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lans, and Diogenes, when visiting Rome, assing this, he began to teach it, and if it appear ambassadors from Athens, charmed the young “stark and staring,” probably, it procred men of the city by their philosophy and oratory, from the conviction that truth, like Socialist and through their ingenuous appreciation these or any other good thing, is most beautif elegant and useful arts were restored to Rome. when naked. Its fair proportions are bette In like manner, many a commonwealth has seen, or its deformities more easily discover owed more to the warmth of youth than to Atheism is not, it cannot be, "yiolent." ! the cold prudence of greybeards.
pertains to reason, not to feeling, and philan Inexperience” is not so much the creature thropy every body knows is cool and quae of age as of opportunities, and no one can enough in our day, correctly affirm, at random, whether they have Mr. Owen indulges in a little pleasantry, as been many or few. It is more a matter of calls the crusade in favour of Atheism, “Quis opinion, than a certain fact, that Mr. South-otic.” The same thing was often told M WELL's powers are either “wild or unculti-Owen in his young days with regard to Socia vated.” The earlier pages of this publication ism. He did not believe it, and it is well for d go far to induce a contrary belief. And, as the world he did not. We do not believe it i eulogy of an enemy has more weight than the Atheism. We have more confidence in trot conviction of a friend, Mr. Grace Smith may and reason, and it may be well for humna! be cited as a confirmation that we are not we have. wholly wrong in our views. “ Violent and In another part of this address, Mr. Owe overbearing energy” is rather a desirable quali- says, “ There must be a power to perform that fication, when employed in attacking error or which occurs throughout the universe; be defending truth. No evidence is or can be what that power is, man has not yet discovers adduced that Mr. Southwell ever manifested That power we call God; and there the ulu impatience in any way. It is fashionable now matter ends.” But there the whole matter du to ask, not what ought to be said, but what can not end, unless it be in a somewhat dogmatie be AFFORDED to be said, and soldiers of truth manner. It may so end in Mr. Owen's mim " look as fair and smell as sweet as any waiting but Mr. Owen is not the world, and it is gentlewoman.”. Hence Mr. SOUTHWELL has world that is to be convinced. A Euclid migh been magnified into a Hotspur, when perhaps in his day, bave turned to his pupils of Aler the inference can only be arrived at by com- andria and said, " The 18th proposition in th parison. Foreseeing, while he was a member 12th Book of my Elements of Geometry, i of the social body, that his conduct would be forms you, that Spheres have to one anothi ascribed to ambition, we took no little pains the triplicate ratio of that which their diam to ascertain if such was the case, and can un- ters have,' and there the whole matter ends hesitatingly affirm that no man the whole " That may be very correct, but not quite social body had ever a less desire, or greater conclusive. Permit us to see your axiom disinclination to take the lead than Charles definitions, and postulates, and pass step b Southwell. His real thoughts upon this sub- step through all your reasoning, and we ma ject are honestly expressed in the following be of the same opinion,” would have be words from bis first Letter to the “Socialists their natural reply. So the world argues w of England :" “ Had principle not been vio- regard to the being of a god.
We perfect lated; had the association been true to itself; agree with Mr. Owen, that nothing is know bad its talented leaders repudiated instead of relative to the existence of a power governi imitated the vices of mere demagogues, 1 the universe. Men should learn this fact, whi would bave fought in the van, in the rear, or would be the destruction of all religion. ! side by side, with them; aye, even to the last wish only to add, that our “ stark starin gasp; my notion of these things baviug ever violent Atheism” is nothing more than been, that in the glorious warfare against attempt to explain as clearly as possible ! error and tyranny, to a mind not spotted by truth of that proposition which Mr. Owen vanity, it would be held far more honourable himself enunciated. For to require asse to be a corporal in a well-disciplined regi- before conviction, is by bimself conceded ment, than a general among ragamuffins.” being an error. It was a "cute" saging
He did not see only “stark staring, violent Aristotle, “that to be ignorant that you a Atheism” in Socialism, but he saw, what Mr. ignorant is the disease of the multitude," whis Owen declared in the City of London Tavern, ignorance on the subject of religion, has cm in the speech quoted by Mr. SOUTHWELL in his tinued their diseases to this day; not a ne “ Fifth "Letter to the Socialists," “ that the intermittent fever, but an epidemic, which er errors of religion must not be there." And he has only be cured by direct application, medicu yet to learn, as indeed many others have, how prescribed for another disorder will fail. the errors of religion can ever be annihilated It is a poor objection to affirm we sh: except by the exposition of Atheism. Believ-“ irritate,” when we war with those who o
press. Samuel Bailey, the most powerful b * See Trial, p. 16.
ing writer on the formation of character, h
krewdly remarked, that “ The religious opi- | own. Condemn Brahimins, Jews, and Thugs, ions of the majority of mankind are neces- and probably he will be the most opposed to cily acquired by instillation : from the nature them. The arguments must then be made to I the case they cannot be otherwise than de- come home to him, which reduces the war to vative, and they are as firmly believed, with one. at the least particle of evidence, as the theo- These observations are not made on the ms of Euclid by those who understand the supposition that Atheism is a partial attack on emonstrations. Men do not suspect their religions. We think it as comprehensive and aligious creed to be false, because the grounds complete an opposition as can be desired. f its truth or its falsity lie altogether without Warring not against forms and ceremonies, be pale of their knowledge, and remote from not against “ fundamental errors” merely, but be path of their experience.”
against the essence of all religions--on the Hence it appears that it is only by judicious ground that they displace morality, and are connd powerful attacks on popular beliefs and sequently inimical to human happiness. We irepossessions that we can hope to turn men's merely contend that, let the notion be as general attention in the way of reason and common it
may, the practice, to be useful, must be ense. This too appeared to be felt by Mr. "petty," as it is styled. Turk and Pagan Owen, when he declared, that silence would may be opposed till the grave of Moses is not retard, and opposition would only accele- discovered, without a convert being made, rate the progress of social truth. For this where it is of the first importance they should reason it seems to us that good must result be made—at home. Christians are not partifrom such investigation as we institute, in cularly quick in their apprehension of the more respects than one. Perhaps no subject weight of an argument, nor very anxious to of human inquiry is so well calculated to own that one relates to them; and while obiwaken attention and give a vigorous tone to jections to their system are exported to Contbe mind, as a discussion on the existence of a stantinople or the Indies, they grow rampant god, when the object is not to establish the at home, coerce the press, and strangle herecorrectness and incorrectness of received no- tics with impunity, in the name of their lord tions, but to arrive at truth. No branch of and their god. Mr. Bailey, whom we quoted Investigation can be more useful to young a moment ago, defines " Theology to be a persons as a mental exercise. It draws atten- comprehensive examination into the course of tion to the primitive springs of all knowledge action and condition of mind, which will please and to the first principles of correct reasoning; the being who has the fate of mankind in his stimulates careful thought; exercises patience; bands." checks presumption; requires impartiality, and Now just prove, as you may do very easily, encourages candour. The nature of the human that there is no reason for believing there to mind and the constitution of things are un- be a being” at all with “the fate of mankind folded, while the relationship of one to the in his hands”—and as Mrs. Leman Grimstone other is exhibited in new and useful lights. says, the whole buildings and cabinets of If, like the children of the old man in the creeds are levelled at one fell swoop. It is fable, one party should fail in discovering the a perfect gunpowder plot; the way of the expected treasure, a gratifying, unexpected, Socialists, or any other reformer of abuses is and more permanent advantage is gained. clear before him. The elephant of the priestWhen the soil of reason has been diligently hood if fairly knocked from under the castle turned up, the expected legacy of belief is of oppression, and the incubus which for ages searched for in vain, a rich barvest of truth is has sat upon the breast of mankind is driven the reward of our industry. We once heard to its den. As a species of wholesale work, it well remarked, that “ Angelo's greatness nothing can be compared to Atheism. Superlay in searching for untried existence,” an stitionists, under its visitation, are like the observation very applicable to the subject of Assyrian hosts, when which we speak.
Mr. Owen, in his Fifteenth Address to his The Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast, di-ciples, says he has never been so “ petty” in And breathed on the face of the foe as he passed; his notions as to contend against one religion, Their hearts but once heaved and for ever grew still. but bas opposed all
, so much the better. Still we do not see the criminality of warring Not dreaming that originality and vigour with only one, unless upon the well known are qualities in our way; not even pretending principle, that
to imitation of those who have excelled in One murder makes a villain,
their exercise, we pretend only to an admiraMILLIONS a HERO.
tion of others who have rejoiced in their pos
session ; we are content to wander like comets, It is overlooked that the war to be effective in devious and eccentric paths, if they but must be with one. Dispute with whomsoever lead us in an age to the light of such suns. you may, he will attack all religions but his If, Uranus like, we should be consigned to a
distant orbit, we shall rejoice to revolve round
To the Editor of the Oracle of Reason the centre of truth, the smallest and palest of stars. If indeed we were nearer, the lead of
(MR. SOUTHWELL). our argument we confess would boil
, as lead I INTEND to proceed from time to time with is said to do in Mercury. With these views friendly criticisms. we rejoice at the displays of warmth in the Page 1, col. 2, No. 1, you say, "if men bare cause of right, and are glad when philosophy not yet known, they should now be taught, migrates from frigid to torrid zones. The pen that it is neither," &c., to “be an Atheist," &c of the great Paine was the warring of nature's I have read this passage to, at the least, elements in a world of corruption. If in his dozen who have been talking about liberty day the commotion of the waves purified the and a free press, and Socialism, and Chartism, waters of iniquity, would not it do so now? but in no one case have I found a full and Error lashed by him, felt very much as a man free, and manly-spoken acknowledgment of would in a thunder storm on a dark night, the truth of your words. There was shynes: very uneasy under the falling torrents, and or reluctance, a drawing back which show, continually startled by the flashes of lightning as is but too usual, a want of the babit of which seem to dart at him. He may indeed correct thinking ; yet these were all men won escape with his life, but not without sundry put themselves forward to teach others ; sal misgivings that he has caught his death from so it must be until men's understandings skuli the drenching he has received.
be expanded. We would that the doers of evil were so Page 2, column 2, you say, "we see me castigated in our day.
solid REASON to believe—the eternity of anyWe should have gladly passed by anything thing but matter." I put it to you solely for and everything coming from the individual to consideration. Is it possible by REASON to whose observations we have been replying, know the existence of matter? To me it seems had not experience taught us, that whenever quite clear, that it is not, and never can be. a great fish dives in any direction, rightly or Berkeley has shown the impossibility. I wrongly, shoals of small fry are, from natural Berkeley's Essay were deprived of every word weakness and inability to take care of them not significant”-and of erery word wbich selves, drawn along with him. And if other is not pertinent to the existence or non-eswise, the articles we have alluded to, were istence of matter, it would be reduced to calculated to foster and create prejudices about one third of its bulk and make a band. neither creditable nor kind.
book of all but inestimable value. I hope to We flatly deny that Mr. SOUTHWELL has see this done presently, accompanied by a
too far” in his advocacy of truth, remark, that the abridgment has been made if measured by Mr. Owen's pristine standard, for the purpose of showing that the existence or perhaps by his present one. Take the fol- of matter cannot be proved by reason-and lowing from his Eighteenth Address, issued consequently not at all. This would humble last week.
many, and probably set some to reason more “ Hitherto you bave been made abject correctly than they have been accustomed to slaves, both in mind and body, by the priest- do, not only on this but on other subjects. hood of the world, who to their own deep injury I “in my dark estate" am compelled to and your misery, have ever been made the admit-or take for granted the existence of oppressive tyrants of the human race."
two things—1. matter; 2. self; because I can After this, it would be difficult consistently neither begin nor go on without them, though I to censure Mr. SouTuweLL for any passage he know nothing positively about matter or even has written upon the same subject, unless it is its existence, any more than I do of the self contended,
in which resides the power of comparing and
deciding. This is not correct language, and That in a captain is only a choleric word, Which, in a corporal, is rank blasphemy.
yet I can do no better; we bave not even
the power of correctly stating this subject. The quotation at the bead of this article
This is no new view" of mine, but a contains the only permission we ask, that of very old one, and I believe a correct one. making inquiry in any direction, without limit; Then, as to the word eternity. Give me and it lays down our two cardinal principles leave to ask you to think again on this word. of action “good faith” and “good humour.” | To ask yourself this question : Has it any real With this remembrancer we take our leave to meaning ; does it convey any clear idea ? To wait on the Promethean, and if the vultures do me it seems to be used as an idle excuse, 2 not tear out our insides, we will climb the shuffle to hide ignorance, better is the honest rock to it in our next number.
confession of ignorance than any attempt to G. J. H. hide it. Only see what a bodge-podge lexi
cographers and cyclopedists have made of it. 100
Page 3, column 2. You quote Dr. Samuel Clarke-"nothing is without a sufficient rea
son," &c. "why it is." Dr. Clarke can I have existed from all eternity, and therefore hardly mean cause and effect, when as here urcalised ?" be uses the word reason. If he does he puts I thinks you made a mistake when you said, his god out of existence. If he means the Spinosa established clearly that something ex" reuson" of god, he either talks nonsense or ists;" he seems to me to bave misled you as it endeavours to put a trick upon his reader. is probable he misled himself. Spinosa could Of cause and effect we know nothing certain, only reason, and - it is utterly impossible for we cannot even form a conception of “neces- him or any one by reasoning to prove that anysury connection.” All we can know is an in- thing exists. Spirioga'assum.ed, like you and ference from reasoning by analogy. What me, because be could not avoid it, that somenecessary connection is there between any thing existed, and thus he attempted, as many wish to raise my arm and my raising it? How other men have, to prove his something by is motion connected with, what from want of reasoning ; when he had written all he has a better mode of expressing myself, I call written he was precisely where he was before my will? Here is a familiar answer to all the he had written a word, not at all nearer to a wbys and wherefores of our opponent, and of rational conclusion. Emanuel Kant took a our own; all may be referred to this motion of shorter way. He said this kind of knowledge the arm. Could we once clearly understand is prior to all reasoning—it is given,” and this, all other whys and wherefores might under this term he took whatever suited his come to be understood; but being as we are, purpose, to enable him to build up his system everything is a miracle. We do not know, of complications, with which he crazed himand never shall know, the why of anything; self and three of my friends, all men of learnwe always come and always must come to a ing and science, one of whom died insane of dead stop when we travel backwards in our Kant's pbilosophy. inquiries, and never approach the end.
You have adopted a theory which may, I You will not, I hope, think these remarks fear, embarrass you, or even prevent your prosuperfluous, notwithstanding your own good ceeding in right thinking, or may put a stop reasoning on your quotation from Clarke. to any further thinking on the subject. You
Page 4, column 2. We come to Lord speak of the "inherent properties of matter;" Shaftesbury, and chance. This word chance this might be admitted were we upon a has been of more use to our priests than any matter of science but we are reasoning, par other word in the way of controversy. Chance excellence, we are philosophising. May I has been used as a sledge hammer, with wbich say, as free from giving as I intend not to give at one blow to knock down every opponent. offence, that you neither do nor ever can This is another of the mischievous words know anything about the inherent properties of which I discarded many years ago, together nature, neither can you have any precise ideas with hazard, accident, and all of the family. of what you mean when you use the words. Horne Tooke, in his “Diversions of Purley,"
"You are, evidently to me, not so old a dabbler commenting upon the words—"it fell by as I am, or you would avoid all such phrases ; chance,” translates it into “it fell by falling." they are worse than useless. Our rule should The word chance in relation to the matter in be never, when we can avoid it, and it can hand is altogether devoid of any rational always be avoided when we reason carefully, meaning. Voltaire's definition of the word is to go beyond our knowledge; and if at any shuffle.
time we are pushed for answers to questions “not ourselves believing,” &c., which we cannot answer, to say at once I do " from the material universe." Do you not not know, I am ignorant on that point, or on here concede too much—more than you are that subject, and eager to be instructed by warranted by any information you possess ? any one who has more knowledge than I have. I see no reason for the concession. I take the Our progress in whatever can be known will existence of the universe, or some portion of be proportionate to our dismissions of abit, as an inference from the admission forced surdities and our accumulation of useful, i.e. upon me—that matter exists; upon a close real knowledge. examination, I take the liberty to expect, that London.
AN INVESTIGATOR. we shall agree in this particular.
But wben you say, you “believe, that the above strictures are worthy of attentive something must have been from all eternity, perusal; and the reader, unless a practised therefore uncaused,” I am compelled to con- head, would do well to read them more than clude that even you are a little superstitious. once. This is the more necessary, as I intend Only try, as I am sure you must. You must, to offer some remarks upon them; in part by because you cannot, even if you would, way of apology or reply for myself, in part by which you will not desire to do—avoid, think- way of praise for him. These shall be briet, ing the matter over again, however you may plain, and good humoured, which latter article decide. Ask yourself: what ideas have 1 I mention, because some of my correspondents when I use the words—"something must have a notion that I am a man of fierce coun.
tenance, who treats those who differ with him from the cannon's mouth, even gods them. in an off-hand and unwarrantable manner. selves, could we conceive of superior beings, Now this, protest, is not my.tėmper, and must, like all things else, bend" to necessity. correspondents who may think fit to tavor me The Greeks understood this very well, for even with their hints, reflections, or even castiga- Jupiter was ruled by fate. For my own part, tions, will be in no sort of danger. I will not I know not how any man of sense can be undertake to answer all that correspondents ought but a fatalist. It is of little consemay write, for as the philosophy of the Oracle quence whether we accept the fatum of the is somewhat novel in this country, at least Turks, the fatum of the Stoics, or the fatum novel to the novices, and the manner novel as of the Christians, if we grant that all human the matter, there wil, doubtless, be a crowd of actions, and of course all human opinions, are objections; so that I should find it difficult to necessitated. To praise or blame is prime answer them all if I had the Times broad-sheet folly, for there can neither be merit nor demerit at my command. I have determined in future in opinions we are compelled to receive, or to select the most solid and weighty objections acts we are compelled to perform. There is of the whole mass, against either the theory of really no essential difference between the Atheism, or any other theories set forward in Turk, who says that all is fated, whether this
paper, This is obviously the most useful, cause or consequence ; the Stoics, who taught as it is the only practicable course. Every that divine providence regulates and directs man has what Daniel O'Connell calls a little all things; and the Christian, who refers effects cockboat of bis own, and there are very few to god, working by second causes. But the indeed who do not carry too much sail or too subject is too complex to be reduced to simlittle ballast. Besides, nothing can be more plicity by a few dictums, with which, however, useful as well as enlivening to the general I must content myself at present. When reader, than objections well put by corres- Napoleon, at Austerlitz, was exposed to the pendents, and well answered by editors, or if hottest fire of the enemy, his troops wer they cannot be well answered, well acknow- alarmed for his safety. "Oh," said he, "fear ledged as objections which cannot be met. It nothing; the bullet that is to kill me is riut is in this spirit I shall proceed to notice the yet cast;" which anecdote has been often rá hints-criticisms is almost too harsh a name- lated, as a proof that Napoleon was a fatalist; of " An Investigator,” whose style of taking his fatalism, I suspect, amounted to this
, objections is modest as his title ; which, by the that he was quite convinced, the thing ti way, contrasts somewhat advantageously with happen must happen. Fatalism is based of the more lofty one of the Oracle of Reason ; truisms, which all men acknowledge, and few but let that pass as a non-essential.
men say they do. I agree with " An Investi He says, that he has read the passage in gator," that the philosophy of morals wil page one, column two, of the Oracle, “ If men not be understood, and men will go on have not yet known, they should now be stupidly as heretofore, glorifying theniselver taught that it is neither creditable nor dis- for being and thinking what they can in ni creditable, to be an Atheist, a Christian, or wise avoid, “ until men's understandings shall Mussulman;' to at the least a dozen, who be expanded ;" should that happen before the have been talking about liberty and a free opening of the "seven seals,” and Mr. Dead press, and Socialism and Chartism, but in no pays the world a visit on his pale borse, met case found a full and free, and manly.spoken will see the gross absurdity of attaching credi acknowledgment of the truth of those words;" or discredit to any kind of action or opinion and yet, he adds, “ These are men who put I agree with Luther, that "free will is a lie;' themselves forward to teach others." I can for how can human will be free, which, in tl readily believe this, but it is much to be re- language of Byron, “ depends as much upor gretted that those who set about “teaching a straw as on a storm ?" and how can there ) others” should be ignorant of so highly- merit or demerit, where there is no freedom important a truth. As well might a man give This opinion has nothing in common with th credit to the rose for emitting a delightful predestination, absurdity and vulgar notion odour, or praise the tulip for the beauty of its of fatalism. colors, as talk about the disgrace or the honor With regard to "An Investigator's" Query of holding certain opinions. To a necessi-Is it possible by reason to know the existenc tated being, there is nothing properly credit- of mutter? In a strictly philosophical sense able nor discreditable ; and man is as clearly I should say not; but nothing ever can b the creature of necessity, as the bee or known in thut sense. Our very existence i the butterfly. False opinions, as they give but a probability. Pyrrho doubted his ow birth to vices, may be hateful, and those existence. When asked wliy he did not ki who hold them truly unfortunate ; but to a himself, he replied, that life and death bein philosopher, misfortune is not held a dis- equal, he had not the power to choose, H grace. Man is as much driven and forced friends found it necessary to furnish him wit to act, as the moon in its orbit, or the ball & guard of servants, lest he should, actin