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the authorities, was, it appears, entrusted to Mr. Roebuck. An admirable move-a better man than Roebuck could not have been selected. He occupies a proud position in the House of Commons, and his greatest praise is, that he is feared and hated by all the bigots, and all the scoundrels in St. Stephens.

If I mistake not, the miserable gang of Cheltenham bigots will find that in this instance they have been over cunning, and made a halter for their own richly deserving necks. Don't forget to agitate, agitate, agitate! The Home Secretary should be besieged with memorials and petitions. I have no room to say more, than that the Rev. F. Close is at the head of the merciful scoundrels-a man whose character is hit off in the following lines :

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B. HAGEN versus J. C. F. SIR.-Those sentences commencing with B. H., are extracts from Mr. Hagen's letter; those with J. C. F. my remarks upon them.

B. HAGEN: I do not approve of your reasonings in No. 17 of the Oracle; I deny that an unwise change has come over the Socialist policy during the last two years.-J.C.F.: Indeed! Then perhaps you are prepared to prove that more good has been done during the last two years than in the two years preceeding; if so, I shall be happy to hear you, as I am not aware of the evidence on which your opinion is founded, except it be that we have more money at command; but this I consider a paltry consideration when compared with the emancipation of the human race from the evils of superstition.

B. H.: I admit there has been a change, but I also believe that change is the result of conviction.-J. C. F.: I do not doubt the sincerity of those who oppose theological discussion; but the purity of their motives is no proof of the general utility of the courge they have adopted.

the contrary, in the absence of proof; if you can read
of the treatment of SOUTHWELL and HOLYOAKS
without determining to exert yourself to destroy the
creeds that cause such atrocities, then I can only ssy
that your feelings differ widely from mine, nor would
I exchange with you on any account. As to the
merits of the two plans, read the first part of the
first article in No. 20 of the Oracle; refute that rea-
soning, and I shall be convinced. In discussing
theology, I always avoid the use of harsh expres
sions lest I should create feelings of combativenes
where I intended to impart conviction. The fore
going is a correct statement of the differences be-
tween B.H. and J.C.F. 1 have done with the sub-
ject. Yours,
J. C. F.

Derby, July 2, 1842.

DEAR SIR,-1 expected to have increased the sub-
scription by inducing MR. BUCHANAN to speak a
few words in behalf of the victims, at the close of
the two lectures he delivered here last week. But
no! socialism has not taught Mr. B. charity. No
religionist could have spoken with a greater asperity
of feeling than did Mr. B. He contended that the
existence of deity was not a legitimate subject for
discussion, that neither the negative or affirmative
could be proved; so that, according to this advocate
for free inquiry, upon all subjects, we are to allow
all the evil consequences that result from the as-
sumptions of the affirmative, without endeavouring
to shew that such assumptions are not founded in
reason; so much for free enquiry.
H. R.

THE FREE INQUIRER'S WHY AND
BECAUSE.

WRITTEN BY CHARLES SOUTHWELL.
(Continued.)

Why do the majority of mankind maintain that mind is distinct from matter?

B. H. "If we place individuals under the influBecause the majority of mankind believe ence of bad circumstances, will not their characters what they are told to believe, and feel rather be bad," if under good ones the reverse?-J. C. F.: than reason; so that, errors which have once Certainly; but the existence of superstition prevents taken root are made fashionable, strengththe removal of bad circumstances, and also prevents ened by age, and handed down through the establishment of good ones, hence the necessity countless generations; in the words of Milfor its destruction; is it not wise to clear the ton, away 66 error supports custom, and custom rubbish from the foundation, before we attempt to supports error," which, from being a weak erect the building? and sickly plant, presently, like some deadly unscathed amid the lightning of reason. upas, flourishes in rank luxuriance, standing The longing after immortality the almost umphantly adduced as irrefragable evidence, universal tenacity of life-has been trithat the mind or soul of man is distinct from "confirmation strong as proofs of holy writ," the body; whereas, our desires prove nothing but our desires, while the soul's dependance upon body is matter of fact; so closely, indeed, are they united, that if two, like man and wife, they are two in one. As to the ar. gument so often rashly used, that whatever thinks necessarily has a soul, which soul is immaterial, indestructible, and therefore inmortal, like a two-edged sword, it cuts in more ways than one; for if the act of thinking prove that we have an immortal soul, we

B. H.: But why not throw off the fear of man, and put your name to your articles ?-J. C. F.: When you prove that the name of a person adds weight to his argument, I will do so; I have no fear

of man.

B. H.: As far as I am able to judge the object of the writers in the Oracle of Reason, their principal object is to attack the prejudices of others; but the Socialists wish to show by practice what is good: this plan, I have not the shadow of a doubt, will gain more converts than the other.-J.C.F.: I deny that the writers in the Oracle have any object in view than that of doing good; it is very illiberal to suppose

If a

are irresistibly led to the startling conclusion that brutes, birds, and fishes, have immortal souls for that they think, it seems hardly necessary to prove. Lebnitz bears witness to a bound in Saxony that could speak distinctly thirty words; the sagacity and mischievous propensities of monkies are well known, while the faithfulness of dogs, who never betray their masters, nor fawn on those they love not, is most surprising, but little regarded, because they are seen so often; nay, even the wild horses on the plains of America to the south of the Rio de la Plata, are called insurgent, because in troops of 10,000 individuals, preceded by videttes and detached skirmishers, they advance in a close column which nothing can break. travelling carriage, or a body of cavalry is perceived approaching, the leader of the wild horses advances upon a reconnoisance, and then, according to the movements of the chief, the whole body passes at a gallop to the right or left of the caravan, inviting at the same time the domestic horses to desertion. The latter often join their late companions, and are never again observed voluntarily to return to the domestic state. To multiply instances of the reasoning power of animals would but fatigue our readers' attention unnecessarily, as the poor bird, fluttering its wings against the bars of its cage, or the domestic cat, which may be seen by our hearths, do by their acts prove that they are not merely lumps of earth, but organised thinking substances.

This subject will be continued at greater length in future numbers.

REVIEW S.

"STRAUSS' LIFE OF JESUS." The Life of Jesus (now publishing in weekly numbera) is certainly the most extraordinary production that has issued from the press. The perseverance and research that must have been required to produce such a work is astonishing. The learned Doctor shows that the writers of the New Tes tament disagree and flatly and plainly contradict each other in the relation of every event of Jesus' life. His criticisms clearly prove the utter impossibility of these disagreements ever being reconciled. This celebrated work will undoubtedly introduce a new mode of thinking and reasoning upon all questions connected with christian theology; for it must become evident to all who study it that the evangelical writings can not be founded in truth. The following quotations are interesting :

THE TRADE OF JESUS. "The occupation of Jesus in his infancy and youth, appears to have been determined by the trade of his father, who is called a carpenter in Matthew xiii. 55. The Greek word employed to denote this trade, is ordinarily taken to mean faber lignarius, or carpenter. But some parties, from motives of mystery, have endeavoured to make out that he was a locksmith, others a goldsmith, and some even a mason.

The wooden articles which he is said to have manufactured were of different kinds, according to dif ferent authors: Justin and the gospel of Thomus tell us they were ploughs and yokes; consequently they make him a cartwright. According to the Arabian gospel of the Infancy, he made gates and milk-pails, and sieves, and boxes, and was, therefore, a joiner or Jumes makes him work at buildings, and consebox-maker. On the contrary, the Protevangelion of quently considers him a carpenter. Now, according to Mark (vi. 3), Jesus appears to have worked him. self at the occupation of his father; for when the Nazarenes ask who Jesus is, he makes them say, is not this the carpenter? and not, is not this the car penter's son? like Matthew. It is true, that when Celsus speaks with raillery of the Christian founder having been a carpenter, Origen replies, that Celsus must have forgotten that in no gospels received by the church is Jesus called a carpenter. The passage in Mark, cited above, has been, in fact, varied by some, and read son of the carpenter; and it was thus, probably, that Origen read it, unless it escaped him altogether. This reading has even been preferred by some modern critics; but Beza has well remarked upon the subject, Fortasse mutavit aliquis existimans hanc artem Christi majestati parum convenire; and no one has yet had interest enough to make the change to the contrary; and in fact, from this very indication, many fathers of the church, and the Apocryphas, have supposed that Jesus really did follow the trade of his father; and Justin even attaches some importance to his having fabricated ploughs, and yokes, and scales, as being symbols of the activity and justice of his future life. According to the gospel of the Infancy, Jesus went with Joseph to the places where he went to work, and assisted

him, that is to say, when Joseph made any thing too long or too short, Jesus, by extending his hand towards it, reduced it to its proper dimensions-a species of assistance very useful to Joseph, since, according to the quaint remark of the Apocrypha, he was not very skilful at his carpenter's trade: apparently they thought the profession too vulgar even for him.

"THE APOCRYPHAL NEW TESTAMENT."

The Books of the Apocryphal New Testament (now in the course of publication in cheap weekly num, bers) are as ancient and as genuine as those of the New Testament. But the unnatural and astonishing feats of Jesus described therein, were considered even too preposterous for the very ig norant (and consequently deluded and religious) fanatics of former times to swallow, and therefore a few wily bishops formed themselves into a council, at Nice, and undertook to separate these books from those of the New Testament. To determine which were and which were not the word of god a a show of hands was taken upon each book, and many of those now called genuine were made so by a majority of one! and many of those called apocryphal were determined to be apocryphal by a casting vote!! But so equally divided were the opinions of these Nicean judges upon several of the books, that there was no majority either way, and, after much wrangling and strife, it was at last decided that those books upon which the show

of hands was equal, should all be placed under the table together, while they retired to pray that god would, during their absence, place the true gospels upon the top of it, and leave the false ones un derneath-which was accordingly done, and which god accordingly did. Hence the New Tea tament, and hence the Apocryphal Books. The

work is curious and entertaining, and of much more value than the "genuine" books. We give an extract from the first go pel of the infancy of Jesus, which also appears as a note in " Strauss' Life of Jesus:"

"And Joseph, wheresoever he went in the city for to work to make gates, or milk-pails, or sieves, or boxes; the lord Jesus was with him, wheresoever he went. And as often as Joseph had anything in his work to make longer or shorter, or wider or narrower, the lord Jesus would stretch his hand towards it, and presently it became as Joseph would have it. So that he had no need to finish anything at his own hands, for he was not very skilful at his carpenter's trade. On a certain time the King of Jerusalem sent to him and said, I would have thee make me a throne of the same dimensions with that place in which I commonly sit. Joseph obeyed, and forthwith began to work, and continued two years in the king's palace before he finished it. And when he came to fix it in its place he found it wanted two spans on each side of the appointed measure, which, when the king saw, he was very angry with Joseph. And Joseph, afraid of the king's anger, went to bed without his supper,

took the lord Jesus with him, where he was sent

taking not any thing to eat. Then the lord Jesus asked him, what he was afraid of? Joseph replied, Because I have lost my labour in the work which I have been about these two years. Jesus said to bim, fear not, neither be cast down; do thou lay hold on one side of the throne, and I will the other, and we will bring it to its just dimensions. And when Joseph had done as the lord Jesus said, and each of them had with strength drawn his side, the throne obeyed, and was brought to the proper dimensions of the place; which miracle, when they who stood by saw, they were astonished, and praised god. The throne was made of the same wood which was in being in Solomon's time, namely, wood adorned with various shapes and figures."

FREE DISCUSSION.-The most capital advantage an enlightened people can enjoy, is the liberty of discussing every subject which can fall within the compass of the human mind; while this remains, freedom will flourish; but should it be lost or impaired, its principles will neither be well understood, nor long retained. To render the magistrate a judge of truth, and engage his authority in the suppressions of opinions, shows an inattention to the nature and design of political society. When a nation form a government, it is not wisdom but power they place in the hand of the magistrates; from whence it follows, his concern is only with those objects which power can operate upon. On this account, the administration of justice, the protection of property, and the defence of every

member of the community from violence and outrage, fall naturally within the province of the civil ruler, for these, may all be accomplished by power; but an attempt to distinguish truth from error, and to countenance one set of opinions to the prejudice of another, is to apply power in a manner mischievous and absurd.-Robert Hall.

A PROPHECY FOR THE TWENTIETH CENTURY.-Inasmuch as the expected earth. quake has been postponed, a prophecy of as the Monthly Repository's review of Howitt's grave import may have some interest. In History of Priestcraft," when the Repository was edited by Mr. J. Fox, these remarkable words occurred:--" On this age the happiness of centuries, the prosperity of truth de pends; let it not disappoint the expectations, and mar the destinies of millions." On the margin of a copy belonging to the late C. R. Pemberton, whose great trustfulness in the progression of humanity was only equalled by his intense reverance for it-against the words just quoted was written in his hand this emphatic sentence, 'ON THIS POINT IT WILL The great misfortune s, that this melan choly prediction is very likely to be fulfilled. One consolation however, remains, every lover of his species may do much, very much, to avert it. May it share the general fate self joins heartily, if the dead do join in any prophecies! In which wish Pemberton his thing.

SUBSCRIPTIONS

G. J. H.

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THE

UNION

ORACLE OF REASON

Or, Philosophy indicated.

"FAITH'S EMPIRE is the WORLD; ITS MONARCH, GOD; ITS MINISTERS, THE PRIESTS ITS SLAVES, THE PEOPLE."

No. 30.]

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EDITED FOR CHARLES SOUTHWELL, DURING HIS IMPRISONMENT, [PRICE ID.

BY G.

THE DEBASING EFFECTS OF

RELIGION.

Infidels! hearken to the treatment insolent
Christians prepare for you, and say if you are
willing to submit to it! Lover of liberty!

Superstition, or what the world calls RELIGION, is talk no more of your principles, till the deg-
the greatest possible encouragement to vice."

WILLIAM PITT.

radation you have suffered has been wiped
away!

THE above frank and correct admission of
the dangerous effects of godism, occurs in a
Letter on Superstition, addressed to the mul-
titudinous sects of Great Britain, ascribed to
the first earl of Chatham. Never has the
truth of the assertion been so fully borne out
and demonstrated as in the recent Chelten-
ham persecutions. Magistrates may dogma-
tize from the bench, lawyers do the same in
courts, and parsons rant in their pulpits, un-
til they tear their sacred gabardine, about re-name, without his knowledge or consent, and
ligion being of a moral tendency, that a holy
christianity is interwoven in our laws and
constitution, and that to the belief in a god
we owe the preservation of social order; but
when the barbarity, outrage, fierce malignity,
illegality, dangerous doctrines and practices
of which these persecutions are composed, are
calmly weighed, the conclusion seems inevi-
table, that religion, christianity, and god-be-
lief together are the greatest curses at present
afflicting society!

A sober, industrious, and intelligent family
residing in King-street, Cheltenham, sell
books, rather with the hope of benefiting so-
ciety, than from care for profit. Some men
in the Chronicle printing-office in the same
town, sent, a few days ago,* a boy to get
them two numbers of the Oracle of Reason.
The boy failed at his first application, which
was to Mr. H. Fry; he then proceeded to the
family in King-street, and uses Mr. Fry's

In the days of the inquisition, a wretch of a bishop, named Gardiner, and a villain called Bonner, pounced on people and thrust them into dungeons, because they, the most depraved and morally hideous of all perhaps that ever catered for the glory of a god, happened to differ from them in opinion. Then men rose rage, execrated the miscreants, and hurled their church and power into the dust! CANNOT THIS BE DONE AGAIN? The same scenes have been levied before our eyes! Humanity demands to be vindicated once more-AND FOR EVER, from the savagery of religion!!

in

Christians! attend to the following narrative, and blush for your infamous practices!

on this ground, & thus deceived, Mrs. ADAMS
sends the two numbers, for which the lad did
not pay, but took them away on the pretence
that they were for Mr. Fry. These papers,
thus fraudulently, and under false pretences,
obtained, were then carried to that sapient
champion of the lord, Mr. Bubb, and forth-
with, in the name of a god, Mrs. ADAMS is
seized, and late at night torn from her family
and thrust into a dungeon, where her husband
has been put just before; and there, were it
not for public opinion, to be kept for the re-
mainder of their lives. This is precisely the
unvarnished case of the ADAMS's.
Here, be it remarked, that it mattered not
to the cause of god if the fellows who sent
the boy from the Chronicle office were the
most infamous scoundrels on earth-it is sworn
by the lad, under their directions, that the
paper bought was blasphemous, and forthwith
the emissaries of religion are sent on their in-
human, infamous, and murderous errand, and
domestic affection is blighted, children are
made orphans, and parents prisoners! What
a state of liberty, law, and justice is this, in
which a few men, no matter of what charac-
* See No. 27.

ter, and a boy, a mere child, can drag parents from their homes, plunge them in gaol, and their children in a poor-house. Thus religion pours upon us its blessings! Thus promotes social order! Thus renders men virtuous and kind! Rightly did Pemberton exclaim of the religious

Still they gather! Fierce they throng :
Fraud their weapon! Blood their song!
CHURCH their word! Oh then be strong!
Compact as a rock.

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A lad swears to words being blasphemous he very likely could not read, certainly not understand; a child, who could not tell the holy ghost from a pidgeon, swears that god is affronted. Poor god, if he has no better servants! no better advocates! Mark, also, the lad appears first to have been tutored in his lessons of craft and deception-the young rascal had been taught the maxim of Paul, "Being crafty, I canght you with guile.' But for his deception, false pretences, and fraud he would never have obtained the books at all from Mrs. A. unless he had fetched his employers. Two things arise here for consideration. First, the employment of deception and falsehood, are pretty moral instruments to bolster up a case of blasphemy with. Who will say, after this, that christianity and persecuting godites will not stoop to anything to effect their hateful purposes? Secondly, a fine boy this! a credible witness for god! kissing the bible and taking oaths with his lips warm with lying, and his heart full of deceit! This was publicly understood in court, as Mr. Fry stated before the magistrates his intention to indict him for forging his name, and thus, by false pretence, effecting his dishonest purpose. It appears the lad's employers sent the money some hours after, and had Mrs. ADAMS been a Christian she would have refused it, and prosecuted the juvenile scoundrel for obtaining property from her fraudulently.

Good Christians! Look on this case, and talk again how religion and the service of god conserves morality, truth, and virtue. Tell us what moral or infernal curse could have committed more vices in the same time than the cause has done which you patronise?

Mr. ADAMS's case was worse supported legally than this, as a witness swore he did not sell the number he was indicted for. And the principal witness against him admitted he gave the Oracle he produced to the other witness. The same law that punishes ADAMS would, if impartially administered, punish him

too.

Shall we call ourselves men, and sit down quietly, while christianity vests a power in the hands of every abandoned wretch of destroying honest men and ruining a virtuous family? The same spirit and holy cause which thrust ADAMS and his family into gaol

would whip them to death or strangle them in their cells, as Dr. Pincher regretted he could not do to me," where it not that indignant humanity has learned mercy and justice at a better source than the bible and a holier throne than heaven!

The best answer to the supposed immoralities of atheism, is an exhibition of the real immoralities of religion. When men, acting on the affirmative that there is a god, perpetrate these enormities in his name, and are transformed into demons by their belief, and spread misery and hypocrisy in their path every hour, while the religion arising out of their unfortunate belief is, in the emphatic words of Pitt, the "greatest possible encouragement to vice," shall we be told that atheism is speculative, and without a practical bearing; since it alone can bring men back to reason and realities, to nature ever truthful and kind, to humanity and virtue? Because the Theist cannot prove his affirmation, that there is a god, nor the Atheist cannot prove a negative to it, it must not be supposed, as by too many it erroneously is, that no good can result from the discussion. Let us but convince men that there is good reason to disbelieve that there is a god, and the whole cabinet of creeds and all the injustice and cruelty they create would be at once swept away, and men, in the dignity of nature, would rise to the loftiest virtue. Were it true that the Theist or godist contented himself with dis- " puting merely about his affirmative, then it might be of little practical use to disturb his dreamings; but while all our laws, customs, and institutions, while the very foundations of morality are made to rest upon the assumption that there is a god, while all men every day, to the danger of our liberties, lives, and best principles, ACT ON THE AFFIRMATIVEthe question of atheism is a grave and serious

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