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divisible, and capable of infinite combination or arrangement of the particles-we see no reason in flying to supernaturalism for an explanation of the ultimate causes which produce the results we witness, such an appeal inevitably increasing, and not lessening, our difficulties, making

Us rather bear those ills we have,

Than fly to others that we know not of.

A very common objection to this theory is, that, " Granting, for the sake of argument, the probability of a gradual change from simple to complex in the organised world, up to the present period, how is it, seeing that the same properties are still possessed by matter, and are eternal, unchanging, that we do not see instances of spontaneous formations of men and animals now, which it is asserted took place at one time long antecedent?"

for we have our birth, infancy, semi-maturity, our maturity; and with states as with all else There is a universal principle in existence of gradual, never-ceasing change; and the vulgar notion that man forms the last link in a chain which will never be continued beyond him is the consequence of interested teachings, which have kept men listening to opinions, instead of examining facts and drawing deductions. For the reason which obviously presents itself why man has not undergone any extensive organic alteration since his residence here is, that no change of sufficient importance to endanger his existence as a species has taken place in the condition of the elements by which he has been surrounded during that period, and which alone could produce such a result; but that he has at different times and in different ways been modified by circumstances will be shown in

future numbers.

This, as it is supposed, insuperable objecThirdly, that supposing matter to have been tion, we will reply to before proceeding fur- in a condition at some period to produce perther. In the first place, then, we do not fect man, independently of any other organizacontend, in order to support our theory, for a tion (which, as we have explained before, we spontaneous, unforced action (to use Walker's do not imagine or contend for), it does not definition) by a portion of matter at any follow that it should be in the same condition period; but, on the contrary, are of opinion now, because its innate properties are the that those particles of matter which formed the first organic body, at the remotest epoch in the world's existence (supposing it not to be eternal), were compelled, by the then condition of other portions, to take that form whatever it might be; which form continued without change, so long as the circumstances favourable for its development in the first instance remained the same, or were not changed sufficiently to materially interfere with its existence; that it adapted itself to alterations in the surrounding circumstances which were continually taking place; and, in process of time, resulted in a form so distinct from the first, as, without the intermediate modifications, to warrant the supposition that it never could have been produced from, or had any connexion with, it. These opinions it will, from time to time, be the object of the writer to show, are based upon generally admitted and indisputable facts.

Secondly, that it would be equally reasonable to inquire, why ignorant, savage man does not make use of the appliances of civilized life to increase his comforts, and secure himself from the vicissitudes of his nomadic life, without his first going through the various changes incidental to his progress to the condition occupied by his more advanced brother, as to expect matter to change from molecular to the most complicated organic form, without first taking the numberless conditions we know to be intermediate between those antipodes. For, as in the inorganic world we have gases, fluids, solids; so in the organic-very simple, less simple-complex, more complex, &c., which gradation is continued, to our social condition:

same; else, by a parity of reasoning it may be urged, that inasmuch as the ichthyosaurus, plesiosaurus, pterodactylus, and other antediluvian animals, once lived upon this globe, which was then eminently fitted for such existences -one of the strong arguments for our theory made manifest by geologythat it must necessarily be in a condition to support them now, although it is well known such is not the case. Again, would it not be as reasonable to demand, why it does not produce granite, micha-schist, chalk, &c., now, as well as at a previous period? The result of experience and experiment satisfactorily shows that the earth has had its changes and progressions; and what is true of the whole must be true of the parts, and vice versa.

Another strong objection still remains; viz., the supposed possession of an immaterial principle by man; which, if true, cannot be the result of material influences, and entirely over throws our position ;-of this we will speak

next week.

W. C.

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esn't move an inch out of my cell without aolers at my heels. I see no objection to my vriting to you for your own or any one Ises edification you please. The governor nay, if he pleases, read all I write; but the nagistrate, Mr. Herepath, informed me that t is not his wish, nor that of his brother nagistrates, to draw the rein too tightly, or innecessarily fetter my mind. He added, hat anything written against the Christian eligion, &c., would be stopped; but this, of course, will not hinder me from writing anyhing truly respectable; so that the Socialists may still hear from me now and then. Should like Lyall's or Buckland's writings on geology, f comeatable.*

Tuesday Afternoon, Feb. 8, 1842.

DEAR CRONY,

gated by enthusiasm or knavery, adopted by timid credulity, preserved by custom, which never reasons, and revered solely because not understood. "Some," says Montagne,"make the world think that they believe what they do not; others, in greater number, make themselves think that they believe what they do not, not knowing what belief is."

In a word, whoever will deign to consult common sense upon religious opinions, and bestow in this inquiry the attention that is commonly given to objects, we presume interesting, will easily perceive, that these opinions, have no foundation; that all religion is an edifice in the air. That it represents, in every country, to the different nations of the earth, only romances void of probability, the hero of which is himself composed of qualities impossible to combine; that Just received yours, and couldn't drink my his name, exciting in all hearts respect and soup or eat my bit of pancake for joy. It fear, is only a vague word, which men have took away my appetite; but don't be alarmed, continually in their mouths, without being that will come again, I promise ye. Will do able to affix to it ideas or qualities, which are all that you advise. Petition immediately. not contradicted by facts, or evidently inconShould like to hear some account of ball [at sistent with one another. The idea of this John Street]. Another public meeting, that's being, of whom we have no idea, or rather, right, keep the game alive, but be careful to the word by which he is designated, would come off winners. Long to see how you pro-be an indifferent thing, did it not cause inceed, but fail you can't. Tell the noble army of martyrs that their kind sympathy_makes light the burthen of imprisonment. Let me see, on Saturday, I shall have been four weeks here; four deducted from fifty-two, leaves forty-eight. Come, we are going on bravely.

Affectionately yours,
C. SOUTHWELL.

THEOLOGY.-When we coolly examine the opinions of men, we are surprised to find, that in those, which they regard as the most essential, nothing is more uncommon than the use of common sense; or, in other words, a degree of judgment sufficient to discover the most simple truths, to reject the most striking absurdities, and to be shocked with palpable contradictions. We have an example of it in theology, a science revered in all times and countries, by the greatest number of men; an object they regard as the most important, the most useful, and the most indispensable to the happiness of societies. Indeed, with little examination of the principles, upon which this pretended science is founded, we are forced to acknowledge, that these principles, judged incontestable, are only hazardous uppositions, imagined by ignorance, propa

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numerable ravages in the world. Prepossessed with the opinion, that this phantom is an interesting reality, men, instead of concluding wisely from its incomprehensibility, that they are not bound to regard it; on the contrary infer, that they cannot sufficiently meditate upon it, that they must contemplate it without ceasing, reason upon it without end, and never lose sight of it. Their invincible ignorance, in this respect, far from discouraging them, irritates their curiosity; instead of putting them upon guard against their imagination, this ignorance renders them decisive, dogmatical, imperious, and even exasperates them against all, who oppose doubts to the reveries which their brains have begotten. What perplexity arises, when it is required to solve an insolvable problem! Restless meditations upon an object, impossible to understand, in which, however, he thinks himself much concerned, cannot but put man in a very ill humour, and Let interest, vanity, and ambition, co-operate produce in his head dangerous transports. ever so little with these dispositions, and society must necessarily be disturbed. This is been the theatres of the extravagances of the reason that so many nations have often senseless dreamers, who believing, or publishing their empty speculations as eternal truths, have kindled the enthusiasm of princes and people, and armed them for opinions, which they represented as essential to the glory of the deity, and the happiness of empires. In all parts of our globe, intoxicated fanatics have been cutting each other's throats, lighting funeral piles, committing, without scruple

and even as a duty, the greatest crimes, and
shedding torrents of blood. For what? To
strengthen, support, or propagate the imperti-
nent conjectures of some enthusiasts, or to
give validity to the cheats of some impostors,
in the name and behalf of a being, who exists
only in their imagination, and who has made
himself known only by the ravages, disputes,
and follies he has caused upon the earth.
Fierce and uncultivated nations, perpetually
at war, have in their origin, under divers
names, adored some God, conformable to their
ideas;
that is to say, cruel, carnivorous, selfish,
blood-thirsty. We find, in all religions of
the earth, a god of armies, a jealous god, an
avenging god, a destroying god, a god who is
pleased with carnage, and whom his worship-
pers, as a duty, serve to his taste. Lambs,
bulls, children, men, heretics, infidels, kings,
whole nations are sacrificed to him. Do not
the zealous servants of this so barbarous god,
even think it a duty to offer themselves as a
sacrifice to him? We everywhere see mad-
men, who, after dismal meditations upon their
terrible god, imagine, that to please him, they
must do themselves all possible injury, and
inflict on themselves, for his honour, invented
torments. In short, the gloomy ideas of the
divinity, far from consoling men under the
evils of life, have everywhere disquieted and
confused their minds, and produced follies
destructive to their happiness. Preface to
" Common Sense."

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A MINUTE'S ADVICE TO THE DIFFIDENT. Many persons will express themselves freely in one assembly, who will say nothing in another; loud in the country, silent in the town; confused at home, unembarrased away. Why is all this?—one would think that truth was the creature of custom and place. Persons subject to the variation of feeling always painful, to which we have made reference, should remember, that though water will boil at different temperatures at different elevations, conviction, like mathematical theorems, if true in one place, are true in another. All individualisms should fade before truth; we should forget ourselves in its contemplation, and, like Demosthenes, contrive that our bearers forget the speaker, and the reader the writer, under the influence of the subject. If satisfied of the truth of your opinions, do not vary with the locality you occupy, but freely let them be known. If you think your views are fully spread in your new sphere-a common apprehension-be careful you are not assuming too much; all men are essentially different, have of necessity received different impressions; and your ideas are likely, nay, certain, to vary from all other persons. All reflecting men repose on their own views --hold them independently. As action is the first element of oratory, so confidence in

one's self is the first element of a great and free mind. Men keep back their opinionsleave the field to a few, and then complain of the monotony they themselves make. When the majority of men can be induced to enter the arena of mental conflict, it will not be to suffer from sameness, but to feel astonishment at the variety. Difference is the daughter of comparison; and legion the mother of every great truth, it being always inducted from many facts.

A FEW WORDS TO THE SILENT.-It is an

on the

important duty we owe to society to exBut it is often difficult to induce persons to press, on all proper occasions, our thoughts. do so, who, nevertheless, acknowledge the truth of the foregoing proposition. The case may be reasoned thus: If I believe my views to be superior to those entertained by any other person, I must feel ambitious to express them; but if I do not think so, still should freely express them, that they may stand fall, according to their worth or worthlessness All opinions should be freely launched ocean of the world; the storm of its dread laugh" will never wreck them, if truth be their cargo-if error only, the sooner they sink the better. He who fears to speak his thoughts, proclaims three things; either that he has no confidence in their correctness, or in his own ability to explain them, or that he has on hand a stock of vanity which he appre hends may be mortified. No person should hold opinions, of the justness of which he is not perfectly assured; and it is criminal to withhold from society that which would bene fit it; and to feel mortification or annoyanc when our errors are shown, is unworthy an inquiring mind. infallible, not to be prepared for the exposure It is to suppose ourselves of our mistakes; and to shrink from their exhibition, is to be secretly in love with error, while we profess to be searching after truth.

G. J. H.

LEGAL RELIGION.--It is not necessary for 3 lawyer, who conducts a prosecution for blas. phemy, to be religious himself, in order to be consistent, it is quite sufficient that he believes in the law and the profits.'

and

NOTICE TO CORRESPONDENTS.
The following is inserted at Mr. Southwell's re

quest: "Give my best thanks to AN IVESTIGATOR, some remarks of my own, if possible, which they say that his friendly strictures shall appear, with have called forth. Say, besides, that I shall be glad to receive here some more such criticisms, from time to time."

Criticisms or communications addressed to the
Editor, care of Mr. Hetherington, Wine-Office Court,
Fleet Street, will be attended to.

Printed by G. J. HOLYOAKE, 179, Broomhall Street,
Sheffield; and Published for him by all Liberal
Booksellers.

Saturday, February 19, 1842.

THE

SCOTTISH

ORACLE OF REASONCH

Or, Philosophy Vindicated.

SECULAR

"FAITH'S EMPIRE IS THE WORLD; ITS MONARCH, GOD; ITS MINISTERS, THE PRIESTS;

No. 10.3

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EDITED FOR CHARLES SOUTHWELL, DURING HIS IMPRISONMENT,
BY G. JACOB HOLYOAKE.

TO WHAT DO THINGS SEEM

TENDING?

UNION

[PRICE 1d.

varied, clerical cooks understand this-Hugh M'Neile, Hugh Stowell, M'Ghee, and O'Sulli van to wit; a good attendance is certain as rent THE learned, enthusiastic, and laborious trans-day. When bad feeling is to be stirred lator of the "Metaphysics of Aristotle," Tho- up (always plenty in a chapel, because the mas Taylor, somewhere remarks that the people are originally depraved), the Catholics energy of men's minds, in modern days, is to be hated, execrated, exterminated, all is sadly weakened by the fashionable practice of tangible. Catholics can be seen, felt, handled, writing books so simply and plainly, that &c., all which relate to matter rather than schoolboy intellects grapple with nearly all spirit, and this proves the unspiritual propensubjects. It being better, he contends, that sities of piety, when the opposite is supposed. truth, like Fair Rosamond, should be concealed In early ages mankind scraped, or thought in a labyrinth, that ingenuity may be duly exer- they did, which is nearly the same thing, some cised by attempts at discovering it. Such reason- acquaintance with the spiritual. Ignorance fag may be very ingenious, but not to our liking, and mystery are ever twin sisters. Some few nevertheless. It seems analogous to that of men saw clearly the reality of all things, the those sage divines, who argue for the conser- tangibility of matter, and the materiality of vation of the causes of crime, because tempt- mind. The numbers have increased, but stion exercises our Christián virtue. In the slowly, because knowledge, if not like Sisydays of Aristotle, when men were so full of phus, has often shared the fate of Prometheus, theory, that practice was of little repute, hid-chained to the rocks of superstition, and den meanings were useful, peradventure. To plucked at by the vultures of theology. Knowthe schoolmen, who love jargon because it seems learned, and write unintelligibly of necessity, having no distinct and natural idea of things; to such worthies mystery is like darkness to lovers of evil deeds, a perpetual letter of recommendation. But no one can deny that the spirit of modern times is most anti-supernatural, as completely so as the very genius of practicability could desire. In this working world people do not stop at hidden meanings, they must read as they run, or they will not read at all. So matter-of-fact is mortality now, that spirit, like riches, has made itself wings and has fled away. Indeed, we are most devoutly persuaded, at least as devoutly as persons of our persuasion can be, that both fled away together. Poverty has been a great teacher. Want has made more converts than preaching, of late days. Gospel and 'good dinners did very well together, as fat old abbots, and rubicund-nosed parsons, tan tell. Christ and a crust, merely, never in this world went down well, in spite of all that pious tracts say to the contrary. But Christ, without the crust, people soon die upon, as poor-law guardians and relieving officers can, and do abundantly testify. When the godly are drawn together, if the feast is purely piritual, the company is proportionably small. Let the courses be changed and the dishes

ledge, means familiarity with the know-
able, the avenues of which are the senses,
things only having the power to operate on
the senses. With the progress of knowledge,
spirit, and spiritual things, have evaporated
like ether poured out in the sunbeams. Sacred
Socialism, it is true, would contract an ac-
quaintance with the spiritualising—the effer-
vescence of philosophy-the smoke, not the
fire, of common sense. It is the toryism of
progression. Like the schoolboy on the frosty
morning, its every step forward is two back-
wards. Its refinmentations require a new
language. A wag once accounted for Irving-
ism thus:

Armstrong, the preaching Irishman,
Follows close in Edward Irving's van:
Irish and Scotch together strung,
Who wonders at unknown tongue.

So those who will take matter and spirit,
and attempt to mix them into a system,
make a very Irish and Scotch compound,
which might more properly be called medley-
ism, than sacred Socialism, or anything else.
Matter is mysterious enough without being
enveloped in the fogs of spirituality. We
want a clearer not a denser medium. No fear
we shall go too rightly. The world feels this.
The love of the tangible is the tendency of
the times. Poets will regret this. But we

men

do not see why they should. They are the proclaiming alike from the monition of sense children of reality without knowing it. But and the warnings of hopeless suffering, tha poets "must stand down; their case will not credulity is in its right declination, and the come on to-day." We have to do with the philosophy of " things as they are," is approach men of the world who are not, nor ever will ing its culmination. be, poetical. Let the pauper-wretch plead before the parson-magistrate for relief-his spiritualised affections, all so many tortures. The divinity may beam in his eyes; the mysterious sympathy between himself, his dying wife, and famishing miserable children (all boasted evidences of the supernatural and ever-loving spirit) are mocked at. His soul, all fire, rushes to his head; his brain burns in agony; his heart is an icicle, and he of the immortal soul is dragged to the gloomy mausoleum of poverty. -the poor-house where, instead of the

Lord looking down in his dreams,

Grim Death sits over his pallet of straw, and the angels who carry him to Abraham's bosom are they who drag his carcass to the dead-house. In the contemplation of such scenes, adoration is struck dumb. Religion dies a natural death, or "by the visitation of god," as the verdict would be, and Faith, like lead in the sea, sinks down into the deepest caverns of unbelief: the refuge, the welcome asylum of outraged humanity.

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It is mischievou

The just shall live by faith, said a saintly rhapsodist, but forgot to say how a piece of information that would be most invaluable in these Cavanagh times. Not only can not live by faith, but faith itself cannot Faith," says Coleridge, "without princi ples (on which to ground it) is but a flatter ing phrase for wilful positiveness of fanatics bodily sensation." The demand upon the banks of theology for these "principles" ha been so great of modern times, that few ar able to meet them; and, unless some ner specie is issued, are never likely. The spiritua not in spite of fate, that being an impossibility but in spite of fanaticism, is on the wand Piety is now felt to be, what the sagaciou few have ever seen it, the humiliation an degradation of the masses. positively mischievous. To prove it to b useless, some may think going far enoughas prudent people, we should not like to b thought going TOO far, so we will be conter with this. Who ever tried to extract har coin in this cold world from the pocket of brother in Christ, by the soft rhetoric of "Of thirteen children only one is left (said heart-moving tale. You might as well expec a poor old woman to Alderman Kelly, the to go to heaven in the chariot of Elijah, other day in Guildhall), and she is trans- twist a rope of sand. Go farther: our govern ported; I have travelled here from Hunslet, ment is Christian-the laws are Christia to see her for the last time; see my nakedness (hence their merciful care of disbelievers)and rags (stretching out her gaunt withered what did the millions ever obtain by the and bony arms before the court); father, piety from their rulers? They may supplicat mother, brother, sister, children, all gone; I to turn the bard and obdurate hearts of thei "What matter," as th have no friend left but god, and I begin to political Pharaohs, think he is rather hard upon me in my old song says. Goals are built; the police forc age." Misery had done its work; groundless is strengthened; swords are sharpened-god piety was expiring, where it evidently had answer, these. For any other relief than ne been most tenaciously cherished. The Mus-oppression or additional insult, you may sulman is not more devout than the true Catholic; nor the boa constrictor more fatal in its crushings than is popery in its influence on the reasoning faculties, but suffering teaches lessons where reason could not impart truth. Hear the Rev. Mr. Hearne, a Catholic priest, "he stood by the bed sides of thousands of poor wretches, out of whose mouth neither he, his exhortations, prayers, cross, nor crucifix, could prevent the words of blasphemy from escaping." This should teach priests, that when they lay their paralising hands on knowledge, they should banish misery, for both are mighty potent teachers of the vanity of faith. "Facts must be the progenitors of theory," cry modern moralists. Hence their production in support of ours. Others, nume

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well bore for the centre of gravity with gimblet. Well, what of all this? Why, th these are very matter-of-fact times, we thin all things abundantly show. That innumerab causes are silently and surely weaning me from superstition; are showing how attacl ment to the unknown has mesmerised mankind and that many beacons point to nature as t alpha and omega of human hopes. Atheist has caught the spirit of the times, an is marching on in the front of the van, a men seem hastening to that bourn, when no happy traveller returns to the regions disquietude, suffering, faith, and folly. It is mournful reflection that man's path to happi ness should be so dismal. That the torped of superstition should so lay prostrate huma reason, that ages of suffering should be re quired to stimulate its exercise. But let u hope that its gradual growth betokens are waiting to follow in the same train, all lengthened prime; that, like the universe,

rous as

Leaves of the forest when summer is green,

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