in Gods

Gods have been manufactured after numberless models., and according to
the most grotesque fashions. Some have a thousand arms, some a hundred
heads, some are adorned with necklaces of living snakes, some are armed
with clubs, some with sword and shield, some with bucklers, and some
have wings as a cherub; some were invisible, some would show themselves
entire, and some would only show their backs; some were jealous, some
were foolish, some turned themselves into men, some into swans, some
into bulls, some into doves, and some into Holy-Ghosts, and made love
to the beautiful daughters of men: Some were married--all ought to have
been--and some were considered as old bachelors from all eternity. Some
had children, and the children were turned into gods and worshiped as
their fathers had been. Most of these gods were revengeful, savage,
lustful, and ignorant. As they generally depended upon their priests for
information, their ignorance can hardly excite our astonishment.

291. God Grows Smaller

"But," says the religionist, "you cannot explain everything; and that
which you cannot explain, that which you do not comprehend, is my God."
We are explaining more every day. We are understanding more every day;
consequently your God is growing smaller every day.

292. Give the Devil His Due

If the account given in Genesis is really true, ought we not, after all,
to thank this serpent? He was the first schoolmaster, the first advocate
of learning, the first enemy of ignorance, the first to whisper in human
ears the sacred word liberty, the creator of ambition, the author of
modesty, of inquiry, of doubt, of investigation, of progress and of

293. Casting out Devils

Even Christ, the supposed son of God, taught that persons were possessed
of evil spirits, and frequently, according to the account, gave proof of
his divine origin and mission by frightening droves of devils out of his
unfortunate countrymen. Casting out devils was his principal employment,
and the devils thus banished generally took occasion to acknowledge him
as the true Messiah; which was not only very kind of them, but quite
fortunate for him.

294. On the Horns of a Dilemma

The history of religion is simply the story of man's efforts in all ages
to avoid one of two great powers, and to pacify the other. Both powers
have inspired little else than abject fear. The cold, calculating sneer
of the devil, and the frown of God, were equally terrible. In any event,
man's fate was to be arbitrarily fixed forever by an unknown power
superior to all law, and to all fact.

295. The Devil and the Swine

How are you going to prove a miracle? How would you go to work to prove
that the devil entered into a drove of swine? Who saw it, and who would
know a devil if he did see him?

296. How can I assist God?

Some tell me that it is the desire of God that I should worship Him?
What for? That I should sacrifice something to Him? What for? Is he in
want? Can I assist Him? If he is in want and I can assist Him and will
not, I would be an ingrate and an infamous wretch. But I am satisfied
that I cannot by any possibility assist the infinite. Whom can I assist?
My fellow men. I can help feed the hungry, clothe the naked, enlighten
ignorance. I can help at least, in some degree, toward covering this
world with a mantle of joy I may be wrong, but I do not believe that
there is any being in this universe who gives rain for praise, who gives
sunshine for prayer, or who blesses a man simply because he kneels.

297. Can God be Improved?

If the infinite "Father" allows a majority of his children to live in
ignorance and wretchedness now, what evidence is there that he will ever
improve their condition? Will God have more power? Will he become more
merciful? Will his love for his poor creatures increase? Can the conduct
of infinite wisdom, power and love ever change? Is the infinite capable
of any improvement whatever?

298. That Dreadful Apple!

According to the theologians, God prepared this globe expressly for the
habitation of his loved children, and yet he filled the forests with
ferocious beasts; placed serpents in every path; stuffed the world
with earthquakes, and adorned its surface with mountains of flame.
Notwithstanding all this, we are told that the world is perfect; that
it was created by a perfect being, and is therefore necessarily perfect.
The next moment, these same persons will tell us that the world was
cursed; covered with brambles, thistles and thorns, and that man was
doomed to disease and death, simply because our poor, dear mother ate an
apple contrary to the command of an arbitrary God.

299. The Devils better than the Gods

Our ancestors not only had their God-factories, but they made devils
as well. These devils were generally disgraced and fallen gods. These
devils generally sympathized with man. In nearly all the theologies,
mythologies and religions, the devils have been much more humane and
merciful than the gods. No devil ever gave one of his generals an order
to kill children and to rip open the bodies of pregnant women. Such
barbarities were always ordered by the good gods! The pestilences were
sent by the most merciful gods! The frightful famine, during which the
dying child with pallid lips sucked the withered bosom of a dead
mother, was sent by the loving gods. No devil was ever charged with such
fiendish brutality.

300. Is it Possible?

Is it possible that an infinite God created this world simply to be the
dwelling-place of slaves and serfs? simply for the purpose of raising
orthodox Christians? That he did a few miracles to astonish them; that
all the evils of life are simply his punishments, and that he is finally
going to turn heaven into a kind of religious museum filled with Baptist
barnacles, petrified Presbyterians and Methodist mummies? I want no
heaven for which I must give my reason; no happiness in exchange for
my liberty, and no immortality that demands the surrender of my
individuality. Better rot in the windowless tomb, to which there is no
door but the red mouth of the pallid worm, than wear the jeweled collar
even of a god.

301. It is Impossible!

It is impossible to conceive of a more thoroughly despicable, hateful,
and arrogant being, than the Jewish god. He is without a redeeming
feature. In the mythology of the world he has no parallel. He, only, is
never touched by agony and tears. He delights only in blood and pain.
Human affections are naught to him. He cares neither for love nor music,
beauty nor joy. A false friend, an unjust judge, a braggart, hypocrite,
and tyrant. Compared with Jehovah, Pharaoh was a benefactor, and the
tyranny of Egypt was freedom to those who suffered the liberty of God.


302. Hope of a Future Life

For my part I know nothing of any other state of existence, either
before or after this, and I have never become personally acquainted with
anybody who did. There may be another life, and if there is the best
way to prepare for it is by making somebody happy in this. God certainly
cannot afford to put a man in hell who has made a little heaven in this
world. I hope there is another life. I would like to see how things come
out in this world when I am dead. There are some people I should like to
see again, but if there is no other life I shall never know it.

303. I am Immortal

So far as I am concerned I am immortal; that is to say, I can't
recollect when I did not exist, and there never will be a time when I
will remember that I do not exist. I would like to have several millions
of dollars, and I may say I have a lively hope that some day I may be
rich; but to tell you the truth I have very little evidence of it. Our
hope of immortality does not come from any religions, but nearly all
religions come from that hope. The Old Testament, instead of telling
us that we are immortal, tells us how we lost immortality. You will
recollect that if Adam and Eve could have gotten to the tree of life,
they would have eaten of its fruit and would have lived forever; but for
the purpose of preventing immortality God turned them out of the Garden
of Eden, and put certain angels with swords or sabres at the gate to
keep them from getting back. The Old Testament proves, if it proves
anything, which I do not think it does, that there is no life after
this; and the New Testament is not very specific on the subject. There
were a great many opportunities for the Savior and his apostles to
tell us about another world, but they didn't improve them to any great
extent; and the only evidence so far as I know about another life is,
first, that we have no evidence; and, secondly, that we are rather sorry
that we have not, and wish we had. That is about my position.

304. What if Death Does End All?

And suppose, after all, that death does end all. Next to eternal joy,
next to being forever with those we love and those who have loved us,
next to that is to be wrapped in the dreamless drapery of eternal peace.
Next to eternal life is eternal death. Upon the shadowy shore of death
the sea of trouble casts no wave. Eyes that have been curtained by the
everlasting dark will never know again the touch of tears. Lips that
have been touched by the eternal silence will never utter another word
of grief. Hearts of dust do not break. The dead do not weep. And I had
rather think of those I have loved, and those I have lost, as having
returned to earth, as having become a part of the elemental wealth of
the the world. I would rather think of them as unconscious dust. I would
rather think of them as gurgling in the stream, floating in the cloud,
bursting into light upon the shores of worlds. I would rather think
of them thus than to have even a suspicion that their souls had been
clutched by an orthodox God.

305. The Old World Ignorant of Destiny

Moses differed from most of the makers of sacred books by his failure
to say anything of a future life, by failing to promise heaven, and to
threaten hell. Upon the subject of a future state, there is not one
word in the Pentateuch. Probably at that early day God did not deem
it important to make a revelation as to the eternal destiny of man.
He seems to have thought that he could control the Jews, at least, by
rewards and punishments in this world, and so he kept the frightful
realities of eternal joy and torment a profound secret from the people
of his choice. He thought it far more important to tell the Jews their
origin than to enlighten them as to their destiny.

306. Where the Doctrine of Hell was born

I honestly believe that the doctrine of hell was born in the glittering
eyes of snakes that run in frightful coils watching for their prey. I
believe it was born in the yelping and howling and growling and snarling
of wild beasts. I believe it was born in the grin of hyenas and in the
malicious clatter of depraved apes. I despise it, I defy it, and I hate
it; and when the great ship freighted with the world goes down in
the night of death, chaos and disaster, I will not be guilty of the
ineffable meanness of pushing from my breast my wife and children and
paddling off in some orthodox canoe. I will go down with those I love
and with those who love me. I will go down with the ship and with my
race. I will go where there is sympathy. I will go with those I love.
Nothing can make me believe that there is any being that is going to
burn and torment and damn his children forever.

307. The Grand Companionships of Hell

Since hanging has got to be a means of grace, I would prefer hell. I had
a thousand times rather associate with the pagan philosophers than with
the inquisitors of the middle ages. I certainly should prefer the worst
man in Greek or Roman history to John Calvin, and I can imagine no man
in the world that I would not rather sit on the same bench with than the
puritan fathers and the founders of orthodox churches. I would trade off
my harp any minute for a seat in the other country. All the poets will
be in perdition, and the greatest thinkers, and, I should think, most
of the women whose society would tend to increase the happiness of
man, nearly all the painters, nearly all the sculptors, nearly all
the writers of plays, nearly all the great actors, most of the best
musicians, and nearly all the good fellows--the persons who know good
stories, who can sing songs, or who will loan a friend a dollar.
They will mostly all be in that country, and if I did not live there
permanently, I certainly would want it so I could spend my winter months

308. Horror of Horrors!

Let me put one case and I will be through with this branch of the
subject. A husband and wife love each other. The husband is a good
fellow and the wife a splendid woman. They live and love each other and
all at once he is taken sick, and they watch day after day and night
after night around his bedside until their property is wasted and
finally she has to go to work, and she works through eyes blinded with
tears, and the sentinel of love watches at the bedside of her prince,
and at the least breath or the least motion she is awake; and she
attends him night after night and day after day for years, and finally
he dies, and she has him in her arms and covers his wasted face with the
tears of agony and love. He is a believer and she is not. He dies, and
she buries him and puts flowers above his grave, and she goes there in
the twilight of evening and she takes her children, and tells her little
boys and girls through her tears how brave and how true and how tender
their father was, and finally she dies and goes to hell, because she was
not a believer; and he goes to the battlements of heaven and looks over
and sees the woman who loved him with all the wealth of her love, and
whose tears made his dead face holy and sacred, and he looks upon her
in the agonies of hell without having his happiness diminished in the
least. With all due respect to everybody I say, damn any such doctrine
as that.

309. The Drama of Damnation

When you come to die, as you look back upon the record of your life, no
matter how many men you have wrecked and ruined, and no matter how many
women you have deceived and deserted--all that may be forgiven you;
but if you recollect that you have laughed at God's book you will see
through the shadows of death, the leering looks of fiends and the forked
tongues of devils. Let me show you how it will be. For instance, it
is the day of judgment. When the man is called up by the recording
secretary, or whoever does the cross-examining, he says to his soul:
"Where are you from?" "I am from the world." "Yes, sir. What kind of a
man were you?" "Well, I don't like to talk about myself." "But you have
to. What kind of a man were you?" "Well, I was a good fellow; I loved
my wife; I loved my children. My home was my heaven; my fireside was my
paradise, and to sit there and see the lights and shadows falling on the
faces of those I love, that to me was a perpetual joy. I never gave one
of them a solitary moment of pain. I don't owe a dollar in the world,
and I left enough to pay my funeral expenses and keep the wolf of want
from the door of the house I loved. That is the kind of a man I am."
"Did you belong to any church?" "I did not. They were too narrow for me.
They were always expecting to be happy simply because somebody else was
to be damned." "Well, did you believe that rib story?" "What rib story?
Do you mean that Adam and Eve business? No, I did not. To tell you the
God's truth, that was a little more than I could swallow." "To hell
with him! Next. Where are you from?" "I'm from the world, too." "Do
you belong to any church?" "Yes, sir, and to the Young Men's Christian
Association." "What is your business?" "Cashier in a bank." "Did you
ever run off with any of the money?" "I don't like to tell, sir." "Well,
but you have to." "Yes, sir; I did."

"What kind of a bank did you have?" "A savings bank." "How much did you
run off with?" "One hundred thousand dollars." "Did you take anything
else along with you?" "Yes, sir." "What?" "I took my neighbor's wife."
"Did you have a wife and children of your own?" "Yes, sir." "And you
deserted them?" "Oh, yes; but such was my confidence in God that I
believed he would take care of them." "Have you heard of them since?"
"No, sir." "Did you believe that rib story?" "Ah, bless your soul, yes!
I believed all of it, sir; I often used to be sorry that there were
not harder stories yet in the Bible, so that I could show what my faith
could do." "You believed it, did you?" "Yes, with all my heart." "Give
him a harp."

310. Annihilation rather than be a God

No God has a right to make a man he intends to drown. Eternal wisdom has
no right to make a poor investment, no right to engage in a speculation
that will not finally pay a dividend. No God has a right to make
a failure, and surely a man who is to be damned forever is not a
conspicuous success. Yet upon love's breast, the Church has placed that
asp; around the child of immortality the Church has coiled the worm that
never dies. For my part I want no heaven, if there is to be a hell. I
would rather be annihilated than be a god and know that one human soul
would have to suffer eternal agony.

311. "All that have Red Hair shall be Damned."

I admit that most Christians are honest--always have admitted it. I
admit that most ministers are honest, and that they are doing the best
they can in their way for the good of mankind; but their doctrines are
hurtful; they do harm in the world; and I am going to do what I can
against their doctrines. They preach this infamy: "He that believes
shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned." Every word
of that text has been an instrument of torture; every letter in that
text has been a sword thrust into the bleeding and quivering heart of
man; every letter has been a dungeon; every line has been a chain; and
that infamous sentence has covered this world with blood. I deny that
"whoso believes shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be
damned." No man can control his belief; you might as well say, "All that
have red hair shall be damned."

312. The Conscience of a Hyena

But, after all, what I really want to do is to destroy the idea of
eternal punishment. That doctrine subverts all ideas of justice. That
doctrine fills hell with honest men, and heaven with intellectual and
moral paupers. That doctrine allows people to sin on a credit. That
doctrine allows the basest to be eternally happy and the most honorable
to suffer eternal pain. I think of all doctrines it is the most
infinitely infamous, and would disgrace the lowest savage, and any man
who believes it, and has imagination enough to understand it, has the
heart of a serpent and the conscience of a hyena.

313. I Leave the Dead

But for me I leave the dead where nature leaves them, and whatever
flower of hope springs up in my heart I will cherish. But I cannot
believe that there is any being in this universe who has created a
soul for eternal pain, and I would rather that every God would destroy
himself, I would rather that we all should go back to the eternal chaos,
to the black and starless night, than that just one soul should suffer
eternal agony.

314. Calvin in Hell!

Swedenborg did one thing for which I feel almost grateful. He gave an
account of having met John Calvin in hell. Nothing connected with the
supernatural could be more natural than this. The only thing detracting
from the value of this report is, that if there is a hell, we know
without visiting the place that John Calvin must be there.


315. Jesus Christ

And let me say here once for all, that for the man Christ I have
infinite respect. Let me say once for all that the place where man has
died for man is holy ground. Let me say once for all, to that great and
serene man I gladly pay--I _gladly_ pay the tribute of my admiration and
my tears. He was a reformer in his day. He was an infidel in his
time. He was regarded as a blasphemer, and his life was destroyed by
hypocrites who have in all ages done what they could to trample freedom
out of the human mind. Had I lived at that time I would have been his
friend. And should he come again he will not find a better friend than
I will be. That is for the man. For the theological creation I have
a different feeling. If he was in fact God, he knew there was no such
thing as death; he knew that what we call death was but the eternal
opening of the golden gates of everlasting joy. And it took no heroism
to face a death that was simply eternal life.

316. The Emperor Constantine.

The Emperor Constantine, who lifted Christianity into power, murdered
his wife Fausta and his eldest son Crispus the same year that he
convened the council of Nice to decide whether Jesus Christ was a man or
the son of God. The council decided that Christ was substantial with
the Father. This was in the year 325. We are thus indebted to a wife
murderer for settling the vexed question of the divinity of the Savior.
Theodosius called a council at Constantinople in 381, and this council
decided that the Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father. Theodosius,
the younger, assembled another council at Ephesus to ascertain who the
Virgin Mary really was, and it was solemnly decided in the year 431 that
she was the mother of God. In 451 it was decided by a council held at
Chalcedon, called together by the Emperor Marcian, that Christ had two
natures--the human and divine. In 680, in another general council, held
at Constantinople, convened by order of Pognatius, it was also decided
that Christ had two wills, and in the year 1274 it was decided at the
council of Lyons that the Holy Ghost proceeded not only from the Father,
but from the Son as well. Had it not been for these councils we might
have been without a trinity even unto this day. When we take into
consideration the fact that a belief in the trinity is absolutely
essential to salvation, how unfortunate it was for the world that this
doctrine was not established until the year 1274. Think of the millions
that dropped into hell while these questions were being discussed.

317. Did Franklin and Jefferson Die in Fear?

The church never has pretended that Jefferson or Franklin died in fear.
Franklin wrote no books against the fables of the ancient Jews. He
thought it useless to cast the pearls of thought before the swine of
ignorance and fear. Jefferson was a statesman. He was the father of a
great party. He gave his views in letters and to trusted friends. He
was a Virginian, author of the Declaration of Independence, founder of a
university, father of a political party, President of the United States,
a statesman and philosopher. He was too powerful for the churches of
his day. Paine was a foreigner, a citizen of the world. He had attacked
Washington and the Bible. He had done these things openly, and what
he had said could not be answered. His arguments were so good that his
character was bad.

318. Angels at Constantino's Dying Bed!

The Emperor, stained with every crime, is supposed to have died like a
Christian. We hear nothing of fiends leering at him in the shadows of
death. He does not see the forms of his murdered wife and son covered
with the blood he shed. From his white and shriveled lips issued no
shrieks of terror. He does not cover his glazed eyes with thin and
trembling hands to shut out the visions of hell. His chamber is filled
with the rustle of wings waiting to bear his soul to the thrilling
realms of joy. Against the Emperor Constantine the church has hurled no
anathema. She has accepted the story of his vision in the clouds, and
his holy memory has been guarded by priest and pope.

319. Diderot

Diderot was born in 1713. His parents were in what may be called the
humbler walks of life. Like Voltaire, he was educated by the Jesuits. He
had in him something of the vagabond, and was for several years almost a
beggar in Paris. He was endeavoring to live by his pen. In that day and
generation a man without a patron, endeavoring to live by literature,
was necessarily almost a beggar. He nearly starved--frequently going
for days without food. Afterward, when he had something himself, he was
generous as the air. No man ever was more willing to give, and no man
less willing to receive, than Diderot. His motto was, "Incredulity
is the first step toward philosophy." He had the vices of most
Christians--was nearly as immoral as the majority of priests. His vices
he shared in common--his virtues were his own--All who knew him united
in saying that he had the pity of a woman, the generosity of a prince,
the self-denial of an anchorite, the courage of Caesar, an insatiate
thirst foi knowledge, and the enthusiasm of a poet. He attacked with
every power of his mind the superstition of his day. He said what
he thought. The priests hated him. He was in favor of universal
education--the church despised it. He wished to put the knowledge of
the whole world within reach of the poorest. He wished to drive from
the gate of the Garden of Eden the cherubim of superstition, so that
the child of Adam might return to eat once more the fruit of the tree
of knowledge. Every Catholic was his enemy. His poor little desk was
ransacked by the police, searching for manuscripts in which something
might be found that would justify the imprisonment of such a dangerous
man. Whoever, in 1750, wished to increase the knowledge of mankind was
regarded as the enemy of social order.

320. Benedict Spinoza

One of the greatest thinkers of the world was Benedict Spinoza--a Jew,
born at Amsterdam in 1638. He studied medicine, and afterward theology.
He asked the rabbis so many questions, and insisted to such a degree on
what he called reason, that his room was preferred to his company.
His Jewish brethren excommunicated him from the synagogue. Under the
terrible curse of their religion he was made an outcast from every
Jewish home. His own father could not give him shelter, and his mother,
after the curse had been pronounced, could not give him bread, could not
even speak to him, without becoming an outcast herself. All the cruelty
of Jehovah was in this curse. Spinoza was but twenty-four years old
when he found himself without friends and without kindred. He uttered
no complaint. He earned his bread with willing hands, and cheerfully
divided his poor crust with those below. He tried to solve the problem
of existence. To him the universe was one. The infinite embraced the
all. The all was God. According to him the universe did not commence to
be. It is; from eternity it was; and to eternity it will be. He insisted
that God is inside, not outside, of what we call substance. To him the
universe was God.

321. Thomas Paine

Poverty was his mother--Necessity his master. He had more brains than
books; more sense than education; more courage than politeness;
more strength than polish. He had no veneration for old mistakes--no
admiration for ancient lies. He loved the truth for the truth's
sake, and for man's sake. He saw oppression on every hand; injustice
everywhere; hypocrisy at the altar, venality on the bench, tyranny on
the throne; and with a splendid courage he espoused the cause of the
weak against the strong--of the enslaved many against the titled few.

322. The Greatest of all Political Writers

In my judgment, Thomas Paine was the best political writer that ever
lived. "What he wrote was pure nature, and his soul and his pen ever
went together." Ceremony, pageantry, and all the paraphernalia of
power, had no effect upon him. He examined into the why and wherefore of
things. He was perfectly radical in his mode of thought. Nothing short
of the bed-rock satisfied him. His enthusiasm for what he believed to
be right knew no bounds. During all the dark scenes of the Revolution,
never for one moment did he despair. Year after year his brave words
were ringing through the land, and by the bivouac fires the weary
soldiers read the inspiring words of "Common Sense," filled with ideas
sharper than their swords, and consecrated themselves anew to the cause
of Freedom.

323. The Writings of Paine

The writings of Paine are gemmed with compact statements that carry
conviction to the dullest. Day and night he labored for America, until
there was a government of the people and for the people. At the close
of the Revolution no one stood higher than Thomas Paine. Had he been
willing to live a hypocrite, he would have been respectable, he at least
could have died surrounded by other hypocrites, and at his death there
would have been an imposing funeral, with miles of carriages, filled
with hypocrites, and above his hypocritical dust there would have been a
hypocritical monument covered with lies.

324. The Last Words of Paine.

The truth is, he died as he had lived. Some ministers were impolite
enough to visit him against his will. Several of them he ordered
from his room. A couple of Catholic priests, in all the meekness of
hypocrisy, called that they might enjoy the agonies of a dying friend
of man. Thomas Paine, rising in his bed, the few embers of expiring life
blown into flame by the breath of indignation, had the goodness to curse
them both. His physician, who seems to have been a meddling fool, just
as the cold hand of death was touching the patriot's heart, whispered
in the dull ear of the dying man: "Do you believe, or do you wish to
believe, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?" And the reply was: "I
have no wish to believe on that subject." These were the last remembered
words of Thomas Paine. He died as serenely as ever Christian passed
away. He died in the full possession of his mind, and on the very brink
and edge of death proclaimed the doctrines of his life.

325. Paine Believed in God

Thomas Paine was a champion in both hemispheres of human liberty; one of
the founders and fathers of the Republic; one of the foremost men of his
age. He never wrote a word in favor of injustice. He was a despiser of
slavery. He abhorred tyranny in every form. He wast in the widest and
best sense, a friend of all his race. His head was as clear as his heart
was good, and he had the courage to speak his honest thought. He was
the first man to write these words: "The United States of America." He
proposed the present federal constitution. He furnished every thought
that now glitters in the Declaration of Independence. He believed in one
God and no more. He was a believer even in special providence, and he
hoped for immortality.

326. The Intellectual Hera

Thomas Paine was one of the intellectual heroes--one of the men to whom
we are indebted. His name is associated forever with the Great Republic.
As long as free government exists he will be remembered, admired and
honored. He lived a long, laborious and useful life. The world is better
for his having lived. For the sake of truth he accepted hatred and
reproach for his portion. He ate the bitter bread of sorrow. His friends
were untrue to him because he was true to himself, and true to them. He
lost the respect of what is called society, but kept his own. His life
is what the world calls failure and what history calls success. If to
love your fellow-men more than self is goodness, Thomas Paine was good.
If to be in advance of your time--to be a pioneer in the direction of
right--is greatness.

Thomas Paine was great. If to avow your principles and discharge your
duty in the presence of death is heroic, Thomas Paine was a hero. At the
age of seventy-three, death touched his tired heart. He died in the land
his genius defended--under the flag he gave to the skies. Slander cannot
touch him now--hatred cannot reach him more. He sleeps in the sanctuary
of the tomb, beneath the quiet of the stars.

327. Paine, Franklin, Jefferson

In our country there were three infidels--Paine, Franklin and Jefferson.
The colonies were full of superstition, the Puritans with the spirit
of persecution. Laws savage, ignorant, and malignant had been passed in
every colony for the purpose of destroying intellectual liberty.
Mental freedom was absolutely unknown. The toleration acts of
Maryland tolerated only Christians--not infidels, not thinkers, not
investigators. The charity of Roger Williams was not extended to those
who denied the Bible, or suspected the divinity of Christ. It was not
based upon the rights of man, but upon the rights of believers, who
differed in non-essential points.

328. David Hume

On the 26th of April, 1711, David Hume was born. David Hume was one of
the few Scotchmen of his day who were not owned by the church. He had
the manliness to examine historical and religious questions for himself,
and the courage to give his conclusions to the world. He was singularly
capable of governing himself. He was a philosopher, and lived a calm
and cheerful life, unstained by an unjust act, free from all excess,
and devoted in a reasonable degree to benefiting his fellow-men. After
examining the Bible he became convinced that it was not true. For
failing to suppress his real opinion, for failing to tell a deliberate
falsehood, he brought upon him the hatred of the church.

329. Voltaire

Voltaire was the intellectual autocrat of his time. From his throne at
the foot of the Alps he pointed the finger of scorn at every hypocrite
in Europe. He left the quiver of ridicule without an arrow. He was the
pioneer of his century. He was the assassin of superstition. Through the
shadows of faith and fable, through the darkness of myth and miracle,
through the midnight of Christianity, through the blackness of bigotry,
past cathedral and dungeon, past rack and stake, past altar and throne,
he carried, with brave and chivalric hands, the torch of reason.

330. John Calvin

Calvin was of a pallid, bloodless complexion, thin, sickly, irritable,
gloomy, impatient, egotistic, tyrannical, heartless, and infamous. He
was a strange compound of revengeful morality, malicious forgiveness,
ferocious charity, egotistic humility, and a kind of hellish justice.
In other words, he was as near like the God of the Old Testament as his
health permitted.

331. Calvin's Five Fetters

This man forged five fetters for the brain. These fetters he called
points. That is to say, predestination, particular redemption, total
depravity, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints. About
the neck of each follower he put a collar bristling with these five iron
points. The presence of all these points on the collar is still the test
of orthodoxy in the church he founded. This man, when in the flush of
youth, was elected to the office of preacher in Geneva. He at once,
in union with Farel, drew up a condensed statement of the Presbyterian
doctrine, and all the citizens of Geneva, on pain of banishment, were
compelled to take an oath that they believed this statement. Of this
proceeding Calvin very innocently remarked that it produced great
satisfaction. A man named Caroli had the audacity to dispute with
Calvin. For this outrage he was banished.

332. Humboldt

Humboldt breathed the atmosphere of investigation. Old ideas were
abandoned; old creeds, hallowed by centuries, were thrown aside; thought
became courageous; the athlete, Reason, challenged to mortal combat the
monsters of superstition.

333. Humbolt's Travels

Europe becoming too small for his genius, he visited the tropics. He
sailed along the gigantic Amazon--the mysterious Orinoco--traversed the
Pampas--climbed the Andes until he stood upon the crags of Chimborazo,
more than eighteen thousand feet above the level of the sea, and climbed
on until blood flowed from his eyes and lips. For nearly five years he
pursued his investigations in the new world, accompanied by the intrepid
Bonplandi. Nothing escaped his attention. He was the best intellectual
organ of these new revelations of science. He was calm, reflective and
eloquent; filled with a sense of the beautiful, and the love of truth.
His collections were immense, and valuable beyond calculation to every
science. He endured innumerable hardships, braved countless dangers in
unknown and savage lands, and exhausted his fortune for the advancement
of true learning.

334. Humboldt's Illustrious Companions

Humboldt was the friend and companion of the greatest poets, historians,
philologists, artists, statesmen, critics, and logicians of his time.
He was the companion of Schiller, who believed that man would be
regenerated through the influence of the Beautiful of Goethe, the grand
patriarch of German literature; of Weiland, who has been called
the Voltaire of Germany; of Herder, who wrote the outlines of a
philosophical history of man; of Kotzebue, who lived in the world of
romance; of Schleiermacher, the pantheist; of Schlegel, who gave to
his countrymen the enchanted realm of Shakespeare; of the sublime Kant,
author of the first work published in Germany on Pure Reason; of Fichte,
the infinite idealist; of Schopenhauer, the European Buddhist who
followed the great Gautama to the painless and dreamless Nirwana, and
of hundreds of others, whose names are familiar to and honored by the
scientific world.

335. Humboldt the Apostle of Science

Upon his return to Europe he was hailed as the second Columbus; as the
scientific discover of America; as the revealer of a new world; as the
great demonstrator of the sublime truth, that the universe is governed
by law. I have seen a picture of the old man, sitting upon a mountain
side--above him the eternal snow--below, the smiling valley of the
tropics, filled with vine and palm; his chin upon his breast, his
eyes deep, thoughtful and calm his forehead majestic--grander than the
mountain upon which he sat--crowned with the snow of his whitened hair,
he looked the intellectual autocrat of this world. Not satisfied with
his discoveries in America, he crossed the steppes of Asia, the wastes

Siberia, the great Ural range adding to the knowledge of mankind at
every step. H is energy acknowledged no obstacle, his life knew no
leisure; every day was filled with labor and with thought. He was one
of the apostles of science, and he served his divine master with
a self-sacrificing zeal that knew no abatement; with an ardor that
constantly increased, and with a devotion unwavering and constant as the
polar star.

336. Ingersoll Muses by Napoleon's Tomb

A little while ago I stood by the grave of the old Napoleon--a
magnificent tomb of gilt and gold, fit almost for a dead deity--and
gazed upon the sarcophagus of black Egyptian marble, where rest at last
the ashes of the restless man. I leaned over the balustrade and thought
about the career of the greatest soldier of the modern world. I saw him
walking upon the banks of the Seine, contemplating suicide--I saw him
at Toulon--I saw him putting down the mob in the streets of Paris--I saw
him at the head of the army of Italy--I saw him crossing the bridge of
Lodi with the tri-color in his hand--I saw him in Egypt in the shadows
of the pyramids--I saw him conquer the Alps and mingle the eagles of
France with the eagles of the crags. I saw him at Marengo--at Ulm and
Austerlitz. I saw him in Russia, where the infantry of the snow and the
cavalry of the wild blast scattered his legions like Winter's withered
leaves. I saw him at Leipsic in defeat and disaster--driven by a million
bayonets back upon Paris--clutched like a wild beast--banished to Elba.
I saw him escape and retake an empire by the force of his genius. I saw
him upon the frightful field of Waterloo, where chance and fate combined
to wreck the fortunes of their former king. And I saw him at St. Helena,
with his hands crossed behind him, gazing out upon the sad and solemn
sea. I thought of the orphans and widows he had made--of the tears that
had been shed for his glory, and of the only woman who ever loved him,
pushed from his heart by the cold hand of ambition. And I said I would
rather have been a French peasant, and worn wooden shoes. I would rather
have lived in a hut with a vine growing over the door, and the grapes
growing purple in the kisses of the Autumn sun. I would rather have been
that poor peasant with my loving wife by my side, knitting as the day
died out of the sky--with my children upon my knees and their arms about
me; I would rather have been that man and gone down to the tongueless
silence of the dreamless dust, than to have been that imperial
impersonation of force and murder known as Napoleon the Great. And so I
would, ten thousand times.

337. Eulogy on J. G. Blaine

This is a grand year--a year filled with recollections of the
Revolution; filled with the proud and tender memories of the past; with
the sacred legends of liberty; a year in which the sons of freedom will
drink from the fountains of enthusiasm; a year in which the people call
for a man who has preserved in Congress what our soldiers won upon
the field; a year in which they call for the man who has torn from the
throat of treason the tongue of slander--for the man who has snatched
the mask of Democracy from the hideous face of rebellion; for this man
who, like an intellectual athlete, has stood in the arena of debate and
challenged all comers, and who is still a total stranger to defeat. Like
an armed warrior, like a plumed knight, James G. Blaine marched down the
halls of the American Congress and threw his shining lance full and
fair against the brazen foreheads of the defamers of his country and the
maligners of her honor. For the Republican party to desert this gallant
leader now is as though an army should desert their General upon the
field of battle. James G. Blaine is now and has been for years the
bearer of the sacred standard of the Republican party.

338. A Model Leader

The Republicans of the United States want a man who knows that this
Government should protect every citizen, at home and abroad; who knows
that any Government that will not defend its defenders and protect its
protectors is a disgrace to the map of the world. They demand a man who
believes in the eternal separation and divorcement of church and school.
They demand a man whose political reputation is as spotless as a star;
but they do not demand that their candidate shall have a certificate of
moral character signed by a Confederate Congress. The man who has, in
full, heaped and rounded measure, all these splendid qualifications is
the present grand and gallant leader of the Republican party--James G.
Blaine. Our country, crowned with the vast and marvelous achievements
of its first century, asks for a man worthy of the past and prophetic
of her future; asks for a man who has the audacity of genius; asks for
a man who is the grandest combination of heart, conscience and brain
beneath her flag. Such a man is James G. Blaine.

339. Abraham Lincoln

This world has not been fit to live in fifty years. There is no liberty
in it--very little. Why, it is only a few years ago that all the
Christian nations were engaged in the slave trade. It was not until 1808
that England abolished the slave trade, and up to that time her priests
in her churches and her judges on her benches owned stock in slave
ships, and luxuriated on the profits of piracy and murder; and when a
man stood up and denounced it they mobbed him as though he had been a
common burglar or a horse thief. Think of it! It was not until the 28th
day of August, 1833, that England abolished slavery in her colonies; and
it was not until the 1st day of January, 1862, that Abraham Lincoln, by
direction of the entire North, wiped that infamy out of this country;
and I never speak of Abraham Lincoln but I want to say that he was, in
my judgment, in many respects the grandest man ever President of the
United States. I say that upon his tomb there ought to be this line--and
I know of no other man deserving it so well as he: "Here lies one who
having been clothed with almost absolute power never abused it except on
the side of mercy."

340. Swedenborg

Swedenborg was a man of great intellect, of vast acquirements, and of
honest intentions; and I think it equally clear that upon one subject,
at least, his mind was touched, shattered and shaken. Misled by
analogies, imposed upon by the bishop, deceived by the woman, borne to
other worlds upon the wings of dreams, living in the twilight of reason
and the dawn of insanity, he regarded every fact as a patched and ragged
garment with a lining of the costliest silk, and insisted that the wrong
side, even of the silk, was far more beautiful than the right.

341. Jeremy Bentham

The glory of Bentham is, that he gave the true basis of morals, and
furnished the statesmen with the star and compass of this sentence: "The
greatest happiness of the greatest number."

342. Charles Fourier

Fourier sustained about the same relation to this world that Swedenborg
did to the other. There must be something wrong about the brain of one
who solemnly asserts that "the elephant, the ox and the diamond were
created by the Sun; the horse, the lily, and the ruby, by Saturn; the
cow, the jonquil and the topaz, by Jupiter; and the dog, the violet
and the opal stones by the earth itself." And yet, forgetting these
aberrations of the mind, this lunacy of a great and loving soul, for
one, that's in tender-est regard the memory of Charles Fourier, one of
the best and noblest of our race.

343. Auguste Comte

There was in the brain of the great Frenchman--Auguste Comte--the dawn
of that happy day in which humanity will be the only religion, good the
only God, happiness the only object, restitution the only atonement,
mistake the only sin, and affection guided by intelligence, the only
savior of mankind. This dawn enriched his poverty, illuminated the
darkness of his life, peopled his loneliness with the happy millions yet
to be, and filled his eyes with proud and tender tears. When everything
connected with Napoleon, except his crimes, shall be forgotten, Auguste
Comte will be lovingly remembered as a benefactor of the human race.

344. Herbert Spencer

Herbert Spencer relies upon evidence, upon demonstration, upon
experience; and occupies himself with one world at a time. He perceives
that there is a mental horizon that we cannot pierce, and that beyond
that is the unknown, possibly the unknowable. He endeavors to examine
only that which is capable of being examined, and considers the
theological method as not only useless, but hurtful. After all God is
but a guess, throned and established by arrogance and assertion.
Turning his attention to those things that have in some way affected
the condition of mankind, Spencer leaves the unknowable to priests and

345. Robert Collyer

I have the honor of a slight acquaintance with Robert Collyer. I have
read with pleasure some of his exquisite productions. He has a brain
full of the dawn, the head of a philosopher, the imagination of a poet
and the sincere heart of a child. Had such men as Robert Collyer and
John Stuart Mill been present at the burning of Servetus, they would
have extinguished the flames with their tears. Had the presbytery of
Chicago been there, they would have quietly turned their backs, solemnly
divided their coat tails, and warmed themselves.

346. John Milton

England was filled with Puritan gloom and Episcopal ceremony. All
religious conceptions were of the grossest nature. The ideas of crazy
fanatics and extravagant poets were taken as sober facts. Milton had
clothed Christianity in the soiled and faded finery of the gods--had
added to the story of Christ the fables of Mythology, He gave to the
Protestant Church the most outrageously material ideas of the Deity.
He turned all the angels into soldiers--made heaven a battlefield, put
Christ in uniform, and described God as a militia general. His works
were considered by the Protestants nearly as sacred as the Bible
itself, and the imagination of the people was thoroughly polluted by the
horrible imagery, the sublime absurdity of the blind Milton.

347. Ernst Haeckel

Amongst the bravest, side by side with the greatest of the world in
Germany, the land of science--stands Ernst Haeckel, who may be said
not only to have demonstrated the theories of Darwin, but the monistic
conception of the world. He has endeavored--and I think with complete
success--to show that there is not, and never was, and never can be,
the creator of anything. Haeckel is one of the bitterest enemies of the
church, and is, therefore, one of the bravest friends of man.

348. Professor Swing, a Dove amongst Vultures

Professor Swing was too good a man to stay in the Presbyterian Church.
He was a rose amongst thistles; he was a dove amongst vultures; and they
hunted him out, and I am glad he came out. I have the greatest respect
for Professor Swing, but I want him to tell whether the 109th Psalm is

349. Queen Victoria and George Eliot

Compare George Eliot with Queen Victoria. The Queen is clad in garments
given her by blind fortune and unreasoning chance, while George Eliot
wears robes of glory woven in the loom of her own genius. And so it is
the world over. The time is coming when men will be rated at their real
worth; when we shall care nothing for an officer if he does not fill his

350. Bough on Rabbi Bien

I will not answer Rabbi Bien, and I will tell you why. Because he has
taken himself outside of all the limits of a gentleman; because he has
taken upon himself to traduce American women in language the beastliest
I ever read; and any man who says that the American women are not just
as good women as any God can make, and pick his mind to-day, is an
unappreciative barbarian. I will let him alone because he denounced all
the men in this country, all the members of Congress, all the members
of the Senate, all the Judges on the bench, as thieves and robbers. I
pronounce him a vulgar falsifier, and let him alone.

351. General Garfield

No man has been nominated for the office since I was born, by either
party, who had more brains and more heart than James A. Garfield. He
was a soldier, he is a statesman. In time of peace he preferred the
avocations of peace; when the bugle of war blew in his ears he withdrew
from his work and fought for the flag, and then he went back to the
avocation of peace. And I say to-day that a man who, in a time of
profound peace, makes up his mind that he would like to kill folks for
a living is no better, to say the least of it, than the man who loves
peace in the time of peace, and who, when his country is attacked,
rushes to the rescue of her flag.

352. "Wealthy in Integrity; In Brain a Millionaire."

James A. Garfield is to-day a poor man, and you know that there is not
money enough in this magnificent street to buy the honor and manhood of
James A. Garfield. Money cannot make such a man, and I will swear to you
that money cannot buy him. James A. Garfield to-day wears the glorious
robe of honest poverty. He is a poor man; but I like to say it here in
Wall street; I like to say it surrounded by the millions of America; I
like to say it in the midst of banks, and bonds, and stocks; I love to
say it where gold is piled--that, although a poor man, he is rich in
honor, in integrity he is wealthy, and in brain he is a millionaire.

353. Garfield a Certificate of the Splendor of the American Constitution

Garfield is a certificate of the splendor of our Government, that says
to every poor boy: "All the avenues of honor are open to you." I
know him and I like him. He is a scholar; he is a statesman; he was a
soldier; he is a patriot; and above all he is a magnificent man, and if
every man in New York knew him as well as I do, Garfield would not lose
a hundred votes in this city.

354. Dr. W. Hiram Thomas

The best thing that has come from the other side is from Dr. Thomas. I
regard him as by far the grandest intellect in the Methodist Church. He
is intellectually a wide and tender man. I cannot conceive of an article
being written in a better spirit. He finds a little fault with me for
not being exactly fair. If there were more ministers like Dr. Thomas
the probability is I never should have laid myself liable to criticism.
There is some human nature in me, and I find it exceedingly difficult
to preserve at all times perfect serenity. I have the greatest possible
respect for Dr. Thomas, and must heartily thank him for his perfect


355. Heresy and Orthodoxy

It has always been the man ahead that has been called the heretic.
Heresy is the last and best thought always! Heresy extends the
hospitality of the brain to a new idea; that is what the rotting says to
flax growing; that is what the dweller in the swamp says to the man on
the sun-lit hill; that is what the man in the darkness cries out to the
grand man upon whose forehead is shining the dawn of a grander day; that
is what the coffin says to the cradle. Orthodoxy is a kind of shroud,
and heresy is a banner--Orthodoxy is a fog and Heresy a star shining
forever upon the cradle of truth. I do not mean simply in religion, I
mean in everything and the idea I wish to impress upon you is that you
should keep your minds open to all the influences of nature, you should
keep your minds open to reason; hear what a man has to say, and do not
let the turtle-shell of bigotry grow above your brain. Give everybody a
chance and an opportunity; that is all.

356. The Aristocracy that will Survive.

We used to worship the golden calf, and the worst you can say of us now,
is, we worship the gold of the calf, and even the calves are beginning
to see this distinction. We used to go down on our knees to every man
that held office, now he must fill it if he wishes any respect. We care
nothing for the rich, except what will they do with their money? Do they
benefit mankind? That is the question. You say this man holds an office.
How does he fill it?--that is the question. And there is rapidly growing
up in the world an aristocracy of heart and brain--the only aristocracy
that has a right to exist.

357. Truth will Bear the Test

If a man has a diamond that has been examined by the lapidaries of the
world, and some ignorant stonecutter told him that it is nothing but
an ordinary rock, he laughs at him; but if it has not been examined
by lapidaries, and he is a little suspicious himself that it is not
genuine, it makes him mad. Any doctrine that will not bear investigation
is not a fit tenant for the mind of an honest man. Any man who is afraid
to have his doctrine investigated is not only a coward but a hypocrite.

358. Paring Nails

Why should we in this age of the world be dominated by the dead? Why
should barbarian Jews who went down to death and dust three thousand
years ago, control the living world? Why should we care for the
superstition of men who began the sabbath by paring their nails,
"beginning at the fourth finger, then going to the second, then to the
fifth, then to the third, and ending with the thumb?" How pleasing to
God this must have been.

359. There may be a God

There may be for aught I know, somewhere in the unknown shoreless vast,
some being whose dreams are constellations and within whose thought the
infinite exists. About this being, if such an one exists, I have nothing
to say. He has written no books, inspired no barbarians, required no
worship, and has prepared no hell in which to burn the honest seeker
after truth.

360. The People are Beginning to Think

The people are beginning to think, to reason and to investigate. Slowly,
painfully, but surely, the gods are being driven from the earth. Only
upon rare occasions are they, even by the most religious, supposed to
interfere in the affairs of men. In most matters we are at last supposed
to be free. Since the invention of steamships and railways, so that the
products of all countries can be easily interchanged, the gods have quit
the business of producing famine.

361. Unchained Thought

For the vagaries of the clouds the infidels propose to substitute the
realities of earth; for superstition, the splendid demonstrations and
achievements of science; and for theological tyranny, the chainless
liberty of thought.

362. Man the Victor of the Future

If abuses are destroyed, man must destroy them. If slaves are freed, man
must free them. If new truths are discovered, man must discover them.
If the naked are clothed; if the hungry are fed; if justice is done;
if labor is rewarded; if superstition is driven from the mind; if the
defenseless are protected, and if the right finally triumphs, all must
be the work of man. The grand victories of the future must be won by
man, and by man alone.

363. The Sacred Sabbath

Of all the superstitious of mankind, this insanity about the "sacred
Sabbath" is the most absurd. The idea of feeling it a duty to be solemn
and sad one-seventh of the time! To think that we can please an infinite
being by staying in some dark and sombre room, instead of walking in the
perfumed fields! Why should God hate to see a man happy? Why should it
excite his wrath to see a family in the woods, by some babbling stream,
talking, laughing and loving? Nature works on that "sacred" day. The
earth turns, the rivers run, the trees grow, buds burst into flower, and
birds fill the air with song. Why should we look sad, and think about
death, and hear about-hell? Why should that day be filled with gloom
instead of joy?

364. Make the Sabbath Merry

Freethinkers should make the Sabbath a day of mirth and music; a day to
spend with wife and child--a day of games, and books, and dreams--a day
to put fresh flowers above our sleeping dead--a day of memory and hope,
of love and rest.

365. Away to the Hills and the Sea

A poor mechanic, working all the week in dust and noise, needs a day of
rest and joy, a day to visit stream and wood--a day to live with wife
and child; a day in which to laugh at care, and gather hope and strength
for toils to come. And his weary wife needs a breath of sunny air, away
from street and wall, amid the hills or by the margin of the sea, where
she can sit and prattle with her babe, and fill with happy dreams the
long, glad day.

366. Melancholy Sundays

When I was a little fellow most everybody thought that some days were
too sacred for the young ones to enjoy themselves in. That was the
general idea. Sunday used to commence Saturday night at sundown, under
the old text, "The evening and the morning were the first day." They
commenced then, I think, to get a good ready. When the sun went down
Saturday night, darkness ten thousand times deeper than ordinary night
fell upon that house. The boy that looked the sickest was regarded as
the most pious. You could not crack hickory nuts that night, and if you
were caught chewing gum it was another evidence of the total depravity
of the human heart. It was a very solemn evening. We would sometimes
sing, "Another day has passed." Everybody looked as though they had the
dyspesia--you know lots of people think they are pious, just because
they are bilious, as Mr. Hood says. It was a solemn night, and the next
morning the solemnity had increased. Then we went to church, and the
minister was in a pulpit about twenty feet high. If it was in the winter
there was no fire; it was not thought proper to be comfortable while you
were thanking the Lord. The minister commenced at firstly and ran up to
about twenty-fourthly, and then he divided it up again; and then he
made some concluding remarks, and then he said lastly, and when he said
lastly he was about half through.

367. Moses took Egyptian Law for his Model

It has been contended for many years that the ten commandments are the
foundation of all ideas of justice and of law. Eminent jurists have
bowed to popular prejudice, and deformed their works by statements to
the effect that the Mosaic laws are the fountains from which sprang all
ideas of right and wrong. Nothing can be more stupidly false than such
assertions. Thousands of years before Moses was born, the Egyptians
had a code of laws. They had laws against blasphemy, murder, adultery,
larceny, perjury, laws for the collection of debts, and the enforcement
of contracts.

368. A False Standard of Success

It is not necessary to be rich, nor powerful, nor great, to be a
success; and neither is it necessary to have your name between the
putrid lips of rumor to be great. We have had a false standard of
success. In the years when I was a little boy we read in our books that
no fellow was a success that did not make a fortune or get a big office,
and he generally was a man that slept about three hours a night. They
never put down in the books the gentlemen who succeeded in life and yet
slept all they wanted to. We have had a wrong standard.

369. Toilers and Idlers

You can divide mankind into two classes: the laborers and the idlers,
the supporters and the supported, the honest and the dishonest. Every
man is dishonest who lives upon the unpaid labor of others, no matter
if he occupies a throne. All laborers should be brothers. The laborers
should have equal-rights before the world and before the law. And I want
every farmer to consider every man who labors either with hand or brain
as his brother. Until genius and labor formed a partnership there was
no such thing as prosperity among men. Every reaper and mower, every
agricultural implement, has elevated the work of the farmer, and his
vocation grows grander with every invention. In the olden time the
agriculturist was ignorant; he knew nothing of machinery, he was the
slave of superstition.

370. The Sad Wilderness History

While reading the Pentateuch, I am filled with indignation, pity and
horror. Nothing can be sadder than the history of the starved and
frightened wretches who wandered over the desolate crags and sands of
wilderness and desert, the prey of famine, sword and plague. Ignorant
and superstitious to the last degree, governed by falsehood, plundered
by hypocrisy, they were the sport of priests, and the food of fear. God
was their greatest enemy, and death their only friend.

371. Law Much Older than Sinai

Laws spring from the instinct of self-preservation. Industry objected
to supporting idleness, and laws were made against theft. Laws were made
against murder, because a very large majority of the people have always
objected to being murdered. All fundamental laws were born simply of the
instinct of self-defence. Long before the Jewish savages assembled at
the foot of Sinai, laws had been made and enforced, not only in Egypt
and India, but by every tribe that ever existed.

372. Who is the Blasphemer?

There was no pity in inspired war. God raised the black flag, and
commanded his soldiers to kill even the smiling infant in its mother's
arms. Who is the blasphemer; the man who denies the existence of God, or
he who covers the robes of the infinite with innocent blood?

373. Standing Tip for God

We are told in the Pentateuch that God, the father of us all, gave
thousands of maidens, after having killed their fathers, their mothers,
and their brothers, to satisfy the brutal lusts of savage men. If there
be a God, I pray him to write in his book, opposite my name, that I
denied this lie for him.

374. Matter and Force

The statement in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, I
cannot accept. It is contrary to my reason, and I cannot believe it. It
appears reasonable for me that force has existed from eternity. Force
cannot, as it appears to me, exist apart from matter. Force, in its
nature, is forever active, and without matter it could not act; and so
I think matter must have existed forever. To conceive of matter without
force, or of force without matter, or of a time when neither existed,
or of a being who existed for an eternity without either, and who out of
nothing created both, is to me utterly impossible.

375. Haeckel before Moses!

It may be that I am led to these conclusions by "total depravity," or
that I lack the necessary humility of spirit to satisfactorily harmonize
Haeckel and Moses; or that I am carried away by pride, blinded by
reason, given over to hardness of heart that I might be damned, but I
never can believe that the earth was covered with leaves, and buds, and
flowers, and fruits, before the sun with glittering spear had driven
back the hosts of night.

376. How was it Done?

We are told that God made man; and the question naturally arises, how
was this done? Was it by a process of "evolution," "development;" the
"transmission of acquired habits;" the "survival of the fittest," or was
the necessary amount of clay kneaded to the proper consistency, and then
by the hands of God moulded into form? Modern science tells that man has
been evolved, through countless epochs, from the lower forms; that he
is the result of almost an infinite number of actions, reactions,
experiences, states, forms, wants and adaptations.

377. General Joshua

My own opinion is that General Joshua knew no more about the motions of
the earth than he did mercy and justice. If he had known that the earth
turned upon its axis at the rate of a thousand miles an hour, and swept
in its course about the sun at the rate of sixty-eight thousand miles
an hour, he would have doubled the hailstones, spoken of in the same
chapter, that the Lord cast down from heaven, and allowed the sun and
moon to rise and set in the usual way.

378. Early Rising is Barbaric!

This getting up so early in the morning is a relic of barbarism. It has
made hundreds of thousands of young men curse business. There is no need
of getting up at three or four o'clock in the winter morning. The farmer
who persists in dragging his wife and children from their beds ought to
be visited by a missionary. It is time enough to rise after the sun has
set the example. For what purpose do you get up? To feed the cattle? Why
not feed them more the night before? It is a waste of life. In the old
times they used to get up about three o'clock in the morning, and go to
work long before the sun had risen with "healing upon his wings," and as
a just punishment they all had the ague; and they ought to have it now.

379. Sleep is Medicine!

You should not rob your families of sleep. Sleep is the best medicine
in the world. There is no such thing as health, without plenty of sleep.
Sleep until you are thoroughly rented and restored. When you work, work;
and when you get through take a good, long and refreshing sleep.

380. Never Rise at Four O'Clock

The man who cannot get a living upon Illinois soil without rising before
daylight ought to starve. Eight hours a day is enough for any farmer to
work except in harvest time. When you rise at four and work till dark
what is life worth? Of what use are all the improvements in farming?
Of what use is all the improved machinery unless it tends to give the
farmer a little more leisure? What is harvesting now, compared with what
it was in the old time? Think of the days of reaping, of cradling, of
raking and binding and mowing. Think of threshing with the flail and
winnowing with the wind. And now think of the reapers and mowers, the
binders and threshing machines, the plows and cultivators, upon which
the farmer rides protected from the sun. If, with all these advantages,
you cannot get a living without rising in the middle of the night, go
into some other business.

381. The Hermit is Mad

A hermit is a mad man. Without friends and wife and child, there is
nothing left worth living for. The unsocial are the enemies of joy. They
are filled with egotism and envy, with vanity and hatred. People who
live much alone become narrow and suspicious. They are apt to be the
property of one idea. They begin to think there is no use in anything.
They look upon the happiness of others as a kind of folly. They hate
joyous folks, because, way down in their hearts, they envy them.

382. Duke Orang-Outang

I think we came from the lower animals. I am not dead sure of it, but
think so. When I first read about it I didn't like it. My heart was
filled with sympathy for those people who leave nothing to be proud of
except ancestors. I thought how terrible this will be upon the nobility
of the old world. Think of their being forced to trace their ancestry
back to the Duke Orang-Outang or to the Princess Chimpanzee. After
thinking it all over I came to the conclusion that I liked that
doctrine. I became convinced in spite of myself. I read about
rudimentary bones and muscles. I was told that everybody had rudimentary
muscles extending from the ear into the cheek. I asked: "What are they?"
I was told: "They are the remains of muscles; they became rudimentary
from the lack of use." They went into bankruptcy. They are the muscles
with which your ancestors used to flap their ears. Well, at first I was
greatly astonished, and afterward I was more astonished to find they had
become rudimentary.

383. Self-Made Men

It is often said of this or that man that he is a self-made man--that
he was born of the poorest and humblest parents, and that with every
obstacle to overcome he became great. This is a mistake. Poverty is
generally an advantage. Most of the intellectual giants of the world
have been nursed at the sad but loving breast of poverty. Most of those
who have climbed highest on the shining ladder of fame commenced at the
lowest round. They were reared in the straw thatched cottages of Europe;
in the log houses of America; in the factories of the great cities; in
the midst of toil; in the smoke and din of labor.

384. The One Window in the Ark

A cubit is twenty-two inches; so that the ark was five hundred and fifty
feet long, ninety-one feet and eight inches wide, and fifty-five feet
high. The ark was divided into three stories, and had on top, one window
twenty-two inches square. Ventillation must have been one of Jehovah's
hobbies. Think of a ship larger than the Great Eastern with only one
window, and that but twenty-two inches square!

385. No Ante-Diluvian Camp-Meetings!

It is a little curious that when God wished to reform the ante-diluvian
world he said nothing about hell; that he had no revivals, no
camp-meetings, no tracts, no out-pourings of the Holy Ghost, no
baptisms, no noon prayer meetings, and never mentioned the great
doctrine of salvation by faith. If the orthodox creeds of the world are
true, all those people went to hell without ever having heard that such
a place existed. If eternal torment is a fact, surely these miserable
wretches ought to have been warned. They were threatened only with water
when they were in fact doomed to eternal fire!

386. Hard Work in the Ark

Eight persons did all the work. They attended to the wants of 175,000
birds, 3,616 beasts, 1,300 reptiles, and 2,000,000 insects, saying
nothing of countless animalculae.

387. What did Moses know about the Sun?

Can we believe that the inspired writer had any idea of the size of the
sun? Draw a circle five inches in diameter, and by its side thrust a pin
through the paper. The hole made by the pin will sustain about the same
relation to the circle that the earth does to the sun. Did he know that
the sun was eight hundred and sixty thousand miles in diameter; that it
was enveloped in an ocean of fire thousands of miles in depth, hotter
even than the Christian's hell? Did he know that the volume of the Earth
is less than one-millionth of that of the sun? Did he know of the one
hundred and four planets belonging to our solar system, all children of
the sun? Did he know of Jupiter eighty-five thousand miles in diameter,
hundreds of times as large as our earth, turning on his axis at the rate
of twenty-five thousand miles an hour accompanied by four moons making
the tour of his orbit once only in fifty years?

388. Something for Nothing

It is impossible for me to conceive of something being created for
nothing. Nothing, regarded in the light of raw material, is a decided
failure. I cannot conceive of matter apart from force. Neither is it
possible to think of force disconnected with matter. You cannot imagine
matter going back to absolute nothing. Neither can you imagine nothing
being changed into something. You may be eternally damned if you do not
say that you can conceive these things, but you cannot conceive them.
Account but I cannot help it. In my judgment Moses was mistaken.

389. Polygamy

Polygamy is just as pure in Utah as it could have been in the promised
land. Love and virtue are the same the whole world around, and justice
is the same in every star. All the languages of the world are not
sufficient to express the filth of polygamy. It makes of man a beast,
of woman a trembling slave. It destroys the fireside, makes virtue an
outcast, takes from human speech its sweetest words, and leaves the
heart a den, where crawl and hiss the slimy serpents of most loathsome
lust. Civilization rests upon the family. The good family is the unit
of good government. The virtues grow about the holy hearth of home--they
cluster, bloom, and shed their perfume round the fireside where the
one man loves the one woman.

Lover--husband--wife--mother--father--child--home!--without these sacred
words the world is but a lair, and men and women merely beasts.

390. The Colonel in the Kitchen--How to Cook a Beefsteak

There ought to be a law making it a crime, punishable by imprisonment,
to fry a beefsteak. Broil it; it is just as easy, and when broiled it
is delicious. Fried beefsteak is not fit for a wild beast. You can broil
even on a stove. Shut the front damper--open the back one, and then take
off a griddle. There will then be a draft down through this opening. Put
on your steak, using a wire broiler, and not a particle of smoke will
touch it, for the reason that the smoke goes down. If you try to broil
it with the front damper open the smoke will rise. For broiling, coal,
even soft coal, makes a better fire than wood.

391. Fresh Air

Make your houses comfortable. Do not huddle together in a little room
around a red-hot stove, with every window fastened down. Do not live in
this poisoned atmosphere, and then, when one of your children dies, put
a piece in the papers commencing with, "Whereas, it has pleased divine
Providence to remove from our midst--." Have plenty of air, and plenty
of warmth. Comfort is health. Do not imagine anything is unhealthy
simply because it is pleasant. This is an old and foolish idea.

392. Cooking a Fine Art

Cooking is one of the fine arts. Give your wives and daughters things to
cook, and things to cook with, and they will soon become most excellent
cooks. Good cooking is the basis of civilization. The man whose arteries
and veins are filled with rich blood made of good and well cooked food,
has pluck, courage, endurance and noble impulses. Remember that your
wife should have things to cook with.

393. Scathing Impeachment of Intemperance

Intemperance cuts down youth in its vigor, manhood in its strength, and
age in its weakness. It breaks the father's heart, bereaves the doting
mother, extinguishes natural affections, erases conjugal loves, blots
out filial attachments, blights parental hope, and brings down mourning
age in sorrow to the grave. It produces weakness, not strength;
sickness, not health; death, not life. It makes wives widows; children
orphans; fathers fiends, and all of them paupers and beggars. It feeds
rheumatism, nurses gout, welcomes epidemics, invites cholera, imports
pestilence and embraces consumption. It covers the land with idleness,
misery and crime. It fills your jails, supplies your almshouses and
demands your asylums. It engenders controversies, fosters quarrels, and
cherishes riots. It crowds your penitentiaries and furnishes victims to
your scaffolds. It is the life blood of the gambler, the element of
the burglar, the prop of the highwayman and the support of the midnight
incendiary. It countenances the liar, respects the thief, esteems
the blasphemer. It violates obligations, reverences fraud, and honors
infamy. It defames benevolence, hates love, scorns virtue and slanders
innocence. It incites the father to butcher his helpless offspring,
helps the husband to massacre his wife, and the child to grind the
parricidal ax. It burns up men, consumes women, detests life, curses God,
and despises heaven. It suborns witnesses, nurses perjury, defiles
the jury box, and stains the judicial ermine. It degrades the citizen,
debases the legislator, dishonors statesmen, and disarms the patriot. It
brings shame, not honor; terror, not safety; despair, not hope; misery,
not happiness; and with the malevolence of a fiend, it calmly surveys
its frightful desolation, and unsatisfied with its havoc, it poisons
felicity, kills peace, ruins morals, blights confidence, slays
reputation, and wipes out national honors, then curses the world and
laughs at its ruin.

394. Liberty Defined

The French convention gave the best definition of liberty I have ever
read: "The liberty of one citizen ceases only where the liberty of
another citizen commences." I know of no better definition. I ask you
to-day to make a declaration of individual independence. And if you are
independent, be just. Allow everybody else to make his declaration of
individual independence. Allow your wife, allow your husband, allow
your children to make theirs. It is a grand thing to be the owner of
yourself. It is a grand thing to protect the rights of others. It is a
sublime thing to be free and just.

395. Free, Honest Thought

I am going to say what little I can to make the American people brave
enough and generous enough and kind enough to give everybody else the
rights they have themselves. Can there ever be any progress in this
world to amount to anything until we have liberty? The thoughts of a man
who is not free are not worth much--not much. A man who thinks with the
club of a creed above his head--a man who thinks casting his eye askance
at the flames of hell, is not apt to have very good thoughts. And for
my part, I would not care to have any status or social position even in
heaven if I had to admit that I never would have been there only I got
scared. When we are frightened we do not think very well. If you want to
get at the honest thoughts of a man he must free. If he is not free you
will not get his honest thought.

396. Ingersoll Prefers Shoemakers to Princes

The other day there came shoemakers, potters, workers in wood and iron,
from Europe, and they were received in the city of New York as though
they had been princes. They had been sent by the great republic of
France to examine into the arts and manufactures of the great republic
of America. They looked a thousand times better to me than the Edward
Alberts and Albert Edwards--the royal vermin, that live on the body
politic. And I would think much more of our government if it would fete
and feast them, instead of wining and dining the imbeciles of a royal

397. Sham Dignity

I hate dignity. I never saw a dignified man that was not after all an
old idiot Dignity is a mask; a dignified man is afraid that you will
know he does not know everything. A man of sense and argument is always
willing to admit what he don't know--why?--because there is so much
that he does know; and that is the first step towards learning
anything--willingness to admit what you don't know, and when you don't
understand a thing, ask--no matter how small and silly it may look to
other people--ask, and after that you know. A man never is in a state of
mind that he can learn until he gets that dignified nonsense out of him.

398. A Good Time Coming!

The time is coming when a man will be rated at his real worth, and that
by his brain and heart. We care nothing now about an officer unless he
fills his place. The time will come when no matter how much money a man
has he will not be respected unless he is using it for the benefit of
his fellow-men. It will soon be here.

399. Who is the True Nobleman?

We are a great people. Three millions have increased to fifty--thirteen
States to thirty-eight. We have better homes, and more of the
conveniences of life than any other people upon the face of the globe.
The farmers of our country live better than did the kings and princes
two hundred years ago--and they have twice as much sense and heart.
Liberty and labor have given us all. Remember that all men have equal
rights. Remember that the man who acts best his part--who loves
his friends the best--is most willing to help others--truest to the
obligation--who has the best heart--the most feeling--the deepest
sympathies--and who freely gives to others the rights that he claims for
himself, is the true nobleman. We have disfranchised the aristocrats of
the air and have given one country to mankind.

400. Wanted!--More Manliness

I had a thousand times rather have a farm and be independent, than to be
President of the United States, without independence, filled with
doubt and trembling, feeling of the popular pulse, resorting to art and
artifice, inquiring about the wind of opinion, and succeeding at last in
losing my self-respect without gaining the respect of others. Man needs
more manliness, more real independence. We must take care of
ourselves. This we can do by labor, and in this way we can preserve our
independence. We should try and choose that business or profession the
pursuit of which will give us the most happiness. Happiness is wealth.
We can be happy without being rich--without holding office--without
being famous. I am not sure that we can be happy with wealth, with
office, or with fame.

401. Education of Nature

It has been a favorite idea with me that our forefathers were educated
by nature; that they grew grand as the continent upon which they landed;
that the great rivers--the wide plains--the splendid lakes--the lonely
forests--the sublime mountains--that all these things stole into and
became a part of their being, and they grew great as the country in
which they lived. They began to hate the narrow, contracted views of
Europe. They were educated by their surroundings.

402. The Worker Wearing the Purple

I want to see a workingman have a good house, painted white, grass in
the front yard, carpets on the floor and pictures on the wall. I want to
see him a man feeling that he is a king by the divine right of living in
the Republic. And every man here is just a little bit a king, you know.
Every man here is a part of the sovereign power. Every man wears a
little of purple; every man has a little of crown and a little of
sceptre; and every man that will sell his vote for money or be ruled by
prejudice is unfit to be an American citizen.

403. Flowers

Beautify your grounds with plants and flowers and vines. Have good
gardens. Remember that everything of beauty tends to the elevation of
man. Every little morning-glory whose purple bosom is thrilled with the
amorous kisses of the sun tends to put a blossom in your heart. Do not
judge of the value of everything by the market reports. Every flower
about a house certifies to the refinement of somebody. Every vine,
climbing and blossoming, tells of love and joy.

404. Be Happy--Here and Now!

The grave is not a throne, and a corpse is not a king. The living have
a right to control this world. I think a good deal more of to day than
I do of yesterday, and I think more of to-morrow than I do of this day;
because it is nearly gone--that is the way I feel. The time to be happy
is now; the way to be happy is to make somebody else happy and the place
to be happy is here.

405. The School House a Fort

Education is the most radical thing in the world.

To teach the alphabet is to inaugurate a revolution. To build a school
house is to construct a fort. A library is an arsenal.

406. We are Getting Free

We are getting free. We are thinking in every direction. We are
investigating with the microscope and the telescope. We are digging
into the earth and finding souvenirs of all the ages. We are finding out
something about the laws of health and disease. We are adding years to
the span of human life and we are making the world fit to live in.
That is what we are doing, and every man that has an honest thought and
expresses it helps, and every man that tries to keep honest thought from
being expressed is an obstruction and a hindrance.

407. The Solid Rock

I have made up my mind that if there is a God He will be merciful to the
merciful. Upon that rock I stand. That He will forgive the forgiving;
upon that rock I stand. That every man should be true to himself, and
that there is no world, no star, in which honesty is a crime; and upon
that rock I stand. An honest man, a good, kind, sweet woman, or a happy
child, has nothing to fear, neither in this world nor the world to come;
and upon that rock I stand.


408. The Gospel of Cheerfulness

I believe in the gospel of cheerfulness; the gospel of good nature; in
the gospel of good health. Let us pay some attention to our bodies; take
care of our bodies, and our souls will take care of themselves. Good
health! 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 perpetuate
disease. I believe the time will come when men will not fill the future
with consumption and with insanity. I believe the time will come when
with studying ourselves and understanding the laws of health, we will
say we are under obligations to put the flags of health in the cheeks of
our children. Even if I got to Heaven, and had a harp, I would hate to
look back upon my children and see them diseased, deformed, crazed, all
suffering the penalty of crimes that I had committed.

409. The Gospel of Liberty

And I believe, too, in the gospel of liberty,---of giving to others what
we claim. And I believe there is room everywhere for thought, and
the more liberty you give away the more you will have. In liberty
extravagance is economy. Let us be just, let us be generous to each

410. The Gospel of 'Good Living

I believe in the gospel of good living. You cannot make any God happy by
fasting. Let us have good food, and let us have it well cooked; it is
a thousand times better to know how to cook it than it is to understand
any theology in the world. I believe in the gospel of good clothes. I
believe in the gospel of good houses; in the gospel of water and soap.

411. The Gospel of Intelligence

I believe in the gospel of intelligence. That is the only lever capable
of raising mankind. I believe in the gospel of intelligence; in the
gospel of education. The school-house is my cathedral; the universe
is my Bible. Intelligence must rule triumphant. Humanity is the grand
religion. And no God can put a man into hell in another world who has
made a little heaven in this. God cannot make miserable a man who has
made somebody else happy. God can not hate anybody who is capable of
loving his neighbor. So I believe in this great gospel of generosity.
Ah, but they say it won't do. You must believe. I say no. My gospel
of health will prolong life; my gospel of intelligence, my gospel of
loving, my gospel of good-fellowship will cover the world with happy
homes. My doctrine will put carpets upon your floors, pictures upon your
walls. My doctrine will put books upon your shelves, ideas in your mind.
My doctrine will relieve the world of the abnormal monsters born of the
ignorance of superstition. My doctrine will give us health, wealth, and
happiness. That is what I want. That is what I believe in.

412. The Gospel of Justice

I believe in the gospel of justice,--that we must reap what we sow. I do
not believe in forgiveness. If I rob Mr. Smith, and God forgive me,
how does that help Smith? If I by slander cover some poor girl with
the leprosy of some imputed crime, and she withers away like a blighted
flower, and afterwards I get forgiveness, how does that help her? If
there is another world, we have got to settle; no bankruptcy court
there. Pay down. Among the ancient Jews if you committed a crime you
had to kill a sheep; now they say, "Charge it. Put it on the slate." It
won't do. For every crime you commit you must answer to yourself and
to the one you injure. And if you have ever clothed another with
unhappiness as with a garment cf pain, you will never be quite as
happy as though you hadn't done that thing. No forgiveness, eternal,
inexorable, everlasting justice--that is what I believe in.

And if it goes hard with me, I will stand it. And I will stick to my
logic, and I will bear it like a man.


     Latest Utterances of Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll,
     in a Controversy with Judge Jere 8. Black,
     on "The Christian Religion"

413. The Origin of the Controversy

Several months ago, _The North American Review_ asked me to write an
article, saying that it would be published if some one would furnish a
reply. I wrote the article that appeared in the August number, and by
me it was entitled "Is All of the Bible Inspired?" Not until the
article was written did I know who was expected to answer. I make this
explanation for the purpose of dissipating the impression that Mr. Black
had been challenged by me. To have struck his shield with my lance might
have given birth to the impression that I was somewhat doubtful as to
the correctness of my position. I naturally expected an answer from some
professional theologian, and was surprised to find that a reply had been
written by a "policeman," who imagined that he had answered my arguments
by simply telling me that my statements were false. It is somewhat
unfortunate that in a discussion like this any one should resort to the
slightest personal detraction. The theme is great enough to engage the
highest faculties of the human mind, and in the investigation of such a
subject vituperation is singularly and vulgarly out of place. Arguments
cannot be answered with insults. It is unfortunate that the intellectual
arena should be entered by a "policeman," who has more confidence in
concussion than discussion. Kindness is strength. Good nature is often
mistaken for virtue, and good health sometimes passes for genius.
Anger blows out the lamp of the mind. In the examination of a great and
important question, every one should be serene, slow-pulsed, and calm.
Intelligence is not the foundation of arrogance. Insolence is not logic.
Epithets are the arguments of malice. Candor is the courage of the soul.
Leaving the objectionable portion of Mr. Black's reply, feeling that so
grand a subject should not be blown and tainted with malicious words, I
proceed to answer as best I may the arguments he has urged.

414. What is Christianity?

Of course it is still claimed that we are a Christian people, indebted
to something we call Christianity, for all the progress we have made.
There is still a vast difference of opinion as to what Christianity
really is, although many wavering sects have been discussing that
question, with fire and sword through centuries of creed and crime.
Every new sect has been denounced at its birth as illegitimate, as
something born out of orthodox wedlock, and that should have been
allowed to perish on the steps where it was found.

415. Summary of Evangelical Belief

Among the evangelical churches there is a substantial agreement
upon what they consider the fundamental truths of the gospel. These
fundamental truths, as I understand them, are:--That there is a personal
God, the creator of the material universe; that he made man of the dust,
and woman from part of the man; that the man and woman were tempted by
the devil; that they were turned out of the garden of Eden; that, about
fifteen hundred years afterward, God's patience having been exhausted by
the wickedness of mankind, He drowned His children, with the exception
of eight persons; that afterward He selected from their descendants
Abraham, and through him the Jewish people; that He gave laws to these
people, and tried to govern them in all things; that He made known His
will in many ways; that He wrought a vast number of miracles; that
He inspired men to write the Bible; that, in the fullness of time, it
having been found impossible to reform mankind, this God came upon earth
as a child born of the Virgin Mary; that He lived in Palestine; that He
preached for about three years, going from place to place, occasionally
raising the dead, curing the blind and the halt; that He was
crucified--for the crime of blasphemy, as the Jews supposed, but, that
as a matter of fact, He was offered as a sacrifice for the sins of
all who might have faith in Him; that He was raised from the dead and
ascended into heaven, where He now is, making intercession for His
followers; that He will forgive the sins of all who believe on Him,
and that those who do not believe will be consigned to the dungeons of
eternal pain. These--(it may be with the addition of the sacraments of
Baptism and the Last Supper)--constitute what is generally known as the
Christian religion.

416. A Profound Change in the World of Thought

A profound change has taken place in the world of thought. The pews are
trying to set themselves somewhat above the pulpit. The layman discusses
theology with the minister, and smiles. Christians excuse themselves
for belonging to the church by denying a part of the creed. The idea
is abroad that they who know the most of nature believe the least about
theology. The sciences are regarded as infidels, and facts as scoffers.
Thousands of most excellent people avoid churches, and, with few
exceptions, only those attend prayer meetings who wish to be alone. The
pulpit is losing because the people are rising.

417. The Believer in the Inspiration of the Bible has too Much to Believe

But the believer in the inspiration of the Bible is compelled to declare
that there was a time when slavery was right--when men could buy and
women sell their babes. He is compelled to insist that there was a time
when polygamy was the highest form of virtue; when wars of extermination
were waged with the sword of mercy; when religious toleration was a
crime, and when death was the just penalty for having expressed an
honest thought. He must maintain that Jehovah is just as bad now as he
was four thousand years ago, or that he was just as good then as he is
now, but that human conditions have so changed that slavery, polygamy,
religious persecutions and wars of conquest are now perfectly devilish.
Once they were right--once they were commanded by God himself; now, they
are prohibited. There has been such a change in the conditions of man
that, at the present time, the devil is in favor of slavery, polygamy,
religious persecution and wars of conquest. That is to say, the devil
entertains the same opinion to-day that Jehovah held four thousand
years ago, but in the meantime Jehovah has remained exactly the
same--changeless and incapable of change.

418. A Frank Admission

It is most cheerfully admitted that a vast number of people not only
believe these things, but hold them in exceeding reverence, and imagine
them to be of the utmost importance to mankind. They regard the Bible as
the only light that God has given for the guidance of His children; that
it is the one star in nature's sky--the foundation of all morality, of
all law, of all order, and of all individual and national progress. They
regard it as the only means we have for ascertaining the will of God,
the origin of man, and the destiny of the soul. In my opinion they were
mistaken. The mistake has hindered in countless ways the civilization of

419. The Bible Should be Better than any other Book

In all ages of which any record has been preserved, there have been
those who gave their ideas of justice, charity, liberty, love, and
law. Now, if the Bible is really the work of God, it should contain the
grandest and sublimest truths. It should, in all respects, excel the
works of man. Within that book should be found the best and loftiest
definitions of justice; the truest conceptions of human liberty; the
clearest outlines of duty; the tenderest, the highest, and the noblest
thoughts,--not that the human mind has produced, but that the human mind
is capable of receiving. Upon every page should be found the luminous
evidence of its divine origin. Unless it contains grander and more
wonderful things than man has written, we are not only justified in
saying, but we are compelled to say, that it was written by no being
superior to man.

420. A Serious Charge

The Bible has been the fortress and the defense of nearly every crime.
No civilized country could re-enact its laws. And in many respects its
moral code is abhorrent to every good and tender man. It is admitted,
however, that many of its precepts are pure, that many of its laws are
wise and just, and that many of its statements are absolutely true.

421. If the Bible is Not Verbally Inspired, What Then?

It may be said that it is unfair to call attention to certain bad things
in the Bible, while the good are not so much as mentioned. To this it
may be replied that a divine being would not put bad things in a book.
Certainly a being of infinite intelligence, power, and goodness could
never fall below the ideal of "depraved and barbarous" man. It will not
do, after we find that the Bible upholds what we now call crimes, to say
that it is not verbally inspired. If the words are not inspired, what
is? It may be said that the thoughts are inspired. But this would
include only the thoughts expressed without words. If the ideas are
inspired, they must be contained in and expressed only by inspired
words; that is to say, the arrangement of the words, with relation to
each other, must have been inspired.

422. A Hindu Example

Suppose that we should now discover a Hindu book of equal antiquity with
the Old Testament, containing a defense of slavery, polygamy, wars of
extermination, and religious persecution, would we regard it as evidence
that the writers were inspired by an infinitely wise and merciful God?

423. A Test Fairly Applied

Suppose we knew that after "inspired" men had finished the Bible, the
devil had got possession of it and wrote a few passages, what part of
the sacred Scriptures would Christians now pick out as being probably
his work? Which of the following passages would naturally be selected
as having been written by the devil--"Love thy neighbor as thyself," or
"Kill all the males among the little ones, and kill every woman; but all
the women children keep alive for yourselves?"

424. Suppose!

It will hardly be claimed at this day, that the passages in the
Bible upholding slavery, polygamy, war, and religious persecution are
evidences of the inspiration of that book. Suppose that there had been
nothing in the Old Testament upholding these crimes would any modern
Christian suspect that it was not inspired on account of that omission?
Suppose that there had been nothing in the Old Testament but laws in
favor of these crimes, would any intelligent Christian now contend that
it was the work of the true God?

425. Proofs of Civilization

We know that there was a time in the history of almost every nation when
slavery, polygamy, and wars of extermination were regarded as divine
institutions; when women were looked upon as beasts of burden, and when,
among some people, it was considered the duty of the husband to murder
the wife for differing with him on the subject of religion. Nations that
entertain these views to-day are regarded as savage, and, probably, with
the exception of the South Sea islanders, the Feejees, some citizens
of Delaware, and a few tribes in Central Africa, no human beings can be
found degraded enough to agree upon these subjects with the Jehovah of
the ancient Jews. The only evidence we have, or can have, that a
nation has ceased to be savage is the fact that it has abandoned these
doctrines. To every one, except the theologian, it is perfectly easy to
account for the mistakes, atrocities, and crimes of the past, by
saying that civilization is a slow and painful growth; that the moral
perceptions are cultivated through ages of tyranny, of want, of crime,
and of heroism; that it requires centuries for man to put out the eyes
of self and hold in lofty and in equal poise the scales of justice;
that conscience is born of suffering; that mercy is the child of the
imagination--of the power to put oneself in the sufferers place, and
that man advances only as he becomes acquainted with his surroundings,
with the mutual obligations of life, and learns to take advantage of the
forces of nature.

426. A Persian Gospel

Do not misunderstand me. My position is that the cruel passages in
the Old Testament are not inspired; that slavery, polygamy, wars of
extermination, and religious persecution always have been, are, and
forever will be, abhorred and cursed by the honest, virtuous, and the
loving; that the innocent cannot justly suffer for the guilty, and that
vicarious vice and vicarious virtue are equally absurd; that eternal
punishment is eternal revenge; that only the natural can happen; that
miracles prove the dishonesty of the few and the credulity of the many;
and that, according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, salvation does not
depend upon belief, nor the atonement, nor a "second birth," but that
these gospels are in exact harmony with the declaration of the great
Persian: "Taking the first footstep with the good thought, the second
with the good word, and the third with the good deed, I entered
paradise." The dogmas of the past no longer reach the level of the
highest thought, nor satisfy the hunger of the heart. While dusty
faiths, embalmed and sepulchered in ancient texts, remain the same,
the sympathies of men enlarge; the brain no longer kills its young; the
happy lips give liberty to honest thoughts; the mental firmament expands
and lifts; the broken clouds drift by; the hideous dreams, the foul,
misshapen children of the monstrous night, dissolve and fade.

427. Man the Author of all Books

So far as we know, man is the author of all books. If a book had been
found on the earth by the first man, he might have regarded it as the
work of God; but as men were here a good while before any books were
found, and as man has produced a great many books, the probability is
that the Bible is no exception.

428. God and Brahma

Can we believe that God ever said of any: "Let his children be
fatherless and his wife a widow; let his children be continually
vagabonds, and beg; let them seek their bread also out of their desolate
places; let the extortioner catch all that he hath and let the stranger
spoil his labor, let there be none to extend mercy unto him, neither let
there be any to favor his fatherless children." If he ever said these
words, surely he had never heard this line, this strain of music, from
the Hindu: "Sweet is the lute to those who have not heard the prattle of
their own children." Jehovah, "from the clouds and darkness of Sinai,"
said to the Jews: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me.... Thou
shalt not bow down thyself to them nor serve them; for I, the Lord thy
God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the
children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me."
Contrast this with the words put by the Hindu in the mouth of Brahma:
"I am the same to all mankind. They who honestly serve other gods,
involuntarily worship me. I am he who partaketh of all worship, and I
am the reward of all worshipers." Compare these passages. The first, a
dungeon where crawl the things begot of jealous slime; the other, great
as the domed firmament inlaid with suns.

429. Matthew, Mark, and Luke

And I here take occasion to say, that with most of the teachings of the
gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke I most heartily agree. The miraculous
parts must, of course, be thrown aside. I admit that the necessity of
belief, the atonement, and the scheme of salvation are all set forth
in the Gospel of John,--a gospel, in my opinion, not written until long
after the others.

430. Christianity Takes no Step in Advance

All the languages of the world have not words of horror enough to
paint the agonies of man when the church had power. Tiberius, Caligula,
Claudius, Nero, Domitian, and Commodus were not as cruel, false,
and base as many of the Christian Popes. Opposite the names of these
imperial criminals write John the XII., Leo the VIII., Boniface the VII.,
Benedict the IX., Innocent the III., and Alexander the VI. Was it under
these pontiffs that the "church penetrated the moral darkness like a
new sun," and covered the globe with institutions of mercy? Rome was far
better when Pagan than when Catholic. It was better to allow gladiators
and criminals to fight than to burn honest men. The greatest of Romans
denounced the cruelties of the arena. Seneca condemned the combats even
of wild beasts. He was tender enough to say that "we should have a bond
of sympathy for all sentiment beings, knowing that only the depraved
and base take pleasure in the sight of blood and suffering." Aurelius
compelled the gladiators to fight with blunted swords. Roman lawyers
declared that all men are by nature free and equal. Woman, under Pagan
rule in Rome, become as free as man. Zeno, long before the birth of
Christ, taught that virtue alone establishes a difference between men.
We know that the Civil Law is the foundation of our codes. We know that
fragments of Greek and Roman art--a few manuscripts saved from Christian
destruction, some inventions and discoveries of the Moors--were the
seeds of modern civilization. Christianity, for a thousand years,
taught memory to forget and reason to believe. Not one step was taken in
advance. Over the manuscripts of philosophers and poets, priests, with
their ignorant tongues thrust out, devoutly scrawled the forgeries of

431. Christianity a Mixture of Good and Evil

Mr. Black attributes to me the following expression: "Christianity is
pernicious in its moral effect, darkens the mind, narrows the soul,
arrests the progress of human society, and hinders civilization." I said
no such thing. Strange, that he is only able to answer what I did
not say. I endeavored to show that the passages in the Old Testament
upholding slavery, polygamy, wars of extermination, and religious
intolerance had filled the world with blood and crime. I admitted
that there are many wise and good things in the Old Testament. I also
insisted that the doctrine of the atonement--that is to say, of moral
bankruptcy--the idea that a certain belief is necessary to salvation,
and the frightful dogma of eternal pain, had narrowed the soul, had
darkened the mind, and had arrested the progress of human society. Like
other religions, Christianity is a mixture of good and evil. The church
has made more orphans than it has fed. It has never built asylums enough
to hold the insane of its own making. It has shed more blood than light.

432. Jehovah, Epictetus and Cicero

If the Bible is really inspired, Jehovah commanded the Jewish people to
buy the children of the strangers that sojourned among them, and ordered
that the children thus bought should be an inheritance for the children
of the Jews, and that they should be bondmen and bondwomen forever. Yet
Epictetus, a man to whom no revelation was ever made, a man whose soul
followed only the light of nature, and who had never heard of the Jewish
God, was great enough to say: "Will you not remember that your servants
are by nature your brothers, the children of God? In saying that you
have bought them, you look down on the earth and into the pit, on the
wretched law of men long since dead,--but you see not the laws of the
Gods." We find that Jehovah, speaking to his chosen people, assured them
that their bondmen and bondmaids must be "of the heathen that were
round about them." "Of them," said Jehovah, "shall ye buy bondmen
and bondmaids." And yet Cicero, a pagan, Cicero, who had never been
enlightened by reading the Old Testament, had the moral grandeur to
declare: "They who say that we should love our fellow-citizens, but not
foreigners, destroy the universal brotherhood of mankind, with which
benevolence and justice would perish forever."

433. The Atonement

In countless ways the Christian world has endeavored, for nearly two
thousand years, to explain the atonement, and every effort has ended in
an an mission that it cannot be understood, and a declaration that it
must be believed. Is it not immoral to teach that man can sin, that he
can harden his heart and pollute his soul, and that, by repenting
and believing something that he does not comprehend, he can avoid the
consequences of his crimes? Has the promise and hope of forgiveness ever
prevented the commission of a sin? Should men be taught that sin gives
happiness here; that they ought to bear the evils of a virtuous life in
this world for the sake of joy in the next; that they can repent between
the last sin and the last breath; that after repentance every stain
of the soul is washed away by the innocent blood of another; that the
serpent of regret will not hiss in the ear of memory; that the saved
will not even pity the victims of their own crimes; that the goodness
of another can be transferred to them; and that sins forgiven cease to
affect the unhappy wretches sinned against?

434. Sin as a Debt

The Church says that the sinner is in debt to God, and that the
obligation is discharged by the Saviour. The best that can possibly be
said of such a transaction is, that the debt is transferred, not paid.
The truth is, that a sinner is in debt to the person he has injured.
If a man injures his neighbor, it is not enough for him to get the
forgiveness of God, but he must have the forgiveness of his neighbor.
If a man puts his hand in the fire and God forgives him, his hand will
smart exactly the same. You must, after all, reap what you sow. No god
can give you wheat when you sow tares, and no devil can give you tares
when you sow wheat.

435. The Logic of the Coffin

As to the doctrine of the atonement, Mr. Black has nothing to offer
except the barren statement that it is believed by the wisest and the
best. A Mohammedan, speaking in Constantinople, will say the same of the
Koran. A Brahman, in a Hindu temple, will make the same remark, and so
will the American Indian, when he endeavors to enforce something upon
the young of his tribe. He will say: "The best, the greatest of our
tribe have believed in this." This is the argument of the cemetery, the
philosophy of epitaphs, the logic of the coffin. We are the greatest and
wisest and most virtuous of mankind? This statement, that it has been
believed by the best, is made in connection with an admission that it
cannot be fathomed by the wisest. It is not claimed that a thing is
necessarily false because it is not understood, but I do claim that
it is not necessarily true because it cannot be comprehended. I still
insist that "the plan of redemption," as usually preached, is absurd,
unjust, and immoral.

436. Judas Iscariot

For nearly two thousand years Judas Iscariot has been execrated by
mankind; and yet, if the doctrine of the atonement is true, upon his
treachery hung the plan of salvation. Suppose Judas had known of this
plan--known that he was selected by Christ for that very purpose, that
Christ was depending on him. And suppose that he also knew that only
by betraying Christ could he save either himself or others; what ought
Judas to have done? Are you willing to rely upon an argument that
justifies the treachery of that wretch?

437. The Standard of Right

According to Mr. Black, the man who does not believe in a supreme being
acknowledges no standard of right and wrong in this world, and therefore
can have no theory of rewards and punishments in the next. Is it
possible that only those who believe in the God who persecuted for
opinion's sake have any standard of right and wrong? Were the greatest
men of all antiquity without this standard? In the eyes of intelligent
men of Greece and Rome, were all deeds, whether good or evil, morally
alike? Is it necessary to believe in the existence of an infinite
intelligence before you can have any standard of right and wrong? Is it
possible that a being cannot be just or virtuous unless he believes in
some being infinitely superior to himself? If this doctrine be true, how
can God be just or virtuous? Does He believe in some being superior to

438. What is Conscience?

What is conscience? If man were incapable of suffering, if man could not
feel pain, the word "conscience" never would have passed his lips. The
man who puts himself in the place of another, whose imagination has been
cultivated to the point of feeling the agonies suffered by another, is
the man of conscience.

439. No Right to Think!

Mr. Black says, "We have neither jurisdiction or capacity to rejudge
the justice of God." In other words, we have no right to think upon
this subject, no right to examine the questions most vitally affecting
human-kind. We are simply to accept the ignorant statements of barbarian
dead. This question cannot be settled by saying that "it would be a
mere waste of time and space to enumerate the proofs which show that the
universe was created by a pre-existent and self-conscious being." The
time and space should have been "wasted," and the proofs should have
been enumerated. These "proofs" are what the wisest and greatest are
trying to find. Logic is not satisfied with assertion. It cares nothing
for the opinions of the "great," nothing for the prejudices of the many,
and least of all, for the superstitions of the dead. In the world of
science--a fact is a legal tender. Assertions and miracles are base and
spurious coins. We have the right to rejudge the justice even of a god.
No one should throw away his reason--the fruit of all experience. It is
the intellectual capital of the soul, the only light, the only guide,
and without it the brain becomes the palace of an idiot king, attended
by a retinue of thieves and hypocrites.

440. The Liberty of the Bible

This is the religious liberty of the Bible. If you had lived in
Palestine, and if the wife of your bosom, dearer to you than your
own soul, had said: "I like the religion of India better than that of
Palestine," it would have been your duty to kill her. "Your eye must not
pity her, your hand must be first upon her, and afterwards the hand of
all the people." If she had said: "Let us worship the sun--the sun that
clothes the earth in garments of green--the sun, the great fireside of
the world--the sun that covers the hills and valleys with flowers--that
gave me your face, and made it possible for me to look into the eyes
of my babe,--let us worship the sun," it was your duty to kill her. You
must throw the first stone, and when against her bosom--a bosom filled
with love for you--you had thrown the jagged and cruel rock, and had
seen the red stream of her life oozing from the dumb lips of death,
you could then look up and receive the congratulations of the God whose
commandment you had obeyed. Is it possible that a being of infinite
mercy ordered a husband to kill his wife for the crime of having
expressed, an opinion on the subject of religion? Has there been found
upon the records of the savage world anything more perfectly fiendish
than this commandment of Jehovah? This is justified on the ground that
"blasphemy was a breach of political allegiance, and idolatry an act of
overt treason." We can understand how a human king stands in need of the
service of his people. We can understand how the desertion of any of
his soldiers weakens his army; but were the king infinite in power,
his strength would still remain the same, and under no conceivable
circumstances could the enemy triumph.

441. Slavery in Heaven

According to Mr. Black, there will be slavery in Heaven, and fast by
the throne of God will be the auction-block, and the streets of the New
Jerusalem will be adorned with the whipping-post, while the music of
the harp will be supplemented by the crack of the driver's whip. If some
good Republican would catch Mr. Black, "incorporate him into his family,
tame him, teach him to think, and give him a knowledge of the true
principles of human liberty and government, he would confer upon him a
most beneficent boon." Mr. Black is too late with his protest against
the freedom of his fellow-men. Liberty is making the tour of the world.
Russia has emancipated her serfs; the slave trade is prosecuted only
by thieves and pirates; Spain feels upon her cheek the burning blush
of shame; Brazil, with proud and happy eyes, is looking for the dawn of
freedom's day; the people of the South rejoice that slavery is no more,
and every good and honest man (excepting Mr. Black) of every land and
clime hopes that the limbs of men will never feel again the weary weight
of chains.

442. Jehovah Breaking His Own Laws

A very curious thing about these Commandments is that their supposed
author violated nearly every one. From Sinai, according to the account,
He said: "Thou shalt not kill," and yet He ordered the murder of
millions; "Thou shalt not commit adultery," and He gave captured maidens
to gratify the lust of captors; "Thou shalt not steal," and yet He gave
to Jewish marauders the flocks and herds of others; "Thou shalt not
covet thy neighbor's house, nor his wife," and yet He allowed His chosen
people to destroy the homes of neighbors and to steal their wives;
"Honor thy father and mother," and yet this same God had thousands of
fathers butchered, and with the sword of war killed children yet unborn;
"Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor," and yet
He sent abroad "lying spirits" to deceive His own prophets, and in a
hundred ways paid tribute to deceit. So far as we know, Jehovah kept
only one of these Commandments--He worshiped no other god.

443. Who Designed the Designer?

I know as little as anyone else about the "pla" of the universe; and as
to the "design," I know just as little. It will not do to say that the
universe was designed, and therefore there must be a designer. There
must first be proof that it was "designed." It will not do to say that
the universe has a "plan," and then assert that there must have been an
infinite maker. The idea that a design must have a beginning, and that a
designer need not, is a simple expression of human ignorance. We find
a watch, and we say: "So curious and wonderful a thing must have had a
maker." We find the watchmaker, and we say: "So curious and wonderful a
thing as man must have had a maker." We find God and we then say: "He is
so wonderful that he must _not_ have had a maker." In other words, all
things a little wonderful must have been created, but it is possible for
something to be so wonderful that it always existed. One would suppose
that just as the wonder increased the necessity for a creator increased,
because it is the wonder of the thing that suggests the idea of
creation. Is it possible that a designer exists from all eternity
without design? Was there no design in having an infinite designer? For
me, it is hard to see the plan or design in earthquakes and pestilences.
It is somewhat difficult to discern the design or the benevolence in so
making the world that billions of animals live only on the agonies of
others. The justice of God is not visible to me in the history of this
world. When I think of the suffering and death, of the poverty and
crime, of the cruelty and malice, of the heartlessness of this "design"
and "plan," where beak and claw and tooth tear and rend the quivering
flesh of weakness and despair, I cannot convince myself that it is the
result of infinite wisdom, benevolence, and justice.

444. What we Know of the Infinite

Of course, upon a question like this, nothing can be absolutely known.
We live on an atom called Earth, and what we know of the infinite is
almost infinitely limited; but, little as we know, all have an equal
right to give their honest thought. Life is a shadowy, strange,
and winding road on which we travel for a little way--a few short
steps--just from the cradle, with its lullaby of love, to the low and
quiet wayside inn, where all at last must sleep, and where the only
salutation is--Good-night.

445. The Universe Self-Existent

The universe, according to my idea, is, always was, and forever will
be. It did not "come into being;" it is the one eternal being--the only
thing that ever did, does, or can exist. It did not "make its own laws."
We know nothing of what we call the laws of Nature except as we gather
the idea of law from the uniformity of phenomena springing from like
conditions. To make myself clear: Water always runs down hill. The
theist says that this happens because there is behind the phenomenon an
active law. As a matter of fact law is this side of the phenomenon. Law
does not cause the phenomenon, but the phenomenon causes the idea of law
in our minds, and this idea is produced from the fact that under like
circumstances the same phenomena always happens. Mr. Black probably
thinks that the difference in the weight of rocks and clouds was created
by law; that parallel lines fail to imite only because it is illegal;
that diameter and circumference could have been so made that it would
be a greater distance across than around a circle, that a straight line
could inclose a triangle if not prevented by law, and that a little
legislation could make it possible for two bodies to occupy the same
space at the same time. It seems to me that law can not be the cause of
phenomena, but it is an effect produced in our minds by their succession
and resemblance. To put a God back of the universe compels us to admit
that there was a time when nothing existed except this God; that this
God had lived from eternity in an infinite vacuum and in an absolute
idleness. The mind of every thoughtful man is forced to one of these two
conclusions, either that the universe is self-existent or that it
was created by a self-existent being. To my mied there are far more
difficulties in the second hypothesis than in the first.

446. Jehovah's Promise Broken

If Jehovah was in fact God, He knew the end from the beginning. He knew
that his Bible would be a breastwork behind which tyranny and hypocrisy
would crouch; that it would be quoted by tyrants; that it would be the
defense of robbers called kings and of hypocrites called priests. He
knew that He had taught the Jewish people but little of importance. He
knew that He found them free and left them captives. He knew that He
had never fulfilled the promises made to them. He knew that while other
nations had advanced in art and science his chosen people were savage
still. He promised them the world, and gave them a desert. He promised
them liberty, and He made them slaves. He promised them victory, and He
gave them defeat. He said they should be kings, and He made them
serfs. He promised them universal empire, and gave them exile. When one
finishes the Old Testament, he is compelled to say: Nothing can add to
the misery of a nation whose King is Jehovah!

447. Character Bather than Creed

For a thousand years the torch of progress was extinguished in the blood
of Christ, and His disciples, moved by ignorant zeal, by insane, cruel
creeds, destroyed with flame and sword a hundred millions of their
fellow-men. They made this world a hell. But if cathedrals had been
universities--if dungeons of the Inquisition had been laboratories--if
Christians had believed in character instead of creed--if they had taken
from the Bible all the good and thrown away the wicked and absurd--if
domes of temples had been observatories--if priests had been
philosophers--if missionaries had taught the useful arts--if astrology
had been astronomy--if the black art had been chemistry--if superstition
had been science--if religion had been humanity--it would have been a
heaven filled with love, with liberty, and joy.

448. Mohammed the Prophet of God

Mohammed was a poor man, a driver of camels. He was without education,
without influence, and without wealth, and yet in a few years he
consolidated thousands of tribes, and millions of men confess that there
is "one God, and Mohammed is his prophet." His success was a thousand
times greater during his life than that of Christ. He was not crucified;
he was a conqueror. "Of all men, he exercised the greatest influence
upon the human race." Never in the world's history did a religion
spread with the rapidity of his. It burst like a storm over the fairest
portions of the globe. If Mr. Black is right in his position that
rapidity is secured only by the direct aid of the Divine Being,
then Mohammed was most certainly the prophet of God. As to wars of
extermination and slavery, Mohammed agreed with Mr. Black, and upon
polygamy with Jehovah. As to religious toleration, he was great enough
to say that "men holding to any form of faith might be saved, provided
they were virtuous." In this he was far in advance both of Jehovah and
Mr. Black.

449. Wanted!--A Little More Legislation

We are informed by Mr. Black that "polygamy is neither commanded or
prohibited in the Old Testament--that it is only discouraged." It seems
to me that a little legislation on that subject might have tended to its
"discouragement." But where is the legislation? In the moral code, which
Mr. Black assures us "consists of certain immutable rules to govern the
conduct of all men at all times and at all places in their private and
personal relations with others," not one word is found on the subject of
polygamy. There is nothing "discouraging" in the Ten Commandments, nor
in the records of any conversation Jehovah is claimed to have had with
Moses upon Sinai. The life of Abraham, the story of Jacob and Laban,
the duty of a brother to be the husband of the widow of his deceased
brother, the life of David, taken in connection with the practice of
one who is claimed to have been the wisest of men--all these things are
probably relied on to show that polygamy was at least "discouraged."
Certainly Jehovah had time to instruct Moses as to the infamy of
polygamy. He could have spared a few moments from a description of
patterns of tongs and basins for a subject so important as this. A
few-words in favor of the one wife and one husband--in favor of the
virtuous and loving home--might have taken the place of instructions
as to cutting the garments of priests and fashioning candlesticks and
ounces of gold. If he had left out simply the order that rams' skins
should be dyed red, and in its place had said, "A man shall have but one
wife, and the wife but one husband," how much better it would have been.

450. Is all that Succeeds Inspired?

Again, it is urged that "the acceptance of Christianity by a large
portion of the generation contemporary with its Founder and His
Apostles, was under the circumstances, an adjudication as solemn and
authoritative as mortal intelligence could pronounce." If this is true,
then "the acceptance of Buddhism by a large portion of the generation
contemporary with its Founder was an adjudication as solemn and
authoritative as mortal intelligence could pronounce." The same could
be said of Mohammedanism, and, in fact, of every religion that has
ever benefited or cursed this world. This argument, when reduced to its
simplest form, is this: All that succeeds is inspired.

451. The Morality in Christianity

The morality in Christianity has never opposed the freedom of thought.
It has never put, nor tended to put, a chain on a human mind, nor a
manacle on a human limb; but the doctrines distinctively Christian--the
necessity of believing a certain thing; the idea that eternal punishment
awaited him who failed to believe; the idea that the innocent can suffer
for the guilty--these things have |opposed, and for a thousand years
substantially destroyed the freedom of the human mind. All religions
have, with ceremony, magic, and mystery, deformed, darkened, and
corrupted, the soul. Around the sturdy oaks of morality have grown and
clung the parasitic, poisonous vines of the miraculous and monstrous.

452. Miracle Mongers

St. Irenæus assures us that all Christians possessed the power of
working miracles; that they prophesied, cast out devils, healed the
sick, and even raised the dead. St. Epiphanius asserts that some rivers
and fountains were annually transmuted into wine, in attestation of the
miracle of Cana, adding that he himself had drunk of these fountains.
St. Augustine declares that one was told in a dream where the bones of
St. Stephen were buried and the bones were thus discovered and brought
to Hippo, and that they raised five dead persons to life, and that in
two years seventy miracles were performed with these relics. Justin
Martyr states that God once sent some angels to guard the human race,
that these angels fell in love with the daughters of men, and became the
fathers of innumerable devils. For hundreds of years miracles were
about the only things that happened. They were wrought by thousands of
Christians, and testified to by millions. The saints and martyrs, the
best and greatest, were the witnesses and workers of wonders. Even
heretics, with the assistance of the devil, could suspend the "laws
of nature." Must we believe these wonderful accounts because they were
written by "good men," by Christians," who made their statements in the
presence and expectation of death"? The truth is that these "good men"
were mistaken. They expected the miraculous. They breathed the air of
the marvelous. They fed their minds on prodigies, and their imaginations
feasted on effects without causes. They were incapable of investigating.
Doubts were regarded as "rude disturbers of the congregation." Credulity
and sanctity walked hand in hand. Reason was danger. Belief was safety.
As the philosophy of the ancients was rendered almost worthless by the
credulity of the common people, so the proverbs of Christ, his religion
of forgiveness, his creed of kindness, were lost in the mist of miracle
and the darkness of superstition.

453. The Honor Due to Christ

For the man Christ--for the reformer who loved his fellow-men--for the
man who believed in an Infinite Father, who would shield the innocent
and protect the just--for the martyr who expected to be rescued from the
cruel cross, and who at last, finding that his rope was dust, cried out
in the gathering gloom of death; "My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken
me?"--for that great and suffering man, mistaken though he was, I have
the highest admiration and respect. That man did not, as I believe,
claim a miraculous origin; he did not pretend to heal the sick nor raise
the dead. He claimed simply to be a man, and taught his fellow-men
that love is stronger far than hate. His life was written by reverent
ignorance. Loving credulity belittled his career with feats of jugglery
and magic art, and priests wishing to persecute and slay, put in his
mouth the words of hatred and revenge. The theological Christ is the
impossible union of the human and divine--man with the attributes of
God, and God with the limitations and weakness of man.

454. Christianity has no Monopoly in Morals

The morality of the world is not distinctively Christian. Zoroaster,
Gautama, Mohammed, Confucius, Christ, and, in fact, all founders of
religions, have said to their disciples: You must not steal; You must
not murder; You must not bear false witness; You must discharge your
obligations. Christianity is the ordinary moral code, _plus_ the
miraculous origin of Jesus Christ, his crucifixion, his resurrection,
his ascension, the inspiration of the Bible, the doctrine of the
atonement, and the necessity of belief. Buddhism is the ordinary moral
code, _plus_ the miraculous illumination of Buddha, the performance of
certain ceremonies, a belief in the transmigration of the soul, and
in the final absorption of the human by the infinite. The religion of
Mohammed is the ordinary moral code, _plus_ the belief that Mohammed
was the prophet of God, total abstinence from the use of intoxicating
drinks, a harem for the faithful here and hereafter, ablutions, prayers,
alms, pilgrimages, and fasts.

455. Old Age in Superstition's Lap

And here I take occasion to thank Mr. Black for having admitted that
Jehovah gave no commandment against the practice of polygamy, that he
established slavery, waged wars of extermination, and persecuted for
opinions' sake even unto death, Most theologians endeavor to putty,
patch, and paint the wretched record of inspired crime, but Mr. Black
has been bold enough and honest enough to admit the truth. In this age
of fact and demonstration it is refreshing to find a man who believes
so thoroughly in the monstrous and miraculous, the impossible and
immoral--who still clings lovingly to the legends of the bib and
rattle--who through the bitter experiences of a wicked world has kept
the credulity of the cradle, and finds comfort and joy in thinking about
the Garden of Eden, the subtile serpent, the flood, and Babel's tower,
stopped by the jargon of a thousand tongues--who reads with happy eyes
the story of the burning brimstone storm that fell upon the cities
of the plain, and smilingly explains the transformation of the
retrospective Mrs. Lot--who laughs at Egypt's plagues and Pharaoh's
whelmed and drowning hosts--eats manna with the wandering Jews, warms
himself at the burning bush, sees Korah's company by the hungry earth
devoured, claps his wrinkled hands with glee above the heathens'
butchered babes, and longingly looks back to the patriarchal days of
concubines and slaves. How touching when the learned and wise crawl back
in cribs and ask to hear the rhymes and fables once again! How charming
in these hard and scientific times to see old age in Superstition's lap,
with eager lips upon her withered breast!

456. Ararat in Chicago

A little while ago, in the city of Chicago, a gentleman addressed a
number of Sunday-school children. In his address he stated that some
people were wicked enough to deny the story of the deluge; that he was
a traveler; that he had been to the top of Mount Ararat, and had brought
with him a stone from that sacred locality. The children were then
invited to form in procession and walk by the pulpit, for the purpose of
seeing this wonderful stone. After they had looked at it, the lecturer
said: "Now, children, if you ever hear anybody deny the story of the
deluge, or say that the ark did not rest on Mount Ararat, you can tell
them that you know better, because you have seen with your own eyes a
stone from that very mountain."

457. How Gods and Devils are Made

It was supposed that God demanded worship; that he loved to be
flattered; that he delighted in sacrifice; that nothing made him happier
than to see ignorant faith upon its knees; that above all things he
hated and despised doubters and heretics, and regarded investigation as
rebellion. Each community felt it a duty to see that the enemies of God
were converted or killed. To allow a heretic to live in peace was
to invite the wrath of God. Every public evil--every misfortune--was
accounted for by something the community had permitted or done. When
epidemics appeared, brought by ignorance and welcomed by filth, the
heretic was brought out and sacrificed to appease the anger of God.
By putting intention behind what man called good, God was produced. By
putting intention behind what man called bad, the Devil was created.
Leave this "intention" out, and gods and devils fade away. If not a
human being existed, the sun would continue to shine, and tempest now
and then would devastate the earth; the rain would fall in pleasant
showers; violets would spread their velvet bosoms to the sun, the
earthquake would devour, birds would sing, and daisies bloom, and
roses blush, and volcanoes fill the heavens with their lurid glare; the
procession of the seasons would not be broken, and the stars would shine
as serenely as though the world were filled with loving hearts and happy

458. The Romance of Figures

How long, according to the universal benevolence of the New Testament,
can a man be reasonably punished in the next world for failing to
believe something unreasonable in this? Can it be possible that any
punishment can endure forever? Suppose that every flake of snow that
ever fell was a figure nine, and that the first flake was multiplied by
the second, and that product by the third, and so on to the last flake.
And then suppose that this total should be multiplied by every drop of
rain that ever fell, calling each drop a figure nine; and that total by
each blade of grass that ever helped to weave a carpet for the earth,
calling each blade a figure nine; and that again by every grain of sand
on every shore, so that the grand total would make a line of nines so
long that it would require millions upon millions of years for light,
traveling at the rate of one hundred and eighty-five thousand miles per
second, to reach the end. And suppose, further, that each unit in this
almost infinite total, stood for billions of ages--still that vast and
almost endless time, measured by all the years beyond, is as one flake,
one drop, one leaf, one blade, one grain, compared with all the flakes,
and drops, and leaves, and blades and grains. Upon love's breast the
Church has placed the eternal asp. And yet, in the same book in which is
taught this most infamous of doctrines, we are assured that "The Lord is
good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works."

459. God and Zeno

If the Bible is inspired, Jehovah, God of all worlds, actually said:
"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." And yet
Zeno, founder of the Stoics, centuries before Christ was born, insisted
that no man could be the owner of another, and that the title was bad,
whether the slave had become so by conquest, or by purchase. Jehovah,
ordered a Jewish general to make war, and gave, among others, this
command: "When the Lord thy God shall drive them before thee, thou shalt
smite them and utterly destroy them." And yet Epictetus, whom we have
already quoted, gave this marvelous rule for the guidance of human
conduct: "Live with thy inferiors as thou wouldst have thy superiors
live with thee."

460. Why was Christ so Silent?

If Christ was in fact God, he knew all the future. Before him, like a
panorama, moved the history yet to be. He knew exactly how his words
would be interpreted. He knew what crimes, what horrors, what infamies,
would be committed in his name. He knew that the fires of persecution
would climb around the limbs of countless martyrs. He knew that brave
men would languish in dungeons, in darkness, filled with pain; that the
church would use instruments of torture, that his followers would appeal
to whip and chain. He must have seen the horizon of the future red with
the flames of the _auto da fe_. He knew all the creeds that would spring
like poison fungi from every text. He saw the sects waging war against
each other. He saw thousands of men, under the orders of priests,
building dungeons for their fellow-men. He saw them using instruments
of pain. He heard the groans, saw the faces white with agony, the tears,
the blood--heard the shrieks and sobs of all the moaning, martyred
multitudes. He knew that commentaries would be written on his words with
swords, to be read by the light of fagots. He knew that the Inquisition
would be born of teachings attributed to him. He saw all the
interpolations and falsehoods that hypocrisy would write and tell. He
knew that above these fields of death, these dungeons, these burnings,
for a thousand years would float the dripping banner of the cross. He
knew that in his name his followers would trade in human flesh, that
cradles would be robbed and women's breasts unbabed for gold;--and yet
he died with voiceless lips. Why did he fail to speak? Why did he not
tell his disciples, and through them the world, that man should not
persecute, for opinion's sake, his fellow-man? Why did he not cry, You
shall not persecute in my name; you shall not burn and torment those who
differ from you in creed? Why did he not plainly say, I am the Son of
God? Why did he not explain the doctrine of the trinity? Why did he not
tell the manner of baptism that was pleasing to him? Why did he not say
something positive, definite, and satisfactory about another world? Why
did he not turn the tear-stained hope of heaven to the glad knowledge
of another life? Why did he go dumbly to his death, leaving the world to
misery and to doubt?

461. The Philosophy of Action

Consequences determine the quality of an action. If consequences are
good, so is the action. If actions had no consequences, they would be
neither good nor bad. Man did not get his knowledge of the consequences
of actions from God, but from experience and reason. If man can, by
actual experiment, discover the right and wrong of actions, is it not
utterly illogical to declare that they who do not believe in God can
have no standard of right and wrong? Consequences are the standard by
which actions are judged. They are the children that testify as to the
real character of their parents. God or no God, larceny is the enemy of
industry--industry is the mother of prosperity--prosperity is a good,
and therefore larceny is an evil. God or no God, murder is a crime.
There has always been a law against larceny, because the laborer wishes
to enjoy the fruit of his toil. As long as men object to being killed,
murder will be illegal.

462. Infinite Punishment for Finite Crimes.

I have insisted, and I still insist, that it is still impossible for
a finite man to commit a crime deserving infinite punishment; and upon
this subject Mr. Black admits that "no revelation has lifted the veil
between time and eternity;" and, consequently, neither the priest nor
the "policeman" knows anything with certainty regarding another world.
He simply insists that "in shadowy figures we are warned that a very
marked distinction will be made between the good and bad in the next
world." There is "a very marked distinction" in this; but there is this
rainbow in the darkest human cloud: The worst have hope of reform. All I
insist is, if there is another life, the basest soul that finds its way
to that dark or radiant shore will have the everlasting chance of
doing right. Nothing but the most cruel ignorance, the most heartless
superstition, the most ignorant theology, ever imagined that the
few days of human life spent here, surrounded by mists and clouds of
darkness, blown over life's sea by storms and tempests of passion, fixed
for all eternity the condition of the human race. If this doctrine be
true, this life is but a net, in which Jehovah catches souls for hell.

463. Whence Came the Gospels?

We are told that "there is no good reason to doubt that the statements
of the Evangelists, as we have them now, are genuine." The fact is, no
one knows who made the "statements of the Evangelists." There are three
important manuscripts upon which the Christian world relies. "The first
appeared in the catalogue of the Vatican, in 1475. This contains the
Old Testament. Of the New, it contains the four gospels,--the Acts, the
seven Catholic Epistles, nine of the Pauline Epistles, and the
Epistle to the Hebrews, so far as the fourteenth verse of the ninth
chapter,"--and nothing more. This is known as the Codex Vatican. "The
second, the Alexandrine, was presented to King Charles the First, in
1628. It contains the Old and New Testaments, with some exceptions;
passages are wanting in Matthew, in John, and in II. Corinthians. It
also contains the Epistle of Clemens Romanus, a letter of Athanasius,
and the treatise of Eusebius on the Psalms." The last is the Sinaitic
Codex, discovered about 1850, at the Convent of St. Catherine's, on
Mount Sinai. "It contains the Old and New Testaments, and in addition
the entire Epistle of Barnabas, and a portion of the Shepherd of
Hennas--two books which, up to the beginning of the fourth century, were
looked upon by many as Scripture." In this manuscript, or codex, the
gospel of St. Mark concludes with the eighth verse of the sixteenth
chapter, leaving out the frightful passage: "Go ye into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is
baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." In
matters of the utmost importance these manuscripts disagree, but even if
they all agreed it would not furnish the slightest evidence of their
truth. It will not do to call the statements made in the gospels
"depositions," until it is absolutely established who made them, and the
circumstances under which they were made. Neither can we say that "they
were made in the immediate prospect of death," until we know who made
them. It is absurd to say that "the witnesses could not have been
mistaken, because the nature of the facts precluded the possibility of
any delusion about them." Can it be pretended that the witnesses could
not have been mistaken about the relation the Holy Ghost is alleged to
have sustained to Jesus Christ? Is there no possibility of delusion
about a circumstance of that kind? Did the writers of the four gospels
have "the sensible and true avouch of their own eyes and ears" in that
behalf? How was it possible for any one of the four Evangelists to know
that Christ was the Son of God, or that he was God? His mother wrote
nothing on the subject. Matthew says that an angel of the Lord told
Joseph in a dream, but Joseph never wrote an account of this wonderful
vision. Luke tells us that the angel had a conversation with Mary, and
that Mary told Elizabeth, but Elizabeth never wrote a word. There is no
account of Mary, or Joseph, or Elizabeth, or the angel, having had any
conversation with Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, in which one word was
said about the miraculous origin of Jesus Christ. The persons who knew
did not write, so that the account is nothing but hearsay. Does Mr.
Black pretend that such statements would be admitted as evidence in any
court? But how do we know that the disciples of Christ wrote a word of
the gospels? How did it happen that Christ wrote nothing? How do we know
that the writers of the gospels "were men of unimpeachable character?"

464. Mr. Black's Admission

For the purpose of defending the character of his infallible God, Mr.
Black is forced to defend religious intolerance, wars of extermination,
human slavery, and almost polygamy. He admits that God established
slavery; that he commanded his chosen people to buy the children of the
heathen; that heathen fathers and mothers did right to sell their girls
and boys; that God ordered the Jews to wage wars of extermination and
conquest; that it was right to kill the old and young; that God forged
manacles for the human brain; that he commanded husbands to murder their
wives for suggesting the worship of the sun or moon; and that every
cruel, savage passage in the Old Testament was inspired by him. Such is
a "policeman's" view of God.

465. The Stars Upon the Door of France

Mr. Black justifies all the crimes and horrors, excuses all the tortures
of all the Christian years, by denouncing the cruelties of the French
Revolution. Thinking people will not hasten to admit that an infinitely
good being authorized slavery in Judea, because of the atrocities of the
French Revolution. They will remember the sufferings of the Huguenots.
They will remember the massacre of St. Bartholomew. They will not forget
the countless cruelties of priest and king. They will not forget the
dungeons of the Bastile. They will know that the Revolution was an
effect, and that liberty was not the cause--that atheism was not the
cause. Behind the Revolution they will see altar and throne--sword and
fagot--palace and cathedral--king and priest--master and slave--tyrant
and hypocrite. They will see that the excesses, the cruelties, and
crimes were but the natural fruit of seeds the church had sown. But the
Revolution was not entirely evil. Upon that cloud of war, black with
the myriad miseries of a thousand years, dabbled with blood of king and
queen, of patriot and priest, there was this bow: "Beneath the flag of
France all men are free." In spite of all the blood and crime, in spite
of deeds that seem insanely base, the People placed upon a Nation's brow
these stars:--Liberty, Fraternity, Equality--grander words than ever
issued from Jehovah's lips.


On the 27th day of March, 1880, Messrs. Wright, Dickey, O'Conner, and
Murch, of the Select Committee appointed by Congress to "Consider
the causes of the present depression of labor," presented the majority
special report on Chinese Immigration. The following quotations are
excerpts from Col. R. G. Ingersoll's caustic review of that report.

466. The Select Committee Afraid

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
quarters, 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 located 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."

467. The Gods of the Joss-House and Patmos

No wonder that these members of the committee were shocked at such a
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 shining in his strength." Certainly, a large mouth, filled
with white teeth, is preferable 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?

468. A Little Too Late

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.

469. Christianity has a Fair Show in San Francisco

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 disrespect and making religion a theme of
disgust and contempt." 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
somewhat dryer; thousands of bibles are within the reach of all.

470. An Arrow from the Quiver of Satire

And there, too, is the example of a Christian city. Why should we send
missionaries to China, if we cannot convert the heathen when they come
here? When missionaries 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; and have no prejudice
on account of color, race or religion; that they look upon mankind as
brethren; that they speak of God as a Universal 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.

471. We Have no Religious System

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 nor disbelieve in a future
state of reward or punishment; that it neither affirms nor denies the
existence of a "living" God.

472. Congress Nothing to Do with Religion

Congress has nothing to do with the religion of the people. Its members
are not responsible to God for the opinions of their constituents, and
it may tend to the happiness of the constituents for me to state that
they are in no way responsible 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.

473. Concessions of the Illustrious Four!

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 religion 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 defense 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 civilization, 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
enthusiasm 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.

474. Do not Trample on John Chinaman

Do not trample upon these people because they have a different
conception of things about which even this committee 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; 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
thumb-screw, 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 slavery.

475. Be Honest with the Chinese

If you wish to drive out the Chinese, do not make a pretext of religion.
Do not pretend that you are trying to do God a favor. Injustice in his
name is doubly detestable. The assassin cannot 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 toward men,
under the pretense of pleasing God, has cursed this world.

476. An Honest Merchant the Best Missionary

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 to 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 missionary. 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 falsehoods are believed. For myself, I have but little confidence
in any business, or enterprise, or investment, that promises dividends
only after the death of the stockholders.

477. Good Words from Confucius

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 exercises 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 clouds."

"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 man."

"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.

478. The Ancient Chinese

When the ancestors of the four Christian Congressmen were barbarians,
when they lived in caves, gnawed bones, and worshiped dry 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
Chinamen were calculating eclipses, and measuring the circumference
of the earth. When the progenitors of these representatives of the
"American system of religion" were burning women charged with nursing
devils, these people "incapable of being influenced by the exalted
character of our civilization," were building asylums for the insane.

479. The Chinese and Civil Service Reform

Neither should it be forgotten that, for thousands of years, the Chinese
have honestly practised the great principle known as civil service
reform--a something that even the administration of Mr. Hayes has
reached only through the proxy of promise.

480. Invading China in the Name of Opium and Christ

The English battered down the door of China in the names of Opium and
Christ. This infamy was regarded as another triumph of the gospel.
At last in self-defense 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.

481. Don't be Dishonest in the Name of God

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.


482. Diversity of Opinion Abolished by Henry VIII

In the reign of Henry VIII--that pious and moral founder of the
apostolic Episcopal Church,--there was passed by the parliament
of England an act entitled, "An act for abolishing of diversity of
opinion." And in this act was set forth what a good Christian was
obliged to believe:

First, That in the sacrament was the real body and blood of Jesus

Second, That the body and blood of Jesus Christ was in the bread, and
the blood and body of Jesus Christ was in the wine.

Third, That priests should not marry.

Fourth, That vows of chastity were of perpetual obligation.

Fifth, That private masses ought to be continued; and,

Sixth, That auricular confession to a priest must be maintained.

This creed was made by law, in order that all men might know just what
to believe by simply reading the statute. The Church hated to see the
people wearing out their brains in thinking upon these subjects.

483. Spencer and Darwin Damned

According to the philosophy of theology, man has continued to degenerate
for six thousand years. To teach that there is that in nature which
impels to higher forms and grander ends, is heresy, of course. The
Deity will damn Spencer and his "Evolution," Darwin and his "Origin
of Species," Bastian and his "Spontaneous Generation," Huxley and his
"Protoplasm," Tyndall and his "Prayer Gauge," and will save those, and
those only, who declare that the universe has been cursed, from the
smallest atom to the grandest star; that everything tends to evil and to
that only, and that the only perfect thing in nature is the Presbyterian
Confession of Faith.

484. The Dead do Not Persecute

Imagine a vine that grows at one end and decays at the other. The
end that grows is heresy, the end that rots is orthodox. The dead are
orthodox, and your cemetery is the most perfect type of a well regulated
church. No thought, no progress, no heresy there. Slowly and silently,
side by side, the satisfied members peacefully decay. There is only this
difference--the dead do not persecute.

485. The Atheist a Legal Outcast in Illinois

The supreme court of Illinois decided, in the year of grace 1856, that
an unbeliever in the existence of an intelligent First Cause could not
be allowed to testify in any court. His wife and children might have
been murdered before his very face, and yet in the absence of other
witnesses, the murderer could not have even been indicted. The atheist
was a legal outcast. To him, Justice was not only blind, but deaf. He
was liable, like other men, to support the government, and was forced to
contribute his share towards paying the salaries of the very judges
who decided that under no circumstances could his voice be heard in any
court. This was the law of Illinois, and so remained until the adoption
of the new Constitution By such infamous means has the Church endeavored
to chain the human mind, and protect the majesty of her God.

486. How the Owls Hoot

Now and then somebody examines, and in spite of all keeps his manhood,
and has the courage to follow where his reason leads. Then the pious
get together and repeat wise saws, and exchange knowing nods and most
prophetic winks. The stupidly wise sit owl-like on the dead limbs of the
tree of knowledge, and solemnly hoot.

487. The Fate of Theological Students

Thousands of young men are being educated at this moment by the various
Churches. What for? In order that they may be prepared to investigate
the phenomena by which we are surrounded? No! The object, and the only
object, is that they may be prepared to defend a creed; that they may
learn the arguments of their respective churches, and repeat them in
the dull ears of a thoughtless congregation. If one, after being thus
trained at the expense of the Methodists, turns Presbyterian or Baptist,
he is denounced as an ungrateful wretch. Honest investigation is utterly
impossible within the pale of any Church, for the reason, that if you
think the Church is right you will not investigate, and if you think it
wrong, the Church will investigate you. The consequence of this is,
that most of the theological literature is the result of suppression, of
fear, tyranny and hypocrisy.

488. Trials for Heresy

A trial for heresy means that the spirit of persecution still lingers in
the Church; that it still denies the right of private judgment; that it
still thinks more of creed than truth, and that it is still determined
to prevent the intellectual growth of man. It means the churches are
shambles in which are bought and sold the souls of men. It means that
the Church is still guilty of the barbarity of opposing thought with
force. It means that if it had the power, the mental horizon would be
bound by a creed; that it would bring again the whips and chains and
dungeon keys, the rack and fagot of the past.

489. Presbyterianism Softening

Fortunately for us, civilization has had a softening effect even upon
the Presbyterian Church. To the ennobling influence of the arts and
sciences the savage spirit of Calvinism has, in some slight degree,
succumbed. True, the old creed remains substantially as it was written,
but by a kind of tacit understanding it has come to be regarded as a
relic of the past. The cry of "heresy" has been growing fainter and
fainter, and, as a consequence, the ministers of that denomination
have ventured, now and then, to express doubts as to the damnation of
infants, and the doctrine of total depravity.

490. The Methodist "Hoist with his own Petard."

A few years ago a Methodist clergyman took it upon himself to give me a
piece of friendly advice. "Although you may disbelieve the bible," said
he, "you ought not to say so. That, you should keep to yourself." "Do
you believe the bible," said I. He replied, "Most assuredly." To which
I retorted, "Your answer conveys no information to me. You may be
following your own advice. You told me to suppress my opinions. Of
course a man who will advise others to dissimulate will not always be
particular about telling the truth himself."

491. The Precious Doctrine of Total Depravity

What a precious doctrine is that of the total depravity of the human
heart! How sweet it is to believe that the lives of all the good and
great were continual sins and perpetual crimes; that the love a mother
bears her child is, in the sight of God, a sin; that the gratitude of
the natural heart is simple meanness; that the tears of pity are impure;
that for the unconverted to live and labor for others is an offense to
heaven; that the noblest aspirations of the soul are low and groveling
in the sight of God.

492. Guilty of Heresy

Whoever has an opinion of his own, and honestly expresses it, will be
guilty of heresy. Heresy is what the minority believe; it is the name
given by the powerful to the doctrine of the weak. This word was born of
the hatred, arrogance and cruelty of those who love their enemies, and
who, when smitten on one cheek, turn the other. This word was born of
intellectual slavery in the feudal ages of thought. It was an epithet
used in the place of argument. From the commencement of the Christian
era, every art has been exhausted and every conceivable punishment
inflicted to force all people to hold the same religious opinions. This
effort was born of the idea that a certain belief was necessary to the
salvation of the soul.

493. Dishonest Teachers.

One great trouble is that most teachers are dishonest. They teach as
certainties those things concerning which they entertain doubts. They
do not say, "we _think_ this is so," but "we _know_ this is so." They do
not appeal to the reason of the pupil, but they command his faith. They
keep all doubts to themselves; they do not explain, they assert. All
this is infamous.

494. Self-Reliance a Deadly Sin!

In all ages reason has been regarded as the enemy of religion. Nothing
has been considered so pleasing to the Deity as a total denial of the
authority of your own mind. Self-reliance has been thought a deadly
sin; and the idea of living and dying without the aid and consolation
of superstition has always horrified the Church. By some unaccountable
infatuation, belief has been and still is considered of immense
importance. All religions have been based upon the idea that God will
forever reward the true believer, and eternally damn the man who doubts
or denies. Belief is regarded as the one essential thing. To practice
justice, to love mercy, is not enough. You must believe in some
incomprehensible creed. You must say, "Once one is three, and three
times one is one." The man who practiced every virtue, but failed to
believe, was execrated. Nothing so outrages the feelings of the Church
as a moral unbeliever--nothing so horrible as a charitable Atheist.

495. A Hundred and Fifty Years Ago

One hundred and fifty years ago the foremost preachers would have
perished at the stake. A Universalist would have been torn in pieces in
England, Scotland, and America. Unitarians would have found themselves
in the stocks, pelted by the rabble with dead cats, after which their
ears would have been cut off, their tongues bored, and their foreheads

496. The Despotism of Faith

The despotism of faith is justified upon the ground that Christian
countries are the grandest and most prosperous of the world. At one time
the same thing could have been truly said in India, in Egypt, in Greece,
in Rome, and in every other country that has, in the history of the
world, swept to empire. This argument proves too much not only, but the
assumption upon which it is based is utterly false.

497. Believe, or Beware

And what does a trial for heresy mean? It means that the Church says
a heretic, "Believe as I do, or I will withdraw my support. I will not
employ you. I will pursue you until your garments are rags; until your
children cry for bread; until your cheeks are furrowed with tears. I
will hunt you to the very portals of the grave."

498. Calvin's Petrified Heart

Luther denounced mental liberty with all the coarse and brutal vigor
of his nature; Calvin despised, from the very bottom of his petrified
heart, anything that even looked like religious toleration, and solemnly
declared that to advocate it was to crucify Christ afresh. All the
founders of all the orthodox churches have advocated the same infamous
tenet. The truth is, that what is called religion is necessarily
inconsistent with free thought.

499. Logic Unconfined.

Must one be versed in Latin before he is entitled to express his opinion
as to the genuineness of a pretended revelation from God? Common sense
belongs exclusively to no tongue. Logic is not confined to, nor has it
been buried with, the dead languages. Paine attacked the bible as it is
translated. If the translation is wrong, let its defenders correct it.

500. Politeness at Athens!

A gentleman, walking among the ruins of Athens came upon a fallen statue
of Jupiter; making an exceedingly low bow he said: "O Jupiter! I salute
thee." He then added: "Should you ever sit upon the throne of heaven
again, do not, I pray you, forget that I treated you politely when you
were prostrate."

501. The Tail of a Lion

There is no saying more degrading than this: "It is better to be the
tail of a lion than the head of a dog." It is a responsibility to think
and act for yourself. Most people hate responsibility; therefore they
join something and become the tail of some lion. They say, "My party
can act for me--my church can do my thinking. It is enough for me to
pay taxes and obey the lion to which I belong, without troubling myself
about the right, the wrong, or the why or the wherefore."

502. While the Preachers Talked the People Slept

The fact is, the old ideas became a little monotonous to the people. The
fall of man, the scheme of redemption and irresistible grace, began
to have a familiar sound. The preachers told the old stories while the
congregations slept. Some of the ministers became tired of these stories
themselves. The five points grew dull, and they felt that nothing short
of irresistible grace could bear this endless repetition. The outside
world was full of progress, and in every direction men advanced, while
the church, anchored to a creed, idly rotted at the shore.

503. Christianity no Friend to Progress

Christianity has always opposed every forward movement of the human
race. Across the highway of progress it has always been building
breastworks of bibles, tracts, commentaries, prayer-books, creeds,
dogmas and platforms, and at every advance the Christians have gathered
together behind these heaps of rubbish and shot the poisoned arrows of
malice at the soldiers of freedom.

504. Where is the New Eden?

You may be laughed at in this world for insisting that God put Adam into
a deep sleep and made a woman out of one of his ribs, but you will be
crowned and glorified in the next. You will also have the pleasure of
hearing the gentlemen howl there, who laughed at you here. While you
will not be permitted to take any revenge, you will be allowed to
smilingly express your entire acquiescence in the will of God. But where
is the new Eden? No one knows. The one was lost, and the other has not
been found.

505. The Real Eden is Beyond

Nations and individuals fail and die, and make room for higher forms.
The intellectual horizon of the world widens as the centuries pass.
Ideals grow grander and purer; the difference between justice and mercy
becomes less and less; liberty enlarges, and love intensifies as the
years sweep on. The ages of force and fear, of cruelty and wrong, are
behind us and the real Eden is beyond. It is said that a desire for
knowledge lost us the Eden of the past; but whether that is true or not,
it will certainly give us the Eden of the future.

506. Party Names Belittle Men

Let us forget that we are Baptists, Methodists, Catholics,
Presbyterians, or Free-thinkers, and remember only that we are men and
women. After all, man and woman are the highest possible titles. All
other names belittle us, and show that we have, to a certain extent,
given up our individuality.


507. Where Did the Serpent Come From?

Where did the serpent come from? On which of the six days was he
created? Who made him? Is it possible that God would make a successful
rival? He must have known that Adam and Eve would fall. He knew what
a snake with a "spotted, dappled skin" could do with an inexperienced
woman. Why did he not defend his children? He knew that if the serpent
got into the garden, Adam and Eve would sin, that he would have to drive
them out, that afterwards the world would be destroyed, and that he
himself would die upon the cross.

508. Must We Believe Fables to be Good and True? Must we, in order to be
good, gentle and loving in our lives, believe that the creation of woman
was a second thought? That Jehovah really endeavored to induce Adam to
take one of the lower animals as an helpmeet for him? After all, is it
not possible to live honest and courageous lives without believing these

509. Why Did Not God Kill the Serpent?

Why was not the serpent kept out of the garden? Why did not the Lord God
take him by the tail and snap his head off? Why did he not put Adam
and Eve on their guard about this serpent? They, of course, were not
acquainted in the neighborhood, and knew nothing about the serpent's

510. Questions About the Ark

How was the ark kept clean? We know how it was ventilated; but what
was done with the filth? How were the animals watered? How were some
portions of the ark heated for animals from the tropics, and others
kept cool for the polar bears? How did the animals get back to their
respective countries? Some had to creep back about six thousand miles,
and they could only go a few feet a day. Some of the creeping things
must have started for the ark just as soon as they were made, and kept
up a steady jog for sixteen hundred years. Think of a couple of the
slowest snails leaving a point opposite the ark and starting for the
plains of Shinar, a distance of twelve thousand miles. Going at the rate
rate of a mile a month, it would take them a thousand years. How did
they get there? Polar bears must have gone several thousand miles, and
so sudden a change in climate must have been exceedingly trying upon
their health. How did they know the way to go? Of course, all the polar
bears did not go. Only two were required. Who selected these?

511. Was Language Confounded at Babel.

How could language be confounded? It could be confounded only by the
destruction of memory. Did God destroy the memory of mankind at
that time, and if so, how? Did he paralyze that portion of the brain
presiding over the organs of articulation, so that they could not speak
the words, although they remembered them clearly, or did he so touch
the brain that they could not hear? Will some theologian, versed in
the machinery of the miraculous, tell us in what way God confounded the
language of mankind?

512. Would God Kill a Man for Making Ointment?

Can we believe that the real God, if there is one, ever ordered a man
to be killed simply for making hair oil, or ointment? We are told in
the thirtieth chapter of Exodus, that the Lord commanded Moses to take
myrrh, cinnamon, sweet calamus, cassia, and olive oil, and make a
holy ointment for the purpose of anointing the tabernacle, tables,
candlesticks and other utensils, as well as Aaron and his sons; saying,
at the same time, that whosoever compounded any like it, or whoever put
any of it on a stranger, should be put to death. In the same chapter,
the Lord furnishes Moses with a recipe for making a perfume, saying,
that whoever should make any which smelled like it, should be cut off
from his people. This, to me, sounds so unreasonable that I cannot
believe it.

513. How Did Water run up Hill?

Some Christians say that the fountains of the great deep were broken up.
Will they be kind enough to tell us what the fountains of the great deep
are? Others say that God had vast stores of water in the center of the
earth that he used on the occasion of the flood. How did these waters
happen to run up hill?

514. Would a Real God Uphold Slavery?

Must we believe that God called some of his children the money of
others? Can we believe that God made lashes upon the naked back, a
legal tender for labor performed? Must we regard the auction block as an
altar? Were blood hounds, apostles? Was the slave-pen a temple? Were the
stealers and whippers of babes and women the justified children of God?

515. Will There Be an Eternal Auto da Fe?

Will some minister, who now believes in religious liberty, and
eloquently denounces the intolerance of Catholicism, explain these
things; will he tell us why he worships an intolerant God? Is a god who
will burn a soul forever in another world, better than a christian who
burns the body for a few hours in this? Is there no intellectual liberty
in heaven?

Do the angels all discuss questions on the same side? Are all the
investigators in perdition? Will the penitent thief, winged and crowned,
laugh at the honest folks in hell? Will the agony of the damned increase
or decrease the happiness of God? Will there be, in the universe, an
eternal _auto da fe_?

516. Why Hate an Atheist?

Why should a believer in God hate an atheist? Surely the atheist has
not injured God, and surely he is human, capable of joy and pain, and
entitled to all the rights of man. Would it not be far better to treat
this atheist, at least, as well as he treats us?


I do not believe that Christians are as bad as their creeds.

The highest crime against a creed is to change it. Reformation is

A believer is a bird in a cage, a free-thinker is an eagle parting the
clouds with tireless wing.

All that is good in our civilization is the result of commerce, climate,
soil, geographical position.

The heretics have not thought and suffered and died in vain. Every
heretic has been, and is, a ray of light.

No man ever seriously attempted to reform a Church without being cast
out and hunted down by the hounds of hypocrisy.

After all, the poorest bargain that a human being can make, is to give
his individuality for what is called respectability.

On every hand are the enemies of individuality and mental freedom.
Custom meets us at the cradle and leaves us only at the tomb.

There can be nothing more utterly subversive of all that is really
valuable than the suppression of honest thought.

No man, worthy of the form he bears, will at the command of Church or
State solemnly repeat a creed his reason scorns.

Although we live in what is called a free government,--and politically
we are free,--there is but little religious liberty in America.

According to orthodox logic, God having furnished us with imperfect
minds, has a right to demand a perfect result.

Nearly all people stand in great horror of annihilation, and yet to give
up your individuality is to annihilate yourself.

When women reason, and babes sit in the lap of philosophy, the victory
of reason over the shadowy host of darkness will be complete.

Of all the religions that have been produced by the egotism, the malice,
the ignorance and ambition of man, Presbyterianism is the most hideous.

And what man who really thinks can help repeating the words of Ennius:
"If there are gods they certainly pay no attention to the affairs of

Events, like the pendulum of a clock have swung forward and backward,
but after all, man, like the hands, has gone steadily on. Man is growing

In spite of Church and dogma, there have been millions and millions of
men and women true to the loftiest and most generous promptings of the
human heart.

I was taught to hate Catholicism with every drop of my blood, it is only
justice to say, that in all essential particulars it is precisely the
same as every other religion.

Wherever brave blood has been shed, the sword of the Church has been
wet. On every chain has been the sign of the cross. The altar and throne
have leaned against and supported each other.

We have all been taught by the Church that nothing is so well calculated
to excite the ire of the Deity as to express a doubt as to his
existence, and that to deny it is an unpardonable sin.

Universal obedience is universal stagnation; disobedience is one of the
conditions of progress. Select any age of the world and tell me what
would have been the effect of implicit obedience.

We have no national religion, and no national God; but every citizen
is allowed to have a religion and a God of his own, or to reject all
religions and deny the existence of all gods.

Whatever may be the truth upon any subject has nothing to do with our
right to investigate that subject, and express any opinion we may form.
All that I ask, is the same right I freely accord to all others.

Mental slavery is mental death, and every man who has given up his
intellectual freedom is the living coffin of his dead soul. In this
sense, every church is a cemetery and every creed an epitaph.

Think of reading the 109th Psalm to a heathen who has a Bible of his own
in which is found this passage: "Blessed is the man and beloved of all
the gods, who is afraid of no man, and of whom no man is afraid."

The trouble with most people is, they bow to what is called authority;
they have a certain reverence for the old because it is old. They think
a man is better for being dead, especially if he has been dead a long

We should all remember that to be like other people is to be unlike
ourselves, and that nothing can be more detestable in character than
servile imitation. The great trouble with imitation is, that we are apt
to ape those who are in reality far below us.

Suppose the Church had had absolute control of the human mind at any
time, would not the words liberty and progress have been blotted from
human speech? In defiance of advice, the world has advanced.

Over every fortress of tyranny has waved, and still waves, the banner of
the Church.

The Church has won no victories for the rights of man.

We have advanced in spite of religious zeal, ignorance, and opposition.

Luther labored to reform the Church--Voltaire, to reform men.

There have been, and still are, too many men who own themselves--too
much thought, too much knowledge for the Church to grasp again the
sword of power. The Church must abdicate. For the Eg-lon of superstition
Science has a message from Truth.

It is a blessed thing that in every age some one has had individuality
enough and courage enough to stand by his own convictions,--some one
who had the grandeur to say his say. I believe it was Magellan who said.
"The Church says the earth is flat; but I have seen its shadow on the
moon, and I have more confidence even in a shadow than in the Church."
"On the prow of his ship were disobedience, defiance, scorn, and


     A Tribute to Ebon C. Ingersoll, by his Brother
     Robert--The Record of a Generous Life Runs
     Like a  Vine Around the Memory of our
     Dead,   and   Every   Sweet,   Unselfish
     Act is Now a Perfumed Flower.

Dear Friends: I am going to do that which the dead oft promised he would
do for me.

The loved and loving brother, husband, father, friend, died where
manhood's morning almost touches noon, and while the shadows still were
falling toward the west.

He had not passed on life's highway the stone that marks the highest
point; but, being weary for a moment, he lay down by the wayside, and,
using his burden for a pillow, fell into that dreamless sleep that
kisses down his eyelids still. While yet in love with life and raptured
with the world, he passed to silence and pathetic dust.

Yet, after all, it may be best, just in the happiest, sunniest hour
of all the voyage, while eager winds are kissing every sail, to dash
against the unseen rock, and in an instant hear the billows roar above a
sunken ship For whether in mid sea or 'mong the breakers of the farther
shore, a wreck at last must mark the end of each and all. And every
life, no matter if its every hour is rich with love and every moment
jeweled with a joy, will, at its close, become a tragedy as sad and deep
and dark as can be woven of the warp and woof of mystery and death.

This brave and tender man in every storm of life was oak and rock; but
in the sunshine he was vine and flower. He was the friend of all heroic
souls. He climbed the heights, and left all superstitions far below,
while on his forehead fell the golden dawning of the grander day.

He loved the beautiful, and was with color, form, and music touched to
tears. He sided with the weak, the poor, and wronged, and lovingly
gave alms. With loyal heart and with the purest hands he faithfully
discharged all public trusts.

He was a worshiper of liberty, a friend of the oppressed. A thousand
times I have heard him quote these words: "For Justice all place a
temple, and all season, summer." He believed that happiness was the only
good, reason the only torch, justice the only worship, humanity the only
religion, and love the only priest. He added to the sum of human joy;
and were every one to whom he did some loving service to bring a blossom
to his grave, he would sleep to-night beneath a wilderness of sweet

Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two
eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud,
and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry. From the voiceless
lips of the unreplying dead there comes no word; but in the night of
death hope sees a star and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.

He who sleeps here, when dying, mistaking the approach of death for the
return of health, whispered with his latest breath, "I am better now."
Let us believe, in spite of doubts and dogmas, of fears and tears, that
these dear words are true of all the countless dead.

And now, to you, who have been chosen, from among the many men he loved,
to do the last sad office for the dead, we give his sacred dust.

Speech cannot contain our love. There was, there is, no gentler,
stronger, manlier man.


     The Following Words of Matchless Eloquence were
     Addressed by Col. Ingersoll to the Veteran
     Soldiers of Indianapolis.

The past, as it were, rises before me like a dream. Again we are in the
great struggle for national life. We hear the sound of preparation--the
music of the boisterous drums--the silver voices of heroic bugles. We
see thousands of assemblages, and hear the appeals of orators; we see
the pale cheeks of women, and the flushed faces of men; and in those
assemblages we see all the dead whose dust we have covered with flowers.
We lose sight of them no more. We are with them when they enlist in the
great army of freedom. We see them part with those they love. Some are
walking for the last time in quiet, woody places with the maidens they
adore. We hear the whisperings and the sweet vows of eternal love as
they lingeringly part forever. Others are bending over cradles kissing
babes that are asleep.

Some are receiving the blessings of old men. Some are parting with
mothers who hold them and press them to their hearts again and again,
and say nothing; and some are talking with wives, and endeavoring with
brave words spoken in the old tones to drive away the awful fear. We
see them part. We see the wife standing in the door with the babe in her
arms--standing in the sunlight sobbing--at the turn of the road a hand
waves--she answers by holding high in her loving hands the child. He is
gone, and forever.

We see them all as they march proudly away under the flaunting flags,
keeping time to the wild music of war--marching down the streets of the
great cities--through the towns and across the prairies--down to the
fields of glory, and do and to die for the eternal right.

We go with them one and all. We are by their side on all the gory
fields, in all the hospitals of pain--on all the weary marches. We stand
guard with them in the wild storm and under the quiet stars. We are with
them in ravines running with blood--in the furrows of old fields. We are
with them between contending hosts, unable to move, wild with thirst,
the life ebbing slowly away among the withered leaves. We see them
pierced by balls and torn with shells in the trenches of forts, and in
the whirlwind of the charge, where men become iron with nerves of steel.

We are with them in the prisons of hatred and famine, but human speech
can never tell what they endured.

We are at home when the news comes that they are dead. We see the maiden
in the shadow of her sorrow. We see the silvered head of the old man
bowed with the last grief.

The past rises before us, and we see four millions of human beings
governed by the lash--we see them bound hand and foot--we hear the
strokes of cruel whips--we see the hounds tracking women through
tangled swamps. We see babes sold from the breasts of mothers. Cruelty
unspeakable! Outrage infinite!

Four million bodies in chains--four million souls in fetters. All the
sacred relations of wife, mother, father and child trampled beneath the
brutal feet of might. All this was done under our own beautiful banner
of the free.

The past rises before us. We hear the roar and shriek of the bursting
shell. The broken fetters fall. There heroes died. We look. Instead of
slaves we see men and women and children. The wand of progress touches
the auction-block, the slave-pen, and the whipping-post, and we see
homes and firesides, and school-houses and books, and where all was want
and crime, and cruelty and fear, we see the faces of the free.

These heroes are dead. They died for liberty--they died for us. They
are at rest, They sleep in the land they made free, under the flag
they rendered stainless, under the solemn pines, the sad hemlocks, the
tearful willows, the embracing vines. They sleep beneath the shadows of
the clouds, careless alike of sunshine or storm, each in the window-less
palace of rest. Earth may run red with other wars--they are at peace. In
the midst of battle, in the roar of conflict, they found the serenity of
death. I have one sentiment for the soldiers living and dead--cheers for
the living and tears for the dead.


It is not necessary to be a pig in order to raise one.

Houses makes patriots.

A blow from a parent leaves a scar on the soul of the child.

Free speech is the brain of the Republic.

A mortgage casts a shadow on the sunniest field.

Agriculture is the basis of all wealth.

Every man should endeavor to belong to himself.

It is better to be a whole farmer than part of a mechanic.

Nothing is ever made by rascality.

One good school-master is worth a thousand priests.

A lie will not fit a fact.

Out in the intellectual sea there is room for every sail.

An honest God is the noblest work of man.

To plow is to pray.

Progress is born of courage. Fear paralyzes the brain.


A King is a non-producing thief, sitting on a throne, surrounded by

Whiskey is the son of villainies, the father of all crimes, the mother
of all abominations, the devil's best friend, and God's worst enemy.

An Orthodox Man is a gentleman petrified in his mind.

Heresy is a cradle.

Orthodoxy is a coffin.

Chicago is a marvel of energy, a miracle of nerva

The Pulpit is a pillory.

Theology is a superstition.

Humanity is the only religion.

A Republican is a man who loves something.

A Democrat is a man who hates something.

Germany is the Land of Science.

Civilization is the Child of Forethought

Prejudice is the Child of Ignorance.

Infidelity is Liberty.

Religion is Slavery.


I believe in absolute intellectual liberty. I believe in American labor.
I believe in the democracy of the fireside, in the republicanism of the

I believe in liberty, always and everywhere. I believe in truth, in
investigation, in forethought.

I believe in the gospel of education, of cheerfulness, of justice and

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ingersollia - Gems of Thought from the Lectures, Speeches, and - Conversations of Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, Representative - of His Opinions and Beliefs" ***

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