Robert Green Ingersoll
18 page printout Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. Contents of this file page GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE. 1 A TRIBUTE TO HORACE SEAVER. 3 A TRIBUTE TO RICHARD H. WHITING. 8 A TRIBUTE TO ELIZUR WRIGHT. 9 LOTOS CLUB DINNER IN HONOR OF ANTON SEIDL. 12 THE TRUTH OF HISTORY. 16 **** **** 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 **** **** GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE. TWO articles have recently appeared attacking the motives of George Jacob Holyoake. He is spoken of as a man governed by a desire to please the rich and powerful, as one afraid of public opinion and who in the perilous hour denies or conceals his convictions. In these attacks there is not one word of truth. They are based upon mistakes and misconceptions. There is not in this world a nobler, braver man. In England he has done more for the great cause of intellectual liberty than any other man of this generation. He has done more for the poor, for the children of toil, for the homeless and wretched than any other living man. He has attacked all abuses, all tyranny and all forms of hypocrisy. His weapons have been reason, logic, facts, kindness, and above all, example. He has lived his creed. He has won the admiration and respect of his bitterest antagonists. He has the simplicity of childhood, the enthusiasm of youth and the wisdom of age. He is not abusive, but he is clear and conclusive. He is intense without violence -- firm without anger. He has the strength of perfect kindness. He does not hate -- he pities. He does not attack men and women, but dogmas and creeds. And he does not attack them to get the better of people, but to enable people to get the better of them. He gives the light he has. He shares his intellectual wealth with the orthodox poor. He assists without insulting, guides without arrogance, and enlightens without outrage. Besides, he is eminent for the exercise of plain common sense. He knows that there are wrongs besides those born of superstition -- that people are not necessarily happy because they have renounced the Thirty-nine Articles -- and that the priest is not the only enemy of mankind. He has for forty years been preaching and practicing industry, economy, self-reliance, and kindness. He has done all within his power to give the workingman a better home, better food, better wages, and better opportunities for the education of his children. He has demonstrated the success Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 1 GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE. of cooperation -- of intelligent combination for the common good. As a rule, his methods have been perfectly legal. In some instances he has knowingly violated the law, and did so with the intention to take the consequences. He would neither ask nor accept a pardon, because to receive a pardon carries with it the implied promise to keep the law, and an admission that you were in the wrong. He would not agree to desist from doing what he believed ought to be done, neither would he stain his past to brighten his future, nor imprison his soul to free his body. He has that happy mingling of gentleness and firmness found only in the highest type of moral heroes. He is an absolutely just man, and will never do an act that he would condemn in another. He admits that the most bigoted churchman has a perfect right to express his opinions not only, but that he must be met with argument couched in kind and candid terms. Mr. Holyoake is not only the enemy of a theological hierarchy, but he is also opposed to mental mobs. He will not use the bludgeon of epithet. Perfect fairness is regarded by many as weakness. Some people have altogether more confidence in their beliefs than in their own arguments. They resort to assertion. If what they assert be denied, the "debate" becomes a question of veracity. On both sides of most questions there are plenty of persons who imagine that logic dwells only in adjectives, and that to speak kindly of an opponent is a virtual surrender. Mr. Holyoake attacks the church because it has been, is, and ever will be the enemy of mental freedom, but he does not wish to deprive the church even of its freedom to express its opinion against freedom. He is true to his own creed, knowing that when we have freedom we can take care of all its enemies. In one of the articles to which I have referred it is charged that Mr. Holyoake refused to sign a petition for the pardon of persons convicted of blasphemy. If this is true, he undoubtedly had a reason satisfactory to himself. You will find that his action, or his refusal to act, rests upon a principle that he would not violate in his own behalf. Why should we suspect the motives of this man who has given his life for the good of others? I know of no one who is his mental or moral superior. He is the most disinterested of men. His name is a synonym of candor. He is a natural logician -- an intellectual marksman. Like an unerring arrow his thought flies to the heart and center. He is governed by principle, and makes no exception in his own favor. He is intellectually honest. He shows you the cracks and flaws in his own wares. He calls attention to the open joints and to the weakest links. He does not want a victory for himself, but for truth. He wishes to expose and oppose, not men, but error. He is blessed with that cloudless mental vision that appearances cannot deceive, that interest cannot darken, and that even ingratitude cannot blur. Friends cannot induce and enemies cannot drive this man to do an act that his heart and brain would not applaud. That such a character was formed without the aid of the church, without the hope of harp or fear of flame, is a demonstration against the necessity of superstition. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 2 GEORGE JACOB HOLYOAKE. Whoever is opposed to mental bondage, to the shackles wrought by cruelty and worn by fear, should be the friend of this heroic and unselfish man. I know something of his life -- something of what he has suffered -- of what he has accomplished for his fellow-men. He has been maligned, imprisoned and impoverished. "He bore the heat and burden of the unregarded day" and "remembered the misery of the many." For years his only recompense was ingratitude. At last he was understood. He was recognized as an earnest, honest, gifted, generous, sterling man, loving his country, sympathizing with the poor, honoring the useful, and holding in supreme abhorrence tyranny and falsehood in all their forms. The idea that this man could for a moment be controlled by any selfish motive by the hope of preferment, by the fear of losing a supposed annuity, is simply absurd. The authors of these attacks are not acquainted with Mr. Holyoake. Whoever dislikes him does not know him. Read his "Trial of Theism" -- his history of "Cooperation in England" -- if you wish to know his heart -- to discover the motives of his life -- the depth and tenderness of his sympathy -- the nobleness of his nature -- the subtlety of his thought -- the beauty of his spirit -- the force and volume of his brain -- the extent of his information -- his candor, his kindness, his genius, and the perfect integrity of his stainless soul. There is no man for whom I have greater respect, greater reverence, greater love, than George Jacob Holyoake. -- August 8. 1888.