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Or, Philosophy Vindicated.






No. 9.]


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Now, when Mr. Berkeley, member for Bristol, spoke at a public dinner of the Anchor Society, he quoted, with many a bitter sneer,

TO THE SOCIALISTS OF ENGLAND. the above-mentioned saying of the Rev. Mr.

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Is my last I drew your attention to the principle of philosophy, and contrasted it with the principle of faith. The former I contended as the principle of Socialism, whereas the latter is now, and has been through all time, the principle of religion. By principle of Bocialism, let it be clearly understood that I mean the principle taught by Robert Owen, and the principle received by all real Socialists before a "Rational Religionist" was dreamt of. The point of the wedge is inserted, and I will now, in my sledge-hammer fashion, endeavour to drive it to the head.

Close. He (Mr. Berkeley) is, as all politicians know, a Liberal Whig. Now the Whigs are very liberal upon occasions, and when out of office, it is not uncommon to find them take rank among the Infidels, and use that kind of language towards the church and its supporters, which if said by any one else when they were in office, would be answered by the Attorney-General, and has made some of their best friends regret that they should ever be at the helm of affairs, making so fine an opposition and so contemptible a ministry.

Mr. Berkeley is, as before said, a Liberal Whig, and when not hampered by his party in office, can speak out famously against the cant of the high-church parsons; and most famously did he lash their sacred hides upon the occa sion referred to. Upon that of the honest Mr. Close he had no mercy, and endeavoured to show true religion would be strengthened, not weakened, by the advancement of knowledge, and a general diffusion of education; with many other things equally popular and equally untrue. He was of course vociferously cheered; but at public meetings every one knows that falsehood is far oftener, and more loudly, cheered than truth. Mr. Berkeley displayed abundance of tact and talent; launched his sarcasms with terrible severity; but did not dislodge Mr. Close from his position, did not advance a single argument in refutation of the assertion, that the more a man is advanced in human knowledge the more is he opposed to religion, and the more deadly enemy is he to the truth of God."

You will remember that the Rev. Francis Close was taken as a perfect illustration of the school of faith; of those men who say that religion, and religion only, is the balm for very wound; the cure for all kinds of moral disease, political and social evil. Like that renowned and immortal quack, Dr. Sangrado, they have one perscription, which does equally well for any and every disease of the body politic; Dr. Sangrado, in all cases, recommended copious bleeding and lots of cold water, Dr. Close recommends that his paents should be copiously fanaticised and Swallow large draughts of hot religion. When Dr. Sangrado's patients died under his treatment, and sextous were glorifying themselves that so many graves should be opened, the doctor insisted that it was the patients own fault, and that they only died because they did not bleed enough, and did not have enough cold water. So with the quackish Dr. Close, ho sees perfectly well that thousands suffer moral death under his treatment, but he connds it is not the fault of the physic, it is not because the people swallow systems of religion, gulp down every kind of fanaticism, are bled till they are bloodless by their piritual physicians-Oh no! the plain truth exclaim the worthies, the people have not ough of religion, they are too full of blood, d we want far more zeal in the cause of God

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My praises of this speech may appear extravagant, but really I cannot help thinking it one of the most praiseworthy that ever fell from the lips of a churchman; having the rare, the very rare, merit of being honest and true; I say further, that it is a truth which should sink deep into your minds, and arouse you to a new and energetic course of action, if you would be known as a reform, rather than an obstructing, party; if you would that society should progress instead of retrograde, and that the liberties of our race should be based upon the rock of truth, and not on the

shifting sands of priestly fictions. What, I would ask, is the legitimate, the only sound conclusion deducible from these facts, if not this? that the spread of knowledge will infallibly destroy all religions; which, as they spring from, so they are perpetuated by, human folly. As to true religion, or rational religion, it means anything or nothing. There are as many true religions as conventicles: there is the Catholic true religion, the Protestant true religion, the Socialist true religion, and no one knows how many more true religions. There is but one science, one truth in philosophy; but there are more truths in religion than days in the year or saints in the calendar. Churches are divided into high and low; so here we have had a high-church truth and a low-church truth. In philosophy we have a standard by which all opinions are measured; and all men of science joyfully submit their opinions, their discoveries, to the test of experience; but there is no standard in religion; every crack-brained numskull sets up his own, is his own measurer, or is measured by some cunning rogue, who knows how to cut his own and other religious coats according to the cloth. Without the belief in a god, or superior powers, all religions would be destroyed; it is because men have a dread of, or hope for, something beyond the grave that they set up religionizing. Vulgar selfishness is the

Divinity that stirs within them,

Our people, of all things, dread religious free dom," and they grasp with bloodhound teeth every opportunity to sacrifice any individual who has exercised it with a manly indepen dence. The aristocracy foster this blind tyranny and ignorance, being well aware that religious freedom being established, the perfection of political and civil liberty ensues. The upper classes laugh in their sleeves at the idea of men being such fools as to condemn each other for religious libels or blasphemy, but they cunningly reflect, that if that absurdity is dispelled, political libels will follow, and delusion vanish after delusion, until not an abuse or imposition in the state will be any longer held sacred." Now I am sure that nothing I have written, or ever expect to write, can go beyond this in condemnation of religi ous teaching, or a clergy-drugged people. The fooleries of religion are, indeed, the delusion of delusions; and with it will vanish all others, when, as the writer justly says, not an abuse or imposition in the state will any longer be held sacred.

All religion, says a modern anonymous writer, is an edifice in the air; theology being nothing more than human ignorance of natural causes reduced to system. To learn the true principles of morality, men have no need of theology, of revelation, or gods; they have need only of reason; they have only to enter into themselves, to reflect upon their own nature, consult their sensible interests, conAnd the religious animal in the direct ratio sider the object of society, and of the indiof his religiousness, is ignorantly selfish, gene-viduals who compose it, and they will easily rally cruel, and always cowardly. If you perceive that virtue is the interest, and vice would have men essentially, radically vicious, the unhappiness of beings of their kind. Such strengthen the religious feeling, and multiply is the teaching of sound philosophy, and all mad faiths; stud the country with churches, experience. We have need only of reason to chapels, and monasteries; open gospel-shops make men just and moral; and need not reliin every street, and make gospel grindery thegion, with its chimeras, absurdities, and phanmost lucrative of all professions.

Wherever God erects a house of prayer,
The devil is sure to build a chapel there.

I am not alone in my detestation of the religious principle; the accumulated horrors it has produced no tongue can speak no pen describe; no kind of teaching shows all the mischief of priestcraft. If I write boldly, others have shown the way, and the most popular writers of the newspaper press are, I am happy to say, arrayed in deadly opposition to every kind and form of religion. It is really quite refreshing to read such passages as the following from the Weekly Dispatch of Sunday, December 26th, 1841 :-"We have hearts as bold and spirits as determined as the French, and minds equally enlightened and elevated; but our people are clergy-drugged, they are stupified with the poison of fanaticism, and this tinges and pollutes their minds on all subjects connected with political institutions and social liberty, civil or religious.

tasmagoria. This is the principle of philoso phers: it was the principle of Socialists.

If such be the true state of the question, if religion be this curse, it follows that the most effectual measures should be taken to destroy it; and that until it is destroyed, the human race cannot be virtuous, free, and happy. This, I will presently show, was Mr. Owen's opinion, whatever it may be now; I will show from his published speeches and writings, that his opinion distinctly was, that without the utter destruction of every kind and form of religion, nothing like rational system of society could possibly exist. I have given you church authority for church principles, and I will now give Social authority for Social principle. "There are," Montesquieu,


66 means to prevent crimes, there are puins and penalties; there are those to reform manners, these are good examples:" and this has been the opinion of the wisest in all nations in all times. That such are the opin ions held by Mr. Owen, is known to all who

know anything about his views and objects; but in consequence of the trimming, timeserving policy that he has pursued of late, and the evidently careful manner in which he has, more especially during the last year or two, attempted to soften his expressions, and make them dove-tail in with religious prejudices, may have left many of the "young disciples of the system" in doubt as to what Mr. Owen's opinions upon these matters really are, if, indeed, it has not entirely mislead them.

attempt to force belief against conviction-and thus carry the correct-minded, conscien tious victim to the stake; or make a human being wretchedly happy! Therefore, unless the world is now prepared to dismiss all its errone ous religious notions, and to feel the justice and necessity of publicly acknowledging the most unlimited religious freedom, it will be futile to erect villages of union and mutual co-operation; for it will be vain to look on this earth for inhabitants to occupy them, who can understand how to live in the bond of peace and unity: My language is in general tolerably strong, or who can love their neighbour as themselves; especially when treating on the mummeries whether he be Jew or Gentile, Mohamedan or and mischiefs of religion; but when Mr. Owen Pagan, Infidel or Christian; any religion that was in his prime, he would beat me all the creates one particle of feeling short of this, is world to nothing in this particular. Let us false, and must prove a curse to the whole take, as a specimen, the following from an human race!" You will, I think, agree that address delivered by Mr. Owen at the ad- few things in the way of invective can go journed meeting at "the City of London beyond this, it is dignified, forcible, and Tavern," August 21, 1817. "It may now terribly severe. Its character may be summed be asked-If the new arrangements proposed up in the word-masterly. Now, I ask, and really possess all the advantages that have should like an honest reply to the question, been stated, why have they not been adopted whether times are greatly changed, bigotry in universal practice, during all the ages less rampant, or religion less mischievous than which have passed? Why should so many in 1817? Is there less poverty, vice, and countless millions of our fellow-creatures, human degradation? Are the poor better fed, through each successive generation, have been better educated, in a word, more happy, than the victims of ignorance, of superstition, of at that period? To me it appears that relimental degradation, and of wretchedness? gions are just as mischievous, systems of theMy friends, a more important question has ology quite as absurd, and priests every bit as never yet been put to the sons of men. Who furious, as upon that very day. Now as then can answer it? who dare answer it, but with a rational system of society is an impracticahis life in his hand; a ready and willing vic-ble chimera, an air-built castle, "solely in tim to truth and to the emancipation of the world from its long bondage of disunion, error, crime, and misery? Behold that victim! on this day-in this hour-even now shall those bonds be burst asunder, never more to re-unite while the world shall last. What the consequences of this daring deed shall be to myself, I am as indifferent about A whether it shall rain or be fair to-morrow. | Whatever may be the consequence, I will now perform my duty to you, and to the world; and should it be the last act of my life, I shall be well content, and know that I have lived for an important purpose. Then, my friends, I tell you, that hitherto you have been prevented from even knowing what happiness really is, SOLELY in consequence of the errorsgross errors-that have been combined with the fundamental notions of EVERY religion that has hitherto been taught to men. And, in consequence, they have made man the most inconistent, and the most miserable being in existence. By the errors of these systems, he has been made a weak, imbecile animal; a furious got and fanatic; or a miserable hypocrite; and should these qualities be carried, not only into the projected villages, but into Paradise helf, a Paradise would be no longer found." Again, "Ignorance, bigotry, and superstition nay again, as they have so often done before,

consequence of the errors-gross errors-that have been combined with the fundamental notions of every religion that has hitherto been taught to man."

If then such were the opinions of Mr. Owen, why are they not so now? and if they are, why does he not express them with equal candour and boldness? Thereby hangs a tale-too long now to tell-which, if well told, will throw great light upon the past proceedings, present position, and future prospects of your party—a party which shall not, if I can help it, dwindle into a sect, nor block up, instead of opening the way which leads to reform. It shall not, if I can help it, be a party of canting hypocritical time-servers, but bold, honest, and energetic men; it shall not, finally, be a religious party, except in spite of me and reason; for all religious parties are mere parties for the perpetuation of humbug. They begin, proceed, and finish in deception; and I tell you in the very words of your Founder, that should deception, or the qualities which it infallibly generates, "be carried not only into the projected villages, but into Paradise itself, a Paradise would no longer be found."

Your well wisher,


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PEOPLE often imagine such droll things that
they cannot tell how they came by their
thoughts. The task would be difficult but by
no means impossible, to trace these wild con-
ceptions to the early associations of infancy,
when, as Meslier has well remarked, their nurses
were their theologians. The poet in the above
lines would carry us among the orientals as
though such vagaries would be frozen to death
in our nothern climes-he places us among
Mocanna's fierce followers, or the frenzied
fire worshippers, where our wonder is more
likely to evaporate seeing that the air is more
rarefied than here. A sly fellow is Tom
Moore to carry us abroad to contemplate that
we leave at home. For when we arrive there,
like poor Selkirk,

-Alas, recollection at hand-
Soon hurries us back.

We leave our country when we need not leave
our streets in order to see religious Nimrods
gone mad.

Setting aside all argument upon the existence of a god, some persons with, an almost enviable assurance, claim evidence for the dogma upon the ground that a supposed alliance with eternal powers is flattering to human vanity. "The ideal or fancied connection of man with the powers of the universe is always an exalting reflection" said the author of Mammon, one day in our hearing. This is proceeding upon the plan of the seducer who flatters in order to ruin. This species of complimentary speciousness is continually used to supply the place of reason, and he who would destroy or, more properly, impeach the justness of such a course is industriously cried down as one who degrades his kind. We will see; first however premising, by way of exordium, that the promise of protection and favour from the gods to the obedient and devout has been in all ages the chief sugar-plum given by priests to stop the voice of the children of


company. Again, there can be no safe and honourable alliance except between equals. When a superior and inferior unite hectoring and haughtiness, sycophancy and submission are the consequences on one side and the penalties on the other. Has it not always been so with man's fancied connection with the gods. King and slave, prostration and damnation are the well known items in the bills of alliance. Further; dependence on any one whoever he may be, and whoever may inculcate it, means non-dependence on yourselves, which is fatal to all independence, all dignity, all virtue. It will be asked, does not the father demand the submission of the child? No wise or generous father does, for both are unmeasurable losers thereby. Hence some good philosophers in modern days have sought to remedy the liability of such mutual depend would long ago have given up the position we ence at the earliest age possible. Mankind have been analysing, had they not been to omuch


Your preaching zealots, too inspired to seek
One grain of meaning, for the things they teach.

To suppose the reality, for a moment only, of any relationship with deities of the kind mentioned is to foster power in the hands those who have abused it in every age of the world; and besides it extends the odiou favouritism and partial partizanship of kings and courts among all social relationshipsdestroys the equality of men, the first principle of all true liberty, and fosters fanaticism and that most odious spiritual pride which has ever spread like a pestilence, cursing and cursed."

There is one view, among many others, too important to be overlooked with regard to this question. When men boast relationships it is natural to inquire into the kind of beings or persons with whom it is claimed. Some associations are detestable and degrading. What is this? If not positively questionable it is more than suspicious. "The dispensations of Providence," says observing Arthur Young, in his Travels in France, "seem to have per. mitted the human race to exist only as the prey of tyrants, or as it has made pigeons for If the deity be, as the author of the Essay hawks;" which goes very far, if human judg towards a Science of Consciousness contends-ament is worth anything, to impugn the bene "spiritous old man in the clouds," the dig-volence of a creator. And, while every nity of our alliance with him is somewhat questionable. Allowing however with Young that he is a " great godhead"—the cost of supporting his retinue among us is more than ten millions of pounds, which at the rate" poor devils" in Leeds have to live and labour would save all the destitute in the empire from death. Such an alliance as this, it must be conceded, is more expensive than flattering, and leaves us wiseacres in the condition of those who beggar themselves for the sake of respectable

cruelty and injustice-the late Bristol conviction to wit-is sanctioned by his name, while honesty is a reproach, uprightness regarded as the want of "experience," integrity proclaimed as "rashness," and duplicity, hypocrisy, and villainy, the certain and only passports to public respect and regard-the inference is logically certain, whatever it may be reli giously, that god either connives at deception, or sleeps like a dormouse in the burrow of Astraæ. Should common sense walk up and


down the world, looking on fat and gorgeous | vastly superior as a writer to anything his

pety rolling in splendour, or lolling on down; and bumble industry, merit, and worth, pining in poverty, clothed in rags, oppressed, disregarded, and dying in despair? Humanity and theologians are doomed to differ about his sttributes of goodness and mercy; either he is to be pitied for want of power, or benevolence revolts at his want of kindness. His character, then, so unsettled as far as consistency is concerned, must be seen by worldly wisdom through divine spectacles, before anything worth boasting of in the way of the assumed lationship can be discovered. Granting he is the contrary, who are his allies? men whose moral grandeur exalts and ennobles all human thoughts-atlases of intellect making the relationship plausible? No; but creatures who lose by comparison with beasts, whose religion is vagary cowled, or folly systematised. Such claimants of familiarity and relationship with the gods, reminds us of the sorry scamps whom the philosopher Bius found supplicating for deliverance in a storm; "be silent, you scoundrels," exclaimed he, "for if the gods find you here we are gone instantly." For these, and such like reasons, do we demur to those self gratulatory souls who bias mankind by vanity in favour of the supernatural, where logic fails to establish any grounds on which it can rest. We shall be told, no doubt, that,

Our jobbernols can never climb

To comprehend the true sublime.

ambition would lead him to hope for. And the only reasons which induce him to be thus venturous are, that for several years he has entertained the opinions treated of in this essay, and was led to believe, during his acquaintance with the late editor, that a striking similarity of ideas existed in the minds of each in reference to it; which circumstances, in connection with the interest it has excited, more especially with the female portion of our readers, renders its continuation advisable. Still, lest the public may be led to expect too much, the writer would beg leave to say, that, until the present exigency, he has not attempted to systematise his ideas, and arrange the facts which he has met with; and whilst he hopes for their indulgence in the event of trifling errors, he shall be happy to receive strict and candid criticism from any parties who may be searching after truth.

THE theory of a regular gradation, or the change of one mode of natural phenomenon to another, without supernatural interference, is in direct opposition to the almost universally received opinions of all countries and all ages; but more especially to the various cosmogonies, or world-formation theories, which, as a first principle, contend for the comparatively sudden and perfect formation of the earth, and of all modes of matter possessing the property of increasing from within outwardly, with organs for that purpose, and called organic, or organTatil some new version, different from any ised bodies; differing very materially, in this extant, be imported, with all due humility we particular, from stones, crystals, &c., which confess it. Thus, when mankind look no are simply an aggregation of atoms, forming longer through priestly glasses, darkly," layers or plates externally, and not considered they will see clearly that conceit, imagination, to grow, in the general acceptation of the pride, and prejudice, answer like echoes only term (excepting by a few persons), but rather to the question we ask-"Is there a God?" to increase. It would not have been left to the nineteenth The, to our minds, narrow views of the century thus to argue, were it not that un-religious world in relation to the important hinking credulity has left people so impene-principles involved in this question, would trable to conviction, that the very pickaxes of thought make little impression on their sculls.


G. J. H.

appear to be the inevitable consequence of man's long infancy, both zoologically and socially considered; and which, even in the present advanced age, prevents the acquirement and general application by society-as a THEORY OF REGULAR GRADATION. result of its calm and unprejudiced considera


"There is, I repeat, no absolute line of demarcation between one organism and another; they seem all to be formed upon the same general principles, and almost throughout of the same identical materials. Indeed, it has been maintained that man is composed of divers inferior organisms, or at least, that he passes through them in utero; but this is not strictly true."-Lecture on the " "Study of Anatomy," by THOMAS KING, M.D.

attempting the continuation of the above article, the present writer is fully aware of the difficulties attending the task he has underaken; both as relates to the subject itself, and to the circumstance of his following one so


tion of the facts which form the sciences, every one of which tends to the conclusion, that the inherent properties of "dull matter,' as some bright portions of it have designated it, are good and sufficient to produce all the varied, complicated, and beautiful phenomena of the universe-however numerous the differences in other spheres may be in addition to those of our own (which expression of opinion, according to Mr. Grace Smith, prosecuting counsel against CHARLES SOUTHWELL, is, we presume, blasphemy*). For believing matter to be infinitely extended, to be infinitely

See Trial, pp. 18.

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