_Robert G. Ingersoll_






[Frontispiece:  v8.jpg]
  "_With daughters' babes upon his knees,
   the white hair mingling with the gold_."









POLITICS AND GEN. GRANT, Indianapolis Journal





POLITICAL, Washington Post

RELIGION IN POLITICS, New York Evening Express


THE POLITICAL OUTLOOK, Cincinnati Commercial



A REPLY TO THE REV. MR. LANSING, New Haven Sunday Union



GUITEAU AND HIS CRIME, Washington Sunday Gazette

DISTRICT SUFFRAGE, Washington Capital



THE INTERVIEWER, New York Morning Journal



THE CIVIL RIGHTS BILL, Washington National Republican






THE OATH QUESTION, London Secular Review






BLASPHEMY, Philadelphia Press


INGERSOLL CATECHISED, San Francisco San Franciscan

BLAINE'S DEFEAT, Topeka Commonwealth

BLAINE'S DEFEAT, Louisville Commercial


RELIGIOUS PREJUDICE, New York Mail and Express

CLEVELAND AND HIS CABINET, New York Mail and Express




MY BELIEF, Philadelphia Times

SOME LIVE TOPICS, New York Truth Seeker



THE LABOR QUESTION, Cincinnati Enquirer


PROHIBITION, Boston Evening Traveler




REPLY TO THE REV. B. F. MORSE, New York Herald

INGERSOLL ON McGLYNN, Brooklyn Citizen




THE CHURCH AND THE STATE, New York Dramatic Mirror






THE MILLS BILL, New York Press



SECULARISM, Toronto Secular Thought






LIBERALS AND LIBERALISM, Toronto Secular Thought

POPE LEO XIII., New York Herald


THE WEST AND SOUTH, Indianapolis Journal


SHAKESPEARE AND BACON, Minneapolis Tribune


CREEDS, New York Morning Advertiser



MISSIONARIES, Cleveland Press


MUST RELIGION GO? New York Evening Advertiser



AUTHORS, Kansas City Star

INEBRIETY, Unpublished


TOLSTOY AND LITERATURE, Buffalo Evening Express

WOMAN IN POLITICS, New York Advertiser

SPIRITUALISM, St. Louis Globe-Democrat

PLAYS AND PLAYERS, New York Dramatic Mirror

WOMAN, A Fragment






  AND THE CHURCH, New York Herald

WOMAN AND HER DOMAIN, Grand Rapids Democrat

PROFESSOR SWING, Chicago Inter-Ocean



SPIRITUALISM, New York Journal



VIVISECTION, New York Evening Telegram

DIVORCE, New York Herald


A VISIT TO SHAW'S GARDEN, St. Louis Republic



A REPLY TO THE REV. L. A. BANKS, Cleveland Plain Dealer

CUBA--ZOLA AND THEOSOPHY, Louisville Courier-Journal






EXPANSION AND TRUSTS, Philadelphia North American



_Question_.  Colonel, are your views of religion based upon the

_Answer_.  I regard the Bible, especially the Old Testament, the
same as I do most other ancient books, in which there is some truth,
a great deal of error, considerable barbarism and a most plentiful
lack of good sense.

_Question_.  Have you found any other work, sacred or profane,
which you regard as more reliable?

_Answer_.  I know of no book less so, in my judgment.

_Question_.  You have studied the Bible attentively, have you not?

_Answer_.  I have read the Bible.  I have heard it talked about a
good deal, and am sufficiently well acquainted with it to justify
my own mind in utterly rejecting all claims made for its divine

_Question_.  What do you base your views upon?

_Answer_.  On reason, observation, experience, upon the discoveries
in science, upon observed facts and the analogies properly growing
out of such facts.  I have no confidence in anything pretending to
be outside, or independent of, or in any manner above nature.

_Question_.  According to your views, what disposition is made of
man after death?

_Answer_.  Upon that subject I know nothing.  It is no more wonderful
that man should live again than he now lives; upon that question
I know of no evidence.  The doctrine of immortality rests upon
human affection.  We love, therefore we wish to live.

_Question_.  Then you would not undertake to say what becomes of
man after death?

_Answer_.  If I told or pretended to know what becomes of man after
death, I would be as dogmatic as are theologians upon this question.
The difference between them and me is, I am honest.  I admit that
I do not know.

_Question_.  Judging by your criticism of mankind, Colonel, in your
recent lecture, you have not found his condition very satisfactory?

_Answer_.  Nature, outside of man, so far as I know, is neither
cruel nor merciful.  I am not satisfied with the present condition
of the human race, nor with the condition of man during any period
of which we have any knowledge.  I believe, however, the condition
of man is improved, and this improvement is due to his own exertions.
I do not make nature a being.  I do not ascribe to nature

_Question_.  Is your theory, Colonel, the result of investigation
of the subject?

_Answer_.  No one can control his own opinion or his own belief.
My belief was forced upon me by my surroundings.  I am the product
of all circumstances that have in any way touched me.  I believe
in this world.  I have no confidence in any religion promising joys
in another world at the expense of liberty and happiness in this.
At the same time, I wish to give others all the rights I claim for

_Question_.  If I asked for proofs for your theory, what would you

_Answer_.  The experience of every man who is honest with himself,
every fact that has been discovered in nature.  In addition to
these, the utter and total failure of all religionists in all
countries to produce one particle of evidence showing the existence
of any supernatural power whatever, and the further fact that the
people are not satisfied with their religion.  They are continually
asking for evidence.  They are asking it in every imaginable way.
The sects are continually dividing.  There is no real religious
serenity in the world.  All religions are opponents of intellectual
liberty.  I believe in absolute mental freedom.  Real religion with
me is a thing not of the head, but of the heart; not a theory, not
a creed, but a life.

_Question_.  What punishment, then, is inflicted upon man for his
crimes and wrongs committed in this life?

_Answer_.  There is no such thing as intellectual crime.  No man
can commit a mental crime.  To become a crime it must go beyond

_Question_.  What punishment is there for physical crime?

_Answer_.  Such punishment as is necessary to protect society and
for the reformation of the criminal.

_Question_.  If there is only punishment in this world, will not
some escape punishment?

_Answer_.  I admit that all do not seem to be punished as they
deserve.  I also admit that all do not seem to be rewarded as they
deserve; and there is in this world, apparently, as great failures
in matter of reward as in matter of punishment.  If there is another
life, a man will be happier there for acting according to his
highest ideal in this.  But I do not discern in nature any effort
to do justice.

--_The Post_, Washington, D. C., 1878.


_Question_.  I see, Colonel, that in an interview published this
morning, Mrs. Van Cott (the revivalist), calls you "a poor barking
dog."  Do you know her personally?

_Answer_.  I have never met or seen her.

_Question_.  Do you know the reason she applied the epithet?

_Answer_.  I suppose it to be the natural result of what is called
vital piety; that is to say, universal love breeds individual

_Question_.  Do you intend making any reply to what she says?

_Answer_.  I have written her a note of which this is a copy:

  _Buffalo, Feb. 24th, 1878._

My dear Madam:--Were you constrained by the love of Christ to call
a man who has never injured you "a poor barking dog?"  Did you make
this remark as a Christian, or as a lady?  Did you say these words
to illustrate in some faint degree the refining influence upon
women of the religion you preach?

What would you think of me if I should retort, using your language,
changing only the sex of the last word?

I have the honor to remain,

Yours truly,


_Question_.  Well, what do you think of the religious revival system

_Answer_.  The fire that has to be blown all the time is a poor
thing to get warm by.  I regard these revivals as essentially
barbaric.  I think they do no good, but much harm, they make innocent
people think they are guilty, and very mean people think they are

_Question_.  What is your opinion concerning women as conductors
of these revivals?

_Answer_.  I suppose those engaged in them think they are doing
good.  They are probably honest.  I think, however, that neither
men nor women should be engaged in frightening people into heaven.
That is all I wish to say on the subject, as I do not think it
worth talking about.

--_The Express_, Buffalo, New York, Feb., 1878.


_Question_.  What did you do on your European trip, Colonel?

_Answer_.  I went with my family from New York to Southampton,
England, thence to London, and from London to Edinburgh.  In Scotland
I visited every place where Burns had lived, from the cottage where
he was born to the room where he died.  I followed him from the
cradle to the coffin.  I went to Stratford-upon-Avon for the purpose
of seeing all that I could in any way connected with Shakespeare;
next to London, where we visited again all the places of interest,
and thence to Paris, where we spent a couple of weeks in the

_Question_.  And what did you think of it?

_Answer_.  So far as machinery--so far as the practical is concerned,
it is not equal to ours in Philadelphia; in art it is incomparably
beyond it.  I was very much gratified to find so much evidence in
favor of my theory that the golden age in art is in front of us;
that mankind has been advancing, that we did not come from a perfect
pair and immediately commence to degenerate.  The modern painters
and sculptors are far better and grander than the ancient.  I think
we excel in fine arts as much as we do in agricultural implements.
Nothing pleased me more than the painting from Holland, because
they idealized and rendered holy the ordinary avocations of life.
They paint cottages with sweet mothers and children; they paint
homes.  They are not much on Ariadnes and Venuses, but they paint
good women.

_Question_.  What did you think of the American display?

_Answer_.  Our part of the Exposition is good, but nothing to what
is should and might have been, but we bring home nearly as many
medals as we took things.  We lead the world in machinery and in
ingenious inventions, and some of our paintings were excellent.

_Question_.  Colonel, crossing the Atlantic back to America, what
do you think of the Greenback movement?

_Answer_.  In regard to the Greenback party, in the first place,
I am not a believer in miracles.  I do not believe that something
can be made out of nothing.  The Government, in my judgment, cannot
create money; the Government can give its note, like an individual,
and the prospect of its being paid determines its value.  We have
already substantially resumed.  Every piece of property that has
been shrinking has simply been resuming.  We expended during the
war--not for the useful, but for the useless, not to build up, but
to destroy--at least one thousand million dollars.  The Government
was an enormous purchaser; when the war ceased the industries of
the country lost their greatest customer.  As a consequence there
was a surplus of production, and consequently a surplus of labor.
At last we have gotten back, and the country since the war has
produced over and above the cost of production, something near the
amount that was lost during the war.  Our exports are about two
hundred million dollars more than our imports, and this is a healthy
sign.  There are, however, five or six hundred thousand men,
probably, out of employment; as prosperity increases this number
will decrease.  I am in favor of the Government doing something to
ameliorate the condition of these men.  I would like to see
constructed the Northern and Southern Pacific railroads; this would
give employment at once to many thousands, and homes after awhile
to millions.  All the signs of the times to me are good.  The
wretched bankrupt law, at last, is wiped from the statute books,
and honest people in a short time can get plenty of credit.  This
law should have been repealed years before it was.  It would have
been far better to have had all who have gone into bankruptcy during
these frightful years to have done so at once.

_Question_.  What will be the political effect of the Greenback

_Answer_.  The effect in Maine has been to defeat the Republican
party.  I do not believe any party can permanently succeed in the
United States that does not believe in and advocate actual money.
I want to see the greenback equal with gold the world round.  A
money below par keeps the people below par.  No man can possibly
be proud of a country that is not willing to pay its debts.  Several
of the States this fall may be carried by the Greenback party, but
if I have a correct understanding of their views, that party cannot
hold any State for any great length of time.  But all the men of
wealth should remember that everybody in the community has got, in
some way, to be supported.  I want to see them so that they can
support themselves by their own labor.  In my judgment real prosperity
will begin with actual resumption, because confidence will then
return.  If the workingmen of the United States cannot make their
living, cannot have the opportunity to labor, they have got to be
supported in some way, and in any event, I want to see a liberal
policy inaugurated by the Government.  I believe in improving rivers
and harbors.

I do not believe the trans-continental commerce of this country
should depend on one railroad.  I want new territories opened.  I
want to see American steamships running to all the great ports of
the world.  I want to see our flag flying on all the seas and in
all the harbors.  We have the best country, and, in my judgment,
the best people in the world, and we ought to be the most prosperous
nation on the earth.

_Question_.  Then you only consider the Greenback movement a
temporary thing?

_Answer_.  Yes; I do not believe that there is anything permanent
in anything that is not sound, that has not a perfectly sound
foundation, and I mean sound, sound in every sense of that word.
It must be wise and honest.  We have plenty of money; the trouble
is to get it.  If the Greenbackers will pass a law furnishing all
of us with collaterals, there certainly would be no trouble about
getting the money.  Nothing can demonstrate more fully the
plentifulness of money than the fact that millions of four per
cent. bonds have been taken in the United States.  The trouble is,
business is scarce.

_Question_.  But do you not think the Greenback movement will help
the Democracy to success in 1880?

_Answer_.  I think the Greenback movement will injure the Republican
party much more than the Democratic party.  Whether that injury
will reach as far as 1880 depends simply upon one thing.  If
resumption--in spite of all the resolutions to the contrary--
inaugurates an era of prosperity, as I believe and hope it will,
then it seems to me that the Republican party will be as strong in
the North as in its palmiest days.  Of course I regard most of the
old issues as settled, and I make this statement simply because I
regard the financial issue as the only living one.

Of course, I have no idea who will be the Democratic candidate,
but I suppose the South will be solid for the Democratic nominee,
unless the financial question divides that section of the country.

_Question_.  With a solid South do you not think the Democratic
nominee will stand a good chance?

_Answer_.  Certainly, he will stand the best chance if the Democracy
is right on the financial question; if it will cling to its old
idea of hard money, he will.  If the Democrats will recognize that
the issues of the war are settled, then I think that party has the
best chance.

_Question_.  But if it clings to soft money?

_Answer_.  Then I think it will be beaten, if by soft money it
means the payment of one promise with another.

_Question_.  You consider Greenbackers inflationists, do you not?

_Answer_.  I suppose the Greenbackers to be the party of inflation.
I am in favor of inflation produced by industry.  I am in favor of
the country being inflated with corn, with wheat, good houses,
books, pictures, and plenty of labor for everybody.  I am in favor
of being inflated with gold and silver, but I do not believe in
the inflation of promise, expectation and speculation.  I sympathize
with every man who is willing to work and cannot get it, and I
sympathize to that degree that I would like to see the fortunate
and prosperous taxed to support his unfortunate brother until labor
could be found.

The Greenback party seems to think credit is just as good as gold.
While the credit lasts this is so; but the trouble is, whenever it
is ascertained that the gold is gone or cannot be produced the
credit takes wings.  The bill of a perfectly solvent bank may
circulate for years.  Now, because nobody demands the gold on that
bill it doesn't follow that the bill would be just as good without
any gold behind it.  The idea that you can have the gold whenever
you present the bill gives it its value.  To illustrate:  A poor
man buys soup tickets.  He is not hungry at the time of purchase,
and will not be for some hours.  During those hours the Greenback
gentlemen argue that there is no use of keeping any soup on hand
with which to redeem these tickets, and from this they further
argue that if they can be good for a few hours without soup, why
not forever?  And they would be, only the holder gets hungry.
Until he is hungry, of course, he does not care whether any soup
is on hand or not, but when he presents his ticket he wants his
soup, and the idea that he can have the soup when he does present
the ticket gives it its value.  And so I regard bank notes, without
gold and silver, as of the same value as tickets without soup.

--_The Post_, Washington, D. C., 1878.


_Question_.  What do you think of the Pre-Millennial Conference
that was held in New York City recently?

_Answer_.  Well, I think that all who attended it were believers
in the Bible, and any one who believes in prophecies and looks to
their fulfillment will go insane.  A man that tries from Daniel's
ram with three horns and five tails and his deformed goats to
ascertain the date of the second immigration of Christ to this
world is already insane.  It all shows that the moment we leave
the realm of fact and law we are adrift on the wide and shoreless
sea of theological speculation.

_Question_.  Do you think there will be a second coming?

_Answer_.  No, not as long as the church is in power.  Christ will
never again visit this earth until the Freethinkers have control.
He will certainly never allow another church to get hold of him.
The very persons who met in New York to fix the date of his coming
would despise him and the feeling would probably be mutual.  In
his day Christ was an Infidel, and made himself unpopular by
denouncing the church as it then existed.  He called them liars,
hypocrites, thieves, vipers, whited sepulchres and fools.  From
the description given of the church in that day, I am afraid that
should he come again, he would be provoked into using similar
language.  Of course, I admit there are many good people in the
church, just as there were some good Pharisees who were opposed to
the crucifixion.

--_The Express_, Buffalo, New York, Nov. 4th, 1878.


_Question_.  Colonel, to start with, what do you think of the solid

_Answer_.  I think the South is naturally opposed to the Republican
party; more, I imagine, to the name, than to the personnel of the
organization.  But the South has just as good friends in the
Republican party as in the Democratic party.  I do not think there
are any Republicans who would not rejoice to see the South prosperous
and happy.  I know of none, at least.  They will have to get over
the prejudices born of isolation.  We lack direct and constant
communication.  I do not recollect having seen a newspaper from
the Gulf States for a long time.  They, down there, may imagine
that the feeling in the North is the same as during the war.  But
it certainly is not.  The Northern people are anxious to be friendly;
and if they can be, without a violation of their principles, they
will be.  Whether it be true or not, however, most of the Republicans
of the North believe that no Republican in the South is heartily
welcome in that section, whether he goes there from the North, or
is a Southern man.  Personally, I do not care anything about partisan
politics.  I want to see every man in the United States guaranteed
the right to express his choice at the ballot-box, and I do not
want social ostracism to follow a man, no matter how he may vote.
A solid South means a solid North.  A hundred thousand Democratic
majority in South Carolina means fifty thousand Republican majority
in New York in 1880.  I hope the sections will never divide, simply
as sections.  But if the Republican party is not allowed to live
in the South, the Democratic party certainly will not be allowed
to succeed in the North.  I want to treat the people of the South
precisely as though the Rebellion had never occurred.  I want all
that wiped from the slate of memory, and all I ask of the Southern
people is to give the same rights to the Republicans that we are
willing to give to them and have given to them.

_Question_.  How do you account for the results of the recent

_Answer_.  The Republican party won the recent election simply
because it was for honest money, and it was in favor of resumption.
And if on the first of January next, we resume all right, and
maintain resumption, I see no reason why the Republican party should
not succeed in 1880.  The Republican party came into power at the
commencement of the Rebellion, and necessarily retained power until
its close; and in my judgment, it will retain power so long as in
the horizon of credit there is a cloud of repudiation as large as
a man's hand.

_Question_.  Do you think resumption will work out all right?

_Answer_.  I do.  I think that on the first of January the greenback
will shake hands with gold on an equality, and in a few days
thereafter will be worth just a little bit more.  Everything has
resumed, except the Government.  All the property has resumed, all
the lands, bonds and mortgages and stocks.  All these things resumed
long ago--that is to say, they have touched the bottom.  Now, there
is no doubt that the party that insists on the Government paying
all its debts will hold control, and no one will get his hand on
the wheel who advocates repudiation in any form.  There is one
thing we must do, though.  We have got to put more silver in our
dollars.  I do not think you can blame the New York banks--any bank
--for refusing to take eighty-eight cents for a dollar.  Neither
can you blame any depositor who puts gold in the bank for demanding
gold in return.  Yes, we must have in the silver dollar a dollar's
worth of silver.

--_The Commercial_, Cincinnati, Ohio, November, 1878.


_Question_.  Colonel, what do you think of the course the Mayor
has pursued toward you in attempting to stop your lecture?

_Answer_.  I know very little except what I have seen in the morning
paper.  As a general rule, laws should be enforced or repealed;
and so far as I am personally concerned, I shall not so much complain
of the enforcing of the law against Sabbath breaking as of the fact
that such a law exists.  We have fallen heir to these laws.  They
were passed by superstition, and the enlightened people of to-day
should repeal them.  Ministers should not expect to fill their
churches by shutting up other places.  They can only increase their
congregations by improving their sermons.  They will have more
hearers when they say more worth hearing.  I have no idea that the
Mayor has any prejudice against me personally and if he only enforces
the law, I shall have none against him.  If my lectures were free
the ministers might have the right to object, but as I charge one
dollar admission and they nothing, they ought certainly be able to
compete with me.

_Question_.  Don't you think it is the duty of the Mayor, as chief
executive of the city laws, to enforce the ordinances and pay no
attention to what the statutes say?

_Answer_.  I suppose it to be the duty of the Mayor to enforce the
ordinance of the city and if the ordinance of the city covers the
same ground as the law of the State, a conviction under the ordinance
would be a bar to prosecution under the State law.

_Question_.  If the ordinance exempts scientific, literary and
historical lectures, as it is said it does, will not that exempt

_Answer_.  Yes, all my lectures are historical; that is, I speak
of many things that have happened.  They are scientific because
they are filled with facts, and they are literary of course.  I
can conceive of no address that is neither historical nor scientific,
except sermons.  They fail to be historical because they treat of
things that never happened and they are certainly not scientific,
as they contain no facts.

_Question_.  Suppose they arrest you what will you do?

_Answer_.  I will examine the law and if convicted will pay the
fine, unless I think I can reverse the case by appeal.  Of course
I would like to see all these foolish laws wiped from the statute
books.  I want the law so that everybody can do just as he pleases
on Sunday, provided he does not interfere with the rights of others.
I want the Christian, the Jew, the Deist and the Atheist to be
exactly equal before the law.  I would fight for the right of the
Christian to worship God in his own way just as quick as I would
for the Atheist to enjoy music, flowers and fields.  I hope to see
the time when even the poor people can hear the music of the finest
operas on Sunday.  One grand opera with all its thrilling tones,
will do more good in touching and elevating the world than ten
thousand sermons on the agonies of hell.

_Question_.  Have you ever been interfered with before in delivering
Sunday lectures?

_Answer_.  No, I postponed a lecture in Baltimore at the request
of the owners of a theatre because they were afraid some action
might be taken.  That is the only case.  I have delivered lectures
on Sunday in the principal cities of the United States, in New
York, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, San Francisco, Cincinnati and many
other places.  I lectured here last winter; it was on Sunday and
I heard nothing of its being contrary to law.  I always supposed
my lectures were good enough to be delivered on the most sacred

--_The Leader_, Pittsburg, Pa., October 27, 1879.

[* The manager of the theatre, where Col. Ingersoll lectured, was fined
fifty dollars which Col. Ingersoll paid.]


_Question_.  What do you think about the recent election, and what
will be its effect upon political matters and the issues and
candidates of 1880?

_Answer_.  I think the Republicans have met with this almost
universal success on account, first, of the position taken by the
Democracy on the currency question; that is to say, that party was
divided, and was willing to go in partnership with anybody, whatever
their doctrines might be, for the sake of success in that particular
locality.  The Republican party felt it of paramount importance
not only to pay the debt, but to pay it in that which the world
regards as money.  The next reason for the victory is the position
assumed by the Democracy in Congress during the called session.
The threats they then made of what they would do in the event that
the executive did not comply with their demands, showed that the
spirit of the party had not been chastened to any considerable
extent by the late war.  The people of this country will not, in
my judgment, allow the South to take charge of this country until
they show their ability to protect the rights of citizens in their
respective States.

_Question_.  Then, as you regard the victories, they are largely
due to a firm adherence to principle, and the failure of the
Democratic party is due to their abandonment of principle, and
their desire to unite with anybody and everything, at the sacrifice
of principle, to attain success?

_Answer_.  Yes.  The Democratic party is a general desire for office
without organization.  Most people are Democrats because they hate
something, most people are Republicans because they love something.

_Question_.  Do you think the election has brought about any
particular change in the issues that will be involved in the campaign
of 1880?

_Answer_.  I think the only issue is who shall rule the country.

_Question_.  Do you think, then, the question of State Rights, hard
or soft money and other questions that have been prominent in the
campaign are practically settled, and so regarded by the people?

_Answer_.  I think the money question is, absolutely.  I think the
question of State Rights is dead, except that it can still be used
to defeat the Democracy.  It is what might be called a convenient
political corpse.

_Question_.  Now, to leave the political field and go to the
religious at one jump--since your last visit here much has been
said and written and published to the effect that a great change,
or a considerable change at least, had taken place in your religious,
or irreligious views.  I would like to know if that is so?

_Answer_.  The only change that has occurred in my religious views
is the result of finding more and more arguments in favor of my
position, and, as a consequence, if there is any difference, I am
stronger in my convictions than ever before.

_Question_.  I would like to know something of the history of your
religious views?

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

_Question_.  It is reported that you are the son of a Presbyterian

_Answer_.  Yes, I am the son of a New School Presbyterian minister.

_Question_.  About what age were you when you began this investigation
which led to your present convictions?

_Answer_.  I cannot remember when I believed the Bible doctrine of
eternal punishment.  I have a dim recollection of hating Jehovah
when I was exceedingly small.

_Question_.  Then your present convictions began to form themselves
while you were listening to the teachings of religion as taught by
your father?

_Answer_.  Yes, they did.

_Question_.  Did you discuss the matter with him?

_Answer_.  I did for many years, and before he died he utterly gave
up the idea that this life is a period of probation.  He utterly
gave up the idea of eternal punishment, and before he died he had
the happiness of believing that God was almost as good and generous
as he was himself.

_Question_.  I suppose this gossip about a change in your religious
views arose or was created by the expression used at your brother's
funeral, "In the night of death hope sees a star and listening love
can hear the rustle of a wing"?

_Answer_.  I never willingly will destroy a solitary human hope.
I have always said that I did not know whether man was or was not
immortal, but years before my brother died, in a lecture entitled
"The Ghosts," which has since been published, I used the following
words:  "The idea of immortality, that like a sea has ebbed and
flowed in the human heart, with its countless waves of hope and
fear, beating against the shores and rocks of time and fate, was
not born of any book, nor of any creed, nor of any religion.  It
was born of human affection, and it will continue to ebb and flow
beneath the mists and clouds of doubt and darkness as long as love
kisses the lips of death.  It is the rainbow--Hope, shining upon
the tears of grief."

_Question_.  The great objection to your teaching urged by your
enemies is that you constantly tear down, and never build up?

_Answer_.  I have just published a little book entitled, "Some
Mistakes of Moses," in which I have endeavored to give most of the
arguments I have urged against the Pentateuch in a lecture I
delivered under that title.  The motto on the title page is, "A
destroyer of weeds, thistles and thorns is a benefactor, whether
he soweth grain or not."  I cannot for my life see why one should
be charged with tearing down and not rebuilding simply because he
exposes a sham, or detects a lie.  I do not feel under any obligation
to build something in the place of a detected falsehood.  All I
think I am under obligation to put in the place of a detected lie
is the detection.  Most religionists talk as if mistakes were
valuable things and they did not wish to part with them without a
consideration.  Just how much they regard lies worth a dozen I do
not know.  If the price is reasonable I am perfectly willing to
give it, rather than to see them live and give their lives to the
defence of delusions.  I am firmly convinced that to be happy here
will not in the least detract from our happiness in another world
should we be so fortunate as to reach another world; and I cannot
see the value of any philosophy that reaches beyond the intelligent
happiness of the present.  There may be a God who will make us
happy in another world.  If he does, it will be more than he has
accomplished in this.  I suppose that he will never have more than
infinite power and never have less than infinite wisdom, and why
people should expect that he should do better in another world than
he has in this is something that I have never been able to explain.
A being who has the power to prevent it and yet who allows thousands
and millions of his children to starve; who devours them with
earthquakes; who allows whole nations to be enslaved, cannot in my
judgment be implicitly be depended upon to do justice in another

_Question_.  How do the clergy generally treat you?

_Answer_.  Well, of course there are the same distinctions among
clergymen as among other people.  Some of them are quite respectable
gentlemen, especially those with whom I am not acquainted.  I think
that since the loss of my brother nothing could exceed the
heartlessness of the remarks made by the average clergyman.  There
have been some noble exceptions, to whom I feel not only thankful
but grateful; but a very large majority have taken this occasion
to say most unfeeling and brutal things.  I do not ask the clergy
to forgive me, but I do request that they will so act that I will
not have to forgive them.  I have always insisted that those who
love their enemies should at least tell the truth about their
friends, but I suppose, after all, that religion must be supported
by the same means as those by which it was founded.  Of course,
there are thousands of good ministers, men who are endeavoring to
make the world better, and whose failure is no particular fault of
their own.  I have always been in doubt as to whether the clergy
were a necessary or an unnecessary evil.

_Question_.  I would like to have a positive expression of your
views as to a future state?

_Answer_.  Somebody asked Confucius about another world, and his
reply was:  "How should I know anything about another world when
I know so little of this?"  For my part, I know nothing of any
other state of existence, either before or after this, and I have
never become personally acquainted with anybody that did.  There
may be another life, and if there is, the best way to prepare for
it is by making somebody happy in this.  God certainly cannot afford
to put a man in hell who has made a little heaven in this world.
I propose simply to take my chances with the rest of the folks,
and prepare to go where the people I am best acquainted with will
probably settle.  I cannot afford to leave the great ship and sneak
off to shore in some orthodox canoe.  I hope there is another life,
for I would like to see how things come out in the world when I am
dead.  There are some people I would like to see again, and hope
there are some who would not object to seeing me; but if there is
no other life I shall never know it.  I do not remember a time when
I did not exist; and if, when I die, that is the end, I shall not
know it, because the last thing I shall know is that I am alive,
and if nothing is left, nothing will be left to know that I am
dead; so that so far as I am concerned I am immortal; that is to
say, I cannot recollect when I did not exist, and there never will
be a time when I shall remember that I do not exist.  I would like
to have several millions of dollars, and I may say that I have a
lively hope that some day I may be rich, but to tell you the truth
I have very little evidence of it.  Our hope of immortality does
not come from any religion, but nearly all religions come from that
hope.  The Old Testament, instead of telling us that we are immortal,
tells us how we lost immortality.  You will recollect that if Adam
and Eve could have gotten to the Tree of Life, they would have
eaten of its fruit and would have lived forever; but for the purpose
of preventing immortality God turned them out of the Garden of
Eden, and put certain angels with swords or sabres at the gate to
keep them from getting back.  The Old Testament proves, if it proves
anything--which I do not think it does--that there is no life after
this; and the New Testament is not very specific on the subject.
There were a great many opportunities for the Saviour and his
apostles to tell us about another world, but they did not improve
them to any great extent; and the only evidence, so far as I know,
about another life is, first, that we have no evidence; and,
secondly, that we are rather sorry that we have not, and wish we
had.  That is about my position.

_Question_.  According to your observation of men, and your reading
in relation to the men and women of the world and of the church,
if there is another world divided according to orthodox principles
between the orthodox and heterodox, which of the two that are known
as heaven and hell would contain, in your judgment, the most good

_Answer_.  Since hanging has got to be a means of grace, I would
prefer hell.  I had a thousand times rather associate with the
Pagan philosophers than with the inquisitors of the Middle Ages.
I certainly should prefer the worst man in Greek or Roman history
to John Calvin; and I can imagine no man in the world that I would
not rather sit on the same bench with than the Puritan fathers and
the founders of orthodox churches.  I would trade off my harp any
minute for a seat in the other country.  All the poets will be in
perdition, and the greatest thinkers, and, I should think, most of
the women whose society would tend to increase the happiness of
man; nearly all the painters, nearly all the sculptors, nearly all
the writers of plays, nearly all the great actors, most of the best
musicians, and nearly all the good fellows--the persons who know
stories, who can sing songs, or who will loan a friend a dollar.
They will mostly all be in that country, and if I did not live
there permanently, I certainly would want it so I could spend my
winter months there.  But, after all, what I really want to do is
to destroy the idea of eternal punishment.  That doctrine subverts
all ideas of justice.  That doctrine fills hell with honest men,
and heaven with intellectual and moral paupers.  That doctrine
allows people to sin on credit.  That doctrine allows the basest
to be eternally happy and the most honorable to suffer eternal
pain.  I think of all doctrines it is the most infinitely infamous,
and would disgrace the lowest savage; and any man who believes it,
and has imagination enough to understand it, has the heart of a
serpent and the conscience of a hyena.

_Question_.  Your objective point is to destroy the doctrine of
hell, is it?

_Answer_.  Yes, because the destruction of that doctrine will do
away with all cant and all pretence.  It will do away with all
religious bigotry and persecution.  It will allow every man to
think and to express his thought.  It will do away with bigotry in
all its slimy and offensive forms.

--_Chicago Tribune_, November 14, 1879.


_Question_.  Some people have made comparisons between the late
Senators O. P. Morton and Zach. Chandler.  What did you think of
them, Colonel?

_Answer_.  I think Morton had the best intellectual grasp of a
question of any man I ever saw.  There was an infinite difference
between the two men.  Morton's strength lay in proving a thing;
Chandler's in asserting it.  But Chandler was a strong man and no

_Question_.  Have you any objection to being interviewed as to your
ideas of Grant, and his position before the people?

_Answer_.  I have no reason for withholding my views on that or
any other subject that is under public discussion.  My idea is that
Grant can afford to regard the presidency as a broken toy.  It
would add nothing to his fame if he were again elected, and would
add nothing to the debt of gratitude which the people feel they
owe him.  I do not think he will be a candidate.  I do not think
he wants it.  There are men who are pushing him on their own account.
Grant was a great soldier.  He won the respect of the civilized
world.  He commanded the largest army that ever fought for freedom,
and to make him President would not add a solitary leaf to the
wreath of fame already on his brow; and should he be elected, the
only thing he could do would be to keep the old wreath from fading.

I do not think his reputation can ever be as great in any direction
as in the direction of war.  He has made his reputation and has
lived his great life.  I regard him, confessedly, as the best
soldier the Anglo-Saxon blood has produced.  I do not know that it
necessarily follows because he is a great soldier he is great in
other directions.  Probably some of the greatest statesmen in the
world would have been the worst soldiers.

_Question_.  Do you regard him as more popular now than ever before?

_Answer_.  I think that his reputation is certainly greater and
higher than when he left the presidency, and mainly because he has
represented this country with so much discretion and with such
quiet, poised dignity all around the world.  He has measured himself
with kings, and was able to look over the heads of every one of
them.  They were not quite as tall as he was, even adding the crown
to their original height.  I think he represented us abroad with
wonderful success.  One thing that touched me very much was, that
at a reception given him by the workingmen of Birmingham, after he
had been received by royalty, he had the courage to say that that
reception gave him more pleasure than any other.  He has been
throughout perfectly true to the genius of our institutions, and
has not upon any occasion exhibited the slightest toadyism.  Grant
is a man who is not greatly affected by either flattery or abuse.

_Question_.  What do you believe to be his position in regard to
the presidency?

_Answer_.  My own judgment is that he does not care.  I do not
think he has any enemies to punish, and I think that while he was
President he certainly rewarded most of his friends.

_Question_.  What are your views as to a third term?

_Answer_.  I have no objection to a third term on principle, but
so many men want the presidency that it seems almost cruel to give
a third term to anyone.

_Question_.  Then, if there is no objection to a third term, what
about a fourth?

_Answer_.  I do not know that that could be objected to, either.
We have to admit, after all, that the American people, or at least
a majority of them, have a right to elect one man as often as they
please.  Personally, I think it should not be done unless in the
case of a man who is prominent above the rest of his fellow-citizens,
and whose election appears absolutely necessary.  But I frankly
confess I cannot conceive of any political situation where one man
is a necessity.  I do not believe in the one-man-on-horseback idea,
because I believe in all the people being on horseback.

_Question_.  What will be the effect of the enthusiastic receptions
that are being given to General Grant?

_Answer_.  I think these ovations show that the people are resolved
not to lose the results of the great victories of the war, and that
they make known this determination by their attention to General
Grant.  I think that if he goes through the principal cities of
this country the old spirit will be revived everywhere, and whether
it makes him President or not the result will be to make the election
go Republican.  The revival of the memories of the war will bring
the people of the North together as closely as at any time since
that great conflict closed, not in the spirit of hatred, or malice
or envy, but in generous emulation to preserve that which was fairly
won.  I do not think there is any hatred about it, but we are
beginning to see that we must save the South ourselves, and that
that is the only way we can save the nation.

_Question_.  But suppose they give the same receptions in the South?

_Answer_.  So much the better.

_Question_.  Is there any split in the solid South?

_Answer_.  Some of the very best people in the South are apparently
disgusted with following the Democracy any longer, and would hail
with delight any opportunity they could reasonably take advantage
of to leave the organization, if they could do so without making
it appear that they were going back on Southern interests, and this
opportunity will come when the South becomes enlightened, and sees
that it has no interests except in common with the whole country.
That I think they are beginning to see.

_Question_.  How do you like the administration of President Hayes?

_Answer_.  I think its attitude has greatly improved of late.
There are certain games of cards--pedro, for instance, where you
can not only fail to make something, but be set back.  I think that
Hayes's veto messages very nearly got him back to the commencement
of the game--that he is now almost ready to commence counting, and
make some points.  His position before the country has greatly
improved, but he will not develop into a dark horse.  My preference
is, of course, still for Blaine.

_Question_.  Where do you think it is necessary the Republican
candidate should come from to insure success?

_Answer_.  Somewhere out of Ohio.  I think it will go to Maine,
and for this reason:  First of all, Blaine is certainly a competent
man of affairs, a man who knows what to do at the time; and then
he has acted in such a chivalric way ever since the convention at
Cincinnati, that those who opposed him most bitterly, now have for
him nothing but admiration.  I think John Sherman is a man of
decided ability, but I do not believe the American people would
make one brother President, while the other is General of the Army.
It would be giving too much power to one family.

_Question_.  What are your conclusions as to the future of the
Democratic party?

_Answer_.  I think the Democratic party ought to disband.  I think
they would be a great deal stronger disbanded, because they would
get rid of their reputation without decreasing.

_Question_.  But if they will not disband?

_Answer_.  Then the next campaign depends undoubtedly upon New York
and Indiana.  I do not see how they can very well help nominating
a man from Indiana, and by that I mean Hendricks.  You see the
South has one hundred and thirty-eight votes, all supposed to be
Democratic; with the thirty-five from New York and fifteen from
Indiana they would have just three to spare.  Now, I take it, that
the fifteen from Indiana are just about as essential as the thirty-
five from New York.  To lack fifteen votes is nearly as bad as
being thirty-five short, and so far as drawing salary is concerned
it is quite as bad.  Mr. Hendricks ought to know that he holds the
key to Indiana, and that there cannot be any possibility of carrying
this State for Democracy without him.  He has tried running for
the vice-presidency, which is not much of a place anyhow--I would
about as soon be vice-mother-in-law--and my judgment is that he
knows exactly the value of his geographical position.  New York is
divided to that degree that it would be unsafe to take a candidate
from that State; and besides, New York has become famous for
furnishing defeated candidates for the Democracy.  I think the man
must come from Indiana.

_Question_.  Would the Democracy of New York unite on Seymour?

_Answer_.  You recollect what Lincoln said about the powder that
had been shot off once.  I do not remember any man who has once
made a race for the presidency and been defeated ever being again

_Question_.  What about Bayard and Hancock as candidates?

_Answer_.  I do not see how Bayard could possibly carry Indiana,
while his own State is too small and too solidly Democratic.  My
idea of Bayard is that he has not been good enough to be popular,
and not bad enough to be famous.  The American people will never
elect a President from a State with a whipping-post.  As to General
Hancock, you may set it down as certain that the South will never
lend their aid to elect a man who helped to put down the Rebellion.
It would be just the same as the effort to elect Greeley.  It cannot
be done.  I see, by the way, that I am reported as having said that
David Davis, as the Democratic candidate, could carry Illinois.
I did say that in 1876, he could have carried it against Hayes;
but whether he could carry Illinois in 1880 would depend altogether
upon who runs against him.  The condition of things has changed
greatly in our favor since 1876.

--_The Journal_, Indianapolis, Ind., November, 1879.


_Question_.  You have traveled about this State more or less,
lately, and have, of course, observed political affairs here.  Do
you think that Senator Logan will be able to deliver this State to
the Grant movement according to the understood plan?

_Answer_.  If the State is really for Grant, he will, and if it is
not, he will not.  Illinois is as little "owned" as any State in
this Union.  Illinois would naturally be for Grant, other things
being equal, because he is regarded as a citizen of this State,
and it is very hard for a State to give up the patronage naturally
growing out of the fact that the President comes from that State.

_Question_.  Will the instructions given to delegates be final?

_Answer_.  I do not think they will be considered final at all;
neither do I think they will be considered of any force.  It was
decided at the last convention, in Cincinnati, that the delegates
had a right to vote as they pleased; that each delegate represented
the district of the State that sent him.  The idea that a State
convention can instruct them as against the wishes of their
constituents smacks a little too much of State sovereignty.  The
President should be nominated by the districts of the whole country,
and not by massing the votes by a little chicanery at a State
convention, and every delegate ought to vote what he really believes
to be the sentiment of his constituents, irrespective of what the
State convention may order him to do.  He is not responsible to
the State convention, and it is none of the State convention's
business.  This does not apply, it may be, to the delegates at
large, but to all the others it certainly must apply.  It was so
decided at the Cincinnati convention, and decided on a question
arising about this same Pennsylvania delegation.

_Question_.  Can you guess as to what the platform in going to

_Answer_.  I suppose it will be a substantial copy of the old one.
I am satisfied with the old one with one addition.  I want a plank
to the effect that no man shall be deprived of any civil or political
right on account of his religious or irreligious opinions.  The
Republican party having been foremost in freeing the body ought to
do just a little something now for the mind.  After having wasted
rivers of blood and treasure uncounted, and almost uncountable, to
free the cage, I propose that something ought to be done for the
bird.  Every decent man in the United States would support that
plank.  People should have a right to testify in courts, whatever
their opinions may be, on any subject.  Justice should not shut
any door leading to truth, and as long as just views neither affect
a man's eyesight or his memory, he should be allowed to tell his
story.  And there are two sides to this question, too.  The man is
not only deprived of his testimony, but the commonwealth is deprived
of it.  There should be no religious test in this country for
office; and if Jehovah cannot support his religion without going
into partnership with a State Legislature, I think he ought to give
it up.

_Question_.  Is there anything new about religion since you were
last here?

_Answer_.  Since I was here I have spoken in a great many cities,
and to-morrow I am going to do some missionary work at Milwaukee.
Many who have come to scoff have remained to pray, and I think that
my labors are being greatly blessed, and all attacks on me so far
have been overruled for good.  I happened to come in contact with
a revival of religion, and I believe what they call an "outpouring"
at Detroit, under the leadership of a gentleman by the name of
Pentecost.  He denounced me as God's greatest enemy.  I had always
supposed that the Devil occupied that exalted position, but it
seems that I have, in some way, fallen heir to his shoes.  Mr.
Pentecost also denounced all business men who would allow any
advertisements or lithographs of mine to hang in their places of
business, and several of these gentlemen thus appealed to took the
advertisements away.  The result of all this was that I had the
largest house that ever attended a lecture in Detroit.  Feeling
that ingratitude is a crime, I publicly returned thanks to the
clergy for the pains they had taken to give me an audience.  And
I may say, in this connection, that if the ministers do God as
little good as they do me harm, they had better let both of us
alone.  I regard them as very good, but exceedingly mistaken men.
They do not come much in contact with the world, and get most of
their views by talking with the women and children of their
congregations.  They are not permitted to mingle freely with society.
They cannot attend plays nor hear operas.  I believe some of them
have ventured to minstrel shows and menageries, where they confine
themselves strictly to the animal part of the entertainment.  But,
as a rule, they have very few opportunities of ascertaining what
the real public opinion is.  They read religious papers, edited by
gentlemen who know as little about the world as themselves, and
the result of all this is that they are rather behind the times.
They are good men, and would like to do right if they only knew
it, but they are a little behind the times.  There is an old story
told of a fellow who had a post-office in a small town in North
Carolina, and he being the only man in the town who could read, a
few people used to gather in the post-office on Sunday, and he
would read to them a weekly paper that was published in Washington.
He commenced always at the top of the first column and read right
straight through, articles, advertisements, and all, and whenever
they got a little tired of reading he would make a mark of red
ochre and commence at that place the next Sunday.  The result was
that the papers came a great deal faster than he read them, and it
was about 1817 when they struck the war of 1812.  The moment they
got to that, every one of them jumped up and offered to volunteer.
All of which shows that they were patriotic people, but a little
show, and somewhat behind the times.

_Question_.  How were you pleased with the Paine meeting here, and
its results?

_Answer_.  I was gratified to see so many people willing at last
to do justice to a great and a maligned man.  Of course I do not
claim that Paine was perfect.  All I claim is that he was a patriot
and a political philosopher; that he was a revolutionist and an
agitator; that he was infinitely full of suggestive thought, and
that he did more than any man to convince the people of American
not only that they ought to separate from Great Britain, but that
they ought to found a representative government.  He has been
despised simply because he did not believe the Bible.  I wish to
do what I can to rescue his name from theological defamation.  I
think the day has come when Thomas Paine will be remembered with
Washington, Franklin and Jefferson, and that the American people
will wonder that their fathers could have been guilty of such base

--_Chicago Times_, February 8, 1880.


_Question_.  Have you read the replies of the clergy to your recent
lecture in this city on "What Must we do to be Saved?" and if so
what do you think of them?

_Answer_.  I think they dodge the point.  The real point is this:
If salvation by faith is the real doctrine of Christianity, I asked
on Sunday before last, and I still ask, why didn't Matthew tell
it?  I still insist that Mark should have remembered it, and I
shall always believe that Luke ought, at least, to have noticed
it.  I was endeavoring to show that modern Christianity has for
its basis an interpolation.  I think I showed it.  The only gospel
on the orthodox side is that of John, and that was certainly not
written, or did not appear in its present form, until long after
the others were written.

I know very well that the Catholic Church claimed during the Dark
Ages, and still claims, that references had been made to the gospels
by persons living in the first, second, and third centuries; but
I believe such manuscripts were manufactured by the Catholic Church.
For many years in Europe there was not one person in twenty thousand
who could read and write.  During that time the church had in its
keeping the literature of our world.  They interpolated as they
pleased.  They created.  They destroyed.  In other words, they did
whatever in their opinion was necessary to substantiate the faith.

The gentlemen who saw fit to reply did not answer the question,
and I again call upon the clergy to explain to the people why, if
salvation depends upon belief on the Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew
didn't mention it.  Some one has said that Christ didn't make known
this doctrine of salvation by belief or faith until after his
resurrection.  Certainly none of the gospels were written until
after his resurrection; and if he made that doctrine known after
his resurrection, and before his ascension, it should have been
in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as well as in John.

The replies of the clergy show that they have not investigated the
subject; that they are not well acquainted with the New Testament.
In other words, they have not read it except with the regulation
theological bias.

There is one thing I wish to correct here.  In an editorial in the
_Tribune_ it was stated that I had admitted that Christ was beyond
and above Buddha, Zoroaster, Confucius, and others.  I did not say
so.  Another point was made against me, and those who made it seemed
to think it was a good one.  In my lecture I asked why it was that
the disciples of Christ wrote in Greek, whereas, if fact, they
understood only Hebrew.  It is now claimed that Greek was the
language of Jerusalem at that time; that Hebrew had fallen into
disuse; that no one understood it except the literati and the highly
educated.  If I fell into an error upon this point it was because
I relied upon the New Testament.  I find in the twenty-first chapter
of the Acts an account of Paul having been mobbed in the city of
Jerusalem; that he was protected by a chief captain and some
soldiers; that, while upon the stairs of the castle to which he
was being taken for protection, he obtained leave from the captain
to speak unto the people.  In the fortieth verse of that chapter
I find the following:

"And when he had given him license, Paul stood on the stairs and
beckoned with the hand unto the people.  And when there was made
a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying,"

And then follows the speech of Paul, wherein he gives an account of
his conversion.  It seems a little curious to me that Paul, for
the purpose of quieting a mob, would speak to that mob in an unknown
language.  If I were mobbed in the city of Chicago, and wished to
defend myself with an explanation, I certainly would not make that
explanation in Choctaw, even if I understood that tongue.  My
present opinion is that I would speak in English; and the reason
I would speak in English is because that language is generally
understood in this city, and so I conclude from the account in the
twenty-first chapter of the Acts that Hebrew was the language of
Jerusalem at that time, or Paul would not have addressed the mob
in that tongue.

_Question_.  Did you read Mr. Courtney's answer?

_Answer_.  I read what Mr. Courtney read from others, and think
some of his quotations very good; and have no doubt that the authors
will feel complimented by being quoted.  There certainly is no need
of my answering Dr. Courtney; sometime I may answer the French
gentlemen from whom he quoted.

_Question_.  But what about there being "belief" in Matthew?

_Answer_.  Mr. Courtney says that certain people were cured of
diseases on account of faith.  Admitting that mumps, measles, and
whooping-cough could be cured in that way, there is not even a
suggestion that salvation depended upon a like faith.  I think he
can hardly afford to rely upon the miracles of the New Testament
to prove his doctrine.  There is one instance in which a miracle
was performed by Christ without his knowledge; and I hardly think
that even Mr. Courtney would insist that any faith could have been
great enough for that.  The fact is, I believe that all these
miracles were ascribed to Christ long after his death, and that
Christ never, at any time or place, pretended to have any supernatural
power whatever.  Neither do I believe that he claimed any supernatural
origin.  He claimed simply to be a man; no less, no more.  I do
not believe Mr. Courtney is satisfied with his own reply.

_Question_.  And now as to Prof. Swing?

_Answer_.  Mr. Swing has been out of the orthodox church so long
that he seems to have forgotten the reasons for which he left it.
I do not believe there is an orthodox minister in the city of
Chicago who will agree with Mr. Swing that salvation by faith is
no longer preached.  Prof. Swing seems to think it of no importance
who wrote the gospel of Matthew.  In this I agree with him.  Judging
from what he said there is hardly difference enough of opinion
between us to justify a reply on his part.  He, however, makes one
mistake.  I did not in the lecture say one word about tearing down
churches.  I have no objection to people building all the churches
they wish.  While I admit it is a pretty sight to see children on
a morning in June going through the fields to the country church,
I still insist that the beauty of that sight does not answer the
question how it is that Matthew forgot to say anything about
salvation through Christ.  Prof. Swing is a man of poetic temperament,
but this is not a poetic question.

_Question_.  How did the card of Dr. Thomas strike you?

_Answer_.  I think the reply of Dr. Thomas is in the best possible
spirit.  I regard him to-day as the best intellect in the Methodist
denomination.  He seems to have what is generally understood as a
Christian spirit.  He has always treated me with perfect fairness,
and I should have said long ago many grateful things, had I not
feared I might hurt him with his own people.  He seems to be by
nature a perfectly fair man; and I know of no man in the United
States for whom I have a profounder respect.  Of course, I don't
agree with Dr. Thomas.  I think in many things he is mistaken.
But I believe him to be perfectly sincere.  There is one trouble
about him--he is growing; and this fact will no doubt give great
trouble to many of his brethren.  Certain Methodist hazel-brush
feel a little uneasy in the shadow of this oak.  To see the difference
between him and some others, all that is necessary is to read his
reply, and then read the remarks made at the Methodist ministers'
meeting on the Monday following.  Compared with Dr. Thomas, they
are as puddles by the sea.  There is the same difference that there
is between sewers and rivers, cesspools and springs.

_Question_.  What have you to say to the remarks of the Rev. Dr.
Jewett before the Methodist ministers' meeting?

_Answer_.  I think Dr. Jewett is extremely foolish.  I did not say
that I would commence suit against a minister for libel.  I can
hardly conceive of a proceeding that would be less liable to produce
a dividend.  The fact about it is, that the Rev. Mr. Jewett seems
to think anything true that he hears against me.  Mr. Jewett is
probably ashamed of what he said by this time.  He must have known
it to be entirely false.  It seems to me by this time even the most
bigoted should lose their confidence in falsehood.  Of course there
are times when a falsehood well told bridges over quite a difficulty,
but in the long run you had better tell the truth, even if you swim
the creek.  I am astonished that these ministers were willing to
exhibit their wounds to the world.  I supposed of course I would
hit some, but I had no idea of wounding so many.

_Question_.  Mr. Crafts stated that you were in the habit of swearing
in company and before your family?

_Answer_.  I often swear.  In other words, I take the name of God
in vain; that is to say, I take it without any practical thing
resulting from it, and in that sense I think most ministers are
guilty of the same thing.  I heard an old story of a clergyman who
rebuked a neighbor for swearing, to whom the neighbor replied, "You
pray and I swear, but as a matter of fact neither of us means
anything by it."  As to the charge that I am in the habit of using
indecent language in my family, no reply is needed.  I am willing
to leave that question to the people who know us both.  Mr. Crafts
says he was told this by a lady.  This cannot by any possibility
be true, for no lady will tell a falsehood.  Besides, if this woman
of whom he speaks was a lady, how did she happen to stay where
obscene language was being used?  No lady ever told Mr. Crafts any
such thing.  It may be that a lady did tell him that I used profane
language.  I admit that I have not always spoken of the Devil in
a respectful way; that I have sometimes referred to his residence
when it was not a necessary part of the conversation, and that a
divers times I have used a good deal of the terminology of the
theologian when the exact words of the scientist might have done
as well.  But if by swearing is meant the use of God's name in
vain, there are very few preachers who do not swear more than I
do, if by "in vain" is meant without any practical result.  I leave
Mr. Crafts to cultivate the acquaintance of the unknown lady,
knowing as I do, that after they have talked this matter over again
they will find that both have been mistaken.

I sincerely regret that clergymen who really believe that an infinite
God is on their side think it necessary to resort to such things
to defeat one man.  According to their idea, God is against me,
and they ought to have confidence in this infinite wisdom and
strength to suppose that he could dispose of one man, even if they
failed to say a word against me.  Had you not asked me I should
have said nothing to you on these topics.  Such charges cannot hurt
me.  I do not believe it possible for such men to injure me.  No
one believes what they say, and the testimony of such clergymen
against an Infidel is no longer considered of value.  I believe it
was Goethe who said, "I always know that I am traveling when I hear
the dogs bark."

_Question_.  Are you going to make a formal reply to their sermons?

_Answer_.  Not unless something better is done than has been.  Of
course, I don't know what another Sabbath may bring forth.  I am
waiting.  But of one thing I feel perfectly assured; that no man
in the United States, or in the world, can account for the fact,
if we are to be saved only by faith in Christ, that Matthew forgot
it, that Luke said nothing about it, and that Mark never mentioned
it except in two passages written by _another_ person.  Until that
is answered, as one grave-digger says to the other in "Hamlet," I
shall say, "Ay, tell me that and unyoke."  In the meantime I wish
to keep on the best terms with all parties concerned.  I cannot
see why my forgiving spirit fails to gain their sincere praise.

--_Chicago Tribune_, September 30, 1880.


_Question_.  Do you really think, Colonel, that the country has
just passed through a crisis?

_Answer_.  Yes; there was a crisis and a great one.  The question
was whether a Northern or Southern idea of the powers and duties
of the Federal Government was to prevail.  The great victory of
yesterday means that the Rebellion was not put down on the field
of war alone, but that we have conquered in the realm of thought.
The bayonet has been justified by argument.  No party can ever
succeed in this country that even whispers "State Sovereignty."
That doctrine has become odious.  The sovereignty of the State
means a Government without power, and citizens without protection.

_Question_.  Can you see any further significance in the present
Republican victory other than that the people do not wish to change
the general policy of the present administration?

_Answer_.  Yes; the people have concluded that the lips of America
shall be free.  There never was free speech at the South, and there
never will be until the people of that section admit that the Nation
is superior to the State, and that all citizens have equal rights.
I know of hundreds who voted the Republican ticket because they
regarded the South as hostile to free speech.  The people were
satisfied with the financial policy of the Republicans, and they
feared a change.  The North wants honest money--gold and silver.
The people are in favor of honest votes, and they feared the
practices of the Democratic party.  The tissue ballot and shotgun
policy made them hesitate to put power in the hands of the South.
Besides, the tariff question made thousands and thousands of votes.
As long as Europe has slave labor, and wherever kings and priests
rule, the laborer will be substantially a slave.  We must protect
ourselves.  If the world were free, trade would be free, and the
seas would be the free highways of the world.  The great objects
of the Republican party are to preserve all the liberty we have,
protect American labor, and to make it the undisputed duty of the
Government to protect every citizen at home and abroad.

_Question_.  What do you think was the main cause of the Republican

_Answer_.  The wisdom of the Republicans and the mistakes of the
Democrats.  The Democratic party has for twenty years underrated
the intelligence, the patriotism and the honesty of the American
people.  That party has always looked upon politics as a trade,
and success as the last act of a cunning trick.  It has had no
principles, fixed or otherwise.  It has always been willing to
abandon everything but its prejudices.  It generally commences
where it left off and then goes backward.  In this campaign English
was a mistake, Hancock was another.  Nothing could have been more
incongruous than yoking a Federal soldier with a peace-at-any-price
Democrat.  Neither could praise the other without slandering himself,
and the blindest partisan could not like them both.  But, after
all, I regard the military record of English as fully equal to the
views of General Hancock on the tariff.  The greatest mistake that
the Democratic party made was to suppose that a campaign could be
fought and won by slander.  The American people like fair play and
they abhor ignorant and absurd vituperation.  The continent knew
that General Garfield was an honest man; that he was in the grandest
sense a gentleman; that he was patriotic, profound and learned;
that his private life was pure; that his home life was good and
kind and true, and all the charges made and howled and screeched
and printed and sworn to harmed only those who did the making and
the howling, the screeching and the swearing.  I never knew a man
in whose perfect integrity I had more perfect confidence, and in
less than one year even the men who have slandered him will agree
with me.

_Question_.  How about that "personal and confidential letter"?
(The Morey letter.)

_Answer_.  It was as stupid, as devilish, as basely born as
godfathered.  It is an exploded forgery, and the explosion leaves
dead and torn upon the field the author and his witnesses.

_Question_.  Is there anything in the charge that the Republican
party seeks to change our form of government by gradual centralization?

_Answer_.  Nothing whatever.  We want power enough in the Government
to protect, not to destroy, the liberties of the people.  The
history of the world shows that burglars have always opposed an
increase of the police.

--_New York Herald_, November 5, 1880.


[* The sensation created by the speech of the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher
at the Academy of Music, in Brooklyn, when he uttered a brilliant eulogy
of Col. Robert Ingersoll and publicly shook hands with him has not yet
subsided.  A portion of the religious world is thoroughly stirred up at
what it considers a gross breach of orthodox propriety.  This feeling
is especially strong among the class of positivists who believe that

  "An Atheist's laugh's a poor exchange
   For Deity offended."

Many believe that Mr. Beecher is at heart in full sympathy and
accord with Ingersoll's teachings, but has not courage enough to
say so at the sacrifice of his pastoral position.  The fact that
these two men are the very head and front of their respective
schools of thought makes the matter an important one.  The denouncement
of the doctrine of eternal punishment, followed by the scene at
the Academy, has about it an aroma of suggestiveness that might
work much harm without an explanation.  Since Colonel Ingersoll's
recent attack upon the _personnel_ of the clergy through the "Shorter
Catechism" the pulpit has been remarkably silent regarding the
great atheist.  "Is the keen logic and broad humanity of Ingersoll
converting the brain and heart of Christendom?" was recently asked.
Did the hand that was stretched out to him on the stage of the
Academy reach across the chasm which separates orthodoxy from

Desiring to answer the last question if possible, a _Herald_ reporter
visited Mr. Beecher and Colonel Ingersoll to learn their opinion
of each other.  Neither of the gentlemen was aware that the other
was being interviewed.]

_Question_.  What is your opinion of Mr. Beecher?

_Answer_.  I regard him as the greatest man in any pulpit of the
world.  He treated me with a generosity that nothing can exceed.
He rose grandly above the prejudices supposed to belong to his
class, and acted as only a man could act without a chain upon his
brain and only kindness in his heart.

I told him that night that I congratulated the world that it had
a minister with an intellectual horizon broad enough and a mental
sky studded with stars of genius enough to hold all creeds in scorn
that shocked the heart of man.  I think that Mr. Beecher has
liberalized the English-speaking people of the world.

I do not think he agrees with me.  He holds to many things that I
most passionately deny.  But in common, we believe in the liberty
of thought.

My principal objections to orthodox religion are two--slavery here
and hell hereafter.  I do not believe that Mr. Beecher on these
points can disagree with me.  The real difference between us is--
he says God, I say Nature.  The real agreement between us is--we
both say--Liberty.

_Question_.  What is his forte?

_Answer_.  He is of a wonderfully poetic temperament.  In pursuing
any course of thought his mind is like a stream flowing through
the scenery of fairyland.  The stream murmurs and laughs while the
banks grow green and the vines blossom.

His brain is controlled by his heart.  He thinks in pictures.  With
him logic means mental melody.  The discordant is the absurd.

For years he has endeavored to hide the dungeon of orthodoxy with
the ivy of imagination.  Now and then he pulls for a moment the
leafy curtain aside and is horrified to see the lizards, snakes,
basilisks and abnormal monsters of the orthodox age, and then he
utters a great cry, the protest of a loving, throbbing heart.

He is a great thinker, a marvelous orator, and, in my judgment,
greater and grander than any creed of any church.

Besides all this, he treated me like a king.  Manhood is his forte,
and I expect to live and die his friend.


_Question_.  What is your opinion of Colonel Ingersoll?

_Answer_.  I do not think there should be any misconception as to
my motive for indorsing Mr. Ingersoll.  I never saw him before that
night, when I clasped his hand in the presence of an assemblage of
citizens.  Yet I regard him as one of the greatest men of this age.

_Question_.  Is his influence upon the world good or otherwise?

_Answer_.  I am an ordained clergyman and believe in revealed
religion.  I am, therefore, bound to regard all persons who do not
believe in revealed religion as in error.  But on the broad platform
of human liberty and progress I was bound to give him the right
hand of fellowship.  I would do it a thousand times over.  I do
not know Colonel Ingersoll's religious views precisely, but I have
a general knowledge of them.  He has the same right to free thought
and free speech that I have.  I am not that kind of a coward who
has to kick a man before he shakes hands with him.  If I did so I
would have to kick the Methodists, Roman Catholics and all other
creeds.  I will not pitch into any man's religion as an excuse for
giving him my hand.  I admire Ingersoll because he is not afraid
to speak what he honestly thinks, and I am only sorry that he does
not think as I do.  I never heard so much brilliancy and pith put
into a two hour speech as I did on that night.  I wish my whole
congregation had been there to hear it.  I regret that there are
not more men like Ingersoll interested in the affairs of the nation.
I do not wish to be understood as indorsing skepticism in any form.

--_New York Herald_, November 7, 1880.


_Question_.  Is it true, as rumored, that you intend to leave
Washington and reside in New York?

_Answer_.  No, I expect to remain here for years to come, so far
as I can now see.  My present intention is certainly to stay here
during the coming winter.

_Question_.  Is this because you regard Washington as the pleasantest
and most advantageous city for a residence?

_Answer_.  Well, in the first place, I dislike to move.  In the
next place, the climate is good.  In the third place, the political
atmosphere has been growing better of late, and when you consider
that I avoid one dislike and reap the benefits of two likes, you
can see why I remain.

_Question_.  Do you think that the moral atmosphere will improve
with the political atmosphere?

_Answer_.  I would hate to say that this city is capable of any
improvement in the way of morality.  We have a great many churches,
a great many ministers, and, I believe, some retired chaplains, so
I take it that the moral tone of the place could hardly be bettered.
One majority in the Senate might help it.  Seriously, however, I
think that Washington has as high a standard of morality as any
city in the Union.  And it is one of the best towns in which to
loan money without collateral in the world.

_Question_.  Do you know this from experience?

_Answer_.  This I have been told [was the solemn answer.]

_Question_.  Do you think that the political features of the incoming
administration will differ from the present?

_Answer_.  Of course, I have no right to speak for General Garfield.
I believe his administration will be Republican, at the same time
perfectly kind, manly, and generous.  He is a man to harbor no
resentment.  He knows that it is the duty of statesmanship to remove
causes of irritation rather then punish the irritated.

_Question_.  Do I understand you to imply that there will be a
neutral policy, as it were, towards the South?

_Answer_.  No, I think that there will be nothing neutral about
it.  I think that the next administration will be one-sided--that
is, it will be on the right side.  I know of no better definition
for a compromise than to say it is a proceeding in which hypocrites
deceive each other.  I do not believe that the incoming administration
will be neutral in anything.  The American people do not like
neutrality.  They would rather a man were on the wrong side than
on neither.  And, in my judgment, there is no paper so utterly
unfair, malicious and devilish, as one that claims to be neutral.
No politician is as bitter as a neutral politician.  Neutrality is
generally used as a mask to hide unusual bitterness.  Sometimes it
hides what it is--nothing.  It always stands for hollowness of head
or bitterness of heart, sometimes for both.  My idea is--and that
is the only reason I have the right to express it--that General
Garfield believes in the platform adopted by the Republican party.
He believes in free speech, in honest money, in divorce of church
and state, and he believes in the protection of American citizens
by the Federal Government wherever the flag flies.  He believes
that the Federal Government is as much bound to protect the citizen
at home as abroad.  I believe he will do the very best he can to
carry these great ideas into execution and make them living realities
in the United States.  Personally, I have no hatred toward the
Southern people.  I have no hatred toward any class.  I hate tyranny,
no matter whether it is South or North; I hate hypocrisy, and I
hate above all things, the spirit of caste.  If the Southern people
could only see that they gained as great a victory in the Rebellion
as the North did, and some day they will see it, the whole question
would be settled.  The South has reaped a far greater benefit from
being defeated than the North has from being successful, and I
believe some day the South will be great enough to appreciate that
fact.  I have always insisted that to be beaten by the right is to
be a victor.  The Southern people must get over the idea that they
are insulted simply because they are out-voted, and they ought by
this time to know that the Republicans of the North, not only do
not wish them harm, but really wish them the utmost success.

_Question_.  But has the Republican party all the good and the
Democratic all the bad?

_Answer_.  No, I do not think that the Republican party has all
the good, nor do I pretend that the Democratic party has all the
bad; though I may say that each party comes pretty near it.  I
admit that there are thousands of really good fellows in the
Democratic party, and there are some pretty bad people in the
Republican party.  But I honestly believe that within the latter
are most of the progressive men of this country.  That party has
in it the elements of growth.  It is full of hope.  It anticipates.
The Democratic party remembers. It is always talking about the
past.  It is the possessor of a vast amount of political rubbish,
and I really believe it has outlived its usefulness.  I firmly
believe that your editor, Mr. Hutchings, could start a better
organization, if he would only turn his attention to it.  Just
think for a moment of the number you could get rid of by starting
a new party.  A hundred names will probably suggest themselves to
any intelligent Democrat, the loss of which would almost insure
success.  Some one has said that a tailor in Boston made a fortune
by advertising that he did not cut the breeches of Webster's statue.
A new party by advertising that certain men would not belong to
it, would have an advantage in the next race.

_Question_.  What, in your opinion, were the causes which led to
the Democratic defeat?

_Answer_.  I think the nomination of English was exceedingly
unfortunate.  Indiana, being an October State, the best man in that
State should have been nominated either for President or Vice-
President.  Personally, I know nothing of Mr. English, but I have
the right to say that he was exceedingly unpopular.  That was
mistake number one.  Mistake number two was putting a plank in the
platform insisting upon a tariff for revenue only.  That little
word "only" was one of the most frightful mistakes ever made by a
political party.  That little word "only" was a millstone around
the neck of the entire campaign.  The third mistake was Hancock's
definition of the tariff.  It was exceedingly unfortunate, exceedingly
laughable, and came just in the nick of time.  The fourth mistake
was the speech of Wade Hampton, I mean the speech that the Republican
papers claim he made.  Of course I do not know, personally, whether
it was made or not.  If made, it was a great mistake.  Mistake
number five was made in Alabama, where they refused to allow a
Greenbacker to express his opinion.  That lost the Democrats enough
Greenbackers to turn the scale in Maine, and enough in Indiana to
change that election.  Mistake number six was in the charges made
against General Garfield.  They were insisted upon, magnified and
multiplied until at last the whole thing assumed the proportions
of a malicious libel.  This was a great mistake, for the reason
that a number of Democrats in the United States had most heartily
and cordially indorsed General Garfield as a man of integrity and
great ability.  Such indorsements had been made by the leading
Democrats of the North and South, among them Governor Hendricks
and many others I might name.  Jere Black had also certified to
the integrity and intellectual grandeur of General Garfield, and
when afterward he certified to the exact contrary, the people
believed that it was a persecution.  The next mistake, number seven,
was the Chinese letter.  While it lost Garfield California, Nevada,
and probably New Jersey, it did him good in New York.  This letter
was the greatest mistake made, because a crime is greater than a
mistake.  These, in my judgment, are the principal mistakes made
by the Democratic party in the campaign.  Had McDonald been on the
ticket the result might have been different, or had the party united
on some man in New York, satisfactory to the factions, it might
have succeeded.  The truth, however, is that the North to-day is
Republican, and it may be that had the Democratic party made no
mistakes whatever the result would have been the same.  But that
mistakes were made is now perfectly evident to the blindest partisan.
If the ticket originally suggested, Seymour and McDonald, had been
nominated on an unobjectionable platform, the result might have
been different. One of the happiest days in my life was the day on
which the Cincinnati convention did not nominate Seymour and did
nominate English.  I regard General Hancock as a good soldier, but
not particularly qualified to act as President.  He has neither
the intellectual training nor the experience to qualify him for
that place.

_Question_.  You have doubtless heard of a new party, Colonel.
What is your idea in regard to it?

_Answer_.  I have heard two or three speak of a new party to be
called the National party, or National Union party, but whether
there is anything in such a movement I have no means of knowing.
Any party in opposition to the Republican, no matter what it may
be called, must win on a new issue, and that new issue will determine
the new party.  Parties cannot be made to order.  They must grow.
They are the natural offspring of national events.  They must embody
certain hopes, they must gratify, or promise to gratify, the feelings
of a vast number of people.  No man can make a party, and if a new
party springs into existence it will not be brought forth to gratify
the wishes of a few, but the wants of the many.  It has seemed to
me for years that the Democratic party carried too great a load in
the shape of record; that its autobiography was nearly killing it
all the time, and that if it could die just long enough to assume
another form at the resurrection, just long enough to leave a grave
stone to mark the end of its history, to get a cemetery back of
it, that it might hope for something like success.  In other words,
that there must be a funeral before there can be victory.  Most of
its leaders are worn out.  They have become so accustomed to defeat
that they take it as a matter of course; they expect it in the
beginning and seem unconsciously to work for it.  There must be
some new ideas, and this only can happen when the party as such
has been gathered to its fathers.  I do not think that the advice
of Senator Hill will be followed.  He is willing to kill the
Democratic party in the South if we will kill the Republican party
in the North.  This puts me in mind of what the rooster said to
the horse:  "Let us agree not to step on each other's feet."

_Question_.  Your views of the country's future and prospects must
naturally be rose colored?

_Answer_.  Of course, I look at things through Republican eyes and
may be prejudiced without knowing it.  But it really seems to me
that the future is full of great promise.  The South, after all,
is growing more prosperous.  It is producing more and more every
year, until in time it will become wealthy.  The West is growing
almost beyond the imagination of a speculator, and the Eastern and
Middle States are much more than holding their own.  We have now
fifty millions of people and in a few years will have a hundred.
That we are a Nation I think is now settled.  Our growth will be
unparalleled.  I myself expect to live to see as many ships on the
Pacific as on the Atlantic.  In a few years there will probably be
ten millions of people living along the Rocky and Sierra Mountains.
It will not be long until Illinois will find her market west of
her.  In fifty years this will be the greatest nation on the earth,
and the most populous in the civilized world.  China is slowly
awakening from the lethargy of centuries.  It will soon have the
wants of Europe, and America will supply those wants.  This is a
nation of inventors and there is more mechanical ingenuity in the
United States than on the rest of the globe.  In my judgment this
country will in a short time add to its customers hundreds of
millions of the people of the Celestial Empire.  So you see, to
me, the future is exceedingly bright.  And besides all this, I must
not forget the thing that is always nearest my heart.  There is
more intellectual liberty in the United States to-day than ever
before.  The people are beginning to see that every citizen ought
to have the right to express himself freely upon every possible
subject.  In a little while, all the barbarous laws that now disgrace
the statute books of the States by discriminating against a man
simply because he is honest, will be repealed, and there will be
one country where all citizens will have and enjoy not only equal
rights, but all rights.  Nothing gratifies me so much as the growth
of intellectual liberty.  After all, the true civilization is where
every man gives to every other, every right that he claims for

--_The Post_, Washington, D. C., November 14, 1880.


_Question_.  How do you regard the present political situation?

_Answer_.  My opinion is that the ideas the North fought for upon
the field have at last triumphed at the ballot-box.  For several
years after the Rebellion was put down the Southern ideas traveled
North.  We lost West Virginia, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York
and a great many congressional districts in other States.  We lost
both houses of Congress and every Southern State.  The Southern
ideas reached their climax in 1876.  In my judgment the tide has
turned, and hereafter the Northern idea is going South.  The young
men are on the Republican side.  The old Democrats are dying.  The
cradle is beating the coffin.  It is a case of life and death, and
life is ahead.  The heirs outnumber the administrators.

_Question_.  What kind of a President will Garfield make?

_Answer_.  My opinion is that he will make as good a President as
this nation ever had.  He is fully equipped.  He is a trained
statesman.  He has discussed all the great questions that have
arisen for the last eighteen years, and with great ability.  He is
a thorough scholar, a conscientious student, and takes an exceedingly
comprehensive survey of all questions.  He is genial, generous and
candid, and has all the necessary qualities of heart and brain to
make a great President.  He has no prejudices.  Prejudice is the
child and flatterer of ignorance.  He is firm, but not obstinate.
The obstinate man wants his own way; the firm man stands by the
right.  Andrew Johnson was obstinate--Lincoln was firm.

_Question_.  How do you think he will treat the South?

_Answer_.  Just the same as the North.  He will be the President
of the whole country.  He will not execute the laws by the compass,
but according to the Constitution.  I do not speak for General
Garfield, nor by any authority from his friends.  No one wishes to
injure the South.  The Republican party feels in honor bound to
protect all citizens, white and black.  It must do this in order
to keep its self-respect.  It must throw the shield of the Nation
over the weakest, the humblest and the blackest citizen.  Any other
course is suicide.  No thoughtful Southern man can object to this,
and a Northern Democrat knows that it is right.

_Question_.  Is there a probability that Mr. Sherman will be retained
in the Cabinet?

_Answer_.  I have no knowledge upon that question, and consequently
have nothing to say.  My opinion about the Cabinet is, that General
Garfield is well enough acquainted with public men to choose a
Cabinet that will suit him and the country.  I have never regarded
it as the proper thing to try and force a Cabinet upon a President.
He has the right to be surrounded by his friends, by men in whose
judgment and in whose friendship he has the utmost confidence, and
I would no more think of trying to put some man in the Cabinet that
I would think of signing a petition that a man should marry a
certain woman.  General Garfield will, I believe, select his own
constitutional advisers, and he will take the best he knows.

_Question_.  What, in your opinion, is the condition of the Democratic
party at present?

_Answer_.  It must get a new set of principles, and throw away its
prejudices.  It must demonstrate its capacity to govern the country
by governing the States where it is in power.  In the presence of
rebellion it gave up the ship.  The South must become Republican
before the North will willingly give it power; that is, the great
ideas of nationality are greater than parties, and if our flag is
not large enough to protect every citizen, we must add a few more
stars and stripes.  Personally I have no hatreds in this matter.
The present is not only the child of the past, but the necessary
child.  A statesman must deal with things as they are.  He must
not be like Gladstone, who divides his time between foreign wars
and amendments to the English Book of Common Prayer.

_Question_.  How do you regard the religious question in politics?

_Answer_.  Religion is a personal matter--a matter that each
individual soul should be allowed to settle for itself.  No man
shod in the brogans of impudence should walk into the temple of
another man's soul.  While every man should be governed by the
highest possible considerations of the public weal, no one has the
right to ask for legal assistance in the support of his particular
sect.  If Catholics oppose the public schools I would not oppose
them because they are Catholics, but because I am in favor of the
schools.  I regard the public school as the intellectual bread of
life.  Personally I have no confidence in any religion that can be
demonstrated only to children.  I suspect all creeds that rely
implicitly on mothers and nurses.  That religion is the best that
commends itself the strongest to men and women of education and
genius.  After all, the prejudices of infancy and the ignorance of
the aged are a poor foundation for any system of morals or faith.
I respect every honest man, and I think more of a liberal Catholic
than of an illiberal Infidel.  The religious question should be
left out of politics.  You might as well decide questions of art
and music by a ward caucus as to govern the longings and dreams of
the soul by law.  I believe in letting the sun shine whether the
weeds grow or not.  I can never side with Protestants if they try
to put Catholics down by law, and I expect to oppose both of these
until religious intolerance is regarded as a crime.

_Question_.  Is the religious movement of which you are the chief
exponent spreading?

_Answer_.  There are ten times as many Freethinkers this year as
there were last.  Civilization is the child of free thought.  The
new world has drifted away from the rotting wharf of superstition.
The politics of this country are being settled by the new ideas of
individual liberty; and parties and churches that cannot accept
the new truths must perish.  I want it perfectly understood that
I am not a politician.  I believe in liberty and I want to see the
time when every man, woman and child will enjoy every human right.

The election is over, the passions aroused by the campaign will
soon subside, the sober judgment of the people will, in my opinion,
indorse the result, and time will indorse the indorsement.

--_The Evening Express_, New York City, November 19, 1880.


_Question_.  You have seen some accounts of the recent sermon of
Dr. Tyng on "Miracles," I presume, and if so, what is your opinion
of the sermon, and also what is your opinion of miracles?

_Answer_.  From an orthodox standpoint, I think the Rev. Dr. Tyng
is right.  If miracles were necessary eighteen hundred years ago,
before scientific facts enough were known to overthrow hundreds
and thousands of passages in the Bible, certainly they are necessary
now.  Dr. Tyng sees clearly that the old miracles are nearly worn
out, and that some new ones are absolutely essential.  He takes
for granted that, if God would do a miracle to found his gospel,
he certainly would do some more to preserve it, and that it is in
need of preservation about now is evident.  I am amazed that the
religious world should laugh at him for believing in miracles.  It
seems to me just as reasonable that the deaf, dumb, blind and lame,
should be cured at Lourdes as at Palestine.  It certainly is no
more wonderful that the law of nature should be broken now than
that it was broken several thousand years ago.  Dr. Tyng also has
this advantage.  The witnesses by whom he proves these miracles
are alive.  An unbeliever can have the opportunity of cross-
examination.  Whereas, the miracles in the New Testament are
substantiated only by the dead.  It is just as reasonable to me
that blind people receive their sight in France as that devils were
made to vacate human bodies in the holy land.

For one I am exceedingly glad that Dr. Tyng has taken this position.
It shows that he is a believer in a personal God, in a God who is
attending a little to the affairs of this world, and in a God who
did not exhaust his supplies in the apostolic age.  It is refreshing
to me to find in this scientific age a gentleman who still believes
in miracles.  My opinion is that all thorough religionists will have
to take the ground and admit that a supernatural religion must be
supernaturally preserved.

I have been asking for a miracle for several years, and have in a
very mild, gentle and loving way, taunted the church for not
producing a little one.  I have had the impudence to ask any number
of them to join in a prayer asking anything they desire for the
purpose of testing the efficiency of what is known as supplication.
They answer me by calling my attention to the miracles recorded in
the New Testament.  I insist, however, on a new miracle, and,
personally, I would like to see one now.  Certainly, the Infinite
has not lost his power, and certainly the Infinite knows that
thousands and hundreds of thousands, if the Bible is true, are now
pouring over the precipice of unbelief into the gulf of hell.  One
little miracle would save thousands.  One little miracle in Pittsburg,
well authenticated, would do more good than all the preaching ever
heard in this sooty town.  The Rev. Dr. Tyng clearly sees this,
and he has been driven to the conclusion, first, that God can do
miracles; second, that he ought to, third, that he has.  In this
he is perfectly logical.  After a man believes the Bible, after he
believes in the flood and in the story of Jonah, certainly he ought
not to hesitate at a miracle of to-day.  When I say I want a miracle,
I mean by that, I want a good one.  All the miracles recorded in
the New Testament could have been simulated.  A fellow could have
pretended to be dead, or blind, or dumb, or deaf.  I want to see
a good miracle.  I want to see a man with one leg, and then I want
to see the other leg grow out.

I would like to see a miracle like that performed in North Carolina.
Two men were disputing about the relative merits of the salve they
had for sale.  One of the men, in order to demonstrate that his
salve was better than any other, cut off a dog's tail and applied
a little of the salve to the stump, and, in the presence of the
spectators, a new tail grew out.  But the other man, who also had
salve for sale, took up the piece of tail that had been cast away,
put a little salve at the end of that, and a new dog grew out, and
the last heard of those parties they were quarrelling as to who
owned the second dog.  Something like that is what I call a miracle.

_Question_.  What do you believe about the immortality of the soul?
Do you believe that the spirit lives as an individual after the
body is dead?

_Answer_.  I have said a great many times that it is no more
wonderful that we should live again than that we do live.  Sometimes
I have thought it not quite so wonderful for the reason that we
have a start.  But upon that subject I have not the slightest
information.  Whether man lives again or not I cannot pretend to
say.  There may be another world and there may not be.  If there
is another world we ought to make the best of it after arriving
there.  If there is not another world, or if there is another world,
we ought to make the best of this.  And since nobody knows, all
should be permitted to have their opinions, and my opinion is that
nobody knows.

If we take the Old Testament for authority, man is not immortal.
The Old Testament shows man how he lost immortality.  According to
Genesis, God prevented man from putting forth his hand and eating
of the Tree of Life.  It is there stated, had he succeeded, man
would have lived forever.  God drove him from the garden, preventing
him eating of this tree, and in consequence man became mortal; so
that if we go by the Old Testament we are compelled to give up
immortality.  The New Testament has but little on the subject.  In
one place we are told to seek for immortality.  If we are already
immortal, it is hard to see why we should go on seeking for it.
In another place we are told that they who are worthy to obtain
that world and the resurrection of the dead, are not given in
marriage.  From this one would infer there would be some unworthy
to be raised from the dead.  Upon the question of immortality, the
Old Testament throws but little satisfactory light.  I do not deny
immortality, nor would I endeavor to shake the belief of anybody
in another life.  What I am endeavoring to do is to put out the
fires of hell.  If we cannot have heaven without hell, I am in
favor of abolishing heaven.  I do not want to go to heaven if one
soul is doomed to agony.  I would rather be annihilated.

My opinion of immortality is this:

First.--I live, and that of itself is infinitely wonderful.

Second.--There was a time when I was not, and after I was not, I
was.  Third.--Now that I am, I may be again; and it is no more
wonderful that I may be again, if I have been, than that I am,
having once been nothing.  If the churches advocated immortality,
if they advocated eternal justice, if they said that man would be
rewarded and punished according to deeds; if they admitted that
some time in eternity there would be an opportunity given to lift
up souls, and that throughout all the ages the angels of progress
and virtue would beckon the fallen upward; and that some time, and
no matter how far away they might put off the time, all the children
of men would be reasonably happy, I never would say a solitary word
against the church, but just as long as they preach that the majority
of mankind will suffer eternal pain, just so long I shall oppose
them; that is to say, as long as I live.

_Question_.  Do you believe in a God; and, if so, what kind of a

_Answer_.  Let me, in the first place, lay a foundation for an

First.--Man gets all food for thought through the medium of the
senses.  The effect of nature upon the senses, and through the
senses upon the brain, must be natural.  All food for thought,
then, is natural.  As a consequence of this, there can be no
supernatural idea in the human brain.  Whatever idea there is must
have been a natural product.  If, then, there is no supernatural
idea in the human brain, then there cannot be in the human brain
an idea of the supernatural.  If we can have no idea of the
supernatural, and if the God of whom you spoke is admitted to be
supernatural, then, of course, I can have no idea of him, and I
certainly can have no very fixed belief on any subject about which
I have no idea.

There may be a God for all I know.  There may be thousands of them.
But the idea of an infinite Being outside and independent of nature
is inconceivable.  I do not know of any word that would explain my
doctrine or my views upon the subject.  I suppose Pantheism is as
near as I could go.  I believe in the eternity of matter and in
the eternity of intelligence, but I do not believe in any Being
outside of nature.  I do not believe in any personal Deity.  I do
not believe in any aristocracy of the air.  I know nothing about
origin or destiny.  Between these two horizons I live, whether I
wish to or not, and must be satisfied with what I find between
these two horizons.  I have never heard any God described that I
believe in.  I have never heard any religion explained that I
accept.  To make something out of nothing cannot be more absurd
than that an infinite intelligence made this world, and proceeded
to fill it with crime and want and agony, and then, not satisfied
with the evil he had wrought, made a hell in which to consummate
the great mistake.

_Question_.  Do you believe that the world, and all that is in it
came by chance?

_Answer_.  I do not believe anything comes by chance.  I regard
the present as the necessary child of a necessary past.  I believe
matter is eternal; that it has eternally existed and eternally will
exist.  I believe that in all matter, in some way, there is what
we call force; that one of the forms of force is intelligence.  I
believe that whatever is in the universe has existed from eternity
and will forever exist.

Secondly.--I exclude from my philosophy all ideas of chance.  Matter
changes eternally its form, never its essence.  You cannot conceive
of anything being created.  No one can conceive of anything existing
without a cause or with a cause.  Let me explain; a thing is not
a cause until an effect has been produced; so that, after all,
cause and effect are twins coming into life at precisely the same
instant, born of the womb of an unknown mother.  The Universe in
the only fact, and everything that ever has happened, is happening,
or will happen, are but the different aspects of the one eternal

--_The Dispatch_, Pittsburg, Pa., December 11, 1880.


_Question_.  What phases will the Southern question assume in the
next four years?

_Answer_.  The next Congress should promptly unseat every member
of Congress in whose district there was not a fair and honest
election.  That is the first hard 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 whole 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 of our citizens.  My 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

_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 it 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.

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

_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 and 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.


_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 extremely 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 for 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

I have also expressed some doubts as to whether this same God ever
established the institution of polygamy.  I have insisted that the
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.  In 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
not 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 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
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 you
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.

_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 somebody 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
believer in slavery, in polygamy, in wars of extermination, in
religious persecution and intolerance and in almost everything that
is now regarded with loathing, contempt and scorn.  The 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

_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 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 my liberty is secure only
because others are free.

I am perfectly willing to live in a country with such men as
Frederick Douglass 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,
thought 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 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.


_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 months.  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 per cent. 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 a kind of hell that our ancestors so carefully

_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 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 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--
states 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 centres 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
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 is 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 Reuben Taylor, and on entering the sitting room his
attention was attracted by the moans of 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
on 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 of 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 snow storm, was sent half a mile from home to
protect his master's unshucked corn from 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 as the ankle and the instep."

This was but one case in several.  Personally, I have no doubt that
Mr. Reuben Taylor entirely agrees with Chief Justice Comegys on
the great question of blasphemy, and probably nothing would so
gratify Mr. Reuben 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

_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 properly 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 subscribers
--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
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 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 is 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 minsters 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 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 upon 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.


[* 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 result.]

_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 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 thousands 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
at the discussion besides.  There is but one safe course for the
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
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 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.

_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.


_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 upon
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.
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
shrieks 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.

_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 heart.  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 latest lecture.  What he has to say to these replies
will be found in a report of an 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 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 some time to answer
some of the ministerial arguments advanced against him in New York.]

_Question_.  Have you seen the attacks made upon you by certain
ministers of New York, published in the _Herald_ last Sunday?

_Answer_.  Yes, I read, or heard read, what was in Monday's _Herald_.
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.

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 be 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 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 the
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 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 that the Devil was
its father.  This same Luther made this observation:  "Universal
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 those fool astronomers
could undo the work of God.  He probably knew as little about
science as the reverend gentleman 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 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 gentlemen 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.

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.
  _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 back 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

_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, that 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--all 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 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 work 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 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 _Herald_ that some ten have said that
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

_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 or
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 those 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 a 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, sighing 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
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 by
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 or 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 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
untrammeled 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.

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 that rare group, lends a newer
meaning to the idea of home and a more secure beauty to 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 faction's suspicions and innuendoes, that so
manly a man, so sagacious a counsellor, has been enabled to hold
so positive a balance.  Cabinet officers, 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 judgment.

Conversing freely on the 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 result.]

_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 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

_Question_.  You most certainly do not see any foundation 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 public 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, the 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 the 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 a
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.  He 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 then living--being in Paradise
--is more responsible than office seeking or political factionalism
for his deed?

_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 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 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 their 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 kindliest 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 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,
by illogical and absurd; because it is impossible to make any
theological theory that some facts will not contradict.

_Question_.  Won't you 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 he 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.

_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 enough faction 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
administered 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.


_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 in the Capital
of the Nation.  The believers in free government should believe in
a free capital.

_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

_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

_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.


[* Robert G. Ingersoll rarely takes the trouble to answer critics.
His recent address over the dead body of his friend John G. Mills
has called forth a storm of denunciation from nearly every pulpit
in the country.  The writer called at the Colonel's office in New York
Avenue yesterday and asked him to reply to some of the points made
against him.  Reluctantly he assented.]

_Question_.  Have you seen the recent clerical strictures upon your

_Answer_.  There are always people kind enough to send me anything
they have the slightest reason to think I do not care to read.
They seem to be animated by a missionary spirit, and apparently
want to be in a position when they see me in hell to exclaim:  "You
can't blame me.  I sent you all the impudent articles I saw, and
if you died unconverted it was no fault of mine."

_Question_.  Did you notice that a Washington clergyman said that
the very fact that you were allowed to speak at the funeral was in
itself a sacrilege, and that you ought to have been stopped?

_Answer_.  Yes, I saw some such story.  Of course, the clergy regard
marriages and funerals as the perquisites of the pulpit, and they
resent any interference on the part of the pews.  They look at
these matters from a business point of view.  They made the same
cry against civil marriages.  They denied that marriage was a
contract, and insisted that it was a sacrament, and that it was
hardly binding unless a priest had blessed it.  They used to bury
in consecrated ground, and had marks upon the graves, so that
Gabriel might know the ones to waken.  The clergy wish to make
themselves essential.  They must christen the babe--this gives them
possession of the cradle.  They must perform the ceremony of marriage
--this gives them possession of the family.  They must pronounce
the funeral discourse--this gives them possession of the dead.
Formerly they denied baptism to the children of the unbeliever,
marriage to him who denied the dogmas of the church, and burial to
honest men.  The church wishes to control the world, and wishes to
sacrifice this world for the next.  Of course I am in favor of the
utmost liberty upon all these questions.  When a Presbyterian dies,
let a follower of John Calvin console the living by setting forth
the "Five Points."  When a Catholic becomes clay, let a priest
perform such ceremonies as his creed demands, and let him picture
the delights of purgatory for the gratification of the living.
And when one dies who does not believe in any religion, having
expressed a wish that somebody say a few words above his remains,
I see no reason why such a proceeding should be stopped, and, for
my part, I see no sacrilege in it.  Why should the reputations of
the dead, and the feelings of those who live, be placed at the
mercy of the ministers?  A man dies not having been a Christian,
and who, according to the Christian doctrine, is doomed to eternal
fire.  How would an honest Christian minister console the widow
and the fatherless children?  How would he dare to tell what he
claims to be truth in the presence of the living?  The truth is,
the Christian minister in the presence of death abandons his
Christianity.  He dare not say above the coffin, "the soul that
once inhabited this body is now in hell."  He would be denounced
as a brutal savage.  Now and then a minister at a funeral has been
brave enough and unmannerly enough to express his doctrine in all
its hideousness of hate.  I was told that in Chicago, many years
ago, a young man, member of a volunteer fire company, was killed
by the falling of a wall, and at the very moment the wall struck
him he was uttering a curse.  He was a brave and splendid man.  An
orthodox minister said above his coffin, in the presence of his
mother and mourning friends, that he saw no hope for the soul of
that young man.  The mother, who was also orthodox, refused to have
her boy buried with such a sermon--stopped the funeral, took the
corpse home, engaged a Universalist preacher, and, on the next day
having heard this man say that there was no place in the wide
universe of God without hope, and that her son would finally stand
among the redeemed, this mother laid her son away, put flowers upon
his grave, and was satisfied.

_Question_.  What have you to say to the charge that you are
preaching the doctrine of despair and hopelessness, when they have
the comforting assurances of the Christian religion to offer?

_Answer_.  All I have to say is this:  If the Christian religion
is true, as commonly preached--and when I speak of Christianity,
I speak of the orthodox Christianity of the day--if that be true,
those whom I have loved the best are now in torment.  Those to whom
I am most deeply indebted are now suffering the vengeance of God.
If this religion be true, the future is of no value to me.  I care
nothing about heaven, unless the ones I love and have loved are
there.  I know nothing about the angels.  I might not like them,
and they might not like me.  I would rather meet there the ones
who have loved me here--the ones who would have died for me, and
for whom I would have died; and if we are to be eternally divided
--not because we differed in our views of justice, not because we
differed about friendship or love or candor, or the nobility of
human action, but because we differed in belief about the atonement
or baptism or the inspiration of the Scriptures--and if some of us
are to be in heaven, and some in hell, then, for my part, I prefer
eternal sleep.  To me the doctrine of annihilation is infinitely
more consoling, than the probable separation preached by the orthodox
clergy of our time.  Of course, even if there be a God, I like
persons that I know, better than I can like him--we have more in
common--I know more about them; and how is it possible for me to
love the infinite and unknown better than the ones I know?  Why
not have the courage to say that if there be a God, all I know
about him I know by knowing myself and my friends--by knowing
others?  And, after all, is not a noble man, is not a pure woman,
the finest revelation we have of God--if there be one?  Of what
use is it to be false to ourselves?  What moral quality is there
in theological pretence?  Why should a man say that he loves God
better than he does his wife or his children or his brother or his
sister or his warm, true friend?  Several ministers have objected
to what I said about my friend Mr. Mills, on the ground that it
was not calculated to console the living.  Mr. Mills was not a
Christian.  He denied the inspiration of the Scriptures.  He believed
that restitution was the best repentance, and that, after all, sin
is a mistake.  He was not a believer in total depravity, or in the
atonement.  He denied these things.  He was an unbeliever.  Now,
let me ask, what consolation could a Christian minister have given
to his family?  He could have said to the widow and the orphans,
to the brother and sister:  "Your husband, your father, your brother,
is now in hell; dry your tears; weep not for him, but try and save
yourselves.  He has been damned as a warning to you, care no more
for him, why should you weep over the grave of a man whom God thinks
fit only to be eternally tormented?  Why should you love the memory
of one whom God hates?"  The minister could have said:  "He had an
opportunity--he did not take it.  The life-boat was lowered--he
would not get in--he has been drowned, and the waves of God's wrath
will sweep over him forever."  This is the consolation of Christianity
and the only honest consolation that Christianity can have for the
widow and orphans of an unbeliever.  Suppose, however, that the
Christian minister has too tender a heart to tell what he believes
to be the truth--then he can say to the sorrowing friends:  "Perhaps
the man repented before he died; perhaps he is not in hell, perhaps
you may meet him in heaven;" and this "perhaps" is a consolation
not growing out of Christianity, but out of the politeness of the
preacher--out of paganism.

_Question_.  Do you not think that the Bible has consolation for
those who have lost their friends?

_Answer_.  There is about the Old Testament this strange fact--I
find in it no burial service.  There is in it, I believe, from the
first mistake in Genesis to the last curse in Malachi, not one word
said over the dead as to their place and state.  When Abraham died,
nobody said:  "He is still alive--he is in another world."  When
the prophets passed away, not one word was said as to the heaven
to which they had gone.  In the Old Testament, Saul inquired of
the witch, and Samuel rose.  Samuel did not pretend that he had
been living, or that he was alive, but asked:  "Why hast thou
disquieted me?"  He did not pretend to have come from another world.
And when David speaks of his son, saying that he could not come
back to him, but that he, David, could go to his son, that is but
saying that he, too, must die.  There is not in the Old Testament
one hope of immortality.  It is expressly asserted that there is
no difference between the man and beast--that as the one dieth so
dieth the other.  There is one little passage in Job which commentators
have endeavored to twist into a hope of immortality.  Here is a
book of hundreds and hundreds of pages, and hundreds and hundreds
of chapters--a revelation from God--and in it one little passage,
which, by a mistranslation, is tortured into saying something about
another life.  And this is the Old Testament.  I have sometimes
thought that the Jews, when slaves in Egypt, were mostly occupied
in building tombs for mummies, and that they became so utterly
disgusted with that kind of work, that the moment they founded a
nation for themselves they went out of the tomb business.  The
Egyptians were believers in immortality, and spent almost their
entire substance upon the dead.  The living were impoverished to
enrich the dead.  The grave absorbed the wealth of Egypt.  The
industry of a nation was buried.  Certainly the Old Testament has
nothing clearly in favor of immortality.  In the New Testament we
are told about the "kingdom of heaven,"--that it is at hand--and
about who shall be worthy, but it is hard to tell what is meant by
the kingdom of heaven.  The kingdom of heaven was apparently to be
in this world, and it was about to commence.  The Devil was to be
chained for a thousand years, the wicked were to be burned up, and
Christ and his followers were to enjoy the earth.  This certainly
was the doctrine of Paul when he says:  "Behold, I show you a
mystery; We shall not all _sleep_, but we shall all be _changed_.
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for
the trumpet shall sound, and the _dead_ shall be _raised_ incorruptible,
and _we_ shall be _changed_.  For this corruptible must put on
incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."  According
to this doctrine, those who were alive were to be changed, and
those who had died were to be raised from the dead.  Paul certainly
did not refer to any other world beyond this.  All these things
were to happen here.  The New Testament is made up of the fragments
of many religions.  It is utterly inconsistent with itself; and
there is not a particle of evidence of the resurrection and ascension
of Christ--neither in the nature of things could there be.  It is
a thousand times more probable that people were mistaken than that
such things occurred.  If Christ really rose from the dead, he
should have shown himself, not simply to his disciples, but to the
very men who crucified him--to Herod, to the high priest, to Pilate.
He should have made a triumphal entry into Jerusalem after his
resurrection, instead of before.  He should have shown himself to
the Sadducees,--to those who denied the existence of spirit.  Take
from the New Testament its doctrine of eternal pain--the idea that
we can please God by acts of self-denial that can do no good to
others--take away all its miracles, and I have no objection to all
the good things in it--no objection to the hope of a future life,
if such a hope is expressed--not the slightest.  And I would not
for the world say anything to take from any mind a hope in which
dwells the least comfort, but a doctrine that dooms a large majority
of mankind to eternal flames ought not to be called a consolation.
What I say is, that the writers of the New Testament knew no more
about the future state than I do, and no less.  The horizon of life
has never been pierced.  The veil between time and what is called
eternity, has never been raised, so far as I know; and I say of
the dead what all others must say if they say only what they know.
There is no particular consolation in a guess.  Not knowing what
the future has in store for the human race, it is far better to
prophesy good than evil.  It is better to hope that the night has
a dawn, that the sky has a star, than to build a heaven for the
few, and a hell for the many.  It is better to leave your dead in
doubt than in fire--better that they should sleep in shadow than
in the lurid flames of perdition.  And so I say, and always have
said, let us hope for the best.  The minister asks:  "What right
have you to hope?  It is sacrilegious in you!"  But, whether the
clergy like it or not, I shall always express my real opinion, and
shall always be glad to say to those who mourn:  "There is in death,
as I believe, nothing worse than sleep.  Hope for as much better
as you can.  Under the seven-hued arch let the dead rest."  Throw
away the Bible, and you throw away the fear of hell, but the hope
of another life remains, because the hope does not depend upon a
book--it depends upon the heart--upon human affection.  The fear,
so far as this generation is concerned, is born of the book, and
that part of the book was born of savagery.  Whatever of hope is
in the book is born, as I said before, of human affection, and the
higher our civilization the greater the affection.  I had rather
rest my hope of something beyond the grave upon the human heart,
than upon what they call the Scriptures, because there I find
mingled with the hope of something good the threat of infinite
evil.  Among the thistles, thorns and briers of the Bible is one
pale and sickly flower of hope.  Among all its wild beasts and
fowls, only one bird flies heavenward.  I prefer the hope without
the thorns, without the briers, thistles, hyenas, and serpents.

_Question_.  Do you not know that it is claimed that immortality
was brought to light in the New Testament, that that, in fact, was
the principal mission of Christ?

_Answer_.  I know that Christians claim that the doctrine of
immortality was first taught in the New Testament.  They also claim
that the highest morality was found there.  Both these claims are
utterly without foundation.  Thousands of years before Christ was
born--thousands of years before Moses saw the light--the doctrine
of immortality was preached by the priests of Osiris and Isis.
Funeral discourses were pronounced over the dead, ages before
Abraham existed.  When a man died in Egypt, before he was taken
across the sacred lake, he had a trial.  Witnesses appeared, and
if he had done anything wrong, for which he had not done restitution,
he was not taken across the lake.  The living friends, in disgrace,
carried the body back, and it was buried outside of what might be
called consecrated ground, while the ghost was supposed to wander
for a hundred years.  Often the children of the dead would endeavor
to redeem the poor ghost by acts of love and kindness.  When he
came to the spirit world there was the god Anubis, who weighed his
heart in the scales of eternal justice, and if the good deed
preponderated he entered the gates of Paradise; if the evil, he
had to go back to the world, and be born in the bodies of animals
for the purpose of final purification.  At last, the good deeds
would outweigh the evil, and, according to the religion of Egypt,
the latch-string of heaven would never be drawn in until the last
wanderer got home.  Immortality was also taught in India, and, in
fact, in all the countries of antiquity.  Wherever men have loved,
wherever they have dreamed, wherever hope has spread its wings,
the idea of immortality has existed.  But nothing could be worse
than the immortality promised in the New Testament--admitting that
it is so promised--eternal joy side by side with eternal pain.
Think of living forever, knowing that countless millions are
suffering eternal pain!  How much better it would be for God to
commit suicide and let all life and motion cease!  Christianity
has no consolation except for the Christian, and if a Christian
minister endeavors to console the widow of an unbeliever he must
resort, not to his religion, but to his sympathy--to the natural
promptings of the heart.  He is compelled to say:  "After all, may
be God is not so bad as we think," or, "May be your husband was
better than he appeared; perhaps somehow, in some way, the dear
man has squeezed in; he was a good husband, he was a kind father,
and even if he is in hell, may be he is in the temperate zone,
where they have occasional showers, and where, if the days are hot,
the nights are reasonably cool."  All I ask of Christian ministers
is to tell what they believe to be the truth--not to borrow ideas
from the pagans--not to preach the mercy born of unregenerate
sympathy.  Let them tell their real doctrines.  If they will do
that, they will not have much influence.  If orthodox Christianity
is true, a large majority of the man who have made this world fit
to live in are now in perdition.  A majority of the Revolutionary
soldiers have been damned.  A majority of the man who fought for
the integrity of this Union--a majority who were starved at Libby
and Andersonville are now in hell.

_Question_.  Do you deny the immortality of the soul?

_Answer_.  I have never denied the immortality of the soul.  I have
simply been honest.  I have said:  "I do not know."  Long ago, in
my lecture on "The Ghosts," I used the following language:  "The
idea of immortality, that like a sea has ebbed and flowed in the
human heart, with its countless waves of hope and fear beating
against the shores and rocks of time and fate, was not born of any
book, nor of any creed, nor of any religion.  It was born of human
affection, and it will continue to ebb and flow beneath the mists
and clouds of doubt and darkness as long as love kisses the lips
of death.  It is the rainbow Hope, shining upon the tears of grief."

--_The Post_, Washington, D. C., April 30, 1883.


[* Col. Ingersoll entertains very pronounced ideas concerning
President Arthur, Attorney-General Brewster and divers other people,
which will be found presented herewith in characteristically piquant
style.  With his family, the eloquent advocate has a cottage here,
and finds brain and body rest and refreshment in the tumbling waves.
This noon, in the height of a tremendous thunder storm, I bumped
against his burly figure in the roaring crest, and, after the first
shock had passed, determined to utilize the providential coincidence.
The water was warm, our clothes were in the bathing houses, and
comfort was more certain where we were than anywhere else.  The
Colonel is an expert swimmer and as a floater he cannot be beaten.
He was floating when we bumped.  Spouting a pint of salt water from
his mouth, he nearly choked with laughter as in answer to my question
he said:  ]

No, I do not believe there will be any more Star Route trials.
There is so much talk about the last one, there will not be time
for another.

_Question_.  Did you anticipate a verdict?

_Answer_.  I did anticipate a verdict, and one of acquittal.  I
knew that the defendants were entitled to such a verdict.  I knew
that the Government had signally failed to prove a case.  There
was nothing but suspicion, from which malice was inferred.  The
direct proof was utterly unworthy of belief.  The direct witness
was caught with letters he had forged.  This one fact was enough
to cover the prosecution with confusion.  The fact that Rerdell
sat with the other defendants and reported to the Government from
day to day satisfied the jury as to the value of his testimony,
and the animus of the Department of Justice.  Besides, Rerdell had
offered to challenge such jurors as the Government might select.
He handed counsel for defendants a list of four names that he wanted
challenged.  At that time it was supposed that each defendant would
be allowed to challenge four jurors.  Afterward the Court decided
that all the defendants must be considered as one party and had
the right to challenge four and no more.  Of the four names on
Rerdell's list the Government challenged three and Rerdell tried
to challenge the other.  This was what is called a coincidence.
Another thing had great influence with the jury--the evidence of
the defendants was upon all material points so candid and so natural,
so devoid of all coloring, that the jury could not help believing.
If the people knew the evidence they would agree with the jury.
When we remember that there were over ten thousand star routes, it
is not to be wondered at that some mistakes were made--that in some
instances too much was paid and in others too little.

_Question_.  What has been the attitude of President Arthur?

_Answer_.  We asked nothing from the President.  We wanted no help
from him.  We expected that he would take no part--that he would
simply allow the matter to be settled by the court in the usual
way.  I think that he made one very serious mistake.  He removed
officers on false charges without giving them a hearing.  He deposed
Marshal Henry because somebody said that he was the friend of the
defendants.  Henry was a good officer and an honest man.  The
President removed Ainger for the same reason.  This was a mistake.
Ainger should have been heard.  There is always time to do justice.
No day is too short for justice, and eternity is not long enough
to commit a wrong.  It was thought that the community could be

_First_.  The President dismissed Henry and Ainger.

_Second_.  The Attorney-General wrote a letter denouncing the
defendants as thieves and robbers.

_Third_.  Other letters from Bliss and MacVeagh were published.

_Fourth_.  Dixon, the foreman of the first jury, was indicted.

_Fifth_.  Members of the first jury voting "guilty" were in various
ways rewarded.

_Sixth_.  Bargains were made with Boone and Rerdell.  The cases
against Boone were to be dismissed and Rerdell was promised immunity.
Under these circumstances the second trial commenced.  But of all
the people in this country the citizens of Washington care least
for Presidents and members of the Cabinets.  They know what these
officers are made of.  They know that they are simply folks--that
they do not hold office forever--that the Jupiters of to-day are
often the pygmies of to-morrow.  They have seen too many people
come in with trumpets and flags and go out with hisses and rags to
be overawed by the deities of a day.  They have seen Lincoln and
they are not to be frightened by his successors.  Arthur took part
to the extent of turning out men suspected of being friendly to
the defence.  Arthur was in a difficult place.  He was understood
to be the friend of Dorsey and, of course, had to do something.
Nothing is more dangerous than a friend in power.  He is obliged
to show that he is impartial, and it always takes a good deal of
injustice to establish a reputation for fairness.

_Question_.  Was there any ground to expect aid or any different
action on Arthur's part?

_Answer_.  All we expected was that Arthur would do as the soldier
wanted the Lord to do at New Orleans--"Just take neither side."

_Question_.  Why did not Brewster speak?

_Answer_.  The Court would not allow two closings.  The Attorney-
General did not care to speak in the "middle."  He wished to close,
and as he could not do that without putting Mr. Merrick out, he
concluded to remain silent.  The defendants had no objection to
his speaking, but they objected to two closing arguments for the
Government, and the Court decided they were right.  Of course, I
understand nothing about the way in which the attorneys for the
prosecution arranged their difficulties.  That was nothing to me;
neither do I care what money they received--all that is for the
next Congress.  It is not for me to speak of those questions.

_Question_.  Will there be other trials?

_Answer_.  I think not.  It does not seem likely that other attorneys
will want to try, and the old ones have.  My opinion is that we
have had the last of the Star Route trials.  It was claimed that
the one tried was the strongest.  If this is so the rest had better
be dismissed.  I think the people are tired of the whole business.
It now seems probable that all the time for the next few years will
be taken up in telling about the case that was tried.  I see that
Cook is telling about MacVeagh and James and Brewster and Bliss;
Walsh is giving his opinion of Kellogg and Foster; Bliss is saying
a few words about Cook and Gibson; Brewster is telling what Bliss
told him; Gibson will have his say about Garfield and MacVeagh,
and it now seems probable that we shall get the bottom facts about
the other jury--the actions of Messrs. Hoover, Bowen, Brewster
Cameron and others.  Personally I have no interest in the business.

_Question_.  How does the next campaign look?

_Answer_.  The Republicans are making all the mistakes they can,
and the only question now is, Can the Democrats make more?  The
tariff will be one of the great questions, and may be the only one
except success.  The Democrats are on both sides of the question.
They hate to give up the word "only."  Only for that word they
might have succeeded in 1880.  If they can let "only" alone, and
say they want "a tariff for revenue" they will do better.  The fact
is the people are not in favor of free trade, neither do they want
a tariff high enough to crush a class, but they do want a tariff
to raise a revenue and to protect our industries.  I am for protection
because it diversifies industries and develops brain--allows us to
utilize all the muscle and brain we have.  A party attacking the
manufacturing interests of this country will fail.  There are too
many millions of dollars invested and too many millions of people
interested.  The country is becoming alike interested in this
question.  We are no longer divided, as in slavery times, into
manufacturing and agricultural districts or sections.  Georgia,
Alabama, Tennessee, Louisiana and Texas have manufacturing interests.
And the Western States believe in the protection of their industries.
The American people have a genius for manufacturing, a genius for
invention.  We are not the greatest painters or sculptors or
scientists, but we are without doubt the greatest inventors.  If
we were all engaged in one business we would become stupid.
Agricultural countries produce great wealth, but are never rich.
To get rich it is necessary to mix thought with labor.  To raise
the raw material is a question of strength; to manufacture, to put
it in useful and beautiful forms, is a question of mind.  There is
a vast difference between the value of, say, a milestone and a
statue, and yet the labor expended in getting the raw material is
about the same.  The point, after all, is this:  First, we must
have revenue; second, shall we get this by direct taxation or shall
we tax imports and at the same time protect American labor?  The
party that advocates reasonable protection will succeed.*

[* At this point, with far away peals of thunder, the storm ceased,
the sun reappeared and a vault of heavenly blue swung overhead.
"Let us get out," said Colonel Ingersoll.  Suiting the action to
the word, the Colonel struck out lustily for the beach, on which,
hard as a rock and firm as flint, he soon planted his sturdy form.
And as he lumbered across the sand to the side door of his comfortable
cottage, some three hundred feet from the surf, the necessarily
suggested contrast between Ingersoll in court and Ingersoll in soaked
flannels was illustrated with forcible comicality.  Half an hour
later he was found in the cozy library puffing a high flavored Havana,
and listening to home-made music of delicious quality.  Ingersoll at
home is pleasant to contemplate.  His sense of personal freedom is
there aptly pictured.  Loving wife and affectionate daughters form,
with happy-faced and genial-hearted father, a model circle into which
friends deem it a privilege to enter and a pleasure to remain.

Continuing the conversation, ]

_Question_.  In view of all this, where do you think the presidential
candidate will come from?

_Answer_.  From the West.

_Question_.  Why so?

_Answer_.  The South and East must compromise.  Both can trust the
West.  The West represents the whole country.  There is no
provincialism in the West.  The West is not old enough to have the
prejudice of section; it is too prosperous to have hatred, too
great to feel envy.

_Question_.  You do not seem to think that Arthur has a chance?

_Answer_.  No Vice-President was ever made President by the people.
It is natural to resent the accident that gave the Vice-President
the place.  They regard the Vice-President as children do a
stepmother.  He is looked upon as temporary--a device to save the
election--a something to stop a gap--a lighter--a political raft.
He holds the horse until another rider is found.  People do not
wish death to suggest nominees for the presidency.  I do not believe
it will be possible for Mr. Arthur, no matter how well he acts, to
overcome this feeling.  The people like a new man.  There is some
excitement in the campaign, and besides they can have the luxury
of believing that the new man is a great man.

_Question_.  Do you not think Arthur has grown and is a greater
man than when he was elected?

_Answer_.  Arthur was placed in very trying circumstances, and, I
think, behaved with great discretion.  But he was Vice-President,
and that is a vice that people will not pardon.

_Question_.  How do you regard the situation in Ohio?

_Answer_.  I hear that the Republicans are attacking Hoadly, saying
that he is an Infidel.  I know nothing about Mr. Hoadly's theological
sentiments, but he certainly has the right to have and express his
own views.  If the Republicans of Ohio have made up their minds to
disfranchise the Liberals, the sooner they are beaten the better.
Why should the Republican party be so particular about religious
belief?  Was Lincoln an orthodox Christian?  Were the founders of
the party--the men who gave it heart and brain--conspicuous for
piety?  Were the abolitionists all believers in the inspiration of
the Bible?  Is Judge Hoadly to be attacked because he exercises
the liberty that he gives to others?  Has not the Republican party
trouble enough with the spirituous to let the spiritual alone?  If
the religious issue is made, I hope that the party making it will
be defeated.  I know nothing about the effect of the recent decision
of the Supreme Court of Ohio.  It is a very curious decision and
seems to avoid the Constitution with neatness and despatch.  The
decision seems to rest on the difference between the words tax and
license--_I. e._, between allowing a man to sell whiskey for a tax
of one hundred dollars or giving him a license to sell whiskey and
charging him one hundred dollars.  In this, the difference is in
the law instead of the money.  So far all the prohibitory legislation
on the liquor question has been a failure.  Beer is victorious,
and Gambrinus now has Olympus all to himself.  On his side is the

_Question_.  But who will win?

_Answer_.  The present indications are favorable to Judge Hoadly.
It is an off year.  The Ohio leaders on one side are not in perfect
harmony.  The Germans are afraid, and they generally vote the
Democratic ticket when in doubt.  The effort to enforce the Sunday
law, to close the gardens, to make one day in the week desolate
and doleful, will give the Republicans a great deal of hard work.

_Question_.  How about Illinois?

_Answer_.  Republican always.  The Supreme Court of Illinois has
just made a good decision.  That Court decided that a contract made
on Sunday can be enforced.  In other words, that Sunday is not holy
enough to sanctify fraud.  You can rely on a State with a Court
like that.  There is very little rivalry in Illinois.  I think that
General Oglesby will be the next Governor.  He is one of the best
men in that State or any other.

_Question_.  What about Indiana?

_Answer_.  In that State I think General Gresham is the coming man.
He was a brave soldier, an able, honest judge, and he will fill
with honor any position he may be placed in.  He is an excellent
lawyer, and has as much will as was ever put in one man.  McDonald
is the most available man for the Democrats.  He is safe and in
every respect reliable.  He is without doubt the most popular man
in his party.

_Question_.  Well, Colonel, what are you up to?

_Answer_.  Nothing.  I am surrounded by sand, sea and sky.  I listen
to music, bathe in the surf and enjoy myself.  I am wondering why
people take interest in politics; why anybody cares about anything;
why everybody is not contented; why people want to climb the greased
pole of office and then dodge the brickbats of enemies and rivals;
why any man wishes to be President, or a member of Congress, or in
the Cabinet, or do anything except to live with the ones he loves,
and enjoy twenty-four hours every day.  I wonder why all New York
does not come to Long Beach and hear Schreiner's Band play the
music of Wagner, the greatest of all composers.  Finally, in the
language of Walt Whitman, "I loaf and invite my soul."

--_The Herald_, New York, July 1, 1883.


_Question_.  What do you think of newspaper interviewing?

_Answer_.  I believe that James Redpath claims to have invented
the "interview."  This system opens all doors, does away with
political pretence, batters down the fortifications of dignity and
official importance, pulls masks from solemn faces, compels everybody
to show his hand.  The interviewer seems to be omnipresent.  He is
the next man after the accident.  If a man should be blown up he
would likely fall on an interviewer.  He is the universal interrogation
point.  He asks questions for a living.  If the interviewer is fair
and honest he is useful, if the other way, he is still interesting.
On the whole, I regard the interviewer as an exceedingly important
person.  But whether he is good or bad, he has come to stay.  He
will interview us until we die, and then ask the "friends" a few
questions just to round the subject off.

_Question_.  What do you think of the tendency of newspapers is at

_Answer_.  The papers of the future, I think, will be "news" papers.
The editorial is getting shorter and shorter.  The paragraphist is
taking the place of the heavy man.  People rather form their own
opinions from the facts.  Of course good articles will always find
readers, but the dreary, doleful, philosophical dissertation has
had its day.  The magazines will fall heir to such articles; then
religious weeklies will take them up, and then they will cease

_Question_.  Do you think the people lead the newspapers, or do
the newspapers lead them?

_Answer_.  The papers lead and are led.  Most papers have for sale
what people want to buy.  As a rule the people who buy determine
the character of the thing sold.  The reading public grow more
discriminating every year, and, as a result, are less and less
"led."  Violent papers--those that most freely attack private
character--are becoming less hurtful, because they are losing their
own reputations.  Evil tends to correct itself.  People do not
believe all they read, and there is a growing tendency to wait and
hear from the other side.

_Question_.  Do newspapers to-day exercise as much influence as
they did twenty-five years ago?

_Answer_.  More, by the facts published, and less, by editorials.
As we become more civilized we are governed less by persons and
more by principles--less by faith and more by fact.  The best of
all leaders is the man who teaches people to lead themselves.

_Question_.  What would you define public opinion to be?

_Answer_.  First, in the widest sense, the opinion of the majority,
including all kinds of people.  Second, in a narrower sense, the
opinion of the majority of the intellectual.  Third, in actual
practice, the opinion of those who make the most noise.  Fourth,
public opinion is generally a mistake, which history records and
posterity repeats.

_Question_.  What do you regard as the result of your lectures?

_Answer_.  In the last fifteen years I have delivered several
hundred lectures.  The world is growing more and more liberal every
day.  The man who is now considered orthodox, a few years ago would
have been denounced as an Infidel.  People are thinking more and
believing less.  The pulpit is losing influence.  In the light of
modern discovery the creeds are growing laughable.  A theologian
is an intellectual mummy, and excites attention only as a curiosity.
Supernatural religion has outlived its usefulness.  The miracles
and wonders of the ancients will soon occupy the same tent.  Jonah
and Jack the Giant Killer, Joshua and Red Riding Hood, Noah and
Neptune, will all go into the collection of the famous Mother

--_The Morning Journal_, New York, July 3, 1883.


_Question_.  What do you think of the result in Ohio?

_Answer_.  In Ohio prohibition did more harm to the Republican
chances than anything else.  The Germans hold the Republicans
responsible.  The German people believe in personal liberty.  They
came to America to get it, and they regard any interference in the
manner or quantity of their food and drink as an invasion of personal
rights.  They claim they are not questions to be regulated by law,
and I agree with them.  I believe that people will finally learn
to use spirits temperately and without abuse, but teetotalism is
intemperance in itself, which breeds resistance, and without
destroying the rivulet of the appetite only dams it and makes it
liable to break out at any moment. You can prevent a man from
stealing by tying his hands behind him, but you cannot make him
honest.  Prohibition breeds too many spies and informers, and makes
neighbors afraid of each other.  It kills hospitality.  Again, the
Republican party in Ohio is endeavoring to have Sunday sanctified
by the Legislature.  The working people want freedom on Sunday.
They wish to enjoy themselves, and all laws now making to prevent
innocent amusement, beget a spirit of resentment among the common
people.  I feel like resenting all such laws, and unless the
Republican party reforms in that particular, it ought to be defeated.
I regard those two things as the principal causes of the Republican
party's defeat in Ohio.

_Question_.  Do you believe that the Democratic success was due to
the possession of reverse principles?

_Answer_.  I do not think that the Democratic party is in favor of
liberty of thought and action in these two regards, from principle,
but rather from policy.  Finding the course pursued by the Republicans
unpopular, they adopted the opposite mode, and their success is a
proof of the truth of what I contend.  One great trouble in the
Republican party is bigotry.  The pulpit is always trying to take
charge.  The same thing exists in the Democratic party to a less
degree.  The great trouble here is that its worst element--Catholicism
--is endeavoring to get control.

_Question_.  What causes operated for the Republican success in

_Answer_.  Iowa is a prohibition State and almost any law on earth
as against anything to drink, can be carried there.  There are no
large cities in the State and it is much easier to govern, but even
there the prohibition law is bound to be a failure.  It will breed
deceit and hypocrisy, and in the long run the influence will be bad.

_Question_.  Will these two considerations cut any figure in the
presidential campaign of 1884?

_Answer_.  The party, as a party, will have nothing to do with
these questions.  These matters are local.  Whether the Republicans
are successful will depend more upon the country's prosperity.  If
things should be generally in pretty good shape in 1884, the people
will allow the party to remain in power.  Changes of administration
depend a great deal on the feeling of the country.  If crops are
bad and money is tight, the people blame the administration, whether
it is responsible or not.  If a ship going down the river strikes
a snag, or encounters a storm, a cry goes up against the captain.
It may not have been his fault, but he is blamed, all the same,
and the passengers at once clamor for another captain.  So it is
in politics.

If nothing interferes between this and 1884, the Republican party
will continue.  Otherwise it will be otherwise.  But the principle
of prosperity as applied to administrative change is strong.  If
the panic of 1873 had occurred in 1876 there would have been no
occasion for a commission to sit on Tilden.  If it had struck us
in 1880, Hancock would have been elected.  Neither result would
have its occasion in the superiority of the Democratic party, but
in the belief that the Republican party was in some vague way
blamable for the condition of things, and there should be a change.
The Republican party is not as strong as it used to be.  The old
leaders have dropped out and no persons have yet taken their places.
Blaine has dropped out, and is now writing a book.  Conkling dropped
out and is now practicing law, and so I might go on enumerating
leaders who have severed their connection with the party and are
no longer identified with it.

_Question_.  What is your opinion regarding the Republican nomination
for President?

_Answer_.  My belief is that the Republicans will have to nominate
some man who has not been conspicuous in any faction, and upon whom
all can unite.  As a consequence he must be a new man.  The Democrats
must do the same.  They must nominate a new man.  The old ones have
been defeated so often that they start handicapped with their own
histories, and failure in the past is very poor raw material out
of which to manufacture faith for the future.  My own judgment is
that for the Democrats, McDonald is as strong a man as they can
get.  He is a man of most excellent sense and would be regarded as
a safe man.  Tilden?  He is dead, and he occupies no stronger place
in the general heart than a graven image.  With no magnetism, he
has nothing save his smartness to recommend him.

_Question_.  What are your views, generally expressed, on the

_Answer_.  There are a great many Democrats for protection and a
great many for so-called free trade.  I think the large majority
of American people favor a reasonable tariff for raising our revenue
and protecting our manufactures.  I do not believe in tariff for
revenue only, but for revenue and protection.  The Democrats would
have carried the country had they combined revenue and incidental

_Question_.  Are they rectifying the error now?

_Answer_.  I believe they are, already.  They will do it next fall.
If they do not put it in their platform they will embody it in
their speeches.  I do not regard the tariff as a local, but a
national issue, notwithstanding Hancock inclined to the belief that
it was the former.

--_The Times_, Chicago, Illinois, October 13, 1883.


_Question_.  What is your explanation of the Republican disaster
last Tuesday?

_Answer_.  Too much praying and not enough paying, is my explanation
of the Republican defeat.

_First_.  I think the attempt to pass the Prohibition Amendment
lost thousands of votes.  The people of this country, no matter
how much they may deplore the evils of intemperance, are not yet
willing to set on foot a system of spying into each other's affairs.
They know that prohibition would need thousands of officers--that
it would breed informers and spies and peekers and skulkers by the
hundred in every county.  They know that laws do not of themselves
make good people.  Good people make good laws.  Americans do not
wish to be temperate upon compulsion.  The spirit that resents
interference in these matters is the same spirit that made and
keeps this a free country.  All this crusade and prayer-meeting
business will not do in politics.  We must depend upon the countless
influences of civilization, upon science, art, music--upon the
softening influences of kindness and argument.  As life becomes
valuable people will take care of it.  Temperance upon compulsion
destroys something more valuable than itself--liberty.  I am for
the largest liberty in all things.

_Second_.  The Prohibitionists, in my opinion, traded with Democrats.
The Democrats were smart enough to know that prohibition could not
carry, and that they could safely trade.  The Prohibitionists were
insane enough to vote for their worst enemies, just for the sake
of polling a large vote for prohibition, and were fooled as usual.

_Thirdly_.  Certain personal hatreds of certain Republican politicians.
These were the causes which led to Republican defeat in Ohio.

_Question_.  Will it necessitate the nomination of an Ohio Republican
next year?

_Answer_.  I do not think so.  Defeat is apt to breed dissension,
and on account of that dissension the party will have to take a
man from some other State.  One politician will say to another,
"You did it," and another will reply, "You are the man who ruined
the party."  I think we have given Ohio her share; certainly she
has given us ours.

_Question_.  Will this reverse seriously affect Republican chances
next year?

_Answer_.  If the country is prosperous next year, if the crops
are good, if prices are fair, if Pittsburg is covered with smoke,
if the song of the spindle is heard in Lowell, if stocks are healthy,
the Republicans will again succeed.  If the reverse as to crops
and forges and spindles, then the Democrats will win.  It is a
question of "chich-bugs," and floods and drouths.

_Question_.  Who, in your judgment, would be the strongest man the
Republicans could put up?

_Answer_.  Last year I thought General Sherman, but he has gone to
Missouri, and now I am looking around.  The first day I find out
I will telegraph you.

--_The Democrat_, Dayton, Ohio, October 15, 1883.


_Question_.  What do you think of the recent opinion of the Supreme
Court touching the rights of the colored man?

_Answer_.  I think it is all wrong.  The intention of the framers
of the amendment, by virtue of which the law was passed, was that
no distinction should be made in inns, in hotels, cars, or in
theatres; in short, in public places, on account of color, race,
or previous condition.  The object of the men who framed that
amendment to the Constitution was perfectly clear, perfectly well
known, perfectly understood.  They intended to secure, by an
amendment to the fundamental law, what had been fought for by
hundreds of thousands of men.  They knew that the institution of
slavery had cost rebellion; the also knew that the spirit of caste
was only slavery in another form.  They intended to kill that
spirit.  Their object was that the law, like the sun, should shine
upon all, and that no man keeping a hotel, no corporation running
cars, no person managing a theatre should make any distinction on
account of race or color.  This amendment is above all praise.  It
was the result of a moral exaltation, such as the world never before
had seen.  There were years during the war, and after, when the
American people were simply sublime; when their generosity was
boundless; when they were willing to endure any hardship to make
this an absolutely free country.

This decision of the Supreme Court puts the best people of the
colored race at the mercy of the meanest portion of the white race.
It allows a contemptible white man to trample upon a good colored
man.  I believe in drawing a line between good and bad, between
clean and unclean, but I do not believe in drawing a color line
which is as cruel as the lash of slavery.

I am willing to be on an equality in all hotels, in all cars, in
all theatres, with colored people.  I make no distinction of race.
Those make the distinction who cannot afford not to.  If nature
has made no distinction between me and some others, I do not ask
the aid of the Legislature.  I am willing to associate with all
good, clean persons, irrespective of complexion.

This decision virtually gives away one of the great principles for
which the war was fought.  It carries the doctrine of "State Rights"
to the Democratic extreme, and renders necessary either another
amendment or a new court.

I agree with Justice Harlan.  He has taken a noble and patriotic
stand.  Kentucky rebukes Massachusetts!  I am waiting with some
impatience--impatient because I anticipate a pleasure--for his
dissenting opinion.  Only a little while ago Justice Harlan took
a very noble stand on the Virginia Coupon cases, in which was
involved the right of a State to repudiate its debts.  Now he has
taken a stand in favor of the civil rights of the colored man; and
in both instances I think he is right.

This decision may, after all, help the Republican party.  A decision
of the Supreme Court aroused the indignation of the entire North,
and I hope the present decision will have a like effect.  The good
people of this country will not be satisfied until every man beneath
the flag, without the slightest respect to his complexion, stands
on a perfect equality before the law with every other.  Any government
that makes a distinction on account of color, is a disgrace to the
age in which we live.  The idea that a man like Frederick Douglass
can be denied entrance to a car, that the doors of a hotel can be
shut in his face; that he may be prevented from entering a theatre;
the idea that there shall be some ignominious corner into which
such a man can be thrown simply by a decision of the Supreme Court!
This idea is simply absurd.

_Question_.  What remains to be done now, and who is going to do it?

_Answer_.  For a good while people have been saying that the
Republican party has outlived its usefulness; that there is very
little difference now between the parties; that there is hardly
enough left to talk about.  This decision opens the whole question.
This decision says to the Republican party, "Your mission is not
yet ended.  This is not a free country.  Our flag does not protect
the rights of a human being."  This decision is the tap of a drum.
The old veterans will fall into line.  This decision gives the
issue for the next campaign, and it may be that the Supreme Court
has builded wiser than it knew.  This is a greater question than
the tariff or free trade.  It is a question of freedom, of human
rights, of the sacredness of humanity.

The real Americans, the real believers in Liberty, will give three
cheers for Judge Harlan.

One word more.  The Government is bound to protect its citizens,
not only when they are away from home, but when they are under the
flag.  In time of war the Government has a right to draft any
citizen; to put that citizen in the line of battle, and compel him
to fight for the nation.  If the Government when imperiled has the
right to compel a citizen, whether white or black, to defend with
his blood the flag, that citizen, when imperiled, has the right to
demand protection from the Nation.  The Nation cannot then say,
"You must appeal to your State."  If the citizen must appeal to
the State for redress, then the citizen should defend the State
and not the General Government, and the doctrine of State Rights
then becomes complete.

--_The National Republican_, Washington, D. C., October 17, 1883.


_Question_.  What do you think of Justice Harlan's dissenting
opinion in the Civil Rights case?

_Answer_.  I have just read it and think it admirable in every
respect.  It is unanswerable.  He has given to words their natural
meaning.  He has recognized the intention of the framers of the
recent amendments.  There is nothing in this opinion that is
strained, insincere, or artificial.  It is frank and manly.  It is
solid masonry, without crack or flaw.  He does not resort to legal
paint or putty, or to verbal varnish or veneer.  He states the
position of his brethren of the bench with perfect fairness, and
overturns it with perfect ease.  He has drawn an instructive parallel
between the decisions of the olden time, upholding the power of
Congress to deal with individuals in the interests of slavery, and
the power conferred on Congress by the recent amendments.  He has
shown by the old decisions, that when a duty is enjoined upon
Congress, ability to perform it is given; that when a certain end
is required, all necessary means are granted.  He also shows that
the Fugitive Slave Acts of 1793 and of 1850, rested entirely upon
the implied power of Congress to enforce a master's rights; and
that power was once implied in favor of slavery against human
rights, and implied from language shadowy, feeble and uncertain
when compared with the language of the recent amendments.  He has
shown, too, that Congress exercised the utmost ingenuity in devising
laws to enforce the master's claim.  Implication was held ample to
deprive a human being of his liberty, but to secure freedom, the
doctrine of implication is abandoned.  As a foundation for wrong,
implication was their rock.  As a foundation for right, it is now
sand.  Implied power then was sufficient to enslave, while power
expressly given is now impotent to protect.

_Question_.  What do you think of the use he has made of the Dred
Scott decision?

_Answer_.  Well, I think he has shown conclusively that the present
decision, under the present circumstances, is far worse than the
Dred Scott decision was under the then circumstances.  The Dred
Scott decision was a libel upon the best men of the Revolutionary
period.  That decision asserted broadly that our forefathers regarded
the negroes as having no rights which white men were bound to
respect; that the negroes were merely merchandise, and that that
opinion was fixed and universal in the civilized portion of the
white race, and that no one thought of disputing it.  Yet Franklin
contended that slavery might be abolished under the preamble of
the Constitution.  Thomas Jefferson said that if the slave should
rise to cut the throat of his master, God had no attribute that
would side against the slave.  Thomas Paine attacked the institution
with all the intensity and passion of his nature.  John Adams
regarded the institution with horror.  So did every civilized man,
South and North.

Justice Harlan shows conclusively that the Thirteenth Amendment
was adopted in the light of the Dred Scott decision; that it
overturned and destroyed, not simply the decision, but the reasoning
upon which it was based; that it proceeded upon the ground that
the colored people had rights that white men were bound to respect,
not only, but that the Nation was bound to protect.  He takes the
ground that the amendment was suggested by the condition of that
race, which had been declared by the Supreme Court of the United
States to have no rights which white men were bound to respect; that
it was made to protect people whose rights had been invaded, and
whose strong arms had assisted in the overthrow of the Rebellion;
that it was made for the purpose of putting these men upon a legal
authority with white citizens.

Justice Harland also shows that while legislation of Congress to
enforce a master's right was upheld by implication, the rights of
the negro do not depend upon that doctrine; that the Thirteenth
Amendment does not rest upon implication, or upon inference; that
by its terms it places the power in Congress beyond the possibility
of a doubt--conferring the power to enforce the amendment by
appropriate legislation in express terms; and he also shows that
the Supreme Court has admitted that legislation for that purpose
may be direct and primary.  Had not the power been given in express
terms, Justice Harlan contends that the sweeping declaration that
neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist would by
implication confer the power.  He also shows conclusively that,
under the Thirteenth Amendment, Congress has the right by appropriate
legislation to protect the colored people against the deprivation
of any right on account of their race, and that Congress is not
necessarily restricted, under the Thirteenth Amendment, to legislation
against slavery as an institution, but that power may be exerted
to the extent of protecting the race from discrimination in respect
to such rights as belong to freemen, where such discrimination is
based on race or color.

If Justice Harlan is wrong the amendments are left without force
and Congress without power.  No purpose can be assigned for their
adoption.  No object can be guessed that was to be accomplished.
They become words, so arranged that they sound like sense, but when
examined fall meaninglessly apart.  Under the decision of the
Supreme Court they are Quaker cannon--cloud forts--"property" for
political stage scenery--coats of mail made of bronzed paper--
shields of gilded pasteboard--swords of lath.

_Question_.  Do you wish to say anything as to the reasoning of
Justice Harlan on the rights of colored people on railways, in inns
and theatres?

_Answer_.  Yes, I do.  That part of the opinion is especially
strong.  He shows conclusively that a common carrier is in the
exercise of a sort of public office and has public duties to perform,
and that he cannot exonerate himself from the performance of these
duties without the consent of the parties concerned.  He also shows
that railroads are public highways, and that the railway company
is the agent of the State, and that a railway, although built by
private capital, is just as public in its nature as though constructed
by the State itself.  He shows that the railway is devoted to public
use, and subject to be controlled by the State for the public
benefit, and that for these reasons the colored man has the same
rights upon the railway that he has upon the public highway.

Justice Harlan shows that the same law is applicable to inns that
is applicable to railways; that an inn-keeper is bound to take all
travelers if he can accommodate them; that he is not to select his
guests; that he has not right to say to one "you may come in," and
to another "you shall not;" that every one who conducts himself in
a proper manner has a right to be received.  He shows conclusively
that an inn-keeper is a sort of public servant; that he is in the
exercise of a _quasi_ public employment, that he is given special
privileges, and charged with duties of a public character.

As to theatres, I think his argument most happy.  It is this:
Theatres are licensed by law.  The authority to maintain them comes
from the public.  The colored race being a part of the public,
representing the power granting the license, why should the colored
people license a manager to open his doors to the white man and
shut them in the face of the black man?  Why should they be compelled
to license that which they are not permitted to enjoy?  Justice
Harlan shows that Congress has the power to prevent discrimination
on account of race or color on railways, at inns, and in places of
public amusements, and has this power under the Thirteenth

In discussing the Fourteenth Amendment, Justice Harlan points out
that a prohibition upon a State is not a power in Congress or the
National Government, but is simply a denial of power to the State;
that such was the Constitution before the Fourteenth Amendment.
He shows, however, that the Fourteenth Amendment presents the first
instance in our history of the investiture of Congress with
affirmative power by legislation to enforce an express prohibition
upon the States.  This is an important point.  It is stated with
great clearness, and defended with great force.  He shows that the
first clause of the first section of the Fourteenth Amendment is
of a distinctly affirmative character, and that Congress would have
had the power to legislate directly as to that section simply by
implication, but that as to that as well as the express prohibitions
upon the States, express power to legislate was given.

There is one other point made by Justice Harlan which transfixes
as with a spear the decision of the Court.  It is this:  As soon
as the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments were adopted the colored
citizen was entitled to the protection of section two, article
four, namely:  "The citizens of each State shall be entitled to
all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States."
Now, suppose a colored citizen of Mississippi moves to Tennessee.
Then, under the section last quoted, he would immediately become
invested with all the privileges and immunities of a white citizen
of Tennessee.  Although denied these privileges and immunities in
the State from which he emigrated, in the State to which he immigrates
he could not be discriminated against on account of his color under
the second section of the fourth article.  Now, is it possible that
he gets additional rights by immigration?  Is it possible that the
General Government is under a greater obligation to protect him in
a State of which he is not a citizen than in a State of which he
is a citizen?  Must he leave home for protection, and after he has
lived long enough in the State to which he immigrates to become a
citizen there, must he again move in order to protect his rights?
Must one adopt the doctrine of peripatetic protection--the doctrine
that the Constitution is good only _in transitu_, and that when
the citizen stops, the Constitution goes on and leaves him without

Justice Harlan shows that Congress had the right to legislate
directly while that power was only implied, but that the moment
this power was conferred in express terms, then according to the
Supreme Court, it was lost.

There is another splendid definition given by Justice Harlan--a
line drawn as broad as the Mississippi.  It is the distinction
between the rights conferred by a State and rights conferred by
the Nation.  Admitting that many rights conferred by a State cannot
be enforced directly by Congress, Justice Harlan shows that rights
granted by the Nation to an individual may be protected by direct
legislation.  This is a distinction that should not be forgotten,
and it is a definition clear and perfect.

Justice Harlan has shown that the Supreme Court failed to take into
consideration the intention of the framers of the amendment; failed
to see that the powers of Congress were given by express terms and
did not rest upon implication; failed to see that the Thirteenth
Amendment was broad enough to cover the Civil Rights Act; failed
to see that under the three amendments rights and privileges were
conferred by the Nation on citizens of the several States, and that
these rights are under the perpetual protection of the General
Government, and that for their enforcement Congress has the right
to legislate directly; failed to see that all implications are now
in favor of liberty instead of slavery; failed to comprehend that
we have a new nation with a new foundation, with different objects,
ends, and aims, for the attainment of which we use different means
and have been clothed with greater powers; failed to see that the
Republic changed front; failed to appreciate the real reasons for
the adoption of the amendments, and failed to understand that the
Civil Rights Act was passed in order that a citizen of the United
States might appeal from local prejudice to national justice.

Justice Harlan shows that it was the object to accomplish for the
black man what had been accomplished for the white man--that is,
to protect all their rights as free men and citizens; and that the
one underlying purpose of the amendments and of the congressional
legislation has been to clothe the black race with all the rights
of citizenship, and to compel a recognition of their rights by
citizens and States--that the object was to do away with class
tyranny, the meanest and basest form of oppression.

If Justice Harlan was wrong in his position, then, it may truthfully
be said of the three amendments that:

  "The law hath bubbles as the water has,
   And these are of them."

The decision of the Supreme Court denies the protection of the
Nation to the citizens of the Nation.  That decision has already
borne fruit--the massacre at Danville.  The protection of the Nation
having been withdrawn, the colored man was left to the mercy of
local prejudices and hatreds.  He is without appeal, without redress.
The Supreme Court tells him that he must depend upon his enemies
for justice.

_Question_.  You seem to agree with all that Justice Harlan has
said, and to have the greatest admiration for his opinion?

_Answer_.  Yes, a man rises from reading this dissenting opinion
refreshed, invigorated, and strengthened.  It is a mental and moral
tonic.  It was produced after a clear head had held conference with
a good heart.  It will furnish a perfectly clear plank, without
knot or wind-shake, for the next Republican platform.  It is written
in good plain English, and ornamented with good sound sense.  The
average man can and will understand its every word.  There is no
subterfuge in it.

Each position is taken in the open field.  There is no resort to
quibbles or technicalities--no hiding.  Nothing is secreted in the
sleeve--no searching for blind paths--no stooping and looking for
ancient tracks, grass-grown and dim.  Each argument travels the
highway--"the big road."  It is logical.  The facts and conclusions
agree, and fall naturally into line of battle.  It is sincere and
candid--unpretentious and unanswerable.  It is a grand defence of
human rights--a brave and manly plea for universal justice.  It
leaves the decision of the Supreme Court without argument, without
reason, and without excuse.  Such an exhibition of independence,
courage and ability has won for Justice Harlan the respect and
admiration of "both sides," and places him in the front rank of
constitutional lawyers.

--_The Inter-Ocean_, Chicago, Illinois, November 29, 1883.


_Question_.  What is your opinion of Brewster's administration?

_Answer_.  I hardly think I ought to say much about the administration
of Mr. Brewster.  Of course many things have been done that I
thought, and still think, extremely bad; but whether Mr. Brewster
was responsible for the things done, or not, I do not pretend to
say.  When he was appointed to his present position, there was
great excitement in the country about the Star Route cases, and
Mr. Brewster was expected to prosecute everybody and everything to
the extent of the law; in fact, I believe he was appointed by reason
of having made such a promise.  At that time there were hundreds
of people interested in exaggerating all the facts connected with
the Star Route cases, and when there were no facts to be exaggerated,
they made some, and exaggerated them afterward.  It may be that
the Attorney-General was misled, and he really supposed that all
he heard was true.  My objection to the administration of the
Department of Justice is, that a resort was had to spies and
detectives.  The battle was not fought in the open field.  Influences
were brought to bear.  Nearly all departments of the Government
were enlisted.  Everything was done to create a public opinion in
favor of the prosecution.  Everything was done that the cases might
be decided on prejudice instead of upon facts.

Everything was done to demoralize, frighten and overawe judges,
witnesses and jurors.  I do not pretend to say who was responsible,
possibly I am not an impartial judge.  I was deeply interested at
the time, and felt all of these things, rather than reasoned about

Possibly I cannot give a perfectly unbiased opinion.  Personally,
I have no feeling now upon the subject.

The Department of Justice, in spite of its methods, did not succeed.
That was enough for me.  I think, however, when the country knows
the facts, that the people will not approve of what was done.  I
do not believe in trying cases in the newspapers before they are
submitted to jurors.  That is a little too early.  Neither do I
believe in trying them in the newspapers after the verdicts have
been rendered.  That is a little too late.

_Question_.  What are Mr. Blaine's chances for the presidency?

_Answer_.  My understanding is that Mr. Blaine is not a candidate
for the nomination; that he does not wish his name to be used in
that connection.  He ought to have been nominated in 1876, and if
he were a candidate, he would probably have the largest following;
but my understanding is, that he does not, in any event, wish to
be a candidate.  He is a man perfectly familiar with the politics
of this country, knows its history by heart, and is in every respect
probably as well qualified to act as its Chief Magistrate as any
man in the nation.  He is a man of ideas, of action, and has positive
qualities.  He would not wait for something to turn up, and things
would not have to wait long for him to turn them up.

_Question_.  Who do you think will be nominated at Chicago?

_Answer_.  Of course I have not the slightest idea who will be
nominated.  I may have an opinion as to who ought to be nominated,
and yet I may be greatly mistaken in that opinion.  There are
hundreds of men in the Republican party, any one of whom, if elected,
would make a good, substantial President, and there are many
thousands of men about whom I know nothing, any one of whom would
in all probability make a good President.  We do not want any man
to govern this country.  This country governs itself.  We want a
President who will honestly and faithfully execute the laws, who
will appoint postmasters and do the requisite amount of handshaking
on public occasions, and we have thousands of men who can discharge
the duties of that position.  Washington is probably the worst
place to find out anything definite upon the subject of presidential
booms.  I have thought for a long time that one of the most valuable
men in the country was General Sherman.  Everybody knows who and
what he is.  He has one great advantage--he is a frank and outspoken
man.  He has opinions and he never hesitates about letting them be
known.  There is considerable talk about Judge Harlan.  His dissenting
opinion in the Civil Rights case has made every colored man his
friend, and I think it will take considerable public patronage to
prevent a good many delegates from the Southern States voting for

_Question_.  What are your present views on theology?

_Answer_.  Well, I think my views have not undergone any change
that I know of.  I still insist that observation, reason and
experience are the things to be depended upon in this world.  I
still deny the existence of the supernatural.  I still insist that
nobody can be good for you, or bad for you; that you cannot be
punished for the crimes of others, nor rewarded for their virtues.
I still insist that the consequences of good actions are always
good, and those of bad actions always bad.  I insist that nobody
can plant thistles and gather figs; neither can they plant figs
and gather thistles.  I still deny that a finite being can commit
an infinite sin; but I continue to insist that a God who would
punish a man forever is an infinite tyrant.  My views have undergone
no change, except that the evidence of that truth constantly
increases, and the dogmas of the church look, if possible, a little
absurder every day.  Theology, you know, is not a science.  It
stops at the grave; and faith is the end of theology.  Ministers
have not even the advantage of the doctors; the doctors sometimes
can tell by a post-mortem examination whether they killed the man
or not; but by cutting a man open after he is dead, the wisest
theologians cannot tell what has become of his soul, and whether
it was injured or helped by a belief in the inspiration of the
Scriptures.  Theology depends on assertion for evidence, and on
faith for disciples.

--_The Tribune_, Denver, Colorado, January 17, 1886.


_Question_.  I see that the clergy are still making all kinds of
charges against you and your doctrines.

_Answer_.  Yes.  Some of the charges are true and some of them are
not.  I suppose that they intend to get in the vicinity of veracity,
and are probably stating my belief as it is honestly misunderstood
by them.  I admit that I have said and that I still think that
Christianity is a blunder.  But the question arises, What is
Christianity?  I do not mean, when I say that Christianity is a
blunder, that the morality taught by Christians is a mistake.
Morality is not distinctively Christian, any more than it is
Mohammedan.  Morality is human, it belongs to no ism, and does not
depend for a foundation upon the supernatural, or upon any book,
or upon any creed.  Morality is itself a foundation.  When I say
that Christianity is a blunder, I mean all those things distinctively
Christian are blunders.  It is a blunder to say that an infinite
being lived in Palestine, learned the carpenter's trade, raised
the dead, cured the blind, and cast out devils, and that this God
was finally assassinated by the Jews.  This is absurd.  All these
statements are blunders, if not worse.  I do not believe that Christ
ever claimed that he was of supernatural origin, or that he wrought
miracles, or that he would rise from the dead.  If he did, he was
mistaken--honestly mistaken, perhaps, but still mistaken.

The morality inculcated by Mohammed is good.  The immorality
inculcated by Mohammed is bad.  If Mohammed was a prophet of God,
it does not make the morality he taught any better, neither does
it make the immorality any better or any worse.

By this time the whole world ought to know that morality does not
need to go into partnership with miracles.  Morality is based upon
the experience of mankind.  It does not have to learn of inspired
writers, or of gods, or of divine persons.  It is a lesson that
the whole human race has been learning and learning from experience.
He who upholds, or believes in, or teaches, the miraculous, commits
a blunder.

Now, what is morality?  Morality is the best thing to do under the
circumstances.  Anything that tends to the happiness of mankind is
moral.  Anything that tends to unhappiness is immoral.  We apply
to the moral world rules and regulations as we do in the physical
world.  The man who does justice, or tries to do so--who is honest
and kind and gives to others what he claims for himself, is a moral
man.  All actions must be judged by their consequences.  Where the
consequences are good, the actions are good.  Where the consequences
are bad, the actions are bad; and all consequences are learned from
experience.  After we have had a certain amount of experience, we
then reason from analogy.  We apply our logic and say that a certain
course will bring destruction, another course will bring happiness.
There is nothing inspired about morality--nothing supernatural.
It is simply good, common sense, going hand in hand with kindness.

Morality is capable of being demonstrated.  You do not have to take
the word of anybody; you can observe and examine for yourself.
Larceny is the enemy of industry, and industry is good; therefore
larceny is immoral.  The family is the unit of good government;
anything that tends to destroy the family is immoral.  Honesty is
the mother of confidence; it united, combines and solidifies society.
Dishonesty is disintegration; it destroys confidence; it brings
social chaos; it is therefore immoral.

I also admit that I regard the Mosaic account of the creation as
an absurdity--as a series of blunders.  Probably Moses did the best
he could.  He had never talked with Humboldt or Laplace.  He knew
nothing of geology or astronomy.  He had not the slightest suspicion
of Kepler's Three Laws.  He never saw a copy of Newton's Principia.
Taking all these things into consideration, I think Moses did the
best he could.

The religious people say now that "days" did not mean days.  Of
these "six days" they make a kind of telescope, which you can push
in or draw out at pleasure.  If the geologists find that more time
was necessary they will stretch them out.  Should it turn out that
the world is not quite as old as some think, they will push them
up.  The "six days" can now be made to suit any period of time.
Nothing can be more childish, frivolous or contradictory.

Only a few years ago the Mosaic account was considered true, and
Moses was regarded as a scientific authority.  Geology and astronomy
were measured by the Mosaic standard.  The opposite is now true.
The church has changed; and instead of trying to prove that modern
astronomy and geology are false, because they do not agree with
Moses, it is now endeavoring to prove that the account by Moses is
true, because it agrees with modern astronomy and geology.  In
other words, the standard has changed; the ancient is measured by
the modern, and where the literal statement in the Bible does not
agree with modern discoveries, they do not change the discoveries,
but give new meanings to the old account.  We are not now endeavoring
to reconcile science with the Bible, but to reconcile the Bible
with science.

Nothing shows the extent of modern doubt more than the eagerness
with which Christians search for some new testimony.  Luther answered
Copernicus with a passage of Scripture, and he answered him to the
satisfaction of orthodox ignorance.

The truth is that the Jews adopted the stories of Creation, the
Garden of Eden, Forbidden Fruit, and the Fall of Man.  They were
told by older barbarians than they, and the Jews gave them to us.

I never said that the Bible is all bad.  I have always admitted
that there are many good and splendid things in the Jewish Scriptures,
and many bad things.  What I insist is that we should have the
courage and the common sense to accept the good, and throw away
the bad.  Evil is not good because found in good company, and truth
is still truth, even when surrounded by falsehood.

_Question_.  I see that you are frequently charged with disrespect
toward your parents--with lack of reverence for the opinions of
your father?

_Answer_.  I think my father and mother upon several religious
questions were mistaken.  In fact, I have no doubt that they were;
but I never felt under the slightest obligation to defend my father's
mistakes.  No one can defend what he thinks is a mistake, without
being dishonest.  That is a poor way to show respect for parents.
Every Protestant clergyman asks men and women who had Catholic
parents to desert the church in which they were raised.  They have
no hesitation in saying to these people that their fathers and
mothers were mistaken, and that they were deceived by priests and

The probability is that we are all mistaken about almost everything;
but it is impossible for a man to be respectable enough to make a
mistake respectable.  There is nothing remarkably holy in a blunder,
or praiseworthy in stubbing the toe of the mind against a mistake.
Is it possible that logic stands paralyzed in the presence of
paternal absurdity?  Suppose a man has a bad father; is he bound
by the bad father's opinion, when he is satisfied that the opinion
is wrong?  How good does a father have to be, in order to put his
son under obligation to defend his blunders?  Suppose the father
thinks one way, and the mother the other; what are the children to
do?  Suppose the father changes his opinion; what then?  Suppose
the father thinks one way and the mother the other, and they both
die when the boy is young; and the boy is bound out; whose mistakes
is he then bound to follow?  Our missionaries tell the barbarian
boy that his parents are mistaken, that they know nothing, and that
the wooden god is nothing but a senseless idol.  They do not hesitate
to tell this boy that his mother believed lies, and hugged, it may
be to her dying heart, a miserable delusion.  Why should a barbarian
boy cast reproach upon his parents?

I believe it was Christ who commanded his disciples to leave father
and mother; not only to leave them, but to desert them; and not
only to desert father and mother, but to desert wives and children.
It is also told of Christ that he said that he came to set fathers
against children and children against fathers.  Strange that a
follower of his should object to a man differing in opinion from
his parents!  The truth is, logic knows nothing of consanguinity;
facts have no relatives but other facts; and these facts do not
depend upon the character of the person who states them, or upon
the position of the discoverer.  And this leads me to another branch
of the same subject.

The ministers are continually saying that certain great men--kings,
presidents, statesmen, millionaires--have believed in the inspiration
of the Bible.  Only the other day, I read a sermon in which Carlyle
was quoted as having said that "the Bible is a noble book."  That
all may be and yet the book not be inspired.  But what is the simple
assertion of Thomas Carlyle worth?  If the assertion is based upon
a reason, then it is worth simply the value of the reason, and the
reason is worth just as much without the assertion, but without
the reason the assertion is worthless.  Thomas Carlyle thought,
and solemnly put the thought in print, that his father was a greater
man than Robert Burns.  His opinion did Burns no harm, and his
father no good.  Since reading his "Reminiscences," I have no great
opinion of his opinion.  In some respects he was undoubtedly a
great man, in others a small one.

No man should give the opinion of another as authority and in place
of fact and reason, unless he is willing to take all the opinions
of that man.  An opinion is worth the warp and woof of fact and
logic in it and no more.  A man cannot add to the truthfulness of
truth.  In the ordinary business of life, we give certain weight
to the opinion of specialists--to the opinion of doctors, lawyers,
scientists, and historians.  Within the domain of the natural, we
take the opinions of our fellow-men; but we do not feel that we
are absolutely bound by these opinions.  We have the right to re-
examine them, and if we find they are wrong we feel at liberty to
say so.  A doctor is supposed to have studied medicine; to have
examined and explored the questions entering into his profession;
but we know that doctors are often mistaken.  We also know that
there are many schools of medicine; that these schools disagree
with one another, and that the doctors of each school disagree with
one another.  We also know that many patients die, and so far as
we know, these patients have not come back to tell us whether the
doctors killed them or not.  The grave generally prevents a
demonstration.  It is exactly the same with the clergy.  They have
many schools of theology, all despising each other.  Probably no
two members of the same church exactly agree.  They cannot demonstrate
their propositions, because between the premise and the logical
conclusion or demonstration, stands the tomb.  A gravestone marks
the end of theology.  In some cases, the physician can, by a post-
mortem examination, find what killed the patient, but there is no
theological post-mortem.  It is impossible, by cutting a body open,
to find where the soul has gone; or whether baptism, or the lack
of it, had the slightest effect upon final destiny.  The church,
knowing that there are no facts beyond the coffin, relies upon
opinions, assertions and theories.  For this reason it is always
asking alms of distinguished people.  Some President wishes to be
re-elected, and thereupon speaks about the Bible as "the corner-
stone of American Liberty."  This sentence is a mouth large enough
to swallow any church, and from that time forward the religious
people will be citing that remark of the politician to substantiate
the inspiration of the Scriptures.

The man who accepts opinions because they have been entertained by
distinguished people, is a mental snob.  When we blindly follow
authority we are serfs.  When our reason is convinced we are freemen.
It is rare to find a fully rounded and complete man.  A man may be
a great doctor and a poor mechanic, a successful politician and a
poor metaphysician, a poor painter and a good poet.

The rarest thing in the world is a logician--that is to say, a man
who knows the value of a fact.  It is hard to find mental proportion.
Theories may be established by names, but facts cannot be demonstrated
in that way.  Very small people are sometimes right, and very great
people are sometimes wrong.  Ministers are sometimes right.

In all the philosophies of the world there are undoubtedly
contradictions and absurdities.  The mind of man is imperfect and
perfect results are impossible.  A mirror, in order to reflect a
perfect picture, a perfect copy, must itself be perfect.  The mind
is a little piece of intellectual glass the surface of which is
not true, not perfect.  In consequence of this, every image is more
or less distorted.  The less we know, the more we imagine that we
can know; but the more we know, the smaller seems the sum of
knowledge.  The less we know, the more we expect, the more we hope
for, and the more seems within the range of probability.  The less
we have, the more we want.  There never was a banquet magnificent
enough to gratify the imagination of a beggar.  The moment people
begin to reason about what they call the supernatural, they seem
to lose their minds.  People seem to have lost their reason in
religious matters, very much as the dodo is said to have lost its
wings; they have been restricted to a little inspired island, and
by disuse their reason has been lost.

In the Jewish Scriptures you will find simply the literature of
the Jews.  You will find there the tears and anguish of captivity,
patriotic fervor, national aspiration, proverbs for the conduct of
daily life, laws, regulations, customs, legends, philosophy and
folly.  These books, of course, were not written by one man, but
by many authors.  They do not agree, having been written in different
centuries, under different circumstances.  I see that Mr. Beecher
has at last concluded that the Old Testament does not teach the
doctrine of immortality.  He admits that from Mount Sinai came no
hope for the dead.  It is very curious that we find in the Old
Testament no funeral service.  No one stands by the dead and predicts
another life.  In the Old Testament there is no promise of another
world.  I have sometimes thought that while the Jews were slaves
in Egypt, the doctrine of immortality became hateful.  They built
so many tombs; they carried so many burdens to commemorate the
dead; the saw a nation waste its wealth to adorn its graves, and
leave the living naked to embalm the dead, that they concluded the
doctrine was a curse and never should be taught.

_Question_.  If the Jews did not believe in immortality, how do
you account for the allusions made to witches and wizards and things
of that nature?

_Answer_.  When Saul visited the Witch of Endor, and she, by some
magic spell, called up Samuel, the prophet said:  "Why hast thou
disquieted me, to call me up?"  He did not say:  Why have you called
me from another world?  The idea expressed is:  I was asleep, why
did you disturb that repose which should be eternal?  The ancient
Jews believed in witches and wizards and familiar spirits; but they
did not seem to think that these spirits had once been men and
women.  They spoke to them as belonging to another world, a world
to which man would never find his way.  At that time it was supposed
that Jehovah and his angels lived in the sky, but that region was
not spoken of as the destined home of man.  Jacob saw angels going
up and down the ladder, but not the spirits of those he had known.
There are two cases where it seems that men were good enough to be
adopted into the family of heaven.  Enoch was translated, and Elijah
was taken up in a chariot of fire.  As it is exceedingly cold at
the height of a few miles, it is easy to see why the chariot was
of fire, and the same fact explains another circumstance--the
dropping of the mantle.  The Jews probably believed in the existence
of other beings--that is to say, in angels and gods and evil spirits
--and that they lived in other worlds--but there is no passage
showing that they believed in what we call the immortality of the

_Question_.  Do you believe, or disbelieve, in the immortality of
the soul?

_Answer_.  I neither assert nor deny; I simply admit that I do not
know.  Upon that subject I am absolutely without evidence.  This
is the only world that I was ever in.  There may be spirits, but
I have never met them, and do not know that I would recognize a
spirit.  I can form no conception of what is called spiritual life.
It may be that I am deficient in imagination, and that ministers
have no difficulty in conceiving of angels and disembodied souls.
I have not the slightest idea how a soul looks, what shape it is,
how it goes from one place to another, whether it walks or flies.
I cannot conceive of the immaterial having form; neither can I
conceive of anything existing without form, and yet the fact that
I cannot conceive of a thing does not prove that the thing does
not exist, but it does prove that I know nothing about it, and that
being so, I ought to admit my ignorance.  I am satisfied of a good
many things that I do not know.  I am satisfied that there is no
place of eternal torment.  I am satisfied that that doctrine has
done more harm than all the religious ideas, other than that, have
done good.  I do not want to take any hope from any human heart.
I have no objection to people believing in any good thing--no
objection to their expecting a crown of infinite joy for every
human being.  Many people imagine that immortality must be an
infinite good; but, after all, there is something terrible in the
idea of endless life.  Think of a river that never reaches the sea;
of a bird that never folds its wings; of a journey that never ends.
Most people find great pleasure in thinking about and in believing
in another world.  There the prisoner expects to be free; the slave
to find liberty; the poor man expects wealth; the rich man happiness;
the peasant dreams of power, and the king of contentment.  They
expect to find there what they lack here.  I do not wish to destroy
these dreams.  I am endeavoring to put out the everlasting fires.
A good, cool grave is infinitely better than the fiery furnace of
Jehovah's wrath.  Eternal sleep is better than eternal pain.  For
my part I would rather be annihilated than to be an angel, with
all the privileges of heaven, and yet have within my breast a heart
that could be happy while those who had loved me in this world were
in perdition.

I most sincerely hope that the future life will fulfill all splendid
dreams; but in the religion of the present day there is no joy.
Nothing is so devoid of comfort, when bending above our dead, as
the assertions of theology unsupported by a single fact.  The
promises are so far away, and the dead are so near.  From words
spoken eighteen centuries ago, the echoes are so weak, and the
sounds of the clods on the coffin are so loud.  Above the grave
what can the honest minister say?  If the dead were not a Christian,
what then?  What comfort can the orthodox clergyman give to the
widow of an honest unbeliever?  If Christianity is true, the other
world will be worse than this.  There the many will be miserable,
only the few happy; there the miserable cannot better their condition;
the future has no star of hope, and in the east of eternity there
can never be a dawn.

_Question_.  If you take away the idea of eternal punishment, how
do you propose to restrain men; in what way will you influence
conduct for good?

_Answer_.  Well, the trouble with religion is that it postpones
punishment and reward to another world.  Wrong is wrong, because
it breeds unhappiness.  Right is right, because it tends to the
happiness of man.  These facts are the basis of what I call the
religion of this world.  When a man does wrong, the consequences
follow, and between the cause and effect, a Redeemer cannot step.
Forgiveness cannot form a breastwork between act and consequence.

There should be a religion of the body--a religion that will prevent
deformity, that will refuse to multiply insanity, that will not
propagate disease--a religion that is judged by its consequences in
this world.  Orthodox Christianity has taught, and still teaches,
that in this world the difference between the good and the bad is
that the bad enjoy themselves, while the good carry the cross of
virtue with bleeding brows bound and pierced with the thorns of
honesty and kindness.  All this, in my judgment, is immoral.  The
man who does wrong carries a cross.  There is no world, no star,
in which the result of wrong is real happiness.  There is no world,
no star, in which the result of doing right is unhappiness.  Virtue
and vice must be the same everywhere.

Vice must be vice everywhere, because its consequences are evil;
and virtue must be virtue everywhere, because its consequences are
good.  There can be no such thing as forgiveness.  These facts are
the only restraining influences possible--the innocent man cannot
suffer for the guilty and satisfy the law.

_Question_.  How do you answer the argument, or the fact, that the
church is constantly increasing, and that there are now four hundred
millions of Christians?

_Answer_.  That is what I call the argument of numbers.  If that
argument is good now, it was always good.  If Christians were at
any time in the minority, then, according to this argument,
Christianity was wrong.  Every religion that has succeeded has
appealed to the argument of numbers.  There was a time when Buddhism
was in a majority.  Buddha not only had, but has more followers
then Christ.  Success is not a demonstration.  Mohammed was a
success, and a success from the commencement.  Upon a thousand
fields he was victor.  Of the scattered tribes of the desert, he
made a nation, and this nation took the fairest part of Europe from
the followers of the cross.  In the history of the world, the
success of Mohammed is unparalleled, but this success does not
establish that he was the prophet of God.

Now, it is claimed that there are some four hundred millions of
Christians.  To make that total I am counted as a Christian; I am
one of the fifty or sixty millions of Christians in the United
States--excluding Indians, not taxed.  By this census report, we
are all going to heaven--we are all orthodox.  At the last great
day we can refer with confidence to the ponderous volumes containing
the statistics of the United States.  As a matter of fact, how many
Christians are there in the United States--how many believers in
the inspiration of the Scriptures--how many real followers of
Christ?  I will not pretend to give the number, but I will venture
to say that there are not fifty millions.  How many in England?
Where are the four hundred millions found?  To make this immense
number, they have counted all the Heretics, all the Catholics, all
the Jews, Spiritualists, Universalists and Unitarians, all the
babes, all the idiotic and insane, all the Infidels, all the
scientists, all the unbelievers.  As a matter of fact, they have
no right to count any except the orthodox members of the orthodox
churches.  There may be more "members" now than formerly, and this
increase of members is due to a decrease of religion.  Thousands
of members are only nominal Christians, wearing the old uniform
simply because they do not wish to be charged with desertion.  The
church, too, is a kind of social institution, a club with a creed
instead of by-laws, and the creed is never defended unless attacked
by an outsider.  No objection is made to the minister because he
is liberal, if he says nothing about it in his pulpit.  A man like
Mr. Beecher draws a congregation, not because he is a Christian,
but because he is a genius; not because he is orthodox, but because
he has something to say.  He is an intellectual athlete.  He is
full of pathos and poetry.  He has more description than divinity;
more charity than creed, and altogether more common sense than
theology.  For these reasons thousands of people love to hear him.
On the other hand, there are many people who have a morbid desire
for the abnormal--for intellectual deformities--for thoughts that
have two heads.  This accounts for the success of some of Mr.
Beecher's rivals.

Christians claim that success is a test of truth.  Has any church
succeeded as well as the Catholic?  Was the tragedy of the Garden
of Eden a success?  Who succeeded there?  The last best thought is
not a success, if you mean that only that is a success which has
succeeded, and if you mean by succeeding, that it has won the assent
of the majority.  Besides there is no time fixed for the test.  Is
that true which succeeds to-day, or next year, or in the next
century?  Once the Copernican system was not a success.  There is
no time fixed.  The result is that we have to wait.  A thing to
exist at all has to be, to a certain extent, a success.  A thing
cannot even die without having been a success.  It certainly
succeeded enough to have life.  Presbyterians should remember,
while arguing the majority argument, and the success argument, that
there are far more Catholics than Protestants, and that the Catholics
can give a longer list of distinguished names.

My answer to all this, however, is that the history of the world
shows that ignorance has always been in the majority.  There is
one right road; numberless paths that are wrong.  Truth is one;
error is many.  When a great truth has been discovered, one man
has pitted himself against the world.  A few think; the many believe.
The few lead; the many follow.  The light of the new day, as it
looks over the window sill of the east, falls at first on only one

There is another thing.  A great many people pass for Christians
who are not.  Only a little while ago a couple of ladies were
returning from church in a carriage.  They had listened to a good
orthodox sermon.  One said to the other:  "I am going to tell you
something--I am going to shock you--I do not believe in the Bible."
And the other replied:  "Neither do I."

--_The News_, Detroit, Michigan, January 6, 1884.


_Question_.  What will be the main issues in the next presidential

_Answer_.  I think that the principal issues will be civil rights
and protection for American industries.  The Democratic party is
not a unit on the tariff question--neither is the Republican; but
I think that a majority of the Democrats are in favor of free trade
and a majority of Republicans in favor of a protective tariff.
The Democratic Congressmen will talk just enough about free trade
to frighten the manufacturing interests of the country, and probably
not quite enough to satisfy the free traders.  The result will be
that the Democrats will talk about reforming the tariff, but will
do nothing but talk.  I think the tariff ought to be reformed in
many particulars; but as long as we need to raise a great revenue
my idea is that it ought to be so arranged as to protect to the
utmost, without producing monopoly in American manufacturers.  I
am in favor of protection because it multiplies industries; and I
am in favor of a great number of industries because they develop
the brain, because they give employment to all and allow us to
utilize all the muscle and all the sense we have.  If we were all
farmers we would grow stupid.  If we all worked at one kind of
mechanic art we would grow dull.  But with a variety of industries,
with a constant premium upon ingenuity, with the promise of wealth
as the reward of success in any direction, the people become
intelligent, and while we are protecting our industries we develop
our brains.  So I am in favor of the protection of civil rights by
the Federal Government, and that, in my judgment, will be one of
the great issues in the next campaign.

_Question_.  I see that you say that one of the great issues in
the coming campaign will be civil rights; what do you mean by that?

_Answer_.  Well, I mean this.  The Supreme Court has recently
decided that a colored man whose rights are trampled upon, in a
State, cannot appeal to the Federal Government for protection.
The decision amounts to this:  That Congress has no right until a
State has acted, and has acted contrary to the Constitution.  Now,
if a State refuses to do anything upon the subject, what is the
citizen to do?  My opinion is that the Government is bound to
protect its citizens, and as a consideration for this protection,
the citizen is bound to stand by the Government.  When the nation
calls for troops, the citizen of each State is bound to respond,
no matter what his State may think.  This doctrine must be maintained,
or the United States ceases to be a nation.  If a man looks to his
State for protection, then he must go with his State.  My doctrine
is, that there should be patriotism upon the one hand, and protection
upon the other.  If a State endeavors to secede from the Union, a
citizen of that State should be in a position to defy the State
and appeal to the Nation for protection.  The doctrine now is, that
the General Government turns the citizen over to the State for
protection, and if the State does not protect him, that is his
misfortune; and the consequence of this doctrine will be to build
up the old heresy of State Sovereignty--a doctrine that was never
appealed to except in the interest of thieving or robbery.  That
doctrine was first appealed to when the Constitution was formed,
because they were afraid the National Government would interfere
with the slave trade.  It was next appealed to, to uphold the
Fugitive Slave Law.  It was next appealed to, to give the territories
of the United States to slavery.  Then it was appealed to, to
support rebellion, and now out of this doctrine they attempt to
build a breastwork, behind which they can trample upon the rights
of free colored men.

I believe in the sovereignty of the Nation.  A nation that cannot
protect its citizens ought to stop playing nation.  In the old
times the Supreme Court found no difficulty in supporting slavery
by "inference," by "intendment," but now that liberty has become
national, the Court is driven to less than a literal interpretation.
If the Constitution does not support liberty, it is of no use.  To
maintain liberty is the only legitimate object of human government.
I hope the time will come when the judges of the Supreme Court will
be elected, say for a period of ten years.  I do not believe in
the legal monk system.  I believe in judges still maintaining an
interest in human affairs.

_Question_.  What do you think of the Mormon question?

_Answer_.  I do not believe in the bayonet plan.  Mormonism must
be done away with by the thousand influences of civilization, by
education, by the elevation of the people.  Of course, a gentleman
would rather have one noble woman than a hundred females.  I hate
the system of polygamy.  Nothing is more infamous.  I admit that
the Old Testament upholds it.  I admit that the patriarchs were
mostly polygamists.  I admit that Solomon was mistaken on that
subject.  But notwithstanding the fact that polygamy is upheld by
the Jewish Scriptures, I believe it to be a great wrong.  At the
same time if you undertake to get the idea out of the Mormons by
force you will not succeed.  I think a good way to do away with
that institution would be for all the churches to unite, bear the
expense, and send missionaries to Utah; let these ministers call
the people together and read to them the lives of David, Solomon,
Abraham and other patriarchs.  Let all the missionaries be called
home from foreign fields and teach these people that they should
not imitate the only men with whom God ever condescended to hold
intercourse.  Let these frightful examples be held up to these
people, and if it is done earnestly, it seems to me that the result
would be good.

Polygamy exists.  All laws upon the subject should take that fact
into consideration, and punishment should be provided for offences
thereafter committed.  The children of Mormons should be legitimized.
In other words, in attempting to settle this question, we should
accomplish all the good possible, with the least possible harm.

I agree mostly with Mr. Beecher, and I utterly disagree with the
Rev. Mr. Newman.  Mr. Newman wants to kill and slay.  He does not
rely upon Christianity, but upon brute force.  He has lost his
confidence in example, and appeals to the bayonet.  Mr. Newman had
a discussion with one of the Mormon elders, and was put to ignominious
flight; no wonder that he appeals to force.  Having failed in
argument, he calls for artillery; having been worsted in the appeal
to Scripture, he asks for the sword.  He says, failing to convert,
let us kill; and he takes this position in the name of the religion
of kindness and forgiveness.

Strange that a minister now should throw away the Bible and yell
for a bayonet; that he should desert the Scriptures and call for
soldiers; that he should lose confidence in the power of the Spirit
and trust in a sword.  I recommend that Mormonism be done away with
by distributing the Old Testament throughout Utah.

_Question_.  What do you think of the investigation of the Department
of Justice now going on?

_Answer_.  The result, in my judgment, will depend on its thoroughness.
If Mr. Springer succeeds in proving exactly what the Department of
Justice did, the methods pursued, if he finds out what their spies
and detectives and agents were instructed to do, then I think the
result will be as disastrous to the Department as beneficial to
the country.  The people seem to have forgotten that a little while
after the first Star Route trial three of the agents of the Department
of Justice were indicted for endeavoring to bribe the jury.  They
forget that Mr. Bowen, an agent of the Department of Justice, is
a fugitive, because he endeavored to bribe the foreman of the jury.
They seem to forget that the Department of Justice, in order to
cover its own tracks, had the foreman of the jury indicted because
one of its agents endeavored to bribe him.  Probably this investigation
will nudge the ribs of the public enough to make people remember
these things.  Personally, I have no feelings on the subject.  It
was enough for me that we succeeded in thwarting its methods, in
spite of the detectives, spies, and informers.

The Department is already beginning to dissolve.  Brewster Cameron
has left it, and as a reward has been exiled to Arizona.  Mr.
Brewster will probably be the next to pack his official valise.
A few men endeavored to win popularity by pursuing a few others,
and thus far they have been conspicuous failures.  MacVeagh and
James are to-day enjoying the oblivion earned by misdirected energy,
and Mr. Brewster will soon keep them company.  The history of the
world does not furnish an instance of more flagrant abuse of power.
There never was a trial as shamelessly conducted by a government.
But, as I said before, I have no feeling now except that of pity.

_Question_.  I see that Mr. Beecher is coming round to your views
on theology?

_Answer_.  I would not have the egotism to say that he was coming
round to my views, but evidently Mr. Beecher has been growing.
His head has been instructed by his heart; and if a man will allow
even the poor plant of pity to grow in his heart he will hold in
infinite execration all orthodox religion.  The moment he will
allow himself to think that eternal consequences depend upon human
life; that the few short years we live in the world determine for
an eternity the question of infinite joy or infinite pain; the
moment he thinks of that he will see that it is an infinite absurdity.
For instance, a man is born in Arkansas and lives there to be
seventeen or eighteen years of age, is it possible that he can be
truthfully told at the day of judgment that he had a fair chance?
Just imagine a man being held eternally responsible for his conduct
in Delaware!  Mr. Beecher is a man of great genius--full of poetry
and pathos.  Every now and then he is driven back by the orthodox
members of his congregation toward the old religion, and for the
benefit of those weak disciples he will preach what is called "a
doctrinal sermon;" but before he gets through with it, seeing that
it is infinitely cruel, he utters a cry of horror, and protests
with all the strength of his nature against the cruelty of the
creed.  I imagine that he has always thought that he was under
great obligation to Plymouth Church, but the truth is that the
church depends upon him; that church gets its character from Mr.
Beecher.  He has done a vast deal to ameliorate the condition of
the average orthodox mind.  He excites the envy of the mediocre
minister, and he excites the hatred of the really orthodox, but he
receives the approbation of good and generous men everywhere.  For
my part, I have no quarrel with any religion that does not threaten
eternal punishment to very good people, and that does not promise
eternal reward to very bad people.  If orthodox Christianity is
true, some of the best people I know are going to hell, and some
of the meanest I have ever known are either in heaven or on the
road.  Of course, I admit that there are thousands and millions of
good Christians--honest and noble people, but in my judgment, Mr.
Beecher is the greatest man in the world who now occupies a pulpit.
* * * * *
Speaking of a man's living in Delaware, a young man, some time ago,
came up to me on the street, in an Eastern city and asked for money.
"What is your business," I asked.  "I am a waiter by profession."
"Where do you come from?"  "Delaware."  "Well, what was the matter
--did you drink, or cheat your employer, or were you idle?"  "No."
"What was the trouble?"  "Well, the truth is, the State is so small
they don't need any waiters; they all reach for what they want."

_Question_.  Do you not think there are some dangerous tendencies
in Liberalism?

_Answer_.  I will first state this proposition:  The credit system
in morals, as in business, breeds extravagance.  The cash system
in morals, as well as in business, breeds economy.  We will suppose
a community in which everybody is bound to sell on credit, and in
which every creditor can take the benefit of the bankrupt law every
Saturday night, and the constable pays the costs.  In my judgment
that community would be extravagant as long as the merchants lasted.
We will take another community in which everybody has to pay cash,
and in my judgment that community will be a very economical one.
Now, then, let us apply this to morals.  Christianity allows
everybody to sin on a credit, and allows a man who has lived, we
will say sixty-nine years, what Christians are pleased to call a
worldly life, an immoral life.  They allow him on his death-bed,
between the last dose of medicine and the last breath, to be
converted, and that man who has done nothing except evil, becomes
an angel.  Here is another man who has lived the same length of
time, doing all the good he possibly could do, but not meeting with
what they are pleased to call "a change of heart;" he goes to a
world of pain.  Now, my doctrine is that everybody must reap exactly
what he sows, other things being equal.  If he acts badly he will
not be very happy; if he acts well he will not be very sad.  I
believe in the doctrine of consequences, and that every man must
stand the consequences of his own acts.  It seems to me that that
fact will have a greater restraining influence than the idea that
you can, just before you leave this world, shift your burden on to
somebody else.  I am a believer in the restraining influences of
liberty, because responsibility goes hand in hand with freedom.
I do not believe that the gallows is the last step between earth
and heaven.  I do not believe in the conversion and salvation of
murderers while their innocent victims are in hell.  The church
has taught so long that he who acts virtuously carries a cross,
and that only sinners enjoy themselves, that it may be that for a
little while after men leave the church they may go to extremes
until they demonstrate for themselves that the path of vice is the
path of thorns, and that only along the wayside of virtue grow the
flowers of joy.  The church has depicted virtue as a sour, wrinkled
termagant; an old woman with nothing but skin and bones, and a
temper beyond description; and at the same time vice has been
painted in all the voluptuous outlines of a Greek statue.  The
truth is exactly the other way.  A thing is right because it pays;
a thing is wrong because it does not; and when I use the word
"pays," I mean in the highest and noblest sense.

--_The Daily News_, Denver, Colorado, January 17, 1884.


_Question_.  Who will be the Republican nominee for President?

_Answer_.  The correct answer to this question would make so many
men unhappy that I have concluded not to give it.

_Question_.  Has not the Democracy injured itself irretrievably by
permitting the free trade element to rule it?

_Answer_.  I do not think that the Democratic party weakened itself
by electing Carlisle, Speaker.  I think him an excellent man, an
exceedingly candid man, and one who will do what he believes ought
to be done.  I have a very high opinion of Mr. Carlisle.  I do not
suppose any party in this country is really for free trade.  I find
that all writers upon the subject, no matter which side they are
on, are on that side with certain exceptions.  Adam Smith was in
favor of free trade, with a few exceptions, and those exceptions
were in matters where he thought it was for England's interest not
to have free trade.  The same may be said of all writers.  So far
as I can see, the free traders have all the arguments and the
protectionists all the facts.  The free trade theories are splendid,
but they will not work; the results are disastrous.  We find by
actual experiment that it is better to protect home industries.
It was once said that protection created nothing but monopoly; the
argument was that way, but the facts are not.  Take, for instance,
steel rails; when we bought them of England we paid one hundred
and twenty-five dollars a ton.  I believe there was a tariff of
twenty-eight or twenty-nine dollars a ton, and yet in spite of all
the arguments going to show that protection would simply increase
prices in America, would simply enrich the capitalists and impoverish
the consumer, steel rails are now produced, I believe, right here
in Colorado for forty-two dollars a ton.

After all, it is a question of labor; a question of prices that
shall be paid the laboring man; a question of what the laboring
man shall eat; whether he shall eat meat or soup made from the
bones.  Very few people take into consideration the value of raw
material and the value of labor.  Take, for instance, your ton of
steel rails worth forty-two dollars.  The iron in the earth is not
worth twenty-five cents.  The coal in the earth and the lime in
the ledge together are not worth twenty-five cents.  Now, then, of
the forty-two dollars, forty-one and a half is labor.  There is
not two dollars' worth of raw material in a locomotive worth fifteen
thousand dollars.  By raw material I mean the material in the earth.
There is not in the works of a watch which will sell for fifteen
dollars, raw material of the value of one-half cent.  All the rest
is labor.  A ship, a man-of-war that costs one million dollars--
the raw material in the earth is not worth, in my judgment, one
thousand dollars.  All the rest is labor.  If there is any way to
protect American labor, I am in favor of it.  If the present tariff
does not do it, then I am in favor of changing to one that will.
If the Democratic party takes a stand for free trade or anything
like it, they will need protection; they will need protection at
the polls; that is to say, they will meet only with defeat and

_Question_.  What should be done with the surplus revenue?

_Answer_.  My answer to that is, reduce internal revenue taxation
until the present surplus is exhausted, and then endeavor so to
arrange your tariff that you will not produce more than you need.
I think the easiest question to grapple with on this earth is a
surplus of money.

I do not believe in distributing it among the States.  I do not think
there could be a better certificate of the prosperity of our country
than the fact that we are troubled with a surplus revenue; that we
have the machinery for collecting taxes in such perfect order, so
ingeniously contrived, that it cannot be stopped; that it goes
right on collecting money, whether we want it or not; and the
wonderful thing about it is that nobody complains.  If nothing else
can be done with the surplus revenue, probably we had better pay
some of our debts.  I would suggest, as a last resort, to pay a
few honest claims.

_Question_.  Are you getting nearer to or farther away from God,
Christianity and the Bible?

_Answer_.  In the first place, as Mr. Locke so often remarked, we
will define our terms.  If by the word "God" is meant a person, a
being, who existed before the creation of the universe, and who
controls all that is, except himself, I do not believe in such a
being; but if by the word God is meant all that is, that is to say,
the universe, including every atom and every star, then I am a
believer.  I suppose the word that would nearest describe me is
"Pantheist."  I cannot believe that a being existed from eternity,
and who finally created this universe after having wasted an eternity
in idleness; but upon this subject I know just as little as anybody
ever did or ever will, and, in my judgment, just as much.  My
intellectual horizon is somewhat limited, and, to tell you the
truth, this is the only world that I was ever in.  I am what might
be called a representative of a rural district, and, as a matter
of fact, I know very little about the district.  I believe it was
Confucius who said:  "How should I know anything about another
world when I know so little of this?"

The greatest intellects of the world have endeavored to find words
to express their conception of God, of the first cause, or of the
science of being, but they have never succeeded.  I find in the
old Confession of Faith, in the old Catechism, for instance, this
description:  That God is a being without body, parts or passions.
I think it would trouble anybody to find a better definition of
nothing.  That describes a vacuum, that is to say, that describes
the absence of everything.  I find that theology is a subject that
only the most ignorant are certain about, and that the more a man
thinks, the less he knows.

From the Bible God, I do not know that I am going farther and
farther away.  I have been about as far as a man could get for many
years.  I do not believe in the God of the Old Testament.

Now, as to the next branch of your question, Christianity.

The question arises, What is Christianity?  I have no objection to
the morality taught as a part of Christianity, no objection to its
charity, its forgiveness, its kindness; no objection to its hope
for this world and another, not the slightest, but all these things
do not make Christianity.  Mohammed taught certain doctrines that
are good, but the good in the teachings of Mohammed is not Mohammedism.
When I speak of Christianity I speak of that which is distinctly
Christian.  For instance, the idea that the Infinite God was born
in Palestine, learned the carpenter's trade, disputed with the
parsons of his time, excited the wrath of the theological bigots,
and was finally crucified; that afterward he was raised from the
dead, and that if anybody believes this he will be saved and if he
fails to believe it, he will be lost; in other words, that which
is distinctly Christian in the Christian system, is its supernaturalism,
its miracles, its absurdity.  Truth does not need to go into
partnership with the supernatural.  What Christ said is worth the
reason it contains.  If a man raises the dead and then says twice
two are five, that changes no rule in mathematics.  If a multiplication
table was divinely inspired, that does no good.  The question is,
is it correct?  So I think that in the world of morals, we must
prove that a thing is right or wrong by experience, by analogy,
not by miracles.  There is no fact in physical science that can be
supernaturally demonstrated.  Neither is there any fact in the
moral world that could be substantiated by miracles.  Now, then,
keeping in mind that by Christianity I mean the supernatural in
that system, of course I am just as far away from it as I can get.
For the man Christ I have respect.  He was an infidel in his day,
and the ministers of his day cried out blasphemy, as they have been
crying ever since, against every person who has suggested a new
thought or shown the worthlessness of an old one.

Now, as to the third part of the question, the Bible.  People say
that the Bible is inspired.  Well, what does inspiration mean?
Did God write it?  No; but the men who did write it were guided by
the Holy Spirit.  Very well.  Did they write exactly what the Holy
Spirit wanted them to write?  Well, religious people say, yes.  At
the same time they admit that the gentlemen who were collecting,
or taking down in shorthand what was said, had to use their own
words.  Now, we all know that the same words do not have the same
meaning to all people.  It is impossible to convey the same thoughts
to all minds by the same language, and it is for that reason that
the Bible has produced so many sects, not only disagreeing with
each other, but disagreeing among themselves.

We find, then, that it is utterly impossible for God (admitting
that there is one) to convey the same thoughts in human language
to all people.  No two persons understand the same language alike.
A man's understanding depends upon his experience, upon his capacity,
upon the particular bent of his mind--in fact, upon the countless
influences that have made him what he is.  Everything in nature
tells everyone who sees it a story, but that story depends upon
the capacity of the one to whom it is told.  The sea says one thing
to the ordinary man, and another thing to Shakespeare.  The stars
have not the same language for all people.  The consequence is that
no book can tell the same story to any two persons.  The Jewish
Scriptures are like other books, written by different men in
different ages of the world, hundreds of years apart, filled with
contradictions.  They embody, I presume, fairly enough, the wisdom
and ignorance, the reason and prejudice, of the times in which they
were written.  They are worth the good that is in them, and the
question is whether we will take the good and throw the bad away.
There are good laws and bad laws.  There are wise and foolish
sayings.  There are gentle and cruel passages, and you can find a
text to suit almost any frame of mind; whether you wish to do an
act of charity or murder a neighbor's babe, you will find a passage
that will exactly fit the case.  So that I can say that I am still
for the reasonable, for the natural; and am still opposed to the
absurd and supernatural.

_Question_.  Is there any better or more ennobling belief than
Christianity; if so, what is it?

_Answer_.  There are many good things, of course, in every religion,
or they would not have existed; plenty of good precepts in
Christianity, but the thing that I object to more than all others
is the doctrine of eternal punishment, the idea of hell for many
and heaven for the few.  Take from Christianity the doctrine of
eternal punishment and I have no particular objection to what is
generally preached.  If you will take that away, and all the
supernatural connected with it, I have no objection; but that
doctrine of eternal punishment tends to harden the human heart.
It has produced more misery than all the other doctrines in the
world.  It has shed more blood; it has made more martyrs.  It has
lighted the fires of persecution and kept the sword of cruelty wet
with heroic blood for at least a thousand years.  There is no crime
that that doctrine has not produced.  I think it would be impossible
for the imagination to conceive of a worse religion than orthodox
Christianity--utterly impossible; a doctrine that divides this
world, a doctrine that divides families, a doctrine that teaches
the son that he can be happy, with his mother in perdition; the
husband that he can be happy in heaven while his wife suffers the
agonies of hell.  This doctrine is infinite injustice, and tends
to subvert all ideas of justice in the human heart.  I think it
would be impossible to conceive of a doctrine better calculated to
make wild beasts of men than that; in fact, that doctrine was born
of all the wild beast there is in man.  It was born of infinite

Think of preaching that you must believe that a certain being was
the son of God, no matter whether your reason is convinced or not.
Suppose one should meet, we will say on London Bridge, a man clad
in rags, and he should stop us and say, "My friend, I wish to talk
with you a moment.  I am the rightful King of Great Britain," and
you should say to him, "Well, my dinner is waiting; I have no time
to bother about who the King of England is," and then he should
meet another and insist on his stopping while the pulled out some
papers to show that he was the rightful King of England, and the
other man should say, "I have got business here, my friend; I am
selling goods, and I have no time to bother my head about who the
King of England is.  No doubt you are the King of England, but you
don't look like him."  And then suppose he stops another man, and
makes the same statement to him, and the other man should laugh at
him and say, "I don't want to hear anything on this subject; you
are crazy; you ought to go to some insane asylum, or put something
on your head to keep you cool."  And suppose, after all, it should
turn out that the man was King of England, and should afterward
make his claim good and be crowned in Westminster.  What would we
think of that King if he should hunt up the gentlemen that he met
on London Bridge, and have their heads cut off because they had
no faith that he was the rightful heir?  And what would we think
of a God now who would damn a man eighteen hundred years after the
event, because he did not believe that he was God at the time he
was living in Jerusalem; not only damn the fellows that he met and
who did not believe him, but gentlemen who lived eighteen hundred
years afterward, and who certainly could have known nothing of the
facts except from hearsay?

The best religion, after all, is common sense; a religion for this
world, one world at a time, a religion for to-day.  We want a
religion that will deal in questions in which we are interested.
How are we to do away with crime?  How are we to do away with
pauperism?  How are we to do away with want and misery in every
civilized country?  England is a Christian nation, and yet about
one in six in the city of London dies in almshouses, asylums,
prisons, hospitals and jails.  We, I suppose, are a civilized
nation, and yet all the penitentiaries are crammed; there is want
on every hand, and my opinion is that we had better turn our
attention to this world.

Christianity is charitable; Christianity spends a great deal of
money; but I am somewhat doubtful as to the good that is accomplished.
There ought to be some way to prevent crime; not simply to punish
it.  There ought to be some way to prevent pauperism, not simply
to relieve temporarily a pauper, and if the ministers and good
people belonging to the churches would spend their time investigating
the affairs of this world and let the New Jerusalem take care of
itself, I think it would be far better.

The church is guilty of one great contradiction.  The ministers
are always talking about worldly people, and yet, were it not for
worldly people, who would pay the salary?  How could the church
live a minute unless somebody attended to the affairs of this world?
The best religion, in my judgment, is common sense going along hand
in hand with kindness, and not troubling ourselves about another
world until we get there.  I am willing for one, to wait and see
what kind of a country it will be.

_Question_.  Does the question of the inspiration of Scriptures
affect the beauty and benefits of Christianity here and hereafter?

_Answer_.  A belief in the inspiration of the Scriptures has done,
in my judgment, great harm.  The Bible has been the breastwork for
nearly everything wrong.  The defenders of slavery relied on the
Bible.  The Bible was the real auction block on which every negro
stood when he was sold.  I never knew a minister to preach in favor
of slavery that did not take his text from the Bible.  The Bible
teaches persecution for opinion's sake.  The Bible--that is the
Old Testament--upholds polygamy, and just to the extent that men,
through the Bible, have believed that slavery, religious persecution,
wars of extermination and polygamy were taught by God, just to that
extent the Bible has done great harm.  The idea of inspiration
enslaves the human mind and debauches the human heart.

_Question_.  Is not Christianity and the belief in God a check upon
mankind in general and thus a good thing in itself?

_Answer_.  This, again, brings up the question of what you mean by
Christianity, but taking it for granted that you mean by Christianity
the church, then I answer, when the church had almost absolute
authority, then the world was the worst.

Now, as to the other part of the question, "Is not a belief in God
a check upon mankind in general?"  That is owing to what kind of
God the man believes in.  When mankind believed in the God of the
Old Testament, I think that belief was a bad thing; the tendency
was bad.  I think that John Calvin patterned after Jehovah as nearly
as his health and strength would permit.  Man makes God in his own
image, and bad men are not apt to have a very good God if they make
him.  I believe it is far better to have a real belief in goodness,
in kindness, in honesty and in mankind than in any supernatural
being whatever.  I do not suppose it would do any harm for a man
to believe in a real good God, a God without revenge, a God that
was not very particular in having a man believe a doctrine whether
he could understand it or not.  I do not believe that a belief of
that kind would do any particular harm.

There is a vast difference between the God of John Calvin and the
God of Henry Ward Beecher, and a great difference between the God
of Cardinal Pedro Gonzales de Mendoza and the God of Theodore

_Question_.  Well, Colonel, is the world growing better or worse?

_Answer_.  I think better in some respects and worse in others;
but on the whole, better.  I think that while events, like the
pendulum of a clock, go backward and forward, man, like the hands,
goes forward.  I think there is more reason and less religion, more
charity and less creed.  I think the church is improving.  Ministers
are ashamed to preach the old doctrines with the old fervor.  There
was a time when the pulpit controlled the pews.  It is so no longer.
The pews know what they want, and if the minister does not furnish
it they discharge him and employ another.  He is no longer an
autocrat; he must bring to the market what his customers are willing
to buy.

_Question_.  What are you going to do to be saved?

_Answer_.  Well, I think I am safe, anyway.  I suppose I have a
right to rely on what Matthew says, that if I will forgive others
God will forgive me.  I suppose if there is another world I shall
be treated very much as I treat others.  I never expect to find
perfect bliss anywhere; maybe I should tire of it if I should.
What I have endeavored to do has been to put out the fires of an
ignorant and cruel hell; to do what I could to destroy that dogma;
to destroy the doctrine that makes the cradle as terrible as the

--_The Denver Republican_, Denver, Colorado, January 17, 1884.


_Question_.  I suppose that your attention has been called to the
excitement in England over the oath question, and you have probably
wondered that so much should have been made of so little?

_Answer_.  Yes; I have read a few articles upon the subject,
including one by Cardinal Newman.  It is wonderful that so many
people imagine that there is something miraculous in the oath.
They seem to regard it as a kind of verbal fetich, a charm, an "open
sesame" to be pronounced at the door of truth, a spell, a kind of
moral thumbscrew, by means of which falsehood itself is compelled
to turn informer.

The oath has outlived its brother, "the wager of battle."  Both
were born of the idea that God would interfere for the right and
for the truth.  Trial by fire and by water had the same origin.
It was once believed that the man in the wrong could not kill the
man in the right; but, experience having shown that he usually did,
the belief gradually fell into disrepute.  So it was once thought
that a perjurer could not swallow a piece of sacramental bread;
but, the fear that made the swallowing difficult having passed
away, the appeal to the corsned was abolished.  It was found that
a brazen or a desperate man could eat himself out of the greatest
difficulty with perfect ease, satisfying the law and his own hunger
at the same time.

The oath is a relic of barbarous theology, of the belief that a
personal God interferes in the affairs of men; that some God protects
innocence and guards the right.  The experience of the world has
sadly demonstrated the folly of that belief.  The testimony of a
witness ought to be believed, not because it is given under the
solemnities of an oath, but because it is reasonable.  If unreasonable
it ought to be thrown aside.  The question ought not to be, "Has
this been sworn to?" but, "Is this true?"  The moment evidence is
tested by the standard of reason, the oath becomes a useless
ceremony.  Let the man who gives false evidence be punished as the
lawmaking power may prescribe.  He should be punished because he
commits a crime against society, and he should be punished in this
world.  All honest men will tell the truth if they can; therefore,
oaths will have no effect upon them.  Dishonest men will not tell
the truth unless the truth happens to suit their purpose; therefore,
oaths will have no effect upon them.  We punish them, not for
swearing to a lie, but for telling it, and we can make the punishment
for telling the falsehood just as severe as we wish.  If they are
to be punished in another world, the probability is that the
punishment there will be for having told the falsehood here.  After
all, a lie is made no worse by an oath, and the truth is made no

_Question_.  You object then to the oath.  Is your objection based
on any religious grounds, or on any prejudice against the ceremony
because of its religious origin; or what is your objection?

_Answer_.  I care nothing about the origin of the ceremony.  The
objection to the oath is this:  It furnishes a falsehood with a
letter of credit.  It supplies the wolf with sheep's clothing and
covers the hands of Jacob with hair.  It blows out the light, and
in the darkness Leah is taken for Rachel.  It puts upon each witness
a kind of theological gown.  This gown hides the moral rags of the
depraved wretch as well as the virtues of the honest man.  The oath
is a mask that falsehood puts on, and for a moment is mistaken for
truth.  It gives to dishonesty the advantage of solemnity.  The
tendency of the oath is to put all testimony on an equality.  The
obscure rascal and the man of sterling character both "swear," and
jurors who attribute a miraculous quality to the oath, forget the
real difference in the men, and give about the same weight to the
evidence of each, because both were "sworn."  A scoundrel is
delighted with the opportunity of going through a ceremony that
gives importance and dignity to his story, that clothes him for
the moment with respectability, loans him the appearance of
conscience, and gives the ring of true coin to the base metal.  To
him the oath is a shield.  He is in partnership, for a moment, with
God, and people who have no confidence in the witness credit the

_Question_.  Of course you know the religionists insist that people
are more likely to tell the truth when "sworn," and that to take
away the oath is to destroy the foundation of testimony?

_Answer_.  If the use of the oath is defended on the ground that
religious people need a stimulus to tell the truth, then I am
compelled to say that religious people have been so badly educated
that they mistake the nature of the crime.

They should be taught that to defeat justice by falsehood is the
real offence.  Besides, fear is not the natural foundation of
virtue.  Even with religious people fear cannot always last.
Ananias and Sapphira have been dead so long, and since their time
so many people have sworn falsely without affecting their health
that the fear of sudden divine vengeance no longer pales the cheek
of the perjurer.  If the vengeance is not sudden, then, according
to the church, the criminal will have plenty of time to repent; so
that the oath no longer affects even the fearful.  Would it not be
better for the church to teach that telling the falsehood is the
real crime, and that taking the oath neither adds to nor takes from
its enormity?  Would it not be better to teach that he who does
wrong must suffer the consequences, whether God forgives him or not?

He who tries to injure another may or may not succeed, but he cannot
by any possibility fail to injure himself.  Men should be taught
that there is no difference between truth-telling and truth-swearing.
Nothing is more vicious than the idea that any ceremony or form of
words--hand-lifting or book-kissing--can add, even in the slightest
degree, to the perpetual obligation every human being is under to
speak the truth.

The truth, plainly told, naturally commends itself to the intelligent.
Every fact is a genuine link in the infinite chain, and will agree
perfectly with every other fact.  A fact asks to be inspected, asks
to be understood.  It needs no oath, no ceremony, no supernatural
aid.  It is independent of all the gods.  A falsehood goes in
partnership with theology, and depends on the partner for success.

To show how little influence for good has been attributed to the
oath, it is only necessary to say that for centuries, in the
Christian world, no person was allowed to testify who had the
slightest pecuniary interest in the result of a suit.

The expectation of a farthing in this world was supposed to outweigh
the fear of God's wrath in the next.  All the pangs, pains, and
penalties of perdition were considered as nothing when compared
with pounds, shillings and pence in this world.

_Question_.  You know that in nearly all deliberative bodies--in
parliaments and congresses--an oath or an affirmation is required
to support what is called the Constitution; and that all officers
are required to swear or affirm that they will discharge their
duties; do these oaths and affirmations, in your judgment, do any

_Answer_.  Men have sought to make nations and institutions immortal
by oaths.  Subjects have sworn to obey kings, and kings have sworn
to protect subjects, and yet the subjects have sometimes beheaded
a king; and the king has often plundered the subjects.  The oaths
enabled them to deceive each other.  Every absurdity in religion,
and all tyrannical institutions, have been patched, buttressed,
and reinforced by oaths; and yet the history of the world shows
the utter futility of putting in the coffin of an oath the political
and religious aspirations of the race.

Revolutions and reformations care little for "So help me God."
Oaths have riveted shackles and sanctified abuses.  People swear
to support a constitution, and they will keep the oath as long as
the constitution supports them.  In 1776 the colonists cared nothing
for the fact that they had sworn to support the British crown.
All the oaths to defend the Constitution of the United States did
not prevent the Civil War.  We have at last learned that States
may be kept together for a little time, by force; permanently only
by mutual interests.  We have found that the Delilah of superstition
cannot bind with oaths the secular Samson.

Why should a member of Parliament or of Congress swear to maintain
the Constitution?  If he is a dishonest man, the oath will have no
effect; if he is an honest patriot, it will have no effect.  In
both cases it is equally useless.  If a member fails to support
the Constitution the probability is that his constituents will
treat him as he does the Constitution.  In this country, after all
the members of Congress have sworn or affirmed to defend the
Constitution, each political party charges the other with a deliberate
endeavor to destroy that "sacred instrument."  Possibly the political
oath was invented to prevent the free and natural development of
a nation.  Kings and nobles and priests wished to retain the property
they had filched and clutched, and for that purpose they compelled
the real owners to swear that they would support and defend the
law under color of which the theft and robbery had been accomplished.

So, in the church, creeds have been protected by oaths.  Priests
and laymen solemnly swore that they would, under no circumstances,
resort to reason; that they would overcome facts by faith, and
strike down demonstrations with the "sword of the spirit."  Professors
of the theological seminary at Andover, Massachusetts, swear to
defend certain dogmas and to attack others.  They swear sacredly
to keep and guard the ignorance they have.  With them, philosophy
leads to perjury, and reason is the road to crime.  While theological
professors are not likely to make an intellectual discovery, still
it is unwise, by taking an oath, to render that certain which is
only improbable.

If all witnesses sworn to tell the truth, did so, if all members
of Parliament and of Congress, in taking the oath, became intelligent,
patriotic, and honest, I should be in favor of retaining the
ceremony; but we find that men who have taken the same oath advocate
opposite ideas, and entertain different opinions, as to the meaning
of constitutions and laws.  The oath adds nothing to their
intelligence; does not even tend to increase their patriotism, and
certainly does not make the dishonest honest.

_Question_.  Are not persons allowed to testify in the United States
whether they believe in future rewards and punishments or not?

_Answer_.  In this country, in most of the States, witnesses are
allowed to testify whether they believe in perdition and paradise
or not.  In some States they are allowed to testify even if they
deny the existence of God.  We have found that religious belief
does not compel people to tell the truth, and than an utter denial
of every Christian creed does not even tend to make them dishonest.
You see, a religious belief does not affect the senses.  Justice
should not shut any door that leads to truth.  No one will pretend
that, because you do not believe in hell, your sight is impaired,
or your hearing dulled, or your memory rendered less retentive.
A witness in a court is called upon to tell what he has seen, what
he has heard, what he remembers, not what he believes about gods
and devils and hells and heavens.  A witness substantiates not a
faith, but a fact.  In order to ascertain whether a witness will
tell the truth, you might with equal propriety examine him as to
his ideas about music, painting or architecture, as theology.  A
man may have no ear for music, and yet remember what he hears.  He
may care nothing about painting, and yet is able to tell what he
sees.  So he may deny every creed, and yet be able to tell the
facts as he remembers them.

Thomas Jefferson was wise enough so to frame the Constitution of
Virginia that no person could be deprived of any civil right on
account of his religious or irreligious belief.  Through the
influence of men like Paine, Franklin and Jefferson, it was provided
in the Federal Constitution that officers elected under its authority
could swear or affirm.  This was the natural result of the separation
of church and state.

_Question_.  I see that your Presidents and Governors issue their
proclamations calling on the people to assemble in their churches
and offer thanks to God.  How does this happen in a Government
where church and state are not united?

_Answer_.  Jefferson, when President, refused to issue what is
known as the "Thanksgiving Proclamation," on the ground that the
Federal Government had no right to interfere in religious matters;
that the people owed no religious duties to the Government; that
the Government derived its powers, not from priests or gods, but
from the people, and was responsible alone to the source of its
power.  The truth is, the framers of our Constitution intended that
the Government should be secular in the broadest and best sense;
and yet there are thousands and thousands of religious people in
this country who are greatly scandalized because there is no
recognition of God in the Federal Constitution; and for several
years a great many ministers have been endeavoring to have the
Constitution amended so as to recognize the existence of God and
the divinity of Christ.  A man by the name of Pollock was once
superintendent of the mint of Philadelphia.  He was almost insane
about having God in the Constitution.  Failing in that, he got the
inscription on our money, "In God we Trust."  As our silver dollar
is now, in fact, worth only eighty-five cents, it is claimed that
the inscription means that we trust in God for the other fifteen

There is a constant effort on the part of many Christians to have
their religion in some way recognized by law.  Proclamations are
now issued calling upon the people to give thanks, and directing
attention to the fact that, while God has scourged or neglected
other nations, he has been remarkably attentive to the wants and
wishes of the United States.  Governors of States issue these
documents written in a tone of pious insincerity.  The year may or
may not have been prosperous, yet the degree of thankfulness called
for is always precisely the same.

A few years ago the Governor of Iowa issued an exceedingly rhetorical
proclamation, in which the people were requested to thank God for
the unparalleled blessings he had showered upon them.  A private
citizen, fearing that the Lord might be misled by official
correspondence, issued his proclamation, in which he recounted with
great particularity the hardships of the preceding year.  He insisted
that the weather had been of the poorest quality; that the spring
came late, and the frost early; that the people were in debt; that
the farms were mortgaged; that the merchants were bankrupt; and
that everything was in the worst possible condition.  He concluded
by sincerely hoping that the Lord would pay no attention to the
proclamation of the Governor, but would, if he had any doubt on
the subject, come down and examine the State for himself.

These proclamations have always appeared to me absurdly egotistical.
Why should God treat us any better than he does the rest of his
children?  Why should he send pestilence and famine to China, and
health and plenty to us?  Why give us corn, and Egypt cholera?
All these proclamations grow out of egotism and selfishness, of
ignorance and superstition, and are based upon the idea that God
is a capricious monster; that he loves flattery; that he can be
coaxed and cajoled.

The conclusion of the whole matter with me is this:  For truth in
courts we must depend upon the trained intelligence of judges, the
right of cross-examination, the honesty and common sense of jurors,
and upon an enlightened public opinion.  As for members of Congress,
we will trust to the wisdom and patriotism, not only of the members,
but of their constituents.  In religion we will give to all the
luxury of absolute liberty.

The alchemist did not succeed in finding any stone the touch of
which transmuted baser things to gold; and priests have not invented
yet an oath with power to force from falsehood's desperate lips
the pearl of truth.

--_Secular Review_, London, England, 1884.


_Question_.  Are you seeking to quit public lecturing on religious

_Answer_.  As long as I live I expect now and then to say my say
against the religious bigotry and cruelty of the world.  As long
as the smallest coal is red in hell I am going to keep on.  I never
had the slightest idea of retiring.  I expect the church to do the

_Question_.  What do you think of Wendell Phillips as an orator?

_Answer_.  He was a very great orator--one of the greatest that
the world has produced.  He rendered immense service in the cause
of freedom.  He was in the old days the thunderbolt that pierced
the shield of the Constitution.  One of the bravest soldiers that
ever fought for human rights was Wendell Phillips.

_Question_.  What do you think of the action of Congress on Fitz
John Porter?

_Answer_.  I think Congress did right.  I think they should have
taken this action long before.  There was a question of his guilt,
and he should have been given the benefit of a doubt.  They say he
could have defeated Longstreet.  There are some people, you know,
who would have it that an army could be whipped by a good general
with six mules and a blunderbuss.  But we do not regard those
people.  They know no more about it than a lady who talked to me
about Porter's case.  She argued the question of Porter's guilt
for half an hour.  I showed her where she was all wrong.  When she
found she was beaten she took refuge with "Oh, well, anyhow he had
no genius."  Well, if every man is to be shot who has no genius,
I want to go into the coffin business.

_Question_.  What, in your judgment, is necessary to be done to
insure Republican success this fall?

_Answer_.  It is only necessary for the Republican party to stand
by its principles.  We must be in favor of protecting American
labor not only, but of protecting American capital, and we must be
in favor of civil rights, and must advocate the doctrine that the
Federal Government must protect all citizens.  I am in favor of a
tariff, not simply to raise a revenue--that I regard as incidental.
The Democrats regard protection as incidental.  The two principles
should be, protection to American industry and protection to American
citizens.  So that, after all, there is but one issue--protection.
As a matter of fact, that is all a government is for--to protect.
The Republican party is stronger to-day than it was four years ago.
The Republican party stands for the progressive ideas of the American
people.  It has been said that the administration will control the
Southern delegates. I do not believe it.  This administration has
not been friendly to the Southern Republicans, and my opinion is
there will be as much division in the Southern as in the Northern
States.  I believe Blaine will be a candidate, and I do not believe
the Prohibitionists will put a ticket in the field, because they
have no hope of success.

_Question_.  What do you think generally of the revival of the
bloody shirt?  Do you think the investigations of the Republicans
of the Danville and Copiah massacres will benefit them?

_Answer_.  Well, I am in favor of the revival of that question just
as often as a citizen of the Republic is murdered on account of
his politics.  If the South is sick of that question, let it stop
persecuting men because they are Republicans.  I do not believe,
however, in simply investigating the question and then stopping
after the guilty ones are found.  I believe in indicting them,
trying them, and convicting them.  If the Government can do nothing
except investigate, we might as well stop, and admit that we have
no government.  Thousands of people think that it is almost vulgar
to take the part of the poor colored people in the South.  What
part should you take if not that of the weak?  The strong do not
need you.  And I can tell the Southern people now, that as long as
they persecute for opinion's sake they will never touch the reins
of political power in this country.

_Question_.  How do you regard the action of Bismarck in returning
the Lasker resolutions?  Was it the result of his hatred of the

_Answer_.  Bismarck opposed a bill to do away with the disabilities
of the Jews on the ground that Prussia is a Christian nation,
founded for the purpose of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I presume that it was his hatred of the Jews that caused him to
return the resolutions.  Bismarck should have lived several centuries
ago.  He belongs to the Dark Ages.  He is a believer in the sword
and the bayonet--in brute force.  He was loved by Germany simply
because he humiliated France.  Germany gave her liberty for revenge.
It is only necessary to compare Bismarck with Gambetta to see what
a failure he really is.  Germany was victorious and took from France
the earnings of centuries; and yet Germany is to-day the least
prosperous nation in Europe.  France was prostrate, trampled into
the earth, robbed, and yet, guided by Gambetta, is to-day the most
prosperous nation in Europe.  This shows the difference between
brute force and brain.

--_The Times_, Chicago, Illinois, February 21, 1884.


_Question_.  Do you enjoy lecturing?

_Answer_.  Of course I enjoy lecturing.  It is a great pleasure to
drive the fiend of fear out of the hearts of men women and children.
It is a positive joy to put out the fires of hell.

_Question_.  Where do you meet with the bitterest opposition?

_Answer_.  I meet with the bitterest opposition where the people
are the most ignorant, where there is the least thought, where
there are the fewest books.  The old theology is becoming laughable.
Very few ministers have the impudence to preach in the old way.
They give new meanings to old words.  They subscribe to the same
creed, but preach exactly the other way.  The clergy are ashamed
to admit that they are orthodox, and they ought to be.

_Question_.  Do liberal books, such as the works of Paine and
Infidel scientists sell well?

_Answer_.  Yes, they are about the only books on serious subjects
that do sell well.  The works of Darwin, Buckle, Draper, Haeckel,
Tyndall, Humboldt and hundreds of others, are read by intelligent
people the world over.  Works of a religious character die on the
shelves.  The people want facts.  They want to know about the world,
about all forms of life.  They want the mysteries of every day
solved.  They want honest thoughts about sensible questions.  They
are tired of the follies of faith and the falsehoods of superstition.
They want a heaven here.  In a few years the old theological books
will be sold to make paper on which to print the discoveries of

_Question_.  In what section of the country do you find the most

_Answer_.  I find great freedom of thought in Boston, New York,
Chicago, San Francisco, in fact, all over what we call the North.
The West of course is liberal.  The truth is that all the intelligent
part of the country is liberal.  The railroad, the telegraph, the
daily paper, electric light, the telephone, and freedom of thought
belong together.

_Question_.  Is it true that you were once threatened with a criminal
prosecution for libel on religion?

_Answer_.  Yes, in Delaware.  Chief Justice Comegys instructed the
grand jury to indict me for blasphemy.  I have taken by revenge on
the State by leaving it in ignorance.  Delaware is several centuries
behind the times.  It is as bigoted as it is small.  Compare Kansas
City with Wilmington and you will see the difference between
liberalism and orthodoxy.

_Question_.  This is Washington's birthday.  What do you think of
General Washington?

_Answer_.  I suppose that Washington was what was called religious.
He was not very strict in his conduct.  He tried to have church
and state united in Virginia and was defeated by Jefferson.  It
should make no difference with us whether Washington was religious
or not.  Jefferson was by far the greater man.  In intellect there
was no comparison between Washington and Franklin.  I do not prove
the correctness of my ideas by names of dead people.  I depend upon
reason instead of gravestones.  One fact is worth a cemetery full
of distinguished corpses.  We ask not for the belief of somebody,
but for evidence, for facts.  The church is a beggar at the door
of respectability.  The moment a man becomes famous, the church
asks him for a certificate that the Bible is true.  It passes its
hat before generals and presidents, and kings while they are alive.
It says nothing about thinkers and real philosophers while they
live, except to slander them, but the moment they are dead it seeks
among their words for a crumb of comfort.

_Question_.  Will Liberalism ever organize in America?

_Answer_.  I hope not.  Organization means creed, and creed means
petrifaction and tyranny.  I believe in individuality.  I will not
join any society except an anti-society society.

_Question_.  Do you consider the religion of Bhagavat Purana of
the East as good as the Christian?

_Answer_.  It is far more poetic.  It has greater variety and shows
vastly more thought.  Like the Hebrew, it is poisoned with
superstition, but it has more beauty.  Nothing can be more barren
than the theology of the Jews and Christians.  One lonely God, a
heaven filled with thoughtless angels, a hell with unfortunate
souls.  Nothing can be more desolate.  The Greek mythology is
infinitely better.

_Question_.  Do you think that the marriage institution is held in
less respect by Infidels than by Christians?

_Answer_.  No; there was never a time when marriage was more believed
in than now.  Never were wives treated better and loved more; never
were children happier than now.  It is the ambition of the average
American to have a good and happy home.  The fireside was never
more popular than now.

_Question_.  What do you think of Beecher?

_Answer_.  He is a great man, but the habit of his mind and the
bent of his early education oppose his heart.  He is growing and
has been growing every day for many years.  He has given up the
idea of eternal punishment, and that of necessity destroys it all.
The Christian religion is founded upon hell.  When the foundation
crumbles the fabric falls.  Beecher was to have answered my article
in the _North American Review_, but when it appeared and he saw
it, he agreed with so much of it that he concluded that an answer
would be useless.

--_The Times_, Kansas City, Missouri, February 23, 1884.


_Question_.  Will you take any notice of Mr. Magrath's challenge?

_Answer_.  I do not think it worth while to discuss with Mr. Magrath.
I do not say this in disparagement of his ability, as I do not know
the gentleman.  He may be one of the greatest of men.  I think,
however, that Mr. Magrath might better answer what I have already
said.  If he succeeds in that, then I will meet him in public
discussion.  Of course he is an eminent theologian or he would not
think of discussing these questions with anybody.  I have never
heard of him, but for all that he may be the most intelligent of

_Question_.  How have the recently expressed opinions of our local
clergy impressed you?

_Answer_.  I suppose you refer to the preachers who have given
their opinion of me.  In the first place I am obliged to them for
acting as my agents.  I think Mr. Hogan has been imposed upon.
Tacitus is a poor witness--about like Josephus.  I say again that
we have not a word about Christ written by any human being who
lived in the time of Christ--not a solitary word, and Mr. Hogan
ought to know it.

The Rev. Mr. Matthews is mistaken.  If the Bible proves anything,
it proves that the world was made in six days and that Adam and
Eve were built on Saturday.  The Bible gives the age of Adam when
he died, and then gives the ages of others down to the flood, and
then from that time at least to the return from the captivity.  If
the genealogy of the Bible is true it is about six thousand years
since Adam was made, and the world is only five days older than
Adam.  It is nonsense to say that the days were long periods of
time.  If that is so, away goes the idea of Sunday.  The only reason
for keeping Sunday given in the Bible is that God made the world
in six days and rested on the seventh.  Mr. Mathews is not candid.
He knows that he cannot answer the arguments I have urged against
the Bible.  He knows that the ancient Jews were barbarians, and
that the Old Testament is a barbarous book.  He knows that it
upholds slavery and polygamy, and he probably feels ashamed of what
he is compelled to preach.

Mr. Jardine takes a very cheerful view of the subject.  He expects
the light to dawn on the unbelievers.  He speaks as though he were
the superior of all Infidels.  He claims to be a student of the
evidences of Christianity.  There are no evidences, consequently
Mr. Jardine is a student of nothing.  It is amazing how dignified
some people can get on a small capital.

Mr. Haley has sense enough to tell the ministers not to attempt to
answer me.  That is good advice.  The ministers had better keep
still.  It is the safer way.  If they try to answer what I say,
the "sheep" will see how foolish the "shepherds" are.  The best
way is for them to say, "that has been answered."

Mr. Wells agrees with Mr. Haley.  He, too, thinks that silence is
the best weapon.  I agree with him.  Let the clergy keep still;
that is the best way.  It is better to say nothing than to talk
absurdity.  I am delighted to think that at last the ministers have
concluded that they had better not answer Infidels.

Mr. Woods is fearful only for the young.  He is afraid that I will
hurt the children.  He thinks that the mother ought to stoop over
the cradle and in the ears of the babe shout, Hell!  So he thinks
in all probability that the same word ought to be repeated at the
grave as a consolation to mourners.

I am glad that Mr. Mann thinks that I am doing neither good nor
harm.  This gives me great hope.  If I do no harm, certainly I
ought not to be eternally damned.  It is very consoling to have an
orthodox minister solemnly assert that I am doing no harm.  I wish
I could say as much for him.

The truth is, all these ministers have kept back their real thoughts.
They do not tell their doubts--they know that orthodoxy is doomed
--they know that the old doctrine excites laughter and scorn.  They
know that the fires of hell are dying out; that the Bible is ceasing
to be an authority; and that the pulpit is growing feebler and
feebler every day.  Poor parsons!

_Question_.  Would the Catholicism of General Sherman's family
affect his chances for the presidency?

_Answer_.  I do not think the religion of the family should have
any weight one way or the other.  It would make no difference with
me; although I hate Catholicism with all my heart, I do not hate
Catholics.  Some people might be so prejudiced that they would not
vote for a man whose wife belongs to the Catholic Church; but such
people are too narrow to be consulted.  General Sherman says that
he wants no office.  In that he shows his good sense.  He is a
great man and a great soldier.  He has won laurels enough for one
brow.  He has the respect and admiration of the nation, and does
not need the presidency to finish his career.  He wishes to enjoy
the honors he has won and the rest he deserves.

_Question_.  What is your opinion of Matthew Arnold?

_Answer_.  He is a man of talent, well educated, a little fussy,
somewhat sentimental, but he is not a genius.  He is not creative.
He is a critic--not an originator.  He will not compare with

--_The Journal_, Kansas City, Missouri, February 23, 1884.


_Question_.  What is the difference in the parliamentary oath of
this country which saves us from such a squabble as they have had
in England over the Bradlaugh case?

_Answer_.  Our Constitution provides that a member of Congress may
swear or affirm.  The consequence is that we can have no such
controversy as they have had in England.  The framers of our
Constitution wished forever to divorce church and state.  They knew
that it made no possible difference whether a man swore or affirmed,
or whether he swore and affirmed to support the Constitution.  All
the Federal officers who went into the Rebellion had sworn or affirmed
to support the Constitution.  All that did no good.  The entire
oath business is a mistake.  I think it would be a thousand times
better to abolish all oaths in courts of justice.  The oath allows
a rascal to put on the garments of solemnity, the mask of piety,
while he tells a lie.  In other words, the oath allows the villain
to give falsehood the appearance of truth.  I think it would be
far better to let each witness tell his story and leave his evidence
to the intelligence of the jury and judge.  The trouble about an
oath is that its tendency is to put all witnesses on an equality;
the jury says, "Why, he swore to it."  Now, if the oath were
abolished, the jury would judge all testimony according to the
witness, and then the evidence of one man of good reputation would
outweigh the lies of thousands of nobodies.

It was at one time believed that there was something miraculous in
the oath, that it was a kind of thumbscrew that would torture the
truth out of a rascal, and at one time they believed that if a man
swore falsely he might be struck by lightning or paralyzed.  But
so many people have sworn to lies without having their health
impaired that the old superstition has very little weight with the
average witness.  I think it would be far better to let every man
tell his story; let him be cross-examined, let the jury find out
as much as they can of his character, of his standing among his
neighbors--then weigh his testimony in the scale of reason.  The
oath is born of superstition, and everything born of superstition
is bad.  The oath gives the lie currency; it gives it for the moment
the ring of true metal, and the ordinary average juror is imposed
upon and justice in many instances defeated.  Nothing can be more
absurd than the swearing of a man to support the Constitution.
Let him do what he likes.  If he does not support the Constitution,
the probability is that his constituents will refuse to support
him.  Every man who swears to support the Constitution swears to
support it as he understands it, and no two understand it exactly
alike.  Now, if the oath brightened a man's intellect or added to
his information or increased his patriotism or gave him a little
more honesty, it would be a good thing--but it doesn't.  And as a
consequence it is a very useless and absurd proceeding.  Nothing
amuses me more in a court than to see one calf kissing the tanned
skin of another.

--_The Courier_, Buffalo, New York, May 19, 1884.


_Question_.  What have you to say in reply to the letter in to-
day's _Times_ signed R. H. S.?

_Answer_.  I find that I am accused of "four flagrant wrongs," and
while I am not as yet suffering from the qualms of conscience, nor
do I feel called upon to confess and be forgiven, yet I have
something to say in self-defence.

As to the first objection made by your correspondent, namely, that
my doctrine deprives people of the hope that after this life is
ended they will meet their fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers,
long since passed away, in the land beyond the grave, and there
enjoy their company forever, I have this to say:  If Christianity
is true we are not quite certain of meeting our relatives and
friends where we can enjoy their company forever.  If Christianity
is true most of our friends will be in hell.  The ones I love best
and whose memory I cherish will certainly be among the lost.  The
trouble about Christianity is that it is infinitely selfish.  Each
man thinks that if he can save his own little, shriveled, microscopic
soul, that is enough.  No matter what becomes of the rest.
Christianity has no consolation for a generous man.  I do not wish
to go to heaven if the ones who have given me joy are to be lost.
I would much rather go with them.  The only thing that makes life
endurable in this world is human love, and yet, according to
Christianity, that is the very thing we are not to have in the
other world.  We are to be so taken up with Jesus and the angels,
that we shall care nothing about our brothers and sisters that have
been damned.  We shall be so carried away with the music of the
harp that we shall not even hear the wail of father or mother.
Such a religion is a disgrace to human nature.

As to the second objection,--that society cannot be held together
in peace and good order without hell and a belief in eternal torment,
I would ask why an infinitely wise and good God should make people
of so poor and mean a character that society cannot be held together
without scaring them.  Is it possible that God has so made the
world that the threat of eternal punishment is necessary for the
preservation of society?

The writer of the letter also says that it is necessary to believe
that if a man commits murder here he is destined to be punished in
hell for the offence.  This is Christianity.  Yet nearly every
murderer goes directly from the gallows to God.  Nearly every
murderer takes it upon himself to lecture the assembled multitude
who have gathered to see him hanged, and invite them to meet him
in heaven.  When the rope is about his neck he feels the wings
growing.  That is the trouble with the Christian doctrine.  Every
murderer is told he may repent and go to heaven, and have the
happiness of seeing his victim in hell.  Should heaven at any time
become dull, the vein of pleasure can be re-thrilled by the sight
of his victim wriggling on the gridiron of God's justice.  Really,
Christianity leads men to sin on credit.  It sells rascality on
time and tells all the devils they can have the benefit of the
gospel bankrupt act.

The next point in the letter is that I do not preach for the benefit
of mankind, but for the money which is the price of blood.  Of
course it makes no difference whether I preach for money or not.
That is to say, it makes no difference to the preached.  The
arguments I advance are either good or bad.  If they are bad they
can easily be answered by argument.  If they are not they cannot
be answered by personalities or by ascribing to me selfish motives.
It is not a personal matter.  It is a matter of logic, of sense--
not a matter of slander, vituperation or hatred.  The writer of
the letter, R. H. S., may be an exceedingly good person, yet that
will add no weight to his or her argument.  He or she may be a very
bad person, but that would not weaken the logic of the letter, if
it had any logic to begin with.  It is not for me to say what my
motives are in what I do or say; it must be left to the judgment
of mankind.  I presume I am about as bad as most folks, and as good
as some, but my goodness or badness has nothing to do with the
question.  I may have committed every crime in the world, yet that
does not make the story of the flood reasonable, nor does it even
tend to show that the three gentlemen in the furnace were not
scorched.  I may be the best man in the world, yet that does not
go to prove that Jonah was swallowed by the whale.  Let me say
right here that if there is another world I believe that every soul
who finds the way to that shore will have an everlasting opportunity
to do right--of reforming.  My objection to Christianity is that
it is infinitely cruel, infinitely selfish, and I might add infinitely
absurd.  I deprive no one of any hope unless you call the expectation
of eternal pain a hope.

_Question_.  Have you read the Rev. Father Lambert's "Notes on
Ingersoll," and if so, what have you to say of them or in reply to

_Answer_.  I have read a few pages or paragraphs of that pamphlet,
and do not feel called upon to say anything.  Mr. Lambert has the
same right to publish his ideas that I have, and the readers must
judge.  People who believe his way will probably think that he has
succeeded in answering me.  After all, he must leave the public to
decide.  I have no anxiety about the decision.  Day by day the
people are advancing, and in a little while the sacred superstitions
of to-day will be cast aside with the foolish myths and fables of
the pagan world.

As a matter of fact there can be no argument in favor of the
supernatural.  Suppose you should ask if I had read the work of
that gentleman who says that twice two are five.  I should answer
you that no gentleman can prove that twice two are five; and yet
this is exactly as easy as to prove the existence of the supernatural.
There are no arguments in favor of the supernatural.  There are
theories and fears and mistakes and prejudices and guesses, but no
arguments--plenty of faith, but no facts; plenty of divine revelation,
but no demonstration.  The supernatural, in my judgment, is a
mistake.  I believe in the natural.

--_The Times_, Buffalo, New York, May 19, 1884.


[* "If Robert G. Ingersoll indulges in blasphemy to-night in his
lecture, as he has in other places and in this city before, he
will be arrested before he leaves the city."  So spoke Rev. Irwin
H. Torrence, General Secretary of the Pennsylvania Bible Society,
yesterday afternoon to a _Press_ reporter.  "We have consulted
counsel; the law is with us, and Ingersoll has but to do what he
has done before, to find himself in a cell.  Here is the act of
March 31, 1860:

"'If any person shall willfully, premeditatedly and despitefully
blaspheme or speak loosely and profanely of Almighty God, Christ
Jesus, the Holy Spirit, or the Scriptures of Truth, such person,
on conviction thereof, shall be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding
one hundred dollars, and undergo an imprisonment not exceeding
three months, or either, at the discretion of the court.'"

Last evening Colonel Ingersoll sat in the dining room at Guy's
Hotel, just in from New York City.  When told of the plans of Mr.
Torrence and his friends, he laughed and said:  ]

I did not suppose that anybody was idiotic enough to want me arrested
for blasphemy.  It seems to me that an infinite Being can take care
of himself without the aid of any agent of a Bible society.  Perhaps
it is wrong for me to be here while the Methodist Conference is in
session.  Of course no one who differs from the Methodist ministers
should ever visit Philadelphia while they are here.  I most humbly
hope to be forgiven.

_Question_.  What do you think of the law of 1860?

_Answer_.  It is exceedingly foolish.  Surely, there is no need
for the Legislature of Pennsylvania to protect an infinite God,
and why should the Bible be protected by law?  The most ignorant
priest can hold Darwin up to orthodox scorn.  This talk of the Rev.
Mr. Torrence shows that my lectures are needed; that religious
people do not know what real liberty is.  I presume that the law
of 1860 is an old one re-enacted.  It is a survival of ancient
ignorance and bigotry, and no one in the Legislature thought it
worth while to fight it.  It is the same as the law against swearing,
both are dead letters and amount to nothing.  They are not enforced
and should not be.  Public opinion will regulate such matters.  If
all who take the name of God in vain were imprisoned there would
not be room in the jails to hold the ministers.  They speak of God
in the most flippant and snap-your-fingers way that can be conceived
of.  They speak to him as though he were an intimate chum, and
metaphorically slap him on the back in the most familiar way

_Question_.  Have you ever had any similar experiences before?

_Answer_.  Oh, yes--threats have been made, but I never was arrested.
When Mr. Torrence gets cool he will see that he has made a mistake.
People in Philadelphia have been in the habit of calling the citizens
of Boston bigots--but there is more real freedom of thought and
expression in Boston than in almost any other city of the world.
I think that as I am to suffer in hell forever, Mr. Torrence ought
to be satisfied and let me have a good time here.  He can amuse
himself through all eternity by seeing me in hell, and that ought
to be enough to satisfy, not only an agent, but the whole Bible
society.  I never expected any trouble in this State, and most
sincerely hope that Mr. Torrence will not trouble me and make the
city a laughing stock.

Philadelphia has no time to waste in such foolish things.  Let the
Bible take its chances with other books.  Let everybody feel that
he has the right freely to express his opinions, provided he is
decent and kind about it.  Certainly the Christians now ought to
treat Infidels as well as Penn did Indians.

Nothing could be more perfectly idiotic than in this day and
generation to prosecute any man for giving his conclusions upon
any religious subject.  Mr. Torrence would have had Huxley and
Haeckel and Tyndall arrested; would have had Humboldt and John
Stuart Mill and Harriet Martineau and George Eliot locked up in the
city jail.  Mr. Torrence is a fossil from the old red sandstone of
a mistake.  Let him rest.  To hear these people talk you would
suppose that God is some petty king, some Liliputian prince, who
was about to be dethroned, and who was nearly wild for recruits.

_Question_.  But what would you do if they should make an attempt
to arrest you?

_Answer_.  Nothing, except to defend myself in court.

--_Philadelphia Press_, May 24, 1884.


_Question_.  I understand that there was some trouble in connection
with your lecture in Victoria, B. C.  What are the facts?

_Answer_.  The published accounts, as circulated by the Associated
Press, were greatly exaggerated.  The affair was simply this:  The
authorities endeavored to prevent the lecture.  They refused the
license, on the ground that the theatre was unsafe, although it
was on the ground floor, had many exits and entrances, not counting
the windows.  The theatre was changed to meet the objections of
the fire commissioner, and the authorities expressed their satisfaction
and issued the license.  Afterward further objection was raised,
and on the night of the lecture, when the building was about two-
thirds full, the police appeared and said that the lecture would
not be allowed to be delivered, because the house was unsafe.
After a good deal of talk, the policeman in authority said that
there should be another door, whereupon my friends, in a few minutes,
made another door with an ax and a saw, the crowd was admitted and
the lecture was delivered.  The audience was well-behaved, intelligent
and appreciative.  Beyond some talking in the hall, and the natural
indignation of those who had purchased tickets and were refused
admittance, there was no disturbance.  I understand that those who
opposed the lecture are now heartily ashamed of the course pursued.

_Question_.  Are you going to take any part in the campaign?

_Answer_.  It is not my intention to make any political speeches.
I have made a good many in the past, and, in my judgment, have done
my part.  I have no other interest in politics than every citizen
should have.  I want that party to triumph which, in my judgment,
represents the best interests of the country.  I have no doubt
about the issue of the election.  I believe that Mr. Blaine will
be the next President.  But there are plenty of talkers, and I
really think that I have earned a vacation.

_Question_.  What do you think Cleveland's chances are in New York?

_Answer_.  At this distance it is hard to say.  The recent action
of Tammany complicates matters somewhat.  But my opinion is that
Blaine will carry the State.  I had a letter yesterday from that
State, giving the opinion of a gentleman well informed, that Blaine
would carry New York by no less than fifty thousand majority.

_Question_.  What figure will Butler cut in the campaign?

_Answer_.  I hardly think that Butler will have many followers on
the 4th of November.  His forces will gradually go to one side or
the other.  It is only when some great principle is at stake that
thousands of men are willing to vote with a known minority.

_Question_.  But what about the Prohibitionists?

_Answer_.  They have a very large following.  They are fighting
for something they believe to be of almost infinite consequence,
and I can readily understand how a Prohibitionist is willing to be
in the minority.  It may be well enough for me to say here, that
my course politically is not determined by my likes or dislikes of
individuals.  I want to be governed by principles, not persons.
If I really thought that in this campaign a real principle was at
stake, I should take part.  The only great question now is protection,
and I am satisfied that it is in no possible danger.

_Question_.  Not even in the case of a Democratic victory?

_Answer_.  Not even in the event of a Democratic victory.  No State
in the Union is for free trade.  Every free trader has an exception.
These exceptions combined, control the tariff legislation of this
country, and if the Democrats were in power to-day, with the control
of the House and Senate and Executive, the exceptions would combine
and protect protection.  As long as the Federal Government collects
taxes or revenue on imports, just so long these revenues will be
arranged to protect home manufactures.

_Question_.  You said that if there were a great principle at stake,
you would take part in the campaign.  You think, then, that there
is no great principle involved?

_Answer_.  If it were a matter of personal liberty, I should take
part.  If the Republican party had stood by the Civil Rights Bill,
I should have taken part in the present campaign.

_Question_.  Still, I suppose we can count on you as a Republican?

_Answer_.  Certainly, I am a Republican.

--_Evening Post_, San Francisco, California, September 16, 1884.


_Question_.  Does Christianity advance or retard civilization?

_Answer_.  If by Christianity you mean the orthodox church, then
I unhesitatingly answer that it does retard civilization, always
has retarded it, and always will.  I can imagine no man who can be
benefitted by being made a Catholic or a Presbyterian or a Baptist
or a Methodist--or, in other words, by being made an orthodox
Christian.  But by Christianity I do not mean morality, kindness,
forgiveness, justice.  Those virtues are not distinctively Christian.
They are claimed by Mohammedans and Buddhists, by Infidels and
Atheists--and practiced by some of all classes.  Christianity
consists of the miraculous, the marvelous, and the impossible.

The one thing that I most seriously object to in Christianity is
the doctrine of eternal punishment.  That doctrine subverts every
idea of justice.  It teaches the infinite absurdity that a finite
offence can be justly visited by eternal punishment.  Another
serious objection I have is, that Christianity endeavors to destroy
intellectual liberty.  Nothing is better calculated to retard
civilization than to subvert the idea of justice.  Nothing is better
calculated to retain barbarism than to deny to every human being
the right to think.  Justice and Liberty are the two wings that
bear man forward.  The church, for a thousand years, did all within
its power to prevent the expression of honest thought; and when
the church had power, there was in this world no civilization.  We
have advanced just in the proportion that Christianity has lost
power.  Those nations in which the church is still powerful are
still almost savage--Portugal, Spain, and many others I might name.
Probably no country is more completely under the control of the
religious idea than Russia.  The Czar is the direct representative
of God.  He is the head of the church, as well as of the state.
In Russia every mouth is a bastille and every tongue a convict.
This Russian pope, this representative of God, has on earth his
hell (Siberia), and he imitates the orthodox God to the extent of
his health and strength.

Everywhere man advances as the church loses power.  In my judgment,
Ireland can never succeed until it ceases to be Catholic; and there
can be no successful uprising while the confessional exists.  At
one time in New England the church had complete power.  There was
then no religious liberty.  And so we might make a tour of the
world, and find that superstition always has been, is, and forever
will be, inconsistent with human advancement.

_Question_.  Do not the evidences of design in the universe prove
a Creator?

_Answer_.  If there were any evidences of design in the universe,
certainly they would tend to prove a designer, but they would not
prove a Creator.  Design does not prove creation.  A man makes a
machine.  That does not prove that he made the material out of
which the machine is constructed.  You find the planets arranged
in accordance with what you call a plan.  That does not prove that
they were created.  It may prove that they are governed, but it
certainly does not prove that they were created.  Is it consistent
to say that a design cannot exist without a designer, but that a
designer can?  Does not a designer need a design as much as a design
needs a designer?  Does not a Creator need a Creator as much as
the thing we think has been created?  In other words, is not this
simply a circle of human ignorance?  Why not say that the universe
has existed from eternity, as well as to say that a Creator has
existed from eternity?  And do you not thus avoid at least one
absurdity by saying that the universe has existed from eternity,
instead of saying that it was created by a Creator who existed from
eternity?  Because if your Creator existed from eternity, and
created the universe, there was a time when he commenced; and back
of that, according to Shelley, is "an eternity of idleness."

Some people say that God existed from eternity, and has created
eternity.  It is impossible to conceive of an act co-equal with
eternity.  If you say that God has existed forever, and has always
acted, then you make the universe eternal, and you make the universe
as old as God; and if the universe be as old as God, he certainly
did not create it.

These questions of origin and destiny--of infinite gods--are beyond
the powers of the human mind.  They cannot be solved.  We might as
well try to travel fast enough to get beyond the horizon.  It is
like a man trying to run away from his girdle.  Consequently, I
believe in turning our attention to things of importance--to
questions that may by some possibility be solved.  It is of no
importance to me whether God exists or not.  I exist, and it is
important to me to be happy while I exist.  Therefore I had better
turn my attention to finding out the secret of happiness, instead
of trying to ascertain the secret of the universe.

I say with regard to God, I do not know; and therefore I am accused
of being arrogant and egotistic.  Religious papers say that I do
know, because Webster told me.  They use Webster as a witness to
prove the divinity of Christ.  They say that Webster was on the
God side, and therefore I ought to be.  I can hardly afford to take
Webster's ideas of another world, when his ideas about this were
so bad.  When bloodhounds were pursuing a woman through the tangled
swamps of the South--she hungry for liberty--Webster took the side
of the bloodhounds.  Such a man is no authority for me.  Bacon
denied the Copernican system of astronomy; he is an unsafe guide.
Wesley believed in witches; I cannot follow him.  No man should
quote a name instead of an argument; no man should bring forward
a person instead of a principle, unless he is willing to accept
all the ideas of that person.

_Question_.  Is not a pleasant illusion preferable to a dreary
truth--a future life being in question?

_Answer_.  I think it is.  I think that a pleasing illusion is
better then a terrible truth, so far as its immediate results are
concerned.  I would rather think the one I love living, than to
think her dead.  I would rather think that I had a large balance
in bank than that my account was overdrawn.  I would rather think
I was healthy than to know that I had a cancer.  But if we have an
illusion, let us have it pleasing.  The orthodox illusion is the
worst that can possibly be conceived.  Take hell out of that
illusion, take eternal pain away from that dream, and say that the
whole world is to be happy forever--then you might have an excuse
for calling it a pleasant illusion; but it is, in fact, a nightmare
--a perpetual horror--a cross, on which the happiness of man has
been crucified.

_Question_.  Are not religion and morals inseparable?

_Answer_.  Religion and morality have nothing in common, and yet
there is no religion except the practice of morality.  But what
you call religion is simply superstition.  Religion as it is now
taught teaches our duties toward God--our obligations to the
Infinite, and the results of a failure to discharge those obligations.
I believe that we are under no obligations to the Infinite; that
we cannot be.  All our obligations are to each other, and to sentient
beings.  "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
saved," has nothing to do with morality.  "Do unto other as ye
would that others should do unto you" has nothing to do with
believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Baptism has nothing to do with
morality.  "Pay your honest debts."  That has nothing to do with
baptism.  What is called religion is simple superstition, with
which morality has nothing to do.

The churches do not prevent people from committing natural offences,
but restrain them from committing artificial ones.  As for instance,
the Catholic Church can prevent one of its members from eating meat
on Friday, but not from whipping his wife.  The Episcopal Church
can prevent dancing, it may be, in Lent, but not slander.  The
Presbyterian can keep a man from working on Sunday, but not from
practicing deceit on Monday.  And so I might go through the churches.
They lay the greater stress upon the artificial offences.  Those
countries that are the most religious are the most immoral.  When
the world was under the control of the Catholic Church, it reached
the very pit of immorality, and nations have advanced in morals
just in proportion that they have lost Christianity.

_Question_.  It is frequently asserted that there is nothing new
in your objections against Christianity.  What is your reply to
such assertions?

_Answer_.  Of course, the editors of religious papers will say
this; Christians will say this.  In my opinion, an argument is new
until it has been answered.  An argument is absolutely fresh, and
has upon its leaves the dew of morning, until it has been refuted.
All men have experienced, it may be, in some degree, what we call
love.  Millions of men have written about it.  The subject is of
course old.  It is only the presentation that can be new.  Thousands
of men have attacked superstition.  The subject is old, but the
manner in which the facts are handled, the arguments grouped--these
may be forever new.  Millions of men have preached Christianity.
Certainly there is nothing new in the original ideas.  Nothing can
be new except the presentation, the grouping.  The ideas may be
old, but they may be clothed in new garments of passion; they may
be given additional human interest.  A man takes a fact, or an old
subject, as a sculptor takes a rock; the rock is not new.  Of this
rock he makes a statue; the statue is new.  And yet some orthodox
man might say there is nothing new about that statue:  "I know the
man that dug the rock; I know the owner of the quarry."  Substance
is eternal; forms are new.  So in the human mind certain ideas, or
in the human heart certain passions, are forever old; but genius
forever gives them new forms, new meanings; and this is the perpetual
originality of genius.

_Question_.  Do you consider that churches are injurious to the

_Answer_.  In the exact proportion that churches teach falsehood;
in the exact proportion that they destroy liberty of thought, the
free action of the human mind; in the exact proportion that they
teach the doctrine of eternal pain, and convince people of its
truth--they are injurious.  In the proportion that they teach
morality and justice, and practice kindness and charity--in that
proportion they are a benefit.  Every church, therefore, is a mixed
problem--part good and part bad.  In one direction it leads toward
and sheds light; in the other direction its influence is entirely

Now, I would like to civilize the churches, so that they will be
able to do good deeds without building bad creeds.  In other words,
take out the superstitious and the miraculous, and leave the human
and the moral.

_Question_.  Why do you not respond to the occasional clergyman
who replies to your lectures?

_Answer_.  In the first place, no clergyman has ever replied to my
lectures.  In the second place, no clergyman ever will reply to my
lectures.  He does not answer my arguments--he attacks me; and the
replies that I have seen are not worth answering.  They are far
below the dignity of the question under discussion.  Most of them
are ill-mannered, as abusive as illogical, and as malicious as
weak.  I cannot reply without feeling humiliated.  I cannot use
their weapons, and my weapons they do not understand.  I attack
Christianity because it is cruel, and they account for all my
actions by putting behind them base motives.  They make it at once
a personal question.  They imagine that epithets are good enough
arguments with which to answer an Infidel.  A few years ago they
would have imprisoned me.  A few years before that they would have
burned me.  We have advanced.  Now they only slander; and I
congratulate myself on the fact that even that is not believed.
Ministers do not believe each other about each other.  The truth
has never yet been ascertained in any trial by a church.  The longer
the trial lasts, the obscurer is the truth.  They will not believe
each other, even on oath; and one of the most celebrated ministers
of this country has publicly announced that there is no use in
answering a lie started by his own church; that if he does answer
it--if he does kill it--forty more lies will come to the funeral.

In this connection we must remember that the priests of one religion
never credit the miracles of another religion.  Is this because
priests instinctively know priests?  Now, when a Christian tells
a Buddhist some of the miracles of the Testament, the Buddhist
smiles.  When a Buddhist tells a Christian the miracles performed
by Buddha, the Christian laughs.  This reminds me of an incident.
A man told a most wonderful story.  Everybody present expressed
surprise and astonishment, except one man.  He said nothing; he
did not even change countenance.  One who noticed that the story
had no effect on this man, said to him:  "You do not seem to be
astonished in the least at this marvelous tale."  The man replied,
"No; I am a liar myself."

You see, I am not trying to answer individual ministers.  I am
attacking the whole body of superstition.  I am trying to kill the
entire dog, and I do not feel like wasting any time killing fleas
on that dog.  When the dog dies, the fleas will be out of provisions,
and in that way we shall answer them all at once.

So, I do not bother myself answering religious newspapers.  In the
first place, they are not worth answering; and in the second place,
to answer would only produce a new crop of falsehoods.  You know,
the editor of a religious newspaper, as a rule, is one who has
failed in the pulpit; and you can imagine the brains necessary to
edit a religious weekly from this fact.  I have known some good
religious editors.  By some I mean one.  I do not say that there
are not others, but I do say I do not know them.  I might add,
here, that the one I did know is dead.

Since I have been in this city there have been some "replies" to
me.  They have been almost idiotic.  A Catholic priest asked me
how I had the impudence to differ with Newton.  Newton, he says,
believed in a God; and I ask this Catholic priest how he has the
impudence to differ with Newton.  Newton was a Protestant.  This
simply shows the absurdity of using men's names for arguments.
This same priest proves the existence of God by a pagan orator.
Is it possible that God's last witness died with Cicero?  If it is
necessary to believe in a God now, the witnesses ought to be on
hand now.

Another man, pretending to answer me, quotes Le Conte, a geologist;
and according to this geologist we are "getting very near to the
splendors of the great white throne."  Where is the great white
throne?  Can any one, by studying geology, find the locality of
the great white throne?  To what stratum does it belong?  In what
geologic period was the great white throne formed?  What on earth
has geology to do with the throne of God?

The truth is, there can be no reply to the argument that man should
be governed by his reason; that he should depend upon observation
and experience; that he should use the faculties he has for his
own benefit, and the benefit of his fellow-man.  There is no answer.
It is not within the power of man to substantiate the supernatural.
It is beyond the power of evidence.

_Question_.  Why do the theological seminaries find it difficult
to get students?

_Answer_.  I was told last spring, at New Haven, that the "theologs,"
as they call the young men there being fitted for the ministry,
were not regarded as intellectual by all the other students.  The
orthodox pulpit has no rewards for genius.  It has rewards only for
stupidity, for belief--not for investigation, not for thought; and
the consequence is that young men of talent avoid the pulpit.  I
think I heard the other day that of all the students at Harvard
only nine are preparing for the ministry.  The truth is, the ministry
is not regarded as an intellectual occupation.  The average church
now consists of women and children.  Men go to please their wives,
or stay at home and subscribe to please their wives; and the wives
are beginning to think, and many of them are staying at home.  Many
of them now prefer the theatre or the opera or the park or the
seashore or the forest or the companionship of their husbands and
children at home.

_Question_.  How does the religious state of California compare
with the rest of the Union?

_Answer_.  I find that sensible people everywhere are about the
same, and the proportion of Freethinkers depends on the proportion
of sensible folks.  I think that California has her full share of
sensible people.  I find everywhere the best people and the brightest
people--the people with the most heart and the best brain--all
tending toward free thought.  Of course, a man of brain cannot
believe the miracles of the Old and New Testaments.  A man of heart
cannot believe in the doctrine of eternal pain.  We have found that
other religions are like ours, with precisely the same basis, the
same idiotic miracles, the same Christ or Saviour.  It will hardly
do to say that all others like ours are false, and ours the only
true one, when others substantially like it are thousands of years
older.  We have at last found that a religion is simply an effort
on the part of man to account for what he sees, what he experiences,
what he feels, what he fears, and what he hopes.  Every savage has
his philosophy.  That is his religion and his science.

The religions of to-day are the sciences of the past; and it may
be that the sciences of to-day will be the religions of the future,
and that other sciences will be as far beyond them as the science
of to-day is beyond the religion of to-day.  As a rule, religion
is a sanctified mistake, and heresy a slandered fact.  In other
words, the human mind grows--and as it grows it abandons the old,
and the old gets its revenge by maligning the new.

--_The San Franciscan_, San Francisco, October 4, 1884.


_Question_.  Colonel, the fact that you took no part in the late
campaign, is a subject for general comment, and knowing your former
enthusiastic advocacy and support of Blaine, the people are somewhat
surprised, and would like to know why?

_Answer_.  In the first place, it was generally supposed that Blaine
needed no help.  His friends were perfectly confident.  They counted
on a very large Catholic support.  The Irish were supposed to be
spoiling to vote for Blaine and Logan.  All the Protestant ministers
were also said to be solid for the ticket.  Under these circumstances
it was hardly prudent for me to say much.

I was for Blaine in 1876.  In 1880 I was for Garfield, and in 1884
I was for Gresham or Harlan.  I believed then and I believe now
that either one of these men could have been elected.  Blaine is
an exceedingly able man, but he made some mistakes and some very
unfortunate utterances.  I took no part in the campaign; first,
because there was no very important issue, no great principle at
stake, and second, I thought that I had done enough, and, third,
because I wanted to do something else.

_Question_.  What, in your opinion, were the causes for Blaine's

_Answer_.  First, because of dissension in the party.  Second,
because party ties have grown weak.  Third, the Prohibition vote.
Fourth, the Delmonico dinner--too many rich men.  Fifth, the Rev.
Dr. Burchard with his Rum, Romanism and Rebellion.  Sixth, giving
too much attention to Ohio and not enough to New York.  Seventh,
the unfortunate remark of Mr. Blaine, that "the State cannot get
along without the Church."  Eighth, the weakness of the present
administration.  Ninth, the abandonment by the party of the colored
people of the South.  Tenth, the feeling against monopolies, and
not least, a general desire for a change.

_Question_.  What, in your opinion, will be the result of Cleveland's
election and administration upon the general political and business
interests of the country?

_Answer_.  The business interests will take care of themselves.
A dollar has the instinct of self-preservation largely developed.
The tariff will take care of itself.  No State is absolutely for
free trade.  In each State there is an exception.  The exceptions
will combine, as they always have.  Michigan will help Pennsylvania
take care of iron, if Pennsylvania will help Michigan take care of
salt and lumber.  Louisiana will help Pennsylvania and Michigan if
they help her take care of sugar.  Colorado, California and Ohio
will help the other States if they will help them about wool--and
so I might make a tour of the States, ending with Vermont and maple
sugar.  I do not expect that Cleveland will do any great harm.
The Democrats want to stay in power, and that desire will give
security for good behavior.

_Question_.  Will he listen to or grant any demands made of him by
the alleged Independent Republicans of New York, either in his
appointments or policies?

_Answer_.  Of this I know nothing.  The Independents--from what I
know of them--will be too modest to claim credit or to ask office.
They were actuated by pure principle.  They did what they did to
purify the party, so that they could stay in it.  Now that it has
been purified they will remain, and hate the Democratic party as
badly as ever.  I hardly think that Cleveland would insult their
motives by offering loaves and fishes.  All they desire is the
approval of their own consciences.

--_The Commonwealth_, Topeka, Kansas, November 21, 1884.


_Question_.  How do you account for the defeat of Mr. Blaine?

_Answer_.  How do I account for the defeat of Mr. Blaine?  I will
answer:  St. John, the Independents, Burchard, Butler and Cleveland
did it.  The truth is that during the war a majority of the people,
counting those in the South, were opposed to putting down the
Rebellion by force.  It is also true that when the Proclamation of
Emancipation was issued a majority of the people, counting the
whole country, were opposed to it, and it is also true that when
the colored people were made citizens a majority of the people,
counting the whole country, were opposed to it.

Now, while, in my judgment, an overwhelming majority of the whole
people have honestly acquiesced in the result of the war, and are
now perfectly loyal to the Union, and have also acquiesced in the
abolition of slavery, I doubt very much whether they are really in
favor of giving the colored man the right to vote.  Of course they
have not the power now to take that right away, but they feel
anything but kindly toward the party that gave the colored man that
right.  That is the only result of the war that is not fully accepted
by the South and by many Democrats of the North.

Another thing, the Republican party was divided--divided too by
personal hatreds.  The party was greatly injured by the decision
of the Supreme Court in which the Civil Rights Bill was held void.
Now, a great many men who kept with the Republican party, did so
because they believed that that party would protect the colored
man in the South, but as soon as the Court decided that all the
laws passed were unconstitutional, these men felt free to vote for
the other side, feeling that it would make no difference.  They
reasoned this way:  If the Republican party cannot defend the
colored people, why make a pretence that excites hatred on one side
and disarms the other?  If the colored people have to depend upon
the State for protection, and the Federal Government cannot interfere,
why say any more about it?

I think that these men made a mistake and our party made a mistake
in accepting without protest a decision that was far worse than
the one delivered in the case of Dred Scott.  By accepting this
decision the most important issue was abandoned.  The Republican
party must take the old ground that it is the duty of the Federal
Government to protect the citizens, and that it cannot simply leave
that duty to the State.  It must see to it that the State performs
that duty.

_Question_.  Have you seen the published report that Dorsey claims
to have paid you one hundred thousand dollars for your services in
the Star Route Cases?

_Answer_.  I have seen the report, but Dorsey never said anything
like that.

_Question_.  Is there no truth in the statement, then?

_Answer_.  Well, Dorsey never said anything of the kind.

_Question_.  Then you do not deny that you received such an enormous

_Answer_.  All I say is that Dorsey did not say I did.*

--_The Commercial_, Louisville, Kentucky, October 24, 1884.

[* Col. Ingersoll has been so criticised and maligned for defending
Mr. Dorsey in the Star Route cases, and so frequently charged with
having received an enormous fee, that I think it but simple justice
to his memory to say that he received no such fee, and that the
ridiculously small sums he did receive were much more than offset
by the amount he had to pay as indorser of Mr. Dorsey's paper.


_Question_.  What have you to say about the charges published in
this morning's _Herald_ to the effect that you copied your lecture
about "Mistakes of Moses" from a chapter bearing the same title in
a book called Hittell's "Evidences against Christianity"?

_Answer_.  All I have to say is that the charge is utterly false.
I will give a thousand dollars reward to any one who will furnish
a book published before my lecture, in which that lecture can be
found.  It is wonderful how malicious the people are who love their
enemies.  This charge is wholly false, as all others of like nature
are.  I do not have to copy the writings of others.  The Christians
do not seem to see that they are constantly complimenting me by
saying that what I write is so good that I must have stolen it.
Poor old orthodoxy!

_Question_.  What is your opinion of the incoming administration,
and how will it affect the country?

_Answer_.  I feel disposed to give Cleveland a chance.  If he does
the fair thing, then it is the duty of all good citizens to say
so.  I do not expect to see the whole country go to destruction
because the Democratic party is in power.  Neither do I believe
that business is going to suffer on that account.  The times are
hard, and I fear will be much harder, but they would have been
substantially the same if Blaine had been elected.  I wanted the
Republican party to succeed and fully expected to see Mr. Blaine
President, but I believe in making the best of what has happened.
I want no office, I want good government--wise legislation.  I
believe in protection, but I want the present tariff reformed and
I hope the Democrats will be wise enough to do so.

_Question_.  How will the Democratic victory affect the colored
people in the South?

_Answer_.  Certainly their condition will not be worse than it has
been.  The Supreme Court decided that the Civil Rights Bill was
unconstitutional and that the Federal Government cannot interfere.
That was a bad decision and our party made a mistake in not protesting
against it.  I believe it to be the duty of the Federal Government
to protect all its citizens, at home as well as abroad.  My hope
is that there will be a division in the Democratic party.  That
party has something now to divide.  At last it has a bone, and
probably the fighting will commence.  I hope that some new issue
will take color out of politics, something about which both white
and colored may divide.  Of course nothing would please me better
than to see the Democratic party become great and grand enough to
give the colored people their rights.

_Question_.  Why did you not take part in the campaign?

_Answer_.  Well, I was afraid of frightening the preachers away.
I might have done good by scaring one, but I did not know Burchard
until it was too late.  Seriously, I did not think that I was
needed.  I supposed that Blaine had a walkover, that he was certain
to carry New York.  I had business of my own to attend to and did
not want to interfere with the campaign.

_Question_.  What do you think of the policy of nominating Blaine
in 1888, as has been proposed?

_Answer_.  I think it too early to say what will be done in 1888.
Parties do not exist for one man.  Parties have certain ends in
view and they choose men as instruments to accomplish these ends.
Parties belong to principles, not persons.  No party can afford to
follow anybody.  If in 1888 Mr. Blaine should appear to be the best
man for the party then he will be nominated, otherwise not.  I know
nothing about any intention to nominate him again and have no idea
whether he has that ambition.  The Whig party was intensely loyal
to Henry Clay and forgot the needs of the country, and allowed the
Democrats to succeed with almost unknown men.  Parties should not
belong to persons, but persons should belong to parties.  Let us
not be too previous--let us wait.

_Question_.  What do you think of the course pursued by the Rev.
Drs. Ball and Burchard?

_Answer_.  In politics the preacher is somewhat dangerous.  He has
a standard of his own; he has queer ideas of evidence, great reliance
on hearsay; he is apt to believe things against candidates, just
because he wants to.  The preacher thinks that all who differ with
him are instigated by the Devil--that their intentions are evil,
and that when they behave themselves they are simply covering the
poison with sugar.  It would have been far better for the country
if Mr. Ball had kept still.  I do not pretend to say that his
intentions were not good.  He likely thought it his duty to lift
a warning voice, to bawl aloud and to spare not, but I think he
made a mistake, and he now probably thinks so himself.  Mr. Burchard
was bound to say a smart thing.  It sounded well, and he allowed
his ears to run away with his judgment.  As a matter of fact, there
is no connection between rum and Romanism.  Catholic countries do
not use as much alcohol as Protestant.  England has far more
drunkards than Spain.  Scotland can discount Italy or Portugal in
good, square drinking.  So there is no connection between Romanism
and rebellion.  Ten times as many Methodists and twenty times as
many Baptists went into the Rebellion as Catholics.  Thousands of
Catholics fought as bravely as Protestants for the preservation of
the Union.  No doubt Mr. Burchard intended well.  He thought he
was giving Blaine a battle-cry that would send consternation into
the hearts of the opposition.  My opinion is that in the next
campaign the preachers will not be called to the front.  Of course
they have the same right to express their views that other people
have, but other people have the right to avoid the responsibility
of appearing to agree with them.  I think though that it is about
time to let up on Burchard.  He has already unloaded on the Lord.

_Question_.  Do you think Cleveland will put any Southern men in
his Cabinet?

_Answer_.  I do.  Nothing could be in worse taste than to ignore
the section that gave him three-fourths of his vote.  The people
have put the Democratic party in power.  They intended to do what
they did, and why should the South not be recognized?  Garland
would make a good Attorney-General; Lamar has the ability to fill
any position in the Cabinet.  I could name several others well
qualified, and I suppose that two or three Southern men will be in
the Cabinet.  If they are good enough to elect a President they
are good enough to be selected by a President.

_Question_.  What do you think of Mr. Conkling's course?

_Answer_.  Mr. Conkling certainly had the right to keep still.  He
was under no obligation to the party.  The Republican papers have
not tried to secure his services.  He has been very generally and
liberally denounced ever since his quarrel with Mr. Garfield, and
it is only natural to resent what a man feels to be an injustice.
I suppose he has done what he honestly thought was, under the
circumstances, his duty.  I believe him to be a man of stainless
integrity, and he certainly has as much independence of character
as one man can carry.  It is time to put the party whip away.
People can be driven from, but not to, the Republican party.  If we
expect to win in 1888 we must welcome recruits.

--_The Plain Dealer_, Cleveland, Ohio, Dec. 11, 1884.


_Question_.  Will a time ever come when political campaigns will
be conducted independently of religious prejudice?

_Answer_.  As long as men are prejudiced, they will probably be
religious, and certainly as long as they are religious they will
be prejudiced, and every religionist who imagines the next world
infinitely more important than this, and who imagines that he gets
his orders from God instead of from his own reason, or from his
fellow-citizens, and who thinks that he should do something for
the glory of God instead of for the benefit of his fellow-citizens
--just as long as they believe these things, just so long their
prejudices will control their votes.  Every good, ignorant, orthodox
Christian places his Bible above laws and constitutions.  Every
good, sincere and ignorant Catholic puts pope above king and
president, as well as above the legally expressed will of a majority
of his countrymen.  Every Christian believes God to be the source
of all authority.  I believe that the authority to govern comes
from the consent of the governed.  Man is the source of power, and
to protect and increase human happiness should be the object of
government.  I think that religious prejudices are growing weaker
because religious belief is growing weaker.  And these prejudices
--should men ever become really civilized--will finally fade away.
I think that a Presbyterian, to-day, has no more prejudice against
an Atheist than he has against a Catholic.  A Catholic does not
dislike an Infidel any more than he does a Presbyterian, and I
believe, to-day, that most of the Presbyterians would rather see
and Atheist President than a pronounced Catholic.

_Question_.  Is Agnosticism gaining ground in the United States?

_Answer_.  Of course, there are thousands and thousands of men who
have now advanced intellectually to the point of perceiving the
limit of human knowledge.  In other words, at last they are beginning
to know enough to know what can and cannot be known.  Sensible men
know that nobody knows whether an infinite God exists or not.
Sensible men know that an infinite personality cannot, by human
testimony, be established.  Sensible men are giving up trying to
answer the questions of origin and destiny, and are paying more
attention to what happens between these questions--that is to say,
to this world.  Infidelity increases as knowledge increases, as
fear dies, and as the brain develops.  After all, it is a question
of intelligence.  Only cunning performs a miracle, only ignorance
believes it.

_Question_.  Do you think that evolution and revealed religion are
compatible--that is to say, can a man be an evolutionist and a

_Answer_.  Evolution and Christianity may be compatible, provided
you take the ground that Christianity is only one of the links in
the chain, one of the phases of civilization.  But if you mean by
Christianity what is generally understood, of course that and
evolution are absolutely incompatible.  Christianity pretends to
be not only the truth, but, so far as religion is concerned, the
whole truth.  Christianity pretends to give a history of religion
and a prophecy of destiny.  As a philosophy, it is an absolute
failure.  As a history, it is false.  There is no possible way by
which Darwin and Moses can be harmonized.  There is an inexpressible
conflict between Christianity and Science, and both cannot long
inhabit the same brain.  You cannot harmonize evolution and the
atonement.  The survival of the fittest does away with original sin.

_Question_.  From your knowledge of the religious tendency in the
United States, how long will orthodox religion be popular?

_Answer_.  I do not think that orthodox religion is popular to-day.
The ministers dare not preach the creed in all its naked deformity
and horror.  They are endeavoring with the vines of sentiment to
cover up the caves and dens in which crawl the serpents of their
creed.  Very few ministers care now to speak of eternal pain.  They
leave out the lake of fire and brimstone.  They are not fond of
putting in the lips of Christ the loving words, "Depart from me,
ye cursed."  The miracles are avoided.  In short, what is known as
orthodoxy is already unpopular.  Most ministers are endeavoring to
harmonize what they are pleased to call science and Christianity,
and nothing is now so welcome to the average Christian as some work
tending to show that, after all, Joshua was an astronomer.

_Question_.  What section of the United States, East, West, North,
or South, is the most advanced in liberal religious ideas?

_Answer_.  That section of the country in which there is the most
intelligence is the most liberal.  That section of the country
where there is the most ignorance is the most prejudiced.  The
least brain is the most orthodox.  There possibly is no more
progressive city in the world, no more liberal, than Boston.
Chicago is full of liberal people.  So is San Francisco.  The brain
of New York is liberal.  Every town, every city, is liberal in the
precise proportion that it is intelligent.

_Question_.  Will the religion of humanity be the religion of the

_Answer_.  Yes; it is the only religion now.  All other is
superstition.  What they call religion rests upon a supposed relation
between man and God.  In what they call religion man is asked to
do something for God.  As God wants nothing, and can by no possibility
accept anything, such a religion is simply superstition.  Humanity
is the only possible religion.  Whoever imagines that he can do
anything for God is mistaken.  Whoever imagines that he can add to
his happiness in the next world by being useless in this, is also
mistaken.  And whoever thinks that any God cares how he cuts his
hair or his clothes, or what he eats, or whether he fasts, or rings
a bell, or puts holy water on his breast, or counts beads, or shuts
his eyes and says words to the clouds, is laboring under a great

_Question_.  A man in the Swaim Court Martial case was excluded as
a witness because he was an Atheist.  Do you think the law in the
next decade will permit the affirmative oath?

_Answer_.  If belief affected your eyes, your ears, any of your
senses, or your memory, then, of course, no man ought to be a
witness who had not the proper belief.  But unless it can be shown
that Atheism interferes with the sight, the hearing, or the memory,
why should justice shut the door to truth?

In most of the States of this Union I could not give testimony.
Should a man be murdered before my eyes I could not tell a jury
who did it.  Christianity endeavors to make an honest man an outlaw.
Christianity has such a contemptible opinion of human nature that
it does not believe a man can tell the truth unless frightened by
a belief in God.  No lower opinion of the human race has ever been

_Question_.  Do you think that bigotry would persecute now for
religious opinion's sake, if it were not for the law and the press?

_Answer_.  I think that the church would persecute to-day if it
had the power, just as it persecuted in the past.  We are indebted
for nearly all our religious liberty to the hypocrisy of the church.
The church does not believe.  Some in the church do, and if they
had the power, they would torture and burn as of yore.  Give the
Presbyterian Church the power, and it would not allow an Infidel
to live.  Give the Methodist Church the power and the result would
be the same.  Give the Catholic Church the power--just the same.
No church in the United States would be willing that any other
church should have the power.  The only men who are to be angels
in the next world are the ones who cannot be trusted with human
liberty in this; and the man who are destined to live forever in
hell are the only gentlemen with whom human liberty is safe.  Why
should Christians refuse to persecute in this world, when their
God is going to in the next?

--_Mail and Express_, New York, January 12, 1885.


_Question_.  What do you think of Mr. Cleveland's Cabinet?

_Answer_.  It is a very good Cabinet.  Some objections have been
made to Mr. Lamar, but I think he is one of the very best.  He is
a man of ability, of unquestioned integrity, and is well informed
on national affairs.  Ever since he delivered his eulogy on the
life and services of Sumner, I have had great respect for Mr. Lamar.
He is far beyond most of his constituents, and has done much to
destroy the provincial prejudices of Mississippi.  He will without
doubt make an excellent Secretary of the Interior.  The South has
no better representative man, and I believe his appointment will,
in a little while, be satisfactory to the whole country.  Bayard
stands high in his party, and will certainly do as well as his
immediate predecessor.  Nothing could be better than the change in
the Department of Justice.  Garland is an able lawyer, has been an
influential Senator and will, in my judgment, make an excellent
Attorney-General.  The rest of the Cabinet I know little about,
but from what I hear I believe they are men of ability and that
they will discharge their duties well.  Mr. Vilas has a great
reputation in Wisconsin, and is one of the best and most forcible
speakers in the country.

_Question_.  Will Mr. Cleveland, in your opinion, carry out the
civil service reform he professes to favor?

_Answer_.  I have no reason to suspect even that he will not.  He
has promised to execute the law, and the promise is in words that
do not admit of two interpretations.  Of course he is sincere.  He
knows that this course will save him a world of trouble, and he
knows that it makes no difference about the politics of a copyist.
All the offices of importance will in all probability be filled by
Democrats.  The President will not put himself in the power of his
opponents.  If he is to be held responsible for the administration
he must be permitted to choose his own assistants.  This is too
plain to talk about.  Let us give Mr. Cleveland a fair show--and
let us expect success instead of failure.  I admit that many
Presidents have violated their promises.  There seems to be something
in the atmosphere of Washington that breeds promise and prevents
performance.  I suppose it is some kind of political malarial
microbe.  I hope that some political Pasteur will, one of these
days, discover the real disease so that candidates can be vaccinated
during the campaign.  Until them, presidential promises will be
liable to a discount.

_Question_.  Is the Republican party dead?

_Answer_.  My belief is that the next President will be a Republican,
and that both houses will be Republican in 1889.  Mr. Blaine was
defeated by an accident--by the slip of another man's tongue.  But
it matters little what party is in power if the Government is
administered upon correct principles, and if the Democracy adopt
the views of the Republicans and carry out Republican measures, it
may be that they can keep in power--otherwise--otherwise.  If the
Democrats carry out real Democratic measures, then their defeat is

_Question_.  Do you think that the era of good feeling between the
North and the South has set in with the appointment of ex-rebels
to the Cabinet?

_Answer_.  The war is over.  The South failed.  The Nation succeeded.
We should stop talking about South and North.  We are one people,
and whether we agree or disagree one destiny awaits us.  We cannot
divide.  We must live together.  We must trust each other.  Confidence
begets confidence.  The whole country was responsible for slavery.
Slavery was rebellion.  Slavery is dead--so is rebellion.  Liberty
has united the country and there is more real union, national
sentiment to-day, North and South, than ever before.

_Question_.  It is hinted that Mr. Tilden is really the power behind
the throne.  Do you think so?

_Answer_.  I guess nobody has taken the hint.  Of course Mr. Tilden
has retired from politics.  The probability is that many Democrats
ask his advice, and some rely on his judgment.  He is regarded as
a piece of ancient wisdom--a phenomenal persistence of the Jeffersonian
type--the connecting link with the framers, founders and fathers.
The power behind the throne is the power that the present occupant
supposes will determine who the next occupant shall be.

_Question_.  With the introduction of the Democracy into power,
what radical changes will take place in the Government, and what
will be the result?

_Answer_.  If the President carries out his inaugural promises
there will be no radical changes, and if he does not there will be
a very radical change at the next presidential election.  The
inaugural is a very good Republican document.  There is nothing in
it calculated to excite alarm.  There is no dangerous policy
suggested--no conceited vagaries--nothing but a plain statement of
the situation and the duty of the Chief Magistrate as understood
by the President.  I think that the inaugural surprised the Democrats
and the Republicans both, and if the President carries out the
program he has laid down he will surprise and pacify a large majority
of the American people.

--_Mail and Express_, New York, March 10, 1885.


_Question_.  What do you think of prohibition, and what do you
think of its success in this State?

_Answer_.  Few people understand the restraining influence of
liberty.  Moderation walks hand in hand with freedom.  I do not
mean the freedom springing from the sudden rupture of restraint.
That kind of freedom usually rushes to extremes.

People must be educated to take care of themselves, and this
education must commence in infancy.  Self-restraint is the only
kind that can always be depended upon.  Of course intemperance is
a great evil.  It causes immense suffering--clothes wives and
children in rags, and is accountable for many crimes, particularly
those of violence.  Laws to be of value must be honestly enforced.
Laws that sleep had better be dead.  Laws to be enforced must be
honestly approved of and believed in by a large majority of the
people.  Unpopular laws make hypocrites, perjurers and official
shirkers of duty.  And if to the violation of such laws severe
penalties attach, they are rarely enforced.  Laws that create
artificial crimes are the hardest to carry into effect.  You can
never convince a majority of people that it is as bad to import
goods without paying the legal duty as to commit larceny.  Neither
can you convince a majority of people that it is a crime or sin,
or even a mistake, to drink a glass of wine or beer.  Thousands and
thousands of people in this State honestly believe that prohibition
is an interference with their natural rights, and they feel justified
in resorting to almost any means to defeat the law.

In this way people become somewhat demoralized.  It is unfortunate
to pass laws that remain unenforced on account of their unpopularity.
People who would on most subjects swear to the truth do not hesitate
to testify falsely on a prohibition trial.  In addition to this,
every known device is resorted to, to sell in spite of the law,
and when some want to sell and a great many want to buy, considerable
business will be done, while there are fewer saloons and less liquor
sold in them.  The liquor is poorer and the price is higher.  The
consumer has to pay for the extra risk.  More liquor finds its way
to homes, more men buy by the bottle and gallon.  In old times
nearly everybody kept a little rum or whiskey on the sideboard.
The great Washingtonian temperance movement drove liquor out of
the home and increased the taverns and saloons.  Now we are driving
liquor back to the homes.  In my opinion there is a vast difference
between distilled spirits and the lighter drinks, such as wine and
beer.  Wine is a fireside and whiskey a conflagration.  These
lighter drinks are not unhealthful and do not, as I believe, create
a craving for stronger beverages.  You will, I think, find it almost
impossible to enforce the present law against wine and beer.  I
was told yesterday that there are some sixty places in Cedar Rapids
where whiskey is sold.  It takes about as much ceremony to get a
drink as it does to join the Masons, but they seem to like the
ceremony.  People seem to take delight in outwitting the State when
it does not involve the commission of any natural offence, and when
about to be caught, may not hesitate to swear falsely to the extent
of "don't remember," or "can't say positively," or "can't swear
whether it was whiskey or not."

One great trouble in Iowa is that the politicians, or many of them
who openly advocate prohibition, are really opposed to it.  They
want to keep the German vote, and they do not want to lose native
Republicans.  They feel a "divided duty" to ride both horses.  This
causes the contrast between their conversation and their speeches.
A few years ago I took dinner with a gentleman who had been elected
Governor of one of our States on the Prohibition ticket.  We had
four kinds of wine during the meal, and a pony of brandy at the
end.  Prohibition will never be a success until it prohibits the
Prohibitionists.  And yet I most sincerely hope and believe that
the time will come when drunkenness shall have perished from the
earth.  Let us cultivate the love of home.  Let husbands and wives
and children be companions.  Let them seek amusements together.
If it is a good place for father to go, it is a good place for
mother and the children.  I believe that a home can be made more
attractive than a saloon.  Let the boys and girls amuse themselves
at home--play games, study music, read interesting books, and let
the parents be their playfellows.  The best temperance lecture, in
the fewest words, you will find in Victor Hugo's great novel "Les
Miserables."  The grave digger is asked to take a drink.  He refuses
and gives this reason:  "The hunger of my family is the enemy of
my thirst."

_Question_.  Many people wonder why you are out of politics.  Will
you give your reasons?

_Answer_.  A few years ago great questions had to be settled.  The
life of the nation was at stake.  Later the liberty of millions of
slaves depended upon the action of the Government.  Afterward
reconstruction and the rights of citizens pressed themselves upon
the people for solution.  And last, the preservation of national
honor and credit.  These questions did not enter into the last
campaign.  They had all been settled, and properly settled, with
the one exception of the duty of the nation to protect the colored
citizens.  The Supreme Court settled that, at least for a time,
and settled it wrong.  But the Republican party submitted to the
civil rights decision, and so, as between the great parties, that
question did not arise.  This left only two questions--protection
and office.  But as a matter of fact, all Republicans were not for
our present system of protection, and all Democrats were not against
it.  On that question each party was and is divided.  On the other
question--office--both parties were and are in perfect harmony.
Nothing remains now for the Democrats to do except to give a
"working" definition of "offensive partisanship."

_Question_.  Do you think that the American people are seeking
after truth, or do they want to be amused?

_Answer_.  We have all kinds.  Thousands are earnestly seeking for
the truth.  They are looking over the old creeds, they are studying
the Bible for themselves, they have the candor born of courage,
they are depending upon themselves instead of on the clergy.  They
have found out that the clergy do not know; that their sources of
information are not reliable; that, like the politicians, many
ministers preach one way and talk another.  The doctrine of eternal
pain has driven millions from the church.  People with good hearts
cannot get consolation out of that cruel lie.  The ministers
themselves are getting ashamed to call that doctrine "the tidings
of great joy."  The American people are a serious people.  They
want to know the truth.  They fell that whatever the truth may be
they have the courage to hear it.  The American people also have
a sense of humor.  They like to see old absurdities punctured and
solemn stupidity held up to laughter.  They are, on the average,
the most intelligent people on the earth.  They can see the point.
Their wit is sharp, quick and logical.  Nothing amuses them more
that to see the mask pulled from the face of sham.  The average
American is generous, intelligent, level-headed, manly, and good-

_Question_.  What, in your judgment, is the source of the greatest
trouble among men?

_Answer_.  Superstition.  That has caused more agony, more tears,
persecution and real misery than all other causes combined.  The
other name for superstition is ignorance.  When men learn that all
sin is a mistake, that all dishonesty is a blunder, that even
intelligent selfishness will protect the rights of others, there
will be vastly more happiness in this world.  Shakespeare says that
"There is no darkness but ignorance."  Sometime man will learn that
when he steals from another, he robs himself--that the way to be
happy is to make others so, and that it is far better to assist
his fellow-man than to fast, say prayers, count beads or build
temples to the Unknown.  Some people tell us that selfishness is
the only sin, but selfishness grows in the soil of ignorance.
After all, education is the great lever, and the only one capable
of raising mankind.  People ignorant of their own rights are ignorant
of the rights of others.  Every tyrant is the slave of ignorance.

_Question_.  How soon do you think we would have the millennium if
every person attended strictly to his own business?

_Answer_.  Now, if every person were intelligent enough to know
his own business--to know just where his rights ended and the rights
of others commenced, and then had the wisdom and honesty to act
accordingly, we should have a very happy world.  Most people like
to control the conduct of others.  They love to write rules, and
pass laws for the benefit of their neighbors, and the neighbors
are pretty busy at the same business.  People, as a rule, think
that they know the business of other people better than they do
their own.  A man watching others play checkers or chess always
thinks he sees better moves than the players make.  When all people
attend to their own business they will know that a part of their
own business is to increase the happiness of others.

_Question_.  What is causing the development of this country?

_Answer_.  Education, the free exchange of ideas, inventions by
which the forces of nature become our servants, intellectual
hospitality, a willingness to hear the other side, the richness of
our soil, the extent of our territory, the diversity of climate
and production, our system of government, the free discussion of
political questions, our social freedom, and above all, the fact
that labor is honorable.

_Question_.  What is your opinion of the religious tendency of the
people of this country?

_Answer_.  Using the word religion in its highest and best sense,
the people are becoming more religious.  We are far more religious
--using the word in its best sense--than when we believed in human
slavery, but we are not as orthodox as we were then.  We have more
principle and less piety.  We care more for the right and less for
the creed.  The old orthodox dogmas are mouldy.  You will find moss
on their backs.  They are only brought out when a new candidate
for the ministry is to be examined.  Only a little while ago in
New York a candidate for the Presbyterian pulpit was examined and
the following is a part of the examination:

_Question_.  "Do you believe in eternal punishment, as set forth
in the confession of faith?"

_Answer_.  (With some hesitation) "Yes, I do."

_Question_.  "Have you preached on that subject lately?"

_Answer_.  "No.  I prepared a sermon on hell, in which I took the
ground that the punishment of the wicked will be endless, and have
it with me."

_Question_.  "Did you deliver it?"

_Answer_.  "No.  I thought that my congregation would not care to
hear it.  The doctrine is rather unpopular where I have been
preaching, and I was afraid I might do harm, so I have not delivered
it yet."

_Question_.  "But you believe in eternal damnation, do you not?"

_Answer_.  "O yes, with all my heart."

He was admitted, and the admission proves the dishonesty of the
examiners and the examined.  The new version of the Old and New
Testaments has done much to weaken confidence in the doctrine of
inspiration.  It has occurred to a good many that if God took the
pains to inspire men to write the Bible, he ought to have inspired
others to translate it correctly.  The general tendency today is
toward science, toward naturalism, toward what is called Infidelity,
but is in fact fidelity.  Men are in a transition state, and the
people, on the average, have more real good, sound sense to-day
than ever before.  The church is losing its power for evil.  The
old chains are wearing out, and new ones are not being made.  The
tendency is toward intellectual freedom, and that means the final
destruction of the orthodox bastille.

_Question_.  What is your opinion of General Grant as he stands
before the people to-day?

_Answer_.  I have always regarded General Grant as the greatest
soldier this continent has produced.  He is to-day the most
distinguished son of the Republic.  The people have the greatest
confidence in his ability, his patriotism and his integrity.  The
financial disaster impoverished General Grant, but he did not stain
the reputation of the grand soldier who led to many victories the
greatest army that ever fought for the liberties of man.

--_Iowa State Register_, May 23, 1885.


_Question_.  Colonel, have you read the revised Testament?

_Answer_.  Yes, but I don't believe the work has been fairly done.
The clergy are not going to scrape the butter off their own bread.
The clergy are offensive partisans, and those of each denomination
will interpret the Scriptures their way.  No Baptist minister would
countenance a "Revision" that favored sprinkling, and no Catholic
priest would admit that any version would be correct that destroyed
the dogma of the "real presence."  So I might go through all the

_Question_.  Why was the word sheol introduced in place of hell,
and how do you like the substitute?

_Answer_.  The civilized world has outgrown the vulgar and brutal
hell of their fathers and founders of the churches.  The clergy
are ashamed to preach about sulphurous flames and undying worms.
The imagination of the world has been developed, the heart has
grown tender, and the old dogma of eternal pain shocks all civilized
people.  It is becoming disgraceful either to preach or believe in
such a beastly lie.  The clergy are beginning to think that it is
hardly manly to frighten children with a detected falsehood.  Sheol
is a great relief.  It is not so hot as the old place.  The nights
are comfortable, and the society is quite refined.  The worms are
dead, and the air reasonably free from noxious vapors.  It is a
much worse word to hold a revival with, but much better for every
day use.  It will hardly take the place of the old word when people
step on tacks, put up stoves, or sit on pins; but for use at church
fairs and mite societies it will do about as well.  We do not need
revision; excision is what we want.  The barbarism should be taken
out of the Bible.  Passages upholding polygamy, wars of extermination,
slavery, and religious persecution should not be attributed to a
perfect God.  The good that is in the Bible will be saved for man,
and man will be saved from the evil that is in that book.  Why
should we worship in God what we detest in man?

_Question_.  Do you think the use of the word sheol will make any
difference to the preachers?

_Answer_.  Of course it will make no difference with Talmage.  He
will make sheol just as hot and smoky and uncomfortable as hell,
but the congregations will laugh instead of tremble.  The old
shudder has gone.  Beecher had demolished hell before sheol was
adopted.  According to his doctrine of evolution hell has been
slowly growing cool.  The cindered souls do not even perspire.
Sheol is nothing to Mr. Beecher but a new name for an old mistake.
As for the effect it will have on Heber Newton, I cannot tell,
neither can he, until he asks his bishop.  There are people who
believe in witches and madstones and fiat money, and centuries
hence it may be that people will exist who will believe as firmly
in hell as Dr. Shedd does now.

_Question_.  What about Beecher's sermons on "Evolution"?

_Answer_.  Beecher's sermons on "Evolution" will do good.  Millions
of people believe that Mr. Beecher knows at least as much as the
other preachers, and if he regards the atonement as a dogma with
a mistake for a foundation, they may conclude that the whole system
is a mistake.  But whether Mr. Beecher is mistaken or not, people
know that honesty is a good thing, that gratitude is a virtue, that
industry supports the world, and that whatever they believe about
religion they are bound by every conceivable obligation to be just
and generous.  Mr. Beecher can no more succeed in reconciling
science and religion, than he could in convincing the world that
triangles and circles are exactly the same.  There is the same
relation between science and religion that there is between astronomy
and astrology, between alchemy and chemistry, between orthodoxy
and common sense.

_Question_.  Have you read Miss Cleveland's book?  She condemns
George Eliot's poetry on the ground that it has no faith in it,
nothing beyond.  Do you imagine she would condemn Burns or Shelley
for that reason?

_Answer_.  I have not read Miss Cleveland's book; but, if the author
condemns the poetry of George Eliot, she has made a mistake.  There
is no poem in our language more beautiful than "The Lovers," and
none loftier or purer than "The Choir Invisible."  There is no
poetry in the "beyond."  The poetry is here--here in this world,
where love is in the heart.  The poetry of the beyond is too far
away, a little too general.  Shelley's "Skylark" was in our sky,
the daisy of Burns grew on our ground, and between that lark and
that daisy is room for all the real poetry of the earth.

--_Evening Record_, Boston, Mass., 1885.


_Question_.  What is your opinion of the peculiar institution of
American journalism known as interviewing?

_Answer_.  If the interviewers are fair, if they know how to ask
questions of a public nature, if they remember what is said, or
write it at the time, and if the interviewed knows enough to answer
questions in a way to amuse or instruct the public, then interviewing
is a blessing.  But if the representative of the press asks questions,
either impudent or unimportant, and the answers are like the
questions, then the institution is a failure.  When the journalist
fails to see the man he wishes to interview, or when the man refuses
to be interviewed, and thereupon the aforesaid journalist writes
up an interview, doing the talking for both sides, the institution
is a success.  Such interviews are always interesting, and, as a
rule, the questions are to the point and the answers perfectly
responsive.  There is probably a little too much interviewing, and
to many persons are asked questions upon subjects about which they
know nothing.  Mr. Smith makes some money in stocks or pork, visits
London, and remains in that city for several weeks.  On his return
he is interviewd as to the institutions, laws and customs of the
British Empire.  Of course such an interview is exceedingly
instructive.  Lord Affanaff lands at the dock in North River, is
driven to a hotel in a closed carriage, is interviewed a few minutes
after by a representative of the _Herald_ as to his view of the
great Republic based upon what he has seen.  Such an interview is
also instructive.  Interviews with candidates as to their chances
of election is another favorite way of finding out their honest
opinion, but people who rely on those interviews generally lose
their bets.  The most interesting interviews are generally denied.
I have been expecting to see an interview with the Rev. Dr. Leonard
on the medicinal properties of champagne and toast, or the relation
between old ale and modern theology, and as to whether prohibition
prohibits the Prohibitionists.

_Question_.  Have you ever been misrepresented in interviews?

_Answer_.  Several times.  As a general rule, the clergy have
selected these misrepresentations when answering me.  I never blamed
them, because it is much easier to answer something I did not say.
Most reporters try to give my real words, but it is difficult to
remember.  They try to give the substance, and in that way change
or destroy the sense.  You remember the Frenchman who translated
Shakespeare's great line in Macbeth--"Out, brief candle!"--into
"Short candle, go out!."  Another man, trying to give the last
words of Webster--"I still live"--said "I aint dead yit."  So that
when they try to do their best they often make mistakes.  Now and
then interviews appear not one word of which I ever said, and
sometimes when I really had an interview, another one has appeared.
But generally the reporters treat me well, and most of them succeed
in telling about what I said.  Personally I have no cause for

_Question_.  What do you think of the administration of President

_Answer_.  I know but very little about it.  I suppose that he is
doing the best he can.  He appears to be carrying out in good faith
the principles laid down in the platform on which he was elected.
He is having a hard road to travel.  To satisfy an old Democrat
and a new mugwump is a difficult job.  Cleveland appears to be the
owner of himself--appears to be a man of great firmness and force
of character.  The best thing that I have heard about him is that
he went fishing on Sunday.  We have had so much mock morality, dude
deportment and hypocritical respectability in public office, that
a man with courage enough to enjoy himself on Sunday is a refreshing
and healthy example.  All things considered I do not see but that
Cleveland is doing well enough.  The attitude of the administration
toward the colored people is manly and fair so far as I can see.

_Question_.  Are you still a Republican in political belief?

_Answer_.  I believe that this is a Nation.  I believe in the
equality of all men before the law, irrespective of race, religion
or color.  I believe that there should be a dollar's worth of silver
in a silver dollar.  I believe in a free ballot and a fair count.
I believe in protecting those industries, and those only, that need
protection.  I believe in unrestricted coinage of gold and silver.
I believe in the rights of the State, the rights of the citizen,
and the sovereignty of the Nation.  I believe in good times, good
health, good crops, good prices, good wages, good food, good clothes
and in the absolute and unqualified liberty of thought.  If such
belief makes a Republican, than that is what I am.

_Question_.  Do you approve of John Sherman's policy in the present
campaign with reference to the bloody shirt, which reports of his
speeches show that he is waving?

_Answer_.  I have not read Senator Sherman's speech.  It seems to
me that there is a better feeling between the North and South than
ever before--better than at any time since the Revolutionary war.
I believe in cultivating that feeling, and in doing and saying what
we can to contribute to its growth.  We have hated long enough and
fought enough.  The colored people never have been well treated
but they are being better treated now than ever before.  It takes
a long time to do away with prejudices that were based upon religion
and rascality--that is to say, inspiration and interest.  We must
remember that slavery was the crime of the whole country.  Now, if
Senator Sherman has made a speech calculated to excite the hatreds
and prejudices of the North and South, I think that he has made a
mistake.  I do not say that he has made such a speech, because I
have not read it.  The war is over--it ended at Appomattox.  Let
us hope that the bitterness born of the conflict died out forever
at Riverside.  The people are tired almost to death of the old
speeches.  They have been worn out and patched, and even the patches
are threadbare.  The Supreme Court decided the Civil Rights Bill
to be unconstitutional, and the Republican party submitted.  I
regarded the decision as monstrous, but the Republican party when
in power said nothing and did nothing.  I most sincerely hope that
the Democratic party will protect the colored people at least as
well as we did when we were in power.  But I am out of politics
and intend to keep politics out of me.

_Question_.  We have been having the periodical revival of interest
in Spiritualism.  What do you think of "Spiritualism," as it is
popularly termed?

_Answer_.  I do not believe in the supernatural.  One who does not
believe in gods would hardly believe in ghosts.  I am not a believer
in any of the "wonders" and "miracles" whether ancient or modern.
There may be spirits, but I do not believe there are.  They may
communicate with some people, but thus far they have been successful
in avoiding me.  Of course, I know nothing for certain on the
subject.  I know a great many excellent people who are thoroughly
convinced of the truth of Spiritualism.  Christians laugh at the
"miracles" to-day, attested by folks they know, but believe the
miracles of long ago, attested by folks that they did not know.
This is one of the contradictions in human nature.  Most people
are willing to believe that wonderful things happened long ago and
will happen again in the far future; with them the present is the
only time in which nature behaves herself with becoming sobriety.

In old times nature did all kinds of juggling tricks, and after a
long while will do some more, but now she is attending strictly to
business, depending upon cause and effect.

_Question_.  Who, in your opinion, is the greatest leader of the
"opposition" yclept the Christian religion?

_Answer_.  I suppose that Mr. Beecher is the greatest man in the
pulpit, but he thinks more of Darwin than he does of David and has
an idea that the Old Testament is just a little too old.  He has
put evolution in the place of the atonement--has thrown away the
Garden of Eden, snake, apples and all, and is endeavoring to save
enough of the orthodox wreck to make a raft.  I know of no other
genius in the pulpit.  There are plenty of theological doctors and
bishops and all kinds of titled humility in the sacred profession,
but men of genius are scarce.  All the ministers, except Messrs.
Moody and Jones, are busy explaining away the contradiction between
inspiration and demonstration.

_Question_.  What books would you recommend for the perusal of a
young man of limited time and culture with reference to helping
him in the development of intellect and good character?

_Answer_.  The works of Darwin, Ernst Haeckel, Draper's "Intellectual
Development of Europe," Buckle's "History of Civilization in
England," Lecky's "History of European Morals," Voltaire's
"Philosophical Dictionary," Buechner's "Force and Matter," "The
History of the Christian Religion" by Waite; Paine's "Age of Reason,"
D'Holbach's "System of Nature," and, above all, Shakespeare.  Do
not forget Burns, Shelley, Dickens and Hugo.

_Question_.  Will you lecture the coming winter?

_Answer_.  Yes, about the same as usual.  Woe is me if I preach
not my gospel.

_Question_.  Have you been invited to lecture in Europe?  If so do
you intend to accept the "call"?

_Answer_.  Yes, often.  The probability is that I shall go to
England and Australia.  I have not only had invitations but most
excellent offers from both countries.  There is, however, plenty
to do here.  This is the best country in the world and our people
are eager to hear the other side.

The old kind of preaching is getting superannuated.  It lags
superfluous in the pulpit.  Our people are outgrowing the cruelties
and absurdities of the ancient Jews.  The idea of hell has become
shocking and vulgar.  Eternal punishment is eternal injustice.  It
is infinitely infamous.  Most ministers are ashamed to preach the
doctrine, and the congregations are ashamed to hear it preached.
It is the essence of savagery.

--_Plain Dealer_, Cincinnati, Ohio, September 5, 1885.


_Question_.  It is said that in the past four or five years you
have changed or modified your views upon the subject of religion;
is this so?

_Answer_.  It is not so.  The only change, if that can be called
a change, is, that I am more perfectly satisfied that I am right--
satisfied that what is called orthodox religion is a simple
fabrication of mistaken men; satisfied that there is no such thing
as an inspired book and never will be; satisfied that a miracle
never was and never will be performed; satisfied that no human
being knows whether there is a God or not, whether there is another
life or not; satisfied that the scheme of atonement is a mistake,
that the innocent cannot, by suffering for the guilty, atone for
the guilt; satisfied that the doctrine that salvation depends on
belief, is cruel and absurd; satisfied that the doctrine of eternal
punishment is infamously false; satisfied that superstition is of
no use to the human race; satisfied that humanity is the only true
and real religion.

No, I have not modified my views.  I detect new absurdities every
day in the popular belief.  Every day the whole thing becomes more
and more absurd.  Of course there are hundreds and thousands of
most excellent people who believe in orthodox religion; people for
whose good qualities I have the greatest respect; people who have
good ideas on most other subjects; good citizens, good fathers,
husbands, wives and children--good in spite of their religion.  I
do not attack people.  I attack the mistakes of people.  Orthodoxy
is getting weaker every day.

_Question_.  Do you believe in the existence of a Supreme Being?

_Answer_.  I do not believe in any Supreme personality or in any
Supreme Being who made the universe and governs nature.  I do not
say that there is no such Being--all I say is that I do not believe
that such a Being exists.  I know nothing on the subject, except
that I know that I do not know and that nobody else knows.  But if
there is such a Being, he certainly never wrote the Old Testament.
You will understand my position.  I do not say that a Supreme Being
does not exist, but I do say that I do not believe such a Being
exists.  The universe--embracing all that is--all atoms, all stars,
each grain of sand and all the constellations, each thought and
dream of animal and man, all matter and all force, all doubt and
all belief, all virtue and all crime, all joy and all pain, all
growth and all decay--is all there is.  It does not act because it
is moved from without.  It acts from within.  It is actor and
subject, means and end.

It is infinite; the infinite could not have been created.  It is
indestructible and that which cannot be destroyed was not created.
I am a Pantheist.

_Question_.  Don't you think the belief of the Agnostic is more
satisfactory to the believer than that of the Atheist?

_Answer_.  There is no difference.  The Agnostic is an Atheist.
The Atheist is an Agnostic.  The Agnostic says:  "I do not know,
but I do not believe there is any God."  The Atheist says the same.
The orthodox Christian says he knows there is a God; but we know
that he does not know.  He simply believes.  He cannot know.  The
Atheist cannot know that God does not exist.

_Question_.  Haven't you just the faintest glimmer of a hope that
in some future state you will meet and be reunited to those who
are dear to you in this?

_Answer_.  I have no particular desire to be destroyed.  I am
willing to go to heaven if there be such a place, and enjoy myself
for ever and ever.  It would give me infinite satisfaction to know
that all mankind are to be happy forever.  Infidels love their
wives and children as well as Christians do theirs.  I have never
said a word against heaven--never said a word against the idea of
immortality.  On the contrary, I have said all I could truthfully
say in favor of the idea that we shall live again.  I most sincerely
hope that there is another world, better than this, where all the
broken ties of love will be united.  It is the other place I have
been fighting.  Better that all of us should sleep the sleep of
death forever than that some should suffer pain forever.  If in
order to have a heaven there must be a hell, then I say away with
them both.  My doctrine puts the bow of hope over every grave; my
doctrine takes from every mother's heart the fear of hell.  No good
man would enjoy himself in heaven with his friends in hell.  No
good God could enjoy himself in heaven with millions of his poor,
helpless mistakes in hell.  The orthodox idea of heaven--with God
an eternal inquisitor, a few heartless angels and some redeemed
orthodox, all enjoying themselves, while the vast multitude will
weep in the rayless gloom of God's eternal dungeon--is not calculated
to make man good or happy.  I am doing what I can to civilize the
churches, humanize the preachers and get the fear of hell out of
the human heart.  In this business I am meeting with great success.

--_Philadelphia Times_, September 25, 1885.


_Question_.  Shall you attend the Albany Freethought Convention?

_Answer_.  I have agreed to be present not only, but to address
the convention, on Sunday, the 13th of September.  I am greatly
gratified to know that the interest in the question of intellectual
liberty is growing from year to year.  Everywhere I go it seems to
be the topic of conversation.  No matter upon what subject people
begin to talk, in a little while the discussion takes a religious
turn, and people who a few moments before had not the slightest
thought of saying a word about the churches, or about the Bible,
are giving their opinions in full.  I hear discussions of this kind
in all the public conveyances, at the hotels, on the piazzas at
the seaside--and they are not discussions in which I take any part,
because I rarely say anything upon these questions except in public,
unless I am directly addressed.

There is a general feeling that the church has ruled the world long
enough.  People are beginning to see that no amount of eloquence,
or faith, or erudition, or authority, can make the records of
barbarism satisfactory to the heart and brain of this century.
They have also found that a falsehood in Hebrew in no more credible
than in plain English.  People at last are beginning to be satisfied
that cruel laws were never good laws, no matter whether inspired
or uninspired.  The Christian religion, like every other religion
depending upon inspired writings, is wrecked upon the facts of
nature.  So long as inspired writers confined themselves to the
supernatural world; so long as they talked about angels and Gods
and heavens and hells; so long as they described only things that
man has never seen, and never will see, they were safe, not from
contradiction, but from demonstration.  But these writings had to
have a foundation, even for their falsehoods, and that foundation
was in Nature.  The foundation had to be something about which
somebody knew something, or supposed they knew something.  They
told something about this world that agreed with the then general
opinion.  Had these inspired writers told the truth about Nature--
had they said that the world revolved on its axis, and made a
circuit about the sun--they could have gained no credence for their
statements about other worlds.  They were forced to agree with
their contemporaries about this world, and there is where they made
the fundamental mistake.  Having grown in knowledge, the world has
discovered that these inspired men knew nothing about this earth;
that the inspired books are filled with mistakes--not only mistakes
that we can contradict, but mistakes that we can demonstrate to be
mistakes.  Had they told the truth in their day, about this earth,
they would not have been believed about other worlds, because their
contemporaries would have used their own knowledge about this world
to test the knowledge of these inspired men.  We pursue the same
course; and what we know about this world we use as the standard,
and by that standard we have found that the inspired men knew
nothing about Nature as it is.  Finding that they were mistaken
about this world, we have no confidence in what they have said
about another.  Every religion has had its philosophy about this
world, and every one has been mistaken.  As education becomes
general, as scientific modes are adopted, this will become clearer
and clearer, until "ignorant as inspiration" will be a comparison.

_Question_.  Have you seen the memorial to the New York Legislature,
to be presented this winter, asking for the repeal of such laws as
practically unite church and state?

_Answer_.  I have seen a memorial asking that church property be
taxed like other property; that no more money should be appropriated
from the public treasury for the support of institutions managed
by and in the interest of sectarian denominations; for the repeal
of all laws compelling the observance of Sunday as a religious day.
Such memorials ought to be addressed to the Legislatures of all
the States.  The money of the public should only be used for the
benefit of the public.  Public money should not be used for what
a few gentlemen think is for the benefit of the public.  Personally,
I think it would be for the benefit of the public to have Infidel
or scientific--which is the same thing--lectures delivered in every
town, in every State, on every Sunday; but knowing that a great
many men disagree with me on this point, I do not claim that such
lectures ought to be paid for with public money.  The Methodist
Church ought not to be sustained by taxation, nor the Catholic,
nor any other church.  To relieve their property from taxation is
to appropriate money, to the extent of that tax, for the support
of that church.  Whenever a burden is lifted from one piece of
property, it is distributed over the rest of the property of the
State, and to release one kind of property is to increase the tax
on all other kinds.

There was a time when people really supposed the churches were
saving souls from the eternal wrath of a God of infinite love.
Being engaged in such a philanthropic work, and at the time nobody
having the courage to deny it--the church being all-powerful--all
other property was taxed to support the church; but now the more
civilized part of the community, being satisfied that a God of
infinite love will not be eternally unjust, feel as though the
church should support herself.  To exempt the church from taxation
is to pay a part of the priest's salary.  The Catholic now objects
to being taxed to support a school in which his religion is not
taught.  He is not satisfied with the school that says nothing on
the subject of religion.  He insists that it is an outrage to tax
him to support a school where the teacher simply teaches what he
knows.  And yet this same Catholic wants his church exempted from
taxation, and the tax of an Atheist or of a Jew increased, when he
teaches in his untaxed church that the Atheist and Jew will both
be eternally damned!  Is it possible for impudence to go further?

I insist that no religion should be taught in any school supported
by public money; and by religion I mean superstition.  Only that
should be taught in a school that somebody can learn and that
somebody can know.  In my judgment, every church should be taxed
precisely the same as other property.  The church may claim that
it is one of the instruments of civilization and therefore should
be exempt.  If you exempt that which is useful, you exempt every
trade and every profession.  In my judgment, theatres have done
more to civilize mankind than churches; that is to say, theatres
have done something to civilize mankind--churches nothing.  The
effect of all superstition has been to render men barbarous.  I do
not believe in the civilizing effects of falsehood.

There was a time when ministers were supposed to be in the employ
of God, and it was thought that God selected them with great care
--that their profession had something sacred about it.  These ideas
are no longer entertained by sensible people.  Ministers should be
paid like other professional men, and those who like their preaching
should pay for the preach.  They should depend, as actors do, upon
their popularity, upon the amount of sense, or nonsense, that they
have for sale.  They should depend upon the market like other
people, and if people do not want to hear sermons badly enough to
build churches and pay for them, and pay the taxes on them, and
hire the preacher, let the money be diverted to some other use.
The pulpit should no longer be a pauper.  I do not believe in
carrying on any business with the contribution box.  All the
sectarian institutions ought to support themselves.  These should
be no Methodist or Catholic or Presbyterian hospitals or orphan
asylums.  All these should be supported by the State.  There is no
such thing as Catholic charity, or Methodist charity.  Charity
belongs to humanity, not to any particular form of faith or religion.
You will find as charitable people who never heard of religion, as
you can find in the church.  The State should provide for those
who ought to be provided for.  A few Methodists beg of everybody
they meet--send women with subscription papers, asking money from
all classes of people, and nearly everybody gives something from
politeness, or to keep from being annoyed; and when the institution
is finished, it is pointed at as the result of Methodism.

Probably a majority of the people in this country suppose that
there was no charity in the world until the Christian religion was
founded.  Great men have repeated this falsehood, until ignorance
and thoughtlessness believe it.  There were orphan asylums in China,
in India, and in Egypt thousands of years before Christ was born;
and there certainly never was a time in the history of the whole
world when there was less charity in Europe than during the centuries
when the Church of Christ had absolute power.  There were hundreds
of Mohammedan asylums before Christianity had built ten in the
entire world.

All institutions for the care of unfortunate people should be
secular--should be supported by the State.  The money for the
purpose should be raised by taxation, to the end that the burden
may be borne by those able to bear it.  As it is now, most of the
money is paid, not by the rich, but by the generous, and those most
able to help their needy fellow citizens are the very ones who do
nothing.  If the money is raised by taxation, then the burden will
fall where it ought to fall, and these institutions will no longer
be supported by the generous and emotional, and the rich and stingy
will no longer be able to evade the duties of citizenship and of

Now, as to the Sunday laws, we know that they are only spasmodically
enforced.  Now and then a few people are arrested for selling papers
or cigars.  Some unfortunate barber is grabbed by a policeman
because he has been caught shaving a Christian, Sunday morning.
Now and then some poor fellow with a hack, trying to make a dollar
or two to feed his horses, or to take care of his wife and children,
is arrested as though he were a murderer.  But in a few days the
public are inconvenienced to that degree that the arrests stop and
business goes on in its accustomed channels, Sunday and all.

Now and then society becomes so pious, so virtuous, that people
are compelled to enter saloons by the back door; others are compelled
to drink beer with the front shutters up; but otherwise the stream
that goes down the thirsty throats is unbroken.  The ministers have
done their best to prevent all recreation on the Sabbath.  They
would like to stop all the boats on the Hudson, and on the sea--
stop all the excursion trains.  They would like to compel every
human being that lives in the city of New York to remain within
its limits twenty-four hours every Sunday.  They hate the parks;
they hate music; they hate anything that keeps a man away from
church.  Most of the churches are empty during the summer, and now
most of the ministers leave themselves, and give over the entire
city to the Devil and his emissaries.  And yet if the ministers had
their way, there would be no form of human enjoyment except prayer,
signing subscription papers, putting money in contribution boxes,
listening to sermons, reading the cheerful histories of the Old
Testament, imagining the joys of heaven and the torments of hell.
The church is opposed to the theatre, is the enemy of the opera,
looks upon dancing as a crime, hates billiards, despises cards,
opposes roller-skating, and even entertains a certain kind of
prejudice against croquet.

_Question_.  Do you think that the orthodox church gets its ideas
of the Sabbath from the teachings of Christ?

_Answer_.  I do not hold Christ responsible for these idiotic ideas
concerning the Sabbath.  He regarded the Sabbath as something made
for man--which was a very sensible view.  The holiest day is the
happiest day.  The most sacred day is the one in which have been
done the most good deeds.  There are two reasons given in the Bible
for keeping the Sabbath.  One is that God made the world in six
days, and rested on the seventh.  Now that all the ministers admit
that he did not make the world in six days, but that he made it in
six "periods," this reason is no longer applicable.  The other
reason is that he brought the Jews out of Egypt with a "mighty
hand."  This may be a very good reason still for the observance of
the Sabbath by the Jews, but the real Sabbath, that is to say, the
day to be commemorated, is our Saturday, and why should we commemorate
the wrong day?  That disposes of the second reason.

Nothing can be more inconsistent than the theories and practice of
the churches about the Sabbath.  The cars run Sundays, and out of
the profits hundreds of ministers are supported.  The great iron
and steel works fill with smoke and fire the Sabbath air, and the
proprietors divide the profits with the churches.  The printers of
the city are busy Sunday afternoons and evenings, and the presses
during the nights, so that the sermons of Sunday can reach the
heathen on Monday.  The servants of the rich are denied the privileges
of the sanctuary.  The coachman sits on the box out-doors, while
his employer kneels in church preparing himself for the heavenly
chariot.  The iceman goes about on the holy day, keeping believers
cool, they knowing at the same time that he is making it hot for
himself in the world to come.  Christians cross the Atlantic,
knowing that the ship will pursue its way on the Sabbath.  They
write letters to their friends knowing that they will be carried
in violation of Jehovah's law, by wicked men.  Yet they hate to
see a pale-faced sewing girl enjoying a few hours by the sea; a
poor mechanic walking in the fields; or a tired mother watching
her children playing on the grass.  Nothing ever was, nothing ever
will be, more utterly absurd and disgusting than a Puritan Sunday.
Nothing ever did make a home more hateful than the strict observance
of the Sabbath.  It fills the house with hypocrisy and the meanest
kind of petty tyranny.  The parents look sour and stern, the children
sad and sulky.  They are compelled to talk upon subjects about
which they feel no interest, or to read books that are thought good
only because they are so stupid.

_Question_.  What have you to say about the growth of Catholicism,
the activity of the Salvation Army, and the success of revivalists
like the Rev. Samuel Jones?  Is Christianity really gaining a strong
hold on the masses?

_Answer_.  Catholicism is growing in this country, and it is the
only country on earth in which it is growing.  Its growth here
depends entirely upon immigration, not upon intellectual conquest.
Catholic emigrants who leave their homes in the Old World because
they have never had any liberty, and who are Catholics for the same
reason, add to the number of Catholics here, but their children's
children will not be Catholics.  Their children will not be very
good Catholics, and even these immigrants themselves, in a few
years, will not grovel quite so low in the presence of a priest.
The Catholic Church is gaining no ground in Catholic countries.

The Salvation Army is the result of two things--the general belief
in what are known as the fundamentals of Christianity, and the
heartlessness of the church.  The church in England--that is to
say, the Church of England--having succeeded--that is to say, being
supported by general taxation--that is to say, being a successful,
well-fed parasite--naturally neglected those who did not in any
way contribute to its support.  It became aristocratic.  Splendid
churches were built; younger sons with good voices were put in the
pulpits; the pulpit became the asylum for aristocratic mediocrity,
and in this way the Church of England lost interest in the masses
and the masses lost interest in the Church of England.  The neglected
poor, who really had some belief in religion, and who had not been
absolutely petrified by form and patronage, were ready for the
Salvation Army.  They were not at home in the church.  They could
not pay.  They preferred the freedom of the street.  They preferred
to attend a church where rags were no objection.  Had the church
loved and labored with the poor the Salvation Army never would have
existed.  These people are simply giving their idea of Christianity,
and in their way endeavoring to do what they consider good.  I
don't suppose the Salvation Army will accomplish much.  To improve
mankind you must change conditions.  It is not enough to work simply
upon the emotional nature.  The surroundings must be such as
naturally produce virtuous actions.  If we are to believe recent
reports from London, the Church of England, even with the assistance
of the Salvation Army, has accomplished but little.  It would be
hard to find any country with less morality.  You would search long
in the jungles of Africa to find greater depravity.

I account for revivalists like the Rev. Samuel Jones in the same
way.  There is in every community an ignorant class--what you might
call a literal class--who believe in the real blood atonement; who
believe in heaven and hell, and harps and gridirons; who have never
had their faith weakened by reading commentators or books harmonizing
science and religion.  They love to hear the good old doctrine;
they want hell described; they want it described so that they can
hear the moans and shrieks; they want heaven described; they want
to see God on a throne, and they want to feel that they are finally
to have the pleasure of looking over the battlements of heaven and
seeing all their enemies among the damned.  The Rev. Mr. Munger
has suddenly become a revivalist.  According to the papers he is
sought for in every direction.  His popularity seems to rest upon
the fact that he brutally beat a girl twelve years old because she
did not say her prayers to suit him.  Muscular Christianity is what
the ignorant people want.  I regard all these efforts--including
those made by Mr. Moody and Mr. Hammond--as evidence that Christianity,
as an intellectual factor, has almost spent its force.  It no longer
governs the intellectual world.

_Question_.  Are not the Catholics the least progressive?  And are
they not, in spite of their professions to the contrary, enemies
to republican liberty?

_Answer_.  Every church that has a standard higher than human
welfare is dangerous.  A church that puts a book above the laws
and constitution of its country, that puts a book above the welfare
of mankind, is dangerous to human liberty.  Every church that puts
itself above the legally expressed will of the people is dangerous.
Every church that holds itself under greater obligation to a pope
than to a people is dangerous to human liberty.  Every church that
puts religion above humanity--above the well-being of man in this
world--is dangerous.  The Catholic Church may be more dangerous,
not because its doctrines are more dangerous, but because, on the
average, its members more sincerely believe its doctrines, and
because that church can be hurled as a solid body in any given
direction.  For these reasons it is more dangerous than other
churches; but the doctrines are no more dangerous than those of
the Protestant churches.  The man who would sacrifice the well-
being of man to please an imaginary phantom that he calls God, is
also dangerous.  The only safe standard is the well-being of man
in this world.  Whenever this world is sacrificed for the sake of
another, a mistake has been made.  The only God that man can know
is the aggregate of all beings capable of suffering and of joy
within the reach of his influence.  To increase the happiness of
such beings is to worship the only God that man can know.

_Question_.  What have you to say to the assertion of Dr. Deems
that there were never so many Christians as now?

_Answer_.  I suppose that the population of the earth is greater
now than at any other time within the historic period.  This being
so, there may be more Christians, so-called, in this world than
there were a hundred years ago.  Of course, the reverend doctor,
in making up his aggregate of Christians, counts all kinds and
sects--Unitarians, Universalists, and all the other "ans" and "ists"
and "ics" and "ites" and "ers."  But Dr. Deems must admit that only
a few years ago most of the persons he now calls Christians would
have been burnt as heretics and Infidels.  Let us compare the
average New York Christian with the Christian of two hundred years
ago.  It is probably safe to say that there is not now in the city
of New York a genuine Presbyterian outside of an insane asylum.
Probably no one could be found who will to-day admit that he believes
absolutely in the Presbyterian Confession of Faith.  There is
probably not an Episcopalian who believes in the Thirty-nine
Articles.  Probably there is not an intelligent minister in the
city of New York, outside of the Catholic Church, who believes that
everything in the Bible is true.  Probably no clergyman, of any
standing, would be willing to take the ground that everything in
the Old Testament--leaving out the question of inspiration--is
actually true.  Very few ministers now preach the doctrine of
eternal punishment.  Most of them would be ashamed to utter that
brutal falsehood.  A large majority of gentlemen who attend church
take the liberty of disagreeing with the preacher.  They would have
been very poor Christians two hundred years ago.  A majority of
the ministers take the liberty of disagreeing, in many things, with
their Presbyteries and Synods.  They would have been very poor
preachers two hundred years ago.  Dr. Deems forgets that most
Christians are only nominally so.  Very few believe their creeds.
Very few even try to live in accordance with what they call Christian
doctrines.  Nobody loves his enemies.  No Christian when smitten
on one cheek turns the other.  Most Christians do take a little
thought for the morrow.  They do not depend entirely upon the
providence of God.  Most Christians now have greater confidence in
the average life-insurance company than in God--feel easier when
dying to know that they have a policy, through which they expect
the widow will receive ten thousand dollars, than when thinking of
all the Scripture promises.  Even church-members do not trust in
God to protect their own property.  They insult heaven by putting
lightning rods on their temples.  They insure the churches against
the act of God.  The experience of man has shown the wisdom of
relying on something that we know something about, instead of upon
the shadowy supernatural.  The poor wretches to-day in Spain,
depending upon their priests, die like poisoned flies; die with
prayers between their pallid lips; die in their filth and faith.

_Question_.  What have you to say on the Mormon question?

_Answer_.  The institution of polygamy is infamous and disgusting
beyond expression.  It destroys what we call, and all civilized
people call, "the family."  It pollutes the fireside, and, above
all, as Burns would say, "petrifies the feeling."  It is, however,
one of the institutions of Jehovah.  It is protected by the Bible.
It has inspiration on its side.  Sinai, with its barren, granite
peaks, is a perpetual witness in its favor.  The beloved of God
practiced it, and, according to the sacred word, the wisest man
had, I believe, about seven hundred wives.  This man received his
wisdom directly from God.  It is hard for the average Bible worshiper
to attack this institution without casting a certain stain upon
his own book.

Only a few years ago slavery was upheld by the same Bible.  Slavery
having been abolished, the passages in the inspired volume upholding
it have been mostly forgotten, but polygamy lives, and the polygamists,
with great volubility, repeat the passages in their favor.  We send
our missionaries to Utah, with their Bibles, to convert the Mormons.

The Mormons show, by these very Bibles, that God is on their side.
Nothing remain now for the missionaries except to get back their
Bibles and come home.  The preachers do not appeal to the Bible
for the purpose of putting down Mormonism.  They say:  "Send the
army."  If the people of this country could only be honest; if they
would only admit that the Old Testament is but the record of a
barbarous people; if the Samson of the nineteenth century would
not allow its limbs to be bound by the Delilah of superstition, it
could with one blow destroy this monster.  What shall we say of
the moral force of Christianity, when it utterly fails in the
presence of Mormonism?  What shall we say of a Bible that we dare
not read to a Mormon as an argument against legalized lust, or as
an argument against illegal lust?

I am opposed to polygamy.  I want it exterminated by law; but I
hate to see the exterminators insist that God, only a few thousand
years ago, was as bad as the Mormons are to-day.  In my judgment,
such a God ought to be exterminated.

_Question_.  What do you think of men like the Rev. Henry Ward
Beecher and the Rev. R. Heber Newton?  Do they deserve any credit
for the course they have taken?

_Answer_.  Mr. Beecher is evidently endeavoring to shore up the
walls of the falling temple.  He sees the cracks; he knows that
the building is out of plumb; he feels that the foundation is
insecure.  Lies can take the place of stones only so long as they
are thoroughly believed.  Mr. Beecher is trying to do something to
harmonize superstition and science.  He is reading between the
lines.  He has discovered that Darwin is only a later Saint Paul,
or that Saint Paul was the original Darwin.  He is endeavoring to
make the New Testament a scientific text-book.  Of course he will
fail.  But his intentions are good.  Thousands of people will read
the New Testament with more freedom than heretofore.  They will
look for new meanings; and he who looks for new meanings will not
be satisfied with the old ones.  Mr. Beecher, instead of strengthening
the walls, will make them weaker.

There is no harmony between religion and science.  When science
was a child, religion sought to strangle it in the cradle.  Now
that science has attained its youth, and superstition is in its
dotage, the trembling, palsied wreck says to the athlete:  "Let us
be friends."  It reminds me of the bargain the cock wished to make
with the horse:  "Let us agree not to step on each other's feet."
Mr. Beecher, having done away with hell, substitutes annihilation.
His doctrine at present is that only a fortunate few are immortal,
and that the great mass return to dreamless dust.  This, of course,
is far better than hell, and is a great improvement on the orthodox
view.  Mr. Beecher cannot believe that God would make such a mistake
as to make men doomed to suffer eternal pain.  Why, I ask, should
God give life to men whom he knows are unworthy of life?  Why should
he annihilate his mistakes?  Why should he make mistakes that need

It can hardly be said that Mr. Beecher's idea is a new one.  It
was taught, with an addition, thousands of years ago, in India,
and the addition almost answers my objection.  The old doctrine
was that only the soul that bears fruit, only the soul that bursts
into blossom, will at the death of the body rejoin the Infinite,
and that all other souls--souls not having blossomed--will go back
into low forms and make the journey up to man once more, and should
they then blossom and bear fruit, will be held worthy to join the
Infinite, but should they again fail, they again go back; and this
process is repeated until they do blossom, and in this way all
souls at last become perfect.  I suggest that Mr. Beecher make at
least this addition to his doctrine.

But allow me to say that, in my judgment, Mr. Beecher is doing
great good.  He may not convince many people that he is right, but
he will certainly convince a great many people that Christianity
is wrong.

_Question_.  In what estimation do you hold Charles Watts and Samuel
Putnam, and what do you think of their labors in the cause of

_Answer_.  Mr. Watts is an extremely logical man, with a direct
and straightforward manner and mind.  He has paid great attention
to what is called "Secularism."  He thoroughly understands
organization, and he is undoubtedly one of the strongest debaters
in the field.  He has had great experience.  He has demolished more
divines than any man of my acquaintance.  I have read several of
his debates.  In discussion he is quick, pertinent, logical, and,
above all, good natured.

There is not in all he says a touch of malice.  He can afford to
be generous to his antagonists, because he is always the victor,
and is always sure of the victory.  Last winter wherever I went,
I heard the most favorable accounts of Mr. Watts.  All who heard
him were delighted.

Mr. Putnam is one of the most thorough believers in intellectual
liberty in the world.  He believes with all his heart, is full of
enthusiasm, ready to make any sacrifice, and to endure any hardship.
Had he lived a few years ago, he would have been a martyr.  He has
written some of the most stirring appeals to the Liberals of this
country that I have ever read.  He believes that Freethought has
a future; that the time is coming when the superstitions of the
world will either be forgotten, or remembered--some of them with
smiles--most of them with tears.  Mr. Putnam, although endowed with
a poetic nature, with poetic insight, clings to the known, builds
upon the experience of man, and believes in fancies only when they
are used as the wings of a fact.  I have never met a man who appeared
to be more thoroughly devoted to the great cause of mental freedom.
I have read his books with great interest, and find in them many
pages filled with philosophy and pathos.  I have met him often and
I never heard him utter a harsh word about any human being.  His
good nature is as unfailing as the air.  His abilities are of the
highest order.  It is a positive pleasure to meet him.  He is so
enthusiastic, so unselfish, so natural, so appreciative of others,
so thoughtful for the cause, and so careless of himself, that he
compels the admiration of every one who really loves the just and

--_The Truth Seeker_, New York, September 5, 1885.


_Question_.  What have you to say with reference to the respective
attitudes of the President and Senate?

_Answer_.  I don't think there is any doubt as to the right of the
Senate to call on the President for information.  Of course that
means for what information he has.  When a duty devolves upon two
persons, one of them has no right to withhold any facts calculated
to throw any light on the question that both are to decide.  The
President cannot appoint any officer who has to be confirmed by
the Senate; he can simply nominate.  The Senate cannot even suggest
a name; it can only pass upon the person nominated.  If it is called
upon for counsel and advice, how can it give advice without knowing
the facts and circumstances?  The President must have a reason for
wishing to make a change.  He should give that reason to the Senate
without waiting to be asked.  He has assured the country that he
is a civil service reformer; that no man is to be turned out because
he is a Republican, and no man appointed because he is a Democrat.
Now, the Senate has given the President an opportunity to prove
that he has acted as he has talked.  If the President feels that
he is bound to carry out the civil-service law, ought not the Senate
to feel in the same way?  Is it not the duty of the Senate to see
to it that the President does not, with its advice and consent,
violate the civil service law?  Is the consent of the Senate a mere
matter of form?  In these appointments the President is not
independent of or above the Senate; they are equal, and each has
the right to be "honor bright" with the other, at least.

As long as this foolish law is unrepealed it must be carried out.
Neither party is in favor of civil service reform, and never was.
The Republican party did not carry it out, and did not intend to.
The President has the right to nominate.  Under the law as it is
now, when the President wants to appoint a clerk, or when one of
his secretaries wants one, four names are sent, and from these four
names a choice has to be made.  This is clearly an invasion of the
rights of the Executive.  If they have the right to compel the
President to choose from four, why not from three, or two?  Why
not name the one, and have done with it?  The law is worse than
unconstitutional--it is absurd.

But in this contest the Senate, in my judgment, is right.  In my
opinion, by the time Cleveland goes out most of the offices will
be filled with Democrats.  If the Republicans succeed next time,
I know, and everybody knows, that they will never rest easy until
they get the Democrats out.  They will shout "offensive partisanship."
The truth is, the theory is wrong.  Every citizen should take an
interest in politics.  A good man should not agree to keep silent
just for the sake of an office.  A man owes his best thoughts to
his country.  If he ought to defend his country in time of war,
and under certain circumstances give his life for it, can we say
that in time of peace he is under no obligation to discharge what
he believes to be a duty, if he happens to hold an office?  Must
he sell his birthright for the sake of being a doorkeeper?  The
whole doctrine is absurd and never will be carried out.

_Question_.  What do you think as to the presidential race?

_Answer_.  That is a good way off.  I think the people can hardly
be roused to enthusiasm by the old names.  Our party must take
another step forward.  We cannot live on what we have done; we must
seek power for the sake, not of power, but for the accomplishment
of a purpose.  We must reform the tariff.  We must settle the
question of silver.  We must have sense enough to know what the
country needs, and courage enough to tell it.  By reforming the
tariff, I mean protect that and that only that needs protection--
laws for the country and not for the few.  We want honest money;
we want a dollar's worth of gold in a silver dollar, and a dollar's
worth of silver in a gold dollar.  We want to make them of equal
value.  Bi-metallism does not mean that eighty cents' worth of
silver is worth one hundred in gold.  The Republican party must
get back its conscience and be guided by it in deciding the questions
that arise.  Great questions are pressing for solution.  Thousands
of working people are in want.  Business is depressed.  The future
is filled with clouds.  What does the Republican party propose?
Must we wait for mobs to inaugurate reform?  Must we depend on
police or statesmen?  Should we wait and crush by brute force or
should we prevent?

The toilers demand that eight hours should constitute a day's work.
Upon this question what does our party say?  Labor saving machines
ought to lighten the burdens of the laborers.  It will not do to
say "over production" and keep on inventing machines and refuse to
shorten the hours.  What does our party say?  The rich can take
care of themselves if the mob will let them alone, and there will
be no mob if there is no widespread want.  Hunger is a communist.
The next candidate of the Republican party must be big enough and
courageous enough to answer these questions.  If we find that kind
of a candidate we shall succeed--if we do not, we ought not.

--_Chicago Inter-Ocean_, February, 1886.


_Question_.  Have you noticed the decision of Mr. Nathaniel Jarvis,
Jr., clerk of the Naturalization Bureau of the Court of Common
Pleas, that an Atheist cannot become a citizen?

_Answer_.  Yes, but I do not think it necessary for a man to be a
theist in order to become or to remain a citizen of this country.
The various laws, from 1790 up to 1828, provided that the person
wishing to be naturalized might make oath or affirmation.  The
first exception you will find in the Revised Statutes of the United
States passed in 1873-74, section 2,165, as follows:--"An alien
may be admitted to become a citizen of the United States in the
following manner, and not otherwise:--First, he shall declare on
oath, before a Circuit or District Court of the United States,
etc."  I suppose Mr. Jarvis felt it to be his duty to comply with
this section.  In this section there is nothing about affirmation
--only the word "oath" is used--and Mr. Jarvis came to the conclusion
that an Atheist could not take an oath, and, therefore, could not
declare his intention legally to become a citizen of the United
States.  Undoubtedly Mr. Jarvis felt it his duty to stand by the
law and to see to it that nobody should become a citizen of this
country who had not a well defined belief in the existence of a
being that he could not define and that no man has ever been able
to define.  In other words, that he should be perfectly convinced
that there is a being "without body, parts or passions," who presides
over the destinies of this world, and more especially those of New
York in and about that part known as City Hall Park.

_Question_.  Was not Mr. Jarvis right in standing by the law?

_Answer_.  If Mr. Jarvis is right, neither Humboldt nor Darwin
could have become a citizen of the United States.  Wagner, the
greatest of musicians, not being able to take an oath, would have
been left an alien.  Under this ruling Haeckel, Spencer and Tyndall
would be denied citizenship--that is to say, the six greatest men
produced by the human race in the nineteenth century, were and are
unfit to be citizens of the United States.  Those who have placed
the human race in debt cannot be citizens of the Republic.  On the
other hand, the ignorant wife beater, the criminal, the pauper
raised in the workhouse, could take the necessary oath and would
be welcomed by New York "with arms outstretched as she would fly."

_Question_.  You have quoted one statute.  Is there no other
applicable to this case?

_Answer_.  I am coming to that.  If Mr. Jarvis will take the pains
to read not only the law of naturalization in section 2,165 of the
Revised Statutes of the United States, but the very first chapter
in the book, "Title I.," he will find in the very first section
this sentence:  "The requirements of any 'oath' shall be deemed
complied with by making affirmation in official form."  This applies
to section 2,165.  Of course an Atheist can affirm, and the statute
provides that wherever an oath is required affirmation may be made.

_Question_.  Did you read the recent action of Judge O'Gorman, of
the Superior Court, in refusing naturalization papers to an applicant
because he had not read the Constitution of the United States?

_Answer_.  I did.  The United States Constitution is a very important
document, a good, sound document, but it is talked about a great
deal more than it is read.  I'll venture that you may commence at
the Battery to interview merchants and other business men about
the Constitution and you will talk with a hundred before you will
find one who has ever read it.

--_New York Herald_, August 8, 1886.


_Question_.  What is your remedy, Colonel, for the labor troubles
of the day?

_Answer_.  One remedy is this:  I should like to see the laboring
men succeed.  I should like to see them have a majority in Congress
and with a President of their own.  I should like to see this so
that they could satisfy themselves how little, after all, can be
accomplished by legislation.  The moment responsibility should
touch their shoulders they would become conservative.  They would
find that making a living in this world is an individual affair,
and that each man must look out for himself.  They would soon find
that the Government cannot take care of the people.  The people
must support the Government.  Everything cannot be regulated by
law.  The factors entering into this problem are substantially
infinite and beyond the intellectual grasp of any human being.
Perhaps nothing in the world will convince the laboring man how
little can be accomplished by law until there is opportunity of
trying.  To discuss the question will do good, so I am in favor of
its discussion.  To give the workingmen a trial will do good, so
I am in favor of giving them a trial.

_Question_.  But you have not answered my question:  I asked you
what could be done, and you have told me what could not be done.
Now, is there not some better organization of society that will
help in this trouble?

_Answer_.  Undoubtedly.  Unless humanity is a failure, society will
improve from year to year and from age to age.  There will be, as
the years go by, less want, less injustice, and the gifts of nature
will be more equally divided, but there will never come a time when
the weak can do as much as the strong, or when the mentally weak
can accomplish as much as the intellectually strong.  There will
forever be inequality in society; but, in my judgment, the time
will come when an honest, industrious person need not want.  In my
judgment, that will come, not through governmental control, not
through governmental slavery, not through what is called Socialism,
but through liberty and through individuality.  I can conceive of
no greater slavery than to have everything done by the Government.
I want free scope given to individual effort.  In time some things
that governments have done will be removed.  The creation of a
nobility, the giving of vast rights to corporations, and the
bestowment of privileges on the few will be done away with.  In
other words, governmental interference will cease and man will be
left more to himself.  The future will not do away with want by
charity, which generally creates more want than it alleviates, but
by justice and intelligence.  Shakespeare says, "There is no darkness
but ignorance," and it might be added that ignorance is the mother
of most suffering.

--_The Enquirer_, Cincinnati, Ohio, September 30, 1886.


_Question_.  You are intimately acquainted with the great railroad
managers and the great railroad systems, and what do you think is
the great need of the railways to-day?

_Answer_.  The great need of the railroads to-day is more business,
more cars, better equipments, better pay for the men and less
gambling in Wall Street.

_Question_.  Is it your experience that public men usually ride on

_Answer_.  Yes, whenever they can get them.  Passes are for the
rich.  Only those are expected to pay who can scarcely afford it.
Nothing shortens a journey, nothing makes the road as smooth,
nothing keeps down the dust and keeps out the smoke like a pass.

_Question_.  Don't you think that the pass system is an injustice
--that is, that ordinary travelers are taxed for the man who rides
on a pass?

_Answer_.  Certainly, those who pay, pay for those who do not.
This is one of the misfortunes of the obscure.  It is so with
everything.  The big fish live on the little ones.

_Question_.  Are not parallel railroads an evil?

_Answer_.  No, unless they are too near together.  Competition does
some good and some harm, but it must exist.  All these things must
be left to take care of themselves.  If the Government interferes
it is at the expense of the manhood and liberty of the people.

_Question_.  But wouldn't it be better for the people if the
railroads were managed by the Government as is the Post-Office?

_Answer_.  No, everything that individual can do should be left to
them.  If the Government takes charge of the people they become
weak and helpless.  The people should take charge of the Government.
Give the folks a chance.

_Question_.  In the next presidential contest what will be the main

_Answer_.  The Maine issue!

_Question_.  Would you again refuse to take the stump for Mr. Blaine
if he should be renominated, and if so, why?

_Answer_.  I do not expect to take the stump for anybody.  Mr.
Blaine is probably a candidate, and if he is nominated there will
be plenty of people on the stump--or fence--or up a tree or somewhere
in the woods.

_Question_.  What are the most glaring mistakes of Cleveland's

_Answer_.  First, accepting the nomination.  Second, taking the
oath of office.  Third, not resigning.

--_Times Star_, Cincinnati, September 30, 1886.


_Question_.  How much importance do you attach to the present
prohibition movement?

_Answer_.  No particular importance.  I am opposed to prohibition
and always have been, and hope always to be.  I do not want the
Legislature to interfere in these matters.  I do not believe that
the people can be made temperate by law.  Men and women are not
made great and good by the law.  There is no good in the world that
cannot be abused.  Prohibition fills the world with spies and
tattlers, and, besides that, where a majority of the people are
not in favor of it the law will not be enforced; and where a majority
of the people are in favor of it there is not much need of the law.
Where a majority are against it, juries will violate their oath,
and witnesses will get around the truth, and the result is
demoralization.  Take wine and malt liquors out of the world and
we shall lose a vast deal of good fellowship; the world would lose
more than it would gain.  There is a certain sociability about wine
that I should hate to have taken from the earth.  Strong liquors
the folks had better let alone.  If prohibition succeeds, and wines
and malt liquors go, the next thing will be to take tobacco away,
and the next thing all other pleasures, until prayer meetings will
be the only places of enjoyment.

_Question_.  Do you care to say who your choice is for Republican
nominee for President in 1888?

_Answer_.  I now promise that I will answer this question either
in May or June, 1888.  At present my choice is not fixed, and is
liable to change at any moment, and I need to leave it free, so
that it can change from time to time as the circumstances change.
I will, however, tell you privately that I think it will probably
be a new man, somebody on whom the Republicans can unite.  I have
made a good many inquiries myself to find out who this man is to
be, but in every instance the answer has been determined by the
location in which the gentleman lived who gave the answer.  Let us

_Question_.  Do you think the Republican party should take a decided
stand on the temperance issue?

_Answer_.  I do; and that decided stand should be that temperance
is an individual question, something with which the State and Nation
have nothing to do.  Temperance is a thing that the law cannot
control.  You might as well try to control music, painting, sculpture,
or metaphysics, as the question of temperance.  As life becomes
more valuable, people will learn to take better care of it.  There
is something more to be desired even than temperance, and that is
liberty.  I do not believe in putting out the sun because weeds
grow.  I should rather have some weeds than go without wheat and
corn.  The Republican party should represent liberty and individuality;
it should keep abreast of the real spirit of the age; the Republican
party ought to be intelligent enough to know that progress has been
marked not by the enactment of new laws, but by the repeal of old

--_Evening Traveler_, Boston, October, 1886.


_Question_.  It is said, Colonel Ingersoll, that you are for Henry

_Answer_.  Of course; I think it the duty of the Republicans to
defeat the Democracy--a solemn duty--and I believe that they have
a chance to elect George; that is to say, an opportunity to take
New York from their old enemy.  If the Republicans stand by George
he will succeed.  All the Democratic factions are going to unite
to beat the workingmen.  What a picture!  Now is the time for the
Republicans to show that all their sympathies are not given to
bankers, corporations and millionaires.  They were on the side of
the slave--they gave liberty to millions.  Let them take another
step and extend their hands to the sons of toil.

My heart beats with those who bear the burdens of this poor world.

_Question_.  Do you not think that capital is entitled to

_Answer_.  I am in favor of accomplishing all reforms in a legal
and orderly way, and I want the laboring people of this country to
appeal to the ballot.  All classes and all interests must be content
to abide the result.

I want the laboring people to show that they are intelligent enough
to stand by each other.  Henry George is their natural leader.
Let them be true to themselves by being true to him.  The great
questions between capital and labor must be settled peaceably.
There is no excuse for violence, and no excuse for contempt and
scorn.  No country can be prosperous while the workers want and
the idlers waste.  Those who do the most should have the most.
There is no civilized country, so far as I know, but I believe
there will be, and I want to hasten they day when the map of the
world will give the boundaries of that blessed land.

_Question_.  Do you agree with George's principles?  Do you believe
in socialism?

_Answer_.  I do not understand that George is a Socialist.  He is
on the side of those that work--so am I.  He wants to help those
that need help--so do I.  The rich can take care of themselves.
I shed no tears over the miseries of capital.  I think of the men
in mines and factories, in huts, hovels and cellars; of the poor
sewing women; of the poor, the hungry and the despairing.  The
world must be made better through intelligence.  I do not go with
the destroyers, with those that hate the successful, that hate the
generous, simply because they are rich.  Wealth is the surplus
produced by labor, and the wealth of the world should keep the
world from want.

--_New York Herald_, October 13, 1886.


_Question_.  What do you think of Henry George for mayor?

_Answer_.  Several objections have been urged, not to what Mr.
George has done, but to what Mr. George has thought, and he is the
only candidate up to this time against whom a charge of this
character could be made.  Among other things, he seems to have
entertained an idea to the effect that a few men should not own
the entire earth; that a child coming into the world has a right
to standing room, and that before he walks, his mother has a right
to standing room while she holds him.  He insists that if it were
possible to bottle the air, and sell it as we do mineral water, it
would be hardly fair for the capitalists of the world to embark in
such a speculation, especially where millions were allowed to die
simply because they were not able to buy breath at "pool prices."
Mr. George seems to think that the time will come when capital will
be intelligent enough and civilized enough to take care of itself.
He has a dream that poverty and crime and all the evils that go
hand in hand with partial famine, with lack of labor, and all the
diseases born of living in huts and cellars, born of poor food and
poor clothing and of bad habits, will disappear, and that the world
will be really fit to live in.  He goes so far as to insist that
men ought to have more than twenty-three or twenty-four dollars a
month for digging coal, and that they ought not to be compelled to
spend that money in the store or saloon of the proprietor of the
mine.  He has also stated on several occasions that a man ought
not to drive a street car for sixteen or eighteen hours a day--that
even a street-car driver ought to have the privilege now and then
of seeing his wife, or at least one of the children, awake.  And
he has gone so far as to say that a letter-carrier ought not to
work longer in each day for the United States than he would for a
civilized individual.

To people that imagine that this world is already perfection; that
the condition of no one should be bettered except their own, these
ideas seem dangerous.  A man who has already amassed a million,
and who has no fear for the future, and who says:  "I will employ
the cheapest labor and make men work as long as they can possibly
endure the toil," will regard Mr. George as an impractical man.
It is very probable that all of us will be dead before all the
theories of Mr. George are put in practice.  Some of them, however,
may at some time benefit mankind; and so far as I am concerned, I
am willing to help hasten the day, although it may not come while
I live.  I do not know that I agree with many of the theories of
Mr. George.  I know that I do not agree with some of them.  But
there is one thing in which I do agree with him, and that is, in
his effort to benefit the human race, in his effort to do away with
some of the evils that now afflict mankind.  I sympathize with him
in his endeavor to shorten the hours of labor, to increase the well-
being of laboring men, to give them better houses, better food,
and in every way to lighten the burdens that now bear upon their
bowed backs.  It may be that very little can be done by law, except
to see that they are not absolutely abused; to see that the mines
in which they work are supplied with air and with means of escape
in time of danger; to prevent the deforming of children by forcing
upon them the labor of men; to shorten the hours of toil, and to
give all laborers certain liens, above all other claims, for their
work.  It is easy to see that in this direction something may be
done by law.

_Question_.  Colonel Ingersoll, are you a Socialist?

_Answer_.  I am an Individualist instead of a Socialist.  I am a
believer in individuality and in each individual taking care of
himself, and I want the Government to do just as little as it can
consistently with the safety of the nation, and I want as little
law as possible--only as much as will protect life, reputation and
property by punishing criminals and by enforcing honest contracts.
But if a government gives privileges to a few, the few must not
oppress the many.  The Government has no right to bestow any
privilege upon any man or upon any corporation, except for the
public good.  That which is a special privilege to the few, should
be a special benefit to the many.  And whenever the privileged few
abuse the privilege so that it becomes a curse to the many, the
privilege, whatever it is, should be withdrawn.  I do not pretend
to know enough to suggest a remedy for all the evils of society.
I doubt if one human mind could take into consideration the almost
infinite number of factors entering into such a problem.  And this
fact that no one knows, is the excuse for trying.  While I may not
believe that a certain theory will work, still, if I feel sure it
will do no harm, I am willing to see it tried.

_Question_.  Do you think that Mr. George would make a good mayor?

_Answer_.  I presume he would.  He is a thoughtful, prudent man.
His reputation for honesty has never, so far as I know, been called
in question.  It certainly does not take a genius to be mayor of
New York.  If so, there have been some years when there was hardly
a mayor.  I take it that a clear-headed, honest man, whose only
object is to do his duty, and with courage enough to stand by his
conscience, would make a good mayor of New York or of any other

_Question_.  Are you in sympathy with the workingmen and their

_Answer_.  I am in sympathy with laboring men of all kinds, whether
they labor with hand or brain.  The Knights of Labor, I believe,
do not allow a lawyer to become a member.  I am somewhat wider in
my sympathies.  No men in the world struggle more heroically; no
men in the world have suffered more, or carried a heavier cross,
or worn a sharper crown of thorns, than those that have produced
what we call the literature of our race.  So my sympathies extend
all the way from hod-carriers to sculptors; from well-diggers to
astronomers.  If the objects of the laboring men are to improve
their condition without injuring others; to have homes and firesides,
and wives and children; plenty to eat, good clothes to wear; to
develop their minds, to educate their children--in short, to become
prosperous and civilized, I sympathize with them, and hope they
will succeed.  I have not the slightest sympathy with those that
wish to accomplish all these objects through brute force.  A Nihilist
may be forgiven in Russia--may even be praised in Russia; a Socialist
may be forgiven in Germany; and certainly a Home-ruler can be
pardoned in Ireland, but in the United States there is no place
for Anarchist, Socialist or Dynamiter.  In this country the political
power has been fairly divided.  Poverty has just as many votes as
wealth.  No man can be so poor as not to have a ballot; no man is
rich enough to have two; and no man can buy another vote, unless
somebody is mean enough and contemptible enough to sell; and if he
does sell his vote, he never should complain about the laws or
their administration.  So the foolish and the wise are on an
equality, and the political power of this country is divided so
that each man is a sovereign.

Now, the laboring people are largely in the majority in this country.
If there are any laws oppressing them, they should have them
repealed.  I want the laboring people--and by the word "laboring"
now, I include only the men that they include by that word--to
unite; I want them to show that they have the intelligence to act
together, and sense enough to vote for a friend.  I want them to
convince both the other great parties that they cannot be purchased.
This will be an immense step in the right direction.

I have sometimes thought that I should like to see the laboring
men in power, so that they would realize how little, after all,
can be done by law.  All that any man should ask, so far as the
Government is concerned, is a fair chance to compete with his
neighbors.  Personally, I am for the abolition of all special
privileges that are not for the general good.  My principal hope
of the future is the civilization of my race; the development not
only of the brain, but of the heart.  I believe the time will come
when we shall stop raising failures, when we shall know something
of the laws governing human beings.  I believe the time will come
when we shall not produce deformed persons, natural criminals.  In
other words, I think the world is going to grow better and better.
This may not happen to this nation or to what we call our race,
but it may happen to some other race, and all that we do in the
right direction hastens that day and that race.

_Question_.  Do you think that the old parties are about to die?

_Answer_.  It is very hard to say.  The country is not old enough
for tables of mortality to have been calculated upon parties.  I
suppose a party, like anything else, has a period of youth, of
manhood and decay.  The Democratic party is not dead.  Some men
grow physically strong as they grow mentally weak.  The Democratic
party lived out of office, and in disgrace, for twenty-five years,
and lived to elect a President.  If the Democratic party could live
on disgrace for twenty-five years it now looks as though the
Republican party, on the memory of its glory and of its wonderful
and unparalleled achievements, might manage to creep along for a
few years more.

--_New York World_, October 26, 1886.


_Question_.  What is your opinion of the result of the election?

_Answer_.  I find many dead on the field whose faces I recognize.
I see that Morrison has taken a "horizontal" position.  Free trade
seems to have received an exceedingly black eye.  Carlisle, in my
judgment, one of the very best men in Congress, has been defeated
simply because he is a free trader, and I suppose you can account
for Hurd's defeat in the same way.  The people believe in protection
although they generally admit that the tariff ought to be reformed.
I believe in protecting "infant industries," but I do not believe
in rocking the cradle when the infant is seven feet high and wears
number twelve boots.

_Question_.  Do you sympathize with the Socialists, or do you think
that the success of George would promote socialism?

_Answer_.  I have said frequently that if I lived in Russia I should
in all probability be a Nihilist.  I can conceive of no government
that would not be as good as that of Russia, and I would consider
_no_ government far preferable to that government.  Any possible
state of anarchy is better than organized crime, because in the
chaos of anarchy justice may be done by accident, but in a government
organized for the perpetuation of slavery, and for the purpose of
crushing out of the human brain every noble thought, justice does
not live.  In Germany I would probably be a Socialist--to this
extent, that I would want the political power honestly divided
among the people.  I can conceive of no circumstance in which I
could support Bismarck.  I regard Bismarck as a projection of the
Middle Ages, as a shadow that has been thrown across the sunlight
of modern civilization, and in that shadow grow all the bloodless
crimes.  Now, in Ireland, of course, I believe in home rule.  In
this country I am an Individualist.  The political power here is
equally divided.  Poverty and wealth have the same power at the
ballot-box.  Intelligence and ignorance are on an equality here,
simply because all men have a certain interest in the government
where they live.  I hate above all other things the tyranny of a
government.  I do not want a government to send a policeman along
with me to keep me from buying eleven eggs for a dozen.  I will
take care of myself.  I want the people to do everything they can
do, and the Government to keep its hands off, because if the
Government attends to all these matters the people lose manhood,
and in a little while become serfs, and there will arise some strong
mind and some powerful hand that will reduce them to actual slavery.
So I am in favor or personal liberty to the largest extent.  Whenever
the Government grants privileges to the few, these privileges should
be for the benefit of the many, and when they cease to be for the
benefit of the many, they should be taken from the few and used by
the government itself for the benefit of the whole people.  And I
want to see in this country the Government so administered that
justice will be done to all as nearly as human institutions can
produce such a result.  Now, I understand that in any state of
society there will be failures.  We have failures among the working
people.  We have had some failures in Congress.  I will not mention
the names, because your space is limited.  There have been failures
in the pulpit, at the bar; in fact, in every pursuit of life you
will presume we shall have failures with us for a great while; at
least until the establishment of the religion of the body, when we
shall cease to produce failures; and I have faith enough in the
human race to believe that that time will come, but I do not expect
it during my life.

_Question_.  What do you think of the income tax as a step toward
the accomplishment of what you desire?

_Answer_.  There are some objections to an income tax.  First, the
espionage that it produces on the part of the Government.  Second,
the amount of perjury that it annually produces.  Men hate to have
their business inquired into if they are not doing well.  They
often pay a very large tax to make their creditors think they are
prosperous.  Others by covering up, avoid the tax.  But I will say
this with regard to taxation:  The great desideratum is stability.
If we tax only the land, and that were the only tax, in a little
while every other thing, and the value of every other thing, would
adjust itself in relation to that tax, and perfect justice would
be the result.  That is to say, if it were stable long enough the
burden would finally fall upon the right backs in every department.
The trouble with taxation is that it is continually changing--not
waiting for the adjustment that will naturally follow provided it
is stable.  I think the end, so far as land is concerned, could be
reached by cumulative taxation--that is to say, a man with a certain
amount of land paying a very small per cent., with more land, and
increased per cent., and let that per cent. increase rapidly enough
so that no man could afford to hold land that he did not have a
use for.  So I believe in cumulative taxation in regard to any kind
of wealth.  Let a man worth ten million dollars pay a greater per
cent. than one worth one hundred thousand, because he is able to
pay it.  The other day a man was talking to me about having the
dead pay the expenses of the Government; that whenever a man died
worth say five million dollars, one million should go to the
Government; that if he died worth ten million dollars, three millions
should go to the Government; if he died worth twenty million dollars,
eight million should go to the Government, and so on.  He said that
in this way the expenses of the Government could be borne by the
dead.  I should be in favor of cumulative taxation upon legacies--
the greater the legacy, the greater the per cent. of taxation.

But, of course, I am not foolish enough to suppose that I understand
these questions.  I am giving you a few guesses.  My only desire
is to guess right.  I want to see the people of this world live
for this world, and I hope the time will come when a civilized man
will understand that he cannot be perfectly happy while anybody
else is miserable; that a perfectly civilized man could not enjoy
a dinner knowing that others were starving; that he could not enjoy
the richest robes if he knew that some of his fellow-men in rags
and tatters were shivering in the blast.  In other words, I want
to carry out the idea there that I have so frequently uttered with
regard to the other world; that is, that no gentleman angel could
be perfectly happy knowing that somebody else was in hell.

_Question_.  What are the chances for the Republican party in 1888?

_Answer_.  If it will sympathize with the toilers, as it did with
the slaves; if it will side with the needy; if it will only take
the right side it will elect the next President.  The poor should
not resort to violence; the rich should appeal to the intelligence
of the working people.  These questions cannot be settled by envy
and scorn.  The motto of both parties should be:  "Come, let us
reason together."  The Republican party was the grandest organization
that ever existed.  It was brave, intelligent and just.  It sincerely
loved the right.  A certificate of membership was a patent of
nobility.  If it will only stand by the right again, its victorious
banner will float over all the intelligent sons of toil.

--_The Times_, Chicago, Illinois, November 4, 1886.


[* At the usual weekly meeting of the Baptist ministers at the
Publication Rooms yesterday, the Rev. Dr. B. F. Morse read an essay
on "Christianity vs. Materialism."  His contention was that all
nature showed that design, not evolution, was its origin.

In his concluding remarks Dr. Morse said that he knew from
unquestionable authority, that Robert G. Ingersoll did not believe
what he uttered in his lectures, and that to get out of a financial
embarrassment he looked around for a money making scheme that could
be put into immediate execution.  To lecture against Christianity
was the most rapid way of giving him the needed cash and, what was
quite as acceptable to him, at the same time, notoriety.]

This aquatic or web-footed theologian who expects to go to heaven
by diving is not worth answering.  Nothing can be more idiotic than
to answer an argument by saying he who makes it does not believe
it.  Belief has nothing to do with the cogency or worth of an
argument.  There is another thing.  This man, or rather this
minister, says that I attacked Christianity simply to make money.
Is it possible that, after preachers have had the field for eighteen
hundred years, the way to make money is to attack the clergy?  Is
this intended as a slander against me or the ministers?

The trouble is that my arguments cannot be answered.  All the
preachers in the world cannot prove that slavery is better than
liberty.  They cannot show that all have not an equal right to
think.  They cannot show that all have not an equal right to express
their thoughts.  They cannot show that a decent God will punish a
decent man for making the best guess he can.  This is all there is
about it.

--_The Herald_, New York, December 14, 1886.


The attitude of the Roman Catholic Church in Dr. McGlynn's case is
consistent with the history and constitution of the Catholic Church
--perfectly consistent with its ends, its objects, and its means--
and just as perfectly inconsistent with intellectual liberty and
the real civilization of the human race.

When a man becomes a Catholic priest, he has been convinced that
he ought not to think for himself upon religious questions.  He
has become convinced that the church is the only teacher--that he
has a right to think only to enforce its teachings.  From that
moment he is a moral machine.  The chief engineer resides at Rome,
and he gives his orders through certain assistant engineers until
the one is reached who turns the crank, and the machine has nothing
to do one way or the other.  This machine is paid for giving up
his liberty by having machines under him who have also given up
theirs.  While somebody else turns his crank, he has the pleasure
of turning a crank belonging to somebody below him.

Of course, the Catholic Church is supposed to be the only perfect
institution on earth.  All others are not only imperfect, but
unnecessary.  All others have been made either by man, or by the
Devil, or by a partnership, and consequently cannot be depended
upon for the civilization of man.

The Catholic Church gets its power directly from God, and is the
only institution now in the world founded by God.  There was never
any other, so far as I know, except polygamy and slavery and a
crude kind of monarchy, and they have been, for the most part,

The Catholic Church must be true to itself.  It must claim everything,
and get what it can.  It alone is infallible.  It alone has all
the wisdom of this world.  It alone has the right to exist.  All
other interests are secondary.  To be a Catholic is of the first
importance.  Human liberty is nothing.  Wealth, position, food,
clothing, reputation, happiness--all these are less than worthless
compared with what the Catholic Church promises to the man who will
throw all these away.

A priest must preach what his bishop tells him.  A bishop must
preach what his archbishop tells him.  The pope must preach what
he says God tells him.

Dr. McGlynn cannot make a compromise with the Catholic Church.  It
never compromises when it is in the majority.

I do not mean by this that the Catholic Church is worse than any
other.  All are alike in this regard.  Every sect, no matter how
insignificant; every church, no matter how powerful, asks precisely
the same thing from every member--that is to say, a surrender of
intellectual freedom.  The Catholic Church wants the same as the
Baptist, the Presbyterian, and the Methodist--it wants the whole
earth.  It is ambitious to be the one supreme power.  It hopes to
see the world upon its knees, with all its tongues thrust out for
wafers.  It has the arrogance of humility and the ferocity of
universal forgiveness.  In this respect it resembles every other
sect.  Every religion is a system of slavery.

Of course, the religionists say that they do not believe in
persecution; that they do not believe in burning and hanging and
whipping or loading with chains a man simply because he is an
Infidel.  They are willing to leave all this with God, knowing that
a being of infinite goodness will inflict all these horrors and
tortures upon an honest man who differs with the church.

In case Dr. McGlynn is deprived of his priestly functions, it is
hard to say what effect it will have upon his church and the labor
party in the country.

So long as a man believes that a church has eternal joy in store
for him, so long as he believes that a church holds within its hand
the keys of heaven and hell, it will be hard to make him trade off
the hope of everlasting happiness for a few good clothes and a
little good food and higher wages here.  He finally thinks that,
after all, he had better work for less and go a little hungry, and
be an angel forever.

I hope, however, that a good many people who have been supporting
the Catholic Church by giving tithes of the wages of weariness will
see, and clearly see, that Catholicism is not their friend; that
the church cannot and will not support them; that, on the contrary,
they must support the church.  I hope they will see that all the
prayers have to be paid for, although not one has ever been answered.
I hope they will perceive that the church is on the side of wealth
and power, that the mitre is the friend of the crown, that the
altar is the sworn brother of the throne.  I hope they will finally
know that the church cares infinitely more for the money of the
millionaire than for the souls of the poor.

Of course, there are thousands of individual exceptions.  I am
speaking of the church as an institution, as a corporation--and
when I say the church, I include all churches.  It is said of
corporations in general, that they have no soul, and it may truthfully
be said of the church that it has less than any other.  It lives
on alms.  It gives nothing for what it gets.  It has no sympathy.
Beggars never weep over the misfortunes of other beggars.

Nothing could give me more pleasure than to see the Catholic Church
on the side of human freedom; nothing more pleasure than to see
the Catholics of the world--those who work and weep and toil--
sensible enough to know that all the money paid for superstition
is worse than lost.  I wish they could see that the counting of
beads, and the saying of prayers and celebrating of masses, and
all the kneelings and censer-swingings and fastings and bell-ringing,
amount to less than nothing--that all these things tend only to
the degradation of mankind.  It is hard, I know, to find an antidote
for a poison that was mingled with a mother's milk.

The laboring masses, so far as the Catholics are concerned, are
filled with awe and wonder and fear about the church.  This fear
began to grow while they were being rocked in their cradles, and
they still imagine that the church has some mysterious power; that
it is in direct communication with some infinite personality that
could, if it desired, strike then dead, or damn their souls forever.
Persons who have no such belief, who care nothing for popes or
priests or churches or heavens or hells or devils or gods, have
very little idea of the power of fear.

The old dogmas filled the brain with strange monsters.  The soul
of the orthodox Christian gropes and wanders and crawls in a kind
of dungeon, where the strained eyes see fearful shapes, and the
frightened flesh shrinks from the touch of serpents.

The good part of Christianity--that is to say, kindness, morality
--will never go down.  The cruel part ought to go down.  And by
the cruel part I mean the doctrine of eternal punishment--of allowing
the good to suffer for the bad--allowing innocence to pay the debt
of guilt.  So the foolish part of Christianity--that is to say,
the miraculous--will go down.  The absurd part must perish.  But
there will be no war about it as there was in France.  Nobody
believes enough in the foolish part of Christianity now to fight
for it.  Nobody believes with intensity enough in miracles to
shoulder a musket.  There is probably not a Christian in New York
willing to fight for any story, no matter if the story is so old
that it is covered with moss.  No mentally brave and intelligent
man believes in miracles, and no intelligent man cares whether
there was a miracle or not, for the reason that every intelligent
man knows that the miraculous has no possible connection with the
moral.  "Thou shalt not steal," is just as good a commandment if
it should turn out that the flood was a drouth.  "Thou shalt not
murder," is a good and just and righteous law, and whether any
particular miracle was ever performed or not has nothing to do with
the case.  There is no possible relation between these things.

I am on the side not only of the physically oppressed, but of the
mentally oppressed.  I hate those who put lashes on the body, and
I despise those who put the soul in chains.  In other words, I am
in favor of liberty.  I do not wish that any man should be the
slave of his fellow-men, or that the human race should be the slaves
of any god, real or imaginary.  Man has the right to think for
himself, to work for himself, to take care of himself, to get bread
for himself, to get a home for himself.  He has a right to his own
opinion about God, and heaven and hell; the right to learn any art
or mystery or trade; the right to work for whom he will, for what
he will, and when he will.

The world belongs to the human race.  There is to be no war in this
country on religious opinions, except a war of words--a conflict
of thoughts, of facts; and in that conflict the hosts of superstition
will go down.  They may not be defeated to-day, or to-morrow, or
next year, or during this century, but they are growing weaker day
by day.

This priest, McGlynn, has the courage to stand up against the
propaganda.  What would have been his fate a few years ago?  What
would have happened to him in Spain, in Portugal, in Italy--in any
other country that was Catholic--only a few years ago?  Yet he
stands here in New York, he refuses to obey God's vicegerent; he
freely gives his mind to an archbishop; he holds the holy Inquisition
in contempt.  He has done a great thing.  He is undoubtedly an
honest man.  He never should have been a Catholic.  He has no
business in that church.  He has ideas of his own--theories, and
seems to be governed by principles.  The Catholic Church is not
his place.  If he remains, he must submit, he must kneel in the
humility of abjectness; he must receive on the back of his independence
the lashes of the church.  If he remains, he must ask the forgiveness
of slaves for having been a man.  If he refuses to submit, the
church will not have him.  He will be driven to take his choice--
to remain a member, humiliated, shunned, or go out into the great,
free world a citizen of the Republic, with the rights, responsibilities,
and duties of an American citizen.

I believe that Dr. McGlynn is an honest man, and that he really
believes in the land theories of Mr. George.  I have no confidence
in his theories, but I have confidence that he is actuated by the
best and noblest motives.

_Question_.  Are you to go on the lecture platform again?

_Answer_.  I expect to after a while.  I am now waiting for the
church to catch up.  I got so far ahead that I began almost to
sympathize with the clergy.  They looked so helpless and talked in
such a weak, wandering, and wobbling kind of way that I felt as
though I had been cruel.  From the papers I see that they are busy
trying to find out who the wife of Cain was.  I see that the Rev.
Dr. Robinson, of New York, is now wrestling with that problem.  He
begins to be in doubt whether Adam was the first man, whether Eve
was the first woman; suspects that there were other races, and that
Cain did not marry his sister, but somebody else's sister, and that
the somebody else was not Cain's brother.  One can hardly over-
estimate the importance of these questions, they have such a direct
bearing on the progress of the world.  If it should turn out that
Adam was the first man, or that he was not the first man, something
might happen--I am not prepared to say what, but it might.

It is a curious kind of a spectacle to see a few hundred people
paying a few thousand dollars a year for the purpose of hearing
these great problems discussed:  "Was Adam the first man?"  "Who
was Cain's wife?"  "Has anyone seen a map of the land of Nod?"
"Where are the four rivers that ran murmuring through the groves
of Paradise?"  "Who was the snake?  How did he walk?  What language
did he speak?"  This turns a church into a kind of nursery, makes
a cradle of each pew, and gives to each member a rattle with which
he can amuse what he calls his mind.

The great theologians of Andover--the gentlemen who wear the brass
collars furnished by the dead founder--have been disputing among
themselves as to what is to become of the heathen who fortunately
died before meeting any missionary from that institution.  One can
almost afford to be damned hereafter for the sake of avoiding the
dogmas of Andover here.  Nothing more absurd and childish has ever
happened--not in the intellectual, but in the theological world.

There is no need of the Freethinkers saying anything at present.
The work is being done by the church members themselves.  They are
beginning to ask questions of the clergy.  They are getting tired
of the old ideas--tired of the consolations of eternal pain--tired
of hearing about hell--tired of hearing the Bible quoted or talked
about--tired of the scheme of redemption--tired of the Trinity, of
the plenary inspiration of the barbarous records of a barbarous
people--tired of the patriarchs and prophets--tired of Daniel and
the goats with three horns, and the image with the clay feet, and
the little stone that rolled down the hill--tired of the mud man
and the rib woman--tired of the flood of Noah, of the astronomy of
Joshua, the geology of Moses--tired of Kings and Chronicles and
Lamentations--tired of the lachrymose Jeremiah--tired of the
monstrous, the malicious, and the miraculous.  In short, they are
beginning to think.  They have bowed their necks to the yoke of
ignorance and fear and impudence and superstition, until they are
weary.  They long to be free.  They are tired of the services--
tired of the meaningless prayers--tired of hearing each other say,
"Hear us, good Lord"--tired of the texts, tired of the sermons,
tired of the lies about spontaneous combustion as a punishment for
blasphemy, tired of the bells, and they long to hear the doxology
of superstition.  They long to have Common Sense lift its hands in
benediction and dismiss the congregation.

--_Brooklyn Citizen_, April, 1886.


_Question_.  What do you think of the trial of the Chicago Anarchists
and their chances for a new trial?

_Answer_.  I have paid some attention to the evidence and to the
rulings of the court, and I have read the opinion of the Supreme
Court of Illinois, in which the conviction is affirmed.  Of course
these men were tried during a period of great excitement--tried
when the press demanded their conviction--when it was asserted that
society was on the edge of destruction unless these men were hanged.
Under such circumstances, it is not easy to have a fair and impartial
trial.  A judge should either sit beyond the reach of prejudice,
in some calm that storms cannot invade, or he should be a kind of
oak that before any blast he would stand erect.  It is hard to find
such a place as I have suggested and not easy to find such a man.
We are all influenced more or less by our surroundings, by the
demands and opinions and feelings and prejudices of our fellow-
citizens.  There is a personality made up of many individuals known
as society.  This personality has prejudices like an individual.
It often becomes enraged, acts without the slightest sense, and
repents at its leisure.  It is hard to reason with a mob whether
organized or disorganized, whether acting in the name of the law
or of simple brute force.  But in any case, where people refuse to
be governed by reason, they become a mob.

_Question_.  Do you not think that these men had a fair trial?

_Answer_.  I have no doubt that the court endeavored to be fair--
no doubt that Judge Gary is a perfectly honest, upright man, but
I think his instructions were wrong.  He instructed the jury to
the effect that where men have talked in a certain way, and where
the jury believed that the result of such talk might be the commission
of a crime, that such men are responsible for that crime.  Of
course, there is neither law nor sense in an instruction like this.
I hold that it must have been the intention of the man making the
remark, or publishing the article, or doing the thing--it must have
been his intention that the crime should be committed.  Men differ
as to the effect of words, and a man may say a thing with the best
intentions the result of which is a crime, and he may say a thing
with the worst of intentions and the result may not be a crime.
The Supreme Court of Illinois seemed to have admitted that the
instructions were wrong, but took the ground that it made no
difference with the verdict.  This is a dangerous course for the
court of last resort to pursue; neither is it very complimentary
to the judge who tried the case, that his instructions had no effect
upon the jury.  Under the instructions of the court below, any man
who had been arrested with the seven Anarchists and of whom it
could be proved that he had ever said a word in favor of any change
in government, or of other peculiar ideas, no matter whether he
knew of the meeting at the Haymarket or not, would have been

I am satisfied that the defendant Fielden never intended to harm
a human being.  As a matter of fact, the evidence shows that he
was making a speech in favor of peace at the time of the occurrence.
The evidence also shows that he was an exceedingly honest, industrious,
and a very poor and philanthropic man.

_Question_.  Do you uphold the Anarchists?

_Answer_.  Certainly not.  There is no place in this country for
the Anarchist.  The source of power here is the people, and to
attack the political power is to attack the people.  If the laws
are oppressive, it is the fault of the oppressed.  If the laws
touch the poor and leave them without redress, it is the fault of
the poor.  They are in a majority.  The men who work for their
living are the very men who have the power to make every law that
is made in the United States.  There is no excuse for any resort
to violence in this country.  The boycotting by trades unions and
by labor organizations is all wrong.  Let them resort to legal
methods and to no other.  I have not the slightest sympathy with
the methods that have been pursued by Anarchists, or by Socialists,
or by any other class that has resorted to force or intimidation.
The ballot-box is the place to assemble.  The will of the people
can be made known in that way, and their will can be executed.  At
the same time, I think I understand what has produced the Anarchist,
the Socialist, and the agitator.  In the old country, a laboring
man, poorly clad, without quite enough to eat, with a wife in rags,
with a few children asking for bread--this laboring man sees the
idle enjoying every luxury of this life; he sees on the breast of
"my lady" a bonfire of diamonds; he sees "my lord" riding in his
park; he sees thousands of people who from the cradle to the grave
do no useful act; add nothing to the intellectual or the physical
wealth of the world; he sees labor living in the tenement house,
in the hut; idleness and nobility in the mansion and the palace;
the poor man a trespasser everywhere except upon the street, where
he is told to "move on," and in the dusty highways of the country.
That man naturally hates the government--the government of the few,
the government that lives on the unpaid labor of the many, the
government that takes the child from the parents, and puts him in
the army to fight the child of another poor man and woman in some
other country.  These Anarchists, these Socialists, these agitators,
have been naturally produced.  All the things of which I have spoken
sow in the breast of poverty the seeds of hatred and revolution.
These poor men, hunted by the officers of the law, cornered,
captured, imprisoned, excite the sympathy of other poor men, and
if some are dragged to the gallows and hanged, or beheaded by the
guillotine, they become saints and martyrs, and those who sympathize
with them feel that they have the power, and only the power of
hatred--the power of riot, of destruction--the power of the torch,
of revolution, that is to say, of chaos and anarchy.  The injustice
of the higher classes makes the lower criminal.  Then there is
another thing.  The misery of the poor excites in many noble breasts
sympathy, and the men who thus sympathize wish to better the
condition of their fellows.  At first they depend upon reason, upon
calling the attention of the educated and powerful to the miseries
of the poor.  Nothing happens, no result follows.  The Juggernaut
of society moves on, and the wretches are still crushed beneath
the great wheels.  These men who are really good at first, filled
with sympathy, now become indignant--they are malicious, then
destructive and criminal.  I do not sympathize with these methods,
but I do sympathize with the general object that all good and
generous people seek to accomplish--namely, to better the condition
of the human race.  Only the other day, in Boston, I said that we
ought to take into consideration the circumstances under which the
Anarchists were reared; that we ought to know that every man is
necessarily produced; that man is what he is, not by accident, but
necessity; that society raises its own criminals--that it plows
the soil and cultivates and harvests the crop.  And it was telegraphed
that I had defended anarchy.  Nothing was ever further from my
mind.  There is no place, as I said before, for anarchy in the
United States.  In Russia it is another question; in Germany another
question.  Every country that is governed by the one man, or governed
by the few, is the victim of anarchy.  That _is_ anarchy.  That is
the worst possible form of socialism.  The definition of socialism
given by its bitterest enemy is, that idlers wish to live on the
labor and on the money of others.  Is not this definition--a
definition given in hatred--a perfect definition of every monarchy
and of nearly every government in the world?  That is to say:  The
idle few live on the labor and the money of others.

_Question_.  Will the Supreme Court take cognizance of this case
and prevent the execution of the judgment?

_Answer_.  Of course it is impossible for me to say.  At the same
time, judging from the action of Justice Miller in the case of _The
People vs. Maxwell_, it seems probable that the Supreme Court may
interfere, but I have not examined the question sufficiently to
form an opinion.  My feeling about the whole matter is this:  That
it will not tend to answer the ideas advanced by these men, to hang
them.  Their execution will excite sympathy among thousands and
thousands of people who have never examined and knew nothing of
the theories advanced by the Anarchists, or the Socialists, or
other agitators.  In my judgment, supposing the men to be guilty,
it is far better to imprison them.  Less harm will be done the
cause of free government.  We are not on the edge of any revolution.
No other government is as firmly fixed as ours.  No other government
has such a broad and splendid foundation.  We have nothing to fear.
Courage and safety can afford to be generous--can afford to act
without haste and without the feeling of revenge.  So, for my part,
I hope that the sentence may be commuted, and that these men, if
found guilty at last, may be imprisoned.  This course is, in my
judgment, the safest to pursue.  It may be that I am led to this
conclusion, because of my belief that every man does as he must.
This belief makes me charitable toward all the world.  This belief
makes me doubt the wisdom of revenge.  This belief, so far as I am
concerned, blots from our language the word "punishment."  Society
has a right to protect itself, and it is the duty of society to
reform, in so far as it may be possible, any member who has committed
what is called a crime.  Where the criminal cannot be reformed,
and the safety of society can be secured by his imprisonment, there
is no possible excuse for destroying his life.  After these six or
seven men have been, in accordance with the forms of law, strangled
to death, there will be a few pieces of clay, and about them will
gather a few friends, a few admirers--and these pieces will be
buried, and over the grave will be erected a monument, and those
who were executed as criminals will be regarded by thousands as
saints.  It is far better for society to have a little mercy.  The
effect upon the community will be good.  If these men are imprisoned,
people will examine their teachings without prejudice.  If they
are executed, seen through the tears of pity, their virtues, their
sufferings, their heroism, will be exaggerated; others may emulate
their deeds, and the gulf between the rich and the poor will be
widened--a gulf that may not close until it has devoured the noblest
and the best.

--_The Mail and Express_, New York, November 3, 1887.


_Question_.  What do you think of the Methodist minister at Nashville,
Tenn., who, from his pulpit, denounced the theatrical profession,
without exception, as vicious, and of the congregation which passed
resolutions condemning Miss Emma Abbott for rising in church and
contradicting him, and of the Methodist bishop who likened her to
a "painted courtesan," and invoked the aid of the law "for the
protection of public worship" against "strolling players"?

_Answer_.  The Methodist minister of whom you speak, without doubt
uttered his real sentiments.  The church has always regarded the
stage as a rival, and all its utterances have been as malicious as
untrue.  It has always felt that the money given to the stage was
in some way taken from the pulpit.  It is on this principle that
the pulpit wishes everything, except the church, shut up on Sunday.
It knows that it cannot stand free and open competition.

All well-educated ministers know that the Bible suffers by a
comparison with Shakespeare.  They know that there is nothing within
the lids of what they call "the sacred book" that can for one moment
stand side by side with "Lear" or "Hamlet" or "Julius Caesar" or
"Antony and Cleopatra" or with any other play written by the immortal
man.  They know what a poor figure the Davids and the Abrahams and
the Jeremiahs and the Lots, the Jonahs, the Jobs and the Noahs cut
when on the stage with the great characters of Shakespeare.  For
these reasons, among others, the pulpit is malicious and hateful
when it thinks of the glories of the stage.  What minister is there
now living who could command the prices commanded by Edwin Booth
or Joseph Jefferson; and what two clergymen, by making a combination,
could contend successfully with Robson and Crane?  How many clergymen
would it take to command, at regular prices, the audiences that
attend the presentation of Wagner's operas?

It is very easy to see why the pulpit attacks the stage.  Nothing
could have been in more wretched taste than for the minister to
condemn Miss Emma Abbott for rising in church and defending not
only herself, but other good women who are doing honest work for
an honest living.  Of course, no minister wishes to be answered;
no minister wishes to have anyone in the congregation call for the
proof.  A few questions would break up all the theology in the
world.  Ministers can succeed only when congregations keep silent.
When superstition succeeds, doubt must be dumb.

The Methodist bishop who attacked Miss Abbott simply repeated the
language of several centuries ago.  In the laws of England actors
were described as "sturdy vagrants," and this bishop calls them
"strolling players."  If we only had some strolling preachers like
Garrick, like Edwin Forrest, or Booth or Barrett, or some crusade
sisters like Mrs. Siddons, Madam Ristori, Charlotte Cushman, or
Madam Modjeska, how fortunate the church would be!

_Question_.  What is your opinion of the relative merits of the
pulpit and the stage, preachers and actors?

_Answer_.  We must remember that the stage presents an ideal life.
It is a world controlled by the imagination--a world in which the
justice delayed in real life may be done, and in which that may
happen which, according to the highest ideal, should happen.  It
is a world, for the most part, in which evil does not succeed, in
which the vicious are foiled, in which the right, the honest, the
sincere, and the good prevail.  It cultivates the imagination, and
in this respect is far better than the pulpit.  The mission of the
pulpit is to narrow and shrivel the human mind.  The pulpit denounces
the freedom of thought and of expression; but on the stage the mind
is free, and for thousands of years the poor, the oppressed, the
enslaved, have been permitted to witness plays wherein the slave
was freed, wherein the oppressed became the victor, and where the
downtrodden rose supreme.

And there is another thing.  The stage has always laughed at the
spirit of caste.  The low-born lass has loved the prince.  All
human distinctions in this ideal world have for the moment vanished,
while honesty and love have triumphed.  The stage lightens the
cares of life.  The pulpit increases the tears and groans of man.
There is this difference:  The pretence of honesty and the honesty
of pretence.

_Question_.  How do you view the Episcopalian scheme of building
a six-million-dollar untaxed cathedral in this city for the purpose
of "uniting the sects," and, when that is accomplished, "unifying
the world in the love of Christ," and thereby abolishing misery?

_Answer_.  I regard the building of an Episcopal cathedral simply
as a piece of religious folly.  The world will never be converted
by Christian palaces and temples.  Every dollar used in its
construction will be wasted.  It will have no tendency to unite
the various sects; on the contrary, it will excite the envy and
jealousy of every other sect.  It will widen the gulf between the
Episcopalian and the Methodist, between the Episcopalian and the
Presbyterian, and this hatred will continue until the other sects
build a cathedral just a little larger, and then the envy and the
hatred will be on the other side.

Religion will never unify the world, and never will give peace to
mankind.  There has been more war in the last eighteen hundred
years than during any similar period within historic times.  War
will be abolished, if it ever is abolished, not by religion, but
by intelligence.  It will be abolished when the poor people of
Germany, of France, of Spain, of England, and other countries find
that they have no interest in war.  When those who pay, and those
who do the fighting, find that they are simply destroying their
own interests, wars will cease.

There ought to be a national court to decide national difficulties.
We consider a community civilized when the individuals of that
community submit their differences to a legal tribunal; but there
being no national court, nations now sustain, as to each other,
the relation of savages--that is to say, each one must defend its
rights by brute force.  The establishment of a national court
civilizes nations, and tends to do away with war.

Christianity caused so much war, so much bloodshed, that Christians
were forced to interpolate a passage to account for their history,
and the interpolated passage is, "I came not to bring peace, but
a sword."  Suppose that all the money wasted in cathedrals in the
Middle Ages had been used for the construction of schoolhouses,
academies, and universities, how much better the world would have
been!  Suppose that instead of supporting hundreds of thousands of
idle priests, the money had been given to men of science, for the
purpose of finding out something of benefit to the human race here
in this world.

_Question_.  What is your opinion of "Christian charity" and the
"fatherhood of God" as an economic polity for abolishing poverty
and misery?

_Answer_.  Of course, the world is not to be civilized and clothed
and fed through charity.  Ordinary charity creates more want than
it alleviates.  The greatest possible charity is the greatest
possible justice.  When proper wages are paid, when every one is
as willing to give what a thing is worth as he is now willing to
get it for less, the world will be fed and clothed.

I believe in helping people to help themselves.  I believe that
corporations, and successful men, and superior men intellectually,
should do all within their power to keep from robbing their fellow-
men.  The superior man should protect the inferior.  The powerful
should be the shield of the weak.  To-day it is, for the most part,
exactly the other way.  The failures among men become the food of

The world is to grow better and better through intelligence, through
a development of the brain, through taking advantage of the forces
of nature, through science, through chemistry, and through the
arts.  Religion can do nothing except to sow the seeds of discord
between men and nations.  Commerce, manufactures, and the arts tend
to peace and the well-being of the world.  What is known as religion
--that is to say, a system by which this world is wasted in
preparation for another--a system in which the duties of men are
greater to God than to his fellow-men--a system that denies the
liberty of thought and expression--tends only to discord and
retrogression.  Of course, I know that religious people cling to
the Bible on account of the good that is in it, and in spite of
the bad, and I know that Freethinkers throw away the Bible on
account of the bad that is in it, in spite of the good.  I hope
the time will come when that book will be treated like other books,
and will be judged upon its merits, apart from the fiction of
inspiration.  The church has no right to speak of charity, because
it is an object of charity itself.  It gives nothing; all it can
do is to receive.  At best, it is only a respectable beggar.  I
never care to hear one who receives alms pay a tribute to charity.
The one who gives alms should pay this tribute.  The amount of
money expended upon churches and priests and all the paraphernalia
of superstition, is more than enough to drive the wolves from the
doors of the world.

_Question_.  Have you noticed the progress Catholics are making in
the Northwest, discontinuing public schools, and forcing people to
send their children to the parochial schools; also, at Pittsburg,
Pa., a Roman Catholic priest has been elected principal of a public
school, and he has appointed nuns as assistant teachers?

_Answer_.  Sectarian schools ought not to be supported by public
taxation.  It is the very essence of religious tyranny to compel
a Methodist to support a Catholic school, or to compel a Catholic
to support a Baptist academy.  Nothing should be taught in the
public schools that the teachers do not know.  Nothing should be
taught about any religion, and nothing should be taught that can,
in any way, be called sectarian.  The sciences are not religion.
There is no such thing as Methodist mathematics, or Baptist botany.
In other words, no religion has anything to do with facts.  The
facts are all secular; the sciences are all of this world.  If
Catholics wish to establish their own schools for the purpose of
preserving their ignorance, they have the right to do so; so has
any other denomination.  But in this country the State has no right
to teach any form of religion whatever.  Persons of all religions
have the right to advocate and defend any religion in which they
believe, or they have the right to denounce all religions.  If the
Catholics establish parochial schools, let them support such schools;
and if they do, they will simply lessen or shorten the longevity
of that particular superstition.  It has often been said that
nothing will repeal a bad law as quickly as its enforcement.  So,
in my judgment, nothing will destroy any church as certainly, and
as rapidly, as for the members of that church to live squarely up
to the creed.  The church is indebted to its hypocrisy to-day for
its life.  No orthodox church in the United States dare meet for
the purpose of revising the creed.  They know that the whole thing
would fall to pieces.

Nothing could be more absurd than for a Roman Catholic priest to
teach a public school, assisted by nuns.  The Catholic Church is
the enemy of human progress; it teaches every man to throw away
his reason, to deny his observation and experience.

_Question_.  Your opinions have frequently been quoted with regard
to the Anarchists--with regard to their trial and execution.  Have
you any objection to stating your real opinion in regard to the

_Answer_.  Not in the least.  I am perfectly willing that all
civilized people should know my opinions on any question in which
others than myself can have any interest.

I was anxious, in the first place, that the defendants should have
a fair and impartial trial.  The worst form of anarchy is when a
judge violates his conscience and bows to a popular demand.  A
court should care nothing for public opinion.  An honest judge
decides the law, not as it ought to be, but as it is, and the state
of the public mind throws no light upon the question of what the
law then is.

I thought that some of the rulings on the trial of the Anarchists
were contrary to law.  I think so still.  I have read the opinion
of the Supreme Court of Illinois, and while the conclusion reached
by that tribunal is the law of that case, I was not satisfied with
the reasons given, and do not regard the opinion as good law.
There is no place for an Anarchist in the United States.  There is
no excuse for any resort to force; and it is impossible to use
language too harsh or too bitter in denouncing the spirit of anarchy
in this country.  But, no matter how bad a man is, he has the
right to be fairly tried; and if he cannot be fairly tried, then
there is anarchy on the bench.  So I was opposed to the execution
of these men.  I thought it would have been far better to commute
the punishment to imprisonment, and I said so; and I not only said
so, but I wrote a letter to Governor Oglesby, in which I urged the
commutation of the death sentence.  In my judgment, a great mistake
was made.  I am on the side of mercy, and if I ever make mistakes,
I hope they will all be made on that side.  I have not the slightest
sympathy with the feeling of revenge.  Neither have I ever admitted,
and I never shall, that every citizen has not the right to give
his opinion on all that may be done by any servant of the people,
by any judge, or by any court, by any officer--however small or
however great.  Each man in the United States is a sovereign, and
a king can freely speak his mind.

Words were put in my mouth that I never uttered with regard to the
Anarchists.  I never said that they were saints, or that they would
be martyrs.  What I said was that they would be regarded as saints
and martyrs by many people if they were executed, and that has
happened which I said would happen.  I am, so far as I know, on
the side of the right.  I wish, above all things, for the preservation
of human liberty.  This Government is the best, and we should not
lose confidence in liberty.  Property is of very little value in
comparison with freedom.  A civilization that rests on slavery is
utterly worthless.  I do not believe in sacrificing all there is
of value in the human heart, or in the human brain, for the
preservation of what is called property, or rather, on account of
the fear that what is called "property" may perish.  Property is
in no danger while man is free.  It is the freedom of man that
gives value to property.  It is the happiness of the human race
that creates what we call value.  If we preserve liberty, the spirit
of progress, the conditions of development, property will take care
of itself.

_Question_.  The Christian press during the past few months has
been very solicitous as to your health, and has reported you weak
and feeble physically, and not only so, but asserts that there is
a growing disposition on your part to lay down your arms, and even
to join the church.

_Answer_.  I do not think the Christian press has been very solicitous
about my _health_.  Neither do I think that my health will ever
add to theirs.  The fact is, I am exceedingly well, and my throat
is better than it has been for many years.  Any one who imagines
that I am disposed to lay down my arms can read by Reply to Dr.
Field in the November number of the _North American Review_.  I
see no particular difference in myself, except this; that my hatred
of superstition becomes a little more and more intense; on the
other hand, I see more clearly, that all the superstitions were
naturally produced, and I am now satisfied that every man does as
he must, including priests and editors of religious papers.

This gives me hope for the future.  We find that certain soil, with
a certain amount of moisture and heat, produces good corn, and we
find when the soil is poor, or when the ground is too wet, or too
dry, that no amount of care can, by any possibility, produce good
corn.  In other words, we find that the fruit, that is to say, the
result, whatever it may be, depends absolutely upon the conditions.
This being so, we will in time find out the conditions that produce
good, intelligent, honest men.  This is the hope for the future.
We shall know better than to rely on what is called reformation,
or regeneration, or a resolution born of ignorant excitement.  We
shall rely, then, on the eternal foundation--the fact in nature--
that like causes produce like results, and that good conditions
will produce good people.

_Question_.  Every now and then some one challenges you to a
discussion, and nearly every one who delivers lectures, or speeches,
attacking you, or your views, says that you are afraid publicly to
debate these questions.  Why do you not meet these men, and why do
you not answer these attacks?

_Answer_.  In the first place, it would be a physical impossibility
to reply to all the attacks that have been made--to all the "answers."
I receive these attacks, and these answers, and these lectures
almost every day.  Hundreds of them are delivered every year.  A
great many are put in pamphlet form, and, of course, copies are
received by me.  Some of them I read, at least I look them over,
and I have never yet received one worthy of the slightest notice,
never one in which the writer showed the slightest appreciation of
the questions under discussion.  All these pamphlets are about the
same, and they could, for the matter, have all been produced by
one person.  They are impudent, shallow, abusive, illogical, and
in most respects, ignorant.  So far as the lecturers are concerned,
I know of no one who has yet said anything that challenges a reply.
I do not think a single paragraph has been produced by any of the
gentlemen who have replied to me in public, that is now remembered
by reason of its logic or beauty.  I do not feel called upon to
answer any argument that does not at least appear to be of value.
Whenever any article appears worthy of an answer, written in a kind
and candid spirit, it gives me pleasure to reply.

I should like to meet some one who speaks by authority, some one
who really understands his creed, but I cannot afford to waste time
on little priests or obscure parsons or ignorant laymen.

--_The Truth Seeker_, New York, January 14, 1888.


_Question_.  What is Mr. Conkling's place in the political history
of the United States?

_Answer_.  Upon the great questions Mr. Conkling has been right.
During the war he was always strong and clear, unwavering and
decided.  His position was always known.  He was right on
reconstruction, on civil rights, on the currency, and, so far as
I know, on all important questions.  He will be remembered as an
honest, fearless man.  He was admired for his known integrity.  He
was never even suspected of being swayed by an improper consideration.
He was immeasurably above purchase.

His popularity rested upon his absolute integrity.  He was not
adapted for a leader, because he would yield nothing.  He had no
compromise in his nature.  He went his own road and he would not
turn aside for the sake of company.  His individuality was too
marked and his will too imperious to become a leader in a republic.
There is a great deal of individuality in this country, and a leader
must not appear to govern and must not demand obedience.  In the
Senate he was a leader.  He settled with no one.

_Question_.  What essentially American idea does he stand for?

_Answer_.  It is a favorite saying in this country that the people
are sovereigns.  Mr. Conkling felt this to be true, and he exercised
what he believed to be his rights.  He insisted upon the utmost
freedom for himself.  He settled with no one but himself.  He stands
for individuality--for the freedom of the citizen, the independence
of the man.  No lord, no duke, no king was ever prouder of his
title or his place than Mr. Conkling was of his position and his
power.  He was thoroughly American in every drop of his blood.

_Question_.  What have you to say about his having died with sealed

_Answer_.  Mr. Conkling was too proud to show wounds.  He did not
tell his sorrows to the public.  It seemed sufficient to him to
know the facts himself.  He seemed to have great confidence in
time, and he had the patience to wait.  Of course he could have
told many things that would have shed light on many important
events, but for my part I think he acted in the noblest way.

He was a striking and original figure in our politics.  He stood
alone.  I know of no one like him.  He will be remembered as a
fearless and incorruptible statesman, a great lawyer, a magnificent
speaker, and an honest man.

--_The Herald_, New York, April 19, 1888.


_Question_.  I have come to talk with you a little about the drama.
Have you any decided opinions on that subject?

_Answer_.  Nothing is more natural than imitation.  The little
child with her doll, telling it stories, putting words in its mouth,
attributing to it the feelings of happiness and misery, is the
simple tendency toward the drama.  Little children always have
plays, they imitate their parents, they put on the clothes of their
elders, they have imaginary parties, carry on conversation with
imaginary persons, have little dishes filled with imaginary food,
pour tea and coffee out of invisible pots, receive callers, and
repeat what they have heard their mothers say.  This is simply the
natural drama, an exercise of the imagination which always has been
and which, probably, always will be, a source of great pleasure.
In the early days of the world nothing was more natural than for
the people to re-enact the history of their country--to represent
the great heroes, the great battles, and the most exciting scenes
the history of which has been preserved by legend.  I believe this
tendency to re-enact, to bring before the eyes the great, the
curious, and pathetic events of history, has been universal.  All
civilized nations have delighted in the theatre, and the greatest
minds in many countries have been devoted to the drama, and, without
doubt, the greatest man about whom we know anything devoted his
life to the production of plays.

_Question_.  I would like to ask you why, in your opinion as a
student of history, has the Protestant Church always been so bitterly
opposed to the theatre?

_Answer_.  I believe the early Christians expected the destruction
of the world.  They had no idea of remaining here, in the then
condition of things, but for a few days.  They expected that Christ
would come again, that the world would be purified by fire, that
all the unbelievers would be burned up and that the earth would
become a fit habitation for the followers of the Saviour.
Protestantism became as ascetic as the early Christians.  It is
hard to conceive of anybody believing in the "Five Points" of John
Calvin going to any place of amusement.  The creed of Protestantism
made life infinitely sad and made man infinitely responsible.
According to this creed every man was liable at any moment to be
summoned to eternal pain; the most devout Christian was not absolutely
sure of salvation.  This life was a probationary one.  Everybody
was considered as waiting on the dock of time, sitting on his trunk,
expecting the ship that was to bear him to an eternity of good or
evil--probably evil.  They were in no state of mind to enjoy
burlesque or comedy, and, so far as tragedy was concerned, their
own lives and their own creeds were tragic beyond anything that
could by any possibility happen in this world.  A broken heart was
nothing to be compared with a damned soul; the afflictions of a
few years, with the flames of eternity.  This, to say the least of
it, accounts, in part, for the hatred that Protestantism always
bore toward the stage.  Of course, the churches have always regarded
the theatre as a rival and have begrudged the money used to support
the stage.  You know that Macaulay said the Puritans objected to
bear-baiting, not because they pitied the bears, but because they
hated to see the people enjoy themselves.  There is in this at
least a little truth.  Orthodox religion has always been and always
will be the enemy of happiness.  This world is not the place for
enjoyment.  This is the place to suffer.  This is the place to
practice self-denial, to wear crowns of thorns; the other world is
the place for joy, provided you are fortunate enough to travel the
narrow, grass-grown path.  Of course, wicked people can be happy
here.  People who care nothing for the good of others, who live
selfish and horrible lives, are supposed by Christians to enjoy
themselves; consequently, they will be punished in another world.
But whoever carried the cross of decency, and whoever denied himself
to that degree that he neither stole nor forged nor murdered, will
be paid for this self-denial in another world.  And whoever said
that he preferred a prayer-meeting with five or six queer old men
and two or three very aged women, with one or two candles, and who
solemnly affirmed that he enjoyed that far more than he could a
play of Shakespeare, was expected with much reason, I think, to be
rewarded in another world.

_Question_.  Do you think that church people were justified in
their opposition to the drama in the days when Congreve, Wycherley
and Ben Jonson were the popular favorites?

_Answer_.  In that time there was a great deal of vulgarity in many
of the plays.  Many things were said on the stage that the people
of this age would not care to hear, and there was not very often
enough wit in the saying to redeem it.  My principal objection to
Congreve, Wycherley and most of their contemporaries is that the
plays were exceedingly poor and had not much in them of real,
sterling value.  The Puritans, however, did not object on account
of the vulgarity; that was not the honest objection.  No play was
ever put upon the English stage more vulgar then the "Table Talk"
of Martin Luther, and many sermons preached in that day were almost
unrivaled for vulgarity.  The worst passages in the Old Testament
were quoted with a kind of unction that showed a love for the
vulgar.  And, in my judgment, the worst plays were as good as the
sermons, and the theatre of that time was better adapted to civilize
mankind, to soften the human heart, and to make better men and
better women, than the pulpit of that day.  The actors, in my
judgment, were better people than the preachers.  They had in them
more humanity, more real goodness and more appreciation of beauty,
of tenderness, of generosity and of heroism.  Probably no religion
was ever more thoroughly hateful than Puritanism.  But all religionists
who believe in an eternity of pain would naturally be opposed to
everything that makes this life better; and, as a matter of fact,
orthodox churches have been the enemies of painting, of sculpture,
of music and the drama.

_Question_.  What, in your estimation, is the value of the drama
as a factor in our social life at the present time?

_Answer_.  I believe that the plays of Shakespeare are the most
valuable things in the possession of the human race.  No man can
read and understand Shakespeare without being an intellectually
developed man.  If Shakespeare could be as widely circulated as
the Bible--if all the Bible societies would break the plates they
now have and print Shakespeare, and put Shakespeare in all the
languages of the world, nothing would so raise the intellectual
standard of mankind.  Think of the different influence on men
between reading Deuteronomy and "Hamlet" and "King Lear"; between
studying Numbers and the "Midsummer Night's Dream"; between pondering
over the murderous crimes and assassinations in Judges, and studying
"The Tempest" or "As You Like It."  Man advances as he develops
intellectually.  The church teaches obedience.  The man who reads
Shakespeare has his intellectual horizon enlarged.  He begins to
think for himself, and he enjoys living in a new world.  The
characters of Shakespeare become his acquaintances.  He admires
the heroes, the philosophers; he laughs with the clowns, and he
almost adores the beautiful women, the pure, loving, and heroic
women born of Shakespeare's heart and brain.  The stage has amused
and instructed the world.  It had added to the happiness of mankind.
It has kept alive all arts.  It is in partnership with all there
is of beauty, of poetry, and expression.  It goes hand in hand with
music, with painting, with sculpture, with oratory, with philosophy,
and history.  The stage has humor.  It abhors stupidity.  It despises
hypocrisy.  It holds up to laughter the peculiarities, the
idiosyncrasies, and the little insanities of mankind.  It thrusts
the spear of ridicule through the shield of pretence.  It laughs
at the lugubrious and it has ever taught and will, in all probability,
forever teach, that Man is more than a title, and that human love
laughs at all barriers, at all the prejudices of society and caste
that tend to keep apart two loving hearts.

_Question_.  What is your opinion of the progress of the drama in
educating the artistic sense of the community as compared with the
progress of the church as an educator of the moral sentiment?

_Answer_.  Of course, the stage is not all good, nor is--and I say
this with becoming modesty--the pulpit all bad.  There have been
bad actors and there have been good preachers.  There has been no
improvement in plays since Shakespeare wrote.  There has been great
improvement in theatres, and the tendency seems to me be toward
higher artistic excellence in the presentation of plays.  As we
become slowly civilized we will constantly demand more artistic
excellence.  There will always be a class satisfied with the lowest
form of dramatic presentation, with coarse wit, with stupid but
apparent jokes, and there will always be a class satisfied with
almost anything; but the class demanding the highest, the best,
will constantly increase in numbers, and the other classes will,
in all probability, correspondingly decrease.  The church has ceased
to be an educator.  In an artistic direction it never did anything
except in architecture, and that ceased long ago.  The followers
of to-day are poor copyists.  The church has been compelled to be
a friend of, or rather to call in the assistance of, music.  As a
moral teacher, the church always has been and always will be a
failure.  The pulpit, to use the language of Frederick Douglass,
has always "echoed the cry of the street."  Take our own history.
The church was the friend of slavery.  That institution was defended
in nearly every pulpit.  The Bible was the auction-block on which
the slave-mother stood while her child was sold from her arms.
The church, for hundreds of years, was the friend and defender of
the slave-trade.  I know of no crime that has not been defended by
the church, in one form or another.  The church is not a pioneer;
it accepts a new truth, last of all, and only when denial has become
useless.  The church preaches the doctrine of forgiveness.  This
doctrine sells crime on credit.  The idea that there is a God who
rewards and punishes, and who can reward, if he so wishes, the
meanest and vilest of the human race, so that he will be eternally
happy, and can punish the best of the human race, so that he will
be eternally miserable, is subversive of all morality.  Happiness
ought to be the result of good actions.  Happiness ought to spring
from the seed a man sows himself.  It ought not to be a reward, it
ought to be a consequence, and there ought to be no idea that there
is any being who can step between action and consequence.  To preach
that a man can abuse his wife and children, rob his neighbors,
slander his fellow-citizens, and yet, a moment or two before he
dies, by repentance become a glorified angel is, in my judgment,
immoral.  And to preach that a man can be a good man, kind to his
wife and children, an honest man, paying his debts, and yet, for
the lack of a certain belief, the moment after he is dead, be sent
to an eternal prison, is also immoral.  So that, according to my
opinion, while the church teaches men many good things, it also
teaches doctrines subversive of morality.  If there were not in
the whole world a church, the morality of man, in my judgment, would
be the gainer.

_Question_.  What do you think of the treatment of the actor by
society in his social relations?

_Answer_.  For a good many years the basis of society has been the
dollar.  Only a few years ago all literary men were ostracized
because they had no money; neither did they have a reading public.
If any man produced a book he had to find a patron--some titled
donkey, some lauded lubber, in whose honor he could print a few
well-turned lies on the fly-leaf.  If you wish to know the degradation
of literature, read the dedication written by Lord Bacon to James
I., in which he puts him beyond all kings, living and dead--beyond
Caesar and Marcus Aurelius.  In those days the literary man was a
servant, a hack.  He lived in Grub Street.  He was only one degree
above the sturdy vagrant and the escaped convict.  Why was this?
He had no money and he lived in an age when money was the fountain
of respectability.  Let me give you another instance:  Mozart,
whose brain was a fountain of melody, was forced to eat at table
with coachmen, with footmen and scullions.  He was simply a servant
who was commanded to make music for a pudding-headed bishop.  The
same was true of the great painters, and of almost all other men
who rendered the world beautiful by art, and who enriched the
languages of mankind.  The basis of respectability was the dollar.

Now that the literary man has an intelligent public he cares nothing
for the ignorant patron.  The literary man makes money.  The world
is becoming civilized and the literary man stands high.  In England,
however, if Charles Darwin had been invited to dinner, and there
had been present some sprig of nobility, some titled vessel holding
the germs of hereditary disease, Darwin would have been compelled
to occupy a place beneath him.  But I have hopes even for England.
The same is true of the artist.  The man who can now paint a picture
by which he receives from five thousand to fifty thousand dollars,
is necessarily respectable.  The actor who may realize from one to
two thousand dollars a night, or even more, is welcomed in the
stupidest and richest society.  So with the singers and with all
others who instruct and amuse mankind.  Many people imagine that
he who amuses them must be lower than they.  This, however, is
hardly possible.  I believe in the aristocracy of the brain and
heart; in the aristocracy of intelligence and goodness, and not
only appreciate but admire the great actor, the great painter, the
great sculptor, the marvelous singer.  In other words, I admire
all people who tend to make this life richer, who give an additional
thought to this poor world.

_Question_.  Do you think this liberal movement, favoring the better
class of plays, inaugurated by the Rev. Dr. Abbott, will tend to
soften the sentiment of the orthodox churches against the stage?

_Answer_.  I have not read what Dr. Abbott has written on this
subject.  From your statement of his position, I think he entertains
quite a sensible view, and, when we take into consideration that
he is a minister, a miraculously sensible view.  It is not the
business of the dramatist, the actor, the painter or the sculptor
to teach what the church calls morality.  The dramatist and the
actor ought to be truthful, ought to be natural--that is to say,
truthfully and naturally artistic.  He should present pictures of
life properly chosen, artistically constructed; an exhibition of
emotions truthfully done, artistically done.  If vice is presented
naturally, no one will fall in love with vice.  If the better
qualities of the human heart are presented naturally, no one can
fail to fall in love with them.  But they need not be presented
for that purpose.  The object of the artist is to present truthfully
and artistically.  He is not a Sunday school teacher.  He is not
to have the moral effect eternally in his mind.  It is enough for
him to be truly artistic.  Because, as I have said, a great many
times, the greatest good is done by indirection.  For instance, a
man lives a good, noble, honest and lofty life.  The value of that
life would be destroyed if he kept calling attention to it--if he
said to all who met him, "Look at me!" he would become intolerable.
The truly artistic speaks of perfection; that is to say, of harmony,
not only of conduct, but of harmony and proportion in everything.
The pulpit is always afraid of the passions, and really imagines
that it has some influence on men and women, keeping them in the
path of virtue.  No greater mistake was ever made.  Eternally
talking and harping on that one subject, in my judgment, does harm.
Forever keeping it in the mind by reading passages from the Bible,
by talking about the "corruption of the human heart," of the "power
of temptation," of the scarcity of virtue, of the plentifulness of
vice--all these platitudes tend to produce exactly what they are
directed against.

_Question_.  I fear, Colonel, that I have surprised you into agreeing
with a clergyman.  The following are the points made by the Rev.
Dr. Abbott in his editorial on the theatre, and it seems to me that
you and he think very much alike--on that subject.  The points are

1.  It is not the function of the drama to teach moral lessons.

2.  A moral lesson neither makes nor mars either a drama or a novel.

3.  The moral quality of a play does not depend upon the result.

4.  The real function of the drama is like that of the novel--not
to amuse, not to excite; but to portray life, and so minister to
it.  And as virtue and vice, goodness and evil, are the great
fundamental facts of life, they must, in either serious story or
serious play, be portrayed.  If they are so portrayed that the vice
is alluring and the virtue repugnant, the play or story is immoral;
if so portrayed that the vice is repellant and the virtue alluring,
they play or story is moral.

5.  The church has no occasion to ask the theatre to preach; though
if it does preach we have a right to demand that its ethical
doctrines be pure and high.  But we have a right to demand that in
its pictures of life it so portrays vice as to make it abhorrent,
and so portrays virtue as to make it attractive.

_Answer_.  I agree in most of what you have read, though I must
confess that to find a minister agreeing with me, or to find myself
agreeing with a minister, makes me a little uncertain.  All art,
in my judgment, is for the sake of expression--equally true of the
drama as of painting and sculpture.  No poem touches the human
heart unless it touches the universal.  It must, at some point,
move in unison with the great ebb and flow of things.  The same is
true of the play, of a piece of music or a statue.  I think that
all real artists, in all departments, touch the universal and when
they do the result is good; but the result need not have been a
consideration.  There is an old story that at first there was a
temple erected upon the earth by God himself; that afterward this
temple was shivered into countless pieces and distributed over the
whole earth, and that all the rubies and diamonds and precious
stones since found are parts of that temple.  Now, if we could
conceive of a building, or of anything involving all Art, and that
it had been scattered abroad, then I would say that whoever find
and portrays truthfully a thought, an emotion, a truth, has found
and restored one of the jewels.

--_Dramatic Mirror_, New York, April 21, 1888.


_Question_.  Do you take much interest in politics, Colonel

_Answer_.  I take as much interest in politics as a Republican
ought who expects nothing and who wants nothing for himself.  I
want to see this country again controlled by the Republican party.
The present administration has not, in my judgment, the training
and the political intelligence to decide upon the great economic
and financial questions.  There are a great many politicians and
but few statesmen.  Here, where men have to be elected every two
or six years, there is hardly time for the officials to study
statesmanship--they are busy laying pipes and fixing fences for
the next election.  Each one feels much like a monkey at a fair,
on the top of a greased pole, and puts in the most of his time
dodging stones and keeping from falling.  I want to see the party
in power best qualified, best equipped, to administer the

_Question_.  What do you think will be the particular issue of the
coming campaign?

_Answer_.  That question has already been answered.  The great
question will be the tariff.  Mr. Cleveland imagines that the
surplus can be gotten rid of by a reduction of the tariff.  If the
reduction is so great as to increase the demand for foreign articles,
the probability is that the surplus will be increased.  The surplus
can surely be done away with by either of two methods; first make
the tariff prohibitory; second, have no tariff.  But if the tariff
is just at that point where the foreign goods could pay it and yet
undersell the American so as to stop home manufactures, then the
surplus would increase.

As a rule we can depend on American competition to keep prices at
a reasonable rate.  When that fails we have at all times the
governing power in our hands--that is to say, we can reduce the
tariff.  In other words, the tariff is not for the benefit of the
manufacturer--the protection is not for the mechanic or the capitalist
--it is for the whole country.  I do not believe in protecting silk
simply to help the town of Paterson, but I am for the protection
of the manufacture, because, in my judgment, it helps the entire
country, and because I know that it has given us a far better
article of silk at a far lower price than we obtained before the
establishment of those factories.

I believe in the protection of every industry that needs it, to
the end that we may make use of every kind of brain and find use
for all human capacities.  In this way we will produce greater and
better people.  A nation of agriculturalists or a nation of mechanics
would become narrow and small, but where everything is done, then
the brain is cultivated on every side, from artisan to artist.
That is to say, we become thinkers as well as workers; muscle and
mind form a partnership.

I don't believe that England is particularly interested in the
welfare of the United States.  It never seemed probable to me that
men like Godwin Smith sat up nights fearing that we in some way
might injure ourselves.  To use a phrase that will be understood
by theologians at least, we ought to "copper" all English advice.

The free traders say that there ought to be no obstructions placed
by governments between buyers and sellers.  If we want to make the
trade, of course there should be no obstruction, but if we prefer
that Americans should trade with Americans--that Americans should
make what Americans want--then, so far as trading with foreigners
is concerned, there ought to be an obstruction.

I am satisfied that the United States could get along if the rest
of the world should be submerged, and I want to see this country
in such a condition that it can be independent of the rest of

There is more mechanical genius in the United States than in the
rest of the world, and this genius has been fostered and developed
by protection.  The Democracy wish to throw all this away--to make
useless this skill, this ingenuity, born of generations of application
and thought.  These deft and marvelous hands that create the
countless things of use and beauty to be worth no more than the
common hands of ignorant delvers and shovelers.  To the extent that
thought is mingled with labor, labor becomes honorable and its
burden lighter.

Thousands of millions of dollars have been invested on the faith
of this policy--millions and millions of people are this day earning
their bread by reason of protection, and they are better housed
and better fed and better clothed than any other workmen on the

The intelligent people of this country will not be satisfied with
President Cleveland's platform--with his free trade primer.  They
believe in good wages for good work, and they know that this is
the richest nation in the world.  The Republic is worth at least
sixty billion dollars.  This vast sum is the result of labor, and
this labor has been protected either directly or indirectly.  This
vast sum has been made by the farmer, the mechanic, the laborer,
the miner, the inventor.

Protection has given work and wages to the mechanic and a market
to the farmer.  The interests of all laborers in America--all men
who work--are identical.  If the farmer pays more for his plow he
gets more for his plowing.  In old times, when the South manufactured
nothing and raised only raw material--for the reason that its labor
was enslaved and could not be trusted with education enough to
become skillful--it was in favor of free trade; it wanted to sell
the raw material to England and buy the manufactured article where
it could buy the cheapest.  Even under those circumstances it was
a short-sighted and unpatriotic policy.  Now everything is changing
in the South.  They are beginning to see that he who simply raises
raw material is destined to be forever poor.  For instance, the
farmer who sells corn will never get rich; the farmer should sell
pork and beef and horses.  So a nation, a State, that parts with
its raw material, loses nearly all the profits, for the reason that
the profit rises with the skill requisite to produce.  It requires
only brute strength to raise cotton; it requires something more to
spin it, to weave it, and the more beautiful the fabric the greater
the skill, and consequently the higher the wages and the greater
the profit.  In other words, the more thought is mingled with labor
the more valuable is the result.

Besides all this, protection is the mother of economy; the cheapest
at last, no matter whether the amount paid is less or more.  It is
far better for us to make glass than to sell sand to other countries;
the profit on sand will be exceedingly small.

The interests of this country are united; they depend upon each
other.  You destroy one and the effect upon all the rest may be
disastrous.  Suppose we had free trade to-day, what would become
of the manufacturing interests to-morrow?  The value of property
would fall thousands of millions of dollars in an instant.  The
fires would die out in thousands and thousands of furnaces,
innumerable engines would stop, thousands and thousands would stop
digging coal and iron and steel.  What would the city that had been
built up by the factories be worth?  What would be the effect on
farms in that neighborhood?  What would be the effect on railroads,
on freights, on business--what upon the towns through which they
passed?  Stop making iron in Pennsylvania, and the State would be
bankrupt in an hour.  Give us free trade, and New Jersey, Connecticut
and many other States would not be worth one dollar an acre.

If a man will think of the connection between all industries--of
the dependence and inter-dependence of each on all; of the subtle
relations between all human pursuits--he will see that to destroy
some of the grand interest makes financial ruin and desolation.
I am not talking now about a tariff that is too high, because that
tariff does not produce a surplus--neither am I asking to have that
protected which needs no protection--I am only insisting that all
the industries that have been fostered and that need protection
should be protected, and that we should turn our attention to the
interests of our own country, letting other nations take care of
themselves.  If every American would use only articles produced by
Americans--if they would wear only American cloth, only American
silk--if we would absolutely stand by each other, the prosperity
of this nation would be the marvel of human history.  We can live
at home, and we have now the ingenuity, the intelligence, the
industry to raise from nature everything that a nation needs.

_Question_.  What have you to say about the claim that Mr. Cleveland
does not propose free trade?

_Answer_.  I suppose that he means what he said.  His argument was
all for free trade, and he endeavored to show to the farmer that
he lost altogether more money by protection, because he paid a
higher price for manufactured articles and received no more for
what he had to sell.  This certainly was an argument in favor of
free trade.  And there is no way to decrease the surplus except to
prohibit the importation of foreign articles, which certainly Mr.
Cleveland is not in favor of doing, or to reduce the tariff to a
point so low that no matter how much may be imported the surplus
will be reduced.  If the message means anything it means free trade,
and if there is any argument in it it is an argument in favor of
absolutely free trade.  The party, not willing to say "free trade"
uses the word "reform."  This is simply a mask and a pretence.
The party knows that the President made a mistake.  The party,
however, is so situated that it cannot get rid of Cleveland, and
consequently must take him with his mistake--they must take him
with his message, and then show that all he intended by "free trade"
was "reform."

_Question_.  Who do you think ought to be nominated at Chicago?

_Answer_.  Personally, I am for General Gresham.  I am saying
nothing against the other prominent candidates.  They have their
friends, and many of them are men of character and capacity, and
would make good Presidents.  But I know of no man who has a better
record than Gresham, and of no man who, in my judgment, would
receive a larger number of votes.  I know of no Republican who
would not support Judge Gresham.  I have never heard one say that
he had anything against him or know of any reason why he should
not be voted for.  He is a man of great natural capacity.  He is
candid and unselfish.  He has for many years been engaged in the
examination and decision of important questions, of good principles,
and consequently he has a trained mind.  He knows how to take hold
of a question, to get at a fact, to discover in a multitude of
complications the real principle--the heart of the case.  He has
always been a man of affairs.  He is not simply a judge--that is
to say, a legal pair of scales--he knows the effect of his decision
on the welfare of communities--he is not governed entirely by
precedents--he has opinions of his own.  In the next place, he is
a man of integrity in all the relations of life.  He is not a seeker
after place, and, so far as I know, he has done nothing for the
purpose of inducing any human being to favor his nomination.  I
have never spoken to him on the subject.

In the West he has developed great strength, in fact, his popularity
has astonished even his best friends.  The great mass of people
want a perfectly reliable man--one who will be governed by his best
judgment and by a desire to do the fair and honorable thing.  It
has been stated that the great corporations might not support him
with much warmth for the reason that he has failed to decide certain
cases in their favor.  I believe that he has decided the law as he
believed it to be, and that he has never been influenced in the
slightest degree, by the character, position, or the wealth of the
parties before him.  It may be that some of the great financiers,
the manipulators, the creators of bonds and stocks, the blowers of
financial bubbles, will not support him and will not contribute
any money for the payment of election expenses, because they are
perfectly satisfied that they could not make any arrangements with
him to get the money back, together with interest thereon, but the
people of this country are intelligent enough to know what that
means, and they will be patriotic enough to see to it that no man
needs to bow or bend or cringe to the rich to attain the highest

The possibility is that Mr. Blaine could have been nominated had
he not withdrawn, but having withdrawn, of course the party is
released.  Others were induced to become candidates, and under
these circumstances Mr. Blaine has hardly the right to change his
mind, and certainly other persons ought not to change it for him.

_Question_.  Do you think that the friends of Gresham would support
Blaine if he should be nominated?

_Answer_.  Undoubtedly they would.  If they go into convention they
must abide the decision.  It would be dishonorable to do that which
you would denounce in others.  Whoever is nominated ought to receive
the support of all good Republicans.  No party can exist that will
not be bound by its own decision.  When the platform is made, then
is the time to approve or reject.  The conscience of the individual
cannot be bound by the action of party, church or state.  But when
you ask a convention to nominate your candidate, you really agree
to stand by the choice of the convention.  Principles are of more
importance than candidates.  As a rule, men who refuse to support
the nominee, while pretending to believe in the platform, are giving
an excuse for going over to the enemy.  It is a pretence to cover
desertion.  I hope that whoever may be nominated at Chicago will
receive the cordial support of the entire party, of every man who
believes in Republican principles, who believes in good wages for
good work, and has confidence in the old firms of "Mind and Muscle,"
of "Head and Hand."

--_New York Press_, May 27, 1888.


_Question_.  What, in your opinion, is the condition of labor in
this country as compared with that abroad?

_Answer_.  In the first place, it is self-evident that if labor
received more in other lands than in this the tide of emigration
would be changed.  The workingmen would leave our shores.  People
who believe in free trade are always telling us that the laboring
man is paid much better in Germany than in the United States, and
yet nearly every ship that comes from Germany is crammed with
Germans, who, for some unaccountable reason, prefer to leave a
place where they are doing well and come to one where they must do

The same thing can be said of Denmark and Sweden, of England,
Scotland, Ireland and of Italy.  The truth is, that in all those
lands the laboring man can earn just enough to-day to do the work
of to-morrow; everything he earns is required to get food enough
in his body and rags enough on his back to work from day to day,
to toil from week to week.  There are only three luxuries within
his reach--air, light, and water; probably a fourth might be added

In those countries the few own the land, the few have the capital,
the few make the laws, and the laboring man is not a power.  His
opinion in neither asked nor heeded.  The employers pay as little
as they can.  When the world becomes civilized everybody will want
to pay what things are worth, but now capital is perfectly willing
that labor shall remain at the starvation line.  Competition on
every hand tends to put down wages.  The time will come when the
whole community will see that justice is economical.  If you starve
laboring men you increase crime; you multiply, as they do in England,
workhouses, hospitals and all kinds of asylums, and these public
institutions are for the purpose of taking care of the wrecks that
have been produced by greed and stinginess and meanness--that is
to say, by the ignorance of capital.

_Question_.  What effect has the protective tariff on the condition
of labor in this country?

_Answer_.  To the extent that the tariff keeps out the foreign
article it is a direct protection to American labor.  Everything
in this country is on a larger scale than in any other.  There is
far more generosity among the manufacturers and merchants and
millionaires and capitalists of the United States than among those
of any other country, although they are bad enough and mean enough

But the great thing for the laboring man in the United States is
that he is regarded as a man.  He is a unit of political power.
His vote counts just as much as that of the richest and most
powerful.  The laboring man has to be consulted.  The candidate
has either to be his friend or to pretend to be his friend, before
he can succeed.  A man running for the presidency could not say
the slightest word against the laboring man, or calculated to put
a stain upon industry, without destroying every possible chance of
success.  Generally, every candidate tries to show that he is a
laboring man, or that he was a laboring man, or that his father
was before him.  There is in this country very little of the spirit
of caste--the most infamous spirit that ever infested the heartless
breast of the brainless head of a human being.

_Question_.  What will be the effect on labor of a departure in
American policy in the direction of free trade?

_Answer_.  If free trade could be adopted to-morrow there would be
an instant shrinkage of values in this country.  Probably the
immediate loss would equal twenty billion dollars--that is to say,
one-third of the value of the country.  No one can tell its extent.
All thing are so interwoven that to destroy one industry cripples
another, and the influence keeps on until it touches the circumference
of human interests.

I believe that labor is a blessing.  It never was and never will
be a curse.  It is a blessed thing to labor for your wife and
children, for your father and mother, and for the ones you love.
It is a blessed thing to have an object in life--something to do--
something to call into play your best thoughts, to develop your
faculties and to make you a man.  How beautiful, how charming, are
the dreams of the young mechanic, the artist, the musician, the
actor and the student.  How perfectly stupid must be the life of
a young man with nothing to do, no ambition, no enthusiasm--that
is to say, nothing of the divine in him; the young man with an
object in life, of whose brain a great thought, a great dream has
taken possession, and in whose heart there is a great, throbbing
hope.  He looks forward to success--to wife, children, home--all
the blessings and sacred joys of human life.  He thinks of wealth
and fame and honor, and of a long, genial, golden, happy autumn.

Work gives the feeling of independence, of self-respect.  A man
who does something necessarily puts a value on himself.  He feels
that he is a part of the world's force.  The idler--no matter what
he says, no matter how scornfully he may look at the laborer--in
his very heart knows exactly what he is; he knows that he is a
counterfeit, a poor worthless imitation of a man.

But there is a vast difference between work and what I call "toil."
What must be the life of a man who can earn only one dollar or two
dollars a day?  If this man has a wife and a couple of children
how can the family live?  What must they eat?  What must they wear?
From the cradle to the coffin they are ignorant of any luxury of
life.  If the man is sick, if one of the children dies, how can
doctors and medicines be paid for?  How can the coffin or the grave
be purchased?  These people live on what might be called "the snow
line"--just at that point where trees end and the mosses begin.
What are such lives worth?  The wages of months would hardly pay
for the ordinary dinner of the family of a rich man.  The savings
of a whole life would not purchase one fashionable dress, or the
lace on it.  Such a man could not save enough during his whole life
to pay for the flowers of a fashionable funeral.

And yet how often hundreds of thousands of persons, who spend
thousands of dollars every year on luxuries, really wonder why the
laboring people should complain.  They are astonished when a car
driver objects to working fourteen hours a day.  Men give millions
of dollars to carry the gospel to the heathen, and leave their own
neighbors without bread; and these same people insist on closing
libraries and museums of art on Sunday, and yet Sunday is the only
day that these institutions can be visited by the poor.

They even want to stop the street cars so that these workers, these
men and women, cannot go to the parks or the fields on Sunday.
They want stages stopped on fashionable avenues so that the rich
may not be disturbed in their prayers and devotions.

The condition of the workingman, even in America, is bad enough.
If free trade will not reduce wages what will?  If manufactured
articles become cheaper the skilled laborers of America must work
cheaper or stop producing the articles.  Every one knows that most
of the value of a manufactured article comes from labor.  Think of
the difference between the value of a pound of cotton and a pound
of the finest cotton cloth; between a pound of flax and enough
point lace to weigh a pound; between a few ounces of paint, two or
three yards of canvas and a great picture; between a block of stone
and a statue!  Labor is the principal factor in price; when the
price falls wages must go down.

I do not claim that protection is for the benefit of any particular
class, but that it is for the benefit not only of that particular
class, but of the entire country.  In England the common laborer
expects to spend his old age in some workhouse.  He is cheered
through all his days of toil, through all his years of weariness,
by the prospect of dying a respectable pauper.  The women work as
hard as the men.  They toil in the iron mills.  They make nails,
they dig coal, they toil in the fields.

In Europe they carry the hod, they work like beasts and with beasts,
until they lose almost the semblance of human beings--until they
look inferior to the animals they drive.  On the labor of these
deformed mothers, of these bent and wrinkled girls, of little boys
with the faces of old age, the heartless nobility live in splendor
and extravagant idleness.  I am not now speaking of the French
people, as France is the most prosperous country in Europe.

Let us protect our mothers, our wives and our children from the
deformity of toil, from the depths of poverty.

_Question_.  Is not the ballot an assurance to the laboring man
that he can get fair treatment from his employer?

_Answer_.  The laboring man in this country has the political power,
provided he has the intelligence to know it and the intelligence
to use it.  In so far as laws can assist labor, the workingman has
it in his power to pass such laws; but in most foreign lands the
laboring man has really no voice.  It is enough for him to work
and wait and suffer and emigrate.  He can take refuge in the grave
or go to America.

In the old country, where people have been taught that all blessing
come from the king, it is very natural for the poor to believe the
other side of that proposition--that is to say, all evils come from
the king, from the government.  They are rocked in the cradle of
this falsehood.  So when they come to this country, if they are
unfortunate, it is natural for them to blame the Government.

The discussion of these questions, however, has already done great
good.  The workingman is becoming more and more intelligent.  He
is getting a better idea every day of the functions and powers and
limitations of government, and if the problem is ever worked out--
and by "problem" I mean the just and due relations that should
exist between labor and capital--it will be worked out here in

_Question_.  What assurance has the American laborer that he will
not be ultimately swamped by foreign immigration?

_Answer_.  Most of the immigrants that come to American come because
they want a home.  Nearly every one of them is what you may call
"land hungry."  In his country, to own a piece of land was to be
respectable, almost a nobleman.  The owner of a little land was
regarded as the founder of a family--what you might call a "village
dynasty."  When they leave their native shores for America, their
dream is to become a land owner--to have fields, to own trees, and
to listen to the music of their own brooks.

The moment they arrive the mass of them seek the West, where land
can be obtained.  The great Northwest now is being filled with
Scandinavian farmers, with persons from every part of Germany--in
fact from all foreign countries--and every year they are adding
millions of acres to the plowed fields of the Republic.  This land
hunger, this desire to own a home, to have a field, to have flocks
and herds, to sit under your own vine and fig tree, will prevent
foreign immigration from interfering to any hurtful degree with
the skilled workmen of America.  These land owners, these farmers,
become consumers of manufactured articles.  They keep the wheels
and spindles turning and the fires in the forges burning.

_Question_.  What do you think of Cleveland's message?

_Answer_.  Only the other day I read a speech made by the Hon.
William D. Kelley, of Pennsylvania, upon this subject, in which he
says in answer to what he calls "the puerile absurdity of President
Cleveland's assumption" that the duty is always added to the cost,
not only of imported commodities, but to the price of like commodities
produced in this country, "that the duties imposed by our Government
on sugar reduced to _ad valorem_ were never so high as now, and
the price of sugar was never in this country so low as it is now."
He also showed that this tax on sugar has made it possible for us
to produce sugar from other plants and he gives the facts in relation
to corn sugar.

We are now using annually nineteen million bushels of corn for the
purpose of making glucose or corn sugar.  He shows that in this
industry alone there has been a capital invested of eleven million
dollars; that seven hundred and thirty-two thousand acres of land
are required to furnish the supply, and that this one industry now
gives employment to about twenty-two thousand farmers, about five
thousand laborers in factories, and that the annual value of this
product of corn sugar is over seventeen million dollars.

He also shows what we may expect from the cultivation of the beet.
I advise every one to read that speech, so that they may have some
idea of the capabilities of this country, of the vast wealth asking
for development, of the countless avenues opened for ingenuity,
energy and intelligence.

_Question_.  Does the protective tariff cheapen the prices of
commodities to the laboring man?

_Answer_.  In this there are involved two questions.  If the tariff
is so low that the foreign article is imported, of course this
tariff is added to the cost and must be paid by the consumer; but
if the protective tariff is so high that the importer cannot pay
it, and as a consequence the article is produced in America, then
it depends largely upon competition whether the full amount of the
tariff will be added to the article.  As a rule, competition will
settle that question in America, and the article will be sold as
cheaply as the producers can afford.

For instance:  If there is a tariff, we will say of fifty cents on
a pair of shoes, and this tariff is so low that the foreign article
can afford to pay it, then that tariff, of course, must be paid by
the consumer.  But suppose the tariff was five dollars on a pair
of shoes--that is to say, absolutely prohibitory--does any man in
his senses say that five dollars would be added to each pair of
American shoes?  Of course, the statement is the answer.

I think it is the duty of the laboring man in this country, first,
thoroughly to post himself upon these great questions, to endeavor
to understand his own interest as well as the interest of his
country, and if he does, I believe he will arrive at the conclusion
that it is far better to have the country filled with manufacturers
than to be employed simply in the raising of raw material.  I think
he will come to the conclusion that we had better have skilled
labor here, and that it is better to pay for it than not to have
it.  I think he will find that it is better for America to be
substantially independent of the rest of the world.  I think he
will conclude that nothing is more desirable than the development
of American brain, and that nothing better can be raised than great
and splendid men and women.  I think he will conclude that the
cloud coming from the factories, from the great stacks and chimneys,
is the cloud on which will be seen, and always seen, the bow of
American promise.

_Question_.  What have you to say about tariff reform?

_Answer_.  I have this to say:  That the tariff is for the most
part the result of compromises--that is, one State wishing to have
something protected agrees to protect something else in some other
State, so that, as a matter of fact, many things are protected that
need no protection, and many things are unprotected that ought to
be cared for by the Government.

I am in favor of a sensible reform of the tariff--that is to say,
I do not wish to put it in the power of the few to practice extortion
upon the many.  Congress should always be wide awake, and whenever
there is any abuse it should be corrected.  At the same time, next
to having the tariff just--next in importance is to have it stable.
It does us great injury to have every dollar invested in manufactures
frightened every time Congress meets.  Capital should feel secure.
Insecurity calls for a higher interest, wants to make up for the
additional risk, whereas, when a dollar feels absolutely certain
that it is well invested, that it is not to be disturbed, it is
satisfied with a very low rate of interest.

The present agitation--the message of President Cleveland upon
these questions--will cost the country many hundred millions of

_Question_.  I see that some one has been charging that Judge
Gresham is an Infidel?

_Answer_.  I have known Judge Gresham for many years, and of course
have heard him talk upon many subjects, but I do not remember ever
discussing with him a religious topic.  I only know that he believes
in allowing every man to express his opinions, and that he does
not hate a man because he differs with him.  I believe that he
believes in intellectual hospitality, and that he would give all
churches equal rights, and would treat them all with the utmost
fairness.  I regard him as a fair-minded, intelligent and honest
man, and that is enough for me.  I am satisfied with the way he
acts, and care nothing about his particular creed.  I like a manly
man, whether he agrees with me or not.  I believe that President
Garfield was a minister of the Church of the Disciples--that made
no difference to me.  Mr. Blaine is a member of some church in
Augusta--I care nothing for that.  Whether Judge Gresham belongs
to any church, I do not know.  I never asked him, but I know he
does not agree with me by a large majority.

In this country, where a divorce has been granted between church
and state, the religious opinions of candidates should be let alone.
To make the inquiry is a piece of impertinence--a piece of impudence.
I have voted for men of all persuasions and expect to keep right
on, and if they are not civilized enough to give me the liberty
they ask for themselves, why I shall simply set them an example of

_Question_.  What do you think of the political outlook?

_Answer_.  The people of this country have a great deal of
intelligence.  Tariff and free trade and protection and home
manufactures and American industries--all these things will be
discussed in every schoolhouse of the country, and in thousands
and thousands of political meetings, and when next November comes
you will see the Democratic party overthrown and swept out of power
by a cyclone.  All other questions will be lost sight of.  Even
the Prohibitionists would rather drink beer in a prosperous country
than burst with cold water and hard times.

The preservation of what we have will be the great question.  This
is the richest country and the most prosperous country, and I
believe that the people have sense enough to continue the policy
that has given them those results.  I never want to see the
civilization of the Old World, or rather the barbarism of the Old
World, gain a footing on this continent.  I am an American.  I
believe in American ideas--that is to say, in equal rights, and in
the education and civilization of all the people.

--_New York Press_, June 3, 1888.


_Question_.  What do you think of the Democratic nominations?

_Answer_.  In the first place, I hope that this campaign is to be
fought on the issues involved, and not on the private characters
of the candidates.  All that they have done as politicians--all
measures that they have favored or opposed--these are the proper
subjects of criticism; in all other respects I think it better to
let the candidates alone.  I care but little about the private
character of Mr. Cleveland or of Mr. Thurman.  The real question
is, what do they stand for?  What policy do they advocate?  What
are the reasons for and against the adoption of the policy they

I do not regard Cleveland as personally popular.  He has done
nothing, so far as I know, calculated to endear him to the popular
heart.  He certainly is not a man of enthusiasm.  He has said
nothing of a striking or forcible character.  His messages are
exceedingly commonplace.  He is not a man of education, of wide
reading, of refined tastes, or of general cultivation.  He has some
firmness and a good deal of obstinacy, and he was exceedingly
fortunate in his marriage.

Four years ago he was distinctly opposed to a second term.  He was
then satisfied that no man should be elected President more than
once.  He was then fearful that a President might use his office,
his appointing power, to further his own ends instead of for the
good of the people.  He started, undoubtedly, with that idea in
his mind.  He was going to carry out the civil service doctrine to
the utmost.  But when he had been President a few months he was
exceedingly unpopular with his party.  The Democrats who elected
him had been out of office for twenty-five years.  During all those
years they had watched the Republicans sitting at the national
banquet.  Their appetites had grown keener and keener, and they
expected when the 4th of March, 1885, came that the Republicans
would be sent from the table and that they would be allowed to tuck
the napkins under their chins.  The moment Cleveland got at the
head of the table he told his hungry followers that there was
nothing for them, and he allowed the Republicans to go on as usual.

In a little while he began to hope for a second term, and gradually
the civil service notion faded from his mind.  He stuck to it long
enough to get the principal mugwump papers committed to him and to
his policy; long enough to draw their fire and to put them in a
place where they could not honorably retreat without making themselves
liable to the charge of having fought only for the loaves and
fishes.  As a matter of fact, no men were hungrier for office than
the gentlemen who had done so much for civil service reform.  They
were so earnest in the advocacy of that principle that they insisted
that only their followers should have place; but the real rank and
file, the men who had been Democrats through all the disastrous
years, and who had prayed and fasted, became utterly disgusted with
Mr. Cleveland's administration and they were not slow to express
their feelings.  Mr. Cleveland saw that he was in danger of being
left with no supporters, except a few who thought themselves too
respectable really to join the Democratic party.  So for the last
two years, and especially the last year, he turned his attention
to pacifying the real Democrats.  He is not the choice of the
Democratic party.  Although unanimously nominated, I doubt if he
was the unanimous choice of a single delegate.

Another very great mistake, I think, has been made by Mr. Cleveland.
He seems to have taken the greatest delight in vetoing pension
bills, and they seem to be about the only bills he has examined,
and he has examined them as a lawyer would examine the declaration,
brief or plea of his opponent.  He has sought for technicalities,
to the end that he might veto these bills.  By this course he has
lost the soldier vote, and there is no way by which he can regain
it.  Upon this point I regard the President as exceedingly weak.
He has shown about the same feeling toward the soldier now that he
did during the war.  He was not with them then either in mind or
body.  He is not with them now.  His sympathies are on the other
side.  He has taken occasion to show his contempt for the Democratic
party again and again.  This certainly will not add to his strength.
He has treated the old leaders with great arrogance.  He has cared
nothing for their advice, for their opinions, or for their feelings.

The principal vestige of monarchy or despotism in our Constitution
is the veto power, and this has been more liberally used by Mr.
Cleveland than by any other President.  This shows the nature of
the man and how narrow he is, and through what a small intellectual
aperture he views the world.  Nothing is farther from true democracy
than this perpetual application of the veto power.  As a matter of
fact, it should be abolished, and the utmost that a President should
be allowed to do, would be to return a bill with his objections,
and the bill should then become a law upon being passed by both
houses by a simple majority.  This would give the Executive the
opportunity of calling attention to the supposed defects, and
getting the judgment of Congress a second time.

I am perfectly satisfied that Mr. Cleveland is not popular with
his party.  The noise and confusion of the convention, the cheers
and cries, were all produced and manufactured for effect and for
the purpose of starting the campaign.

Now, as to Senator Thurman.  During the war he occupied substantially
the same position occupied by Mr. Cleveland.  He was opposed to
putting down the Rebellion by force, and as I remember it, he rather
justified the people of the South for going with their States.
Ohio was in favor of putting down the Rebellion, yet Mr. Thurman,
by some peculiar logic of his own, while he justified Southern
people for going into rebellion because they followed their States,
justified himself for not following his State.  His State was for
the Union.  His State was in favor of putting down rebellion.  His
State was in favor of destroying slavery.  Certainly, if a man is
bound to follow his State, he is equally bound when the State is
right.  It is hardly reasonable to say that a man is only bound to
follow his State when his State is wrong; yet this was really the
position of Senator Thurman.

I saw the other day that some gentlemen in this city had given as
a reason for thinking that Thurman would strengthen the ticket,
that he had always been right on the financial question.  Now, as
a matter of fact, he was always wrong.  When it was necessary for
the Government to issue greenbacks, he was a hard money man--he
believed in the mint drops--and if that policy had been carried
out, the Rebellion could not have been suppressed.  After the
suppression of the Rebellion, and when hundreds and hundreds of
millions of greenbacks were afloat, and the Republican party proposed
to redeem them in gold, and to go back--as it always intended to
do--to hard money--to a gold and silver basis--then Senator Thurman,
holding aloft the red bandanna, repudiated hard money, opposed
resumption, and came out for rag currency as being the best.  Let
him change his ideas--put those first that he had last--and you
might say that he was right on the currency question; but when the
country needed the greenback he was opposed to it, and when the
country was able to redeem the greenback, he was opposed to it.

It gives me pleasure to say that I regard Senator Thurman as a man
of ability, and I have no doubt that he was coaxed into his last
financial position by the Democratic party, by the necessities of
Ohio, and by the force and direction of the political wind.  No
matter how much respectability he adds to the ticket, I do not
believe that he will give any great strength.  In the first place,
he is an old man.  He has substantially finished his career.  Young
men cannot attach themselves to him, because he has no future.
His following is not an army of the young and ambitious--it is
rather a funeral procession.  Yet, notwithstanding this fact, he
will furnish most of the enthusiasm for this campaign--and that
will be done with his handkerchief.  The Democratic banner is
Thurman's red bandanna.  I do not believe that it will be possible
for the Democracy to carry Ohio by reason of Thurman's nomination,
and I think the failure to nominate Gray or some good man from that
State, will lose Indiana.  So, while I have nothing to say against
Senator Thurman, nothing against his integrity or his ability,
still, under the circumstances, I do not think his nomination a
strong one.

_Question_.  Do you think that the nominations have been well
received throughout the United States?

_Answer_.  Not as well as in England.  I see that all the Tory
papers regard the nominations as excellent--especially that of
Cleveland.  Every Englishman who wants Ireland turned into a
penitentiary, and every Irishman to be treated as a convict, is
delighted with the action of the St. Louis convention.  England
knows what she wants.  Her market is growing small.  A few years
ago she furnished manufactured articles to a vast portion of the
world.  Millions of her customers have become ingenious enough to
manufacture many things that they need, so the next thing England
did was to sell them the machinery.  Now they are beginning to make
their own machinery.  Consequently, English trade is falling off.
She must have new customers.  Nothing would so gratify her as to
have sixty millions of Americans buy her wares.  If she could see
our factories still and dead; if she could put out the fires of
our furnaces and forges; there would come to her the greatest
prosperity she has ever known.  She would fatten on our misfortunes
--grow rich and powerful and arrogant upon our poverty.  We would
become her servants.  We would raise the raw material with ignorant
labor and allow her children to reap all the profit of its manufacture,
and in the meantime to become intelligent and cultured while we
grew poor and ignorant.

The greatest blow that can be inflicted upon England is to keep
her manufactured articles out of the United States.  Sixty millions
of Americans buy and use more than five hundred millions of Asiatics
--buy and use more than all of China, all of India and all of
Africa.  One civilized man has a thousand times the wants of a
savage or of a semi-barbarian.  Most of the customers of England
want a few yards of calico, some cheap jewelry, a little powder,
a few knives and a few gallons of orthodox rum.

To-day the United States is the greatest market in the world.  The
commerce between the States is almost inconceivable in its immensity.
In order that you may have some idea of the commerce of this country,
it is only necessary to remember one fact.  We have railroads enough
engaged in this commerce to make six lines around the globe.  The
addition of a million Americans to our population gives us a better
market than a monopoly of ten millions of Asiatics.  England, with
her workhouses, with her labor that barely exists, wishes this
market, and wishes to destroy the manufactures of America, and she
expects Irish-Americans to assist her in this patriotic business.

Now, as to the enthusiasm in this country.  I fail to see it.  The
nominations have fallen flat.  It has been known for a long time
that Cleveland was to be nominated.  That has all been discounted,
and the nomination of Judge Thurman has been received in a quite
matter-of-fact way.  It may be that his enthusiasm was somewhat
dampened by what might be called the appearance above the horizon
of the morning star of this campaign--Oregon.  What a star to rise
over the work of the St. Louis convention!  What a prophecy for
Democrats to commence business with!  Oregon, with the free trade
issue, seven thousand to eight thousand Republican majority--the
largest ever given by that State--Oregon speaks for the Pacific

_Question_.  What do you think of the Democratic platform?

_Answer_.  Mr. Watterson was kind enough to say that before they
took the roof off of the house they were going to give the occupants
a chance to get out.  By the "house" I suppose he means the great
workshop of America.  By the "roof" he means protection; and by
the "occupants" the mechanics.  He is not going to turn them out
at once, or take the roof off in an instant, but this is to be done

In other words, they will remove it shingle by shingle or tile by
tile, until it becomes so leaky or so unsafe that the occupants--
that is to say, the mechanics, will leave the building.

The first thing in the platform is a reaffirmation of the platform
of 1884, and an unqualified endorsement of President Cleveland's
message on the tariff.  And if President Cleveland's message has
any meaning whatever, it means free trade--not instantly, it may
be--but that is the object and the end to be attained.  All his
reasoning, if reasoning it can be called, is in favor of absolute
free trade.  The issue is fairly made--shall American labor be
protected, or must the American laborer take his chances with the
labor market of the world?  Must he stand upon an exact par with
the laborers of Belgium and England and Germany, not only, but with
the slaves and serfs of other countries?  Must he be reduced to
the diet of the old country?  Is he to have meat on holidays and
a reasonably good dinner on Christmas, and live the rest of the
year on crusts, crumbs, scraps, skimmed milk, potatoes, turnips,
and a few greens that he can steal from the corners of fences?  Is
he to rely for meat, on poaching, and then is he to be transported
to some far colony for the crime of catching a rabbit?  Are our
workingmen to wear wooden shoes?

Now, understand me, I do not believe that the Democrats think that
free trade would result in disaster.  Their minds are so constituted
that they really believe that free trade would be a great blessing.
I am not calling in question their honesty.  I am simply disputing
the correctness of their theory.  It makes no difference, as a
matter of fact, whether they are honest or dishonest.  Free trade
established by honest people would be just as injurious as if
established by dishonest people.  So there is no necessity of
raising the question of intention.  Consequently, I admit that they
are doing the best they know now.  This is not admitting much, but
it is something, as it tends to take from the discussion all ill

We all know that the tariff protects special interests in particular
States.  Louisiana is not for free trade.  It may be for free trade
in everything except sugar.  It is willing that the rest of the
country should pay an additional cent or two a pound on sugar for
its benefit, and while receiving the benefit it does not wish to
bear its part of the burden.  If the other States protect the sugar
interests in Louisiana, certainly that State ought to be willing
to protect the wool interest in Ohio, the lead and hemp interest
in Missouri, the lead and wool interest in Colorado, the lumber
interest in Minnesota, the salt and lumber interest in Michigan,
the iron interest in Pennsylvania, and so I might go on with a list
of the States--because each one has something that it wishes to
have protected.

It sounds a little strange to hear a Democratic convention cry out
that the party "is in favor of the maintenance of an indissoluble
union of free and indestructible States."  Only a little while ago
the Democratic party regarded it as the height of tyranny to coerce
a free State.  Can it be said that a State is "free" that is
absolutely governed by the Nation?  Is a State free that can make
no treaty with any other State or country--that is not permitted
to coin money or to declare war?  Why should such a State be called
free?  The truth is that the States are not free in that sense.
The Republican party believes that this is a Nation and that the
national power is the highest, and that every citizen owes the
highest allegiance to the General Government and not to his State.
In other words, we are not Virginians or Mississippians or Delawareans
--we are Americans.  The great Republic is a free Nation, and the
States are but parts of that Nation.  The doctrine of State
Sovereignty was born of the institution of slavery.  In the history
of our country, whenever anything wrong was to be done, this doctrine
of State Sovereignty was appealed to.  It protected the slave-trade
until the year 1808.  It passed the Fugitive Slave Law.  It made
every citizen in the North a catcher of his fellow-man--made it
the duty of free people to enslave others.  This doctrine of State
Rights was appealed to for the purpose of polluting the Territories
with the institution of slavery.  To deprive a man of his liberty,
to put him back into slavery, State lines were instantly obliterated;
but whenever the Government wanted to protect one of its citizens
from outrage, then the State lines became impassable barriers, and
the sword of justice fell in twain across the line of a State.

People forget that the National Government is the creature of the
people.  The real sovereign is the people themselves.  Presidents
and congressmen and judges are the creatures of the people.  If we
had a governing class--if men were presidents or senators by virtue
of birth--then we might talk about the danger of centralization;
but if the people are sufficiently intelligent to govern themselves,
they will never create a government for the destruction of their
liberties, and they are just as able to protect their rights in
the General Government as they are in the States.  If you say that
the sovereignty of the State protects labor, you might as well say
that the sovereignty of the county protects labor in the State and
that the sovereignty of the town protects labor in the county.

Of all subjects in the world the Democratic party should avoid
speaking of "a critical period of our financial affairs, resulting
from over taxation."  How did taxation become necessary?  Who
created the vast debt that American labor must pay?  Who made this
taxation of thousands of millions necessary?  Why were the greenbacks
issued?  Why were the bonds sold?  Who brought about "a critical
period of our financial affairs"?  How has the Democratic party
"averted disaster"?  How could there be a disaster with a vast
surplus in the treasury?  Can you find in the graveyard of nations
this epitaph:  "Died of a Surplus"?  Has any nation ever been known
to perish because it had too much gold and too much silver, and
because its credit was better than that of any other nation on the
earth?  The Democrats seem to think--and it is greatly to their
credit--that they have prevented the destruction of the Government
when the treasury was full--when the vaults were overflowing.  What
would they have done had the vaults been empty?  Let them wrestle
with the question of poverty; let them then see how the Democratic
party would succeed.  When it is necessary to create credit, to
inspire confidence, not only in our own people, but in the nations
of the world--which of the parties is best adapted for the task?
The Democratic party congratulates itself that it has not been
ruined by a Republican surplus!  What good boys we are!  We have
not been able to throw away our legacy!

Is it not a little curious that the convention plumed itself on
having paid out more for pensions and bounties to the soldiers and
sailors of the Republic than was ever paid before during an equal
period?  It goes wild in its pretended enthusiasm for the President
who has vetoed more pension bills than all the other Presidents put

The platform informs us that "the Democratic party has adopted and
consistently pursued and affirmed a prudent foreign policy, preserving
peace with all nations."  Does it point with pride to the Mexican
fiasco, or does it rely entirely upon the great fishery triumph?
What has the administration done--what has it accomplished in the
field of diplomacy?

When we come to civil service, about how many Federal officials
were at the St. Louis convention?  About how many have taken part
in the recent nominations?  In other words, who has been idle?

We have recently been told that the wages of workingmen are just
as high in the old country as in this, when you take into consideration
the cost of living.  We have always been told by all the free trade
papers and orators, that the tariff has no bearing whatever upon
wages, and yet, the Democrats have not succeeded in convincing
themselves.  I find in their platform this language:  "A fair and
careful revision of our tax laws, with due allowance for the
difference between the wages of American and foreign labor, must
promote and encourage every branch of such industries and enterprises
by giving them the assurance of an extended market and steady and
continuous operations."

It would seem from this that the Democratic party admits that wages
are higher here than in foreign countries.  Certainly they do not
mean to say that they are lower.  If they are higher here than in
foreign countries, the question arises, why are they higher?  If
you took off the tariff, the presumption is that they would be as
low here as anywhere else, because this very Democratic convention
says:  "A fair and careful revision of our tax laws, with due
allowance for the difference between wages."  In other words, they
would keep tariff enough on to protect our workingmen from the low
wages of the foreigner--consequently, we have the admission of the
Democratic party that in order to keep wages in this country higher
than they are in Belgium, in Italy, in England and in Germany, we
must protect home labor.  Then follows the _non sequitur_, which
is a Democratic earmark.  They tell us that by keeping a tariff,
"making due allowance for the difference between wages, all the
industries and enterprises would be encouraged and promoted by
giving them the assurance of an extended market."  What does the
word "extended" mean?  If it means anything, it means a market in
other countries.  In other words, we will put the tariff so low
that the wages of American workingmen will be so low that he can
compete with the laborers of other countries; otherwise his market
could not be "extended."  What does this mean?  There is evidently
a lack of thought here.  The two things cannot be accomplished in
that way.  If the tariff raises American wages, the American cannot
compete in foreign markets with the men who work for half the price.
What may be the final result is another question.  American industry
properly protected, American genius properly fostered, may invent
ways and means--such wonderful machinery, such quick, inexpensive
processes, that in time American genius may produce at a less rate
than any other country, for the reason that the laborers of other
countries will not be as intelligent, will not be as independent,
will not have the same ambition.

Fine phrases will not deceive the people of this country.  The
American mechanic already has a market of sixty millions of people,
and, as I said before, the best market in the world.  This country
is now so rich, so prosperous, that it is the greatest market of
the earth, even for luxuries.  It is the best market for pictures,
for works of art.  It is the best market for music and song.  It
is the best market for dramatic genius, and it is the best market
for skilled labor, the best market for common labor, and in this
country the poor man to-day has the best chance--he can look forward
to becoming the proprietor of a home, of some land, to independence,
to respectability, and to an old age without want and without

The platform, except upon this question of free trade, means very
little.  There are other features in it which I have not at present
time to examine, but shall do so hereafter.  I want to take it up
point by point and find really what it means, what its scope is,
and what the intentions were of the gentlemen who made it.

But it may be proper to say here, that in my judgment it is a very
weak and flimsy document, as Victor Hugo would say, "badly cut and
badly sewed."

Of course, I know that the country will exist whatever party may
be in power.  I know that all our blessings do not come from laws,
or from the carrying into effect of certain policies, and probably
I could pay no greater compliment to any country than to say that
even eight years of Democratic rule cannot materially affect her

--_New York Press_, June 10, 1888.


_Question_.  What do you think of the signs of the times so far as
the campaign has progressed?

_Answer_.  The party is now going through a period of misrepresentation.
Every absurd meaning that can be given to any combination of words
will be given to every plank of the platform.  In the heat of
partisan hatred every plank will look warped and cracked.  A great
effort is being made to show that the Republican party is in favor
of intemperance,--that the great object now is to lessen the price
of all intoxicants and increase the cost of all the necessaries of
life.  The papers that are for nothing but reform of everything
and everybody except themselves, are doing their utmost to show
that the Republican party is the enemy of honesty and temperance.

The other day, at a Republican ratification meeting, I stated among
other things, that we could not make great men and great women
simply by keeping them out of temptation--that nobody would think
of tying the hands of a person behind them and then praise him for
not picking pockets; that great people were great enough to withstand
temptation, and in that connection I made this statement:  "Temperance
goes hand in hand with liberty"--the idea being that when a chain
is taken from the body an additional obligation is perceived by
the mind.  These good papers--the papers that believe in honest
politics--stated that I said:  "Temperance goes hand in hand with
liquor."  This was not only in the reports of the meeting, but this
passage was made the subject of several editorials.  It hardly
seems possible that any person really thought that such a statement
had been expressed.  The Republican party does not want free whiskey
--it wants free men; and a great many people in the Republican
party are great enough to know that temperance does go hand in hand
with liberty; they are great enough to know that all legislation
as to what we shall eat, as to what we shall drink, and as to
wherewithal we shall be clothed, partakes of the nature of petty,
irritating and annoying tyranny.  They also know that the natural
result is to fill a country with spies, hypocrites and pretenders,
and that when a law is not in accordance with an enlightened public
sentiment, it becomes either a dead letter, or, when a few fanatics
endeavor to enforce it, a demoralizer of courts, of juries and of

The attack upon the platform by temperance people is doing no harm,
for the reason that long before November comes these people will
see the mistake they have made.  It seems somewhat curious that
the Democrats should attack the platform if they really believe
that it means free whiskey.

The tax was levied during the war.  It was a war measure.  The
Government was _in extremis_, and for that reason was obliged to
obtain a revenue from every possible article of value.  The war is
over; the necessity has disappeared; consequently the Government
should return to the methods of peace.  We have too many Government
officials.  Let us get rid of collectors and gaugers and inspectors.
Let us do away with all this machinery, and leave the question to
be settled by the State.  If the temperance people themselves would
take a second thought, they would see that when the Government
collects eighty or ninety million dollars from a tax on whiskey,
the traffic becomes entrenched, it becomes one of the pillars of
the State, one of the great sources of revenue.  Let the States
attend to this question, and it will be a matter far easier to deal

The Prohibitionists are undoubtedly honest, and their object is to
destroy the traffic, to prevent the manufacture of whiskey.  Can
they do this as long as the Government collects ninety million
dollars per annum from that one source?  If there is anything
whatever in this argument, is it not that the traffic pays a bribe
of ninety million dollars a year for its life?  Will not the farmers
say to the temperance men:  "The distilleries pay the taxes, the
distilleries raise the price of corn; is it not better for the
General Government to look to another direction for its revenues
and leave the States to deal as they may see proper with this

With me, it makes no difference what is done with the liquor--
whether it is used in the arts or not--it is a question of policy.
There is no moral principle involved on our side of the question,
to say the least of it.  If it is a crime to make and sell intoxicating
liquors, the Government, by licensing persons to make and sell,
becomes a party to the crime.  If one man poisons another, no matter
how much the poison costs, the crime is the same; and if the person
from whom the poison was purchased knew how it was to be used, he
is also a murderer.

There have been many reformers in this world, and they have seemed
to imagine that people will do as they say.  They think that you
can use people as you do bricks or stones; that you can lay them
up in walls and they will remain where they are placed; but the
truth is, you cannot do this.  The bricks are not satisfied with
each other--they go away in the night--in the morning there is no
wall.  Most of these reformers go up what you might call the Mount
Sinai of their own egotism, and there, surrounded by the clouds of
their own ignorance, they meditate upon the follies and the frailties
of their fellow-men and then come down with ten commandments for
their neighbors.

All this talk about the Republican platform being in favor of
intemperance, so far as the Democratic party is concerned, is pure,
unadulterated hypocrisy--nothing more, nothing less.  So far as
the Prohibitionists are concerned, they may be perfectly honest,
but, if they will think a moment, they will see how perfectly
illogical they are.  No one can help sympathizing with any effort
honestly made to do away with the evil of intemperance.  I know
that many believe that these evils can be done away with by
legislation.  While I sympathize with the objects that these people
wish to attain, I do not believe in the means they suggest.  As
life becomes valuable, people will become temperate, because they
will take care of themselves.  Temperance is born of the countless
influences of civilization.  Character cannot be forced upon anybody;
it is a growth, the seeds of which are within.  Men cannot be forced
into real temperance any more than they can be frightened into real
morality.  You may frighten a man to that degree that he will not
do a certain thing, but you cannot scare him badly enough to prevent
his wanting to do that thing.  Reformation begins on the inside,
and the man refrains because he perceives that he ought to refrain,
not because his neighbors say that he ought to refrain.  No one
would think of praising convicts in jail for being regular at their
meals, or for not staying out nights; and it seems to me that when
the Prohibitionists--when the people who are really in favor of
temperance--look the ground all over they will see that it is far
better to support the Republican party than to throw their votes
away; and the Republicans will see that it is simply a proposition
to go back to the original methods of collecting revenue for the
Government--that it is simply abandoning the measures made necessary
by war, and that it is giving to the people the largest liberty
consistent with the needs of the Government, and that it is only
leaving these questions where in time of peace they properly belong
--to the States themselves.

_Question_.  Do you think that the Knights of Labor will cut any
material figure in this election?

_Answer_.  The Knights of Labor will probably occupy substantially
the same position as other laborers and other mechanics.  If they
clearly see that the policy advocated by the Republican party is
to their interest, that it will give them better wages than the
policy advocated by the Democrats, then they will undoubtedly
support our ticket.  There is more or less irritation between
employers and employed.  All men engaged in manufacturing and
neither good nor generous.  Many of them get work for as little as
possible, and sell its product for all they can get.  It is impossible
to adopt a policy that will not by such people be abused.  Many of
them would like to see the working man toil for twelve hours or
fourteen or sixteen in each day.  Many of them wonder why they need
sleep or food, and are perfectly astonished when they ask for pay.
In some instances, undoubtedly, the working men will vote against
their own interests simply to get even with such employers.

Some laboring men have been so robbed, so tyrannized over, that
they would be perfectly willing to feel for the pillars and take
a certain delight in a destruction that brought ruin even to
themselves.  Such manufacturers, however, I believe to be in a
minority, and the laboring men, under the policy of free trade,
would be far more in their power.  When wages fall below a certain
point, then comes degradation, loss of manhood, serfdom and slavery.
If any man has the right to vote for his own interests, certainly
the man who labors is that man, and every working man having in
his will a part of the sovereignty of this nation, having within
him a part of the lawmaking power, should have the intelligence
and courage to vote for his own interests; he should vote for good
wages; he should vote for a policy that would enable him to lay
something by for the winter of his life, that would enable him to
earn enough to educate his children, enough to give him a home and
a fireside.

He need not do this in anger or for revenge, but because it is
just, because it is right, and because the working people are in
a majority.  They ought to control the world, because they have
made the world what it is.  They have given everything there is of
value.  Labor plows every field, builds every house, fashions
everything of use, and when that labor is guided by intelligence
the world is prosperous.

He who thinks good thoughts is a laborer--one of the greatest.
The man who invented the reaper will be harvesting the fields for
thousands of years to come.  If labor is abused in this country
the laborers have it within their power to defend themselves.

All my sympathies are with the men who toil.  I shed very few tears
over bankers and millionaires and corporations--they can take care
of themselves.  My sympathies are with the man who has nothing to
sell but his strength; nothing to sell but his muscle and his
intelligence; who has no capital except that which his mother gave
him--a capital he must sell every day; my sympathies are with him;
and I want him to have a good market; and I want it so that he can
sell the work for more than enough to take care of him to-morrow.

I believe that no corporation should be allowed to exist except
for the benefit of the whole people.  The Government should always
act for the benefit of all, and when the Government gives a part
of its power to an aggregation of individuals, the accomplishment
of some public good should justify the giving of that power; and
whenever a corporation becomes subversive of the very end for which
it was created, the Government should put an end to its life.

So I believe that after these matters, these issues have been
discussed--when something is understood about the effect of a
tariff, the effect of protection, the laboring people of this
country will be on the side of the Republican party.  The Republican
party is always trying to do something--trying to take a step in
advance.  Persons who care for nothing except themselves--who wish
to make no effort except for themselves--are its natural enemies.

_Question_.  What do you think of Mr. Mills' Fourth of July speech
on his bill?

_Answer_.  Certain allowances should always be made for the Fourth
of July.  What Mr. Mills says with regard to free trade depends,
I imagine, largely on where he happens to be.  You remember the
old story about the _Moniteur_.  When Napoleon escaped from Elba
that paper said:  "The ogre has escaped."  And from that moment
the epithets grew a little less objectionable as Napoleon advanced,
and at last the _Moniteur_ cried out:  "The Emperor has reached
Paris."  I hardly believe that Mr. Mills would call his bill in
Texas a war tariff measure.  He might commence in New York with
that description, but as he went South that language, in my judgment,
would change, and when he struck the Brazos I think the bill would
be described as the nearest possible approach to free trade.

Mr. Mills takes the ground that if raw material comes here free of
duty, then we can manufacture that raw material and compete with
other countries in the markets of the world--that is to say, under
his bill.  Now, other countries can certainly get the raw material
as cheaply as we can, especially those countries in which the raw
material is raised; and if wages are less in other countries than
in ours, the raw material being the same, the product must cost
more with us than with them.  Consequently we cannot compete with
foreign countries simply by getting the raw material at the same
price; we must be able to manufacture it as cheaply as they, and
we can do that only by cutting down the wages of the American
workingmen.  Because, to have raw material at the same price as
other nations, is only a part of the problem.  The other part is
how cheaply can we manufacture it?  And that depends upon wages.
If wages are twenty-five cents a day, then we can compete with
those nations where wages are twenty-five cents a day; but if our
wages are five or six times as high, then the twenty-five cent
labor will supply the market.  There is no possible way of putting
ourselves on an equality with other countries in the markets of
the world, except by putting American labor on an equality with
the other labor of the world.  Consequently, we cannot obtain a
foreign market without lessening our wages.  No proposition can be
plainer than this.

It cannot be said too often that the real prosperity of a country
depends upon the well-being of those who labor.  That country is
not prosperous where a few are wealthy and have all the luxuries
that the imagination can suggest, and where the millions are in
want, clothed in rags, and housed in tenements not fit for wild
beasts.  The value of our property depends on the civilization of
our people.  If the people are happy and contented, if the workingman
receives good wages, then our houses and our farms are valuable.
If the people are discontented, if the workingmen are in want, then
our property depreciates from day to day, and national bankruptcy
will only be a question of time.

If Mr. Mills has given a true statement with regard to the measure
proposed by him, what relation does that measure bear to the
President's message?  What has it to do with the Democratic platform?
If Mr. Mills has made no mistake, the President wrote a message
substantially in favor of free trade.  The Democratic party ratified
and indorsed that message, and at the same time ratified and indorsed
the Mills bill.  Now, the message was for free trade, and the Mills
bill, according to Mr. Mills, is for the purpose of sustaining the
war tariff.  They have either got the wrong child or the wrong

_Question_.  I see that some people are objecting to your taking
any part in politics, on account of your religious opinion?

_Answer_.  The Democratic party has always been pious.  If it is
noted for anything it is for its extreme devotion.  You have no
idea how many Democrats wear out the toes of their shoes praying.
I suppose that in this country there ought to be an absolute divorce
between church and state and without any alimony being allowed to
the church; and I have always supposed that the Republican party
was perfectly willing that anybody should vote its ticket who
believed in its principles.  The party was not established, as I
understand it, in the interest of any particular denomination; it
was established to promote and preserve the freedom of the American
citizen everywhere.  Its first object was to prevent the spread of
human slavery; its second object was to put down the Rebellion and
preserve the Union; its third object was the utter destruction of
human slavery everywhere, and its fourth object is to preserve not
only the fruit of all that it has won, but to protect American
industry to the end that the Republic may not only be free, but
prosperous and happy.  In this great work all are invited to join,
no matter whether Catholics or Presbyterians or Methodists or
Infidels--believers or unbelievers.  The object is to have a majority
of the people of the United States in favor of human liberty, in
favor of justice and in favor of an intelligent American policy.

I am not what is called strictly orthodox, and yet I am liberal
enough to vote for a Presbyterian, and if a Presbyterian is not
liberal enough to stand by a Republican, no matter what his religious
opinions may be, then the Presbyterian is not as liberal as the
Republican party, and he is not as liberal as an unbeliever; in
other words, he is not a manly man.

I object to no man who is running for office on the ticket of my
party on account of his religious convictions.  I care nothing
about the church of which he is a member.  That is his business.
That is an individual matter--something with which the State has
no right to interfere--something with which no party can rightfully
have anything to do.  These great questions are left open to
discussion.  Every church must take its chance in the open field
of debate.  No belief has the right to draw the sword--no dogma
the right to resort to force.  The moment a church asks for the
help of the State, it confesses its weakness, it confesses its
inability to answer the arguments against it.

I believe in the absolute equality before the law, of all religions
and all metaphysical theories; and I would no more control those
things by law than I would endeavor to control the arts and the
sciences by legislation.  Man admires the beautiful, and what is
beautiful to one may not be to another, and this inequality or this
difference cannot be regulated by law.

The same is true of what is called religious belief.  I am willing
to give all others every right that I claim for myself, and if they
are not willing to give me the rights they claim for themselves,
they are not civilized.

No man acknowledges the truth of my opinions because he votes the
same ticket that I do, and I certainly do not acknowledge the
correctness of the opinions of others because I vote the Republican
ticket.  We are Republicans together.  Upon certain political
questions we agree, upon other questions we disagree--and that is
all.  Only religious people, who have made up their minds to vote
the Democratic ticket, will raise an objection of this kind, and
they will raise the objection simply as a pretence, simply for the
purpose of muddying the water while they escape.

Of course there may be some exceptions.  There are a great many
insane people out of asylums.  If the Republican party does not
stand for absolute intellectual liberty, it had better disband.
And why should we take so much pains to free the body, and then
enslave the mind?  I believe in giving liberty to both.  Give every
man the right to labor, and give him the right to reap the harvest
of his toil.  Give every man the right to think, and to reap the
harvest of his brain--that is to say, give him the right to express
his thoughts.

--_New York Press_, July 8, 1888.


_Question_.  I see that there has lately been published a long
account of the relations between Mr. Blaine and yourself, and the
reason given for your failure to support him for the nomination in
1884 and 1888?

_Answer_.  Every little while some donkey writes a long article
pretending to tell all that happened between Mr. Blaine and myself.
I have never seen any article on the subject that contained any
truth.  They are always the invention of the writer or of somebody
who told him.  The last account is more than usually idiotic.  An
unpleasant word has never passed between Mr. Blaine and myself.
We have never had any falling out.  I never asked Mr. Blaine's
influence for myself.  I never asked President Hayes or Garfield
or Arthur for any position whatever, and I have never asked Mr.
Cleveland for any appointment under the civil service.

With regard to the German Mission, about which so much has been
said, all that I ever did in regard to that was to call on Secretary
Evarts and inform him that there was no place in the gift of the
administration that I would accept.  I could not afford to throw
away a good many thousand dollars a year for the sake of an office.
So I say again that I never asked, or dreamed of asking, any such
favor of Mr. Blaine.  The favors have been exactly the other way--
from me, and not from him.  So there is not the slightest truth in
the charge that there was some difference between our families.

I have great respect for Mrs. Blaine, have always considered her
an extremely good and sensible woman; our relations have been of
the friendliest character, and such relations have always existed
between all the members of both families, so far as I know.  Nothing
could be more absurd that the charge that there was some feeling
growing out of our social relations.  We do not depend upon others
to help us socially; we need no help, and if we did we would not
accept it.  The whole story about there having been any lack of
politeness or kindness is without the slightest foundation.

In 1884 I did not think that Mr. Blaine could be elected.  I thought
the same at the Chicago convention this year.  I know that he has
a great number of ardent admirers and of exceedingly self-denying
and unselfish friends.  I believe that he has more friends than
any other man in the Republican party; but he also has very bitter
enemies--enemies with influence.  Taking this into consideration,
and believing that the success of the party was more important than
the success of any individual, I was in favor of nominating some
man who would poll the entire Republican vote.  This feeling did
not grow out of any hostility to any man, but simply out of a desire
for Republican success.  In other words, I endeavored to take an
unprejudiced view of the situation.  Under no circumstances would
I underrate the ability and influence of Mr. Blaine, nor would I
endeavor to deprecate the services he has rendered to the Republican
party and to the country.  But by this time it ought to be understood
that I belong to no man, that I am the proprietor of myself.

There are two kinds of people that I have no use for--leaders and
followers.  The leader should be principle; the leader should be
a great object to be accomplished.  The follower should be the man
dedicated to the accomplishment of a noble end.  He who simply
follows persons gains no honor and is incapable of giving honor
even to the one he follows.  There are certain things to be
accomplished and these things are the leaders.  We want in this
country an American system; we wish to carry into operation, into
practical effect, ideas, policies, theories in harmony with our

This is a great country filled with intelligent, industrious,
restless, ambitious people.  Millions came here because they were
dissatisfied with the laws, the institutions, the tyrannies, the
absurdities, the poverty, the wretchedness and the infamous spirit
of caste found in the Old World.  Millions of these people are
thinking for themselves, and only the people who can teach, who
can give new facts, who can illuminate, should be regarded as
political benefactors.  This country is, in my judgment, in all
that constitutes true greatness, the nearest civilized of any
country.  Only yesterday the German Empire robbed a woman of her
child; this was done as a political necessity.  Nothing is taken
into consideration except some move on the political chess-board.
The feelings of a mother are utterly disregarded; they are left
out of the question; they are not even passed upon.  They are
naturally ignored, because in these governments only the unnatural
is natural.

In our political life we have substantially outgrown the duel.
There are some small, insignificant people who still think it
important to defend a worthless reputation on the field of "honor,"
but for respectable members of the Senate, of the House, of the
Cabinet, to settle a political argument with pistols would render
them utterly contemptible in this country; that is to say, the
opinion that governs, that dominates in this country, holds the
duel in abhorrence and in contempt.  What could be more idiotic,
absurd, childish, than the duel between Boulanger and Floquet?
What was settled?  It needed no duel to convince the world that
Floquet is a man of courage.  The same may be said of Boulanger.
He has faced death upon many fields.  Why, then, resort to the
duel?  If Boulanger's wound proves fatal, that certainly does not
tend to prove that Floquet told the truth, and if Boulanger recovers,
it does not tend to prove that he did not tell the truth.

Nothing is settled.  Two men controlled by vanity, that individual
vanity born of national vanity, try to kill each other; the public
ready to reward the victor; the cause of the quarrel utterly ignored;
the hands of the public ready to applaud the successful swordsman
--and yet France is called a civilized nation.  No matter how
serious the political situation may be, no matter if everything
depends upon one man, that man is at the mercy of anyone in opposition
who may see fit to challenge him.  The greatest general at the head
of their armies may be forced to fight a duel with a nobody.  Such
ideas, such a system, keeps a nation in peril and makes every cause,
to a greater or less extent, depend upon the sword or the bullet
of a criminal.

--_The Press_, New York, July 16, 1888.


_Question_.  What, in your opinion, is the significance of the vote
on the Mills Bill recently passed in the House?  In this I find
there were one hundred and sixty-two for it, and one hundred and
forty-nine against it; of these, two Republicans voted for, and
five Democrats against.

_Answer_.  In the first place, I think it somewhat doubtful whether
the bill could have been passed if Mr. Randall had been well.  His
sickness had much to do with this vote.  Had he been present to
have taken care of his side, to have kept his forces in hand, he,
in my judgment, taking into consideration his wonderful knowledge
of parliamentary tactics, would have defeated this bill.

It is somewhat hard to get the average Democrat, in the absence of
his leader, to throw away the prospect of patronage.  Most members
of Congress have to pay tolerably strict attention to their political
fences.  The President, although clinging with great tenacity to
the phrase "civil service," has in all probability pulled every
string he could reach for the purpose of compelling the Democratic
members not only to stand in line, but to answer promptly to their
names.  Every Democrat who has shown independence has been stepped
on just to the extent he could be reached; but many members, had
the leader been on the floor--and a leader like Randall--would have
followed him.

There are very few congressional districts in the United States not
intensely Democratic where the people want nothing protected.
There are a few districts where nothing grows except ancient
politics, where they cultivate only the memory of what never ought
to have been, where the subject of protection has not yet reached.

The impudence requisite to pass the Mills Bill is something
phenomenal.  Think of the Representatives from Louisiana saying to
the ranchmen of the West and to the farmers of Ohio that wool must
be on the free list, but that for the sake of preserving the sugar
interest of Louisiana and a little portion of Texas, all the rest
of the United States must pay tribute.

Everybody admits that Louisiana is not very well adapted by nature
for raising sugar, for the reason that the cane has to be planted
every year, and every third year the frost puts in an appearance
just a little before the sugar.  Now, while I think personally that
the tariff on sugar has stimulated the inventive genius of the
country to find other ways of producing that which is universally
needed; and while I believe that it will not be long until we shall
produce every pound of sugar that we consume, and produce it cheaper
than we buy it now, I am satisfied that in time and at no distant
day sugar will be made in this country extremely cheap, not only
from beets, but from sorghum and corn, and it may be from other
products.  At the same time this is no excuse for Louisiana, neither
is it any excuse for South Carolina asking for a tariff on rice,
and at the same time wishing to leave some other industry in the
United States, in which many more millions have been invested,
absolutely without protection.

Understand, I am not opposed to a reasonable tariff on rice, provided
it is shown that we can raise rice in this country cheaply and at
a profit to such an extent as finally to become substantially
independent of the rest of the world.  What I object to is the
impudence of the gentleman who is raising the rice objecting to
the protection of some other industry of far greater importance
than his.

After all, the whole thing must be a compromise.  We must act
together for the common good.  If we wish to make something at the
expense of another State we must allow that State to make something
at our expense, or at least we must be able to show that while it
is for our benefit it is also for the benefit of the country at
large.  Everybody is entitled to have his own way up to the point
that his way interferes with somebody else.  States are like
individuals--their rights are relative--they are subordinated to
the good of the whole country.

For many years it has been the American policy to do all that
reasonably could be done to foster American industry, to give scope
to American ingenuity and a field for American enterprise--in other
words, a future for the United States.

The Southern States were always in favor of something like free
trade.  They wanted to raise cotton for Great Britain--raw material
for other countries.  At that time their labor was slave labor,
and they could not hope ever to have skilled labor, because skilled
labor cannot be enslaved.  The Southern people knew at that time
that if a man was taught enough of mathematics to understand
machinery, to run locomotives, to weave cloth; it he was taught
enough of chemistry even to color calico, it would be impossible
to keep him a slave.  Education always was and always will be an
abolitionist.  The South advocated a system of harmony with slavery,
in harmony with ignorance--that is to say, a system of free trade,
under which it might raise its raw material.  It could not hope to
manufacture, because by making its labor intelligent enough to
manufacture it would lose it.

In the North, men are working for themselves, and as I have often
said, they were getting their hands and heads in partnership.
Every little stream that went singing to the sea was made to turn
a thousand wheels; the water became a spinner and a weaver; the
water became a blacksmith and ran a trip hammer; the water was
doing the work of millions of men.  In other words, the free people
of the North were doing what free people have always done, going
into partnership with the forces of nature.  Free people want good
tools, shapely, well made--tools with which the most work can be
done with the least strain.

Suppose the South had been in favor of protection; suppose that
all over the Southern country there had been workshops, factories,
machines of every kind; suppose that her people had been as ingenious
as the people of the North; suppose that her hands had been as deft
as those that had been accustomed to skilled labor; then one of
two things would have happened; either the South would have been
too intelligent to withdraw from the Union, or, having withdrawn,
it would have had the power to maintain its position.  My opinion
is that is would have been too intelligent to withdraw.

When the South seceded it had no factories.  The people of the
South had ability, but it was not trained in the direction then
necessary.  They could not arm and equip their men; they could not
make their clothes; they could not provide them with guns, with
cannon, with ammunition, and with the countless implements of
destruction.  They had not the ingenuity; they had not the means;
they could not make cars to carry their troops, or locomotives to
draw them; they had not in their armies the men to build bridges
or to supply the needed transportation.  They had nothing but cotton
--that is to say, raw material.  So that you might say that the
Rebellion has settled the question as to whether a country is better
off and more prosperous, and more powerful, and more ready for war,
that is filled with industries, or one that depends simply upon
the production of raw material.

There is another thing in this connection that should never be
forgotten--at least, not until after the election in November, and
then if forgotten, should be remembered at every subsequent election
--and that is, that the Southern Confederacy had in its Constitution
the doctrine of free trade.  Among other things it was fighting
for free trade.  As a matter of fact, John C. Calhoun was fighting
for free trade; the nullification business was in the interest of
free trade.

The Southern people are endeavoring simply to accomplish, with the
aid of New York, what they failed to accomplish on the field.  The
South is as "solid" to-day as in 1863.  It is now for free trade,
and it purposes to carry the day by the aid of one or two Northern
States.  History is repeating itself.  It was the same for many
years, up to the election of Abraham Lincoln.

Understand me, I do not blame the South for acting in accordance
with its convictions, but the North ought not to be misled.  The
North ought to understand what the issue is.  The South has a
different idea of government--it is afraid of what it calls
"centralization"--it is extremely sensitive about what are called
"State Rights" or the sovereignty of the State.  But the North
believes in a Union that is united.  The North does not expect to
have any interest antagonistic to the Union.  The North has no
mental reservation.  The North believes in the Government and in
the Federal system, and the North believes that when a State is
admitted into the Union it becomes a part--an integral part--of
the Nation; that there was a welding, that the State, so far as
sovereignty is concerned, is lost in the Union, and that the people
of that State become citizens of the whole country.

_Question_.  I see that by the vote two of the five Democrats who
voted for protection, and one of the two Republicans who voted for
free trade, were New Yorkers.  What do you think is the significance
of this fact in relation to the question as to whether New York
will join the South in the opposition to the industries of the

_Answer_.  In the city of New York there are a vast number of men
--importers, dealers in foreign articles, representatives of foreign
houses, of foreign interests, of foreign ideas.  Of course most of
these people are in favor of free trade.  They regard New York as
a good market; beyond that they have not the slightest interest in
the United States.  They are in favor of anything that will give
them a large profit, or that will allow them to do the same business
with less capital, or that will do them any good without the
slightest regard as to what the effect may be on this country as
a nation.  They come from all countries, and they expect to remain
here until their fortunes are made or lost and all their ideas are
moulded by their own interests.  Then, there are a great many
natives who are merchants in New York and who deal in foreign goods,
and they probably think--some of them--that it would be to their
interest to have free trade, and they will probably vote according
to the ledger.  With them it is a question of bookkeeping.  Their
greed is too great to appreciate the fact that to impoverish
customers destroys trade.

At the same time, New York, being one of the greatest manufacturing
States of the world, will be for protection, and the Democrats of
New York who voted for protection did so, not only because the
believed in it themselves, but because their constituents believe
in it, and the Republicans who voted the other way must have
represented some district where the foreign influence controls.

The people of this State will protect their own industries.

_Question_.  What will be the fate of the Mills Bill in the Senate?

_Answer_.  I think that unless the Senate has a bill prepared
embodying Republican ideals, a committee should be appointed, not
simply to examine the Mills Bill, but to get the opinions and the
ideas of the most intelligent manufacturers and mechanics in this
country.  Let the questions be thoroughly discussed, and let the
information thus obtained be given to the people; let it be published
from day to day; let the laboring man have his say, let the
manufacturer give his opinion; let the representatives of the
principal industries be heard, so that we may vote intelligently,
so that the people may know what they are doing.

A great many industries have been attacked.  Let them defend
themselves.  Public property should not be taken for Democratic
use without due process of law.

Certainly it is not the business of a Republican Senate to pull
the donkey of the Democrats out of the pit; the dug the pit, and
we have lost no donkey.

I do not think the Senate called upon to fix up this Mills Bill,
to rectify its most glaring mistakes, and then for the sake of
saving a little, give up a great deal.  What we have got is safe
until the Democrats have the power to pass a bill.  We can protect
our rights by not passing their bills.  In other words, we do not
wish to practice any great self-denial simply for the purpose of
insuring Democratic success.  If the bill is sent back to the House,
no matter in what form, if it still has the name "Mills Bill" I
think the Democrats will vote for it simply to get out of their
trouble.  They will have the President's message left.

But I do hope that the Senate will investigate this business.  It
is hardly fair to ask the Senate to take decided and final action
upon this bill in the last days of the session.  There is no time
to consider it unless it is instantly defeated.  This would probably
be a safe course, and yet, by accident, there may be some good
things in this bill that ought to be preserved, and certainly the
Democratic party ought to regard it as a compliment to keep it long
enough to read it.

The interests involved are great--there are the commercial and
industrial interests of sixty millions of people.  These questions
touch the prosperity of the Republic.  Every person under the flag
has a direct interest in the solution of these questions.  The end
that is now arrived at, the policy now adopted, may and probably
will last for many years.  One can hardly overestimate the immensity
of the interests at stake.  A man dealing with his own affairs
should take time to consider; he should give himself the benefit
of his best judgment.  When acting for others he should do no less.
The Senators represent, or should represent, not only their own
views, but above these things they represent the material interests
of their constituents, of their States, and to this trust they must
be true, and in order to be true, they must understand the material
interests of their States, and in order to be faithful, they must
understand how the proposed changes in the tariff will affect these
interests.  This cannot be done in a moment.

In my judgment, the best way is for the Senate, through the proper
committee, to hear testimony, to hear the views of intelligent men,
of interested men, of prejudiced men--that is to say, they should
look at the question from all sides.

_Question_.  The Senate is almost tied; do you think that any
Republicans are likely to vote in the interest of the President's
policy at this session?

_Answer_.  Of course I cannot pretend to answer that question from
any special knowledge, or on any information that others are not
in possession of.  My idea is simply this:  That a majority of the
Senators are opposed to the President's policy.  A majority of the
Senate will, in my judgment, sustain the Republican policy; that
is to say, they will stand by the American system.  A majority of
the Senate, I think, know that it will be impossible for us to
compete in the markets of the world with those nations in which
labor is far cheaper than it is in the United States, and that when
you make the raw material just the same, you have not overcome the
difference in labor, and until this is overcome we cannot successfully
compete in the markets of the world with those countries where
labor is cheaper.  And there are only two ways to overcome this
difficulty--either the price of labor must go up in the other
countries or must go down in this.  I do not believe that a majority
of the Senate can be induced to vote for a policy that will decrease
the wages of American workingmen.

There is this curious thing:  The President started out blowing
the trumpet of free trade.  It gave, as the Democrats used to say,
"no uncertain sound."  He blew with all his might.  Messrs. Morrison,
Carlisle, Mills and many others joined the band.  When the Mills
Bill was introduced it was heralded as the legitimate offspring of
the President's message.  When the Democratic convention at St.
Louis met, the declaration was made that the President's message,
the Mills Bill, the Democratic platform of 1884 and the Democratic
platform of 1888, were all the same--all segments of one circle;
in fact, they were like modern locomotives--"all the parts
interchangeable."  As soon as the Republican convention met, made
its platform and named its candidates, it is not free trade, but
freer trade; and now Mr. Mills, in the last speech that he was
permitted to make in favor of his bill, endeavored to show that it
was a high protective tariff measure.

This is what lawyers call "a departure in pleading."  That is to
say, it is a case that ought to be beaten on demurrer.

--_New York Press_, July 29, 1888.


[* Col. Robert G. Ingersoll was greatly interested in securing for
Chiara Cignarale a commutation of the death sentence to imprisonment
for life.  In view of the fact that the great Agnostic has made a
close study of capital punishment, a reporter for the _World_ called
upon him a day or two ago for an interview touching modern reformatory
measures and the punishment of criminals.  Speaking generally on the
subject Colonel Ingersoll said:  ]

I suppose that society--that is to say, a state or a nation--has
the right of self-defence.  It is impossible to maintain society--
that is to say, to protect the rights of individuals in life, in
property, in reputation, and in the various pursuits known as trades
and professions, without in some way taking care of those who
violate these rights.  The principal object of all government should
be to protect those in the right from those in the wrong.  There
are a vast number of people who need to be protected who are unable,
by reason of the defects in their minds and by the countless
circumstances that enter into the question of making a living, to
protect themselves.  Among the barbarians there was, comparatively
speaking, but little difference.  A living was made by fishing and
hunting.  These arts were simple and easily learned.  The principal
difference in barbarians consisted in physical strength and courage.
As a consequence, there were comparatively few failures.  Most men
were on an equality.  Now that we are somewhat civilized, life has
become wonderfully complex.  There are hundreds of arts, trades,
and professions, and in every one of these there is great

Besides all this, something is needed every moment.  Civilized man
has less credit than the barbarian.  There is something by which
everything can be paid for, including the smallest services.
Everybody demands payment, and he who fails to pay is a failure.
Owing to the competition, owing to the complexity of modern life,
owing to the thousand things that must be known in order to succeed
in any direction, on either side of the great highway that is called
Progress, are innumerable wrecks.  As a rule, failure in some honest
direction, or at least in some useful employment, is the dawn of
crime.  People who are prosperous, people who by reasonable labor
can make a reasonable living, who, having a little leisure can lay
in a little for the winter that comes to all, are honest.

As a rule, reasonable prosperity is virtuous.  I don't say great
prosperity, because it is very hard for the average man to withstand
extremes.  When people fail under this law, or rather this fact,
of the survival of the fittest, they endeavor to do by some illegal
way that which they failed to do in accordance with law.  Persons
driven from the highway take to the fields, and endeavor to reach
their end or object in some shorter way, by some quicker path,
regardless of its being right or wrong.

I have said this much to show that I regard criminals as unfortunates.
Most people regard those who violate the law with hatred.  They do
not take into consideration the circumstances.  They do not believe
that man is perpetually acted upon.  They throw out of consideration
the effect of poverty, of necessity, and above all, of opportunity.
For these reasons they regard criminals with feelings of revenge.
They wish to see them punished.  They want them imprisoned or
hanged.  They do not think the law has been vindicated unless
somebody has been outraged.  I look at these things from an entirely
different point of view.  I regard these people who are in the
clutches of the law not only as unfortunates, but, for the most
part, as victims.  You may call them victims of nature, or of
nations, or of governments; it makes no difference, they are victims.
Under the same circumstances the very persons who punish them would
be punished.  But whether the criminal is a victim or not, the
honest man, the industrious man, has the right to defend the product
of his labor.  He who sows and plows should be allowed to reap,
and he who endeavors to take from him his harvest is what we call
a criminal; and it is the business of society to protect the honest
from the dishonest.

Without taking into account whether the man is or is not responsible,
still society has the right of self-defence.  Whether that right
of self-defence goes to the extent of taking life, depends, I
imagine, upon the circumstances in which society finds itself
placed.  A thousand men on a ship form a society.  If a few men
should enter into a plot for the destruction of the ship, or for
turning it over to pirates, or for poisoning and plundering the
most of the passengers--if the passengers found this out certainly
they would have the right of self-defence.  They might not have
the means to confine the conspirators with safety.  Under such
circumstances it might be perfectly proper for them to destroy
their lives and to throw their worthless bodies into the sea.  But
what society has the right to do depends upon the circumstances.
Now, in my judgment, society has the right to do two things--to
protect itself and to do what it can to reform the individual.
Society has no right to take revenge; no right to torture a convict;
no right to do wrong because some individual has done wrong.  I am
opposed to all corporal punishment in penitentiaries.  I am opposed
to anything that degrades a criminal or leaves upon him an unnecessary
stain, or puts upon him any stain that he did not put upon himself.

Most people defend capital punishment on the ground that the man
ought to be killed because he has killed another.  The only real
ground for killing him, even if that be good, is not that he has
killed, but that he may kill.  What he has done simply gives evidence
of what he may do, and to prevent what he may do, instead of to
revenge what he has done, should be the reason given.

Now, there is another view.  To what extent does it harden the
community for the Government to take life?  Don't people reason in
this way:  That man ought to be killed; the Government, under the
same circumstances, would kill him, therefore I will kill him?
Does not the Government feed the mob spirit--the lynch spirit?
Does not the mob follow the example set by the Government?  The
Government certainly cannot say that it hangs a man for the purpose
of reforming him.  Its feelings toward that man are only feelings
of revenge and hatred.  These are the same feelings that animate
the lowest and basest mob.

Let me give you an example.  In the city of Bloomington, in the
State of Illinois, a man confined in the jail, in his efforts to
escape, shot and, I believe, killed the jailer.  He was pursued,
recaptured, brought back and hanged by a mob.  The man who put the
rope around his neck was then under indictment for an assault to
kill and was out on bail, and after the poor wretch was hanged
another man climbed the tree and, in a kind of derision, put a
piece of cigar between the lips of the dead man.  The man who did
this had also been indicted for a penitentiary offence and was then
out on bail.

I mention this simply to show the kind of people you find in mobs.
Now, if the Government had a greater and nobler thought; if the
Government said:  "We will reform; we will not destroy; but if the
man is beyond reformation we will simply put him where he can do
no more harm," then, in my judgment, the effect would be far better.
My own opinion is, that the effect of an execution is bad upon the
community--degrading and debasing.  The effect is to cheapen human
life; and, although a man is hanged because he has taken human
life, the very fact that his life is taken by the Government tends
to do away with the idea that human life is sacred.

Let me give you an illustration.  A man in the city of Washington
went to Alexandria, Va., for the purpose of seeing a man hanged
who had murdered an old man and a woman for the purpose of getting
their money.  On his return from that execution he came through
what is called the Smithsonian grounds.  This was on the same day,
late in the evening.  There he met a peddler, whom he proceeded to
murder for his money.  He was arrested in a few hours, in a little
while was tried and convicted, and in a little while was hanged.
And another man, present at this second execution, went home on
that same day, and, in passing by a butcher-shop near his house,
went in, took from the shop a cleaver, went into his house and
chopped his wife's head off.

This, I say, throws a little light upon the effect of public
executions.  In the Cignarale case, of course the sentence should
have been commuted.  I think, however, that she ought not to be
imprisoned for life.  From what I read of the testimony I think
she should have been pardoned.

It is hard, I suppose, for a man fully to understand and enter into
the feelings of a wife who has been trampled upon, abused, bruised,
and blackened by the man she loved--by the man who made to her the
vows of eternal affection.  The woman, as a rule, is so weak, so
helpless.  Of course, it does not all happen in a moment.  It comes
on as the night comes.  She notices that he does not act quite as
affectionately as he formerly did.  Day after day, month after
month, she feels that she is entering a twilight.  But she hopes
that she is mistaken, and that the light will come again.  The
gloom deepens, and at last she is in midnight--a midnight without
a star.  And this man, whom she once worshiped, is now her enemy--
one who delights to trample upon every sentiment she has--who
delights in humiliating her, and who is guilty of a thousand nameless
tyrannies.  Under these circumstances, it is hardly right to hold
that woman accountable for what she does.  It has always seemed to
me strange that a woman so circumstanced--in such fear that she
dare not even tell her trouble--in such fear that she dare not even
run away--dare not tell a father or a mother, for fear that she
will be killed--I say, that in view of all this, it has always
seemed strange to me that so few husbands have been poisoned.

The probability is that society raises its own criminals.  It plows
the land, sows the seed, and harvests the crop.  I believe that
the shadow of the gibbet will not always fall upon the earth.  I
believe the time will come when we shall know too much to raise
criminals--know too much to crowd those that labor into the dens
and dungeons that we call tenements, while the idle live in palaces.
The time will come when men will know that real progress means the
enfranchisement of the whole human race, and that our interests
are so united, so interwoven, that the few cannot be happy while
the many suffer; so that the many cannot be happy while the few
suffer; so that none can be happy while one suffers.  In other
words, it will be found that the human race is interested in each
individual.  When that time comes we will stop producing criminals;
we will stop producing failures; we will not leave the next generation
to chance; we will not regard the gutter as a proper nursery for

People imagine that if the thieves are sent to the penitentiary,
that is the last of the thieves; that if those who kill others are
hanged, society is on a safe and enduring basis.  But the trouble
is here:  A man comes to your front door and you drive him away.
You have an idea that that man's case is settled.  You are mistaken.
He goes to the back door.  He is again driven away.  But the case
is not settled.  The next thing you know he enters at night.  He
is a burglar.  He is caught; he is convicted; he is sent to the
penitentiary, and you imagine that the case is settled.  But it is
not.  You must remember that you have to keep all the agencies
alive for the purpose of taking care of these people.  You have to
build and maintain your penitentiaries, your courts of justice;
you have to pay your judges, your district attorneys, your juries,
you witnesses, your detectives, your police--all these people must
be paid.  So that, after all, it is a very expensive way of settling
this question.  You could have done it far more cheaply had you
found this burglar when he was a child; had you taken his father
and mother from the tenement house, or had you compelled the owners
to keep the tenement clean; or if you had widened the streets, if
you had planted a few trees, if you had had plenty of baths, if
you had had a school in the neighborhood.  If you had taken some
interest in this family--some interest in this child--instead of
breaking into houses, he might have been a builder of houses.

There is, and it cannot be said too often, no reforming influence
in punishment; no reforming power in revenge.  Only the best of
men should be in charge of penitentiaries; only the noblest minds
and the tenderest hearts should have the care of criminals.
Criminals should see from the first moment that they enter a
penitentiary that it is filled with the air of kindness, full of
the light of hope.  The object should be to convince every criminal
that he has made a mistake; that he has taken the wrong way; that
the right way is the easy way, and that the path of crime never
did and never can lead to happiness; that that idea is a mistake,
and that the Government wishes to convince him that he has made a
mistake; wishes to open his intellectual eyes; wishes so to educate
him, so to elevate him, that he will look back upon what he has
done, only with horror.  This is reformation.  Punishment is not.
When the convict is taken to Sing Sing or to Auburn, and when a
striped suit of clothes is put upon him--that is to say, when he
is made to feel the degradation of his position--no step has been
taken toward reformation.  You have simply filled his heart with
hatred.  Then, when he has been abused for several years, treated
like a wild beast, and finally turned out again in the community,
he has no thought, in a majority of cases, except to "get even"
with those who have persecuted him.  He feels that it is a

_Question_.  Do you think that men are naturally criminals and
naturally virtuous?

_Answer_.  I think that man does all that he does naturally--that
is to say, a certain man does a certain act under certain circumstances,
and he does this naturally.  For instance, a man sees a five dollar
bill, and he knows that he can take it without being seen.  Five
dollars is no temptation to him.  Under the circumstances it is
not natural that he should take it.  The same man sees five million
dollars, and feels that he can get possession of it without detection.
If he takes it, then under the circumstances, that was natural to
him.  And yet I believe there are men above all price, and that no
amount of temptation or glory or fame could mislead them.  Still,
whatever man does, is or was natural to him.

Another view of the subject is this:  I have read that out of fifty
criminals who had been executed it was found, I believe, in nearly
all the cases, that the shape of the skull was abnormal.  Whether
this is true or not, I don't know; but that some men have a tendency
toward what we call crime, I believe.  Where this has been ascertained,
then, it seems to me, such men should be placed where they cannot
multiply their kind.  Women who have a criminal tendency should be
placed where they cannot increase their kind.  For hardened criminals
--that is to say, for the people who make crime a business--it
would probably be better to separate the sexes; to send the men to
one island, the women to another.  Let them be kept apart, to the
end that people with criminal tendencies may fade from the earth.
This is not prompted by revenge.  This would not be done for the
purpose of punishing these people, but for the protection of society
--for the peace and happiness of the future.

My own belief is that the system in vogue now in regard to the
treatment of criminals in many States produces more crime than it
prevents.  Take, for instance, the Southern States.  There is hardly
a chapter in the history of the world the reading of which could
produce greater indignation than the history of the convict system
in many of the Southern States.  These convicts are hired out for
the purpose of building railways, or plowing fields, or digging
coal, and in some instances the death-rate has been over twelve
per cent. a month.  The evidence shows that no respect was paid to
the sexes--men and women were chained together indiscriminately.
The evidence also shows that for the slightest offences they were
shot down like beasts.  They were pursued by hounds, and their
flesh was torn from their bones.

So in some of the Northern prisons they have what they call the
weighing machine--an infamous thing, and he who uses it commits as
great a crime as the convict he punishes could have committed.
All these things are degrading, debasing, and demoralizing.  There
is no need of any such punishment in any penitentiary.  Let the
punishment be of such kind that the convict is responsible himself.
For instance, if the convict refuses to obey a reasonable rule he
can be put into a cell.  He can be fed when he obeys the rule.

If he goes hungry it is his own fault.  It depends upon himself to
say when he shall eat.  Or he may be placed in such a position that
if he does not work--if he does not pump--the water will rise and
drown him.  If the water does rise it is his fault.  Nobody pours
it upon him.  He takes his choice.

These are suggested as desperate cases, but I can imagine no case
where what is called corporal punishment should be inflicted, and
the reason I am against it is this:  I am opposed to any punishment
that cannot be inflicted by a gentleman.  I am opposed to any
punishment the infliction of which tends to harden and debase the
man who inflicts it.  I am for no laws that have to be carried out
by human curs.

Take, for instance, the whipping-post.  Nothing can be more degrading.
The man who applies the lash is necessarily a cruel and vulgar man,
and the oftener he applies it the more and more debased he will
become.  The whole thing can be stated in the one sentence:  I am
opposed to any punishment that cannot be inflicted by a gentleman,
and by "gentleman" I mean a self-respecting, honest, generous man.

_Question_.  What do you think of the efficacy or the propriety of
punishing criminals by solitary confinement?

_Answer_.  Solitary confinement is a species of torture.  I am
opposed to all torture.  I think the criminal should not be punished.
He should be reformed, if he is capable of reformation.  But,
whatever is done, it should not be done as a punishment.  Society
should be too noble, too generous, to harbor a thought of revenge.
Society should not punish, it should protect itself only.  It should
endeavor to reform the individual.  Now, solitary confinement does
not, I imagine, tend to the reformation of the individual.  Neither
can the person in that position do good to any human being.  The
prisoner will be altogether happier when his mind is engaged, when
his hands are busy, when he has something to do.  This keeps alive
what we call cheerfulness.  And let me say a word on this point.

I don't believe that the State ought to steal the labor of a convict.
Here is a man who has a family.  He is sent to the penitentiary.
He works from morning till night.  Now, in my judgment, he ought
to be paid for the labor over and above what it costs to keep him.
That money should be sent to his family.  That money should be
subject, at least, to his direction.  If he is a single man, when
he comes out of the penitentiary he should be given his earnings,
and all his earnings, so that he would not have the feeling that
he had been robbed.  A statement should be given to him to show what
it had cost to keep him and how much his labor had brought and the
balance remaining in his favor.  With this little balance he could
go out into the world with something like independence.  This little
balance would be a foundation for his honesty--a foundation for a
resolution on his part to be a man.  But now each one goes out with
the feeling that he has not only been punished for the crime which
he committed, but that he has been robbed of the results of his
labor while there.

The idea is simply preposterous that the people sent to the
penitentiary should live in idleness.  They should have the benefit
of their labor, and if you give them the benefit of their labor
they will turn out as good work as if they were out of the
penitentiary.  They will have the same reason to do their best.
Consequently, poor articles, poorly constructed things, would not
come into competition with good articles made by free people outside
of the walls.

Now many mechanics are complaining because work done in the
penitentiaries is brought into competition with their work.  But
the only reason that convict work is cheaper is because the poor
wretch who does it is robbed.  The only reason that the work is
poor is because the man who does it has no interest in its being
good. If he had the profit of his own labor he would do the best
that was in him, and the consequence would be that the wares
manufactured in the prisons would be as good as those manufactured
elsewhere.  For instance, we will say here are three or four men
working together.  They are all free men.  One commits a crime and
he is sent to the penitentiary.  Is it possible that his companions
would object to his being paid for honest work in the penitentiary?

And let me say right here, all labor is honest.  Whoever makes a
useful thing, the labor is honest, no matter whether the work is
done in a penitentiary or in a palace; in a hovel or the open field.
Wherever work is done for the good of others, it is honest work.
If the laboring men would stop and think, they would know that they
support everybody.  Labor pays all the taxes.  Labor supports all
the penitentiaries.  Labor pays the warden.  Labor pays everything,
and if the convicts are allowed to live in idleness labor must pay
their board.  Every cent of tax is borne by the back of labor.  No
matter whether your tariff is put on champagne and diamonds, it
has to be paid by the men and women who work--those who plow in
the fields, who wash and iron, who stand by the forge, who run the
cars and work in the mines, and by those who battle with the waves
of the sea.  Labor pays every bill.

There is one little thing to which I wish to call the attention of
all who happen to read this interview, and that is this:  Undoubtedly
you think of all criminals with horror and when you hear about them
you are, in all probability, filled with virtuous indignation.
But, first of all, I want you to think of what you have in fact
done.  Secondly, I want you to think of what you have wanted to
do.  Thirdly, I want you to reflect whether you were prevented from
doing what you wanted to do by fear or by lack of opportunity.
Then perhaps you will have more charity.

_Question_.  What do you think of the new legislation in the State
changing the death penalty to death by electricity?

_Answer_.  If death by electricity is less painful than hanging,
then the law, so far as that goes, is good.  There is not the
slightest propriety in inflicting upon the person executed one
single unnecessary pang, because that partakes of the nature of
revenge--that is to say, of hatred--and, as a consequence, the
State shows the same spirit that the criminal was animated by when
he took the life of his neighbor.  If the death penalty is to be
inflicted, let it be done in the most humane way.  For my part, I
should like to see the criminal removed, if he must be removed,
with the same care and with the same mercy that you would perform
a surgical operation.  Why inflict pain?  Who wants it inflicted?
What good can it, by any possibility, do?  To inflict unnecessary
pain hardens him who inflicts it, hardens each among those who
witness it, and tends to demoralize the community.

_Question_.  Is it not the fact that punishments have grown less
and less severe for many years past?

_Answer_.  In the old times punishment was the only means of
reformation.  If anybody did wrong, punish him.  If people still
continued to commit the same offence, increase the punishment; and
that went on until in what they call "civilized countries" they
hanged people, provided they stole the value of one shilling.  But
larceny kept right on.  There was no diminution.  So, for treason,
barbarous punishments were inflicted.  Those guilty of that offence
were torn asunder by horses; their entrails were cut out of them
while they were yet living and thrown into their faces; their bodies
were quartered and their heads were set on pikes above the gates
of the city.  Yet there was a hundred times more treason then than
now.  Every time a man was executed and mutilated and tortured in
this way the seeds of other treason were sown.

So in the church there was the same idea.  No reformation but by
punishment.  Of course in this world the punishment stopped when
the poor wretch was dead.  It was found that that punishment did
not reform, so the church said:  "After death it will go right on,
getting worse and worse, forever and forever."  Finally it was
found that this did not tend to the reformation of mankind.  Slowly
the fires of hell have been dying out.  The climate has been changing
from year to year.  Men have lost confidence in the power of the
thumbscrew, the fagot, and the rack here, and they are losing
confidence in the flames of perdition hereafter.  In other words,
it is simply a question of civilization.

When men become civilized in matters of thought, they will know
that every human being has the right to think for himself, and the
right to express his honest thought.  Then the world of thought
will be free.  At that time they will be intelligent enough to know
that men have different thoughts, that their ways are not alike,
because they have lived under different circumstances, and in that
time they will also know that men act as they are acted upon.  And
it is my belief that the time will come when men will no more think
of punishing a man because he has committed the crime of larceny
than they will think of punishing a man because he has the consumption.
In the first case they will endeavor to reform him, and in the
second case they will endeavor to cure him.

The intelligent people of the world, many of them, are endeavoring
to find out the great facts in Nature that control the dispositions
of men.  So other intelligent people are endeavoring to ascertain
the facts and conditions that govern what we call health, and what
we call disease, and the object of these people is finally to
produce a race without disease of flesh and without disease of
mind.  These people look forward to the time when there need to be
neither hospitals nor penitentiaries.

--_New York World_, August 5, 1888.


_Question_.  Col. Robert G. Ingersoll, the great Agnostic, has
always been an ardent defender of the sanctity of the home and of
the marriage relation.  Apropos of the horrible account of a man's
tearing out the eyes of his wife at Far Rockaway last week, Colonel
Ingersoll was asked what recourse a woman had under such

_Answer_.  I read the account, and I don't remember of ever having
read anything more perfectly horrible and cruel.  It is impossible
for me to imagine such a monster, or to account for such an inhuman
human being.  How a man could deprive a human being of sight, except
where some religious question is involved, is beyond my comprehension.
We know that for many centuries frightful punishments were inflicted,
and inflicted by the pious, by the theologians, by the spiritual
minded, and by those who "loved their neighbors as themselves."
We read the accounts of how the lids of men's eyes were cut off
and then the poor victims tied where the sum would shine upon their
lifeless orbs; of others who were buried alive; of others staked
out on the sands of the sea, to be drowned by the rising tide; of
others put in sacks filled with snakes.  Yet these things appeared
far away, and we flattered ourselves that, to a great degree, the
world had outgrown these atrocities; and now, here, near the close
of the nineteenth century, we find a man--a husband--cruel enough
to put out the eyes of the woman he swore to love, protect and
cherish.  This man has probably been taught that there is forgiveness
for every crime, and now imagines that when he repents there will
be more joy in heaven over him than over ninety and nine good and
loving husbands who have treated their wives in the best possible
manner, and who, instead of tearing out their eyes, have filled
their lives with content and covered their faces with kisses.

_Question_.  You told me, last week, in a general way, what society
should do with the husband in such a case as that.  I would like
to ask you to-day, what you think society ought to do with the wife
in such a case, or what ought the wife to be permitted to do for

_Answer_.  When we take into consideration the crime of the man
who blinded his wife, it is impossible not to think of the right
of divorce.  Many people insist that marriage is an indissoluble
tie; that nothing can break it, and that nothing can release either
party from the bond.  Now, take this case at Far Rockaway.  One
year ago the husband tore out one of his wife's eyes.  Had she then
good cause for divorce?  Is it possible that an infinitely wise
and good God would insist on this poor, helpless woman remaining
with the wild beast, her husband?  Can anyone imagine that such a
course would add to the joy of Paradise, or even tend to keep one
harp in tune?  Can the good of society require the woman to remain?
She did remain, and the result is that the other eye has been torn
from its socket by the hands of the husband.  Is she entitled to
a divorce now?  And if she is granted one, is virtue in danger,
and shall we lose the high ideal of home life?  Can anything be
more infamous than to endeavor to make a woman, under such
circumstances, remain with such a man?  It may be said that she
should leave him--that they should live separate and apart.  That
is to say, that this woman should be deprived of a home; that she
should not be entitled to the love of man; that she should remain,
for the rest of her days, worse than a widow.  That is to say, a
wife, hiding, keeping out of the way, secreting herself from the
hyena to whom she was married.  Nothing, in my judgment, can exceed
the heartlessness of a law or of a creed that would compel this
woman to remain the wife of this monster.  And it is not only cruel,
but it is immoral, low, vulgar.

The ground has been taken that woman would lose her dignity if
marriages were dissoluble.  Is it necessary to lose your freedom
in order to retain your character, in order to be womanly or manly?
Must a woman in order to retain her womanhood become a slave, a
serf, with a wild beast for a master, or with society for a master,
or with a phantom for a master?  Has not the married woman the
right of self-defence?  Is it not the duty of society to protect
her from her husband?  If she owes no duty to her husband; if it
is impossible for her to feel toward him any thrill of affection,
what is there of marriage left?  What part of the contract remains
in force?  She is not to live with him, because she abhors him.
She is not to remain in the same house with him, for fear he may
kill her.  What, then, are their relations?  Do they sustain any
relation except that of hunter and hunted--that is, of tyrant and
victim?  And is it desirable that this relation should be rendered
sacred by a church?  Is it desirable to have families raised under
such circumstances?  Are we really in need of the children born of
such parents?  If the woman is not in fault, does society insist
that her life should be wrecked?  Can the virtue of others be
preserved only by the destruction of her happiness, and by what
might be called her perpetual imprisonment?  I hope the clergy who
believe in the sacredness of marriage--in the indissolubility of
the marriage tie--will give their opinions on this case.  I believe
that marriage is the most important contract that human beings can
make.  I always believe that a man will keep his contract; that a
woman, in the highest sense, will keep hers,  But suppose the man
does not.  Is the woman still bound?

Is there no mutuality?  What is a contract?  It is where one party
promises to do something in consideration that the other party will
do something.  That is to say, there is a consideration on both
sides, moving from one to the other.  A contract without consideration
is null and void; and a contract duly entered into, where the
consideration of one party is withheld, is voidable, and can be
voided by the party who has kept, or who is willing to keep, the
contract.  A marriage without love is bad enough.  But what can we
say of a marriage where the parties hate each other?  Is there any
morality in this--any virtue?  Will any decent person say that a
woman, true, good and loving, should be compelled to live with a
man she detests, compelled to be the mother of his children?  Is
there a woman in the world who would not shrink from this herself?
And is there a woman so heartless and so immoral that she would
force another to bear what she would shudderingly avoid?  Let us
bring these questions home.  In other words, let us have some sense,
some feeling, some heart--and just a little brain.  Marriages are
made by men and women.  They are not made by the State, and they
are not made by the gods.  By this time people should learn that
human happiness is the foundation of virtue--the foundation of
morality.  Nothing is moral that does not tend to the well-being
of sentient beings.  Nothing is virtuous the result of which is
not a human good.  The world has always been living for phantoms,
for ghosts, for monsters begotten by ignorance and fear.  The world
should learn to live for itself.  Man should, by this time, be
convinced that all the reasons for doing right, and all the reasons
for doing wrong, are right here in this world--all within the
horizon of this life.  And besides, we should have imagination to
put ourselves in the place of another.  Let a man suppose himself
a helpless wife, beaten by a brute who believes in the indissolubility
of marriage.  Would he want a divorce?

I suppose that very few people have any adequate idea of the
sufferings of women and children; of the number of wives who tremble
when they hear the footsteps of a returning husband; of the number
of children who hide when they hear the voice of a father.  Very
few people know the number of blows that fall on the flesh of the
helpless every day.  Few know the nights of terror passed by mothers
holding young children at their breasts.  Compared with this, the
hardships of poverty, borne by those who love each other, are
nothing.  Men and women, truly married, bear the sufferings of
poverty.  They console each other; their affection gives to the
heart of each perpetual sunshine.  But think of the others!  I have
said a thousand times that the home is the unit of good government.
When we have kind fathers and loving mothers, then we shall have
civilized nations, and not until then.  Civilization commences at
the hearthstone.  When intelligence rocks the cradle--when the
house is filled with philosophy and kindness--you will see a world
a peace.  Justice will sit in the courts, wisdom in the legislative
halls, and over all, like the dome of heaven, will be the spirit
of Liberty!

_Question_.  What is your idea with regard to divorce?

_Answer_.  My idea is this:  As I said before, marriage is the most
sacred contract--the most important contract--that human beings can
make.  As a rule, the woman dowers the husband with her youth--with
all she has.  From this contract the husband should never be released
unless the wife has broken a condition; that is to say, has failed
to fulfill the contract of marriage.  On the other hand, the woman
should be allowed a divorce for the asking.  This should be granted
in public, precisely as the marriage should be in public.  Every
marriage should be known.  There should be witnesses, to the end
that the character of the contract entered into should be understood;
and as all marriage records should be kept, so the divorce should
be open, public and known.  The property should be divided by a
court of equity, under certain regulations of law.  If there are
children, they should be provided for through the property and the
parents.  People should understand that men and women are not
virtuous by law.  They should comprehend the fact that law does
not create virtue--that law is not the foundation, the fountain,
of love.  They should understand that love is in the human heart,
and that real love is virtuous.  People who love each other will
be true to each other.  The death of love is the commencement of
vice.  Besides this, there is a public opinion that has great
weight.  When that public opinion is right, it does a vast amount
of good, and when wrong, a great amount of harm.  People marry, or
should marry, because it increases the happiness of each and all.
But where the marriage turns out to have been a mistake, and where
the result is misery, and not happiness, the quicker they are
divorced the better, not only for themselves, but for the community
at large.  These arguments are generally answered by some donkey
braying about free love, and by "free love" he means a condition
of society in which there is no love.  The persons who make this
cry are, in all probability, incapable of the sentiment, of the
feeling, known as love.  They judge others by themselves, and they
imagine that without law there would be no restraint.

What do they say of natural modesty?  Do they forget that people
have a choice?  Do they not understand something of the human heart,
and that true love has always been as pure as the morning star?
Do they believe that by forcing people to remain together who
despise each other they are adding to the purity of the marriage
relation?  Do they not know that all marriage is an outward act,
testifying to that which has happened in the heart?  Still, I always
believe that words are wasted on such people.  It is useless to
talk to anybody about music who is unable to distinguish one tune
from another.  It is useless to argue with a man who regards his
wife as his property, and it is hardly worth while to suggest
anything to a gentleman who imagines that society is so constructed
that it really requires, for the protection of itself, that the
lives of good and noble women should be wrecked,  I am a believer
in the virtue of women, in the honesty of man.  The average woman
is virtuous; the average man is honest, and the history of the
world shows it.  If it were not so, society would be impossible.
I don't mean by this that most men are perfect, but what I mean is
this:  That there is far more good than evil in the average human
being, and that the natural tendency of most people is toward the
good and toward the right.  And I most passionately deny that the
good of society demands that any good person should suffer.  I do
not regard government as a Juggernaut, the wheels of which must,
of necessity, roll over and crush the virtuous, the self-denying
and the good.  My doctrine is the exact opposite of what is known
as free love.  I believe in the marriage of true minds and of true
hearts.  But I believe that thousands of people are married who do
not love each other.  That is the misfortune of our century.  Other
things are taken into consideration--position, wealth, title and
the thousand things that have nothing to do with real affection.
Where men and women truly love each other, that love, in my judgment,
lasts as long as life.  The greatest line that I know of in the
poetry of the world is in the 116th sonnet of Shakespeare:  "Love
is not love which alters when it alteration finds."

_Question_.  Why do you make such a distinction between the rights
of man and the rights of women?

_Answer_.  The woman has, as her capital, her youth, her beauty.
We will say that she is married at twenty or twenty-five.  In a
few years she has lost her beauty.  During these years the man, so
far as capacity to make money is concerned--to do something--has
grown better and better.  That is to say, his chances have improved;
hers have diminished.  She has dowered him with the Spring of her
life, and as her life advances her chances decrease.  Consequently,
I would give her the advantage, and I would not compel her to remain
with him against her will.  It seems to me far worse to be a wife
upon compulsion than to be a husband upon compulsion.  Besides
this, I have a feeling of infinite tenderness toward mothers.  The
woman that bears children certainly should not be compelled to live
with a man whom she despises.  The suffering is enough when the
father of the child is to her the one man of all the world.  Many
people who have a mechanical apparatus in their breasts that assists
in the circulation of what they call blood, regard these views as
sentimental.  But when you take sentiment out of the world nothing
is left worth living for, and when you get sentiment out of the
heart it is nothing more or less than a pump, an old piece of rubber
that has acquired the habit of contracting and dilating.  But I
have this consolation:  The people that do not agree with me are
those that do not understand me.

--_New York World_, 1888.


_Question_.  Colonel, what is your opinion of Secularism?  Do you
regard it as a religion?

_Answer_.  I understand that the word Secularism embraces everything
that is of any real interest or value to the human race.  I take
it for granted that everybody will admit that well-being is the
only good; that is to say, that it is impossible to conceive of
anything of real value that does not tend either to preserve or to
increase the happiness of some sentient being.  Secularism, therefore,
covers the entire territory.  It fills the circumference of human
knowledge and of human effort.  It is, you may say, the religion
of this world; but if there is another world, it is necessarily
the religion of that, as well.

Man finds himself in this world naked and hungry.  He needs food,
raiment, shelter.  He finds himself filled with almost innumerable
wants.  To gratify these wants is the principal business of life.
To gratify them without interfering with other people is the course
pursued by all honest men.

Secularism teaches us to be good here and now.  I know nothing
better than goodness.  Secularism teaches us to be just here and
now.  It is impossible to be juster than just.

Man can be as just in this world as in any other, and justice must
be the same in all worlds.  Secularism teaches a man to be generous,
and generosity is certainly as good here as it can be anywhere
else. Secularism teaches a man to be charitable, and certainly
charity is as beautiful in this world and in this short life as it
could be were man immortal.

But orthodox people insist that there is something higher than
Secularism; but, as a matter of fact, the mind of man can conceive
of nothing better, nothing higher, nothing more spiritual, than
goodness, justice, generosity, charity.  Neither has the mind of
men been capable of finding a nobler incentive to action than human
love.  Secularism has to do with every possible relation.  It says
to the young man and to the young woman:  "Don't marry unless you
can take care of yourselves and your children."  It says to the
parents:  "Live for your children; put forth every effort to the
end that your children may know more than you--that they may be
better and grander than you."  It says:  "You have no right to
bring children into the world that you are not able to educate and
feed and clothe."  It says to those who have diseases that can be
transmitted to children:  "Do not marry; do not become parents; do
not perpetuate suffering, deformity, agony, imbecility, insanity,
poverty, wretchedness."

Secularism tells all children to do the best they can for their
parents--to discharge every duty and every obligation.  It defines
the relation that should exist between husband and wife; between
parent and child; between the citizen and the Nation.  And not only
that, but between nations.

Secularism is a religion that is to be used everywhere, and at all
times--that is to be taught everywhere and practiced at all times.
It is not a religion that is so dangerous that it must be kept out
of the schools; it is not a religion that is so dangerous that it
must be kept out of politics.  It belongs in the schools; it belongs
at the polls.  It is the business of Secularism to teach every
child; to teach every voter.  It is its business to discuss all
political problems, and to decide all questions that affect the
rights or the happiness of a human being.

Orthodox religion is a firebrand; it must be kept out of the schools;
it must be kept out of politics.  All the churches unite in saying
that orthodox religion is not for every day use.  The Catholics
object to any Protestant religion being taught to children.
Protestants object to any Catholic religion being taught to
children.  But the Secularist wants his religion taught to all;
and his religion can produce no feeling, for the reason that it
consists of facts--of truths.  And all of it is important; important
for the child, important for the parent, important for the politician
--for the President--for all in power; important to every legislator,
to every professional man, to every laborer and every farmer--that
is to say, to every human being.

The great benefit of Secularism is that is appeals to the reason
of every man.  It asks every man to think for himself.  It does
not threaten punishment if a man thinks, but it offers a reward,
for fear that he will not think.  It does not say, "You will be
damned in another world if you think."  But it says, "You will be
damned in this world if you do not think."

Secularism preserves the manhood and the womanhood of all.  It says
to each human being:  "Stand upon your own feet.  Count one!
Examine for yourself.  Investigate, observe, think.  Express your
opinion.  Stand by your judgment, unless you are convinced you are
wrong, and when you are convinced, you can maintain and preserve
your manhood or womanhood only by admitting that you were wrong."

It is impossible that the whole world should agree on one creed.
It may be impossible that any two human beings can agree exactly
in religious belief.  Secularism teaches that each one must take
care of himself, that the first duty of man is to himself, to the
end that he may be not only useful to himself, but to others.  He
who fails to take care of himself becomes a burden; the first duty
of man is not to be a burden.

Every Secularist can give a reason for his creed.  First of all,
he believes in work--taking care of himself.  He believes in the
cultivation of the intellect, to the end that he may take advantage
of the forces of nature--to the end that he may be clothed and fed
and sheltered.

He also believes in giving to every other human being every right
that he claims for himself.  He does not depend on prayer.  He has
no confidence in ghosts or phantoms.  He knows nothing of another
world, and knows just as little of a First Cause.  But what little
he does know, he endeavors to use, and to use for the benefit of
himself and others.

He knows that he sustains certain relations to other sentient
beings, and he endeavors to add to the aggregate of human joy.  He
is his own church, his own priest, his own clergyman and his own
pope.  He decides for himself; in other words, he is a free man.

He also has a Bible, and this Bible embraces all the good and true
things that have been written, no matter by whom, or in what
language, or in what time.  He accepts everything that he believes
to be true, and rejects all that he thinks is false.  He knows that
nothing is added to the probability of an event, because there has
been an account of it written and printed.

All that has been said that is true is part of his Bible.  Every
splendid and noble thought, every good word, every kind action--
all these you will find in his Bible.  And, in addition to these,
all that is absolutely known--that has been demonstrated--belongs
to the Secularist.  All the inventions, machines--everything that
has been of assistance to the human race--belongs to his religion.
The Secularist is in possession of everything that man has.  He is
deprived only of that which man never had.  The orthodox world
believes in ghosts and phantoms, in dreams and prayers, in miracles
and monstrosities; that is to say, in modern theology.  But these
things do not exist, or if they do exist, it is impossible for a
human being to ascertain the fact.  Secularism has no "castles in
Spain."  It has no glorified fog.  It depends upon realities, upon
demonstrations; and its end and aim is to make this world better
every day--to do away with poverty and crime, and to cover the
world with happy and contended homes.

Let me say, right here, that a few years ago the Secular Hall at
Leicester, England, was opened by a speech from George Jacob
Holyoake, entitled, "Secularism as a Religion."  I have never read
anything better on the subject of Secularism than this address.
It is so clear and so manly that I do not see how any human being
can read it without becoming convinced, and almost enraptured.

Let me quote a few lies from this address:--

"The mind of man would die if it were not for Thought, and were
Thought suppressed, God would rule over a world of idiots.

"Nature feeds Thought, day and night, with a million hands.

"To think is a duty, because it is a man's duty not to be a fool.

"If man does not think himself, he is an intellectual pauper, living
upon the truth acquired by others, and making no contribution
himself in return.  He has no ideas but such as he obtains by 'out-
door relief,' and he goes about the world with a charity mind.

"The more thinkers there are in the world, the more truth there is
in the world.

"Progress can only walk in the footsteps of Conviction.

"Coercion in thought is not progress, it reduces to ignominious
pulp the backbone of the mind.

"By Religion I mean the simple creed of deed and duty, by which a
man seeks his own welfare in his own way, with an honest and fair
regard to the welfare and ways of others.

"In these thinking and practical days, men demand a religion of
daily life, which stands on a business footing."

I think nothing could be much better than the following, which
shows the exact relation that orthodox religion sustains to the
actual wants of human beings:

"The Churches administer a system of Foreign Affairs.

"Secularism dwells in a land of its own.  It dwells in a land of

"In the Kingdom of Thought there is no conquest over man, but over
foolishness only."

I will not quote more, but hope all who read this will read the
address of Mr. Holyoake, who has, in my judgment, defined Secularism
with the greatest possible clearness.

_Question_.  What, in your opinion, are the best possible means to
spread this gospel or religion of Secularism?

_Answer_.  This can only be done by the cultivation of the mind--
only through intelligence--because we are fighting only the monsters
of the mind.  The phantoms whom we are endeavoring to destroy do
not exist; they are all imaginary.  They live in that undeveloped
or unexplored part of the mind that belongs to barbarism.

I have sometimes thought that a certain portion of the mind is
cultivated so that it rises above the surrounding faculties and is
like some peak that has lifted itself above the clouds, while all
the valleys below are dark or dim with mist and cloud.  It is in
this valley-region, amid these mists, beneath these clouds, that
these monsters and phantoms are born.  And there they will remain
until the mind sheds light--until the brain is developed.

One exceedingly important thing is to teach man that his mind has
limitations; that there are walls that he cannot scale--that he
cannot pierce, that he cannot dig under.  When a man finds the
limitations of his own mind, he knows that other people's minds
have limitations.  He, instead of believing what the priest says,
he asks the priest questions.  In a few moments he finds that the
priest has been drawing on his imagination for what is beyond the
wall.  Consequently he finds that the priest knows no more than
he, and it is impossible that he should know more than he.

An ignorant man has not the slightest suspicion of what a superior
man may do.  Consequently, he is liable to become the victim of
the intelligent and cunning.  A man wholly unacquainted with
chemistry, after having been shown a few wonders, is ready to
believe anything.  But a chemist who knows something of the
limitations of that science--who knows what chemists have done and
who knows the nature of things--cannot be imposed upon.  When no
one can be imposed upon, orthodox religion cannot exist.  It is an
imposture, and there must be impostors and there must be victims,
or the religion cannot be a success.

Secularism cannot be a success, universally, as long as there is
an impostor or a victim.  This is the difference:  The foundation
of orthodox religion is imposture.  The foundation of Secularism
is demonstration.  Just to the extent that a man knows, he becomes
a Secularist.

_Question_.  What do you think of the action of the Knights of
Labor in Indiana in turning out one of their members because he
was an Atheist, and because he objected to the reading of the Bible
at lodge meetings?

_Answer_.  In my judgment, the Knights of Labor have made a great
mistake.  They want liberty for themselves--they feel that, to a
certain extent, they have been enslaved and robbed.  If they want
liberty, they should be willing to give liberty to others.  Certainly
one of their members has the same right to his opinion with regard
to the existence of a God, that the other members have to theirs.

I do not blame this man for doubting the existence of a Supreme
Being, provided he understands the history of liberty.  When a man
takes into consideration the fact that for many thousands of years
labor was unpaid, nearly all of it being done by slaves, and that
millions and hundreds of millions of human beings were bought and
sold the same as cattle, and that during all that time the religions
of the world upheld the practice, and the priests of the countless
unknown gods insisted that the institution of slavery was divine--
I do not wonder that he comes to the conclusion that, perhaps,
after all, there is no Supreme Being--at least none who pays any
particular attention to the affairs of this world.

If one will read the history of the slave-trade, of the cruelties
practiced, of the lives sacrificed, of the tortures inflicted, he
will at least wonder why "a God of infinite goodness and wisdom"
did not interfere just a little; or, at least, why he did not deny
that he was in favor of the trade.  Here, in our own country,
millions of men were enslaved, and hundreds and thousands of
ministers stood up in their pulpits, with their Bibles in front of
them, and proceeded to show that slavery was about the only
institution that they were absolutely certain was divine.  And they
proved it by reading passages from this very Bible that the Knights
of Labor in Indiana are anxious to have read in their meetings.
For their benefit, let me call their attention to a few passages,
and suggest that, hereafter, they read those passages at every
meeting, for the purpose of convincing all the Knights that the
Lord is on the side of those who work for a living:--

"Both thy bondsmen and thy bondsmaids which thou shalt have, shall
be of the heathen round about you; of them shall ye buy bondsmen
and bondmaids.

"Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among
you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families which are with
you, which they begat in your land; and they shall be your

"And ye shall take them as an inheritance, for your children after
you to inherit them for a possession.  They shall be your bondsmen

Nothing seems more natural to me than that a man who believes that
labor should be free, and that he who works should be free, should
come to the conclusion that the passages above quoted are not
entirely on his side.  I don't see why people should be in favor
of free bodies who are not also in favor of free minds.  If the
mind is to remain in imprisonment, it is hardly worth while to free
the body.  If the man has the right to labor, he certainly has the
right to use his mind, because without mind he can do no labor.
As a rule, the more mind he has, the more valuable his labor is,
and the freer his mind is the more valuable he is.

If the Knights of Labor expect to accomplish anything in this world,
they must do it by thinking.  They must have reason on their side,
and the only way they can do anything by thinking is to allow each
other to think.  Let all the men who do not believe in the inspiration
of the Bible, leave the Knights of Labor and I do not know how many
would be left.  But I am perfectly certain that those left will
accomplish very little, simply from their lack of sense.

Intelligent clergymen have abandoned the idea of plenary inspiration.
The best ministers in the country admit that the Bible is full of
mistakes, and while many of them are forced to say that slavery is
upheld by the Old Testament they also insist that slavery was and
is, and forever will be wrong.  What had the Knights of Labor to
do with a question of religion?  What business is it of theirs who
believes or disbelieves in the religion of the day?  Nobody can
defend the rights of labor without defending the right to think.

I hope that in time these Knights will become intelligent enough
to read in their meetings something of importance; something that
applies to this century; something that will throw a little light
on questions under discussion at the present time.  The idea of
men engaged in a kind of revolution reading from Leviticus,
Deuteronomy and Haggai, for the purpose of determining the rights
of workingmen in the nineteenth century!  No wonder such men have
been swallowed by the whale of monopoly.  And no wonder that,
while that are in the belly of this fish, they insist on casting
out a man with sense enough to understand the situation!  The
Knights of Labor have made a mistake and the sooner they reverse
their action the better for all concerned.  Nothing should be taught
in this world that somebody does not know.

--_Secular Thought_, Toronto, Canada, August 25, 1888.


_Question_.  What is the best philosophy of summer recreation?

_Answer_.  As a matter of fact, no one should be overworked.
Recreation becomes necessary only when a man has abused himself or
has been abused.  Holidays grew out of slavery.  An intelligent
man ought not to work so hard to-day that he is compelled to rest
to-morrow.  Each day should have its labor and its rest.  But in
our civilization, if it can be called civilization, every man is
expected to devote himself entirely to business for the most of
the year and by that means to get into such a state of body and
mind that he requires, for the purpose of recreation, the
inconveniences, the poor diet, the horrible beds, the little towels,
the warm water, the stale eggs and the tough beef of the average
"resort."  For the purpose of getting his mental and physical
machinery in fine working order, he should live in a room for two
or three months that is about eleven by thirteen; that is to say,
he should live in a trunk, fight mosquitoes, quarrel with strangers,
dispute bills, and generally enjoy himself; and this is supposed
to be the philosophy of summer recreation.  He can do this, or he
can go to some extremely fashionable resort where his time is taken
up in making himself and family presentable.

Seriously, there are few better summer resorts than New York City.
If there were no city here it would be the greatest resort for the
summer on the continent; with its rivers, its bay, with its wonderful
scenery, with the winds from the sea, no better could be found.
But we cannot in this age of the world live in accordance with
philosophy.  No particular theory can be carried out.  We must live
as we must; we must earn our bread and we must earn it as others
do, and, as a rule, we must work when others work.  Consequently,
if we are to take any recreation we must follow the example of
others; go when they go and come when they come.  In other words,
man is a social being, and if one endeavors to carry individuality
to an extreme he must suffer the consequences.  So I have made up
my mind to work as little as I can and to rest as much as I can.

_Question_.  What is your opinion of Mr. Gladstone as a controversialist?

_Answer_.  Undoubtedly Mr. Gladstone is a man of great talent, of
vast and varied information, and undoubtedly he is, politically
speaking, at least, one of the greatest men in England--possibly
the greatest.  As a controversialist, and I suppose by that you
mean on religious questions, he is certainly as good as his cause.
Few men can better defend the indefensible than Mr. Gladstone.
Few men can bring forward more probabilities in favor of the
impossible, then Mr. Gladstone.  He is, in my judgment, controlled
in the realm of religion by sentiment; he was taught long ago
certain things as absolute truths and he has never questioned them.
He has had all he can do to defend them.  It is of but little use
to attack sentiment with argument, or to attack argument with
sentiment.  A question of sentiment can hardly be discussed; it is
like a question of taste.  A man is enraptured with a landscape by
Corot; you cannot argue him out of his rapture; the sharper the
criticism the greater his admiration, because he feels that it is
incumbent upon him to defend the painter who has given him so much
real pleasure.  Some people imagine that what they think ought to
exist must exist, and that what they really desire to be true is
true.  We must remember that Mr. Gladstone has been what is called
a deeply religions man all his life.  There was a time when he
really believed it to be the duty of the government to see to it
that the citizens were religious; when he really believed that no
man should hold any office or any position under the government
who was not a believer in the established religion; who was not a
defender of the parliamentary faith.  I do not know whether he has
ever changed his opinions upon these subjects or not.  There is
not the slightest doubt as to his honesty, as to his candor.  He
says what he believes, and for his belief he gives the reasons that
are satisfactory to him.  To me it seems impossible that miracles
can be defended.  I do not see how it is possible to bring forward
any evidence that any miracle was ever performed; and unless miracles
have been performed, Christianity has no basis as a system.  Mr.
Hume took the ground that it was impossible to substantiate a
miracle, for the reason that it is more probable that the witnesses
are mistaken, or are dishonest, than that a fact in nature should
be violated.  For instance:  A man says that a certain time, in a
certain locality, the attraction of gravitation was suspended; that
there were several moments during which a cannon ball weighed
nothing, during which when dropped from the hand, or rather when
released from the hand, it refused to fall and remained in the air.
It is safe to say that no amount of evidence, no number of witnesses,
could convince an intelligent man to-day that such a thing occurred.
We believe too thoroughly in the constancy of nature.  While men
will not believe witnesses who testify to the happening of miracles
now, they seem to have perfect confidence in men whom they never
saw, who have been dead for two thousand years.  Of course it is
known that Mr. Gladstone has published a few remarks concerning my
religious views and that I have answered him the best I could.  I
have no opinion to give as to that controversy; neither would it
be proper for me to say what I think of the arguments advanced by
Mr. Gladstone in addition to what I have already published.  I am
willing to leave the controversy where it is, or I am ready to
answer any further objections that Mr. Gladstone may be pleased to

In my judgment, the "Age of Faith" is passing away.  We are living
in a time of demonstration.

[NOTE:  From an unfinished interview found among Colonel Ingersoll's


It has been decided in many courts in various States that the
traffic in liquor can be regulated--that it is a police question.
It has been decided by the courts in Iowa that its manufacture and
sale can be prohibited, and, not only so, but that a distillery or
a brewery may be declared a nuisance and may legally be abated,
and these decisions have been upheld by the Supreme Court of the
United States.  Consequently, it has been settled by the highest
tribunal that States have the power either to regulate or to prohibit
the sale of intoxicating liquors, and not only so, but that States
have the power to destroy breweries and distilleries without making
any compensation to owners.

So it has always been considered within the power of the State to
license the selling of intoxicating liquors.  In other words, this
question is one that the States can decide for themselves.  It is
not, and it should not be, in my judgment, a Federal question.  It
is something with which the United States has nothing to do.  It
belongs to the States; and where a majority of the people are in
favor of prohibition and pass laws to that effect, there is nothing
in the Constitution of the United States that interferes with such

The remaining question, then, is not a question of power, but a
question of policy, and at the threshold of this question is another:
Can prohibitory laws be enforced?  There are to-day in Kansas,--a
prohibition State--more saloons, that is to say, more places in
which liquor is sold, than there are in Georgia, a State without
prohibition legislation.  There are more in Nebraska, according to
the population, more in Iowa, according to the population, than in
many of the States in which there is the old license system.  You
will find that the United States has granted more licenses to
wholesale and retail dealers in these prohibition States,--according
to the population,--than in many others in which prohibition has
not been adopted.

These facts tend to show that it is not enough for the Legislature
to say:  "Be it enacted."  Behind every law there must be an
intelligent and powerful public opinion.  A law, to be enforced,
must be the expression of such powerful and intelligent opinion;
otherwise it becomes a dead letter; it is avoided; judges continue
the cases, juries refuse to convict, and witnesses are not particular
about telling the truth.  Such laws demoralize the community, or,
to put it in another way, demoralized communities pass such laws.

_Question_.  What do you think of the prohibitory movement on
general principles?

_Answer_.  The trouble is that when a few zealous men, intending
to reform the world, endeavor to enforce unpopular laws, they are
compelled to resort to detectives, to a system of espionage.  For
the purpose of preventing the sale of liquors somebody has to watch.
Eyes and ears must become acquainted with keyholes.  Every neighbor
suspects every other.  A man with a bottle or demijohn is followed.
Those who drink get behind doors, in cellars and garrets.  Hypocrisy
becomes substantially universal.  Hundreds of people become suddenly
afflicted with a variety of diseases, for the cure of which alcohol
in some form is supposed to be indispensable.  Malaria becomes general,
and it is perfectly astonishing how long a few pieces of Peruvian
bark will last, and how often the liquor can be renewed without
absorbing the medicinal qualities of the bark.  The State becomes
a paradise for patent medicine--the medicine being poor whiskey
with a scientific name.

Physicians become popular in proportion as liquor of some kind
figures in their prescriptions.  Then in the towns clubs are formed,
the principal object being to establish a saloon, and in many
instances the drug store becomes a favorite resort, especially on

There is, however, another side to this question.  It is this:
Nothing in the world is more important than personal liberty.  Many
people are in favor of blotting out the sun to prevent the growth
of weeds.  This is the mistake of all prohibitory fanaticism.

_Question_.  What is true temperance, Colonel Ingersoll?

_Answer_.  Men have used stimulants for many thousand years, and
as much is used to-day in various forms as in any other period of
the world's history.  They are used with more prudence now than
ever before, for the reason that the average man is more intelligent
now than ever before.  Intelligence has much to do with temperance.
The barbarian rushes to the extreme, for the reason that but little,
comparatively, depends upon his personal conduct or personal habits.
Now the struggle for life is so sharp, competition is so severe,
that few men can succeed who carry a useless burden.  The business
men of our country are compelled to lead temperate lives, otherwise
their credit is gone.  Men of wealth, men of intelligence, do not
wish to employ intemperate physicians.  They are not willing to
trust their health or their lives with a physician who is under
the influence of liquor.  The same is true of business men in regard
to their legal interests.  They insist upon having sober attorneys;
they want the counsel of a sober man.  So in every department.  On
the railways it is absolutely essential that the engineer, that
the conductor, the train dispatcher and every other employee, in
whose hands are the lives of men, should be temperate.  The
consequence is that under the law of the survival of the fittest,
the intemperate are slowly but surely going to the wall; they are
slowly but surely being driven out of employments of trust and
importance.  As we rise in the scale of civilization we continually
demand better and better service.  We are continually insisting
upon better habits, upon a higher standard of integrity, of fidelity.
These are the causes, in my judgment, that are working together in
the direction of true temperance.

_Question_.  Do you believe the people can be made to do without
a stimulant?

_Answer_.  The history of the world shows that all men who have
advanced one step beyond utter barbarism have used some kind of
stimulant.  Man has sought for it in every direction.  Every savage
loves it.  Everything has been tried.  Opium has been used by many
hundreds of millions.  Hasheesh has filled countless brains with
chaotic dreams, and everywhere that civilization has gone the blood
of the grape has been used.  Nothing is easier now to obtain than
liquor.  In one bushel of corn there are at least five gallons--
four can easily be extracted.  All starch, all sugars, can be
changed almost instantly into alcohol.  Every grain that grows has
in it the intoxicating principle, and, as a matter of fact, nearly
all of the corn, wheat, sugar and starch that man eats is changed
into alcohol in his stomach.  Whether man can be compelled to do
without a stimulant is a question that I am unable to answer.  Of
one thing I am certain:  He has never yet been compelled to do
without one.  The tendency, I think, of modern times is toward a
milder stimulant than distilled liquors.  Whisky and brandies are
too strong; wine and beer occupy the middle ground.  Wine is a
fireside, whisky a conflagration.

It seems to me that it would be far better if the Prohibitionists
would turn their attention toward distilled spirits.  If they were
willing to compromise, the probability is that they would have
public opinion on their side.  If they would say:  "You may have
all the beer and all the wine and cider you wish, and you can drink
them when and where you desire, but the sale of distilled spirits
shall be prohibited," it is possible that this could be carried
out in good faith in many if not in most of the States--possibly
in all.  We all know the effect of wine, even when taken in excess,
is nothing near as disastrous as the effect of distilled spirits.
Why not take the middle ground?  The wine drinkers of the old
country are not drunkards.  They have been drinking wine for
generations.  It is drunk by men, women and children.  It adds to
the sociability of the family.  It does not separate the husband
from the rest, it keeps them all together, and in that view is
rather a benefit than an injury.  Good wine can be raised as cheaply
here as in any part of the world.  In nearly every part of our
country the grape grows and good wine can be made.  If our people
had a taste for wine they would lose the taste for stronger drink,
and they would be disgusted with the surroundings of the stronger

The same may be said in favor of beer.  As long as the Prohibitionists
make no distinction between wine and whisky, between beer and
brandy, just so long they will be regarded by most people as

The Prohibitionists cannot expect to make this question a Federal
one.  The United States has no jurisdiction of this subject.
Congress can pass no laws affecting this question that could have
any force except in such parts of our country as are not within
the jurisdiction of States.  It is a question for the States and
not for the Federal Government.  The Prohibitionists are simply
throwing away their votes.  Let us suppose that we had a Prohibition
Congress and a Prohibition President--what steps could be taken to
do away with drinking in the city of New York?  What steps could
be taken in any State of this Union?  What could by any possibility
be done?

A few years ago the Prohibitionists demanded above all things that
the tax be taken from distilled spirits, claiming at that time that
such a tax made the Government a partner in vice.

Now when the Republican party proposes under certain circumstances
to remove that tax, the Prohibitionists denounce the movement as
one in favor of intemperance.  We have also been told that the tax
on whisky should be kept for the reason that it increases the price,
and that an increased price tends to make a temperate people; that
if the tax is taken off, the price will fall and the whole country
start on the downward road to destruction.  Is it possible that
human nature stands on such slippery ground?  It is possible that
our civilization to-day rests upon the price of alcohol, and that,
should the price be reduced, we would all go down together?  For
one, I cannot entertain such a humiliating and disgraceful view of
human nature.  I believe that man is destined to grow greater,
grander and nobler.  I believe that no matter what the cost of
alcohol may be, life will grow too valuable to be thrown away.
Men hold life according to its value.  Men, as a rule, only throw
away their lives when they are not worth keeping.  When life becomes
worth living it will be carefully preserved and will be hoarded to
the last grain of sand that falls through the glass of time.

_Question_.  What is the reason for so much intemperance?

_Answer_.  When many people are failures, when they are distanced
in the race, when they fall behind, when they give up, when they
lose ambition, when they finally become convinced that they are
worthless, precisely as they are in danger of becoming dishonest.
In other words, having failed in the race of life on the highway,
they endeavor to reach to goal by going across lots, by crawling
through the grass.  Disguise this matter as we may, all people are
not successes, all people have not the brain or the muscle or the
moral stamina necessary to succeed.  Some fall in one way, some in
another; some in the net of strong drink, some in the web of
circumstances and others in a thousand ways, and the world itself
cannot grow better unless the unworthy fail.  The law is the survival
of the fittest, that is to say, the destruction of the unfit.
There is no scheme of morals, no scheme of government, no scheme
of charity, that can reverse this law.  If it could be reversed,
then the result would be the survival of the unfittest, the speedy
end of which would be the extinction of the human race.

Temperance men say that it is wise, in so far as possible, to remove
temptation from our fellow-men.

Let us look at this in regard to other matters.  How do we do away
with larceny?  We cannot remove property.  We cannot destroy the
money of the world to keep people from stealing some of it.  In
other words, we cannot afford to make the world valueless to prevent
larceny.  All strength by which temptation is resisted must come
from the inside.  Virtue does not depend upon the obstacles to be
overcome; virtue depends upon what is inside of the man.  A man is
not honest because the safe of the bank is perfectly secure.  Upon
the honest man the condition of the safe has no effect.  We will
never succeed in raising great and splendid people by keeping them
out of temptation.  Great people withstand temptation.  Great people
have what may be called moral muscle, moral force.  They are poised
within themselves.  They understand their relations to the world.
The best possible foundation for honesty is the intellectual
perception that dishonesty can, under no circumstances, be a good
investment--that larceny is not only wicked, but foolish--not only
criminal, but stupid--that crimes are committed only by fools.

On every hand there is what is called temptation.  Every man has
the opportunity of doing wrong.  Every man, in this country, has
the opportunity of drinking too much, has the opportunity of
acquiring the opium habit, has the opportunity of taking morphine
every day--in other words, has the opportunity of destroying himself.
How are they to be prevented?  Most of them are prevented--at least
in a reasonable degree--and they are prevented by their intelligence,
by their surroundings, by their education, by their objects and
aims in life, by the people they love, by the people who love them.

No one will deny the evils of intemperance, and it is hardly to be
wondered at that people who regard only one side--who think of the
impoverished and wretched, of wives and children in want, of desolate
homes--become the advocates of absolute prohibition.  At the same
time, there is a philosophic side, and the question is whether more
good cannot be done by moral influence, by example, by education,
by the gradual civilization of our fellow-men, than in any other
possible way.  The greatest things are accomplished by indirection.
In this way the idea of force, of slavery, is avoided.  The person
influenced does not feel that he has been trampled upon, does not
regard himself as a victim--he feels rather as a pupil, as one who
receives a benefit, whose mind has been enlarged, whose life has
been enriched--whereas the direct way of "Thou shalt not" produces
an antagonism--in other words, produces the natural result of "I

By removing one temptation you add strength to others.  By depriving
a man of one stimulant, as a rule, you drive him to another, and
the other may be far worse than the one from which he has been
driven.  We have hundreds of laws making certain things misdemeanors,
which are naturally right.

Thousands of people, honest in most directions, delight in outwitting
the Government--derive absolute pleasure from getting in a few
clothes and gloves and shawls without the payment of duty.  Thousands
of people buy things in Europe for which they pay more than they
would for the same things in America, and then exercise their
ingenuity in slipping them through the custom-house.

A law to have real force must spring from the nature of things,
and the justice of this law must be generally perceived, otherwise
it will be evaded.

The temperance people themselves are playing into the hands of the
very party that would refuse to count their votes.  Allow the
Democrats to remain in power, allow the Democrats to be controlled
by the South, and a large majority might be in favor of temperance
legislation, and yet the votes would remain uncounted.  The party
of reform has a great interest in honest elections, and honest
elections must first be obtained as the foundation of reform.  The
Prohibitionists can take their choice between these parties.  Would
it not be far better for the Prohibitionists to say:  "We will vote
for temperance men; we will stand with the party that is the nearest
in favor of what we deem to be the right"?  They should also take
into consideration that other people are as honest as they; that
others disbelieve in prohibition as honestly as they believe in
it, and that other people cannot leave their principles to vote
for prohibition; and they must remember, that these other people
are in the majority.

Mr. Fisk knows that he cannot be elected President--knows that it
is impossible for him to carry any State in the Union.  He also
knows that in nearly every State in the Union--probably in all--a
majority of the people believe in stimulants.  Why not work with
the great and enlightened majority?  Why rush to the extreme for
the purpose not only of making yourself useless but hurtful?

No man in the world is more opposed to intemperance than I am.  No
man in the world feels more keenly the evils and the agony produced
by the crime of drunkenness.  And yet I would not be willing to
sacrifice liberty, individuality, and the glory and greatness of
individual freedom, to do away with all the evils of intemperance.
In other words, I believe that slavery, oppression and suppression
would crowd humanity into a thousand deformities, the result of
which would be a thousand times more disastrous to the well-being
of man.  I do not believe in the slave virtues, in the monotony of
tyranny, in the respectability produced by force.  I admire the
men who have grown in the atmosphere of liberty, who have the pose
of independence, the virtues of strength, of heroism, and in whose
hearts is the magnanimity, the tenderness, and the courage born of

--_New York World_, October 21, 1888.


Why do people read a book like "Robert Elsmere," and why do they
take any interest in it?  Simply because they are not satisfied
with the religion of our day.  The civilized world has outgrown
the greater part of the Christian creed.  Civilized people have
lost their belief in the reforming power of punishment.  They find
that whips and imprisonment have but little influence for good.
The truth has dawned upon their minds that eternal punishment is
infinite cruelty--that it can serve no good purpose and that the
eternity of hell makes heaven impossible.  That there can be in
this universe no perfectly happy place while there is a perfectly
miserable place--that no infinite being can be good who knowingly
and, as one may say, willfully created myriads of human beings,
knowing that they would be eternally miserable.  In other words,
the civilized man is greater, tenderer, nobler, nearer just than
the old idea of God.  The ideal of a few thousand years ago is far
below the real of to-day.  No good man now would do what Jehovah
is said to have done four thousand years ago, and no civilized
human being would now do what, according to the Christian religion,
Christ threatens to do at the day of judgment.

_Question_.  Has the Christian religion changed in theory of late
years, Colonel Ingersoll?

_Answer_.  A few years ago the Deists denied the inspiration of
the Bible on account of its cruelty.  At the same time they worshiped
what they were pleased to call the God of Nature.  Now we are
convinced that Nature is as cruel as the Bible; so that, if the
God of Nature did not write the Bible, this God at least has caused
earthquakes and pestilence and famine, and this God has allowed
millions of his children to destroy one another.  So that now we
have arrived at the question--not as to whether the Bible is inspired
and not as to whether Jehovah is the real God, but whether there
is a God or not.  The intelligence of Christendom to-day does not
believe in an inspired art or an inspired literature.  If there be
an infinite God, inspiration in some particular regard would be a
patch--it would be the puttying of a crack, the hiding of a defect
--in other words, it would show that the general plan was defective.

_Question_.  Do you consider any religion adequate?

_Answer_.  A good man, living in England, drawing a certain salary
for reading certain prayers on stated occasions, for making a few
remarks on the subject of religion, putting on clothes of a certain
cut, wearing a gown with certain frills and flounces starched in
an orthodox manner, and then looking about him at the suffering
and agony of the world, would not feel satisfied that he was doing
anything of value for the human race.  In the first place, he would
deplore his own weakness, his own poverty, his inability to help
his fellow-men.  He would long every moment for wealth, that he
might feed the hungry and clothe the naked--for knowledge, for
miraculous power, that he might heal the sick and the lame and that
he might give to the deformed the beauty of proportion.  He would
begin to wonder how a being of infinite goodness and infinite power
could allow his children to die, to suffer, to be deformed by
necessity, by poverty, to be tempted beyond resistance; how he
could allow the few to live in luxury, and the many in poverty and
want, and the more he wondered the more useless and ironical would
seem to himself his sermons and his prayers.  Such a man is driven
to the conclusion that religion accomplishes but little--that it
creates as much want as it alleviates, and that it burdens the
world with parasites.  Such a man would be forced to think of the
millions wasted in superstition.  In other words, the inadequacy,
the uselessness of religion would be forced upon his mind.  He
would ask himself the question:  "Is it possible that this is a
divine institution?  Is this all that man can do with the assistance
of God?  Is this the best?"

_Question_.  That is a perfectly reasonable question, is it not,
Colonel Ingersoll?

_Answer_.  The moment a man reaches the point where he asks himself
this question he has ceased to be an orthodox Christian.  It will
not do to say that in some other world justice will be done.  If
God allows injustice to triumph here, why not there?

Robert Elsmere stands in the dawn of philosophy.  There is hardly
light enough for him to see clearly; but there is so much light
that the stars in the night of superstition are obscured.

_Question_.  You do not deny that a religious belief is a comfort?

_Answer_.  There is one thing that it is impossible for me to
comprehend.  Why should any one, when convinced that Christianity
is a superstition, have or feel a sense of loss?  Certainly a man
acquainted with England, with London, having at the same time
something like a heart, must feel overwhelmed by the failure of
what is known as Christianity.  Hundreds of thousands exist there
without decent food, dwelling in tenements, clothed with rags,
familiar with every form of vulgar vice, where the honest poor eat
the crust that the vicious throw away.  When this man of intelligence,
of heart, visits the courts; when he finds human liberty a thing
treated as of no value, and when he hears the judge sentencing
girls and boys to the penitentiary--knowing that a stain is being
put upon them that all the tears of all the coming years can never
wash away--knowing, too, and feeling that this is done without the
slightest regret, without the slightest sympathy, as a mere matter
of form, and that the judge puts this brand of infamy upon the
forehead of the convict just as cheerfully as a Mexican brands his
cattle; and when this man of intelligence and heart knows that
these poor people are simply the victims of society, the unfortunates
who stumble and over whose bodies rolls the Juggernaut--he knows
that there is, or at least appears to be, no power above or below
working for righteousness--that from the heavens is stretched no
protecting hand.  And when a man of intelligence and heart in
England visits the workhouse, the last resting place of honest
labor; when he thinks that the young man, without any great
intelligence, but with a good constitution, starts in the morning
of his life for the workhouse, and that it is impossible for the
laboring man, one who simply has his muscle, to save anything; that
health is not able to lay anything by for the days of disease--when
the man of intelligence and heart sees all this, he is compelled
to say that the civilization of to-day, the religion of to-day,
the charity of to-day--no matter how much of good there may be
behind them or in them, are failures.

A few years ago people were satisfied when the minister said:  "All
this will be made even in another world; a crust-eater here will
sit at the head of the banquet there, and the king here will beg
for the crumbs that fall from the table there."  When this was
said, the poor man hoped and the king laughed.  A few years ago
the church said to the slave:  "You will be free in another world,
and your freedom will be made glorious by the perpetual spectacle
of your master in hell."  But the people--that is, many of the
people--are no longer deceived by what once were considered fine
phrases.  They have suffered so much that they no longer wish to
see others suffer and no longer think of the suffering of others
as a source of joy to themselves.  The poor see that the eternal
starvation of kings and queens in another world will be no compensation
for what they have suffered there.  The old religions appear vulgar
and the ideas of rewards and punishments are only such as would
satisfy a cannibal chief or one of his favorites.

_Question_.  Do you think the Christian religion has made the world

_Answer_.  For many centuries there has been preached and taught
in an almost infinite number of ways a supernatural religion.
During all this time the world has been in the care of the Infinite,
and yet every imaginable vice has flourished, every imaginable pang
has been suffered, and every injustice has been done.  During all
these years the priests have enslaved the minds, and the kings the
bodies, of men.  The priests did what they did in the name of God,
and the kings appeal to the same source of authority.  Man suffered
as long as he could.  Revolution, reformation, was simply a re-
action, a cry from the poor wretch that was between the upper and
the nether millstone.  The liberty of man has increased just in
the proportion that the authority of the gods has decreased.  In
other words, the wants of man, instead of the wishes of God, have
inaugurated what we call progress, and there is this difference:
Theology is based upon the narrowest and intensest form of selfishness.
Of course, the theologian knows, the Christian knows, that he can
do nothing for God; consequently all that he does must be and is
for himself, his object being to win the approbation of this God,
to the end that he may become a favorite.  On the other side, men
touched not only by their own misfortunes, but by the misfortunes
of others, are moved not simply by selfishness, but by a splendid
sympathy with their fellow-men.

_Question_.  Christianity certainly fosters charity?

_Answer_.  Nothing is more cruel than orthodox theology, nothing
more heartless than a charitable institution.  For instance, in
England, think for a moment of the manner in which charities are
distributed, the way in which the crust is flung at Lazarus.  If
that parable could be now retold, the dogs would bite him.  The
same is true in this country.  The institution has nothing but
contempt for the one it relieves.  The people in charge regard the
pauper as one who has wrecked himself.  They feel very much as a
man would feel rescuing from the water some hare-brained wretch
who had endeavored to swim the rapids of Niagara--the moment they
reach him they begin to upbraid him for being such a fool.  This
course makes charity a hypocrite, with every pauper for its enemy.

Mrs. Ward compelled Robert Elsmere to perceive, in some slight
degree, the failure of Christianity to do away with vice and
suffering, with poverty and crime.  We know that the rich care but
little for the poor.  No matter how religious the rich may be, the
sufferings of their fellows have but little effect upon them.  We
are also beginning to see that what is called charity will never
redeem this world.

The poor man willing to work, eager to maintain his independence,
knows that there is something higher than charity--that is to say,
justice.  He finds that many years before he was born his country
was divided out between certain successful robbers, flatterers,
cringers and crawlers, and that in consequence of such division
not only he himself, but a large majority of his fellow-men are
tenants, renters, occupying the surface of the earth only at the
pleasure of others.  He finds, too, that these people who have done
nothing and who do nothing, have everything, and that those who do
everything have but little.  He finds that idleness has the money
and that the toilers are compelled to bow to the idlers.  He finds
also that the young men of genius are bribed by social distinctions
--unconsciously it may be--but still bribed in a thousand ways.
He finds that the church is a kind of waste-basket into which are
thrown the younger sons of titled idleness.

_Question_.  Do you consider that society in general has been made
better by religious influences?

_Answer_.  Society is corrupted because the laurels, the titles,
are in the keeping and within the gift of the corrupters.  Christianity
is not an enemy of this system--it is in harmony with it.  Christianity
reveals to us a universe presided over by an infinite autocrat--a
universe without republicanism, without democracy--a universe where
all power comes from one and the same source, and where everyone
using authority is accountable, not to the people, but to this
supposed source of authority.  Kings reign by divine right.  Priests
are ordained in a divinely appointed way--they do not get their
office from man.  Man is their servant, not their master.

In the story of Robert Elsmere all there is of Christianity is left
except the miraculous.  Theism remains, and the idea of a protecting
Providence is left, together with a belief in the immeasurable
superiority of Jesus Christ.  That is to say, the miracles are
discarded for lack of evidence, and only for lack of evidence; not
on the ground that they are impossible, not on the ground that they
impeach and deny the integrity of cause and effect, not on the
ground that they contradict the self-evident proposition that an
effect must have an efficient cause, but like the Scotch verdict,
"not proven."  It is an effort to save and keep in repair the
dungeons of the Inquisition for the sake of the beauty of the vines
that have overrun them.  Many people imagine that falsehoods may
become respectable on account of age, that a certain reverence goes
with antiquity, and that if a mistake is covered with the moss of
sentiment it is altogether more credible than a parvenu fact.  They
endeavor to introduce the idea of aristocracy into the world of
thought, believing, and honestly believing, that a falsehood long
believed is far superior to a truth that is generally denied.

_Question_.  If Robert Elsmere's views were commonly adopted what
would be the effect?

_Answer_.  The new religion of Elsmere is, after all, only a system
of outdoor relief, an effort to get successful piracy to give up
a larger per cent. for the relief of its victims.  The abolition
of the system is not dreamed of.  A civilized minority could not
by any possibility be happy while a majority of the world were
miserable.  A civilized majority could not be happy while a minority
were miserable.  As a matter of fact, a civilized world could not
be happy while one man was really miserable.  At the foundation of
civilization is justice--that is to say, the giving of an equal
opportunity to all the children of men.  Secondly, there can be no
civilization in the highest sense until sympathy becomes universal.
We must have a new definition for success.  We must have new ideals.
The man who succeeds in amassing wealth, who gathers money for
himself, is not a success.  It is an exceedingly low ambition to
be rich to excite the envy of others, or for the sake of the vulgar
power it gives to triumph over others.  Such men are failures.  So
the man who wins fame, position, power, and wins these for the sake
of himself, and wields this power not for the elevation of his
fellow-men, but simply to control, is a miserable failure.  He may
dispense thousands of millions in charity, and his charity may be
prompted by the meanest part of his nature--using it simply as a
bait to catch more fish and to prevent the rising tide of indignation
that might overwhelm him.  Men who steal millions and then give a
small percentage to the Lord to gain the praise of the clergy and
to bring the salvation of their souls within the possibilities of
imagination, are all failures.

Robert Elsmere gains our affection and our applause to the extent
that he gives up what are known as orthodox views, and his wife
Catherine retains our respect in the proportion that she lives the
doctrine that Elsmere preaches.  By doing what she believes to be
right, she gains our forgiveness for her creed.  One is astonished
that she can be as good as she is, believing as she does.  The
utmost stretch of our intellectual charity is to allow the old wine
to be put in a new bottle, and yet she regrets the absence of the
old bottle--she really believes that the bottle is the important
thing--that the wine is but a secondary consideration.  She misses
the label, and not having perfect confidence in her own taste, she
does not feel quite sure that the wine is genuine.

_Question_.  What, on the whole, is your judgment of the book?

_Answer_.  I think the book conservative.  It is an effort to save
something--a few shreds and patches and ravelings--from the wreck.
Theism is difficult to maintain.  Why should we expect an infinite
Being to do better in another world than he has done and is doing
in this?  If he allows the innocent to suffer here, why not there?
If he allows rascality to succeed in this world, why not in the
next?  To believe in God and to deny his personality is an exceedingly
vague foundation for a consolation.  If you insist on his personality
and power, then it is impossible to account for what happens.  Why
should an infinite God allow some of his children to enslave others?
Why should he allow a child of his to burn another child of his,
under the impression that such a sacrifice was pleasing to him?

Unitarianism lacks the motive power.  Orthodox people who insist
that nearly everybody is going to hell, and that it is their duty
to do what little they can to save their souls, have what you might
call a spur to action.  We can imagine a philanthropic man engaged
in the business of throwing ropes to persons about to go over the
falls of Niagara, but we can hardly think of his carrying on the
business after being convinced that there are no falls, or that
people go over them in perfect safety.  In this country the question
has come up whether all the heathen are bound to be damned unless
they believe in the gospel.  Many admit that the heathen will be
saved if they are good people, and that they will not be damned
for not believing something that they never heard.  The really
orthodox people--that is to say, the missionaries--instantly see
that this doctrine destroys their business.  They take the ground
that there is but one way to be saved--you must believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ--and they are willing to admit, and cheerfully to
admit, that the heathen for many generations have gone in an unbroken
column down to eternal wrath.  And they not only admit this, but
insist upon it, to the end that subscriptions may not cease.  With
them salary and salvation are convertible terms.

The tone of this book is not of the highest.  Too much stress is
laid upon social advantages--too much respect for fashionable folly
and for ancient absurdity.  It is hard for me to appreciate the
feelings of one who thinks it difficult to give up the consolations
of the gospel.  What are the consolations of the Church of England?
It is a religion imposed upon the people by authority.  It is the
gospel at the mouth of a cannon, at the point of a bayonet, enforced
by all authority, from the beadle to the Queen.  It is a parasite
living upon tithes--these tithes being collected by the army and
navy.  It produces nothing--is simply a beggar--or rather an
aggregation of beggars.  It teaches nothing of importance.  It
discovers nothing.  It is under obligation not to investigate.  It
has agreed to remain stationary not only, but to resist all
innovation.  According to the creed of this church, a very large
proportion of the human race is destined to suffer eternal pain.
This does not interfere with the quiet, with the serenity and repose
of the average clergyman.  They put on their gowns, they read the
service, they repeat the creed and feel that their duty has been
done.  How any one can feel that he is giving up something of value
when he finds that the Episcopal creed is untrue is beyond my
imagination.  I should think that every good man and woman would
overflow with joy, that every heart would burst into countless
blossoms the moment the falsity of the Episcopal creed was

Christianity is the most heartless of all religions--the most
unforgiving, the most revengeful.  According to the Episcopalian
belief, God becomes the eternal prosecutor of his own children.
I know of no creed believed by any tribe, not excepting the tribes
where cannibalism is practiced, that is more heartless, more inhuman
than this.  To find that the creed is false is like being roused
from a frightful dream, in which hundreds of serpents are coiled
about you, in which their eyes, gleaming with hatred, are fixed on
you, and finding the world bathed in sunshine and the songs of
birds in your ears and those you love about you.

--_New York World_, November 18, 1888.


_Question_.  What is your opinion of the work undertaken by the
_World_ in behalf of the city slave girl?

_Answer_.  I know of nothing better for a great journal to do.
The average girl is so helpless, and the greed of the employer is
such, that unless some newspaper or some person of great influence
comes to her assistance, she is liable not simply to be imposed
upon, but to be made a slave.  Girls, as a rule, are so anxious to
please, so willing to work, that they bear almost every hardship
without complaint.  Nothing is more terrible than to see the rich
living on the work of the poor.  One can hardly imagine the utter
heartlessness of a man who stands between the wholesale manufacturer
and the wretched women who make their living--or rather retard
their death--by the needle.  How a human being can consent to live
on this profit, stolen from poverty, is beyond my imagination.
These men, when known, will be regarded as hyenas and jackals.
They are like the wild beasts which follow herds of cattle for the
purpose of devouring those that are injured or those that have
fallen by the wayside from weakness.

_Question_.  What effect has unlimited immigration on the wages of

_Answer_.  If our country were overpopulated, the effect of
immigration would be to lessen wages, for the reason that the
working people of Europe are used to lower wages, and have been in
the habit of practicing an economy unknown to us.  But this country
is not overpopulated.  There is plenty of room for several hundred
millions more.  Wages, however, are too low in the United States.
The general tendency is to leave the question of labor to what is
called the law of supply and demand.  My hope is that in time we
shall become civilized enough to know that there is a higher law,
or rather a higher meaning in the law of supply and demand, than
is now perceived.  Year after year what are called the necessaries
of life increase.  Many things now regarded as necessaries were
formerly looked upon as luxuries. So, as man becomes civilized, he
increases what may be called the necessities of his life.  When
perfectly civilized, one of the necessities of his life will be
that the lives of others shall be of some value to them.  A good
man is not happy so long as he knows that other good men and women
suffer for raiment and for food, and have no roof but the sky, no
home but the highway.  Consequently what is called the law of supply
and demand will then have a much larger meaning.

In nature everything lives upon something else.  Life feeds upon
life.  Something is lying in wait for something else, and even the
victim is weaving a web or crouching for some other victim, and
the other victim is in the same business--watching for something
else.  The same is true in the human world--people are living on
each other; the cunning obtain the property of the simple; wealth
picks the pockets of poverty; success is a highwayman leaping from
the hedge.  The rich combine, the poor are unorganized, without
the means to act in concert, and for that reason become the prey
of combinations and trusts.  The great questions are:  Will man
ever be sufficiently civilized to be honest?  Will the time ever
come when it can truthfully be said that right is might?  The lives
of millions of people are not worth living, because of their
ignorance and poverty, and the lives of millions of others are not
worth living, on account of their wealth and selfishness.  The
palace without justice, without charity, is as terrible as the
hovel without food.

_Question_.  What effect has the woman's suffrage movement had on
the breadwinners of the country?

_Answer_.  I think the women who have been engaged in the struggle
for equal rights have done good for women in the direction of
obtaining equal wages for equal work.  There has also been for many
years a tendency among women in our country to become independent
--a desire to make their own living--to win their own bread.  So
many husbands are utterly useless, or worse, that many women hardly
feel justified in depending entirely on a husband for the future.
They feel somewhat safer to know how to do something and earn a
little money themselves.  If men were what they ought to be, few
women would be allowed to labor--that is to say, to toil.  It should
be the ambition of every healthy and intelligent man to take care
of, to support, to make happy, some woman.  As long as women bear
the burdens of the world, the human race can never attain anything
like a splendid civilization.  There will be no great generation
of men until there has been a great generation of women.  For my
part, I am glad to hear this question discussed--glad to know that
thousands of women take some interest in the fortunes and in the
misfortunes of their sisters.

The question of wages for women is a thousand times more important
than sending missionaries to China or to India.  There is plenty
for missionaries to do here.  And by missionaries I do not mean
gentlemen and ladies who distribute tracts or quote Scripture to
people out of work.  If we are to better the condition of men and
women we must change their surroundings.  The tenement house breeds
a moral pestilence.  There can be in these houses no home, no
fireside, no family, for the reason that there is no privacy, no
walls between them and the rest of the world.  There is no sacredness,
no feeling, "this is ours."

_Question_.  Might not the rich do much?

_Answer_.  It would be hard to overestimate the good that might be
done by the millionaires if they would turn their attention to
sending thousands and thousands into the country or to building
them homes miles from the city, where they could have something
like privacy, where the family relations could be kept with some
sacredness.  Think of the "homes" in which thousands and thousands
of young girls are reared in our large cities.  Think of what they
see and what they hear; of what they come in contact with.  How is
it possible for the virtues to grow in the damp and darkened
basements?  Can we expect that love and chastity and all that is
sweet and gentle will be produced in these surroundings, in cellars
and garrets, in poverty and dirt?  The surroundings must be changed.

_Question_.  Are the fathers and brothers blameless who allow young
girls to make coats, cloaks and vests in an atmosphere poisoned by
the ignorant and low-bred?

_Answer_.  The same causes now brutalizing girls brutalize their
fathers and brothers, and the same causes brutalize the ignorant
and low-lived that poison the air in which these girls are made to
work.  It is hard to pick out one man and say that he is to blame,
or one woman and say that the fault is hers.  We must go back of
all this.  In my opinion, society raises its own failures, its own
criminals, its own wretches of every sort and kind.  Great pains
are taken to raise these crops.  The seeds, it may be, were sown
thousands of years ago, but they were sown, and the present is the
necessary child of all the past.  If the future is to differ from
the present, the seeds must now be sown.  It is not simply a question
of charity, or a question of good nature, or a question of what we
call justice--it is a question of intelligence.  In the first place,
I suppose that it is the duty of every human being to support
himself--first, that he may not become a burden upon others, and
second, that he may help others.  I think all people should be
taught never, under any circumstances, if by any possibility they
can avoid it, to become a burden.  Every one should be taught the
nobility of labor, the heroism and splendor of honest effort.  As
long as it is considered disgraceful to labor, or aristocratic not
to labor, the world will be filled with idleness and crime, and
with every possible moral deformity.

_Question_.  Has the public school system anything to do with the
army of pupils who, after six years of study, willingly accept the
injustice and hardship imposed by capital?

_Answer_.  The great trouble with the public school is that many
things are taught that are of no immediate use.  I believe in manual
training schools.  I believe in the kindergarten system.  Every
person ought to be taught how to do something--ought to be taught
the use of their hands.  They should endeavor to put in palpable
form the ideas that they gain.  Such an education gives them a
confidence in themselves, a confidence in the future--gives them
a spirit and feeling of independence that they do not now have.
Men go through college studying for many years, and when graduated
have not the slightest conception of how to make a living in any
department of human effort.  Thousands of them are to-day doing
manual labor and doing it very poorly, whereas, if they had been
taught the use of tools, the use of their hands, they would derive
a certain pleasure from their work.  It is splendid to do anything
well.  One can be just as poetic working with iron and wood as
working with words and colors.

_Question_.  What ought to be done, or what is to be the end?

_Answer_.  The great thing is for the people to know the facts.
There are thousands and millions of splendid and sympathetic people
who would willingly help, if they only knew; but they go through
the world in such a way that they know but little of it.  They go
to their place of business; they stay in their offices for a few
hours; they go home; they spend the evening there or at a club;
they come in contact with the well-to-do, with the successful, with
the satisfied, and they know nothing of the thousands and millions
on every side.  They have not the least idea how the world lives,
how it works, how it suffers.  They read, of course, now and then,
some paragraph in which the misfortune of some wretch is set forth,
but the wretch is a kind of steel engraving, an unreal shadow, a
something utterly unlike themselves.  The real facts should be
brought home, the sympathies of men awakened, and awakened to such
a degree that they will go and see how these people live, see how
they work, see how they suffer.

_Question_.  Does exposure do any good?

_Answer_.  I hope that _The World_ will keep on.  I hope that it
will express every horror that it can, connected with the robbery
of poor and helpless girls, and I hope that it will publish the
names of all the robbers it can find, and the wretches who oppress
the poor and who live upon the misfortunes of women.

The crosses of this world are mostly born by wives, by mothers and
by daughters.  Their brows are pierced by thorns.  They shed the
bitterest tears.  They live and suffer and die for others.  It is
almost enough to make one insane to think of what woman, in the
years of savagery and civilization, has suffered.  Think of the
anxiety and agony of motherhood.  Maternity is the most pathetic
fact in the universe.  Think how helpless girls are.  Think of the
thorns in the paths they walk--of the trials, the temptations, the
want, the misfortune, the dangers and anxieties that fill their
days and nights.  Every true man will sympathize with woman, and
will do all in his power to lighten her burdens and increase the
sunshine of her life.

_Question_.  Is there any remedy?

_Answer_.  I have always wondered that the great corporations have
made no provisions for their old and worn out employees.  It seems
to me that not only great railway companies, but great manufacturing
corporations, ought to provide for their workmen.  Many of them
are worn out, unable longer to work, and they are thrown aside like
old clothes.  They find their way to the poorhouses or die in
tenements by the roadside.  This seems almost infinitely heartless.
Men of great wealth, engaged in manufacturing, instead of giving
five hundred thousand dollars for a library, or a million dollars
for a college, ought to put this money aside, invest it in bonds
of the Government, and the interest ought to be used in taking care
of the old, of the helpless, of those who meet with accidents in
their work.  Under our laws, if an employee is caught in a wheel
or in a band, and his arm or leg is torn off, he is left to the
charity of the community, whereas the profits of the business ought
to support him in his old age.  If employees had this feeling--that
they were not simply working for that day, not simply working while
they have health and strength, but laying aside a little sunshine
for the winter of age--if they only felt that they, by their labor,
were creating a fireside in front of which their age and helplessness
could sit, the feeling between employed and employers would be a
thousand times better.  On the great railways very few people know
the number of the injured, of those who lose their hands or feet,
of those who contract diseases riding on the tops of freight trains
in snow and sleet and storm; and yet, when these men become old
and helpless through accident, they are left to shift for themselves.
The company is immortal, but the employees become helpless.  Now,
it seems to me that a certain per cent. should be laid aside, so
that every brakeman and conductor could feel that he was providing
for himself, as well as for his fellow-workmen, so that when the
dark days came there would be a little light.

The men of wealth, the men who control these great corporations--
these great mills--give millions away in ostentatious charity.
They send missionaries to foreign lands.  They endow schools and
universities and allow the men who earned the surplus to die in
want.  I believe in no charity that is founded on robbery.  I have
no admiration for generous highwaymen or extravagant pirates.  At
the foundation of charity should be justice.  Let these men whom
others have made wealthy give something to their workmen--something
to those who created their fortunes.  This would be one step in
the right direction.  Do not let it be regarded as charity--let it
be regarded as justice.

--_New York World_, December 2, 1888.


_Question_.  It is reported that you have been retained as counsel
for the Actors' Order of Friendship--the Edwin Forrest Lodge of
New York, and the Shakespeare Lodge of Philadelphia--for the purpose
of securing the necessary legislation to protect American actors--
is that so?

_Answer_.  Yes, I have been retained for that purpose, and the
object is simply that American actors may be put upon an equal
footing with Americans engaged in other employments.  There is a
law now which prevents contractors going abroad and employing
mechanics or skilled workmen, and bringing them to this country to
take the places of our citizens.

No one objects to the English, German and French mechanics coming
with their wives and children to this country and making their
homes here.  Our ports are open, and have been since the foundation
of this Government.  Wages are somewhat higher in this country than
in any other, and the man who really settles here, who becomes, or
intends to become an American citizen, will demand American wages.
But if a manufacturer goes to Europe, he can make a contract there
and bring hundreds and thousands of mechanics to this country who
will work for less wages than the American, and a law was passed
to prevent the American manufacturer, who was protected by a tariff,
from burning the laborer's candle at both ends.  That is to say,
we do not wish to give him the American price, by means of a tariff,
and then allow him to go to Europe and import his labor at the
European price.

In the law, actors were excepted, and we now find the managers are
bringing entire companies from the old county, making contracts
with them there, and getting them at much lower prices than they
would have had to pay for American actors.

No one objects to a foreign actor coming here for employment, but
we do not want an American manager to go there, and employ him to
act here.  No one objects to the importation of a star.  We wish
to see and hear the best actors in the world.  But the rest of the
company--the support--should be engaged in the United States, if
the star speaks English.

I see that it is contended over in England, that English actors
are monopolizing the American stage because they speak English,
while the average American actor does not.  The real reason is that
the English actor works for less money--he is the cheaper article.
Certainly no one will accuse the average English actor of speaking
English.  The hemming and hawing, the aristocratic stutter, the
dropping of h's and picking them up at the wrong time, have never
been popular in the United States, except by way of caricature.
Nothing is more absurd than to take the ground that the English
actors are superior to the American.  I know of no English actor
who can for a moment be compared with Joseph Jefferson, or with
Edwin Booth, or with Lawrence Barrett, or with Denman Thompson,
and I could easily name others.

If English actors are so much better than American, how is it that
an American star is supported by the English?  Mary Anderson is
certainly an American actress, and she is supported by English
actors.  Is it possible that the superior support the inferior?
I do not believe that England has her equal as an actress.  Her
Hermione is wonderful, and the appeal to Apollo sublime.  In Perdita
she "takes the winds of March with beauty."  Where is an actress
on the English stage the superior of Julia Marlowe in genius, in
originality, in naturalness?

Is there any better Mrs. Malaprop than Mrs. Drew, and better Sir
Anthony than John Gilbert?  No one denies that the English actors
and actresses are great.  No one will deny that the plays of
Shakespeare are the greatest that have been produced, and no one
wishes in any way to belittle the genius of the English people.

In this country the average person speaks fairly good English, and
you will find substantially the same English spoken in most of the
country; whereas in England there is a different dialect in almost
every county, and most of the English people speak the language as
if was not their native tongue.  I think it will be admitted that
the English write a good deal better than they speak, and that
their pronunciation is not altogether perfect.

These things, however, are not worth speaking of.  There is no
absolute standard.  They speak in the way that is natural to them,
and we in the way that is natural to us.  This difference furnishes
no foundation for a claim of general superiority.  The English
actors are not brought here on account of their excellence, but on
account of their cheapness.  It requires no great ability to play
the minor parts, or the leading roles in some plays, for that
matter.  And yet acting is a business, a profession, a means of
getting bread.

We protect our mechanics and makers of locomotives and of all other
articles.  Why should we not protect, by the same means, the actor?
You may say that we can get along without actors.  So we can get
along without painters, without sculptors and without poets.  But
a nation that gets along without these people of genius amounts to
but little.  We can do without music, without players and without
composers; but when we take art and poetry and music and the theatre
out of the world, it becomes an exceedingly dull place.

Actors are protected and cared for in proportion that people are
civilized.  If the people are intelligent, educated, and have
imaginations, they enjoy the world of the stage, the creations of
poets, and they are thrilled by great music, and, as a consequence,
respect the dramatist, the actor and the musician.

_Question_.  It is claimed that an amendment to the law, such as
is desired, will interfere with the growth of art?

_Answer_.  No one is endeavoring to keep stars from this country.
If they have American support, and the stars really know anything,
the American actors will get the benefit.  If they bring their
support with them, the American actor is not particularly benefitted,
and the star, when the season is over, takes his art and his money
with him.

Managers who insist on employing foreign support are not sacrificing
anything for art.  Their object is to make money.  They care nothing
for the American actor--nothing for the American drama.  They look
for the receipts.  It is the sheerest cant to pretend that they
are endeavoring to protect art.

On the 26th of February, 1885, a law was passed making it unlawful
"for any person, company, partnership or corporation, in any manner
whatsoever, to prepay the transportation, or in any way assist or
encourage the importation or emigration of any alien or aliens into
the United States, under contract or agreement, parol or special,
previous to the importation or emigration of such aliens to perform
labor or services of any kind the United States."

By this act it was provided that its provisions should not apply
to professional actors, artists, lecturers or singers, in regard
to persons employed strictly as personal or domestic servants.
The object now in view is so to amend the law that its provision
shall apply to all actors except stars.

_Question_.  In this connection there has been so much said about
the art of acting--what is your idea as to that art?

_Answer_.  Above all things in acting, there must be proportion.
There are no miracles in art or nature.  All that is done--every
inflection and gesture--must be in perfect harmony with the
circumstances.  Sensationalism is based on deformity, and bears
the same relation to proportion that caricature does to likeness.

The stream that flows even with its banks, making the meadows green,
delights us ever; the one that overflows surprises for a moment.
But we do not want a succession of floods.

In acting there must be natural growth, not sudden climax.  The
atmosphere of the situation, the relation sustained to others,
should produce the emotions.  Nothing should be strained.  Beneath
domes there should be buildings, and buildings should have foundations.
There must be growth.  There should be the bud, the leaf, the
flower, in natural sequence.  There must be no leap from naked
branches to the perfect fruit.

Most actors depend on climax--they save themselves for the supreme
explosion.  The scene opens with a slow match and ends when the
spark reaches the dynamite.  So, most authors fill the first act
with contradictions and the last with explanations.  Plots and
counter-plots, violence and vehemence, perfect saints and perfect
villains--that is to say, monsters, impelled by improbable motives,
meet upon the stage, where they are pushed and pulled for the sake
of the situation, and where everything is so managed that the fire
reaches the powder and the explosion is the climax.

There is neither time, nor climate, nor soil, in which the emotions
and intentions may grow.  No land is plowed, no seed is sowed, no
rain falls, no light glows--the events are all orphans.

No one would enjoy a sudden sunset--we want the clouds of gold that
float in the azure sea.  No one would enjoy a sudden sunrise--we
are in love with the morning star, with the dawn that modestly
heralds the day and draws aside, with timid hands, the curtains of
the night.  In other words, we want sequence, proportion, logic,

There are several actors in this country who are in perfect accord
with nature--who appear to make no effort--whose acting seems to
give them joy and rest.  We do well what we do easily.  It is a
great mistake to exhaust yourself, instead of the subject.  All
great actors "fill the stage" because they hold the situation.
You see them and nothing else.

_Question_.  Speaking of American actors, Colonel, I believe you
are greatly interested in the playing of Miss Marlowe, and have
given your opinion of her as Parthenia; what do you think of her
Julia and Viola?

_Answer_.  A little while ago I saw Miss Marlowe as Julia, in "The
Hunchback."  We must remember the limitations of the play.  Nothing
can excel the simplicity, the joyous content of the first scene.
Nothing could be more natural than the excitement produced by the
idea of leaving what you feel to be simple and yet good, for what
you think is magnificent, brilliant and intoxicating.  It is only
in youth that we are willing to make this exchange.  One does not
see so clearly in the morning of life when the sun shines in his
eyes.  In the afternoon, when the sun is behind him, he sees better
--he is no longer dazzled.  In old age we are not only willing,
but anxious, to exchange wealth and fame and glory and magnificence,
for simplicity.  All the palaces are nothing compared with our
little cabin, and all the flowers of the world are naught to the
wild rose that climbs and blossoms by the lowly window of content.

Happiness dwells in the valleys with the shadows.

The moment Julia is brought in contact with wealth, she longs for
the simple--for the true love of one true man.  Wealth and station
are mockeries.  These feelings, these emotions, Miss Marlowe rendered
not only with look and voice and gesture, but with every pose of
her body; and when assured that her nuptials with the Earl could
be avoided, the only question in her mind was as to the absolute
preservation of her honor--not simply in fact, but in appearance,
so that even hatred could not see a speck upon the shining shield
of her perfect truth.  In this scene she was perfect--everything
was forgotten except the desire to be absolutely true.

So in the scene with Master Walter, when he upbraids her for
forgetting that she is about to meet her father, when excusing her
forgetfulness on the ground that he has been to her a father.
Nothing could exceed the delicacy and tenderness of this passage.
Every attitude expressed love, gentleness, and a devotion even unto
death.  One felt that there could be no love left for the father
she expected to meet--Master Walter had it all.

A greater Julia was never on the stage--one in whom so much passion
mingled with so much purity.  Miss Marlowe never "o'ersteps the
modesty of nature."  She maintains proportion.  The river of her
art flows even with the banks.

In Viola, we must remember the character--a girl just rescued from
the sea--disguised as a boy--employed by the Duke, whom she instantly
loves--sent as his messenger to woo another for him--Olivia enamored
of the messenger--forced to a duel--mistaken for her brother by
the Captain, and her brother taken for herself by Olivia--and yet,
in the midst of these complications and disguises, she remains a
pure and perfect girl--these circumstances having no more real
effect upon her passionate and subtle self than clouds on stars.

When Malvolio follows and returns the ring the whole truth flashes
upon her.  She is in love with Orsino--this she knows.  Olivia,
she believes, is in love with her.  The edge of the situation, the
dawn of this entanglement, excites her mirth.  In this scene she
becomes charming--an impersonation of Spring.  Her laughter is as
natural and musical as the song of a brook.  So, in the scene with
Olivia in which she cries, "Make me a willow cabin at your gate!"
she is the embodiment of grace, and her voice is as musical as the
words, and as rich in tone as they are in thought.

In the duel with Sir Andrew she shows the difference between the
delicacy of woman and the cowardice of man.  She does the little
that she can, not for her own sake, but for the sake of her disguise
--she feels that she owes something to her clothes.

But I have said enough about this actress to give you an idea of
one who is destined to stand first in her profession.

We will now come back to the real question.  I am in favor of
protecting the American actor.  I regard the theatre as the civilizer
of man.  All the arts united upon the stage, and the genius of the
race has been lavished on this mimic world.

--_New York Star_, December 23, 1888.


_Question_.  What do you think of the prospects of Liberalism in
this country?

_Answer_.  The prospects of Liberalism are precisely the same as
the prospects of civilization--that is to say, of progress.  As
the people become educated, they become liberal.  Bigotry is the
provincialism of the mind.  Men are bigoted who are not acquainted
with the thoughts of others.  They have been taught one thing, and
have been made to believe that their little mental horizon is the
circumference of all knowledge.  The bigot lives in an ignorant
village, surrounded by ignorant neighbors.  This is the honest
bigot.  The dishonest bigot may know better, but he remains a bigot
because his salary depends upon it.  A bigot is like a country that
has had no commerce with any other.  He imagines that in his little
head there is everything of value.  When a man becomes an intellectual
explorer, an intellectual traveler, he begins to widen, to grow
liberal.  He finds that the ideas of others are as good as and often
better than his own.  The habits and customs of other people throw
light on his own, and by this light he is enabled to discover at
least some of his own mistakes.  Now the world has become acquainted.
A few years ago, a man knew something of the doctrines of his own
church.  Now he knows the creeds of others, and not only so, but
he has examined to some extent the religions of other nations.  He
finds in other creeds all the excellencies that are in his own,
and most of the mistakes.  In this way he learns that all creeds
have been produced by men, and that their differences have been
accounted for by race, climate, heredity--that is to say, by a
difference in circumstances.  So we now know that the cause of
Liberalism is the cause of civilization.  Unless the race is to be
a failure, the cause of Liberalism must succeed.  Consequently, I
have the same faith in that cause that I have in the human race.

_Question_.  Where are the most Liberals, and in what section of
the country is the best work for Liberalism being done?

_Answer_.  The most Liberals are in the most intelligent section
of the United States.  Where people think the most, there you will
find the most Liberals; where people think the least, you will find
the most bigots.  Bigotry is produced by feeling--Liberalism by
thinking--that is to say, the one is a prejudice, the other a
principle.  Every geologist, every astronomer, every scientist, is
doing a noble work for Liberalism.  Every man who finds a fact,
and demonstrates it, is doing work for the cause.  All the literature
of our time that is worth reading is on the liberal side.  All the
fiction that really interests the human mind is with us.  No one
cares to read the old theological works.  Essays written by professors
of theological colleges are regarded, even by Christians, with a
kind of charitable contempt.  When any demonstration of science is
attacked by a creed, or a passage of Scripture, all the intelligent
smile.  For these reasons I think that the best work for Liberalism
is being done where the best work for science is being done--where
the best work for man is being accomplished.  Every legislator that
assists in the repeal of theological laws is doing a great work
for Liberalism.

_Question_.  In your opinion, what relation do Liberalism and
Prohibition bear to each other?

_Answer_.  I do not think they have anything to do with each other.
They have nothing in common except this:  The Prohibitionists, I
presume, are endeavoring to do what they can for temperance; so
all intelligent Liberals are doing what they can for the cause of
temperance.  The Prohibitionist endeavors to accomplish his object
by legislation--the Liberalist by education, by civilization, by
example, by persuasion.  The method of the Liberalist is good, that
of the Prohibitionist chimerical and fanatical.

_Question_.  Do you think that Liberals should undertake a reform
in the marriage and divorce laws and relations?

_Answer_.  I think that Liberals should do all in their power to
induce people to regard marriage and divorce in a sensible light,
and without the slightest reference to any theological ideas.  They
should use their influence to the end that marriage shall be
considered as a contract--the highest and holiest that men and
women can make.  And they should also use their influence to have
the laws of divorce based on this fundamental idea,--that marriage
is a contract.  All should be done that can be done by law to uphold
the sacredness of this relation.  All should be done that can be
done to impress upon the minds of all men and all women their duty
to discharge all the obligations of the marriage contract faithfully
and cheerfully.  I do not believe that it is to the interest of
the State or of the Nation, that people should be compelled to live
together who hate each other, or that a woman should be bound to
a man who has been false and who refuses to fulfill the contract
of marriage.  I do not believe that any man should call upon the
police, or upon the creeds, or upon the church, to compel his wife
to remain under his roof, or to compel a woman against her will to
become the mother of his children.  In other words, Liberals should
endeavor to civilize mankind, and when men and women are civilized,
the marriage question, and the divorce question, will be settled.

_Question_.  Should Liberals vote on Liberal issues?

_Answer_.  I think that, other things being anywhere near equal,
Liberals should vote for men who believe in liberty, men who believe
in giving to others the rights they claim for themselves--that is
to say, for civilized men, for men of some breadth of mind.  Liberals
should do what they can to do away with all the theological

_Question_.  Can, or ought, the Liberals and Spiritualists to unite?

_Answer_.  All people should unite where they have objects in
common.  They can vote together, and act together, without believing
the same on all points.  A Liberal is not necessarily a Spiritualist,
and a Spiritualist is not necessarily a Liberal.  If Spiritualists
wish to liberalize the Government, certainly Liberals would be glad
of their assistance, and if Spiritualists take any step in the
direction of freedom, the Liberals should stand by them to that

_Question_.  Which is the more dangerous to American institutions
--the National Reform Association (God-in-the-Constitution party)
or the Roman Catholic Church?

_Answer_.  The Association and the Catholic Church are dangerous
according to their power.  The Catholic Church has far more power
than the Reform Association, and is consequently far more dangerous.
The God-in-the-Constitution association is weak, fanatical, stupid,
and absurd.  What God are we to have in the Constitution?  Whose
God?  If we should agree to-morrow to put God in the Constitution,
the question would then be:  Which God?  On that question, the
religious world would fall out.  In that direction there is no
danger.  But the Roman Catholic Church is the enemy of intellectual
liberty.  It is the enemy of investigation.  It is the enemy of
free schools.  That church always has been, always will be, the
enemy of freedom.  It works in the dark.  When in a minority it is
humility itself--when in power it is the impersonation of arrogance.
In weakness it crawls--in power it stands erect, and compels its
victims to fall upon their faces.  The most dangerous institution
in this world, so far as the intellectual liberty of man is concerned,
is the Roman Catholic Church.  Next to that is the Protestant

_Question_.  What is your opinion of the Christian religion and
the Christian Church?

_Answer_.  My opinion upon this subject is certainly well known.
The Christian Church is founded upon miracles--that is to say, upon
impossibilities.  Of course, there is a great deal that is good in
the creeds of the churches, and in the sermons delivered by its
ministers; but mixed with this good is much that is evil.  My
principal objection to orthodox religion is the dogma of eternal
pain.  Nothing can be more infamously absurd.  All civilized men
should denounce it--all women should regard it with a kind of
shuddering abhorrence.

--_Secular Thought_, Toronto, Canada, 1888.


_Question_.  Do you agree with the views of Pope Leo XIII. as
expressed in _The Herald_ of last week?

_Answer_.  I am not personally acquainted with Leo XIII., but I
have not the slightest idea that he loves Americans or their country.
I regard him as an enemy of intellectual liberty.  He tells us that
where the church is free it will increase, and I say to him that
where others are free it will not.  The Catholic Church has increased
in this country by immigration and in no other way.  Possibly the
Pope is willing to use his power for the good of the whole people,
Protestants and Catholics, and to increase their prosperity and
happiness, because by this he means that he will use his power to
make Catholics out of Protestants.

It is impossible for the Catholic Church to be in favor of mental
freedom.  That church represents absolute authority.  Its members
have no right to reason--no right to ask questions--they are called
upon simply to believe and to pay their subscriptions.

_Question_.  Do you agree with the Pope when he says that the result
of efforts which have been made to throw aside Christianity and
live without it can be seen in the present condition of society--
discontent, disorder, hatred and profound unhappiness?

_Answer_.  Undoubtedly the people of Europe who wish to be free
are discontented.  Undoubtedly these efforts to have something like
justice done will bring disorder.  Those in power will hate those
who are endeavoring to drive them from their thrones.  If the people
now, as formerly, would bear all burdens cheerfully placed upon
their shoulders by church and state--that is to say, if they were
so enslaved mentally that they would not even have sense enough to
complain, then there would be what the Pope might call "peace and
happiness"--that is to say, the peace of ignorance, and the happiness
of those who are expecting pay in another world for their agonies
endured in this.

Of course, the revolutionaries of Europe are not satisfied with
the Catholic religion; neither are they satisfied with the Protestant.
Both of these religions rest upon authority.  Both discourage
reason.  Both say "Let him that hath ears to hear, hear," but
neither say let him that hath brains to think, think.

Christianity has been thoroughly tried, and it is a failure.  Nearly
every church has upheld slavery, not only of the body, but of the
mind.  When Christian missionaries invade what they call a heathen
country, they are followed in a little while by merchants and
traders, and in a few days afterward by the army.  The first real
work is to kill the heathen or steal their lands, or else reduce
them to something like slavery.

I have no confidence in the reformation of this world by churches.
Churches for the most part exist, not for this world, but for
another.  They are founded upon the supernatural, and they say:
"Take no thought for the morrow; put your trust in your Heavenly
Father and he will take care of you."  On the other hand, science
says:  "You must take care of yourself, live for the world in which
you happen to be--if there is another, live for that when you get

_Question_.  What do you think of the plan to better the condition
of the workingmen, by committees headed by bishops of the Catholic
Church, in discussing their duties?

_Answer_.  If the bishops wish to discuss with anybody about duties
they had better discuss with the employers, instead of the employed.
This discussion had better take place between the clergy and the
capitalist.  There is no need of discussing this question with the
poor wretches who cannot earn more than enough to keep their souls
in their bodies.  If the Catholic Church has so much power, and if
it represents God on earth, let it turn its attention to softening
the hearts of capitalists, and no longer waste its time in preaching
patience to the poor slaves who are now bearing the burdens of the

_Question_.  Do you agree with the Pope that:  "Sound rules of life
must be founded on religion"?

_Answer_.  I do not.  Sound rules of life must be founded on the
experience of mankind.  In other words, we must live for this world.
Why should men throw away hundreds and thousands of millions of
dollars in building cathedrals and churches, and paying the salaries
of bishops and priests, and cardinals and popes, and get no possible
return for all this money except a few guesses about another world
--those guesses being stated as facts--when every pope and priest
and bishop knows that no one knows the slightest thing on the
subject.  Superstition is the greatest burden borne by the industry
of the world.

The nations of Europe to-day all pretend to be Christian, yet
millions of men are drilled and armed for the purpose of killing
other Christians.  Each Christian nation is fortified to prevent
other Christians from devastating their fields.  There is already
a debt of about twenty-five thousand millions of dollars which has
been incurred by Christian nations, because each one is afraid of
every other, and yet all say:  "It is our duty to love our enemies."

This world, in my judgment, is to be reformed through intelligence
--through development of the mind--not by credulity, but by
investigation; not by faith in the supernatural, but by faith in
the natural.  The church has passed the zenith of her power.  The
clergy must stand aside.  Scientists must take their places.

_Question_.  Do you agree with the Pope in attacking the present
governments of Europe and the memories of Mazzini and Saffi?

_Answer_.  I do not.  I think Mazzini was of more use to Italy than
all the popes that ever occupied the chair of St. Peter--which, by
the way, was not his chair.  I have a thousand times more regard
for Mazzini, for Garibaldi, for Cavour, than I have for any gentleman
who pretends to be the representative of God.

There is another objection I have to the Pope, and that is that he
was so scandalized when a monument was reared in Rome to the memory
of Giordano Bruno.  Bruno was murdered about two hundred and sixty
years ago by the Catholic Church, and such has been the development
of the human brain and heart that on the very spot where he was
murdered a monument rises to his memory.

But the vicar of God has remained stationary, and he regards this
mark of honor to one of the greatest and noblest of the human race
as an act of blasphemy.  The poor old man acts as if America had
never been discovered--as if the world were still flat--and as if
the stars had been made out of little pieces left over from the
creation of the world and stuck in the sky simply to beautify the

But, after all, I do not blame this Pope.  He is the victim of his
surroundings.  He was never married.  His heart was never softened
by wife or children.  He was born that way, and, to tell you the
truth, he has my sincere sympathy.  Let him talk about America and
stay in Italy.

--_The Herald_, New York, April 22, 1890.


_Question_.  What do you think of the sacredness of the Sabbath?

_Answer_.  I think all days, all times and all seasons are alike
sacred.  I think the best day in a man's life is the day that he
is truly the happiest.  Every day in which good is done to humanity
is a holy day.

If I were to make a calendar of sacred days, I would put down the
days in which the greatest inventions came to the mind of genius;
the days when scattered tribes became nations; the days when good
laws were passed; the days when bad ones were repealed; the days
when kings were dethroned, and the people given their own; in other
words, every day in which good has been done; in which men and
women have truly fallen in love, days in which babes were born
destined to change the civilization of the world.  These are all
sacred days; days in which men have fought for the right, suffered
for the right, died for the right; all days in which there were
heroic actions for good.  The day when slavery was abolished in
the United States is holier than any Sabbath by reason of "divine

Of course, I care nothing about the sacredness of the Sabbath
because it was hallowed in the Old Testament, or because of that
day Jehovah is said to have rested from his labors.  A space of
time cannot be sacred, any more than a vacuum can be sacred, and
it is rendered sacred by deeds done in it, and not in and of itself.

If we should finally invent some means of traveling by which we
could go a thousand miles a day, a man could escape Sunday all his
life by traveling West.  He could start Monday, and stay Monday
all the time.  Or, if he should some time get near the North Pole,
he could walk faster than the earth turns and thus beat Sunday all
the while.

_Question_.  Should not the museums and art galleries be thrown
open to the workingmen free on Sunday?

_Answer_.  Undoubtedly.  In all civilized countries this is done,
and I believe it would be done in New York, only it is said that
money has been given on condition that the museums should be kept
closed on Sundays.  I have always heard it said that large sums
will be withheld by certain old people who have the prospect of
dying in the near future if the museums are open on Sunday.

This, however, seems to me a very poor and shallow excuse.  Money
should not be received under such conditions.  One of the curses
of our country has been the giving of gifts to colleges on certain
conditions.  As, for instance, the money given to Andover by the
original founder on the condition that a certain creed be taught,
and other large amounts have been given on a like condition.  Now,
the result of this is that the theological professor must teach
what these donors have indicated, or go out of the institution; or
--and this last "or" is generally the trouble--teach what he does
not believe, endeavoring to get around it by giving new meaning to
old words.

I think the cause of intellectual progress has been much delayed
by these conditions put in the wills of supposed benefactors, so
that after they are dead they can rule people who have the habit
of being alive.  In my opinion, a corpse is a poor ruler, and after
a man is dead he should keep quiet.

Of course all that he did will live, and should be allowed to have
its natural effect.  If he was a great inventor or discoverer, or
if he uttered great truths, these became the property of the world;
but he should not endeavor, after he is dead, to rule the living
by conditions attached to his gifts.

All the museums and libraries should be opened, not only to
workingmen, but to all others.  If to see great paintings, great
statues, wonderful works of art; if to read the thoughts of the
greatest men--if these things tend to the civilization of the race,
then they should be put as nearly as possible within the reach of

The man who works eight or ten or twelve hours a day has not time
during the six days of labor to visit libraries or museums.  Sunday
is his day of leisure, his day of recreation, and on that day he
should have the privilege, and he himself should deem it a right
to visit all the public libraries and museums, parks and gardens.

In other words, I think the laboring man should have the same rights
on Sundays, to say the least of it, that wealthy people have on
other days.  The man of wealth has leisure.  He can attend these
places on any day he may desire; but necessity being the master of
the poor man, Sunday is his one day for such a purpose.  For men
of wealth to close the museums and libraries on that day, shows
that they have either a mistaken idea as to the well-being of their
fellow-men, or that they care nothing about the rights of any except
the wealthy.

Personally, I have no sort of patience with the theological snivel
and drivel about the sacredness of the Sabbath.  I do not understand
why they do not accept the words of their own Christ, namely, that
"the Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."

The hypocrites of Judea were great sticklers for the Sabbath, and
the orthodox Christians of New York are exactly the same.  My own
opinion is that a man who has been at work all the week, in the
dust and heat, can hardly afford to waste his Sunday in hearing an
orthodox sermon--a sermon that gives him the cheerful intelligence
that his chances for being damned are largely in the majority.  I
think it is far better for the workingman to go out with his family
in the park, into the woods, to some German garden, where he can
hear the music of Wagner, or even the waltzes of Strauss, or to
take a boat and go down to the shore of the sea.  I think than in
summer a few waves of the ocean are far more refreshing then all
the orthodox sermons of the world.

As a matter of fact, I believe the preachers leave the city in the
summer and let the Devil do his worst.  Whether it is believed that
the Devil has less power in warm weather, I do not know.  But I do
know that, as the mercury rises, the anxiety about souls decreases,
and the hotter New York becomes, the cooler hell seems to be.

I want the workingman, no matter what he works at--whether at
doctoring people, or trying law suits, or running for office--to
have a real good time on Sunday.  He, of course, must be careful
not to interfere with the rights of others.  He ought not to play
draw-poker on the steps of a church; neither should he stone a
Chinese funeral, nor go to any excesses; but all the week long he
should have it in his mind:  Next Sunday I am going to have a good
time.  My wife and I and the children are going to have a happy
time.  I am going out with the girl I like; or my young man is
going to take me to the picnic.  And this thought, and this hope,
of having a good time on Sunday--of seeing some great pictures at
the Metropolitan Art Gallery--together with a good many bad ones--
will make work easy and lighten the burden on the shoulders of toil.

I take a great interest, too, in the working women--particularly
in the working woman.  I think that every workingman should see to
it that every working woman has a good time on Sunday.  I am no
preacher.  All I want is that everybody should enjoy himself in a
way that he will not and does not interfere with the enjoyment of

It will not do to say that we cannot trust the people.  Our Government
is based upon the idea that the people can be trusted, and those
who say that the workingmen cannot be trusted, do not believe in
Republican or Democratic institutions.  For one, I am perfectly
willing to trust the working people of the country.  I do, every
day.  I trust the engineers on the cars and steamers.  I trust the
builders of houses.  I trust all laboring men every day of my life,
and if the laboring people of the country were not trustworthy--if
they were malicious or dishonest--life would not be worth living.

--_The Journal_, New York, June 6, 1890.


_Question_.  Do you think the South will ever equal or surpass the
West in point of prosperity?

_Answer_.  I do not.  The West has better soil and more of the
elements of wealth.  It is not liable to yellow fever; its rivers
have better banks; the people have more thrift, more enterprise,
more political hospitality; education is more general; the people
are more inventive; better traders, and besides all this, there is
no race problem.  The Southern people are what their surroundings
made them, and the influence of slavery has not yet died out.  In
my judgment the climate of the West is superior to that of the
South.  The West has good, cold winters, and they make people a
little more frugal, prudent and industrious.  Winters make good
homes, cheerful firesides, and, after all, civilization commences
at the hearthstone.  The South is growing, and will continue to
grow, but it will never equal the West.  The West is destined to
dominate the Republic.

_Question_.  Do you consider the new ballot-law adapted to the
needs of our system of elections?  If not, in what particulars does
it require amendment?

_Answer_.  Personally I like the brave and open way.  The secret
ballot lacks courage.  I want people to know just how I vote.  The
old _viva voce_ way was manly and looked well.  Every American
should be taught that he votes as a sovereign--an emperor--and he
should exercise the right in a kingly way.  But if we must have
the secret ballot, then let it be secret indeed, and let the crowd
stand back while the king votes.

_Question_.  What do you think of the service pension movement?

_Answer_.  I see that there is a great deal of talk here in Indiana
about this service pension movement.  It has always seemed to me
that the pension fund has been frittered away.  Of what use is it
to give a man two or three dollars a month?  If a man is rich why
should he have any pension?  I think it would be better to give
pensions only to the needy, and then give them enough to support
them.  If the man was in the army a day or a month, and was uninjured,
and can make his own living, or has enough, why should he have a
pension?  I believe in giving to the wounded and disabled and poor,
with a liberal hand, but not to the rich.  I know that the nation
could not pay the men who fought and suffered.  There is not money
enough in the world to pay the heroes for what they did and endured
--but there is money enough to keep every wounded and diseased
soldier from want.  There is money enough to fill the lives of
those who gave limbs or health for the sake of the Republic, with
comfort and happiness.  I would also like to see the poor soldier
taken care of whether he was wounded or not, but I see no propriety
in giving to those who do not need.

--_The Journal_, Indianapolis, Indiana, June 21, 1890.


_Question_.  What do you think of the revision of the Westminster

_Answer_.  I think that the intelligence and morality of the age
demand the revision.  The Westminster creed is infamous.  It makes
God an infinite monster, and men the most miserable of beings.
That creed has made millions insane.  It has furrowed countless
cheeks with tears.  Under its influence the sentiments and sympathies
of the heart have withered.  This creed was written by the worst
of men.  The civilized Presbyterians do not believe it.  The
intelligent clergyman will not preach it, and all good men who
understand it, hold it in abhorrence.  But the fact is that it is
just as good as the creed of any orthodox church.  All these creeds
must be revised.  Young America will not be consoled by the doctrine
of eternal pain.  Yes, the creeds must be revised or the churches
will be closed.

_Question_.  What do you think of the influence of the press on

_Answer_.  If you mean on orthodox religion, then I say the press
is helping to destroy it.  Just to the extent that the press is
intelligent and fearless, it is and must be the enemy of superstition.
Every fact in the universe is the enemy of every falsehood.  The
press furnishes food for, and excites thought.  This tends to the
destruction of the miraculous and absurd.  I regard the press as
the friend of progress and consequently the foe of orthodox religion.
The old dogmas do not make the people happy.  What is called religion
is full of fear and grief.  The clergy are always talking about
dying, about the grave and eternal pain.  They do not add to the
sunshine of life.  If they could have their way all the birds would
stop singing, the flowers would lose their color and perfume, and
all the owls would sit on dead trees and hoot, "Broad is the road
that leads to death."

_Question_.  If you should write your last sentence on religious
topics what would be your closing?

_Answer_.  I now in the presence of death affirm and reaffirm the
truth of all that I have said against the superstitions of the
world.  I would say at least that much on the subject with my last

_Question_.  What, in your opinion, will be Browning's position in
the literature of the future?

_Answer_.  Lower than at present.  Mrs. Browning was far greater
than her husband.  He never wrote anything comparable to "Mother
and Poet."  Browning lacked form, and that is as great a lack in
poetry as it is in sculpture.  He was the author of some great
lines, some great thoughts, but he was obscure, uneven and was
always mixing the poetic with the commonplace.  To me he cannot be
compared with Shelley or Keats, or with our own Walt Whitman.  Of
course poetry cannot be very well discussed.  Each man knows what
he likes, what touches his heart and what words burst into blossom,
but he cannot judge for others.  After one has read Shakespeare,
Burns and Byron, and Shelley and Keats; after he has read the
"Sonnets" and the "Daisy" and the "Prisoner of Chillon" and the
"Skylark" and the "Ode to the Grecian Urn"--the "Flight of the
Duchess" seems a little weak.

--_The Post-Express_, Rochester, New York, June 23, 1890.


_Question_.  What is your opinion of Ignatius Donnelly as a literary
man irrespective of his Baconian theory?

_Answer_.  I know that Mr. Donnelly enjoys the reputation of being
a man of decided ability and that he is regarded by many as a great
orator.  He is known to me through his Baconian theory, and in that
of course I have no confidence.  It is nearly as ingenious as
absurd.  He has spent great time, and has devoted much curious
learning to the subject, and has at last succeeded in convincing
himself that Shakespeare claimed that which he did not write, and
that Bacon wrote that which he did not claim.  But to me the theory
is without the slightest foundation.

_Question_.  Mr. Donnelly asks:  "Can you imagine the author of
such grand productions retiring to that mud house in Stratford to
live without a single copy of the quarto that has made his name
famous?"  What do you say?

_Answer_.  Yes; I can.  Shakespeare died in 1616, and the quarto
was published in 1623, seven years after he was dead.  Under these
circumstances I think Shakespeare ought to be excused, even by
those who attack him with the greatest bitterness, for not having a copy
of the book.  There is, however, another side to his.  Bacon did
not die until long after the quarto was published.  Did he have a
copy?  Did he mention the copy in his will?  Did he ever mention
the quarto in any letter, essay, or in any way?  He left a library,
was there a copy of the plays in it?  Has there ever been found a
line from any play or sonnet in his handwriting?  Bacon left his
writings, his papers, all in perfect order, but no plays, no sonnets,
said nothing about plays--claimed nothing on their behalf.  This
is the other side.  Now, there is still another thing.  The edition
of 1623 was published by Shakespeare's friends, Heminge and Condell.
They knew him--had been with him for years, and they collected most
of his plays and put them in book form.

Ben Jonson wrote a preface, in which he placed Shakespeare above
all the other poets--declared that he was for all time.

The edition of 1623 was gotten up by actors, by the friends and
associates of Shakespeare, vouched for by dramatic writers--by
those who knew him.  This is enough.

_Question_.  How do you explain the figure:  "His soul, like Mazeppa,
was lashed naked to the wild horse of every fear and love and hate"?
Mr. Donnelly does not understand you.

_Answer_.  It hardly seems necessary to explain a thing as simple
and plain as that.  Men are carried away by some fierce passion--
carried away in spite of themselves as Mazeppa was carried by the
wild horse to which he was lashed.  Whether the comparison is good
or bad it is at least plain.  Nothing could tempt me to call Mr.
Donnelly's veracity in question.  He says that he does not understand
the sentence and I most cheerfully admit that he tells the exact

_Question_.  Mr. Donnelly says that you said:  "Where there is
genius, education seems almost unnecessary," and he denounces your
doctrine as the most abominable doctrine ever taught.  What have
you to say to that?

_Answer_.  In the first place, I never made the remark.  In the
next place, it may be well enough to ask what education is.  Much
is taught in colleges that is of no earthly use; much is taught
that is hurtful.  There are thousands of educated men who never
graduated from any college or university.  Every observant, thoughtful
man is educating himself as long as he lives.  Men are better then
books.  Observation is a great teacher.  A man of talent learns
slowly.  He does not readily see the necessary relation that one
fact bears to another.  A man of genius, learning one fact, instantly
sees hundreds of others.  It is not necessary for such a man to
attend college.  The world is his university.  Every man he meets
is a book--every woman a volume every fact a torch--and so without
the aid of the so-called schools he rises to the very top.
Shakespeare was such a man.

_Question_.  Mr. Donnelly says that:  "The biggest myth ever on
earth was Shakespeare, and that if Francis Bacon had said to the
people, I, Francis Bacon, a gentleman of gentlemen, have been taking
in secret my share of the coppers and shillings taken at the door
of those low playhouses, he would have been ruined.  If he had put
the plays forth simply as poetry it would have ruined his legal
reputation."  What do you think of this?

_Answer_.  I hardly think that Shakespeare was a myth.  He was
certainly born, married, lived in London, belonged to a company of
actors; went back to Stratford, where he had a family, and died.
All these things do not as a rule happen to myths.  In addition to
this, those who knew him believed him to be the author of the plays.
Bacon's friends never suspected him.  I do not think it would have
hurt Bacon to have admitted that he wrote "Lear" and "Othello,"
and that he was getting "coppers and shillings" to which he was
justly entitled.  Certainly not as much as for him to have written
this, which if fact, though not in exact form, he did write:  "I,
Francis Bacon, a gentleman of gentlemen, have been taking coppers
and shillings to which I was not entitled--but which I received as
bribes while sitting as a judge."  He has been excused for two
reasons.  First, because his salary was small, and, second, because
it was the custom for judges to receive presents.

Bacon was a lawyer.  He was charged with corruption--with having
taken bribes, with having sold his decisions.  He knew what the
custom was and knew how small his salary was.  But he did not plead
the custom in his defense.  He did not mention the smallness of
the salary.  He confessed that he was guilty--as charged.  His
confession was deemed too general and he was called upon by the
Lords to make a specific confession.  This he did.  He specified
the cases in which he had received the money and told how much,
and begged for mercy.  He did not make his confession, as Mr.
Donnelly is reported to have said, to get his fine remitted.  The
confession was made before the fine was imposed.

Neither do I think that the theatre in which the plays of Shakespeare
were represented could or should be called a "low play house."
The fact that "Othello," "Lear," "Hamlet," "Julius Caesar," and
the other great dramas were first played in that playhouse made it
the greatest building in the world.  The gods themselves should
have occupied seats in that theatre, where for the first time the
greatest productions of the human mind were put upon the stage.

--_The Tribune_, Minneapolis, Minn., May 31, 1891.


_Question_.  How have you acquired the art of growing old

_Answer_.  It is very hard to live a great while without getting
old, and it is hardly worth while to die just to keep young.  It
is claimed that people with certain incomes live longer than those
who have to earn their bread.  But the income people have a stupid
kind of life, and though they may hang on a good many years, they
can hardly be said to do much real living.  The best you can say
is, not that they lived so many years, but that it took them so
many years to die.  Some people imagine that regular habits prolong
life, but that depends somewhat on the habits.  Only the other day
I read an article written by a physician, in which regular habits
--good ones, were declared to be quite dangerous.

Where life is perfectly regular, all the wear and tear comes on
the same nerves--every blow falls on the same place.  Variety, even
in a bad direction, is a great relief.  But living long has nothing
to do with getting old gracefully.  Good nature is a great enemy
of wrinkles, and cheerfulness helps the complexion.  If we could
only keep from being annoyed at little things, it would add to the
luxury of living.  Great sorrows are few, and after all do not
affect us as much as the many irritating, almost nothings that
attack from every side.  The traveler is bothered more with dust
than mountains.  It is a great thing to have an object in life--
something to work for and think for.  If a man thinks only about
himself, his own comfort, his own importance, he will not grow old
gracefully.  More and more his spirit, small and mean, will leave
its impress on his face, and especially in his eyes.  You look at
him and feel that there is no jewel in the casket; that a shriveled
soul is living in a tumble-down house.

The body gets its grace from the mind.  I suppose that we are all
more or less responsible for our looks.  Perhaps the thinker of
great thoughts, the doer of noble deeds, moulds his features in
harmony with his life.

Probably the best medicine, the greatest beautifier in the world,
is to make somebody else happy.  I have noticed that good mothers
have faces as serene as a cloudless day in June, and the older the
serener.  It is a great thing to know the relative importance of
things, and those who do, get the most out of life.  Those who take
an interest in what they see, and keep their minds busy are always

The other day I met a blacksmith who has given much attention to
geology and fossil remains.  He told me how happy he was in his
excursions.  He was nearly seventy years old, and yet he had the
enthusiasm of a boy.  He said he had some very fine specimens,
"but," said he, "nearly every night I dream of finding perfect

That man will keep young as long as he lives.  As long as a man
lives he should study.  Death alone has the right to dismiss the
school.  No man can get too much knowledge.  In that, he can have
all the avarice he wants, but he can get too much property.  If
the business men would stop when they got enough, they might have
a chance to grow old gracefully.  But the most of them go on and
on, until, like the old stage horse, stiff and lame, they drop dead
in the road.  The intelligent, the kind, the reasonably contented,
the courageous, the self-poised, grow old gracefully.

_Question_.  Are not the restraints to free religious thought being
worn away, as the world grows older, and will not the recent attacks
of the religious press and pulpit upon the unorthodoxy of Dr.
Briggs, Rev. R. Heber Newton and the prospective Episcopal bishop
of Massachusetts, Dr. Phillips Brooks, and others, have a tendency
still further to extend this freedom?

_Answer_.  Of course the world is growing somewhat wiser--getting
more sense day by day.  It is amazing to me that any human being
or beings ever wrote the Presbyterian creed.  Nothing can be more
absurd--more barbaric than that creed.  It makes man the sport of
an infinite monster, and yet good people, men and women of ability,
who have gained eminence in almost every department of human effort,
stand by this creed as if it were filled with wisdom and goodness.
They really think that a good God damns his poor ignorant children
just for his own glory, and that he sends people to perdition, not
for any evil in them, but to the praise of his glorious justice.
Dr. Briggs has been wicked enough to doubt this phase of God's
goodness, and Dr. Bridgman was heartless enough to drop a tear in
hell.  Of course they have no idea of what justice really is.

The Presbyterian General Assembly that has just adjourned stood by
Calvinism.  The "Five Points" are as sharp as ever.  The members
of that assembly--most of them--find all their happiness in the
"creed."  They need no other amusement.  If they feel blue they
read about total depravity--and cheer up.  In moments of great
sorrow they think of the tale of non-elect infants, and their hearts
overflow with a kind of joy.

They cannot imagine why people wish to attend the theatre when they
can read the "Confession of Faith," or why they should feel like
dancing after they do read it.

It is very sad to think of the young men and women who have been
eternally ruined by witnessing the plays of Shakespeare, and it is
also sad to think of the young people, foolish enough to be happy,
keeping time to the pulse of music, waltzing to hell in loving
pairs--all for the glory of God, and to the praise of his glorious
justice.  I think, too, of the thousands of men and women who, while
listening to the music of Wagner, have absolutely forgotten the
Presbyterian creed, and who for a little while have been as happy
as if the creed had never been written.  Tear down the theatres,
burn the opera houses, break all musical instruments, and then let
us go to church.

I am not at all surprised that the General Assembly took up this
progressive euchre matter.  The word "progressive" is always
obnoxious to the ministers.  Euchre under another name might go.
Of course, progressive euchre is a kind of gambling.  I knew a
young man, or rather heard of him, who won at progressive euchre
a silver spoon.  At first this looks like nothing, almost innocent,
and yet that spoon, gotten for nothing, sowed the seed of gambling
in that young man's brain.  He became infatuated with euchre, then
with cards in general, then with draw-poker in particular,--then
into Wall Street.  He is now a total wreck, and has the impudence
to say that is was all "pre-ordained."  Think of the thousands and
millions that are being demoralized by games of chance, by marbles
--when they play for keeps--by billiards and croquet, by fox and
geese, authors, halma, tiddledywinks and pigs in clover.  In all
these miserable games, is the infamous element of chance--the raw
material of gambling.  Probably none of these games could be played
exclusively for the glory of God.  I agree with the Presbyterian
General Assembly, if the creed is true, why should anyone try to
amuse himself?  If there is a hell, and all of us are going there,
there should never be another smile on the human face.  We should
spend our days in sighs, our nights in tears.  The world should go
insane.  We find strange combinations--good men with bad creeds,
and bad men with good ones--and so the great world stumbles along.

--_The Blade_, Toledo, Ohio, June 4, 1891.


There is a natural desire on the part of every intelligent human
being to harmonize his information--to make his theories agree--in
other words, to make what he knows, or thinks he knows, in one
department, agree and harmonize with what he knows, or thinks he
knows, in every other department of human knowledge.

The human race has not advanced in line, neither has it advanced
in all departments with the same rapidity.  It is with the race as
it is with an individual.  A man may turn his entire attention to
some one subject--as, for instance, to geology--and neglect other
sciences.  He may be a good geologist, but an exceedingly poor
astronomer; or he may know nothing of politics or of political
economy.  So he may be a successful statesman and know nothing of
theology.  But if a man, successful in one direction, takes up some
other question, he is bound to use the knowledge he has on one
subject as a kind of standard to measure what he is told on some
other subject.  If he is a chemist, it will be natural for him,
when studying some other question, to use what he knows in chemistry;
that is to say, he will expect to find cause and effect everywhere
--succession and resemblance.  He will say:  It must be in all
other sciences as in chemistry--there must be no chance.  The
elements have no caprice.  Iron is always the same.  Gold does not
change.  Prussic acid is always poison--it has no freaks.  So he
will reason as to all facts in nature.  He will be a believer in
the atomic integrity of all matter, in the persistence of gravitation.
Being so trained, and so convinced, his tendency will be to weigh
what is called new information in the same scales that he has been

Now, for the application of this.  Progress in religion is the
slowest, because man is kept back by sentimentality, by the efforts
of parents, by old associations.  A thousand unseen tendrils are
twining about him that he must necessarily break if he advances.
In other departments of knowledge inducements are held out and
rewards are promised to the one who does succeed--to the one who
really does advance--to the one who discovers new facts.  But in
religion, instead of rewards being promised, threats are made.
The man is told that he must not advance; that if he takes a step
forward, it is at the peril of his soul; that if he thinks and
investigates, he is in danger of exciting the wrath of God.
Consequently religion has been of the slowest growth.  Now, in most
departments of knowledge, man has advanced; and coming back to the
original statement--a desire to harmonize all that we know--there
is a growing desire on the part of intelligent men to have a religion
fit to keep company with the other sciences.

Our creeds were made in times of ignorance.  They suited very well
a flat world, and a God who lived in the sky just above us and who
used the lightning to destroy his enemies.  This God was regarded
much as a savage regarded the head of his tribe--as one having the
right to reward and punish.  And this God, being much greater than
a chief of the tribe, could give greater rewards and inflict greater
punishments.  They knew that the ordinary chief, or the ordinary
king, punished the slightest offence with death.  They also knew
that these chiefs and kings tortured their victims as long as the
victims could bear the torture.  So when they described their God,
they gave this God power to keep the tortured victim alive forever
--because they knew that the earthly chief, or the earthly king,
would prolong the life of the tortured for the sake of increasing
the agonies of the victim.  In those savage days they regarded
punishment as the only means of protecting society.  In consequence
of this they built heaven and hell on an earthly plan, and they
put God--that is to say the chief, that is to say the king--on a
throne like an earthly king.

Of course, these views were all ignorant and barbaric; but in that
blessed day their geology and astronomy were on a par with their
theology.  There was a harmony in all departments of knowledge, or
rather of ignorance.  Since that time there has been a great advance
made in the idea of government--the old idea being that the right
to govern came from God to the king, and from the king to his
people.  Now intelligent people believe that the source of authority
has been changed, and that all just powers of government are derived
from the consent of the governed.  So there has been a great advance
in the philosophy of punishment--in the treatment of criminals.
So, too, in all the sciences.  The earth is no longer flat; heaven
is not immediately above us; the universe has been infinitely
enlarged, and we have at last found that our earth is but a grain
of sand, a speck on the great shore of the infinite.  Consequently
there is a discrepancy, a discord, a contradiction between our
theology and the other sciences.  Men of intelligence feel this.
Dr. Briggs concluded that a perfectly good and intelligent God
could not have created billions of sentient beings, knowing that
they were to be eternally miserable.  No man could do such a thing,
had he the power, without being infinitely malicious.  Dr. Briggs
began to have a little hope for the human race--began to think that
maybe God is better than the creed describes him.

And right here it may be well enough to remark that no one has ever
been declared a heretic for thinking God bad.  Heresy has consisted
in thinking God better than the church said he was.  The man who
said God will damn nearly everybody, was orthodox.  The man who
said God will save everybody, was denounced as a blaspheming wretch,
as one who assailed and maligned the character of God.  I can
remember when the Universalists were denounced as vehemently and
maliciously as the Atheists are to-day.

Now, Dr. Briggs is undoubtedly an intelligent man.  He knows that
nobody on earth knows who wrote the five books of Moses.  He knows
that they were not written until hundreds of years after Moses was
dead.  He knows that two or more persons were the authors of Isaiah.
He knows that David did not write to exceed three or four of the
Psalms.  He knows that the Book of Job is not a Jewish book.  He
knows that the Songs of Solomon were not written by Solomon.  He
knows that the Book of Ecclesiastes was written by a Freethinker.
He also knows that there is not in existence to-day--so far as
anybody knows--any of the manuscripts of the Old or New Testaments.

So about the New Testament, Dr. Briggs knows that nobody lives who
has ever seen an original manuscript, or who ever saw anybody that
did see one, or that claims to have seen one.  He knows that nobody
knows who wrote Matthew or Mark or Luke or John.  He knows that
John did not write John, and that that gospel was not written until
long after John was dead.  He knows that no one knows who wrote
the Hebrews.  He also knows that the Book of Revelation is an insane
production.  Dr. Briggs also knows the way in which these books came
to be canonical, and he knows that the way was no more binding than
a resolution passed by a political convention.  He also knows that
many books were left out that had for centuries equal authority
with those that were put in.  He also knows that many passages--
and the very passages upon which many churches are founded--are
interpolations.  He knows that the last chapter of Mark, beginning
with the sixteenth verse to the end, is an interpolation; and he
also knows that neither Matthew nor Mark nor Luke ever said one
word about the necessity of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, or
of believing anything--not one word about believing the Bible or
joining the church, or doing any particular thing in the way of
ceremony to insure salvation.  He knows that according to Matthew,
God agreed to forgive us when we would forgive others.  Consequently
he knows that there is not one particle of what is called modern
theology in Matthew, Mark, or Luke.  He knows that the trouble
commenced in John, and that John was not written until probably
one hundred and fifty years--possibly two hundred years--after
Christ was dead.  So he also knows that the sin against the Holy
Ghost is an interpolation; that "I came not to bring peace but a
sword," if not an interpolation, is an absolute contradiction.
So, too, he knows that the promise to forgive in heaven what the
disciples should forgive on earth, is an interpolation; and that
if its not an interpolation, it is without the slightest sense in

Knowing these things, and knowing, in addition to what I have
stated, that there are thirty thousand or forty thousand mistakes
in the Old Testament, that there are a great many contradictions
and absurdities, than many of the laws are cruel and infamous, and
could have been made only by a barbarous people, Dr. Briggs has
concluded that, after all, the torch that sheds the serenest and
divinest light is the human reason, and that we must investigate
the Bible as we do other books.  At least, I suppose he has reached
some such conclusion.  He may imagine that the pure gold of
inspiration still runs through the quartz and porphyry of ignorance
and mistake, and that all we have to do is to extract the shining
metal by some process that may be called theological smelting; and
if so I have no fault to find.  Dr. Briggs has taken a step in
advance--that is to say, the tree is growing, and when the tree
grows, the bark splits; when the new leaves come the old leaves
are rotting on the ground.

The Presbyterian creed is a very bad creed.  It has been the
stumbling-block, not only of the head, but of the heart for many
generations.  I do not know that it is, in fact, worse than any
other orthodox creed; but the bad features are stated with an
explicitness and emphasized with a candor that render the creed
absolutely appalling.  It is amazing to me that any man ever wrote
it, or that any set of men ever produced it.  It is more amazing
to me that any human being ever believed in it.  It is still more
amazing that any human being ever thought it wicked not to believe
it.  It is more amazing still, than all the others combined, that
any human being ever wanted it to be true.

This creed is a relic of the Middle Ages.  It has in it the malice,
the malicious logic, the total depravity, the utter heartlessness
of John Calvin, and it gives me great pleasure to say that no
Presbyterian was ever as bad as his creed.  And here let me say,
as I have said many times, that I do not hate Presbyterians--because
among them I count some of my best friends--but I hate Presbyterianism.
And I cannot illustrate this any better than by saying, I do not
hate a man because he has the rheumatism, but I hate the rheumatism
because it has a man.

The Presbyterian Church is growing, and is growing because, as I
said at first, there is a universal tendency in the mind of man to
harmonize all that he knows or thinks he knows.  This growth may
be delayed.  The buds of heresy may be kept back by the north wind
of Princeton and by the early frost called Patton.  In spite of
these souvenirs of the Dark Ages, the church must continue to grow.
The theologians who regard theology as something higher than a
trade, tend toward Liberalism.  Those who regard preaching as a
business, and the inculcation of sentiment as a trade, will stand
by the lowest possible views.  They will cling to the letter and
throw away the spirit.  They prefer the dead limb to a new bud or
to a new leaf.  They want no more sap.  They delight in the dead
tree, in its unbending nature, and they mistake the stiffness of
death for the vigor and resistance of life.

Now, as with Dr. Briggs, so with Dr. Bridgman, although it seems
to me that he has simply jumped from the frying-pan into the fire;
and why he should prefer the Episcopal creed to the Baptist, is
more than I can imagine.  The Episcopal creed is, in fact, just as
bad as the Presbyterian.  It calmly and with unruffled brow, utters
the sentence of eternal punishment on the majority of the human
race, and the Episcopalian expects to be happy in heaven, with his
son or daughter or his mother or wife in hell.

Dr. Bridgman will find himself exactly in the position of the Rev.
Mr. Newton, provided he expresses his thought.  But I account for
the Bridgmans and for the Newtons by the fact that there is still
sympathy in the human heart, and that there is still intelligence
in the human brain.  For my part, I am glad to see this growth in
the orthodox churches, and the quicker they revise their creeds
the better.

I oppose nothing that is good in any creed--I attack only that
which is ignorant, cruel and absurd, and I make the attack in the
interest of human liberty, and for the sake of human happiness.

_Question_.  What do you think of the action of the Presbyterian
General Assembly at Detroit, and what effect do you think it will
have on religious growth?

_Answer_.  That General Assembly was controlled by the orthodox
within the church, by the strict constructionists and by the
Calvinists; by gentlemen who not only believe the creed, not only
believe that a vast majority of people are going to hell, but are
really glad of it; by gentlemen who, when they feel a little blue,
read about total depravity to cheer up, and when they think of the
mercy of God as exhibited in their salvation, and the justice of
God as illustrated by the damnation of others, their hearts burst
into a kind of efflorescence of joy.

These gentlemen are opposed to all kinds of amusements except
reading the Bible, the Confession of Faith, and the creed, and
listening to Presbyterian sermons and prayers.  All these things
they regard as the food of cheerfulness.  They warn the elect
against theatres and operas, dancing and games of chance.

Well, if their doctrine is true, there ought to be no theatres,
except exhibitions of hell; there ought to be no operas, except
where the music is a succession of wails for the misfortunes of
man.  If their doctrine is true, I do not see how any human being
could ever smile again--I do not see how a mother could welcome
her babe; everything in nature would become hateful; flowers and
sunshine would simply tell us of our fate.

My doctrine is exactly the opposite of this.  Let us enjoy ourselves
every moment that we can.  The love of the dramatic is universal.
The stage has not simply amused, but it has elevated mankind.  The
greatest genius of our world poured the treasures of his soul into
the drama.  I do not believe that any girl can be corrupted, or
that any man can be injured, by becoming acquainted with Isabella
or Miranda or Juliet or Imogen, or any of the great heroines of

So I regard the opera as one of the great civilizers.  No one can
listen to the symphonies of Beethoven, or the music of Schubert,
without receiving a benefit.  And no one can hear the operas of
Wagner without feeling that he has been ennobled and refined.

Why is it the Presbyterians are so opposed to music in the world,
and yet expect to have so much in heaven?  Is not music just as
demoralizing in the sky as on the earth, and does anybody believe
that Abraham or Isaac or Jacob, ever played any music comparable
to Wagner?

Why should we postpone our joy to another world?  Thousands of
people take great pleasure in dancing, and I say let them dance.
Dancing is better than weeping and wailing over a theology born of
ignorance and superstition.

And so with games of chance.  There is a certain pleasure in playing
games, and the pleasure is of the most innocent character.  Let
all these games be played at home and children will not prefer the
saloon to the society of their parents.  I believe in cards and
billiards, and would believe in progressive euchre, were it more
of a game--the great objection to it is its lack of complexity.
My idea is to get what little happiness you can out of this life,
and to enjoy all sunshine that breaks through the clouds of
misfortune.  Life is poor enough at best.  No one should fail to
pick up every jewel of joy that can be found in his path.  Every
one should be as happy as he can, provided he is not happy at the
expense of another, and no person rightly constituted can be happy
at the expense of another.

So let us get all we can of good between the cradle and the grave;
all that we can of the truly dramatic; all that we can of music;
all that we can of art; all that we can of enjoyment; and if, when
death comes, that is the end, we have at least made the best of
this life; and if there be another life, let us make the best of

I am doing what little I can to hasten the coming of the day when
the human race will enjoy liberty--not simply of body, but liberty
of mind.  And by liberty of mind I mean freedom from superstition,
and added to that, the intelligence to find out the conditions of
happiness; and added to that, the wisdom to live in accordance with
those conditions.

--_The Morning Advertiser_, New York, June 12, 1891.


_Question_.  Do you regard the Briggs trial as any evidence of the
growth of Liberalism in the church itself?

_Answer_.  When men get together, and make what they call a creed,
the supposition is that they then say as nearly as possible what
they mean and what they believe.  A written creed, of necessity,
remains substantially the same.  In a few years this creed ceases
to give exactly the new shade of thought.  Then begin two processes,
one of destruction and the other of preservation.  In every church,
as in every party, and as you may say in every corporation, there
are two wings--one progressive, the other conservative.  In the
church there will be a few, and they will represent the real
intelligence of the church, who become dissatisfied with the creed,
and who at first satisfy themselves by giving new meanings to old
words.  On the other hand, the conservative party appeals to
emotions, to memories, and to the experiences of their fellow-
members, for the purpose of upholding the old dogmas and the old
ideas; so that each creed is like a crumbling castle.  The
conservatives plant ivy and other vines, hoping that their leaves
will hide the cracks and erosions of time; but the thoughtful see
beyond these leaves and are satisfied that the structure itself is
in the process of decay, and that no amount of ivy can restore the
crumbling stones.

The old Presbyterian creed, when it was first formulated, satisfied
a certain religious intellect.  At that time people were not very
merciful.  They had no clear conceptions of justice.  Their lives
were for the most part hard; most of them suffered the pains and
pangs of poverty; nearly all lived in tyrannical governments and
were the sport of nobles and kings.  Their idea of God was born of
their surroundings.  God, to them, was an infinite king who delighted
in exhibitions of power.  At any rate, their minds were so constructed
that they conceived of an infinite being who, billions of years
before the world was, made up his mind as to whom he would save
and whom he would damn.  He not only made up his mind as to the
number he would save, and the number that should be lost, but he
saved and damned without the slightest reference to the character
of the individual.  They believed then, and some pretend to believe
still, that God damns a man not because he is bad, and that he
saves a man not because he is good, but simply for the purpose of
self-glorification as an exhibition of his eternal justice.  It
would be impossible to conceive of any creed more horrible than
that of the Presbyterians.  Although I admit--and I not only admit
but I assert--that the creeds of all orthodox Christians are
substantially the same, the Presbyterian creed says plainly what
it means.  There is no hesitation, no evasion.  The horrible truth,
so-called, is stated in the clearest possible language.  One would
think after reading this creed, that the men who wrote it not only
believed it, but were really glad it was true.

Ideas of justice, of the use of power, of the use of mercy, have
greatly changed in the last century.  We are beginning dimly to
see that each man is the result of an infinite number of conditions,
of an infinite number of facts, most of which existed before he
was born.  We are beginning dimly to see that while reason is a
pilot, each soul navigates the mysterious sea filled with tides
and unknown currents set in motion by ancestors long since dust.
We are beginning to see that defects of mind are transmitted
precisely the same as defects of body, and in my judgment the time
is coming when we shall not more think of punishing a man for
larceny than for having the consumption.  We shall know that the
thief is a necessary and natural result of conditions, preparing,
you may say, the field of the world for the growth of man.  We
shall no longer depend upon accident and ignorance and providence.
We shall depend upon intelligence and science.

The Presbyterian creed is no longer in harmony with the average
sense of man.  It shocks the average mind.  It seems too monstrous
to be true; too horrible to find a lodgment in the mind of the
civilized man.  The Presbyterian minister who thinks, is giving
new meanings to the old words.  The Presbyterian minister who feels,
also gives new meanings to the old words.  Only those who neither
think nor feel remain orthodox.

For many years the Christian world has been engaged in examining
the religions of other peoples, and the Christian scholars have
had but little trouble in demonstrating the origin of Mohammedanism
and Buddhism and all other isms except ours.  After having examined
other religions in the light of science, it occurred to some of
our theologians to examine their own doctrine in the same way, and
the result has been exactly the same in both cases.  Dr. Briggs,
as I believe, is a man of education.  He is undoubtedly familiar
with other religions, and has, to some extent at least, made himself
familiar with the sacred books of other people.  Dr. Briggs knows
that no human being knows who wrote a line of the Old Testament.
He knows as well as he can know anything, for instance, that Moses
never wrote one word of the books attributed to him.  He knows that
the book of Genesis was made by putting two or three stories
together.  He also knows that it is not the oldest story, but was
borrowed.  He knows that in this book of Genesis there is not one
word adapted to make a human being better, or to shed the slightest
light on human conduct.  He knows, if he knows anything, that the
Mosaic Code, so-called, was, and is, exceedingly barbarous and not
adapted to do justice between man and man, or between nation and
nation.  He knows that the Jewish people pursued a course adapted
to destroy themselves; that they refused to make friends with their
neighbors; that they had not the slightest idea of the rights of
other people; that they really supposed that the earth was theirs,
and that their God was the greatest God in the heavens.  He also
knows that there are many thousands of mistakes in the Old Testament
as translated.  He knows that the book of Isaiah is made up of
several books.  He knows the same thing in regard to the New
Testament.  He also knows that there were many other books that
were once considered sacred that have been thrown away, and that
nobody knows who wrote a solitary line of the New Testament.

Besides all this, Dr. Briggs knows that the Old and New Testaments
are filled with interpolations, and he knows that the passages of
Scripture which have been taken as the foundation stones for creeds,
were written hundreds of years after the death of Christ.  He knows
well enough that Christ never said:  "I came not to bring peace,
but a sword."  He knows that the same being never said:  "Thou art
Peter, and on this rock will I build my church."  He knows, too,
that Christ never said:  "Whosoever believes shall be saved, and
whosoever believes not shall be damned."  He knows that these were
interpolations.  He knows that the sin against the Holy Ghost is
another interpolation.  He knows, if he knows anything, that the
gospel according to John was written long after the rest, and that
nearly all of the poison and superstition of orthodoxy is in that
book.  He knows also, if he knows anything, that St. Paul never
read one of the four gospels.

Knowing all these things, Dr. Briggs has had the honesty to say
that there was some trouble about taking the Bible as absolutely
inspired in word and punctuation.  I do not think, however, that
he can maintain his own position and still remain a Presbyterian
or anything like a Presbyterian.  He takes the ground, I believe,
that there are three sources of knowledge:  First, the Bible;
second, the church; third, reason.  It seems to me that reason
should come first, because if you say the Bible is a source of
authority, why do you say it?  Do you say this because your reason
is convinced that it is?  If so, then reason is the foundation of
that belief.  If, again, you say the church is a source of authority,
why do you say so?  It must be because its history convinces your
reason that it is.  Consequently, the foundation of that idea is
reason.  At the bottom of this pyramid must be reason, and no man
is under any obligation to believe that which is unreasonable to
him.  He may believe things that he cannot prove, but he does not
believe them because they are unreasonable.  He believes them
because he thinks they are not unreasonable, not impossible, not
improbable.  But, after all, reason is the crucible in which every
fact must be placed, and the result fixes the belief of the
intelligent man.

It seems to me that the whole Presbyterian creed must come down
together.  It is a scheme based upon certain facts, so-called.
There is in it the fall of man.  There is in it the scheme of the
atonement, and there is the idea of hell, eternal punishment, and
the idea of heaven, eternal reward; and yet, according to their
creed, hell is not a punishment and heaven is not a reward.  Now,
if we do away with the fall of man we do away with the atonement;
then we do away with all supernatural religion.  Then we come back
to human reason.  Personally, I hope that the Presbyterian Church
will be advanced enough and splendid enough to be honest, and if
it is honest, all the gentlemen who amount to anything, who assist
in the trial of Dr. Briggs, will in all probability agree with him,
and he will be acquitted.  But if they throw aside their reason,
and remain blindly orthodox, then he will be convicted.  To me it
is simply miraculous that any man should imagine that the Bible is
the source of truth.  There was a time when all scientific facts
were measured by the Bible.  That time is past, and now the believers
in the Bible are doing their best to convince us that it is in
harmony with science.  In other words, I have lived to see a change
of standards.  When I was a boy, science was measured by the Bible.
Now the Bible is measured by science.  This is an immense step.
So it is impossible for me to conceive what kind of a mind a man
has, who finds in the history of the church the fact that it has
been a source of truth.  How can any one come to the conclusion
that the Catholic Church has been a source of truth, a source of
intellectual light?  How can anyone believe that the church of John
Calvin has been a source of truth?  If its creed is not true, if
its doctrines are mistakes, if its dogmas are monstrous delusions,
how can it be said to have been a source of truth?

My opinion is that Dr. Briggs will not be satisfied with the step
he has taken.  He has turned his face a little toward the light.
The farther he walks the harder it will be for him to turn back.
The probability is that the orthodox will turn him out, and the
process of driving out men of thought and men of genius will go on
until the remnant will be as orthodox as they are stupid.

_Question_.  Do you think mankind is drifting away from the

_Answer_.  My belief is that the supernatural has had its day.
The church must either change or abdicate.  That is to say, it must
keep step with the progress of the world or be trampled under foot.
The church as a power has ceased to exist.  To-day it is a matter
of infinite indifference what the pulpit thinks unless there comes
the voice of heresy from the sacred place.  Every orthodox minister
in the United States is listened to just in proportion that he
preaches heresy.  The real, simon-pure, orthodox clergyman delivers
his homilies to empty benches, and to a few ancient people who know
nothing of the tides and currents of modern thought.  The orthodox
pulpit to-day has no thought, and the pews are substantially in
the same condition.  There was a time when the curse of the church
whitened the face of a race, but now its anathema is the food of

_Question_.  What, in your judgment, is to be the outcome of the
present agitation in religious circles?

_Answer_.  My idea is that people more and more are declining the
postponement of happiness to another world.  The general tendency
is to enjoy the present.  All religions have taught men that the
pleasures of this world are of no account; that they are nothing
but husks and rags and chaff and disappointment; that whoever
expects to be happy in this world makes a mistake; that there is
nothing on the earth worth striving for; that the principal business
of mankind should be to get ready to be happy in another world;
that the great occupation is to save your soul, and when you get
it saved, when you are satisfied that you are one of the elect,
then pack up all your worldly things in a very small trunk, take
it to the dock of time that runs out into the ocean of eternity,
sit down on it, and wait for the ship of death.  And of course each
church is the only one that sells a through ticket which can be
depended on.  In all religions, as far as I know, is an admixture
of asceticism, and the greater the quantity, the more beautiful
the religion has been considered,  The tendency of the world to-
day is to enjoy life while you have it; it is to get something out
of the present moment; and we have found that there are things
worth living for even in this world.  We have found that a man can
enjoy himself with wife and children; that he can be happy in the
acquisition of knowledge; that he can be very happy in assisting
others; in helping those he loves; that there is some joy in poetry,
in science and in the enlargement and development of the mind; that
there is some delight in music and in the drama and in the arts.
We are finding, poor as the world is, that it beats a promise the
fulfillment of which is not to take place until after death.  The
world is also finding out another thing, and that is that the
gentlemen who preach these various religions, and promise these
rewards, and threaten the punishments, know nothing whatever of
the subject; that they are as blindly ignorant as the people they
pretend to teach, and the people are as blindly ignorant as the
animals below them.  We have finally concluded that no human being
has the slightest conception of origin or of destiny, and that this
life, not only in its commencement but in its end, is just as
mysterious to-day as it was to the first man whose eyes greeted
the rising sun.  We are no nearer the solution of the problem than
those who lived thousands of years before us, and we are just as
near it as those who will live millions of years after we are dead.
So many people having arrived at the conclusion that nobody knows
and that nobody can know, like sensible folks they have made up
their minds to enjoy life.  I have often said, and I say again,
that I feel as if I were on a ship not knowing the port from which
it sailed, not knowing the harbor to which it was going, not having
a speaking acquaintance with any of the officers, and I have made
up my mind to have as good a time with the other passengers as
possible under the circumstances.  If this ship goes down in mid-
sea I have at least made something, and if it reaches a harbor of
perpetual delight I have lost nothing, and I have had a happy
voyage.  And I think millions and millions are agreeing with me.

Now, understand, I am not finding fault with any of these religions
or with any of these ministers.  These religions and these ministers
are the necessary and natural products of sufficient causes.
Mankind has traveled from barbarism to what we now call civilization,
by many paths, all of which under the circumstances, were absolutely
necessary; and while I think the individual does as he must, I
think the same of the church, of the corporation, and of the nation,
and not only of the nation, but of the whole human race.  Consequently
I have no malice and no prejudices.  I have likes and dislikes.
I do not blame a gourd for not being a cantaloupe, but I like
cantaloupes.  So I do not blame the old hard-shell Presbyterian
for not being a philosopher, but I like philosophers.  So to wind
it all up with regard to the tendency of modern thought, or as to
the outcome of what you call religion, my own belief is that what
is known as religion will disappear from the human mind.  And by
"religion" I mean the supernatural.  By "religion" I mean living
in this world for another, or living in this world to gratify some
supposed being, whom we never saw and about whom we know nothing,
and of whose existence we know nothing.  In other words, religion
consists of the duties we are supposed to owe to the first great
cause, and of certain things necessary for us to do here to insure
happiness hereafter.  These ideas, in my judgment, are destined to
perish, and men will become convinced that all their duties are
within their reach, and that obligations can exist only between
them and other sentient beings.  Another idea, I think, will force
itself upon the mind, which is this:  That he who lives the best
for this world lives the best for another if there be one.  In
other words, humanity will take the place of what is called
"religion."  Science will displace superstition, and to do justice
will be the ambition of man.

My creed is this:  Happiness is the only good.  The place to be
happy is here.  The time to be happy is now.  The way to be happy
is to make others so.

_Question_.  What is going to take the place of the pulpit?

_Answer_.  I have for a long time wondered why somebody didn't
start a church on a sensible basis.  My idea is this:  There are,
of course, in every community, lawyers, doctors, merchants, and
people of all trades and professions who have not the time during
the week to pay any particular attention to history, poetry, art,
or song.  Now, it seems to me that it would be a good thing to have
a church and for these men to employ a man of ability, of talent,
to preach to them Sundays, and let this man say to his congregation:
"Now, I am going to preach to you for the first few Sundays--eight
or ten or twenty, we will say--on the art, poetry, and intellectual
achievements of the Greeks."  Let this man study all the week and
tell his congregation Sunday what he has ascertained.  Let him give
to his people the history of such men as Plato, as Socrates, what
they did; of Aristotle, of his philosophy; of the great Greeks,
their statesmen, their poets, actors, and sculptors, and let him
show the debt that modern civilization owes to these people.  Let
him, too, give their religions, their mythology--a mythology that
has sown the seed of beauty in every land.  Then let him take up
Rome.  Let him show what a wonderful and practical people they
were; let him give an idea of their statesmen, orators, poets,
lawyers--because probably the Romans were the greatest lawyers.
And so let him go through with nation after nation, biography after
biography, and at the same time let there be a Sunday school
connected with this church where the children shall be taught
something of importance.  For instance, teach them botany, and when
a Sunday is fair, clear, and beautiful, let them go into the fields
and woods with their teachers, and in a little while they will
become acquainted with all kinds of tress and shrubs and flowering
plants.  They could also be taught entomology, so that every bug
would be interesting, for they would see the facts in science--
something of use to them.  I believe that such a church and such
a Sunday school would at the end of a few years be the most
intelligent collection of people in the United States.  To teach
the children all of these things and to teach their parents, too,
the outlines of every science, so that every listener would know
something of geology, something of astronomy, so that every member
could tell the manner in which they find the distance of a star--
how much better that would be than the old talk about Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob, and quotations from Haggai and Zephaniah, and
all this eternal talk about the fall of man and the Garden of Eden,
and the flood, and the atonement, and the wonders of Revelation!
Even if the religious scheme be true, it can be told and understood
as well in one day as in a hundred years.  The church says, "He
that hath ears to hear let him hear."  I say:  "He that hath brains
to think, let him think."  So, too, the pulpit is being displaced
by what we call places of amusement, which are really places where
men go because they find there is something which satisfies in a
greater or less degree the hunger of the brain.  Never before was
the theatre as popular as it is now.  Never before was so much
money lavished upon the stage as now.  Very few men having their
choice would go to hear a sermon, especially of the orthodox kind,
when they had a chance to see a great actor.

The man must be a curious combination who would prefer an orthodox
sermon, we will say, to a concert given by Theodore Thomas.  And
I may say in passing that I have great respect for Theodore Thomas,
because it was he who first of all opened to the American people
the golden gates of music.  He made the American people acquainted
with the great masters, and especially with Wagner, and it is a
debt that we shall always owe him.  In this day the opera--that is
to say, music in every form--is tending to displace the pulpit.
The pulpits have to go in partnership with music now.  Hundreds of
people have excused themselves to me for going to church, saying
they have splendid music.  Long ago the Catholic Church was forced
to go into partnership not only with music, but with painting and
with architecture.  The Protestant Church for a long time thought
it could do without these beggarly elements, and the Protestant
Church was simply a dry-goods box with a small steeple on top of
it, its walls as bleak and bare and unpromising as the creed.  But
even Protestants have been forced to hire a choir of ungodly people
who happen to have beautiful voices, and they, too, have appealed
to the organ.  Music is taking the place of creed, and there is
more real devotional feeling summoned from the temple of the mind
by great music than by any sermon ever delivered.  Music, of all
other things, gives wings to thought and allows the soul to rise
above all the pains and troubles of this life, and to feel for a
moment as if it were absolutely free, above all clouds, destined
to enjoy forever.  So, too, science is beckoning with countless
hands.  Men of genius are everywhere beckoning men to discoveries,
promising them fortunes compared with which Aladdin's lamp was weak
and poor.  All these things take men from the church; take men from
the pulpit.  In other words, prosperity is the enemy of the pulpit.
When men enjoy life, when they are prosperous here, they are in
love with the arts, with the sciences, with everything that gives
joy, with everything that promises plenty, and they care nothing
about the prophecies of evil that fall from the solemn faces of
the parsons.  They look in other directions.  They are not thinking
about the end of the world.  They hate the lugubrious, and they
enjoy the sunshine of to-day.  And this, in my judgment, is the
highest philosophy:  First, do not regret having lost yesterday;
second, do not fear that you will lose to-morrow; third, enjoy to-

Astrology was displaced by astronomy.  Alchemy and the black art
gave way to chemistry.  Science is destined to take the place of
superstition.  In my judgment, the religion of the future will be

--_The Tribune_, Chicago, Illinois, November, 1891.


_Question_.  What are your opinions on the woman's suffrage

_Answer_.  I claim no right that I am not willing to give to my
wife and daughters, and to the wives and daughters of other men.
We shall never have a generation of great men until we have a
generation of great women.  I do not regard ignorance as the
foundation of virtue, or uselessness as one of the requisites of
a lady.  I am a believer in equal rights.  Those who are amenable
to the laws should have a voice in making the laws.  In every
department where woman has had an equal opportunity with man, she
has shown that she has equal capacity.

George Sand was a great writer, George Eliot one of the greatest,
Mrs. Browning a marvelous poet--and the lyric beauty of her "Mother
and Poet" is greater than anything her husband ever wrote--Harriet
Martineau a wonderful woman, and Ouida is probably the greatest
living novelist, man or woman.  Give the women a chance.

[The Colonel's recent election as a life member of the Manhattan
Athletic Club, due strangely enough to a speech of his denouncing
certain forms of sport, was referred to, and this led him to express
his contempt for prize-fighting, and then he said on the subject of
horse-racing:  ]

The only objection I have to horse racing is its cruelty.  The whip
and spur should be banished from the track.  As long as these are
used, the race track will breed a very low and heartless set of
men.  I hate to see a brute whip and spur a noble animal.  The good
people object to racing, because of the betting, but bad people,
like myself, object to the cruelty.  Men are not forced to bet.
That is their own business, but the poor horse, straining every
nerve, does not ask for the lash and iron.  Abolish torture on the
track and let the best horse win.

_Question_.  What do you think of the Chilian insult to the United
States flag?

_Answer_.  In the first place, I think that our Government was
wrong in taking the part of Balmaceda.  In the next place, we made
a mistake in seizing the Itata.  America should always side with
the right.  We should care nothing for the pretender in power, and
Balmaceda was a cruel, tyrannical scoundrel.  We should be with
the people everywhere.  I do not blame Chili for feeling a little
revengeful.  We ought to remember that Chili is weak, and nations,
like individuals, are sensitive in proportion that they are weak.
Let us trust Chili just as we would England.  We are too strong to
be unjust.

_Question_.  How do you stand on the money question?

_Answer_.  I am with the Republican party on the question of money.
I am for the use of gold and silver both, but I want a dollar's
worth of silver in a silver dollar.  I do not believe in light money,
or in cheap money, or in poor money.  These are all contradictions
in terms.  Congress cannot fix the value of money.  The most it
can do is to fix its debt paying power.  It is beyond the power of
any Congress to fix the purchasing value of what it may be pleased
to call money.  Nobody knows, so far as I know, why people want
gold.  I do not know why people want silver.  I do not know how
gold came to be money; neither do I understand the universal desire,
but it exists, and we take things as we find them.  Gold and silver
make up, you may say, the money of the world, and I believe in
using the two metals.  I do not believe in depreciating any American
product; but as value cannot be absolutely fixed by law, so far as
the purchasing power is concerned, and as the values of gold and
silver vary, neither being stable any more than the value of wheat
or corn is stable, I believe that legislation should keep pace
within a reasonable distance at least, of the varying values, and
that the money should be kept as nearly equal as possible.  Of
course, there is one trouble with money to-day, and that is the
use of the word "dollar."  It has lost its meaning.  So many
governments have adulterated their own coin, and as many have
changed weights, that the word "dollar" has not to-day an absolute,
definite, specific meaning.  Like individuals, nations have been
dishonest.  The only time the papal power had the right to coin
money--I believe it was under Pius IX., when Antonelli was his
minister--the coin of the papacy was so debased that even orthodox
Catholics refused to take it, and it had to be called in and minted
by the French Empire, before even the Italians recognized it as
money.  My own opinion is, that either the dollar must be absolutely
defined--it must be the world over so many grains of pure gold, or
so many grains of pure silver--or we must have other denominations
for our money, as for instance, ounces, or parts of ounces, and
the time will come, in my judgment, when there will be a money of
the world, the same everywhere; because each coin will contain
upon its face the certificate of a government that it contains such
a weight--so many grains or so many ounces--of a certain metal.
I, for one, want the money of the United States to be as good as
that of any other country.  I want its gold and silver exactly what
they purport to be; and I want the paper issued by the Government
to be the same as gold.  I want its credit so perfectly established
that it will be taken in every part of the habitable globe.  I am
with the Republican party on the question of money, also on the
question of protection, and all I hope is that the people of this
country will have sense enough to defend their own interests.

--_The Inter-Ocean_, Chicago, Illinois, October 27, 1891.


_Question_.  What is your opinion of foreign missions?

_Answer_.  In the first place, there seems to be a pretty good
opening in this country for missionary work.  We have a good many
Indians who are not Methodists.  I have never known one to be
converted.  A good many have been killed by Christians, but their
souls have not been saved.  Maybe the Methodists had better turn
their attention to the heathen of our own country.  Then we have
a good many Mormons who rely on the truth of the Old Testament and
follow the example of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  It seems to me
that the Methodists better convert the Mormons before attacking
the tribes of Central Africa.  There is plenty of work to be done
right here.  A few good bishops might be employed for a time in
converting Dr. Briggs and Professor Swing, to say nothing of other
heretical Presbyterians.

There is no need of going to China to convert the Chinese.  There
are thousands of them here.  In China our missionaries will tell
the followers of Confucius about the love and forgiveness of
Christians, and when the Chinese come here they are robbed, assaulted,
and often murdered.&nbs