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Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. This computerized book may be used for serious research as the line breaks, paragraphs, page breaks and page numbers in the text of this copy correspond to the original book, except for the header page, dedications, copyright page, etc. that are separated by eight stars, thus; **** **** to conserve paper in printouts. Fine Print -- always takes away what the big print gives. Therefore we assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, goofs, etc. that may have crept in in spite of the careful manner we do our work. Also, in electronic files, the files may be corrupted by anyone whose hands they pass through. Entered into computer format 1994 by Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 534 page printout. **** **** FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT BEING THE STORY OF THE TRUTH SEEKER, WITH THE NATURAL HISTORY OF ITS THIRD EDITOR BY GEORGE E. MACDONALD VOLUME I Parts First and Second NEW YORK The Truth Seeker Company 1929 **** **** Copyrighted by George E. Macdonald, 1929. Printed in the U.S.A. **** **** To the Readers of The Truth Seeker **** **** Not adventitious therefore will the wise man regard the faith which is in him. The highest truth he sees he will fearlessly utter; knowing that, let what may come of it, he is thus playing his right part in the world. ... -- Herbert Spencer (First Principles, Par. 34). **** **** PREFACE THIS is the book of George Macdonald, hand, head and heart. It tells of his life and ac- tivities, first as a farm boy, later as a la- borer in the vineyard of Freethought. For up- wards of fifty years he has been a part of that movement, at once the oldest and the newest, which seeks to make clear the truth that the melioration of man's condition -- progress of any kind, in any degree -- lies in reliance upon his own powers of reason and initiative, and in nowise upon dispensation and authority. George E. Macdonald's own life peculiarly ex- emplifies this. Scarcely anybody ever gave him anything, except an opportunity to work. From his earliest years there has always been some- thing for George to do. How well he has done it shows in the vigorous survival of the paper upon which he has been engaged for half a cen- tury, a period during which journals of opinion have fallen leaf-like in shriveled hosts. The Truth Seeker, like its editor, is hale and hearty. Subscribers stoutly and repeatedly as- sure the one that the other is "better than ever." This, perhaps, is what accounts for the slight flush always to be found upon his cheeks and which beams forth again as the rays of a genial sun. The humor of The Truth Seeker is pro- verbial and has as much to do with its popularity as its more solid qualities. The chapters which follow appeared serially in The Truth Seeker during 1928 and 1929. The iv PREFACE paper's files for fifty years back record the his- tory of Freethought in detail, a moving pageant in which its three editors take active and promi- nent parts. The present editor's life is so inex- tricably bound up with this journal's history as not to be separated from it without damage to the account. This circumstance only has moved him to include in the story of The Truth Seeker somewhat of him hitherto known as "We." This work is intended to afford a reliable survey of the Rationalist movement in the United States for fifty years onward from 1875. That was the author's chief purpose in under- taking it. Its production has occupied all of the editor's spare time for nearly two years. For foundation he applied himself to the rereading of the fifty-five bound volumes of The Truth Seeker, light calisthenics for a man in his eighth decade. An equally valuable repository has been his mortmain memory, unassisted by diary or notes. A considerable correspondence, carried on without secretarial aid, was a third source. The subsigned, privileged to be his amanuensis in the preparation of the book, can certify that into it went enthusiasm and application, both unflagging, in equal parts. B.R. PART FIRST THE MINORITY OF ONE **** **** CONTENTS CHAPTER I -- Sullivan, N.H. -- A Soldier's Son -- Quaker and Scriptural Antecedents -- My Mother -- A Recruit for Lincoln ............................... 11 CHAPTER II -- Surry -- Echoes from the Schoolroom -- Girl Invaders -- My Life's One Scandal .............. 27 CHAPTER III -- My Uncle Clem -- Books and Min- `strelsy -- I Go Out to Work -- A Woman of Simple Speech -- Surry South End ........................... 46 CHAPTER IV -- The Traveler's Ghost -- Moving On -- I Am Oppressed -- East Westmoreland -- Pat Advises Me About Churches ................................... 65 CHAPTER V -- The Deacon and I -- Albert Chicker- ing -- Remarks on Bundling -- Brother of the Ox -- My Station Rises ....................................... 83 CHAPTER VI -- The Girl Intrudes -- Rural New Hamp- shire -- The Puritans -- "New Morals for Old" -- Lan- guage -- Christmas Not Observed ..................... 105 CHAPTER VII -- I Take Leave of the Invisibles -- How I Came to New York -- The Truth Seeker and D.M. Bennett ....................................... 131 CHAPTER VIII -- Amongst the Idealists -- An Adven- ture of Which I Am the Mid-Victorian Hero -- Milady Agatha -- Through with Women .............. 150 CHAPTER IX -- Bennett's Wealth of Words --I First Behold Ingersoll -- The Paine Habit Formed -- Grant's Message to Congress ................................. 167 CHATTER X -- Life in The Truth Seeker Office -- Arrest Comes to Mr. Bennett -- Doris -- Through with Women -- Friends .................................... 185 CHAPTER XI -- Guests at 308 Third Avenue -- Hilda -- Catholic and Freethinking Girls -- Anyhow, I Was Through with Women -- The Bennett Prosecutions -- Split in the Liberal League -- Who Was Who in 1878? . 206 CHAPTER XII -- The jailing of D.M. Bennett -- In Albany Penitentiary -- What the Cat Brought In -- "New England and the People Up There" ............... 243 CHAPTER XIII -- Organizing a Political Party -- State Gatherings -- Bennett Liberated -- The Character of A. Comstock ............................................ 264 CHAPTER XIV -- Putnam Coming Forward -- The In- spired Assassin of Garfield -- I Join the Nonpareils. 292 CHAPTER XV -- Religions on Trial with Guiteau -- Ingersoll's Memorial Day Address -- Herndon and Lin- coln -- Bennett Around the World and Home -- Death and a Monument ...................................... 306 CHAPTER XVI -- I Am Assistant Editor -- Man with the Badgepin -- Monsignor Capel -- The Truth Seeker Company ............................................. 332 CHAPTER XVII -- Life in Third Avenue -- Spiritual- ists as Secularists -- Chainey Converted -- Blaine and Burchard ............................................ 352 CHAPTER XVIII -- Giordano Bruno -- Feminists -- Amrita Lal Roy -- The Dynamiters -- Death Among the Veterans -- I Interview Ingersoll -- The Haymarket Bomb -- Henry George's Canvass ...................... 371 CHAPTER XIX -- Economic and Labor Situation -- Dr. McGlynn -- Liberal, Mo. -- The Lucifer Match -- Death of S.P. Andrews ..................................... 393 CHAPTER XX -- Lecturers in the Field -- Chicago An- archists Hanged -- Reynolds Blasphemy Trial -- Mrs. Slenker's Arrest -- A "Globe" Story ................. 415 CHAPTER XXI -- San Francisco -- A Historic Printing Office -- Getting Married -- Death of Courtland Pal- mer -- A Temblor ................................... 435 CHAPTER XXII -- San Francisco Continued -- Organi- zation and Lectures -- Advent of Bellamy -- Topolo- bampo -- Death of Horace Seaver ..................... 470 CHAPTER XXIII -- Local Meetings -- Observations on the State -- Henry Replogle -- A Lick Incident -- The Chinese Press -- Prophecies of Disaster -- An Infant Son ................................................. 496 CHAPTER XXIV -- Putnam in Sacramento -- Jaums Barry of The Star -- Deaths: Bradlaugh, James Par- ton, J.R. Monroe -- Freethought Suspends ............ 524 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT CHAPTER I. 1 -- I APPEAR. WITH the consent of the reader, my story shall begin where and when I did, which was in Gardiner, Maine, April 11, 1857. It was the year they discovered the Neanderthal @@@@ (line drawing, baby and Neanderthal) (caption) CONTEMPORARIES man. My father, (Patrick) Henry Macdonald (b. Oct. 14, 1825), was known to all his acquaintances and to the check-list as Henry, since early in life he had dropped the Patrick -- though remembering 11 12 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT "Give me liberty or give me death" -- as calculated to furnish a wrong clue to his ancestry, which was Scotch, and to his religion, which was not Catho- lic. As to personality, his comrades in war and other scrapes told me that although not a big man, he was "able"; that, in fact, few men of his inches, unless "scienced," had any business to stand before him. Through this heredity, I early became seized of a deep respect for ability and science. A mechanic and millwright was Henry, and when I first learned to recognize him he was running a sawmill for Lanmon Nims on a small stream in East Sullivan, N.H., where he had lately come, with his wife and two boys, from Maine. Sullivan is among the least of towns, difficult to find or to recognize as a town when discovered; but she has a mighty history -- on paper. One of her sons, the Rev. Josiah Lafayette Seward, D.D., wrote that history in two weighty volumes compris- ing 1619 octave pages, capacious enough to con- tain a fair history of the civilized world ancient and modern. Everybody who lived in Sullivan from 1777 to 1917 is named in those tomes. My father, a resident of Sullivan at the breaking out of the Civil War, enlisting in Company E. 6th regiment, the New Hampshire volunteers, moved to Keene, the county seat, for convenience to the fair grounds where the troops were drilled. He went to the front in December, 1861, and fell in the second battle of Bull Run the following August. I possess as relics of him a leather wallet with a strap that goes all the way around it, and through loops; a letter (un- dated) in a fair round hand, sent from the front to FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 13 my brother, in which "we" is consistently spelled with two e's; and a glazed earthenware container of liquids made in the shape of a book but with a mouth and stopper (for the bottle was contraband in Maine as early as 1850). I have put a book label on it and marked it a best seller. (In his spelling of "wee" he merely may have been old-fashioned. His fathers spelled it that way before him.) I know little else about my father, except that his mother's name was Rebecca. My brother once met that old lady, whom I suppose to have been Scotch, and re- ported her speech to be so different from any he had ever heard that he could hardly understand her. He called the peculiarity of accent a "brogue"; it was probably a "burr." The name Macdonald was pronounced in our family as though the first syl- lable were spelled muck and the second one dough. The war records have it that Henry was a native of Palermo, Me., and that his father is unknown. 2 -- A SOLDIER'S LETTER. In 1887, when I took a vacation in New Hamp- shire, my cousin's wife, Addie Chickering Clement, handed me a letter, found among his father's papers, which she thought I should have if it interested me. Thus the writing ran: "An account of the death of Henry Macdonald, who enlisted in Company E, 6th Regiment, New Hampshire Volunteers, and fell at the second Battle of Bull Run (Vir- ginia), August the 28th, 1862, in the War of the Great Rebellion. He was 36 years of age, having been born October the 14th, 1825. "By a Comrade. "FRIEND CLEMENT: You have probably heard various 14 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT accounts of our battle in the woods, where we suffered so severely; so I will attempt no description except of Mac donald's death. I was by his side; or, rather, we were facing each other, he with his left side to the enemy. We had fired, and were loading. We had reserved our fire somewhat, trying to see a good mark to sight. He fired first. After firing I stepped back close to him, He said, 'Did you see him?' I answered, 'Yes.' Said he, 'So did I.' The words were scarcely spoken, when Almon Nut- ting, who was forward, was struck on the head by a ball, inflicting a serious wound. At the same instant Mac- donald was hit just forward of the top of the ear, the ball passing squarely through the head, and coming out on the other side at the spot opposite. He fell on his back, his eyes set. He did not speak or recognize me. The wound bled very fast. He suffered none, and passed away feel- ing not the pains of death, nor its fears. He was as cool, and spoke as calmly, as though we had been shooting squirrels. I think it was the ball which wounded Nutting that killed him, as both were struck at the same moment. "After speaking to Nutting, I was obliged to leave, the regiment having moved forward and left us behind. I had no time to save Macdonald's money, or the clothing upon him. Indeed, the chance of my coming out myself was so small I did not think to do it. When we re- turned, it was by a different route, and on the double- quick, so he fell into the hands of the enemy, who were careful to carry away everything except the clothes. The shoes they took, if good. He was probably buried by our men, who went back for that purpose with a flag of truce. There will be no means of identifying the spot. His knap- sack, with contents, was left behind. H. TOWNE." The letter, which bore no date, appears to have been written soon after the "battle in the woods" (second Bull Run), August 28-29, 1862. The writer was Hosea Towne, afterwards appointed postmaster at Marlow, N.H. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 15 This my father's picture is drawn from a painting @@@@ executed about 1880 by (a line drawing Madam Gherardi, sister of of a Civil War the admiral of that name. soldier along It was done out of her af- the full length fection for soldiers. For side of this page) "Copy" Madam Gherardi had an 1861 tintype, now lost; and tintypes are like a reflection in a mirror, an offset, which faces the sub- ject the other way. That is why this soldier is shown in an improper position for one standing at parade-rest, with his right hand next the muzzle of his piece and the right foot advanced. He was of that whisk- ered generation raised up before the Civil War and enduring so long after its close that we discover facial foliage on the earlier pro- fessional baseball players. Gradual modification by way of chin shaving, leav- ing only side-whiskers and moustache, produced the clean-shaven soldier of the World war. 16 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 3 -- "THE UNRETURNING BRAVE." Sullivan's memorial to her "unreturning brave," as described in a pamphlet "printed at the New Hamp- shire Sentinel Job Office, 1867," is "of the best Ital- ian marble, and is very beautiful in design and @@@@ finish. It stands near the (a line drawing meeting-house, on a spot of the monument fitted up with much labor is along the full and expense. The mound length of this side on which it stands is ele- of the page) vated eight feet above the level of the common, and the monument rises fifteen feet above the mound. The base is a three and a half feet square." The name of Henry Mac- donald, spelled McDonald, is at the top of the list on the front of the shaft. He may, then, have been the first of the unreturning brave of the Civil War whose name was thus pre- served on a town monu- ment. The history of Sullivan in the Chesire County Ga- zetteer, 1736-1885, says of FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 17 its soldiers who died: "All were honest, respectable, industrious, and reliable young men. There was no exception to this statement." Father lived only half the span the Bible allots to man, while I have been living on borrowed time ever since I began this history of the True Macdonald. But he missed the worse half, for one accumulates his pleasant memories in his first thirty-six years and regrets them in the next three or four decades. When an old man is heard talking to himself, he is muttering maledictions on remembered follies which be com- mitted before he was thirty-six. An enfeebled mem- ory allows him to forget the later ones. The people of the town of Sullivan were uncom- monly worked up over the war. They hanged in effigy a local "Copperhead," a poisonous sympathizer with the South and the institution of slavery: my mother writing his sentence, found pinned to the figure, judicially imposing the extreme penalty. The residents of this hamlet are said to have preceded all others in moving to erect a soldiers' monument. 4 -- HURRAH, AND GOODBY. The Sixth New Hampshire regiment entrained for the front at Keene, December 25, 1861. I was at the depot to see the men file aboard and the train go out. In his blue overcoat with a cape to it, father looked the ideal soldier. Twenty-eight years had passed when I contributed the following to Memorial Day verse: I see them bringing their flowers today To the spot where the heroes sleep, 18 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT And I think of an unmarked soldier's grave Where Virginia's breezes sweep. And I wonder if someone plucks a flower By the rivulet of Bull Run, And lays it above the dust of him Who made me a soldier's son. The days that are gone I live once more As I close my eyes and think, And the chain of memory stretches back And I follow it link by link. And spanning eight and a score of years I return to a Christmas day When the streets are filled with marching men, And the air with their banners gay. But I have sight that sees but one, A man with a bearded face And a kindly eye and a stalwart tread, Who walks in a forward place. I watch the train move out of town, With its smoke and its clanging bell, And the smoke takes form of clouds of war, And the clang is a funeral knell. He wore the blue as a soldier should, Was tender and true and brave: He gave his life for a nation's life, And his pay was a soldier's grave. A random shot, and above his corpse Sweeps forward the battle's tide; And when the stars shine out that night They bury him where he died. So I watch them strewing their flowers today On the spot where the heroes sleep, And I think of an unmarked soldier's grave Where Virginia's willows weep. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 19 And I wonder if someone plucks a flower By the rivulet of Bull Run, And drops it above the dust of him Who made me a soldier's son. The verses have been heard in Sons of Veterans camps. When they had been written twenty years, I discovered that Capt. George Clymer of Glen Ridge, N.J., Grand Army Instructor in Patriotism, recited them to pupils in the public schools that he visited. 5 -- QUAKER AND SCRIPTURAL ANTECEDENTS. My mother was born in Unity, Maine, in June, 1830, the daughter of Esther Chase and Stephen Hussey, who named her Asenath. There were enough biblical names in my ancestry -- Rebecca, Esther, Asenath, and Stephen -- to produce a prophet. The Chases were Quakers. I was but five years old when, being taken down to Maine by my mother on a visit to her relatives in Unity, I attended a Quaker meeting and spent a week in the family of her Quaker cousin, Uncle John Chase. This short period was so dreary that I have been under the depression of it ever since. There is a certain risk in publishing the fact that one is a Chase by ancestry. Somebody is sure to offer you a book for a dollar containing your genealogy. The Macdonald family can be traced, through Scott's Tales of a Grandfather, to a gang of Highland cattle-thieves, who were all but ex- terminated by outraged neighbors whom they had 20 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT plundered. In that direction "mine ancient but ignoble blood hath run through scoundrels since the flood," but the Chases are all respectable, being elders or ministers or Quakers. The Husseys I suspect of being Puritans. Three brothers of them, from England, came to New England among the early arrivals. They were Stephen, Batchelder, and Sylvanus. Each of them made a practice of naming his sons after their uncles, and the three names came down to the last generation. I had an uncle Batchelder, and an uncle Sylvanus, a cousin Syl- vanus, and a cousin Stephen. Passing through the town of Houlton, Maine, forty years ago, I saw the name of Hussey everywhere -- on the signboards of doctors, lawyers, merchants, and -- I did not ex- amine the police record for the other class. My parents bestowed upon me the name of George Everett Hussey -- George for Washington, Everett for Edward Everett, and Hussey as a matter of course. I dropped the third one out at an early age, but the Testament I won by learning many verses of the seventh of Matthew has on its fly-leaf this inscription: "Presented to George E.H. Mac- donald by his Sabbath School Teacher, Keene, N. H., Jan. 21st, 1863." George E.H. sounds plebeian alongside my brother's name, which was Eugene Montague. I lower a hook into the well of memory to catch that teacher's name. It brings up "Miss Dunbar." If there is an old resident of Keene who ever went to Sunday school he may be able to cor- rect or confirm my guess. Yet more likely that old-timer, when found, will say there used to be a man named Dunbar that owned a horse he thought FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 21 could trot. And drove him onto the track at the fair grounds hitched to a sulky, and got run into and dished a wheel. Deaf man, he was; couldn't hear a dam' sound. His daughter maybe. 6 -- THE SMART ONE OF THE FAMILY. Asenath, my mother, coming at about the middle of ten or eleven children, was the only one of them who ever entertained "views." At thirteen she was teaching a school that had an algebra class in it, and on her way to her daily task waded through deep snow minus leg-garments worn by girls of a later day but now discarded largely, I perceive, as individual entities. She afterwards left home to learn a trade, that of stitching men's coats. The death of Henry, after their few years of married life, found her working in a peg-shop, making pegs for shoes, in Keene, N.H., and supporting two boys, 7 and 5 years of age. Our family doctor was named Twichell. On an occasion when an elderly woman patient (say Mrs. Carter) wanted a nurse, Dr. Twichell recommended mother. She proved so competent that the doctor advised her to prepare herself for nursing as a profession. There was then an advanced medical practitioner and reformer, named Dio Lewis, conducting a training school for nurses in Massachusetts, to whom she was recom- mended. Dio Lewis dressed his pupils in "gym" clothes and gave them physical training; and I re- member that when my mother, home on a vacation, told my aunt, with whom we were living, about this innovation in women's dress, my aunt replied that 22 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT the less said about it the better, especially in the presence of her daughter Ella, who was but 15 and wore skirts down to her instep. I have no likeness of mother. The last time I was in New Hampshire I asked this niece, Mrs. Ella Clement Priest, if there was any picture of her in the family. She replied: "No; I don't believe Aunt 'Sene ever kept still long enough to have one taken." As a trained nurse, and one of the first of that profession, Asenath commanded a wage larger than local patients would pay. She therefore looked abroad. She became nurse and companion to Mrs. Bierstadt, wife of the artist whose great picture of the Rocky Mountains won fame in those days. I received letters from her afterwards written on the stationery of the yacht Resolute, belonging to Banker Hatch, with a summer home at Navesink. Mrs. Hatch was her patient. Because I heard few other names, and little of anything else at that period, I am able to remember those of her em- ployers, Minturn, Wingate, and so on. Her pay was good and employment steady, so that with her widow's pension, and something extra on account of children, the problem of maintenance for her boys was solved. She also contributed to the sup- port of her sister's family and helped them buy the farm. As one of the earliest trained and profes- sional nurses, she was in at the close of the era when persons in moderate circumstances could be sick within their means. On my return to Keene, late in 1864, from a FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 23 stay with an uncle in Maine, who, having no boy of his own, proposed to adopt me and take me with him into the Aroostook (to which mother would not consent), we lived with this same sister's family a mile out of the town of Keene, on Marlborough street. Here I first began to understand what I heard my elders read from the newspapers. We took The Banner of Light, a Spiritualist paper that by a coincidence began publication in Boston on the day I was born, its first number being dated April 11, 1857. I have long survived my journal- istic twin. Mother and aunt read it aloud by turns, and I lay in bed and heard them. In spite of Spir- itualism in the family, the children went to the Uni- tarian Sunday school in Keene. The minister of this church, on the east side of Main street, was known as Priest White. The orthodox church stood at the head of the square. They called its minister Parson Barstow. 7 -- A RECRUIT FOR LINCOLN. Among the things the child of 5 or 6 does not comprehend is the fact of death. Accustomed to the absence of my father from the house during his ten hours a day as a mechanic, I had learned not to miss his presence. I now supposed he was just away. The tale of his death meant nothing to me, although I had seen my mother's burst of weeping, her head falling on her crossed aims at the bench where she worked in the peg-shop, when I accompanied the bearer to her of the news that father had fallen in battle. So, persuaded that he must be somewhere, 24 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT and that people were mistaken in saying I should not see him again, day after day I watched the road, which I could command for some distance each way, and all the men who passed underwent inspec- tion. This house on Marlborough street, where we lived with my mother's sister Louisa, who had mar- ried Benjamin Franklin Clement of Montville, Maine, was later made over and occupied by Frank Cole, son of a neighbor -- a baby when we moved away. We were there in the fall of 1864, and in the Lincoln canvass of that year I fought the Irish, who were trying to make the world safe for democ- racy by campaigning for McClellan. Surely they were time of terror for a non-pugnacious Lincoln boy. In those precincts he met the Irish boys in small gangs and was interrogated: "Be you an Irish feller?" "Be you for McClellan?" No. The fight opened with aggressions on the part of the gang. One with a snub nose not readily caused to bleed, and with an underpinning patterned after the fore- legs of an ox, for such was I, endured long with- out being put out or overthrown; and he was fired with a mighty cause. The reelection of Lincoln caused a general belief to pass from parents to children that the country was saved. Months later, when the news of his assassination reached my aunt, I saw the color leave her face. She gasped "What will become of us?" as though we had been passengers on a ship with a mutinous element in the crew, the captain overboard, and no one left who understood navigation. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 25 8 -- BACK TO THE LAND. While we were in the Marlborough street house my uncle Clement came back from the war. Thence in the fall of 1865 we moved to a farm in Surry, which I was to think of when homesick for the next ensuing ten years. And those ten years are @@@@ (a line drawing of a house and yard) crowded with so many distinct memories they seem to cover the principal part of my life. The days were interminably long. Our family must have been classed as poor, though we never were needy, and together the breadwinners had purchased an equity in the house that they now traded for the farm. The war had made living expensive -- butter fifty cents a pound, flour ten dollars a barrel. Women wore "print," or calico, and men wore shoddy. I heard my aunt murmur: 26 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT "Butter and cheese is fifty cents a pound, An' everything else is accordin', Before next spring we'll all be on the town Or landed on the other side of Jordan." We came upon the farm late in the fall. There was no fruit to pick, and butter was short because of one farrow cow. Pork and potatoes, pork and beans, and pork fat for the enrichment of salt cod- fish mixed with potato; pork fat on slices of brown- bread, pork fat and Porto Rico molasses (with slivers of cane in it) on hot biscuits -- that was the diet on which I throve. Without butter, a condi- tion my aunt took pains to conceal, we could carry no bread for our school luncheons, lest its unbut- tered state should provoke comment. My aunt there- fore, made great sheets of gingerbread wherefrom she filled our dinner pails. Sometimes it froze on the two-and-a-half-mile carry and thawing in the warm school room turned glutinous when masticated, dropping into the stomach "kerlunker," as we said. The next season, with apples to stew and dry, ber- ries to can and a cow come in, brought better fare. Hardship is like romance -- always in the past. While being undergone it is unrecognized. Life was hap- py despite zero weather, drifts half-way to the roof, clothes that let in the snow to melt against the flesh and a ration not scientifically balanced. CHAPTER II. 1 -- SO THIS IS SURRY. SURRY (pop. 350) lies a little west of the geographical center of Chesire county, toward the southwest corner of the state. Over the southern boundary of the county you are in Massa- chusetts; over the western line, which is the Connecticut river, you are in Vermont. According to the way you view Surry, with its twenty square miles of territory, it is a valley town or a hill town, or both. It has hills east and west. The hills at one time met near the north end; but the Ashuelot river broke through and ran south along the foot of Surry mountain, on the east, which is fifteen hundred feet high and steep. That mountain guards the eastern side of the town. On the top of it there is a mys- terious pond, said to be fathomless, but white lilies float on its surface near the margin defended by tangled tree trunks, and can be gathered by swim- ming for them in the dark waters. The Ashuelot in its meanderings from immemo- rial time has created a valley half a mile wide, with a plateau for the village of a dozen houses, town hall, school, and church to be built upon. To the west the ground continues to rise until it reaches the summit of Surry Hill and the borders of the adjoin- 27 28 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT ing towns on that side. Surry once belonged to the towns lying east and west of it, but being inac- cessible from those directions on account of the height of land, it was allowed to take a name and "go it alone," as they say there. The smooth way to get into Surry is from the south, where the river has leveled the country and there are fewer ups and downs. The farm I called my home (1865-'75) lies two miles and a half southwest of the village, and is reached from there by a road which rises all the way. By a happy freak of nature, the ground the road runs on for half a mile in one direction from the house and a mile in the other, is level, but there is a half-mile hill at each end of this, the only level stretch on that so-called Old Walpole Road for eight miles. The arable acres of the farm, that have been cultivated for the past one hundred and twenty-five years, cover a long knoll, with the buildings at the south and sunny end. Men born and reared in Surry return when aged and prosper- ous and make show-places of the old homesteads, One could find no location there so well situated for the purpose as this one, which has even a spring and a pond on it. The hill back of the house rises by an abrupt acclivity to near a level with the top of Surry mountain, and looks it in the face two miles away. At the very peak of the hill there crops out a ledge, and on that ledge the last glacier to come through left standing, balanced on its smaller end, a rock fifteen feet high, of a formation not native to those parts. As a bare-footed boy I often climbed FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 29 it by inserting my toes into its fissures and crevices, and once at the top could see all the country from there to Mount Monadnock, fifteen miles south, in- cluding the city of Keene. I spent hours on that @@@@ (line drawing of a scenic view with the big rock in the fore- ground and a boy sitting atop it) (caption) VIEWING THE LANDSCAPE O'ER rock, viewing the landscape, while the address of William Tell to his native mountains ran in my mind. The last time I stood at the base of the big boulder, its summit appeared inaccessible except by means of an elevator; and I had then forgotten what William Tell said. How plainly voices from the road below carried up the side of that hill, especially the bell-like ac- cents of our not-distant neighbor, Mr. Reed, who sometimes drove by. One standing on its brow heard a woman in her doorway inquire after the health of Mr. Reed's family, and his reply: "Wal, not so very good. You see my boy Charlie stepped 30 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT on a scythe and cut his heel; my boy George is suf- fering from a boil on his hindermost sitdown; my wife has just had a baby; and I have been troubled with b-a-a-d Di-Or-Re-Or." My selection is not happy, but it is authentic; and this is a true book. Perhaps once a year, in the fall, a drover going south to Boston went through that road with a hundred head of cattle, gathered from all the way north to the Canadian line, or beyond -- a boy and a dog, footing it and a man riding in a buggy. When night overtook him, the drover paid for the privi- lege of turning his cattle into fields where there was fall feed. He furnished a topic of conversation for a week. Another notable to go by there once was Max Shinburn, the bank robber, on his way to commit a robbery in Walpole. Other days, hardly a team would pass. A team was any rig, single or double. Such as went that way were from further up the road, going to Keene. These were such reg- ular passersby that they were known before they came in sight by the familiar rhythm of the horses's feet beating on the ground, or by the peculiar rat- tle of the wagon or the "chuck" of the wheels on the axle. The horse could be recognized though a stran- ger might be driving it. In Keene, where we had lived, the street traffic, of considerable volume, was negligible as a spectacle; here, one left his work, if need be, so as not to miss anything moving past, man or animal. In Keene we ran only to "see the cars go by." Here we might catch the sound of a freight engine a mile or two off puffing on the up- grade to the Summit, but we saw no trains. The FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 31 sound of an axe falling on a tree would carry half a mile, and the chopper might have struck the next blow and the next before it got to us. If the man was working in sight, it seemed as if the axe made the noise when it was above his head. The silence, when you stopped to listen to it, was as distinctly audible as the roar of a city. The hill capped by the big rock was the cow pasture, covering eighty acres, with twenty of them wooded. The best feed for the cows grew farthest from the barn and around a water hole. That was a terrible land for me, when I got there after sun- down to drive the cows home; for, looking about me, I could see all of creation except the cows. Sheep would be plentiful, if you were not hunting for them, and the colts were either there or visible at a distance. The kine might have started for the barn by another route than the one I had taken in reaching the spot. If so, I must follow them down an old sled-road through the woods, where, pausing anon to hark for that cow bell, I should hear my- self discussed by the birds and insects that become garrulous and conversational as the shadows fall; or I might meet a questing hedgehog on his way to the cornfield for his grub. I might even, so my fears told me, encounter the bobcat or the bear lately reported in that neighborhood. A tree-toad would start his evensong almost at my ear. Perhaps I should scare up a partridge whose sudden whirr would for a second or two paralyze me with fright. The partridge's flight is always unexpected. He seems to start from between your feet, and he is 32 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT the bird that set the airplane an example in making a noise when taking off. But in the open the boy who stood still, listening for the bell, heard nothing but his own vital organs working, his heart thump- ing like a hydraulic pump, his ears "singing." He was a small speck in a big universe. This "chore" of combing eighty acres to find a few cows was all in the day's work. A girl might say she was afraid to go after the cows at night, but a boy wouldn't. A quarter of a century later than this experience of mine, I heard an elderly lady from Providence, R.I., ask a small boy, her "grand"- nephew, if he would not like to live with her in the city. He objected long, but finally came to terms. "I might go and live with you for a while," he said, "but I wouldn't go after the cows, by Jesus." Yet @@@@ (a line drawing of a boy with a saw and endless stacks of wood to be sawed) (caption) THERE WAS ALWAYS WOOD TO SAW hunting cows at night was only one pest of farm life. Weeds had to be pulled in summer days and FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 33 the wood-saw pushed in winter. It seemed to me that all the disagreeable duties fell to the youngest. 2 -- WHILE SCHOOL KEPT IT WAS VACATION. Schooldays came as a furlough. The cartoonists who comically portray the reluctance of the small boy at going back to school were never farmers' boys in my circumstances, nor was Shakespeare one either. I knew of at least one who took an early start and then crept not like a snail but ran. He did what looked most like creeping on the home stretch. To me the eight to sixteen weeks of school in the course of a year meant ease and playtime. They were my vacation. As regards my education, which was fragmentary, a dozen district schools contributed to it. To the first of these, in East Sullivan, I was conducted by Amanda Dunn -- later my aunt by marriage but then only a big girl -- with my mother's consent, not mine. As I was in my fourth year, I might have forgot- ten about that school by now, except that I took recess with a parcel of fresh girls, who, moved only by what I regarded as an unworthy curiosity, gath- ered about me at a time when all a man wanted was to be let alone. Followed Public School No. 2 in Keene, where I nearly got my head knocked off by the crank of a chain pump that reversed itself. I know no more than this about that school, for I was only 4, save that there I made the acquaintance of Ed. Kimball (he had a share of the stock when The Truth Seeker Company was organized) and Charlie and Jennie Sanger, who as residents of Boston turned out a dozen years later to he the grand- 34 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT children of Edmund Woodward of Surry, the farm- er that had me then for "hired man." Ed. Kimball's father Horatio served as mayor of Keene for a number of terms. Another Keene school, perhaps No. 1, for the street it stood on was named School Street, claimed me for a pupil. There the scholars sang Civil War songs when they were the latest successes. Then, at 5, I went to school in Unity, Maine, again attended by a large girl, one Amelia Webb. The teacher caused me to answer her with scorn by asking if I knew my, letters, whereas I could read. The Marlborough street school in Keene enrolled me the next year. The teacher, Miss Willard, had the odd front name of Bial. By the time I was out of school at 8 I knew Colburn's Mental Arithmetic, including the penultimate ex- ample about the farmer who, if he had as many geese and half as many more and two geese and a half, would have had a hundred. My schooling was continued at the Four Corners, half way between Keene and Surry Hill. My brother and cousin Stephen with me made the three-mile descent from the hill in the morning and climbed that grade again at night. I first noticed, then, the reading of the Bible in school. A large boy, hav- ing searched the scriptures, wrote biblical references on slips of paper and passed them to the girls. The countenance of a high-spirited girl, Sarah Darling by name, blazed with indignation when he lured her into looking up Romans iv, 19. I knew the Bible was inspired, because so informed by Sunday school teachers; yet at that I wondered why an inspired FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 35 work should contain so large an excess of suspended mud; for this industrious youth had been obliging enough to mark the low spots in most of the Bibles used in that school. Straight east from our Surry Hill house, across a mile and a half of rugged pasture land and wood- ed territory, the South End school invited. For a winter's term the three of us took it in, breaking our own path and wading depths of snow. Again, a mile off to the northwest of our home stood the Surry Hill schoolhouse, in a district once fairly populous. It opened for me during one term, the scholars numbering four. At this school we first had geog- raphies that contained pictures of prehistoric men and monsters, and possibly an outline of evolution. When snow made the schoolhouse inaccessible we stayed home, the teacher being a boarder, and held the school in our "other room," which suited us and was convenient for the neighbors' children. Now the schoolhouse has come down from the hill and set itself alongside the farmhouse. Two of these schools, namely the South End and Surry Village, were exceptional: I attended each more than one term. Going to whatever locality the farmer might happen to be in who wanted a boy, I in these in- stances returned to a district where I had been be- fore. There are four more to be named. From the first place where I lived as hired boy I attended the Walpole Hill school, and also the school in Christian Holler (Walpole). When I changed again to a school new to me, I found myself in the Lon- don district, East Westmoreland. My scholastic 36 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT training ended in Westmoreland village. Such learning as these dozen schools diffused, afforded me all I have ever needed of mathematics, made me a successful contender at spelling-schools, and grounded me safely in grammar. Even though at 18 I could have had a good-sized school to teach if I would take it, my ignorance on general subjects was profound. Knowledge has its limits, but igno- rance is measureless. Mine was total except for the look-in I had on a few subjects. It was all look-in; I had no outlook. 3 -- ECHOES FROM THE SCHOOL ROOM. The one-room district schools had advantages missed by separated pupils in graded schools. In them the attentive scholar could learn his own les- sons and the lessons of all the classes ahead of him by hearing them recite. Thus listening in, I learned the contents of books I had never possessed or opened. There was a large variety in these, for textbooks changed as often as I went from one district to another. A worn copy of the Weld & Quackenbos grammar book to which I clung in all my shifting about, would sometimes put me in a grammar class by myself. My mind not being chargeable with resistance to the intrusion of knowledge, I was apt at commit- ting words and recitations to memory. My con- temporaries will remember the appended fragments from readings and declarations. I heard them in the voices of large scholars when I was a small one: "Sir Ralph the Rover tore his hair, And cursed himself in his despair; FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 37 But the waves rush in on every side And the vessel sinks beneath the tide." "A verb used to denote an action or feeling by a subject or agent that passes over from the subject or agent to and terminates upon some person or thing as its object is a transitive verb." "And heralds shouted in his ear, 'Bow down, ye slave, bow down."' "'Make way for liberty!' he cried; Made way for liberty and died." "I will go to my tent and lie down in despair; I will paint me in black and sever my hair. I will sit on the shore when the hurricane blows, And reveal to the god of the tempest my woes." "Lords of creation indeed, and can't even take care of an umbrella. ..." "Pizzaro -- How now, Gomez, what bringest thou? "Gomez -- In yonder camp we have surprised an old Peruvian. Escape us by flight he could not, and we took him without resistance." "Not many years ago where you now stand, surrounded by all that exalts and embellishes civilized life, the rank thistle nodded in the wind, and the wild fox dug his hole unscared. ... Here too lived and loved another race of beings. ... dipped his paddle in yon sedgy lake .... beneath the same moon that smiles for you the Indian lover wooed his dusky mate." "The mounds of the western prairies are among the most interesting features of the country. They are so regular in form that they are generally supposed to have been work of human hands, but by whom they were reared or for what purpose is unknown." "The voyagers said we will wait until the line gales have done with their equinoctial fury. ... Death was the pilot that stood at the helm, but no one knew it. ... the ill-omened Vesta dealt her death stroke to the Arctic." 38 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT I am obliged to suspend. My notes made with a view to citing these and other quotations num- ber forty-one, and I desist. Having deleted thirty- odd reechoing ones, I retain the last of the ten re- maining because it started me on a line of inquiry that took me into skepticism. The excerpt, with errors and omissions, is from a sermon by Henry Ward Beecher on the Loss of the Arctic; but what was "equinoctial fury"? My aunt said that when the sun crosses the equator a storm is kicked up called the line gale, or the "equinoctial." If I would notice, there was always a storm when the sun crossed the line. Why? Because it makes the days and the nights of the same length, March 21 and September 23. I heard mention of the line gale all the days of my youth, but the gale never arrived on schedule time. Any storm within a fort- night answered for the name. The Weather Bureau has exploded the myth of the "equinoctial." The remains may be laid away with the ground hog and St. Swithin as weather breeders. Now, then, I believe I left myself some pages back, hunting cows on the summit of Surry Hill, with all creation (except the cows) in view just beyond the horizon. That landscape, the town of Surry, its village and its farms, lies spread before me still like a map, or better than any map, since I can see them all, every square acre of them, al- most, without looking. The old-growth pines that then were landmarks, a hundred feet high or more, went to the sawmill long ago, but they are still in this picture of mine that was never photographed. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 39 4 -- SCANDALOUS DOINGS And Surry village! I never can forget that hamlet, for was it not the scene of the only scandal that has enriched my life? That scandal came early. I was no more than ten years old; and probably was but nine. From the farm on the Hill I went @@@@ (line drawing of a small building that was his school) (caption) THE SURRY VILLAGE SCHOOL HOUSE This is a late and defective picture. It does not show Sam Pool's blacksmith shop that stood at right. to the school house in the village, near the river and mountain, by walking the two and a half miles of lonesome road that lay between, with only one house on it. The school "kept" in summer for children too small to do farm work. That is how I know I was under eleven. I guess that the teacher that summer was Charlotte Ellis -- destined years later to become the wife of J.R. Holman of Hins- dale, who took The Truth Seeker. Did Mr. Holman indulge in any spacious remarks on the editorial 40 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT knowledge displayed in this paper, Charlotte could reply: "Your editor! I taught that boy all he knows."* Not more than twenty scholars came, mostly girls. Inside the schoolhouse the sexes were divided; outside they mingled and played the same games. In our young minds I doubt the dis- tinctions between us were recognized as sexual. Girls were only an inferior variety of boy, wearing different clothes and longer hair; they could run fast, but couldn't throw a stone, and were spiteful in a scuffle. Yet for all these serious disabilities, they were tolerated and admitted to games they could play, squat-tag and "high-spy" and maybe others. And then one day the boys deserted them -- disappeared without trace. To one of these bright lads it had occurred that we could dam the little brook in the hollow back of the schoolhouse and make a place to go in swimming. The erecting of the dam with small stones and pieces of sod con- sumed more than one noon hour. The second day saw the feat of engineering accomplished; on the third the swimming began; we stripped and went in. The expanse of water was all of ten feet long and nearly that wide; maximum depth 20 inches. One could swim three or four strokes before grounding. And how about the girls we left behind us? On the fourth day, when playing by themselves had lost its edge, a half dozen of *The thought is not original with me but adapted. When an old sailor under whom as a boy Morgan Robertson served an apprenticeship on the Great Lakes heard of him as an author, he exclaimed: "That feller writin' books' Hell, I learnt Morg 'Robertson all he ever know." FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 41 them followed us to the pond, the size and depth of which quite astonished them. The squeals they emitted, expressive of admiration, gratified our pride as builders, but when they took for granted their right to enter the water, they were sternly for- @@@@ (line drawing of a warer-hole with four nude little boys in the foreground, and a nude little girl emerging from the bushes to join the boys and swim in their better warer-hole) (caption) THE FEMALE PERIL. bidden and ordered to find a wading-place further upstream. They retreated to where the alders, meeting over the brook at the head of our pond, hid them from our view. They were noisy crea- tures, with their screaming and laughing, but what they found to excite them we were not interested to inquire. We learned soon enough anyhow. The water from our dam backed up beyond the alders and spread there into a fine place to wade. And that was not quite all they had to exclaim and giggle over, for they were taking off their dresses and leaving them ashore to keep the skirts dry. 42 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT One of them came into view promenading the bank with no dress on. She thereby rose in the estima- tion of a boy, for when a girl stepped out of her skirt in those days she revealed a garment that had the promise and possibilities of pants. I only record the feeling of gratification experienced at seeing this near approach of a girl to the human form. She was all right. So were the rest of them, who could now wade and wet no clothes. Yet those girls were not contented to let well enough alone. When we came out to dress we observed that they had progressed to complete immersion and were resuming underthings, as after a swim. They had kept quiet about it. The boys felt it was none of their business and said nothing. The girls, when picking up their clothes, politely faced the spectator. If they must turn the back they modestly covered the lower part with a garment. The idyllic scenes were repeated with no interference or trespass on either side until a later day, when consternation fell upon us to see the alders parted and one girl and then another come gliding down the brook between them. They moved forward with arms extended and feet far apart to keep their balance. The boys who saw stood paralyzed by the spectacle -- the cheek of those girls wanting to use the boys' pond when they had one of their own! The brother of the leading girl angrily ordered her back. She shamelessly stood her ground and said, "I won't." He swung back his hand, threatening. "Out of this or I'll splash you," and he struck the surface of the water, throwing a "wave" in her face. He FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 43 was joined by others, who went to it desperately, splashing and scooping water over the invaders -- all of whom most unexpectedly and successfully threw it back. Certain of their forces, unable to come through, had left the stream and deployed around the alders, entering the water behind us and making a rear attack. What was the use? They were too many for us. Our arms were weary. A truce fol- lowed. The bathing became established as mixed. Laughter and the spirit of play and comradeship pre-vailed. A man grown cannot quite get back to the reaction of the small boy toward the small girl. It is part wonder and part his dislike for what he can- not understand. He dismisses the subject from his mind lest his attitude toward her change to one of sympathy, which is girlish. There was among them a little freckle-face with long red curls or ringlets who pulled me by the hand and made me run along the bank and around about to dry. That girl had me gentled. In winter, when the game was playing horse, and the boys were lined up facing the school house for a "stable," and stood there pawing and whickering till the girls put on the reins and drove them away, I always knew whose horsey I was going to be. I heard from, her forty years later, when she sent word that she "remembered." Remembered what? If Freckle Face lives still, her ringlets are either bobbed or gray. She was a year older than I. 5 -- THE SCANDAL BREAKS But the scandal! The boys and girls went to their different dressing-places, and returned to school clothed and in their right minds, Drouth or 44 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT rain or change of temperature put an end in time to the bathing season. When it was all over and forgotten by the children, the scandal exploded among their elders. Girls were heard asking one another with grave faces what their mothers had said to them. I caught a ride part of the way home in the hind end of an open buggy driven by a woman. We were stopped by another woman, who came out of her house with an apron wound about her arms, and they discussed the matter in "blind" language that I understood perfectly. Both tried to look horrified. Each was afraid that the other would think she condoned such goings on, and I believe that both chuckled over it when alone. The woman in the buggy sighed: "Well, I suppose the less said the soonest mended." The woman with her arms in the apron said: "Yes, the more it is stirred the worse it will stink." I thought of the bright little girl, white and clean as a pond-lily, who led her mates between the alders and into the water where the boys were, and decided the mother should not have chosen that malodorous word. Later that village bad a real scandal. A girl of fifteen, who virtuously would have switched her little sister for going in swimming with boys, ex- perienced religion and joined the church. In less than a year something happened. Nobody told me just what, Those things are hidden from babes and revealed unto the wise and prudent; and I was only twelve. The officers of the church took action to expel the girl from the fold and turn her back again to "the world." I happened to hear the judg- FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 45 ment of "the world" on that proceeding. In the village store when I was there on an errand for Aunt Polly Abbott, who had me in her employ that winter, three of the most enlightened men of the town were met. There were William H. Porter, M.D., the village doctor; Holland Stevens, the village Spiritualist; and George K. Harvey, later a state senator. They took up the matter of the girl thrown back upon the world by the church, and in- quired if such things could be. Harvey questioned whether the church might land a damaged member on the world without the world's consent. Dr. Porter proposed that the three there present appoint themselves a committee on behalf of the world to take the affair under consideration. Holland Stev- ens contended ably that when anything lawfully in the possession of the world was taken from it by the unworldly, the world had a clear right to insist that, if returned, the article should be in as good order as before. "For instance," he said, to illustrate, "if I get a piece of goods from Marsh Britton here" (Marshall Britton kept the store), "and keep it awhile and then carry it to him all mussed up, Marsh ain't under any obligation to take it back." George Harvey voted Aye to that, and Dr. Porter said: "Holland, I deputize you, then, as representing this Committee of the World, to wait on these church people and tell them the world declines to receive this girl except with the guarantee that she is in as good condition in all respects as when they took her in, damn 'em." CHAPTER III. 1 -- MY UNCLE CLEM. IN this account of my childhood I have said that when mother was widowed and her two boys orphaned (1862), she placed my brother Eugene and me in the care of her sister, Louisa, Mrs. Benjamin Clement, and went out to service as a nurse. I suspect my uncle, Ben Clement, of distaste for sustained labor. I certainly heard neighbors and others call him shiftless -- judgments that were perhaps unfair, since he shortly drew a pension as a veteran disabled by heart disease con- tracted during the war in the performance of duty at the front. But one member of his regiment, being drunk, declared in my hearing that "Clem" never got to the front and was never in any action of the war. The attacks of heart disease came on as the regiment approached the scene of conflict and Clem fell out of the ranks. So, although he was in the same company, he was not in the fight at Bull Run where my father fell, but was lying under an ambu- lance or other wagon suffering from palpitation of the heart. Army life irked my uncle. He told me Plainly that when they brought to him the news that Henry (my father) had fallen, he repined that he was not in Henry's restful place under the sod 46 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 47 and the dew. I am sure I shared his regrets if it meant my own father's survival in his place. On demobilization he joined the Invalid Corps and spent a term at Gallops Island. By trade my uncle was a carpenter and joiner, also called a mechanic. The tools of a carpenter then required a lumber wagon to move them. They included planes from eight inches to four feet long, a raft of them for smoothing, matching, join- ing, beading, grooving; chisels of all measurements, including one that rode in the bottom of the chest and reached from end to end. The big plane was a long jointer; the chisel a jimmyslick. With the smaller chisels he could mortise a window sash; with the larger ones great beams for the frame of a barn. There were gimlets and bits, augers and pod-augers; files flat, half round and round, and three cornered; a battery of saws running from large dimensions down to keyhole size. He could make window frames, doors and trim, and cut his own beads and moldings. The carpenter might lay a stone foundation, build the house on it, and lath, plaster and paint, for all which operations he carried the tools in his chest. Today carpenters are seen going to their jobs bearing only a hand tool- chest smaller than a portable typewriter case, with saw and steel square protruding. But though Clem could do these things, he worked discontinuously; perhaps it was his health, perhaps a dull labor market. It was merely my bad luck that my uncle looked upon "flogging" and "the rod" as essential to a 48 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT boy's deportment; therefore he presented me with whippings on the same principle that my aunt ad- ministered sulphur and molasses, for treatment and precaution. Aunt had a kind heart that disap- proved of the horsewhip for boys. She would not let him touch her own boy Stephen except over her body. I heard her plead with him on a day I was to be thrashed, and still thank her for her futile "O Benjamin, don't," though he thrust her back through the doorway into the house. He was whal- ing me at the moment for going in swimming all summer without his consent. An eccentric if not crazy character in the neighborhood named Bill Mason, reputed to possess extraordinary strength, warned my uncle that if he ever whipped me again he would cut some withes and twist them and give him a trimming. His heart attacks never seized him when duty called him to wallop me. A friendly chap, Riley Kenney by name, who lived back over the hill, hearing that I was "gented" to pick up a half acre of potatoes in a day or take a flogging at sundown, came to help me, if needed, in the middle of the afternoon. By wasting no time straighten- ing my back or looking at the sun, which is the farmer's clock, I had gathered the potatoes into baskets and borne them to a cart. Yet my uncle was a tolerably kind man when not bound by the dictum of Solomon on the virtues of the rod of correction. He had no understanding of boys. He believed they should learn to work with poor tools, dull axes and saws. "The bad work- man complains of his tools," he said. When I mur- FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 49 mured he quoted: "If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength." I aspired to grow up and return one of his thrashings, but on a Fourth of July, the annual @@@@ (line drawing of a covered bridge over a streem and nude boys swiming) (caption) THE OLD BRIDGE STILL STANDS. go-in-swimming day, I saved his son from drowning and called the account square. Although it was a rule for a boy to remain on the home farm as long as the old man could lick him, my deportment passed from his control in 1870, when I was 13. Eugene, being more than two years my senior, had already tried for two seasons the life of a farmer's hired boy. The hire was board, school, and washing. Although an advanced scholar always, in build he was slight; in childhood he was rather 50 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT pindling. I passed him in bulk when I was five and he seven, and he never caught up. He looked for lighter work than farm labor. People say that a boy raised on a farm sets out in life with a good constitution. He does. He has a good constitu- tion if he survives. Mother took Eugene to a New York printer for a time, thus fitting him for a few years' work on a Keene newspaper. But he was back in New York at 19, printer on The Truth Seeker for five years, running the paper in the proprietor's absence for three years, ('79-82), then editor for a quarter of a century. 2 -- BOOKS AND MINSTRELSY. I will say in behalf of our Surry home that it sheltered the only bookish or reading family for miles around. It established connection with a library that provided us with the books of the day, which my aunt read aloud to the other members gathered around the table. The shaded kerosene lamp stood between her eyes and the pages of the book. The authors were Trowbridge, Farjeon, Capt. mayne Reid, and whoever wrote the Life of Isaac Tatem hopper (grandfather of DeWolf). Add to these "The Man with the Broken Ear," by Edmond About, and "The Dove in the Eagle's Nest," by Charlotte M. Yonge. The New England Farmer brought a story every week for her to read to us. This paper also carried the advertisement of a merchant who expressed himself through the medi- um of poetry. He soared to lofty heights: FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 51 "The planets as they roll around In the vast realm, of space, Will all be found, if traced with care, Fixed in their proper place." And then came down to business: "The proper place to buy boys' clothes -- Hats, caps, pants, coat and shoes complete -- Is at the store of George Fenno's, Corner of Beech and Washington Streets." Josh Billings and the Danbury News Man were writing; so was Petroleum V. Nasby. The "Rollo" books were dated for me in my sixth year. Give me now one of Beadle's Dime Novels and let me read of Old Rube the Trailer. Better it were for a boy to read Beadle's Dime Novels than not to read at all. Farmers called at each other's houses winter even- ings for no purpose but to talk. They kept their hats on. Nor were we without minstrelsy. Uncle Billy Wright went from house to house, arriving preferably at meal time, carrying his fiddle in a green bag, and scraping it while he sang. His songs had stories in them, or they celebrated his- torical events, like this: "The tenth of September let us all remember As long as this globe on its axis rolls round, Our tars and marines on Lake Eric were seen To pull the proud flag of Great Britain come down." 52 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT He knew all of George Washington's preference, "The Darby Ram," the last line being very daring. One of his songs contained the splendid stanza: "Then on to the table Jack he rolled Five hundred guineas in bright gold. Said he: 'I am your lover bold, For I am Jack the Sailor'." Jack had come back rich beyond the dreams of salesmanship, and so dolled up that the girl and her parent, who wouldn't have her marrying a penni- less sailor, never knew him until he revealed him- self in this dramatic fashion. One song of Billy Wright's developed an intrigue, wherein the hus- band, surprising the lover, who went out of the (line drawing of an old man playing a fiddle and stomping his foot) (caption) THE MINSTRAL. window, was recompensed and revenged on finding himself in possession of "more than a hundred pounds and a glorious pair of breeches. Tol, lolly dingdong, doddle O day, and A glorious pair of breeches." So the cash balance was on the side of virtue. Let it ever be thus. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 53 Uncle Billy sang with pathos, while his fiddle made a harmonious noise: "Oh, my name was Robert Kidd, as I sail'd, as I sail'd, Oh, my name was Robert Kidd, as I sail'd; My sinful footsteps slid, God's laws they did forbid; But still wickedly I did, as I sail'd. I'd a Bible in my hand, as I sail'd, as I sail'd, I'd a Bible in my hand, as I sail'd; I'd a Bible in my hand by my father's great command, And I sunk it in the sand, as I sail'd. I murdered William Moore, as I sail'd, as I sail'd, I murdered William Moore, as I sail'd; I murdered William Moore, and I left him in his gore, Not many leagues from shore, as I sail'd." The refrain "As I sailed, as I sailed" haunted the reverie of men as that other ghost "Long, long ago, long ago" troubled the subconscious state of women. I have heard a woman do her whole morning's work to that dolorous monotony; and if "As I sailed" got into a man's head it would stay until there was a change of weather. Other characters seen no more on those roads are the pack peddler, the codger, and the man who drove the tincart. The minstrel with his stringed in-strument and the peddler with his fardel had sur- vived from the middle ages. The codger gave way to the tramp who jumped freight trains. The tin- cart, like the wooden Indian in front of the cigar stores, disappeared for some subtle reason I cannot name. The junkman still goes his rounds in the sub- urbs and in the residence sections of cities. I believe that my old neighborhood changed more in the few 54 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT years after I left it than it had prior to then in all the decades since the Revolution. 3 -- I GO OUT TO WORK. In April, 1870, I went definitely out to work. A young farmer who had got land and a house and taken a wife, wanted a boy and came for me. Since that spring I have never been jobless, never applied for work, never had the experience nor the feeling of being unemployed. Except for Sundays, holi- days, and a half dozen vacations, a day's work has always been ahead of me when I arose. This place, in the edge of Walpole, was three miles away from Clement's and some hundreds of feet higher up, and even that was not the, "height of land," for wherever you go in New Hampshire there is more altitude just beyond. This able-bodied, handsome and intelligent young agriculturist, my employer, idled his evenings playing with a cat in his lap. At my former home we had rushed for a book when supper was over, but in this house there was no book. The Youth's Companion that came to the young wife I saw only when she enlisted my help to work out the charades. She called me into, the house sometimes from a distance if her husband was away, and asked me the names of authors, rivers, cities, and so on, not occurring to her. I en- joyed these hours and worked faster to make up for them when I got back to the field. Here was a mismated couple that should have had a trial mar- riage first, or at least have followed the custom of their forebears who sampled knowledge before they FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 55 became life subscribers. They had been different- ly nurtured, he on a rough hill farm, and she in a home at the outskirts of a city where there was plenty of "company" and a division of household duties. Here, where her married life began, was a lonely place, no neighbor within call, and all the work to do that was known to a farmer's wife -- washing, baking, churning, sweeping, getting to- gether a "mess of vittles" three times a day, and answering a call into the field occasionally in haying time. And he worked harder than she did. When- ever a horse was free from the team, she fretted to go visit her parents five miles away, pref- erably Saturday night and over Sunday, with her husband left at home. She was unsocial with him: one saw her evading him by day, and heard her angry outcries at night. Things went to smash the first year. Some would not say it was lucky, but so it appears to me, that the teacher of the fall school came to board with them -- a fine big girl who had lure and desire. She fell in love with the little wife. (The wife was so diminutive that when she took a husband they said he would have to shake the sheets to find her.) And the husband fell in love with the school teacher, and she reciprocated there also. That would have been an ideal match, for they were a couple of mated birds. There was need no longer for the wife to evade him, nor occasion for her noc- turnal murmurings. However, a woman can be jealous if she can't be loving. Except in the love game, persons who have rejected a proffered art- icle are indifferent who gets it. My employer's wife, 56 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT on the contrary, begrudged this girl -- who always managed to put herself in line to be held for a hug or chased for a kiss -- the possession of the husband she herself did not appear to want. The girl be- came an eyesore and a bore, while the husband's evident content was more than the wife could bear. She went home to her mother and stayed until the teacher, seeing it was improper for her to remain without another woman in the house, went some- where else to board. Happily, the breach was mended before it got too bad for repair. Some wise woman must have given the wife valuable counsel, for in a few months she returned to her spouse; and whereas there had previously been no child or prospect of one, now there was one within the year, and others followed closely. The teacher married. It would not surprise me if she rejoiced in the thought that she had united man and wife, as was the fact, and had fun herself while performing that benevolent deed. Three marriages are known to man -- the trial marriage, the companionate marriage, and marriage; and yet there are not three marriages, but one, and that is a trial marriage no matter what you call it. I have observed, living together, couples who were married and also couples who were not. All mani- fested the same devotion on an average, the excess of it, if any, being on the side of the unwedded. And they all had the same troubles. 4 -- A WOMAN OF SIMPLE SPEECH. A strange lady lived nearby, there in Walpole -- one known to a considerable distance abroad -- if I FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 57 may use the words of Howells, characterizing a cer- tain piece by Mark Twain -- for her "breadth of parlance." Mrs. Chandler Wilbur, she was, an ex- ponent of the four-letter words. In our sophisti- cated speech, when speaking about the things of the flesh, we use words of three or four syllables, and of as many letters as may be needed to spell them. Mrs. Wilbur, in such emergencies, used no more than four letters and one syllable. Mrs. Angela T. Heywood, a Massachusetts woman of the past cen- tury, wrote much in advocacy of a return to these simple forms, and even ventured to print one of the least innocent of them. Mrs. Heywood may not have employed the terms in social intercourse, but this Walpole lady did, and they added piquancy to her conversation, unrestrained as it was by the presence of mixed company, young or old, friends or strangers. This foe of euphemism and verbal artificialities was a good woman withal, and the mother of men. The neighborhood contained no prettier or more modest girl than her little grand- daughter. Regarding Mrs. Heywood and her simplified vo- cabulary I find the following from the pen of Stephen Pearl Andrews in The Truth Seeker of August 11, 1883, more than a dozen years after Mrs. Wilbur had pointed the way to freedom from the babyish and silly restrictions against which the Princeton lady rebelled. Having visited the Hey- wood home and had conversation with Angela, Mr. Andrews wrote as follows: "Mrs. Heywood is in a very high degree mediumistic, in- spirational, and prophetic. Much of what she says and 58 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT does merely flows through her as an instrument of some power which seems determined to break up the babyish and silly prudery of the people, and so lead the way to the free discussion of all physiological and sex questions, although, still, she is herself in full harmony with her in- spirations. She is again utterly destitute of the sense of fear. She laughs and rollicks over what seems to the on- looker the edge of a fearful precipice. She would sooner see her beautiful home ruthlessly sacked, her children scat- tered, and be herself driven, as a drudge, into somebody's else kitchen than she would back down an inch from her full claim to the right to say her full thought in her own words." Mrs. Wilbur made no claim to being inspired, and only the affiliation of her form of speech to that of revelation warrants us in attributing to its splen- dors an occult source. The unlawfulness of the four-letter word where a sesquipedalian polysyllable might be used was the discovery of some one undoubtedly the enemy of direct speech. Had we not evidence of the fact in the existence of the various vice societies could we ever believe that the choice of one word instead of another might adversely affect a man's life, liber- ty, and prosperity? The thing is beyond reason. The long substitute word will inevitably in process of time become coarse. How, then, will careful talkers express themselves when education shall have made their now refined terms the familiar idiom of the vulgar? The Walpole lady's aforesaid breadth of par- lance was no sample of the verbal tastes and habits of the New England women of her generation or the next. The contrast is beyond description. The FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 59 women affected a niceness that embarrassed them and cramped their powers of expression. It was ungenteel, for example, for one of them to say bull. I heard my cousin Stephen's wife speak of the male Holstein in her husband's herd as "the animal." My aunt Louisa, who in a flash of temper used a biblical word, felt so bad over the slip that she went away and cried. Sensitiveness to all that is revolt- (line drawing of an old woman smoking a pipe and knitting.) (caption) MY GRANDMOTHER PREFERRED A PIPE. ing ran in the family, my grandmother being so afflicted, even though she indulged the now unfem- inine habit of smoking a pipe, which I often lit with pieces of split shingle kept on a shelf over the fireplace for that purpose. But when grandmother's mind decayed at the age of 95, what a change took place! All the repressions of a lifetime were un- loosed, and she chatted affably and familiarly on forbidden themes. Told one day that the minister was calling, she asked not to be left alone with him, 60 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT as she not only questioned the safety of any woman in his presence, but doubted he was sound. All this being true of my respectable old grandmother, it might be true of all the saints who happen not to have liberated their thoughts while with us. Do they ponder life, then, and the things of the flesh in terms they permit themselves not to utter? And if the mind is the soul, what a load the unexpur- gated one must carry to the blest abode! 5 -- I LEARN OF UNCLE ELIPHAZ FIELD. Before the season ended in Walpole I knew that my next place was to be with Uncle Eliphaz and Aunt Lucia Field in the South end of Surry. Un- cle Eliphaz was grandfather to the children of two families in the neighborhood, and Lucia was the spinster aunt. One of the younger set, Sarah Ellis, dwelt with them and taught the school I attended in the little building just beyond the garden fence. The old gentleman was older than the Constitution of the United., States, having been born but one decade after Independence. Any man above the age of seventy used to be spoken of as a "link" be- tween the present century and the, last. Uncle Eli- phaz, having seen and admired the world so wide, found pleasure in relating his reminiscences for my benefit, while I equally rejoiced to hear them. When company came Aunt Lucia warned me not to start her father agoing. Visitors from Boston surrounded the table on a day I call to mind when he was moved to give his experiences among the Indians. Now I had seen Indians in Maine in 1863. They were FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 61 basketmakers, to be met on the road, shouldering to market a bunch of baskets half the size of a load of hay and scaring horses into the ditch. But my con- ception of the noble red man had been drawn from the books published by Mr. Beadle. The word In- dians brought to my vision brave and dignified war- riors of lofty mien, wearing eagle feathers from the top of the head down the back, bearing a bow, and sporting blankets and moccasins picturesquely beaded. As I wished this impression confirmed I asked him how his Indians were dressed. Imme- diately I knew it was a social error, for he replied: "Some of the younger ones didn't wear nothin'," and he mentioned the consequent exposures of both kinds. Aunt Lucia looked at me in pain and be- wilderment, as if it were beyond her to understand why boys should be so indiscreet and untimely in asking for information. That winter was a round of doing chores, and going to school. The following summer, working for Henry T. Ellis, brother-in-law of Aunt Lucia, and on the same farm, I actually earned wages -- no less than $25 for the season. Mr. Ellis was a thinking man with an intellectual curiosity about things, one of the few my boyhood knew, and together we discussed weighty subjects as we worked. He used to pooh- pooh the pieties I brought from Sunday school and from the reading of religious papers; but he noted my advancement at school; told me to come around when I reached college age, and he would help me to see how far I could go. But instead of going to college I went into a printing-office. 62 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT The winter following we buried Uncle Eliphaz, who died one day at 88, just after I had filled and lit his last pipe. It was the first time I had come personally into touch with the hour and article of death. The Unitarian "Priest" White of Keene preached the sermon, standing in the doorway be- tween two big rooms of the old farmhouse that was built generations before for a tavern. He read that all the days of man were three score years and ten, or if by reason of strength he be four score, and so on. And then I went out and did the chores and life went on without Uncle Eliphaz. The family was Unitarian. There had once been a Unitarian society in Surry, and this old house held the rem- nants of its small library. The books were too dry for me. 6 -- REMINDERS OF MORTALITY. On the road that ran back of this house, and close by the schoolhouse, the forefathers had walled in a small graveyard, where perhaps fifty of them lay buried. The dates on the slate-colored stones, along with comic 'sculptured angels, ran back into the seventeenth century and seemed to me as remote as creation. One, emigrant was there -- "Samuel Mc- Curdy, born in the north of Ireland, in the county of Antrim and the parish of Abobel." Verses were inscribed appropriate to young and old. For a young woman: "When blooming youth is snatched away By death's resistless hand, We to the dust the tribute pay That pity doth command." FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 63 And the visitor was reminded of his mortality: "As you are now, so once was I" -- Words to humble the proud and to show them they were common clay. The graveyard bank on the side next to the road had been washed by a century of rains, till at least one grave was un- covered, and the small bones came to the surface. @@@@ (line drawing showing a skull in a wall where a stone had been remived and a boy sitting and looking at it.) (caption) THE SKULL IN THE WALL. In time a skull followed, and rather than that it should lie there exposed, all the privacy of the grave invaded, I unearthed the skull completely and placed it in a hole in the wall where a stone had fallen out. While I remained in the neighborhood I went of- ten to visit with that poor Yorick and to muse on what and when he might have been in life. Some- body, doubtless the doctors, had sawed off the top of his head, just as the stem-end of a pumpkin is excised to put in the candle for a jack-lantern. The sawn-off piece was there and could be lifted for a view of the brain cavity. 64 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT On that farm lived a little girl named Mary Ellis, of my own age, who, with her features that were classical except for a nose which naturally turned up a bit, giving her a haughty air in the presence of boys, was a little beauty. But her soft eyes never lit up for me. In the year 1928, like myself, she is living on borrowed time, according to what Priest White read from the Bible at the funer- al of her grandfather. Well, years later Mary took the skull of Poor Yorick from the hole in the wall, put it in a box, and sent it to me in New York. Until I left for San Francisco in '87 it stood on the top of my desk, labeled, "He was a Good Man, but he would talk to the editor." It had disappeared when I returned from the West. What, I wonder, is the social or affective implication of a Skull sent by a young lady to a young man? **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER IV. 1 -- THE TRAVELER'S GHOST. SWINBURNE'S three wreckers, "marriage and death and division," ended my stay with this excellent family. Uncle Eliphaz Field no longer sat in the sunny doorway, holding his cane upright in one hand while by its bent handle he turned it 'round and 'round with the other. He had read nothing, thought time wasted on "printing," and forbid me a candle when I had nothing to do but read. His death was the first break in the house- hold. Then Sarah, his granddaughter, got married and took Aunt Lucia to live with her in Brattleboro, Vermont. An abandoned house in that neighborhood had not been lived in for many years. When last occu- pied, by a family of strangers or foreigners, so the elder people said, a traveler passing that way had taken lodging in the house at nightfall, and had never been seen again. The family soon moved away. That the traveler may have been murdered in his bed, at first a suspicion, grew into a theory and a legend and then was accepted as a fact. Every- body that could deny it had died. Inevitably the ghost of the dead man took possession of the prem- ises; it had indeed been seen at night wandering 65 66 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT through the vacant rooms by the light of a candle carried in its hand. At length, as nobody would live in the house, it was taken down and the lum- ber piled or carried off. But the barn on the prem- ises they left standing, and rather than give up the ghost, the believers averred that the traveler done away with in the house now occupied the barn, as his candle, to be seen shining through the cracks between the boards, proved aplenty. When I stayed in the employ of Uncle Eliphaz, or with his daughter Lucia, they sometimes sent me to the village on an errand, after supper and the chores were over. The village lay a mile and a half away, and the walk there and back took an hour. I enjoyed it greatly. Every boy likes to go to the village. But in the fall, when the days were shortening, it began to be dark before I got home, and I had to pass this "haunted" barn, walking on the other side of the road, of course, yet keeping an eye on the building to see the light the ghost carried. And one night I saw it before I got within ten rods of the place. I had not much courage, day or night, but I had curiosity. I felt willing to see a ghost or anything else if it did not see me first. So I crossed the road, ducked under the rail that was laid across the gap in the stone wall where the "Pair of bars" used to be, and, making no sound with my bare feet, got close to the barn-doors and looked through the crack between them. Then I saw that the light was but a lantern, standing on a box; and seated beside it, on a milking-stool, was an old fellow I knew, husking corn. Well, I had been that kind of a ghost myself, husking corn by FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 67 lantern-light, and I felt cheap. If I had ran away without looking I should have been a believer in ghosts at least until daylight the next morning. 2 -- MOVING ON. But already my next home was in view -- with Aunt Polly Abbott, widow of Daniel, and her in- valid daughter Mary Ann, in a large house a few moments' walk north of Surry village. Aunt Polly, aged and obese, needed a boy to build the fire in the morning, supply the stove with wood, and run her errands. That was about all. There was no continuous work for me, and I went to school. The invalidism of Mary Ann originated in a broken heart. The young man whom she was engaged to marry fell in the Civil War, which seemed to me farther away then than it does now, and left her a maiden forlorn. But Mary Ann was in my opinion the victim of her own romantic ideas that had become a possessive mania and a chronic disease. She was extremely religious; had the minister there to pray with her every week. A modern doctor would have had her out of that bed in a month, and maybe an enterprising minister would have had her in another. The piety of the house- hold found its outward and visible sign in my at- tendance at church, prayer-meetings, and Sunday school, where I made my best record as a student of the New Testament. The teacher of the boys' class, named Herman Streator, asked us to answer this one: "How was it possible for four different men, unacquainted with one another's work, to write the four gospels and make their statements 68 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT agree perfectly?" He was obliged to give the an- swer himself, and he did it perhaps reverently, anyhow under his breath, as though it had been something improper but which a boy ought to know: "It was inspiration. The writers of the gospels were inspired." I trust he spoke in ignorance of the gospels' many inconsistencies. I now feel that I should have liked to put John Remsburg's "The Christ" into his hands, and then, naming four pupils after the evangelists, let him ask questions while the boys answered them according to their gospels. 3 -- I SUFFER OPPRESSION. The life I led at Aunt Polly's was physically enervating. All it meant to me was sawing a little wood, shoveling a good deal of snow, and going for the milk, groceries, and mail. Her devotion to the cooking habit provided me with more food than any boy needs. She had two or three prosperous sons, one of them a big man in the county. Their ad- vice to me when they visited their mother negatived too much exertion in the form of work -- an ob- vious sarcasm unless they referred to my endeavors at the table. Slowly as time passes with the young, those days of ease came at length to an end. A close neighbor named Britton got, that spring, the idea that he could save money by having a boy to do a hired man's work, and he elected me for the experiment. In his barn there was a forty-foot tie-up, with fif- teen bovines to feed, eight of them cows to milk. Cleaning out the stable every morning caused me to FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 69 shovel nigh a cartload of green and very heavy manure. Just ahead loomed the sugaring to be done, and the summer's wood to be sawed. Brit- ton's interests took him much from home, early and late, which signified that Georgie did the chores. Has a boy of 14 the right to milk eight cows? some of them calling for a squeeze that would crack the nib on a scythe snath; others so holding out on him that it was like trying to strip milk from a rope's end? I stayed for the sugaring, wading in deep snow and guiding an ox sled to where the tapped maples dripped their sap into twelve-quart buckets. The days thawed and the nights froze. My @@@@ (line drawing of boy in a shirt and his pants standing alone) (caption) THE BOY WITH THE FROZEN PANTS. trousers, hung on the bedpost when I took them off, would stand alone in the morning. Shoving bare legs into those icy garments -- for that was before I had learned to wear underclothes -- imparted a chill to the nether members. Stockings and boots were never dry. The room I retired to at night by 70 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT the light of a candle showed bare walls except for one work of art, a picture, in pink and green, of a boy, with his surviving parent, visiting his mother's grave beneath a willow tree that wept over it. I hated that damned boy heartily with his trousers tied down and his little plug hat. At this place the food served to me was, for the first time in my life, inferior to that distributed to the rest of the family. Hitherto there had been none of that discrimination, or if so I had been insensible of it. Living, in those environs, was arranged on the principle that one man or woman was as good as another, as regards station. There were no ser- vants, male or female. The male employee on the farm rated as hired man, the female as hired girl, by the old-fashioned called a maid. The man and maid sat at the table, or in the "other room," with the family and with the family's company, being formally and ceremoniously introduced to the lat- ter. The girl would be a neighbor's daughter or the man a neighbor's son. They were never ob- seqtuous, no more than tractable, and at a word of fault-finding they quit. The claim of the undistinguished American that he was as good as anyone else loses its apparent egotism by reason of the American's admission that any other man is as good as he. "To good Ameri- cans," said the Chinese diplomat, Wu Tingfang, "not only are the citizens of America born equal, but the citizens of the world are also born equal." An exception as to station was the "bound" boy. A boy might be hound out to a farmer, working for his keep until he was of age, when FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 71 custom allowed that the man he lived with should give him a hundred dollars and a suit of clothes. While he automatically got his "time" and became his own master at twenty-one, he might forfeit the bonus and have his time earlier. Nobody bothered to treat him differently from the unbound, yet the distinction could be observed. They had an ances- tral repugnance for servitude. Some boys got their time from their fathers instead of waiting for their majority. The old man in that case put a para- graph in the papers saying he would no longer col- lect the boy's wages or be responsible for his debts. One fellow I knew said he wished his dad had done this for him, because, he grumbled, "I was married before I'd got to be twenty-one, and so I never really had my time." An elderly woman, in the position of an aunt and a dependent, took sides with me against an overload of work, here at Britton's, and coming to me sur- reptitiously when I was sawing wood, advised me to "cut stick and run." I cut the stick I was work- ing on, and then, feeling sorry for myself, began to blubber. With that spell of weeping I took leave of my childhood, even as I took leave of Mr. Britton. 4 -- JUST KEEPING STEADY AT IT. As always, a place was provided for me and Wait- ing, and as one liberated from servitude I went. I had been a misfit in that environment. From my stay there I cannot recover a single incident to be recreated as a pleasant recollection. Such is not 72 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT true of the others, and I would delight to go back to any of them if I could. That Britton proposi- tion was like the illustrious cold potato with no warm side. I dropped down the road a mile or two and worked that season out for Edmund Wood- ward, a solid and sedate old agriculturist with a gem of a farm. Nothing there dimmed the bright visions of one who took life for a picnic. The old man required only that, having started to work for him, I should "keep steady at it." He observed hours of labor, as was not the rule on farms. He began the day at 5 o'clock in the morning and ended it by knocking off at 6 P.M., two hours before sundown in summer time. At this house, when days were long, there was "baiting," that is, eating between meals. Mrs. Woodward shot food aboard the table in a way to make the eyes stick out first, and then the waistband -- good food, well cooked, and plenty of it. Mr. Woodward called her Mother. About the house he conducted himself like an obedient boy. I conceived she needed correction for scraping iron cooking utensils with a silver spoon that had got worn out of its original ovoid form by such usage; but no man ever changed a woman's way of doing her work. Mrs. Woodward said "Humph!" and that was all. She kept on scraping the cooking utensils with her thin silver spoons. If her silverware passed to any of her descendants, they will know why one edge of her spoons is straight. They said of Mr. Woodward that he was saving of his money, yet for a New Hampshire farmer saving is a defensive instinct. He was just to me, if not generous. His birthday FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 73 fell on the Fourth of July. No one would believe he gave me the day and bought me the powder to celebrate the anniversary of independence, and technically he did not. When I told him I wanted to celebrate his birthday, he bought me the powder. It followed that, with a double-barreled shotgun of large caliber, I awoke the countryside at earliest dawn. While he was not quite a link with the past century, Mr. Woodward remembered the cold sum- mer of 1817, when the hands in the hayfield shel- tered themselves from the chilling winds by sitting on the sunny side of a bank to eat their baiting. Woodward, with his tuning-fork and his musical "do," pitched the tune for the church choir. An- other hand working for him awhile that summer was Joe Jolly, who divertingly turned handsprings @@@@ (line drawing of two boys, one doing handsprings) (caption) JOE TURNED HANDSPRINGS. on his way to the hayfield or did horizontal bar work on the pole across the big barndoors. I simply 74 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT revered him. And yet Joe never was a mere gym- nast. "No," he said, "when I followed the circus I was the Chandelier." I assumed a Chandelier might be an Entertainer, perhaps a Vocalist. He indeed had a song which he sang with feeling: "The spring had come, the flowers had bloomed, The birds sang out their lay; Down by the littul running brook, I first saw Maggie May. . . . Singing all the day How I loved her none can tell Littul Maggie May." In after years I inquired of another ex-circus man what duties went with the title or decoration of Chandelier. He replied that the Chandelier took care of the lamps and hauled them up the center pole, of the tent to illuminate an evening's per- formance. Here, to the house of Woodward, his grandfather, came by coincidence the Sanger boy and his sister, now of Boston, who had been schoolmates with me ten years before. Their cousin, a large fat girl, took her vacation with the old folks at the same time. I stared at the girls without lighting a re- ciprocating eye. The boy came to me one day with the story that the girls were dressed in boys' clothes, the Sanger girl in her brother's, and the other, I supposed, in my Sunday suit, which young Sanger intimated she overflowed. Unhappily, I missed sight of that innocent masquerade, and the regret I nour- ished has never been assuaged. Today a fat girl poured into a pair of trousers, or knickers, is no sight that a man or boy would go far out of his FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 75 way to view. All things come to him who waits, though they may not come up to expectations, for age never compensates the lost opportunities of youth. I learn that the Sanger boy is now a resi- dent of Jamaica Plain, Boston. 5 -- OVER THE HILL TO EAST WESTMORELAND. My wages that summer were $10 per month. Having seen Mr. Woodward pay the money to my uncle, and then forgotten it, I light-heartedly trav- eled five miles in a westerly direction to earn $25 more by working over winter for Deacon Jonathan Shelley of the London district in East Westmore- land. It was hilly country. The early farmers anywhere near the Connecticut settled on the hills to avoid contact with the Indians, who made expe- ditions up and down the river. Here I gained some schooling also while school kept, with Millie Aldrich for teacher. I think of the able Millie with re- spect; for it fell out that on that day when I got into a fight with Wallace Keyser, a boy of my own age and size, and a tough nut at that, and was on the point of going to the floor with him, Millie grabbed one of us in each hand and flung Wallace one way and me the other. Wallace grinned as we recovered ourselves; but Millie was pouting and her mouth wore a smile on only one side; for on putting forth whatever horse power per minute she registered, she had ripped a sleeve of her dress at the armpit. That school is one of the considerable number of those country institutions where I spent a few weeks with my books that have long since been 76 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT abandoned and let fall into decay, or have entirely disappeared, leaving none but a few gray heads, apart from fading maps and records, to retain the knowledge they imparted, or to testify to the fact that they ever existed. Jonathan Shelley happened to be the first deacon I had ever worked for, and the last. He was a tremendously long-armed and long-legged individ- ual, with a short backbone and a rather small head at the top of it. His church, Christian by denomi- nation -- the first syllable pronounced Christ, the same as when that name is used alone -- stood in the Flat, down the hill less than half a mile away, and had as settled pastor the Rev. Jehiel Claflin. I enjoyed the religious privileges of that sanctuary. The deacon conducted family worship in the front room of his house every Sunday morning, and often on rainy days. He always read substan- tially the same scriptures, selecting that chapter of the book of Matthew which says that these shall go away into everlasting life and those into eternal damnation. The chapter treats of the occasion when Jesus shall sit as a coroner over the spiritual remains of mortals who are divided upon his right hand and upon his left, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. Those on the left were the goats. Having thus segregated them, Jesus said to the sheep on the one hand: "Come, ye blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"; and to the other moiety: "Depart from me, ye cussed [so pronounced by Deacon Shelley], into everlastin' fire prepared for the devils and his anngels." (He said ann.) FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 77 The deacon seldom got out of this chapter. And having read the scriptures he knelt and prayed, with his elbows in the chair where his seat had been. He looked a good deal like a capital Z turned around and pushed up to the chair, save and except that his feet were larger in proportion than the serifs at the end of that letter. He thanked the Lord that we were still alive and on praying grounds and interceding terms for mercy. "We thank thee," he would say, "that thou hast so far spared our un- profitable lives that we live to see the comin' of another of thy Sabbath mornin's. We thank thee that while others have been stretched upon beds of sickness, we have been permitted to enjoy a tollable degree of health. ... Hear us in these our feeble supplications. Grant us each favor as we ask it as far as is consistent with thy will; and finally save us in thy comin' kingdom, there to praise God and the lamb, world without end. Amen." Those phrases were his reliance. In the course of the prayer he asked God to bless "our wife" and urged the merciful Christ to delay his judgment on the recreant youth there present who was carelessly putting off acceptance of the begotten son of God as his personal savior. Out of curiosity I once asked Deacon Shelley if he thought I should go to hell, and he gave me to understand that he was quite certain of it. Deacon Shelley had a workshop where, in earlier times, he had made ox bows, casks, buckets, and piggins. A piggin is a small wooden bucket, of capacity from two quarts to a gallon, with one stave sticking up far enough to be used as a handle. His 78 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT chief output in my day was axe helves and hammer handles, his steady market being the Cheshire Rail- road. The helves and handles used in that vicinity bore his brand, "J.S.", or "C.W.", which latter stood for Chandler Wilbur, husband of the Walpole lady addicted to four-letter words. Choppers gravely discussed the reasons for preferring the J.S. or the C.W. axe-helve. Reeving, hewing, shav- ing, scraping, and sandpapering these articles was rainy-day and evening work. By such creative in- dustry I earned what Deacon Shelley paid me for allowing him to board me and send me to school. The various handles I made were so like his that no one could tell the difference. I sledded the bolts for them from a distance; went with him into an adjacent swamp to cut the black-ash saplings to be split into barrel hoops. While gathering the little black ashes I came near witnessing the fall from grace of Deacon Shelley; for I knew and he knew that we were poaching on Daniel Aldrich's prem- ises; and more than that, in cutting the little trees so low that the stumps would not appear, he chopped into a rock with his best axe, and uttered the oath, "By heavens!" 6 -- NEW AND TRUE LIGHT ON CHURCHES. The church at the Flat had its large day when a preacher named Emerson Andrews came from somewhere "below." Points south were below, and going to Massachusetts was "going down below." This man came and conducted the services, and none of the congregation remained away. A circus could FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 79 scarcely have drawn better than this eccentric preacher. From the time and place of its origin I have calculated that, he belonged to the same family as Stephen Pearl Andrews of New York, who was raised in Hinsdale. An excellent farmer's wife named Andrews in that locality had sons who were approaching manhood sixty or seventy years ago, or so the story goes; and when she was asked about their prospects, she replied that the outlook for all but one of them was far from bright for only the oldest was worth anything on the farm. The next oldest son threw his time away reading books, an- other had begun clerking in a lawyer's office with small promise of making anything of himself; the third sawed on a fiddle from morning till night, and the fourth, expecting to be a minister, was calling worthless sinners to repentance already. So she had but the one promising son out of the "passle," the son who stayed at home and worked the land. The rest of the story of this Andrews family tells that the bookish boy became the presi- dent of a university (E. Benjamin Andrews); the law clerk governor of Connecticut; the fiddler a great musician known in Europe and America; and the one with a hortatory complex, if the story is authentic, might be identified as this Emerson An- drews who preached at the Flat. I listened to him, but don't remember a word he said. What I dis- tinctly recollect is that he sat in the pulpit before the afternoon meeting began and sang: 80 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT "Blow ye the trumpet, blow, The gladly solemn sound; Let every nation know, To earth's remotest bound, The year of jubilee has come, Return, ye ransomed sinners, home." That was more than half a century ago, and the hymn may have been sung for half a century be- fore then. There was no sign of the jubilee that season, nor has any been seen since. It was a false alarm. There was no observable correspondence between the subjective order of thought and the objective order of phenomena; but in religious things there never is. In that town of Hinsdale, pronounced Hensdil, whence the preacher came, a mill or factory stood beside the Ashuelot river. One of its hands, a young woman deriving her inspiration from the turbulent stream, turned out a quite well known poem while employed there. The poem began: "Over the river they beckon to me, Loved ones who've crossed to the farther side: The gleam of their snowy robes I see, But their voices are lost in the rushing tide." The river which was the Ashuelot ran downhill rapidly at that point, in a hurry to empty its waters into the Connecticut, and was indeed noisy enough to interrupt conversation. No trace of Catholicism appeared in any of the places where I lived, outside of Keene; but Keene was a city, and all degraded forms of humanity gather in those haunts of iniquity. However, at the Flat was an Irish section hand (employed by FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 81 the Cheshire Railroad), who knew all about it and could tell me how "these here Prodestant churches" stood as compared with the true one. He had asked whether I ever had been baptized, and learning I had not, shook his head sadly and repeated, "Too bad, too bad, too bad!" Of course I asked why. "I will tell you, said this man, whose name I dis- remember except that it was Pat. "Ye see, it is this way. The Catholic church is the spouse of Jasus Christ, and Jasus is no Mormon to have more than one wife. Yer mother was yer father's wife, wasn't she, and what would other women be if he had 'em? They'd be just what all the churches be except the true one -- they're all hoors." Residents of those rural areas knew of Catholicism as "the Irish religion," distinguishing it from Christianity. George Patten of Westmoreland more than once uttered the prediction that if there was ever another war in this country, it would be, by Godfrey, be- tween these two, Christianity and Catholicism. This man George Patten at times fell into profane and unlicensed anecdotes and speech. He was, I think, the author of a story about the deathbed of Ethan Allen. Anyhow, he told it. As it ran, the minister said comfortingly to the dying man: "The angels are waiting for you, Colonel Allen." And the hero of Ticonderoga shot at the ghostly coun- sellor the last beam of his closing eye as he re- sponded: "Well, God damn 'em, let 'em wait." Colonel Allen lived to utter a few more mild cuss words, and then passed to his reward. Knowledge of the institution of the papacy had escaped my inquiring mind until I was ten years 82 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT old. The geography used in the school that sum- mer asked the question, "For what is the city of Rome distinguished?" The pupils who answered said: "As the residence of the Pope." That word "pope" raised a laugh. None of us had intent to show disrespect toward the sovereign pontiff, what- ever he might be, but that word pope was irresist- ibly funny. The fellow wearing the title vaguely existed in my thought for a moment as a superior kind of magician, an entertainer, because he gave audiences, which idea was again obscure to me; or a man rather more like God than the ringmaster at the circus with his high hat and swallowtail coat. Hence, when a year or two later the Vatican council affirmed the dogma of the pope's infallibility and my mother sent to the New Hampshire Sentinel some comments on that subject, I must suffer in silence while the ribald made merry over the locu- tion "infallibility of the pope," which seemed to me just letters of the alphabet spilt on paper. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. **** **** CHAPTER V. 1 -- THE DEACON AND I. DEACON SHELLEY stimulated a boy's en- ergies and accelerated production at his hands by praising him. Mrs. Shelley be- lieved that the more a boy ate the more work he would do. I trust I justified their methods. I knew not then what it meant to be tired after a day's work. One might be tired while working; but when a man complained, "I'm tired tonight," after work was over, I missed the sense of the remark. Tired, and doing nothing! It was too much for me. Work and weariness went together, but they ended at the same time. The deacon, when chores were done, could doze in his chair; I craved diversion, excite- ment, and found both at Thompson's general store down to the Flat, where men and boys gathered for exchange of thoughts and competition in feats of strength and agility. Deacon Shelley viewed this dissipation as the beginning of the downward path towards perdition; yet as all hired men were sup- posed to have their liberty evenings, he lacked au- thority to forbid my going there or even my atten- ding a dancing school on Mutton Hill; tuition 25 cents a lesson; music by Ambrose & Higgins's Orchestra. That was a one-piece orchestra; the performer, Am- brose Higgins, fiddler. The Deacon refused me an 83 84 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT advance of two dollars for lessons, on the ground that it would make him party to a form of frivolity if not of sin. Still, I found the money where some- one had put it, on the lightstand by my bed, and asked no questions. The pupils at the dancing school were young. The girls, slender and uncor- seted, seemed too soft and fragile for rough hands to grab in the hurried turning of partners and cor- ners. There were, however, no injuries among them traceable to that cause. Having been raised sister- less, I had no familiar knowledge of the nature of girls. Thoughts were engendered in my mind by hearing one say to her partner: "I don't like to be swung off my feet -- not clear off, only almost, not quite." As to girls without their encircling bar- ricades, I doubt they donned them at that time as young as they now put on the next-to-nothing cor- set. On a vacation ten years later, I went to town with a farmer who had a daughter of 16 or 17. While he did his trading at the store, I asked him to suggest some useful gift of remembrance I might send home to his folks. Falling in with the idea as a good one, he remembered that the little girl had been talking lately about a pair of corsets, so long as other girls of her age were wearing them; hence he concluded, "I dunno but what they'd suit better'n anything else you could buy." I bought em, along with a bag of candy, binding him to say only the candy was my contribution to the happiness of his little girl. The town spelling schools were held there on Mutton Hill. A school teacher, two ministers, and FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 85 a doctor went down at the one I contested, and left me spelling words selected from the familiar Latin and French phrases in the back part of the book. @@@@ (photo-engraving of a serious looking young man) (caption) COMING SIXTEEN AND SPELLING GOOD. "Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw? Whose was the hand that slanted back that brow? Whose breath blew out the light within this brain? The term with Deacon Shelley went far enough into the spring of 1873 for me to help him shingle his wagon shed, a half-roofed building annexed to the barn. The job had a thrilling finish. The dea- con nailed on the last course of shingles, tied them with a narrow board beveled and nailed down, and had unshipped all the staging but one bracket toed into the shingles, when his feet escaped from be- neath him and he sprawled face downward on the 86 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT roof, catching hold of that last bracket to save him- self from going over the eaves. At the moment this befell, I was some distance away, carrying the old shingles into the woodshed. I heard his yell; saw what had happened, and slowly moved toward the scene. The ladder, which he repetitiously ordered me to fetch, was leaning against the eaves a dozen, feet from where those large extremities of his were waving in an impossible attempt to reach it. As there seemed to be no immediate danger that he would let go of the bracket, and as he was per- fectly safe while he held on, I continued to move with moderation. I sensed that I was in the pres- ence of a situation promising much that could be communicated to the neighbors with advantage to my reputation, as a recounter. The faculty of ob- servation and description which afterwards was to help me as reporter, then and there began to de- velop. I lingered to fix in my mind such features of this occasion as I thought would be most appre- ciated by Uncle Lewis Aldrich and old Zeke Wood- ward, who lived up the street and were prone to draw me out on the traits and peculiarities of Uncle Jock (for so they called my employer). Meanwhile the Deacon on the roof demanded the ladder with his voice and searched for it with his feet. Hav- ing placed the ladder where it touched him, I leis- urely ascended it, noting by the way how the view off toward Mount Gilboa and Albert Chickering's place improved as I gained altitude. Then, arriv- ing at the proper height, I assembled Uncle Jock's feet and put them on the nearest round. Now the FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 87 doubt arose in his mind that he could let go his hold on the bracket and not slide against the ladder with enough impetus to tip it over backwards. He referred the question to my judgment. One could see, I reflected, that the factors of the problem were force, motion, and equilibrium. If in sliding to the eaves he gathered force enough to impart motion to the ladder, disturbing its equilibrium and carrying it past its center, then its top, with him on it, would describe an arc over the lane and above the wall on the other side and land him in the Greening tree, when he could come down out of its top in the way we did last fall when we picked the apples. "Consarn yon, you young tyke," said the Deacon, "you go to work and shore up the ladder with one of them long boards." I did better by bringing a trace-chain and making the ladder fast to a tie-ring stapled to the corner of the building. With his feet on the ground again he sent me up to pry the bracket off the roof. He had the impulse, he owned, to carry off the ladder and leave me up there. 2 -- A DIGRESSION. When I wrote the name of Albert Chickering a few moments ago, my mind strayed far from the incident then being related. Yes, over west across the valley, off the Gully road, on the brow of Mount Gilboa, lived Albert Chickering, a most substantial citizen, who had more cattle, they said, than he ever stopped to count, and owned, as they also said, "all the land that joined him." Does the unpredictable 88 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT occur? Does it? About fifteen years later I was in line to be Albert's son-in-law, and silk for the wedding gown was in hand when the lure of pub- lishing a paper in San Francisco put the breadth of a continent between me and a very sweet girl who had courage stronger than her family's confi- dence in my future. She would almost have been a man's fortune in herself, for the Chickerings were thrifty and forehanded property-acquiring people. The girls taught school and invested their pay. This one married in due time, raised a family of bright children and died some years ago. One of her boys and one of mine were fellow gobs in the navy in 1917. They called each other cousin. When Albert Chickering was an old man (he lived past ninety), he went to hear Ingersoll lecture. I judged that the lecture to which he had listened was "Which Way?" the one that closes with a vis- ion of the future and a picture of the present, thus: "I see a world at war, and in the storm and chaos of the deadly strife thrones crumble,, altars fall, chains break creeds change. The highest peaks are touched with holy light. The dawn has blossomed. I look again. I see discoverers sailing across mys- terious seas. I see inventors cunningly enslave the forces of the world. I see the houses being built for schools. Teachers, interpreters of nature, slowly take the place of priests. Philosophers arise, thinkers give the world their wealth of brain and lips grow rich with words of truth." When asked how these sentiments fell in with his habit of thought, Mr. Chickering answered: FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 89 "Gosh! Bob Ingersoll said just what I've been saying all my life; and darned if he didn't say it in the same words." 3 -- IT SAVED FIREWOOD, ANYHOW. Uncle Lewis Aldrich who is mentioned above as one who drew amusement from hearing of the notional ways of "Uncle Jock," was kin, probably uncle, to Nelson Aldrich, the Rhode Island poli- tician who, having in time got into the United States Senate, provided some place such as doorkeeper for another nephew, one Wes Aldrich, then our neigh- bor. In the days of the Fourth New York Liberal League I read before that society a paper on "New England and the People Up There." Into that youthful forensic effort I introduced the story how, when I drew the cider one evening there at Deacon Shelley's, and when melted tallow, dropping from the candle into the piggin, floated on the surface of the cider, an old fellow said to me: "I wish the next time you would bring the cider in one thing and the tarler in another, and let me mix 'em to suit myself." That was Uncle Lewis. All the old fellows were uncles or aunts to young and aged. He spent many a winter evening in Aunt Nancy Shelley's kitchen, 'droning over the topics of the times, past and present. I was reading a book by "Boz" (be- hind which name Dickens had concealed from me his authorship of the work) and I looked up at hear- ing Uncle Lewis's comment on Aunt Nancy's re- mark that a baby just born in the neighborhood 90 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT was "a long time coming" -- two or three years after the parents were married to each other. Uncle Lewis had said to Aunt Nancy: "It's different now to what it was. There ain't a man on this road but what didn't have his wife in a thrivin' way be- fore he married her." Mrs. Shelley smiled at the stocking she was darning. The deacon didn't smile at anything. I promptly asked: "How about Uncle Daniel Abbott, over in Surry? He lived on this road when he was married." Uncle Lewis waved his hand: "Same as the rest." The answer surprised and disappointed me. I didn't believe it. I had heard Aunt Polly go on about such doings; and I told Uncle Lewis I guessed if he knew what she said of girls that set the neigh- bors to talking about them, he would think differ- ent. For to tell the truth Aunt Polly said, "The sluts!" whereat her daughter Mary Ann would turn wide-open eyes on me as being present, and check her with an admonitory "Mother!" But Aunt Polly was only doing her duty. How could the old edify the young except by pointing out that their conduct is unprecedented? But the method isn't infallible, since the young, by reading or thinking, find out that their respected elders, now so ready to give advice, were once at the less blessed receiving end them-selves. Parents who inform their children they didn't carry on like that when they were young, mean only that they were told they shouldn't. To all young girls among my descendants who may be picked on I bequeath this: FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 91 Take heart, dear child; or should you chance to stumble, While contrite toward yourself, don't be too humble When parents are severe and elders grumble: "Such things weren't done by lassies with their laddies When we were young -- such holding and such petting!" They tell it thus, conveniently forgetting What cut-ups were the grandmas and grand- daddies. I ran over mentally, the names of the elder off- spring begotten of this custom of their sires to which Uncle Lewis had recurred. They were then from fifty to sixty years old, setting back their births to 1820 and earlier. Aunt Polly's animadver- sions on the growing-up girls proclaimed her one in habit and sentiment with all generations before and since. No generation can grant anything to the crop of youngsters it is raising. Listen to this! In one of the plays of Vanbrugh (b. 1664) the vir- tuous Mrs. Cloggit exclaims: "Look you there now; to see what the youth of this age are come to." The lady was speaking of the youth of the seven- teenth century -- the century of our Puritan fore- fathers. And another of the same date protested: "Girls were not wont to do such things when I was young." Uncle Lewis, whose age linked him with the pre- vious century, had knowledge of an old custom practiced in rural New England, and divulged to 92 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT him partly by his forebears and somewhat by obser- vation, called "bundling." Theodore Schroeder, who has written much useful matter tracing the erotogenesis of religion, thinks this practice relig- ious in its origin. It may be, and yet one can see how easily it might arise out of the conditions, the necessities, and the opportunities of rural districts two hundred or more years ago in those states. Leaving out the side remarks and the individual in-stances, I will see if sense can be made of Uncle Lewis Aldrich's rambling discourse on bundling, delivered to me on an evening when I worked in the shop scraping and sandpapering axe handles. In the first place (so he premised) they used to marry younger than they do now. Before the oldest boy was of age his folks began to talk about his bringing home a wife. The girl he wanted might live a long ways off. Getting home again after spending half the night courting her was a hardship and might be "resky." Said Mr. Aldrich: "I've seen 'em goin' home at sunup myself. If the girl's folks favored the match they didn't object to his resignin' himself to her society till the mornin' light appeared. The bundling may have been done partly to make them safe and partly to keep them warm without burning up all the firewood." Here the use of large sacks or sleeping bags is inferred, and you see the par- ents dropping the sacks on the floor in front of the young folks, who step into them, and the tops are brought up and made fast at the neck. Uncle Lewis believed they were oftener rolled up in quilts. "Maybe their hands were out," he said, "I don't FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 93 know." It was expected of them that they would go to sleep and be in shape for work the next day. No, the fellow didn't stay to breakfast. That warn't done. One of the old folks came around early and turned him loose. The fellows then made a short siege of it, Uncle Lewis said. Her folks were not going to all that trouble for six months or a year when there was nothing to prevent the young ones from getting married. So they would leave them by themselves and not go nigh them. "They might have bundled each other," he surmised, "I dunno. Folks can generally depend on a girl to make a fel- low behave till they are about ready to be married. And a young fellow without any experience thinks he is favored a lot if she lets him hold her. Take a sofa, not a settee that is nothin' but a wooden chair stretched out, and mother's big shawl, and no mat- ter then if the fire does go out. But if they hain't these, and the courtin' wood is all burnt up, and the fellow works his boots off and takes off her shoes, why, the girl don't like him much or don't want him if she makes any great kick when he picks her up and carries her to her bed, and they get un- der the coverlids and keep warm. They got on all their clothes except what they had on their feet. Oh, I don't suppose they bundled except in winter. The sofa done for summer time. I remember when I was courtin' my wife that sometimes we'd fall into a clinch and go to sleep. No. I never was bundled, but I can guess how it turned out. That there way the two on 'em would get to be jest like one person, and resistin' him would be the same as 94 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT resistin' of herself, which is a delusion. What's the odds? They got married." The records are said to show that the Puritans frowned upon bundling and its natural consequences. But the arm of Puritanism was not long enough to reach districts remote from Puritan centers. The ob- jectors were bundled into their graves, and their be- spoken daughters and sisters still throve. No stigma attached to the past of families on London Road, although their descendants followed other counsels. Good people may make their own customs, and their lives vindicate them. I had preserved Mr. Schroeder's treatise on bun- dling as of religious origin for insertion at this point, but I cannot make his theory fit the facts as they were imparted to me. Part of the treatise on the subject in Woodward's "Washington" is more ap- plicable. Woodward say,: "The nights were cold; there was usually only one fireplace, before which all the family sat. Squalling children and prosy old men cluttered the stage and made love's tender pas- sages very difficult, if not impossible. But under the warm blankets in the darkness of the bed room, conversation was much more pleasant and decidedly easier." Mr. Woodward's further quotations on the theme descend to ribaldry, and I cannot follow him. As one who in his youth performed much irksome labor in the preparation of fuel for stove and hearth, I am inclined to view bundling as a justifi- able recourse to save firewood. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 95 4 -- BROTHER TO THE OX. In the spring of 1873, having turned 16, I com- manded wages of $16 per month for the season, May-October inclusive. The situation had waxed serious. When every day meant half a dollar to the employer, or more than that counting out Sundays, one was expected to deliver the goods in the shape of service and performance. So from Deacon Shel- ley's I went down the hill and on beyond the Flat, and worked for Gene Fuller. Three generations composed the family: Christopher Fuller and his wife -- he was, a carpenter engaged in building a barn on the County Farm; Gene and his wife, and their children. Gene proved to be a boyish man who would rather stop and throw stones at a mark than assiduously cultivate crops. The farm was a large one; the soil fertile; the pasture ran further up on Mount Gilboa than I ever explored. Sheep, cattle, and turkeys flourished. That summer I learned to shear sheep. I have not since had enough use for the accomplishment to atone for the pain that Fuller's flock suffered at my hands. I harbored always a friendly feeling for oxen and they were patient with me. When quite a small boy I had been sent into the barnyard to yoke a pair of cattle that weighed about sixteen hundred each, and towered a foot or more above my head. To yoke oxen one withdraws the right-hand bow from the yoke and carries it in his fist, while with the yoke and the undetached bow under his left arm, he approaches the off ox. The ox, which may be lying down, erects himself slowly, hind end first, and looks pla- 96 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT cidly and not with disfavor at this insect that has interrupted his restful period. The insect hooks this off ox with the bow, which is like the letter U, and pulls the top toward him far enough almost to twist off the animal's head, so that the open ends of the bow may be inserted and pinned into the yoke, which he is not strong enough to raise to a level. The insect then goes to the other end of the yoke, elevates it, and takes out the other bow. Hav- ing hooked the off ox, as aforesaid, he looks around for the near one. That animal has been an interested @@@@ GOOD FRIENDS spectator of the proceedings so far, and when he sees the insect making frantic demonstrations to- ward himself with the empty bow, he sighs and moves forward, even lowering his head to lift the yoke, in contempt of the insect's effort to raise it to the level of his neck. The oxen may have mis- taken the insect for a calf because of its knock- FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 97 kneed legs resembling their front ones. He gives the word in a small voice which he tries to make a large one, and the oxen humor him by moving ahead and letting him think he is driving them. In Maine they handled oxen with a goad, a four- foot whipstock with a quarter-inch brad in the smaller end. The cruelty of its use caused me dis- tress when I was yet very small, and I never forgot it. As in some ways the hired farm hand is brother to the ox, I became class conscious without knowing economics. NOTE. -- OUT of a letter from a New Hampshire girl who long has been a grandmother I purloin a few words: "I think grandpa and aunt had quite a trial one winter when you and I were with them. 'George, have you watered the horse?' -- 'Sarah, have you got the potatoes?' 'No,' and it was every day. You loved to read and I loved to play. That was long ago." Yes, it has been quite a spell since that winter. "George, have you watered the horse?" says grandpa. He asked again in an hour whether I said No or Yes. Sarah loved to play, certainly; she loved to laugh also, and she had the lips and the teeth to make a good deed shine in a naughty world. I married a girl who laughed like Sarah. That old horse was a white one that gave a close imi- tation of a snowstorm when shedding his coat, unless I "carded" him with care and vigor. And we hitched him up to an ancient "pleasure wagon," or so grandpa called the vehicle used for driving rather than farming pur- poses. I was sometimes privileged to "carry" Sarah in it. There was room for four like us on its wide seat. On one occasion, as we drove away, a girl without feel- ing or manners observed that we looked as if we were "going off to get married." And Sarah laughed. I hope she is laughing still. 98 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 4 -- THE WORTHY ELLIOTT WEYMAN. On this road where my sixteenth season "fleeted" by (talk of the fleeting days of youth, they are the longest in life's calendar) a man lived named Elliott Weyman who was the first person I had ever heard to question the truth of the Bible and the justice of the God whose biography it contains. They called Mr. Weyman a spiritualist. Every doubter was a "spiritualist" to the church people there, who seemed not to have heard of any other unbelievers in the Christian religion than these and the heathen in distant lands. His skepticism had been excited by reading the book of Job. The devil harassed Job, he owned, but God "put him up to it." All of the afflictions of men, said Mr. Weyman to me, were due to the trickery and treachery of God, who also let his own son fall into the hands of his enemies,' and then, forsook him. Weyman regarded the fu- ture life of the individual as problematical; hence those Christians who were worrying about their title to the mansions they placed in the skies might be "barking up the wrong tree." On the other hand, the continued existence of people here on earth was assured by their propensity to reproduce them- selves; therefore, any act, large or small, which im- proved the world was that much clear gain for the people. So Mr. Weyman, following out the thought spent the last years of his life in planting small pine trees on some acres of his land that were too steep for cultivation. It was pure philanthropy, for he could not hope to live until the trees grew large enough to add value to the land. Weyman, FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 99 when his time came, was buried near the grove he had created. I saw his trees about 1914. They had grown up tall and straight, some of them near a foot through at the butt. His little saplings had become a stand of pine, a worthy memorial to a worthy man. Of this season's experience, or want of it, there is nothing to report. There could be no story here except one of long days laboriously spent and obliv- ious nights. Late rising invited sarcasm. When my brother, employed in a printing-office, informed me that he went to work at 7 A.M., I inquired what he did with his spare time in the morning. An inci- dent of this summer was my oversleeping once and hearing a querulous voice under my window inquire whether I cal'lated to stay in bed all day. Said the voice: "Come on, get up; it's 5 o'clock!" I was half an hour behind time. That season, for the first time, I went into the hayfield with a scythe, on equal terms with men; first cradled and bound oats and rye. The cradle was no new-fangled imple- ment; on the contrary, quite ancient; yet some farmers there were who still reaped their grain with a sickle to save the stalk from breakage. Straw with its integrity so preserved commanded a sale for use in sucking lemonade. Farmers raised corn for the sake of the grain; women would not make brown-bread or johnnycake with Western meal. The era preceded the intro- duction of the silo and the planting of corn to be cut when green, chopped and stored therein to feed milk cows. The furniture of barns included 100 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT a "feed cutter" designed to prepare meals for horses. Came the thrashing machine and that later contraption, the hay press, with their crews of wild young men sophisticated by wide travel -- they'd been in every town in the county, pretty near, they boasted. In Denman Thompson's "Old Homestead," Uncle Josh Whitcomb, who lived in Swanzey, next to Keene, says to a young man: "John, I was a wild coot when I was your age. Yes, sir. Ran with a thrashin'-machine three years!" The hay- pressing gang were equally untamed. They went as far north as Bellows Falls and south even to Fitzwilliam. One of them skinned me by selling me a watch, on which, the cases not proving to be of solid gold, I was out three dollars. 5 -- MY STATION RISES I left the Fuller place, in the fall, with a flourish, in a very neat rig, a nimbly stepping roan horse and a single-leaf side-spring buggy, driven by Em- erson Franklin, who had hooked me for the winter. This Franklin was a bachelor of near 50, who lived alone in a house he owned at Westmoreland village, doing his own housework and cutting men's clothes and hair. He offered no pay and required no ser- vice of me except taking care of his horse. What he wanted of a boy I didn't understand, as more than an hour a day spent on a horse would be idle time. I found out after I had been with him for a while. He had an epileptic seizure of a night, when all his muscles tied themselves into knots and had to be smoothed out. The first scare over, I came to view the infrequent seizures calmly as part of the job. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 101 I remained with Franklin for two years; and this proved, as it were, the life. The days were free; after dark the boys came for company and to play eucher. He cut my clothes and taught me straight handsewing evenings and rainy days. By way of outside employment there were teams to be driven, wood to be sawed, and always farm work in sea- son. The cordwood that I reduced to stove length filled large sheds. Old Doctor Simmons's work, most of which I did, included the sawing of ten cords of wood. The doctor prepared a nervine known as prickly ash bitters, a favored restorative in the hayfield. Traffic in it supplemented his prac- tice and the sale of clocks. When clocks first be- gan to be actuated by springs instead of weights, a good-sized mantel clock sold for twenty dollars. A younger physician had the practice in the village. The old Doc played it rather low down on me once, I thought and still think. A man who lived a mile out of town owed him a hundred dollars, borrowed money, and he sent me to see if I could collect it, with instructions to say that the doctor stood very much in need of the sum. The debtor was a deacon in the Congregational church, but sometimes called Colonel. Deacon was his Sunday title; Colonel his secular and military handle. They told of him the story that when he went to Concord as representa- tive of the town, a Westmoreland woman at the capital saw him joining some other members in a drink of milk punch; and when she taxed him with the indulgence, he replied with dignity, and to her satisfaction: "Madam, I have never in my life 102 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT taken liquor except as a beverage." Well, when I faced him with the request that he should liquidate Dr. Simmons's note, he was all the Colonel and the Statesman. "Young man," he said, "when I needed the sum of one hundred dollars, I went and borrowed it. You may return to Dr. Simmons and say I advise him to do the same." In Westmoreland I came near losing my head, with the bell of the Unitarian church as the exe- @@@@ THIS OLD CHURCH cutioner. Will Barber, the minister's son, was pul- ling the rope, "setting" the bell; that is, turning it mouth upward. When he eased off on the rope the bell came down and did its stuff with a loud double clang. Being ignorant of how this effect was pro- duced, and wishing to learn, I climbed to the belfry and put my head through an aperture into the bell's apartment. The bell rope lay in a groove on the outer circumference of a big wheel, or spoked sheave, with the bell depending from its shaft. Pul- ling on the rope turned the sheave and oscillated FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 103 the noise producer. In introducing my head I must have thrust it between the spokes. The bell being "set" and at rest, I devoted a few seconds to in- spection. Then a loud creak startled me and I backed out. The bell was returning. The descend- ing spoke of the sheave took my cap, but I got away with my head. On two occasions I naturally ought to have been obliterated. The first one happened in old man Brockway's sawmill in the South end of Surry. He @@@@ BROCKWAY'S MILL ran an up-and-down saw seried with ferocious teeth an inch long. I turned in to help him saw some saplings that were so slender that, teetering with the motion of the saw, they must be sat upon to control the vibration. Brockway went to dinner and left me sawing. The work had no difficulties, for the saw stopped automatically at the end of the cut, "niggering back" was a simple if thrilling adventure, and the log could be moved over for the next cut 104 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT by raising and lowering a lever, while starting the saw required nothing but putting the foot on a wooden pin and bearing down. Continuous sitting on the buckin, saplings, however, tended to weary the flesh. It also made the mind less alert, for when Brockway came back he found me astride a log, gazing intently at the teeth of the saw as each stroke brought me an inch nearer to them, and utterly oblivious of anything else. He grabbed my arm and yanked me off the log, when I had come within a few ups and downs of having my head split open. Three times and out, considered as a rule, scores a failure here. There are exceptions to all rules. I escaped once more. Behold me carting phosphate, with a yoke of cattle, from the North Depot to East Westmoreland, and having a dozen barrels aboard, weighing a ton and a half. Oxen hold back re- luctantly when a heavy load is pushing downhill, and small blame to them, with the tongue of the cart thrashing about and the yoke knocking against their horns. On starting down a sharp dip in the road, I jumped off the cart to go to their heads, for we were gathering speed. I landed on a rolling stone, and sat down in front of a cartwheel. The tire took the bark off by backbone; the hub belted me in the head; yet I scrambled to my feet and got in front of the cattle in time to slow them down and avert a wreck. The performance could not be suc- cessfully repeated with a thousand chances. When I dropped from the cart upon the rolling stone and sat down I should have fallen backward in front of the wheel and lost my daylights. CHAPTER VI. 1 -- THE GIRL INTRUDES. IN the next few years after I came to 14 I drew only feebly with the girls. They paid me no attention and but few times did I wish it other- wise. We he-fellows regarded as effeminate the boy whom the girls favored. As I advanced further into the adolescent period the gulf widened on account of the bluff I put up to mask my timidity when girls were by. The school girls of fifteen or sixteen with- out exception neither looked at me incitingly nor spoke to me. However, when I returned there with more assurance, after a stay in New York, they ex- ercised their powers of speech and had learned to look. One of them, in a way, explained the cold spell between us at school. To my astonishment she said they considered me "too conceited" over a few times that, when the rest of the class hadn't the answer ready, it had been my luck to remember it. Those awful examples in arithmetic! Teacher called one scholar and then another to the black- board; always it was an example they hadn't done. Teacher asked, finally, if anyone in the class had worked that problem, and my hand went up, fol- lowed by myself at the board, making homely figures, marking down the answer, known of course before- hand, and swaggering to my seat. It was simply, why -- annoying! It would have been kinder on my 105 106 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT part, this one thought, if I had kept my hand down and given them another try at the example. Thus I saw that in my nervousness, I had behaved like a chump -- that Thackeray was right when he said a boy was an ass; and I have no hope at all that my error will help any other boy through that trying period of life and girls. One teacher at that epoch when I was in a state of ignorance as to the worth of a lass really made overtures toward comradeship. She raised my temperature by stopping beside my desk when going down the aisle, and brushing the shoulder of my coat with her hand or straightening the part in my hair by turning, a hank over on the side where it belonged. With such contacts and with out-of-school meetings, or walks that just hap- pened, we acted like one of those engaged couples where the man has lost his enthusiasm, for I was so much of an idiot as to take the passive and recep- tive part. Only boys of the age I had then reached will approve my attitude, or understand me. Later I wrote cynically of this episode: "The school is done and the winter sped; The schoolmarm and I, we drift apart, And Romance I. lies cold and dead On the fresh green grave of a broken heart. Go plant the willow and cypress tree, Hang up the handsled out of reach. I will get the parson to measure me, And take my size for a funeral speech." My original offense is aggravated by this rhythmi- cal performance and I now wish to register contri- tion and regret. What of merit has man ever done that he should be worthy to have a woman mindful FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 107 of him? And when a girl touches him and her hand trembles and her color comes and goes, and she is ready to forgive and weep for his faults, and then he only grins at her, what does the overgrown lum- mox deserve except that his neck should be quickly and unfixably broken? Yet others of womankind have a way of avenging disregard of one -- they are all for each and each for all. It couldn't have been long before the goddess of retribution took me in hand and reduced me to a girlward condition so imbecilic that I could indite the following defeatist verses: "If the love of another should gain you, Let me dwell in your memory alone; Or if thought of my solitude pain you, Forget me as one never known. As the flowers of last season have perished That budded and bloomed and are fled So the blossom of love that I cherished, When the summer departed was dead." The time and the place and the girl have escaped me. I do not know when or where or to whom I inscribed these lines, nor can I explain now why I ever came to write that mush. But I quote it so that the worst may be over. This work is "The True George Macdonald," and I have never done anything else so bad that it wasn't a virtuous act compared to that one. Two young persons, girl and boy, see each other at short intervals covering a considerable length of time, and are as distant as though they had never met, until all of a sudden something jumps across between them, and at once they are appreciative 108 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT friends -- chums. They find and confess that they had always taken notice of each other, and "Don't you remember?" coming from her to him reveals that all the time he thought her indifferent she has been taking notice and can recite his local history more accurately than he could do it himself. And then separation for all time -- or death. "For some we loved, the loveliest and the best That from his Vintage rolling Time bath prest, Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before, And one by one crept silenty to rest." The lovely girl who on my return so held the mirror that I could take a look at myself as others saw me was at the time she did so already on her silent and pitiful way to the Great Rest, under sen- tence of death from tuberculosis, there known only as "consumption," which was ever the scourge of New England maidenhood. In a circle that would embrace a population of scarcely one hundred, I could name half a dozen young girls, pretty beyond words, who died as virgin sacrifices to the white plague. 2 -- THIS WAS RURAL NEW HAMPSHIRE. That town of Westmoreland -- and you must ac- cent the West and almost ignore the second syllable by calling it mer -- has a small population, no com- mon center, and many districts. I have mentioned neither Parkhill, Poocham, nor the Glebe. Park- hill got its first name since my day. Formerly it was The Hill. On its top is a Congregational church where Samuel P. Putnam went once to preach. The FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 109 view up the Connecticut Valley from there makes the most beautiful postcard I ever saw. Poocham is a detached settlement; and what the Glebe is I never could find out. In England the income of glebe land is part of ecclesiastical graft. Once this glebe may have been so devoted, since New Hamp- shire formerly made public grants for the support of the Protestant ministry. It irks me to shift from the subject of girls to the unrelated one of surviving Puritan manners and morals, now probably extinct, but my observations in the rural parts of New Hampshire, with reading extending further back, convince me that the cus- toms and characteristics of the people down there who lived at a distance from the ignoble strife of the crowd had changed little since the Revolution, or even since the Colonial period; and they spoke the speech brought to their shores by the Pilgrim fathers; those living coastwise using the vocabulary of the sailors on the Mayflower. I sincerely believe that more changes have taken place there since 1870 than had occurred in the previous century. My boyhood saw the passenger and mail-carrying stage- coach go rocking by on thorough-braces attached to C springs, the driver delivering parcels and collect- ing letters to be mailed. Would not Thomas Paine have seen the same vehicle in the New England of his period? The fathers of the families used flint- lock firearms, and neither the guns nor the flints had become antiques when I handled them. Many a farmer's lantern was of tin, elaborately perforated -- holes shaped like stars, crescents and triangles -- 110 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT with a socket for a candle inside. The candle pro- vided domestic illumination; snuffers, a pair of shears surmounted by a small apartment to receive the burnt wick, belonged to the outfit. The an- nouncer of evening meetings ignored the sun and the clock, and called for a gathering "at early candle- lighting." I assisted, while in Surry, at candle dip- ping, which is the old way of manufacturing candles. Given a large and deep receptacle, a wash boiler, full of melted tallow, the dipper draped his wicks in a row over a stick, and lowered them into the hot fat. They were lifted out for the grease to harden, and then dipped again and again until they carried enough tallow for a candle. Lamps still burned whale oil. In Jonathan Shelley's house the kerosene lamp, lately acquired, was viewed with apprehen- sion by the women. Only the deacon himself handled it, and he stood at arms' length to touch it off, as if its wick had been a fuse. Professional men wore shawls as pictures show they did or still may do in Europe. Overcoats were called surtouts, and that is what George Washing- ton called his. When Elijah Mason, a man of 60- odd, put on his best clothes to visit a lady and solicit her hand in marriage, he wore a low plug hat, a blue coat, much cut away as to the skirts, and a buff waistcoat, with close breeches that made him look like the picture of John Bull. Manners were manners. A farmer's daughter, on my being introduced to her, cast down her eyes, put her right foot behind her left, and lowered her- self until her skirts touched the ground. It was FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 111 the polite gesture, of which old folks spoke, called "dropping a curtsy." Another reference: In a seventeenth century play a female character speaks: "Very well, and how did madam receive all this fine company? -- with a hearty welcome, and curtsy with her bum down to the ground, ha?" That would be a deep curtsy. Uncle Eliphaz Field, who learned his manners just after the Constitution of the United States was adopted, having been born about 1785, responded, when presented to a lady from Boston, by bowing very low, putting out his hand to one side with a small flourish, and saying: "Your sarvant, Ma'am." I saw no looms going, but spinning-wheels were in common use. My aunt spun and dyed the wool she knit into our stockings. In the attic were wheels like the distaff, and quill-wheels, and a hetchel for breaking up flax. Nothing mentioned in New England history ap- pears very old-fashioned to me, not even the new England morals lately described by Rupert Hughes. The scenes of my boyhood knew them all -- including sabbath-violation by walking otherwise than rever- ently to and from church -- but without the penalties. The Constitution, guaranteeing religious liberty, taken seriously by our New England ancestors of a few generations back, certainly did revolutionize their ideas in this respect; and to a large extent it killed off puritanism at the same time. "The right of every man to worship God according to the dic- tates of conscience" is a phrase I heard oftener sixty years ago then I do now. The descendants of the Puritans quoted it. 112 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT The new "religions" of the nineteenth century, Perfectionism, Mormonism, Eddyism, and virtually Spiritualism, sprouted from the free religious soil of New England; where also were cultivated Emerson and Theodore Parker and the Unitarians. I would not affirm that New England morals as I saw them had improved since the Puritans practiced them; but the witch-chasers were gone, if not all belief in witches. Our neighbor, Aunt Achsah Mason, who at sixty had never seen a railroad train, put a heated horseshoe in her churn before pouring in the cream. The efficacy of a hot horseshoe as a defense against witches is well attested. A real Puritan reformer, a Cotton Mather, would have been kept as busy there in my country as the Watch and Ward Society was in Massachustes in 1927 suppressing modern fiction. The customs of the too ardent fathers, mentioned in connection with "bundling," had not passed away, yet nobody started a movement for their abolition. The people seemed to be wholly incurious regarding one an- other's sexual affairs. When they had anything to say about a birth closely following a wedding, they said it with a smile, and remarks when made did not go beyond broad joking. The selectmen investigated cases of illegitimacy on complaint, the man at fault paying the girl $300 if he did not choose to run or to marry. Being forced to make good in this amount was remembered longer against a man than the offense whereby he incurred the penalty; and a quarrel between neighbors must go far toward a personal encounter before he would be twitted of that. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 113 3 -- THE PURITANS MADE A MESS OF IT. Treatises of considerable volume on the morals of the Puritans, the colonies, and early New Eng- land have been written. Long ago were issued a few numbers of a magazine called "The Times," in which Professor Giddings of Columbia University began a promising string of articles on "The Natural history of New England Morals." The end of the magazine was the end of the articles so far as I am aware. Reading them was like reading about People I Have Known. ln 1925 Rupert Hughes devoted a series to "The Facts About Puritan Morality" in the Haldeman- Julius Monthly. Mr. Hughes quoted the list of offenses that had been committed not so much in Note -- When I was at Gene Fuller's in East Westmore- land, his oldest boy had reached the age of 10, and there were two younger. The second one has been gathered to his fathers in the little burying-ground where four genera- tions of the Fullers are laid away. The youngest one is a school superintendent in Lancaster, N.H. The one who was 10, now 65, has learned of the publication of these memories and writes me at length from the Pacific Coast, where he occupies a responsible position in a medical institution. He has made good. ... The writer must watch his step. The husband of the granddaughter of one of the most interesting women I have mentioned as residing in Walpole is reading The Truth Seeker now. The Surry girl of classic beauty who forwarded the skull to me in New York about 1884 sends now an admonitory letter from St. Paul, in Minnesota, chiding this author a little severely for recalling forms of speech that were not nice, and censurable customs that have become obsolete in the old neighborhoods. She mentions at the same time a book with a religious motive which she prefers to my work. 114 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT spite of, as perhaps because of, the prevailing fun- damentalism. But the most hideous features of the record are not the offenses but the punishments in- flicted. Count all of the real crimes committed, and still the magistrates who imposed the harsh pen- alties for slight breaches of the moral code were really the infamous Criminals. Here is a famous sentence imposed on the pioneer Secularist, Roger Williams, September 3, 1635: "Whereas Mr. Roger Williams, one of the elders of the church of Salem, hath broached & dyvulged dyvers newe & dangerous opinions, against the authoritie of magis- trates, has also writt letters of defamation, both of the magistrates & churches here, & that before any conviction, & yet mainetaineth the same without retraction, it is therefore ordered that the said Mr. Williams shall departe out of this jurisdiction within sixe weekes nowe nexte ensucing, which if hee neglect to performe, it shall be lawfull for the Governor & two of the magistrates to send him to some place out of this jurisdiction, not to returne any more without license from the Court." If a person swore in 1635, as did Robert Short- house and Elisabeth Applegate, he or she was sen- tenced to have the tongue put into a cleft stick, "& to stand so by the space of haulfe an houre." The penalties the Puritans inflicted cured none of the habits for which they were prescribed. Swearing was the rule two hundred and twenty-five years later, and punishment for it unknown. So of the notoriety of public acknowledgment forced upon "Temperance, the daughter of Brother F______ now the wife of John B__________, having been guilty of the sin of fornication with him that is now her husband." In those Puritan days Mis- FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 115 tress Temperance had to stand before the whole congregation and profess to bewail her great wick- edness; and this after her marriage to John! In the seventeenth and early part of the eighteenth century cognizance was taken of many such cases; and there were plenty of them, for "the records of the Groton church show that of two hundred per- sons owning the baptismal covenant there from 1761 to 1775, no less than sixty-six confessed to fornica- tion before marriage." These were baptized per- sons who had received the Holy Ghost. At Brain- tree, Mass., of sixteen couples admitted to full com- munion, nine had confessed to premarital relations. And they also had the baptism. The Braintree con- fessions belonged to the period of the Great Awak- ening (religious revival), 1726 to 1744. The in- formation is taken by Mr. Hughes from "A Social History of the American Family" by Arthur W. Calhoun, Ph.D. Dr. Calhoun opines that "dis- cipline probably stiffened about 1725." Discipline hadn't stiffened on London Road one hundred years after that date unless Uncle Lewis Aldrich was an untruthful man. An exception to what a man could do in the colonies and escape punishment was furnished by a scalawag minister named Lyford, the first preacher to be sent over from England, who, it is true, was exposed and condemned by Governor Bradford and Cotton Mather, but he never had to stand in the pillory nor pay a fine. The faculty of preaching was withdrawn from him, and he went to Virginia, where, says Bradford, "he shortly after dyed, and so I leave him to ye Lord." Cotton Mather, in his 116 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT account of the same Lyford, introduces a modern note by referring to the "eminent worthy stranger" as "this bird." The Rev. Lyford was a bird. As to the particular misconduct of Lyford, Mather says: "But the sum of the testimonies deposed upon oath before the magistrate, December 7, 1699, by several women of unblemished reputation, is that he would often watch opportunities of getting them alone, and then would often affront them with lewd, vile and lasciverous carriages." Now, since the same sort of women-chaser is found every day among the clergy in our own times, Puritan morals cannot be especially taxed with lyford. But Lyford after all had to go. To the contrary, in the town of Surry, N.H., in the '60s, such a preacher plied his trade and made his propositions to the women, and yet remained there till he died a natural death. He would "often watch opportunities of getting them alone." He got one of them alone at a house, where he stayed overnight, by pretending that he had a cold, for which the remedy was catnip tea, and asked to have some of that decoction brought to him after he had got into bed. A girl took the catnip tea to him, when he told her of his ruse and affront- ed her by saying that she was herself the medicine he desired. The girl made a disturbance, and the story got out. His lasciverous carriages ended his preaching, but not his residence in the vicinity, where he was afterward known as the Rev. "Cat- nip" Allen. He was a bird. The Puritans, among whom illegitimacy was fre- quent enough, dealt sternly with the women. Cal- houn says; "In 1707 a woman was sentenced to be FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 117 set on the gallows, received thirty stripes on her naked back, and forever after to wear the capital A" (for adulteress). Naturally the records are loaded with cases of infanticide. The bearers of illegitimate children took that chance to avoid de- tection and to escape being set on the gallows. As in the part of New England that I know the girl who gave birth to an illegitimate child suffered no physical punishment, tales of infant slaying never reached my ears. In Westmoreland village I knew four illegitimates, three of school age and one younger. They held their heads up with the rest, suffering no social disability. Being safe from the gallows and stripes, the mothers had not tried to conceal their error by committing infanticide. In that same town of a thousand population, two men lived in polygamy, having two women apiece, spoken of as So-and-so's "wives," first and second. Nobody cared. On the Surry end of the London Road dwelt a farmer's son with the widow of a neighbor, deceased. If they ever were married it was not until she had borne him a boy, who lived nearby the last time I was in New Hampshire. Right there once lived also a good man with the daughter of a neighbor as a maid. Tradition said she be- guiled him into marrying her by going home to her mother and disguising herself with a pillow. To the contrary, another tradition, which might have been a real slander, said that she worked for him under promise of wages, and he reckoned it was more economical to marry her than to pay the wages. At any rate, they were married; and I heard a young woman make merry over the guileless remark of the 118 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT wife that their marriage "did not change anything." They "went right on just as before." They were a worthy couple respected by their neighbors. No longer ago than 1914, visiting one of these towns, I noted the comment of my hostess concern- ing a young couple domiciled within a few hundred yards -- the man being employed by the lady's hus- band -- that for the children's sake John and Marie ought to get married, as she was having a new baby every year or two. The lady's tone was judicial, not minatory, nor such as might be expected of the late Mrs, Elizabeth Grannis, who, with the cooperation of an upstate Episcopal bishop, procured the pas- sage of a law by the New York legislature to abolish adultery. I am not here "exposing" the morals of the New Englanders of my childhood. They had to live. The blots on the reputation of the Puritans are not their human failings, but the inhuman punish- ments they inflicted. And of my own New England, or the part of it I know, I speak in praise for the forbearance that makes it gloriously different from the New England of the Puritans, and unspeakably more humane. They were the spiritual heirs not of Cotton Mather but of Roger Williams. The moral- ity which the Puritan clergy and the magistrates under them tried to enforce, made no allowance for nature, which raised and asserted itself in spite of their ferocious discipline. Contemplating the varia- tions from rule that I have mentioned as known personally to me, going on sixty years ago, I am moved to ask whether the happiness of mankind would have been appreciably enhanced if all or any FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 119 of these people who had made mistakes in their pur- suit of happiness had been dealt with according to the methods of the Puritans. The irregularities, after all, may not have been in sum more than one- half of one per cent. at any time, but what a mess the Puritans made of it with their scant material! When the punishment is twice as bad as the offense and the judge more vicious than the accused, I am not on the side of the court, nor enthusiastic for the prosecution. 4 -- "NEW MORALS FOR OLD" If I wanted to argue that morality is dynamic rather than static, and may occasionally get a move on itself, I could point out that my predecessors in rural New England were progressive beyond their day. In 1924 the New York Nation published articles on "New Morals for Old." Isabel Leavenworth contributed one on "Virtue and Women." Mrs. Leavenworth stated: "I recently heard an elderly Boston lady make a remark which expressed the horror commonly aroused by any conduct which endangered the distinction between the two classes [the respectables and the "other" or common women]. 'Do you know,' she said, 'I heard that a young man of our set said he and his friends no longer had to go to girls of another kind for their enjoyment. They can get all they want from girls of their own class'." Fifty-four years before the date of the paper printing the article by Mrs. Leav- enworth, and in a New England city ninety miles 120 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT from Boston, I was helping a farmer to deliver a load of hay. A house next door was occupied by the "other" kind of women. One of them made her appearance, and the farmer, agreeing with her that it was "a nice large day," and telling her where the hay grew and how much of it he was carting to market, inquired sociably, "How is business with you?" She replied that business was slow, and that to tell the truth there were "too many amateurs in that town for an honest woman to make a decent living at her profession." She spoke with scorn of women and girls "holding their heads up" and at the same time keeping the bread from the mouths of their betters, as you might say. Now if what this "other" woman said was true, and if what the elderly lady described was a phenomenon of 1924, then in "new morals for old" this New Hampshire town in 1870 was about a half century in advance of Boston, Mass. However, anyone who accepts either of these women for gospel does so at his own peril. But why take chances? Let a man make a guess. Mine is that the girl of a young man's own class cuts into the business of the other woman not by supplying the same kind of "enjoyment," but some- thing better and finer. If a young man is in love with a girl of his own class, the other woman has lost him while he remains in that condition, even al- lowing the enjoyment is no more than the spectators see when lovers are on the stage. So that, let us say, if a young man can manage to keep himself in love with a good girl, he will not consider the "other" class at all, nor miss what they offer him. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 121 5 -- THE APPEAL TO LANGUAGE A famous passage in Lecky's "History of Euro- pean Morals," where he speaks of the prostitute, reads as follows: "Herself the supreme type of vice, she is ultimately the most efficient guardian of virtue. But for her the un- challenged purity of countless happy homes would be polluted and not a few who, in their pride of untempted chastity, think of her with an indignant shudder, would have known the agonies of remorse and despair. On that one degraded and ignoble form are concentrated the pas- sions that might have filled the world with shame. She remains, while civilizations rise and fall, the eternal priestess of humanity, blasted for the sins of the people." Mr. Lecky makes of the female members of the family alone the vessels that preserve the purity of happy homes, as if what the male members do out- side had no bearing upon it; whereas the chance is there that the impurity personified and distributed by the woman representing vice will be brought home. No; as I have said in a preceding paragraph, the eternal priestess of humanity is the Good Girl. The others are only the revivalists. On one of my last invasions of New Hampshire -- maybe in Gilsum, maybe in Alstead -- I saw a farmer who had gone to school with me in the winter of '69-70. Having shaken his rough but honest hand, I inquired whether anything worth mentioning had happened since we last met, which was at the date just given. He thought for a moment and then replied: "Wal, I don't know as there has." More than a third of a century had passed and nothing changed, 122 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT My hope to show that the rural New Hampshire people of seventy years ago were virtually what they had been before the Revolution, is strengthened by the appeal to language. They still spoke in the '60s the mother tongue the Pilgrims brought to America. A book of plays (already cited), written shortly after the Pilgrims set sail, that is, in the Restoration period, is full of Yankeeisms at which English writ- ers now poke fun. The Yankee "I guess" occurs two or three times in one play. The New England pronunciation of words like round is produced in the book by inserting the letter a before the o. I was shown when studying phonetics that the ow sound is made up of ah and oo (ah-oo), but for ah the Yankee pronunciation substitutes the sound of a as in cat,'and makes it a-oo. Try it. There occurs too, in this book written when our Pilgrim ancestors were alive, the phrase "going snucks" or snacks, meaning equal division. I heard that in New Hamps- hire; and I also find the reproachful words "lazing round," which I myself sometimes provoked. And then the comparison "as mute as a fish." Who has heard that? if anyone in the 1920s had known of the phrase, it would have been applied to President Coolidge. A farmer's wife in Surry used it of persons who were not saying anything. So I found "bawl" as an alternative for cry or weep; and the phrase, "Let her bawl; the more she cries the less," etc. -- a saying that cannot be completed without using biblical language, and I am not inspired. I have heard it in New Hampshire and nowhere else. James Russell Lowell's Introduction to "The Biglow Papers," gives many instances. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 123 We boys and girls who had been to school were irreverent toward such pronunciations by our elders as sarvant, 'arth, clark, and ile (for oil.) After doing my share of the laughing, I came to New York and heard those words pronounced soivant, oith, cloik, and erl. The people of my country did not say "leave that alone": they said let it alone. They didn't "blame it on": they laid the blame to. They rejected "like he did" and "like it was," and said as, or "the same as." They correctly discriminated in the use of shall and should, which have now gone into the discard, "will" and "would" taking their places. The woman at the table did not ask, "Will I help you to some of this?" She said "shall," and that usage is characteristic of past generations. Their stories and jokes were of an ancient flavor, belonging, like Dean Swift's, to an age when there were no modern conveniences, and were mal- odorous. The possession of a digestive tract they figured was a joke on one and all. Sex allusions were barred if women were present, and among men the digestive kind got the laugh. They were competent swearers, but as they had no Holy Name Society to discourage the taking of ghostly names in vain, their oaths were non-sexual, though to the last degree blasphemous. Located according to language, literature, and customs, these New Englanders represented the seventeenth century. They were true to their en- vironment. Nothing happened to change that, and they kept undeviatingly the even tenor of their way. The vernacular was almost destitute of slang; so was the vocabulary of New Yorkers at the time I 124 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT came here. Some Germanisms had followed the big immigration from the fatherland. The city accent and pronunciation misled me, and in one in- stance I set down a born and bred New Yorker for a foreigner, so different was his speech from my own. Some of its peculiarities survive, and I will mention them. Not long ago a youth employed by another tenant of the building I was in, came to me for the key to the hoistway door, explaining he wanted to "leave a case down in the hall." Now, what could be made of that? I let (he would say "left") him have the key, but asked him why the case (a box) should be disturbed if he wished to leave it down in the hall. It turned out he desired to lower the case, or to let it down into the hall. I surmise that "left" and "leave" came in with the Irish, because my friend Pat, the section hand -- he who, leaving out the Catholic, impeached the virtue of all churches claiming to be spouses of Christ -- was accustomed to use them; only he said "lift" and "lave." The difference between the two words is plain enough. To "let alone," for example, is not to disturb, harass, touch, or take. To leave alone any person or thing is to leave that person or thing in solitude. The terms are not interchangeable. A man says he can drink or leave it alone, but he cannot; he may leave the stuff himself, but it will always have other company. If his enemies cease to trouble him, he will say they have "left" him alone, meaning he is no longer harassed by them. But when, employing the term in the same sense, he remarks that since the death of his wife, rest her soul, he has been left alone, he implies that in FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 125 life she annoyed him. So these locutions, which I regard as highly unmailable, have not had access to The Truth Seeker since I began reading and revising manuscripts, if I saw them first. I have sworn eternal enmity to all of them, though it is a losing fight when they are admitted to The At- lantic Monthly, published in the heart of New Eng- land. 6 -- SPEAKING OF THE PILGRIMS. Between Pilgrims and Puritans there was a dif- ference that no longer persists in the common mind nor in all of the uncommon ones. President Roose- velt, at the Pilgrim anniversary in Provincetown, Mass., 1907, talked of none but the "Puritans." Now the difference, supposing one may be pointed out, is that the Pilgrims were an independent body of believers something like the Congregationalists (who are often as liberal as Unitarians), and that, unlike the Puritans, they preached religious free- dom for others as well as for themselves. In Eng- land they suffered persecution, as much in propor- tion by the Puritans as by the Established church. They left their native shores to escape both, and went to Holland, where they found the people so liberal that they (the Puritans) faced the prospect of being absorbed and assimilated by the Dutch- men. Their young men and women took them wives and husbands among the Dutch girls and boys, so that had the Pilgrims stayed in Holland, their organization would have gone to pieces, and 126 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT to save it they took ship for their native England, making port at Plymouth, but not allowed to come ashore. At that they up anchor and sailed away for America, establishing another Plymouth here. That, as the poetry of Mrs. Hemans puts it, "They left unstained what there they found -- Freedom to worship God," may be true of them, though false as to the Puri- tans who came later. These Puritans never harbored the impious notion of freedom of wor- ship. They would not tolerate it when at home in England, and so far as they were moved by religious impulses, and not by the commercial spirit and a desire to improve their circumstances, they quit England because they were not allowed to run that country. They were looking for a com- munity where they could force the people to adopt Puritan notions. To the, Puritans New England is indebted, if it owes them a balance, for its Fast and Thanksgiving days. Fast Day in New Hampshire was recognized but not observed. They imported Christmas later. The country churches possibly took note of it; the families I happened to be with on that anniversary paid it no attention, and the making of presents they reserved for New Year's day, which indeed was as happily celebrated as Christmas even by New Yorkers when I came here. That the Pilgrim fathers renounced Christmas observance is a matter of record. At the end of December, 1621, Gov- ernor William Bradford, who wrote a history of FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 127 "Plimoth Plantation," which contained an account of the voyage of the Mayflower, made this entry: And herewith I shall end this year. Only I shall re- member one passage more, rather of mirth, then of waight. On ye day called Christmas-day, ye Govr caled them out to worke, (as was used) But ye most of this new-company excused them selves, and said it wente against their con- sciences to work on ye day. So ye Govr tould them that if they made it mater of conscience, he would spare them, till they were better informed; So he led-away ye rest and left them; but when they came home at noone, from their worke, he found them in ye streete at play openly; some pitching ye barr, & some at stools-ball, and such like sports. So he wente to them, & tooke away their imple- ments, & tould them, that was against his conscience, that they should play, & others worke; if they made ye keeping of it mater of devotion, let them kepe their houses, but ther should be no gameing, or revelling in ye streets. Since which time nothing hath been atempted that way, at least epenly. (See next page.) In the old country excess of conviviality marked the celebration of Christmas. Thomas Carlyle al- luded to this feature. He himself forgot one sea- son the significance of December 25 when it dawned, and went about his usual occasions until he noticed that the public houses, which is to say the saloons, were doing more than their average volume of business. He saw people in numbers going in and coming out, and then remembered that it was "the birthday of their redeemer." Bradford was as oblivious as Carlyle. He could speak of December 25 without recognition of the redeemer's birth. So little mindful were the Pil- grims of the observance of this important anni- 128 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT @@@@ (page 128 taken up by a reproduced letter of Governor Bradford on ye day called christmas.) FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 129 versary that the entry of this date the year before, i.e., 1620, does not name the day, and indeed they do on it heavier work than usual: "On ye 15. of December they wayed anchor to goe to ye place they had discovered, & came within .2. leagues of it, but were faine to bear up again, but ye 16. day ye winde came faire, and they arrived safe in this harbor. And after wards tooke better view of ye place, and resolved wher to pitch their dwelling; and ye .25. day begane to erect ye first house, for comone use to receive them and their goods." Thirty years after Governor Bradford made his entry, that is, in 1659, a law was passed by the Gen- eral Court of New Hampshire "for preventing dis- orders arising in several places within this jurisdic- tion, by reason of some still observing such Festi- vals, as were Superstitiously kept in other countries, to the great dishonor of God and offense of others." The court therefore imposed a fine of five shillings on whosoever should be found observing any such day as Christmas either by forbearing to labor or by feasting. The law may long ago have been re- pealed, but my people were abiding by it when I left the state. Thanksgiving was the day the lid blew off, or was conscientiously removed. The laws of economy were for the time disregarded, and food set out with bewildering frequency, in large amounts and many varieties. I suppose that the fare provided by Aunt Nancy Shelley in 1872 duplicated that of the farmer's wife of one hundred years earlier -- chicken potpie for breakfast, with hot biscuits and smoking johnny cake; apple-pie too, if one desired; 130 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT and for the midday dinner, chickens, roasted, a wide choice of vegetables, and the holy trinity of pies -- mince, apple, and pumpkin -- all three included in one helping. That the family repaired on Thanks- giving Day to its customary place of worship I cannot trust my memory to affirm or deny; but my recollection would be that the family, augmented by children and grandchildren not living at home, opened up the front parlor that had been closed since last year, unless there had been a funeral, and "visited" when not eating. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER VII. 1 -- I TAKE LEAVE OF THE INVISIBLES. SURVEYS in recent years tabulate the disap- pearance or the abandonment of hundreds of country churches. That movement had begun in New Hampshire before I departed thence, and some churches supposed still to be active drew a small attendance. The Walpole Hill church was empty and decaying when I passed it on my way to school at the Hollow in 1870, its closing preceding that of the district school by several years. I went to Sunday school in Keene, Surry, and Westmoreland. Having thus heard a great deal about God's being everywhere present, I at the age of sixteen called on him for a showdown. The calling took place on top of Surry Hill, from which, as I have elsewhere said, all the rest of the universe was visible on a clear day. And this day was clear; the stillness so profound it could be heard. Having found a comfortable place to repose, on a mossy knoll, I bent my mind to the problems of the cosmos, to discover if peradventure I might think them out to a solution. Nothing having come of my mulling and pondering, I said aloud, addressing the welkin: "Here is the place and the moment for God to pro- duce himself and to tell me about things, He 131 132 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT might speak or he might appear." And I was al- most afraid he would. But my mind was made up and I persevered in the thought, keeping my eyes lifted and ears alert for about the space of half an hour. Still nothing happened. The sun con- tinued to shine, and the wind to blow, and the heavens to remain empty. There was no such pres- ence as favored Moses on Sinai. Not even the Devil came along, as I had heard he did to Jesus on an exceeding high mountain. I had said to God: "This is your chance to get me." Now I added: "You have missed your chance. Good-bye," and I arose from the mossy knoll and went my way, con- vinced that one of two things must be so: either I had been misinformed about the watchfulness of God over all my acts and his close attention to any prayers I might make, or else God had merely been imagined by the ministers; and I was a skeptic, a doubter, a disbeliever from that time on. I had heard a good many sermons, all more or less Fundamentalist, the Unitarian ones being as bad as the others, except for kindly omitting threats of hell. The Unitarian minister cast no doubt on the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible. Once the Rev. Mr. Barber of the Westmoreland Uni- tarian church, having asserted there was no passage of scripture -- not reconcilable with every other pas- sage, had his attention called by Deacon White to Proverbs xxvi, 4, 5. Verse 4 reads: "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him," and verse 5 reversed the injunction by enjoining: "Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit." Dr. Barber FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 133 labored the question for the best part of an hour, when he might have explained the contradiction in a minute by saying verse 5 was the comment of some other writer on the opinion of the author of verse 4. Or verse 5 might have been the second draft of the first writer, who forgot to strike out the words expressing the idea as it had come to him before. It made me tired. The first preacher ever really to hold my attention was the Rev. W.H.H. Murray, who, being on a lecturing tour, addressed some remarks to an audience in Keene on an occasion when I chanced to be there. The Rev. Murray talked about the people of the Orient and their virtues, and having extolled them highly, told his hearers, no doubt to their amazement, that when Christians had learned to be- have themselves as well as a Chinaman did, they might with less cheek say to the heathen, "Be like us." I was then more suspicious of Christianity than before. The days I went to Keene, which was no mean city, were the largest in the Almanac. If any old citizen remembers seeing a half-grown boy sitting on the rail that enclosed the Common, eating P.B. Hayward crackers out of a bag, then I am his ancient acquaintance. He might have seen me again while the Cardiff Gialit was in town. I distributed the handbills which notified one and all that this petrified proof of holy scripture -- the one and only individual survival of the days before the flood -- was now for, a short time in their midst and could be viewed for the pitiful sum of ten cents. I must 134 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT ignore the conversation of an obscene old man who descanted on the incompleteness of the early Chris- tians if this one was to be taken as a specimen of their manhood, and he proposed to take up a sub- scription to buy a better endowment for the giant than had been the puny gift of his mother. Should I visit Keene again, could I find anybody, I wonder, who remembers Rarey, the horse-handler, and his exhibition there? My uncle, who doubted that a boy could be properly trained without flogging and who worked out this scriptural theory on myself, had me go to witness the demonstration of this man Rarey who gentled horses without the use of the whip. 2 -- I MAKE A GEOGRAPHICAL CHANGE As the summer of '75 waned toward fall, my New Hampshire days dwindled without my being aware of their approaching close. I had before me at one time the prospect that Emerson Franklin, with whom I continued to live, would buy for me the old Ezra Pierce place, then for sale, and that I would settle down there as a farmer, probably married. Already I had looked the place over and in my mind had cleared it of stones to admit of cultivation, when orders came to proceed to New York and be a printer. This news getting about, I assumed a con- siderable importance in the community, which now took more notice of me than it ever had before and made my going away the topic of conversation. My acquaintances wagged their heads; the idea was a large one, not easily grasped. Men who had never been farther away than Brattleboro said: "What FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 135 business do you guess you've got going to New York? Them fellows there won't make two bites of you." Elias Chamberlain, a man of 80, had the curiosity to ask: "How soon are you expecting to go West?" York state was out West according to his memories of geography, which were as ancient as the century. So for the time I was an individual possessing interest, and more than one girl not previously eager for my acquaintance asked if I would write to her from the city. I accumulated for my entry into the metropolis an outfit of clothes highly satisfactory in my own regard. The near-purple cutaway coat was of a ribbed material known as "trico," worn by the best dressers; under this a waistcoat of black velvet, cut very low to reveal the bosom of a grass-colored shirt with a real collar and a string tie; below, a pair of tight trousers showing a delicate green stripe; and then a pair of calfskin boots with high heels; on my head a black slouch hat, and to cover all but the hat and the boots, a brown overcoat of the broad- cloth order. The color of some garment in that orgulous ensemble must appeal to any taste. There is preserved a tintype picture of myself as I then appeared. It could be used against me. The sentimentalist is on the lookout for pathos when he scans descriptions of the parting of a youth from his old home and friends; but all the regrets remain behind, to be felt by those who may have cause for sorrow in the prospect that they shall not see him again. It is by them that tears are dis- tilled. The one who is going away to new fields contrives to control his grief. His mind is on his 136 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT venture. Melancholy, if ever, attacks him when in later years he turns to look back. For the moment he knows none of that regret which may come to him when he is mature and his own children drift away. The pang is always theirs who stay. Were it otherwise, nobody, I suppose, would ever leave the place where he was born. I review my journey to New York with wonder that I should have ended it only twelve hours late, at my mother's house, instead of tying up in the port of missing gawks. My brother had written me full and sufficient directions, as they no doubt seemed to him, after he had made the trip twice; nor did he omit to urge upon me certain precautions which I was to observe. I had only, he wrote me, to take the train at Putney, Vermont, just across the Con- @@@@ BRITTON'S FERRY This is Westmoreland, N.H. The State of Ver- mont begins at Putney on the other side of the Con- necticut River. necticut river by way of Britton's Ferry from West- moreland (Putney is the town where the Oneida FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 137 Community began, the building that housed it be- ing still there in 1875); to change cars at New Haven, and then; on arriving at the Grand Central Depot, New York, to board a Fourth avenue horse- car and get out at No. 338. I would then be there, he said, and he should be glad to see me. But on the way, or en route, as he chose to phrase it, I was to cultivate no acquaintances whatever, talk to no strangers, and to reserve all confidences with other people until I knew whom I was speaking with. All this is conventional and sensible advice, but had I followed it I should indubitably have been lost. However, the counsel was of no avail. I immediately forgot all those words of wisdom, and before the train had made its first stop I was chinning with a young fellow-passenger, a city chap at that, and smoking my first cigar, which he alluded to, airily, as a Havana. I can today place that cigar as one of the brand that used to be handed out when the loser settled for a game of fifteen-ball pool at five cents a cue, including drinks. In a little while the wight had my name and pedigree. His own name, he told me, was William Jones, and he was oftener called Willie. So commonplace a name awoke at once my suspicions. It must be an alias, I shrewdly divined, and yet, foolhardy as it might be, I would follow the adventure through. He was smaller than I, anyhow, and would need his gang to help him carry out any sinister intentions he might have to- ward me. On the day's run from Putney to the metropolis, that boy told me more about New York than I have learned by being here most of the time for above 138 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT fifty years; and I have not been unobservant. He must have got his impressions of the city and its attractive wickedness from reading The Police Gazette. He painted the female peril in lively colors, and before we got to the last stop I knew just how to elude the sisterhood, designing or sinful. 3 -- DROPPING THE PILOT At the Grand Central, where I first heard the roar of the city, which I still catch at intervals, Willie tendered me his guidance, and asked, when we were in a street car, for the number of the house I got off at. I gave it as 335 Fourth avenue, and naturally we did not find the house, 335 being then the number of The Truth Seeker office on Broad- way. We inspect&d 335 Fourth avenue. It was a business building deserted and locked up, and I had not the slightest notion where we went from there "Never mind," said Willie Jones cheerfully, "I'll take you to my house tonight, and we'll have an- other look at this neighborhood in the morning." For such a little cuss, for so I looked upon him, he was very competent and commanding. He saluted a policeman with "Good evening, Officer," and urged the driver of the next conveyance we entered, which was a bus, to get downtown sometime tonight. It was 7 o'clock and dark, the month being Novem- ber. I had by now lost my sense of direction; knew not whither we were drifting; and Willie, having some surprises up his sleeve, smirked and was ret- FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 139 icent. We proceeded in fact to a ferry, over the river to Brooklyn, and into the streets of that city. He brought me soon to a building with a wide and brightly-lighted entrance, and there came to a stop. "This," I reflected, "is just one of those gilded palaces of sin, and pitfalls for the unwary." Actual- ly it was a variety theater, the first I had ever seen. After a consultation as to financial resources, and mine being found good, Willie did business at the ticket window, and we went in. As an awed spec- tator from a gallery seat, I saw that evening the play of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, with some other sketchy work, and the performances of an astonishing gymnast named Frank Gibbons. Willie Jones said with pride that he knew Frank person- ally, and had even shaken hands with him. When the curtain came down to rise no more for me on those enchanting scenes, Willie and I walked through the night to his house in Schermerhorn street, which from my recollections of it must have been a residence district of the first class. He let himself in with a key at a door in a brownstone front. We trod upon soft carpets and awakened no one, till he led me up the stairs and into a room which, as I saw when the gas had been lit, was furnished in the best of style. He produced two garments, since known to me as nightshirts. I let him put on one of the effeminate things before I committed myself to the other. He had seemed to divine that I carried none in my valise. Having slept as a tired boy was bound to do I awoke in the morning in the strange quarters to realize I had not been robbed; and after passing 140 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT through the first bathroom in my experience, and being well washed and combed, I tracked Willie to the dining-room, there to be introduced to an elderly female who might have been his relation but evident- ly not his mother. Her greeting to me lacked cordiality. Her manner said: "I wonder what ruffian has picked up Willie now," and held me responsible for his being out late. So the atmos- phere of the dining-room wanted warmth. When she asked him if he had kept up his reading while away he replied that he had read matter both re- ligious and secular, and found most enjoyment in the latter, which displeased her. Overnight my mistake about the house number in New York had corrected itself. Willie took me again to the metropolis, rang the bell of No. 338 Fourth avenue, saw my mother greet me. And so, having violated all the rules of travel laid down for the guidance of greenhorns, I came safely through, though delayed in transmission. When I turned to say good-bye to Willie, he had disappeared and I never saw him again. 4 -- THE TRUTH SEEKER AND D.M. BENNETT The Truth Seeker had been going for two years when I came to New York. D.M. Bennett began its publication in September, 1873, at Paris, Illinois, by way of replying to a clergyman who had access to local newspapers, while he had not. Bennett, having business instincts, capitalized his answers to the minister, and made his paper continuous. He FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 141 was one of those who can make money, but not always keep it. In 1894 I prepared the biographical sketch of Bennett for S.P. Putnam's "Four Hundred Years of Freethought." The incidents of his life, which I now take from that sketch, are, first, that he was born in Springfield, New York, December 23, 1818, two months earlier than he should have been, for the reason, that his mother overexerted herself in lifting a Dutch oven. Only for that maternal indiscretion he might have had a birthday in February with Washington and Lin- coln. He took four years of schooling in Coopers- town, N.Y.; worked in a printing-office and also at wool-carding, although he preferably would have studied medicine. At 15 he joined the New London Shaker community; ten years later had risen to be head of its medical department, and at 27 was the community physician. But he fell in love with the little Shakeress Mary Wicks, and she with him, and they left New Lebanon to marry, since Shakers had the eccentricity to be celibates. After a term as drug clerk in St. Louis, he went into business for himself and made money. In the '5Os, having tried the nursery and seed line in Rochester, he took the road as salesman and collector. In Cincinnati he manufactured proprietary medicines, waxing weal- thy, but as an investor, he lost $30,000. In 1868, in Kansas City, he dropped more money trying to sell drugs, and so went to making bricks on Long Island. Leaving this venture to go out as commercial travel- er, he turned apothecary once more, in Paris, Ill., and again was partner in a seed firm. Thence, hav- ing started The Truth Seeker, in 1873 he brought 142 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT @@@@ D.M. BENNETT IN 1873 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 143 his paper to New York the first of the following Year. About that time my brother, at 18, had set himself up as a printer. Bennett attended the New York Liberal Club that had been organized in 1869 and still continued. There he came into touch with the family. Eugene took the paper to print. In a short time Bennett bought Eugene out and engaged him as foreman. When I came on from New Hamp- shire to join the force, the paper was published at 335 Broadway, on the top (sixth) floor of a struc- ture called the Moffat Building, corner of Worth street. The editor's visitors took no elevator; they walked up five flights of stairs. On another top floor, at No. 8 North William street, half a mile distant, east by south, I found the printing-office, with a vacancy for an able-bodied devil who could sprinkle the floor with a sponge and sweep it with the remains of a broom; and I answered the descrip- tion. The approach to the Brooklyn Bridge, opened in 1883, now occupies the site of the building, and North William street is reduced to one short block. It was then as now the center of the printing busi- ness, and hard-by was the "Swamp," habitat of the leather trade. Bennett, now 57 years old, was a man of average height, small-boned, and carrying more weight of flesh than he ought, for one of his feet was deformed and he walked with a limp. His gray hair, worn long and getting thin, was retreating from his high forehead. His eyes were small and twinkling, with the puffiness beneath them which physiognomists used to say denoted the possession of a large vo- cabulary of words. He dressed in a loose gray 144 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT suit, and the fact that he habitually wore no tie or collar was concealed by gray whiskers. His picture shows what an observer first noted, that is, that he had a fine head. Not at all a full-blooded man was Bennett, nor of the sanguineous temperament, but pallid, with a translucent skin; his flesh not very solid nor his physique rugged. All of us called him Doctor. A man of humor he was, however; one who liked to poke the boys in the ribs and crack a joke. No man I ever saw could smile so genially or better appreciate the witticisms of the press. But he never wrote a piece of humor himself, except uncon- sciously. I one day put into type a piece of his copy in which he attributed the development of intel- ligence to improved means of observation; and he wrote gravely, in illustration: "The frog has op- portunities for observation superior to those of an oyster." Now I hold that the contemplation of an oyster, or even a frog, as an observer -- the one view- ing the world from the eminence of a log, the other suffering the serious handicap of being buried in the mud -- has a humorous appeal, but I am morally certain that Bennett never saw anything funny in the comparison. The Doctor did a great deal of writing by getting up early and working late. One number of his paper (March 23, 1878) contained this item: "In a late Crucible [he said] we notice the following complimentary notice of ourselves: 'D.M. Bennett of The Truth Seeker is one of the greatest workers we ever knew. He generally commences at 4 o'clock in the morning and works till 11 P.M. He deserves all the success he gets.' "We might amend this a trifle by saying that we have on a few occasions been known to lie abed until 5 A.M." FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 145 The paper quoted was Hull's Crucible, published in the state of Massachusetts, I believe, by Moses and Mattie Hull, advocates of Spiritualism. Mr. Hull acquired his knowledge of Bennett's working hours at first hand, for Bennett employed him for a while as a compositor. As a man of learning, he wrote and did public speaking. As a printer, he was far from being at his best. His proofs bore many marks, and I have somewhere else related, as touching on and appertaining to his skill, that one of the other printers took a proof that he had set, and pasting it on the wall, labeled it, "The Mis- takes of Moses." Mr. Hull wore a high hat. In this he was but one of three compositors known to The Truth Seeker printing-office who sported tiles. Another, a certain Mr. Clegg, not only came to work in a high and shiny beaver, but carried a cane for dress purposes. A third stovepipe compositor we called Professor, because he lectured at a Bowery Museum on the marvels there offered to view for a dime, but his hat lacked the glossiness of the one worn by Mr. Clegg, and was a habit of the professional man rather than of the natty dresser. 5 -- TYPESETTING MADE EDITORS THEN. By the fact of Mr. Hull's being an editor, I am reminded of the numerous future editors who handled Truth Seeker type. An able and studious young man named Thomas was the first to be graduated into the editorial class. He did a little such work on The Truth Seeker, and then in turn on The Sewing Machine Journal, on Science, and 146 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT on Power, a mechanical publication issued from the World building. An accomplished compositor named Moore, much interested in the fine points of the craft, got to be editor of a religious paper. An- other, of the name of Hammond, did city editing for a Boston daily. John Bogert turned Labor editor on Hearst's Journal. Will Colby, once our office boy, was on the editorial staff of The Cosmo- politan when Hearst bought that magazine of John Brisben Walker. You can add the two Macdonalds to The Truth Seeker comps. who doubled in edit- ing. For a small printing office it was a prolific school of journalism. Truth Seeker printers became competent. John Reed, a boy from Pennsylvania, after serving as an apprentice, changed to Funk & Wagnalls', where, he told me, they gave him the worst copy on the Standard Dictionary. Tommy Blake, another Truth Seeker apprentice, was soon foreman on one of the floors of the Funk & Wagnalls establishment. If Napoleon said of his soldiers, or of one divi- sion of them, that every man carried a marshal's baton in his knapsack, then it is not too much for me to observe that a printer's apprentice should carry in his head the possibilities of an editor or an author, or a critic, or at least an intelligent re- viewer. A compositor like the one who set, and the proof-reader who passed, Fiske's "Comic Phi- losophy" and Spencer's "Social Statistics"* is a source of danger in a printing-office. ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ *The titles mentioned are old ones. The point is that the philosophy of which Fiske discoursed was Cosmic, and Spencer preferred the word Statics. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 147 I changed the subject to say a few more words on my lamentable forgetfulness of good advice. Unless the reader skipped the part of my story that tells how I left New Hampshire, he knows that I went aboard the train across the Connecticut at Putney, Vt., en route for New York, well charged with precautions against getting picked up for a sucker, and that, disregarding the warning, I at once began to chum with a fellow I had never seen be- fore in my life. As it turned out, I could not have done better. I have stated likewise that this youth, in his superior wisdom, took some pains to make me aware of the city's menace, including the female peril. I never thought of that again either. The fact is that such things are not recognized when met. That is why men read the newspapers all their lives and then buy a gold brick. With the money to spare I should have purchased the first shiny brass ring a man who confessed he was no better than a smug- gler offered me at only a fractional percentage of its value; and less than ten years ago I gave a fellow 50 cents for a pair of gold-bowed glasses he had just picked up. I saw him pick them up. A by- stander told me he saw him drop them. The trick was not new to my reading; it was new only to my experience, and I fell for it. The glasses were of my size and I used them with satisfaction until my wife took them away from me because they made a green stripe across my nose. The futility of the warning of Willie Jones will soon appear. NOTE. -- A Westmoreland lady finds my story not above criticism on the score of impurity; but another New England reader writes: "I've been reading the Memoirs 148 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT aloud to my Missis -- who is an invalid. 'Twould do you good to hear the poor lady laugh. One learns, too, for we are both New Englanders and all you write is in our family tradition. We are both keen on Yankee history -- and you are certainly a 'document.'" The reader will kindly accept the story as a narrative consisting of facts necessary to an understanding of the people it is about. There is no moral lesson in it. My memory is jogged by one who points out that I have overlooked an interesting character in Westmoreland known as Thu Blanchard. His name was Bathual, but some, seem- ing to derive it from Methuselah, called him M'thu. He was a handy man about town, doing odd jobs like lighting the fire in the church. There was no fire when one meeting opened and he was asked why. "I'll tell you why there is no fire," said Thu. "There ain't any fire because I hadn't nuthin' to start it with but three matches and dam' green wood." In Surry (1871) I spent a little time in the cider mill of Jonathan R. Field keeping a horse in motion to grind apples. The horse led itself as long as it kept the "sweep?' in mo- tion, but had learned that by stopping it relieved the pull on its halter. I was there to make the horse resume its travels in a circle, which must have been monotonous for the horse. I learn of a Jonathan R. Field III out in Idaho. Memories are stirred in the breast of a Fall River law- yer, Milton Reed, Esq., who says: "In your interesting Autobiography you refer to the Rev. Josiah Lafayette Seward of East Sullivan, N.H. He was my Harvard classmate and at one time intimate friend -- a pragmatic, plodding, unimaginative chap. The last time I called on him in Keene he was plugging away at his History of East Sullivan, to which he had devoted years of his life. "I never met the Rev. W.O. White, although by marriage he was connected with a branch of my family. I read his, Life, written by his daughter Eliza Orne White. "My father's maternal ancestors lived in Alstead, West- moreland, and that region, named Granger. I never lived FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 149 in New Hampshire, but have frequently visited the beauti- ful region in which those towns are set." The Rev. Josiah Lafayette Seward was not, for God took him, before he had completed that opus, his History of East Sullivan, and it was finished by another hand. Priest White, Unitarian, was my pastor in 1862-'65, and preached the funeral of Grandpa Eliphaz Field. He was a slow and hesitating speaker. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER VIII. 1 -- IN OVER MY HEAD MY mother was fond of company. She liked the society of others so well that she took in boarders and rented rooms. Often the pay- ing guests and the visitors who remained to dine were advanced thinkers. A Mr. Brewster, par- tisan of the hollow globe theory, came among them. Mr. Brewster was persuaded that any one who should attain the regions of the North Pole would find there an opening through which he could sail his ship and navigate the hollow insides of the earth. He fancied this interior to have advantages over the outside as a place to live. He constructed a globe three feet in diameter, for use in illustrating his theory, with min- iature ships, magnetized to keep them in their course, that navigated the outer surface and sailed bravely over the rim and disappeared through the north hole. For a time this globe was stored with us, to be moved with our household stuff the First of May. People abused mother's good nature in similar ways. One man induced her to entertain for a season his mother-in-law, a terrible old woman. Of the 1875 group with whom I mingled socially at my mother's board was Osborne Ward, author of "The Ancient Lowly," a spare, sparsely-whiskered man with a prominent adam's apple and a res- 150 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 151 onant voice, who summed up the failings of man- kind, obstructive of the ideal social state, as In- temperance, Concupiscence, and Irascibility. Mr. Ward was the Socialist candidate for lieutenant- governor of the State of New York in 1879. Another man, name now unknown to me, was interested in organizing the Sovereigns of Industry, a society of young working people, of the skilled class, I think, with aspirations to be literary and dramatic, or entertainers at least. My brother was secretary of a branch that put up a very good show. The Spiritualists had a society called a Lyceum, which met in Armory Hall on the west side. They maintained a Sunday school that attracted me, especially when they had exhibitions. I heard there lectures and debates. Mattie Sawyer was one of their speakers, who professed to be inspirational. Poetry came to her out of the air, and I have heard her deliver verse of twenty minutes' duration that sounded like Poe's "Raven," if you did not notice the words. Mattie was a social radical, but at that time most of the Spiritualists believed in social free- dom. Today their pastors have to walk straight, I understand, and they have ministerial scandals just like those of the Christian communions. This is probably necessary in order to establish Spiritualism as a religion and get their churches exempted from taxation. There were more women than men in the house- hold group. Among those who rallied round, the most surprising individual, to me, was Mrs. Cynthia Leonard, a very dominant person indeed, and I stood in awe of her. In her vigorous tones she ad- 152 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT dressed me as "Young Man," and once passed me fourteen cents and sent me out for a quart of "lager," for so she termed beer, which till then I had never tasted. The good old word lager went out of our vocabulary even before the advent of near- beer. A generation later Mrs. Leonard might have put her motion in the form of a request that I should fetch a scuttle of suds. But beer, I supposed, was for common consump- tion; the immortals quaffed nectar. All of the great, nevertheless, sometimes come down. The Rev. J.M. Buckley, editor of The Christian Advocate, on a visit to London, heard how a detail of Tennyson's admirers followed him for a while as he was viewing pictures in an art gallery, purposing, should he chance to speak, to catch and preserve what memo- rable words he might let fall. Children and a maid were with the poet. The persons trailing him heard him say to the maid: "You take care of the children, Mary, while I go and get some beer." Mrs. Leonard, president of the Chicago Sorority, was mother of Lillian Russell, a person destined to become noted. Lillian never appeared as a girl at our house, nor later at gatherings of Freethinkers, whom she disdained, although her father was a Freethinker and ardently approved of Ingersoll. When Lillian herself had a child, a girl, she sought out a Catholic institution and sent the adolescent damsel to a convent school. Lillian's sister, Susie, more companionable, would come with her mother to the Liberal Club (in the '80s) and captivate the audience with a song. So with her sister Leonia. Mrs. Leonard, as listener or speaker was FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 153 to be seen at the Liberal Club and at most other gatherings I attended for years. That first season of mine in New York, in the circle about our table, an idealist who chanced to introduce the social free- dom proposition might be abetted by others. My brother, young and conservative, withstood them. With the courage of his virtues he declared: "I have my principles and I practice them," and then he challenged his adversaries: "Do you people prac- tice yours?" This caused embarrassment. Mother answered him: "My son, you are impertinent. Declare your principles, but omit the personalities." A good rule for all, considering the intimacy of the subject. Amongst a half dozen contributors to the con- versation, the dumb one was myself. Already I have certified to my profound ignorance. I knew nothing and had no material for opinions. Some persons, for want of intellectual stimulation, go through the world that way. I was shy and on the lookout for avenues of escape. If my interest in a topic led me to attempt the saying of something, the silence that fell upon the company caused the remark I contemplated making to go back down my throat. I was stumped, then, on an occasion when a deep-bosomed voice boomed: "Young man, tell us what they think of these modern ideas in New Hampshire." My New England conscience an- swered for me: "We have no use for them." The Voice (politely): "How interesting!" And then, addressed to another: "Mrs. Bristol, here is a man after your own heart." Mrs. Bristol confused me by blushing. She was an attached friend of moth- 154 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT er's, though twenty years younger. I never knew what formed the bond between them. Coming of an old and patrician Massachusetts family, she had married a New York man, who brought her hither and then in a few short years let himself be sepa- rated from her by dying. At the age of twenty-five she was successfully fending for herself; achieving economic independence by overlooking the sales- ladies in one of New York's firms of purveyor's to women who bought high-priced clothes. She was reticent, reserved, and distant. Ruskin said that architecture was frozen music. This woman's im- mobile face was congealed beauty. Mother called her Agatha. She garbed herself with elegance; and what a burden of dress-goods women then packed about with them. I get a vision of high-necked wast, sleeves inflated at the shoulders, skirt tightly drawn in behind the legs, so it snapped as they walked, and a superfluous quantity of the same ma- terial falling from the exaggerated projection of the sitting parts, and trailing half a yard on the ground. Was this the bustle and pullback era? I fear so, for contemporary verse included the following: "You've pulled it back," he cried in grief, "Much further than you'd otghter; Your front stands out in bold relief, My daughter, O my daughter!" No word or picture now seen in the advertise- ments of women's things hints at the volume and expanse of muslin, when it was muslin and not duck, that composed the white layers of feminine toggery FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 155 pinned weekly to the clothesline. And then that bas- ket of reinforced tire weave called a corset that women exhaled themselves into. "Willowy"? They were as trees walking, with the bark on. They say the filled-in terrain about the great cities of our land is largely of corset formation, the discarded gear being indestructible, and resistant to the processes used to reduce old battleships to repair parts for automobiles. The shoes they wore can by no means be the stock from which their present insubstantial footgear has descended. They were plain soles and heels and uppers, just a good job by a shoemaker, no strings or bows, but buttons, and the tops were so high they would not stand alone but fell to one side like the empty part of a bag half filled with po- tatoes. The tops were built to that elevation to in- sure that no stocking should be seen between them and the hem of the skirt. To fasten them on, the wearers used a hook maybe a foot long, so they could reach the buttons while sitting on the floor. 2 -- THE WATERS DEEPEN On stormy days a carriage called for Agatha or brought her home. Until the Voice drew her atten- tion to my existence, she had been unaware of me, so far as I had any knowledge, and yet I surmise she must have looked me over and gauged the chances for my betterment in the same manner that I had but recently inspected the Ezra Pierce place in Westmoreland with thoughts of how it might be reformed in appearance. I was a rather tall fellow for my age, and by no means slim-built, and I had 156 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT of late resorted to shaving my upper lip to keep a mustache from pushing forth. I observed with ad- miration but with moderate interest this beautiful creature so nearby and so far away. She came to contemplate me with less preoccupation when a pred- atory individual -- to wit a sneak thief -- invaded our house and, while collecting portable property, strolled into an occupied room, and the woman he found there gave the alarm by screaming. Then, of course, I must blunder on the scene and for ap- pearance's sake grab the thief. His physical con- dition being poor, I had no trouble in, detaining him until the iceman, making a late delivery, took him off my hands and held him for the policeman on the beat. The household gathered for a review of the events and each one's part in them as the excite- ment died down. I believe that I was the only rep- resentative present of woman's natural protector ex- cept an anaemic or phthisicky young man who, con- trasting them with his own, passed comments upon the capability of the tough-looking pair of hands that stuck out all too far from the sleeves of my coat. Agatha evidenced her curiosity by taking a seat beside me on the sofa and saying, "Let's look." As though my allegedly competent right flipper had been a sample of goods she was solicited to buy, she inspected it, turning the calloused palm upward, and, with no signs of approval, calmly advised that I wear gloves when handling coal. This she said with the quirk of the mouth and the wink of the eye I had seen other New England women execute with the mischievous intent to "plague" somebody. Said I, to reprove her and rather pridefully: "Printers FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 157 do not wear gloves when sticking type. What you see on my hands is not coal; it is a mixture of ink, lead, and antimony; but," I boldly added, "I should not mind bringing up coal if you need some to keep your fire going." My remark was not intended for gallantry. I merely had confidence in my capacity to fetch up coat with the best of them. I was sure that as coal- heaver I should shine more brilliantly than as a con- versationalist. But, "Mercy," quoth Agatha, "I be- lieve I am getting a compliment," and she smiled. "Two things," said Immanuel Kant, "fill me with awe: the starry heavens and the sense of moral re- sponsibility in man." But what are the starry heav- ens to "the light that lies in woman's eyes," and what becomes of man's sense of moral responsibility when that light is turned on him? The presence of Willie Jones just then, or recollection of his warn- ing words, would have been helpful to me. One and then another of the company went away, and the room emptied except for us two and mother, who was obliviously reading a book. Agatha held me in conversation, shrewdly controlled by herself so it would be all about myself and never personal to her, until I became restless with the pumping. Then she murmured that if I meant what I said about delivering coal to keep her warm, I could be- gin by filling the scuttle in her room, which was on the floor below. Doubting her sincerity I proved my own by taking the hod to the bin and loading it. She was in her room when I came back. Now, if this were alone the record it purports to be of my observations in the liberal movement, there would 158 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT be no excuse for bringing Agatha into it, for she was no innovator, religious, social or other, and as little dreamed of espousing views that would not pass muster with the world as of wearing clothes odd and out of fashion. Her opinions were regular and conservative, and even though she herself neg- lected the means of grace, she thought people ought to go to church more. Advising me I should read Christian evidence, she presented me with a fine large work by Judge Greenleaf on the "Harmony of the Gospels" -- a book I still possess. For rea- sons that will appear, I never read it through and was relieved, then, to learn that neither had Agatha. Concerning its subject matter, I may remark it can be made to appear that any two or more series har- monize, by excluding those which contradict each other. A colloquy like this occurring later on would further develop Agatha's views: Churches are a necessity to society. One meets there the best peo- ple. Evolution? One should know the titles of Spencer's and Darwin's books and something of what they contain. Freelove? I was glad to hear you say you had no use for it. Divorce? Some women have kept their social standing after being divorced once, not twice. The common women, the street girls! Why -- my boy! (protective demonstra- tion). What made you think of them? Have you spoken to one, or looked at one? Where were you last night? You went to see Frank Chanfrau in "Kit, the Arkansaw Traveler"? But you came straight home, didn't you? I have tickets for Gilmore's Gar- den tomorrow night, and we will go there if you like." FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 159 Gilmore's Garden was really the old Madison Square Garden, built by Barnum (his Great Roman Hippodrome) on the former site of the New Haven Depot. It was but a block from home and was called Gilmore's Garden because Gilmore gave popu- lar concerts there that winter. Agatha was one of the "If you like" and "Do you want to?" kind of women, if women are not all of that kind, who would appear to defer when they lead, and consent while they ask; to consult an- other's will or wishes while having their own way. That makes the other fellow responsible because he would have it so. However when I endeavor to co- ordinate my ideas and clarify the woman theme, my powers of construction leave me and my thoughts become coagulated. Tennyson wrote: "Flower in the crannied wall, I pluck you out of the crannies; Hold you here, root and all, in my hand, Little flower -- but if I could understand What you are root and all, and all in all, I should know what God and man is." Easy enough; but what would you know about woman? 3 -- To RESUME As I said, Agatha had retired to her room when I reached it with the coal, and as I set the hod down by the fireplace (for all rooms had their sepa- rate heating plants), she said: "Let me see those hands again. You must have made them worse by handling the scuttle." Examining the soiled mem- 160 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT bers, she ordered my coat removed, when she rolled back my sleeves, fixed some water in her bathroom basin, led me to it, and applied soap and brush till my hands were so clean and soft I was ashamed of them. I ought to have resisted the rolling up of my shirtsleeves, since it exposed the want of an undergarment and provoked inquiry. "Why, your arms are bare," said Agatha. "It's their week to be so," I replied. My brother had given me two spare suits to wear next to the skin. One was woolen, fleece-lined for winter; the other summer "gauze" and sleeveless. I wore them in alternate shifts, and this happened to be the summer suit's week. That was the beginning of the renovation which Agatha forthwith worked on me. She dis- covered faults I never suspected anybody had. They subsisted in the clothes I wore and the way I wore them. My walk, mostly on the toes and with eyes on the ground, she condemned, despite my defense of it as the only way a fellow could walk in the woods and on the farm; he had got to see where he was putting his foot down. Still I took thought and changed my gait. And as for clothing, besides following her directions and ob- taining gloves and cuffs at A.T. Stewart's, I found a tailor, one Jerry McEvoy, on Stuyvesant street, diagonally across Third avenue from the Bible House, who made me a good suit, Prince Albert coat and all, on easy terms. And I bought me a derby hat. In that era, the accessories of a pro- letarian shirt were conveniently made of paper. With paper cuffs, and with a paper collar buttoned to a separate and detachable bosom, a fellow was FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 161 dressed for a party if he kept his coat on. Agatha tolerated none of these fictions. When in the au- tumn of 1876 I returned to New Hampshire on my vacation, clad as she would have had me, my Aunt Louisa' voiced her appreciation of the change for the better. "Have you earned the wages since you went away to pay for them clothes?" she asked. I said yes. "And you don't owe nothing on 'em, either?" No. "And besides that you've paid your own way here from New York and have money enough to go back there with?" Every cent I need. "Well, all I've got to say is you've done mighty good.,' I applied myself -- no, that is too feeble; I de- voted myself to the maintenance of a fire in Aga- tha's grate. Having brought the evening's coal and put some on, I sacrificed @@@@ the time to stay by the fire and see that it didn't go out. This may not have been necessary, strictly speaking, but it was immeasurably agree- able. She seemed to find it agreeable also to keep these watches with me, when she had unarmored herself as women were in the habit of doing, and put something on in the way of fatigue uniform, or negligee. She had books, her own or from the Mercantile Library in Astor Place, which we made shift to read by the shaded light of a gaslamp on a stand placed near the chimney, creating a fireside clime quite domestic. If she was to be late, I would find a card on the table asking if I would like to wait until she came. Agatha was seven years my 162 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT senior, yet I made the discovery that a certain sort of consciousness, a consciousness of that nature which may be induced by propinquity, the male and female in close community of thought and person, has the effect of reducing all the gentler creatures to approximately the same age; the young female becoming more staid and serious; the maturer ones more girlish. Agatha, when the ice was thawed by this nearness and by the warmth of friendship, with the intensity of her interest in citifying me and improving my style, dropped off those seven years. The weeks passed pleasantly away, and by the time six had gone I was spending at least three evenings of each of them with her, acquiring a de- gree of proprietorship in the chair by the fire. It befell on one of these evenings that the room I entered was empty; nevertheless I lit the gas and sat down to read a book that I had begun. She came in later, very majestic in her impressive street apparel, ornamented hat and costly furs, and with her womanly bearing that restored her age. Put- ting aside the book: "I have kept your fire for you," I said. "Yes," Agatha answered, "we must not let the vestal spark expire. I was kept late at the store -- too late for dinner, and I dined lonely at a restaurant. You need not go now." (The lady is recreated with strange vividness, as though her "ghost" had appeared, from the fragrance of the warmed atmosphere that was released when she unfastened her furs, and the scent of the drop of White Rose she had put in her hair, whenever I come where those perfumes are present.) She hid herself for a brief period inside the half-open door FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 163 of her closet, audibly removing her rustling outer garments, and came forth reduced to her easy home- things that I hive called her fatigue dress, or un- dress -- that "kimono," the integrity of which as a covering of the person depended ultimately on a clasp or pin she wore at the throat. "This is cozy," Agatha said, as she came to the fire; "but I wonder if we ought." Then, apparently having resolved her perplexity about the ought -- for I only looked at her without helping her with the problem, not understanding what it was -- she seated herself by my knee on a footstool none too broad for a person of her amplitude thereaways, and said: "You may make me a back if you like. Do you want to?" I responded by moving closer to furnish her the re- quired support. "Turn out the gaslamp," she di- rected a few moments later; "I love the firelight." There was enough of this light to shine on the bosom pin she wore. The book I laid down when Agatha came in was by a Victorian author whose name I shall not attempt to give. It related that one evening, the hero, seated by his lady, drew her to him and unfastened the pin at her throat. The Victorian author says to the reader: "And so would you -- at eighteen." Contemplating the glow of the fire in Agatha's broach, from which I could withdraw neither my eyes nor my imagination, and fumblingly extracting the pins from her hair (which she protested would not do at all, but it did), I re- cited the Victorian scene. Then shakily I said to Agatha: "I am eighteen." Agatha answered: "So am I," and looked up at me. So we agreed we were of the same age; and then we knocked off three 164 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT years and called it fifteen. The Intelligence Quo- tient at that moment would not have put us above twelve. But, Willie Jones preserve us! When she turned to the fire again there was no pin at her throat for the fire to shine upon. Rather its glow fell upon billowed whiteness, not all linen and lace, that the trinket had guarded. 4 -- ONE PROBLEM IS SOLVED ANYHOW Another day followed. All was still well with the world. Reaching the office a moment late, I asked myself seriously whether I had come to New York to learn type-setting and to be an editor, or to let a woman occupy my mind. The inquiry ended in a compromise. I found that I could place a long take of copy on my case, after shuffling the sheets to get the gist of it, and then put it into type as usual, though allowing my thoughts to dwell pleasantly on the ulterior subject mentioned. As my work suffered no harm or delay, I saw that one does not reflect upon the subject of woman with that set of mental faculties the possession of which makes the Intelligent Compositor. Such is the wise provision of nature. Home at the close of a successful day, I resumed the accustomed chair and book. Agatha, having come in and made herself comfortable, approached me, and tipping, back my head, shook it by grasping the scalplock that would never lie smooth, and said: "Oh, chuck that book! What do we care about the Harmony of the Gospels?" Since she FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 165 had been surprised or wheedled into admitting she was only eighteen, she had to act the part and be girlish -- absolutely giddy. Her enthusiasm for the improvement of my mind by wide and constant reading, perceptibly diminished. She had been a New England girl and knew how to train. I rec- ognized that signal. Family concerns called Agatha to Boston; and I am compelled to say of her, as of others in those changeful days, that I never saw her again nor heard from her. While tender, she was practical. She did not demand that I should write. Letters that supply a bond between parted friends are futile, like all things else except time, to allay the hurt of separation in those who are wrenched apart by ineluctable circumstance. But youth is buoyant and resourceful. In the days which ensued I resigned myself again to read- ing and philosophy, and might have learned to smoke a red clay pipe if the long bamboo stem had not turned out so bothersome. I was now eighteen, almost nineteen years old, and was through with women. I had solved them -- penetrated their last disguise. The frozen-face was a girl at heart. If Agatha survives, she is seventy-eight years old; but I have no such thought -- cannot picture her as an aged woman. Nevertheless I have veiled her name and whatever circumstances might identify her. A writer may go too far, even in his eighth decade, in assuming that the older friends of his youth have all passed out. Since I began these memoirs I have heard from a woman, Sarah E. Holmes, now past 90, living in Pennsylvania, who 166 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT recalls that she tried to teach me German long be- fore I was married; and I have been married forty years. NOTE. -- TO this chapter as first printed exception has been taken in certain quarters on the score of too close adherence to details. I am in receipt of criticism that is quite peppy from a New Hampshire spinster who quotes the best thoughts of E.V. Lucas as rebuking what she im- putes to me as a penchant (excellent word!) for realism. "I realize," writes the lady, "that you are getting vast amusement out of this, but feel that I must state my atti- tude." **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER IX. 1 -- D.M. BENNETT'S WEALTH OF WORDS DR. BENNETT possessed such facility as a penman that had he spent as much time at his writing as most editors are obliged to do, he easily would have filled the entire paper every week with his articles. He wrote, with rapidity, a round, even, and legible hand, his letters well formed; and he made few changes except in the way of additions. When not satisfied that a sentence expressed all it should, he wrote it over again, say- ing the same thing in a different way and letting both stand. One word led to another, and he put them all in, with their synonyms. And he wrote some more into the proof. His prodigality in dis- pensing his gift of words was evinced in the sub- heading of The Truth Seeker, which, omitting his picture, ran as follows: "Devoted to: Science, Morals, Free Thought, Free Discussion, Liberalism, Sexual Equality, labor Reform, Progression, Free Education, and What- ever Tends to Elevate and Emancipate the Human Race. "Opposed to: Priestcraft, Ecclesiasticism, Dogmas, Creeds, False Theology, Superstition, Bigotry, Ignorance, Monopolies, Aristocracies, Privileged Classes, Tyranny, Oppression, and Everything that Degrades or Burdens Mankind Mentally or Physically." 167 168 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT This urge to give full measure he found opportu- ity to gratify when the office was on a ground floor with a street window for advertising purposes in Clinton Place. That window by his direction was soon gilded with lettering. Beneath the sign of THE TRUTH SEEKER, extending across the building, one read: WORKS OF VOLTAIRE PAINE DARWIN VOLNEY INGERSOLL SPENCER FEUERBACTI BRADLAURH R.D. OWEN HUXLEY DRAPER HAECKEL TYNDALL BUCKLE BUECHNER LUBBOCK FROUDE J. STUART MILL B O O K S B O O K S B O O K S Liberal Science History Spiritual Philosophy Poetry Reformatory Art Romance The period of succinctness in sign writing had not then fully arrived. Today we should hardly find so many substantives on any window except that of a railway and steamship ticket office. Pro- fusion of words characterized early book titles also. The literary fashion put the contents to the front; and whereas the title now is likely to consist of two or three words in one corner of a fly-leaf, an author might then indulge himself in anywhere from sixteen to twenty-four lines on his title page. Having learned the contents of the approxi- mately one hundred and fifty boxes in the printer's case, almost my first "take" as a compositor was copy on Bennett's essay, "An Hour with the Devil," which he prepared as a lecture and de- livered, or read, "before the New York Liberal FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 169 Association at Trenor's New Hall, 1266 Broad- way, Sunday, December 5th, 1875." That Asso- ciation, by the way, had been organized by my mother to provide a platform for Prentice Mulford, writer, lecturer and returned Californian. Bennett promised his hearers "an hour." Ac- tually it took him more than two hours to read the essay, which when printed filled almost fourteen columns of solid brevier (8 point) in the current number of The Truth Seeker. I began setting type and editing manuscript at the same time. In the copy that came to me gener- ally I saw. room for improvement by correction and even by insertion. New York was still throb- bing with the beecher-Tilton scandal. The incon- tinency of Beecher had been established, it seemed, by a cloud of witnesses, and the press, especially The Sun, persisted in calling on him to confess or get out, or to get out anyway, and cease desecrat- ing by his polluting presence a temple of religion. Mr. Beecher deigned no reply beyond authoriz- ing his friends to state that he would observe "the policy of silence." An unsatisfied press was not so grateful to him as it should have been for pro- viding it with this new phrase susceptible of daily repetition. Now this discourse of Bennett's was a complete defense for the devil against all malingers and, as the author read it from the galley proofs, it con- tained the passage: "He [the devil] is too modest, or too peaceful, or too much in favor of the policy of silence, to strike back when he is smitten, even to uphold his own innocence." The italicized words 170 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT were not in Bennett's copy; they were my contri- bution; and as it turned out they furnished the line that was rewarded with a laugh. The lecture of Bennett's, "An Hour with the Devil," began: "As far back in the twilight of human existence as we are able to penetrate." In the fifty years I have been handling manu- scripts, how many of those submitted for accept- ance, and for publication at an early date, opened with these same words; how many for that inno- cent cause have been recommended by me for immediate return to the author! when a writer asks the reader to go with him as far back into the twilight of human existence as we are able to pene- trate with the eye of history, I know at once that he is going to be prosy. Bennett was handicapped by prosiness and prolixity. The fact that he could be entertaining in spite of these desperate disadvantages, is an evi- dence of pure genius. What a man he was for trios of words! Reading some of his 1875 output, I find these sets of triplets in the space of a column: "Persecuted, tortured, and burned. Cruelties, wrongs, and outrages. Dogmas, superstitions, and errors. Dishonesty, fraud, and thieving. Honest, moral, and truthful. Fraud, dishonesty, or otherwise. Weeds, thistles, and nettles. Fruits, grains, and flowers. Elaborate, able, and exhaustive. Earnestness, honesty, and firm convictions. Sincere, honest-hearted, and well-disposed." FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 171 He named his first book "Sages, Infidels, and Thinkers." In the same number of the paper, introducing his report of an address by Hugh Byron Brown at the 320th meeting of the New York Liberal Club, he described the audience as "full, in- telligent, and appreciative." Verbal triplets were the fashion. His contributors, too, produced them -- if not following his example, then joining him in emulating the author of the Declaration, who wrote "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." 2 -- THE TRUTH SEEKER AS IT WAS The number of The Truth Seeker for December 1, 1875, gave eight columns to Mr. Brown's excel- lent paper above mentioned. At the end of the re- port are the two lines: "CHARLES BRADLAUGH lectured before the club on Friday evening, November 26th, but too late for a report." The next number, December 15, printed "an ad- dress on the anniversary of Thomas Paine," by C.A. Codman of Brentwood, L.I., ("Modern Times"), delivered on the previous January 29, and thus almost a year old; and also Bennett's fourteen- column "Hour with the Devil," with the editor's apology that because of its length "many articles are crowded out of this issue," and still nothing about the lecture by Charles Bradlaugh at the 321st meet- ing of the Club. I cannot see a man like Charles Bradlaugh coming to New York now, speaking be- fore a Freethought society, and getting only two 172 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT lines of mention. I hold myself excused by youth and ignorance for not attending and reporting the meeting. But then I had never heard of Bradlaugh. What a source of pride to me today had some good friend directed me to the meeting, so that this record might contain my impressions of that great English Freethinker and orator! I missed Bradlaugh, but I heard the foresworn Victoria Woodhull speak that winter in Cooper Union (then "Institute"). The statements of that poor, misunderstood sister were a string of lies, as all her former acquaintances knew. She had now taken up the work of biblical interpretation, begin- ning at the Garden of Eden. The said Eden, with its rivers, so she told her interested audience, meant merely the regions of a lady's hypogastrium; a statement which I deemed both immodest and in- delicate. The first trace of anything that may have been written by E.M. Macdonald, who, in almost the next shuffle of destiny's cards, was to be editing the paper, is a paragraph, December 15, on "Sovereigns of Industry," a now extinct order then lately insti- tuted for purposes of cooperative buying and sel- ling. Eugene held the office of secretary to the Earl Council S. of I., and the members, young men and women, had a good time, whether they bought co- operatively or capitalistically. The first sixteen months of The Truth Seeker's existence coincided with a very trying era for pub- lishers. Bennett stated, in his solongatory for 1875, that during this period more than one thousand FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 173 papers had been compelled to discontinue; but The Truth Seeker proposed to expand, to have larger pages, and to come out every week instead of twice a month. On September 15, '75, he had announced himself a convert to Spiritualism, saying: "For several years we have felt that we had received proof of the existence of an intelligence not connected with phy- sical bodies, and the Spiritual theory accounts for it to our mind better than any other." On account of this confession of Spiritualism, Bennett was charged with supernaturalism, which he denied, but had considerable difficulty in explaining the difference. He was a man with but one antipathy -- the Chris- tian system of superstition. Spiritualism convinced him, a Mohammedan might perhaps have converted him, and before he died he joined the Olcott- Blavatsky Theosophical society. For his sin in admitting proof of the existence of intelligences not belonging to visible bodies, Ben- nett was denied membership in the First Congre- gational Society of the Religion of Humanity formed by G.L. Henderson and Hugh Byron Brown; while the Positivists of the New York Liberal Club argued against holding meetings in Science Hall because The Truth Seeker, with its editor entertaining those views, was sheltered in the same building. All idealisms not included in the Christian scheme might hope for Bennett's allegiance. He championed Greenbackism when it came and supported Peter Cooper for President. He listened to a speech by, 174 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT Ingersoll in Cooper Union, and, in reporting the event expressed disagreement with the Colonel's opinions on finance. 3 -- I FIRST BEHOLD INGERSOLL To me at that age monetary questions were noth- ing, but Ingersoll was much, and I feasted on that Cooper Union speech. Ingersoll, as an orator, was a great illusionist. He made you visualize what he chose. Remembering his illuminative "presence," I do not wonder that, Mark Twain, supposing he thought of Abou Ben Adhem's visitor, could express it only by terming Ingersoll's appearance that of an "angel." A Republican in politics, he in this speech accused the Democrats of grabbing all their hands would hold, and then exclaimed: "And my God, what hands!" Now the hands of Ingersoll were large, like the rest of him, and when he spread them out some two yards apart to illustrate the size and capacity of those he had just spoken of, they seemed to grasp the whole audience and the earth and the firmament. Disagreeing with Ingersoll in his advocacy of specie payment, Bennett said: "His remarks upon finance scarcely convinced us of the superiority of gold as a medium of exchange, or that con- traction is calculated to benefit the manufacturer or the laborer. It will benefit the capitalist and the banker, who of course will, after the contraction, have the same number of thousands as before; and the greater extent to which the contraction is carried the larger proportion will they bold of the whole, and the less will be obtainable by the working classes." FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 175 The Truth Seeker volume of 1876 contains as much "finance" as Freethought. Had Bennett lived to see Socialism sweep into popularity, I suppose he would have shared that vision the same as he saw eye to eye with those who beheld their salvation in greenbacks, and that his paper would have turned Socialist with him. Besides the lecture of Bradlaugh, the series by Moncure D. Conway passed without my hearing them. Mr. Conway came from London, where he was a minister of the South Place chapel, and re- ported much fundamentalist opposition to the the- ory of evolution as presented by Darwin. Yet I absented myself from home one evening to hear the astronomer Richard A. Proctor, whose lectures were reported for The Truth Seeker by a young foreign lady, Miss M.S. Gontcharoff. The speech of Pro- fessor Proctor would never have betrayed him to me as a Britisher if he had not said "Ieftenant." Huxley, whose Chickering Hall lectures on evo- lution were delivered in September, 1876, was less Yankeefied of accent. And he was humorous in spots. He resorted to Milton instead of Moses for a statement of the creation hypothesis opposed to evolution, and told us why he did so. Happily, he said, "Milton leaves us no ambiguity as to what he means," while about the meaning of the Mosaic doc- trine, which some critics say Moses never wrote, two are seldom found who agree, notwithstanding they all consult the same Hebrew text. And then came Huxley's memorable remark: "A person who is not a Hebrew scholar can only stand aside and admire the marvelous flexibility of a language which admits 176 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT of such diverse interpretations." He had been ap- plauded when he came on the stage, but not again until he released this witticism, when the stenog- rapher bracketed "Laughter and applause." Pro- fessor Youmans of the Popular Science Monthly, and Professor Marsh of Yale, enjoyed themselves. 4 -- THE PAINE HABIT FORMED I first assisted by my presence at a Thomas Paine celebration in Ecclesia Hall, No. 8 Union Square, Saturday, January 29, 1876. I saw there Dr. Charles L. (Charlie) Andrews, son of Stephen Pearl. It was the 139th anniversary of the birth of Paine. I saw Dr. Andrews also on the 191st Paine anniver- sary, and doubt that I have missed seeing him at any of the intervening ones. The opening address by Mr. Bennett at Ecclesia Hall filled half the paper the next week, and what the other speakers happened to say was left over for a future number. During that year (1876) Bennett survived periods of strong discouragement, being at times ready to suspend. In view, he said in one of his moments of depression, of "the large numbers on our list who decline to renew their subscription, though they must know they are several months in arrears; that many, if notified of their indebtedness, pay no at- tention to it"; that books and pamphlets "are al- lowed to quietly lay on our shelves" (despite their merits and modest price); "when our request for a little temporary aid is treated with utter indifference, we are able to appreciate the estimate placed upon one who has devoted every dollar he possessed and nearly every moment of his time to the cause of FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 177 Liberalism, and we would seem to be admonished that it is time for us to modestly retire from the position we have presumed to occupy, and to sell out our business to someone who can run a paper without money, and live upon air at the same time. If there are those who have a limited amount of ready money, and a large amount of courage, who feel like buying out a business which neither pays in the present nor promises in the future, let them send in their propositions." A distant successor of Bennett has read those words with understanding. As the postal regulations were then, a publisher might devote the whole of his paper to reading notices and advertisements of his own business -- a privilege which since has been so restricted that this class of matter must be confined to a twentieth part of the paper's area, any excess of space de- voted to business (except in religious publications) being penalized by postage rates increased in the proportion that this 5 percent limitation is exceeded. So all of The Truth Seeker's departments, editorial, news, correspondence, and miscellaneous, were utilized for the insertion of commendatory notices of Bennett's books and tracts, including price lists. Such freedom from editorial dictation by the govern- ment was a vast advantage to the publisher. There was immediate response to Editor Bennett's plaint; the subscribers rallied and not only paid up their subscriptions but made him donations and loans. Ella E. Gibson, who wrote "The Godly Women of the Bible" ("by an Ungodly Woman of the nineteenth century"), lent him $300, and in a short 178 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT time he had as much as a thousand dollars in gifts and loans. His most steadfast friend was a young Jewish merchant named Morris Altman, who sup- ported him financially and ran a six-inch business card advertising his $50,000 stock of dry goods, mil- linery, etc., at 301-303 Sixth avenue. Altman was a humanitarian employer, an innovator in providing seats for his girl clerks, shortening their hours, and closing early on Saturday. Through all the years, his personal appearance is quite distinct to me, per- haps because he was a man of striking good looks and wore his clothes and his high hat so well, and flashed across his pleasant smile to us printers at our cases, with a bow as polite as he could have made anywhere. He died that summer at 39 years of age. 5 -- EVENTS AND OBSERVATIONS The evangelist Moody, with his singing partner, Sankey, played New York the season of '75-'76, occupying the Hippodrome (heretofore mentioned as Gilmore's Garden) on Fourth Avenue for some six weeks at a computed cost to the angels of $250,000. His meetings were reported for The Truth Seeker by Prentice Mulford, who wrote under the name of "Ichabod Crane, a Christian Worker." I went one night, and thought the proceedings less entertaining, even, than Victoria Woodhull's lecture, which had proved, as it were, a "flop." To hear Moody at that time, Mr. William Plotts, now of California, came ashore from a schooner in the bay. Brother Plotts had his doubts about religion at the time, and they have not since been resolved. He FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 179 worked the oil fields of Pennsylvania as the Boy Contractor, got a theory about oil drilling, and with some well-digging machinery and bad notes went West to try it out. Some years ago he sold his properties to the Standard Oil Company. It was in the early part of 1876 that a Scotch Freethinker and Positivist, George L. Henderson, a brother of the Iowa Representative, D.B. Hender- son, speaker of the House, 56th Congress, leased the building at 141 Eighth Street, which contained a meeting room, 40 x 60, and good office accommoda- tions. He named the premises SCIENCE HALL, and The Truth Seeker moved thither, printing-office and all. Features of the Freethought work of the centen- nial year, besides the organization of the National Liberal League, were the lectures of the former Rev. W.S. Bell of Brooklyn, B.F. Underwood of Massachusetts, and of J.L. York of San Jose, Cal. Underwood told of being catechized by his orthodox grandmother. "I hear, Benjamin," she said, "that you have become one of those dreadful Unitarians." He replied: "No, that is quite false. I call myself a Philosophical Materialist." She took comfort from his words, saying: "Well, I am glad to hear that. I couldn't believe you had lost your re- ligion to the extent of being a Unitarian." Comstock was perniciously active. He put John A. Lant of Toledo, Ohio, in jail for matter appear- ing in his paper called The Sun, and procured the indictment of Dr. E.B. Foote for issuing "Words of Pearl" in a small pamphlet containing hints for 180 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT the prevention of conception. Dr. Foote's trial before Judge Benedict and the fine imposed cost him $5,000. Comstock thereby made a formidable and implacable enemy who in his subsequent prosecutions he was to find facing him or working back of the defense. For the full Comstock saga the reader is referred to the book, "Anthony Comstock, Roundsman of the Lord," by Heywood Broun and Margaret Leech, 1927, and The Truth Seeker files. Liberal exchanges were the Boston Investigator, Banner of Light (Boston), the Religio-Philosophical Journal (these last two Spiritualist); Common Sense, published by Col. R. Peterson, Paris, Texas; Prometheus, a magazine, Charles P. Somerby, 139 Eighth Street; Dr. Foote's Health Monthly, New York; Hull's Crucible, Boston, and Davis's Battle Ax (location unknown). What I call the best thing in the Third Volume was Charles Stephenson's poem "Our Father in Heaven" (p. 374). Stephenson died in 1877 at Rock Island, Ill., aged 24. Bennett began June 17 to reprint Haeckel's "Doctrine of Affiliation or Descent Theory" out of the "History of Creation," then just published in America. It was my weekly "take" as copy to be put in type. Quotations from Haeckel ran in the paper so long that by the time they were finished we had moved into Clinton Place, and I had be- come foreman and assistant editor. Then I wrote a summary of them. Bennett had published in 1876 his "World's Sages, Infidels, and Thinkers," written by himself, by his FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 181 office assistant, S.H. Preston, by A.L. Rawson, by numerous of the living characters mentioned in it, and by other helpful friends. 6 -- ORIGIN OF A FAMOUS PASSAGE In 1875, Grant sent to Congress his message containing the famous church taxation paragraph. In 1876, at Philadelphia, led by Francis Elling- wood Abbot, editor of The Index (Free Religious), the National Liberal League was organized in Con- cert Hall, Chestnut Street, July 14, and there were adopted the Nine Demands of Liberalism, which The Truth Seeker has printed as its political plat- form for many years. All this is familiar history. One interesting in- cident connected with Grant's message has never been published. In seeking information from Stephen Pearl Andrews with regard to govern- mental or official affairs, I inquired whether he thought it probable that the Presidents themselves wrote all of the messages they transmitted to Con- gress. He replied it was certain they did not. Heads of departments contributed to them, he said, and recommendations by advisers were included. For an example, Mr. Andrews then mentioned Grant's church taxation paragraph of 1875, say- ing that he himself and a group of liberals had prepared a statement on the subject, and procur- ing an appointment with the President at the White House, had brought it to his attention. So that was the origin of Grant's recommendation that all 182 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT property, whether ecclesiastical or corporate, be equally taxed. "I would call your attention," said the message, "to the importance of correcting an evil that, if permitted to continue, will probably lead to great trouble in our land before the close of the nine- teenth century. It is the acquisition of vast amounts of untaxed church property. In 1850, I believe, the church property of the United States, which paid no tax, municipal or state, amounted to $83,000,000. In 1860, the amount had doubled. In 1875, it is about $1,000,000,000. By 1900, with- out a check, it is safe to say this property will reach a sum exceeding $3,000,000,000. So vast a sum, receiving all the protection of government without its proportion of the burdens and expenses of the same, will not be looked upon acquiescently by those who have to pay the taxes. In a growing country, where real estate enhances so rapidly with time as in the United States, there is scarcely a limit to the wealth that may be acquired by cor- porations, religious or otherwise, if allowed to re- tain real estate without taxation. The contemplation of so vast a property as here alluded to, without taxation, may lead to sequestration without con- stitutional authority, and through blood. I would suggest the taxation of all property equally, whether church or corporation." This recommendation, as sent to Congress, was modified to admit of the exemption of a limited amount of church property. The body of it origi- nated with the Freethinkers who organized the Na- tional Liberal League the next year. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 183 The Truth Seeker of October 7, 1876, records the death of James Lick, the Californian philanthropist who had given $60,000 toward the erection of Paine Memorial Hall in Boston. James Lick was a native of Fredericksburg, Pa., born there August 25, 1796, and through his grand- father a son of the @@@@ American Revolution. At 25 he was a New Yorker, but not prosper- ous. He went thence to Buenos Aires, and made pianos to sell to the natives. He bought hides and brought them to the United States, and then spent eleven years manu- facturing and selling pianos in Peru. He went to San Francisco (Yerba Buena) in 1847, when the place had only a thousand inhabitants, and bought real estate. He made millions selling it. Amongst his later holdings was a flour mill near San Jose, which cost him $200,000, but brought only $60,000, when sold for the Paine Hall fund. In his will he gave his money back to California in the form of the Lick Observatory at Mount Hamilton, which belongs to the California University; donations to the Academy of Science, a home for aged women, free baths, Pioneer Hall, and other benefactions, none of them religious, 184 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT but all, as he intended and hoped, contributing to human progress. He died October 1, 1876. There will be more about James Lick in subsequent ob- servations. NOTE -- Lately I gave a list of editors who had first worked on The Truth Seeker as composers. I omitted one who re- sorted to the case only to set up matter for his own use as circulars. This was Edward Dobson, employed thirty years ago and previously thereto as book wrapper and shipper and a pick-up man. "Teddy" thought and dis- coursed on high themes, even then, and before he was twenty-one lectured at the Liberal Club on "Spontaneous Generation." An old-timer, in view of the lecturer's juve- nility, said he believed the present generation was becoming altogether too spontaneous. I had not seen Teddy for about twenty years when he walked into this office (June, 1928), a man of fifty-two and white-haired. He has had an editorial position on the Brooklyn Standard-Union for a quarter of a century, and is now dramatic critic. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER X. 1 -- IN THE TRUTH SEEKER OFFICE. THROUGHOUT 1876 the heading of The Truth Seeker had presented each week a rather poor picture of Dr. Bennett with a book on the table before him, some chemistry ap- paratus on his right, a library behind him, and a globe and telescope on his left. We may infer that in commercial enterprises theretofore he had @@@@ AN IDEALIZED EDITOR followed the fashion and embellished his advertis- ing matter with his portrait. Now, beginning with the first number in 1877, he substituted for his own a picture of Benjamin Franklin and made editorial 185 186 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT mention of the change, saying "There is no more fitting man whose face should grace the heading of The Truth Seeker than the great American scientist and Liberal, Benjamin Franklin." When in the first week of '76 a duel took place between Fred May and James Gordon Bennett of the New York Herald, he took the precaution to write: "It is, perhaps, needless to state that there is no rela- tionship between the Bennett of The Herald and he of The Truth Seeker." He would not be mis- taken for a duelist. I must quote a sample of the style of Editor Ben- nett's assistant, S.H. Preston. "But the great un- written gospel of Nature," Preston wrote grandly, "revealed in the rock and the rose, in the intuitions of the human heart and in the fiery scriptures of circling suns and constellations, and uttered in all the myriad mighty voices of the wondrous Uni- verse, shall never fail. To the bigot who would force upon us a self-contradictory, revolting old book (which men may mangle, rats may nibble, and time moulder) we offer the glorious gospels strewn everywhere by the generous hands of our universal Mother, whose sublime lessons speak to the consciences of men in the stars and sunbeams, in the winds and waves and woodlands, and which will be everlastingly taught by ten thousand tongues of Nature through all the corridors of eternity." "Sam," as we called Preston, was a little man but he wielded a mighty pen. The boys used to say that he grasped it with both hands. He had the liquor and tobacco (chewing) habits, which made him not so agreeable to Bennett, who had neither. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 187 Dr. Sarah B. Chase, who underwent some perse- cution at the hands of Anthony Comstock on ac- count of a hygienic syringe which she advertised, took Preston in hand and reformed him. He would have been a miracle of grace had his reformation been brought about by a conversion to religion. Mrs. Chase had a little daughter Gracia, about ten years old, who showed promise as an elocutionist and recited verses at the Paine anniversary cele- bration. She adopted the stage as a career, and was successful. Bennett procured a copy of Viscount Amberley's "Analysis of Religious Belief" and announced that he should reprint it, a promise he fulfilled. There was much controversy over the work, especially among the Russell and Amberley families in Eng- land. The son of Amberley, Bertrand Russell, is a distinguished mathematician and radical. The Rev. G.H. Humphrey, author of an attempt at constructive criticism entitled "Hell and Damna- tion," challenged the editor of The Truth Seeker to debate Christianity and Infidelity with him. The debate ran through many numbers of the paper and was printed in a book of more than 500 pages. Humphrey was a rare Fundamentalist, or would be so reckoned today, but he and Bennett became excellent friends. In the debate the minister stressed the immorality of Infidels, and Bennett replied with page after page of clerical offenders, concerning whom Humphrey took high grounds, declaring that their damnation was just; and then he made fresh attacks on Infidels. The Truth Seeker then ran a department of "Notes and Clip- 188 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT pings" on the front page, and here were gathered current instances of clerical delinquencies. Not many years later there was a report that the Rev. Mr. Humphrey had been found away from home, I believe with his wife's niece, and fragments of the seventh commandment in evidence. It looked like a point for Bennett, but he declined to publish the facts which I had handed in as a piece of copy. Bennett read the story and put it in the waste- basket. "George," he said, "I think the tempta- tion was too great!" I asked: "Why, have you seen the young woman?" He said: "No, but I have seen Humphrey's wife." Bennett had great charity to- ward human weaknesses when he knew the cir- cumstances. The postal regulations in 1876 put no restric- tion on the amount of advertisements and paid reading notices a paper might carry at the rate of a cent per pound; and Bennett availed himself freely of these liberal provisions by placing com- mendatory notices of his publications, with prices attached, on every page of The Truth Seeker. All continued articles, and he had one or more of his own productions running most of the time, were made into tracts, pamphlets, or books. Production was cheap. The price of stereotype plates was un- der 20 cents a page; composition, 30 cents, as against a dollar in each case today. As a consequence he could price his tracts and pamphlets at the rate of four pages for one cent. The sale of cheap liter- ature by mail was facilitated by shinplasters, paper currency in fractional parts of a dollar. The hours of labor were 7 to 6. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 189 The interesting returns of the 1876 Hayes-Til- den presidential election were printed in The Truth Seeker's news column Nov. 11. As they were there given, Tilden had 197 electoral votes; Hayes but 158, and 6 were doubtful. A recount reversed the result; but such turmoil ensued that Victoria Wood- hull, appearing upon the platform of Chickering hall, two weeks later, with a Bible in her hand, drew from the sacred volume the prediction that before New Year's the country would be involved in hopeless anarchy, revolution, and the most san- guinary war the world had ever seen. Not an- other President should ever be inaugurated under the dome of the Capitol at Washington, she said, but monarchy would be our next form of govern- ment, and Grant the dictator. The text which Mrs. Woodhull read from the Bible appeared to support that view. Liberal papers making their first appearance in 1876 were: Evolution, Asa K. Butts, 34 Dey street; John Syphers' Agitator; The Radical Review, Bos- ton, Benjamin R. Tucker; Freethought journal, Toronto, Ont.; The Age of Reason, New York, Seth Wilbur Payne. Among liberal writers and new contributors to The Truth Seeker were: A.L. Rawson, George Francis Train, E.C. Walker, S.H. Preston, Horace Traubel, Maria M. deford, W.F. Jamieson, Susan H. Wixon, C. Fannie Allyn, James Parton, Benj. R. Tucker. Of these, Mr. Walker and Mr. Tucker are living at the date of this entry in 1928. Of the surviving workers in the liberal field as far back as the Centennial year is Felix Adler, 190 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT head of the Ethical Culture Society; while the man who reported his lectures for The Truth Seeker still has, I hope, "the cheerful habit of living." This is D.W. Craig, last of San Diego, Cal., who has wielded a fearless typewriter up to now. But he had no machine then. His handwriting, how- ever, a discriminating compositor would prefer to either typewriting or reprint. He used the system of shorthand taught by Mrs. Eliza Boardman Burnz, teacher in Cooper Institute, the lady who later prevailed upon Bennett to introduce the lim- ited spelling reform of dropping the final e from have, give, and live. 2 -- IT HAS COME AT LAST. On November 1, 1875, Bennett had begun his "Open Letter to Jesus Christ." On January 15, 1876, he published an article which The Scientific American had declined, by the Hon. A.B. Bradford of Pennsylvania, a former clergyman, on "How Do Marsupials Propagate Their Kind?" He made these pieces into tracts and sold them. In the num- ber of the paper for November, 17, 1877, he an- nounced in the heading of an article, "IT HAS COME AT LAST," and wrote: "(we week ago was announced in these columns the arrest in Boston, by Anthony Comstock, of E. H. Heywood of Princeton, Mass. I was not then aware that the time of my own arrest was so near at hand, but at that very moment a warrant had been issued against me, and was only awaiting the pleasure of Mr. Comstock to serve it. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 191 "On Monday last, a little after the hour of twelve, while busily engaged in my office preparing matter for this issue of the paper, that noted cham- pion of Christianity, with a deputy United States marshal at his elbow, visited me with the informa- tion that he had a warrant for my arrest. I in- quired upon what authority and upon what charge. He replied by the authority of the United States and upon the charge of sending obscene and blas- phemous matter through the mails. In reply to my enquiry what the objectionable matter was he exhibited two tracts, one entitled 'An Open Letter to Jesus Christ,' and the other, 'How Do Marsupials Propagate Their Kind?' He then demanded the amount of those tracts that were on hand, which were delivered to him. He showed a package of tracts, etc., which had been put up at this office and sent by mail to S. Bender, Squall Village, N. J., and a registered letter receipt for the money accompanying an order for The Truth Seekers, tracts, etc., which was signed in this office. I asked him whether the party to whom the tracts were ad- dressed was a real party, and he had opened his package, or a bogus party, and the letter ordering the tracts a mere decoy letter, such as he had used on other occasions. He acknowledged that it was the latter -- that he had written the order in an as- sumed name." Mr. Bennett passively accompanied his captors to the room of U.S. Commissioner Shields in the Post-office building and furnished bail in the sum of $1,500. He did not name his surety, but of 192 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT course it was Dr. E.B. Foote. He then, in The Truth Seeker, expressed his indignation that a man "hard upon sixty years of age, and who for nearly a half century have been a supporter of our gov- ernment, am now arranged by it [he meant ar- raigned] as an offender against it for sending inde- cent and blasphemous matter through the mails." Diligent in business, the Doctor closes the article by saying: "It is hoped that in the emergency that soon must come, those who know themselves to be indebted to The Truth Seeker will be prompt to pay, and that those who feel like subscribing for the paper to help it through its trouble will be ready to do so. ... Those who send for books and pam- phlets will also help push the cause along and ren- der The Truth Seeker more able to weather the ap- proaching storm. May it not be expected that every liberal in the country will do his duty?" The firm of Henderson & Brown, proprietors of Science Hall and doing a coal and real estate bus- iness therein, started a defense fund with a pledge of $25 before the next number of The Truth Seeker went to press. Bennett's temperature rose rapidly during the following week, and he had in the next number a white-hot article on the miserable Comstock's hideous offenses. The article was seven columns in length, and addressed to the proposition, "Ameri- can Liberty: Is It a Sham?" He found much to be said in support of the proposition that it is. In prospect, following the successful prosecution of The Truth Seeker, he saw the writings of Darwin, FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 193 Spencer, Huxley, Tyndall, Proctor, Haeckel, Draper, Fiske, and others summarily squelched. Meanwhile Comstock was prosecuting Ezra H. Heywood in Massachusetts for selling "Cupid's Yokes" and Trall's "Sexual Physiology." The attack on freedom of speech in 1877 created quite a furor, and increased the circulation of The Truth Seeker, while letters of sympathy poured in and a defense fund grew apace. There have been so many such attacks on the freedom of the press in the half century which has since elapsed that the people have grown weary of protesting and little excitement is caused by them now. Occasionally we see statistics of the number of persons doing time for talking too much or saying the wrong thing, but we take only the mildest interest in the figures. In 1877 such outrages in the name of the people aroused indignation. 3 -- A FEW PARTICULARS. To mention a few of the Events of 1877: Part of the Paine farm at New Rochelle was sold at auction; a split took place in the New York Liberal Club in May and the "radical" element decided to meet thereafter in Science Hall; it was reported from Revere, Mass., that Lemuel K. Washburn, a Unitarian heretic, was making things lively in his parish; in Bell county, Texas, a party of Ku Klux lured a Freethinking physician, Dr. J.A. Russell, from his house and binding him to a tree, gave him one hundred lashes. Dr. Russell had given "In- fidel" lectures. The whipping party left a placard 194 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT threatening to burn out or hang any Infidel lecturer who should appear in that neighborhood. A fea- ture of The Truth Seeker was the Ingersoll- Observer controversy, later published under the title of "Paine Vindicated." The New York Free- thinkers' Association was organized, with Dr. T.L. Brown of Binghamton as president and H.L. Green as corresponding secretary. The Rev. O.B. Frothingham, modernist or liberal clergyman, gave weekly discourses in Masonic Temple. The First Annual Congress of the National Liberal League was held at Rochester, N.Y., October 26. Henry Ward Beecher delivered his famous sermon, De- cember 14, repudiating the doctrine of hell. Walt Whitman made the principal address at the Paine celebration in Philadelphia, Horace Traubel recited the poem he had written for the occasion. The Society of Humanity held meetings in Science Hall, addressed by Thaddeus B. Wakeman, Hugh Byron Brown and Albert L. Rawson. A few weeks before the arrest of Bennett by Comstock he had begun a discussion with a man who signed his name Cyrus Romulus R. Teed, of Moravia, N.Y., on the proposition that "Jesus is not only Divine, but the Lord God, Creator of Heaven and Earth." That also was published in a book, "The Bennett-Teed Discussion" (1878). Teed was more interesting as a character than as a writer. He was another of those hollow-globe the- orists, only instead of holding with Brewster that the hollow inside of the globe could be reached by sailing through a hole at the north pole, he taught FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 195 that we were actually living there, that is, on the inner surface of a sphere. A few years after the debate with Bennett he moved to New York and appeared to be domiciled with some women he had converted to his views. He came occasionally to the flat where my mother and I were keeping house, and perhaps with a view to gaining my ad- hesion, set forth his pretensions. He had been understood to be a celibate like Paul, but he also claimed the Pauline liberty: "Have we not power to lead about a sister?" That he should allow women to feed him he argued from Luke viii, 2, 3, where certain, women are named who accompanied Jesus and "ministered to him of their substance." What Jesus would accept Teed would not disdain. And the small matter of his relations with these females he settled by identifying himself as the man named in the first verse of the forty-fifth chapter of Isaiah: "Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut." Giving the words a close anatomical interpretation, he found there his warrant for conjugal association with women. He founded a colony in Florida and for a long time published a magazine advocating his sys- tem of geology and of religion. When he died his followers looked for his resurrection on the third day. At the period when I was seeing him frequently the telephone had but recently come into use. He said that he knew how sight as well as sound could 196 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT be transmitted, thus realizing television, but should leave that for others to work out, since he had a more important mission. 4 -- MENTIONED IN PASSING. Our household, that followed the New York cus- tom and got wheels under it regularly once a year, had moved in May, 1876, from Fourth avenue to apartments in East Eleventh street near Second avenue, a quiet and restful quarter of the city. While we lived there ghouls stole the body of A.T. Stewart from the churchyard of St. Mark's-in-the- Bouwerie, just around the comer. I am told that the name of A.T. Stewart means nothing to this generation. It must have been a household word in mine, for before I left Surry I had heard of Stew- art's great white building occupying a block above Tenth street between Fourth avenue and Broadway. Stewart was the pioneer department-store organi- zer. His grave was robbed for ransom. Of my own advancement there is nought to record beyond an attempt to read what books there were in the world, and a short-lived ambition to learn music and be a pianist -- this and what came of it. Events I could not control led me to discon- tinue practice after a few unfruitful lessons. But then there was left my teacher, a girl of eighteen, answering to the name of Doris, who is not so sum- marily to be dismissed. She had been a music stu- dent under Gottschalk, who at his public concerts brought her out as a star pupil. Her hands, beauti- fully formed and remarkably developed as to the FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 197 hitting power of their digits on a keyboard, had been modeled by the sculptor J.Q.A. Ward. She at this time gave pupils piano lessons in the morn- ing, and in the afternoon posed for a class of art girls in Brooklyn. To ask such a being as that to spend her evenings drumming scales diatonic and chromatic into the head and hands of a boy who had no talent, and who would rather be reading or romping with her, seemed to me, to a growing de- gree, irrational, although there was half a dollar in it for her. The nearness, herself occupying a chair beside the stool I sat on, had danger in it, which I felt and suspected she did. One evening when the struggle between me and the instrument was more than usual disharmonious, I detected a quaver in her voice and tears in her eyes; and when I dropped my hands and swung about toward her, she manifested relief. Her face, I thought, expressed more than I had seen in it before, and her smile now was illuminative. We spoke to each other on new terms, with different words and accents. Per- former and instrument also underwent a parallel change, for Love, as it were, took up the Harp of Life, and smote on all its chords with might. The result was the music of the player's old sweet song, the only one he knows. The roles of teacher and pupil then became one with my suspended study of the Harmony of the Gospels. So thoughtless, un- stable and impulsive is youth; This young woman had been cherishing some depressive memories of a recent misadventure that would have caused a less spirited girl to hesitate between suicide and a 198 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT fast life; she having, a short time before I knew her, felt obliged to rid herself of a lover who had brought her to New York. The man, twice her age, married and endowed with agreeable qualities that would content any woman who might be the exclusive beneficiary of them, turned out to be a rover in love as in business -- for he was a traveling man; and when there came to her the clearest evi- dence of his perfidy, she dismissed him with finality. The tale that had won her sympathy, and so her consent to accompany him, was the old one, though doubtless new to her, and to the average woman once. Its theme is an uncongenial wife who won't divorce him. It transpired that this bird lived with his wife, who was a good sport. The one genuine thing about the man was his evident infatuation with Doris, but he had resorted to lying, which is a great aid in matters of the affections. In a cer- tain behalf the novelists write with truth to life. They become authentic on the theme that the daugh- ter who leaves home for the good times promised in the great city is reluctant to return thither when disillusionment comes. That was the case with Doris. Hence she took a room in the Eleventh street house; asked her father to ship there the piano she had left behind her, and with a strong resolve began "on her own." She had admirers, whom my watchfulness discouraged. I was so ludicrously exclusive I wouldn't even eat the candy they sent her. The parents were divorced and her mother, domiciled in nearby rooms, cooperated with her in music teaching, and chaperoned her at FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 199 the art class. This mother, a Spiritualist and not bigoted, found no fault now with the domestic sit- uation of her daughter; rather she thought it ideal, and was friendly toward myself. As when women start a fashion they go farther than men, who do not have to be told by the pope where to stop leav- ing off clothes; so when they are liberal they are more liberal than men also. I heard of a young woman in New York, living in bliss with the man of her heart; but being convinced that the exclusive- ness of monogamy was contrary to the law of God, she sacrificed her happiness to go with one she merely respected, thus following her convictions. I never knew a man so conscientious as that. Women know more perhaps, or maybe less. I will not dogmatize on that point. I have met no other person who took Spiritualism so seriously as Doris's mother did. Where a devout Christian would see the hand of providence, she acknowledged the help of the immortals. I was no convinced believer, and neither was Doris. Nevertheless the mother gave the angels credit for bringing us "en rapport," as it were. A reader of The Truth Seeker and an ad- mirer of Bennett, it was more than she had ever hoped that her daughter should find love and refuge and happiness in The Truth Seeker family. She was a lovely spirituelle being. Doris imparted to me, in such a manner as one would affect in saying that some things are unaccountable: "Mama liked you before I did and thinks you are smart. She says she wishes she had as bright a son -- her way of telling me I am not so bright as you are." The light-hearted creature, I regret to say, saw in other 200 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT young men certain qualities, such as style, speed, and spending-money, that to an extent compensated for inability to quote Spencer's definition of evolu tion, to argue abstractly, or to spell hard words off- hand, in which last accomplishment she acknowl- edged herself to be weak. By Doris Spiritualism was at times defended; at other times humorously viewed. She must have been in the latter mood when in the front room one evening our Spiritual- ist contingent had grouped themselves about the table, fingers and thumbs making contact, waiting for manifestations. Some of the sitters believed they were developing mediumistic powers. Doris wrote on a filmy piece of paper, just off a caramel, the words: "You are on the right track; meet every night." Standing on a chair I slipped the message into the seance-room by way of the transom, at the right moment for a draft of air to carry it to the center of the table. We heard next day that Brother David Hoyle, a firm believer in spirit intercourse, pronounced it a genuine communication. Doris had expected her playful act would be understood and merely smiled at by the indulgent sitters, and never dared to enlighten Mr. Hoyle. After some months of such felicity for Doris and me as that which is predicated of companionate marriage, Doris's father, left alone, urgently invited her to come home. The mother preferred to take the daughter west with her, to the regions of Utah. For expenses she needed my help, and Mr. Bennett, asking no questions, lent me seventy-five dollars. He had no bank account; he carried his money in a long pocketbook, which, when I made the touch, FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 201 he drew forth from an interior pocket, and them counted out the bills without comment. The di- vulging of this youthful experience is mitigated, I hope, because it brings out a characteristic of Dr. Bennett's that otherwise would not appear. He could do a favor without preaching a sermon on the imprudence that put people where they want favors. Mrs. Bennett, like him in being helpful, was as motherly as though she had learned the art by raising a family of sons instead of being child- less all her life. When Doris went West, I roped her trunk, which was uncertain as to hinges and lock. It was like winding heartstrings about it and pulling them tight. Years ago I was admonished by a thoughtful friend that such mementoes of his youthful affairs is a man has retained ought to be destroyed for the sake of those they might possibly annoy if preserved to pass beyond his care. I thought the counsel good, and so, going often to a small box in which certain letters and pictures and verses @@@@ had been kept for mem- ory's lake, I at each visit drew something out for a last look or read- ing, and then ditched it for good. This braid of hair with its message I once carried to the fire and made the right motion for consigning it to the flame, but my hand refused to relax when it should 202 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT have done so, and came back with the words, "Re- member me." Some day another hand than my own will grope in the pockets of clothes I am not wear- ing, nor am to wear again, and will bring forth a bunch of keys. One thin key will unlock the drawer in a safe that holds the original of this pic- ture -- this braid of brown hair, bright and glossy after all the years, stitched to a fragment of paper; the girlish writing almost unfaded. The hand that draws it out then may cast the relic where it will. I was now nineteen, nearing twenty, and through with women. 5 -- FRIENDS. When I say that in 1877 the family occupied a flat at 308 Third avenue, about Twenty-fourth street, I expect the old New Yorker to interject: "Near the Bull's Head Hotel, where the circus peo- ple used to bivouac." That is so, but for old New York, as I saw it, I refer the reader to James L. Ford's book, "Forty-Odd Years in the Literary Shop (1921), which covers the same decades as my own observations. Third avenue has decayed in the last half-century as a consequence of the elevated trains running close to second-story win- dows. Nearby No. 308, in the cigar store of Sam Schendel, I made the acquaintance of a boy of my own age from Tunkhannock, Pa., one Henry H. Sherman, who was a Munson stenographer of re- markable skill. We were chums from that time until his death more than forty years later. He FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 203 lived in Gramercy square, near neighbor to Sam- uel J. Tilden, for whom he occasionally did short- hand work. He had luck in picking up positions. For a time he was secretary to a police commis- sioner of the name of McLean. In that place he was in receipt of tickets, which he shared with me, to all shows that required police attendance. I saw enough prize-fights then to sate my interest in the game, and have not cared to see one since. Perhaps the last public employment or office held by Sherman was undersheriff when Tamsen had charge of Ludlow Street Jail. Few will remember Sheriff Tamsen's notice to the police that "der chail is oud," when his prisoners got away from him, or the public reaction when a young lady stenographer resigned her situation because Sher- man swore at her. The German influence pre- vailed so strongly in the jail during the Tamsen administration that The Sun spelled the under- sheriff's name Schurmann. After I had learned shorthand Sherman gave me remunerative work transcribing his notes. The typewriting of records was not then required. Typewriters did not at once displace script. They came into use in 1873 and their Golden jubilee was celebrated the same year as The Truth Seeker's. Sherman, who pro- fessed the Episcopalian faith, worshiped at St. George's in Rutherford Place, under Rainsford. He never pressed too closely the language of scripture. His term for the unknown, for first causes and final results, was a "Jigger." Life be- gan with a jigger, he said. The soul? Oh, that was a kind of a jigger. Gods, angels, spirits, all 204 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT undefinable things, were jiggers, equivalent to the sailor's gilguy and gadget. I have found the word a handy one and use it every week when marking copy for the printer. He died about 1920. It is impossible, as I may already have shown in these papers, for a writer to stick to his chronology. From the date of my first meeting with Sherman, I have just spanned forty-odd years to mention his death. And while in the second decade of the nine- teen hundreds for the moment, I will set down an in- cident of the century's 'teens. Four men whom I had met under divers circumstances had shown, in one way or another, that they regarded me as some- thing more than a speaking acquaintance. Their attitude was rather that of cordial friendship. I conceived the idea of making them friends of one another. They were Abel and Merriweather of Montclair, and Sherman and Coburn of New York. Abel was New York agent for the Titusville Iron Works; Merriweather handled the foreign trade of the Lucas Paint Company and was an Anglican by way of his wife; Coburn was an engineer who specialized in dams and is said to have planned more of them than anyone else. To the boys of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in my son's time, he was known as "Pa" Coburn. Sher- man was now a lawyer. I got these four good men together at a luncheon one day somewhere in the vicinity of Fraunce's Tavern. They seemed to be well met. It was worth something to me to hear them explain to one another how they happened to be friends with this harmless fellow "Mac." My presence embarrassed them not at all, nor re- FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 205 strained them in their drolleries of which I was the theme. Each found a different excuse for being found in my company, and then, momentarily seri- ous, told why they had left their offices on a busy day to meet men who were friends of Mac. With roasting and toasting they did me up brown. On the whole it was so good to be there that Mr. Abel proposed future gatherings, and as the oldest man present he would invite the others to be his guests. So swiftly the years have gone that it seems only the other day, yet not one of my four guests sur- vives. James Russell Lowell observed that the pen- alty for prolonging life's journey is that a man shall find every milestone marking the grave of a friend. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER XI. 1 -- GUESTS AT 308 THIRD AVENUE. AMONG the persons who left an imprint on my memory by rallying round at this Third avenue flat was Joaquin Miller, Poet of the Sierras, not long home from his London "triumphs." While Miller bloomed modestly as a poet, he wore clothes not designed to escape attention. He was "loud" in this respect, I thought, and inclined to pose. His big slouch hat and long hair were never worn for comfort. He kept the hat on after enter- ing a room in order that those present might admire the whole outfit, including his boots. I could have told him that men didn't wear their trousers stuck into the legs of calfskin boots where I came from. Calfskins as there worn were for dress occasions, and fashion required that the pants fall to the in- step. His velveteen vest was crossed from pocket to pocket by a gold cable that might be a piece of chain-harness gilded over. "Mr. Miller is a gifted poet," said our nattiest dresser, Mr. Cooley, "but not the gentleman. A gentleman does not wear rings on the fingers of both hands." Miller pro- fessed to be a good deal of a puritan as regards women, who, he demanded, should before all things be modest. Mulford's wife told of his meeting a 206 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 207 woman author in London one evening, who shat- tered his illusions. This woman said to Joaquin: "Mr. Miller, do you know what line of poetry you bring to my mind?" He thought she meant one of his own creations, and blandly asked: "Which line is it?" And she gave him the bold eye as she quoted: "Make me a child again just for tonight!" Miller glared and left her. The lady was spoofing Mr. Miller. There was John Swinton, the journalist, then on The Sun, probably -- a casual caller; and there was a French lady, Mademoiselle Minnie Leconte, an ac- quaintance of the family or group, who appeared to be his protegee. Nobody commented on that, and I will not. But Minnie, flush with press theater- tickets that Mr. Swinton gave her, fixed upon me as her escort. Thus with her under my wing I went to see the elder Sothern who was great, and plays to which my means would not admit me; and it is probably by the same favor that I saw Janau- schek and Modjeska, who, I have to admit, did not entertain me. About 1889 I attended a play where the younger Sothern took the part of an auctioneer, which was a thriller. just the other day, as it seems, though it was five years ago, I saw this actor, not on the stage, and he was an older man than was his father when Minnie Leconte went with me on John Swinton's tickets to his performance in a play making fun of George the Count Johannes. This time the younger Sothern was attending the funeral of Mrs. Eva A. Ingersoll (Feb. 4, 1923). Ned (Edward Fitch) Underhill, a boyish man of fifty, a stenographer of the old school, once a pupil 208 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT of T.C. Leland, held an important position in the Surrogate's court. While I rarely saw him at pub- lic meetings, he foregathered with the Freethinkers socially. He had been through the fire a dozen years earlier when the police raided a club of social radicals in session in a hall on Broadway and he got taken along with Albert Brisbane, the father of Arthur, and other persons in attendance. He de- fended the club in the newspapers, admitting he had been present, not in his capacity as Tribune re- porter (which was then his employment), but as a guest. The reformers didn't take it lying down so much then as they are inclined to do now. It is only a few years ago that at the behest of a Catholic archbishop in New York the police broke up a birth-control meeting in the Town Hall, and got by with less hard knocks than those got who sixty years earlier raided this social group on Broadway. Underhill offered his parlors in a house on a downtown street for meetings of the Fourth New York Liberal League, and furthermore showed up very well as an entertainer himself, for he was a piano player, an expert whistler, and an excellent storyteller. He had a red-haired and rather young wife named Evelyn, of whom I saw little, and heard more or less not to her discredit for benevo- lence. They held advanced ideas on social freedom. ON PREJUDICE. When I was talking with young Doctor Ned Foote one evening, he asked me if I really did not think that religion kept girls straight -- such was FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 209 the word he employed -- who without belief in it would go wrong. Now take Catholic girls, he ar- gued, and so on. I said: "I don't know anything about the facts, do you?" He replied: "No, not the facts, but it is the common idea, and I doubt if I have ever heard it disputed, that Catholic girls put a high value on chastity." We were sitting just inside the door at the Liberal Club, waiting for the audience to come and for the proceedings to open. Doctor Ned, two years my senior, was a medical student at Bellevue. There was more of the con- versation, and I may come back to the subject of it. Ned was brought up in the Unitarian church, since that was his father's religious connection, and came into Liberalism because he found there his allies in the battle with Anthony Comstock. Now, in New England, whence I lately had come, Catholic girls bore another reputation than that he gave them. They were in fact supposed to be on the stroll; and a "History" compiled by Dr. W.W. Sanger quotes statistics of a confirmatory nature. Of course there is or was a reason. The kind of people coming most numerously to this country at any given time will, while adjusting themselves economically and socially, furnish the largest addi- tions to the outcast population; and that was the period of Irish Catholic immigration. Later it was German, then Jewish, producing a change in the class of statistics gathered by Dr. Sanger. But this phenomenon of adjustment, while it might explain the Catholic girls in New England, had no bearing on Dr. Foote's proposition, which concerned those who had arrived. 210 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT However, old fellows have told me that street girls wore the usual Catholic beads, and that their rooms, like Catholic homes, contained religious ob- jects and pictures. At the time of this conversation with Doctor Ned I had known only one Catholic girl, and thereby hangs a tale appertaining to the year 1877, which the foregoing talk may excuse me for taking off the hook. Written some time ago, it has the appear- ance of interrupting the general narrative. Its opening is above the level of my style. THE WIND AND THE CURTAIN. Whoso searcheth the files of the Daily Graphic for the year 1877 shall at one place find, mayhap, words of praise bestowed upon a Swiss girl of eighteen years, member of a traveling musical en- semble which included her elder sister and that sis- ter's husband, who by misdirection when her "peo- ple" moved on to fill their next engagement, got left in New York with nothing but a handbag for luggage and only carfare in her porte-monnaie. This girl, it will be learned, talented, refined and accom- plished as she was, went direct to an intelligence office and, being aware that the situation of a ser- vant promised immediate board and lodging, pru- dently registered as a domestic, and then sat down to wait for an employer. Prentice Mulford put the piece in The Graphic, both to commend the girl's quick wit and good sense, and to question whether there were many American girls who would have FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 211 acted so promptly and wisely in a foreign city. An- ticipating. the younger reader's objection, at the mention of The Graphic, that Bernarr Macfadden had not at that date set up his tabloid newspaper, I will assure him there was a Graphic nevertheless -- a pioneer illustrated daily; and to speak of it is to evoke the name of the Positivist David G. Croly, its distinguished editor, with that of his wife Jennie June, and of Dr. William Augustus Croffut, the member of his staff who composed the puns and paragraphs and verses that other papers copied. Freethinkers twenty years later read Dr. Croffut as a contributor to The Truth Seeker and heard him as a lecturer. Mulford did a daily column of news and comment and some reporting and dramatic criticism for The Graphic, and Arthur B. Frost (died 1928) was an illustrator on the same paper. My mother, in quest of a maid, found the afore- said girl at the intelligence office and brought her home. If all girls ought to know cooking and housekeeping, then this was exactly the engagement the otherwise well-trained Hilda needed. And yet, although the difference between her prepared dishes and mother's was certainly remarkable, the inferior nature of hers could be overlooked in view of the graceful way she put them on the table. Stage training teaches one to move inside a limited space without bumping into persons or objects. I had not yet taken the first glance at the new maid, or be- come aware of her presence, when her baby-sized hand, with its cocked little-finger, placed food be- fore me, and I raised my eyes far enough to find out to whom the comely member belonged. I 212 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT surveyed a slender figure, a head of unruly blond hair perversely waved, and a face that would sink a thousand kicks. No one sympathetic with beauty in distress could have the unkindness to suggest that her potatoes, adamant against the insertion of a fork, needed to be boiled longer than tea. I gave her a cheerful grin; she smiled back and blushed. Hilda was still a new-comer when one evening as I sat reading in my room I heard unaccustomed notes issuing softly from the piano, which usually was mute. The sound soon drew me out of my se- clusion, since the words of the book I was reading did not go to music, and opened the way for con- versation with Hilda, who was doing the playing. Her first inquiry concerned the dinner that night, whether it had been well prepared. She let me know that criticism of the cooking was plainly heard by her in the kitchen and made her unhappy. That matter having been discussed, and when she had asked what tunes I liked and had played others which she held I ought to prefer, even singing a lit- tle, at my suggestion, in her small voice, the young lady related to me, as she had previously to Mul- ford, the events that had led to her trying house- work. Hilda spoke precise English, with an accent that sweetened it. She understood the continental languages, learned in traveling over Europe since childhood. Her housework done, Hilda's evenings now were open; I was always at home (economizing that season to pay back a loan with which Dr. Ben- nett had accommodated me in a pinch), and the movements of the rest of the household left us to FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 213 keep each other company. She kind-heartedly of- fered to teach me if I wished to study any of the varieties of speech that she happened to know. Or if I didn't play the piano already, she would show me how easy it was to acquire the art. On account of previous attempts at the piano, and the failure that had followed, I was dead as a pupil for that instrument, and instinctively cut it out. The ob- servant girl had decided I was reading too much in my room. "A change," she said in her individual English, "would do you so good." I ought to have seen a warning in the teaching proposition, but her lullabies had sung caution to sleep. She recom- mended French as a language one should know if one would be erudite, and I agreed on that tongue for study because I possessed a copy of Andrews and Batchelor's French Instructor: D. Appleton & Co., 1859. I have the same book by me now, with my name as she wrote it on a card pinned to a fly-leaf. Here was a perfectly artless girl. All her life she, like myself, had known nothing but work; and on hearing of the amount of study and practice and discipline she had been obliged to undergo, in famil- iarizing herself with the instruments she played, from the slide trombone to musical tumblers, I picked for myself, as preferable because easier, the labor that comes to a boy raised on a New England farm. We had only this one lesson book. My erroneous pronunciation of the French words made it needful that we should scan the book in unison, and this propinquity, since it excused our sitting on 214 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT a couch together, or she on the arm of my chair, ac- celerated a familiarity with each other far surpass- ing mine with the French language. No success I achieved went without its reward from her, or the reward might be offered in advance as a stimulant, or as an encouragement midway. We did not touch upon the subject of religion. I assumed she was an indifferent. That was an error. As an early riser, I left my room one Sun- day morning at dawn to go for a newspaper and to enjoy the air while it was cool and fresh. Writers have described the streets of New York as pleasant and enjoyable at that time of day, and I know they tell the truth. When I came back on this particular morning I met Hilda coming out at her door, dressed for the street. I thought perhaps she had decided to walk with me, and would have greeted her joyously and appropriately, but she eluded me and ran down the stairs. Then I remembered she had a small book in her hand. She must be a Catholic and on her way to early mass!" At this discovery a cloud lowered out of the sky between Hilda and me. She did not see it, but for me it was always there. No doubt there is a rule against a Catholic's doing anything secular be- fore mass. I have observed that the ingesting of food prior to receiving their savior is forbidden to those of that faith; but for a girl after many an evenin's good-night to evade a morning's good- morning in order first to go and see her priest -- well, I was no poacher. If he had the prior claim, let him hold it. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 215 The French lessons went on, but the cloud did not lift. Without combating Hilda's Catholicism, which I so resented that I should surely have hurt her feelings if I had once begun, I made inquiry as to the restrictions preceding the taking of com- munion, and thus learned enough so I might infer why I had been dodged that Sunday morning. Came the day when Hilda's sister got into touch with her, and it did not appear to be one of unre- strained delight for Hilda. Inevitably came also her last night with us, and with me the parting was no calamity. I thought of a woman as possessed al- ready, who had given herself to the church, and didn't believe she ought to have two communions. She slept in the living room on the couch where we had sat to con the French Instructor, and where I had received so many encouragements to persevere and so many innocent rewards of merit. My room adjoined, being connected as to atmosphere and audition by a window which, when opened for the circulation of air, admitted of good-nights being said after both had retired. Anybody who has lived in those old-time flats, with dark bedrooms and a "well," knows the arrangement. To this room I retreated, promising good-byes in the morning. Lights were out. A voice said: "Good-night," and mine answered. In a few moments the voice re- peated: "Well, good-night." I resolutely responded: "Oh; yes; good-night. Bong repose." Silence for a short space, and then the voice was heard again. "Are you asleep yet?" Trying to speak the words drowsily: "Just dropping off; good-night," I re- plied, my resolution weakening. The voice: "What 216 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT shall you dream of tonight -- I mean who?" I made the Polite reply. "I am so glad," said the girl, whose simplicity was her strong point, "for I shall dream of you too." Then sleep, but not undisturbed. Into the dream of her that I had promised there came the sound of sobbing. And then I dreamed that the deep and filmy lace curtain on my window -- it must have been that -- blown and twisted by the draft -- the same draft which appeared to have blown open my door -- had become detached from its supporting rod and had fallen upon my neck; and as if rain had accompanied the wind, the warm drops of a summer shower fell also upon one's face. Let the Catholic press shout "Prejudice!" but the fabric was in good time returned unrumpled to its place and the door closed. The cloud was too thick. Dr. Ned Foote had said to me doubtingly, as we sat there inside the Liberal Club door, that he feared Liberalism would not have the hold upon "our girls," meaning Freethinker girls, to confine them, like the influence of the church, to the paths of prudence. "See, for instance," he argued, "how strong the Catholic girls are for being married by a priest." I saw, but what of it? A wedding is a ceremony premeditated and deliberately enacted; and it is not with premeditation or deliberation, but under the strongest of impulses, that the paths of prudence are temporarily abandoned; and there is no reason to believe that prospective marriage by a priest has any more strength, if as much, to over- come that impulse when it arises, than has sound secular common sense, or Rationalism. That which Dr. Ned Foote accepted as the virtues unerringly FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 217 illustrated by girls of the Catholic communion was in fact merely the moral teaching of the Catholic church and the hope, frequently disappointed, of Catholic parents. The church points to its pro- fessionally continent women, the religious sisters, as a triumph of chastity. These women when abroad are too conspicuously clothed to permit of association with males, and their dormitories are "caverns measureless to man." They represent the so-called chastity of the ecclesiastical institution, and of their lay sisters -- to the latter's full content, approval, and resignation. In my association as a workman for a decade with Catholic young men, I could not gather that to them the fact of a girl's be- ing a Catholic rendered her the less liable morally to err. These men also believed in having the mar- riage ceremony celebrated by a priest. Did this prevent their anticipating it? Not observably so. Such is the moral -- that religion holds its votaries to artificial forms, but leaves them on an exact equality with unbelievers, or maybe with less restraint, in the presence of intense emotions. Following Hilda's departure letters came and went between us for more than a year. She would @@@@ 218 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT have me keep up my French lessons, and, to in- sure this, every time she wrote, she gave me para- graphs to do and answer in that language. The sentiments expressed in them came not from her head, blond and wise, and level. Now, I asked myself, why was this? Why this sustained intercourse by mail, in the present case, when in more serious instances there was no epistol- ary correspondence to follow? Some one will have to explain it. Usually when I can't point a moral I am ready to quit; but here there is none. The truth of Swinburne abounds: "Touch hands and part with laughter; touch lips and part with tears." I handed the problem to a man of years and dis- cretion, who reads my story because he happens to be from New England also, and since his young manhood a city resident. He professes to see through it, and so I will quote him: "A man asks questions," he says, "that his own experience would answer if he reposed confidence in it. Maybe fifteen years ago, when my mind hap- pened to wander back to the old home town, I thought of a woman who as a girl wrote me often when I had just gone to the city. She was still un- married, a New England old maid going on sixty years, and while the mood was on I wrote to her. From her answer I could tell that my letter had created quite a tumult in her bosom. She said: 'I suppose you have not thought of me for an age before -- you have had so many friends. But there has been none or few to put you out of my memory, and so there you have remained. Do you remem- ber when you drove a team by our house day after FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 219 day? I saw you every time -- and heard you. You were singing -- what seemed to be your favorite hymn -- 'There is a land of pure delight.' I thought that a land of pure delight would be any land, even our little town, if only those who were loved would understand, and if those who loved each other could live together always. I could write you often, but mustn't; for you live in that land, I hope.' There was nothing between me and that girl but a day's ride together, a hand-clasp at parting, and then the inane boy and girl correspondence by letter for a little while -- no more than that for the material of a lifelong remembrance. "And then there is another, where on her part it is more like 'you have forgotten my kisses and I have forgotten your name.' Says her letter: 'You should understand why I and the others [the catty emphasis is hers and does me great injustice are resigned not to meet you again, or to write. We cannot revive the old thrill, we cannot meet on the old terms, we cannot sing the old song we sang so long ago; and never could after the parting.' So a man need only go back to his nonage to find the an- swer not plain to his matured wisdom. You will find that among the women you left in New Hamp- shire the one who knew you youngest will take the most interest in your story. "'Touch hands and part with laughter; touch lips and part with pain.' That is how it is if you just touch lips. You have told of a young woman in Surry who kissed her lover good-by when he enlisted for the Civil War, and because he didn't come back she went into a decline. There is pain 220 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT anyhow, but it doesn't last so long when the worst that can be has been done. Very few war widows went into a decline." Aversion for the other communion that claimed Hilda's first Sunday morning allegiance was in me a conscience with promptings stronger than those of instinct. "From the heretic girl of my soul should I fly?" asks Moore. Not necessarily, for that is di- fferent. As I have said, I went about among Catho- lic girls. A young fellow who was a foreman, a dues paying member of the typographical union, and carrying a card in the Socialistic Labor party, and besides this a contributor of signed pieces to the labor press, would have no difficulty in meeting them at their entertainments and dances or getting invitations to their homes. Those were days, I guess, when fewer girls than now were looking for a career, and fewer claimed a pay envelope with more money in it than the young men of their class were earning per week. The known fact that I did not "belong" created no religious prejudice against me in the minds of these girls, or at least none was shown in their attitude. Regarding Freethinking girls, Dr. Ned Foote's apprehensions were totally unfounded. When a young man's life is laborious his circle of girl ac- quaintances, such as he will know the lives of for the next generation and after, is small. I can count all of mine on my fingers; but for what it may be worth to morality without religion, and to banish the misgivings of those who hold with Dr. Foote, I will say that I never knew one of them who after- FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 221 wards; was "lost." One and all, "our" girls, my contemporaries, have matured into superior women. Whom did I marry but one of them? But the better morals of Catholics is a myth. If I were not trying to write these memoirs without recourse to slang, I should say it is bunk. Latin countries never made the claim and it has been abandoned in Ireland since statistics superseded Moore's poetry. When Hilda went away I was twenty, going on twenty-one, and was through with women. 2 -- my BROTHER TAKES UP THE PEN E.M Macdonald had in 1877 written articles in reply to the Rev. G.H. Humphrey's slanderous ac- cusations against Infidels, and for his pains had been called by that controvertist a callow stripling who probably knew not the difference between Cal- vinism and Galvanism. In 1878 E.M. began to use his pen quite freely in a discussion of the Labor problem, which he identified with the population question, telling the workingman that his way out was to cease burdening himself with children. He also promulgated the dogma that "the causes of the present state of society are found in Tobacco, Rum, and Religion," he being at the time an abstainer from those vices. While living in Keene, N.H., my brother had acquired the smoking habit and also had experimented with "stone-fences" and other alcoholic mixtures and distillations that were dis- pensed by a local "publican." Now Bennett had 222 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT bribed him to forswear both Tobacco and Rum, and he was hence in a position to give advice. Inci- dentally in his articles he seems either to have rapped or to have ignored the doctrine of certain propagandists called Land Reformers, a small group held together by the teachings of George H. Evans that met occasionally in Henry Beeny's fruit and candy store at Fourth avenue and Twenty-fifth street. Mr. Beeny, William Rowe, and J.K. In- galls therefore labored with him in letters to The Truth Seeker. They had detected a slighting refer- ence to themselves in his words, "while others will gravely assert that only by dividing this earth, in- cluding the sea, into ten-acre cabbage-patches, can man be rendered happy." Doubtless that is a trav- esty of Land Reform, the advocacy of which is now forgotten. E.M. next came forward with "A Plea for the Unborne" an undisguised word for birth control. "Will our workingmen," he demands, "go on raising slaves for the capitalists, criminals for our jails, competitors for the scanty subsistence forced from the grudging earth?" He found cause for commending the efforts of the Oneida Com- munity, where "they allowed no children to be con- ceived till they were prepared to support and edu- cate them." In Putney, Vermont, on my way to New York in the fall of 1875 I was in the neighborhood of the house which the Oneida Community had occupied from 1837 to 1847. I knew of the association only by its name, which indicated a communistic society. But in New York, where some interest in the ex- periment survived, I learned that the community FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 223 had been founded on the Bible and that its members were "Perfectionists," who had achieved "union with God" and were immune to sin. They were taught that the second coming of Christ took place in the year 70. The founder, John Humphries Noyes, may have entertained suspicions that to his followers he bore something like the relation of Christ to the apostles, or to the early church. The social scheme of these Perfectionists was called pantagamy -- pan for all and agamy for marriage. That is, all male and female members were held to be married to each other. The leaders frowned upon that exclusiveness which embraces only one man and one woman. They had at Oneida, N.Y., since 1847, a farm of 650 acres, with 300 members; and in order not to overpopulate the land the men were expected to practice "male continence." And lest the young men and women might be imprudent, the elders of the community attended to the in- struction of the young females, while women be- yond child-bearing age educated the youth of the other sex. Thus was birth regulated, the father and mother acting only with the consent of the community. Dr. Lambert, a member of the Liberal Club, speaking from its platform one evening, ac- cused the leading men of not allowing the women to choose the fathers of their children, and hinted that Noyes, patriarch of the community, was father of a disproportionate number of damsels' firstborn. Dr. Lambert said that if he were a praying man he should pray that every woman in the Oneida com- munity might be "blessed out of it." Could I locate at this moment a report I once 224 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT made of a few minutes' address by the excellent Mrs. Cynthia Leonard at the Liberal Club, I could present a view of these conditions the opposite of commendatory. Mrs, Leonard, then past fifty, in- clined to sex asceticism. She failed to uphold, as I should do, the right of youth to be served by youth, but she denounced in the most scathing man- ner the commandeering of women past the child- bearing age to endow young men with experience. The implication of Mrs. Leonard's remarks that this would be uniformly unpleasant for the mature women, is accepted without comment. As for Noyes, I hardly see what claim he can have for the respect of mankind above that of Purnell, head of the Michigan House of David, except that the Oneida experiment was more of a highbrow affair. The Bible doctrine he prevailed upon his followers to profess had nothing to recommend it above that of Teed and Dowie and Mrs. Eddy and Ben Pur- nell. It would indicate as low a critical faculty in the Perfectionists as in these other groups, only that we may surmise many professed Perfectionism for the sake of the promiscuous Solomonic sexual privileges it conferred. We might expect such a scheme to fail for want of women going into it and from the number of young people going out; as in fact it did in 1881 -- its end being hastened by perse- cution. The Oneida Community still exists, but not as an experiment in Perfectionism, Pantagamy and male continence. The right of birth-control -- or of the same thing under its earlier and less acceptable name, "preven- tion of conception" -- is so rational a proposition FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 225 that its denial generally arises from some ulterior purpose or anterior cause, usually religious. How- ever, if I have ever been found among its advo- cates as a social measure it was incidental to my resentment that legislators of the Comstock caliber should have the prerogative of dictating to the peo- ple at large what they may know. And this in- cludes censorship of books -- dictating what they may learn by reading. My contention has been that knowledge should be free and people left to make what use of it they choose. Birth-control might be taught in public schools and in Sunday schools along with the seventh commandment, and even then there would still be enough of those acci- dents that happen in the best regulated families, added to cases of parentage aforethought, to keep up the population of the country. 3 -- BIRTH CONTROL, COLGATE STYLE. Mr. Samuel Colgate, was president of the Com- stock Society at the time it was conducting prose- cutions of men and women for imparting birth- control information. Colgate & Co., the well-known soap manufacturers, were in 1878 agents for "an article called vaseline," prepared by the Cheese- borough Manufacturing Company, which was ex- tensively advertised in a pamphlet setting forth its merits and uses. A number of persons procured from Colgate & Co. copies of this pamphlet and, fortified therewith, The Truth Seeker quoted from page 7 the words of Henry A. DuBois, M.D., as follows; 226 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT "There is one use for this ointment that I have not fully worked out. Physicians are frequently applied it to pro- duce abortion. Recently on the same day two women came to me; the reason assigned in the one case was that the husband was syphilitic; in the other, that pregnancy brought on violent attacks of spasmodic asthma. Of course I explained that the child had rights as well as the mother, but it was all I could do to prevent one of these cases from going to a professed abortionist. In some cases of this kind prevention is better than cure, and I am inclined to think, from some experiments, that vaseline, charged with four or five grains of [a certain] acid, will destroy," etc. (The circular gave the name of the acid and em- ployed language not adapted to a non-medical pub- lication.) Now, here was the prohibited information, or what appeared to be such, coming right from the head of the society at a moment when the society was prosecuting a case against one F.W. Baxter for communicating similar knowledge to the public. And that is not the worst, for if our pure drugs law had then been in existence Colgate could have been prosecuted for fraud, since the advertisement quoted, written to recommend the vaseline that Mr. Colgate sold, is a fake. Vaseline and the said acid, commingled, have not the virtues ascribed to them by the advertiser of the unguent. This truth, after a lapse of time necessary for the fact to be ascer- tained, was announced one evening at the Liberal Club by E.W. Chamberlain, who warned all and sundry to beware of relying upon the promises for which President Colgate of the Vice Society stood sponsor. That being the case, the publication was innocent, except so far as it was calculated to de- FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 227 ceive. I will add a statement from Dr. Foote's Health Monthly, quoted in The Truth Seeker of June 8, 1878: "It seems that a complaint was made against Mr. Sam- uel Colgate, president of the Society for the Suppression of Vice, for sending through the U.S, mails a pamphlet in regard to vaseline wherein it was spoken of favorably as a preventive when combined with a certain other drug. It is stated, however, that Mr. Colgate pleaded ignorance of the contents of the pamphlet, and the complaint was dismissed." While D.M. Bennett, arrested by Comstock for selling his Open Letter and the Marsupial tract, awaited trial, he opened subscriptions for a defense fund and circulated a petition for the repeal of the federal law under which the Roundsman of the Lord operated. The petitions came back to the office with 50,000 signatures attached. All hands on The Truth Seeker worked at pasting them to- gether, and they were wound about a reel con- structed for that purpose. The length of the peti- tions thus made into one was estimated at "one thousand yards." Meanwhile petitions were sent direct to congressmen with twenty thousand addi- tional signatures. 4 -- ONE CASE DISMISSED, ANOTHER STARTED Bennett had hoped that Ingersoll would appear for his defense, when the case came up, but tradi- tion has it that Ingersoll did even better -- that he went to Washington and influenced the authorities to have the case dismissed, January 5, 1878, by U.S. Commissioner John A. Shields. The peti- 228 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT tion came before the House Committee on the Re- vision of the Laws in May, and on June 1 The Tribune and other newspapers announced that the committee had reported favorably a bill to repeal Mr. Comstock's law on the ground that it was un- constitutional and that "in many instances it has been executed in a tyrannical and unjust manner." Unfortunately, the announcement proved to be un- true, or the committee reversed its action, for the law was allowed to stand unrepealed and unmodi- fied. So the agitation went on, T.B. Wakeman preparing voluminous briefs to show that the post- office had no such power as that which it conferred upon Comstock. In August Bennett was again arrested, this time for handling a pamphlet called "Cupid's Yokes: or The Binding Forces of Conjugal Life," by E.H. Heywood. Miss Josephine Tilton, sister-in-law of Heywood, and W.S. Bell, lecturer, were taken at the same time. These arrests took place while Ben- nett and Bell and Miss Tilton were attending a Freethought convention at Watkins, N.Y. Says Bennett in The Truth Seeker of August 31: "Miss Tilton had some of the books on the ground for sale, but no other person had any. We have a variety of the books of our publication for sale, but not a copy of 'Cupid's Yokes' was upon our table. Miss Tilton had a contiguous table, upon which she offered for sale several of Mr. Heywood's pamphlets, photographs, etc. Among the pamphlets was the tabooed 'Cupid's Yokes.' We are not sure that we sold a copy of it, but if we did it was to aid Miss Tilton when away or unable to attend to her customers. We put not a cent of the money for 'Cupid's Yokes' in our pocket, nor did we have a cent profit from the sale of them." FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 229 The prisoners were admitted to bail. They were all bailed by women; Bennett and Bell by Mrs. J. K., Ingalls, wife of the author of "Social Wealth," and Miss Tilton by Lucy Colman, the veteran aboli- tionist. At their arraignment, someone said the arrested trio looked like the Father, Son, and Holy @@@@ "THE TRINITY." Left to right: D.M. Bennett, Josephine Tilton, W.S. Ball. Ghost, and they were posed for photographs as "the Trinity." The war against Comstock, which had not failed for a moment, "now trebly thundering swelled the gale." Bennett brought a libel suit upon himself by attacking a man named Chapman, who had re- 230 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT sorted to a house kept by a Madam DeForrest and made arrangements for Comstock to hire three girls for $14.50 to parade naked before him so that he might arrest them for indecent exposure. Chap- man gained the confidence of the "madam" by re- tiring with one of her girls -- an act the morality of which Bennett severely condemned. This suit did not come to trial so far as I can discover. When the Watkins case came up in December the three defendants appeared before the court of Oyer and Terminer at that place, Judge Martin of Elmira presiding. Says Bennett of these proceed- ings: "It seems Judge Martin did not think our indictments belonged to be tried in his court, and they ought to go back to the Court of Sessions, which is to sit in February next." One George Mosher, who had thought to turn an honest penny by selling "Cupid's Yokes," was arraigned with the others. All were required to furnish new bail. A worthy man of 83 years, Samuel G. Crawford by name, a resident of the town of Havana, offered himself, and being an honored and respected citi- zen, was accepted. I find no record of the case coming to trial. 5 -- BENNETT'S THIRD ARREST. Meanwhile Bennett had defied the forces of Com- stockery, and had been arrested again. "Just as this paper is going to press, Tuesday, 4 P.M., December 10, 1878, the editor has been arrested on a bench warrant from the U.S. Circuit Court at the instance of Anthony Comstock, on the charge of sending a copy of 'Cupid's Yokes' through the mails. Bail was demanded in FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 231 $2,000. E.B. Foote, Sr., M.D., was accepted. 'The case may come to trial in one or two months. There may be more of these prosecutions than will prove interesting." Bennett saw that this one was made interesting for Anthony Comstock. The year closed, so far as Comstock cases were concerned, with the pardon of Ezra H. Heywood of Massachusetts, who had been sentenced to a two years' stretch for selling "Cupid's Yokes" and Trall's "Sexual Physiology." The year 1878 had been signalized by the most animated sort of discussion over the Comstock pos- tal laws, with The Truth Seeker and its constituents battling for the repeal of the laws, and Francis Ellingwood Abbot, president of the National Lib- eral League and editor of the Boston Index, oppos- ing the making of any fight. The ground which the conservative Mr. Abbot had taken for the Nine Demands and for separation of church and state was his limit. The state might be separated from the church but not from Comstockery. He was against God in the Constitution, but, as Leland said, "for the devil in the post-office." The 70,000 who had signed the petition for repeal were to him misguided persons, the victims of deception, or they were Freelovers and obscenists. There was really no occasion for Abbot to get into the fight, for no organized attempt had been made to involve the National Liberal League until he began the form- ing of auxiliary Leagues with a view to reelecting himself as president and casting out the anti-Com- stock faction. Had he kept to the business of the League and allowed liberty of thought and action among members as regards the postal laws, he might 232 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT have remained at its head. But his course so an- gered the anti-Comstock members, who happened to be in the majority, that at the Annual Congress in Wieting's Opera House, Syracuse, N.Y., Octo- ber 26, the delegates, of whom there were 127 vot- ing, elected in his place the Hon. Elizur Wright of Boston by a vote of 76 to 51. And then, instead of accepting the result and changing his tactics, Mr. Abbot took his minority with him to the Syracuse House across the street and organized a New Na- tional Liberal League. This he announced as a "victory" and asked the auxiliary Leagues to re- joice with him. Nearly all of the auxiliaries, how- ever, remained with the Old National League. Mr. Abbot's "strategy" defeated its author and split the League. In The Truth Seeker of December 9, 1878, The- ron C. Leland said: "Never was a defeat so clearly due to the defeated hero himself," and these words were followed by the statement: "Had Mr. Abbot issued a straightforward Call, as he did last year, with no exhibition of nervousness about delegates, let the local Leagues represent themselves as they found it most convenient, let their delegates present themselves with the usual credentials at the Con- vention as they did last year at Rochester, and had hurled no flings at anybody, there would have been no special effort made by the repeal party to secure a majority of the delegates. The delegates would have met under no special urgency, no hot blood would have been coursing through their veins, not nearly so many delegates would have assembled, and FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 233 Mr. Abbot would have had an easy and a real in- stead of a fictitious 'victory'." Mr. Abbot did not destroy the League he had done so much to create, but he materially weakened it by withdrawing from it himself and the able men who went out with him. As a consequence of alien- ating the majority of the members, his paper, The Index, declined toward suspension and of his New National Liberal League there are no reported con- ferences. I was a delegate to the Syracuse Con- gress; and while admiring Mr. Abbot for his ability was obliged to vote with the 76 because they were The Truth Seeker people. 6 -- MORE HISTORY OF 1878. Ingersoll drew vast audiences in New York in 1878. The meetings he addressed at Chickering Hall were crowded. One of his lectures which I attended was on Thomas Paine. That was not long after his controversy with The New York Observer. Everybody was keen to hear what he would have to say about Paine's detractors, so that when he de- clared: "I am going to bring these malingers of the dead to the bar of public conscience and prove them to be common liars," there ensued the best demonstration I ever saw at a public meeting. The audience did not seem to be angry; it was delighted. The listeners did not hiss the men who had libeled Paine; they cheered his vindicator. They all wanted Ingersoll to see them and know they were there and that they approved his sentiments; so they got upon their feet; they stood in the seats to 234 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT get more altitude, and then swung their hats or ele- vated them on canes or umbrellas. The name of Samuel P. Putnam, who was after- ward to become such a force in Liberal work, was seen in The Truth Seeker of April 20, for the first time, attached to a piece of free religious poetry quoted from the Boston Index. The news came early in the year that since the will of Stephen Girard excluded ministers of the gospel from the college he founded, the trustees would build a chapel on the grounds. The publication of Ella E. Gibson's "Godly Wo- men of the Bible" began August 1878, producing a book that has been kept in print ever since. John Peck started his forty years as a contributor. An almost if not quite unknown, or at least forgotten, Freethought writer had a desk in the office -- Thomas Cairn Edwards of Vineland, N.J. -- a finished scholar (Edinburgh) who collaborated with Ben- nett in the production of his books. My own name as a recruit was first printed in a notice of the or- ganization of the Fourth New York Liberal League, Daniel Edward Ryan president, that elected me treasurer. Thomas Edison was then unknown as a heretic, yet a paragraph in The Truth Seeker con- tained this intimation: "If Thomas A. Edison is not deceiving himself, we are on the eve of surpris- ing experiences" -- nothing less than having lights brought into our houses by means of a wire! Power, too, enough to run a sewing-machine! It has since transpired that Mr. Edison was not a victim of self- delusion. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 235 NOTE. -- "Your story this week is dull," writes a corre- spondent, referring to June 16. He wants more stories like the one of June 9. In that respect he differs from all other correspondents, for, besides his, my little venture in social pioneering hasn't got a hand since it was printed. In manuscript I showed it to a literary young woman, who pronounced it "an idol." I have learned to go behind girls spelling, and I know she meant an idyl. A similar romance, submitted to a maturer woman, mother of a family of girls, was read with feeling and ordered to be printed on pain of losing a lifetime subscriber. On the third one I sought a professional opinion, and the verdict was "artistry." Now, to everything else I have written there has been response. Even my mention of an adventure with an up-and-down saw has brought two letters from Brother A.L. Bean of Maine, who knows sawmills from rag- wheel to cupola. If anyone missed my girl stories from The Truth Seeker, he has now read them all in the fore- going pages. In the last or near last story of Surry, N.H., a picture was introduced: a grave and a weeping willow, and a boy. It hung in the room where I slept, and I remarked that "I hated that damned boy heartily." When I went to school in Surry one of the scholars was a mite of a girl who would have been described in the language of the day, which favored regular verbs, as "about as big as a pint of cider half drinked up." Having survived the sixty years that have since passed, the girl is now a woman; she writes me that she lives in that house where I was home- sick; has found the picture (for there couldn't be two such things in the world), and that while the tombstone and the weeping willow remain, there is not a damned boy in sight. Therefore I either got this picture mixed with another, or else I killed the boy and put him under the stone. 'Or my mind may have projected "Rollo" into the scene. My description fits Rollo, if anybody remembers him. -- The Truth Seeker, June 30, 1928. 236 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT WHO WAS WHO IN 1878. A list of speakers and attendants, actual and an- nounced, at the Watkins, N.Y., Freethinkers' convention held in August, 1878, shows Who was Who in the Liberal ranks fifty years ago: Hon. Geo. W. Julian, Indiana. James Parton, Massachusetts. Hon. Frederick Douglas, Washington, D.C. Dr. J.M. Peebles, New Jersey. Elder F.W. Evans, Mt. Lebanon, N.Y. Parker Pillsbury, Concord, N.H. Hon. Elizur Wright, Boston. Prof. J.E. Oliver, Ithaca, N.Y. Hon. judge E.P. Hurlbut, Albany, N.Y. Horace Seaver, editor of The Investigator. J.P. Mendum, publisher of The Investigator. D.M. Bennett, editor of The Truth Seeker. Col. John C. Bundy, editor of The Religio-Philosophical Journal. G.L. Henderson, editor of The Positive Thinker. Asa K. Butts, editor Evolution. M.J.R. Hargrave, editor of The Freethought Journal. G.A. Loomis, editor of The Shaker. Benj R. Tucker, editor of The Word. Dr. J.R. Monroe, editor of The Seymour Times. C.D.B. Mills, Syracuse. Mrs. Matilda Joselyn Gage, corresponding secretary of the National Woman Suffrage Association. Mrs. Clara Neyman, New York City. Giles B. Stebbins , Detroit, Mich. Charles Ellis, Boston. William S. Bell, New Bedford, Mass. Rev. A.B. Bradford, Pennsylvania. Thaddeus B. Wakeman, New York City. Dr, T.L. Brown, Binghatuton, N.Y. FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 237 Rev. J.H. Horton, Auburn, N.Y. Prof. J.H.W. Toohey, Chelsea, Mass. Prof. A.L. Rawson, New York City. Rev. William Ellery, Copeland, Neb. T.C. Leland, New York City. Ella E. Gibson, Barre, Mass. Dr. J.L. York, California. Mrs. Lucy A. Colman, Syracuse. Mrs. P.R. Lawrence, Quincy, Mass. Mrs. Grace L. Parkhurst, Elkland, Pa. Hudson Tuttle, Berlin Heights, Ohio. Rev. O.B. Frothingham, New York. Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton, New Jersey. The Hutchinson Family, singers. And the names of Liberal lecturers not included in the list were: Charles Orchardson, New. York. Ingersoll Lockwood, New York. B.F. Underwood, Thorndike, Mass. Prof. William Denton, Wellesley, Mass. W.F. Jamieson, Albion, Mich. E.C. Walker, Florence, Iowa. C. Fannie Allyn, Stoneham, Mass. Moses Hull, Boston. Laura Kendrick, Boston. Mrs. Augusta Cooper Bristol, Vineland, N.J. J.W. Stillman, New York. Dr. A.J. Clark, Indianapolis. D.W. Hull, Michigan. C.L. James, Wisconsin. [Page 238 is blank; p. 239 is a picture of Eugene M. Macdonald, Editor of The Truth Seeker, 1883-1909; p. 240 blank; p.241 TITLE "PART II"; p. 242 blank.] CHAPTER XII. 1 -- GOING TO JAIL FOR A PRINCIPLE. THE events of 1879 tested the loyalty of many persons professing Liberalism. The year began with the trial in prospect that was to put D.M. Bennett in jail for thirteen months and subject him to a fine of $300 for mailing the pamphlet "Cupid's Yokes." All this trou- ble, as I have said, began at the 1878 Watkins con- vention of Freethinkers, when Josephine Tilton for a moment left her book stand, which was "con- tiguous" to Bennett's, and when in her absence he waited on an individual who called for a copy of that pamphlet. Of course the right to sell so in- nocuous a piece of writing deserved to be main- tained, even at some cost; but as for myself I never viewed the production as worth quite the fif- teen cents that was its list price. I read "Cupid's Yokes" as most persons would, because it had been pronounced indecent, licentious, and lewd; and thereby began an experience to which there has been no exception, i.e., that one who procures and reads any book or print having no other distinc- tion than that of being obscene will be disappointed, as he deserves to be. The last book to catch me that way was "Women in Love," by D.H. Law- rence. Justice Ford of New York, in 1923, or 243 244 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 earlier, discovered that his daughter, unmarried, had gained access to this book of Lawrence's at a library; and on the strength of that fact justice Ford went to the New York legislature with his Clean Books bill. But "Women in Love" is the soporific kind of literature that appropriately has been called "chloroform in print," being so dull that no one of my temperament, craving action, could read it with sustained interest. The first number of The Truth Seeker for 1879 announced President Hayes's pardon of E.H. Hey- wood, who had been jailed for writing and selling the pamphlet, and that Bennett's prosecution in the United States Court stood "in suspenso." The case was set for March 18. Bennett then said that he expected nothing but conviction from the presid- ing judge, the Hon. C.L. Benedict, in whose court Comstock had never lost. The suspense was brief. Bennett headed his next editorial "Our Trial and Conviction" (Truth Seeker, March 29), and the article began with the words: "It is over. We have been tried, and twelve men have pronounced us guilty. We are now a convict, and if the rul- ings and instructions of Judge Benedict cannot be set aside, a prison awaits us." The rulings and instructions were not set aside. On the 15th of May they were upheld by Judges Blatchford, Benedict, and Choate, and on June 5 Judge benedict pronounced the sentence: "You have been indicted by a grand jury, tried by a jury, and found guilty of violating a statue of your land. The Court has heard the arguments of your coun- sel and given the case serious thought. The sen- 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 245 tence of the court is that you be confined, at hard labor, for a period of thirteen months, and to pay a fine of $300; the sentence to be executed in the Albany penitentiary." There was malice in that thirteen months. A year's sentence might have been served in the com- fortable county jail in Ludlow street. Bennett came to court that day prepared with an article entitled: "What I Have to Say Why Sentence Should Not Be Passed Upon Me," in which he ventured to express the mild hope that the laws of the country might sometimes be admin- istered by a better judge than the one that had tried him. He had with him these contemplated re- marks in the form of galley proofs, having reduced them to print, and asked twice for the privilege of reading them; but "waving him imperiously aside," Benedict pronounced his doom, and a mar- shal took him to Ludlow Street jail. The Hon. Abram Wakeman, brother of Thad- deus B. Wakeman, who managed the outside cam- paign against the Comstock laws and their con- stitutionality, had conducted the defense. Abram was great as a man and a lawyer; his presence and his eloquence made judge Benedict on his bench look like a child in a high-chair taking a scolding and occasionally saying "I won't." Mr. Wakeman endeavored to show that the indicted pamphlet contained no plain language that could not be par- alleled in many other books. He tried to intro- duce expert testimony that "Cupid's Yokes" must be separated from the class of books recognized as obscene. He was stopped by Benedict's "I won't 246 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 let you." The prosecuting attorney, Fiero, was one of those vain fellows whom for their incorrigible conceit and impudence you feel the desire to kick. Present and ready to testify to the literary charac- ter of "Cupid's Yokes," was O.B. Frothingham, lecturer for the large group of cultivated persons who met weekly in Masonic Temple to hear his scholarly discourses. He came pretty near to be- ing the flower and the ripe fruit of his generation. Confronting such a man, Fiero seemed a small bad boy, insolent and precociously vicious. And this same Fiero, objecting to the introduction of com- petent testimony, told the twelve dolts sitting as a jury that they were to form their own opinion of the book, or take it from the court, regardless of the views of "Frothingham or any other ham." (Here the impulse to kick Fiero would have been too powerful for control had he not been out of reach.) During the next lull in the proceedings the prose- cutor approached Mr. Frothingham and said: "I hope you will accept an apology from me if, as I am warned, I have used your name in an insulting manner." Mr. Frothingham, without appearing to see him, replied that this was unnecessary; for, said he, "neither your insult nor your apology reaches me." The prosecution had marked in the pamphlet the "passages held to violate the law. Fiero de- clared they were too impure for the record; but Abram Wakeman read every one of them in a good clear voice, so that the jury and the audience could hear them; they all went into the transcript of his 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 247 speech and were included in the report of the trial that Bennett made into a book, besides which all of the readers of The Truth Seeker saw them in the current number of the paper. The secular press almost unanimously condemned the conduct of the trial, the conviction, and the sentence that followed. Indignation meetings were held in various parts of the country, while a peti- tion for Bennett's pardon addressed to the Presi- dent (Hayes) bore above two hundred thousand signatures. The protest that went up has no mod- ern parallel except that which was aroused by the execution of Francisco Ferrer in 1909, or by the Sacco-Vanzetti matter of 1927. 2 -- From JAIL TO PENITENTIARY At the Ludlow street jail Bennett at first was immured in a dungeon which from his description of it must have surpassed all his expectations as to noisomeness; but before the time for him to sleep in it arrived the turnkey summoned him to the jailer's office, where the sheriff's son let him know that by paying $15 a week for board and lodging, he might have better accommodations for himself and the privilege of entertaining his friends up to 10 o'clock at night. The prisoner closed at once with the offer. The cell to which he was now assigned had a comfortable bed, nicely white- washed walls, and room for the reception of half a dozen visitors. All the office hands, including the printers, sur- prised the doorkeeper by going in a group to visit 248 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 their employer in prison. Bennett paid a tribute to the loyalty of these faithful employees, calling them by name. "It is saddening," he wrote, "to part with the excellent and faithful corps of as- sistants and compositors employed on The Truth Seeker. Few papers have had a more faithful, in- telligent, and honorable staff of assistants. We have toiled together for years in perfect harmony and cordiality. They entertain a high regard for me, and I assuredly do f or them. Let me men- tion their names, that you may at least know that much about them: E.M. Macdonald, foreman; H.J. Thorhas, proof-reader and compositor; T.R. Stevens, G.H. Weeks, G.E. Macdonald, T. Grat- tan, J. Phair, and C.A. Wendeborn, compositors." The loyalty of employee to employer is a phenom- enon rarer now than then. The change has been brought about through organization of the em- ployees exclusively in their own interests. In the smaller offices, of which this was an example, the man and the "boss" were much of a family. The oldest of the compositors in the list, T.R. Stevens, lives to count his great-grandchildren. Tom Grat- tan was first to die, being a consumptive. Thomas has been dead for many years. Phair was killed in a street railway accident in Canada, and Weeks and Wendeborn have not been heard of for de- cades. As we are talking of a time fifty years back, they more than likely have laid aside stick and rule for good. On Bennett's removal to the Albany penitentiary, pursuant to an order of District Attorney Fiero dated June 17, E.M. Macdonald took the editor's 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 249 desk. G.E. Macdonald then became foreman, yielding his compositor's frame to Ed. Hurd, who stayed with the family for a considerable time. Few years have since passed without a call from Mr. Hurd, who quit composition for proof-reading and found employment on the daily papers. He died May 30, 1928, in Colorado, at the Printers' Home, in his 80th year. Bennett in the penitentiary was for the first thirty days incommunicado to his friends in New York, but a friend was nearby in the person of G.A. Lomas, editor of The Shaker Manifests. Although Mr. and Mrs. Bennett had left the Shaker com- munity more than thirty years before that time, all the members continued to express the sincerest friendship for him; and their editor, it seems, found a way of getting past the penitentiary guards. Elder Lomas reported to the outside world that "the old hero was in a most undaunted mood" and likely to remain so. "But it was terrible to my feelings," says the Shaker elder, "when he said, with deepest emotion: 'You know, Albert, I have not been used to being treated and spoken to like a dog.' While in the Ludlow street hostelry the Doctor's time was all his own, and having writing materials at hand his output was profuse enough to fill a half dozen pages of the paper every week. The writing appeared as letters from "Behind the Bars." At Albany, they allowed him at first a monthly let- ter covering an area described as a "half-sheet." On this he wrote so closely with a sharpened pen- cil that at a little, distance the half-sheet appeared 250 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 to be almost a solid black, and it assayed more than three thousand words. With practice he in the course of a few months raised this number of words to 3,250, which occupied more than a page of the paper in solid and by no means fat long primer. Before the end of the year the keepers of the penitentiary relieved their distinguished prisoner of the duty of making shoes, to which they had first detailed him, and, perhaps because he knew drugs, placed him in the hospital, where the restrictions as to writing were removed. He now could receive papers and books and write unceasingly. Before he came out he had nearly finished, with exterior aid, a two-volume work entitled "The Gods and Religions of Ancient and Modern Times." 3 -- WHAT THE CAT BROUGHT IN. In the fall a new complication arose. His ene- mies made public the intelligence that some two years previously Dr. Bennett had been "vamped" or seriously blandished, and that, while fearlessly acting out the maxim, "Do right and fear no man," he had neglected its no less important amendment: "Don't write, and fear no woman." On page 265 of Volume V (1878) of The Truth Seeker, there is a brief article from the editor's pen, dealing in a strikingly sympathetic way with the unfortunate Bishop McCoskry of Michigan, who at the age of 70 had written a number of let- ters to a girl. Bennett comments: "It is a dangerous business for a doting old man to write soft and silly letters to any lady, for he knows not, 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 251 though they are designed for the eyes of but a single per- son, how many may be invited to peruse them. Witness the grief of the old bishop for this cause. He was obliged to resign the honorable position he held, with the promise to spend the remainder of his life in Europe, in exile and retired disgrace. Poor Beecher had lots of trouble about the letters he wrote. The Newell divorce case, now pro- gressing in our courts, is bringing to light another batch of ridiculous love-letters, written by another old man. They may serve to amuse for an hour a giddy public, but it would have been far better to consign them to the flames. Were we to give advice to men of age, it would be: WRITE NO LOVE-LETTERS. That was the voice and warning of experience, for even then he was feeling disquietude over cer- tain letters written by himself. A year later those missives were serving to amuse a giddy public, and for more than an hour too, for Bennett never undertook a series of writings that could be read in an hour. In his agitation for the repeal of the Comstock laws he had raised up two sets of oppo- nents who agreed in nothing else but the sacredness of these laws. Those opponents of his were the Christian cohorts on the one hand, and the so- called Free Religious and conservative Spiritualist people on the other. The orthodox had backed Comstock all the time. Now the Boston contingent who read The Index and took the side of Francis E. Abbot in the debate, and the constituents of the Chicago Religio-Philosophical Journal (Spiritual- ist), Col. John C. Bundy, editor, espoused Com- stock's cause against Bennett, and for downright meanness and conscienceless lying far surpassed 252 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 their ecclesiastical allies. The woman addressed in the tell-tale letters first tried to blackmail Ben- nett, who wouldn't give her a cent, and then sold the letters to Bundy, who made them public through his paper. A fellow I have heretofore mentioned, Seth Wilbur Payne, who started a paper called The Age of Reason at 141 Eighth street, is sup- posed to have stolen The Truth Seeker's mailing list and conveyed it to the enemy. So Bennett's readers received copies of Bundy's paper contain- ing the letters, to which Bundy had given the worst interpretation possible, and added a score of lies. In an article of thirteen columns' length Bennett from his prison acknowledged the authorship of the letters and supplied the circumstances under which they were written. Why he wrote them, he said, must forever remain a mystery, since it was a conundrum to him. He believed himself to have been afflicted with a kind of moral delirium. Well, he was not going to try to lie out of it. What- ever may have impelled him to write them, the letters certainly were from his hand. Then, plead- ing the right of every man to be a fool once in his life, and saying he feared he had too fully availed himself of that privilege, he gave all the details, getting forth that in an evil hour, somebody, doing the cat act, brought in this female. Describing the occasion, he wrote: "One evening, while [I was] writing in my office, an old friend and ac- quaintance of forty years' standing entered with this person." The person was Miss Hannah Jo- sephine McNellis -- "unmarried," thirty-five years of age, Irish by birth, raised in the Catholic church, 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 253 educated in a Catholic school, but now become, as she stated, a Spiritualist, a Liberal, and a "me- dium." Personally Josie was to be inventoried as "petite, lively, chatty, and agreeable." DeRobigne Mortimer Bennett fell for Hannah Josephine Mc- Nellis. The person desired employment, and he invented for her the situation of canvasser for ad- vertisements. At that she had no success. She next accepted the proposition to work in the office, "to assist at correspondence, proof-reading, copy- holding, and making some selections of anecdotes, etc., for the paper." She failed again, totally; and as no more pretexts for employing her occurred to him, he advised Miss McNellis "that she had better discontinue," which she did. But in depart- ing, this person left the miasma with him, he states, and the infection worked. Then was it that he wrote the letters as his part of the correspondence which ensued. Bennett for some time had been assigning causes for the acts of others, but he now provided himself with a problem in behavior which he could not solve. "How I could ever write so much," says he, "and keep it up so long and for so unworthy an object, is a mystery even to myself." Why he discontinued the correspondence is more easily explained than its inception. People who knew the woman brought him proof of her deceit- ful nature. They gave him the name and residence of a man she had lived and traveled with, and the testimony of attendants when "she was brought to premature childbirth." The latter misfortune was worsened to his mind from the circumstance that before he discovered the cause of her illness 254 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 he had been solicited for a donation "to procure medicines, etc.," and "handed out seven dollars." It irked Mr. Bennett to say aught against a wo- man -- "the male sex very naturally feel a com- mendable degree of magnanimity toward the oppo- site sex." But, he demands, "what am I to do? My reputation is grossly and dastardly attacked." He had been accused by the loathsome Bundy of pursuing, persecuting, oppressing, and trying to starve out a virgin; of importuning her to sacri- fice her virtue on the altar of his lust, when there was no such person as a virgin concerned, and the letters and circumstances admitted of no such in- terpretation. Mrs. Bennett published a "card" in the paper, saying that she had known of the wo- man's influence over her husband and had been grieved by it; that he had long since told her of the letters. "But it is all past," she wrote; "the most amicable feeling exists between us; and I am sorry that other persons should make it their business to arouse and spread a scandalous matter that was all settled and overlooked." The ghouls were in- different to the feelings of Mrs. Bennett, who suf- fered much more from this publicity than she had from the affair when it occurred. 4 -- STEADFAST FRIENDS. If the publishers of the Bennett letters thought themselves repaid, then it was an instance of vir- tue, or meanness -- often the same thing -- being its own reward. Bennett lost no credit. Those who 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 255 had been his friends remained so still. When de- tractors asserted that the higher type of Liberal- ism had quit him and that only "the coarsest and lowest species" remained, Bennett promptly named as among the steadfast, whose absence he had not noted: Colonel Ingersoll, who had worked for weeks to procure him a pardon; James Parton, the distinguished historian and biographer of Voltaire; Thaddeus B. Wakeman, whose interest in The Truth Seeker's welfare remained undiminished; Theron C. Leland, who wielded the sharpest pen then or since at the service of Liberalism; Mr. Briggs of California, who, always generous, had increased his donations; Courtlandt Palmer, of the very heart of swelldom, who was writing a letter nearly every week with a generous inclosure; and Mr. A. Van Deusen, one of the "aristocrats," who "drops in every now and then and leaves from $5 to $25." And as it was with the leaders, so with the rank and file; there was no defection. My own verdict in the case is that Bennett was a poor judge of women. He ought to have sheered off when he learned the McNellis woman's pedigree -- Irish, Catholic by education and training, and pre- tending to be a "medium." The Irish-Catholic fe- male is not passionate but intriguing. An honest man trusted the McNellis woman and she betrayed him. Except for her treachery we might congrat- ulate Bennett on the experiencing of so pleasur- able a commotion of the senses at sixty. In 1874 a large stuffed shirt known as Joseph Cook was set up for a Monday lecturer in Boston. 256 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 Cook had a considerable vogue on account of his pretense that he was harmonizing religion and science. In 1879 he chose to "throw in" with An- thony Comstock against D.M. Bennett and all other Freethinkers. He delivered a special lecture on the subject, to which Bennett replied under the plain heading of "Joseph Cook, the Liar," and when Cook came to New York to address the an- nual meeting of the Comstock Society in the hall of the Young Men's Christian Association, the boys from The Truth Seeker office distributed the ar- ticle, at the entrance, to persons going in and to passersby. Hundreds of copies had been handed out before the distribution could be stopped. Writ- ing an account of this occasion was my first at- tempt at reporting. I learn from the effort that when Mr. Cook entered the hall he looked to me "like a cross between a pugilist and a cattle-drover," and that as seen on the platform making a speech he was "shock-headed, bull-necked, sledge-fisted, with a foot like an earthquake." He had certainly a big right foot, as I now recall, and he "stomped" on the platform to impress his points. Hence the simile of an earthquake. S.P. Putnam had now come out of the church and announced himself as a lecturer not only on Liberal topics but also on "Free Marriage," "Mar- riage and the Social Evil," and "Times and Genius of Shakespeare." Two Liberal papers were born but to die: The Pacific Coast Free Thinker, San Francisco, Byron Adonis, editor, and The Infidel Monthly, Albany, 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 257 N.Y.; A.H. McClure & Co. John Brown Smith went to jail in Northampton, Mass., for refusing to pay a poll tax of $2. He stuck it out for eleven Months, when a friend paid the tax and liberated him. This was the year of the memorable "Pocas- set tragedy," when a man named Freeman, in Po- casset, Mass., killed his child in obedience to a command of God," even as Abraham led his son to the sacrifice. In this year of 1879 S.P. Putnam published his attempt at a serial narrative called "Gottlieb: His Life"; Mr. Wakeman wrote long and convincing articles on the iniquity of the Comstock postal laws; a numerously signed petition for the taxation of church property was presented to the New York legislature, sponsored by Senator G.E. Williams; an attempt made to break up the Oneida Commu- nity as "a form of organized harlotry" was de- nounced by Mr. Bennett editorially and by E.C. Walker in the correspondence columns. In these days appeared occasionally Mary E. Tillotson of Vineland, N.J., in skirts almost as short as 1928 fashions demand. But Mrs. Tillotson obviously wore pants. Crowds followed her on the street. Comstock bullied the American News Company into refusing to distribute The Truth Seeker. 5 -- I MAKE FORENSIC AND POETIC ENDEAVORS. The Fourth New York Liberal League held reg- ular biweekly meetings. This is the organization that met at Ned Underhill's house and at the home of its president, Daniel Edward Ryan, or wherever 258 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 hospitality was offered and space available. One member after another prepared and delivered a talk or read a paper, listening to all which gradu- ally produced in my mind the conviction that I could do that. I therefore gave notice to the sec- retary, who was my brother, that I should like to step into the next vacancy and offer a few appro- priate and well-chosen remarks. He and the other officers consented, but he warned me I must not expect him to stay. I withstood the pleasantries of the boys in the printing-office while awaiting my opportunity, and in the meantime conceived of a paper under the title of "New England and the People Up There." My chance came on March 9, (1879). For the occasion the League, instead of looking for a parlor to meet in, rented a small hall, which was filled the audience including, besides Dr. Bennett, the noted lecturer B.F. Underwood and the learned philosopher Stephen Pearl An- drews, as well as most of mother's roomers. I marked with surprise the presence of Miss Ettie DePuy, a magnificent young woman who might have had a career as an actress in tragic parts if she had not soon married and taken, up domestic life. Owing to my natural reserve I had not at- tempted to make her acquaintance. Mr. Bennett reported the occasion in his next editorial article, March 15. He wrote (this was three months before his imprisonment) "On Sunday night Mr. Underwood attended the bi- weekly meeting of the Fourth New York Liberal League, in Science Hall building. A paper was read by Mr. 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 259 George E. Macdonald -- his first effort in that direction -- entitled 'New England and the People Up There.' It was full of sparkling humor all the way through, and brought out repeated laughter and applause from the audience. We hope ere long to lay this lecture before our readers. Hearty compliments were paid to the lec- turer on this his first effort, and several predicted a bright future for him in the humorous field. Among the com- plimentary speakers were S.P. Andrews and Mr. Under- wood. They agreed that he would yet be appreciated by audiences much larger than on this occasion." I regret not to have fulfilled these predictions. However, Ettie DePuy captured me and made me walk with her to her door, alternately praising the matter of my discourse and hinting how I might improve my speaking voice. Miss DePuy offered to give me a few lessons in Delsarte oratory, but I had had two girl teachers. I was twenty-one and was through with women' Bennett printed the lec- ture in the paper and then published it as a pam- phlet. I feel no impulse to read it now. Sixteen years passed before I "lectured" again, when my audience had increased to eight hundred, all cheer- ful; and that was the last. May was the fatal month when I wrote my first "poetry," some stanzas inspired by the imprison- ment of Bennett and the grief of his wife. George Francis Train, who was contributing to The Truth Seeker then, quoted three of them: "Our statute brooks are stained by laws That make our honest thought a crime; That couple Freethoughts aim sublime With moral filth's corrupting cause. 260 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 The hand of persecution smites Our noblest leaders, men of brain, Who work for universal gain And wage the war of human rights. Then let the lamp of truth be trimmed; Let growing strength allay our fears -- The light that beams from coming years Illume the eyes by teardrops dimmed." WHENCE THE IMPULSE TO WRITE? I have often wondered how the writing game chanced to appeal to our family. Mother made the first venture; then my brother, and in the time I am now speaking of I felt the urge to take a few chances. We had no literary or more than liter- ate antecedents; and not one of our kin, who were numerous, ever developed the writing faculty, or were equal to more than the composition of a de- cent letter hoping this finds you the same. How- ever, a relative, nearby in space and time, but re- moved in kinship, won no inconsiderable reputation. That was Henry Harland, whose mother and my mother had the same grandparents, and were cous- ins, yet most sisterly in their intercourse. The Harlands lived at 35 Beekman Place, in a house that backed on the East River and commanded a view of Blackwell's (now Welfare) Island. The scene of Harry's novel "As It Was Written," put forth under the pseudonym of Sidney Luska, was laid in Beckman Place; and one summer when the family was abroad, mother and I lived in the house. Edmund' Clarence Stedman tattered Harry. Next 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 261 to putting him in a printing-office his parents did the best thing for their son. Having read his "Car- dinal's Snuff-Box" I should have called it a perfect piece of work if at one place he had not pictured a cow licking a man's hand "with her soft white pad of a tongue." A cow's tongue is no pad; it is ex- ceedingly muscular; about as smooth as a rasp, and two or three licks bestowed on a man's hand would take the hide off. But the longer I live the more I am forced to observe the ignorance of persons not brought up on a farm. I have just found a high- school graduate who has never seen a yoke of cattle and doesn't know oxen from cows; who has not seen a stone wall, a pile of cord-wood, nor a woodsaw and sawhorse. A few years since a painting deemed worthy of honorable mention by incompetent judges placed the driver of a yoke of cattle on the off side. Ben Ames Williams pro- fessed to depict farm and barnyard life in New England (in The Saturday Evening Post) with- out being aware that the uprights which hold the necks of kine at their manger are stanchions, and so called them something else. The same writer speaks also of barrel staves, released by their de- caying hoops, falling into "shooks" again; which would he like a piece of disintegrating statuary re- suming the form and dimensions of the marble block it was chiseled from. Then a Collier's ar- tist painted a tapped sugar maple with a fire bucket' hung by its bail over the sap spile. And he had a girl tasting the sap with a spoon, evidently suppos- ing that the tree ran hot syrup which could not be drunk from a dipper. I look in the current At- 262 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 lantic Monthly (March, 1928) and find Llewelyn Powys writing: "And as I gazed upon this frail human being, so purely winnowed by the harsh flails of life," and so on. Winnowed by flails! Fanned by baseball bats! Such exhibitions of ig- norance broadcast in publications like The Satur- day Evening Post, Collier's, and The Atlantic Monthly are a cause of deep distress to the edu- cated. The home of his ancestors having been Nor- wich, Connecticut, Harry Harland, though born abroad, regarded that town as his birthplace. He went further and traced his descent to the cele- brated Pilgrims, John Alden and Priscilla Mullens. I have not examined the genealogy to see if I am implicated by it. The ancestors of the Hussey famuy, to which his maternal grandfather and mine belonged, were seventeenth-century pioneers, not pilgrims. NOTE. -- The absorption just now of the Peter Eckler Pub- lishing Company by The Truth Seeker makes it impos- sible for me to resist telling now an incident, and its re- lation to this deal, that happened the year that William Green or William Green's Sons, printers, turned out the first copies of the revised New Testament done in America. One of the compositors in The Truth Seeker office men- tioned by D.M. Bennett in his letter from Ludlow Street jail quoted last week, had taken a job at Green's as proof- reader. On the day the New Testament was up he could not work and asked me to "sub." for him, which I did. Now the foreman at Greeres was Robert Drunanond, a man of such efficiency that employees and the craft spoke of him as the "slave driver." When I entered his presence that morning Mr. Drummond was spreading the gospel by 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 263 cutting up copies of it into takes for the men. His greet- ing to me was gruff; it assigned me to another place first, and then to a red-headed assistant foreman. Well, Mr. Drummond -- ages later -- bought the Peter Eckler Publishing business from the heirs of Peter and Peter's son Caryl, and managed it until November 1, 1927, when, just before his 79th birthday, he was killed in a street accident in Brooklyn. He liked the book trade, but printing was his profession, and a few years before his death he got to be almost a daily visitor at The Truth Seeker office, where he enjoyed sitting on a high stool and discoursing about old times and the newest refinements of the great art. He had forgotten the morning when in Greens big printing-office he officiated like a mate on a steamboat and referred the green hand to the place aforesaid. His son and son-in-law are the parties of the first part in the transfer of the publishing company to this address. -- The Truth Seeker, July 14, 1928. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER XIII. 1 -- A FREE PEOPLE IN A FREE LAND. WHEN the Hon. Elizur Wright of Boston, president of the Liberal League, issued his call for the annual congress of 1879, he appointed also a national party convention "to give the Liberals of the United States an opportunity for consulting as to the propriety of taking political action." The invitation to this convention, evidently written by Colonel Ingersoll, was published Sep- tember 6, 1879; it bore the heading, "A Free People in a Free Land," and to it were affixed the signa- tures of Robert G. Ingersoll, James Parton, T.B. Wakeman, E.H. Neyman, Parker Pillsbury, J.P. Mendum, Horace Seaver, and B.F. Underwood. The regular League Congress met on Saturday, September 13, in Greenwood Hall, Mechanics' In- stitute, Cincinnati. The political Convention as- sembled on Sunday at the Grand Opera House, which was filled. Having completed the unfinished League business of the previous day by electing all of the old officers, the Convention proceeded to organize. The report of what was done occupied thirty-four columns of The Truth Seeker of Sep- tember 20 and 27 and October 5. Gen. B.A. Mor- ton of New Haven, Conn., presided, and Colonel Ingersoll spoke frequently, saying, for a last word: 264 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 265 "I think this convention has behaved splendidly. Let us give three cheers for the party." No candidates were nominated, members being advised to interrogate candidates of the political parties and vote for such as accepted the principles of the Liberal League. The new party's "menace" appeared in the persons of Charles Sotheran and other members of the Socialist Labor Party, who demanded recognition of the "economic" question. The Cincinnati papers falsely reported that these Socialists had captured the convention. Colonel Ingersoll, however, handled the bumptious ones adroitly. They had been more welcome had they been less obstreperous, since "One Who Was There," writing in The Truth Seeker, said that "whatever prejudice there might have been in the convention against Socialists, as such, arose not from their principles but from their violent manner of announcing them, as also from their action in urging upon the Convention the adoption of meas- ures and principles which, by their own confession on the floor of the Convention, the rules of their own organization forbade them to support." As tried by the president of the League on Gen. Benj. F. Butler and the Hon. John D. Long, nom- inees for governor of Massachusetts, the experi- ment of interrogating candidates on their church- state attitude produced negligible results. Mr. Long declined to give a categorical answer, but asked Mr. Wright to call on him. Butler replied that he must refer the inquirer to his record. A proposal from any hopeful member of the Lib- eral party to endorse candidates of either of the 266 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 old parties was sure to be met with heartfelt pro- test from some other member who could think of such a proceeding only with pain. There were re- ports that Ingersoll had renounced his allegiance to the Republican party. This was of course false. Ingersoll for various reasons was dissatisfied with Hayes, and held him in low esteem, as was shown when a newspaper man asked him if he thought there might be bloodshed over the late disputed ele- ction, and Ingersoll answered, "Who would fire a gun for Hayes?" 2 -- STATE LIBERAL GATHERINGS. One of the ablest and best-known Freethought writers and speakers of the last quarter of the nine- teenth century reported, in The Truth Seeker of October 4, a Liberal Encampment, composed of Materialists and Spiritualists, that had closed a week's meeting at Bismarck Grove, Kansas, Sep- tember 11. The reporter's name, evidently a new one to compositors and proof-readers, was printed J.E. "Kemsburg." Mr. Remsburg, author of the report, named as the moving spirit of the Encampment Gov. Charles Robinson, Kansas' first governor, while among visi- tors from abroad were the Hon. George W. Julian, who had been the Antislavery candidate for vice- president of the United States in 1852; and George W. Brown of Rockford, Ill., formerly editor of the famous Herald of Freedom, the first Antislavery paper published in Kansas, which was destroyed by a proslavery mob in 1853. 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 267 Scores of the Antislavery agitators, when their cause had been won, joined the Liberal ranks. They were represented by such leaders as the two named by Mr. Remsburg (Julian and Brown) and by Elizur Wright, Parker Pillsbury, A.B. Bradford, Lucy Colman, Amy Post, and Lucretia Mott, and by hundreds of the rank and file who joined the Liberal League and subscribed for The Truth Seeker. The Abolitionists were in the main relig- ious heretics, the single prominent exception being the outlaw John Brown of Osawatomie, who was a fanatical Presbyterian. In the columns of The Truth Seeker thus far scanned I have not found the name of the veteran Agnostic, student of Spencer and exponent of Evo- lution, David Eccles, but on March 22, R.G. Eccles asks The Truth Seeker to publish his challenge to Charles Sotheran, a Socialist secretary, to debate economic principles. As R.G. Eccles writes as of New Castle, Pa., I do not completely identify him with Dr. R.G. Eccles of Brooklyn; still his remark to Sotheran, "If your object was to obtain truth rather than to play the bully and obtain a bluff," etc., is after the forthright Ecclesonian manner, and I doubt not that this was truly the brother of David. The organized Freethinkers of the State of New York held their convention in September at Chautau- qua. George Jacob Holyoake of England was pres- ent and participated in the exercises. Page 66 of Mr. Holyoake's pamphlet "Among the Americans" (1881) is devoted to a not complimentary notice of 268 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 the gathering. Mr. H.L. Green writing to The Truth Seeker said of Mr. Holyoake: "So soon as I noticed in the investigator that George Jacob Holyoake was coming to this country I wrote a letter to New York for him, when he arrived, inviting him to attend the Freethinkers' Convention, and I rejoiced when I received his card accepting the invitation. His pres- ence was a great addition to the Chautauqua entertain- ment. He has a great head and a greater heart. Everyone who came in contact with him fell in love with him; and after he had remained with us a number of days, and spoken so often and so well, it gave us all sad feelings to bid him farewell. The Liberal friends who met Mt. Holyoake at Chautauqua will always remember the time spent with him as the most pleasant period of their lives." The "greater heart" that Mr. Green found in Mr. Holyoake did not save him from saying of the gath- ering: "I was surprised to find the Liberal con- vention I attended a great 'pow wow,' with no def- inite plan of procedure such as would be observed in England." That was unkind after the words of Mr. Green, who was the organizer of the Free- thinkers' Association and of the convention and invited him there. A debating Fundamentalist of the time, the Rev. Clark Braden, supposed to be a Campbellite, dogged Freethought lectures and defied them to meet him. He was a vituperative polecat, and Christians who engaged him to meet Underwood or Jamieson did not repeat the order. B.F. Underwood unveiled this honorless and characterless individual in The Truth Seeker of August 2, 1879. John Hart of Doylestown, Pa., proposed to finance a pamphlet made up of the worst passages of 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 269 the Bible to test the sincerity of the anti-decency crusaders. When Mr. Hart died in 1927 he had taken The Truth Seeker almost half a century. There were no dull moments in 1879: the organi- zation of a new auxiliary League was reported al- most weekly. Conventions were held in many states, with indignation meetings here and there called to protest against the imprisonment of Bennett, or to censure President Hayes for not granting the pardon petitioned for by two hundred thousand citizens. All the "reformers," and there were many varieties of them, joined forces with the Freethink- ers. The Spiritualists were an exceedingly strong division of the army, for as yet they bad not ex- perienced religion and turned ecclesiastics. The last number of The Truth Seeker for the year 1879 makes a quotation from "Man," showing that a Liberal publication of that name then ex- isted, the publisher of this small sheet being Asa K. Butts. Later, "Man" was edited by Theron C. Le- land and Thaddeus B. Wakeman, and became the official organ of the League. The year closed with Bennett in the Albany penitentiary serving his thir- teen months' sentence. Reports said that Hayes declined to exercise clemency on the ground that his act would show disrespect for the court. Rumor said Hayes was willing, but Comstock plowed with his heifer and the Methodist Mrs. Hayes forbade her Rutherford to shorten the imprisonment of the Infidel. Benjamin R. Tucker, John S. Verity, John Storer Cobb, and other Boston plumb-liners spent time and energy without stint in behalf of liberty. 270 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 They had their own local "case" in the arrests of Ezra H. Heywood, publisher of The Word. Verity and Cobb are to me only memories which men- @@@@ tion of their names evokes, but "the sub- ject of our sketch" is still a live one. Tucker was born there in the Bay state in 1854, and is like myself in being of Quaker stock on one side of the family. He was receptive to book learning and got a fine MY UNCLE BENJAMIN education at the Friends' Academy and the Mas- sachusetts Institute of Technology. At 23, Hey- wood being in jail, Tucker edited The Word. He served on the staff of the Boston Globe eleven years, established The Radical Review and pub- lished that high-class magazine for one year, and also did editorial duty on The Engineering Maga- zine. He is best known as editor and publisher of Liberty from 1881 to 1908. I was writing for the darned thing at the time it suspended. Bernard Shaw and I were his only paid contributors. Long previous to that he had translated and published Claude Tillier's "Mon Oncle Benjamin," and Tucker has been my Uncle Benjamin ever since. Until a year or so ago he had refused to permit his biography to be written. I would not claim that my example has changed his mind, but I believe 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 271 it is no secret that he has at length consented and placed the material for his Life in competent hands. The picture was taken in his insurgent youth, at least fifty years ago. He lives in France, and with him is Pearl Johnson, the mother of his now grown daughter Oriole. Pearl is another of our Freet- hinking girls who just naturally expanded into the superior womanhood. 3 -- DOMESTIC AND LOCAL When the family took its flight from the Third avenue place near the Bull's Head Hotel in the spring of 1878, it lit on Fourth avenue at the north- east corner of Twenty-fifth street, occupying rooms over and under Mrs. Stringer's drugstore, for we had two floors and the basement. Roomers were more numerous than ever before, and the dining-table longer. Mother's paying guests fol- lowed her. The additions were not all so interest- ing as the old ones. However, we had with us the newspaper man who did the column of Sunbeams in The Sun, whose name comes to my mind as New- bould; and a redheaded party known as Jim Ander- son, who had gained notoriety down South as an active member of the Louisiana Returning Board which so altered the election results in 1876 as to elect Hayes -- the President who, said Charles Fran- cis Adams, wore upon his brow the brand of fraud first triumphant in American history. The news- paper man often contributed interestingly to the table talk; but Mr. Anderson appeared not to be exactly in his element. He was an adventure- 272 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 some person, more executive than conversational. I was sorry to hear of his demise. It took place in the West, perhaps in Nevada, where he engaged in an altercation with a mounted desperado, and drew a pistol on his adversary. The latter, as I heard the encounter told by a man from Carson City, slipped off his horse on the further side, and point- ing his gun across the saddle, "pumped" Mr. An- derson full of lead. A character not to be overlooked was Dr. Charles DeMedici (pronounced demmy-deechy), a country- man of Hamlet and a peripatetic philosopher who taught languages without being able, in my opinion, to enunciate or articulate any of them distinctly. He confessed to being oblivious to the difference in sound between whale, wale, vale, and fail. Per- chance his native Danske requires no such discrim- ination. One might acquire from him a short lesson in French by lending him a dollar overnight, for he acknowledged the favor with a "merci, mosur." Years after I had last glimpsed Dr. DeMedici, an advertisement canvasser named Albert Leubuscher told me of an encounter with him. Leubuscher in a street car perused a pamphlet entitled "The Art of Conversation," when a voice beside him boomed: "Wrong! lt should be the art of conversing." That was DeMedici, and he was right of course. Leu- buscher then and there made his acquaintance and, much impressed with his merits, soon wrote a mem- oir on him. Albert Leubuscher died many years ago. His sister, Amalia, a lovely girl who attended our socials in Lafayette place, is the widow of the late Bradford DuBois. His brother Fred Leubuscher 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 273 flourishes at the practice of law, and in 1927 was retained by the man whose wife shot Wallace Pro- basco. Dr. DeMedici turned chemist and invented certain cosmetics called Lelia Pith and Oxzyn Balm. He showed genius in gathering the last three letters of the alphabet into, a short word. The main room on the first floor of the Fourth avenue residence was capacious enough to be a meeting-place for the Fourth New York Liberal League and for other gatherings. There being a piano present and some of the guests being gifted and willing to oblige, these occasions had a tendency to become social. Why we always moved the first of May I never understood. As it was as regular a phenomenon as anything occurring in the astro- nomical world, I never thought to inquire. From this house we moved in due season to one in East Seventeenth street, owned by Mrs. Roberts, around the corner from Stuyvesant Park, and almost op- posite a church. No more paying guests. Mother sold her boarding works to one of them at the Fourth avenue house. And listen to a tale of woe. To accommodate mother I had drawn thirty dollars of my savings account to deposit with the gas com- pany on three gas meters, one on each floor. Too late I remembered this and went to recover. The new landlady had let her gas bills run till they ate up the deposit. I then drew the balance from the bank and closed the account. What was the use of saving? Forty years afterward the same bank ask- ing me to have my signature verified, I told the cashier to look in his books for 1878 and he would 274 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 find it, which he did. I presume that none of the men who were in the bank when I had my account and left my signature there was living when I re- ferred the present cashier to it; a substance as per- ishable as paper lasts so much better than the Stuff the average human is made of. The Truth Seeker of June 7, 1879, recorded the death of the Hon. Ebon Clark Ingersoll, who had served six terms in Congress from Illinois. Then first appeared that immortal tribute of his brother, which was Ingersoll's most heartfelt utterance. "And love taught grief to fall like music from his tongue." 4 -- LIBERATION OF DR. BENNETT. As the topic most widely and warmly debated in 1880, as in the year previous, was the imprison- ment of Bennett, which incidentally provided many a pulpit with its theme, I shall go to the end of the matter and then return to pick up the happenings passed by. When Bennett in his cell learned that the Presi- dent had deferred to his wife in the matter of the pardon, he wrote that he hoped after this no friend of his would ask Hayes for either justice or clem- ency, since a sense of justice was the quality the Executive lacked, and Bennett would rather stay in prison than accept clemency from that kind of a man. In his letter from Albany, Feb. 8, I remark this reflection: "Jesus once wrote in the sand. I wrote several times on paper. His was the easier rubbed out." He was thinking of his letters to the 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 275 woman who sold him out, and wishing, no doubt, that they had been written in water. In The Truth Seeker of May 8 Bennett broke the news, under "Home Again," that he had been, liberated from his unjust imprisonment. A month earlier committees had been organized in New York to give him a proper reception. There were two of these committees, one representing the Liberal pub- lic, the other the Fourth New York Liberal League. The former was headed by Daniel Edward Ryan and included Ingersoll Lockwood, T.C. Leland, and the Drs. Foote, senior and junior. For the big demonstration the trustees of Cooper Union refused the use of that auditorium and the committee took Chickering Hall, a much finer place, though not so capacious. While members of the general commit- tee went to Albany to escort Bennett home officially, the first reception he had in the city was private and unofficial. Let the guest of honor, Bennett him- self, describe it: "All the attacks of The Truth Seeker office were in waiting. The office was illuminated, speeches were made, songs sung, toasts given, etc. California wine in reason- able quantity was placed upon the large imposing-stone in the composing room, and I found a wineglassful did me no harm, it being the first drop of wine or beverage of any kind I had tasted for nearly a year." Dr. E.B. Foote, Jr., who that evening was at- tending a meeting of the general reception com- mittee in Science Hall, participated in this greeting by the attaches. He did part of the organizing, particularly the forming of the attaches in a line, with Bennett in the midst, and marching all hands in 276 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1879 lockstep formation around the imposing-stone, while leading that popular chanty, "The Isle of Blackwell." He took none of the wine but made most of the noise. Bennett, for his indulgence in "a wineglass- ful," was appropriately rebuked by several of his abstemious readers, who warned him solemnly against acquiring the habit or encouraging it in others. There has always been found a considerable fringe of ascetics in the Freethought ranks -- foes of rum, tobacco, corsets, sex, meat, and white bread. The good old Quaker lady, Elmina Drake Slenker, having adopted what was called "Alphaism," wrote unceasingly against "sexual intemperance," which meant that men and women ought to let each other alone unless they viewed with alarm the depopula- tion of the earth and highly resolved to rescue hu- manity from extinction. Mrs. Celia Whitehead ex- posed the horrors of woman's dress. D.W. Groh never allowed anyone to smoke a pipe with a clear conscience. T.B. Wakeman advocated Prohibition, and there were health-food people aplenty. For years I have brought my luncheon to the office, the sand- wiches being invariably constructed of mahogany- colored bread. I long ago stopped eating white bread lest E. Ismay, making a call, should sur- prise me in the act, or for fear George B. Wheeler would hear of it. Their slogan is: "The whiter the bread the sooner you're dead." The Bennett reception in Chickering Hall, coming off on the evening of Sunday, May 2, was an over- whelming success, only that the place was too small for the crowd. "Long before the hour of eight ar- rived," says the report (Truth Seeker, May 8, 1879), 1879] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 177 "the seats were filled, hundreds were standing up,' and large numbers were unable to obtain admit- tance." My friend Henry H. Sherman, whom I have mentioned, reported the speeches stenographi- cally. The Hon. Elizur Wright presided and made the opening address. The speeches and letters filled more than seven pages of the paper. Many of The Truth Seeker poets, including Samuel P. Putnam, exhaled themselves in verse. Outside the hall the allies of Anthony Comstock circulated a pamphlet prejudicial to the reputation of the guest of the eve- ning. It was ineffectual. In the midst of the report of the meeting is this paragraph: "The quintet next sang the following original song of welcome by Mrs. Jennie Butler Brown of New Haven, Conn.; music by Edwin A. Booth of New York." This chap Booth, employed in the office as wrap- ping and mailing clerk, had musical gifts and talent. He invented a number of tunes, the words to one of which I aided him in writing, and it was pub- lished by Pond or Hitchcock. It dealt with "a little faded flower?' By the time I had perverted the words the way he insisted upon, nobody would have known them for the song I composed. Booth generously proposed my name on the published work as co-author -- a distinction which I resent- fully declined. So the performance was printed "Words and music by Edwin A. Booth." One eve- ning when I went with him to see the light opera "Iolanthe," at the Standard (?), Verona Jarbeau sang this song for an encore. Booth listened in the most exalted state, and was not himself again 278 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1880 for some days. The song under some such title as "The Flower That She Gave Me" may be found in the old catalogue of the music publishers of that date. Booth went on the road as salesman for an Ohio firm of stove manufacturers, and so disap- peared from these records. Bennett enjoyed other receptions. The National Defense Association gave him one; but after all I think he prized most his "Welcome and Installation" by his own Fourth New York Liberal League. I must quote the opening paragraph of his story about it: "Though one of the grandest and most enthusiastic re- ceptions ever bestowed upon mortal man was given to D.M. Bennett upon his emerging from prison -- on which occasion Chickering Hall could not contain more than half the people who turned out to do him honor -- it has been supplemented by another which, if less magnificent in point of numbers, was certainly as enjoyable to all who attended it. The Fourth New York Liberal League de- cided, some four weeks ago, to give a private reception to the returned convict, whom, during his imprisonment, they had elected as their president, and to duly install him in the office. At a meeting of the League held April 18th it was voted to give the private reception to Mr. Ben- nett on the evening of Saturday, May 8th, and Mr. Henry J. Thomas, Dr. Charles Andrews, and George E. Mac- donald were appointed a committee to perfect the arrange- ments for the meeting. On the evening of the 18th it came off at the capacious and magnificent parlors of Mrs. E.L. Femandez, No. 201 Second avenue. The greater part of the members of the Fourth New York Liberal League were present, with many invited guests. About seventy- five persons were present, and by common consent they passed one of the most pleasant evenings of their lives." (Truth Seeker, May 15, 1880.) 1880] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 279 Vice-president Henry A. Stone read the address of welcome, at its close inviting Bennett to take, the chair as president of the League. The latter com- plied, his voice trembling noticeably as he responded to the greeting. After that the affair became liter- ary, musical, social, and convivial, there being served, as Bennett notes, "a fine article of light mountain wine of California." The reception was held, as above said, in the parlors of Mrs. E.L. Fernandez. Mrs. Fernandez, who was associated with the theatrical profession as a teacher, or ad- viser, needed only the call and the opportunity to place her parlors at the disposal of this auxiliary League for its meetings. The members carried good times with them; the occupants of her house, in the way of dancing and other entertainment, added to the joviality. She had at this time a small daughter, three or four years old, named Bijou, who was friendly withal. 5 -- WHAT LIBERALS DID AND TALKED ABOUT. The English Comtean, Mr. F.J. Gould, will be interested to learn from these presents that there is a day named for Mrs. Fernandez in the Posi- tivist Calendar. It is the 12th of April, on which day in 1880 her elegant and hospitable residence was open to a brilliant company representing "the press, the lyceum, the studio, and the stage," which was met there to present "a beautiful crayon like- ness of Stephen Pearl Andrews to that gentleman in behalf of his many admirers." The artists were Miss L.E. Gardinier, Mr. Pickett, and Mrs. Varni. 280 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1880 I surmise that the reporter of the event was Mr. Courtlandt Palmer, and that the naming of the day was the inspiration of that other Positivist, T.B. Wakeman, who made the presentation speech. The report ends with the words: "It was eminently en- joyable -- to be there, and all who shared these de- lightful hours will long treasure the dedication of Fernandez Day in the radiance of Andrews' glory." I was not present, yet I have hanging in my house the picture of heroic size, presented to Mr. An- drews that day. The magnificent head and poise of Andrews was an unsurpassed model for some- thing Jovian in the way of portraits. A European committee called a Congress of the Universal Federation of Freethinkers to assemble in Brussels in August, 1880, and invited the Na- tional Liberal League to send delegates. President Wright replied that as the Liberal League was not an organization of Freethinkers as such, but a union of persons of all shades of thought and creed to effect an entire separation of church and state, send- ing a delegate to a purely Freethought congress would lead to misapprehensions as to its purposes. Mr. E.C. WaIker, Liberal organizer for Iowa, dif- fered emphatically with Mr. Wright, and not fear- ing the identification of the League with a Con- gress of Freethinkers, held that the League should be represented by delegates. At present, I believe, the views of Mr. Walker are much in harmony with the more conservative ideas expressed by Mr. Wright in 1880. Mr. Walker in Iowa, Mr. H.L. Green in New York,, and Mr. F.F. Follet in Illinois were the most 1880] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 281 industrious organizers of Leagues in the country. D.M. Bennett and A.L. Rawson, secretary of the National Liberal League, set sail August 4 for Liverpool, thence to Brussels to attend the Universal Congress, dated for the last of the month. The letters Bennett wrote while absent were made into a book called "An Infidel Abroad." He reached home on November 9 to discover that he had "sent in letters more profusely than room has been found for them," and it was New Year's by the time the last of them appeared. Bennett's fellow-delegate, Rawson, was an artist of some reputation, having illustrated a 'de luxe' edition of the Bible, besides making the pictures for Beecher's "Life of Christ." Little or nothing was heard during the year 1880 of the National Liberal Party organized in Cincin- nati in 1879. Politics had proved a divisive issue. The fourth Congress of the National Liberal League assembled in Hershey Hall, Chicago, September 17- 19, and reelected Elizur Wright president with T.C. Leland for secretary. Editor H.L. Barter of the LeClaire, Iowa, Pilot had just been arrested by a Comstock agent named McAffee and lodged in jail on a frivolous charge. The outrage acted as an irritant on the Liberal public, and the majority of Freethinkers said in their hearts that the Comstock laws should be repealed and censorship of the mails discontinued. That was their temper when they gathered in the Congress at Chicago. Ingersoll, who was opposed to the League's committing itself to that policy, found himself in a hostile atmosphere, for the first time among Freethinkers. 282 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1880 Secretary Rawson reported that of the two hun- dred and nine auxiliary Leagues eighty-two were represented by delegates. He had received twenty- five proxies, while fifty had asked him to appoint proxies for them. T.B. Wakeman of the Commit- tee on Resolutions reported, with other recommen- dations: "We therefore urge the repeal of the pres- ent United States postal laws known as the Com- stock laws." Colonel Ingersoll opposed the resolution, asked the privilege of offering a substitute, and closed his participation in the discussion with the words: "If that resolution is passed, all I have to say is that, while I shall be for liberty everywhere, I cannot act with this organization, and I will not." Never- theless the resolution for repeal went through "al- most unanimously," and he withdrew his name as first vice-president from the list of officers. In his speech Ingersoll said: "This obscene law business is a stumbling-block. Had it not been for this, instead of a few people voting here -- less than one hundred -- we should have had a congress num- bered by thousands. Had it not been for this busi- ness, the Liberal League of the United States would tonight hold in its hand the political destiny of the United States. Instead of that we have thrown away our power upon a question in which we are not interested. Instead of that we have wasted our resources and our brains for the repeal of a law that we don't want repealed. If we want anything, we simply want a modification." So the League was divided again, as it had been two years before, H.L. Green, who resigned along 1880] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 283 with Ingersoll, tried ineffectually to organize an- other. The report of the proceedings was printed in The Truth, Seeker of September 25 and October 2, 1880. Recalling today the odium suffered by the organi- zation on account of its action on the Comstock laws, and even by Ingersoll although he opposed the motion to repeal, I conclude that it was an impolitic course for the organization to pursue. Yet there were thousands who believed that the work of Anthony Comstock, with the approval and patron- age of nearly all the churches, was indeed the most dangerous form of union of church and state. Had the religious public shown any inclination to treat the League fairly, or to understand it, or to cease lying perpetually about its objects, the stand of the League would have been recognized as a very courageous way of meeting a moral issue. But in the circumstances the organization took a big risk, and in view of the consequences I am inclined to think it would have been better to take Ingersoll's advice. 6 -- AU REVOIR TO ANTHONY COMSTOCK During Bennett's imprisonment, members of a "James Parton Club," headed by Parton himself, sent a letter and a contribution every month. Court- landt Palmer stood by Bennett through thick and thin. Colonel Ingersoll wrote to Mrs. Bennett: "When you write your husband tell him for me that I have never joined in the cry against him and never will." Ingersoll imputed no base motives to 284 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1889 those who differed with him. He said: "I do not, I have not, I never shall, accuse or suspect a soli- tary member of the Liberal League of the United States of being in favor of doing any act under heaven that he is not thoroughly convinced is right." There are few men with the nobility to take that position in a controversy, and Francis Ellingwood Abbot, Benjamin F. Underwood, and members of the Free Religious fraternity generally were not among them. These were frightened and hunted cover when their Liberal associate, Bennett, was accused. Had one of them, or any Liberal, been attacked on moral grounds, Bennett would have re- plied with an attack. He would have brought for- ward the names of five hundred ministers of the gospel who had done worse. They did not under- stand as well as he how to repel such assaults, which are inspired by the meanest reactions that take place in the visceral cavity of man. Two newspaper editors in New York stood by the Liberal cause -- Porter C. Bliss of The Herald and Louis F. Post of the Daily Truth. As for Anthony Comstock, I would not speak with extreme harshness of any man, therefore I shall not say of him all the ill that I think. "De mortuis nil nisi bunkum." In his latter days he said in self-praise that he had sent enough men to jail to fill a long train of passenger cars. If among those hundreds of convicts there was one whose shortcomings could be so described that I should conceive of him as being a less desirable person than Anthony Comstock, I beg his pardon; I am doing that passenger an injustice. Within my ken, no 1880] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 285 person has breathed the vital air who as a sneak and hypocrite touched the low level of this repel- lent blackguard -- Anthony Comstock. As a gen- eralization, he summed up all the vile particulars discoverable by close scrutiny of humanity per- verted, degraded or perverse. A man whose proud- est boast might be that by tearing up a railway track he had sent a large number of passengers to a hos- pital for terms averaging thirteen months, and sim- ultaneously caused scores to be subjected to such agony that they blew out their own brains -- such a man might be more of a hero and less the mis- creant, in my judgment, than Anthony Comstock. And when you come to analyze the motives of his backers, aiders, and abettors, they are no higher than the impulses of their tool, in all respects exe- crable. Conscious of baseness in themselves, they hoped the world might mistake it for virtue if they decried the manifestation of their own traits in somebody else. When legislators pass laws of the Comstock variety they know themselves to be hypo- crites and trucklers. Judges who permitted Com- stock to obtain convictions in their courts were bru- tal and stupid. The offense penalized is wholly imaginary, the injury purely hypothetical. It is im- possible to prove in any case I ever heard of that anybody has been harmed -- impossible to show that the activities of Anthony Comstock throughout a career marked by the deceit and treachery of the sneak and the malice of the religious fanatic, and causing more misery than an epidemic of hemor- rhoids, have ever worked final benefit to any man, woman, or child. Such is the charitable view I am 286 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1880 able to take of a man the sight or thought of whom always aroused in me the impulse to give him a mighty swat on the jaw. In 1928, while cogitating on the incidents of the past which I am now setting down, I received from Annecy, Haute Savoie, France, a letter written by one of The Truth Seeker compositors of 1878-9. This was that bird Henry Hoyt Moore, already mentioned as having later become a religious editor. In his letter, Moore indulges in the following rem- iniseence: "Nearby where Sunset Cox's statue now stands unless it has been removed since I came to Europe, was a moving-van stand. I recall this particularly because it was from this stand that a husky young furniture smasher was brought into the composing- room on one occasion. The comps had become in- terested in the manly art and had bought a set of boxing gloves to use on one another 'after hours.' It was suggested that we should bring in one of these outside demons, accustomed to scrapping and perhaps to the more plebeian art of rough-and- tumble fighting, to show us the methods of a real fighter. He came, put on the gloves -- and you wal- loped him all over the place." I quote this to preface the statement that had Anthony Comstock occupied the place of that be- wildered piano-mover, a fond ambition of my life would have been attained then and there. He would have received the aforementioned swat. In the year 1913 I one evening heard a testy old man making a fuss in the middle of a group of passengers at the gate of the ferryboat I was on, 1880] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 287 and when I looked closer -- it was Anthony Com- stock. I wanted to merge with the crowd in which he was using his elbows and let what might happen; but when I got nearer I saw a gray and pallid and flabby and short-winded old party who tottered on his legs -- no game for anybody but the undertaker at an early date. He died that year. MR. DARROW OF HARVARD, ILL. Notices of liberal lectures here and there brought out the names of Keresy Graves, author of "Six- teen Crucified Saviors"; George Chainey, a young clergyman of Evansville, Ind., who had renounced the Christian pulpit; John S. Verity, a sturdy de- fender of liberty; Dr. Sarah B. Chase, whose spe- cialty was physiology; Mrs. H.S. Lake, who ad- dressed either Freethinkers or Spiritualists; J.E. Remsburg, who appears to have made his first In- fidel speech at Bismarck, Kan.; Van Buren Dens- low, a journalist of Chicago, later of New York, author of "Modem Thinkers" (preface by Inger- soll); Juliet Severance, Augusta Cooper Bristol, Mrs Mattie P. Krekel, Mrs. O.K. Smith, Mrs. A.H. Colby, O.A. Phelps, John R. Kelso, A.H. Burnham, L.S. Burdick, R.S. McCormick -- many of them Spiritualists who doubled in Freethought. A few names appear once and are not seen again. Clarence Darrow, who signed himself C.S. Darrow, wrote from Harvard, Ill., Feb. 19, 1880, to commend the Freethought lectures which a young man of the name of Eli C. Ohmart had been delivering in north- ern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Mr. Darrow 288 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1880 saw in Ohmart not an equal but a rival of Ingersoll. Except that Mr. Darrow, who is just a week my junior, had a father who was the village Infidel, while mine lay "in cold obstruction" by the rivulet of Bull Run, his boyhood was the same as what I have described as my own; and as Ohio, or the Western Reserve, was settled by Yankees, there would be nothing to differentiate its people from New Englanders. In February, 1928, he was quoted by the New York World as thus describing his youthful surroundings: "I was born and lived for twenty years in a small coun- try town. Generally, conditions of life have changed a good deal since that time. My family were poor and so were all the other families in the place. There was a blacksmith's shop, a wagon shop, a harness shop, a furniture shop, and practically everything that was used was made in the town. Nobody had a monopoly of either riches or poverty. Every one had enough to eat and all the clothes they could wear, which were not many, although the wardrobe was more extensive than at present, especially with the girls. I never heard of anyone dying of starvation or coming anywhere near it. The community was truly democratic. "There were a few people who had what they now call a servant but what they then called a hired girl, and some had a hired man. These went to all the swell parties with- out evening clothes and they were in no way boycotted by the people who employed them and they had as good a time as the rest. Often a hired girl married her employer's son and the hired man married the employer's daughter and began creating the foundation of an American aristocracy. "There was one railroad within ten miles of the place and I remember having a great thrill taking a long trip of twenty miles on the train, much more of a thrill than to travel half way round the globe today. There were churches in the town, of course, and there were people who didn't belong 1880] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 289 to the church, of which my family were a conspicuous ex- ample, my father being the village Infidel, which afforded him considerable occupation and enjoyment in a place in which there were few real pleasures. I don't remember that the neighbors ever refused to associate with him. They thought him queer but hardly dangerous, and at least didn't carry any dislike of him to his children." The town of Darrow's birth and boyhood was Kinsman, Ohio. When writing him for information as to how far Eli Ohmart had got by now, I asked him for a picture of himself taken by the Kinsman photographer, and he replied that he had not pre- served one; and as to Ohmart he had nothing fur- ther to report. Time's reversals are ironical. Mr. Ohmart did not write to The Truth Seeker to say that he had just met in Harvard, Illinois, a young Freethinker named Darrow who was destined to make his mark in the world. Darrow wrote that of him; and he didn't and Darrow did. At the beginning of 1880 Bennett bought out Charles P. Somerby, who had conducted a Liberal publishing business and bookstore at 139 Eighth street. Spelling reform in The Truth Seeker was so extended as to drop ue from such words as dia- logue; the final e from definite, etc.; te from quar- tette, and me from programme. These most excel- lent spellings, adopted at the same time by The Home Journal, would still be the rule in The Truth Seek- er office but for our giving up the composing-room and sending the work out to be done on the ma- chines by operators who cannot be expected to fol- low the style until it becomes universal. On October 30, 1880, Ingersoll was one of the or- 290 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1880 ators at the exciting political meeting in the Acad- emy of Music, Brooklyn, where the great audience lost control of its emotions on his being introduced by Henry Ward Beecher, who presided. As the New York Herald said the next day: It was indeed a strange scene, and the principal actors in it seemed not less than the most wildly excited man there to appreciate its peculiar import and significance. Standing at the front of the stage, underneath a canopy of flags, at either side of great baskets of flowers, the great preacher and the great Agnostic clasped each other's hands, and stood thus for sev- eral minutes, while the excited thousands cheered themselves hoarse and applauded wildly. As Mr. Beecher began to speak, however, the applause that broke out was deafening. In substance Mr. Beecher spoke as follows: "I ... now introduce to you a man who -- and I say it not flatteringly -- is the most brilliant speaker of the English tongue of all men on this globe. But as under the brilliancy of the blaze of light we find the living coals of fire, under the lambent flow of his wit and magnificent antithesis we find the glorious flame of genius and honest thought. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Ingersoll." Said the Herald reporter: "The enthusiasm knew no bounds, and the great building trembled and vibrated with the storm of applause." Apart from some humorous verses appropriate to the occasion but of no permanent worth, with re- ports of meetings and unsigned notes here and there, I kept out of print and attended to getting the paper to the press. The foreman (myself) gave out the 1880] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 291 copy to the compositors after he had revised it; made up forms of the paper and books, and either held copy or read proofs. He was also expected to set the type for advertisements and title pages. Those were good times. He worked ten hours per day, got $15 a week, and saved money. The re- sponsibilities and troubles of the world rested lightly upon young shoulders, and he rejoiced in his own works. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER XIV. 1 -- D.M. BENNETT, JERUSALEM ON his trip abroad, Bennett developed the wanderlust, and when, soon after his re- turn, a friend suggested a journey around the world and an account of it, he accepted with no show of reluctance. His letters in ten weeks from Europe, printed as "An Infidel Abroad," had made a tome of 860 pages, but undeterred by the fact that they were asked to pay a dollar-fifty for this, and, in addition, to subscribe five dollars each for the globe-encircling journey, his readers fell in with the plan by hundreds. On the. 7th of May, 1881, he reached the decision that he would go, the date of sailing to be determined by the tide of sub- scriptions. The next two months yielded seven hun- dred subscribers to the enterprise. His faithful Fourth New York Liberal League tendered him a farewell reception in the parlors of Daniel Edward Ryan, 231 West Thirty-seventh street, on the 24th of July, when there were speeches, songs, and rec- itations. He gave two pages of the paper to a de- scription of the affair, concluding: "Many of those present expressed their determination to visit the steamer Ethiopia, of the Anchor line, which sails at 8 o'clock Saturday morning, the 30th, at the foot of Dey street, and see Mr. Bennett off." Forty were there to see him join Cook's Tourists. He 292 1881] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 293 wrote a Parting Word for the paper, giving his first foreign address as London, England, and the sec- ond as Jerusalem, Palestine. He resigned the edi- torial chair and the power of attorney to E.M. Macdonald. The Ethiopia was an eleven-day boat. Bennett had time before making land to write a nine-column letter, and in addition to resume the series of arti- cles begun three years before on "What I Don't Be- lieve." Convinced of the infinitude of space, Ben- nett never quite understood why it should be limited by the chaces that inclosed the forms of the paper. I heard my brother try to make this clear to him by pointing to the foot of the last column and expound- ing the incompressibility of type. It soon became evident that he had possessed him- self of all the guidebooks accessible to tourists and was drawing upon them freely for ancient and mod- ern history. He attended the International Free- thought Congress held in the Hall of Science, Lon- don, with Charles Bradlaugh as chairman. He can have omitted few details of the proceedings, since his report, occupying parts of three numbers of The Truth Seeker (October 29, and November 5 and 12, 1881) filled sixteen columns, and meanwhile he was contributing two columns per week of "What I Don't Believe." When the paper had been printed the type was lifted, made into book pages and stere- otyped. Meanwhile Liberal speakers at home were busy East and West. George Chainey, the brilliant young minister who had left the church and turned state's 294 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1881 evidence, lectured to large audiences in the West, and then came to Boston, establishing a lectureship in Paine Hall and publishing his paper called The Infidel Pulpit. Samuel P. Putnam was burgeoning forth. He had experienced adversity since stepping down from the pulpit. The year 1881 is too early for a bio- graphical sketch of Putnam, but since he was the coming man in Liberalism, I will say here that he was born in Chichester, New Hampshire, in 1838. the son of a Congregational minister; entered Dart- mouth College in 1859; enlisted in the Union army, 1861; in 1863 competed for a captaincy and won it; experienced religion and resigned in 1864; later attributed his conversion to an attack of camp fever; took three years in a theological seminary, Chicago; married in 1867; served two churches as orthodox preacher; joined the Unitarians; wife divorced him in 1885 because of "religious and temperamental differences"; joined the Free Religionists and con- tributed verse to the Boston Index and Unitarian papers; from necessity took another Unitarian pulpit and built a church, but found himself unable to preach the religion required; entered the Liberal ranks just in time to share in Bennett's fight against comstockery; gained a precarious livelihood by lec- turing, bookkeeping, and writing wrappers; in July, 1880, was appointed on probation to a clerkship in the New York Custom House; confirmed January 1, 1881; promoted on merit April 1, 1882. One of his college mates tells me that Putnam took the "big slate" at college in mathematics, and I certainly should suppose that he would, for no man I ever 1881] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 295 saw, except some lightning calculator, was so quick at figures as Sam. He habitually added two columns at once; or three when in a hurry. He was short, red faced and chubby, and spry as a cat. With his living provided for by his salary at the Custom House, Putnam now lectured, contributed articles to The Truth Seeker, and further gave @@@@ play to the exuberance of his poetic fancy. I prepared a long bio- graphical sketch of Put- nam for the memorial volume published with the report of the Secu- lar Union Congress for 1896, and also for the Dartmouth Class Book of 1862. (Horace Stu- art Cummins, Washing- ton, D.C., 1909.) In 1881, at 43, he still looked like a boy, and I might say he never really grew up. In spirit and manner and outlook he remained the boy all his life. In certain quarters the year 1881 produced some trepidation as being the year when the famous Mother Shipton prophecy matured. All of this prophecy, except the last two lines, The end of the world shall come In eighteen hundred and eighty-one." having been written after the event, is fairly true. 296 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1881 The author was one Charles Hindley of Brighton, England, who published the lines in 1862, represent- ing them to be a reprint of an old version of fif- teenth century prophecies. So stated Ella E. Gib- son in The Truth Seeker of January 22, 1881. Frauds are killed off with the greatest difficulty. They are championed with a zeal that rarely comes to the defense of truth. The credulous prefer to believe that the Mother Shipton prophecy was all written in the fifteenth century except the closing lines. The book of Deuteronomy is a parallel in- stance. The last chapter of Deuteronomy describes the funeral of Moses: and they say Moses wrote all the book but that. In a spring number of The Truth Seeker I ob- serve an apology for "imperfect bookkeeping." It says: "If we have had dishonest or careless help in our office, we have them no longer." Bennett in the Albany penitentiary made the acquaintance of several whose tales of injustice and injured inno- cence he accepted as they were told to him. One was a young fellow we will call Albert Smith. When Albert's term expired Dr. Bennett employed him in the office and gave him access to unopened mail and to postage stamps. Bennett's confidence in the hon- esty of the man was imbecile. E.M. Macdonald had him watched. He was glad to get off with only an exposure of his thefts. Anybody could impose on Bennett once. At this period William Henry Burr, formerly a congressional reporter and pioneer shorthand writer, made the discovery, as he thought, that Paine was 1881] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 297 the author of the Junius Letters and of the Declara- tion of Independence. In an article of January 22, 1881, he flouts Ingersoll and Van Buren Denslow, who were unconvinced of Paine's identity with Ju- nius. The controversy caused me to devote a num- ber of evenings to a close examination of the Junius Letters laid beside the writings of Paine. I saw no correspondence of style whatever. The Declaration is reminiscent of Paine's writings prior to its date. One may agree that whoever wrote the Declaration of Independence, Paine was its author, yet I could not feel that he had contributed any of its para- graphs to that composite work. A man destined to cause the Freethinkers much embarrassment ran, at Lamar, Missouri, a paper named The Liberal. He was G.H. Walser, who founded the town of Liberal, in that state, to be the home, exclusively, of Freethinkers. Incidents in the after fate of Liberal as a town must be men- tioned in this record as they occur. In the begin- ning of 1881, Walser and his wife deeded Bennett "all lot No. three (3), in block No. seven (7) in Liberal." The Doctor printed the debenture and re- turned thanks. 2 -- PERSONS AND PROBLEMS. All the economic reformers brought their doc- trine to the Liberal Club, perhaps the only open fo- rum in the city. Henry George, author of "Progress and Poverty," made a speech there on the 14th of January, the club having met to hear a lecture by Henry Appleton on Ireland. That was the first 298 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1881 time I saw Henry George. His book, published two years earlier by the Appletons, New York, was then in its fourth edition, and coming out in London, Paris and St. Petersburg. Mr. George's head looked large for his body; he wore a presentable red beard, and spoke English with a pronunciation acquired abroad -- perhaps of his mates on British sailing ves- sels. His book was reviewed in The Truth Seeker, April 16, by the lawyer and author, Edward W. Searing, who married the deaf and voiceless Laura Catherine Redden ("Howard Glyndon"), poet and newspaper correspondent. This year a fund was raised -- in The Truth Seeker of course -- for the renovation of the Paine monu- ment at New Rochelle, the Fourth New York Lib- eral League leading the enterprise. Exercises took place at the repaired monument on Memorial Day (reported in The Truth Seeker of June 4, 1881), the month before Bennett's departure. When most of the speeches had been made, the Doctor proposed a vote of thanks to the donors of the restoration fund, calling for "three sonorous ayes." He got them, and then, when the party had visited the old Paine house, he informs us, "we wended our way to the station, all feeling that we had enjoyed a very pleasant day, and that we would like to see returns of the same on every succeeding year." A piece of ancient history worth picking up is Dr. Thomas P. Slicer's renunciation of evangelical orthodoxy. Dr. Slicer, pastor of a Brooklyn church, announced himself unable longer to preach the ac- cepted faith. His name appeared many years after- wards on the list of speakers at Paine celebrations. 1881] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 299 Ingersoll delivered his lecture, "What Must We Do to Be Saved?" in Wilmington, Delaware, about the beginning of the year. At the opening of the February term of the New Castle county court, Chief Justice Comegys, haranguing the grand jury on the subject of blasphemy, implied that Ingersoll ought to be indicted for blasphemy. Any officer, he said, might arrest Ingersoll without warrant if he again entered the state. The alarm of Comegys, with the accents in which he communicated it to the jury, brought upon the state of Delaware almost as keen ridicule, if not as much, as Tennessee endured forty-five years later because of the Scopes anti- evolution trial. Ingersoll closed an interview pub- lished in the Brooklyn Eagle by saying: "For two or three days I have been thinking what joy there must have been in heaven when Jehovah heard that Delaware was on his side, and remarked to the angels in the language of the late Adjt.-Gen. Thomas: 'The eyes of all Delaware are upon you.'" In March T.B. Wakeman went before a legisla- tive committee at Albany, N.Y., "in opposition to a bill to largely increase the criminal jurisdiction and powers of the Society for the Suppression of Vice." Under the heading: "Liberty and Purity; How to Secure Both Safely, Effectively, and Im- partially," the address ran through five numbers of The Truth Seeker. Incidentally it exposed, by producing the affidavits of numerous honest citizens, the lies told by Anthony Comstock in his book en- titled "Frauds Exposed." 300 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1881 3 -- THE INSPIRED ASSASSIN OF GARFIELD. The two days of leisure and recreation promised workers by the Fourth of July falling on Monday in 1881, were turned to days of anxiety because the religious fanatic, Charles J. Guiteau, chose Sat- urday, the second, for the assassination of Presi- dent James A. Garfield. The President was in the waiting room of the Potomac Depot at Washington when Guiteau approached him from behind with a heavy revolver and fired two shots, one entering Garfield's arm and the other his body. The Presi- dent lingered for eighty days and died at Elberon, N.J., September 19. Meanwhile the churches prayed intensively. It was an orgy, a regular prayer drive. The splurge continued for two months, when the powers of the ministers were augmented by the state governors appointing September 8 for a day of prayer with a gesture of fasting added -- all but one; Govenior Roberts of Texas pleaded that his was a civil, not an ecclesiastical office, and would attempt no control over the religious acts he of the citizens of his state. The prayer promoters condemned him to perdition, but went on and per- fected their organization. On the 8th of Septem- ber they mobilized more praying people than had ever got together before on one day. The prayers placed end to end would have reached anywhere in or out of the universe except, as the event proved, the throne to which they were addressed. Put on his trial in November, Guiteau offered the defense that God had chosen him as an instrument to carry out the inscrutable purpose of the divine 1881] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 301 will. It was God's act, he said, and God would see him through. Writing to George Jacob Holy- oake of England, Ingersoll said: "It was fortunate for me that the assassin was a good Christian, that he had delivered lectures answering me, that he was connected with the Young Men's Christian As- sociation, and that he had spent most of his life reading the sacred scriptures." Religious demonstrations were confined to Gui- teau and the churches. Garfield made none, invited none. The Sun said, when the grave had closed over the body of the President: "During the long and trying illness which his chief physicians have recently declared was incurable from the outset, there is no record that he was ever visited by a minister of the gospel, that religious services were performed, or that his sufferings were soothed by religious consolations in any form." In August the Ingersoll-Black discussion occu- pied the pages of The North American Review, on account of which the Appletons gave notice that they would no longer publish that magazine. The North American Review came out thereafter under its own imprint, and with its editorial policy un- changed. The Rev. H.W. Thomas of Chicago, Methodist, was featured as the heretic of the year. Charged with heterodoxy and threatened with expulsion, he resigned and formed a People's Church, where his audience and his salary were doubled. The ranks of Liberal lecturers were recruited by the appearance of John R. Kelso of Modesto, Cal., 302 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1881 formerly a rousing revival preacher, and after- wards author of some excellent Freethought books. His arguments were as clear as mathematical de- monstrations. The Dominion of Canada woke up and barred the works of Voltaire and Paine's "Age of Reason" from its provinces. Canada for most of the time in recent history has had the meanest government on earth. Moses Harman began the publication of the Kan- sas Liberal at Valley Falls, Kan. A note in The Truth Seeker of December 24 states: "Sheriff Pat Garrett, the slayer of Billy the Kid, is a Freethinker and patron of The Truth Seeker. Billy the Kid was a Christian." The monthly Iconoclast was started by W.H. Lamaster at Noblesville, Ind.; Remsburg entered the lecture field October 8, 1881; Judge Waite's History of the Christian Religion to A.D. 200" was reviewed October 8. On the evening of Friday, September 23, I was early in a seat at the Liberal Club when notice had been given that Mrs. A.C. Macdonald would attempt a "Universological Explanation of the World and Man," and would answer the objections of Mr. T.B. Wakeman to the proposition that "the laws of thinking and the laws of creative energy in the universe are one." I listened closely and took notes, so that when mother reached home with the party of women who had accompanied her, I was prepared to tell her what I thought of her lecture. But she did not ask that. She asked, "How did I look?" 1881] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 303 The annual congress of the National Liberal League, held in Hershey's Hall, Chicago, Septem- ber 30 to October 3, was pronounced "a most en- thusiastic, harmonious, and successful meeting." Secretary Leland reported 175 active auxiliary Leagues, and 55 others that were no more inactive than many branches of the Christian church. This congress resolved that the resolution that had been passed at a previous congress and had led to the withdrawal of some members, embodied the opinion of only the majority who voted for it and was not a test of membership in the League. Owing to the inability of the Hon. Elizur Wright to serve long- er, the congress elected T.B. Wakeman president. Other officers were T.C. Leland, secretary; Court- landt Palmer, treasurer; George Lynn of Lock- port, Ill., chairman of the Executive Committee, and Mrs. S.H. Lake, Elgin, Ill., chairman of the Fi- nance Committee. 4 -- I JOIN THE NONPAREILS. A reading notice in a December number invites the public to attend the annual ball of the Non- pareil Rowing Club at Tammany Hall on the eve- ning of the 16th. As the name of this club would warrant one in inferring, its members were in large measure connected with the printing craft. The invitation alluded to, having given the date and place, went on to say that "those who like to dance can find no better society to do it in than these gentlemen, who erstwhile arrange the alphabetical metal, and anon urge the propulsive oar through 304 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1881 the pellucid waters of the Harlem." I must have been at my best when I wrote that. The club was not exclusive; it admitted policemen. Nobody ever tried to explain why printers and policemen should flock together, but there they were. Joining the Nonpareils for the sake of the exer- cise and to acquire the art of rowing with a sweep, I soon was a member of a scrub crew propelling a four-oared gig up and down the Harlem and looking for races with other crews of our class. Such rowing is enjoyed because it is a personal ac- complishment. When one catches the water with the blade of a sweep, and feels the boat jump as he puts his back to it, he may get a thrill not to be had by stepping on the gas. For several blocks above the Harlem Bridge at 139th street both sides of the river were lined with boathouses. The Nonpareils had theirs on the west side some two blocks away. If I may I will speak of my first appearance in the clubhouse after elec- tion to membership. My new rowing suit, a bright blue with pure white stripes about the terminals, drew undesired attention from old members whose suits, under water and sun, had turned all of one color, and that one only faintly suggestive of the original hue. As I advanced from my locker in the rear toward the front of the boathouse I found my- self walking self-consciously between two lines of attentive spectators. Someone observed that the new member would now wet the new suit by going overboard, and that Mr. Halloran would assist. I went to the float with Mr. Halloran, but did not go overboard. Mr. Halloran went. Another name 1881] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 305 was called and a two-hundred-pound policeman came forward. I never resist an officer. He dis- charged his duty and I was duly ducked. But there was some defect in his strategy, for he went also into the rolling river, and when I let go of him and swam out, regaining the float easily, the tide had got him and he disappeared downstream. When he came back by land twenty minutes later, he reported that he had made a landing near the bridge. The initiation being over, I received the greetings of the president of the club, known as Charlie Gatta. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER XV. 1 -- THE RELIGIONS ON TRIAL. THE religious pathology of Guiteau was the subject of many communications to The Truth Seeker in the first half of the year 1882. The bloody assassin persevered, and ever grew more insistent, in his protestations that he was but the instrument of divinity in "removing" President Garfield. The identity of Guiteau's con- tention with that held for the patriarch Abraham was plain, and I am glad to find an article in The Truth Seeker of January 7 by that logical thinker Stephen Pearl Andrews, which puts the matter in a clear light and in the right words. Said Andrews: "It strikes me forcibly that it is really not so much Guiteau who is on trial as the Christian church, and religion itself as it has been and is understood and taught in most countries. Espe- cially is it Judaism, Mohammedanism, and Christi- anity, the three great religions of the occident, which are on trial; and to convict and hang Guiteau will go a long way toward rendering a verdict against the fundamental doctrine of these three great religions -- the one doctrine in which they all agree, and by which they are affiliated as of the same descent. That doctrine is, faith in the direct inspiration of individual minds by the deity, which inspiration may and does in some supreme instances 306 1882] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 307 lift the individual so inspired out of himself, cancel his responsibility, and make him the mere agent of the higher power; and further, that the grandest and sublimest test of the overpowering presence of such inspiration is its requisition upon the indi- vidual to some act so abhorrent to his natural af- fections and reason that nothing but such a divine pressure upon him from without himself could have induced him to, and have sustained him in, the act. Such was the act of Abraham in his proposed sacri- fice of his son Isaac at the supposed and assumed command of God; and it was that supreme act of faith in what came to him as an inspiration, and of obedience to the command so communicated, sub- jectively, or through the operation of his own mind, that constituted and constitutes Abraham 'the father of the Faithful,' and, as such, the historic head of the three great religions above mentioned. All of them date back to Abraham for their origin, and to this one act of Abraham as the sign and seal of the divine sanction of their own faith -- the very reason of their own existence. "What Abraham did, or proposed to do," con- tinues Mr. Andrews, "Guiteau has done. The cases are as nearly identical as can well be imagined. Abraham was the Guiteau of his day; Guiteau is the Abraham of our day. Guiteau and Abraham are virtually one ... Guiteau is logically and pre- cisely right in affirming that there are two and only two questions rightly before the court: (1) Was he under a divine pressure, an overpowering influ- ence, compelling him to do an act from which per- 308 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1882 sonally he would have recoiled, both in his senti- ments and in his reason? and (2), Does the presence of a divine inspiration, thus lifting a man out of him- self, constitute such a variety of insanity as also to lift him above all responsibility to human laws?" That was the line of Guiteau's defense. It is sound if the religions are sound. Naturally, how- ever, The Truth Seeker denied the validity of any such plea, while admitting to its columns argument in Guiteau's behalf. A man named Wisner, of Fordham, made out a strong case, theologically, for the defense. "That it was God's will Garfield should die," he wrote, "is already proven. Had the bullet missed, would it not have been providen- tial? As it hit, was it not equally providential? All Christians agree that if God had willed it other- wise it would have been otherwise. Could he not have palsied Guiteau's arm had he so pleased? When Guiteau raised his weapon in his name, would he not have stopped him as he did Abraham of old, had it been his will?" This letter, of a column's length, which The Truth Seeker published in full, Guiteau incorpo- rated into his statement to the press, accepting its appearance as "providential." His own sister, con- vinced of her brother's divine mission, wrote him: "You certainly deserve the commendation of all people who profess to be Christians, for your un- wavering trust in God's power when you shot the President, as I sincerely believe you had. There can be no condemnation on God's part toward you, and no condemnation in your heart toward your- 1882] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 309 self." In a special prayer, prepared by the assas- sin for use on the gallows, Guiteau implicated his deity, saying, "Thou knowest thou didst inspire Garfield's removal." He also composed a hymn with the closing line, "Glory hallelujah! I am with the Lord." Socrates died like a philosopher, but Guiteau died like a saint. Every generation, doubtless, produces its pulpit clowns. History sets them down as "eccentric preachers." Such was the Rev. T. DeWitt Tal- mage. Talmage at the height of his career as pul- pit clown delivered his sermons in the Tabernacle church, Brooklyn, Presbyterian, and they were syn- dicated; that is to say, he prepared weekly a quan- tity of matter to appear in the newspapers as the sermon of "last Sunday." A series of his sermons in 1882 were on Ingersoll. That accounts for In- gersoll's "Talmagian Catechism" and "Interviews on Talmage" (see the fifth volume of the Dresden edition of his works). Talmage owes it to Inger- soll that his name is mentioned a quarter of a cen- tury after his death (in 1902). The next genera- tion may ask the meaning of the words Talmage and Talmagian -- whether they possibly are variants of Talmud and Talmudic. 2 -- INGERSOLL'S MEMORIAL DAY ADDRESS The Grand Army of the Republic invited Inger- soll to deliver the Memorial Day address at the Academy of Music, May 30, which deeply stirred 310 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1882 the souls of a number of nervous Christians. They demanded to know whether there was no Chris- tian soldier who could have been asked to speak. The editor of The Sun, which printed numerous protests, saw in the event the doom of Christian- ity. Said he: "The fact that a professed Infidel, a man who denounces the scriptures and pours scorn and insult upon the Christian religion, could be brought forward as the chief orator on such an occasion as the services of Decoration Day in this city, appears to us something of far greater import than any of our correspondents have taken it for ... It means, in our judgment, that there has been a general decline in religion. ... If this process continues for fifty years the Christians will form a very small minority of the people of this country. But perhaps some new manifestation of religious life may arise to arrest the spread of Infidelity." Besides this prediction that Christianity would be wiped out, there were warnings that Ingersoll's ap- pearance would produce a riot; yet the day came and Ingersoll with it; and "there was not a dis- senting voice amidst the thunders of applause that greeted him as he stepped to the reading-desk." One beholding the audience called it a "throng rather than a crowd." The speech delivered that day by Colonel Ingersoll was the one which, thirty years later, Christianity's most popular exponent, the Rev. W.A. Sunday, gave as his own at a Me- morial Day observance in a Pennsylvania town. The indignation felt by the religious people of the country that a man who denounced the scrip- 1882] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 311 tures and poured scorn and insult upon the Chris- tian religion should be publicly heard was shared and voiced by Mr. Frank James, who, at the time he so expressed himself, was an inmate of a jail in Jackson county, Missouri, where he awaited trial for several murders and numerous highway rob- beries. Said that bandit, as reported in the Kan- sas City Journal: "Ingersoll is a blasphemer, who goes abroad denouncing the Bible, the most sacred of all books. He ridicules its teachings and the savior, and yet amid all this he has hearers to the number of two thousand, while a man for using an indecent word while drunk will be confined for thirty days. My God! How can such a state of affairs be? The Lord is my helper. I care not what men shall say against me. Ingersoll is do- ing unspeakable injury to this nation. He is sow- ing the seeds of iniquity in the minds of our youth." This Frank James and his brother Jesse being the most notorious criminals of their day, his pious deliverance carries its own sarcastic com- mentary. Among the contemners of Ingersoll who threw in with Talmage, Joseph Cook, Guiteau, and Frank James, was the hereinbefore mentioned skunk and scalawag, Clark Braden, who propagated falsehood by pamphlet. Braden circulated the printed state- ment that Ingersoll was financially irresponsible and his note unbankable in Peoria. In reply, Mr. Kirk- patrick of Arrowsmith, Ill., published in The Truth Seeker an open letter to the libeler, saying: "Mr. Clark Braden -- Sir: In your pamphlet you say 312 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1882 that Colonel Ingersoll's note is unbankable in Peo- ria, Ill. Now let me say that if you will go to the trouble of finding one of those unbankable notes, Mr. A.T. Ives of this place (formerly of Bloom- ington) will gladly trade a bill for house rent he holds against you for an interest in one of those unbankable notes of R.G. Ingersoll's." The season's pulpit heretic was the Rev. George C. Miln, once a Congregational preacher in Brook- lyn, and then of a Chicago Unitarian church, where he delivered a sermon renouncing belief in God and a future life. He stepped down and out with the full consent of his congregation. Miln at this time, the beginning of 1882, was a man of middle age and personally pleasing. As he appeared to me when he spoke before Felix Adler's Society for Ethical Culture, he more resembled an actor than a clergyman. I thought he intentionally strove after that effect. Soon we read: "The ex- Rev. George C. Miln has now definitely announced his intention of taking the stage this fall. He will appear as Shakespeare's Hamlet, of whose charac- ter he has an original conception." When the time came he appeared in several Shakespearean roles. His Hamlet was praised. In The Truth Seeker a debate about prohibi- tion got a start from the declaration of Mr. E.C. Walker that "prohibition involves a principle which, if carried to its logical conclusion, would stop every Liberal press in the country, and close the lips of every Freethinker." Mr. Walker quite convinc- ingly defended this position. A Freethinker hav- ing doubts could hardly do better than to turn to 1882] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 313 Mr. Walker's clear demonstrations of the charac- ter of prohibitory laws. The logic of prohibition, carried to a conclusion in New Jersey that year, brought about the arrest of W.H. Rosentranch of Newark for the crime of blasphemy, April 14, and in Massachusetts an attempted suppression of Walt Whitman's "Leaves of Grass." There lived a man in France during a past cen- tury who thought the world would be happier when the last king had been strangled with the entrails of the last priest. Should an accident like that happen to the last amateur custodian of public morals and the last censor, we might go to hell with less friction. William H. Herndon, for twenty-two years the law partner and intimate associate of Abraham Lin- coln, and his biographer, appealed to The Truth Seeker (Nov. 25) to publish, with "a good little editorial," his refutation of the lies of pulpit and press that defamed him for speaking the truth about the religious belief of Lincoln. In a "card of correction" Mr. Herndon wrote: "I wish to say a few words to the public and private ear. About the year 1870 I wrote a letter to F.E. Abbot, then of Ohio, touching Mr. Lin- coln's religion. In that letter I stated that Mr. Lin- coln was an Infidel, sometimes bordering on Athe- ism, and I now repeat the same. In the year 1873 the Right Rev. James A. Reed, pastor and liar of this city (Springfield, Ill.), gave a lecture on Mr. Lincoln's religion in which he tried to answer some things which I never asserted, except as to Lin- coln's Infidelity, which I did assert, and now and 314 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1882 here affirm. Mr. Lincoln was an Infidel of the radical type; he never mentioned the name of Jesus, except to scorn and detest the idea of a miraculous conception." The Rev. Reed, whom Herndon names, endeav- ored to lay the foundation for a Herndon mythol- ogy -- a reverse of the myth that Lincoln was a de- vout Christian and praying man -- which should rep- resent Herndon as a drunkard, a liar, a blasphemer, and a pauper, wholly unworthy of credence. If the Rev. Reed only knew it, he was libeling a man whose faith was much nearer his own than was Lincoln's. 3 -- THE LEAGUE STARTS A NEW ERA The sixth Annual Congress of the National Lib- eral League -- convening in the hall of the Young Men's Temperance Union (formerly a church), St. Louis, Mo. -- opened on Friday, September 29, and continued until Sunday, October 1, with morn- ing, afternoon, and evening meetings. "Its pro- ceedings were reported in The Truth Seeker of October 14 (1882). The officers elected for the ensuing year were: President, T.B. Wakeman, New York; secretary, T.C. Leland, New York; treasurer, Courtlandt Palmer, New York. E.A. Stevens of Chicago and Mrs. H.S. Lake of Cali- fornia were elected chairmen, respectively, of the Executive and Finance Committees. That, I be- lieve, was the first recognition of Stevens, who in coming years loomed large in the affairs of the national organization. 1882] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 315 The discussions of the congress were diverted from the subject of church and state separation by the introduction of proposals to take sides with the industrial cause in its various forms. But or- ganized labor was not there to take the side of the Liberal League. The following paragraph in the report is significant: "Another member arose and pointed to the vacant seats as a reminder to those present of the interest exhibited in their discussions and plans by the labor organizations and other societies the cooperation of which they expected to secure." The situation warranted the inference that the various industrial organizations took then, as they continue to take, only the coldest sort of interest in the secular cause. The congress of 1879 had tried without suc- cess to establish a National Liberty Party. The members had then listened to a very urgent mem- ber of the Socialist Labor party. That individual (Charles Sotheran), as Mr. T.B. Wakeman now asked the Congress to notice, had since accepted a position on a Tammany newspaper, was sending his children to a convent school, and "had spent much of his spare time in abusing his former com- rades and Liberal movements and societies." Again, said Mr. Wakeman, in order to placate the respect- able Liberals who deprecated the League's war on comstockery, and at the same time to please the Socialist element, the Congress of '79 had elected as chairman of its National Committee (Gen. B.A. Morton) a reformed capitalist who 316 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1882 was at the same time an ardent admirer of the League's first president, Francis Ellingwood Ab- bot, the champion of purity. And shortly after- wards, when the National Committee looked for its chairman to lead the new party, he was dis- covered to be under indictment for forgery and bigamy, with some half dozen wives on hand to illustrate his aversion to the principles of that so- cial freedom which was advocated by certain mem- bers of the League whom he despised. (I never heard before 1879 or since 1882 of Gen. B.A. Morton, chairman of the National Committee of the Liberal Party.) Mr. Wakeman at this sixth congress expressed disappointment that Colonel Ingersoll had appar- ently withdrawn from the National Liberal Party of 1879, at the launching of which he had pro- posed three rousing cheers. Viewing the character, hinted at above by Mr. Wakeman, of some of the persons who made them- selves prominent in that 1879 party, I never sup- posed that Ingersoll's want of enthusiasm required any further explanation than his inability to work in harmony with them. Mr. Wakeman still held that the labor organ- izations could be brought into the League, since "only those who have broken with imagined au- tocracy above the skies can lead effectively the break from the real autocracies and monopolies on the earth." They have never come in. An old and experienced Freethinker, Thomas Curtis of St. Louis, a charter member of the 1882] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 317 League, opposed a Liberal political party as being impractical; it would be obliged to move fifty mil- lions of people, which was like the old story of the tail trying to wag the dog. "The trouble will be," Mr. Curtis said, "that these very labor and reform organizations you may try to combine in order to wag your dog are largely composed of your relig- ious opponents. The thousands of Catholics in them will obey not you but their priests, and so with the Protestants and even semi-Liberals. Un- til these men are liberated from their old religious bonds they cannot cooperate with themselves nor with you." At the request of Mr. Wakeman, the Congress committed itself to the use of the new "Era of Man" in place of Anno Domini. This era Mr. Wakeman reckoned from the martyrdom of 'Gior- dano Bruno in the year 1600 of the common chro- nology, and the League paper, Man, was so dated thereafter (282 instead of 1882). The reform cal- endar did not survive its founder. 4 -- THE WORSTING OF THE REV. JOSEPH COOK. Bennett's letters of travel at the beginning of 1882 were from the Near East; and it was a short one that did not make four Truth Seeker pages. His articles on "What I Don't Believe" were mean- while continued. His old enemy, the Rev. Joseph Cook of Boston, overtook him in Bombay. The Bombay Gazette had proposed a debate between Cook and Col. H.S. Olcott, the Theosophist. At 318 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1882 the annual dinner of the Theosophical Society, Ben- nett being present, the colonel mentioned the Ga- zette's suggestion, and saying he had no time for a debate, invited Mr. Bennett to be his substitute. Bennett agreed, and then and there said a few preliminary words regarding the Boston Monday lecturer, following them with a challenge to Cook. The latter ignored the challenge, but took Bennett as his text when he spoke publicly again. The Christian minister made the mistake of acting up- pish or arrogant toward the natives, with whom, on the contrary, Bennett immediately got upon the most friendly terms. Cook, irascible and quarrelsome by nature, could put up with no opposition. Some sort of an issue arising between him and his native audience at Poonah, as reported in The Theosophist, "Mr. Cook wrathfully advised them to pray to their 'false gods.' Then he quarreled with two of the Christian missionaries present, and insulted the chairman, a respectable European gentleman of Poonah; the remarkable lecture coming to a close, to the great delight of the heathen audience, amidst a 'general Christian row,' as the heathen editor of a local paper expressed it." Cook having returned Bennett's written challenge unopened, Colonel Olcott and Dayanana Sarawati, a learned Parsee, each sent him a defi, which he re- fused to take up because he would not appear on the same platform with Bennett. So it was neces- sary to answer Cook in his absence, and Bennett had a walk-over. A crowded audience heard him flay "the falsifier, the defamer, the malinger, the 1882] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 319 slanderer, who with falsehood and malice in his heart wilfully attempts to injure and destroy the reputation of a fellow-being." I am quoting Mr. Bennett's language. After dealing with Cook, Ben- nett dealt with his religion, pointing out its errors and receiving "abundant applause." Cook, coming well advertised to Bombay, charged upon the heathen like a warhorse. Bennett had no advance agent, but he got the decision. He went away with a testimonial, while to Cook the Native Public Voice addressed a farewell thanking him for coming, but hoping he was under no delusion that his "flimsy, unargumentative, and merely rhetorical lectures have produced any impression whatever on their minds with respect to the truth of Christian- ity." On the boat he took from Japan to Sydney, the Reverend Joseph fell off the upper deck and landed so hard on a lower one that the ship's surgeon had to repair his ribs. 5 -- HOME AT LAST. Bennett, the earth's circle completed, as far as might be by sea, touched land at San Francisco on May 30 (1882). He was two months crossing the continent to New York on account of the many receptions held for him on the way. His Fourth New York Liberal League awaited him with an- other reception, which was held at Martinelli's, in Fifth Avenue. The feature of this occasion, to me, was the presence of Horace Seaver and J.P. Mendurn of the Boston Investigator, for I had been 320 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1882 detailed to meet them at the Grand Central and lead them to the banquet. Mr. Seaver was a stout old gentleman, with a considerable mustache; Men- dum slightly built with a not luxuriant brown beard turning gray. When I came upon them they were standing together like children lost in the crowd, timidly regarding their surroundings in the big station. They were of the age I have now reached myself, when a man is not so sure of himself as he is at twenty-five. I conducted them to Martinelli's and placed them in seats of honor at the speakers' table. When Bennett was in Ceylon, and had addressed at a place he calls Panadure, an audience of two thousand, he relates: "Two persons came to the stand and chanted to me several stanzas in Pali, composed for the occasion by the two young priests in the pansala (Panchala?)." (Truth Seeker, July 8, 1882.) The eighth stanza ran thus: -- "May Mr. Bennett, who is like unto the Sun which de- stroys the dew of superstition, Is like a victorious general in engagements of controversy, Who follows the teachings of Lord Buddha, which com- fort the world, And who well bears the pearl necklace of renown, Shine long." At the reception we were giving him in New York, T.B. Wakeman read some of these stanzas very acceptably to the diners. The ceremonies lasted nearly six hours. Samuel P. Putnam was the poet of the evening. The two thousand persons who attended the New York State Freethinkers' Convention at Watkins, 1882] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 321 feted Bennett again, and he must have found it hard, after all this, to get back to work at the desk. In fact, he was already planning for a tour of the United States with a stereopticon and slides pur- @@@@ THE TRUTH SEEKER OFFICE IN CLINTON PL. chased abroad. But first he must oversee the re- moval of the office from the rooms in Science Hall, which had long ago become too crowded through his inveterate publishing of books. He found new and larger quarters at 21 Clinton place and moved in. The number of the paper for Octo- ber 14 first bore that address. A little while later the mind of Bennett seemed to undergo a reversal as to the policy of bucking the Comstock laws; for when on October 27 Ezra H. Heywood of Princeton, Mass., was arrested by Anthony and held in default of $1,000 bail, for circulating selections from the poems of Walt Whitman, Bennett wrote (Nov. 4): "We must 322 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1882 confess that we have wondered why Mr. Hey- wood should decide, under the circumstances, to mail such matter. He seemed to us not a man with a coarse, animal nature, but naturally as free from such tendency as one man in a thousand. We must say, however, that he chose to make himself most conspicuous by mailing Walt Whitman's most objectionable poem, and by publishing some things which we most certainly would not publish. We could not see what good was to be gained by it, what principle of Liberalism is involved, or how the best interest of any class of the community can thereby be served. There is no reason why any- one should unnecessarily thrust his hand into the lion's mouth." Bennett did not in this article descend to the impeachment of Heywood's character; in fact, he gave him a clean bill of moral health, so far as he could judge; but otherwise he paltered very much as his timid friends had done not long before when his own hand was in the mouth of the lion, saying: "We are all in favor of free mails, the same as free thought, a free press, and free speech, but we are not in favor of sending indecent matter by mail, or any other way." These remarks at once impressed me as invidious and while I pondered them, a printer who prided himself on the classical allusions at his command. said with a sigh: "Achilles had his vulnerable spot and so has the Doctor. I'm afraid it is his vanity; he is in the limelight, and isn't encouraging any rivals in martyrdom." The uncompromising Ben- jamin R. Tucker, then publishing Liberty replied 1882] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 323 to the article with heat and vigor. Writing of Hey- wood's arrest, he said: "In this connection we must express our indignation at the cowardly conduct of D.M. Bennett, editor of The Truth Seeker, who orates about Mr. Heywood's taste and methods. We do not approve of Mr. Heywood's taste and methods, but neither did we of Bennett's when we did our little best a few years ago to save him from Comstock's clutches." 6 -- THE LAST HOME. Others expressed their astonishment at the change in Bennett's point of view. I lay that change to his last sickness, which attacked him while we were moving the office in October. We were still at 141 Eighth street when he began to hiccup, and the affection was never checked. It became a habit. I heard him say to Dr. Foote and his son (this was at 141): "If you boys don't do something to stop this hiccuping, I am gone." He was enough of a physician to know what to ex- pect. The trouble was shaking him apart when he worked, or spoke, or ate. Criticism of his utter- ances then would be leveled at a dying man. About the last of November he left a piece of unfinished copy on his desk and went home. To get the con- clusion of what he was writing I carried the last sheet to his rooms, where he dictated a paragraph to me. It is in The Truth Seeker for December 9, the shortest installment of anything he ever wrote to be continued. The same number of the paper announced his death, December 6, 1882. 324 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1882 We buried Dr. Bennett on the Sunday follow- ing his death, from the place where the Liberal Club met, German Masonic Temple in East Fif- teenth street, Mr. Wakeman being the eulogist. Over his grave in Sylvan avenue, Greenwood Cem- etery, stands a monument bearing his name and extracts from his writings, and the legend, "Erect- ed by One Thousand Friends." For a Bennett Memorial I composed an ode of many stanzas, closing with the apostrophe: "Where o'er thy precious dust this shaft we raise To bear the record of a hero gone, 'Neath changeless stars, through ever-changing days, First in our heart of heart, sleep on, sleep on." He sleeps on. And could he be awakened alone by the footfall above his grave of someone who remembers him, his slumbers have been undisturbed for many years. Until I went West -- that is, for five years following his death -- my brother and I were accustomed, once in a summer, to visit Green- wood Cemetery and delay our walk for a few mo- ments at the place where he lies. I have not been there since the summer of 1887. The inscription on the face of the monument underneath "Erected by One Thousand Friends" and the medallion reads: "D.M. Bennett, the Founder of The Truth Seeker; the Defender of Liberty, and its Martyr; the Editor Tireless and Fearless; the Enemy of Superstition, as of Ignorance, its Mother; the Teacher of Multitudes; the Friend faithful and kind; the Man honest and true, Rests Here. Though dead he still speaks to us and asks that we continue the work he left unfinished. When the Innocent is convicted, the Court is condemned." @@@@ THE GRAVE OF D.M. BENNETT The monument stands at the corner of Sylvan avenue and Osier path, Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y. The monument stands at the corner of Sylvan avenue and Osier path, Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, N.Y. 326 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1882 Many young Freethinkers have expressed them- selves as desirous of knowing what kind of a man was Bennett who founded The Truth Seeker. In my attempt to answer the question I have described him as I knew him. I hope the picture presented and received is fairly accurate, which none can be when a man is overpraised. It would be useless for me to conceal any of his faults. He told them all or showed them all himself. Anything added thereto, to his discredit, may be dismissed as false. He owed the popularity he achieved partly to cir- cumstance, and more to his simple and honest na- ture, his industrious hand, his capable head, and his courageous heart. His success was all earned and genuine, for he had none of the tricks, either of speech or pen, that deceive the unwary, nor re- sorted to the "skilled digressions" which appeal to the passions or stir the emotions of the unthinking. He was a likeable man, and it did not embarrass him to be praised. His journalism was of the sort called personal. The Truth Seeker was Bennett, and in advertising himself he advertised the paper. 7 -- FOR THE RECORD. I am writing of a year (1882) in which occurred many events that have their place in the annals of Freethought. John William Draper, author of "The History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science," died January 14; Bradlaugh was elected to Parliament for the third time; Charles Darwin died and was entombed in Westminster Abbey. Satirizing the burial and memorial of unbelievers 1882] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 327 in this sacred edifice, Thomas Hardy, speaking for the dean, said in 1924: "'Twill next be expected That I get erected To Shelley a tablet In some niche or gablet. Then -- what makes my skin burn, Yes, forehead to chin burn -- That I ensconce Swinburnel" The dean got his revenge on Hardy for this jibe by laying the author's ashes away in the Poets' corner, in 1928. Charles Watts of England and Charles Bright of Australia came to the United States to lecture. Herbert Spencer spent a few weeks here in the fall, and was dined at Delmonico's by the evolu- tionists. The attendants at the dinner included John Fiske, Editor Youmans of The Popular Sci- ence Monthly, Carl Schurz, the Hon. Wm. M. Evarts, Thaddeus B. Wakeman, Courtlandt Palmer, and Henry Ward Beecher. Carl Schurz said of Spencer: "We greet him as a hero of thought who has devoted his life to the sublime task of vindicat- ing the right of science as against the intolerant authority of traditional belief." Beecher was a professed evolutionist from that date. Otto Wettstein, designer of the Freethought badgepin, began writing for The Truth Seeker, as did also C.L. James, author of a History of the French Revolution. LaRoy Sunderland, formerly a hypnotic evangelist, wrote articles unveiling the philosophy of revival hysteria. Bennett made the experiment of reducing the subscription price of 328 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1882 The Truth Seeker to $2.50, but got no more sub- scribers thereby, and the next year it was put back at $3. The surviving Liberal exchanges of The Truth Seeker and Boston Investigator were: New York Man, Boston This World, Milwaukee Liberal Age, Indianapolis Iconoclast, Missouri Liberal, Val- ley Falls (Kan.) Liberal, the Pepin Gazette, Texas Agnostic, San Francisco Jewish Times, and Dr. Foote's Health Monthly, New York. In the pages of this ninth (1882) volume of The Truth Seeker I come upon occasional contri- butions from my own pen in prose and verse. Vis- itors to the office began asking where G.E.M. could be seen, and were brought into the printing office, for purposes of congratulation. The elder Dr. Foote was the second person to encourage me to write more and oftener; the first one being Ben- nett. Bennett imprudently had said as early as 1879 that The Truth Seeker would print whatever I might choose to write. As a neophyte, I was an exceedingly enthusi- astic Freethinker, justifying Ingersoll's similitude of the bumblebee -- "biggest when first hatched." How- ever, nobody, I trust, will accuse me of shrinking up any since. The following sonnet, the form and terms of which were lifted from Shakespeare, I wrote in praise of Universal Mental Liberty. it is a fair transcript of my mental state at that period. "Could half the joy a mind enfranchised brings Be told in numbers that to it belong, The world would say, 'A poet 'tis that sings Whose wayward fancy hath betrayed his song.' 1882] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 329 Too. early still the day, too late the dawn, For all mankind yet to behold the light That shines on those who know of coming morn, And greet its glow from Freedom's lofty height. But time may come -- when dust of ours shall lie Mute as our papers, yellowed with their age -- When those who now would plainest truths deny The present poet will esteem a sage. His worth shall live upon the lips of fame, And grateful praises consecrate his name." As an exponent of Freethought I have had oc- casion to repel the insinuation that Freethinkers are without ardor, that emancipation from supersti- tion as they deem it, is not with them an occasion for rejoicing. I put that sonnet in evidence to show what the wider outlook did to me, who am not emotionally effervescent, and never was. Embalmed in the files of The Truth Seeker there are probably hundreds of testimonies to the "spir- itual" uplift of Freethought. A convincing one came from a woman in Texas many years ago, who "thanked God," as she phrased her gratitude, for the day when her husband went to hear Ingersoll, some two years prior to the time of her writing, and became a Freethinker. She said that while a church member he had been the tyrant of his house- hold, and had even beaten her. He came home from Ingersoll's lecture a different man, and had since been the kindest of husbands. She had not herself wholly given up the old faith, but she was ordering more of Ingersoll's pamphlets for him, and expected to enjoy them herself. 330 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1882 A perplexing phenomenon is the occasional rever- sion of an apparently convinced Rationalist to some form of mysticism. O.B. Frothingham, for years a Rationalist lecturer, whose discourses made up the bulk of a Truth Seeker book entitled "The Radical Pulpit," turned in his last days to a form of theism. B.F. Underwood, whose lectures in the '70s made a lifelong Materialist of me, thought he was taking a step forward when he embraced Spir- itualism. Louis F. Post died a confirmed Sweden- borgian, they say. G.H. Walser, founder of the town of Liberal, Missouri, after being fooled by a medium who later was exposed as a fraud, relapsed into an orthodox fundamentalist. George Chainey, who, as a Materialist, called Theosophy "mental rub- bish" and said he hoped Bennett would write no more about it, went to a Spiritualist camp-meeting, found there the "mother of his soul," proceeded from Spiritualism to Theosophy, and has been a mystic of one sort or another ever since. I have known men, once supposed Freethinkers, to lean toward Christian Science, even Bahaism. And I have ceased to wonder thereat, not because I can explain their action, but because I have seen so many of them they are no longer, novelties -- not even an individualist turning authoritarian. Doubt- less their state of reaction may be called a spiritual second childhood, matching that of the body and mind. Like children, the aged must play safe. I once stood upon a bridge over a swollen river watching two or three families of Indians hauling ashore the drift and wreckage that came down with 1882] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 331 the flood. While the vigorous bucks worked their canoes in the current of the midstream, the old men and young boys paddled about close inshore. The old men in their prime had breasted the current, and after a few years the boys would be doing a man's part also, but now the old and the young were in the same boat -- the youth not yet competent for the battle, the aged owning defeat. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER XVI. 1 -- I BECOME THE ASSISTANT EDITOR. PROGRESS in these writings for 1883 is hindered by my preoccupation with the contents of the volume of The Truth Seeker for that year. As an employee I had been taken off stone-work in the printing-office, and to my duties as foreman and proof-reader there had been added the role of assistant to the editor, E.M. Macdonald, much of whose time was taken up with the business affairs of the paper. Mrs. Bennett, as owner, took care of the receipts and expendi- tures, but my brother understood the trade; and while from some source she had brought in a "business adviser," she found after a little experi- ence that Eugene was her reliance. This "adviser" and her relatives, I suspect, would have displaced both of us if that had been practicable. As it was not, they made her fairly suspicious of us; and soon she endeavored to take the management from Eugene by organizing the Truth Seeker Company. The members of the Company, whom, with herself, she called "executors," were Daniel E. Ryan, T. B. Wakeman, her brother Loren J. Wicks, Eugene M. Macdonald, and John V. Wingate. In an- nouncing the formation of the company she said that her brother and Mr. Wingate would relieve 332 1883] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 333 herself and Mr. Macdonald of "much business and office work." The change gave Mr. Wingate a position with salary. Meanwhile the office had re- @@@@ A PICTURE OF MRS. MARY BENNETT moved from No. 21 to No. 33 Clinton Place, and my brother and I had desks in the rear of the building. Visitors met Wingate and then came 334 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1883 back to the editor's room to inquire who the hell Wingate was. The business adviser made a confi- dant of one of the compositors to keep him in- formed of all that was said in the rear, and re- ceiving what could be measured as an earful, re- warded the printer with a job in the front office, at time work, and little to do. Mrs. Bennett lost confidence in Eugene -- the influence of her rela- tives and adviser, I suppose. To place events in the right connection I will say here that she died in my brother's house, to which she had come in her last years, and gave him what they had left her of the estate. To resume. I was assistant editor, and, to me, being assistant editor meant more than the leisurely preparation of a measured amount of matter per week, and handing it to the chief for revision and bestowal on the men who were to put it in type, My brother wrote his editorials, and with letters and articles for publication passed them to me. He could go fishing then, if he wanted to and had the time, which on account of examining contributions, answering letters and receiving visitors he usually did not. It was my pastime to take the writers' mistakes out of the MSS. by revising them, to supply the headings, and otherwise to prepare them for the printer. When they were insufficient for the available space, I must select the "fillers." I then took the printers' mistakes out of the proofs and overlooked the make-up. The editor might keep regular hours; the assistant was expected to stay for the last revise, and, when the forms were locked up, to test them and see if they would lift. 1883] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 335 All the manuscripts for books as well as for the paper went through the assistant's hands for read- ing. To be a competent assistant editor the person in that position should have persuaded himself that he could do the work a little better than the old man, and should be watchful that none of the lat- ter's errors get past him and go through. The work was not burdensome. There was still time to indulge the itch for writing, which led to the production of editorial articles. The New York Times then had on its staff William Living- ston Alden, who originated the famous "sixth column" feature, a humorous editorial. To bring The Truth Seeker to a level with the best journal- ism, I began making that kind of a contribution to the last column, when available, of the ninth page. The pieces are in the first few numbers of the tenth volume of The Truth Seeker, and are worth a chuckle today. But the space was not always available, for my brother's articles and selections often filled the pages, so that, dropping the column editorial, I devoted myself to writing editorial paragraphs of either light or serious import. I re- flect with something of sadness on the fact that at the time in question I could turn off about twice the amount of work in a given length of time that I am now capable of doing. Then the thought went ahead of the pen. Now it does not keep up with the typewriter -- and I am a slow typist. In these days of the sere and yellow, as the weeks go by, I am inclined to breathe a sigh of relief when the pagination of the editorial manuscript I am making lets me know that enough has been pre- 336 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1883 pared for the next number of the paper. At that age (in 1883) I should have done this Fifty-Years narrative on spare time during the day, in the office. Now the preparation of it is home work -- three hours in the evening, six Saturday afternoon, and twelve or fifteen on Sunday. About twenty-four hours are required to turn through a year's file of The Truth Seeker and to make notes, and the re- mainder of the week is not too much for elaborat- ing them. With forty-five volumes yet to do, a year's travel lies between me and the colophon. And work on the volume in hand is prolonged by my dallying over the pieces that I wrote myself, to which I have not turned before for more than four decades. One feels a curiosity to see how he thought and wrote in his salad days. Besides editorial paragraphs, there was verse, of which none I ever produced satisfied me. I found a market for some of it, but not a line contains the germ of immortality. My first commercial venture in "poetry" went to a trade paper, The Sewing Machine Journal, and produced ten dollars. It was embalmed in a "popular" publication called "Gems of Poetry and Prose." I have no inclina- tion to disturb the remains. That season I took up the study of phonography, or shorthand, with D.L. Scott-Browne (pioneer of the Haldeman-Julius form of matrimonial hyphena- tion), who charged me a dollar an hour for lessons and seemed surprised when I taxed him fifty cents an hour for making up the forms of his magazine at night. I contributed certain verses to his publi- cation for which I received no thanks from the 1883] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 337 young lady in whose behalf I invoked the muse. One scrap of my rhyme -- a parody -- in The Truth Seeker, Mr. Scott-Browne pounced upon to use as a test for his advanced pupils. Entitled "How to Be a Preacher," it ran: "If you want a receipt for a popular minister, Skilled in expounding the doctrine of sects, Arrange a collection of expletives sinister, Mingled with fragments of various texts; Take the last wailing of Christ in his agony, Latin and Hebrew, original Greek -- Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani -- Howl it and chatter it, mumbie and shriek; Of Moses and Joshua study astronomy, Copy the morals of David and Lot, Practice each day in Ezekiel's gastronomy, Drink with old Noah, the bibitious sot; Gather some scraps of New England theology, Weak metaphysics, and Cook's eschatology; Fill your discourses with all that's fanatical, Rattle them off in a manner theatrical; Doubt every fact and believe every mystery, Meet modern learning with biblical history, Praise all the actions of pious rascality, Damn every heretic as a finality. These qualities constitute, blended in unity, The joy of the modern religious community." A Boston lawyer named James W. Stillman sur- prised me one day by coming unannounced to the door of the room where I was at work and then reciting the lines in a thunderous voice. It embar- rassed me, of course; but still and all, that was bet- ter than being in ignorance as to whether anyone ever noticed the verses or not. 338 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1883 2 -- THE MAN WITH THE BADGEPIN With my shorthand notebook and several care- fully pointed lead pencils in my pocket, and nothing to do with them but a little occasional transcribing for my friend Sherman, the stenographer by pro- fession, I bethought me to go and get some practice for speed at the Liberal Club, which met in East Fifteenth street every Friday night. It was my fortune first to hit the club with this purpose in view on a night when a controversy was going on between Mr. T.B. Wakeman and another legal gentleman named Shook, a professed Christian; Mr. Wakeman being the speaker according to the program, and Mr. Shook there to controvert him. I am not going to quote the report I turned in at the office to be published with the foreword: "Reported for The Truth Seeker by a Young Man Whose Veracity we have hitherto had no Occasion to Doubt." In my notebook were the speeches of the even- ing nearly verbatim. Transcribed, they would have filled many columns, and, for the purpose of a descriptive report of the meeting, were wholly useless. However, I had written some asides in "English," and from these made up the printed account. When Mr. Wakeman saw it a week later he pronounced it unsatisfactory. Young Dr. Foote who was present at the meeting, said it was better than the speeches. With some further encourage- ment I repeated the performance, and the report of the Liberal Club became a feature of the paper, im- 1883] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 339 proving, I hope, from week to week. Shorthand being an obstruction to descriptive reports, I dis- continued its use in doing the story of the Club. This was the beginning of my career as the Man with the Badgepin. 3 -- MEMORABLE LIBERAL CLUB MEETINGS. Three meetings of the Club in 1883 were in a way historical. The speakers severally were Albert Brisbane, Dr. Dio Lewis, and Samuel P. Putnam. Mr. Brisbane spoke on "Modern Scientific Specu- lations -- Their Superficialities." His lecture was a review of philosophies ancient and modern, none of which satisfied him. He examined and rejected Comte, Hegel, Spencer, Darwin. They had settled nothing, he said. As near as I can say, Mr. Bris- bane, being a Fourierite, rejected observation and experiment as methods of ascertaining the ultimate truth, and relied upon thought or excogitation. The problems of the universe were to be solved by thinking -- by discovering "the designs and laws of cosmic wisdom." Mr. Brisbane was one of the notable men of his generation. In discussing his speech Stephen Pearl Andrews referred to the French philosopher, Charles Fourier (1772-1837), as the greatest genius the world had ever produced. Occasionally the reader finds in the writings of Arthur Brisbane, son of Albert, the same unquali- fied praise of Fourier. But Mr. Andrews dissented from the dictum of Mr. Brisbane, speaker of the evening, that the law of cosmic wisdom remained 340 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1883 yet to be discovered. "As a matter of fact," said Mr.Andrews, "I have discovered it and am now teaching it to a small class." Did all these philosophers labor in vain? It would appear so, for who now quotes Fourier to prove a point? What did Hegel demonstrate? Who works out a problem now by applying the thoughts of Kant? What is of most human inter- est today in the career of Albert Brisbane -- the advocacy of Fourierism which he conducted, or the fact, to be verified by reading the files of New York newspapers for 1855, that on an evening when he was meeting with a society of social radi- cals at 555 Broadway the police raided the place and arrested him with the rest of those present? Seeing how soon philosophers are forgotten, Omar Khayyam was not irrelevant when he said that the revelations of the learned are no more than "stories" which they wake up and tell before going to sleep for all time. Beholding Dr. Dio Lewis in the flesh was like witnessing an incarnation. He had been one of the myths of my childhood. His name I had known for twenty years, for he was head of the school for nurses attended by mother just after the war; but here he was in proper person, speaking from the platform of the Liberal Club on the announced subject of "The Function of Civil Law in Human Government." He declared that all rights belonged to the individual, none whatever being vested in that vague abstraction called society. We must learn, he said, to distinguish between crime, which may properly be dealt with by force, and vice, 1883] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 341 which we should seek to eradicate by persuasion. A crime must have the element of malice prepense and of injury toward another person. VICE IS AN INJURY WE DO OURSELVES IN A MISTAKEN PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS. The law cannot properly deal with vice, because vice is not a crime, and law has only to do with crime. Rum-selling and rum-drinking are vices, but the sale of liquor should no more be interfered with by law than the sale of potatoes. Gluttony is a vice fully equal, in the extent of harm it does, to intemperance in the use of alcoholic liquors, yet no one believes gluttony should be punished by law. We have all more or less vices, and if vices were to be punished with imprison- ment the whole world would be in jail, and the last man would have to put his hand out through a hole in the door and lock himself in. Thus spoke Dr. Dio Lewis at considerable length. He was a health reformer, a dietician, heartily opposed to the use of rum and tobacco; and as for selling either, he said he would prefer to be a horse-thief. His dif- ferentiation between vice and crime suited me then and does now. When Samuel P. Putnam spoke in the fall, Ben- jamin R. Tucker had just translated and published Bakounine's "God and the State." Putnam took the book for his theme and was full of his sub- ject. At the outset he announced himself to be an Anarchist -- of course of the school later known as Philoscphical -- a godless, churchless, stateless Anarchist. Society, he said, very much in the vein of Dio Lewis, did not exist. It was a myth. The church and state were relics of a barbaric 342 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1883 past, born of ignorance and fear and brute force. Give us freedom of thought. Yet freedom of thought is born to blush unseen unless we have freedom of speech, and freedom of speech is nipped in the bud if it be not supplemented with freedom of action. The church would control our thoughts and the state our acts. Away with both. The Anarchist will brook no authority except that which is accepted in freedom. Enforced equality of men is a humbug. Liberty first: equality if you can achieve it as an outcome of that liberty. Lib- erty is the means, not the end. The state is un- trustworthy and cruel. It has been guilty of every enormity. It is a giant monopolist. It uses brute force in order to compete with private enterprise. Even the postoffice has to protect itself by law from individual competition. The state has made fishing or attending a theater on Sunday a crime. It is a tyrant and usurper. Those were some of the points maintained by Mr. Putnam; and I have never been a more vio- lent dissenter from such views than from those of Dio Lewis. The ideal condition of man would be stateless and churchless, realizable when each shall have become orderly enough to respect the liberty of all. For some years I even advocated these prin- ciples myself and would now rejoice could it be seen that any progress had been made toward their general adoption. But "progress" has gone in the opposite direction. Before the people can get fairly set in opposition to one bad law, the legisla- tive bodies divert our attention from it by enacting a worse one. 1883] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 343 Fifty years ago a voice might hopefully be raised in behalf of libertarian ideas, but no more. The time when those ideas might have had a China- man's chance has gone by. We have reached a point, with respect to the conflict between liberty and authority, where a man found himself on the morning after he had bet on the Dempsey-Tunney prize fight at Chicago. The man I speak of was a passenger on the train which takes me to New York. He acknowledged he had placed his money on Dempsey and lost; but, he said: "I still think Jack Dempsey can lick Gene Tooney." And a train hand who had been listening turned away saying: "Aw, it is too late to think." So it is too late to think that liberty can beat force. Liberty, in whose eyes shines always "that high light where- by the world is saved" -- Liberty is licked. 4 -- A PAPAL EMISSARY AND ADVENTURER A package of bad medicine shipped from Rome entered our ports under the label of "Mgr." Capel. The monsignor, a French Jesuit, was on a mission from the pope to work amongst Protestants and make as many converts as he could. The Protes- tants gave him a hearing, and the better-fixed en- tertained him in their homes and invited their friends to meet him. Episcopalians afflicted with the Catholic itch were especially cordial, He gave in Chickering Hall a lecture on divorce, making the point that when a divorced man marries a sec- ond time the woman he takes is a concubine. The good and polite Episcopalians applauded the monsig- 344 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1883 nor. In addition to indulging in this sort of black- guardism, Capel ventured to sound out the country on the question of state support for Catholic paro- chial schools. Catholic statisticians in 1883 laid claim to only 8,000,000 adherents of the church in place of the 20,000,000 they are talking about now, and the parochial school was in its infancy. Speak- ing in Chicago, Mgr. Capel condemned the public school and the school laws that compelled the at- tendance of Catholic children. He then gave his American hearers due notice that there was going to be a fight. The American public school, he said, was no place for Catholics and they were going to leave it. He proceeded: "Suppose that the church sends out an authoritative command to the Catholics to start schools in every parish and sup- port them, and send all Catholic children to them. It can be done in the utterance of a word, SHARP AS THE CLICK OF A TRIGGER." Had Herr Johann Most, a contemporary bumptious anarchist, talked about "the click of a trigger" a policeman would have pulled him down and put him in jail. But this emissary of the pope was permitted to pro- ceed. Said he: "That command will be obeyed. New schools will spring up everywhere. What will be the result of that? A FIGHT! Do you suppose some millions of people are going to pay taxes twice over -- once for their own schools, and again for Protestant schools from which they get no benefit? If it isn't a downright fight, it will be at least a WARLIKE CONDITION -- A million or two of voting, tax-paying citizens HOSTILE TO THE GOV- ERNMENT." He promised that Americans should 1883] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 345 see Catholic parents pressing the muzzles of their guns against the breasts of the state tax-collectors. The threat contained in this incendiary language of the pope's emissary went unheeded. The propo- sal to relieve Catholics of the burden of support- ing their religious schools met with no public re- sponse. Thirty years later (in 1915) Mr. Alfred E. Smith, then a delegate to the New York state constitutional convention, moved to strike out the clause prohibiting state support of sectarian schools; but Smith's motion never got a second. Thus Capel exposed the hostility of Catholics to the government without gaining anything thereby. Notice, however, that the Catholics are not mak- ing their demands and threats so loudly and de- fiantly as in 1883. In his mission as proselyter, Capel's best catch was the widow Hamersly, an Episcopalian lady of New York whose husband had left her four mil- lions. Her bishop, Dr. Horatio Potter, had been expecting that his church would come in for a large share of the Hamersly money. The widow disappointed him. The French Jesuit had been there, and the Catholic church got it; which showed the error of the Episcopalian fashionable in lion- izing Capel. Again, in the furtherance of his mission Capel appealed to the government at Washington in the name of 8,000,000 American Catholics to arrest the Italian government in the act of taxing propa- ganda property in Rome. That failed despite its approval by a big Catholic mass meeting which he arranged. 346 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1883 The late John R. Slattery, a former Catholic clergyman and a contributor to The Truth Seeker at the time of his death in 1926, related to me that Capel, while in New York, declared himself to a Catholic married woman and proposed an intrigue. Being repulsed, he professed to be mystified, say- ing he did not understand New York Catholic la- dies. Mr. Slattery remarked that the woman told him of the incident in order that she might dis- close the name of another New York Catholic woman with whom Capel came to an understand- ing. That Capel was a woman-hunter appears not only from testimony but from what happened to him in California, where the pursuer seems to have been pursued. Anyhow a woman there took him into camp and he never got back to Rome with a report to his holiness the pope. So far as I know or care he lived with this woman on a ranch in California until 1911, when he died. So all is well that ends well. Capel is dismissed for the present with the fol- lowing excerpt from the News of the Week in The Truth Seeker November 4, 1911: "Monsignor T.J. Capel, the Catholic preacher, died in Sacramento, Cal., Oct. 23, at the age of 75. Capel was the Catesby of Disraeli's satirization in 'Lothair' because of his success as a social lion in the English society of his day. He appeared in New York nearly thirty years, ago, and in his lectures talked about putting muskets to the breasts of representatives of the government who came to collect the school tax from Catholics who were support- ing parochial schools. He argued at the same time in favor of putting irreligious persons to death as homicides 1883] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 347 because they 'murdered the soul.' He was a high liver and hard drinker, and had the reputation of being 'the devil after women.' He went west from here, and it was reported that he had annexed a wife and a farm in Cali- fornia. He drank heavily in New York, appeared in an intoxicated condition at a dinner of police captains at Delmonico's, picked up a woman afterwards, and disgraced himself generally. He beat everybody who would lend him money. His priestly function was at length taken from him by Cardinal McCloskey." 5 -- FOR THE RECORD OF 1883 W.H. Herndon of Illinois contributed to The Truth Seeker, February 24 and March 10, articles on the religious belief of his friend and law part- ner, Abraham Lincoln. The Catholics pushed their "freedom of wor- ship" bill in the New York legislature. It pro- vided that the wardens of state prisons should be compelled to give clergymen access to prisoners. The drive ended years later with the appointment of Catholic prison chaplains salaried by the state. Peter Cooper, the philanthropist, died in April. When testimony was taken as to Mr. Cooper's views, they were found to be substantially those of Thomas Paine. A strange figure called the Dude made its ap- pearance in the early part of the year. The New York Tribune, after describing the genus, said that "he gets his religion from Colonel Ingersoll." The Tribune had taken Courtlandt Palmer for a pattern. Mr. Palmer to some extent dressed the part. 348 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1883 George Chainey discontinued publication of his paper, This World, which was consolidated with the Radical Review, edited by E.A. Stevens and George Schumm. The death of Dr. George M. Beard, Materialist and one of New York's most eminent men of science, gave opportunity to Joseph Cook to put in circulation a story that the doctor had come to Jesus on his deathbed. The religious newspapers caught by the Rev. Cook's falsehood later repu- diated it and expressed regret. Yet it is still go- ing. Religion was injected into the political campaign in Ohio by the nomination of Judge George H. Hoadley for governor. Mr. Hoadley being a Free- thinker, the Cleveland Leader declared the nom- ination to be "the deepest and most outrageous in- sult ever offered to the God-fearing people of the State." Judge Hoadley was elected. H.L. Green began the publication of a Free- thought Directory, the forerunner of his Free- thinkers' Magazine that continued through many volumes. The International Federation of Freethought Societies held its fourth Annual Congress at Am- sterdam, August 31 to September 2. Charles Bradlaugh and Dr. Ludwig Buchner, author of "Force and Matter," were among those present. Kersey Graves, author of "The World's Six- teen Crucified Saviors" and the "Bible of Bibles," died September 4 at his home in Richmond, Ind., at the age of 70 years. The Liberal League Congress for 1883 was held 1883] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 349 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 21-23, in Freiegemeinde Hall. Largely attended by Ger- mans, it could adopt a resolution declaring: "No so-called temperance (prohibition) law shall be passed." The resolution caused animated discus- sion. T.B. Wakeman, T.C. Leland, and Court- landt Palmer were reelected president, secretary, and treasurer respectively, and E.A. Stevens chair- man of the Executive Committee. On October 13 Mrs. Bennett announced that she had disposed of her pecuniary interest in The Truth Seeker and its business to The Truth Seeker @@@@ THE MANAGER AND THE EDITOR. Company. Charles P. Somerby became business manager, E.M. Macdonald continuing as editor. The company paid Mrs. Bennett $10,000 for the property, Ephraim E. Hitchcock furnishing the money and being the actual owner. Mr. Hitchcock 350 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1883 was wealthy and supposed to be conservative. The public was surprised at his death in the '90s to learn that he was proprietor of an Infidel paper. Mr. Hitchcock made the company a present of the $10, 000. The famous Nineteenth Century Club, Court- landt Palmer president, came into notice the early part of the year 1883. The meetings were held in Mr. Palmer's parlors. Carrying Freethought into swelldom, as it were, it was the means of causing some plain people to put on swallowtails who had never worn them before. It admitted the common- ality to the presence of the exclusive. Here Inger- soll in 1888 debated with the Hon. Frederic R. Coudert and former Governor Stewart L. Wood- ford "The Limitations of Toleration." In London, George William Foote, editor of the Freethinker, underwent prosecution and conviction on a charge of blasphemy and served a year in jail. A religious commission was appointed to examine the works of Mill, Darwin, Huxley and others, with a view to bringing blasphemy prosecutions against their publishers. The Seymour Times, Indiana, took the name of The Ironclad Age and was published as a Free- thought paper until merged with The Truth Seeker a decade afterwards. William Denton, author, geologist, man of science, and Freethinker, died while conducting ex- plorations in New Guinea, August 26. "His death," said The Truth Seeker, December 22, "was a sacri- fice to science." 1883] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 351 The Children's Comer of The Truth Seeker, edited by Susan Helen Wixon, began Nov. 10. The department was continued long after her death, which occurred in 1912. On December 8 The Truth Seeker announced that the Bennett monument "now stands in Green- wood cemetery." On the 23d, it being the 65th an- niversary of Mr. Bennett's birth, the Fourth New York Liberal League, rechristened the Bennett Auxiliary, celebrated the day with a meeting in the hall of the Liberal Club. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER XVII. 1 -- KEEPING HOUSE IN THIRD AVENUE. VIEWING Third avenue, a few blocks above the Bible House, in 1928, the spectator might guess that the thoroughfare had seen bet- ter days, but he would have no idea what a "homey" aspect those precincts wore forty-five years ago. While the same houses are there now as then, most of them, they are not in good repair. The class of tenantry has changed, and not for the better. It was a good neighborhood when mother and I kept house at No. 78 in the '80s, and those may have been among the most restful and contented years of that active woman's life, since she had no responsibilities but myself, who paid the rent and the household expenses, while she was free to answer calls from her old patients, who never for- got her when ill, or to visit her relatives near and far. She seldom stayed long with her relatives; they were so surprised at her views, which it was against her nature to conceal, that they lived under some strain while she remained with them, espe- cially those in the South. She had a pension of $12 a month. It is surprising today to know how far that amount would go toward the upkeep of a woman who was independent of the dressmakers. And, always remindful of me, or else of the other 352 1884] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 353 party concerned, she never left me without a house- keeper. On one of her most extended vacations she installed a Miss Dalrymple, a girl employed on part time at demonstrating an invention of young Dr. Foote's called the polyopticon, of which one might see the advertisement, with occasional men- tion, in The Truth Seeker. The device reflected pictures on a screen. The doctor introduced it at entertainments given by the Liberal Club. Miss Dalrymple showed it at fairs. I never saw her be- fore or since the month or more she cared for my rooms, prepared my meals, and read to me evenings for shorthand practice. I, faintly recall May Sin- clair, who came for a short time and then passed out of my ken. And after her Mrs. Mina Egli, a Swiss woman who had enjoyed a varied experience among reformers; had been with the Kaweah col- ony, an enterprise of Burnett G. Haskell of Cali- fornia; had in that state joined an Adamic or Edenic society wishful to restore the innocence of primitive man and woman with respect to clothes; had ranched in Dakota. Her remarks were gen- erally cast in German, and she set me the task of translating Heine's verse. I also, at her sugges- tion, began to turn a German version of David Copperfield back into English. By looking at the book I observe that I turned the hard words into shorthand in the margin, and now I can't read that. Mrs. Egli cooked my steak by frying it in a tin pieplate on top of the stove. Otherwise this very bright lady is but a vague recollection. Came later Mrs, Britton, an actress, who was a Graham 354 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1884 ite, with prejudices against bakers' bread. To con- vert me she once made a batch of Graham biscuits. Not being a good judge of huantity, she mixed dough enough to make half a peck of them, and baked it all. When fresh from the oven the Gra- ham biscuits were assimilable; when cold they had the resistance of the packing that is put on a horse's foot under the shoe to protect the frog. To utilize them I set a plateful by the window to shy at cats frequenting the roof of the Charities and Correc- tions building just below. From this I was com- pelled to desist when the janitor came up through the hatch, and having examined the tin where I had made a hit, looked accusingly in my direction. Mrs. Britton removed my ammunition. Not see- ing the biscuits again on the table, I asked for them; but Mrs. Britton said she had given them to the man who brought the kindling-wood. He had thanked her, too, saying he could feed them to his horse. He never came back, and I suspected, with- out imparting my suspicions to the lady, that the horse had not got the better of the biscuits. 2 -- A DISTURBING CHURCH On Twelfth street there was and now is St. Ann's church, one of the miracle-joints where they hold novenas and expose, for the healing of the faith- ful, an alleged bone of St. Ann. That church had the worst bell I ever heard. The body of the church extended deep into the backyard space, and the noise of the bell came in at my windows with such an irritating effect that I was obliged to 1884] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 355 emit a rhymed objurgation and send it to St. Ann's pastor. Called "The Protest of a Disturbed Citi- zen," it was thus conceived: "By heat oppressed, and disinclined to roam, I spend the Sabbath in my humble home. Borne to my windows, looking toward the west, Come anthems rising to the winged and blest, And organ's peal that quivers on the air, The drone of human voices blending there; The shriek of tenor, orotund of bass, Soprano screaming in Jehovah's face, And wail of preacher supplicating grace. A church looms skyward, mocking Babel's height; Through windows stained pours in the varied light; An uncouth tower, offensive to the eye, Gives shelter to a bell whose agony Finds voice in rasping and sepulchral sound That grates the nerves of all the dwellers round. O pile of brick and monumental stone, Thou'rt reared of martyrs, from their blood and bone; For every brick a sacred life they gave, And for each stone some hero found a grave. The window-panes that tint the sunlight's flood Have caught their hue from sacrificial blood; The chime, the chant, and mammoth organ's tone, Seem echoes from a dying martyr's groan. Nuisance thou art to deity or man, Thou church of God Almighty and Saint Ann." 3 -- HEALTH EXERCISES AND A VACATION While I was taking one of my infrequent vaca- tions in New Hampshire, a demure young school- marm whom I had for company in my rides about the country said to me that she supposed I took 356 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1884 advantage of the opportunities which city life af- ford for being naughty. And when I answered with dignity touched with indignation that I did nothing of the kind, she replied: "Well, if I lived there you bet I would." But in the days now be- ing recalled I was potipharically speaking a Joseph, though taking little credit therefor, since I never had to slip out of my coat to get away. My mem- bership in the Nonpareil Rowing Club had lapsed before 1884. The literary game was more to me than sport on the Harlem, if not so stimulating to health. I came to New York weighing 160 pounds. In the spring of '84 I weighed 145; had a pain in my chest, and a cough tinted pink. My maternal guardian, taking the situation under advisement, recommended that I should go out more evenings, that I should get a wife, or stop sitting up so late at night to read; meantime swinging Indian clubs would straighten the shoulders. She practiced lay- ing poultices on my chest at night, arguing that adjacent irritation would be good for the lungs. The Indian club notion seemed best to me. On the block below us the well-known Coroner Brady had set up his son-in-law in the hardware business. As a pair of clubs were part of his window display I went there to buy them. The coroner, who hap- pened to be present, tried to sell me a zinc wash- board, bringing out a specimen, casting it to the floor, and then jumping on it with both feet to show how substantial it was and how unlikely that a woman would rub a hole in it by bearing on it too hard. His enthusiasm came near making a pur- chaser of me. I escaped when he said he would 1884] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 357 lay it aside till I came again; and then he followed me to the door and said in confidence that he was just trying to show his son-in-law how to sell goods. Our living room afforded space for the swing- ing of clubs if mother would retire for the nonce into the kitchen. From that vantage point she watched me through the window between the two rooms. I can still see the flash of her spectacles out of the gloom beyond. To these recuperative measures I added a long vacation in the farthest reaches of the state of Maine -- away off in the Aroostook (native pronunciation Aroostick, with the accent on roos). There lived the uncle who more than twenty years before had wanted to take me with him, and also the aunt who as the big girl Amanda Dunn had dragged me to school in Sulli- van for the first time, at the age of 3. North from their house lay fifty miles of woods, and then the Canadian border. Twenty miles west arose Mt. Katahdin. We were on the east branch of the Mattawamkeag. The first stage of the trip to Maine was made aboard the old steamboat Franconia, then plying between New York and Portland. We had aboard a dogmatic old Scotsman from Brooklyn named Matthews. He carried a Bible for light summer reading and confined himself closely to the Psalms. For a joke, I inquired whether he were consulting the Book of Jonah. He shook his head, but a few minutes later asked sternly: "Am I to understand that your question was meant to be personal and suggestive?" Before we were out of the East River our boat went into collision with the Sound 358 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1884 steamer Rhode Island, so that the Franconia made the rest of the voyage with a battered nose. Ar- rived at Portland, this old Scot, feeling sure that his family had read of the accident and might want to know whether he had escaped with his life, made haste to mail home a postal card. A few minutes later he mailed another. I asked him why the second one, and he explained that on the first card he had forgotten to tell his wife he was alive. While his conversation was very dry, his actions provided me with amusement. The car we rode in out of Portland had double windows. Mr. Mat- thews, wishful to throw away a half glass of water, raised the inside sash and let fly; and he was be- wildered when the water came back and took the starch out of his shirt. Nearing his station, and aiming to brush up a little, he produced a whisk broom, removed his coat, and tried to hang the gar- ment on the top of the open door of the car. He stood on his toes; he even hopped into the air, in his endeavor to make the coat stay there for him to brush it. The top of the door was oval. He gave the door many reproving glances as he re- turned to his seat. Somewhere along the journey the hat went 'round in behalf of a boy who had lost a leg. Mr. Matthews saw it coming and opened his Bible. Just before the hat got to his part of the car he closed the book and his eyes and indulged in silent prayer which lasted until after the collec- tion. I had supposed that kind of a Scotch Pres- byterian to be a mythical figure. At Oakfield Plantation, where I stayed a month, there had lately been a Baptist revival and no con- 11884] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 359 verts, as a swearing man told me on oath. This blasphemer had attended one evening and put in a request for prayers, which somehow the parson missed, so it went unheeded. The next day a neighbor inquired whether he should renew the request. He replied: "No, b'God, I shan't. Last night I was in a state of grace if any one ever was, and if the elder'd buckled down to it and prayed for me like a man, by Jesus Christ, he'd 'a' got me; but b'damned if he can get me today." The farm of one hundred and seventy-five acres, mostly woods, where I took this vacation, had at the time a market value of perhaps five hundred dollars. In a few years the railroad came into the neighborhood; potatoes were "discovered," and the farm about 1920 sold for ten thousand. Living on farm, garden, and dairy products, with mutton when someone killed a sheep, or "beef" when an overcurious deer came too close and got shot by chance, I gained weight and forgot about my health. I have seldom thought of it since. The following piece of poetry, which excites ten- der recollections, should have been inserted before unless the morality of it ought to exclude it alto- gether. Since such works belong not to a man's years of discretion, this will be assigned to youthful days regardless of the date, it was committed: To A LADY WHO WOULD NOT PERMIT HERSELF TO RESPOND TO THE POET'S PASSION, LEST IT MIGHT PROVE; FLEETING. "Gather ye Rosebuds while ye may; Old Time is still a-flying, And this same Flower that smiles today Tomorrow will be dying." 360 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1884 Since Love is joy, how short so'er its stay, Why seek a fleeting passion to subdue? The longest life we reckon but our day, We spurn not roses though their hours be few. All things are transient -- happiness or grief Hath morn, hath eve declining from its noon; And things most sweet are fleetest; mark how brief The moment's ecstasy of love's deep swoon. The passing passion sleeps; it never dies. The stars that are Her eyes, her gentle breath, Dwell ever in the dream-world of the skies. "Dear as remembered kisses after death." When Cupid knocks; throw open wide the door, Lest Love, affronted, should return no more. 4 -- AFFAIRS OF THE LIBERAL LEAGUE Messrs. Wakeman and Leland gave notice that they should not be candidates for reelection as president and secretary of the National Liberal League. The Truth Seeker nominated Samuel P. Putnam. It was also proposed that the League drop divisive issues, like prohibition, and confine itself to the Nine Demands of Liberalism. The proposition was hotly debated. More than the usual friction could be noticed between Spiritualists and Materialists. Some of the "hard-headed" ones seemed to exert themselves to make impossible the cooperation heretofore practiced by the two divi- sions of Liberalism. The Truth Seeker took no editorial part in that debate. The Spiritualists were loyal and practical Secularists. After a man- ner, it seemed to me, they contributed to the cause a feminine element of rare value. The women who at a Spiritualist gathering were liable to go into a 1884] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 361 trance and deliver an inspirational address knew how to leave out the spirits when speaking before the Liberal Leagues. The Truth Seeker carried a full column of meeting notices, about half of which. were Spiritualist. Announcements of deaths were equally impartial. It was deemed no unusual thing to see a death notice begin "passed to spirit life." Twenty-five per cent. of the readers of The Truth Seeker were Spiritualists, and ninety per cent. of the Spiritualists of the country were with Bennett in his fight for free press and mails. Other nominations for next president of the Na- tional Liberal League included George Chainey, by Putnam, with the endorsement of the Boston In- vestigator. No one hastened to demand that the nomination be withdrawn when the news appeared that Chainey had been converted to Spiritualism. The eighth congress of the League met, September 8 and 9 1884, "on the grounds of the Cassadaga Lake (N.Y.) Free Association, to which it had been invited by the officers of the Association." That is to say, the hosts of the Congress were Spiri- tualists, and Cassadaga Lake was the Spiritualist camp-meeting ground. George Chainey had gone early, attended the camp-meeting, and to the sur- prise of the Liberal world experienced conversion to Spiritualism. Proceeding to a confession, he declared that "the horizon of his mind had previ- ously been bounded by the limits of this mundane life; now his mental vision pierced beyond the grave, and in the abyss of eternity he saw gleaming the star of immortal life." His speech at the Congress demanded a reply, and a reply, he got 362 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1884 from T.B. Wakeman and Charles Watts. These speakers expressed as they would not otherwise have done their unflattering view of Spiritualism in general. And all this on the grounds the Spiritualists had invited the Freethinkers to occupy. I suspect that the other-world people thereupon walked out on the Congress, which then went into executive session. The Committee on Platform reported a short program inoffensive to Prohibi- tionists or "modificationists" of the Comstock law. The Congress proposed to change the name of the organization to the AMERICAN SECULAR UNION, elected Ingersoll president, Putnam secretary, Charles Watts first vice-president, and Courtlandt Palmer treasurer. It raised $1,200 on the spot and voted to put Putnam and Watts into the field at salaries of $1,500 each. (T.S., Sept. 20, 1884.) Liberals who would read the story of an inter- esting year in the history of Freethought will con- sult the files of The Truth Seeker for 1884. Agi- tation for statehood in Utah stimulated a drive against the Mormons, who were the Bolsheviki of the period, and there was as much opposition to admitting Utah into the Union of States as ever there was to the recognition of the Soviet republic in the League of Nations. But while the Bolshe- viki are said to be atheistic, the Mormons were orthodox to the point of Fundamentalism. A clergyman named Gallagher, who spoke at the Lib- eral Club, proposed very drastic measures for their control if not extirpation. Sanity talked back at the excited preacher in the eloquence of Stephen 1884] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 363 Pearl Andrews. Mr. Andrews protested we could hardly spare Mormonism, which was an object-les- son on the rise and growth of religions. In re- porting the meeting I must have resorted to my shorthand notebook, for the Pantarch's speech is given in full in my report of the discussion. Of the Mormon church Mr. Andrews said: "It shows us precisely here and now the whole method and process by which a religion founded in faith in the supernatural takes its rise in the sub- jective illumination of a single individual. Now Mormonism has given us during the last half-cen- tury, right here, in modern time, the opportunity to witness the precise way of this immense phe- nomenon. One hundred years ago nobody knew or could know what we now know of the engen- dering, gestation, and ultimate evolution of a great religious movement. Mormonism has contributed to us that knowledge." It followed that Buddhism, Christianism, and Mohammedanism could be accounted for in the way which the rise of Mormonism illustrated to all. It was better to observe Mormonism and learn from it, said the wise Mr. Andrews, than to destroy it. The editor of The Truth Seeker came out strongly against the Mormon church as being, like other branches of the Christian church, a menace to the republic. He charged that the crimes of the Saints were due to their religion, and cited facts to prove it. Had Mr. Andrews lived another quar- ter century he would have seen the phenomena at- tending the rise of a religious integration repeated in Christian Science. 364 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1884 5 -- FOR THE RECORD OF 1884 Conventions were held in several states and lec- turers were busy. Ingersoll spoke sixty times in three months. New organizations sprang up, among them a pioneer Freethought Club in Toron- to, Canada. Helen Gardener made her first ap- pearance as a public lecturer at Chickering Hall in January, Colonel Ingersoll presiding. The press hailed her as "Ingersoll in soprano." We issued a fine large Truth Seeker Annual at the beginning of 1884, containing a review of the previous year and some contributed articles. It was a Freethinker's Almanac, with a calendar. Five thousand copies were sold. In this annual T. C. Leland reported that some two hundred and twenty-five Liberal Leagues had been organized. New York State Superintendent of Public In- struction Ruggles had rendered a decision order- ing the discontinuance of Bible reading in public schools. The editor of The Truth Seeker ment- ions the fact that the predecessors of Mr. Ruggles -- John A. Dix in 1838 and John C. Spencer the year following -- had issued similar orders. "We presume;" the editor observes, "that as little at- tention will be paid to Mr. Ruggles's decision as was paid to his two predecessors' orders." This proved to be the fact. Charles B. Reynolds, ex-Rev., who had made a good impression at the Salamanca Convention of Freethinkers in 1883, now took the field as a lec- turer. George Chainey gave a Sunday evening course in New York. Remsburg visited the East 1884] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 365 and spoke at the Liberal Club. Henry Ward Beecher having abandoned in succession the doc- trines of hell, the fall of man, the atonement, and the trinity, now added to his heresies the rejection of the resurrection story. The Rev. Dr. R. Heber Newton, Episcopalian, was rebuked by Bishop Ho- ratio Potter for destructive criticism of the Bible, and forbidden to allow Henry George to speak in his church. Oscar Straus of New York read a paper eulogistic of Thomas Paine before the Brook- lyn Historical Society. Mr. Straus was heard again on the same subject before The Thomas Paine National Historical Association in 1921. Wendell Phillips, the great antislavery agitator (b. 1811), died in February, 1884, and was eulo- gized as a distinguished Liberal. In February, G. W. Foote of the London Freethinker was liberated after a year's imprisonment for blasphemy. In, March the Bennett Monument had been completed and an extended description published.* ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ *The monument stands at the junction of Sylvan Ave- nue and Osier path, Greenwood Cemetery, some ten min- utes' walk from the main entrance. "It is distinguishable from the other monuments in the vicinity by its massive proportions and severe plainness." Its total height is thirteen feet, six inches; the cost, some $1,500, made up of contributions by "one thousand friends." Dedicatory ser- vices were held at 220 East Fifteenth street, June 13, 1884. The Truth Seeker of June 28 reported brief addresses given and the fine oration by T.B. Wakeman. The same number of the paper printed a beautiful full-page picture of the monument, the work of the Moss Engraving Com- pany, which by a coincidence is now making the pictures which appear in these reminiscences. 366 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1884 It diverts me now to observe that the compan- ionate form of marriage is quite old in principle. In April, 1884, at Dover, N.H., a man and a woman appeared before a clergyman and asked him to marry them for six months. The groom explained that a previous marriage that he contracted for life had ended in divorce and he didn't purpose to take any more risks. The lady, confident it would be renewed, was willing to enter into the limited contract. The minister withheld his approval, as did a justice of the peace. As another instance, there had been a companionate marriage in 1877 between Mrs. H.S. Lake, a Liberal lecturer, and Prof. W.F. Peck, the parties agreeing to continue it "so long as mutual affection shall exist." The Massachusetts Supreme Court five years later, when Mrs. Lake asked for a separation, decided that such a contract required no divorce proceed- ings to terminate it. Before Paul Carus ever was known as Dr., or had married a fortune and begun the publication of the monthly Open Court to expound "the relig- ion of Science," that intelligent and learned Ger- man spoke before the Manhattan Liberal Club on "Education and Liberty," or, as he gave us the more comprehensive title, "Wohlstand, Freiheit und Bildung." He observed that the English lan- guage contained no equivalents of these terms. Dr. Carus lived and died loyal to the Kaiser, and dur- ing the World War his Freiheit was gravely men- aced by the Espionage Act. An editorial article in The Truth Seeker of July 26 began: "At her home in St. Cloud, N.J., on 1884] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 367 Sunday, July 13, after suffering for several years with consumption, Jennie Macdonald, wife of E. M. Macdonald, passed to her rest." Jennie had been a singer. "She sang," the article reads, "at Chickering Hall when thousands gathered to wel- come home the founder of The Truth Seeker; at Watkins, when the Freethinkers went there to their annual meeting; at all our League meetings here; and at home she filled her house with music like the warbling of a bird." That was so. No babies ever had sung to them sweeter lullabies than hers. She lost one baby by death when it was a year or two old. That led her to ponder the question, whether it would live again. And Mr. Bennett, who had been but a short time dead, would he not, she inquired, find, her little babe and care for it there as she knew he would in this life if it had no other friend? How could a man answer that question from a dying woman? I said to Jennie that one of two things was undoubtedly true -- either that her baby was with the Doctor over yon- der, or it had passed beyond the reach of harm or need of care. Jennie was a Southern girl who came to New York as a concert singer. Her singing voice, which might have made her a reputation had it been trained, took the grades without effort. She could sustain B flat with a smile. The features of many singers wear a look of agony while holding that note. Among the 1884 obituaries was that of John P. Jewett (b. 1816), the original publisher of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" -- a Freethinker, a cordial friend of 368 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1884 D.M. Bennett, and a caller at the office when in town. He was a native of Maine, and a resident of Orange, N.J., at the time of his death. Philip G. Peabody advocated in The Truth Seek- er the adoption of cremation in place of earth burial. The Freethought Association of Canada, which in December held a largely-attended convention in Toronto, affiliated with the National Liberal League. Mr. William Algic of Alton erected a Freethought hall, contemporaneously dedicated to the cause. The speakers at the dedication were Mr. Algie, William McDonnell, author of "Exeter Hall," Charles Watts, and Samuel P. Putnam. The Nineteenth Century published the historic debate on religion between Herbert Spencer, Ag- nostic, and Frederic Harrison, Positivist. When The Truth Seeker had reprinted the discussion, Stephen Pearl Andrews intervened to reconcile the antagonists. The Pantarch was given to the use of unusual words. This essay on Spencer and Harrison, being so marked, drew the following let- ter from "A Spencerian Positivist" (William Hen- ry Burr) of Washington, D.C. "A SLANDER NAILED." "To the Editor of The Truth Seeker: In his communi- cation last week Mr. Stephen Pearl Andrews characterizes Auguste Comte as a 'comprehensive agglomerative concep- tualist,' and intimates that Mr. Herbert Spencer is no bet- ter. The charge furnishes ground for an actionable cause against the publishers. So far as is known, the character of Mr. Spencer's mother is above reproach. Let the poli- ticians have a monopoly of slander." 1884] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 369 The Andrewsian phrase "comprehensive ag- glomerative conceptualist" is seldom paralleled. However, one may cite a near approach to it by the Hon. John M. Robertson, who, quoting Pope on Bacon, "the wisest, brightest, meanest of man- kind," remarked on "the monstrous parallogism of the collocation." The League organ, Man, suspended in the fall of 1884, and The Truth Seeker took over its assets with the exception of its boom for Ben Butler, who was running for President with the sanction and encouragement of Mr. Wakeman. Just before the election, James G. Blaine, the Republican candi- date, was Burcharded. I quote my report of the incident: "Blaine received the benefit of the clergy at the Fifth Avenue Hotel last week, being waited upon by a committee of about two hundred Protestant ministers. The chairman, the Rev. Dr. Burchard, assured Mr. Blane that they were loyal to him, and had no sympathy with the opposite party, which had always been the party of RUM, ROMANISM, and REBELLION. Mr. Blaine thanked the reverend gentlemen for this sympathy, and challenged the world to point out an act of his own or of the party he represent- ed that could not receive the sanction of the clergy, the church, and the Almighty." (T.S., Nov. 8.) The political referees decided that Burchard had Leaten Blaine. Owing to disillusionment regarding the merits of his party's candidate, Colonel Inger- soll took no share in the campaign. In the course of a lecture in Chicago he put the question: "What minister has ever done as much for the world as Darwin?" and when a voice sang out "Burchard!" he joined in the laugh that followed. 370 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1884 The ministers were for Blaine, and he lost. They were against Grover Cleveland, who won. They opposed Cleveland on moral grounds, assuming as true the campaign story which they aided in cir- culating, fixing upon him the guilt of bastardy. The Truth Seeker said: "These clerical gentle- men flooded the country with obscene literature, slandered candidates without, stint, and while os- tensibly working for morality, did more to corrupt the public mind than all the literature Comstock has been able to suppress." The New York World put it felicitously, thus: "Slander was backed by sanctity; defamation and regeneration walked hand in hand; lying and praying mingled. The 'family purity' dodge was practiced by those [the clergy] who have, unfortunately, contributed their full share to family impurity." In the end Cleve- land's one effective clerical helper was Henry Ward Beecher. Mr. Beecher had at first refused to en- dorse him, on the grounds alleged, but came around to his support with the powerful argument that if every man in New York who had broken the sev- enth commandment once, twice, or even thrice, should vote for Mr. Cleveland, he would carry the state by two hundred thousand majority. CHAPTER XVIII. 1 -- GIORDANO BRUNO'S PHILOSOPHY. THE year 1885 starts with the item that Dr. Woodrow has been removed from the faculty of the Presbyterian Theological seminary at Columbia, South Carolina, for teaching that the Bible can be reconciled with the theory of evolution. Dr. Woodrow was a mistaken prophet, for the reconciliation has become more hopeless with the years; but he had the spirit to retort on the trustees of the seminary that they might take their places with the Wesleyans who only a century before had declared that anybody disbelieving in witchcraft denied the truth of the Bible. This year began the raising of a fund to erect at Rome a statue to Giordano Bruno, the Italian phi- losopher, father of pantheism, who had been burnt at the stake as a heretic in 1600. The first subscriber to the fund was George N. Hill of Boston, who shared with T.B. Wakeman the glory of proposing a new calendar, to wit, the Era of Man, begin- ning with the death of Bruno. This martyr to Freethought, Giordano Bruno, was born at Nola, Italy, in 1548. His name was Filippo. The name of Giordano was adopted when he became a Dominican monk. He had a theory of his own 371 372 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1885 about the infinite, and once made the dangerous re- mark that a priest could be in more profitable busi- ness than contemplating the seven joys of the Virgin Mary. He also hinted that the theory of transub- stantiation was to a certain degree absurd. Only his youth preserved him from the inquisitors. Fi- nally, on account of his outspoken heresy, Italy waxed too tropical for him, and he turned wanderer, supporting himself at one time by teaching, at an- other time as a proof-reader. He taught grammar to the young and astronomy to the men. At Milan he became the intimate friend of Philip Sydney, whom he afterward saw in England. At Geneva he met with no better reception from the Protestants than he had found with Catholics at Rome. He there- fore journeyed to France, to Lyons and thence to Toulouse. At this latter place he had the audacity to remark that the earth revolved continuously and persistently upon its axis. The Aristotelians tackled him upon this subject and he was obliged to flee. From one place to another he went, either led by his desires or forced by the enmity of the church, until in 1593 he was placed in the dungeons of the In- quisition. Seven years later, being condemned to die for heresy, it was ordered that he should be put to death without the shedding of blood, which meant the stake. He informed his judges that they inflicted the sentence with more fear than he re- ceived it. A crucifix was held up before him as he stood bound to the stake, Feb. 17, 1600; he told them to take it away. He was burned to ashes and his dust scattered to the winds. 1885] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 373 I take this little sketch of Bruno from my report of a lecture before the Manhattan Liberal Club, October 30, 1885, by the Scotch-American philos- opher, Thomas Davidson (1840-1900), who was himself a good deal of a Bruno and expounded a philosophy as baffling as Bruno's own. And judge by this what a heretic he was: "Giordano Bruno, said the lecturer, was a greater savior and nobler martyr than Christ. The crucified Galilean did not suffer a tithe of the torture endured by Bruno, and with his latest breath he inquired why God had for- saken him. Bruno died composed; having a God within, he knew that God would not forsake him unless he forsook himself. Incidentally the lecturer remarked that the church claimed to be the repre- sentative of the theological God, and the worst thing to be said about the church was that it represented him very faithfully." Professor Davidson's interpretation of the phi- losophy of Bruno may be regarded as authoritative (or should I say "authentic"?). Knowing that the more I said about it the greater number of errors I should fall into, I merely observed in my report that it "consisted of being, process, and result"; that different philosophers had taken up separately the three postulates of Bruno, and had founded a system on each of them. For instance, Hegel's philosophy was that of pure being; Leibnitz's of process, and Spinoza's of result. Twenty years later I composed an extended biography of Bruno for "A Short His- tory of the Inquisition." It was as reporter of the proceedings of the Lib- eral Club that, as heretofore stated, I came to be 374 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1885 called the Man with the Badgepin. Mr. Otto Wett- stein, the Liberal jeweler of Rochelle, Illinois, had just designed and introduced that emblem, which I have worn ever since. 2 -- WERE NOT THESE FEMINISTS? Rereading the reports of this famous Club's af- fairs, one realizes how little there is which is new to reformers of advanced age. Woman speakers in rational dress appeared on its platform, and the gar- ments of 1928 were advocated. Mrs. King, who spoke at the first meeting of the new year on "Rational Dress Realized," would have been in style today had she omitted her "pants," which descended a few inches below her short skirt. But Mrs. King foresaw the day when the skirt would disappear and only the trousers be retained. Mrs. Leonard made a better guess by saying the short skirt would come but the trousers would be dispensed with, "There was no reason," Mrs. Leonard implied, "why the great works of nature should be concealed." The ladies refused to consider the objections of men. Mrs. King would reassure the men by suggesting that if they feared to be shocked they might put on "blinkers." That was forty years before the girls of Somerset, Pennsylvania, issued their declaration: "We can show our shoulders; We can show our knees, We are freeborn Americans, And can show what we please." 1885] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 375 All the eccentric personages of any note came to see us at The Truth Seeker office. Have I men- tioned Mary Tillotson, who risked arrest by wear- ing bloomers on the street? She never missed us when in the city, and was an occasional contributor. A less conspicuous person was Mrs. Vosburgh, a woman who, like Joanna Southcott, manifested the virgin-mother complex. Presumably disap- pointed in her hope, Mrs. Vosburgh soon retired from view. Dr. Mary Walker was much better known and had a longer career. She frankly wore clothes in the similitude of male garments, topped with a high silk hat. If I am not mistaken she suf- fered arrest, but vindicated herself by arguing that the clothes she wore were not a disguise. Moreover, she declared she would "wear trousers or nothing," so that on the whole it was deemed advisable to let the doctor have her way. 3 -- THE TRUTH SEEKER'S HEATHEN. We had a compositor unique among New York printers -- an educated Hindoo named Amrita Lal Roy, a non-graduate of Edinburgh University. Amrita was a good compositor and moreover spoke and wrote English with, precision. In religion he was pagan. In one of my sixth-column editorials I brought him to the attention of the Baptist Foreign Missionary Society, which was boasting, in a report on results, that it had made more converts among the heathen than all other denominations by their united efforts. To convert a heathen to Episcopa- 376 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1885 lianism, so the Baptist Society urged, cost on an average, as statistics showed, not less than $592.03; to Congregationalism, $248.14; Presbyterianism, $224.91; Methodism, $117.91; Campbellism, $72.88; but Baptists were bringing them into the fold at $37.05 per convert. Casting doubt on its being worth even that sum to a heathen to be turned into a Baptist, this is the proposition I caused The Truth Seeker to put before the missionaries: "To tell it just as it is, we do not believe that a heathen can be converted to Christianity for $37.05, and to afford them an opportunity of testing the matter, we will make the Baptists an offer. We have in this office, bowing down to the wood of his case and the stone of the imposing slab, a full-blooded royal Bengal Heathen. He is of high caste, ranks next to the Brahmans for style, and bears credentials to that effect. He is without religion, neither drinking in- toxicants nor smoking or chewing tobacco. He does not swear by heaven above nor by the earth below. Jehovah and Jesus Christ rank in his mind along with the mythical Giascutis and the apocalyptic Boojum Snark. There is but one obstacle to his becoming a Christian, and that is the fact that he is well educated, and has probably in his comparatively brief existence forgotten more than the ordinary minister ever learns; We say this without mean- ing to impeach the retentiveness of his memory. He is con- versant with Greek and Latin, and with Sanskrit, Begalee, and Telegoo, besides writing English of the purest kind. In disposition he has the mildness peculiar to his race, and buckles down to reprint or the Spencerian copy of Mr. Charles Watts with equal humility. Taken all in all, he is a rare heathen. We could scarcely conceive of a more desirable subject for the proselyting zeal of a missionary. "What we propose is to throw open the door of our com- posing-room and give the Baptist missionaries a chance 1885] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 377 at this heathen. If he has a soul that is likely to be d--d, we would by all means prefer that it should be saved. It is a sad sight to see a pagan of his mental caliber going down the dark valley unprepared and neglecting the means of grace. "The financial arrangements for the test are immaterial, perhaps, but it is well to have everything done decently and in order. Let the Baptists deposit $37.05 with some responsible person; we will do the same. The heathen may be allowed $3 per day for his time; the missionary 50 cents. Heathen and money to be found any day at 33 Clinton Place. If by the time the sum of $37.05 has been exhausted the heathen shall have knocked under and con- sented to be baptized, the Baptists take the money. If, on the other hand, he still remains the heathen that he is, we take the cash. "We urge our brethren of the Baptist denomination to come forward and prove their claim to converting heathen at $37.05 per head. Our heathen, so to speak, is white unto the harvest, to say nothing of the other composi- tors who might casually experience a change of heart. Here is a soul for ministers to save, and we presume, in the words of the immortal Webster Flannagan, that is what they are here for." Amrita Lal Roy remained a heathen. He wrote a number of excellent articles for The Truth Seeker, and for John Swinton's paper, and sold one to The North American Review. I have before mentioned John Swinton and the paper bearing his name. The Truth Seeker had numerous occasions to chasten Mr. Swinton for suppression of the fact that many of the men whom he honored with his notice were Freethinkers. That designation did not appear at all in Mr. Swinton's paper. One would sooner expect to see it today in the New York Nation, And still, When subscrib- 378 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1885 ers were coming in slowly, Mr. Swinton's friend, Madame Henri Delescluze, took the platform at the Liberal Club and canvassed the audience for re- cruits. She got twenty of them, and in acknowledg- ing the favor said she "would make the labor unions blush for their lukewarmness when she recounted to them the generosity of the Freethinkers." It has always been the weakness of Freethought societies, or perchance it is to their praise, that they invari- ably have been hospitable to outsiders who had no further interest in them than to secure their help. Freethinkers in those days as in these were often accused, falsely, of being as narrow-minded as the orthodox. Mr. Swinton was asked in The Truth Seeker to make the test as to who were his friends by requesting the use of a New York pulpit in which to plead for support of his paper. As for open- mindedness, as between the Liberal Club and the labor unions, that might have been ascertained by applying for a chance at one of their meetings to canvass for a Freethought paper. The evening just referred to was the one at which John E. Remsburg gave his lecture on "Sabbath Breaking," and Madame Delescluze had the grace to object to all he said and to defend Sabbath ob- servance! Mr. Swinton was the lecturer at the next meeting of the Club. 4 -- PRIEST LAMBERT'S BOOK. A Catholic priest named L.A. Lambert of Water- loo, N.Y., wrote a book called "Notes on Ingersoll" which was so cordially received by the Christian 1885] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 379 world as the finishing blow for the blasphemer that its author became boastful. Freethinkers had paid small attention to the performance; but when Lam- bert's organ, The Catholic Union and Times, edited by a priest named Cronin, made the statement that their silence was due to their inability to answer the Waterloo priest, The Truth Seeker challenged him to debate the matter with Charles Watts. Lambert declined on the ground that an oral discussion gave too much room for blasphemous declamation on the part of the Infidel. However, if Mr. Watts would publish his side of the debate in The Truth Seeker, then Dr. Lambert would reply through the same medium. The editor at once accepted, with the proviso that the articles by both Mr. Watts and the priest should be published simultaneously in The Truth Seeker and in The Catholic Union and Times. To this perfectly fair offer no response came from the boasting editor and priest. It met with the same joyless reception that a similar one would get today from a Fundamentalist journal asked to print one of the Truth Seeker's Fundamentalist-Atheist debates. The mendacity of the Lambert book would sur- prise and abash any common liar who could un- derstand it. A religious person recommended it to my notice and I secured a copy which I carefully read, and having done so wrote my opinion of Lam- bert. It ran: "On questions of fact he is mali- ciously and I think knowingly dishonest. As to scriptural quotations, he forces into them meanings which the authors could not have designed to con- vey, and denies to them the interpretations which 380 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1885 anyone can see the writers intended should be made. Having by these methods formulated replies to Colonel Ingersoll's statements, he crowns mendacity with audacity and challenges his opponent to answer him. In nearly every case where opportunity is afforded for a direct issue, Lambert has saved his cause only by direct or indirect falsification of the authorities which he quotes. I say nearly every case. I mean every case which access to the records has permitted me to examine. I believe that his statements are not to be relied upon in any instance. He who runs may read his arguments and detect their fallacy without pausing to give them a second reading. In proportion to its size, Lambert's 'Notes on Ingersoll' probably contains more sophistry, more captious criticism, more misstatement of fact, and, in a word, more slush, than any other volume print- ed during the present century. It will no more bear replying to than a sieve will hold water." That was my opinion when I read the book in 1885, and I presume it is right. I place much con- fidence in first impressions. 5 -- THE DYNAMITERS. The disturbers later more frequently called an- archists, or propagandists by deed, were in the early '80s known as dynamiters. There was O'Donovan Rossa, an Irishman, who reaped profitable publicity as a dynamiter until a woman with the attractive name of Lucille Yseulte Dudley came by and missed several shots at him with a pistol. A Washington newspaper headed its account: "Woman Empties 1885] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 381 Four Chambers at Irish Agitator." Mr. Rossa seems soon to have subsided: the woman, after an amus- ing trial, was acquitted as irresponsible. A dynamiter who made himself known to Liberals by joining their societies and appearing at congresses was William J. Gorsuch. Gorsuch attended the Mil- waukee Congress of the League as a Freethinker with Socialist and anti-prohibitionist leanings. In '85 he came out as a dynamiter and was the English speaker at a New York meeting of Herr Johann, Most and his followers in commemoration of one Reinsdorf, whom the German government had put to death for attempting to remove a crowned head. My brother and I were present at this meeting and were entertained with beer by Herr Most. There was much blood-curdling oratory in advocacy of destroying by "blind, brutal, barbaric force," within the week next ensuing, all the existing governments of the world. The dynamiters were known as Inter- nationals. Reporting a call by Gorsuch at The Truth Seeker office, the editor wrote: "In religion, Mr. Gorsuch told us, the Internationals are about half Atheists and half Christians. But the Atheists among them never attend Freethought meetings, read no Freethought papers or books, of course take no interest in constructive Liberal work, and remain Atheists for the same reason the French peasant did -- 'If there were a God, he would give us bread, wouldn't he?' Not getting bread, the peasant was an Atheist." A later note reads: "There was a meeting of dynamiters at Paris the other day called the Council of Eleven. Three American delegates were pres- ent. During their deliberations one of the American 382 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1885 delegates wanted to 'embrace the occasion' to say that they (the dynamiters) were not Atheists." Gorsuch achieved arrest at Newburg, near Cleve- land, Ohio, in July, for advising strikers to put dy- namite on the street car tracks and blow the cars to pieces. He appears not to have been prosecuted, for in August he spoke at a workingmen's meeting, when he exhorted his hearers to "arm themselves with rifles, visit the warehouses, and take whatever they wished, shooting down all who opposed them." He had spoken before the Manhattan Liberal Club advocating these sentiments without creating a rip- ple. The old Club was not a place where a speaker could talk utter nonsense and not have the defects of the presentation made clear to him. Dr. R.G. Eccles, a Brooklyn member, qualified as a specialist in the treatment of certain forms of delusion. The Liberal League of Chicago appeared to be less fortu- nate in the handling of its menaces, and a not good- natured discussion was had over the policy of ex- cluding them. "Dynamiters" were the heralds and prophets of the Haymarket tragedy that was on its way. Had Gorsuch been in Chicago at the time of the bombing of the police he undoubtedly would have suffered with the four who were hanged. But the nerve of Gorsuch failed him. He abandoned his radicalism, struck his colors, and got a kind of re- ligion, and the last time I saw him, say in 1920, he told me he was writing a book to "expose" Inger- soll. An apostasy took place among the Freelovers that went unnoticed in The Truth Seeker because the 1885] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 383 male party to it was pious. About 1875, one Leo Miller, then of New York, free, white, and married, entered into illegal conjugal relations with Martha or Mattie Strickland, spinster. They suffered a cer- tain martyrdom for their principles, being jailed, and were canonized by the social radicals. Then in 1885, Miller, under conviction of sin, dissolved the union and published a letter in The Sun confessing marriage to be a divine institution established by our heavenly father. 5 -- THE DEPARTING VETERANS. The leaders of Liberalism were lessened in num- ber during 1885 by the death of Porter C. Bliss, J.S. Verity, Theron C. Leland, LaRoy Sunderland, T.W. Doane, and Elizur Wright. This was the year also of the death of General Grant and Victor Hugo. The death of Mr. Bliss took place in February. He was a journalist, explorer, archeologist, his- torian, and Freethinker. His Liberal editorial work on the New York Herald has been mentioned. In philosophy, he was a Positivist. Mr. Verity died in Lynn, Mass., February 10, at the age of 62. Horace Setver conducted his funeral in Paine Hall, which was draped in mourning. Verity was an able, useful, and much respected member of the Boston Liberal Club, and a good writer. T.W. Doane, who died in Boston, August at the age of 34, was the scholarly author of "Bible Myths and Their Parallels in other Religions." 384 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1885 @@@@ Theron C. Leland died June 3 of this year at the age of 64. The rudiments of knowledge came to this farm boy without effort on his part and his first consciousness of himself included being able to read. At eighteen, he entered the Wesleyan Seminary at Lima, N.Y., being graduated with highest honors. But the virus didn't "take," and we find him soon afterward an ardent convert to Fourierism in which he became expert as he did in everything he undertook. So much so that he developed into an expounder of this social phi- losophy and it was while lecturing upon it that he came to know A.F. Boyle, the partner of Stephen Pearl Andrews in the teaching of phonography, or shorthand. Leland speedily gained first rank in the winged art. He in turn taught phonography to men who themselves became experts. Among those whose speeches he reported were Daniel Web- ster, Rufus Choate, and William Lloyd Garrison. 1885] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 385 The year 1851 was marked by the arrival of Kos- suth, the great Hungarian statesman-refugee, whose statue was in 1928 unveiled in New York. Leland attended his receptions, taking notes for the New York Tribune and Courier and Enquirer. A list of his engagements as stenographer shows that he stood almost above and beyond the heads of his profession. The frequent mention of Leland in these pages indicates how active he was in the Liberal movement. With Wakeman he conducted the League organ, "Man," devoting all his day- time to that and the secretaryship, and supporting himself by teaching evening schools of shorthand. His wife was Mary A. Leland, a woman of no small literary capacity, and a natural poet, whose gift has descended to her daughter, Grace D., best known to Truth Seeker readers for her "Ingersoll Birthday Book," and as the life-partner of the editor for more than a few years of a national Freethought weekly published hereabouts. Leland was a wonderfully bright and witty man, of buoyant spirits and a sense of humor that constantly bubbled over. A birdman, gay, active, and swift. But deep and serious withal, a valiant fighter and a rock in time of trouble. Elizur Wright, who several years held the office of president of the National Liberal League, and had come to be called the Nestor of Liberalism, died in Boston, Dec. 21, 1885. Mr. Wright was born in South Canaan, Conn., on Feb. 12, 1804. He was graduated at Yale Collage in 1826, and for two years was a teacher in Groton, Mass. From 1829 to 1833 he was professor of mathematics and natural phi- losophy in Western Reserve College, Hudson, Ohio. In 386 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1885 1833 he came to New York, and was for five years secre- tary of the American Antislavery Society, editing, in 1834- 5, a paper called Human Rights, and in 1834-8 the Quar- terly Antislavery Magazine. He went to Boston in 1838, becoming editor of the Massachusetts Abolitionist. In 1846 he established the Chronotype, which he conducted until it was merged in the Commonwealth in 1850, of which he was also for a time the editor. From 1858 to 1866 he was insurance commissioner of Massachusetts, and was thereafter connected with insurance interests. Mr. Wright published, in 1841, a translation in verse of La Fontaine Fables, a work entitled "A Curiosity of Law" in 1866, and many pamphlets and reports. The part taken by Mr. Wright in the antislavery contest was conspicuously heroic and the black race of America owes to but few men more than to him. After the abrogation of slavery, Mr. Wright devoted himself largely to the discussion of Freethought. In the latter part of 1884, following the defection of Chainey and the controversy it engendered, the Spiritualist papers and some of their contributors announced that the hour had struck for the sepa- ration of Spiritualism from Liberalism. In June, 1885, the Banner of Light declared: "It is time Spiritualism obtained a full and absolute divorce from what is miscalled Liberalism, says the Spiritual Offering -- and we have about come to the same conclusion. Spiritualists offered them the right hand of fellowship in opposing bigotry and superstition, but they have of late ignored it by traducing our mediums in public, in private, and in the columns of their newspapers, and calling us all delusionists! This is a quality of Liberalism we do not understand. No wonder The Offering wants the two divorced." The editor of The Truth Seeker, commenting upon this, saw no reason for the separation. "Lib- eralism," he argued, "is not particularly Material- istic any more than it is Spiritualistic." Moreover, 1885] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 387 he thought that the space in the Liberal papers given to the discussion of Spiritualism had been about equally divided between those in favor of it and those opposed. However, there was a difference. The Spiritualists were less dogmatic than certain of the hardboiled Materialists like Otto Wettstein, T. Winter, and Dr. Titus L. Brown, who could not view the other-worlders as anything but a deluded lot of victims of their own credulity and the trick- ery of their mediums. The first of these writers always signed "T. Winter, Materialist," as though a man might be under suspicion of being something else unless he labeled himself, and the matter of his communications was uniformly offensive to such Spiritualists as might be readers of The Truth Seeker, and these were not few in number. 6 -- FOR THE RECORD OF 1885 Someone proposed to the ex-Rev. C.B. Reynolds, who had become an effective Freethought lecturer, that he should travel with a tent as a Liberal evangel-ist. He seized upon the idea, and through The Truth Seeker raised the needed funds. William Smith of Geneva, N.Y., paid for the tent with a contribu- tion of $300. In Mr. R.B. Butland of Toronto the Freethinkers found an excellent reporter of their activities. They held a well-attended convention in Albert Hall, Toronto, in December, 1884, at which eleven local so- cieties were represented (T.S., Jan. 19); Mr. J. Ick Evans was elected president, Mr. Butland secretary, and the name changed from the Freethought As- sociation to the Canadian Secular Union. 388 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1885 The Museums of Art and Natural History in New York -- the former in Central Park, the latter just outside of it on the west -- had been closed on Sun- day. The park commissioners passed a resolution to open them. Then ensued a fight, the obstructionists being the soap man Colgate, who was a trustee; Morris K. Jesup, and the Rev. Dr. John Hall. In cooperation with Samuel P. Putnam, secretary of the National Liberal League, The Truth Seeker printed and circulated a petition supporting the com- missioners and asking for the Sunday opening. The long contest that following brought public at- tention to the question and in the end the closers were defeated. That was one case where Liberal- ism won. How many Sunday visitors to the mu- seum know to whom they are indebted for the opening of the doors? The suggestion of a reader that the Society of the Religion of Humanity hold regular meetings and install T.B. Wakeman as "pastor" met with ap- proval by the editor, who added: "let us have a temple without a priest; religion without theology; morality without dogma; a social organization that meets the emotional and artistic wants of the people without degrading their mental faculties by a blind faith." The idea was to some extent realized the following year. A paragraph in the same number announces the removal of "Mr. Replogle and his wife" from the editorship of the Missouri Liberal, the paper estab- lished at Liberal, Mo., by G.H. Walser, founder of the town. "The Liberal," says the paragraph, "opens war on the Freelovers, announcing that it 1885] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 389 has in preparation a series of articles against them." This course divided the town of Liberal against it- self with injurious results. Besides Ingersoll, the active Liberal lecturers regularly reporting to The Truth Seeker in '85 were S.P. Putnam, C.B. Reynolds, Charles Watts, Helen H. Gardener, E.C. Walker, W.S. Bell, W.F. Jamieson, J.L. York, Mattie P. Krekel, and J.E. Remsburg. In the three years since he left the school room as teacher for the field as lecturer, Remsburg had traveled nearly fifty thousand miles and had delivered from one to twenty lectures in one hundred and fifty cities and towns. A well attended convention of New York State Freethinkers at Albany was reported in The Truth Seeker of September 19; the Canadian convention at Toronto in the October 3 number. A new weekly called The Rationalist appeared in Auckland, N.Z. The report of the proceedings of the New York Liberal Club on the occasion of the inauguration of T.B. Wakeman as president gave the following brief history of the club: This organization was started by seven persons, including Mr. Wakeman, who met in a little hall in Third avenue, Sept. 14, 1869. Henry Edger was one of the prime movers. T.D. Gardener was the first secretary, and J.D. Bell the first president. The second president was Horace Greeley, who presided at several meetings and presided at a dinner while candidate for Presi- dent of the United States. The next president, W.L. Ormsby, gave place to James Parton. Mr. Wakeman's election as Parton's successor took place in the spring of 1885. 390 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1885 Judge Hoadley, running for Governor of Ohio, engaged in a debate with his opponent, Foraker, who attacked the judge's well-known views on the separa- tion of church and state and the exclusion of God from the Constitution. Foraker won the election. At the annual congress held in Cleveland, Ohio, October 9-11, the National Liberal League adopted the name of the American Secular Union, as pro- posed the year before and elected as officers Robert G. Ingersoll, president, and Samuel P. Putnam, secretary. A woman suffrage plank met with opposi- tion from but one member. Ingersoll closed the meetings with a lecture. The Truth Seeker, October 17-24, reported it as the largest congress in the his- tory of the League. 7 -- ENTERTAINED BY INGERSOLL -- AN INTERVIEW. In August I took part in an event which I recog- nized as the greatest thing that had ever happened. I interviewed Ingersoll for The Truth Seeker. With his family he was at Long Beach, New York, and included me in an invitation to S.P. Putnam to visit him at his hotel. They were supposed to talk about the affairs of the national organization, Inger- soll being president and Putnam secretary. The members of the family were assembled on the hotel veranda when we arrived. One of the young ladies, sitting by her father, arose and offered me the post, which I hesitated to accept until the Colonel drew the chair a little nearer to him and beckoned me to take it. Mrs. Ingersoll made the same provision for Putnam, and the girls, Maude and Eva, beauti- fied the group. The Colonel asked me questions 1885] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 391 that seemed to be only such as I was prepared to answer readily. Mrs. Ingersoll gave a homy turn to the conversation by asking her husband if he had put on his heavy underclothes, according to her advice. When Ingersoll got an answer to a question he expanded upon it, as though he were just con- tinuing the other's line of thought. His conver- sation was as well organized as his lectures, and he spoke as entertainingly to one as to a thousand -- which is to say his thought was as clear, his words as well chosen, and his sentences as perfectly formed. I showed him a newspaper clipping of which he was the subject and inquired whether he would confirm or add to its statements, so that I might reprint it. When he had read the piece he slipped it into his vest-pocket, and said: "Let's have something original. Write out a few questions and I will answer them." And so in this manner I got an interview with Ingersoll that filled six col- umns -- his first contribution to The Truth Seeker. On the way home in the train Putnam expressed his admiration for the Colonel and Mrs. Ingersoll, and then fell to praising the daughters. I responded by mentioning one of them, with whom I had spoken, as certainly a lovely girl, and he declared the other one glorious. Here is ancient history. November 7 The Truth Seeker announced: "The Rev. Mangasar M. Mangasarian, who has been pastor of the Spring Garden Presbyterian church in Philadelphia for three years, has publicly renounced the doctrines of Presbyterianism and tendered his resignation to his congregation. In his sermon he said: 'I have 392 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1885 ceased to be a Calvinist. If Calvin, Wesley, and Edwards had the right to make articles of faith and differ with good and holy men who went before them, have I not the same right to make articles of faith and differ with Calvin, Wesley, and Edwards? I have outgrown the creed of Calvin. I shall have no creed save the words of Christ'." Mr. Manga- sarian, progressively skeptical, soon surrendered the words of Christ as his creed. He does not now, in fact, believe that the Christ of Christianity is anything but a myth. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER XIX. 1 -- THE MIXED ECONOMIC SITUATION. THE Truth Seeker Company issued another Annual at the opening of the year 1886 and the paper began to be illustrated every week with Heston's cartoons, to which were added pic- tures by an artist named John, and with others taken from the comically pictorial French Bible. One of Heston's pictures entitled "A Contribution to the Irish Question," showing Uncle Sam putting money in the hat of Pat while Bridget handed the gifts out of the window to a priest, caused a fellow named Blissert (a sort of agitator) to promise he would see that the labor unions put the boycott on The Truth Seeker. (See T.S., Mar. 20, 1886.) Events justified the picture, for while a league of Irishmen in America were soliciting funds for their friends on the other side, the Vatican was sending a deputation to Ireland to beg funds for the erection of a church in Rome. Agitation for the opening of the Museums in Central Park was continued by Putnam, as secretary of the Secular Union. In opposition the churches organized the New York Sabbath Committee, at a meeting of which, reported by myself, there ap- peared as a speaker the famous Congressman Breckinridge of Kentucky. Mr. Breckinridge will 393 394 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1886 "get his" at the proper place in this record. A bill passed the Assembly appropriating $20,000 an- nually for the cost of Sunday opening of the museums. Oppression of the Mormons under the Edmunds act began to take the form of persecution. Edmunds proposed that the President be empowered to ap- point trustees to take charge of Mormon church property. John Swinton's paper asked, "How about trustees for other churches?" The Edmunds act provided that if any male person in a territory (this was years before the admission of Utah as a state), over which the United States had exclusive jurisdiction "hereafter cohabits with more than one woman, he shall be deemed guilty of a misde- meanor." The penalty was a fine of $300 and six months' imprisonment. The Truth Seeker said: "Supposing this law was enforced in the District of Columbia?" A new contributor to the paper appeared with the signature of Si Slokum. He was one of those prolific writers who could turn out a good story every week for boys' papers of the Ned Buntline make and had a great number of readers. This year saw, probably, the first of the contributions of L.K. Washburn, who had begun a lectureship in Boston under the auspices of The Investigator. Our Hindu printer, Amrita Lal Roy, left us to return to his native land. We gave him an evening of festivities called a "Chapel Send-off." A num- ber of well-known labor leaders were present, in- cluding a Russian named Leo Hartman but known as Somoff, for whose return a large reward had 1886] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 395 been offered by the czar. Everybody made a speech and signed a testimonial. The account of the occa- sion closes thus: "Beyond anything that was ex- pressed in words, the loss of Mr. Roy is felt in The Truth Seeker office; for, somehow or other, the little chap, in spite of his dusky face, had worked himself into the regard of all who associated with him." The Russian known as Somoff told the as- semblage that his stay in America had banished Nihilism from his mind and he was now prepared to be a good and conservative citizen of the com- munity. But Roy, on the other hand, had been changed from a mild Hindu to a revolutionist and he was returning to India to stir up the natives. In December, 1887, the New York Sun reported that "the talented, learned, and gentle young Hin- doo, Amrita Lal Roy ... recently started a paper in the English language in Calcutta called Hope." His book, "Three Years Among the Americans," appeared in 1889. Said Amrita in this book: "I spent my most peaceful days in New York as a printer at The Truth Seeker office. At this date I cannot help comparing the conduct of these so- called 'Infidels' with that of the pious Christians of New York to whom I had applied for a situation on my arrival in America, very much to the preju- dice of the latter. Nor can I refrain from acknowl- edging with gratitude that by few persons in New York were the peculiar circumstances in which I was placed so considerately recognized, or so much facility for making my way given to me, as by the Infidels of The Truth Seeker office." (T.S., March 30, 1889.) 396 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1886 The obstreperous dynamiters, now called anar- chists, were making a good deal of trouble in the ranks of industry, especially in Chicago and Mil- waukee. Discussion of the propaganda was quite continuous in The Truth Seeker, the editor hold- ing that while their ideas were wild, their right to express them could not be denied, and he there- fore denounced as an outrage the arrest of Herr Johann Most, who was advocating the policy of violent resistance to authority. The Chicago Lib- eral League had been obliged in self-defense to ex- clude them from its platform (T.S., '86, p. 359) and from membership, but in spite of these meas- ures, the League was fired from Dearborn Hall, where its meetings had been held. In May oc- curred the riot at a labor meeting that has since been known as the Haymarket tragedy. A bomb was projected into a crowd and five policemen killed. It is the tradition that the police were the aggressors, the disturbers of an orderly meeting, and that they had no call to be there. The Truth Seeker said: "A mass meeting from which no riot promised to spring was in progress when the police charged upon the assemblage. In what followed the rioters were in the wrong. Even in war no nation would use such horribly murderous weapons as dynamite bombs." The editor did not live to observe what missiles were used in the World War, 1914-1918. In the News of the Week a paragraph said that "August Spies and Sam Fielden, the men who made so much trouble in the Chicago Liberal League, are in jail and liable to be tried for mur- der. Nothing is heard of Gorsuch in these troub- 1886] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 397 lous times." E.A. Stevens, president of the Lib- eral League, wrote that but for the fortunate ejec- tion of the trouble-makers, the League meetings would doubtless have been prohibited and its of- ficers arrested. Who threw the bomb was never known, but on August 19 a jury returned a verdict of murder against August Spies, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fielden, Albert R. Parsons, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, and Louis Lingg. In passing sen- tence judge Gary said: "The conviction has not gone upon the ground that they did have actual participation in the act which caused the death of Deegan" [one of the policemen killed]. Somebody not known did throw the bomb. Spies, Parsons, Fischer, and Engel were ultimately hanged. Lingg committed suicide or was killed, while in jail. The police professed to know that he was the actual bomb-thrower. Fielden and a man named Neebe were sentenced to prison terms, and later pardoned by Governor Altgeld. Early in the season Henry George began his can- vass for nomination and election as mayor of New York on a Labor ticket. In April the following occurred, as I find on page 263 of The Truth Seeker: SUPERSTITION IN THE LABOR MOVEMENT. I followed the crowd into Irving Hall one night last week when the workingmen had their mass meeting in favor of the eight-hour system. The hall is one of the largest in the city, and it was full. It looked to me as if this ought to be a great day for the movement, and maybe it was, but I don't think so. A certain Mr. Qunn had been chosen chairman of the meeting, and when I entered he was con- tending for the abolition of poverty on the ground that 398 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 1886 "God Almighty never intended for men to be poor," which was rather a novel proposition to lay before a multitude of intelligent people. The position of God on the labor question is not of the slightest importance, but it may be suggested that he would scarcely have given the assurance that the poor we would always have with us if he had intended wealth to be universal. There is nothing quite so tiresome as listening to those dogmatic persons who attribute their own conceits to God and deliver them as revelations of the divine will. Mr. George was received with overwhelming applause, and was listened to with the closest and most respectful attention. It soon transpired from the direction of his remarks that he favored an act of the legislature which should make it a misdemeanor for an employee to work more than eight hours out of the twenty-four. Leaving in the background the fact that we already have in this state a similar law, to which no one pays the slightest attention, Mr. George went on to develop his argument in support of such a statute. And what grounds do you think he based it upon? He placed it plumb beside the Sunday laws, whose beneficence he defended with all the strength of his lungs. To the Christian sabbath, he held, which had its sanction and authority "among the thunders of Sinai," from the Creator himself, the world owed all the progress which it had achieved. Except for the Sunday laws, he argued, mankind would still be in the degraded state indus- trially, whatever that may have been, in which it was situated before the Sunday was established. Such was Mr. George's main argument in favor of an eight-hour law, and it is due to the intelligence of the audience to say that it was not received with marked enthusiasm. The remainder of the address was good in a general sense, but it had slight reference to the eight-hour movement. Mr. George is one of those who hold the superstition that the religious and labor questions are one; that the ministers are the workingman's best friends, and that the Salvation Army fanaticism is of vast industrial signifi- cance. -- G.E.M." 1886] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 399 Mr. George delivered a lecture on Moses as a great statesman, political economist and law-giver, and defended Sunday laws. There should be no campaigning on Sunday, he said, except to discover the will of God. And yet he was generally sup- ported by Liberals. Shortly after his nomination the editor of The Truth Seeker addressed to him a letter inclosing the Nine Demands of Liberalism, and inquired whether he thought his prospects of election would bear the strain that would be thrown upon them by his endorsement of these principles. Mr. George was shrewd enough as a politician to ignore the letter. The editor waited three weeks for an answer and then said: "The treatment which our letter has received at the hands of Mr. George is unworthy of a man asking the votes of the people because he is a Reformer." Mr. George's rivals for the office of mayor were Abram S. Hew- itt, Democrat, described by the editor as "the fussy gentleman who refused to rent Cooper Union for the reception of D.M. Bennett when he came out of the Albany bastille"; and Theodore Roosevelt, Republican. Mr. Hewitt was elected with 90,000 votes. George had 68,000, and Roosevelt 60,000. Colonel Ingersoll, analyzing the result, said: "Sev- eral objections have been urged, not to what Mr. George has done, but to what Mr. George has thought; and he is the only candidate up to this time against whom a charge of this character could be made." The Rev. Edward McGlynn of St. Stephen's church had been a popular orator at George's meet- ings, and publicly announced his conversion to the 400 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1886 Single Tax. The pope, assuming to be more of a political economist than Moses or George, sup- pressed McGlynn. This seemed inconsistent, for George contended that God owned the land, and the pope as God's representative on earth would be in a position to make terms for its occupancy. 2 -- LIBERAL AND SOCIAL QUESTIONS. A quite notable occasion was the meeting for discussion, at Courtlandt Palmer's Nineteenth Cen- tury Club, between Prof. John Fiske and Chauncey M. Depew. Fiske defended a kind of deism, or near-pantheism, based on the proposition that God is "an infinite and eternal power which is mani- fested in every pulsation of the universe." Mr. Depew presented Fundamentalism in the manner of the best after-dinner speaker of the period. Mr. Palmer had brought there T.B. Wakeman to show the gentlemen where they got off, as it were, at. The eminence of the debaters, with the distinction of the audience present, left Mr. Wakeman power- less. He did not like to tell Professor Fiske and Mr. Depew that from his point of view they were Sunday-school scholars in the infant class. He must have longed to meet them at the Liberal Club where critics were not too reverential. He con- tented himself with presenting the superior claims of Positivism and the Religion of Humanity. During this year the difficulty of maintaining freedom of opinion in a small community became apparent in the experience which the town of Lib- eral, Missouri, was going through. The father of 1886] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 401 the town, G.H. Walser, had been converted to Spiritualism by a tricky "medium" named Bouton, and had displaced Henry Replogle, a Materialist, as editor of his paper, The Liberal. Mr. Replogle began to print a paper of his own called Equity, devoted to the principles of libertarianism. Mr. Walser objected to Equity, first, because he did not think the town needed two papers; second, because Equity was labor reform, while he was a capitalist. Add to this the fact that Replogle advocated social freedom, and Walser had a case with which he could go before the community. He had employed a lecturer named C.W. Stewart, who, addressing a Sunday night meeting in the Opera House, pro- posed that the persons holding objectionable views about sex and marriage should be led to the out- skirts of the town and invited to keep going. Mr. Walser indorsed the speech and called for a rising vote of approval. This brought to their feet as many as did not wish to be understood as approv- ing of free love. Of the contrary minded, four persons arose, including Mr. Replogle. Two days later a mob attacked Replogle's house, heaving rocks, firing guns, and sticking a dagger in his front door, The demonstration divided the town. Mr. Chaapell Spiritualist but Liberal, resigned from the editorship of Mr. Walser's paper. The disputants brought their deplorable quarrel to The Truth Seeker, July 17 and July 31. Then came the ex- posure of the medium Bouton, who had converted Walser and been indorsed under oath by Stewart and others, with a diagram of the premises and test conditions. (T.S., June 27, 1986.) But the ex- 402 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1886 posure, occasioned by a fire in the medium's house which brought to light the devices of Bouton, was so complete that Walser himself wrote to The Truth Seeker about it, and Bouton acknowledged his deceit. That was another blow to the town of Liberal. A still harder one was delivered by the local railroad company which, itself being in the coal mining business, refused to transport Walser's coal except at discriminatory rates, and Liberal, be- ing a coal town, suffered accordingly. Its indus- try was crippled. Freethinkers were compelled to sell their property and look elsewhere for employ- ment; and as no one else would buy, they sold to Christians. Mr. Walser's belief in spirits survived the ex- posure as fraudulent of the phenomena upon which it was established. Instead of returning to Ration- alism he appears to have become more credulous and more fanatical. I am unable here to tell what be- came of Mr. Walser, except that within the past few years I have seen a pamphlet containing relig- ious poetry of his composition that showed he was out of touch with Freethought and was as religions as a hymnbook. Mr. Edwin C. Walker, divorced from his wife, and receiving the hand of Lillian Harman, bestowed upon him by her father, Moses Harman, suffered arrest along with Miss Harman, because they "did then and there unlawfully and feloniously live to- gether as man and wife, without being or having been married together, contrary to the statute in such case made and provided, and against the peace and dignity of the State of Kansas." This 1886] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 403 took place at Valley Falls, September 20. Lillian was soon liberated. On trial in October, both were found guilty and sentenced -- he to two and one-half months' and she to one and one-half months' imprisonment. Mr. Walker determined to appeal his case on the ground that the marriage was valid. We read in The Truth Seeker, Novem- ber 5: "One of the incidents of this affair is the de- sertion of Mr. Walker by his old friend Tucker. Hitherto Mr. Walker and Mr. Tucker have been mutual admirers of each other. Mr. Tucker now parts from Mr. Walker, sadly but firmly. Why? Because, in claiming that his marriage is valid, Mr. Walker submits to the state, and in so doing makes defendants of himself and Mrs. Walker, and Mr. Tucker will never contribute money for the vin- dication of the right of men and women to enslave themselves." This union of Mr. Walker and Miss Harman, entered into without ostentation, adver- tising or publicity, became the subject of a long and interesting discussion. Because the parties to it were associated in the publication of the paper Lucifer, Dr. Juliet Severance named it the Lucifer match. "Dr. Edward Aveling, Socialist and Free- thinker," says The Truth Seeker of September 18, 1886, "arrived last week from London." But that was the sort of arrival that, like a rise in tempera- ture, announces itself. Dr. Aveling and his lady, who was Eleanor, daughter of Karl Marx, blew into The Truth Seeker office one day, or should I say blossomed? They made quite an appearance; he, 404 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1886 the perfect stage Englishman as done by our best comedians, with his "bowler" hat and a bit of a cane which he carried by the middle, and clothes of a pattern like a yard-square cross-word puzzle; and she in a gown conceived in the height of the Dolly Varden mode, bearing figures of bright roses nearer the size of a cabbage than anything that a rosebush could produce or support. Passers-by who saw this attractive couple enter the office waited for them to emerge, as when Dr. Mary Walker in her male attire or Mary Tillotson in pantalets would call. As they were engaged to speak for the Socialists, I wondered how the proletariat would receive persons in such gorgeous raiment. With Dr. and Mrs. Aveling came Herr Wilhelm Lieb- knecht, member of the German parliament. The Karl Liebknecht who was assassinated in the Spar- tacide uprising in 1919 was his eldest son. Mr. Aveling, on his return to England, wrote a book on how America struck him. It was deprecatory of our customs, habits, manners, and institutions. He spoke of the difficulty he experienced, in local option towns, in obtaining champagne, and stated that when strolling in Fifth avenue he met with more "stares" than he had encountered since he climbed the monument (for he had visited Washington). 3 -- STEPHEN PEARL ANDREWS. After having been for some weeks reported ab- sent from Liberal meetings, on account of illness, Stephen Pearl Andrews died on May 21 (1886). 1886] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 405 The Truth Seeker said: "New York does not ap- preciate it, only a few @@@@ know it, but the city has lost one of her greatest men. If Mr. Andrews had been a politician representing greatness achieved through ways dark and devious, or if he had posed as a phi- lanthropist who had squeezed the life-blood out of what people he could reach, and had then given them a statue on some street corner, or a few pictures for the museum in the park, New York would be dressed in mourning. But the city has few tears for reformers and it was left for the heretics to do honor to his memory. The funeral was held at the Liberal Club rooms on Sun- day after noon, the 23d. T.B.Wakeman pronounced the oration, and the brotherhood and sisterhood of born radicals filled the hall to more than over- flowing. After Mr. Wakeman had concluded, the Rev. G.W. Sampson, president of Rutgers Col- lege, spoke of his friendship for the dead man." Friends had long been aware of the close sympathy between Dr. Sampson and Mr. Andrews, and were not surprised when the clergyman appeared; but the scandalized Dr. Buckley of the Christian Ad- vocate sternly inquired: "Can this be true?" 406 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1886 When Stephen Pearl Andrews passed away, he had just rounded out seventy-four years of an ac- tive and intense life. No field of thought was alien to him. Dictionaries of biography still carry, in connection with his name, the legend "eccentric philosopher." Eccentric he was, if by that appella- tion is meant refusal to let others do his thinking for him, or to order his actions. Perhaps the ad- jective "eccentric" will do as well as any for a man who liked to go where trouble was and help straighten it out. Thus we find him an active Abo- litionist, and this in the southland where he stood an excellent chance of being suddenly and com- pletely abolished himself, and he not yet thirty. He went to England in 1843 to enlist the aid of the British Antislavery Society that he might raise suf- ficient funds to pay for the slaves of Texas and thus make that "republic" a free state. While in England he learned phonography, becoming the founder in America of shorthand reporting sub- stantially as we have it today. Mr. Andrews was a man of vast learning, a forceful speaker, and had a remarkable command of the philosophy of lan- guage, through which he achieved intimate knowl- edge of thirty-two tongues, speaking several flu- ently, Sanskrit, Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Chinese among them. He came later to study the thinkers of all schools and was convinced that he had found the principles underlying them. Stephen Pearl Andrews did more than other teacher to broaden my education. The writings of D.M. Bennett made me an unbeliever in the Bible. Ingersoll gave me Freethought touched with [1886 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 407 emotion and adorned with beauty. From reading and hearing B.F. Underwood I became a Ma- terialist. Dr. W.A. Croffut saved me from em- bracing certain economic fallacies; Herbert Spen- cer led me into individualism; and Mr. Andrews liberalized my mind so that I could look on all sorts of conflicting views without any great amount of astonishment or exasperation. He had charity for all manifestations of belief, whether material or spiritual, yet for anyone who designed by force of law to impose religious belief or social conduct on another he had a club, intellectually speaking. I am thinking of him on the platform of the Liberal Club. He was a tall man with a large frame and a head to match. His command of language was extraordinary, and when he employed it in denun- ciation he made the best choice of words. One thought that thunder was rattling and crackling overhead. He was very strong on social freedom, so emphatic in fact that it was years before I could listen to him without wishing he wouldn't say it. The spying of neighbors on men and women's rela- tions moved him to profanity. "That," he once said publicly, "is none of their damned business." I shuddered to hear him. That was long ago. In 1928 Arthur Davison Ficke, in an article "featured" by The Outlook, which once was the Rev. Dr. Ly- man Abbott's paper and had President Theodore Roosevelt for a contributing editor, writes of that "absolutely individual problem, marriage," and says: "To discuss marriage in public is an essen- tially foolish undertaking. But the necessity of do- ing so has been forced upon the individual, every- 408 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1886 where in the world, by the prying and bullying power of the neighbors. The thing which we call 'society' is only the neighbors. The sooner we slap the neighbors' noses, the better for them and for us." That is substantially what Mr. Andrews held. As for his philosophy of Universology, I thought his language unnecessarily obscure, and said so. When he replied that only babies needed to have their food mummed for them by some old granny, I dropped that objection; still when one meets with such a phrase as "convoluto, evolutive, spiroserial progression direct and inverse," he finds the thought requires clarifying. But Universology had more contacts with the common mind than Einstein's theory of relativity, which the inventor said would not be understood by more than twelve living per- sons. Some previous study is necessary to the ex- planation of many problems. For illustration, a professor of mathematics remarks that he would not attempt to describe the cosine to a person who has no geometry. However, I once wrote for The Truth Seeker a digest of a lecture on Universol- ogy. Mr. Andrews made a trip to the office to tell me it was correct and to enlist me if he might as his interpreter, but I made excuses. I felt incom- petent for the undertaking. Today I might be un- able to interpret the piece that I wrote myself. After a lapse of time a student asked the philoso- pher Hegel to unfold the meaning of something he had said. He replied that when he wrote it there were but two who knew what it meant -- him- self and God; "and I have forgotten," said Hegel. 1886] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 409 4 -- RANDOM OBSERVATIONS. No fission so nearly complete had occurred forty years ago between the Freethought and economic advocacies as has since taken place. Radicalism has gone in the opposite direction, into regions where Freethought cuts no figure, and where some sort of religion prevails. We have only to com- pare the defense of the Chicago anarchists with that made in the Sacco-Vanzetti affair of 1927. The accused in Chicago never were suspected of being hold-up men. Fielden, a former Methodist exhorter, owned a team and carted stone. Par- sons was a printer; Spies, an editor; Schwab an assistant editor, and so on. They could not be connected physically with the bomb-throwing. No one "identified" them as witnesses professed to identify Sacco and Vanzetti. The Intellectuals in those days gathered no great defense fund. The Socialists and the labor interests raised money enough to retain General Butler. I suppose The Truth Seeker, for the reason that there was no evidence whatever to connect the accused with the crime, devoted as much space, editorial and other, to the defense, as any paper then published. The prosecution was regarded as solely an assault on free speech. The "highbrow" magazines were silent or hostile, according to my recollection; but this class of magazines in 1927 and later opened their columns to the Sacco-Vanzetti partisans. I think the Chicago anarchists had the better case. I never doubted their innocence of the actual crime, which the court itself admitted. 410 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1886 To be friendly I carried a Socialist card and bought stamps to stick on it to show my dues were paid; and attended the Socialist and labor meet- ings and festivities. Seeing his name in The Truth Seeker in 1886 reminds me that at a big meeting in Cooper Union I heard a distinguished foreigner named Shevitch, who had with him on the stage the woman over whom Ferdinand Lassalle fought his fatal duel. She was a beautiful woman, a stately German blonde. I acquired a prejudice against Shevitch. The Leader, a Socialist daily started during the political canvass of that year, held a protracted fair in the Lange & Little Build- ing, 20 Astor Place, to buy itself a press. She- vitch, a big, handsome, imposing, and even pomp- ous person, attended, and the Socialist girls went weak in the knees when he came near them or deigned to notice them. He picked as a favorite one very pretty German girl, and buying wine in- duced her to drink glass for glass with him till she got fuddled, and then he took her away. I heard no criticism of him for this, but formed my own opinion. He did not bring with him to the fair the Lassalle relict, who, I heard, was a titled or aristocratic woman. The Pressmen's Union voted not to attend the Leader Fair for the rea- son that the press the paper intended to buy was a self-feeder and would throw a hand out of work. The year 1886 was an uneasy one for persons who are troubled by the Friday superstition. It came in on a Friday, went out on a Friday, and the day occurred fifty-three times. Four months 1886] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 411 had five Fridays each; the moon changed five times on a Friday, and Friday was the longest and the shortest day. The New York State Freethinkers held their annual convention, September 2-12, at White Sul- phur Springs. E.M. Macdonald as treasurer re- ported that the association had profited from a lecture by Colonel Ingersoll to the extent of $736.50. The president of the association was Thaddeus B. Wakeman; the secretary, Mrs. F.C. Reynolds. There were items in the paper now and then concerning the defalcation and death of Archbishop Purcell of Cincinnati. This ecclesiastic had swin- dled the people of his diocese out of about $4,000,- 000, and his assignee, named Mannix, turned out to be no better. It happened that George Hoadley, the Freethinking ex-Governor of Ohio, had gone upon the bond of Mannix, and was mulcted for $62,000. The church itself, though also on the bond of Purcell, never settled with its dupes. The Secularists of Canada, holding their annual convention in Science Hall, Toronto, September 10-12, reelected William Algie president and J.A. Risser secretary. Mr. R.B. Butland, a former secretary and long-time correspondent of The Truth Seeker, died during the year, bequeathing the sum of $7,000 to the Toronto General Hospital. John Peck, the Learned Blacksmith of Naples, N.Y., became a prolific and very popular con- tributor to The Truth Seeker, and continued so for twenty-five years. John H. Noyes, founder of the Oneida Com- munity, died April 13, at 74. William Rowe, the 412 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1886 old Land Reformer, died June 24, aged 68. Burn- ham Wardwell, Prison Reformer, died October 3, after having been supported by the charity of Free-thinkers for some years. The Boston Index ex- pired December 30. A leaf in a scrapbook, the making of which con- tributed for a time to the diversion of my better element (Mrs. M.), preserves a piece of my rhym- ing dated 1886. THE OLD, MAN'S CHOICE. "There are three things of beauty I have seen -- Three things beside which other beauties pale. @@@@ One is a ship at sea beneath full sail, When all her canvas draws, whose tall masts lean, While in her cordage sings the rising gale. "The second is a field of waving Wheat, Grown tall and bright, and golden in the sun. A fair young woman is the other one, Which ends the trio of my graces sweet That with the full-rigged vessel was began." With, four-score winters battered, bent and gray, So spoke this man passed far beyond life's prime, Yet answered, with a wealth of nerve sublime, Unto my query: "Which is fairest, pray? "My son, give me the woman every time." G.E.M. The theme of the verse was furnished by an old fellow named Maxwell, met on a vacation in the 1886] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 413 Aroostook, who asked if I knew what were the three handsomest things in the world. As I had not at that time segregated all the lovely objects to be seen, I replied that I could not name them offhand. "Well," he said, "I can. They are a ripe field of wheat, a full-rigged ship in a breeze, and a woman who is a wife; and the last one is the prettiest." sold the poem to Puck for about half my vacation carfare. The Freethinkers of Petaluma, Cal., established a Free Secular Library in the store of Philip Cowen, who acted as librarian. The largest contributor was William Pepper, the friend and patron of Lu- ther Burbank, and probably the man who made an "Infidel" of the plant wizard. Mr. Pepper was a nurseryman and left large bequests to charity. The 1886 Congress of the American Secular Union was held November 11-14, in Chickering Hall, New York. Among those attending were Robert G. Ingersoll, John E. Remsburg, Horace Seaver, William Algie (Canada), Samuel P. Put- nam, Charles Watts, T.B. Wakeman, James Parton, Par- ker Pillsbury, Robert C. Adams, Helen Gar- dener, L.K. Washburn, J.P. Mendum, and Court- landt Palmer. There are no survivors of this group, and among the delegates I find the name of but one now known to be living, Miss Kate Booth of the Boonton, N.J., Secular Union. Kate is now Mrs. George Gillen of Nutley, N.J. It was at this congress that Ingersoll gave his lecture en- titled "A Lay Sermon" to an applauding house. Ingersoll had been president of the Union for two terms, and declined a third in favor of Court- 414 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1886 landt Palmer. Mr. Putnam continued as secretary. I conclude from an entry by the directors that Colonel Ingersoll paid the local expenses of the Congress. In July the earnest Christians of Boonton, New Jersey, contributed to the history of religious per- secution by wrecking the tent in which C.B. Rey- nolds held his meetings, and then causing his ar- rest on a charge of Blasphemy. Reynolds was held under a bond of $400 to await the action of the Morris county Grand Jury. Mr. Edwin Wannan offered bail. Ingersoll agreed to undertake the de- fense. On the 19th of the following October an indictment for blasphemy was placed by the Grand Jury in the hands of the district attorney. Mr. Reynolds renewed his bail and awaited the action of the court. In March the Committee of Ways and Means of the New York Assembly gave a hearing on a bill to abolish the exemption of church property. Samuel B. Duryea appeared, representing the Con- stitution Club. T.B. Wakeman represented the American Secular Union, and Gilbert R. Hawes the Liberal Christians. The editor of The Truth Seeker, who was present, received the impression that "the real sentiment of the Assembly is in favor of this bill, but legislators have such a fear of the religions element that we cannot expect it to pass." It did not pass. CHAPTER XX. 1 -- GOOD WORKERS AND WORKS OF 1887. A DOZEN or more Freethought lecturers were in the field and were heard during the sea- son of '87 in nearly every northern and western state. In April The Truth Seeker gives these laborers in the vineyard the following men- tion: Judging from the number of papers containing favorable reports of their lectures, the Freethought missionaries in the field are not only winning fame for themselves, but are having a good effect upon the population they visit. Mr. Charles B. Reynolds is called "able and eloquent," and his manner of presenting his themes "dramatic and pic- turesque." Mr. Samuel P. Putnam is described as "of pleas- ing address and a finished orator." His style, we are told, "is cultured and refined," and his action "graceful and expressive." Mr. John E. Remsburg sustains his reputa- tion for presenting "masses of facts in a scholarly and eloquent way," and Mr. W.F. Jamieson is set down as "eloquent and solid." Mr. W.S. Bell pleases the timid ones of the fold, because his "scholarly periods do not offend." Dr. J.L, York is very generally called the "Ingersoll of the West," and Mr. Charles Watts is re- ported from Canada as "holding his audience in rapt at- tention." He has challenged all the ministers of Toronto or of any other city throughout the Dominion, to debate with him, but so far without finding a victim. Capt. Rob- ert C. Adams of Montreal is doing yeoman service in lecturing to the intelligent of his city and in writing letters to the Montreal journals. One of his recent letters upon the Sabbath question -- which is up for dis- cussion there -- is the best, for a short review, that we 415 416 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 have seen. Mr. J.D. Shaw, of the Independent pulpit, has taken the field in Texas, and the papers say he gives excellent satisfaction, being a "logical, forcible, and pleas- ant speaker." His oratory is "chaste and refined, and he wins many warm admirers. It is pleasant also to learn that he obtains many subscribers to his Independent Pulpit wherever he lectures. Of the other speakers we hear less; but Dr. Juliet Severance was a power in the recent Labor Convention at Cincinnati; E.C. Walker is fighting the best he can from behind the iniquitous bars of a Kansas county jail; J.H. Burnham occasionally emerges from his retirement at Saginaw City, Mich., and electrifies an au- dience; Col. John R. Kelso keeps the church stirred up around Longmont, Col.; Mrs. M.A. Freeman of Chicago speaks for all who wish, and her auditors, we are told, are more than pleased. Helen Gardener is at present living here in New York, but when she does go out the reporters hasten to throw themselves at her feet. Mrs Lucy N. Colman is warned by age not to tax her strength upon the rostrum, but her reminiscences are enjoyed by a larger audience than any grand opera house would hold. She has had her share of aged eggs and crowns of glory for her magnificent work for liberty, and now lives quietly in Syracuse. L.K. Washburn is going West, and when he gets where Liberal lectures are appreciated, we shall ex- pect to see in the papers of all the towns he visits, ap- preciative reports of his ornate, epigrammatic, and beauti- fully-rounded sentences, delivered in a musically ringing voice. For Mr. Washburn is second to but one as an orator, and piles up his facts in rivalry of Remsburg. We wish we had space to reproduce all the good things the press say of our missionaries, but they must accept the will for the performance, for there is a limit to the columns of even so large a journal as The Truth Seeker. The Society of Humanity had acquired the three- story and basement building at 28 Lafayette street, through a donation or bequest of $10,000 by a Mr. Habel, and on the parlor floor meetings and so- 1887] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 417 ciables that might almost be called receptions were held. Birthdays of Paine and Jefferson were cele- brated, their services and principles expounded, and then there were musical and literary offerings, fol- lowed by dancing. They were quite brilliant func- tions. I discover that I reported these affairs for The Truth Seeker, with lists of those present. Cas- ually it is observed that "Henry George, Jr., and his pretty sister made many friends." Among the elders but one survivor can be named, Mr. Ed. Wood, who still makes his yearly visit to the office of The Truth Seeker, which he has bound and mailed for nearly half a century. It is the only paper among those he was handling when he took it, that is still alive. It is his mascot. When the Society suspended its formal meetings for the sea- son, the younger set rallied and kept the dances going. Mothers seemed pleased to bring their bud- ding daughters, whom for form's sake they watched from the side lines, besides having, I hope, a good time themselves. The rooms were free. There was no necessity for advertising to fill them com- pletely, and no undesirable intrusions resulted. They were joyful occasions. Henry Ward Beecher grew more rationalistic in his utterances. One of his sermons must have been annoying to Catholics, who address the mother of Jesus a hundred or a thousand times to once for his Father in heaven. Beecher said: "The mother and brothers of Christ did not be- lieve him to be what he declared himself to be, and surely his mother should have known. Be- tween this Mary," Beecher went on, "celebrated in 418 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 the Magnificat for two thousand years, and the real Mary, there is a wide difference. That she had the slightest spiritual perception or insight there is no proof, and she and her other sons thought Jesus was 'cracked.' When he was good and great they said that he was crazy, and begged him not to tramp around and exhibit himself to the common multitude. They wanted him to stay at home and be a good citizen." One could see that Mr. Beecher had set aside as negligible the story of the angel's appearance to Mary with the news that she was the mother of God. A daily newspaper observed that he handled the holiest mystery of Christianity "with the carelessness of contempt." If Beecher's treatment of the incarna- tion was not blasphemy on the virgin, it was vergin' on the blasphemous, said a humorist. "Beecher should not be condemned for speaking the truth," said The Truth Seeker. But while the public was puzzling itself to reconcile Beecher's preaching with orthodox theology, he took sick and died March 7, 1887, in the 74th year of his age. The Congrega- tional ministers of Chicago charitably refused to send a message of condolence to his widow. In the Beecher memorial volume abortly compiled thereafter, the only tribute that has lived is Inger- soll's. 2 -- THE ANARCHISTS, HENRY GEORGE, THE CHURCH. The discussion over the question whether or not the Chicago Anarchists ought to be hanged con- tinued through 1887. Henry George, who was con- 1887] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 419 ducting The Standard, denounced all the proceed- ings that had been taken against the accused men, and declared their defenders to be the party of law and order. The police had acted without provoca- tion, the jury was chosen in a manner shamelessly illegal, and it would be charitable to suspect the judge of incompetency. The Truth Seeker main- tained vigorously that the men had been convicted for their opinions and not for the commission of crime. On the result of the appeal the editor said: "The police by perjury connected the defendants with some wretch who threw a bomb, the lower court by partiality secured their conviction, and the higher court by sophistry sustains the verdict." And later. "The Chicago tragedy is over. Oscar Neebe is serving his fifteen years' sentence in Joliet penitentiary; Samuel Fielden and Michael Schwab have been sentenced by the governor (Oglesby) to life imprisonment instead of death; Louis Lingg is dead by his own hand; August Spies, Albert R. Parsons, Adolph Fischer, and George Engel were hanged on Friday (Nov. 11, 1887), as commanded by law." The Haymarket bombing had occurred May 4, 1886. I wrote some verses on the hanging, one couplet of which fixes in the memory the names of the men who were hanged, and corrects the common mispronunciation of one by rhyming it: "Four corpses swing in the morning breeze: Engel and Parsons, Fischer and Spies." Throughout the year the heretic priest, Rev. Ed- ward McGlynn, pastor of St. Stephen's Catholic church and land reformer of the Henry George 420 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 school, was the center of a religious, economic, and political disturbance. McGlynn was a better secu- larist than George. The editor of The Truth Seeker laid the Nine Demands before George and he dodged them, but Father McGlynn had come out for similar principles in 1870, and in 1887 added: "I am glad to know that what was said so long ago is in substance and spirit and largely in phras- eology the same as the Nine Demands of the Amer- ican Secular Union. I can cordially and unreserv- edly subscribe to those demands, and I should be glad to see them granted by appropriate changes in our constitutions, state and federal." His de- fiance of his ecclesiastical superior, Archbishop Cor- rigan, was expressed in a current conundrum: "Why is the Rev. Dr. McGlynn like a stray goose?" The answer was that he didn't follow the propa- ganda. In association with Henry George he or- ganized the Anti-Poverty Society, which elected him president, Mr. George being the leading mem- ber. John Swinton alluded to the combination hu- morously as "the bald-headed prophet and the pot- bellied priest." At the first meeting, which filled Chickering Hall, Henry George said: "This so- ciety does not propose to ask what beliefs its mem- bers hold. If Archbishop Corrigan wishes to join, good and welcome; if Colonel Ingersoll wishes to join, good and welcome." The archbishop's name was received with hisses and Colonel Ingersoll's with "prolonged and tremendous cheers." Hugh O. Pentecost, then a reverend, addressed the society a few weeks later. Pentecost, besides preaching anti-poverty doctrine, made a plea for the Chicago 1887] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 421 Anarchists. When he added that he was "no longer in sympathy with the church as an organiza- tion or with evangelical Christianity," his congre- gation in Newark permitted him to resign. Dr. Mc- Glynn was ordered to Rome, but publicly refused to go. The Christian Advocate said: "A few years ago Dr. McGlynn would have been under- going torture at the hands of the Inquisition, and if he refused to recant, the fagots for an auto-da-fe' would soon be collected. As Rome is infallible, and never changes, the only reason it does not do this now is because it cannot." Dr. McGlynn re- marked: "In the good old days of Galileo they could take a layman to Rome in chains for what they think I am guilty of." Continuing obdurate, he was formally excommunicated. The followers of Henry George charged that the Catholic church, through its tool, Terence V. Powderly, had enlisted the Knights of Labor to destroy the George land movement. This proved to be the fact. There was a conflict between the George party and the Socialists as to which should send delegates to the convention of the United La- bor party at Syracuse, for the nomination of a state ticket. George also contended with the So- cialists for control of The Leader newspaper. The Socialists prevailed in both instances. Mr. George started The Argus as a campaign paper. Both The Argus and The Leader suspended before the end of the year, and so did John Swinton's paper, which in the squabble between the church and George took the side of the church and the Knights of Labor. George atoned for his disrespect for 422 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 the Catholic machine by emphasizing his own part- nership with God. His proposed reforms, he said, were "God's will," he was carrying out "God's in- tentions" according to what "God designed." He phrased his theory thus: "I have never stated that the land belongs to all men. Rather I believe it belongs to God and that all men are his children to tenant this world for a little while. This is a new crusade," said George. "As in the old crusades the cry was 'God wills it!' so in this crusade the cry is, 'God wills it!"' The will of God counted little, as George's party got few votes. The Truth Seeker noted there were two Infidels on his municipal ticket, that of the Union Labor Party -- Louis F. Post, candidate for district attorney, and Fred Leu- buscher, nominated for the General Sessions judge- ship. Thaddeus B. Wakeman, who the year be- fore had been a George man, was now with the Socialists. The Truth Seeker gave space to the issues of the campaign because of the amount of religious controversy the participation of Dr. Mc- Glynn brought into it. 3 -- BLASPHEMY AND OTHER PERSECUTIONS. The case of C.B. Reynolds, arrested the previous year for blasphemy, came before the court of Mor- ristown, N.J., on May 19, with Ingersoll for the de- fense. It lasted two days. Judge Francis Childs, presiding, cautioned the jury not to violate the law by acquitting the defendant. The obedient jury, after an hour's deliberation, brought in a verdict of guilty. The judge imposed a fine of $25, with costs, which, duly juggled, made the whole penalty $75. 1887] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 423 Ingersoll drew his check for the amount, and the prisoner was free. His address to the jury is con- tained in the Dresden edition of his works. The Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost, who was becoming extremely radical, wrote to the New York World: "I think some one ought to express the disgust and shame which many Christians must feel at the pro- ceedings. How silly and stupid it is to fine a man for expressing his honest opinions, in whatever bad taste, so long as he infringes on no one else's equal rights in doing so. Will men never learn anything from history? It seems incredible that a statute against blasphemy can be operative in this or any state. This silly and wicked statute has succeeded in giving a thousand times the circulation to Mr. Reynolds's pamphlet that it otherwise would have had. I am a Christian minister, but in my opinion if God and the Christian religion cannot take care of themselves without a resort to courts of human law, both are in a bad way. Truth can take care of itself. If we have the truth we need not fear blas- phemers. If Reynolds has the truth, judges and jurors will not suppress it. That cause is a very weak one which will not bear discussion. I venture the opinion that there are many Christians in New Jersey who are ashamed of the Reynolds trial and conviction, as I certainly am." Pentecost was right. When Ingersoll had fin- ished his address to the jury, professing Christians to a considerable number, and some of the clergy of Morristown, presented themselves before him to register the protest that they had had no hand in the prosecution and did not believe in it. 424 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 Mr. Edwin C. Walker of Kansas, who in 1886 had lectured industriously to Liberal audiences wherever he could col- lect them, spent New Year's in jail at Oska- loosa. He had effected a @@@@ marriage union with Lil- lian Harman in a way that apparently violated no law, and yet involved no recognition of the right of the state to in- tervene in such relations. Miss Harman, sharing his imprisonment, de- clined to purchase her liberty by paying her half of the costs. The prisoners were placed under regulations more severe than those usually enforced in civilized lands, being denied the privilege of either writing or receiving letters. This "Lucifer match," as it was called because of the connection of the parties with the radical paper, Lucifer, published by Lillian's father, Moses Har- man, at Valley Falls, lit the fires of revolt among social radicals, and was the subject, of course, of discussion in The Truth Seeker, where the griev- ances of all were heard. The editor advised the prisoners to submit to the money extortion, as the least of two evils, and pay their fines. In Febru- ary their bands were forced by the arrest of Moses and his son George Hannan, on a charge of using the mails for the circulation of obscene literature. 1887] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 425 The matter complained of was an article headed, "An Awful letter." The editor of The Truth Seeker described it as "a coarsely written and ex- clamatory denunciation of the abuse of marital rights." Following this arrest Edwin and Lillian paid their fines under protest and came out of pris- on to help fight the battle of the two arrested Har- mans. Mr. Walker wrote to The Truth Seeker: "The accursed church-state monster has separated us, has murdered our happiness, but it has not made us love and respect it, and it cannot. We are pledged by our sufferings and our devotion to liberty and justice to do all that we can through all the years of our isolated lives to destroy it." Mr. Walker was immediately rearrested on the same charge as that for which the Harmans had been held, and in November he was indicted with them to appear for trial in April, 1888. In May Mrs. Elmina D. Slenker, of Snowville, Va., who had been contributing to The Truth Seeker for ten years or more, was arrested by an agent of the Comstock society, accused of con- taminating the United States mails. Mrs. Slenker was an Alphite, or one who admitted the legitimacy of marriage for no other purpose than to perpetu- ate the species. She circulated literature bearing on this question and probably treated of the propa- gative act with considerable freedom. The agent of the Vice Society got her into the trap by pre- tending to be interested in her work. The Truth Seeker came out with the searching inquiry: "What shall be said of the dirty agents employed for years in ensnaring an aged woman -- inducing her, by 426 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 pretending to be students of her special hobby, to write such words as should place her in their power? What shall be said of the society that employs these foul creatures? What of the Christians who support this society and urge the prosecution of the miserable work" Their actions sink them beneath the notice of clean and honorable people, and they are best left to fester in their own corruption. No words can express the contempt in which every de- cent man must hold them." The National Defense Association, E.B. Foote, Jr., secretary, E.W. Chamberlain, treasurer, con- ducted the defense of Mrs. Slenker and Truth Seeker readers paid the expenses. Her most ardent advocates were women. She was indicted on July 12 and held for trial in the United States Dis- trict Court for the Western District of Virginia at Abingdon. She was arraigned October 21 be- fore Judge Paul and a jury, which found her guilty. When the judge postponed sentence, Chamberlain argued a motion in arrest of judgment on the ground of defective indictment and the court granted it and discharged Mrs. Slenker from cus- tody. Henry M. Parkhurst, one of the old-time stenographers, a Freethinker like nearly all pio- neers of that art, reported the trial for The Truth Seeker. 4 -- PERSONAL AND REMINISCENT. The matter written by myself and published by The Truth Seeker in 1887 would make a small book if collected for that purpose; but it was mainly topi- 1887] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 427 cal and of no permanent value. There were verses and stories, reports and special articles. Because in those years my brother and I could do each the other's work, vacations of some length for both were feasible. When I returned from mine I offered him congratulations on having conducted the paper as ably during my absence as I had when he was away. I quote here a paragraph in one of my letters to Eugene written from our old home on Surry Hill, for the effect it had on two old men -- Peter Eckler of the Eckler Publishing Company, and Dr. J.R. Monroe, editor of The Ironclad Age. The para- graph reads: "I sat under the old apple-tree in the dooryard, where we used to roll about when we were boys. The tree is dead and furnishes hardly any shade; so I sat in the sun and watched the summer clouds go over, like ships sailing in the sky. The old times came back, and old familiar faces clustered around, and I saw them but with closed eyes. The hum of bees and the drone of vagrant flies sounded now and then, and with their music came memories, floating, drifting, appearing and disappearing like things seen through a glass reversed -- distant but distinct. Thus I saw my friends not only as they are now, but as I knew them then; not only those who still walk the earth, but those who have sunk back to that dreamless sleep from which they first awakened on this life. So under the apple-tree I dozed and dreamed." Monroe said in his paper: "We confess to the weakness of having critically read his communica- 428 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 tions over the second time, merely for the pleasure his style of writing imparts." That called out Peter Eckler, who wrote Dr. Monroe a letter indorsing his commendation. It appeared that Mr. Eckler both read the vacation letters and preserved them, so that he could quote not only the paragraph I have reproduced, but another from my vacation letter of the previous year. Having reached the age these men had attained forty years ago, I probably understand better now than I did then why the description of a visit home appealed to them. In one of the old numbers of The Truth Seeker I find this quoted by a contributor in order to ex- pose its false reasoning: A certain Infidel, calling upon his friend, an astronomer, noticed several globes lying upon a ta- ble, and admiring their appearance, he inquired as to where they had been obtained and who was the maker of them. "What would you say were I to tell you that no one made them, and that they came here of their own accord?" questioned the astronomer in reply. "Such a thing would be impossible," answered the Infidel. It reads like a story prepared for Sunday-school consumption a century ago. Ingersoll had been dead but a short time when the Rev, Dr. Charles Parkhurst adopted the narrative to hortatory uses by repeating it with Henry Ward Beecher in the Place of the astronomer and with the name of In- gersoll given to the "certain Infidel," the conversa- 1887] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 429 tion taking place in Beecher's study where Inger- soll was represented as calling upon the Brooklyn preacher. 5 -- FOR THE RECORD. Another death which took away a man in whom the liberal world felt an interest was that of Prof. Edward Livingston Youmans, editor of The Popu- lar Science Monthly (Jan. 18), which he had started in 1872. Professor Youmans is remem- bered by those who observed his work for the fact that he created for Spencer, Darwin, Huxley and Tyndall an audience in America almost before they had achieved one in England. He was 67 years old. Activity on the part of J.D. Shaw, lecturer, edi- tor, and organizer, was frequently reported from Waco, Texas, where his Religious and Benevolent Association met in Liberal Hall. In his monthly Independent Pulpit for January he spoke of the goodly number of youth in attendance at his meet- ings. "Now," he says, "we have many young peo- ple, and a more orderly, well-behaved, and attentive company it would be hard to find." "Our Canadian friends," announces our edi- tor under date of January 15, "have another Freet- hought journal, and we trust it may be longer lived than its predecessors. Mr. Charles Watts and Mr. H.C. Luse have begun at Toronto the publication of Secular Thought, and the first number is out." Secular Thought under Mr. Watts (who returned to England in 1892) and his successor J. Spencer Ellis, continued to be published well into the twentieth century. 430 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 Lucy N. Colman, who was born in 1817, and was in the anti-slavery reform with Garrison, Phil- lips, Frederick Douglass and others, published her Reminiscences in many numbers of The Truth Seeker during 1887. In March The Truth Seeker moved its office from 33 Clinton Place to 28 Lafayette Place, which was to be its home for nearly twenty years. The editor wrote: "Our new quarters are commodious, consist- ing of a large store and basement, and a new building in the rear for a printing-office and edi- torial rooms. The neighborhood is very religious and literary, but we hope to survive the former fault and add to the latter good quality." St. Joseph's Union and the Mission of the Im- maculate Conception were a block below. The Episcopal clergy house was across the street. There was an old church nearby. The Christian Union, The Church Press, and The Churchman were neighbors, as was also the Astor Library. Lafay- ette Place, now no more, ran between Broadway and the Bowery, from Great Jones street to Astor place. The great event connected with the removal was the Printers' Ball in the new building attended by the elite of Typographical Union No. 6 and enough ladies and gentlemen from the Society of Humanity to make up twenty couples. Ed. King, the philosopher of the workingman, made the dedi- catory address. The curious reader will find the report of this soiree in The Truth Seeker for March 19, 1887. Felix Oswald's, "Bible of Nature" ran in The 1887] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 431 Truth Seeker as a serial, beginning July 16. Dr. Oswald (1845-1906) termed it "a contribution to the religion of the future." It was purely ration- alistic and therefore hopeless as a religion. The paper now published in Liberal, Mo., was called The Ensign. It reported "the first annual commencement of the first Freethought University in the world" as occurring every evening from June 28 to July 2. Evidently The Ensign was short- lived, for the next reference to the town (Sept. 24) states that C.M. Overton and M.D. Leahy have resuscitated the Liberal, Mo., paper under the title of "American Idea." "Mr. Overton's greatest ef- fort," we read, "thus far has been to endeavor to prove that Liberal is a Christian town, and its peo- ple Christians." There was great mortality among the Spiritualist papers, marked by the demise of Light in the West, Spiritual Offering, Light for Thinkers, Current Fact, and Mind and Matter. A new one was started at Cincinnati called The Better Way. In Mel- bourne, Australia, the Anarchists published a 12- page monthly which they named Honesty, and the Freethought lecturer, Thomas Walker, started a monthly illustrated magazine, The Republican. For some years L.V. Pinney conducted The Press at Winsted, Conn., as what Mrs. Slenker called "the most radical of radical papers." One of the curious events of the year was the confiscation of all Mormon church property by the U.S. government. This was in some way the out- come of the attempt to prevent Mormon men from cohabiting with more than one woman. 432 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 On the death of John Swinton's Paper, August 7, which The Truth Seeker attributed to the George furor and false issues raised by Labor leaders, our editor said: "It was better edited, contained more labor news, and had more editorial vigor than any labor paper now in the field." Mr. Swinton said: "I have been wrecked by this paper and by the labors associated therewith -- in which during the past four years I have sunk tens of thousands of dollars -- all out of my own pocket" Mr. Swinton was one of the great editors, of the Horace Greeley and Charles A. Dana class, but had the misfortune to be an idealist. Dr. Titus L. Brown, the Binghamton, N.Y., Materialist who had served six terms as president of the New York State Freethinkers' Association, wrote his funeral sermon and died August 17. His family, with a treachery common to religious sur- vivors of deceased Freethinkers, gave him "Chris- tian" burial. The International Freethought Congress was called by Charles Bradlaugh to be held in the Hall of Science, 142 Old street, E.C., on September 10-12. One hundred delegates attended accord- ing to a report copied from the London Freethinker into The Truth Seeker of October 1. The annual Congress of the American Secular Union, held in the rooms of the Chicago society, October 15 and 16, elected Samuel P. Putnam pres- ident (Courtlandt Palmer resigning) and E.A. Stevens secretary in the place of Putnam. The Canadian Freethinkers held a convention in Toronto, October 29 and 30. 1887] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 433 "Mr. and Mrs. B.F. Underwood have resigned the editorial control of The Open Court (Chicago). The reason is that Mr. Hegeler, the proprietor, de- sired to associate with them Dr. Paul Carus, his secretary and future husband of his daughter, to which they objected. This will, probably, end The Open Court." -- Truth Seeker (Dec. 17). Mr. Hegeler fixed The Open Court so it could not fail by endowing it with a million dollars. His son-in-law, Dr. Carus, remained the editor until his death in 1919, and it is still published. After thirteen years Mrs. Besant resigned her place as coeditor of Bradlaugh's paper, The Na- tional Reformer, to take up the advocacy of Social- ism. The last important news item for 1887 is the resignation of Andrew Carnegie and Judge George C. Barrett of the New York Supreme Court from the membership of the Nineteenth Century Club, "the upper-tendom of heresy," of which Courtlandt Palmer was president. Mr. Palmer in a letter to the New York Tribune had stated his opinion that the Chicago Anarchists did not deserve death. Mr. Carnegie brought this question up at the club and was personally unpleasant. Mr. Palmer declined to admit that his private views were any concern of Mr. Carnegie, who thereupon resigned. The dis- cussion reached the newspapers and the publicity caused the resignation also of Judge Barrett, who on account of his judicial office was in no position to face the music. Mr. Palmer said that two qualifica- tions for membership in the club, according to its motto, were "courtesy and courage." He would say 434 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 he thought Mr. Carnegie was wanting in the one and Judge Barrett in the other. The ruction proved an excellent recommendation for the club, which moved to larger quarters and flourished up to the time of its founder's death the following year. Mr. Carnegie, as a large employer of labor and as a target for the Anarchists, was excusable prej- udiced against men believed to have advocated the removal of capitalists by means of bombs. Judge Barrett was merely placed in an embarrassing posi- tion and took the easiest way out. I recall the amusement evoked among his acquaintances by the notion that he could not sanction radical thought or expression. If those from whom he thus separated himself had retaliated by telling what they knew about his social views as exemplified in his private life, he might have been severely damaged. But telling tales was opposed to their principles. I can almost, not quite, visualize the excellent lady and speak her name; but I wouldn't if I could. * * * And now, after a few preliminary remarks at the beginning of Chapter XXI (next number) I close twelve years with The Truth Seeker and am off to the Pacific Coast for six years of experience on the other side of the continent. CHAPTER XXI. 1 -- TAKING LEAVE OF NEW YORK. WHEN two men, both known to readers by name, are at work upon a paper, one being the editor and the other an assistant who writes articles for the editorial column but puts his brightest ideas somewhere else and signs them, then all the good stuff that appears stands a chance of being credited to the assistant. Such is my experience. Ever since I came to be the Hyas Tyee of The Truth Seeker, with an assistant off and on, pieces of my writing that attracted attention by their merits have been passed to the credit of my con- federate for the time being. But if somebody did wrong, that was the editor. For instance, an article by one in 1913 got me summoned by a priest; an- other in 1918 caused the postoffice to refuse the paper distribution in the mails, and a paragraph done by a third in 1925 is the basis of a libel suit by a preacher now pending. Two of the assistants were lawyers who ought to have known how far they could safely go, and the other was a minister who had hitherto preached the gospel for thirty-five years. Thus was it, in a measure (though I never wrote anything actionable), when I served as as- sistant to my brother. He stood sponsor for what- ever appeared editorially, for, like his model, Mr. Dana of The Sun, he held that a paper had only one editor. We were so much alike in style that at this 435 436 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 day I cannot tell our articles apart. His were likely better to maintain sobriety throughout, but ofttimes he wrote with enjoyable humor. So in The Truth Seeker of December 24, 1887, Dr. E.B. Foote, Sr., having seen certain lightly conceived notices on the editorial page, wrote Eugene to inquire whether I had taken a seat at the editor's desk or he had borrowed my pen. The editor replied: "We regret to be obliged to state that when the notices were written our brother was on his way to the limitless West, where he proposes, in com- pany uith Samuel P. Putnam, to start a Freethought paper and grow up uith the country, or walk back to New York." He to whom Charles Watts so often alluded when to the editor he wrote: "Give my regards to your funny brother," was now off The Truth Seeker, and had not been missed. Such is our little life. On the 16th of December I parted from the boys in the office by the usual sign of shaking hands. That evening a few intimates attended a dinner at Mouquin's in Fulton street and at its end, with expressions of good-by and good luck, Putnam and I crossed the Hudson to the West Shore and were off for the coast, which we believed offered a field for another paper. Our train, crossing Niagara River, gave me my first sight of the Falls. Unfortunately I viewed this marvel of nature just after I had been charged the extraordinary sum of sixty cents for a plate of corned beef and beans, and my capacity for admira- tion and wonder at anything else had been dimin- 1887] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 437 ished by the size of the restaurant check. One should see the Falls first. At Chicago, reached on a Sunday morning, we met E.A. Stevens; that is, he met us. Stevens was secretary of the American Secular Union and presi- dent of the Secular League of Chicago -- a most efficient man in all respects. The Liberals of the city on that morning attended the meeting of the Ethical Culture Society to hear Mr. William M. Salter's commients on the current discussion in The North American Review between Robert G. Ingersoll and the Rev. Henry M. Field. Mr. Salter was, as far from indorsing Ingersoll as his successor, Mr. Bridges, is from approving Darwin as a philosopher. All of his discourse that remained in my mind was his denial of the Colonel's dictum that happiness is the greatest good. Mr. Salter maintained, with superb disdain for this plebeian sentiment, that the greatest good is "character." And yet character contributes to human happiness, or it is a nugacity or an evil. Convinced that Mr. Salter was getting us nowhere, I inquired of Putnam what he thought of the argument. He said he hadn't heard it, being asleep during its delivery. Putnam traveled much, by day and night, and improved all his oppor- tunities to make up for lost sleep. That evening's meeting of the Chicago Secular League, at which Stevens presided, was different, more like the New York Liberal Club -- a lecture and then discussion. A young fellow of about my own age arose on the floor and offcred a few perti- nent remarks. I reported his name as Darrell. It was Clarence Darrow. 438 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 2 -- VARIETIES OF PASSENGERS. After a twilight breakfast, Putnam and I took a train out of Chicago and shortly ran into a blizzard that stalled our engine. We ate next at 10:30 that night. I quote from an account I wrote for the first number of our new paper FRFETHOUGHT: "When the train got under way its progress was slow, and Kansas City (Mo.) must have started out to meet us or we never should have seen it. The city is away up on a bluff, out of sight of the depot. It is evidently a large commercial center, doing an extensive business in a product labeled 'Relief for Kansas Sufferers,' put up in bottles for residents of the adjoining state. The Kansas unfortunates referred to were supposed to suffer from thirst, their state being dry and Missouri wet. And yet a brighter side of the situation in Kansas had been turned to me. In that state I overheard an argument on prohibition between a resident and a stranger. The resident bore a bottle, which he shared with the other. And as they swigged it off, he said: 'I am a prohibitionist from principle. I have drank prohibition whiskey for fifty-seven years, and it never hurt me; but a quart I got once in Missouri made me sick for a week'." Kansas must have been a tough state at that time (1887). Two passengers who evidently were natives lured a brace of Easterners into taking a hand at old sledge. After a game or two that the tenderfeet won, a Kansas man picked up three of his cards and said he wished the game had been poker. One of the Easterners held three aces, and agreeing to call it poker, bet a dollar in confidence that no other three cards could beat his hand. His opponent raised him ten, and being called, laid down three hearts, saying "A flush," and took the money. 1887] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 439 That was the now-past cowboy age. Through Arizona and New Mexico the train picked up men wearing white, wide-brimmed felt hats. These were cowboys off the range. But of the "cowboy," it soon appeared, there were two classes -- genuine and bogus. The real one, as I observed, was a healthy specimen, and though his legs sometimes got be- yond his control and stretched themselves across the aisle of the car, he would make an effort, with- out taking offense, to coil them down when politely requested to do so. He wore an expensive band on his hat; carried no visible weapons, and seemed to be an educated and agreeable person, speaking grammatically in good English. "The bogus cow- boy," to quote from notes I made, "is different. He is not a cowboy at all. He only calls himself one and wears a cheap sombrers. He is an imitation bad man, an all-around tough, who never mounted a horse in his life and when at large is seldom sober enough to keep the saddle if lifted into it. Descrip- tion of a meeting-up with one of them who surged into the smoking-car near Flagstaff may be excused because it developed my partner's unexpected re- sourcefulness and nerve." Apart from his jag the fellow brought with him only annoyance and discomfort. He bulldozed the passengers, lounging up and down the aisle with his hand on his hip. The discomfort arose from the probability of his being armed, and no one could tell what a mean souse might do with a gun. As I sat next to the aisle, he paused to inquire whether I would prefer to fight or to lend him four bits for a couple of drinks. I replied that he misjudged me 440 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 if he supposed that I would do either to oblige a man in his condition. His subsequent remarks interested Putnam more than they did me, for when he had moved along to propose that the next pas- senger either fight or "pungle up," Putnam ex- changed seats with me. "If that fellow comes this way again," he said, "I'll down him and you can sit on him and take away his gun." A carpenter from Chicago volunteered: "And then I'll kick him off the train at the next station." We had no need to carry out this fell conspiracy, for when the train stopped again at a place called Williams, the dis- agreeable passenger dropped off for a drink and made such a belated return that he missed the train, which was just moving out. He chased us a little way, but only the words that came out of his mouth got aboard. A new passenger said: "Hell! him a cowboy. The son-of-a-gun is a sec- tion boss on the Santa Fe." I asked Putnam, skeptically, whether he really had designed to climb the front of that low-life had he come back. He replied: "You would just have found out I would if he gave me the chance. I can't fight, but I can down a man quick as light- ning. But don't write anything about it." I thought of his collision with the author of "Helen's Babies" and believed him.* ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ *If readers have forgotten this incident, which I believe I have somewhere already mentioned, I will repeat that the "collision" took place while both men were in the army. Putnam on one side of the campfire played cards with comrades. John Habberton on the other side anhoyed the players by tossing small, smoking brands ubon the blanket 1887] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 441 3 -- THE NATIVE LAND OF THE HUALAPAL. Of the country we passed through I wrote, while the impression it made on me was fresh: "This southwestern land, New Mexico and Arizona, is a land of poetry and mystery and terror. It is full of fear- some mountains and chasms and precipices. Along the line of the railroad nothing appears to grow, and the soil is of a rich brick color, as thotigh it had been baked in a kiln. Bluffs rise near you hundreds of feet high, in such layers as are sometimes seen in the high banks of a river. Rocks turned on edge stand off by themselves with no relative, perhaps, within a hundred miles. Then there are rocks weighing thousands of tons arranged in all manner of queer forms, helter-skelter, in pyramids, in circles, as we see cobble-stones beside the road where children have been at play. The sandbanks do not slope from top to base; they are straight up-and-down, or overhanging. The mountains often have no foothills but rise from these plateaus like the pyramids from the plains of Egypt. Soli- tary peaks stand treeless from the foot to the white sum- mits that wear their caps of snow in very presence of the regal sun, Again, there are canyons deep enough to put a good-sized mountain into. How these gorges ever got scooped out in their present fashion is a matter of great mystery. The train crossed one called Canyon Diablo, 285 feet deep. "The natives of this land are much the color of the soil, somewhere between copper and chocolate. From their adobe huts these natives came out to meet the train and sell their wares to the passengers. The Pueblo Indians were, ÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍ where the cards were dealt. When words failed to abate the torment, Putnam arose and capturing Habberton by a leg dragged him through the fire on his seat. Habberton bore malice and perhaps scars all his life, and showed the former many years later by voting against the admission of Putnam to an author's club. 442 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1887 if I recollect accurately, the first we saw. All the business enterprise of this tribe seems to have been given to the women, who had bits of pottery, volcanic glass, and some colored stones, the which they desired to convert into the currency of the East. The tawny damsels were the least attractive of all human females that have appealed to me. Old or young, they showed no trace of past or promise of future good looks. The male Indian was content to let the women support the family. I saw one absurd old Indian astride a small donkey, and addressed him as Powhattan. He replied, 'No savey.' He wore a white man's necktie, the string about his forehead and the ornamental part falling behind, In these Indian villages were adobe churches for baptizing converts, but no facilities for wash- ing them. The Mojave Indian girls painted and penciled their faces to imitate the front of a brick house. Both these and the Mojave women dressed carelessly. They drew about their bosoms, beneath the arms, what passed for a shawl that was somehow fastened behind at the top. This was an adequate covering while it hung straight down, front and back. It failed to be such when the wearer stooped. In my notes is the entry: 'Before the average Indian maiden can make her debut in paleface society, she must spend more money for buttons and adopt some form of trousering.' To the old Indian who didn't 'savey' I made the proffer of a dime for the purchasing of pins with which to fasten the back of her dress for his daugh- ter, Pocahontas. The train lingered at its stopping-places as though reluctant to leave, giving passengers plenty of time for fooling. There was a long wait at Mojave, where an enterprising farmer had struck a furrow around one hundred and sixty acres. He could go around twice a day, they said, with a horse-drawn machine that sowed the seed, which was barley, and covered it two and a half inches deep. He carried four furrows. In a beauty con- test among the Indian women and girls there assembled, some Hualapai maiden would have been crowned as Miss Mojave, for the women of that tribe were a laughing lot, and had the reputation of being companionable. 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 443 "Some of the places marked on the Arizona map as towns were deceptive, for when reached they were found to consist of a single building and to contain a single inhabitant. Such were Chino and Aubrey, each with a population of one. Cactus as big as apple-trees made spots in the absolutely Saharic desert look like orchards. There is a great deal of that sort of illusion in that country where trees subsist almost without water." 4 -- IN A HISTORIC PRINTING-OFFICE. I liked San Francisco at first sight, and like it still, although fire and progress must have changed it greatly in forty years. We had the best of luck in finding an office room at 504 Kearny street that was precisely what we wanted. In a jiffy we had a corner curtained off for trunks and sleeping quar- ters, a long table brought in that would serve for the uses of a desk and to display books, and chairs enough to seat ourselves and visitors. In the search for a printer our good luck still went with us, steer- ing us away from the wrong place and into the right one. The one positively not It, but first entered, was run by a man named Bacon, a deacon. We were to hear of him later as Deacon Pork. We got out of there without coming to terms with him. I could see he had a good outfit. Nevertheless we withdrew. And then we came to William M. Hin- ton's, 536 Clay street, below Montgomery. Both those printers were, as you might say, historic. Bacon put his shop on the map by rejecting the manuscript of Bret Harte's "Luck of Roaring Camp" as irritating to the modesty of his young lady copy-holder. The deacon had his meed of 444 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1888 praise for taking this protective attitude toward the girl employee, who seemed as safe with him as anywhere except in the arms of Jesus. On the other hand one not impressed by the piety of Dea- con Pork, but professing that the fact was of com- mon knowledge, told me that this employer had himself betrayed the confidence of the girl, and sent her East in that condition. A few moments' speech with Mr. Hinton was enough to satisfy me that this was the printing- office we sought. He told me more papers had been born in his office and buried from the same than anywhere else on the coast. "But, semper paratus, we are always ready for one more. We will set all the matter for you or you may set part of it, and what you earn we will knock off your bill. There's a spare frame over there. Henry George set up the first edition of 'Progress and Poverty' at that frame." Here seemed to be established a sort of affilia- tion, George and his book being no strangers. Mr. Hinton had been in fact the partner of George in publishing a daily paper. He printed four num- bers of Freethought, enough to convince me that owing to the dolce far niente way of running his office, I must spend my time there as foreman, com- positor, and stone hand. While the fifth number was in hand and the work far in arrears, I asked Mr. Hinton if he would disclose to me, as one friend to another, why the paper was late. He replied that he was unable to explain the circumstance. Looking about him he said: "Here we stand in the 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 445 presence of enough material to print the largest paper in the country. Here are from fifteen to twenty men, all at work, many of them sober. I cannot understand why your work is behind. You think it over and come back and tell me." In five minutes, having looked at the copy on the cases of the compositors, I returned to say that his men were working on a job of city printing, putting in type an extended list of delinquent tax-payers. He waved his hands, but said: "If you know what to do in this exigency, do it. The office is yours." Who could say an unkind word to a man like that? In a few minutes, then, the men were busy on my copy in place of the list of delinquent tax- payers, and having read and corrected the matter and made up the forms, I put the paper on the press. But this arrangement, so ideal from Mr. Hinton's point of view, could not last. It gave me no time for reflective thought. We rented another room on the floor at 504 Kearny; bought an outfit of type, and hired Frank L. Browne and his wife to set up the paper. This relieved Mr. Hinton of all but the presswork, which he continued to do excellently well and quite promptly throughout the life of the paper. Some years later, on the oc- casion of a political overturning, he was elected as supervisor of San Francisco. Putnam early in the year departed upon a lecture tour of the coast, drawing good audiences, selling books, taking hundreds of subscriptions, and earn- ing generous lecture fees. He thus virtually sup- ported the paper. Neither of us drew a salary above expenses, and for my part I knew how to 446 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1888 live economically. There came in all the literary contributions and letters admissible to a paper of our size, which began with twelve pages, lOxl2 inches over all. The city had one labor paper, The People, which soon suspended, for no Labor paper lives long, and The Weekly Star, independent- political. published by James H. Barry and edited by F.B. Perkins, the father of Charlotte Perkins who has been successively Charlotte Stetson and Charlotte Gilman, a remarkably brilliant writer and poet. Mr. Perkins was a Freethinker and avail- able for lectures when meetings were held. A fierce remark about Mr. M. De Young, one of The Chronicle brothers, was accredited to him. Ac- cording to the tradition De Young started The Chronicle in a small way as a gossipy sheet, being aided or financed by a lady vocalist known as Madamoiselle Celeste, who sang at the Bella Union, a concert hall near the Barbary Coast. The paper scored a success. In the course of a year or two a news paragraph stated that a well-known sculptor had executed a bust of the founder of The Chronicle which was to be seen in the office of the paper, and copies thereof were for sale. Mr. Perkins com- mented: "Not so: the bust of the founder of The Chronicle is to he seen at the Bella Union, and we believe it is for sale." Barry was aggressive, attacking injustices in vig- orous terms. Usually he had a fight going, and once got into jail. The Star employed Alfred Den- ton Cridge, a veteran writer and printer, and a for- mer friend of D.M. Bennett. 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 447 5 -- CALIFORNIANS CORDIAL AND TRUSTING. Our business for the first year was to make ac- quaintancc with the town and the limited number of Freethinkers there and in the vicinity, as well as in the state. We found them hospitable and helpful. Some were "forty-niners." Numbers were miners, ranchers, wool-growers, orchardists, pioneer merchants, old settlers, and all were inter- esting. Out-of-town visitors selected the Free- thought office as a place to leave their trappings. One day a man of about 60 entered, wearing an overall suit, which, having introduced himself as Thomas Jones of Independence, Inyo county, he asked my permission to remove. Then he stood revealed as very well dressed, a wealthy man and liberal with his money, but he did not propose to spoil a set of glad rags by exposing them to the wear and tear of railroad travel. On another day there came in a rough-looking individual so dis- guised by drink that his faculties wandered. He seated himself for a short period of repose and then coming to life inquired if this were the Free- thought office and myself Putnam or Macdonald. Set right about that he proceeded in a drunken man's fashion to say: "I don't know you and you don't know me, but we both know my partner Bill Reed. Bill says that you are a man that can be trusted with money." And he drew from his pocket a heavy buckskin sack and emptied there- from two hundred dollars in double eagles. These coins he poured upon the table, and drawing out 448 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1888 some of the pieces, pushed the rest toward me with the command: "Take care of that until I call for it." With the sum which he returned to his pocket, he proposed to fight away dull care. I suggested that a man might dissipate considerable gloom with less money, provided the effort were not protracted beyond reason, but he replied that he wasn't looking for an argument; that his plans were laid and couldn't be changed. And thereupon he departed, while I gathered up his gold and put it away. Once during the following week I caught sight of him firing a rifle in a shooting gallery near the office, and went in with the idea of accosting him. He saw me but there was no recognition in his eye. His shooting, I noticed, was good. The muzzle of the gun cut circles in the air larger than the target, yet he would apostrophize himself: "Fire when she bears," and so turn loose at the right moment and make a fair shot. At the end of the week be paid me a second visit, being sober but cheerful, and saying, with no reference to his previous call, that he had come to greet me in be- half of his partner, Bill Reed, who took the paper. "A pretty good town, this is," said he, "for a man to spend his money in. I come here a week ago as near as I can figure, with a couple hundred dol- lars in the old sack; and I am going back to camp with less than fifty of 'em -- broke -- damn a fool, drunk or sober." I suggested he might have de- posited a part of it with some friend for safe keeping, but he replied regretfully that there was no chance. To determine whether his expedition was 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 449 at a sure-enough end, I asked: "Are you dead certain you are on your way back to the camp, or wouldn't you extend yourself another week if you had the dinero?" Said he: "No; I am not quite broke yet, but I know when I have had enough. Well, I'll tell Bill I met you, Mr. Putnam. Good- by." I stopped him and he never suspected why until I brought his money out and asked him to take care of it for me until we met again. It took an argument to convince the man that the wealth was his and that he had seen me before. San Fran- cisco was a comparatively safe city at that time. He had been bemused for a week without being robbed.* The contents of The Truth Seeker show that during the first part of 1888 I wrote several letters to the brother I had left "back in the states," as was the phrase of the Californians. They were written, probably, to occupy time spent alone, Put- nam being absent filling lecture engagements, and I was never keen on hunting the society of my fel- low-beings or inflicting my own on them. Was I homesick? The closing paragraph of one letter to The Truth Seeker runs: "I am several thousand miles away from The Truth Seeker office, but am often with the boys in the light and bright composing room, and see the familiar 'forms,' as it were. I see Stevens tapping around the stone, Colby mak- ing eccentric and apparently unnecessary marks on the ÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍÍ *The amount of this man's deposit was much larger than I have indicated, but I would not put a strain upon the reader's credulity by naming it. 450 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1888 proofs, Mellis groaning over a take of long primer, Blake snatching the type from his case, and looking forward to four figures in Saturday's bill, and the rest with con- tracted brows studying the quirks and turnings of their manuscript. I attend again the little parties at the Socicty's parlors and see all the faces there -- Dr. Foote head and shoulders above the rest, Brother Eckhard walking through the Virginia Reel with stately motion, Philosopher King lost in the wilderness of the Saratoga Lancers -- the room full of girls and melody and laughter and light. And sometimes I find myself once more up in your editorial room, resting my elbow upon your desk and stretching out an inky and black-leaded hand for copy. And as the answer sometimes came then, 'No more tonight,' I take your words to close this long letter with. No more tonight. But yours always." A degree of lonesomeness may be implicit in those lines, but if so the presence was at hand to relieve it. 6 -- SHOULDERING THE WRONGS OF SOCLETY. Mrs. Mary A. Leland, widow of Theron C. Le- land of New York, had come to San Francisco to live, with her two daughters, Rachel and Grace, and they had a house on Taylor street, at the north end. Mrs. Leland had been a quite remarkable woman; like another Frances Wright, an agitator for the rights of the female sex. In 1859 or earlier Josiah Warren, an apostle of equitable commerce and complete individualism, furnished the ideas on which to found a community at the place now called Brentwood, Long Island, under the name of "Mod- ern Times." It was one of the numerous social experiments of that epoch. Moncure Daniel Con- way accepted an invitation in the summer of 1860 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 451 to go to Modern Times and address the inhabitants. The story he told afterwards was printed in the Cincinnati Gazette of February 27, 1860. On the evening of his arrival, he says, he was taken to visit the Queen of Modern Times. Following is the picture he draws of that royal personage: "The Queen of Modern Times was in truth every inch a queen. She was a most beautiful woman, in the prime of life, who was born and reared in the Cotton States. She had at an early age married a rich man in the South, who in the end proved himself an utterly worthless man and a tyrant. From him she separated, and the law which gave him her children gradually schooled her to sum up all the wrongs of society in the one word 'marriage.' If she was the champion of any popular cause Mary Chilton would be regarded as the leading female intellect of her country; and it would be impossible for anyone to see her in her in- spired mood, and to hear her voice as it sweeps through the gamut of feeling, rehearsing the sorrows of her sisterhood, without knowing that she brings many momentous truths from the deep wells of nature." Mary Chilton was Mrs. Leland. Twenty-eight years later, that is when I found her there in San Francisco, the queen had grandchildren for her sub- jects and seemed to be somewhat mollified. I sent her an invitation to drop in at the Freethought office when downtown. She replied that she went forth only occasionally, and would prefer to have me call, which I did, and soon persuaded her younger daughter (Grace) to come to the office and write wrappers. She was then typing the manu- script of her sister Rachel's (Lilian Leland's) story of a trip around the world entitled "Traveling Alone." I discovered the work needed revision by 452 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1888 a practiced hand, as most all writing does (and this which the reader has now before him has so prof- ited). The arrangement resulted in the young lady's bringing her Remington No. 2 to 504 Kearny street and working at my elbow, almost, when I was there, and greeting callers when I was out. The meeting in San Francisco was not our first. It was probably our fourth. Years before, when spending the end of a week at a farmhouse on the Schraalen- berg road, in Closter, New Jersey, I observed a small girl playing croquet. She belonged there, @@@@ GIRL SCHOOL GIRL and acted the hostess by chasing the arrows I shot at a target. We got along well. Soon after that I encountered her as she walked with her father on the street. In another period of years, I unde- signedly wandered into a place in New York where a society was giving a dance, and finding her there 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 453 renewed the acquaintance. A married couple who were chaperoning a collection of girls obligingly surrendered to me the privilege of going home with her, as the hour was late, the night cold, and her house far beyond theirs. It wasn't so far as I wished it had been by the time we got there. That was an evening in the year 1884. The next day @@@@ THE GIRL WIFE I informed my brother, and was ready to tell the world, I had found the Girl, but he coldly restored me to sanity by saying: "You poor chump; don't you know she was bespoken long ago?" That was the reason why a marriage that was evidently or- dained at the time she chased arrows for me was not fulfilled until four years after this 1884 date, when it might have taken place. But now, here in San Francisco, I had her isolated. At her house I detected favorable signs. In a little red album 454 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1888 that held tintypes an inch square, mine was inserted beside hers. She had been observed to write our names together, one imposed on the other, Grace @@@@ THE BENEFICIARY, 1888. D. Leland and George E. Macdonald, and then to perform the operation of canceling identical letters, with the happiest results. The name of Leland disappeared unless preserved as a middle one. 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 455 Plainly it was all over but the formalities. If the former Queen of Modern Times still held that the wrongs of society were summed up in the word marriage, she made no objection to our taking them all on at once. The inevitable took place on the July 20 following, establishing an anniver- sary I have not since been permitted to forget. I say inevitable because as I have stated to Marshall Gauvin of Winnipeg, Canada, and to Ernest Sauve of Iron River, Wisconsin, all men marry their stenographers. Inevitable again for the following reason: Said Mr. Bird of The Truth Seeker office to me a few years ago: "Did your boy get married?" Said I: "Yes, when he let his eye fall on that normal school girl, there was no escape." Said Mr. Bird: "There never is." While composing this truthful record I have asked her whether she would have accepted me at any or all of our previous meetings, and with confi- dence and no hesitation she replied that she would. 7 -- MY PARTNER'S COLLISIONS WITH THE ENEMY. Satisfaction is always felt in mentioning in- stances where persons who have made themselves conspicuous by their unfair courses against the ad- vocacy of Freethought have got their comeuppance. In May, 1887, while Putnam was delivering a lec- ture in Ukiah, Cal., on the Nine Demands of Liber- alism, a local scamp named Hamilton arose and de- nounced him as a scoundrel, and to emphasize his displeasure he seized a lighted kerosene lamp and threw it at Putnam's head. Putnam dodged and 456 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1888 the lamp went through a window and exploded out- side. The interference of bystanders prevented Hamilton from trying to improve his aim with an- other lamp. Putnam finished his discourse, while his assailant ran away. Afterwards the man was placed on trial for his murderous assault, but escaped pun- ashment. His conduct may have had the approval of the Christian part of the community, for when the citizens of Ukiah organized to purchase the right of way for a railway to a nearby town they elected Hamilton secretary with power to raise funds. He collected a few thousand dollars and departed for San Franscisco, soon followed by a sheriff. But he had taken ship for Australia, car- rying with him the funds of the Ukiah and North Cloverdale Railway Extension Company. A meeting addressed by Putnam in Oakland in May, 1888, was interrupted by the intrusion of the Christian champion and rapscallion, Clark Braden, reinforced by a local preacher named Sweeney and one Bennett, local agent of the Comstock society, with a demand to be heard and a challenge to de- bate. Mr. A.H. Schou of Oakland, who was pre- siding, said he would leave it to the audience whether these persons should be allowed to take up the time of the meeting, since the character of Clark Braden was well known throughout the coast. The audience voted a loud and unanimous No. The minister Sweeney begged he might inquire what was Mr. Putnam's objection to Clark Braden. Mr. Putnam replied: "I will tell you why I will not de- bate with him. I refuse to meet Clark Braden in public debate because he is a blackguard and a liar." 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 457 There was curiosity to know how the Christian champion would take that. He shouted something at the speaker and then walked stiffly forth, fol- lowed by the Rev. Mr. Sweeney and Comstock's young man. As they went, Mr. Schou sent after them the reminder that if a Freethinker had en- tered Mr. Sweeney's church and created this sort of disturbance of the meeting, he would have been placed under arrest instead of being allowed peace- fully to depart. This man Braden, whose argument consisted in an attack on the good name of Freethinkers, usual- ly did not retum to serve the same Christian com- munity twice. The religious people who employed Braden had a custom of meeting afterwards to pass resolutions repudiating him as too rank to be borne with. He professed to be a Campbellite, or "Disci- ple," and when the churches of that denomination could be worked no longer, he went to the Method- ists. A religious paper in Winfield, Kansas, The Nonconformist, gave him this piquant mention: "It is yet to he reported that Clark Braden was ever received in a community the second time, except in company of the officers, with jewelry on his wrists." At one place, where he debated B.F. Underwood, the Christians who employed him told him he was injuring their cause, and he had to borrow $20 of Underwood to get out of town. In return he sent to Underwood a letter in which he told how the Rev. John Sweeney, Underwood's next opponent, was to be defeated. There was absolutely no good in Braden. His backers in Oakland came to grief. The Rev. Sweeney involved himself in an affair that 458 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1888 laid him under charges of financial crookedness and vice, and Comstock's agent Bennett gained publicity by means of rascally proceedings, the nature of which will later appear. 8 -- IRELAND AND THE POPE. It became my duty to review on its first appear- ance Judge James G. Maguire's pamphlet "Ireland and the Pope," being "a brief narrative of papal in- trigues against Irish liberty, from Adrian V to Leo XIII." That was a work of considerablc impor- tance, although written, as its publisher, J.H. Barry of The Star, explained, on Daniel O'Connell's principles -- "as much religion as you please from Rome, but no politics." That dictum of O'Con- nell's was a slogan among the supporters of Father McGlynn in New York in the earlier '80s, without the very hearty indorsement of thoughtful Freet- hinkers. That the taking of religion from Rome involves the same surrender of independence as re- ceiving politics from that quarter needs no argu- ment, especially when no Catholic is allowed to de- cide for himself what belongs to religion and what to politics. Judge Maguire's book had a large run and is of permanent worth for the history it gives of the plundering of Ireland with the pope's connivance. John Alexander Dowie, who afterwards as Elijah II, was to make a considerable splurge in the country and to found Zion City, Illinois, appeared that season in San Francisco, where he "unmasked Spiritualism" and boasted himself to be a faith 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 459 healer. Reports that followed him from Australia were unflattering. San Franscisco clergymen pub- lished him as a "tramp and impostor." I attended one of his meetings in Irving Hall. In appearance he reminded me of Clark Braden, and he was a dull preacher. I observed that there was a Greek Catholic church in San Francisco, and wrote to the resident bishop, one Vladimir, to inquire if he would not lay before the readers of Freethought the difference between the Greek church and the Roman. The bishop complied at some length, supplying the in- teresting information, verified by profane history and sacred scripture, that the Greek was the origi- nal Christian church, founded by an apostolical council at Jerusalem, as related in the fifteenth chap- ter of the Acts of the Apostles. Christians from Palestine, having fled there to escape the persecut- ing Jews, founded a church in Rome, Bishop Vladi- mir wrote me, but fell into many errors, apostatized from the faith of the true church, and invented doctrines too monstrous for the human conscience, as witness the dogma of the infallibility of the pope. The bishop of Alaska and the Aleutian Islands, for such was Vladimir's title, proved clearly that the bishop of Rome, which is to say the pope, was an arrant impostor. On the eastern lecture tour Putnam in Septem- ber attended a meeting of the Chicago Forum, a former church turned into what he termed a "tem- ple of humanity," for social purposes, and spoke there twice on Sunday. His report to Freethought contained this note of prophecy: "Young Darrow, 460 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1888 formerly of Farmdale, Ohio, of heretic blood, is going to the head of his profession. Law, and poli- tics, and reform are his forte, and he is bound to be one of the brightest leaders of the people." As Putnam always predicted fair weather, he was bound to make some good hits, as in this instance. 9 -- THE RIGHT OF AFFIRMATION. The editor of The Truth Seeker made a little record for Secularism that year of 1888, which was noticed throughout the length and breadth of the country, by contending for the right of a citizen to register as a voter without swearing, or to affirm without raising his right hand. The Board of reg- istration demanded that he should make oath on the Bible and then catechized him on his "belief in God." He declined to answer and the board refused to register him. The following paragraph tells what ensued. "From the decision of the board the editor ap- pealed to the Supreme Court, as represented by Judge George C. Barrett, for a mandamus compell- ing the inspectors to register him, and in opposi- tion those gentlemen sent in their affidavits stating that he had refused to swear or to affirm in the usual manner. The judge was a righteous one. He said that the chairman of the board had no busi- ness to ask a man to uplift his hand; a citizen had been denied his legal rights, and the board must reconvene and register the applicant. In his writ- ten opinion Judge Barrett said: 'Inspectors have no right to require a man to affirm with uplifted hand, 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 461 nor was it their province to demand the religious test. Indeed, their interrogations about the rela- tor's belief in the existence of the deity was an im- pertinence to which no citizen, in the absence of any suspicion of untruthfulness, should be subjected.'" The Board of Registration was therefore com- pelled to reconvene, without pay, for no other pur- pose than to register the editor of The Truth Seeker as a voter. Judge Barrett, who rendered this deci- sion was the jurist previously mentioned who re- signed from the Nineteenth Century Club with An- drew Carnegie because of the economic radicalism of the club's president, Courtlandt Palmer. The judge's membership in the Nineteenth Century Club had done its perfect work of liberalizing his mind on the relations between church and state which were there discussed. 10 -- COURTLANDT PALMER DIES. Unfortunately Courtlandt Palmer, former presi- dent and long the treasurer of the American Secu- lar Union, did not live to applaud the decision of the judge. He died, July 23, 1888, at the early age of 45 years, in New York, the city of his birth. For a man born on the conservative side of the fence, and reared, as one biographer said, "amid the giddy whirl of fashionable society," besides being a mem- ber of the Dutch Reformed church until after he was married, Mr. Palmer underwent a considerable mental and social transformation. John W. Drap- er's "History of the Intellectual Development of Europe" made him a religious skeptic, and the So- 462 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1888 ciety of Hunianity and his association with Free- thinkers did the rest. A blography evidently pre- pared by himself was printed in the Social Science Review for February, 1888. In it the writer dwells with obvious pride on his relations with the Free- thought movement. That @@@@ was all the experience he had. Up to the time he read Draper, except from his col- lege courses, his life had been a blank. There was nothing to record. After that he had the full intellec- tual life. Ingersoll spoke at his funeral. Palmer had put in writing his wish not to be buried from any Chris- tion church nor to have any Christian hymn sung. His survivors hardly kept faith with him, for they called in the Rev. R. Heber Newton to read the Episcopal service. He had dis- cussed with Stephen Pearl Andrews, whose Collo- quium suggested the Nineteenth Century Club, the subject of Spiritualism and survival, in which he did not believe. They agreed that the one who first died should communicate with the other. An- drews preceded Palmer by two years, and no word came. Other Freethinkers to die in 1888 were Judge Arnold Krekel of Kansas, July 14, aged 73, at the end of a long and honerable career in the Missouri legislature and on the bench; and Richard A. Proc- 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 463 tor, the popularizer of astronomy, New York, Sep- tember 12, at 51. Proctor was an Englishman, and reared a Catholic, but he wrote some observations on the Ingersoll-Gladstone discussion which showed that with respect to the Bible and the god that book depicts he was on the side of the unbeliever. B.F. Underwood wrote of Professor Proctor in The Investigator: "I was acquainted with him personally. I had conversations with him, one fully two hours in length, and corresponded with him from the spring of 1887 until a short time before his death. Professor Proctor was a radical Free- thinker, an Agnostic. He had no belief in a per- sonal God and none in a personal immortality. He regarded the whole system of Christianity in its theological aspects as a system of superstition. He regarded Herbert Spencer as the greatest philo- sophic thinker of any age." In Freethought for November 10 I began to write under the head of "Observations," where I stated my views and opinions with unrestricted freedom and restricted responsibilty. These ob- servations were kept up in Freethought for above three years, and later in The Truth Seeker. I may be a mesozoic precursor of today's colyumist. 11 -- A PEEP FROM THE POPE. Apparently Pope Leo XIII put out an encyclical about this time in which he laid down the law on liberty. Said his holiness as I find him quoted (Dec. 1) : "The state must profess some one re- ligion, and the Catholic being that which alone is true, should be professed, preserved, and protected 464 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1888 by the state, and false doctrines should be diligent- ly repressed by public authority ... I anathema- tize those who assert the liberty of conscience and of religious worship, and all such as maintain that the church may not employ force." No man with that stuff amongst his mental furniture, if discovered, could get past our immigration officials today. Archbishop Riordan of San Franscisco issued a circular letter, read in all the churches of the city, saying that marriage between a Catholic and a Protestant, the ceremony being performed by a Protestant minister, was "horrible coneubinage." Would a pope or an archbishop say the same things today for American consumption? It seems to me the boys are losing some of their courage. In The Truth Seeker for 1888 are numerous en- tries concerning that experiment in churchless towns, Liberal, Mo. C.B. Reynolds having visited Liberal, reported that its progress was checked by the restraining hand of its founder, G.H. Walser. "If he [Walser] would absent himself from Lib- eral for a few years," wrote Mr. Reynolds, "he would be better appreciated, the citizens would be- come more self-reliant, and on his return he would be surprised and delighted at the progress the town had made." Prof. M.D. Leahy of the Liberal Uni- versity felt compelled to resign as the alternative to advocating Prohibition, which had become an issue. There was no academic freedom for Pro- fessor Leahy. Charles Watts, who was publishing Secular Thought in Canada, filled lecture engagements in the States. The Canadian govemment refused a 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 465 charter to the Secular Thought Publishing Com- pany. The Freethinkers of Canada held a success- ful convention at Toronto, September 15. The Manhattan Liberal Club elected Dr. E.B. Foote, Jr., president, to succeed Van Buren Denslow. The New York legislature unanimously requested Ingersoll to deliver the memorial address in honor of the late Roscoe Conkling, and the Colonel ac- cepted the invitation. The Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost proclaimed himself an Agnostic. John R. Charles- worth, an Englishman, who said that he had done talking for branches of the National Secular So- ciety, announced in December that during the win- ter months he would lecture for American Free- thought societies for the expenses of his journey. All of Mr. Charlesworth's connection with the Freethought cause, as I remember the circum- stances, did not redound to its glory. E.A. Stevens, secretary of the A.S.U., began proceedings to make the churches of Chicago pay taxes on property unlawfully exempted, The Liberal papers existing in 1888 were The Truth Seeker, Boston Investigator, Ironclad Age, Indianapolis; Freethought, San Francisco; Secu- lar Thought, Toronto, Ont.; Independent Pulpit, Waco, Texas; Lucifer and Fair Play, Valley Falls, Kansas; Liberty, Boston; The New Ideal, Boston; The Open Court (then a weekly, now a monthly), Chicago; I name also the Spiritualist papers, Ban- ner of Light, Foundation Principles, Olive Branch and Better Way, and Dyer D. Lum's Alarm, which was Liberal with something to spare, being violent- ly anarchistic. 466 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1888 The Congress of the American Secular Union, toward which Putnam lectured his way East, was held in Lafayette Hall, Pittsburgh, Pa., October 5-7. Putnam had declined reelection as president of the Union, and after a series of meetings which a local Freethinker named Harry Hoover canvassed as a candidate for secretary, creating something of a diversion and causing controversy, the delegates re- elected E.A. Stevens, and put in R.B. Westbrook, LL.D., of Philadelphia as president, The anti- religious addresses and general proceedings at this Congress were reported to the police, and it ap- peared afterwards that the assemblage barely es- caped being raided and its speakers arrested. The new president, Dr. Westbrook, was a native of Pike county, Pa., born in 1820. Princeton college con- ferred on him the degree of A.M., New York Uni- versity that of LL.D., and he got a D.D. from the Presbyterians, who fired him in 1864 for "abandon- ing the ministry and engaging in a secular profes- sion." He wrote "The Bible: Whence and What," a book that enjoyed a vogue among liberals; at- tacked the trustees of Girard College in public lectures for their violation of Gerard's will in intro- ducing religious teachings, and then published the book "Girard College and Girard College Theol- ogy," a clear exposure of the whole situation. Sec- retary Stevens wrote eulogistically of Dr. West- brook and predicted a good record for Secularism under his presidency. 12 -- LOCAL SEISMIC DISTURIBANCE. The climate of California requires that in order 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 467 to preserve its reputation there shall be rain early in November. The vegetation well watered by the rains that continue from September till June can stand a long dry spell, but in October, unless rain- ing is resumed, there comes the sere and yellow leaf. In the autumn of 1888 it was dry. John Robinet, sheep ma,n of San Luis Obispo county, gave me a call about the 10th of November, just after the election, and discussing results said that, still and all, the prosperity of California depended less upon the triumph at the polls than upon our having a little rain in the near future. Said I: "You probably have heard that the ministers prayed for rain last month?" He said: "Yes, but what I think is that instead of praving, some one ought to do a good job of swearing, as for instance" -- and in eloquent swear words he condemned the pro- tracted dry spell; in the language of the statute he did unlawfully, wickedly, profanely, premeditated- ly, and spitefully utter with loud voice, in the presence of divers of the citizens of the common- wealth, publish and proclaim, concerning the weather, certain wicked, profane, and blasphemous words, to the discredit and contempt of the same. Forty-eight hours had not passed before rain be- gan falling and falling hard, and there was a great storm, with vast commotion. One may read in Freethought that I had just written the heading of an article on supernatural interference with the weather "when my ear was struck by a sound that might have been made by a trainload of steam boilers coming up Kearriy street over cobblestones. The telegraph pole across the way waved like a 468 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1888 cattail in a breeze, and the building I was in ap- peared suddenly to move about six inches to the south, stopping with a bump that nearly slid me out of my chair." The next day's paper reported the severest earthquake since 1871, and the Berke- ley University professors laid it to "the late heavy rains diminishing the barometric pressure," and so on. I remembered the fervent swearing of Mr. Robinet, and recalled the prayers of the ministers for rain. Why not swear for rain? The minis- ters had indeed offered up their petitions, but noth- ing happened to the barometric pressure prior to the time of Robinet's profanity. Our landlord while we were at 504 Kearny street was a man of the name of Von Rhein, and he was an argumentative Christian. The first time I went to pay the rent he ask me how Freethinkers ac- counted for design in nature unless they believe in God, or would account for the existence of a watch if it had no designer. I replied that Freethinkers recognized design in manufactured articles, but not necessarily in raw material, which was about all one could make out of nature. He dismissed the subject then by saying that of course I had given it more thought than he had, but he believed I could be answered. Again, on a similar occa- sion, when the rent money passed from my hands to his, he inquired whether I fully realized what the fate of a scoffer was likely to be. I said no, that I was not quite clear on that point, and he tendered the information that all who denied the divinity of the Christian religion were destined to be damned. He said he did not mean perhaps. 1888] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 469 When I inquired if persons who had never heard of the Christian religion would share the same fate, he said they most undoubtedly would. "To illus- trate," quoth Mr. Von Rhein, "it is as if a person were approaching a deep hole; the fact that he does not know the hole is there will not save him from falling into it, however honest he may be." Said I: "One can't reply to an argument like that ex- cept by saying that parties who prepare deadfalls are more culpable than those who ignorantly walk into them, and that an infinite being who would play that sort of trick on a blind man could not be depended upon to do the fair thing in any case." Mr. Von Rhein answered that the arrangement was sufficiently equitable to satisfy his sense of justice. Not so very long after this discussion occurred, Mr. Von Rhein, while inspecting a building on Montgomery street, illustrated the argument, as might be held, by walking through a skylight and taking a drop of some twenty feet to the floor be- low. When making an observation on the incident I said: "His fall did not result fatally, but con siderable blame is attached to the owners of the building for neglecting to provide proper safe- guards against such accidents, while Mr. Von Rhei- is entirely exonerated. When he is recovered from the shock I may take occasion to ask him whether he holds himself or the owners of the building re sponsible for his drop through the skylight. If he takes the blame to himself I shall then understand how it is that he believes in the culpability of peo- ple who, as he imagines, walk blindfold into the everlasting pit." CHAPTER XXII 1 -- WE ORGANIZE AND CELEBRATE. THE year 1889 opened cheerfully in the Freethought office, San Francisco, under the influence of a pleasantry neatly turned by Mr. Channing Severance, the Carpenter of Los Angeles, who wrote that he had within the week beaten the best six days' record walking for work, and added: "The thought has struck me several times that if Jesus Christ found it as hard to obtain carpenter work as I have, his going to preaching may have been a necessity on his part instead of a desire to save the world." I still see occasionally the name of Mr. Severance attached to an article in a Spiritualist exchange. Fifty of the Liberals of San Francisco subscribed a fund of $100 to finance a series of Sunday Free- thought lectures by Putnam in Irving Hall. The first lecture, January 6, drew an audience of three hundred. Those which followed were still better attended. Within the month more than nine hun- dred citizens of California had signed a call for a State Convention, which was held on Sunday, the 27th, to organize the California State Liberal Union. There were two hundred and fifty atten- dants at the morning meeting, four hundred in the afternoon, and in the evening a thousand. I assume it was the largest gathering of the kind yet held in San Francisco, for an old-timer observed to me that 470 1889] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 471 he had never before tried to attend a Freethought meeting in a hall that would hold a thousand when he couldn't find a seat. Judge J.W. North of Oleander, in Fresno county, was the unanimous choice for president of the new union. Judge North in many respects reminded me of the Hon. Elizur Wright, president of the National Liberal League. The Judge in his younger days had been an anti- slavery lecturer in Connecticut. He went out to Minnesota and founded the towns of Faribault and Northfield, the latter taking its name from him. He went to California and founded the town of River- side I believe I heard him say that a rascally court, that had been brought up by land stealers, robbed him of most of his property. Feeble health and old age, he being now about 75, prevented Judge North from accepting the presidency of the California State Liberal Union, which he handed to Putnam with a graceful speech and amidst cheers. As a Freethinker, Judge North, again like Hon. Elizur Wright, went all the way. This convention drew part of its numerical strength from the local Turners, and a member of that Bund, a young architect named Emil S. Lemme, was elected secretary. The Paine celebration immediately followed the convention was a tumult. A German speaker named F. Schuenemann-Pott made an address, following opening songs by German singing societies. Mr. Schuenemann-Pott, a well-known Liberal leader of those days, and a man of experience, said he had never seen such a demonstration on a similar oc- casion. 472 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1889 In New York half of the audiences assembled at Liberal meetings were women. In San Francisco female attendants were rare. Here at this Paine celebration where we had an audience of a thousand, less than one hundred women could be rallied for the grand march that preceded the dancing after the literary and musical exercises were over. A series of local Liberal meetings followed, in-augurated by Prof. Herbert Miller, a scholarly young man who for his unbelief had found him- self set outside a religious institution where he had been teaching. In another month the professor had raised funds and organized the San Francisco Freethought Society, meeting regularly in Irving Hall, with P.O. Chilstrom for president and him- self for regular speaker. Of itself, with its mem- bership made of the pleasantest sort of people, with a full quota of girls and women; with a scholar for a lecturer and musical talent enough for a concert; with a generous patronage that made the expense only a trifle, this started out to be a model Free- thought society. It wanted only the right hall, and such a one we supposed it would be easy to find in the place that had been provided by the money of James Lick, Freethinker and philanthropist -- namely, Pioneer Hall. There, however, we were in for a disappointment. Some of the members of the Pioneer Society were willing to allow the Free- thought Society to occupy the hall rent free, ex- cept for the mere cost of janitor and light. But the committee in charge of the building would not con- sent on any terms. They had a reason, which, while not a good one, served their purpose. The 1889] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 473 Freethought Society had an open platform, not for the exclusive use of members or invited guests, which in my opinion was a mistake. The lectures of Professor Miller, condensed, made admirable editorial articles not below the standard of any paper anywhere. But the discussions that were al- lowed to follow them when they were delivered spoiled their good effect and lowered the quality of the meetings as a whole. These discussions, partici- pated in by such "protagonists" and "menaces" as we have always with us, diminished our audiences in size and led to the inquiry whether we called that sort of wild speculation "Freethought." Possibly the not always dignified proceedings suggested to the committee a reason for not renting us the hall. The situation discouraged Professor Miller, who relinquished his lectureship. His after fate is un- known to me, but I should be surprised to be told that he had not made his mark somewhere. 2 -- SAN ]FRANCISCO FREETHINKERS. A variety of speakers followed on the platform of the society, which still met in Irving Hall, one of the best being Mr. F.B. Perkins, whom I have al- ready mentioned. It was written of him in one of my Observations: "Mr. Perkins is a big man, with broad shoulders and a broad mind, and he is one of the ripest scholars I have ever met." He was a nephew of the Rev. Henry Ward Beecher. In former times he had been librarian of the San Francisco Free Library and of the Boston City Library. 474 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1889 We had another good man in Mr. Junius L. Hatch, who had studied for the ministry when young, but missed ordination. He told me he lost out on one question. They asked him if he believed unfeignedly that God created the world in six calen- dar days, and he answered that he did. "But I don't believe he could do it again," said the candidate. So he became a journalist. In 1889 he was fixed ap- parently for life by getting a place in the Custom House. The cornerstone of the Lick Academy of Sciences was laid on July 12 of that year, 1889. Irving M. Scott, president of the Union Iron Works, gave the principal address, on "The Development of Science." It was the story of the church's warfare on science, but Mr. Scott did not mention the church. He called the hostile forces "Patristic," which few understood as of and appertaining to the holy fathers of the church. He thus escaped criti- cism at the expense of not being comprehended. There were eminent Freethinkers to be found in San Francisco, though some of them suffered from shyness. I came into possession of a small book en- titled "The Evidences Against Christianity," written by John S. Hittell and published by him in 1856. It was as strong an attack on the Bible as Paine's "Age of Reason," but more condensed and therefore less readable or "popular." I had heard Mr. Hittell, who was a historian, in an interesting lecture at Pioneer Hall on the discovery of Humboldt Bay, and finding him to be a Freethinker invited him to speak for the Freethought Society. He declined on the score of having more important work to do. Later I dis- 18891 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 475 covered that he deprecated aggressive Freethought work. As the author of "A Code of Morals," in which he dismisses the Golden Rule as "not suffi- cient for the guidance of humanity," he laid down enough maxims, drawn from the pagans and his own consciousness, to make everybody good, if fol- lowed. But as to propagating Freethought, he said: "You are under no obligations to proclaim doctrines that, by the people around you, are regarded as criminal or injurious to the general welfare. If your neighbors accept false and debasing opinions, you can presumably do more good by teachings that will please and gradually elevate them than by offending them so that they would at once burn, banish, or avoid you." On the other side to this proposition I named for the benefit of the author of those discouraging sen- timents the examples of Socrates, Jesus Christ, Servetus, Giordano Bruno, and Mr. Hittell in 1856, who had proclaimed doctrines calculated to provoke burning, banishment, and avoidance. On June 9, 1889, the Freethinkers of the world unveiled a statue to Bruno in Rome, with the finan- cial encouragement of a thousand dollars sent from the Liberals of the United States. It is not the re- formers that follow Mr. Hittell's advice who get the monuments and so perpetuate their influence. 3 -- TRIBULATION OF SINGLE TAXERS. One of the careless Freethinkers who turned up in San Franscisco was Frank McGlynn, a real estate dealer and brother of the Rev. Edward McGlynn who had recently distinguished himself in 476 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1889 the Henry George campaign back East. The wife of George McGlynn was suing him for a divorce, or an annulment of their marriage, because he would not go to church, because he "made their home a house of blasphemy," and because he was in short an Atheist. He professed the Single Tax, which put him on the church's bad books without further argument. An adventure, rather comical on the whole, in- volved another Single Taxer. There appeared at the California State Convention in January "an evoluted preacher," as he described himself -- the ex-Rev. J.E. Higgins, who in the course of his speech, which made an excellent impression, de- clared that he had found his right environment among Freethinkers, and believed he would do a lit- tle lecturing if he could find audiences. Soon after the convention he brought to the Freethought office a notice that he had an engagement to lecture in Eureka, Humboldt county, and along the Eel river, under the patronage of Robert Gunther. Having delivered this message to me, the ex-Rev. Mr. Hig- gins remained to impart a lecture on Single Tax, which he had recently espoused. Said I: "If you are going to meet Robert Gunther, take a fool's ad- vice and leave the Single Tax behind you. Gunther has a hundred thousand dollars' worth of unim- proved land." He promised faithfully to hold that thought. Anyhow, he said, his mind was so stored with other useful precepts struggling for utterance that he would hardly get around to economics. Only the worst of luck, including rain, pursued Mr. Hig- gins on this expedition. He was compelled to spend 1889] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 477 two or three days and nights under the roof of Mr. Gunther, and to defend the Single Tax or let Mr. Gunther get away with the proposition that Henry George was crazy. After the discussion he moved his quarters to the hotel and waited until the weather had cleared, when he came back to San Francisco and reported. Later Mr. Gunther re- ported also. The Single Tax had proved so divisive an issue between them that the two men had been unable to get together on any other. Mr. Gunther, in his description of their falling out, seemed to be the more outraged of the two. Mr. Higgins per- ceived in the adventure enough that was funny to compensate for his loss of time, but Mr. Gunther was too hot ever to cool off. 4 THE ADVENT OF BELLAMY. The book "Looking Backward," by Edward Bel- lamy, that got to San Francisco early in 1889, raised a commotion more or less homogeneous with the revival conducted there that year by Sam Jones. According the volume a fair review, I still pro- nounced it a work inferior to "Rational Commun- ism," by Alonzo Van Deusen, which The Truth Seeker Company had brought out in 1885. The emotional collectivists immediately staged "Look- ing Backward" as a Socialist revival under the name of "Nationalism." As such it had drawing power enough to fill the largest hall in the city. But Na- tionalism was nothing new, being merely a more theatrical presentation of an old idea. 478 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1889 The Hon. John A. Collins was one of the best and clearest headed friends of Freethought. As a social student, he had written, a half century ago, a work entitled "A Bird's-Eye View of Society." Toward Nationalism I found him cool, if not indif- ferent. I asked if he had read "Looking Back- ward, the Uncle Tom's Cabin of Industrial Slavery." He said he had glanced at it, and added rather wearily: "I went through all this turmoil and excitement fifty years ago." He had doubtless been a Fourierite, and any Fourierite will admit that Fourier said the last word on the problems of hu- man society. I attended a Nationalist meeting where speakers defined the term, and came away to write the impression that Nationalism was "razzle- dazzle Socialism." An enthusiast named Haskell stated at this meeting that Nationalism promised "two hours' work per day, luxuries for the poorest equal to those now enjoyed by the richest, rare exo- tics in every man's front yard, carpets in the house ten inches thick, fare to New York, $12," and so on. I predicted: "The Nationalist movement in San Francisco will soon be where Croasdale said he found the Single Tax Movement in New York, namely, in a howling dervish state of emotional in- sanity. A rabbi asserted the new Socialism -- that is, Nationalism -- to be synonymous with Judaism; the Eddyites said it was Christian Science; Theos- ophists recognized it as Theosophy; it was generally accepted as harmonizing with the Spiritualist phi- losophy, and orthodox ministers were heard to af- firm they were Nationalists because they were Christians. I risked the surmise that the leader of 1889] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 479 the cause, Mr. Haskell, was a "four-flusher." The confirmatory testimony on that point from persons having knowledge of Haskell's past performances was so voluminous that it could not be printed. Nationalism as manifested in San Francisco goes into the museum labeled as an interesting phe- nomenon while it lasted. 5 -- THERE WERE DIFFERENT KINDS OF SPIRITUALISTS. A society of Liberal Spiritualists in San Fran- cisco sent notices of their meetings to Freethought; some of the members came to Freethought meet- ings, and the same singers assisted at both. Out- side these Liberals, the Spiritualist leaders in San Francisco were about as hopeless a collection of bamboozlers as could anywhere be found. Dr. Louis Schlesinger, who published The Carrier Dove, could hardly be called anything that would write him plain but a humbug and grafter. For his printing-office in the old St. Ignatius church on Market street he solicited orders, yet one who gave him an order, as I did just to be friendly, would be hooked for twice what the job was worth. His stunts as a medium, for he professed to be such, were transparent frauds. Mr. J.J. Owen published The Golden Gate, Spiritualist, and sold lots in Summerland, Santa Barbara county. The Celestial City, a Spiritualist paper published in New York, viewed Summerland and reported: 480 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1889 "Far out on the Pacific slope, hemmed in between a homely range of rugged, knotty, infertile mountains on the one hand, and on the other a dreary expanse of endless sea that has not even the activity of a surf, there lies a miserable, barren waste. Four consecutive months of each year no rain falls upon this parched, far-off land, while the sun's bright rays beat down and dry to pulverous dust the burning soil. Here is wanted to be established the new colony of Summerland, the future home of the Spir- itualists of the world. No native fresh water is found within the border lines of this would-be city of the future. All the fresh water it gets for the irrigation of this un- fruitful land is forced there through pipes, from a distance of four miles; and year after year has this sluggish soil sung its melancholy soliloquy in unison with the listless waters of the calm Pacific. To this forlorn and ragged edge of the western world are the owners and propagators of Summerland trying, by the wholesale suppression of all information relative to its disadvantages, to induce the people to come, trying to inveigle the innocent and the uninformed into giving up comfortable homes in the fertile fields of the East, and taking up their abode in this wretched colony." Editor Owen of The Golden Gate, who was put- ting this thing over upon the hopeful, had no part or parcel with the Freethinkers and named them but to mispraise. He informed his readers that his editorial articles were messages from the angels, inspirational, and obtained by "secluding himself from the world and becoming passive and receptive to those higher and better influences and thoughts which he endeavors to express through the columns of The Golden Gate." Thus he wrote while promot- ing the Summerland scheme described in the lan- guage just quoted by the editor of The Celestial City. 1889] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 481 The Summerland development may have been a bona fide endeavor to found a Spiritualist colony, or it may have been merely a real estate specula- tion with Spiritualists appointed to be the victims. Probably it was the latter, since there is at the pres- ent time a place in Santa Barbara county of that name, and colonies never last the length of time that has elapsed since the date of which I am writ- ing. The rival Spiritualist papers in San Francisco stated that Summerland was a swindle. Some of the Liberals who were also good Freethought workers "fell for" the various schemes that were floated by idealists or by cheats. One was the Topolobampo venture, a plan with considerable backing from the East, to establish the Sinaloa colony in Mexico. John Lovell, publisher of Lovell's Library, was interested in it, and I had heard him talk on the Credit Fancier of Sinaloa be- fore the Manhattan Liberal Club. I met numerous returned Sinaloists who were known as Topolo- bampo Sufferers. One recounted that a woman, Marie Howland, more or less an authoress, had gone there to preside. He told me she was too ad- vanced to meet his approval, since she attempted to introduce mixed bathing among the colonists "doffed of their clothes." The Golden Gate advertised the medium Fred Evans, a more versatile workman than Schlesinger, but without the old doctor's blandness. I think Schlesinger would perform his solemn tricks as often as he could get a dollar a throw, even if he knew all the time that the sitter was "onto" him; but Evans was suspicious of anyone who asked him 482 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1889 to do that again and do it slow. Having one day, at the solicitation of an earnest believer, sat at Evans's curtained desk and got some slates with writing on them, all in his own hand, as an observing printer could tell, I wrote him a request to give me another sitting, merely exchanging seats. I desired to be on the side of the table where the works were. He declined, making the excuse that he was soon going to Australia and his dates were full. At the same time he solicited more patronage through newspaper advertisements -- which showed, anyhow, that he was lying when he pretended to be too busy. I had solved his slate trick and wished to have him see me do it and correct me where I was wrong. Meanwhile a friend with a totally unexplainable confidence in Evans had sent me some slates firm- ly screwed together to be taken to the medium. My friend assured me that in the presence of Evans I should undoubtedly receive messages. I believed, and still do, that nothing could be written on the inner surfaces of the slates without taking out the screws. As Evans was now out of the question, my friend directed me to a medium named Colby, with almost as good a reputation for slate-writing and other psychic powers. I found Colby and liked him personally. He did not, like Evans, re- mind me of a weasel. Had I seen him dealing faro I might have asked for a look at the box before putting anything down; still, one could recognize in him certain qualities of a good sport. His rooms were not far from the Freethought office, and more than once after luncheon he came in to have 1889] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 483 a chair and a chat and smoke his cigar. Then a visitor from the South recognized him as a Bap- tist clergyman, named Rains, of Texas, who had been in prison for holding up and robbing a pas- senger train. That put an end to my friendly re- lations with Mr. Colby. He had deceived me about his past. He never told me he had preached. Mr. Colby left San Francisco. Evans met in Australia some one a little keener than himself who solved his method. 6 -- MR. BAILEY SOUGHT SAFETY AFLOAT. The shipping disaster in Port Apia, Samoan Islands, when a terrific hurricane drove three Ger- man and three United States men-of-war upon the reefs, with the loss of one hundred and forty men, took place in March, 1889. Among the survivors who somehow won through when their vessels went down was an old man-o'-warsman named Bai- ley. He had "been to sea" all his life, but now counted it time to quit, especially as he had reached the age for retiring. Mr. Bailey, being a reader of Freethought, deemed it neighborly to call on us when he reached San Francisco on his way to join his people in Oregon, with whom he expected to spend his remaining days. He told me that for some years he had held the thought of leaving the navy, and when his ship foundered and he had to swim for his life, and then barely saved it, because he tired easy these days, the time seemed to have come for him to lay up ashore. He gave me his future address, where the paper was to be sent, 484 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1889 and departed for the State of Oregon, bidding all a final good-by and last farewell. I am uncer- tain about the length of time, but it seemed only a few months later, when the aged Mr. Bailey re- appeared at the Freethought office with cheerful greetings. I asked him the question which he must have expected in view of the above farewell, and he replied that he was now on his way to the naval station at Mare Island to reenlist in the navy. How come? Well, it was like this: When he had got to the place in Oregon where his daughter lived, they had given him a little cabin all by him- self on the side of a hill that showed a good pros- pect on pleasant days, and where, furnished with all the supplies he needed, he had settled down to a life of ease. But it rained and it rained, causing occasional landslips that changed the scenery about him. They assured him, however, that these things were always happening and were no cause for anx- iety. But weren't they? Mr. Bailey testified that one night when he thought he was snug in his berth the ground under his cabin went adrift, and the next thing he knew he was at the foot of the hill, house and all. He pulled himself out of the wreck, spent a week making repairs, and took up life anew in the valley. It kept on raining, the streams rose till his house took in water, and had to be aban- doned. The day after be got out of her she floated and went downstream. Then Mr. Bailey commu- nicated with his shipmate Purdy, aboard the In- dependence, to see whether there was any berth for him there, and finding a chance to ship again, he came back. "Of course," said Mr. Bailey, re- 1889] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 485 membering Samoa, "a fellow that goes to sea takes some chances, but folks that live ashore aren't safe at all. Whether it's a gale or fair weather, war or peace," he concluded, "the deck of a man-o'-war is good enough for me. I've seen battle and wreck and sudden death at sea, and been cast away, by thunder, but I got the scare of my life right on terry firmy." The Liberal activity stirred up by Putnam and reported in Freethought drew the country's force of lecturers in our direction. C.B. Reynolds came first, followed by his wife, who was also a good speaker, and they located at Walla Walla, Wash- ington. B.F. Underwood made two tours. W.S. Bell came and stayed; W.F. Jamieson arrived in November, and the eloquent Mrs. Mattie P. Kre- kel, widow of Judge Arnold Krekel of Kansas City, was on the way. The one lecturer left to the East was L.K. Washburn. On July 1, Putnam had seventy-five lecture engagements booked. Dr. J. L. York of San Jose, with almost the whole field to himself prior to Putnam's advent, and known to those who read his announcements as "the Inger- soll of the West," appeared aloof and on the whole unfriendly. George Chainey, was still going from one perishing superstition to another. Just then he was reported to be a Christian Scientist. One day in the middle of the year G.L. Hen- derson, copartner in the old days with Hugh By- ron Brown in the proprietorship of Science Hall in Eighth street, New York, spoke for our Free- thought Society and paid me a call at the office. A 486 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1889 decade had not yet passed since we met, but all things had changed. "If the friends of the begin- ning of the decade were to meet again in Science Hall," we said, "how many distinguished ghosts would be among them -- Stephen Pearl Andrews, D.M. Bennett, Theron C. Leland, Courtlandt Palmer, Henry Evans, Porter C. Bliss, Tom Mc- Watters, and many another." Henderson had moved to Yellowstone Park, Wyoming, and the Re- ligion of Humanity interested him no more. A "character" known in San Francisco then was an old gentleman of the name of Choynski, who published his weekly "Public Opinion." He may have taken in subscriptions, but mostly, it was said, he took in his subscribers. He sent his paper for a year and then went and collected three dollars. The postal law allowed that as long as a paper was received, and the publisher not notified through the postoffice to discontinue it, the receiver was liable for the price. Mr. Choynski made the price high enough to pay him for the trouble of collecting. He was the father of Joe Choynski, pugilist, and said in his paper that every time Joe was going to fight, papa and mamma prayed he would get licked. Occasional reference was made to the dilatori- ness of the Lick trustees in carrying out the will of that Freethinker and philanthropist who had died thirteen years before. They held in their hands $1,650,000, yet half the bequests had not been car- ried out. The old ladies still waited for their Home, there were no Free Baths, nor any Manual Training School for the boys and girls of San Francisco. The monument to Francis Scott Key 1889] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 487 had been erected, and the Lick Observatory, con- taining the most powerful telescope in the world, completed and presented to the University of Cali- fornia. One of our Oakland subscribers, Mrs. Dolly Bro- neer, was a descendant of Good Abner Kneeland, founder of the Boston Investigator, who back in the '30s had been a prisoner for blasphemy in Mas- sachusetts. Mrs. Broneer showed me an acrostic written by Uncle Abner when he was 68 (two years before his death) to Dorcas Jane Rice, who was Dolly Broneer's mother. It ran thus, in quite classical form: "Delightful theme as e'er engaged the tongue, Or more sublime than ever poet sung, Remote from bigotry or slavish fear, Conjoined with love and all that men hold dear, Are modest virtue, pure in every sense; Sincerity of heart, benevo'ence, Justice and kindness join to make the sum, As all the graces harmonize as one. Now the result of all is happiness -- E'en bigots here must surely this confess. Rejoice, then, now that we have found the road, Immortal bliss is ever doing good; Contented in its lot, does not repine; Enrobed in truth the graces ever shine." Signed "Abner Kneeland" with a neat and proper flourish and dated at Salubria, I.T., the initials standing for Iowa Territory. NOTE -- These chapters of "Fifty Years of Freethought," which I have thrown into the form of an Autobiography to make a human document, have drawn more comment from readers, in their letters, than anything else that I can re- member in The Truth Seeker. That is, more than have 488 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1889 been received regarding anything the writer approved. People are inclined to animadvert more frequently than to commend. Regarding these chapters, one friend has indeed said they contain too much sex stuff, but that is character- istic of our species, being due, as the poet Milton divined, to the original error of Omnipotence in creating that "fair defect of nature," woman, without whom the history of the race, as well as these memoirs, might have been materially modified. The temptation to print the commendatory words of readers that has been overcome hitherto, conquers at sight of these lines in The Literary Guide, to wit: "Mr. George E. Macdonald, the editor of the New York Truth Seeker, is contributing to this journal some autobiographical chapters which are intensely interest- ing. For nearly fifty years he has been identified with the Rationalist Movement in America, and his pen becomes more gifted as time passes." The year of my beginning to be identified, or affiliated, with the Movement was 1875 -- fifty-three years ago. The second half of the last sentence in the paragraph quoted from The Literary Guide brings the comfort which one past the meridian of life extracts from the assurances of polite and he hopes not insincere persons that he does not look his age. The man writing in his eighth decade knows production is slower than in his fourth. He trusts it isn't inferior, but doesn't know. Hence the yielding to the temptation to print what is said by The Guide, I am not prepared to debate whether reprinting it makes it any nearer true or not. Still there is a feeling that an idea comes closer to being fixed as a fact, when put into type once or twice, than when it exists only as a hope. 8 -- CLOSING EVENTS OF '89. Free as was San Francisco in the realm of per- sonal liberty, there were streaks of religious bigotry 1889] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 489 such as that which excluded the Freethought So- ciety from the hall built with the money of James Lick; and the town had Irish Catholic policemen, who could not see our right to sell the paper on the street. An old man named Ketchum attempted this, and one of "the Pope's Irish," as The Argo- naut named them, ordered him to be on his way. Being stubborn, the old man suffered a clubbing. Not only that, but some influence prompted his neighbors to trump up charges of assault against him, and without defense he would have been in- definitely jailed. I testified as "character" witness for him, visited the prosecuting attorney at his office, and hired a lawyer. When I told the prose- cutor that Ketchum was an industrious person who made his living selling our paper, the official replied that he must be industrious and a crank besides. An idealist of any sort in San Francisco was a crank and an object of suspicion. There was no more protection for Ketchum. When he came to the office on a later day with his bundle of papers ruined by the blood he had allowed himself to shed on them when a Catholic rough in a policeman's uniform beat him up, I advised him to desist. The reading of The Truth Seeker and Free- thought for 1889 is calculated to exasperate the Sec- ularist who pays attention to what the churches were then doing. The effect of beholding all at once, instead of week by week, the year's sum of the church's stealings, invasions, abuses, persecu- tions, is impressive to the last degree. The church as an aggregate, backed by its millions of adher- 490 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1889 ents and more millions of money, was achieving a record of infamy -- grafting, grabbing, and for a pretense making long prayers. Deacon Benjamin Harrison occupied the White House, and the Sun- day-school teacher Wanamaker a place in his cabi- net as postmaster-general. Opposed to this pre- daceous combination were a few hundred Free- thinkers, belonging to an organization, the Ameri- can Secular Union, that could not raise ten thou- sand dollars; the secretary, E.A. Stevens, fighting a lone battle in Chicago to head off a little of the stealing if he might; the president of the Union, in Philadelphia, preoccupied with a book of Moral In- struction for the schools to displace the Bible and religious teaching; as if the promoters of those things -- Bible and religion in the schools -- cared a snap for moral instruction, or enjoyed anything better than to contemplate the feeble efforts of the Freethinkers with their half-dozen newspapers of limited circulation to prevent the incessant hold-ups and robberies in the name of religion. But what was going on then and has been ever since, and by what we behold today, doubts are raised whether Secularists can form an organization large enough to win by force of numbers. They will not for centuries be as numerous as the religious people who insist that whatever they believe as Christians ought as far as possible to be crystallized into law, and that what can't be enacted should be propagated at public expense. However, if Freethinkers can- not put the Bible out they can expose it. If they cannot exclude religion, they can at least show it 1889] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 491 up. I am not hopeful of settling the question of union of church and state while believers are in the vast majority, and not reached by the voice or literature of unbelief. The workers of the American Secular Union that year appear to have been divided, though not at cross purposes. In Chicago E.A. Stevens, secre- tary, agitated for the taxation of church property and exposed the graft of the Catholic institutions that enjoyed appropriations of public money. In Philadelphia, R.B. Westbrook attacked the trus- tees of Stephen Girard, who were violating the provisions of his will by giving religious teaching in the college built with money Girard had left the city of Philadelphia for a wholly secular institu- tion. Judge Westbrook also collected a fund to be offered as a prize for the above book of Moral In- struction in the schools. Mr. Stevens resigned be- fore the next Congress, which, held in Philadel- phia October 25-27, reelected Judge Westbrook and picked Miss Ida Craddock for secretary. The Rev. Father Edward McGlynn of New York, now a good Secularist, addressed the Congress. A well-attended convention of the Oregon State Secular Union met at Masonic Hall, Portland, Oc- tober 12. Putnam said of it: "The Portland Convention was a happy success. Hun- dreds were present from all parts of the state, and the Liberals of Washington were generous in their attendance. It was an event for Liberalism, a representative assembly that in itself would mean much, but in its relation to future work it has a much grander significance. It is the beginning of many such mass meetings by which there will be more active union among Liberals and greater work 492 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1889 accomplished. The impulse and attraction of this conven- tion will be for practical advancement ... I have not attended any national convention where there were greater numbers or more interesting addresses." He speaks of the "impulse and attraction" of the convention. But the impulse and attraction of the work on the coast was Putnam -- the tireless worker, the eloquent speaker, the ready, learned, and effective writer. The men liked him; so did the women. He might have kept the work buzzing in Washington, Oregon, and California if he could have remained there and borne the burden. There was plenty to do. The Sabbatarians of California were agitating for a Sunday law, without which the state had got along very well theretofore, every- body being free to go to church who wanted to, or to the theater, or to work. The Rev. Wilbur F. Crafts, field secretary of the American Sunday As- sociation, sent a questionnaire all over the world to find out where Sunday was best observed, and a San Francisco pastor answered: "Among the Chris- tian people of California." With this proposed Sunday law to fight in California, the Blair Chris- tian Education bill in Congress, and the Western States of Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, and New Mexico holding constitutional conventions and vot- ing for theological preambles, there was much to comment upon. The Museums in Central Park, New York, were finally opened on Sunday in 1889. Abroad in 1889, the International Freethought Federation held its Congress in Paris in September; Charles Bradlaugh resigned as president of the Na- 1889] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 493 tional Secular Society of Great Britain, to be suc- ceeded the next year by George William Foote; and the Swedish courts sentenced Victor E. Lennstrand to six months' imprisonment for publicly speaking against Christianity in Stockholm and Malmo. Lennstrand's health failed and the King pardoned him at the end of three months. The Truth Seeker printed Ingersoll's only oral debate, the one he held with Frederic R. Coudert, a Roman Catholic, and Gen. Stewart L. Wood- ford, a Protestant, before the Nineteenth Century Club, on "The Limitations of Toleration," and Remsburg's "Abraham Lincoln: Was He a Chris- tian?" A letter by Lincoln's law partner Herndon appeared, testifying: "Let me say that Mr. Lincoln was an Infidel. He did write a little work on Infi- delity in 1835-6, and never recanted. He was an out-and-out Infidel, and about that there is no, mis- take." The death of Mrs. Amy Post of Rochester, N. Y., early in the year, called one of the good old mothers in Israel to her rest at the age of 86 years. Mrs. Post had always been a reformer, beginning as an Abolitionist and closing her life as a radical Freethinker. It was said of her that as an "under- ground railroad" station keeper she harbored in her house for more than a dozen years, an average of one hundred and fifty runaway slaves each year. I believe that her last dear enemy was Anthony Com- stock. Being a suffragist and a friend of woman, her remarks on that individual were replete with sentiments of pity for his mother. 494 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1889 The cause lost by death in 1889 that son of thun- der, Horace Seaver, who had been editor of the Boston Investigator more than fifty years. He died August 21, four days before his 79th birthday, for he was born August 25, 1810, in Boston. His inclination in youth was to be an actor, his parents' wish was that he should be a minister. Fortunate- ly he became a printer and at 27 took work on The Investigator. HORACF SEAVER, He remained there while Abner Knee- land served his term as prisoner for blasphemy, and when the liberated Kneeland retired from the, editorship in 1838 Seaver took his place. Inger- soll once wrote to Mr. Seaver that the distribu- tion of the Boston Investigator had made it pos- sible for him to travel through the country and lec- ture to thousands. Mr. Seaver was buried from Paine Memorial Hall, Ingersoll being the eulogist. Late in 1889, the support of our paper Free- thought having become rather burdensome to my partner, Mr. Putnam, who was sinking $1,500 a year of his earnings in it, we concluded to form a Freethought Publishing Company. Putnam had 1889] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 495 kept the lecture field almost continuously, selling books and taking subscriptions, and remitting the proceeds along with his lecture fees. The Free- thinkers were loyal and liberal, but there were not enough of them. Although church members are in the minority, there are not many Freethinkers, and never were, who could be signed up as sub- scribers to a Freethought paper. In my letters to Putnam acknowledging his remittances I many times protested against his working so hard and giving his wages to pay the bills of the paper. I had the feeling of being supported by his labors rather than my own. He was getting along in years, I reminded him, and ought to lay aside some- thing for the time when he could not do so much remunerative work. So we formed the company, issued stock, and moved to larger quarters, namely 838 Howard street, where there was a vacant store in a new building. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER XXIII. 1 -- MEETINGS AND THE GIRL PROBLEM. ON December 2, 1889, the Freethought Pub- lishing Company had been organized and had filed incorporation papers; president, Samuel P. Putnam; vice-president, Frank L. Browne; secretary, George E. Macdonald. The names of W.H. Eastman and Emil S. Lemme, two excellent young men, were added to complete the corporation. One hundred and fifty persons bought shares. January 1, 1890, found us doing business at 838 Howard street. The company voted me a salary of $20 a week. Mrs. Macdonald kept the books and met the visitors. Outside my inclosed editorial corner I hung a basket marked: "Please leave poems here and go away." At that period Edwin Markham, distressed by one of Millet's pic- tures, wrote "The Man with the Hoe." I had a Millet picture, "The Angelus," showing a man and a woman, evidently farm hands, standing with their eyes attentively upon the ground, as though search- ing for something. The poem appears to have caused to be reproduced thousands of copies of this picture. I marked mine "The Lost Angleworm" and hung it in a good place. The California State Freethinkers' Convention, held in San Francisco January 25 and 26, was a 496 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 497 @@@@ Redrawn from a faded photograph, the picture shows the front of the office of Freethought, 838 Howard street, San Francisco, in 1890. The figures represent (from right to left) Putnam the Lecturer, the girl Compositor, Browne the Printer, and the Editor. ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ gathering of local Liberals. It must have been a memorable year in the history of the climate of California, for all places more than a day's journey from the city were cut off by landslides, washouts, and snowdrifts. The elder Dr. E. B. Foote of New York convened with us and served with me on the Resolutions Committee. We had enough present to elect ninety vice-presidents, an executive committee of nine, and Putnam for president, Lemme for secretary, and A.H. Schou for treasurer. The Liberal Spiritualists were there with their speakers and singers. The extraordinary weather conditions and the ad- vent of influenza or epizootic, under the new name 498 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1890 of la grippe, operated also adversely on the Paine celebration that followed the convention. In my re- ports of meetings I sometimes felt it my duty to re- buke the girls who were due to be there for their non-attendance at lectures on serious topics, where- as when singing and dancing were promised they outnumbered the young men two to one. At the state convention they might have heard the able ad- dresses of W.S. Bell, the Hon. F.B. Perkins, and various other speakers who never failed to instruct an audience, but they were not present, while at the Paine celebration, with a short program of educa- tive talk and many musical numbers and a social dance for good measure, they were plentiful and happy until midnight's hour had come and been chased away. Young married men and the fathers of daughters were equally at a loss to explain why this should be so. On girls absenting themselves from Freethought lectures I wrote in another place: "It seems to be a settled fact that young women don't want public lectures, and that they won't even attend a sociable for pleasure when an instructive lecture must be taken as a penance. If I were a safe man to send into our families, I should be glad to inaugurate a crusade among the girls for the purpose of quick- ening their minds on the matter of mental improve- ment. They will go to church without urging, and to the theater when urged to stay away, but they seem to look upon an educative lecture as an un- necessity and therefore to be avoided at any incon- venience." A young woman who read this asked me how 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 499 many girls we had among our officers or on perma- nent committees. By a sad blunder we had omitted to elect or name any. Annually in San Francisco occurred the Bohe- mian ball in the same Union Square hall where the Freethinkers met, and so many of our Bohemian readers invited us that we must attend or explain. They were joyous routs where one was allowed to dance Bohemian figures he had never seen before. Why my report of the 1890 affair should have run into rhyme as it did is a wonder to me. I read: "The band was playing all the night, and if feet were heavy, hearts were light. The music told the tale of him, yclept McGinty, who never rose, since he went down into the swim, dressed in his Sun- day suit of clothes. Then it related with toot and blare, how the rollicking razzle-dazzle boys went wandering off on a terrible tear and awoke the night with their joyful noise. Ah! life is a dance and the figure a reel; Time is the fiddler, gray and grim, whose music we follow with toe and heel, till foot is weary and eye is dim. We waltz and polka, fast or slow, chassez and balance, cross over and turn. New faces arrive and old ones go, but the set moves onward in unconcern." Versification and rhyme dribbled uncontrolled from my pen in those days, while only under the greatest provocation have I made two measured lines rhyme in the past twenty-five years. E.C. Walker told me a while ago that verse-making was connected with the activity of glands. 2 -- OBSERVATIONS ON THE STATE. From reading Herbert Spencer, who was and 500 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1890 is my favorite philosopher, and in companionship with a considerable number of bright writers, I fell into ways of anti-government dissertation from which I have never fully returned. Take this ex- ample from one of my Observations in Free- thought: "If there is any conspicuous evil that should be done away with as fast as possible, it is government. Thomas Paine called it a necessary evil, and declared that in its best form it could be nothing else; but since his time people have got into the habit of treating government as though it were something to be proud of. They dress the government in fine clothes and parade it through the streets as Chinamen do their devil. They give it the best buildings in the country, and do not appear to realize that the state house is half-brother to the penitentiary. "No good reform can come through the legislatures -- the tendency is the other way. Are the people enjoying any liberty, a bill is introduced to restrict it. If they demand more chains, the legislature will hasten to accommodate them; if they desire more liberty, they must fight for it. The people of this country fought for their independence of Great Britain, for the rights of American citizens in foreign countries, for their protection on the high seas, and for the abolition of human slavery at home. These epochs, marked by wars, are the only periods when liberty has been achieved and personal rights guaranteed. It seems to be the lot of the people to acquire liberty, and that of legislative bodies gradually to filch it away. The legislatures give us Sunday laws, oath laws, blasphemy laws, Comstock laws, protective statutes, medical laws, and unequal taxation. The legislature kindly takes from us a part of our earnings for its support, and another part for the support of superstition. It lets us pay for religious services for its own so-called benefit and for the benefit of all inmates of public institutions. It gives us the privi- lege of voting if we are males of twenty-one years and 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 501 upwards, and denies suffrage to females of all ages. Where it got the right to grant the one or to deny the other no- body knows. Our legislatures know that the ballot amounts to nothing in the hands of a man in any large community where it is worth using, and that they should withhold it from women is explainable only on the theory that they never make even a seeming concession to the people until the worthlessness of the concession has been demonstrated." There was much to a similar effect in my output for the dozen years following. I learned with gratification that my writings carried comfort to those who were in prison. Benjamin R. Tucker's paper, Liberty, brought me the news that Free- thought was received weekly in Joliet, Illinois, and was read with pleasure by Messrs. Fielden, Schwaab, and Neebe, life prisoners and alleged participants in the Haymarket affair. 3 -- DEDICATED TO GIORDANO BRUNO. The Freethought Society made the two hundred and ninetieth anniversary of the Martyrdom of Giordano Bruno, burned at the stake in Rome Feb- ruary 17, 1600, the occasion for a large memorial meeting. Thomas Curtis, with his fifty years' rec- ord as speaker and worker for Freethought, deliv- ered the speech. I copy the last paragraph of the report of the proceedings: "This was one of the best meetings the writer has ever attended. The addresses, songs, and recitations were of such high merit, the audience was so large, so attentive where close attention was called for, and so generous in awarding praise to its entertainers -- everything in- deed passed off so brilliantly and harmoniously 502 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1890 that many a day may pass before we see the like again." Emotions stirred by the enthusiastic response of the big audience to a Bruno poem I had written and Putnam read, had not subsided when I wrote that paragraph. The verses are too many to be copied here. It was ordinary, unimaginative verse, yet on the whole, dramatic; appropriate to the recent erection of the Bruno monument in Rome, to which many present had contributed, and Putnam put the needed energy into his rendering of the lines. This year the California State Secular Society lost one of its best members by the death of the Hon. J.W. North of Fresno, who died February 21, in his 76th year. Another death soon followed -- that of the Hon. John A. Collins of San Fran- cisco, April 3. The judge, nearly 80 years old, had made a record in liberal and progressive work. As a boy he was an associate of Horace Greeley. A student for the ministry at Andover Theological Seminary, he failed of his purpose to be a preacher and took up anti-slavery work; also temperance, woman suffrage, Spiritualism, and industrial co- operative reform as a co-student of Fourier along with Albert Brisbane. Details of his professional and political life made a half-column in the daily papers. Judge Collins was legal adviser without pay to the Freethought Publishing Company. I consulted him when the Freethought Society was troubled by John Alexander Dowie, who held his faith-heal- ing services in a hall that was next to the one we 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 503 occupied for our meetings, separated from it by doors that could be removed. His services were so noisy sometimes that our lecturer had to raise his voice. We bore the nuisance without complaint. And then this imported impostor (he came from Australia) proposed to enjoin us from advertising meetings at the same time and place as his. He complained of our holding Sunday night dances, threatening to be mean about it. Judge Collins thought of the facts a few moments and said we might advise Dowie it was his first move. Mean- while we pushed our piano, as far away from the partition between the two rooms as it would go. There was in town a rival faith-healer, Mrs. Anna Johnson. To discredit her work Dowie called her an impostor, a jezebel, and, moreover, unchaste. Thus defamed, Mrs. Johnson, remarking that Dowie was a beast, a devil, and a liar, sued him for fifty thousand dollars. That diverted Dowie's attention from the Freethought Society. 4 -- AN EXPONENT OF EGOISM. Henry Replogle shared our printing-office at 838 Howard street and there resumed the publication of his paper called "Equity," which was suspended when he left Liberal, Mo. The house Henry oc- cupied at Liberal had been mobbed on account of his social views; hence he departed that town. He advocated in "Equity" a philosophy called Egoism, which runs more or less like this: Every man should be able to give a reason for the course in life that he chooses, and should be prepared to ex- 504 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1890 plain his conduct when he does good as well as when he does what is thought to be evil. To do good for the sake of good, or to do right "because it is right," is unphilosophical. Self-denial is un- natural, and therefore unwise unless some benefit results to the self-denier sufficient to pay for the inconvenience. Life has no object, but may have uses. Uses for what? To give the means of hap- piness to its possessor. One thing is not "higher" than another, but may be more complex. That is the difference between mud and brains. Intelli- gence is the result of complexity, and is the recog- nizable manifestation of the working of the brain. There is no design, but a natural process. There- fore we are not required to indulge in a sentimental adoration of genius. We need only to recognize it as a natural outcome of prior conditions, the same as virtue. Life has no purpose, but shall we therefore spend it riotously? No; that will not pay, as witness the wrecks on the shores of dissipa- tion. Shall we practice self-denial as regards the pleasures of the world? Certainly, if it gives us happiness to do so; in which case we have used life to the point of its highest productivity, and in denying ourselves one pleasure we have achieved a greater. If the monk in his cell, the anchorite in his cave, the priest among lepers, were not happier than he thinks he would be somewhere else, he would not be there. To be what we call virtuous, not for virtue's sake, but because experience has taught us it brings most happiness, pays us in the end, and is without credit. It is no more praise- worthy than the act of paying our board in advance 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 505 when we have no credit. To practice what goes under the name of morality is simply to prepare conditions for selfish benefits. The duty idea has nothing in it. If a person would be happier other- wise than in the performance of what he calls his duty, he would never perform it. What is life for? It is for nothing. We have legs adapted to locomo- tion, and we use them for that purpose. We find life adapted to the pursuit of happiness; therefore let us so employ it. Horace Seaver, for more than fifty years editor of the Boston Investigator, is said to have pro- duced his editorial articles by setting the type of them from notes. I sometimes preferred that method to writing an article in full and then revis- ing it. I was at the case one day with Replogle alongside, running off a page of his "Egoism" on our half-medium Universal, when news came that a brother editor of liberal tendencies, T.L. Mc- Cready of The Twentieth Century, was dead. Said I to Henry as I spaced out a line, "McCready is in luck." Said Henry: "Yes; only being dead he can't appreciate it." And holding these sentiments, that it were bet- ter not to be, we kept on working for dear life! Henry had as his companion a sweet and lovely woman named Georgia. As she was the faster com- positor of the two, and hence had the greater earn- ing capacity, she held a frame on an Oakland daily and he did the housework. Not being married, they were so absorbed in each other that when Georgia died, Henry nearly lost his reason through grief. 506 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1890 In one number of Freethought I published a note of thanks to my wife for a gift of roses which she had placed on the editorial desk. Georgia Replogle remarked that probably editors' wives had brought them roses before, but my acknowledgment of them was an original thing for an editor to do. So far as I have known, it is the only instance recorded. I quote myself as re- porter when I say that @@@@ Lilian Leland bloomed on the platform of the Freethought Society one Sunday evening like a blossom in a hedge, and told in simple language the story of "Free- thought Around the World." Miss Leland prefaced her address by saying that she had the good fortune to be born of Freethinking parents, Author of "Around the who left their children's World Alone." minds unfettered by any creed or belief, so that the Sunday-school stories of cross and crucifixion took no more hold upon her unterrified mind than the fairy tale of Jack the Giant Killer. In her journey around the world the first heathen country she visited was Japan, whose people she found more ideally Christian than those she left behind. The Japanese were the kindest people on earth, and suffered more than they gained from the in- 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 507 troduction of Christianity. She saw in Japan more missionaries than converts. In China the people were different. Their cities and their habits were inde- scribably unclean, and it was scarcely possible for the missionaries to make the inhabitants worse -- or better. She visited Benares, in India, the oldest and holiest city on the globe. It stands upon the Ganges, the impurest river in the world. In both India and Japan she was warned against the native who pro- fessed Christianity, The uncivilized Hindu could be relied on for a certain amount of fidelity, but the converted Hindu had lost faith in his own gods' power to punish and had learned hypocrisy. Pales- tine Miss Leland found the barest, poorest, stoniest country on earth, and Jerusalem the least tidy city with the possible exception of a walled one in China. At the alleged tomb of Christ in Jerusalem warring Christian sects were prevented from killing one an- other by the presence of a Mohammedan soldier who guards the holy sepulcher. In concluding, the speaker said her experience all over the world had taught her that it is a good thing to be an Ameri- can, because independence in an American woman is not only forgiven but admired, while it would subject a European woman to suspicion. There was no discussion of the lecture, but when Putnam had paid a brief tribute to the late T.C. Leland, father of the speaker, and had said that the daughter was a worthy descendant, Thomas Curtis offered a resolution, which was adopted without dissent, that the Christian parents of the country be challenged to prove by comparison that they could show a brighter example of womanhood, men- 508 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1890 tally, morally, and physically, as a result of a re- ligious training, than Miss Leland afforded as a result of escaping it. 5 -- AN UNGRATEFUL INSTITUTION. I violate the chronologies once more to say that early in 1928, a professor in Mills College, Oak- land, resenting the act of an acquaintance who had sent him The Truth Seeker, which he pronounced "ignorant trash," thus showing that his reading of the paper had been confined to the affirmative of one of our Fundamentalist debates, wrote me to take his name off the list. The discourteous language of the professor, whose name is Linsley, almost caused me to regret the defense of a Mills College president that I put up in 1890. The president concerned was the Rev. Dr. Stratton, charged by a girl with going into her room when she was abed and the lights out, and kissing her while allowing his hand to wander. I held that the Rev. Dr. Stratton was a misunderstood man; for it appeared that the apart- ment occupied by the complainant contained a tele- phone, one of the old-fashioned kind, of course, that had a little crank on it, to which the accused clergyman had frequent occasion to repair. Ad- mittedly the light was insufficient; and this fact, so ran my defense, added to absent-mindedness -- an infirmity which is known to accompany great learn- ing, or to result from habits of pious abstraction -- doubtless caused the clergyman to mistake the young lady's face for the receiver, while the move- 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 509 ment she resented as an ulterior design, may have been but a well-meant endeavor on the clergyman's part to ring up central. I submitted this explana- tion in lieu of Dr. Stratton's alibi and general de- nial, for it looked to me like a complete and trium- phant vindication of a man cruelly misjudged, leav- ing no stain on the record of an institution with which Dr. Linsley has now the questionable honor of being connected. The faculty never in gratitude asked for my photograph to put in the college album, or for the purpose of having an oil painting executed to hang on the walls. It should at least have my name en- shrined among the defenders of its fair fame. In September Mayor Pond of San Francisco summoned me before him for examination as to my capacity to act as judge of elections. A quali- fication for that position was being a taxpayer. I passed, and was O.K.'d on the English language, along with Mr. James Corbett, a prominent and gentlemanly exponent of pugilism, who a while later was roughly K.O.'d by Mr. Fitzsimmons. D.C. Seymour, a traveling lecturer, who reported the incidents of his itinerary through Freethought, challenged Putnam to a debate on Spiritualism be- fore our society, but appeared not when came the hour. Putnam made it a lecture. Not attacking Spiritualism as a theory, a religion, or an inspira- tion, he took the ground that its alleged facts were so far from being demonstrated that Spiritualism was not entitled to be called a science. Among those present was an ingenious chap named Kel- legg, who asked permission to demonstrate certain 510 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1890 of the facts which Mr. Putnam had set aside as un- proved. Mr. Kellogg hoped that for the produc- tion of harmonious conditions some Spiritualist would assist. Our believing member, Mr. James Battersby, consenting to the sacrifice, Mr. Kellogg asked him to write a few questions on slips of pa- per, or "ballots," and while he did so the ingenious one went to the piano and played the music of a hymn. When the ballots had been prepared, the "medium" and sitter placed themselves at opposite sides of a table on the platform, their fingers touch- ing. Kellogg apparently picked up one of the close- ly-folded slips of paper and held it against his head, looking serious. Loud and seemingly causeless raps were heard, then the voice of Kellogg reading the message, which he passed to Putnam to be read to the audience. Mr. Battersby attested its correct- ness. Repeating the demonstration by request, Kellogg sat at the table in such a position that per- sons nearby could see his work. Instead of put- ting the ballot to his head, as he appeared to do, he dropped it into his left hand, unfolded it and held it where he could read it. What Mr. Battersby held down carefully under his fingers on the table, supposing it to be another ballot, was a blank piece of paper. Kellogg spoke of a local medium with whom he had enjoyed a sitting that cost him a dol- lar and a half. The medium was making $15 a day by means of this self-same "demonstration." 6 -- A JAMES LICK INCIDENT, AND OTHERS. The Nationalist movement, founded on Bellamy's "Looking Backward," ceased not to spread, nor 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 511 clubs to multiply. One of the principal clubs had for president Mrs. Addie Ballou, a Spiritualist and Freethinker who was active as member and speaker at our society. Her daughter, Evangeline, who sang in opera, came frequently to sing for us. A word more about Mrs. Ballou. She was an artist and had painted a fairly good portrait of Thomas Paine from her personal impression of how the Author-Hero probably looked in life. Be- ing acquainted with James Lick, she acted on his suggestion and offered the portrait to the committee in charge of the Centennial celebration, to be car- ried in the parade with banners representing other Revolutionary fathers. The committee, which may- be never heard of Paine, or were against him if they had, rejected her offering and she went back to the Lick House to report. Lick was then suf- fering from his last illness at this fine hostlery he had built on Montgomery street. Said he: "Well, if they will not march with Paine, they shall march under him"; and he had a line led across the street from his window to a window opposite, and ran the painting out on it. The procession marched under- neath. There were five Nationalist clubs in San Fran- cisco in the spring of 1890. Henry George, then on the coast, pronounced Nationalism a castle in the air. Hardly a year later but one club remained, and in place of the thousands who had thronged Metropolitan Temple, there was sometimes no quo- rum present. Dr. J.L. York had gone over to this movement and to Spiritualism. The Blair Christian Education bill met its fate 512 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1890 in the Senate at Washington on March 20, 1890; ayes 31, noes 37. The history of that bill, outside the then current issues of The Truth Seeker, is told in a book on "Religious Treason in the Ameri- can Republic," by Franklin Steiner. The Protestants and Catholics at Edgerton, Wis- consin, quarreling over the Bible in the schools, carried their case to, the supreme court of the state, which decided that any reading of the Bible neces- sarily involved the reading of a sectarian doctrine. Therefore Bible reading in the schools was uncon- stitutional and prohibited. That was a famous de- cision. There was in Boston an aged Freethinker named Photius Fiske, some of whose many philanthropies were occasionally discovered. He possessed wealth, and pensioned a number of indigent persons, be- sides making generous donations to Liberalism. When he died on February 7, 1890, the Boston pa- pers reported that he had left a great fortune and had willed it to "Boston's deserving poor." He may be named among Freethinking philanthropists when Christians ask what Infidels have done for charity. The first number of Freethought for the year 1890 announced the death of Mrs. Elizabeth H. Church, aged 81 years, whose father had been a consul in France, and her grandfather consul-gen- eral at Lisbon during the administration of George Washington. She made small bequests to Free- thought activities and requested a secular funeral conducted by Mr. Putnam. She had one relative, the Rev. Edward B. Church of San Francisco, who 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 513 faithfully carried out her will, attending the funeral to hear Putnam's Freethought discourse, and hand- ing me the amount of her bequest as soon as the will had been probated. Mr. Church was a preacher who did not preach, but held the position of principal of the Irving Institute. Some books with a vogue came out that year: "John Ward, Preacher," by Margaret Deland; "Robert Elsmere," by Mrs. Humphry Ward; "Story of an African Farm," by Olive Schreiner, and "Caesar's Column," by Ignatius Donnelly. John Wanamaker, postmaster-general, took the Sabbath school view of books. He barred from the mails Tolstoy's "Kreutzer Sonata," "An Actor's Wife," "The Devil's Daughter," "Thou Shalt Not," one of the Albatross (Albert Ross) novels, and "Speaking of Ellen" and "In Stella's Shadow," by authors whose names have not endured. Joseph Britton, fugleman of the Comstock Society, arrested Pat- rick Farrelly, president of the American News Company, for handling them. Farrelly was a Ro- man Catholic, and made no defense, as a man of principle should have done. He "Pulled" Lilian Le- land's "Around the World Alone," after publish- ing it, on complaint that, like Mark Twain's "Inno- cents Abroad," it ridiculed sacred objects and pic- tures in Palestine and Rome. 7 -- THE CHINESE PRESS. At the corner of Washington and Dupont streets, in San Francisco, a visiting Colorado editor and I one day in 1890 discovered a printing-office like no other in the country at that time, It was the office 514 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1890 of a Chinese newspaper. The tall hand-press, made in Edinburgh long before the Chinese trade, was surmounted by a dragon. A compositor at his la- bors wore a yellow silk cloak with flowing sleeves, and his blue trousers were tied about his ankles with white tape. He wore a silk skullcap having a red knot at the crown, thus contrasting strongly with such members of the typographical union as I have been privileged to know. The Chinese comp, it could be seen, was one of the higher class, perhaps en- titled to wear the mandarin-button, as in Franklin's day the printer, being a gentleman, wore a sword on dressy occasions. This compositor was sur- rounded by sixty type cases, each divided into 196 compartments, or "boxes." Job cases held display type awaiting sensational news, like the Second Coming. The Chinese compositor, when we ob- served him, happened to be distributing, or throw- ing in his case. He carried his type in a stick, from which he extracted it with nippers. Not beginning with the end of a line and throwing back the letters as they had been set, he rather planted himself in front of a case and stayed there until all the char- acters he had with him that belonged to this par- ticular case were returned to it, when he proceeded to another. He may have distributed as many in- dividual pieces of type in an hour as it would take an American printer five minutes to throw in. The Chinaman's type-face was on a square body of soft metal, bigger than pica. In his takes he got no "fat," no poetry, no italics, and no punctuation. The heading of the paper he produced, The Oriental News, appeared on the last column of the last page, 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 515 and looked like the tail of a kite. I saw not the editor, but some of his copy hung on the hook. He had written it with a small brush and a box of black- ing. A stone-hand carried a form on a tin galley held above his head like a tray borne by a waiter. He put no trust in his lock-up; he slid the form from the tin galley to the bed of the press, which was of the "Washington" pattern, but older. I have not watched the progress of the art preservative among the Chinese. It may have advanced and left this office in San Francisco in 1890 the last of its kind. Our Freethought paper never looked like itself unless it carried a glowing report of Putnam in the lecture field. But one week when he was some- where in Oregon, it contained only this card: DEAR GEORGE: I have struck it rich. Lectured three times and am only fifty cents behind expenses. No post- age stamps. Yours forever, SAMUEL." Assuming it was my duty to write something for him to keep up the enthusiasm, I added to his card: "The future gleams with promise, and the earth trembles beneath the tread of the advancing hosts that fling to the glistening sun the radiant banners of progress. Morn spills its goblet of effulgence over the mountain tops; the chariot of day mounts the heavens to high noon; the de- clining orb in majestic splendor sinks below the western clouds that he in banks of red and gold above the far horizon's rim; the pale moon like a silver scimeter, cuts through the sky's serene and vast abyss; the stars peep brightly from the void of space; night stretches forth her laden scepter o'er a slumbering world; and the Pil- grim dreams of a postage stamp large as a quarter-section of government land." 516 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1890 We called Putnam the Secular Pilgrim. He went wherever there was a call, and often had to take a loss. From publications fifty years old readers dis- cover how few of the lies told of Infidels in the twentieth century are new. President Calvin Cool- idge in 1927 made the unfounded statement that doubters do not achieve. The San Francisco Moni- tor in 1890 said: "The achievers of great things have never been Infidels." At the New York Press Club that year Ingersoll said: "And after all, gen- tlemen, I call upon you to witness that there is nothing so weak and helpless as the truth. She goes into the arena without shield or spear. A good healthy lie, clad in complete armor, with sword and shield, does the business." Two of the prin- cipal achievers in San Francisco, James Lick and Adolph Sutro, were Infidels. Thus far I haven't mentioned Henry Frank, known to all readers of The Truth Seeker. I sup- ply the omission now from an article in Freethought of July 19, 1890: "The Rev. Henry Frank of Jamestown, N.Y., has been denounced as a heretic and expelled from relationship with the Western New York Association of Congregational churches." The title of one of Mr. Frank's books, "Doom of Dogma," stimulated many years ago the mind of the Rev. Dr. A. Wakefield Slaten, who in 1922 was also fired. 8 -- PROPHETS OF DISASTER. Eighteen ninety was the year of many dire predictions, forerunning a historic "messiah craze," 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 517 especially among the Amerinds. Mrs. Woodworth, a revivalist, foresaw a tidal wave that was to drown Oakland for its sins. In the August Arena, Dr. Joseph Rodes Buchanan, Spiritualist and psychom- etrist, in a twenty-page article on "The Coming Cataclysm of America and Europe," laid down the disastrous future for a period of nineteen years and after. Dr. Buchanan saw the Republican party hurled from power by the Democratic party, which would make things worse, and then yield to the Labor party with no better results. Meanwhile the seasons would so mingle with one another as to destroy all crops and make large regions of the United States barren. He had the Atlantic sea- board swept away from Maine to New Jersey, but forgot to mention Galveston on the gulf. "The Mississippi will be a scourge like the Yang-tse- Kiang in China." Here he came near the truth, since in 1927 the Mississippi-Kiang did overflow its banks. For the Pacific coast Dr. Buchanan du- plicated substantially the prediction of Mrs. Wood- worth. Occasionally someone recalls Dr. Buchanan and his prophecies. He has been dead many years and his psychometry (soul-measuring) died at about the same time. I saw him often in the early '80s when he had an Eclectic School of Medicine in Liv- ingston Place, on Stuyvesant Square, New York City, and walked about the Park with Hope Whip- ple, who I believe was his psychic. The former Reverend Hugh O. Pentecost was now conducting his paper, The Twentieth Century, as an Atheist and Materialist. He soon added Anarchist and defied the world. He held a meeting 518 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1890 in Newark, N.J., on the 7th of November to com- memorate the Chicago victims. It was stopped by the police, who clubbed the members of the assem- blage and locked up Lucy Parsons, widow of Al- bert, hanged in '88. An absurd manifestation of Comstockery showed itself among the principals of schools in Brooklyn, who wished to have Longfellow's poem, "The Building of the Ship," withdrawn from the text books as a menace to the morals of their pupils. Longfellow had been so indelicate as to call his Ship a young bride and to represent the Ocean as the ardent Swain. Quite lost to considerations of modesty, he wrote: "And for a moment one might mark What had been hid'en in the dark. That the head of the maiden lay at rest, Tenderly on the young man's breast." "She starts-she moves-she seems to feel The thrill of life along her keel, And, spurning with her foot the ground, With one exulting, joyous bound, She leaps into the ocean's arms!" "Take her, O bridegroom, old and gray, Take her to thy protecting arms With all her youth and all her charms!" "How beautiful she is! How fair She lies within the arms that press Her form with many a soft caress Of tenderness and watchful care." Often in my youth had I read that poem uncon- scious of its voluptuous theme. And at the Union 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 519 Iron Works, out at the Potrero, I later had seen ships launched without indulging an impure thought. I did not even think of Longfellow's verse. One day they put overboard the cruiser Charleston, which instead of leaping into Old Ocean's eager arms, moved out a little distance into the slough and came to rest with her bottom in the mud, and the groom, Old Ocean, miles away. On another day it was the cruiser San Francisco they launched. Substantially the same story; but as she slid down the ways a 100 per cent American leaped upon the timbers she had left and frantically waved the flag of his country. His feet slipped their hold and he went into the water after the bride. But the ex- hibition was moral, even if the hands who pulled him out were profane. 9 -- FOR THE RECORD. The American Secular Union held its fourteenth annual congress in the Grand Opera House, Ports- mouth, Ohio, October 21-23, 1890, the attendance being large. "The opera house was packed," and the old officers reelected -- Dr. R.B. Westbrook, president; Miss Ida C. Craddock, secretary. The congress discussed the policy of appointing a Field Secretary and sending him forth on a salary to work in the name of the Secular Union. The choice fell on Charles Watts, editor of Secular Thought of Toronto, Ont., to be confirmed when the funds for his salary should be collected. Mr. Watts already occupied the field, with half a dozen other lecturers. Dr. E.B. Foote, Jr., questioned 520 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1890 the justice of paying a salary to one and lending no assistance to the rest. Better, he thought, to subsidize them all. Dr. Westbrook had stressed, the necessity of appointing a man of the best moral character. As all of them were of good moral char- acter so far as known, this seemed a reflection on the unchosen. The fund to provide a salary for Mr. Watts failed to be subscribed. The birth of a son to George E. and Grace L. Macdonald became known when the editor of The Truth Seeker, November 29, published a letter from me saying that I had made him an uncle and given his nephew the name Eugene. My letter said: "The subject of these remarks [that is, the infant Eugene] became a resident of California on the eighth of the present, month of November, and, I am informed, fa- vors his father in the matter of sex. He was too late for the election this year, but will vote in 1912, provided he is not himself a candidate for any high office. This native son of the Golden West was recognized at once as Eugene Leland Macdonald, although he has so far declined to ac- knowledge his identity. The mother is happier than she ever was before. She is also in her right mind, and I would that I could say as much for the father, who has been in a state of wild excitement since the eighth. In acquiring a son I fear that I have lost many cherished friends among my male acquaintances on account of my inclination to thrust information upon them about the said son. When they see me coming nowadays they make haste to get upon the opposite side of the street or to con- ceal themselves where I cannot find them. Even my friend Burgman, the tailor with whom for many months I have been accustomed to exchange theosophic thoughts, now turns upon me a cold ear and a deaf shoulder, says good- bye and skips around the corner at my approach. Putnam hurrayed as I did at first, but he has now departed for 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 521 Texas, and the time is near at hand when I shall have to howl alone or hire somebody to shout with me. I shall, be pleased if you or any of the boys in The Truth Seeker office will kindly make a little noise on my account. When you see Counsellor Sherman and Harry Thomas, convey the tidings to them. We were young together ere wives and families had set their seal upon our brows. When we all have scant soap-locks above our ears we will meet again, and refer casually to the halcyon days of youth." The interested mother of the boy has preserved a Swinburnian travesty with the suggested title of An Infant Son-(net). It might be entitled "A Burden of Paternity": "Lying asleep between the sheets of night, I heard a sound arise beside my bed, Faint first, but swelling as I lift my head; And growing fiercer till I strike a light It issues from a mouth not made to bite Nor yet articulate, but small and red, With voice imperative, which spoke and said I wist not what, save something to incite Me to a livelier motion, and I haste, Without formality of donning shoes Or coat, or vest, or any other clothes, To warm a jolt of milk, in toilet chaste, Which quickly in a bottle, I infuse, And thrust the same beneath that infant's nose." The Oregon State Secular Union, C. Beal, presi- dent, and Kate Kehm,, secretary, called a conven- tign to meet in New Orion Hall, Portland, October 11, 1890. Putnam attended and reported that it "added a bright page to the history of Free- thought." For all that California had no Sunday Law and made a pretense of taxing churches, San Francisco was afflicted with the same meanly pious gang of 522 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1890 officials that get into places of authority in other cities. I have said that the trustees of James Lick's various bequests, taking a salary from the estate of the Infidel, refused to let the Freethought Society occupy Pioneer Hall, which his money built, but they rented the front store in the build- ing to a liquor dealer, who named his place the Pioneer Saloon. I have told how the pope's Irish on the police force clubbed off the street an old man who sold our papers. The press was not much to rely upon in 1890; we could get no notice taken of meetings that drew sometimes as many as eight hundred or one thousand attendants. To help news- dealers sell Freethought, I printed posters they might hang in conspicuous places. On their own authority the police, being Irish and Catholic, or- dered these taken in, although they bore nothing more offensive than "Read Freethought: 'To Plow is to Pray; To Plant is to Prophesy, and the Har- vest Answers and Fulfills. -- Ingersoll." Catholic roughs defaced the poster fastened to a board in front of the office, and threw the board into the street. There were more papists in San Francisco than in any other city of its size, and they got the political jobs. Ward politicians, controlling the schools, made the teachers pay for appointments, in money or otherwise. One teacher who had paid in money and then lost the appointment, exposed the system; and those that had paid in another way and been cheated, naturally had nothing to say. Men were placed on the school board who were not fit for the police force. One of these whom I met personally was a regular rounder, and 1890] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 523 I heard him boast of the perquisites of his job. I exclaimed somewhat loudly in the paper against the suppression of Freethought by "office-holding poli- ticians ready and seeking to be debauched by coin or concupiscence." The old part of the city con- tained a nunnery called Visitation Convent. One could learn from persons of long residence in San Francisco that the priests and some laymen had car- ried keys to its doors and lodged their mistresses there -- a practice that might not have been wholly discontinued. The local Comstock agent, C.R. Bennett, patron of Clark Braden, tried so many times to win his cases by lying that the courts ceased to act on his testimony. "He has been proved to be a man who cannot be believed under oath," said Prosecutor Mott, and Mott refused to prosecute a case with Bennett in court as witness. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** CHAPTER XXIV 1 -- my PARTNER REPULSES THE SABBATARIANS. THE religious element in California, as else- where, was as unappreciative as it was un- worthy of the free institutions, the gift of a more honest generation, which the bigots with a zest for persecution were preparing to slaughter. They had picked the free Sunday for their first vic- tim. As no law exempted church property or par- sons from taxation, it might be supposed that re- lease from the civic duty of helping to support the state that protected them would be the first concern of the ecclesiastical parasites. But the nominal taxes, which in so many instances were never paid, worried them less than their lost grip on Sunday liberty. They could enjoin the collector of taxes by pleading oppression, or practice on the city offi- cials to have their ratables overlooked, but they could hardly put barbers, bootblacks, or merchants in jail for Sunday work without some sort of statute to plead in their complaint. Therefore, in order to procure such a law the ministers formed a Sabbath Union, prepared a bill, and sent their secretary and several assistants to argue its passage before the joint committee of the legislature at Sacramento. Advices from the capital foretold a hearing, in February, 1891, when the advocates of the Sunday bill "expected to have it their own way." But to the displeasure if not dismay of the holy men, the Freethinkers sent Putnam, and the Spiritualists 524 1891] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 525 Addie Ballou, to speak for the opposition. And, unexpectedly, the bill was for the time defeated. Mrs. Ballou told me that Putnam did it, and gave so lively a description of the scene in the Senate chamber that I forthwith celebrated the victory in a poem of sixteen stanzas. I quote the opening one and some of the others: The Christian hosts had massed their force in Sacramento town, And they had brought great orators of merit and renown; And they had vowed a Sunday law they straightway would enact, And all the Senate chamber with their followers was packed. A half dozen stanzas give the argument of the Reverend Thompson, secretary of the Sabbath Un- ion, and introduce Putnam and what he had to re- mark about the proposed law. He said it had its origin along the pagan line, And was imposed upon the world by Emperor Constantine; And that when we observe the day, as under law we must, We strike our colors to a knave and trail them in the dust. The Fathers of the nation never dreamt of Sabbath laws, And in all the Constitution there was not a Sabbath clause. The gonfalons of ancient Rome might make a Christian flag, But he would not consent to march behind a pagan rag. He's stood beneath the Stars and Stripes upon the battle field, And while that was triumphant he did not propose to yield. Freethought, religious liberty! was his motto in this fight, And Sunday laws he held to be subversive of his right. 526 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1891 When Putnam first began his speech, he scarcely had a friend In all that vast assemblage, but when he reached the end, So persuasive was his eloquence, so righteous was his cause, From gallery and chamber rose the salvos of applause. Oh, there are victories of peace, and victories of war, And there are victories that hold the whole great world in awe -- Great triumphs for the men who win, aye for the men who fall, But a victory for Freethought is the greatest of them all. Putnam rightly estimated the value of the tem- porary success. "The snake is scotched, not killed," he wrote. "The combat will be renewed. But I hope that at every session of the legislature there will be a debate like this. It will educate the people. It will set even the Christians to thinking. Agita- tion is the best thing for progress." When the combat was renewed, Put was not there to engage the enemy, and the ministers got their Sunday law. Henceforth there could be no more sociables and dances at the Freethought Society Sunday night to disturb the faker Dowie. Malignity, spite, and stupidity, on which Sunday laws are begotten and thrive, had given the joy-killers their way. And long they have had exemption too. The passage of a law making legal deadheads of them was hardly more than a ratification of an existing condition. It legitimatized the skinning of the taxpayers and of the treasury by the churches, which they had been doing unlawfully hitherto. 1891] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 527 2 -- RHYMES THAT RETURNED. Of my rhymes, some that I considered the neat- est were not so esteemed by anybody else, and they never got farther than the columns of Freethought. Others went about everywhere that papers like Freethought were circulated. In quoting my verse, then, I choose only such pieces as had the approval of reproduction elsewhere. There was one about 1890 that came back to me in the exchanges. It bore the title "Christian Faith" and evidently was a reply to a religious rhymer. There is no Christian faith: A man may say all increase is of God, But he who plants not seed beneath the clod Reaps barren sod. That man who hastes, when clouds are in the sky, To house his grain, knows that no God on high Will keep it dry. The mariner seeks Heaven's aid no more, But life-preservers, when the breakers roar On leeward shore. "The wind is tempered," says the Christian seer, Yet prudent herdsman scarce are known to shear At fall of year. We go, to rest with prayer when day is o'er But seldom lock our sense in sleep before We've locked the door. Believers rear their temples high and broad, And then attach, not having trust in God, A lightning-rod. 528 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1891 And who has read of flaming holocaust, Nor noted, touching churches that were lost, "Insured for cost"? Whoever for another day prepares, And guards 'gainst dangers coming unawares, God's word forswears. He rises from his knees when prayers are said, And, shunning Heaven, to whom he prayed, Seeks human aid. There is no Christian faith; Men with their lips may trust a God on high, And by their every act their word deny, I know not why. There were diversions occasionally, or they might be created. A subscriber in British Columbia discovered some lines of verse which he sent me saying that he thought them worthy of a place in Freethought, but if I did not agree with him, I might return them. They were as follows: We stand by the graves of the old-time gods Who sleep with their prophets and seers, Whose crowns and kingdoms and scepters and rods Have passed with the vanishing years. And we know they are gone, and that even so Shall ours and the gods of our children go. Yet man shall abide, though his gods be dead And he bury them one by one; He shall witness the last of the triple head, The Father and Spirit and Son; And shall cry as his deities disappear, "The gods have departed, but I am here." 1891] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 529 We stand in the valley, or on the hill, Or move by the rolling stream; And we query: "All these, are they older still Than the gods of the prophet's dream?" Vale, river, and mountain as one reply: "Before Jehovah was am I." I sent the poem back to my correspondent telling him I thought it rather poor, the theme not being original and the versification and rhythm faulty. He replied that of course he respected my judgment, but still had confidence in his own; and, another thing, he believed that our Freethought papers would please their readers by publishing plenty of good poetry. Editors arrogated to themselves more than was warranted, he believed, by their qualifi- cations as critics. He was sending the poem again, and hoped I would find room for it, not alone to humor him but at the same time to compliment the unknown author. An adroit letter and the publica- tion of the poem pacified him. To excuse the liber- ty I had taken in so freely criticising the verses, I said I had written them myself in 1879, twelve years before, which was the fact. James Barry of the San Franscisco Star, who had suffered imprisonment for publishing his opin- ion of a judge, went to Sacramento (1890) to argue before the Senate Judiciary Committee in favor of a bill designed to take from judges the power to in- flict fines and imprisonment, with no trial of the ac- cused by jury. When addressing the committee he was interrupted by the chairman, a man named Sprague, who asked with sarcasm if Mr. Barry 530 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1891 "gave the committee no credit for possessing in- telligence." Mr. Barry requested that he might be excused from answering immediately, as it was a question yet to be determined. He said that the com- mittee appeared to be lacking in something, but he had not yet made up his mind whether it was intel- ligence or honesty. He then resumed, and soon came to the reading of an extract from Ingersoll on the matter of contempt of court. The chairman again interrupted him, this time to inquire: "Who is this man Ingersoll you are quoting?" Then Barry stopped and announced that he was ready to answer the preceding question concerning the intelligence of the committee. His mind was now made up. If that committee was fairly represented by its chair- man, and if the chairman did not know who Inger- soll was, then the committee did not possess in- telligence enough to carry thistles to a jackass. 3 -- FOR THE RECORD. Moses Harman, editor of Lucifer, Valley Falls, Kan., who had been arrested in 1887 for publishing a coarsely-written letter on marital abuses, was sen- tenced in April, 1890, to serve five years in the penitentiary and to pay a fine of three hundred dol- lars, and was taken to Lansing, on May 4. Ezra H. Heywood, editor of The Word, Princeton, Mass., appears to have courted arrest by publishing in- dicted matter from Harman's paper. He got it. E. C. Walker, who had separated himself from Lucifer and started Fair Play, later removed to Sioux City, Ia., in order to pursue another policy than that of 1891] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 531 using words morally certain to provoke arrest. I maintained the not original position that these ven- turesome men who drew the attention of the sadists to themselves were buffers for the rest of us. Any- how their persecution marked the limits of safety for us. B.R. Tucker of Liberty took a little dif- ferent view. He said (I quote from memory) that by putting themselves recklessly where they needed defense, they halted the advance and sapped the strength and resources of the main army of prog- ress, which was under no obligation to halt or turn aside for their relief. Throughout the year 1891 The Truth Seeker agitated for the Sunday opening of the World's Fair in Chicago. Sixteen Liberal societies pub- lished notices of regular meetings. In Tennessee a farmer named R.M. King, Seventh-day Advent- ist, of Obion county, was prosecuted for plowing on Sunday. Convicted of Sabbath-breaking by the county court, he took his case to the supreme court of his state, where the sentence was confirmed; he then employed Don M. Dickinson, former U.S. postmaster-general, to carry it to the United States Supreme Court, alleging that the conviction was contrary to the Bill of Rights. In August The Truth Seeker said: "Only the merest outline of the opinion [by Justice Hammond] has reached the public, but it appears to be in keeping with our United States Court decisions, that the United States constitutional amendments are binding on Congress only, and not upon state legislatures. The Justice ruled that King was convicted under due process of Tennessee law, and that it was not the 532 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1891 province of the federal court to review the case." Hugh O. Pentecost, who for the past few years had been lecturing against the state, now took up the practice of the law. Asked his reason for doing so, he replied that the class people for whom he had been suffering martyrdom were not worth it. "They are wedded to the clergymen and the poli- ticians," he said. "They will follow a black gown and a brass band into slavery, and they enjoy their servitude. They like to be humbugged, robbed, and ruled, and they love the men who humbug, rob, and rule them. When I did not know this I was willing to suffer, if need be, for the working people, Now that I know it, I am not." Liberal lecturers in the field and reporting to The Truth Seeker at the end of 1891 were, first and foremost, Putnam; then, Dr. Henry M. Parkhurst, John R. Charlesworth, C.B. Reynolds, Mrs. Mat- tie P. Krekel, W.S. Bell, and John E. Remsburg. Henry Frank, lately fired by the Congregationalists of Jamestown, N.Y., announced himself ready to found the New Society of Human Progress and preach the New Liberalism. He has continued to do such preaching off and on up to the time of this writing. In the line of duty during these closing years of my stay in San Francisco I had to record that Mrs. Annie Besant, once rational, had gone theosophist; that instead of emphasizing the neomalthusian doc- trine taught in her "Law of Population" she now insisted that to be perfect one must be sexually in- ert; That Edward Bellamy, publishing his "New Na- 1891] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 533 tion," preached the second coming of the spirit of Christ, incarnated, one inferred, in the person of Mr. Bellamy, while Nationalism was the name of the new dispensation; That the always hostile Rev. Owen, once editor of the Spiritualist paper, The Golden Gate, when he received his editorial articles by with- drawing himself from disturbing influences and al- lowing thoughts to flow into his mind, now con- ducted the aggressive Better Way in San Jose and made war on a brother editor who accused him of leaving his hat and shoes behind when interrupted in a pastoral call; That Col. M.E. Billings, compiler of the original edition of "Crimes of Preachers," had been prose- cuted for shooting somebody and had made a pro- fession of Christian belief; That Tolstoy's "Kreutzer Sonata" had been vin- dicated as mailable and that Wanamaker repudiated all responsibility for giving the book a boom by or- dering it thrown out; That the trustees of Kaweah colony, established in Tulare county to exemplify Nationalism, had been arrested for poaching on government land (probably a bit of persecution). The Liberals of Oregon rallied at a good con- vention at Portland, October 3-5, and elected J. Henry Schroeder of Arago, president. The Ameri- can Secular Union Congress was held in Industrial Hall, Philadelphia, October 31 (1891). The edi- tor of The Truth Seeker headed his report of it "I said in My Haste, All Men are Liars," and in his 534 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1891 opening sentence pronounced this "the shortest and meanest congress" ever held by the organization. Thirty-four persons entitled to vote attended, about one-half of them, including the whole Truth Seeker office force, being from New York. President Westbrook tried to control the proceedings in such a way as to give no offense to the clergy. The Free thinkers were paying all the expenses and wanted some Freethought remarks, which Dr. Westbrook held to be improper. The delegates took counsel with one another and decided to move the head- quarters to Chicago. To that end they elected Judge C.B. Waite president and Mrs. M.A. Freeman secretary. Dr. Westbrook had spent something like $5,000 of the Union's funds on a Manual of Moral- ity. The New York Independent, then a religious paper, reviewed the work as follows: "'Conduct as a Fine Art,' by N.P. Gilman and E.P. Jackson, is a book composed of the two essays which shared equally the prize of $1,000 offered by a Philadel- phia organization for the best manual to aid teachers in public schools to instruct children in morals without dab- bling in religious details. We heartily recommend the volume as one to which the average school teacher can turn with certainty of gain. Both essays are clear and forcible; the one by Mr. Gilman is strikingly so." The essayists are said to have been liberal clergy- men. Mr. Gilman referred his readers to the Apostle Paul, who refers his to God, said The Truth Seeker, and assumed the immortal soul of man as a certainty. The book had no useful future. 1891] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 535 4 -- THE PASSING OF VETERANS. Death took its toll of veteran Freethinkers. On January 10, 1891, J.P. Mendum, proprietor of the Boston Investigator, died at his home at Melrose Highlands, Mass., in his 80th year. Mr. Mendum was born in Kennebunk, Me., July 7, 1811. As Abner Kneeland's successor in managing The In- vestigator, he enlarged the field of the paper, and published the works of the great Freethinkers -- Voltaire, D'Holbach, Paine, Robert Taylor, Volney. He proposed the Paine Memorial Hall in Appleton street, raised the money with which it was erected, and owned it at the time of his death. He left a son Ernest (born 18-3) who inherited the hall and The Investigator, which he conducted until it was consolidated with The Truth Seeker in 1904. Er- nest disposed of his interest in the hall to Ralph Chainey, son of George. Distinctly remembered events attended the re- ceipt of news in San Francisco that Charles Brad- laugh was dead, January 30, 1891. The following paragraph recounts my participation in the publish- ing of the startling intelligence: "It is a sign of enterprise in a daily paper to pub- lish, on the day following his decease, the likeness and biography of a distinguished man. It was the enterprise of the San Francisco Examiner, which never spares its employees on great occasions, that caused a reporter of that paper to extract me from my bed on the night of Friday, January 30, in or- der that I might provide him with a portrait and sketch of Charles Bradlaugh. I made the nocturnal @@@@ CHARLES BRADLOUGH This is believed to be Bradlough's best portrait. It was submitted to The Truth Seeker by his daughter Hypatia Bradlough Bonner for an anniversary edition, September 25, 1909. 1891] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 537 visit to the office, hunted up the etching and the facts, and sent the reporter upon his way rejoicing, Otherwise he would not have gone back to The Ex- aminer office, such being his orders. The paper contained the next day the only accurate likeness and biography of Bradlaugh published in the city. The Post, having no picture of Bradlaugh, pub- lished Ingersoll's likeness with Bradlaugh's name." The Examiner appreciated my assistance enough to give me its cut of Bradlaugh to publish in Free-thought. There are biographies of Bridlafigh in all the encyclopedias. He was born in East London, Sept. 22) 1833; became a great orator and established The National Reformer, 1860, on the staff of which were employed Bernard Shaw, John M. Robertson James Thomson, Annie Besant, and Bradlaugh's daughter, Hypatia. He was many times elected to Parliament, being a member at the time of his death. He was a great man -- the English compeer of Ingersoll. In June Mary A. Leland, having enjoyed and suffered a life of near sixty-eight years that cov- ered all the experiences of wife, mother, and grand- mother, with the trials of a reformer besides, said good-bye to all and closed her eyes not to open them again. We held the funeral in the house where she had lived, at Filbert and Taylor streets, with the family and the near neighbors by the cof- fin while Evangeline Ballou sang an evening song and the venerable Thomas Curtis, himself not hav- ing far to go, spoke the few words the occasion re- 538 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1891 quired. A memoir of Mrs. Leland, her personal history as Mary Ann (Brush) Torbett, so long ago that no one now living can remember the woman reformer of that name, would make a better biog- raphy than you could find by looking at a hundred that have been written. I went to the office the day of the funeral and came to the house in the afternoon to attend the ser- vices. The family help, according to a San Fran- isco custom, was a Japanese boy; and this particu- lar one, for certain advantages which thereby ac- crued to him, had joined the Salvation Army. The Jap had a surprise for me, for when I went up the steps he opened the door in a very formal way, and displayed himself in the full uniform of a Salva- tion Army warrior. Why he donned that rig for the occasion of a funeral I was never able to make up my mind. He may have thought the services re- ligious, and hence calling for a religious garb, or he may have noticed the absence of religious prepara- tions, and decided to add the missing touch him- self. To the list of deaths in 1891, Col. John R. Kelso, of Longmont, Colorado, contributed his. Colonel Kelso was a man of great mental and physical en- ergy, a tall, soldierly man, with a limp from a bullet in his leg, who had been in the Civil War and in Congress. As I remember seeing him, he always wore a high hat and a ribbon in his buttonhole. Seventeen years after he was born, near Columbus, Ohio, Kelso was a teacher in the public schools and a licensed exhorter of the Methodist church. His mind was analytical. Analysis may be said to 1891] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 539 have been his middle name. As a preacher he ap- plied it to the Bible, and came near committing suicide when he found the holy book wouldn't stand it. He quit exhorting, but kept on teaching until 1885 -- thirty-seven years. Then he published his books -- Analysis of Deity, of the Bible, of the Devil, and finally, of Government -- this last un- finished at the time of his death, January 26, 1891. He had a wife who helped him in his literary labors, and who adored him; so that his life was a great success. The world lost James Parton, beloved of all Freethinkers, October 17, 1891, in Newburyport, Mass., where he had lived since 1875, and wrote his life of Voltaire. He was born in Canterbury, England, February 8, 1822. After coming to New York at five years and receiving his educa- tion here, he began teaching and pursued that calling until he took the editorship of The Ladies' Home Journal, a very important periodi- cal of its day. He adopt- ed the profession of let- ters, lectured on literary and political topics, and became one of America's biographers of the first class. In 1854 he married the lady, then a widow of the name of Eldredge, who was born Sarah Willis, a sister of the poet N. 540 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1891 P. Willis and known throughout the country as "Fanny Fern." She died in 1872, and three years later he married her daughter, Miss Ellen Eldredge, by her previous husband. Parton was a fearless man. He wrote energetically in defense of D.M. Bennett, and sent The Truth Seeker a money con- tribution every month of 1880-'81 that its editor was in prison. Dr. J.R. Monroe died November 9, 1891. The doctor had been in journalism for many years. He started the Rockford Herald in 1855, moved it to Seymour, Ind., in 1857 and changed its name to the Seymour Times, and on removing it to Indian- apolis in 1881 called it The Ironclad Age, which it remained until his death and its later absorption by The Truth Seeker. He had an honorable, not to say distinguished, record as an army doctor dur- ing the Civil War. A eulogist states that he stood at the head of his profession as a physician. Dr. Monroe, born about 1825, was a native of Mon- mouth county, New Jersey, of Revolutionary stock. His paper, The Ironclad Age, was a great favorite with Infidels. 5 -- ACCEPTING THE INEVITABLE. If there had been enough interested Freethinkers on the coast to support a paper by renewing their subscriptions year after year, I should be there now editing the weekly Freethought; but it appeared there were only about two-thirds of the required number. The receipts and Putnam's earnings paid the paper's bills, but left out the editor. Putnam 1891] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 541 had earned and turned in some $3,500 in cash. I had put in only my time. He more than once mur- mured that if he had known the difficulties and the unrewarded work of getting out a paper, he wouldn't have proposed starting one, nor have lured me to the coast. He was past fifty years: it was time to collect for his old age. The expert accountant put on the books discovered that subscribers owed two thousand dollars, and the company owed, say, $200. The meeting decided that were the friends of the paper to be told that I needed a salary they would subscribe it. I protested that I had a good trade, was in the best of health, and capable of earning an independent living. Besides, there was an attrac- tive job, down at the water-front, loading angle- iron on a scow. However, against my vote the proposition carried that a salary fund be solicited in my behalf. A considerable amount of money came in. I agreed, nevertheless, with one man who wrote that if I could not make a go of it editing a paper I had better try something else. That looked like a sound economic principle. I therefore resigned. The company appointed Putnam as editor. I took a job setting type, but continued my contributions to the paper. Frank L. Browne assumed the man- agement. Browne thought the paper could be made to pay. Putnam took the editorship, but was obliged to keep the lecture appointments he had made. In one of my contributed editorials I reviewed with approval an article by Herbert Spencer on Nation- alism. Mr. Browne in the next number apologized for the editorial, being convinced that the hope of the race lay in Socialism. I am giving only an im- 542 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1891 pression of the situation. There was no quarrel, no warm words. But I never could write Socialist ar- ticies. If a Socialist policy would be helpful to the paper, I was in no position to object. I have an idea that 1889-'91 were years of failing prosperity in California. Men who had been flush of money found themselves getting short of that commodity and were apologetic about it. Papers without capital discontinued. Unemployment pre- vailed and the population drifted; old friends dis- appeared, went away in search of work, and new ones were few. Subscribers wrote that while our struggling paper enlisted their full sympathy, we must not forget that they had their own troubles. They could no longer raise the money for lectures, which had been so easy a year or two before. That card of Putnam's that I have quoted, saying that he had struck it rich, having delivered three lectures and found himself only fifty cents behind, was a shadow of coming events. In 1888 he might have come out fifty dollars ahead on each. He had a theory about this being a period of liquidation fol- lowing one of credit. I never went into it deeply with him. I knew that we were printing a good paper that was praised and quoted by our exchanges East and West, and concluded that if the Western Liberals didn't support it, the cause lay in their financial inability to do so -- in the visible change that had come about in their circumstances. They were embarrassed. There had been unprecedented weather conditions, and more subtle causes for a reversal of prosperity. The political economists may now have the floor. 1891] FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT 543 The number of Freethought containing my last contribution bore date June 20, 1891. The last number of the paper published was dated August 15 of the same year. It said there would be a con- solidation with The Truth Seeker, and the state- ment to that effect, written by Putnam, was con- gratulatory. He saw how the merger was destined mightily to advance the cause. The Truth Seeker, announcing the Concentra- tion of Effort, said: "The past two years have been hard ones for the few journals upholding Free- thought. There has been much to distract the mind to other issues. Business has been poor, merchants finding but few customers, while the farmers have been compelled to sell their crops for little of nothing. Under these conditions the efforts of Liberals have relaxed, with unfortunate results Charles Watts, one of the ablest men who ever stepped upon a platform, has found it necessary to go back to England, where he could better provide for his family; and though his work in Canada is to be continued, we very much fear that it will not be possible to hold the Liberals of that country as he has done." On looking at the Freethought subscription list my brother found a "few hundred of them who had paid nothing for a year or two," which, he obtested, was not the way to promote Liberalism. Putnam from time to time invited the "few hundred" to send in their arrearages to The Truth Seeker, and I don't doubt that those did who had it. 544 FIFTY YEARS OF FREETHOUGHT [1891 As I remarked of my boyhood situations, that I always knew where I was going next, so when San Francisco dis- charged me I had another place in sight. It was Snohomish, Washington, where as city editor of a weekly and tri- weekly small-town paper called The Eye, I began life in circumstances about as new to me as when I came into atmospheric existence in 1857 or to New York in 1875. An account of that will begin in Chapter One, Volume II. My newspaper partner in Snohomish, 1891-1893, was Clay- ton H. Packard, who still survives. Mr. Packard has read the fifty-odd pages of manuscript covering our association in Independent Journalism, and returned it with few corrections. This is a story of wide-open spaces, sur- rounded by tall timber, where men wore mackinaws. The moccasin tracks were there visible, as well as the Indians who made them. -- G.E.M. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** ****


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