Home » Library » Historical Library » Robert Ingersoll Truth Of History

Historical Library Disclaimer

The Historical Library contains writings written before 1970, only. For material written during or after 1970, please refer to the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

This Historical Library is provided for those doing research into the history of nontheism. It is not intended to be--and should not be used as--a source of modern, up-to-date information regarding atheistic issues. Those looking for modern critiques of theism should go to the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

All of the Historical Library authors are dead--and in many cases have been so for several decades. We will not reply to email addressed to dead authors, and therefore any email addressed to these authors will be ignored. Similarly, we do not reply to feedback regarding faulty scholarship on the part of dead authors, nor do we correct spelling errors and/or typographical errors (most of which result from the scanning and OCR process) in their articles.
This document has been made available by the Bank of Wisdom.

Robert Ingersoll Truth Of History

Truth Of History

Robert Green Ingersoll



Thousands of Christians have asked: How was it possible for
Christ and his apostles to deceive the people of Jerusalem? How
came the miracles to be believed? Who had the impudence to say that
lepers had been cleansed, and that the dead had been raised? How
could such impostors have escaped exposure?

I ask: How did Mohammed deceive the people of Mecca? How has
the Catholic Church imposed upon millions of people? Who can
account for the success of falsehood?

Millions of people are directly interested in the false. They
live by lying. To deceive is the business of their lives. Truth is
a cripple; lies have wings. It is almost impossible to overtake and
kill and bury a lie. If you do, some one will erect a monument over
the grave, and the lie is born again as an epitaph. Let me give you
a case in point.

A few days ago the Matlock Register, a paper published in
England, printed the following:


Mr. Isaac Loveland, of Shoreham, desires us to insert the
following: --

November 27, 1886.

"Dear Mr. Loveland. -- A day or two since, I received
from Mr. Hine the exhilarating intelligence that through his
lectures on the 'Identity of the British Nation with Lost
Israel,' in Canada and the United States, that Col. Bob
Ingersoll, the arch Atheist, has been converted to
Christianity, and has joined the Episcopal Church.

Praise the Lord! ! !     5,000 of his followers have been
won for Christ through Mr. Hine's grand mission work, the
other side of the Atlantic. The Colonel's cousin, the Rev. Mr.
Ingersoll, wrote to Mr. Hine soon after he began lecturing in
America, informing him that his lectures had made a great
impression on the Colonel and other Atheists. I noted it at
the time in the Messenger. Bradlaugh will yet be converted;
his brother has been, and has joined a British Israel Identity
Association. This is progress, and shows what an energetic,
determined man (like Mr. Hine), who is earnest in his faith,
can do.

"Very faithfully yours,


How can we account for an article like that? Who made up this
story? Who had the impudence to publish it?

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


As a matter of fact, I never saw Mr. Hine, never heard of him
until this extract was received by me in the month of December. I
never read a word about the "Identity of Lost Israel with the
British Nation." It is a question in which I never had, and never
expect to have, the slightest possible interest.

Nothing can be more preposterous than that the Englishman in
whose veins can be found the blood of the Saxon, the Dine, the
Norman, the Pict, the Scot and the Celt, is the descendant of
"Abraham, Isaac and jacob." The English language does not bear the
remotest resemblance to the Hebrew, and yet it is claimed by the
Reverend Hodson Rugg that not only myself, but five thousand other
Atheists, were converted by the Rev. Mr. Hine, because of his
theory that Englishmen and Americans are simply Jews in disguise.

This letter, in my judgment, was published to be used by
missionaries in China, Japan, India and Africa.

If stories like this can be circulated about a living man,
what may we not expect concerning the dead who have opposed the

Countless falsehoods have been circulated about all the
opponents of Superstition. Whoever attacks the popular falsehoods
of his time will find that a lie defends itself by telling other
lies. Nothing is so prolific, nothing can so multiply itself,
nothing can lay and hatch as many eggs, as a good, healthy,
religious lie.

And nothing is more wonderful than the credulity of the
believers in the supernatural. They feel under a kind of obligation
to believe everything in favor of their religion, or against any
form of what they are pleased to call Infidelity."

The old falsehoods about Voltaire, Paine, Hume, Julian,
Diderot and hundreds of others, grow green every spring. They are
answered; they are demonstrated to be without the slightest
foundation; but they rarely die. And when one does die there seems
to be a kind of Caesarian operation, so that in each instance
although the mother dies the child lives to undergo, if necessary,
a like operation, leaving another child, and sometimes two.

There are thousands and thousands of tongues ready to repeat
what the owners know to be false, and these lies are a part of the
stock in trade, the valuable assets, of superstition. No church can
afford to throw its property away. To admit that these stories are
false now, is to admit that the church has been busy lying for
hundreds of years, and it is also to admit that the word of the
church is not and cannot be taken as evidence of any fact.

A few years ago, I had a little controversy with the editor of
the New York Observer. the Rev. Irenaeus Prime, (who is now
supposed to be in heaven enjoying the bliss of seeing Infidels in
hell), as to whether Thomas Paine recanted his religious opinions.
I offered to deposit a thousand dollars for the benefit of a
charity, if the reverend doctor would substantiate the charge that
Paine recanted. I forced the New York Observer to admit that Paine
did not recant, and compelled that paper to say that "Thomas Paine
died a blaspheming Infidel."

Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


A few months afterward an English paper was sent to me -- a
religious paper -- and in that paper was a statement to the effect
that the editor of the New York Observer had claimed that Paine
recanted; that I had offered to give a thousand dollars to any
charity that Mr. Prime might select, if he would establish the fact
that Paine did recant; and that so overwhelming was the testimony
brought forward by Mr. Prime, that I admitted that Paine did
recant, and paid the thousand dollars.

This is another instance of what might be called the truth of

I wrote to the editor of that paper, telling the exact facts,
and offering him advertising rates to publish the denial, and in
addition, stated that if he would send me a copy of his paper with
the denial, I would send him twenty-five dollars for his trouble.
I received no reply, and the lie is in all probability still on its
travels, going from Sunday school to Sunday school, from pulpit to
pulpit, from hypocrite to savage, -- that is to say, from
missionary to Hottentot -- without the slightest evidence of
fatigue -- fresh and strong, -- and in its cheeks the roses and
lilies of perfect health.

Some person, expecting to add another gem to his crown of
glory, put in circulation the story that one of my daughters had
joined the Presbyterian Church, -- a story without the slightest
foundation -- and although denied a hundred times, it is still
being printed and circulated for the edification of the faithful.
Every few days I receive some letter of inquiry as to this charge,
and I have industriously denied it for years, but up to the present
time, it shows no signs of death -- not even of weakness.

Another religious gentleman put in print the charge that my
son, having been raised in the atmosphere of Infidelity, had become
insane and died in an asylum. Notwithstanding the fact that I never
had a son, the story still goes right on, and is repeated day after
day without the semblance of a blush.

Now, if all this is done while I am alive and well, and while
I have all the facilities of our century for spreading the denials,
what will be done after my lips are closed?

The mendacity of superstition is almost enough to make a man
believe in the supernatural.

And so I might go on for a hundred columns. Billions of
falsehoods have been told and there are trillions yet to come. The
doctrines of Malthus have nothing to do with this particular kind
of reproduction.

And there are also many other falsehoods which the church has
told, the which if they should be written every one, I suppose that
even the world itself could not contain the books that should be

The Truth Seeker, Now York, February. 19. 1887.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201
all rights reserved

Bank of Wisdom

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.

Bank of WisdomThe 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