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may prove self-existent," and its manhood and metals, is not capable of furnishing noureternal. That we are tending to those hap-ishment for plants and animals, no matter can pier climes, be; and inasmuch as some conditions of matter are injurious to animal and vegetable life, all conditions must be. Oh, no, they will say, this is not fair argument, our experience teaches the contrary; if, then, they are willing to take experience as their guide in this particular, why not in all others; and where, we

Where slaves once more their native land behold, No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold. G. J. H.

THEORY OF REGULAR GRADATION. would ask, is the existence of an immaterial

NO. VIII.

** The whole mass of material existence is to us infinite, or at least incomprehensible. To its extent in the regions of space no limits can be assigned; and to its duration, anterior or subsequent, we can fix no period."-PRINCIPLES OF NATURE.

Is conformity with the pledge given in our last number, we shall proceed to consider another of the objections opposed to our theory of the all-sufficiency of matter to produce and ustain the various modes of existence, or what 15 generally called the natural phenomena, of the universe. This objection consists in the supposed possession by man (according to some), and of all forms of animated nature (according to others), of a spirit, a soul, the power of reasoning or abstraction-a something, and yet not a something, and believed in, because not understandable, which controls the material residence in which it is located, and determines its position and condition in relation to other objects and things. This, whatever it may be, is not material, we are told, but the opposite; matter is something, its opposite nothing a word without a type; and this opposite of something is said to be superior to it and inseparable from it during life, though not partaking of its nature. All attempts to elucidate this immaterial problem involves a string of absurdities, the length of which is proportioned to the time wasted upon it, a dilemma the cleverest of its advocates have never escaped from. And, regardless of the charge of egotism, we will venture to say, that it is painful to a reflecting mind to think that it is necessary to offer objections to, and show the absurdity of, such notions, when it requires so small an amount of real knowledge to detect the glaring fallacy.

There are at least three great divisions of believers in this indefinability :

Those who confine its possession to man;
Those who confine it to animated existences

alon;
These who believe every particle of matter
possessed of it.

We wil begin with the first, as the most numerous, omprising the great bulk of the Christian wold. "How, say some of them, can matter fee and think? All matter does not feel and thin, therefore no matter can do 30." There is ju as much reason in this argument as there wuld be in asserting, that because matter in cer in conditions, as stones

principle demonstrated, or where can they refer to similarly clear and conclusive reasons to those which are presented to us in the operation of matter upon matter for the sustainment of life? But, again, in contending for the exclusive possession by man of this immaterial, immortal principle, simply because he feels, thinks, and possesses the power of abstraction, these followers of blind guides overlook a fact, which like a wall of adamant, protects the philosopher from the fooleries of faiths. If the possession of sensation, reflection, and a power of subsequent action, or a will, be evidences of the presence of aught not matter, but above matter, not subject to matter's modes of progress and decay, in connection with form; but moreover capable of existing when matter is no more- -feeling, thinking, and acting eternally-then must all animals be possessed of this never dying, unchanging, eternal principle.

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For, that the inferior animals (as they are called) have their perceptions, reflections, and determinations as well as man, the "paragon," is easily proved; but the following extract from Hume will, for the present, suit our purpose: "It seems evident, that animals as well as men learn many things from experience, and infer that the same events will follow from the same causes. By this principle they become acquainted with the more obvious properties of external objects, and gradually, from their birth, treasure up a knowledge of the nature of fire, water, earth, stones, heights, depths, &c. and of the effects which result from their operation. The ignorance and inexperience of the young are here plainly distinguishable from the cunning and sagacity of the old, who have learned, by long observation, to avoid what hurts them, and to pursue what gives ease and pleasure. A horse accustomed to the field will not attempt what exceeds his force or ability. An old greyhound will trust the more fatiguing part of the chace to the younger, and will place himself so as to meet the hare in her doubles; sagacity is founded on observation and experi ence. This is still more evident from the effects of discipline and education on animals; who, by the proper application of rewards and punishments, may be taught any course of action most contrary to their natural instincts and propensities. Is it not experience which renders a dog apprehensive of pain, when you

this

menace him, or lift up the whip to beat him? | being nothing so gross as body, but in soma Is it not experience which makes him answer mysterious manner enters into all bodies, hav to his name? It is custom alone which ing no liking for dead ones. So that, according engages animals, from every object that strikes to these philosophers, god is in every living their senses, to infer its usual attendant, and thing, he being the eternal and infinite mind, carries their imagination from the appearance and of course out of every dead thing, intel of one to expect the other. But though ani- ligent matter only being the residence of mals learn much of their knowledge from deity. But as these reasoners admit that all observation, they derive also much from the matter is not living, per consequence some original hand of nature; which greatly ex- must be dead and without god; which may ceeds their share of capacity on ordinary occa- account for the singular inconsistencies of the sions, and in which they improve little or parts of matter inhabited by this intelligere nothing by the longest practice and experience. god. In one quarter of the globe we find men These we call instincts." fighting for one notion of morality and in another for quite the contrary notion; there they are in arms for a president and here for a king, there for Mohamed and here for Christ: they meet, blow out each other's brains and cut each other's throat, allowing the little bits of god to escape by thousands, and to roam about, ready to pop in, at a moment's notice, to the quarters preparing for them in the organisms in embryo. And unless we suppose there are always plenty out of employment, we can readily account for what are called still-births, being caused by the emptiness of the immaterial market at the proper time; or perhaps by its coming too late, for dame nature never hurries nor waits, and a moment lost can never be recalled. This idea is equally absurd and devoid of proof as the first; and all that may be urged against it applies equally to the other. It is the result of an attempt, on the part of certain clever men, without subjecting themselves to the odium attaching to Atheism to escape from the imputation of stupidity or dishonesty in adopting Christianity.

If then feeling, thinking, &c. be evidence of immateriality, and immateriality of immortality, the souls of animals will exist in a future state with the good Christians, uninterrupted by the wicked, who will then have ceased to trouble; for the "Jew Book," as our beloved friend CHARLES SOUTHWELL called the Christians' hobby, says "where much is given much will be required," evidently in tending the converse to be supplied by the reader, which in our opinion is confirmation strong, that "brute beasts" will go to glory, and the "yahoos" only to the devil, notwithstanding a totally opposite conclusion in another part of the same veracious authority, that the brutes shall perish, but which it does not suit us to take into consideration. Again, if the thinking principle be an emanation from a god, pure and undefiled, which is asserted; how is it we have no evidence or experience of the fact, derived from our observation of the uniformity of conduct of the beings possess ing it, and their agreement respecting the source from where they have derived it, its nature and properties? On the contrary, every one of the supposed possessors have different ideas respecting it, some believing it to be one thing and some another, some saying it resides in this place and some in that, and some denying its existence altogether. If it be said that this may result from the differences in the medium through which it is made manifest; we answer, such a reason is not valid, seeing it is contended that the immaterial principle is superior to matter. That varieties in the organizations which it inhabits cannot affect it, must be clear, because it forms no part of them. But we cannot spare more time and space in exposing this folly, and must leave our readers to look elsewhere if we have not given them sufficient."

Next in order come the advocates, for the immaterial principle in all animated organisms, who are for extending the benefits of hereafter to all fleshly houses without distinction. To this class, mostly Deists, belongs Sir W. Drummond, who says that god is a spirit or intelligence, which, however is not material,

*See Oracle of Reason, No, 1,

The third and last opinion-that every particle of matter is possessed of the cogitating, immaterial principle is very similar to that of Zeno, the founder of the Stoics, who believed in one god, the soul of the universe, the matter of which was the body; and that the two united formed one perfect animal. Now to our minds this conclusion, granting the souland-body-principle to be correct, is perfectly rational and legitimate. For if the universe be composed of particles of matter each of which possesses properties or principles, an aggregation of which, under certain forms, we call animal life, intelligence, &c., then must the whole be one great intelligent animal; asmuch as it is all life and all intelligence, combined with all body. With this view, we must consider man, and in fact all animals not parasitical, as vermin infesting the carcass of the great beast. But this notion will be repudiated by our modern hair-splitte, who, while they reject as ridiculous th divine-animal theory, and still contend for he principle laid down, have to explain a parent absurdities equally as great. For f every particle of matter be associated win, or possessed of, an

in

Intelligent principle, and yet the whole does not form one great body of intelligence, or animal, we should say, the larger the parts the greater the wisdom. In proportion then to the number of cubic inches in a tree, over and above those in a man, must be the intelligence of the former to the latter; and the one handred and twenty gun ship, requiring some thousands of trees for its construction, must be superior in intelligence in the same ratio. This process carried on ad infinitum, would bring us to the "divine animal" as a certain conclusion; for if every particle be possessed of artelligence then must the whole be intelligent, and we know nothing of intelligence apart from animation. Now this doctrine, which mistinetly involves the being of a god, that is something superior to matter, is held by same parties calling themselves Atheists, who contend that Atheism does not necessarily depend upon materialism; and who, desiring to account for final causes, for what reason it difficult to say, assert the universality of intelligence, and think, to build up a fabric of Atheism upon a foundation of godism. For 1 something superior to matter, call it by what name you may, includes most of the notions respecting a deity, or ruling providence, and is, in reality a god.

But, supposing this asserted principle to be so intimately connected with matter as not to admit of separate consideration, and only to depend upon favourable circumstances for its development; then is it not immaterial but material-being in fact, matter considered as a whole, and is the principle for which we are contending.

To those who may not see the immediate connexion between immateriality and regular gradation, we would briefly remark. Immateriality, or a principle of intelligence separate from matter involves a governing mind in the universe, from whose will all forms and conditions of matter are derived, and which are dependant upon the laws he is said to have impressed upon or assigned to matter at some period subsequent to his own existence. To this we oppose the theory of the eternity of matter, and its all-sufficiency to produce the results attributed to intelligence. The latter opinion rests upon facts, the former upon faith; it beng a question, we maintain, of folly versus W. C.

reason.

A VOCE FROM BRISTOL GAOL. Satt day afternoon, 18th February.

DEAR FRIENDS,

Governor of the prison has just informed me that he felt it auty to seize certain papers sent with cake the Oracle of Reason, and report of "Trial," I bieve; they are not admissible at present, I all write respecting

the matter to the magistrates. Should like to hear from you, and receive newspapers as often as convenient. Yours, in haste,

DEAR Friends,

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C. SOUTHWELL.

Tuesday, February 15, 1842.

A little, or rather a big, month is passedone of the "calendars" awarded by Sir C. Wetherall. I have just returned from chapel, where I heard a most respectable sermon, which reminded me of a certain village preacher, who having delivered one sermon three times over, a wag of his congregation got up, and said, "Rev. sir, the bill has been read a third time, and I move that it do now pass." Of course such waggery can only be indulged in under the voluntary system; birds in cages are just as little able to fly, as though their wings were clipped. In this dull place even sermons, the most stupid and poor, are a relief, no art being so difficult to a prisoner as that of killing time. How I envy the buxom wench who so bitterly complained that she never knew the comfort of a bed: "The moment I go to bed," said she, "I fall asleep; and the instant I awake, I am obliged to get up." Philosophers have written fine disquisítions upon time; some have said time is the most valuable of all things; others, more profound or captious, say time is nothing at all; some say time passes, others declare that it is we who pass; but whether it is time passes, or we who pass, I often wish that it were gone, or that those, who "help the Lord," would let me go. Had I faith, as a grain of mustard seed, in holy legends and ghostly tales, there would be many crumbs of comfort for me and all the miserables; for the impoverished in spirit are to inherit the kingdom of heaven, the mourners are to be comforted; besides, affliction is the badge or mark of divine grace, as it is said, whom god loveth he chasteneth, &c. I am also informed, by those who are in the secret, that it is a part of god's plan to make the rich richer and the. poor poorer, which, it must be confessed, priests, who are servants of the most high, do all they can to carry out. To them it is given to know "the mysteries of heaven," and they teach, in the name of god, that "whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance;" to which is added, what is even more surprising, that "whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath." All things are possible with god, but, humanly speaking, it is quite incredible, that something should be taken away from those poor devils who haven't anything. All this is solid comfort for poor believers, but for poor Atheists, it is lighter than vanity. Blessed people are those, who can be so occupied for the care of the soul, as

to be unaffected by what passés in the body. will find that they have taken nothing by their Who, asks the poet,

Can hold a fire in his hand,

By thinking on the frosty Caucasus;
Or wallow, naked, in December's snow,

By bare remembrance of the summer's heat? I answer, at once, that I can't. I have tried, several times, to fancy myself at liberty, and enjoying the society of my friends, but can't for the life of me; the prison's gloom is not mistaken by me for the full blaze of sunshine, nor can I, by any effort of my imagination, fancy myself very comfortable while wallowing in misery. The romantic Octavian, in Colman's play of the " Mountaineers," when straining his mistress to his breast, exclaims, "Oh, plunge me deep in Etna's smoky gulph, and I could wallow calmly in her fires, like lazy shepherds basking in the sun, to hold thee thus at last." A great deal must be allowed for the enthusiasm of lovers, but if the majority of them were thrust into a cold gaol for a year or two, it would cool their courage. In Yorkshire, the unwashed have a saying, that though their masters may make them work, they can't make them like it; and this kind of spirit, so antagonistic to the Christian, is strong in me; for though the Bristol worthies have succeeded, to admiration, in punishing me, they can't make me like it. Nothing but working a miracle would enable them to do that; and, as the days of miracle-working, like those of chivalry, are gone, why, there is no sort of likelihood that they will convince me, either that all is for the best, or even for my own good. When the apostles worked miracles, and showed so many signs and wonders to the Jews, who would not see them, " gold and silver they had none." But things have greatly altered since the times of Peter and his colleagues, for their successors have abundance of gold and silver, but can neither open the eyes of the blind, cure the sick, or cleanse, by heavenly magic, any kind of leprosy. My paper is exhausted with this infinite deal of nothing, so good-bye, but neglect not this advice, don't be quite so "rash as fire," and we shall meet again, some time, doubt not. May it be shortly, for "mine eyes desire thee above all things."

C. SOUTHWELL.

FIRST EPISTLE

To the Second Priest of the "Oracle." Edinburgh, 15th February, 1842.

MY DEAR SIR,

The Oracle, No. 8, is before me, and really it is a good pennyworth. Real information for the twelfth part of a shilling; how unlike, in quality and charge, the utterances of the Oracles with which priests have had to do! If this be a specimen of what the work will be under the new management, the persecutors

motion.

Nothing, in my opinion, is more calculated to put a stop to these prosecutions, which tes tify the malignant tendency of religion, even under its best forms, than to give the clergy and magistracy to understand that they can't kill us. Let us tell them, and show them, that we won't die; or, rather, that if we can. not achieve immortality for ourselves, we will for our cause. If, when they chop off one head, a hundred appear in its place, they will soon find it a losing game. The more I think of the " don't-hurt-their-feelings" advice of some good sort of people, the put-up-withit, lie-down-und-die policy of men who assume the name, without having the spirit, of re formers, the more convinced do I become of its inexpediency as well as dishonesty. We are certainly not to go to Rome to pull the pope's nose; nor would it be justifiable for us to exhibit the ferocity of John Knox, who, with his followers, entered the sanctuaries of the Roman Catholics, by force tore down their altars, destroyed their magnificent edifices, and trampled on what they esteemed most sacred. But, if the pope of Rome strive to make me a slave to his spiritual despotism, it is my duty to resist, and that right vigor. ously; if any religionist speak or write in favour of certain doctrines, it is my duty as & non-religionist to insist upon the right of speaking and writing in opposition. And who. ever shrinks from this his duty, ought to go to heaven at once, because he is not good enough for this world, and because he falls short of the dignity of manhood. Latitude of lan guage in general is, doubtless, convenient to shirkers, inasmuch as they would hide their cowardice by calling it prudence, and conceal their want of public spirit, by pretending to extraordinary charity. That course of conduct is the most charitable which will do most good.

Yours, sincerely,

THE EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIANITY
DISPLAYED;
OR THE PENALTY OF HONESTY IN THE NINETEENTH
CENTURY.

OFTEN has religion, with appalling grin, bestridden the murdered form of humanity, and too fondly has the hope been entertained that knowledge and civilisation had daven it to the regions of blackest night, its oirthplace and most congenial home; but has again ventured forth, strangling truth with fierce hands, and, in the name of a god, chasing honesty from the world. Started corruption has cried havoc, the Bonners f christianity have let

the case, we must comment upon it. Analy. sis would murder it. Heterogenity is its name. It is in keeping with nothing but its wretched and imbecile object.

alip the dogs of war, and mental freedom again lies prostrate before the priests. Through the medium of the public press our readers have been made familiar with the fate of the late editor of this paper. For the He first informed the court that Mr. SoUTHexercise of a common right, at least one com- WELL did not stand there to deny or palliate mon to the Christian portion of society, viz., the libels he was charged with having pubthat of publishing his opinions, he has been lished. This alone should have convinced the sentenced to twelve months' imprisonment and jury of the injustice of placing a man at the to be fined £100. The bible-believer pro- bar to answer to his fellow-men for his honest fesses to think for himself; every true Pro- convictions. It was also a high eulogy on testant claims the right of private judgment; those principles, which could support a man both publish and speak their views, and ob- to bravely defend the right in the teeth of intrude their beliefs upon all men, whether justice, power, and certain punishment for his willing or not willing to receive them. If honesty. On these occasions, men, with rare any one should demur to them, his voice is and honourable exceptions, sink into slaves stifled in the dungeon, and his scruples removed with the sword. CHARLES SOUTHWELL has views and opinions as honestly formed as their own, and as they are entertained without a premium, probably more so. Like them, he holds his notions to be of vital interest to mankind, and laudibly proceeds to impart them. He places his proofs, not above the skies but within the compass of human reason; invokes no power to spread them, and, relying on their intrinsic worth, lays them an offering at the feet of truth-to be owned or disowned as they may merit. How is he treated? let his sentence answer. Yet from that bible, for which his prosecutors profess all kinds of regard and fear, will they rake out, to serve a turn, such a text as, "Of one blood all men are made," a text reserved, like her majesty's toy-guards, for parade, not actual service, while every pulpit re-echoes with the priestly cant of " dearly beloved brethren." Truly the truth is coming home

to us!

The trial took place in Bristol, before Sir C. Wetherall, who has been styled a "saturation of antiquated prejudices and sad eccentricities, and who has long demanded removal from the bench." The prosecuting counsel was a Mr. Smith, "an excessively weak and ignorant man," as Publicola truly remarked. When it is felt that into these hands the defence and protection of a god have fallen, if we are to judge of him as we do of men, by the company they keep, he has become, as the police would say, a very suspicious cha

racter.

We purpose drawing attention to the most extraordinary speech of the said Mr. Smith upon the occasion. A critic once said of the productions of a certain great man, that all the ordinary rules of characterisation were set at defiance by them. So of the learned counsel's defence of christianity; to describe it would be impossible-truth and falsehood, candour and cant never were before so strangely commingled. These traits are so conspicuous, that he who runs may read, as the "Jew Book" has it-and so, from the necessity of

and crouch for mercy; but unflinchingly to
maintain, in danger, the opinions preached in
security, was not more new to the law than re-
freshing to the world. It brings us back to
the days when men dared to think and speak
in the teeth of death. It was an assurance
that all manliness was not swept from the
earth. This opening remark (how the jury
felt it, cannot be told, how they ought, may
be) brought contempt on the whole proceed-
ing, indignation on the heads of the prosecu-
tors, and honor for their victim. After a
tirade of misrepresentation of the prisoner's
words and writings-peculiar to the counsel's
cause, and so common on these occasions, he
ventured the rash remark: "He (Southwell)
asserts the right of all men to discuss and
publish their opinions, upon all conceivable
subjects, without restraint or responsibility.
But there is a great fallacy in the assumption
of such a right;"* verifying the remark of
Cowper, that some men

Where others toil with philosophic force,
Their nimble nonsense takes a shorter course,
Flings at your head convictions in the lump,
And gain remote conclusions at a jump.

Oh! cried Mr. Smith, only grant this, and
there is an end to all law, order, and happi-
ness. Now, if he honestly meant anything,
it was that there would be an end to all kinds
of legal and religious iniquity. If the posi-
tion taken by Mr. Smith, really needed a se-
rious refutation, it would be found in the fact,
that while men are denied this right, they
must be hypocrites; and nothing more need
be said of that " religion, law, order, and
happiness," having no other foundation than
duplicity, and whose corner-stone is hypo-
crisy.

Next was adduced the standing argument of the supporters of all abuses, namely" that mental liberty, absolute and perfect, would be licentiousness." No tyrant was ever asked for the smallest privilege who did not declare this his reason for non-compliance. In the republic of letters, should the world ever see

* See Trial, p. 10.

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