Robert Green Ingersoll
33 page printout Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. INTERVIEWS Contents of this file page THE POLITICAL OUTLOOK. 1 MR BEECHER, MOSES AND THE NEGRO. 4 HADES, DELAWARE AND FREETHOUGHT. 8 A REPLY TO THE REV. MR. LANSING. 13 BEACONSFIELD, LENT AND REVIVALS. 15 ANSWERING THE NEW YORK MINISTERS. 18 GUITEAU AND HIS CRIME. 28 DISTRICT SUFFRAGE. 32 **** **** This file, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 The Works of ROBERT G. INGERSOLL **** **** THE POLITICAL OUTLOOK. QUESTION: What phase will the Southern question assume in the next four years? ANSWER: The next Congress should promptly unseat ever member of Congress in whose district there was not a fair and honest election. That is the first hand work to be done. Let notice, in this way, be given to the whole country, that fraud cannot succeed. No man should be allowed to hold a seat by force or fraud. Just as soon as it is understood that fraud is useless it will be abandoned. In that way the honest voters of the country can be protected. An honest vote settles the Southern question, and Congress has the power to compel an honest vote, or to leave the dishonest districts without representation. I want this policy adopted, not only in the South, but in the North No man touched or stained with fraud should be allowed to hold his seat. Send such men home, and let them stay there until sent back by honest votes. The Southern question is a Northern question, and the Republican party must settle it for all time. We must have honest elections, or the Republic must fall. Illegal voting must be considered and punished as a crime. Taking one hundred and seventy thousand as the basis of representation, the South, through her astounding increase of colored population, gains three electoral votes while the North and East lose three. Garfield was elected by the thirty thousand colored votes cast in New York. QUESTION: Will the negro continue to be the balance of power. and if so, will it inure to his benefit? ANSWER: The more political power the colored man has the better he will be treated, and if he ever holds the balance of power he will be treated as well as the balance or our citizens. My Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 1 THE POLITICAL OUTLOOK. idea is that the colored man should stand on an equality with the white before the law; that he should honestly be protected in all his rights; that he should be allowed to vote, and that his vote should be counted. It is a simple question of honesty. The colored people are doing well; they are industrious; they are trying to get an education, and, on the whole, I think they are behaving fully as well as the whites. They are the most forgiving people in the world, and about the only real Christians in our country. They have suffered enough, and for one I am on their side. I think more of honest black people than of dishonest whites, to say the least of it. QUESTION: Do you apprehend any trouble from the Southern leaders in this closing session of Congress, in attempts to force pernicious legislation? ANSWER: I do not. The Southern leaders know that the doctrine of State Sovereignty is dead. They know that they cannot depend upon the Northern Democrat, and they know that the best interests of the South can only be preserved by admitting that the war settled the questions and ideas fought for and against. They know that this country is a Nation, and that no party can possibly succeed that advocates anything contrary to that. My own opinion is that most of the Southern leaders are heartily ashamed of the course pursued by their Northern friends, and will take the first opportunity to say so. QUESTION: In what light do you regard the Chinaman? ANSWER: I am opposed to compulsory immigration, or cooley or slave immigration. If Chinamen are sent to this country by corporations or companies under contracts that amount to slavery or anything like or near it, then I am opposed to it. But I am not prepared to say that I would be opposed to voluntary immigration. I see by the papers that a new treaty has been agreed upon that will probably be ratified and be satisfactory to all parties. We ought to treat China with the utmost fairness. If our treaty is wrong, amend it, but do so according to the recognized usage of nations. After what has been said and done in this country I think there is very little danger of any Chinaman voluntarily coming here. By this time China must have an exceedingly exalted opinion of our religion, and of the justice and hospitality born of our most holy faith. QUESTION: What is your opinion of making ex-Presidents Senators for life? ANSWER: I am opposed to it. I am against any man holding office for life. And I see no more reason for making ex-Presidents Senators, than for making ex-Senators Presidents. To me the idea is preposterous. Why should ex-Presidents be taken care of? In this country labor is not disgraceful, and after a man has been President he has still the right to be useful. I am personally acquainted with several men who will agree, in consideration of being elected to the presidency, not to ask for another office during their natural lives. The people of this country should never allow a great man to suffer. The hand, not of charity, but of justice and generosity, should be forever open to those who have performed great public service. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 2 THE POLITICAL OUTLOOK. But the ex-Presidents of the future may not all be great and good men, and bad ex-Presidents will not make good Senators. If the nation does anything, let it give a reasonable pension to ex- Presidents. No man feels like giving pension, power, or place to General Grant simply because he was once President, but because he was a great soldier and led the armies of the nation to victory. Make him a General, and retire him with the highest military title. Let him grandly wear the laurels he so nobly won, and should the sky at any time be darkened with a cloud of foreign war, this country will again hand him the sword. Such a course honors the nation and the man. QUESTION: Are, we not entering upon the era of our greatest prosperity? ANSWER: We are just beginning to be prosperous. The Northern Pacific Railroad is to be completed. Forty millions of dollars have just been raised by that company, and new States will soon be born in the great Northwest. The Texas Pacific will be pushed to San Diego, and in a few years we will ride in a Pullman car from Chicago to the City of Mexico. The gold and silver mines are yielding more and more, and within the last ten years more than forty million acres of land have been changed from wilderness to farms. This country is beginning to grow. We have just fairly entered upon what I believe will be the grandest period of national development and prosperity. With the Republican party in power; with good money; with unlimited credit; with the best land in the world; with ninety thousand miles of railway; with mountains of gold and silver; with hundreds of thousands of square miles of coal fields; with iron enough for the whole world; with the best system of common schools; with telegraph wires reaching every city and town, so that no two citizens are an hour apart; with the telephone, that makes everybody in the city live next door, and with the best folks in the world, how can we help prospering until the continent is covered with happy homes? QUESTION: What do you think of civil service reform? ANSWER: I am in favor of it. I want such civil service reform that all the offices will be filled with good and competent Republicans. The majority should rule, and the men who are in favor of the views of the majority should hold the offices. I am utterly opposed to the idea that a party should show its liberality at the expense of its principles. Men holding office can afford to take their chances with the rest of us. If they are Democrats, they should not expect to succeed when their party is defeated. I believe that there are enough good, honest Republicans in this country to fill all the offices, and I am opposed to taking any Democrats until the Republican supply is exhausted. Men should not join the Republican party to get office, Such men are contemptible to the last degree. Neither should a Republican administration compel a man to leave the party to get a Federal appointment. After a great battle has been fought I do not believe that the victorious general should reward the officers of the conquered army. My doctrine is, rewards for friends. -- The Commercial, Cincinnati, Ohio, December 6, 1880. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 3 MR BEECHER, MOSES AND THE NEGRO. QUESTION: Mr. Beecher is here. Have you seen him? ANSWER: No, I did not meet Mr. Beecher. Neither did I hear him lecture. The fact is, that long ago I made up my mind that under no circumstances would I attend any lecture or other entertainment given at Lincoln Hall. First, because the hall has been denied me, and secondly, because I regard it as exceedingly unsafe. The hall is up several stories from the ground, and in case of the slightest panic, in my judgment, many lives would be lost. Had it not been for this, and for the fact that the persons owning it imagined that because they had control, the brick and mortar had some kind of holy and sacred quality, and that this holiness is of such a wonderful character that it would not be proper for a man in that hall to tell his honest thoughts, I would have heard him. QUESTION: Then I assume that you and Mr. Beecher have made up? ANSWER: There is nothing to be made up so far as I know. Mr. Beecher has treated me very well, and, I believe, a little too well for his own peace of mind. I have been informed that some members of Plymouth Church felt exceedingly hurt that their pastor should so far forget himself as to extend the right hand of fellowship to one who differs from him upon what they consider very essential points in theology. You see I have denied with all my might, a great many times, the infamous doctrine of eternal punishment. I have also had the temerity to suggest that I did not believe that a being of infinite justice and mercy was the author of all that I find in the Old Testament. As, for instance, I have insisted that God never commanded anybody to butcher women or to cut the throats of prattling babes. These orthodox gentlemen have rushed to the rescue of Jehovah by insisting that he did all these horrible things. I have also maintained that God never sanctioned or upheld human slavery; that he never would make one child to own and beat another. I have also expressed some doubts as to whether this same God ever established the institution or polygamy. I have insisted that that institution is simply infamous; that it destroys the idea of home; that it turns to ashes the most sacred words in our language, and leaves the world a kind of den in which crawl the serpents of selfishness and lust. I have been informed that after Mr. Beecher had treated me kindly a few members of his congregation objected, and really felt ashamed that he had so forgotten himself. After that, Mr. Beecher saw fit to give his ideas of the position I had taken. ln this he was not exceedingly kind, nor was his justice very conspicuous. But I cared nothing about that, not the least. As I have said before, whenever Mr. Beecher says a good thing I give him credit. Whenever he does an unfair or unjust thing I charge it to the account of his religion. I have insisted, and I still insist, that Mr. Beecher is far better than his creed. I do not believe that he believes in the doctrine of eternal punishment. Neither do I believe that he believes in the literal truth of the Scriptures. And, after all, if the Bible is not true, it is hardly worth while to insist upon its inspiration. An inspired lie is no better than an uninspired one. If the Bible is true it does not need to be inspired, If it is not true, inspiration does not help it. So that after all it is simply a question of fact. Is it true? I believe: Mr. Beecher stated that one of my grievous faults was Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 4 MR BEECHER, MOSES AND THE NEGRO. that I picked out the bad things in the Bible. How an infinitely good and wise God came to put bad things in his book Mr. Beecher does not explain. I have insisted that the Bible is not inspired, and, in order to prove that, have pointed out such passages as I deemed unworthy to have been written even by a civilized man or a savage. I certainly would not endeavor to prove that the Bible is uninspired by picking out its best passages. I admit that there are many good things in the Bible. The fact that there are good things in it does not prove its inspiration, because there are thousands of other books containing good things, and yet no one claims they are inspired. Shakespeare's works contain a thousand times more good things than the Bible; but no one claims he was an inspired man. It is also true that there are many bad things in Shakespeare -- many passages which I wish he had never written. But I can excuse Shakespeare, because he did not rise absolutely above his time. That is to say, he was a man; that is to say, he was imperfect. If anybody claimed now that Shakespeare was actually inspired, that claim would be answered by pointing to certain weak or bad or vulgar passages in his works. But every Christian will say that it is a certain kind of blasphemy to impute vulgarity or weakness to God, as they are all obliged to defend the weak, the bad and the vulgar, so long as they insist upon the inspiration of the Bible. Now, I pursued the same course with the Bible that Mr. Beecher has pursued with me. Why did he want to pick out my bad things? Is it possible that he is a kind of vulture that sees only the carrion of another? After all has he not pursued the same method with me that he blames me for pursuing in regard to the Bible? Of course he must pursue that method. He could not object to me and then point out passages that were not objectionable. If he found fault he had to find faults in order to sustain his ground. That is exactly what I have done with the Scriptures -- nothing more and nothing less. The reason I have thrown away the Bible is that in many places it is harsh, cruel, unjust, coarse, vulgar, atrocious, infamous. At the same time, I admit that it contains many passages of an excellent and splendid character -- many good things, wise sayings, and many excellent and just laws. But I would like to ask this: Suppose there were no passages in the Bible except those upholding slavery, polygamy and wars of extermination; would anybody then claim that it was the word of God? I would like to ask if there is a Christian in the world who would not be overjoyed to find that every one of these passages was an interpolation? I would also like to ask Mr. Beecher if he would not be greatly gratified to find that after God had written the Bible the Devil had got hold of it, and interpolated all these passages about slavery, polygamy, the slaughter of women and babes and the doctrine of eternal punishment? Suppose, as a matter of fact, the Devil did get hold of it; what part of the Bible would Mr. Beecher pick out as having been written by the Devil? And if he picks out these passages could not the Devil answer him by saying, "You, Mr. Beecher, are like a vulture, a kind of buzzard, flying through the tainted air of inspiration, and pouncing down upon the carrion. Why do you not fly like a dove, and why do yon not have the innocent ignorance of the dove, so that you could light upon a carcass and imagine that you were surrounded by the perfume of violets?" The fact is that good things in a book do not prove that it is inspired, but the presence of bad things does prove that it is not. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 5 MR BEECHER, MOSES AND THE NEGRO. QUESTION: What was the real difficulty between you and Moses, Colonel, a man who has been dead for thousands of years? ANSWER: We never had any difficulty. I have always taken pains to say that Moses had nothing to do with the Pentateuch. Those books, in my judgment, were written several centuries after Moses had become dust in his unknown sepulchre. No doubt Moses was quite a man in his day, if he ever existed at all. Some people say that Moses is exactly the same as "law-giver;" that is to say, as Legislature, that is to say as Congress. Imagine some body in the future as regarding the Congress of the United States as one person! And then imagine that somebody endeavoring to prove that Congress was always consistent But, whether Moses lived or not makes but little difference to me. I presume he filled the place and did the work that he was compelled to do, and although according to the account God had much to say to him with regard to the making of altars, tongs, snuffers and candlesticks, there is much left for nature still to tell. Thinking of Moses as a man, admitting that he was above his fellows that he was in his day and generation a leader, and, in a certain narrow sense, a patriot, that he was the founder of the Jewish people; that he found them barbarians and endeavored to control them by thunder and lightning, and found it necessary to pretend that he was in partnership with the power governing the universe; that he took advantage of their ignorance and fear, just as politicians do now, and as theologians always will, still, I see no evidence that the man Moses was any nearer to God than his descendants, who are still warring against the Philistines in every civilized part of the globe. Moses was a believe in slavery, in polygamy, in wars of extermination, in religious persecution and intolerance and in almost every thing that is now regarded with loathing, contempt and scorn. Jehovah of whom he speaks violated, or commands the violation of at least nine of the Ten Commandments he gave. There is one thing, however, that can be said of Moses that cannot be said of any person who now insists that he was inspired, and that is, he was in advance of his time. QUESTION: What do you think of the Buckner Bill for the colonization of the negroes in Mexico? ANSWER: Where does Mr. Buckner propose to colonize the white people, and what right has he to propose the colonization of six millions of people? Should we not have other bills to colonize the Germans, the Swedes, the Irish, and then, may be, another bill to drive the Chinese into the sea? Where do we get the right to say that the negroes must emigrate? All such schemes will, in my judgment, prove utterly futile. Perhaps the history of the world does not give an instance of the emigration of six millions of people. Notwithstanding the treatment that Ireland has received from England, which may be designated as a crime of three hundred years, the Irish still love Ireland. All the despotism in the world will never crush out of the Irish heart the love of home -- the adoration of the old sod. The negroes of the South have certainly suffered enough to drive them into other countries; but after all, they prefer to stay where they were born. They prefer to live where their ancestors were slaves, where Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 6 MR BEECHER, MOSES AND THE NEGRO. fathers and mothers were sold and whipped; and I don't believe it will be possible to induce a majority of them to leave that land. Of course, thousands may leave, and in process of time millions may go, but I don't believe emigration will ever equal their natural increase. As the whites of the South become civilized the reason for going will be less and less. I see no reason why the white and black men cannot live together in the same land, under the same flag. The beauty of liberty is you cannot have it unless you give it away, and the more you give away the more you have. I know that thy liberty is secure only because others are free. I am perfectly willing to live in a country with such men as Frederick Douglas and Senator Bruce. I have always preferred a good, clever black man to a mean white man, and I am of the opinion that I shall continue in that preference. Now, if we could only have a colonization bill that would get rid of all the rowdies, all the rascals and hypocrites, I would like to see it carried out, though some people might insist that it would amount to a repudiation of the national debt and that hardly enough would be left to pay the interest. No, talk as we will, the colored people helped to save this Nation. They have been at all times and in all places the friends of our flag; a flag that never really protected them. And for my part, I am willing that they should stand forever beneath that flag, the equal in rights of all other people. Politically, if any black men are to be sent away, I want it understood that each one is to be accompanied by a Democrat. so that the balance of power, especially in New York, will not be disturbed. QUESTION: I notice that leading Republican newspapers are advising General Garfield to cut loose from the machine in politics; what do you regard as the machine? ANSWER: All defeated candidates regard the persons who defeated them as constituting a machine, and always imagine that there is some wicked conspiracy at the bottom of the machine. Some of the recent reformers regard the people who take part in the early stages of a political campaign -- who attend caucuses and primaries, who speak of politics to their neighbors, as members and parts of the machine, and regard only those as good and reliable American citizens who take no part whatever, simply reserving the right to grumble after the work has been done by others. Not much can be accomplished in politics without an organization, and the moment an organization is formed, and, you might say, just a little before, leading spirits will be developed. Certain men will take the lead, and the weaker men will in a short time. unless they get all the loaves and fishes, denounce the whole thing as a machine. and, to show how thoroughly and honestly they detest the machine in politics, will endeavor to organize a little machine themselves. General Garfield has been in politics for many years. He knows the principal men in both parties. He knows the men who have not only done something, but who are capable of doing something, and such men will not, in my opinion, be neglected. I do not believe that General Garfield will do any act calculated to divide the Republican party. No thoroughly great man carries personal Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 7 MR BEECHER, MOSES AND THE NEGRO. prejudice into the administration of public affairs. Of course, thousands of people will be prophesying that this man is to be snubbed and another to be paid; but, in my judgment, after the 4th of March most people will say that General Garfield has used his power wisely and that he has neither sought nor shunned men simply because he wished to pay debts -- either of love or hatred. -- Washington correspondent, Brooklyn Eagle, January 31, 1881. **** **** HADES, DELAWARE AND FREETHOUGHT. QUESTION: Now that a lull has come in politics, I thought I would come and see what is going on in the religious world? ANSWER: Well, from what little I learn, there has not been much going on during the last year. There are five hundred and twenty-six Congregational Churches in Massachusetts, and two hundred of these churches have not received a new member for an entire year, and the others have scarcely held their own. In Illinois there are four hundred and eighty-three Presbyterian Churches, and they have now fewer members than they had in 1879, and of the four hundred and eighty-three, one hundred and eighty-three have not received a single new member for twelve mouths. A report has been made, under the auspices of the Pan- Presbyterian Council, to the effect that there are in the whole world about three millions of Presbyterians. This is about one- fifth of one per cent, of the inhabitants of the world. The probability is that of the three million nominal Presbyterians, not more than two or three hundred thousand actually believe the doctrine, and of the two or three hundred thousand, not more than five or six hundred have any true conception of what the doctrine is. As the Presbyterian Church has only been able to induce one- fifth of one percent. of the people to even call themselves Presbyterians, about how long will it take, at this rate, to convert mankind? The fact is, there seems to be a general lull along the entire line, and just at present very little is being done by the orthodox people to keep their fellow-citizens out of hell. QUESTION: Do you really think that the orthodox people now believe in the old doctrine of eternal punishment, and that they really think there is the kind of hell that our ancestors so carefully described? ANSWER: I am afraid that the old idea is dying out, and that many Christians are slowly giving up the consolations naturally springing from the old belief. Another terrible blow to the old infamy is the fact that in the revised New Testament the consoling word hell has been left out. I am informed that in the revised New Testament the word Hades has been substituted. As nobody knows exactly what Hades means, it will not be quite so easy to frighten people at revivals by threatening them with something that they don't clearly understand. After this, when the impassioned orator cries out that all the unconverted will be sent to Hades, the poor sinners, instead of getting frightened, will begin to ask each Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 8 HADES, DELAWARE AND FREETHOUGHT. other what and where that is. It will take many years of preaching to clothe that word in all the terrors and horrors, pains and penalties and pangs of hell. Hades is a compromise. It is a concession to the philosophy of our day. It is a graceful acknowledgment to the growing spirit of investigation, that hell, after all, is a barbaric mistake. Hades is the death of revivals. It cannot be used in song. It won't rhyme with anything with the same force that hell does. It is altogether more shadowy than hot. It is not associated with brimstone and flame. It sounds somewhat indistinct, somewhat lonesome, a little desolate, but not altogether uncomfortable. For revival purposes, Hades is simply useless, and few conversions will be made in the old way under the revised Testament. QUESTION: Do you really think that the church is losing ground? ANSWER: I am not, as you probably know, connected with any orthodox organization, and consequently have to rely upon them for my information. If they can be believed, the church is certainly in an extremely bad condition. I find that the Rev. Dr. Cuyler, only a few days ago, speaking of the religious condition of Brooklyn -- and Brooklyn, you know, has been called the City of Churches -- stated that the great mass of that Christian city was out of Christ, and that more professing Christians went to the theatre than to the prayer meeting. This, certainly, from their standpoint, is a most terrible declaration. Brooklyn, you know, is one of the great religious centers of the world -- a city in which nearly all the people are engaged either in delivering or in hearing sermons; a city filled with the editors of religious periodicals; a city of prayer and praise; and yet, while prayer meetings are free, the theatres, with the free list entirely suspended, catch more Christians than the churches; and this happens while all the pulpits thunder against the stage, and the stage remains silent as to the pulpit. At the same meeting in which the Rev. Dr. Cuyler made his astounding statements the Rev Mr. Pentecost was the bearer of the happy news that four out of five persons living in the city of Brooklyn were going down to hell with no God and with no hope. If he had read the revised Testament he would have said "Hades," and the effect of the statement would have been entirely lost. If four-fifths of the people of that great city are destined to eternal pain, certainly we cannot depend upon churches for the salvation of the world. At the meeting of the Brooklyn pastors they were in doubt as to whether they should depend upon further meetings, or upon a day of fasting and prayer for the purpose of converting the city. In my judgment, it would be much better to devise ways and means to keep a good many people from fasting in Brooklyn. If they had more meat, they could get along with less meeting. If fasting would save a city, there are always plenty of hungry folks even in that Christian town. The real trouble with the church of to-day is, that it is behind the intelligence of the people. Its doctrines no longer satisfy the brains of the nineteenth century; and if the church proposes to hold its power, it must lose its superstitions. The day of revivals is gone. Only the ignorant and unthinking can hereafter be impressed by hearing the orthodox creed. Fear has in Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 9 HADES, DELAWARE AND FREETHOUGHT. it no reformatory power, and the more intelligent the world grows the more despicable and contemptible the doctrine of eternal misery will become. The tendency of the age is toward intellectual liberty, toward personal investigation. Authority is no longer taken for truth. People are beginning to find that all the great and good are not dead -- that some good people are alive, and that the demonstrations of to-day are fully equal to the mistaken theories of the past. QUESTION: How are you getting along with Delaware? ANSWER: First rate. You know I have been wondering where Comegys came from, and at last I have made the discovery. I was told the other day by a gentleman from Delaware that many years ago Colonel Hazelitt died; that Colonel Hazelitt was an old Revolutionary officer, and that when they were digging his grave they dug up Comegys. Back of that no one knows anything of his history. The only thing they know about him certainly, is, that he has never changed one of his views since he was found, and that he never will. I am inclined to think, however, that he lives in a community congenial to him. For instance, I saw in a paper the other day that within a radius of thirty miles around Georgetown, Delaware, there are about two hundred orphan and friendless children. These children, it seems, were indentured to Delaware farmers by the managers of orphan asylums and other public institutions in and about Philadelphia. It ia stated in the paper, that: Many of these farmers are rough task-masters. and if a boy fails to perform the work of an adult, he is almost certain to be cruelly treated, half starved, and in the coldest weather wretchedly clad. If he does the work, his life is not likely to be much happier, for as a rule he will receive more kicks than candy. The result in either case is almost certain to be wrecked constitutions, dwarfed bodies, rounded shoulders, and limbs crippled or rendered useless by frost or rheumatism. The principal diet of these boys is corn pone. A few days ago, Constable W.H. Johnston went to the house of Rouben Taylor, and on entering the sitting room his attention was attracted by the moans or its only occupant. a little colored boy, who was lying on the hearth in front of the fireplace. The boy's head was covered with ashes from the fire, and he did not pay the slightest attention to the visitor, until Johnston asked what made him cry. Then the little fellow sat up and drawing an old rag off his foot said, "Look there." The sight that met Johnston's eye was horrible beyond description. The poor boy's feet were so horribly frozen that the flesh had dropped off the toes until the bones protruded. The flesh on the sides, bottoms and tops or his feet was swollen until the skin cracked in many places, and the inflamed flesh was sloughing off in great flakes. The frost-bitten flesh extended to his knees, the joints of which were terribly inflamed. The right one had already begun suppurating. This poor little black boy, covered with nothing but a cotton shirt, drilling pants, a pair of nearly worn out brogans and a battered old hat, on the morning of December 30th, the coldest day of the season, when the mercury was seventeen degrees below zero, in the face of a driving snowstorm, was sent half a mile from home to protect his master's unshucked corn from Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 10 HADES, DELAWARE AND FREETHOUGHT. the depredations of marauding cows and crows. He remained standing around in the snow until four o'clock, then he drove the cows home, received a piece of cold corn pone, and was sent out in the snow again to chop stove wood till dark. Having no bed, he slept that night in front of the fireplace, with his frozen feet buried in the ashes. Dr. C.H. Richards found it necessary to cut off the boy's feet as far back aa the ankle and the instep. This was but one case in several. Personally, I have no doubt that Mr. Rubin Taylor entirely agrees with Chief Justice Comegys on the great question of blasphemy, and probably nothing would so gratify Mr. Rubin Taylor as to see some man in a Delaware jail for the crime of having expressed an honest thought. No wonder that in the State of Delaware the Christ of intellectual liberty has been crucified between the pillory and the whipping-post. Of course I know that there are thousands of most excellent people in that State -- people who believe in intellectual liberty, and who only need a little help -- and I am doing what I can in that direction -- to repeal the laws that now disgrace the statute book of that little commonwealth. I have seen many people from that State lately who really wish that Colonel Hazelitt had never died. QUESTION: What has the press generally said with regard to the action of Judge Comegys? Do they, so far as you know, justify his charge? ANSWER: A great many papers having articles upon the subject have been sent to me. A few of the religious papers seem to think that the Judge did the best he knew, and there is one secular paper called the Evening News, published at Chester, Pa., that thinks "that the rebuke from so high a source of authority will have a most excellent effect, and will check religious blasphemers from parading their immoral creeds before the people." The editor of this paper should at once emigrate to the State of Delaware, where he probably belongs. He is either a native of Delaware, or most of his subscribers are citizens of that country; or, it may be that he is a lineal descendant of some Hessian, who deserted during the Revolutionary war. Most of the newspapers in the United States are advocates of mental freedom. Probably nothing on earth has been so potent for good as an untrammeled, fearless press. Among the papers of importance there is not a solitary exception. No leading journal in the United States can be found upon the side of intellectual slavery. Of course, a few rural sheets edited by gentlemen, as Mr. Greeley would say, "whom God in his inscrutable wisdom had allowed to exist," may be found upon the other side, and may be small enough, weak enough and mean enough to pander to the lowest and basest prejudices of their most ignorant subscribers. These editors disgrace their profession and exert about the same influence upon the heads as upon the pockets of their subscriber, that is to say, they get little and give less. QUESTION: Do you not think after all, the people who are in favor of having you arrested for blasphemy, are acting in accordance with the real spirit of the Old and New Testaments? ANSWER: Of course, they act in exact accordance with many of the commands in the Old Testament, and in accordance with several passages in the New. At the same time, it may be said that they Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 11 HADES, DELAWARE AND FREETHOUGHT. violate passages in both. If the Old Testament is true, and if it is the inspired word of God, of course, an Infidel ought not to be allowed to live; and if the New Testament is true, an unbeliever should not be permitted to speak. There are many passages, though, in the New Testament, that should protect even an Infidel. Among them this: "Do unto others as ye would that others should do unto you." But that is a passage that has probably had as little effect upon the church as any other in the Bible. So far as I am concerned, I am willing to adopt; that passage, and I am willing to extend to every other human being every right that I claim for myself. If the churches would act upon this principle, if they would say -- every soul, every mind, may think and investigate for itself; and around all, and over all, shall be thrown the sacred shield of liberty, I should be on their side. QUESTION: How do you stand with the clergymen, and what is their opinion of you and of your views? ANSWER: Most of them envy me; envy my independence; envy my success; think that I ought to starve; that the people should not hear me; say that I do what I do for money, for popularity; that I am actuated by hatred of all that is good and tender and holy in human nature; think that I wish to tear down the churches, destroy all morality and goodness, and usher in the reign of crime and chaos. They know that shepherds are unnecessary in the absence of wolves, and it is to their interest to convince their sheep that they, the sheep, need protection. This they are willing to give them for half the wool. No doubt, most of these ministers are honest, and are doing what they consider their duty. Be this as it may, they feel the power slipping from their hands. They know that they are not held in the estimation they once were. They know that the idea is slowly growing that they are not absolutely necessary for the protection of society. They know that the intellectual world cares little for what they say, and that the great tide of human progress flows on careless of their help or hindrance. So long as they insist on the inspiration of the Bible, they are compelled to take the ground that slavery was once a divine institution; they are forced to defend cruelties that would shock the heart of a savage, and besides, they are bound to teach the eternal horror of everlasting punishment. They poison the minds of children; they deform the brain and pollute the imagination by teaching the frightful and infamous dogma of endless misery. Even the laws of Delaware shock the enlightened public of to-day. In that State they simply fine and imprison a man for expressing his honest thoughts; and yet, if the churches are right, God will damn a man forever for the same offence. The brain and heart of our time cannot be satisfied with the ancient creeds. The Bible must be revised again. Most of the creeds must be blotted out. Humanity must take the place of theology. Intellectual liberty must stand in every pulpit. There must be freedom in all the pews, and every human soul must have the right to express its honest thought. -- Washington Correspondent, Brooklyn Eagle, March 19, 1881. **** **** Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 12 A REPLY TO THE REV. MR. LANSING. Rev. Isaac J. Lansing of Meriden, Conn., recently denounced Col. Robert G. Ingersoll from the pulpit of the Meriden Methodist Church, and had the Opera House closed against him. This led a Union reporter to show Colonel Ingersoll what Mr. Lansing had said and to interrogate him with the following results. A REPLY TO THE REV. MR. LANSING. QUESTION: Did you favor the sending of obscene matter through the mails as alleged by the Rev. Mr. Lansing? ANSWER: Of course not, and no honest man ever thought that I did. This charge is too malicious and silly to be answered. Mr. Lansing knows better. He has made this charge many times and he will make it again. QUESTION: Is it a fact that there are thousands of clergymen in the country whom you would fear to meet in fair debate? ANSWER: No; the fact is I would like to meet them all in one. The pulpit is not burdened with genius. There are a few great men engaged in preaching, but they are not orthodox. I cannot conceive that a Freethinker has anything to fear from the pulpit, except misrepresentation. Of course, there are thousand of ministers too small to discuss with -- ministers who stand for nothing in the church -- and with such clergymen I cannot afford to discuss anything. If the Presbyterians, or the Congregationalists, or the Methodists would select some man, and endorse him as their champion, I would like to meet him in debate. Such a man I will pay to discuss with me. I will give him most excellent wages, and pay all the expenses of the discussion besides. There is but one safe course for ministers -- they must assert. They must declare. They must swear to it and stick to it, but they must not try to reason. QUESTION: You have never seen Rev. Mr. Lansing. To the people of Meriden and thereabouts he is well-known. Judging from what has been told you of his utterances and actions, what kind of a man would you take him to be? ANSWER: I would take him to be a Christian. He talks like one, and he acts like one. If Christianity is right, Lansing is right. If salvation depends upon belief, and if unbelievers are to be eternally damned, then an Infidel has no right to speak. He should not be allowed to murder the souls of his fellow-men. Lansing does the best he knows how. He thinks that God hates an unbeliever, and he tries to act like God. Lansing knows that he must have the right to slander a man whom God is to eternally damn. QUESTION: Mr. Lansing speaks of you as a wolf coming with fangs sharpened by three hundred dollars a night to tear the lambs of his flock. What do you say to that? ANSWER: All I have to say is, that I often get three times that amount, and sometimes much more. I guess his lambs can take care of themselves. I am not very fond of mutton anyway. Such talk Mr. Lansing ought to be ashamed of. The idea that he is a shepherd -- that he is on guard -- is simply preposterous. He has few sheep Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 13 A REPLY TO THE REV. MR. LANSING. in his congregation that know as little on the wolf question as he does. He ought to know that his sheep support him -- his sheep protect him; and without the sheep poor Lansing would be devoured by the wolves himself. QUESTION: Shall you sue the Opera House management for breach of contract? ANSWER: I guess not; but I may pay Lansing something for advertising my lecture. I suppose Mr. Wilcox (who controls the Opera House) did what he thought was right. I hear that he is a good man. He probably got a little frightened and began to think about the day of judgment, He could not help it, and I cannot help laughing at him. QUESTION: Those in Meriden who most strongly oppose you are radical Republicans. Is it not a fact that you possess the confidence and friendship of some of the most respected leaders of that party? ANSWER: I think that all the respectable ones are friends of mine. I am a Republican because I believe in the liberty of the body, and I am an Infidel because I believe in the liberty of the mind. There is no need of freeing cages. Let us free the birds. If Mr. Lansing knew me, he would be a great friend. He would probably annoy me by the frequency and length of his visits. QUESTION: During the recent presidential campaign did any clergymen denounce you for your teachings, that you are aware of? ANSWER: Some did, but they would not if they had been running for office on the Republican ticket. QUESTION: What is most needed in our public men? ANSWER: Hearts and brains. QUESTION: Would people be any more moral solely because of a disbelief in orthodox teaching and in the Bible as an inspired book, in your opinion? ANSWER: Yes; if a man really believes that God once upheld slavery; that he commanded soldiers to kill women and babes; that he believed in polygamy; that he persecuted for opinion's sake; that he will punish forever, and that he hates an unbeliever, the effect in my judgment will be bad. It always has been bad. This belief built the dungeons of the Inquisition. This belief made the Puritan murder the Quaker. and this belief has raised the devil with Mr. Lansing. QUESTION: Do you believe there will ever be a millennium, and if so how will it come about? ANSWER: It will probably start in Meriden, as I have been informed that Lansing is going to leave. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 14 A REPLY TO THE REV. MR. LANSING. QUESTION: Is there anything else bearing upon the question at issue or that would make good reading, that I have forgotten, that you would like to say? ANSWER: Yes. Good-bye. -- The Sunday Union, New Haven, Conn. April 10, 1881. **** **** BEACONSFIELD, LENT AND REVIVALS. QUESTION: What have you to say about the attack of Dr. Buckley on you, and your lecture? ANSWER: I never heard of Dr. Buckley until after I had lectured in Brooklyn. He seems to think that it was extremely ill bred in me to deliver a lecture on the "Liberty of Man, Woman and Child, "during Lent. Lent is just as good as any other part of the year, and no part can be too good to do good. It was not a part of my object to hurt the feelings of the Episcopalians and Catholics. If they think that there is some subtle relation between hunger and heaven, or that faith depends upon, or is strengthened by famine, or that veal, during Lent, is the enemy of virtue, or that beef breeds blasphemy, while fish feeds faith -- of course, all this is nothing to me. They have a right to say that vice depends on victuals, sanctity on soup, religion on rice and chastity on cheese, but they have no right to say that a lecture on liberty is an insult to them because they are hungry. I suppose that Lent was instituted in memory of the Savior's fast. At one time it was supposed that only a divine being could live forty days without food. This supposition has been overthrown. It has been demonstrated by Dr. Tanner to be utterly without foundation. What possible good did it do the world for Christ to go without food for forty days? Why should we follow such an example? As a rule, hungry people are cross, contrary, obstinate, peevish and unpleasant. A good dinner puts a man at peace with all the world -- makes him generous, good natured and happy. He feels like kissing his wife and children. The future looks bright. He wants to help the needy. The good in him predominates, and he wonders that any man was ever stingy or cruel. Your good cook is a civilizer, and without good food, well prepared, intellectual progress is simply impossible. Most of the orthodox creeds were born of bad cooking. Bad food produced dyspepsia, and dyspepsia produced Calvinism, and Calvinism is the cancer of Christianity. Oatmeal is responsible for the worst features of Scotch Presbyterianism. Half cooked beans account for the religion of the Puritans. Fried bacon and saleratus biscuit underlie the doctrine of State Rights. Lent is a mistake, fasting is a blunder, and bad cooking is a crime. QUESTION: It is stated that you went to Brooklyn while Beecher and Talmage were holding revivals, and that you did so for the purpose of breaking them up. How is this? ANSWER: I had not the slightest idea of interfering with the revivals. They amounted to nothing. They were not alive enough to be killed. Surely one lecture could not destroy two revivals. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 15 A REPLY TO THE REV. MR. LANSING. Still, I think that if all the persons engaged in the revivals had spent the same length of time in cleaning the streets, the good result would have been more apparent. The truth is, that the old way of converting people will have to be abandoned. The Americans are getting hard to scare, and a revival without the "scare" is scarcely worth holding. Such maniacs as Hammond and the "Boy Preacher" fill asylums and terrify children. After saying what he has about hell, Mr. Beecher ought to know that he is not the man to conduct a revival. A revival sermon with hell left out -- with the brimstone gone -- with the worm that never dies, dead, and the Devil absent is the broadest farce. Mr. Talmage believes in the ancient way. With him hell is a burning reality. He can hear the shrikes and groans. He is of that order of mind that rejoices in these things. If he could only convince others, he would be a great revivalist. He cannot terrify, he astonishes, He is the clown of the horrible -- one of Jehovah's jesters, I am not responsible for the revival failure in Brooklyn. I wish I were. I would have the happiness of knowing that I had been instrumental in preserving the sanity of my fellow-men. QUESTION: How do you account for these attacks? ANSWER: It was not so much what I said that excited the wrath of the reverend gentlemen as the fact that I had a great house. They contrasted their failure with my success. The fact is, the people are getting tired of the old ideas. They are beginning to think for themselves. Eternal punishment seems to them like eternal revenge. They see that Christ could not atone for the sins of others; that belief ought not to be rewarded and honest doubt punished forever; that good deeds are better than bad creeds, and that liberty is the rightful heritage of every soul. QUESTION: Were you an admirer of Lord Beaconsfield? ANSWER: In some respects. He was on our side during the war, and gave it as his opinion that the Union would be preserved. Mr. Gladstone congratulated Jefferson Davis on having founded a new nation. I shall never forget Beaconsfield for his kindness, nor Gladstone for his malice. Beaconsfield was an intellectual gymnast, a political athlete, one of the most adroit men in the world. He had the persistence of his race. In spite of the prejudices of eighteen hundred years, he rose to the highest position that can be occupied by a citizen. During his administration England again became a Continental power and played her game of European chess. I have never regarded Beaconsfield as a man controlled by principle, or by his heart. He was strictly a politician. He always acted as though he thought the clubs were looking at him. He knew all the arts belonging to his trade. He would have succeeded anywhere, if by "succeeding" is meant the attainment of position and power. But after all, such men are splendid failures. They give themselves and others a great deal of trouble -- they wear the tinsel crown of temporary success and then fade from public view. They astonish the pit, they gain the applause of the galleries, but when the curtain falls there is nothing left to benefit mankind. Beaconsfield held convictions somewhat in contempt. He had the imagination of the East united with the ambition of an Englishman. With him, to succeed was to have done right. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 16 A REPLY TO THE REV. MR. LANSING. QUESTION: What do you think of him as an author? ANSWER: Most of his characters are like himself -- puppets moved by the string of self-interest. The men are adroit, the women mostly heartless. They catch each other with false bait. They have great worldly wisdom. Their virtue and vice are mechanical. They have hearts like clocks -- filled with wheels and springs. The author winds them up. In his novels Disraeli allows us to enter the greenroom of his head. We see the ropes, the pulleys and the old masks. In all things, in politics and in literature, he was cold, cunning, accurate, able and successful. His books will, in a little while, follow their author to their grave. After all, the good will live longest. -- Washington Correspondent, Brooklyn Eagle, April 24, 1881. **** **** Ever since Colonel Ingersoll began the delivery of his lecture called The Great Infidels, the ministers of the country have made him the subject of special attack. One week ago last Sunday the majority of the leading ministers in New York made replies to Ingersoll's last lecture. What he has to say to these replies will be found in a interview with Colonel Ingersoll. No man is harder to pin down for a long talk than the Colonel. He is so beset with visitors and eager office seekers anxious for his help, that he can hardly find five minutes unoccupied during an entire day. Through the shelter of a private room and the guardianship of a stout colored servant, the Colonel was able to escape the crowd of seekers after his personal charity long enough to give him time to answer some of the ministerial arguments advanced against him in New York. ANSWERING THE NEW YORK MINISTERS. QUESTION: Have you seen the attacks made upon you by certain ministers of New York, published in the Harold last Sunday? ANSWER: Yes, I read, or heard read, what was in Monday's Harold. I do not know that you could hardly call them attacks. They are substantially a repetition of what the pulpit has been saying for a great many hundred years, and what the pulpit will say just so long as men are paid for suppressing truth and for defending superstition. One of these gentlemen tells the lambs of his flock that three thousand men and a few women -- probably with quite an emphasis on the word "Few" -- gave one dollar each to hear their Maker cursed and their Savior ridiculed. Probably nothing is so hard for the average preacher to bear as the fact that people are not only willing to hear the other side, but absolutely anxious to pay for it. The dollar that these people paid hurt their feelings vastly more than what was said after they were in. Of course, it is a frightful commentary on the average intellect of the pulpit that a minister cannot get so large an audience when he preaches for nothing, as an Infidel can draw at a dollar a head. If I depended upon a contribution box, or upon passing a saucer that would come back to the stage enriched with a few five cent pieces, eight or ten dimes, and a lonesome quarter, these gentlemen would, in all probability, imagine Infidelity was not to be feared. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 17 ANSWERING THE NEW YORK MINISTERS. The churches were all open on that Sunday, and all could go who desired. Yet they were not full, and the pews were nearly as empty of people as the pulpit of ideas. The truth is, the story is growing old, the ideas somewhat moss-covered, and everything has a wrinkled and withered appearance. This gentleman says that these people went to hear their Maker cursed and their Savior ridiculed. Is it possible that in a city where so many steeples pierce the air, and hundreds of sermons are preached every Sunday, there are three thousand men, and a few women, so anxious to hear "their Maker cursed and their Savior ridiculed" that they are willing to pay a dollar each? The gentleman knew that nobody cursed anybody's Maker. He knew that the statement was utterly false and without the slightest foundation. He also knew that nobody had ridiculed the savior of anybody, but, on the contrary, that I had paid a greater tribute to the character of Jesus Christ than any minister in New York has the capacity to do. Certainly it is not cursing the Maker of anybody to say that the God described in the Old Testament is not the real God. Certainly it is not cursing God to declare that the real God never sanctioned slavery or polygamy, or commanded wars of extermination, or told a husband to separate from his wife if she differed with him in religion. The people who say these things of God -- if there is any God at all -- do what little there is in their power, unwittingly of course, to destroy his reputation. But I have done something to rescue the reputation of the Deity from the slanders of the pulpit. If there is any God, I expect to find myself credited on the heavenly books for my defence of him. I did say that our civilization is due not to piety, but to Infidelity. I did say that every great reformer had been denounced as an Infidel in his day and generation. I did say that Christ was an Infidel, and that he was treated in his day very much as the orthodox preachers treat an honest man now. I did say that he was tried for blasphemy and crucified by bigots. I did say that he hated and despised the church of his time, and that he denounced the most pious people of Jerusalem as thieves and vipers. And I suggested that should he come again he might have occasion to repeat the remarks that he then made. At the same time I admitted that there are thousands and thousands of Christians who are exceedingly good people. I never did pretend that the fact that a man was a Christian even tended to show that he was a bad man. Neither have I ever insisted that the fact that a man is an Infidel even tends to show what, in other respects, his character is. But I always have said, and I always expect to say, that a Christian who does not believe in absolute intellectual liberty is a curse to mankind, and that an Infidel who does believe in absolute intellectual liberty is a blessing to this world. We cannot expect all Infidels to he good, nor all Christians to be bad, and we might make some mistakes even if we selected these people ourselves. It is admitted by the Christians that Christ made a great mistake when he selected Judas. This was a mistake of over eight per cent. Chaplain Newman takes pains to compare some great Christians with some great Infidels. He compares Washington with Julian, and insists, I suppose, that Washington was a great Christian. Certainly he is not very familiar with the history of Washington, or he never would claim that he was particularly distinguished in his day for what is generally known as vital piety. That he went through the ordinary forms of Christianity nobody disputes. That he Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 18 ANSWERING THE NEW YORK MINISTERS. listened to sermons without paying any particular attention to them, no one will deny. Julian, of course, was somewhat prejudiced against Christianity, but that he was one of the greatest men of antiquity no one acquainted with the history of Rome can honestly dispute. When he was made emperor he found at the palace hundreds of gentlemen who acted as barbers, hair-combers, and brushers for the emperor. He dismissed them all, remarking that he was able to wash himself. These dismissed office-holders started the story that he was dirty in his habits, and a minister of the nineteenth century was found silly enough to believe the story. Another thing that probably got him into disrepute in that day, he had no private chaplains. As a matter of fact, Julian was forced to pretend that he was a Christian in order to save his life. The Christians of that day were of such a loving nature that any man who differed with them was forced to either fall a victim to their ferocity or seek safety in subterfuge. The real crime that Julian committed, and the only one that has burned itself into the very heart and conscience of the Christian world, is, that he transferred the revenues of Christian churches to heathen priests. Whoever stands between a priest and his salary will find that he has committed the unpardonable sin commonly known as the sin against the Holy Ghost. This gentleman also compares Luther with Voltaire. If he will read the life of Luther by Lord Brougham, he will find that in his ordinary conversation he was exceedingly low and vulgar, and that no respectable English publisher could be found who would soil paper with the translation. If he will take the pains to read an essay by Macaulay, he will find that twenty years after the death of Luther there were more Catholics than when he was born. And that twenty years after the death of Voltaire there were millions less than when he was born. If he will take just a few moments to think, he will find that the last victory of Protestantism was won in Holland; that there has never been one since, and will never be another. If he would really like to think, and enjoy for a few moments the luxury of having an idea, let him ponder for a little while over the instructive fact that languages having their root in the Latin have generally been spoken in Catholic countries; and that those languages having their root in the ancient German are now mostly spoken by people of Protestant proclivities. It may occur to him, after thinking of this a while, that there is something deeper in the question than he has as yet perceived. Luther's last victory, as I said before, was in Holland; but the victory of Voltaire goes on from day to day. Protestantism is not holding its own with Catholicism, even in the United States. I saw the other day the statistics, I believe, of the city of Chicago, showing that, while the city had increased two or three hundred per cent., Protestantism had lagged behind at the rate of twelve per cent. I am willing for one, to have the whole question depend upon a comparison of the worth and work of Voltaire and Luther. It may be, too, that the gentleman forgot to tell us that Luther himself gave consent to a person high in office to have two wives, but prudently suggested to him that he had better keep it as still as possible. Luther was, also, a believer in a personal Devil. He thought that deformed children had been begotten by an evil spirit. On one occasion he told a mother that, in his judgment, she had better drown her child; that he had no doubt the Devil was its father. This same Luther made this observation: "Universal Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 19 ANSWERING THE NEW YORK MINISTERS. toleration is universal error, and universal error is universal hell." From this you will see that he was an exceedingly good man, but mistaken upon many questions. So, too, he laughed at the Copernican system, and wanted to know if these fool astronomers could undo the work of God. He probably knew as little about science as the reverend gentlemen does about history. QUESTION: Does he compare any other Infidels with Christians? ANSWER: Oh, yes; he compares Lord Bacon with Diderot. I have never claimed that Diderot was a saint. I have simply insisted that he was a great man; that he was grand enough to say that "incredulity is the beginning of philosophy;" that he had sense enough to know that the God described by the Catholics and Protestants of his day was simply an impossible monster; and that he also had the brain to see that the little selfish heaven occupied by a few monks and nuns and idiots that they had fleeced, was hardly worth going to; in other words, that he was a man of common sense, greatly in advance of his time, and that he did what he could to increase the sum of human enjoyment to the end that there might be more happiness in this world. The gentleman compares him with Lord Bacon, and yet, if he will read the trials of that day -- I think in the year 1620 -- he will find that the Christian Lord Bacon, the pious Lord Bacon, was charged with receiving pay for his opinions, and, in some instances, pay from both sides; that the Christian Lord Bacon, at first upon his honor as a Christian lord, denied the whole business; that afterward the Christian Lord Bacon, upon his honor as a Christian lord, admitted the truth of the whole business, and that, therefore, the Christian Lord Bacon was convicted and sentenced to pay a fine of forty thousand pounds, and rendered infamous and incapable of holding any office. Now, understand me, I do not think Bacon took bribes because he was a Christian, because there have been many Christian judges perfectly honest; but, if the statement of the reverend gentleman, of New York is true, his being a Christian did not prevent his taking bribes. And right here allow me to thank the gentleman with all my heart for having spoken of Lord Bacon in this connection. I have always admired the genius of Bacon, and have always thought of his fall with an aching heart, and would not now have spoken of his crime had not his character been flung in my face by a gentleman who asks his God to kill me for having expressed my honest thought. The same gentleman compares Newton with Spinoza. In the first place, there is no ground of parallel. Newton was a very great man and a very justly celebrated mathematician. As a matter of fact, he is not celebrated for having discovered the law of gravitation. That was known for thousands of years before he was born; and if the reverend gentleman would read a little more he would find that Newton's discovery was not that there is such a law as gravitation, but that bodies attract each other "with a force proportional directly to the quantity of matter they contain, and inversely to the squares of their distances." I do not think he made the discoveries on account of his Christianity. Laplace was certainly in many respects as great a mathematician and astronomer, but he was not a Christian. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 20 ANSWERING THE NEW YORK MINISTERS. Descartes was certainly not much inferior to Newton as a mathematician, and thousands insist that he was his superior; yet he was not a Christian. Euclid, if I remember right, was not a Christian, and yet he had quite a turn for mathematics. As a matter of fact, Christianity got its idea of algebra from the Mohammedans, and, without algebra, astronomical knowledge of to-day would have been impossible. Christianity did not even invent figures. We got those from the Arabs. The very word "algebra" is Arabic. The decimal system, I believe, however, was due to a German, but whether he was a Christian or not, I do not know. We find that the Chinese calculated eclipses long before Christ was born; and, exactness being the rule at that time, there is an account of two astronomers having been beheaded for failing to tell the coming of an eclipse to the minute; yet they were not Christians. There is another fact connected with Newton, and that is that he wrote a commentary on the Book of Revelation. The probability is that a sillier commentary was never written. It was so perfectly absurd and laughable that some one -- I believe it was Voltaire -- said that while Newton had excited the envy of the intellectual world by his mathematical accomplishments, it had gotten even with him the moment his commentaries were published. Spinoza was not a mathematician, particularly. He was a metaphysician, an honest thinker, whose influence is felt and will be felt so long as these great questions have the slightest interest for the human brain. He also compares Chalmers with Hume. Chalmers gained his notoriety from preaching what are known as the astronomical sermons, and, I suppose, was quite a preacher in his day. But Hume was a thinker, and his works will live for ages after Mr. Chalmers' sermons will have been forgotten. Mr. Chalmers has never been prominent enough to have been well known by many people. He may have been an exceedingly good man, and derived, during his life, great consolation from a belief in the damnation of infants. Mr. Newman also compares Wesley with Thomas Paine. When Thomas Paine was in favor of human liberty, Wesley was against it. Thomas Paine wrote a pamphlet called "Common Sense," urging the colonies to separate themselves from Great Britain. Wesley wrote a treatise on the other side. He was the enemy of human liberty; and if his advice could have been followed we would have been the colonies of Great Britain still. We never would have had a President in need of a private chaplain. Mr. Wesley had not a scientific mind. He preached a sermon once on the cause and cure of earthquakes, taking the ground that earthquakes were caused by sins, and that the only way to stop them was to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. He also laid down some excellent rules for rearing children, that is, from a Methodist standpoint. His rules amounted to about this: First. Never give them what they want. Second. Never give them what you intend to give them, at the time they want it. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 21 ANSWERING THE NEW YORK MINISTERS. Third. Break their wills at the earliest possible moment. Mr. Wesley made every family an inquisition, every father and mother inquisitors, and all the children helpless victims. One of his homes would give an exceedingly vivid idea of hell. At the same time, Mr. Wesley was a believer in witches and wizards, and knew all about the Devil. At his request God performed many miracles. On several occasions he cured his horse of lameness. On others, dissipated Mr Wesley's headaches. Now and then he put off rain on account of a camp meeting, and at other times stopped the wind blowing at the special request of Mr. Wesley. I have no doubt that Mr. Wesley was honest in all this, -- just as honest as he was mistaken. And I also admit that he was the founder of a church that does extremely well in new countries, and that thousands of Methodists have been exceedingly good men. But I deny that he ever did anything for human liberty. While Mr. Wesley was fighting the Devil and giving his experience with witches and wizards, Thomas Paine helped to found a free nation. helped to enrich the air with another flag. Wesley was right on one thing, though. He was opposed to slavery, and, I believe, called it the sum of all villainies. I have always been obliged to him for that. I do not think he said it because he was a Methodist; but Methodism, as he understood it, did not prevent his saying it, and Methodism as others understood it, did not prevent men from being slaveholders, did not prevent them from selling babes from mothers, and in the name of God beating the naked hack of toil. I think, on the whole, Paine did more for the world than Mr. Wesley. The difference between an average Methodist and an average Episcopalian is not worth quarreling about. But the difference between a man who believes in despotism and one who believes in liberty is almost infinite. Wesley changed Episcopalians into Methodists; Paine turned lickspittles into men. Let it be understood, once for all, that I have never claimed that Paine was perfect. I was very glad that the reverend gentleman admitted that he was a patriot and the foe of tyrants; that he sympathized with the oppressed, and befriended the helpless; that he favored religious toleration, and that he weakened the power of the Catholic Church. I am glad that he made these admissions. Whenever it can be truthfully said of a man that he loved his country, hated tyranny, sympathized with the oppressed, and befriended the helpless, nothing more is necessary. If God can afford to damn such a man, such a man can afford to be damned. While Paine was the foe of tyrants, Christians were the tyrants. When he sympathized with the oppressed, the oppressed were the victims of Christians. When he befriended the helpless, the helpless were the victims of Christians. Paine never founded an inquisition; never tortured a human being; never hoped that anybody's tongue would be paralyzed, and was always opposed to private chaplains. It might be well for the reverend gentleman to continue his comparisons, and find eminent Christians to put, for instance, along with Humboldt, the Shakespeare of science; somebody by the side of Darwin, as a naturalist; some gentleman in England to stand with Tyndall, or Huxley; some Christian German to stand with Haeckel and Helmholtz. May-be he knows some Christian statesman that he would compare with Gambetta. I would advise him to continue his parallels. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 22 ANSWERING THE NEW YORK MINISTERS. QUESTION: What have you to say of the Rev. Dr. Fulton? ANSWER: The Rev. Dr. Fulton is a great friend of mine. I am extremely sorry to find that he still believes in a personal Devil, and I greatly regret that he imagines that this Devil has so much power that he can take possession of a human being and deprive God of their services. It is in sorrow and not in anger, that I find that he still believes in this ancient superstition. I also regret that he imagines that I am leading young men to eternal ruin. It occurs to me that if there is an infinite God, he ought not to allow anybody to lead young men to eternal ruin. If anything I have said, or am going to say, has a tendency to lead young men to eternal ruin, I hope that if there is a God with the power to prevent me, he will use it. Dr. Fulton admits that in politics I am on the right side. I presume he makes this concession because he is a Republican. I am in favor of universal education, of absolute intellectual liberty. I am in favor, also, of equal rights to all. As I have said before we have spent millions and millions of dollars and rivers of blood to free the bodies of men; in other words, we have been freeing the cages. My proposition now is to give a little liberty to the birds. I am not willing to stop where a man can simply reap the fruit of his hand. I wish him, also, to enjoy the liberty of his brain. I am not against any truth in the New Testament. I did say that I objected to religion because it made enemies and not friends. The Rev. Dr. says that is one reason why he likes religion. Dr. Fulton tells me that the Bible is the gift of God to man. He also tells me that the Bible is true, and that God is its author. If the Bible is true and God is its author, then God was in favor of slavery four thousand years ago. He was also in favor of polygamy and religious intolerance. In other words, four thousand years ago he occupied the exact position the Devil is supposed to occupy now. If the Bible teaches anything it teaches man to enslave his brother, that is to say, if his brother is a heathen. The God of the Bible always hated heathens. Dr. Fulton also says that the Bible is the basis of all law. Yet, if the Legislature of New York would re-enact next winter the Mosaic code, the members might consider themselves lucky if they were not hung upon their return home. Probably Dr. Fulton thinks that had it not been for the Ten Commandments, nobody would ever have thought that stealing was wrong. I have always had an idea that men objected to stealing because the industrious did not wish to support the idle; and I have a notion that there has always been a law against murder, because a large majority of people have always objected to being murdered. If he will read his Old Testament with care, he will find that God violated most of his own commandments except that "Thou shalt worship no other God before me," and, may- be, the commandment against work on the Sabbath day. With these two exceptions I am satisfied that God himself violated all the rest. He told his chosen people to rob the Gentiles: that violated the commandment against stealing. He said himself that he had sent out lying spirits; that certainly was a violation of another commandment. He ordered soldiers to kill men, women and babes; that was a violation of another. He also told them to divide the maidens among the soldiers; that was a substantial violation of another. One of the commandments was that you should not covet your neighbor's property. In that commandment you will find that a man's wife is put on an equality with his ox. Yet his chosen people were Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 23 ANSWERING THE NEW YORK MINISTERS. allowed not only to covet the property of the Gentiles, but to take it. If Dr. Fulton will read a little more, he will find that all the good laws in the Decalogue had been in force in Egypt a century before Moses was born. He will find that like laws and many better ones were in force in India and China, long before Moses knew what a bulrush was. If he will think a little while, he will find that one of the Ten Commandments, the one on the subject of graven images, was bad. The result of that was that Palestine never produced a painter, or a sculptor, and that no Jew became famous in art until long after the destruction of Jerusalem. A commandment that robs a people of painting and statuary is not a good one The idea of the Bible being the basis of law is almost too silly to be seriously refuted. I admit that I did say that Shakespeare was the greatest man who ever lived; and Dr. Fulton says in regard to this statement, "What foolishness! He then proceeds to insult his audience by telling them that while many of them have copies of Shakespeare's works in their houses, they have not read twenty pages of them. This fact may account for their attending his church and being satisfied with that sermon. I do not believe to-day that Shakespeare is more influential than the Bible, but what influence Shakespeare has, is for good. No man can read it without having his intellectual wealth increased. When you read it, it is not necessary to throw away your reason. Neither will you be damned if you do not understand it. It is a book that appeals to everything in the human brain. In that book can be found the wisdom of all ages. Long after the Bible has passed out of existence, the name of Shakespeare will lead the intellectual roster of the world. Dr. Fulton says there is not one word in the Bible that teaches that slavery or polygamy is right. He also states that I know it. If language has meaning -- if words have sense, or the power to convey thought, -- what did God mean when he told the Israelites to buy of the heathen round about, and that the heathen should be their bondmen and bondmaids forever? What did God mean when he said, If a man strike his servant so that he dies, he should not be punished, because his servant was his money. Passages like these can be quoted beyond the space that any paper is willing to give. Yet the Rev. Dr. Fulton denies that the Old Testament upholds slavery. I would like to ask him if the Old Testament is in favor of religious toleration? If God wrote the Old Testament and afterward came upon the earth as Jesus Christ, and taught a new religion, and the Jews crucified him was this not in accordance with his own law, and was he not, after all, the victim of himself? QUESTION: What about the other ministers? ANSWER: Well, I see in the Harold that some ten have said they would reply to me. I have selected the two, simply because they came first. I think they are about as poor as any; and you know it is natural to attack those who are the easiest answered. All these ministers are now acting as my agents, and are doing me all the good they can by saying all the bad things about me they can think of. They imagine that their congregations have not grown, and they talk to them as though they were living in the seventeenth instead of the nineteenth century. The truth is, the pews are beyond the Pulpit, and the modern sheep are now protecting the shepherds. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 24 ANSWERING THE NEW YORK MINISTERS. QUESTION: Have you noticed a great change in public sentiment in the last three or four years? ANSWER: Yes, I think there are ten times as many Infidels to-day as there were ten years ago. I am amazed at the great change that has taken place in public opinion. The churches are not getting along well. There are hundreds and hundreds who have not had a new member in a year. The young men are not satisfied with the old ideas. They find that the church, after all, is opposed to learning; that it is the enemy of progress; that it says to every young man, "Go slow. Don't allow your knowledge to puff you up. Recollect that reason is a dangerous thing. You had better be a little ignorant here for the sake of being an angel hereafter, than quite a smart young man and get damned at last." The church warns them against Humboldt and Darwin, and tells them how much nobler it is to come from mud than from monkeys; that they were made from mud. Every college professor is afraid to tell what he thinks, and every student detects the cowardice. The result is that the young men have lost confidence in the creeds of the day and propose to do a little thinking for themselves. They still have a kind of tender pity for the old folks, and pretend to believe some things they do not, rather than hurt grandmother's feelings. In the presence of the preachers they talk about the weather and other harmless subjects, for fear of bruising the spirit of their pastor. Every minister likes to consider himself as a brave shepherd leading the lambs through the green pastures and defending them at night from Infidel wolves. All this he does for a certain share of the wool. Others regard the church as a kind of social organization, as a good way to get into society. They wish to attend sociables, drink tea, and contribute for the conversion of the heathen. It is always so pleasant to think that there is somebody worse than you are, whose reformation you can help pay for. I find, too, that the young women are getting tired of the old doctrines, and that everywhere, all over this country, the power of the pulpit wanes and weakens. I find in my lectures that the applause is just in proportion to the radicalism of the thought expressed. Our war was a great educator, when the whole people of the North rose up grandly in favor of human liberty. For many years the great question of human rights was discussed from every stump. Every paper was filled with splendid sentiments. An application of these doctrines -- doctrines born in war -- will forever do away with the bondage of superstition. When man has been free in body for a little time, he will become free in mind, and the man who says, "I have an equal right with other men to work and reap the reward of my labor," will say, "I have, also, an equal right to think and reap the reward of my thought." In old times there was a great difference between a clergyman and a layman. The clergyman was educated; the peasant was ignorant. The tables have been turned. The thought of the world is with the laymen. They are the intellectual pioneers, the mental leaders, and the ministers are following on behind, predicting failure and disaster, signing for the good old times when their word ended discussion. There is another good thing, and that is the revision of the Bible. Hundreds of passages have been found to be interpolations, and future revisers will find hundreds more. The foundation crumbles. That book, called the basis of all law and Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 25 ANSWERING THE NEW YORK MINISTERS. civilization, has to be civilized itself. We have outgrown it. Our laws are better; our institutions grander; our objects and aims nobler and higher. QUESTION: Do many people write to you upon this subject; and what spirit do they manifest? ANSWER: Yes, I get a great many anonymous letters -- some letters in which God is asked to strike me dead, others of an exceedingly insulting character, others almost idiotic, others exceedingly malicious, and others insane, others written in an exceedingly good spirit, winding up with the information that I must certainly be damned. Others express wonder that God allowed me to live at all, and that, having made the mistake, he does not instantly correct it by killing me. Others prophesy that I will yet be a minister of the gospel; but, as there has never been any softening of the brain in our family, I imagine that the prophecy will never be fulfilled. Lately, on opening a letter and seeing that it is upon this subject, and without a signature, I throw it aside without reading. I have so often found them to be so grossly ignorant, insulting and malicious, that as a rule I read them no more. QUESTION: Of the hundreds of people who call upon you nearly every day to ask your help, do any of them ever discriminate against you on account of your Infidelity? ANSWER: No one who has asked a favor of me objects to my religion, or, rather, to my lack of it. A great many people do come to me for assistance of one kind and another. But I have never yet asked a man or woman whether they were religious or not, to what church they belonged, or any questions upon the subject. I think I have done favors for persons of most denominations. It never occurs to me whether they are Christians or Infidels. I do not care. Of course, I do not expect that Christians will treat me the same as though I belonged to their church. I have never expected it. In some instances I have been disappointed. I have some excellent friends who disagree with me entirely upon the subject of religion. My real opinion is that secretly they like me because I am not a Christian, and those who do not like me envy me the liberty I enjoy. -- New York correspondent, Chicago Times, May 29, 1881. **** **** Our "Royal Bob" was found by The Gazette, in the gloaming of a delicious evening, during the past week, within the open portals of his friendly residence, dedicated by the gracious presence within to a simple and cordial hospitality, to the charms of friendship and the freedom of an abounding comradeship. With intellectual and untrammered life, a generous, wise and genial host, whoever enters finds a welcome, seasoned with kindly wit and Attic humor, a poetic insight and a delicious frankness which renders an evening there a veritable symposium. The wayfarer who passes is charmed, and he who comes frequently, goes always away with delighted memories. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 26 GUITEAU AND HIS CRIME. What matters it that we differ? such as he and his make our common life the sweeter. An hour or two spent in the attractive parlors of the Ingersoll homestead, amid the rare group, lends a newer meaning to the idea of home and a more secure beauty of the fact of family life. During the past exciting three weeks Colonel Ingersoll has been a busy man. He holds no office. No position could lend him an additional crown and even recognition is no longer necessary. But it has been well that amid the first fierce fury of anger and excitement, and the subsequent more bitter if not as noble outpouring of fiction's suspicions and innuendoes, that so manly a man, so sagacious a counsellor, has been enabled to hold so positive a balance. Cabinet officials, legal functionaries, detectives, citizens -- all have felt the wise, humane instincts, and the capacious brain of this marked man affecting and influencing for this fair equipoise and calmer judgement. Conversing freely on this evening of this visit, Colonel Ingersoll, in the abundance of his pleasure at the White House news, submitted to be interviewed, and with the following results. GUITEAU AND HIS CRIME. QUESTION: By-the-way, Colonel, you knew Guiteau slightly, we believe. Are you aware that it has been attempted to show that some money loaned or given him by yourself was really what he purchased the pistol with? ANSWER: I knew Guiteau slightly; I saw him for the first time a few days after the inauguration. He wanted a consulate, and asked me to give him a letter to Secretary Blaine. I refused, on the ground that I didn't know him. Afterwards he wanted me to lend him twenty-five dollars, and I declined. I never loaned him a dollar in the world. If I had, I should not feel that I was guilty of trying to kill the President. On the principle that one would hold the man guilty who had innocently loaned the money with which he bought the pistol, you might convict the tailor who made his clothes. If he had had no clothes he would not have gone to the depot naked, and the crime would not have been committed. It is hard enough for the man who did lend him the money to lose that, without losing his reputation besides. Nothing can exceed the utter absurdity of what has been said upon this subject. QUESTION: How did Guiteau impress you and what have you remembered, Colonel, of his efforts to reply to your lectures? ANSWER: I do not know that Guiteau impressed me in any way. He appeared like most other folks in search of a place or employment. I suppose he was in need. He talked about the same as other people, and claimed that I ought to help him because he was from Chicago. The second time he came to see me he said that he hoped I had no prejudice against him on account of what he had said about me. I told him that I never knew he had said anything against me. I suppose now that he referred to what he had said in his lectures. He went about the country replying to me. I have seen one or two of his lectures. He used about the same arguments that Mr. Black uses in his reply to my article in the North American Review, and denounced me in about the same terms. He is undoubtedly a man who Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 27 GUITEAU AND HIS CRIME. firmly believes in the Old Testament, and has no doubt concerning the New. I understand that he puts in most of his time now reading the Bible and rebuking people who use profane language in his presence. QUESTION: You most certainly do not see any foundation a for the accusations of preachers like Sunderland, Newman and Power, et al, that the teaching of a secular liberalism has had anything to do with the shaping of Guiteau's character or the actions of his vagabond life or the inciting to his murderous deeds? ANSWER: I do not think that the sermon of Mr. Power was in good taste. It is utterly foolish to charge the "Stalwarts" with committing or inciting the crime against the life of the President. Ministers, though, as a rule, know but little of pubic affairs, and they always account for the actions of people they do not like or agree with, by attributing to them the lowest and basest motives. This is the fault of the pulpit -- always has been, and probably always will be. The Rev. Dr. Newman of New York, tells us that the crime of Guiteau shows three things: First, that ignorant men should not be allowed to vote; second, that foreigners should not be allowed to vote; and third, that there should not be so much religious liberty. It turns out, first, that Guiteau is not an ignorant man; second, that he is not a foreigner; and third, that he is a Christian. Now, because an intelligent American Christian tries to murder the President, this person says we ought to do something with ignorant foreigners and Infidels. This is about the average pulpit logic. Of course, all the ministers hate to admit that Guiteau was a Christian; that he belonged to the Young Men's Christian Association, or at least was generally found in their rooms; that he was the follower of Moody and Sankey, and probably instrumental in the salvation of a great many souls. I do not blame them for wishing to get rid of this record. What I blame them for is that they are impudent enough to charge the crime of Guiteau upon Infidelity. Infidels and Atheists have often killed tyrants. They have often committed crimes to increase the liberty of mankind; but the history of the world will not show an instance where an Infidel or an Atheist has assassinated any man in the interest of human slavery. Of course, I am exceedingly glad that Guiteau is not an Infidel. I am glad that he believes the Bible, glad that he has delivered lectures against what he calls Infidelity, and glad that he has been working for years with the missionaries and evangelists of the United States. He is a man of small brain, badly balanced. He believes the Bible to be the word of God. Be believes in the reality of heaven and hell. He believes in the miraculous. He is surrounded by the supernatural, and when a man throws away his reason, of course no one can tell what he will do. He is liable to become a devotee or an assassin, a saint or a murderer; he may die in a monastery or in a penitentiary. QUESTION: According to your view, then, the species of fanaticism taught in sectarian Christianity, by which Guiteau was led to assert that Garfield dead would be better off than living -- being in Paradise -- is more responsible than office seeking or political factionalism for his deed? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 28 GUITEAU AND HIS CRIME. ANSWER: Guiteau seemed to think that the killing of the President would only open the gates of Paradise to him, and that, after all, under such circumstances, murder was hardly a crime. This same kind of reasoning is resorted to in the pulpit to account for death. If Guiteau had succeeded in killing the President, hundreds of ministers would have said, "After all, it may be that the President has lost nothing; it may be that our loss is his eternal gain; and although it seems to us cruel that Providence should allow a man like him to be murdered, still, it may have been the very kindest thing that could have been done for him." Guiteau reasoned in this way, and probably convinced himself, judging from his own life, that this world was, after all, of very little worth. We are apt to measure others by ourselves. Of course, I do not think that Christianity is responsible for this crime. Superstition may have been, in part -- probably was. But no man believes in Christianity because he thinks it sanctions murder. At the same time, an absolute belief in the Bible sometimes produces the worst form of murder. Take that of Mr. Freeman, of Poeasset, who stabbed his little daughter to the heart in accordance with what he believed to be the command of God. This poor man imitated Abraham; and, for that matter, Jehovah himself. There have been in the history of Christianity thousands and thousands of such instances, and there will probably be many thousands more that have been and will be produced by throwing away our own reason and taking the word of some one else -- often a word that we do not understand. QUESTION: What is your opinion as to the effect of praying for the recovery of the President, and have you any confidence that prayers are answered? ANSWER: My opinion as to the value of prayer is well known. I take it that every one who prays for the President shows at least his sympathy and good will. Personally, I have no objection to anybody's praying. Those who think that prayers are answered should pray. For all who honestly believe this, and who honestly implore their Deity to watch over, protect, and save the life of the President, I have only the kindest feelings. It may be that a few will pray to be seen of men; but I suppose that most people on a subject like this are honest. Personally, I have not the slightest idea of the existence of the supernatural. Prayer may affect the person who prays. It may put him in such a frame of mind that he can better bear disappointment than if he had not prayed; but I cannot believe that there is any being who hears and answers prayer. When we remember the earthquakes that have devoured, the pestilences that have covered the earth with corpses, and all the crimes and agonies that have been inflicted upon the good and weak by the bad and strong, it does not seem possible that anything can be accomplished by prayer. I do not wish to hurt the feelings of anyone, but I imagine that I have a right to my own opinion. If the President gets well it will be because the bullet did not strike an absolutely vital part; it will be because he has been well cared for; because he has had about him intelligent and skillful physicians, men who understood their profession. No doubt he has received great support from the universal expression of sympathy Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 29 GUITEAU AND HIS CRIME. and kindness. The knowledge that fifty millions of people are his friends has given him nerve and hope. Some of the ministers, I see, think that God was actually present and deflected the ball. Another minister tells us that the President would have been assassinated in a church, but that God determined not to allow so frightful a crime to be committed in so sacred an edifice. All this sounds to me like perfect absurdity -- simple noise. Yet, I presume that those who talk in this way are good people and believe what they say. Of course, they can give no reason why God did not deflect the ball when Lincoln was assassinated. The truth is, the pulpit first endeavors to find out the facts, and then to make a theory to fit them. Whoever believes in a special providence must, of necessity, be illogical and absurd; because it is impossible to make any theological theory that some facts will not contradict. QUESTION: Won't yon give us, then, Colonel, your analysis of this act, and the motives leading to it? ANSWER: I think Guiteau wanted an office and was refused. He became importunate. He was, substantially, put out of the White House. He became malicious. He made up his mind to be revenged. This, in my judgment, is the diagnosis of his case. Since he has been in jail he has never said one word about having been put out of the White House; he is lawyer enough to know we must not furnish any ground for malice He is a miserable, malicious and worthless wretch, infinitely egotistical, imagines that he did a great deal toward the election of Garfield, and upon being refused the house a serpent of malice coiled in his heart, and he determined to be revenged. That is all! QUESTION: Do you, in any way, see any reason or foundation for the severe and bitter criticisms made against the Stalwart leaders in connection with this crime. As you are well known to be a friend of the administration, while not unfriendly to Mr. Conkling and those acting with him, would you mind giving the public your opinion on this point? ANSWER: Of course, I do not hold Arthur, Conkling and Platt responsible for Guiteau's action. In the first excitement a thousand unreasonable things were said; and when passion has possession of the brain, suspicion is a welcome visitor. I do not think that any friend of the administration really believes Conkling, Platt and Arthur responsible in the slightest degree. Conkling wished to prevent the appointment of Robertson. The President stood by his friend. One thing brought on another, Mr. Conkling petulantly resigned, and made the mistake of his life. There was a good deal of feeling, but, of course, no one dreamed that the wretch, Guiteau, was lying in wait for the President's life. In the first place, Guiteau was on the President's side, and was bitterly opposed to Conkling. Guiteau did what he did from malice and personal spite. I think the sermon preached last Sunday in the Campbellite Church was unwise, ill advised, and calculated to make enemies instead of friends. Mr. Conkling has been beaten. He has paid for the mistake he made. If he can stand it, I can; and why should there be any malice on the subject? Exceedingly good men have made mistakes, and afterward corrected them. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 30 GUITEAU AND HIS CRIME. QUESTION: Is it not true, Colonel Ingersoll, that the lesson of this deed is to point the real and overwhelming need of re- knitting and harmonizing the factions? ANSWER: There is hardly faction enough left for "knitting." The party is in harmony now. All that is necessary is to stop talking. The people of this country care very little as to who holds any particular office. They wish to have the Government administrated in accordance with certain great principles, and they leave the fields, the shops, and the stores once in four years, for the purpose of attending to that business. In the meantime, politicians quarrel about offices. The people go on. They plow fields, they build homes, they open mines, they enrich the world, they cover our country with prosperity, and enjoy the aforesaid quarrels. But when the time comes, these gentlemen are forgotten. Principles take the place of politicians, and the people settle these questions for themselves. -- Sunday Gazette, Washington, D.C., July 24, 1881. **** **** DISTRICT SUFFRAGE. QUESTION: You have heretofore incidentally expressed yourself on the matter of local suffrage in the District of Columbia. Have you any objections to giving your present views of the question? ANSWER: I am still in favor of suffrage in the District. The real trouble is, that before any substantial relief can be reached, there must be a change in the Constitution of the United States. The mere right to elect aldermen and mayors and policemen is of no great importance. It is a mistake to take all political power from the citizens of the District. Americans want to help rule the country. The District ought to have at least one Representative in Congress, and should elect one presidential elector. The people here should have a voice. They should feel that they are a part of this country. They should have the right to sue in all Federal courts, precisely as though they were citizens of a State. This city ought to have half a million of inhabitants. Thousands would come here every year from every part of the Union, were it not for the fact that they do not wish to become political nothings. They think that citizenship is worth something, and they preserve it by staying away from Washington. This city is a "flag of truce" where wounded and dead politicians congregate; the Mecca of failures, the perdition of claimants, the purgatory of seekers after place, and the heaven only of those who neither want nor do anything. Nothing is manufactured, no solid business is done in this city, and there never will be until energetic, thrifty people wish to make it their home, and they will not wish that until the people of the District have something like the rights and political prospects of other citizens. It is hard to see why the right to representation should be taken from citizens living at the Capital of the Nation. The believers in free government should believe in a free capital. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 31 DISTRICT SUFFRAGE. QUESTION: Are there any valid reasons why the constitutional limitations to the elective franchise in the District of Columbia should not be removed by an amendment to that instrument? ANSWER: I cannot imagine one. If our Government is founded upon a correct principle there can be no objection urged against suffrage in the District that cannot, with equal force, be urged against every part of the country. If freedom is dangerous here, it is safe nowhere. If a man cannot be trusted in the District, he is dangerous in the State. We do not trust the place where the man happens to be; we trust the man. The people of this District cannot remain in their present condition without becoming dishonored. The idea of allowing themselves to be governed by commissioners, in whose selection they have no part, is monstrous. The people here beg, implore, request, ask, pray, beseech, intercede, crave, urge, entreat, supplicate, memorialize and most humbly petition, but they neither vote nor demand. They are not allowed to enter the Temple of Liberty; they stay in the lobby or sit on the steps. QUESTION: They say Paris is France, because her electors or citizens control that municipality. Do you foresee any danger of centralization in the full enfranchisement of the citizens of Washington? ANSWER: There was a time when the intelligence of France was in Paris. The country was besotted, ignorant, Catholic; Paris was alive, educated, Infidel, full of new theories, of passion and heroism. For two hundred years Paris was an athlete chained to a corpse. The corpse was the rest of France. It is different now, and the whole country is at last filling with light. Besides, Paris has two millions of people. It is filled with factories. It is not only the intellectual center, but the center of money and business as well. Let the Corps Legislatif meet anywhere, and Paris will continue to be in a certain splendid sense -- France. Nothing like that can ever happen here unless you expect Washington to outstrip New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. If allowing the people of the District of Columbia to vote was the only danger to the Republic, I should be politically the happiest of men. I think it somewhat dangerous to deprive even one American citizen of the right to govern himself. QUESTION: Would you have Government clerks and officials appointed to office here given the franchise in the District? and should this, if given, include the women clerks? ANSWER: Citizenship should be determined here as in the States. Clerks should not be allowed to vote unless their intention is to make the District their home. When I make a government I shall give one vote to each family. The unmarried should not be represented except by parents. Let the family be the unit of representation Give each hearthstone a vote. QUESTION: How do you regard the opposition of the local clergy and of the Bourbon Democracy to enfranchising the citizens of the District? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 32 DISTRICT SUFFRAGE. ANSWER: I did not know that the clergy did oppose it. If, as you say, they do oppose it because they fear it will extend the liquor traffic, I think their reason exceedingly stupid. You cannot make men temperate by shutting up a few of the saloons and leaving others wide open. Intemperance must be met with other weapons. The church ought not to appeal to force. What would the clergy of Washington think should the miracle of Cana be repeated in their day? Had they been in that country, with their present ideas, what would they have said? After all there is a great deal of philosophy in the following: "Better have the whole world voluntarily drunk then sober on compulsion." Of course the Bourbons object. Objecting is the business of a Bourbon. He always objects. If he does not understand the question he objects because he does not, and if he does understand he objects because he does. With him the reason for objecting is the fact that he does. QUESTION: What effect, if any, would the complete franchise to our citizens have upon real estate and business in Washington? ANSWER: If the people here had representation according to numbers -- if the avenues to political preferment were open -- if men here could take part in the real government of the country, if they could bring with them all their rights, this would be a great and splendid Capital. We ought to have here a University, the best in the world, a library second to none, and here should be gathered the treasures of American art. The Federal Government has been infinitely economical in the direction of information. I hope the time will come when our Government will give as much to educate two men as to kill one. -- The Capital, Washington, D.C., December 18, 1881. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended -- The Free Market-Place of Ideas. The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 33
The Bank of Wisdom is run by Emmett Fields out of his home in Kentucky. He painstakingly scanned in these works and put them on disks for others to have available. Mr. Fields makes these disks available for only the cost of the media.
Files made available from the Bank of Wisdom may be freely reproduced and given away, but may not be sold.
Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.
The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended --
The Free Market-Place of Ideas.
The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America.
Bank of Wisdom
Louisville, KY 40201