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21 page printout Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. Contents of this file page NEW YORK SPEECH. 1 THE REV. DR. NEWTON'S SERMON ON 13 THE POLICE CAPTAINS' DINNER. 15 PREFACE 19 **** **** This file, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 The Works of ROBERT G. INGERSOLL **** **** NEW YORK SPEECH. 1876. I AM just on my way home from the grand old State of Maine, and there has followed me a telegraphic dispatch which I will read to you. If it were not good, you may swear I would not read it: Every Congressional district, every county in Main, Republican by a large majority. The victory is overwhelming, and the majority will exceed 15,000." That dispatch is signed by that knight-errant of political chivalry, James G. Blaine. I suppose we are all stockholders in the great corporation known as the United States of America, and as such stockholders we have a right to vote the way we think will best serve our own interests. Each one has certain stock in this Government, whether he is rich, or whether he is poor, and the poor man has the same interest in the United States of America that the richest man in it has. It is our duty, conscientiously and honestly to hear the argument upon both sides of the political question, and then go and vote conscientiously for the side that we believe will best preserve our interest in the United States of America. Two great parties are before you now asking your support -- the Democratic party and the Republican party. One wishes to be kept in power, the other wishes to, have a chance once more at the Treasury of the United States. The Democratic party is probably the hungriest organization that ever wandered over the desert of political disaster in the history of the world. There never was, in all probability, a political stomach so thoroughly empty, or an appetite so outrageously keen as the one possessed by the Democratic party. The Democratic party howling like a pack of wolves looking in with hungry and staring eyes at the windows of the National Capitol, and scratching at the doors of the White House. They have been engaged in these elegant pursuits for sixteen long, weary years. Occasionally they have retired to some convenient eminence and lugubriously howled about the Constitution. The Democratic party comes and asks for your vote, not on account Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 1 NEW YORK SPEECH. of anything it has done, not on account of anything it has accomplished, but on account of what it promises to do; the Democratic party can make just as good a promise as any other party in the world, and it will come farther from fulfilling it than any other party on this globe. The Republican party having held this Government for sixteen years, proposes to hold it for four years more. The Republican party comes to you with its record open, and asks every man, woman and child in this broad country to read its every word. And I say to you, that there is not a line, a paragraph, or a page of that record that is not only an honor to the Republican party, but to the human race. On every page of that record is written some great and glorious action, done either for the liberty of man, or the preservation of our common country. We ask every body to read its every word. The Democratic party comes before you with its record closed, recording every blot and blur, and stain and treason, and slander and malignity, and asks you not to read a single word, but to be kind enough to take its infamous promises for the future. Now, my friends, I propose to tell you, to-night, something that has been done by the Democratic party, and then allow you to judge for yourselves. Now, if a man came to you, you owning a steamboat on the Hudson River, and he wished to hire out to you as an engineer, and you inquired about him, and found he had blown up and destroyed and wrecked every steamboat he had ever been engineer on, and you should tell him: I can't hire you; you blew up such an engine, you wrecked such a ship," he would say to you, "My Lord! Mister, you must let bygones be bygones." If a man came to your bank, or came to a solitary individual here to borrow a hundred dollars, and you went and inquired about him and found he never paid a note in his life, found he was a dead-beat, and you say to him,"I can not loan you money." "Why?" Because, I have ascertained you never pay your debts." Ah, yes, "he says, you are no gentleman going prying into a man's record." I tell you, my good friends, a good character rests upon a record, and not upon a prospectus, a good record rests upon a deed accomplished, and not upon a promise, a good character rests upon something really done, and not upon a good resolution, and you cannot make a good character in a day. If you could, Tilden would have one to-morrow night. I propose now to tell you, my friends, a little of the history of the Republican party, also a little of the history of the Democratic party. And first, the Republican party. The United States of America is a free country, it is the only free country upon this earth; it is the only republic that was ever established among men. We have read, we have heard, of the republics of Greece, of Egypt, of Venice; we have heard of the free city in Europe. There never was a republic of Venice; there never was a republic of Rome; there never was a republic of Athens; there never was a free city in Europe; there never was a government not cursed with caste; there never was a government not cursed with slavery; there never was a country not cursed with almost every infamy, until the Republican party of the United States made this a free country. It is the Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 2 NEW YORK SPEECH. first party in the world that contended that the respectable man was the useful man; it is the first party in the world that said without regard to previous conditions, without regard to race, every human being is entitled to life, to liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and it is the only party in the world that has endeavored to carry those sublime principles into actual effect. Every other party has been allied to some piece of rascality; every other party has been patched up with some thieving, larcenous, leprous compromise. The Republican party keeps its forehead in the grand dawn of perpetual advancement; the Republican party is the party of reason; it is the party of argument; it is the party of education; it believes in free schools, it believes in scientific schools, it believes that the schools are for the public and all the public; it. believes that science never should be interfered with by any sectarian influence whatever. The Republican party is in favor of science; the Republican party, as I said before, is the party of reason; it argues; it does not mob; it reasons; it does not murder; it persuades you, not with the shot-gun, not with tar and feathers, but with good sound reason, and argument. In order for you to ascertain what the Republican party has done for us, let us refresh ourselves a little we all know it, but it is well enough to hear it now and then. Let us then refresh our recollection a little, in order to understand what the grand and great Republican party has accomplished in the land. We will consider, in the first place, the condition of the country when the Republican party was born. When this Republican party was born there was upon the statute books of the United States of America a law known as the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, by which every man in the State of New York was made by law a bloodhound, and could be set and hissed upon a negro, who was simply attempting to obtain his birthright of freedom, just as you would set a dog upon a wolf. That was the Fugitive Slave law of 1850. Around the neck of every man it put a collar as on a dog but it had not the decency to put the man's name on the collar. I said in the State of Maine, and several other States, and expect to say it again although I hurt the religious sentiment of the Democratic party, and shocked the piety of that organization by saying it, but I did say then, and now say, that the Fugitive Slave Law in 1850 would have disgraced hell in its palmiest days. I tell you, my friends, you do not know bow easy it is to shock the religious sentiments of the Democratic party; there is a deep and pure vein of piety running through that organization; it has been for years spiritually inclined; there is probably no organization in the world that really will stand by any thing of a spiritual character, at least until it is gone, as that Democratic party will. Everywhere I have been I have crushed their religious hopes. You have no idea how sorry I am that I hurt their feelings so upon the subject of religion. Why, I did not suppose that they cared anything about Christianity, but I have been deceived. I now find that they do, and I have done what no other man in the United States ever did -- I have made the Democratic party come to the defence of Christianity. I have made the Democratic party use what Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 3 NEW YORK SPEECH. time they could spare between drinks in quoting Scripture. But notwithstanding the fact that I have shocked the religions sentiment of that party, I do not want them to defend Christianity any more; they will bring it into universal contempt if they do. Yes, yes, they will make the words honesty and reform a stench in the nostrils of honest men. They made the words of the Constitution stand almost for treason, during the entire war, and every decent word that passes the ignorant, leprous, malignant lips of the Democratic party, becomes dishonored from that day forth. At the same time, in 1850, when the Fugitive Slave Law was passed, in nearly all of the Western States, there was a law by which the virtues of pity and hospitality became indictable offenses. There was a law by which the virtue of charity became a crime, and the man who performed a kindness could be indicted, imprisoned, and fined. It was the law of Illinois -- of my own State -- that if one gave a drop of cold water, or a crust of bread, to a fugitive from slavery, he could be indicted, fined and imprisoned, under the infamous slave law of 1850 under the infamous black laws of the Western States. At the time the Republican party was born, (and I have told this many times) if a woman ninety-nine one-hundredths white had escaped from slavery, carrying her child on her bosom, having gone through morass and brush and thorns and thickets, had crossed creeks and rivers, and had finally got within one step of freedom, with the light of the North star shining in her tear-filled eyes -- with her child upon her withered breast -- it would have been an indictable offence to have given her a drop of water or a crust of bread; not only that, but under the slave law of 1850, it was the duty of every Northern citizen claiming to be a free man, to clutch that woman and hand her back to the dominion of her master and to the Democratic lash. The Democrats are sorry that those laws have been repealed. The Republican party with the mailed hand of war tore from the statue books of the United States, and from the statue books of each State, every one of those infamous hellish laws, and trampled them beneath her glorious feet. Such laws are infamous beyond expression; one would suppose they had been passed by a Legislature, the lower house of which were hyenas, the upper house snakes, and the executive a cannibal king. The institution of slavery had polluted, had corrupted the church, not only in the South, but a large proportion of the church in the North; so that ministers stood up in their pulpits here in New York and defended the very infamy that I have mentioned. Not only that, but the Presbyterians, South, in 1863, met in General Synod, and passed two resolutions. The first resolution read, "Resolved, that slavery is a divine institution" (and as the boy said, "so is hell") Second, "Resolved, that God raised up the Presbyterian Church, South, to protect and perpetuate that institution." Well, all I have to say is that, if God did this, he never chose a more infamous instrument to carry out a more diabolical object. What more had slavery done? At that time it had corrupted Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 4 NEW YORK SPEECH. the very courts so that in nearly every State in this Union if a Democrat had gone to the hut of a poor negro, and had shot down his wife and children before his very eyes, bad strangled the little dimpled babe in the cradle, there was no court before which this negro could come to give testimony. He was not allowed to go before a magistrate and indict the murderer; he was not allowed to go before a grand jury and swear an indictment against the wretch. justice was not only blind but deaf; and that was the idea of justice in the South, when the Republican party was born. When the Republican party was born the bay of the bloodhound was the music of the Union; when this party was born the dome of our Capitol at Washington cast. its shadow upon slave-pens in which crouched and shuddered women from whose breasts their babes had been torn by wretches who are now crying for honesty and reform. When the Republican party was born, a bloodhound was considered as one of the instrumentalities of republicanism. When the Republican party was born, the church had made the cross of Christ a whipping-post. When the Republican party was born, courts of the United States had not the slightest idea of justice, provided a black man was on the other side. When this party came into existence, if a negro had a plot of ground and planted corn in it, and the rain had fallen upon it, and the dew had lain lovingly upon it, and the arrows of light shot from the exhaustless quiver of the sun, had quickened the blade, and the leaves waved in the perfumed air of June, and it finally ripened into the full ear in the golden air of autumn, the courts of the United States did not know to whom the corn belonged, and if a Democrat had driven the negro off and shucked the corn, and that case had been left to the Supreme Court of many of the States in this Union, they would have read all the authorities, they would have heard all the arguments, they would have heard all the speeches, then pushed their spectacles back on their bald and brainless heads and decided, all things considered, the Democrat was entitled to that corn. We pretended at that time to be a free country it was a lie, We pretended at that time to do justice in our courts; it was a lie, and above all our pretence and hypocrisy rose the curse of slavery, like Chimborazo above the clouds. Now, my friends, what is there about this great Republican party? It is the party of intellectual freedom. It is one thing to bind the hands of men; it is one thing to steal the results of physical labor of men, but it is a greater crime to forge fetters for the souls of men. I am a free man; I will do my own thinking or die; I give a mortgage on my soul to nobody; I give a deed of trust on my soul to nobody; no matter whether I think well or I think ill; whatever thought I have shall be my thought, and shall be a free thought, and I am going to give cheerfully, gladly, the same right to thus think to every other human being. I despise any man who does not own himself. I despise any man who does not possess his own spirit. I would rather die a beggar, covered with rags, with my soul erect, fearless and free, than to live a king in a palace of gold, clothed with the purple of power, with my soul slimy with hypocrisy, crawling in the dust of fear. I will do my own thinking, and when I get it thought, I will say it. These are the splendid things, my friends, about the Republican party; intellectual and physical liberty for all. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 5 NEW YORK SPEECH. Now, my friends, I have told you a little about the Republican party. Now, I will tell you a little more about the Republican party. When that party came into power it elected Abraham Lincoln President of the United States. I live in the state that holds within its tender embrace the sacred ashes of Abraham Lincoln, the best, the purest man that was ever President of the United States. I except none. When he was elected President of the United States, the Democratic party, said: we will not stand it; "the Democratic party South said; "We will not bear it;" and the Democratic party North said: "You ought not to bear it." James Buchanan was then President. James Buchanan read the Constitution of the United States, or a part of it, and read several platforms made by the Democratic party, and gave it as his deliberate opinion that a state had a right to go out of the Union. He gave it as his deliberate opinion that this was a Confederacy and not a Nation, and when he said that, there was another little, dried up, old bachelor sitting over in the amen corner of the political meeting and he squeaked out: "That is my opinion too," and the name of that man was Samuel J. Tilden. The Democratic party then and now says that the Union is simply a Confederacy; but I want this country to be a Nation. I want to live in a great and splendid country. A great nation makes a great people. Your surroundings have something to do with it. Great Plains, magnificent rivers, great ranges of mountains, a country washed by two oceans -- all these things make us great and grand as the continent on which we live. The war commenced, and the moment the war commenced the whole country was divided into two parties. No matter what they had been before, whether Democrats, Freesoilers, Republicans, old Whirs, or Abolitionists -- the whole country divided into two parts -- the friends and enemies of the country -- patriots and traitors, and they so continued until the Rebellion was put down. I cheerfully admit that thousands of Democrats went into the army, and that thousands of Democrats were patriotic men. I cheerfully admit that thousands of them thought more of their country than they did of the Democratic party, and they came with us to fight for the country, and I honor every one of them from the bottom of my heart, and nineteen out of twenty of them have voted the Republican ticket from that day to this. Some of them came back and went to the Democratic party again and are still in that party; I have not a word to say against them, only this: They are swapping off respectability for disgrace. They give to the Democratic party all the respectability it has, and the Democratic party gives to them all the disgrace they have. Democratic soldier, come out of the Democratic party. There was a man in my State got mad at the railroad and would not ship his hogs on it, so he drove them to Chicago, and it took him so long to get them there that the price had fallen; when he came back, they laughed at him, and said to him, "You didn't make much, did you, driving your hogs to Chicago?" "No," he said, "I didn't make anything except the company of the hogs on the way." Soldier of the Republic, I say, with the Democratic party all you can make is the company of the hogs on the way down. Come out, come out and leave them alone in their putridity -- in their rottenness. Leave them alone. Do not try to put a new patch on an old garment. Leave Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 6 NEW YORK SPEECH. them alone. I tell you the Democratic party must be left alone it must be left to enjoy the primal curse, "On thy belly shalt thou crawl and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life," O Democratic party. Now, my friends, I need not tell you how we put down the Rebellion. You all know. I need not describe to you the battles you fought. I need not tell you of the men who sacrificed their lives. I need not tell you of the old men who are still waiting for footsteps that never will return. I need not tell you of the women who are waiting for the return of their loved ones. I need not tell you of all these things. You know we put down the rebellion; we fought until the old flag trampled over every inch of American soil redeemed from the clutch of treason. Now, my friends, what was the Democratic party doing when the Republican party was doing these splendid things? When the Republican party said this was a nation; when the Republican party said we shall be free; when the Republican party said slavery shall be extirpated from American soil; when the Republican party said the negro shall be a citizen, and the citizen shall have the ballot, and citizen shall have the right to cast that ballot for government of his choice peaceably -- what was Democratic party doing? I will tell you a few things that the Democratic party has done within the last sixteen years. In the first place, they were not willing that this country should be saved unless slavery could be saved with it. There never was a Democrat, North or South -- and by Democrat I mean the fellows who stuck to the party all during the war, the ones that stuck to the party after it was a disgrace; the ones that stuck to the party from simple, pure cussedness -- there never was one who did not think more of the institution of slavery than he did of the Government of the United States; not one that I ever saw or read of. And so they said to us for all those years: if you can save the Union with slavery, and without any help from us, we are willing you should do it; but we do not propose that this shall be an abolition war." So the Democratic party from the first said "An effort to preserve this Union is unconstitutional," and they made a breastwork of the Constitution for rebels to get behind and shoot down loyal men, so that the first charge I lay at the feet of the Democratic party, the first charge I make in the indictment, is that they thought more of slavery than of liberty and of this Union, and in my judgment they are in the same condition this moment. The next thing they did was to discourage enlistments in the North. They did all in their power to prevent any man's going into the army to assist in putting down the Rebellion. And that grand reformer and statesman, Samuel J. Tilden, gave it as his opinion that the South could sue, and that every soldier who put his foot on sacred Southern soil would be a trespasser, and could be sued before a justice of the Peace. The Democratic party met in their conventions in every State North, and denounced the war as an abolition war, and Abraham Lincoln as a tyrant. What more did they do? They went into partnership with the rebels. They said the rebels just as plainly as though they had spoken it: "Hold on, hold out, hold hard, fight hard until we get the political possession of the North and then you can go in peace." Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 7 NEW YORK SPEECH. What more? A man by the name of Jacob Thompson -- a nice man and a good Democrat, who thinks that of all the men to reform the Government Samuel J. Tilden is the best man -- Jacob Thompson had the misfortune to be a very vigorous Democrat, and I will show you what I mean by that. A Democrat during the war who had a musket -- you understand, a musket -- he was a rebel, and during the war a rebel that did not have a musket was a Democrat. I call Mr. Thompson a vigorous Democrat, because he had a musket. Jacob Thompson was the rebel agent in Canada, and when he went there he took between six and seven hundred thousand dollars for the purpose of cooperating with the Northern Democracy. He got himself acquainted with and in connection with the Democratic party in Ohio, in Indiana, and in Illinois. The vigorous Democrats, the real Democrats, in these States had organized themselves under the heads of "Sons of Liberty," "Knights of the Golden Circle," "Order of the Star" and various other beautiful names, and their object was to release rebel prisoners from Camp Chase, Camp Douglass in Chicago, and from one camp in Indianapolis and another camp at Rock Island. Their object was to raise a fire in the rear, as they called it -- in other words, to burn down the homes of Union soldiers while they were in the front fighting for the honor of their country. That was their object, and they put themselves in connection with Jacob Thompson. They were to have an uprising on the 16th of August, 1864. It was thought best to hold a few public meetings for the purpose of arousing the public mind. They held the first meeting in the city of Peoria, where I live. That was August 3rd, 1864. Here they came from every part of the State, and were addressed by the principal Democratic politicians in Illinois. To that meeting, Fernando Wood addressed a letter, in which he said that although absent in body he should be present in spirit. George Pendleton of Ohio, George Pugh of the same State, Seymour of Connecticut, and various other Democratic gentlemen, sent acknowledgments and expressions of regret to this Democratic meeting that met at this time for the purpose of organizing an uprising among the Democratic party. I saw that meeting, and heard some of their speeches. They denounced the war as an abolition nigger war. They denounced Abraham Lincoln as a tyrant. They carried transparencies that said, "Is there money enough in the land to pay this nigger debt? Arouse, brothers, and hurl the tyrant Lincoln from the throne." And the men that promulgated that very thing are running the most important political offices in the country, on the ground of honesty and reform. And Thompson says that he furnished the money to pay the expenses of that Democratic meeting. They were all paid by rebel gold, by Jacob Thompson. He has on file the voucher from these Democratic gentlemen in favor of Tilden and Hendricks. The next meetings were held in Springfield, Illinois, Indianapolis, Indiana, the expenses of which were paid in the same way. They shipped to one town these weapons of our destruction in boxes labeled Sunday school books! That same rebel agent, Jacob Thompson, hired a Democrat by the name of Churchill to burn the city of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Thompson coolly remarked: I don't think he has had much luck, as I have only heard of a few fires." Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 8 NEW YORK SPEECH. In Indianapolis a man named Dodds was arrested -- a sound Democrat -- so sound that the Government had to take him by the nape of the neck and put him in Fort Lafayette. The Convention of Democrats then met in the city of Chicago, and declared the war a failure. There never was a more infamous lie on this earth than when the Democratic convention declared in 1864 that the war was a failure. It was but a few days afterward that the roar of Grant's cannon announced that a lie. Rise from your graves, Union soldiers, one and all, that fell in support of your country -- rise from your graves, and lift your skeleton hands on high, and swear that when the Democratic party resolved that the war for the preservation of your country was a failure, that the Democratic party was a vast aggregated liar. Well, we grew magnanimous, and let Dodds out of Fort Lafayette; and where do you suppose Dodds is now? He is in Wisconsin. What do you suppose Dodds is doing? Making speeches. Whom for? Tilden and Hendricks -- "Honesty and reform!" This same Jacob Thompson, Democrat, hired men to burn New York, and they did set fire in some twenty places, and they used Greek fire, as he said in his letter, and ingenuously adds I shall never hereafter advise the use of Greek fire." They knew that in the smoke and ruins would be found the charred remains of mothers and children, and that the flames leaping like serpents would take the child from the mother's arms and they were ready to do it to preserve the infamous institution of slavery; and the Democratic party has never objected to it from that day to this. They burned steamboats, and many men with them, and the hounds that did it are skulking in the woods of Missouri. While these things were going on, Democrats in the highest positions said "Not one cent to prosecute the war." The next question we have to consider is about paying the debt. This is the first question. The second question is the protection of the citizen, whether he is white or black. We owe a large debt. Two-thirds of that debt was incurred in consequence of the action and the meanness of the Democrats. There are some people who think that you can defer the payment of a promise so long that the postponement of the debt will serve in lieu of its liquidation -- that you pay your debts by putting off your creditors. The people have to support the Government; the Government cannot support the people. The Government has no money but what it received from the people. It had therefore to borrow money to carry on the war. Every greenback that it issued was a forced loan. My notes are not a legal tender, though if I had the power I might possibly make them so. We borrowed money and we have to pay the debt. That debt represents the expenses of war. The horses and the gunpowder and the rifles and the artillery are represented in that debt -- it represents all the munitions of war. Until we pay that debt we can never be a solvent nation. Until our net profits amount to as much as we lost during the war we can never be a solvent people. If a man cannot understand that, there is no use in talking to him on the subject. The alchemists in olden times who fancied that they could make gold out of nothing were not more absurd than the American advocates of soft money. They resemble the early explorers of our continent who lost years in searching for the fountain of eternal youth, but the ear of age never caught the gurgle of that spring. We all have heard of men who spent years of labor in endeavoring to produce perpetual motion. They produced Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 9 NEW YORK SPEECH. machines of the most ingenious character with cogs and wheels, and pulleys without number, but these ingenious machines had one fault, they would not go. You will never find a way to make money out of nothing. It is as great nonsense as the fountain of perpetual youth. You cannot do it. Gold is the best material which labor has yet found as a measure of value. That measure of value must be as valuable as the object it measures. The value of gold arises from the amount of labor expanded in producing it. A gold dollar will buy as much labor as produced that dollar. [Here the speaker opened a telegram from Maine, which he read to the audience amid a perfect tempest of applause. It contained the following words:] "We have triumphed by an immense majority, something we have not achieved since 1868." [The speaker resumed.] And this despatch is signed by man who clutched the throats of the Democrats and held them until they grew black in the face, James G. Blaine. * * * Now, gentlemen, to pass from the financial part of this, and I will say one word before I do it. The Republican party intends to pay its debts in coin on the 1st of January, 1879. Paper money means probably the payment of the Confederate debt; a metallic currency, the discharge of honest obligations. We have touched hard-pan prices in this country, and want to do a hard-pan business with hard money. We now come to the protection of our citizens. A government that cannot protect its citizens, at home and abroad, ought to be swept from the map of the world. The Democrats tell you that they will protect any citizen if he is only away from home, but if he is in Louisiana or any other State in the Union, the Government is powerless to protect him. I say a government has a right to protect every citizen at home as well as abroad, and the Government has the right to take its soldiers across the State line, to take its soldiers into any State, for the purpose of protecting even one man. That is my doctrine with regard to the power of the Government. But here comes a Democrat to-day and tells me, (and it is the old doctrine of secession in disguise), that the State of Louisiana must protect its own and that if it does not, the General Government has nothing to do unless the Governor of that State asks assistance, no matter whether anarchy prevails or not. That is infamous. The United States has the right to draft you and me into the army and compel us to serve there, if the powers are being usurped. It is the duty of the Government to see to it that every citizen has all his rights in every State in this Union, and to protect him in the enjoyment of those rights, peaceably if it can, forcibly if it must. Democrats tell us that they treat the colored man very well. I have frequently read stories relating how white men were passing along the road when suddenly they were set upon by ten or twelve negroes, who sought their lives; but in the fight which ensued, the ten or twelve negroes were killed, not a white man hurt. I tell you Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 10 NEW YORK SPEECH. it is infamous, and the Democratic press of the North laughs at it, and Mr. Samuel J. Tilden does not care. He knows that many of the Southern States are to be carried by assassination and murder, and he knows that if he is elected it will be by assassination and murder. It is infamous beyond the expression of language. Now, I ask you which party will be the most likely to preserve the liberty of the negro -- the party who fought for slavery, or the men who gave them freedom? These are the two great questions -- the payment of the debt, and the protection of our citizens. My friends, we have to pay the debt, as I told you, but it is of greater importance to make sacred American citizenship. Now, these two parties have a couple of candidates. The Democratic party has put forward Mr. Samuel J. Tilden. Mr. Tilden is a Democrat who belongs to the Democratic party of the city of New York; the worst party ever organized in any civilized country. I wish you could see it. The pugilists, the prizefighters, the plug-uglies, the fellows that run with the "machine;" nearly every nose is mashed, about half the ears have been chewed off; and of whatever complexion they are, their eyes are nearly always black. They have fists like tea-kettles and heads like bullets. I wish you could see them. I have been in New York every few weeks for fifteen years; and when I am here I see the old banner of Tammany Hall. "Tammany Hall and Reform;" "John Morrissy and Reform;" "John Kelley and Reform;" "William M. Tweed and Reform;" and the other day I saw the, same old flag; "Samuel J. Tilden and Reform." The Democratic party of the city of New York never had but two objects -- grand and petit larceny. Tammany Hall bears the same relation to the penitentiary that the Sunday school does to church. I have heard that the Democratic party got control of the city when it did not owe a dollar, and have stolen and stolen until it owes a hundred a sixty millions, and I understand that every election they have had was a fraud, every one. I understand that they stole everything they could lay their hands on; and what hands! Grasped and grasped and clutched, until they stole all it was possible for the people to pay, and now they are all yelling "Honesty and Reform." I understand that Samuel J. Tilder, was a pupil in that school, and that now he is the head teacher. I understand that when the war commenced he said he would never aid in the prosecution of that old outrage. I understand that he said in 1860 and in 1861 that the Southern States could snap the tie of confederation as a nation would break a treaty, and that they could repel coercion as a nation would repel invasion. I understand that during the entire war he was opposed to the prosecution, and that he was opposed to the Proclamation of Emancipation, and demanded that the document be taken back. I understand that he regretted to see the chains fall from the limbs of the colored man. I understand that he regretted when the Constitution of the United States was elevated and purified, pure as the driven snow. I understand that he regretted when the stain was wiped from our flag and we stood before the world the only pure Republic that ever existed. This is enough for me to say about him, and since the news from Maine you need not waste your time in talking about him. [A voice "How about free schools?"] Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 11 NEW YORK SPEECH. I want every schoolhouse to be a temple of science in which shall be taught the laws of nature, in which the children shall be taught actual facts, and I do not want that schoolhouse touched or that institution of science touched, by any superstition whatever. Leave religion with the church, with the family, and more than all, leave religion with each individual heart and mind. Let every man be his own bishop, let every man be his own pope, let every man do his own thinking, let, every man have a brain of his own. Let every man have a heart and conscience of his own. We are growing better, and truer, and grander. And let me say, Mr. Democrat, we are keeping the country for your children. We are keeping education for your children. We are keeping the old flag floating for your children; and let me say, as a prediction, there is only air enough on this continent to float that one flag. NOTE: This address was not revised by the author for publication. END **** **** THE REV. DR. NEWTON'S SERMON ON A NEW RELIGION. I HAVE read the report of the Rev. R. Heber Newton's sermon and I am satisfied, first, that Mr. Newton simply said what he thoroughly believes to be true, and second, that some of the conclusions at which he arrives are certainly correct. I do not regard Mr. Newton as a heretic or skeptic. Every man who reads the Bible must, to a greater or less extent, think for himself. He need not tell his thoughts; he has the right to keep them to himself. But if he undertakes to tell them, then he should be absolutely honest. The Episcopal creed is a few ages behind the thought of the world. For many years the foremost members and clergymen in that church have been giving some new meanings to the old words and phrases. Words are no more exempt from change than other things in nature. A word at one time rough, jagged, harsh and cruel, is finally worn smooth. A word known as slang, picked out of the gutter, is cleaned, educated, becomes respectable and finally is found in the mouths of the best and purest. We must remember that in the world of art the picture depends not alone on the painter, but on the one who sees it. So words must find some part of their meaning in the man who hears or the man who reads. In the old times the word "hell" gave to the hearer or reader the picture of a vast pit filled with an ocean of molten brimstone, in which innumerable souls were suffering the torments of fire, and where millions of devils were engaged in the cheerful occupation of increasing the torments of the damned. This was the real old orthodox view. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 12 THE REV. DR. NEWTON'S SERMON ON A NEW RELIGION. As man became civilized, however, the picture grew less and less vivid. Finally, some expressed their doubts about the brimstone, and others. began to think that if the Devil was, and is, really an enemy of God he would not spend his time punishing sinners to please God. Why should the Devil be in partnership with his enemy, and why should he inflict torments on poor souls who were his own friends, and who shared with him the feeling of hatred toward the Almighty? As men became more and more civilized, the idea began to dawn in their minds that an infinitely good and wise being would not have created persons, knowing that they would be eternal failures, or that they were to suffer eternal punishment, because there could be no possible object in eternal punishment -- no reformation, no good to be accomplished -- and certainly the sight of all this torment would not add to the joy of heaven, neither would it tend to the happiness of God. So the more civilized adopted the idea that punishment is a consequence and not an infliction. Then they took another step and concluded that every soul, in every world, in every age, should have at least the chance of doing right. And yet persons so believing still used the word "hell," but the old meaning had dropped out. So with regard to the atonement. At one time it was regarded as a kind of bargain in which so much blood was shed for so many souls. This was a barbaric view. Afterward, the mind developing a little, the idea got in the brain that the life of Christ was worth its moral effect. And yet these people use the word "atonement," but the bargain idea has been lost. Take for instance the word "justice." The meaning that is given to that word depends upon the man who uses it -- depends for the most part on the age in which he lives, the country in which he was born. The same is true of the word "freedom." Millions and millions of people boasted that they were the friends of freedom, while at the same time they enslaved their fellow-men. So, in the name of justice every possible crime has been perpetrated and in the name of mercy every instrument of torture has been used. Mr. Newton realizes the fact that everything in the world changes; that creeds are influenced by civilization, by the acquisition of knowledge, by the progress of the sciences and arts -- in other words, that there is a tendency in man to harmonize his knowledge and to bring about a reconciliation between what he knows and what he believes. This will be fatal to superstition, provided the man knows anything. Mr. Newton, moreover, clearly sees that people are losing confidence in the morality of the gospel; that its foundation lacks common sense; that the doctrine of forgiveness is unscientific, and that it is impossible to feel that the innocent can rightfully suffer for the guilty, or that the suffering of innocence can in any way justify the crimes of the wicked. I think he is mistaken, Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 13 THE REV. DR. NEWTON'S SERMON ON A NEW RELIGION. however, when he says that the early church softened or weakened the barbaric passions. I think the early church was as barbarous as any institution that ever gained a footing in this world. I do not believe that the creed of the early church, as understood, could soften anything. A church that preaches the eternity of punishment has within it the seed of all barbarism and the soil to make it grow. So Mr. Newton is undoubtedly right when he says that the organized Christianity of to-day is not the leader in social progress. No one now goes to a synod to find a fact in science or on any subject. A man in doubt does not ask the average minister; he regards him as behind the times. He goes to the scientist, to the library. He depends upon the untrammelled thought of fearless men. The church, for the most part, is in the control of the rich, of the respectable, of the well-to-do, of the unsympathetic, of the men who, having succeeded themselves, think that everybody ought to succeed. The spirit of caste is as well developed in the church as it is in the average club. There is the same exclusive feeling, and this feeling in the next world is to be heightened and deepened to such an extent that a large majority of our fellow-men are to be eternally excluded. The peasants of Europe -- the workingmen -- do not go to the church for sympathy. If they do they come home empty, or rather empty hearted. So, in our own country the laboring classes, the mechanics, are not depending on the churches to right their wrongs. They do not expect the pulpits to increase their wages. The preachers get their money from the well-to-do -- from the employer class -- and their sympathies are with those from whom they receive their wages. The ministers attack the pleasures of the world. They are not so much scandalized by murder and forgery as by dancing and eating meat on Friday. They regard unbelief as the greatest of all sins. They are not touching the real, vital issues of the day, and their hearts do not throb in unison with the hearts of the struggling, the aspiring, the enthusiastic and the real believers in the progress of the human race. It is all well enough to say that we should depend on Providence, but experience has taught us that while it may do no harm to say it, it will do no good to do it. We have found that man must be the Providence of man, and that one plow will do more, properly pulled and properly held, toward feeding the world, than all the prayers that ever agitated the air. So, Mr. Newton is correct in saying, as I understand him to say, that the hope of immortality has nothing to do with orthodox religion. Neither, in my judgment, has the belief in the existence of a God anything in fact to do with real religion. The old doctrine that God wanted man to do something for him, and that he kept a watchful eye upon all the children of men; that he rewarded Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 14 THE REV. DR. NEWTON'S SERMON ON A NEW RELIGION. the virtuous and punished the wicked, is gradually fading from the mind. We know that some of the worst men have what the world calls success. We know that some of the best men lie upon the straw of failure. We know that honesty goes hungry, while larceny sits at the banquet. We know that the vicious have every physical comfort, while the virtuous are often clad in rags. Man is beginning to find that he must take care of himself; that special providence is a mistake. This being so, the old religions must go down, and in their place man must depend upon intelligence, industry, honesty; upon the facts that he can ascertain, upon his own experience, upon his own efforts. Then religion becomes a thing of this world -- a religion to put a roof above our heads, a religion that gives to every man a home, a religion that rewards virtue here. If Mr. Newton's sermon is in accordance with the Episcopal creed, I congratulate the creed. In any event, I think Mr. Newton deserves great credit for speaking his thought. Do not understand that I imagine that he agrees with me. The most I will say is that in some things I agree with him, and probably there is a little too much truth and a little too much humanity in his remarks to please the bishop. There is this wonderful fact, no man has ever yet been persecuted for thinking God bad. When any one has said that he believed God to be so good that he would, in his own time and way, redeem the entire human race, and that the time would come when every soul would be brought home and sit on an equality with the others around the great fireside of the universe, that man has been denounced as a poor, miserable, wicked wretch. New York Herald, December 15, 1888. END **** **** THE POLICE CAPTAINS' DINNER. New York, January, 21, 1888. TOAST. Duties and Privileges of the Press. ONLY a little while ago, the nations of the world were ignorant and provincial. Between these nations there were the walls and barriers of language, of prejudice, of custom, of race and of religion. Each little nation had the only perfect form of government -- the only genuine religion -- all others being adulterations or counterfeits. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 15 THE POLICE CAPTAINS' DINNER. These nations met only as enemies. They had nothing to exchange but blows -- nothing to give and take but wounds. Movable type was invented, and "civilization was thrust into the brain of Europe on the point of a Moorish lance." The Moors gave to our ancestors paper, and nearly all valuable inventions that were made for a thousand years. In a little while, books began to be printed -- the nations began to exchange thoughts instead of blows. The classics were translated. These were read, and those who read them began to imitate them -- began to write themselves; and in this way there was produced in each nation a local literature. There came to be an exchange of facts, of theories, of ideas. For many years this was accomplished by books, but after a time the newspaper was invented, and the exchange increased. Before this, every peasant thought his king the greatest being in the world. He compared this king -- his splendor, his palace -- with the peasant neighbor, with his rags and with his hut. All his thoughts were provincial, all his knowledge confined to his own neighborhood -- the great world was to him an unknown land. Long after papers were published, the circulation was small, the means of intercommunication slow, painful, few and costly. The same was true in our own country, and here, too, was in a great degree, the provincialism of the Old World. Finally, the means of intercommunication increased, and they became plentiful and cheap. Then the peasant found that he must compare his king with the kings of other nations -- the statesmen of his country with the statesmen of others -- and these comparisons were not always favorable to the men of his own country. This enlarged his knowledge and his vision, and the tendency of this was to make him a citizen of the world. Here in our own country, a little while ago, the citizen of each State regarded his State as the best of all. To love that State more than all others, was considered the highest evidence of patriotism. The Press finally informed him of the condition of other States. He found that other States were superior to his in many ways -- in climate, in production, in men, in invention, in commerce and in influence. Slowly he transferred the love of State, the prejudice of locality -- what I call mud patriotism -- to the Nation, and he became an American in the best and highest sense. This, then, is one of the greatest things to be accomplished by the Press in America -- namely, the unification of the country -- the destruction of provincialism, and the creation of a patriotism broad as the territory covered by our flag. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 16 THE POLICE CAPTAINS' DINNER. The same ideas, the same events, the same news, are carried to millions of homes every day. The result of this is to fix the attention of all upon the same things, the same thoughts and theories, the same facts -- and the result is to get the best judgment of a nation. This is a great and splendid object, but not the greatest. In Europe the same thing is taking place. The nations are becoming acquainted with each other. The old prejudices are dying out. The people of each nation are beginning to find that they are not the enemies of any other. They are also beginning to suspect that where they have no cause of quarrel, they should neither be called upon to fight, nor to pay the expenses of war. Another thing: The kings and statesmen no longer act as they formerly did. Once they were responsible only to their poor and wretched subjects, whose obedience they compelled at the point of the bayonet. Now a king knows, and his minister knows, that they must give account for what they do to the civilized world. They know that kings and rulers must be tried before the great bar of public opinion -- a public opinion that has been formed by the facts given to them in the Press of the world. They do not wish to be condemned at that great bar. They seek not only not to be condemned -- not only to be acquitted -- but they seek to be crowned. They seek the applause, not simply of their own nation, but of the civilized world. There was for uncounted centuries a conflict between civilization and barbarism. Barbarism was almost universal, civilization local. The torch of progress was then held by feeble hands, and barbarism extinguished it in the blood of its founders. But civilizations arose, and kept rising, one after another, until now the great Republic holds and is able to hold that torch against a hostile world. By its Invention, by its weapons of war, by its intelligence, civilization became capable of protecting itself, and there came a time when in the struggle between civilization and barbarism the world passed midnight. Then came another struggle, -- the struggle between the people and their rulers. Most peoples sacrificed their liberty through gratitude to some great soldier who rescued them from the arms of the barbarian. But there came a time when the people said: "We have a right to govern ourselves." And that conflict has been waged for centuries. And I say, protected and corroborated by the flag of the greatest of all Republics, that in that conflict the world has passed midnight. Despotisms were softened by parliaments, by congresses -- but at last the world is beginning to say: "The right to govern rests upon the consent of the governed. The power comes from the people -- not from kings. It belongs to man, and should be exercised by man." Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 17 THE POLICE CAPTAINS' DINNER. In this conflict we have passed midnight. The world is destined to be republican. Those who obey the laws will make the laws. Our country -- the United States -- the great Republic - owns the fairest portion of half the world. We have now sixty millions of free people. Look upon the map of our country. Look upon the great valley of the Mississippi -- stretching from the Alleghenies to the Rockies. See the great basin drained by that mighty river. There you will see a territory large enough to feed and clothe and educate five hundred millions of human beings. This country is destined to remain as one. The Mississippi River is Nature's protest against secession and against division. We call that nation civilized when its subjects submit their differences of opinion, in accordance with the forms of law, to fellow-citizens who are disinterested and who accept the decision as final. The nations, however, sustain no such relation to each other. Each nation concludes for itself. Each nation defines its rights and its obligations; and nations will not be civilized in respect of their relations to each other, until there shall have been established a National Court to decide differences between nations, to the judgment of which all shall bow. It is for the Press -- the Press that photographs the human activities of every day -- the Press that gives the news of the world to each individual -- to bend its mighty energies to the unification and the civilization of mankind; to the destruction of provincialism, of prejudice -- to the extirpation of ignorance and to the creation of a great and splendid patriotism that embraces the human race. The Press presents the daily thoughts of men. It marks the progress of each hour, and renders a relapse into ignorance and barbarism impossible. No catastrophe can be great enough, no ruin wide-spread enough, to engulf or blot out the wisdom of the world. Feeling that it is called to this high destiny, the Press should appeal only to the highest and to the noblest in the human heart. It should not be the bat of suspicion, a raven, hoarse with croaking disaster, a chattering jay of gossip, or a vampire fattening on the reputations of men. It should remain the eagle, rising and soaring high in the cloudless blue, above all mean and sordid things, and grasping only the bolts and arrows of justice. Let the Press have the courage always to defend the right, always to defend the people -- and let it always have the power to clutch and strangle any combination of men, however intellectual or cunning or rich, that feeds and fattens on the flesh and blood of honest men. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 18 THE POLICE CAPTAINS' DINNER. In a little while, under our flag there will be five hundred millions of people. The great Republic will then dictate to the world -- that is to say, it will succor the oppressed -- it will see that justice is done -- it will say to the great nations that wish to trample upon the weak: "You must not -- you shall not -- strike." It will be obeyed. All I ask is -- all I hope is -- that the Press will always be worthy of the great Republic. END **** **** NOTE for the computer edition, 1988. For some reason this Preface begins on page 256 of volume 1 of the Dresden Edition, it should have been in the beginning of that volume. PREFACE 1878 These lectures have been so maimed: and mutilated by orthodox malice; have been made to appear so halt, crotchet and decrepit by those who mistake the pleasures of calumny for the duties of religion, that in simple justice to myself I have concluded to publish them. Most of the clergy are, or seem to be, utterly incapable of discussing anything in a fair and catholic spirit. They appeal, not to reason, but to prejudice; not to facts, but to passages of Scripture. They can conceive of no goodness, of no spiritual exaltation beyond the horizon of their creed. Whoever differs with them upon what they are pleased to call "fundamental truths," is, in their opinion, a base and infamous man. To re-enact the tragedies of the sixteenth century, they lack only the power. Bigotry in all ages has been the same. Christianity simply transferred the brutality of the Colosseum to the Inquisition. For the murderous combat of the gladiators, the saints substituted the auto de fe. What has been called religion is, after all, but the organization of the wild beast in man. The perfumed blossom of arrogance is heaven. Hell is the consummation of revenge. The chief business of the clergy has always been to destroy the joy of life, and multiply and magnify the terrors and tortures of death and perdition. They have polluted the heart and paralyzed the brain; and upon the ignorant altars of the Past and the Dead, they have endeavored to sacrifice the Present and the Living. Nothing can exceed the mendacity of the religious press. I have had some little experience with political editors, and am forced to say, that until I read the religious papers, I did not know what malicious and slimy falsehoods could be constructed from ordinary words. The ingenuity with which the real and apparent Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 19 PREFACE meaning can be tortured out of language, is simply amazing. The average religious editor is intolerant and insolent; he knows nothing of affairs; he has the envy of failure, the malice of impotence, and always accounts for the brave and generous actions of unbelievers, by low, base and unworthy motives. By this time, even the clergy should know that the intellect of the nineteenth century needs no guardian. They should cease to regard themselves as shepherds defending flocks of weak, silly and fearful sheep from the claws and teeth of ravening wolves. By this time they should know that the religion of the ignorant and brutal past no longer satisfies the heart and brain; that the miracles have become contemptible; that the "evidences" have ceased to convince; that the spirit of investigation cannot be stopped nor stayed; that the church is losing her power; that the young are holding in a kind of tender contempt the sacred follies of the old; that the pulpit and pews no longer represent the culture and morality of the world, and that the brand of intellectual inferiority is upon the orthodox brain. Men should be liberated from the aristocracy of the air. Every chain of superstition should be broken. The rights of men and women should be equal and sacred -- marriage should be a perfect partnership -- children should be governed by kindness, -- every family should be a republic -- very fireside a democracy. It seems almost impossible for religious people to really grasp the idea of intellectual freedom. They seem to think that man is responsible for his honest thoughts; that unbelief is a crime; that investigation is sinful; that credulity is a virtue, and that reason is a dangerous guide. They cannot divest themselves of the idea that in the realm of thought there must be government -- authority and obedience -- laws and penalties -- rewards and punishments, and that somewhere in the universe there is a penitentiary for the soul. In the republic of mind, one is a majority. There, all are monarchs and all are equals. The tyranny of a majority even is unknown. Each one is crowned, sceptered and throned. Upon every brow is the tiara, and around every form is the imperial purple. Only those are good citizens who express their honest thoughts, and those who persecute for opinion's sake, are the only traitors. There, nothing is considered infamous except an appeal to brute force, and nothing sacred but love, liberty, and joy. The church contemplates this republic with a sneer. From the teeth of hatred she draws back the lips of scorn. She is filled with the spite and spleen born of intellectual weakness. Once she was egotistic; now she is envious. Once she wore upon her hollow breast false gems, supposing them to be real. They have been shown to be false, but she wears them still. She has the malice of the caught, the hatred of the exposed. We are told to investigate the Bible for ourselves, and at the same time informed that if we come to the conclusion that it is not the inspired word of God, we will most assuredly be damned. Under such circumstances, if we believe this, investigation is impossible. Whoever is held responsible for his conclusions cannot Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 20 PREFACE weigh the evidence with impartial scales. Fear stands at the balance, and gives to falsehood the weight of its trembling hand I oppose the church because she is the enemy of liberty; because her dogmas are infamous and cruel; because she humiliates and degrades woman; because she teaches the doctrines of eternal torment and the natural depravity of man; because she insists upon the absurd, the impossible, and the senseless; because she resorts to falsehood and slander; because she is arrogant and revengeful; because she allows men to sin on a credit; because she discourages self-reliance, and laughs at good works; because she believes in vicarious virtue and vicarious vice -- vicarious punishment and vicarious reward; because she regards repentance of more importance than restitution, and because she sacrifices the world we have to one we know not of. The free and generous, the tender and affectionate, will understand me. Those who have escaped from the grated cells of a creed will appreciate my motives. The sad and suffering wives, the trembling and loving children will thank me: This is enough. Robert G. Ingersoll. Washington, D.C. April 13, 1878. END **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended -- The Free Market-Place of Ideas. The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America. **** **** Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 21


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