LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: In my judgment slavery is the child of ignorance. Liberty is born of intelligence. Only a few years ago there was a great awakening in the human mind. Men began to inquire, by what right does a crowned robber make me work for him? The man who asked this question was called a traitor. Others said, by what right does a robed priest rob me? That man was called an Infidel. And whenever he asked a question of that kind, the clergy protested. When they found that the earth was round, the clergy protested; when they found that the stars were not made out of the scraps that were left over on the sixth day of creation, but were really great, shining, wheeling worlds, the clergy protested and said "When is the spirit of investigation to stop?" They said then, and they say now, that it is dangerous for the mind of man to be free. I deny it. Out on the intellectual sea there is room enough for every salt. In the intellectual air there is space enough for every wing. And the man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and does not do his duty to his fellowmen. For one, I expect to do my own thinking. And I will take my own oath this minute that I will express what thoughts I have, honestly and sincerely. I am the slave of no man and of no organization. I stand under the blue sky and the stars, under the infinite flag of nature, the peer of every human being. Standing as I do in the presence of the Unknown, I have the same right to guess as though I had been through five theological seminaries. I have as much interest in the great absorbing question of origin and destiny as though I had D.D., LL. D. at the end of my name.
All I claim, all I plead for, is simple liberty of thought. That is all. I do not pretend to tell what is true and all the truth. I do not claim that I have floated level with the heights of thought, or that I have descended to the depths of things; I simply claim that what idea I have I have a right to express, and any man that denies it to me is an intellectual thief and robber. That is all. I say, take those chains off from the human soul; I say, break those orthodox fetters, and if there are wings to the spirit let them be spread. That is all I say. And I ask you if I have not the same right to think that any other human being has? If I have no right to think, why have I such a thing as a thinker? (Laughter.) Why have I a brain? And if I have no right to think, who has? If I have lost my right, Mr. Smith, where did you find yours? (Laughter.) If I have no right, have three or four men or 300 or 400, who get together and sign a card and build a house and put a steeple on it with a bell in it have they any more right to think than they had before? That is the question. And I am sick of the whip and lash in the region of mind and intellect. And I say to these men, "Let us alone. Do your own thinking; express your own thoughts. And I want to say tonight that I claim no right that I am not willing to give to every other human being beneath the stars-none whatever. And I will fight tonight for the right of those who disagree with me to express their thoughts just as soon as I will fight for my own right to express mine.
In the good old times, our fathers had an idea that they could make people believe to suit them. Our ancestors in the ages that are gone really believed that by force you could convince a man. You cannot change the conclusion of the brain by force, but I will tell you what you can do by force, and what you have done by force. You can make hypocrites by the million. You can make a man say that he has changed his mind, but he remains of the same opinion still. Put fetters all over him, crush his feet in iron boots, lash him to the stock, burn him if you please, but his ashes are of the same opinion still. I say our fathers, in the good old times-and the best thing I can say about them is, they are dead; they had an idea they could force men to think their way, and do you know that idea is still prevalent even in this country? Do you know they think they can make a man think their way if they say, "We will not trade with that man; we won't vote for that man; we won't hire him, if he is a lawyer, we will die before we take his medicine, if he is a doctor, we won't invite him. We will socially ostracize him; he must come to our church, he must think our way or he is not a gentleman?" There is much of that even in this blessed country-not excepting the city of Albany itself . (Great and long continued applause and laughter).
Now in the old times of which I have spoken, they said, "We can make all men think alike". All the mechanical ingenuity of this earth cannot make two clocks run alike, and how are you going to make millions of people of different quantities and qualities and amount of brain, clad in this living robe of passionate flesh, how are you going to make millions of them think alike? If the Infinite God, if there is one, who made us, wished us to think alike, why did he give a spoonful of brains to one man, and a bushel to another? Why is it that we have all degrees of humanity, from the idiot to the genius, if it was intended that all should think alike, I say our fathers concluded they would do this by force, and I used to read in books how they persecuted mankind, and do you know I never appreciated it, I did not. I read it, but it did not burn itself, as it were, into my very soul what infamies had been committed. In the name of religion, and I never fully appreciated it, until a little while ago I saw the iron arguments our fathers used to use. I tell you the reason we are through that, is, because we have better brains than our fathers had. Since that day we have become intellectually developed, and there is more real brain and real good sense in the world to-day than in any other period of its history, and that is the reason we have more liberty, that is the reason we have more kindness. But I say I saw these iron arguments our fathers used to use I saw there the thumb-screw-two little innocent looking pieces of iron, armed on the inner surfaces with protuberances to prevent their slipping-and when some man denied the efficacy of baptism, or may be said, "I do not believe that the whale ever swallowed a man to keep him from drowning," then they put these pieces of iron upon his thumb, and there was a screw at each end, and then in the name of love and forgiveness they began screwing these pieces of iron together A great many men, when they commenced, would say, "I recant" I expect I would have been one of them (Laughter) I would have said, "Now you just stop that, I will admit anything on earth that you want." (Laughter) I will admit there is one God or a million, one hell or a billion, suit yourselves, but stop that." (Laughter) But I want to say, the thumb-screw having got out of the way, I am going to have my say.
There was now and then some man who wouldn't turn Judas Iscariot to his own soul; there was now and then a man willing to die for his conviction, and if it were not for such men we would be savages tonight. Had it not been for a few brave and heroic souls in every age, we would have been naked savages this moment, with pictures of wild beasts tattooed upon our naked breasts, dancing around a dried snake fetish, and I to-night thank every good and noble man who stood up in the face of opposition, and hatred and death for what he believed to be right. And then they screwed this thumb-screw down as far as they could and threw him into some dungeon, where, in throbbing misery and the darkness of night he dreams of the damned; but that was done in the name of universal love. I saw there at the same time what they called the "collar of torture". Imagine a circle of iron, and on the inside of that more than a hundred points as sharp as needles-this being fastened upon the throat, the sufferer could not sit down, he could not walk, he could not stir without being punctured by these needles, and in a little while the throat would began to swell, and finally suffocation would end the agonies of that man, when maybe the only crime he had committed was to say with tears upon his sublime cheeks, "I do not believe that God, the father of us all, will damn to eternal punishment any of the children of men (Applause) Think of it! And I saw there at the same time another instrument, called the "scavenger's daughter," which resembles a pair of shears, with handles where handles ought to be, but at the point as well. And just above the pivot that fastens the blade, a circle of iron through which the hands would be placed, into the lower circles the feet, and into the center circle the head would be pushed, and in that position he would be thrown prone upon the earth, and kept there until the strain upon the muscles produced such agony that insanity and death would end his pain. And that was done in the name of "Whosoever smiteth thee upon one cheek turn him the other also "Think of it! And I saw also the rack, with the windlass and chains, upon which the sufferer was laid. About his ankles were fastened chains, and about his wrists also, and then priests began turning this windlass, and they kept turning until the ankles, the shoulders and the wrests were all dislocated, and the sufferer was wet with the sweat of agony. And they had standing by a physician to feel his pulse. What for? To save his life? Yes. What for? In mercy? No. Simply that they might preserve his life, that they might rack him once again. And this was done, recollect it, it was done in the name of civilization, it was done in the name of law and order, it was done in the name of morality, it was done in the name of religion, it was done in the name of God. Sometimes when I get to reading about it, and when I get to thinking about it, it seems to me that I have suffered all these horrors myself, as though I had stood upon the shore of exile and gazed with tear-filled eye toward home and native land; as though my nails had been torn from my hands, and into my throat the sharp needles had been thrust; as though my feet had been crushed in iron boots; as though I had been chained in the cells of the inquisition, and had watched and waited in the interminable darkness to hear the words of release; as though I had been taken from my fireside, from my wife and children, and taken to the public square, chained, and fagots had been paled around me; as though the flames had played around my limbs and scorched the sights from my eyes; as though my ashes had been scattered to the four winds by the hands of hatred; as though I had stood upon the scaffold and felt the glittering ax fall upon me. And while I see and feel all this, I swear that while I live, I will do what little I can to augment the liberty of man, woman and child. (Applause.) My friends, it is all a question of honesty. If there is a man in this house who is not willing to give to everybody else what he claims for himself, he is just so much nearer to the barbarian than I am. It is a simple question of honesty; and the man who is not willing to give to every other human being the same intellectual rights he claims himself is a rascal, and you know it. It is a simple question, I say, of intellectual development and of honesty. And I want to say it now, so you will see it. You show me the narrow, contracted man; you show me the man that claims everything for himself and leaves nothing for others, and that man has got a distorted and deformed brain. That is the matter with him. He has no sense; not a bit. Let me show you. A little while ago I saw models of everything man has made for his use and for his convenience. I saw all the models of all the water craft, from the dug-out in which floated a naked savage--one of our ancestors (laughter) -a naked savage with teeth two inches long, with a spoonful of brains in the back of his head; I say I saw the water craft of the world from that dug-out up to a man-of-war that carries a hundred guns and miles of canvas; from that dug-out to the steamship that turns its brave prow from the port of New York through 3,000 miles of billows, with a compass like a conscience, that does not miss throb or beat of its mighty iron heart from one shore to the other. I saw at the same time the weapons that man has made, from a rude club, such as was grasped by that savage when he crawled from his den, from his hole in the ground, and hunted a snake for his dinner, from that club to the boomerang, to the sword, to the cross-bow, to the blunderbuss, to the flint-lock, to the cap-lock, to the needle gun up to cannon cast by Krupp, capable of hurling a ball of 2,000 pounds, through 18 inches of solid steel. I saw, too, the armor, from the turtle shell that our ancestor lashed upon his skin when he went out to fight for his country, to the skin of the porcupine with the quills all bristling which he pulled over his orthodox head to defend himself from his enemies- I mean, of course, the orthodox head of that day up to the shirts of mail that were worn in the middle ages, capable of resisting the edge of the sword and the point of the spear; up to the iron-clad, to the monitor completely clad in steel capable only a few years ago of defying the navies of the globe. I saw at the same time the musical instruments, from the tom-tom, which is a hoop with a couple of strings of rawhide drawn across it, from that tom-tom up to the instruments we have to-day which make the common air blossom with melody. I saw, too, the paintings, from the daub of yellow mud up to the pieces which adorn the galleries of the world. And the sculpture, from the rude god with six legs and a half dozen arms, and the rows of ears, up to the sculpture of now, wherein thy marble is clad with such loveliness that it seems almost a sacrilege to touch it; and in addition I saw their ideas of books, books written upon skins of wild beasts; books written upon shoulder-blades of sheep; books written upon leaves, upon bark, up to the splendid volumes that adorn the libraries of our time. When I think of libraries, I think of the remark of Plato, "The house that has a library in it has a soul." I saw there all these things, and also the implements of agriculture, from a crooked stickup to the plow which makes, it possible for man to cultivate the soil without being an ignoramus. I saw at the same time a row of skulls, from the lowest skull that has ever been found, skulls from the bushmen of Australia, up to the best skulls of the last generation. And I notice that there was the same difference between those skulls that there is between the products of those skulls. And I said to myself "It is all a question of intellectual development. It is a question of brain and sinew (Applause) I noticed that there was the same difference between those skulls that there was between that dug-out, and that man-of-war and that steamship. That skull was low. It had not a forehead a quarter of an inch high. But shortly after the skulls became doming and crowning, and getting higher and grander. That skull was a den in which crawled the base and meaner instincts of mankind and this skull was a temple in which dwelt joy, liberty and love. So I said "This is all a question of brain, and anything that tends to develop intellectually mankind is the Gospel we want."
Now I want to be honest with you. Honor bright! Nothing like it in the world! No matter what I believe. Now, let us be honest. Suppose a king, if there was a king at the time this gentleman floated in the dug-out and charmed his ears with the music of the tom-tom, suppose the king at that time, if there was one, and the priest, if there was one, had said: "That dug-out is the best boat that ever can be built. The pattern of that came from on high, and any man who says he can improve it, by putting a log or a stick in the bottom of it with a rag on the end, is an Infidel." (Applause and laughter.) Honor bright, what in your judgment would have been the effect upon the circumnavigation of the globe? That is the question. Suppose the king, if there was one, and the priest, if there was one-and I presume there was, because it was a very ignorant age (applause), suppose they had said, "That tom-tom is the most miraculous instrument of music that any man can conceive of, that is the kind of music they have in heaven. An angel sitting upon the golden edge of a fleecy cloud, playing upon that tom-tom, became so enraptured, so entranced with her one music, that she dropped it, and that is how we got it (laughter and applause)-and any man that says that it can be improved by putting a back and front to it, and four strings and a bridge on it, and getting some horse hair and rosin, is no better than one of the weak and unregenerate." I ask you what effect would that have had upon music? I ask you, honor bright, if that course had been pursued, would the human ears ever have been enriched with the divine symphonies of Beethoven? That is the question. And suppose the king, if there was one, and the priest had said, "That crooked stack is the best plow we can ever have invented. The pattern of that plow was given to a pious farmer in a holy dream, and that twisted straw is the ne plus ultra of all twisted things; and any man who says he can make an improvement, we will twist him." (Applause). Honor bright, what in your judgment would have been the effect upon the agricultural world?
Now, you see, the people said, "We want better weapons with which to kill our enemies"; the people said, "we want better plows, the people said, "we want better music"; the people said, "we want better paintings," and they said, whoever will give us better plows, and better arms, and better paintings, and better music, we will give him honor; we will crown him with glory, we will robe him in the garments of wealth"; and every incentive has been held out to every human being to improve something in every direction. And that is the reason the club is a cannon; that is the reason the dug-out is a steamship; that is the reason the daub is a painting, and that is the reason that that piece of stone has finally become a glorified statue. Now, then, this fellow In the dug-out had a religion. That fellow was orthodox. He had no doubt, he was settled in his mind (Laughter.) He did not wish to be insulted (Laughter.) He wanted the bark of his soul to lie at the wharf of orthodoxy, and rot in the sun. He wanted to hear the sails of old opinions flap against the mast of old creeds. He wanted to see the joints in the sides open and gape, as though thirsty for water, and he said, "Now don't disturb my opinions. You'll get my mind unsettled; I have got it all made up, and I don't want to hear any infidelity either." As far as I am concerned, I want to be out on the high sea; I want to take my chance with wind and wave and star; and I had rather go down in the glory and grandeur of the storm than to rot at any orthodox wharf (Applause). Of course, I mean by orthodoxy all that don't agree with my doxy. Do you understand? Now this man had a religion. That fellow believed in hell. Yes, sir, and he thought he would be happier in heaven if he could just lean over and see certain people that he disliked, broiled (Laughter.) That fellow had had a great many Intellectual descendants. (Applause). It is an unhappy fact in nature that the ignorant multiply much faster than the in intellectual (Laughter). This fellow believed in the devil, and his devil had a cloven hoof. Many people think I have the same kind of footing. (Laughter) He had a long tall, armed with a fiery dart, and he breathed brimstone. And do you know there has not been a patentable improvement made on that devil for 4,000 years? (Laughter and applause) That fellow believed that God was a tyrant. That fellow believed that the earth was flat. That fe1low believed, as I told you, in a lateral burning, seething lake of fire and brimstone. That is what he believed in. That fellow, too, had his idea of politics, and his idea was "Might makes right." And it will take thousands of years before the world will bellevingly say, "Right makes might." Now all I ask is the same privilege of improving on that gentleman's theology as upon his musical instrument; the same right to improve upon his politics as upon his dug-out. That is all I ask for the human soul the same liberty in every direction. And that is all. That is the only crime that I have committed. That is all I say, let us have a chance. Let us think, and let each one express his thoughts. Let us become investigators, not followers; not cringers and crawlers. If there is in heaven an Infinite Being, he never will be satisfied with the worship of cowards and hypocrites. (Applause) Honest unbelief will be a perfume in heaven when hypocrisy, no matter however religious at may be outwardly, will be a stench. That is my doctrine. That is all there is to it; give every other human being all the chance you claim for yourself, to keep your mind open to the voices of nature, to new ideas, to new thoughts, and to improve upon your doctrine whenever you can. That is my doctrine.
Do you know we are improving all the time? Do you know that the most orthodox people in this town to-day, three hundred years ago would have been burned for heresy? Do you know some ministers who denounce me, would have been in the inquisition themselves two hundred years ago? Do you know where once burned and blazed the bivouac fires of the army of progress the altars of the church glow today? Do you know that the church to-day occupies about the same ground that unbelievers did one hundred years ago? Do you know that whale they have followed this army of progress, protesting and denouncing, they have had to keep within protesting and denouncing distance, but they have followed it? They have been the men, let me say, in the valley, the men in the swamps shouting to and cursing the pioneers on the hills, the men upon whose forehead has the light of the coming dawn, the coming day, but they have advanced. In spite of themselves they have advanced. If they had not, I would not speak here to-night. If they had not, not a solitary one of you could have expressed his real and honest thought. But we are advancing, and we are beginning to hold all kinds of slavery in utter contempt, do you know that? And we are beginning to question wealth and power, we are questioning all the creeds and all dogmas, and we are not bowing down as we used to, to a man simply because he is in the robe of a clergyman, and we are not bowing down to a man now, simply because he is a king. No! We are not bowing down simply because he is rich. We used to worship the golden calves, but we do not now. The worst you can say of an American, is, he worships the gold of the calf, not the calf, (laughter and applause) and even the calves are beginning to see this distinction. It does no longer fill the ambition of a man to be emperor or king. The last Napoleon was not satisfied with being Emperor of the French, he was not satisfied with having a circlet of gold about his head; he wanted some evidence that he had something within his head, so he wrote the life of Julius Caesar, that he might become a member of the French academy. Compare for instance, in the German empire, King William and Bismarck. King William is the one anointed of the most high, as they claim-the one upon whose head has been poured the divine petroleum of authority. (Laughter) Compare him with Bismarck, who towers, an intellectual Colossus, above this man. Go into England and compare George Eliot with Queen Victoria-Queen Victoria clothed in the garments given to her by blind fortune and by chance. George Eliot robed in garments of glory woven in the loom of her own genius. Which does the world pay respect to? I tell you we are advancing! The pulpit does not do all the thinking, the pews do it, or nearly all of it. The world is advancing, and we question the authority of those men who simply say it is so. Down upon your knees and admit it!
When I think of how much this world has suffered, I am amazed-when I think of how long our fathers were slaves, I am amazed. Why, just think of it! This world has only been fit for a gentleman to live in fifty years. (Laughter) No, it has not. It was not until the year 1808 that Great Britain abolished the slave trade. Up to that time her judge sitting upon the bench in the name of justice, her priests occupying the pulpit in the name of universal love, owned stock in slave ships and luxuriated in the profits of piracy and murder. It was not until the year 1808 that the United States abolished the slave trade between this and other countries, but preserved it as between the States. It was not until the 28th day of August, 1833, that Great Britain abolished human slavery in her colonies, and it was not until the 1st day of January, 1863, that Abraham Lincoln wiped from our flag the stigma of disgrace. (Great applause) Abraham Lincoln, in my judgment, the grandest man ever president of the United States (continued applause), and upon whose monument these words could truthfully be written "Here lies the only man in the history of the world who, having been clothed both almost absolute power, never abused it except on the side of mercy". (Loud and prolonged applause) Think, I say, how long we hung to the institution of human slavery; how long lashes upon the naked back were the legal tender for labor performed! Think of it. When the pulpit of this country deliberately and willfully changed the cross of Christ into the whipping-post. Think of it! And tell me then if I am right when I say this world had only been fit for a gentleman to live in fifty years. (Laughter) I hate with every drop of my blood every form of tyranny. I hate every form of slavery. I hate dictation-I want something like liberty; and what do I mean by that? The right to do anything that does not interfere with the happiness of another, physically. Liberty of thought includes the right to think right and the right to think wrong. Why? Because that is the means by which we arrive at truth, for if we knew the truth before, we needn't to think (Applause.) Those men who mistake their ignorance for facts never do think. (Laughter) You may say to me, how far is it across this room? I say 100 feet. Suppose it is 105, have I committed any crime? I made the best guess I could (Laughter) You ask me about anything, I examine it honestly, and when I get through, what should I tell you, what I think or what you think? (Laughter) What should I do? There is a book put in my hands. They say that is the Koran, that was written by inspiration, read it. I read it, chapter seven entitled "The Cow"; chapter nine entitled "The Bee," and so on I read it. When I get through with it, suppose I think in my heart and in my brain, "I don't believe a word of it", and you ask "what do you think of it?" Now, admitting that I live in Turkey and have a chance to get an office (laughter) what should I say? Now, honor bright (laughter), should I just make a clean breast of it and say upon my honor, "I don't believe it?" Then is it right for you to say that fellow will steal (laughter)-that fellow is a dangerous man,-he is a robber? Now, suppose I read the book called the Bible, and I read it, honor bright, and when I get through with it I make up my mind that book was written by men; and along comes the preacher of my church, and he says, "Did you read that book?" "I did." "Do you think it is divinely inspired?" didn't adds I say to myself, "Now if I say it is not, they will never send me to congress from this district on earth". (Laughter.) Now, honor bright, what ought I to do? Ought I to say, "I have read it. I have been honest about at; don't believe it?" Now, ought I to say that, if that is a real transcript of my mind or ought I to commence hemming and hawing and pretend that I do believe it, and go away with the respect of that man, hating myself for a cringing coward? Now which? For my part I would rather a man would tell me what he honestly thinks, and he will preserve his manhood I had rather be a manly unbeliever than an unmanly believer. (Great applause) I think I will stand higher at the judgment day, if there is one, and stand with as good a chance to get my case dismissed without costs (laughter) as a man who sneaks through life pretending he believes what he does not (Laughter and prolonged applause) I tell you one thing, there is going to be one free fellow in this world I am going to say my say, I tell you, I am going to do it kindly I am going to do it distinctly, but I am going to do it. (Laughter.) Now, if men have been slaves, what about women? Women have been the slaves of slaves; and that's a pretty hard position to occupy for life. They have been the slaves of slaves, and in my judgment it took millions of ages for women to come from the condition of abject slavery up to the institution of marriage. Let me say right here, tonight, I regard marriage as the holiest institution among men. Without the fireside there is no human advancement, without the family relation there is no lift worth living. Every good government is made up of good families. The unit of government is the family, and anything that tends to destroy the family is perfectly devilish and infamous. I believe in marriage, and I hold in utter contempt the opinions of longhaired men and short-haired women who denounce the institution of marriage. (Great applause and laughter) Let me say right here-and I have thought a good deal about it-let me say right here, the grandest ambition that any man can possibly have is to so live and so improve himself in heart and brain as to be worthy of the love of some splendid Woman (applause), and the grandest ambition of any girl is to make herself worthy of the love and adoration of some magnificent man. (Applause) That is my idea, and there is no success in life without it. If you are the grand emperor of the world, you had better be the grand emperor of one loving and tender heart, and she the grand empress of yours. The man who has really won the love of one good woman an this world, I do not care if he dies in the ditch a beggar, his life has been a success. (Applause.) I say it took millions of years to come from the condition of abject slavery up to the condition of marriage. Ladies, the ornaments you bear upon your persons to-night are but the souvenirs of your mothers' bondage. The chains around your necks and the bracelets clasped upon your wrests by the thrilling hand of love, have been changed by the wand of civilization from iron to shining, glittering gold, but nearly every religion has accounted for the devilment in this world by the crime of woman. What a gallant thing that is! And if it is true, I had rather live with the woman I love in a world full of trouble, than to live in heaven with nobody but men. (Laughter and applause.) I say that nearly every religion has accounted for all the trouble in this world by the crime of woman. I read in a book and I will say now that I cannot give the exact language, my memory does not retain the words, but I can give the substance. I read in a book that the Supreme Being concluded to make a world and one man, that he took some nothing and made a world and one man, and put this man in a garden; but he noticed that he got lonesome (laughter); he wandered around as if he was waiting for a train (laughter); there was nothing to interest him; no news, no papers, no politics; no policy, and as the devil had not yet made his appearance, there was no chance for reconciliation (hearty laughter and prolonged applause); not even for civil service reform (Continued laughter) Well, he would wander about this garden in this condition until finally the Supreme Being made up his mind to make him a companion; and having used up all the nothing he originally took in making the world and one man, (laughter) he had to take a part of the man to start a woman with (laughter), and so he caused a deep sleep to fall on this man now, understand me, I didn't say this story is true (loud applause)-after the sleep fell upon this man he took a rib, or as the French would call it a cutlet, out of this man, and from that he made a woman; and considering the raw material, I look upon it as the most successful job ever performed. (Vociferous laughter and applause) Well, after he got the woman done, she was brought to the man; not to see how she liked him, but to see how he liked her. (Laughter) He liked her and they started housekeeping, and they were told of certain things they might do and one thing they could not do-and of course they did it. (Laughter.) I would have done it in fifteen minutes, and I know it. (Laughter) There wouldn't have been an apple on that tree half an hour from date (laughter) and the limbs could have been full of clubs. (Laughter) And then they were turned out of the park and an extra force was put on to keep them from getting back. (Laughter.) Then devilment commenced. The mumps, and the measles, and the whooping cough and the scarlet fever started in their race for man, (laughter) and they began to have the toothache, the roses began to have thorns, and snakes began to have poisoned teeth, and people began to divide about religion and politics, and the world has been full of trouble from that day to this (Laughter) Now, nearly all of the religions of this world account for the existence of evil by such a story as that! I read in another book what appeared to be an account of the same transaction. It was written about 4,000 years before the other; but all commentators agree that the one that was written last was the original, and that the one that was written first was copied from the one that was written last (laughter and applause), but I would advise you all not to allow your creed to be disturbed by a little matter of four or five thousand years (Laughter.) In this other story the Supreme Brahma made up his mind to make the world and man and woman; and he made the world, and he made the man and he made the woman, and he put them on the island of Ceylon; and according to the account it was the roost beautiful island of which man can conceive. Such birds, such songs, such flowers and such verdure! And the branches of the trees were so arranged that when the wind swept through them every tree was a thousand æolian harps. The Supreme Brahma when he put them there said, "Let them have a period of courtship, for it is my desire and will that true love should forever precede marriage". When I read that it was so much more beautiful and lofty than the other, then I said to myself . "If either one of these stories ever turns out to be true, I hope at will be this one." Then they had their courtship, with the nightingales singing and the stars shining and the flowers blooming, and they fell in love. Imagine the courtship! No prospective fathers or mothers-in-law, no prying and gossiping neighbors, nobody to say, "young man, how do you expect to support her?" (Laughter) Nothing of that kind. They were married by the Supreme Brahma, and he said to them "Remain here; you must never leave this island." Well, after a little while the man-and his name was Amond, and the woman's name was Heva, and the man said to Heva "I believe I'll look about a little," and he went to the northern extremity of the island where there was a little narrow neck of land connecting it with the mainland, and the devil, who is always playing pranks with us, got up a mirage, and when he looked over to the mainland, such hills and dells, vales and dales, such mountains crowned with silver, such cataracts clad in robes of beauty did he see there, that he went back and told Heva: "The country over there is a thousand times better than this; let us migrate." She, like every other woman that ever lived, said "Let well enough alone; we have all we want, let us stay here." But he said "no let us go", so she followed him, and when they came to this narrow neck of land he took her on his back like a gentleman and carried her over. But the moment they got over they heard a crash, and looking back discovered that this narrow neck of land had fallen into the sea, with the exception of now and then a rock, and the mirage had disappeared, and there was naught but rocks and sand, and then a voice called out cursing them Then it was that the man spoke up-and I have liked him ever since for it--"Curse me, but curse not her; it was not her fault, it was mine." That's the kind of man to start a world with (Applause) The Supreme Brahma said, "I will save her but not thee." She spoke up out of her feelings of love, out of a heart in which there was love enough to make all of her daughters rich in holy affection, and said, "if thou wilt not spare him, spare neither me; I do not wish to live without him, I love him." Then the Supreme Brahma said-and I have liked him first rate ever since I read it--"I will spare you both and watch over you." Honor bright, isn't that the better story? (Applause)
And from that same book I want to show you what ideas some of these miserable heathen had; the heathen we are trying to convert. We send missionaries over yonder to convert heathen there, and we send soldiers out on the plains to kill heathen there. If we can convert the heathen, why not convert those nearest home? Why not convert those we can get at? Why not convert those who have the immense advantage of the example of the average pioneer (laughter)? But to show you the men we are trying to convert, in this book it says: "Man is strength, woman is beauty; man is courage, woman is love. When the one clan loves the one woman and the one woman loves the one man, the very angels leave heaven and come and sit in that house and sing for joy." They are the men we are converting. Think of it! I tell you when I read these things, I begin to say, "Love is not of any country; nobility does not belong exclusively here;" and through all the ages there have been a few great and tender souls lifted for above their fellows.
Now my friends, it seems to me that the woman is the equal of the man. She has all the rights I have and one more, and that is the right to be protected. That's my doctrine. You are married to love and make the woman you love happy; try and make the man you love happy. Whoever marries simply for himself will make a mistake, but whoever loves a woman so well that he says, "I will make her happy, makes no mistake, and so with the woman who says, "I will make him happy." There is only one way to be happy, and that is to make somebody else so, and you can't be happy cross lots; you have got to go the regular turnpike road. (Laughter.)
If there is any man I detest, it is the man who thinks he is the head of the family the man who thinks he is "boss!" (Laughter) That fellow in the dug-out used that word "boss" (laughter), that was one of his favorite expressions-that he was "boss." (Laughter.) Imagine a young man and a young woman courting, walking out in the moonlight and the nightingale singing a song of pain and love, as though the thorn touched her heart-imagine them stopping there in the moonlight and starlight and song and saying, "Now here, let's settle who's 'boss'" (Laughter) I tell you it is an infamous word and an infamous feeling-a man who is "boss," who is going to govern in his family, and when he speaks let all the rest of them be still, some mighty idea is about to be launched from his mouth. Do you know I dislike this man unspeakable, and a cross man I hate above all things. What right has he to murder the sunshine of the day. What right has he to assassinate the Joy of life? When you go home you ought to feel the light there is in the house; if it is in the night it will burst out of the doors and windows and illuminate the darkness. It is just as well to go home a ray of sunshine as an old, sour, cross curmudgeon, who thinks he is the head of the family. Wise men think their mighty brains have been in a turmoil; they have been thinking about who will be alderman from the fifth ward; they have been thinking about politics; great and mighty questions have been engaging their minds, they have bought calico at eight cents or six, and want to sell it for seven. Think of the intellectual strain that must have been upon a man, and when he gets home everybody else in the house must look out for his comfort. A woman who has only taken care of five or six children, and one or two of them may be sick, has been nursing them and singing to them, and taking care of them, and trying to make one yard of cloth do the work of two, she, of course, is fresh and fine and ready to wait upon this great gentleman-the head of the family. (Laughter.) I don't like him a bit!
Do you know another thing? I despise a stingy man. I don't see how it is possible for a man to die worth fifty millions of dollars or ten millions of dollars in a city full of want, when he meets almost every day thy withered hand of beggary and the white lips of famine. How a man can withstand all that, and hold in the clutch of his greed twenty or thirty millions of dollars, is past my comprehension. I do not see how he can do it (Applause.) I should not think he could do it any more than he could keep a pile of lumber where hundreds and thousands of men were drowning in the sea. I should not think he could do it. Do you know I have known men who would trust their wives with their hearts and their honor, but not with their pocketbook; not with a dollar. When I see a man of that kind I always think he knows which of these articles is the most valuable. Think of making your wife a beggar! Think of her having to ask you every day for a dollar, or for two dollars, or for fifty cents! "What did you do with that dollar I gave you last week?" Think of having a wife that was afraid of you! What kind of children do you expect to have with a beggar and a coward for their mother? Oh! I will tell you if you have but a dollar in the world and you have got to spend it, spend it like a king (laughter); spend it as though it were a dry leaf and you the owner of unbounded forests! That's the way to spend it! I had rather be a beggar and spend my last dollar like a king than be a king and spend my money like a beggar. (Applause) If it's got to go let it go. (Laughter) Get the best you can for your family-try to look as well as you can yourself . When you used to go courting, how nice you looked! Ah, your eye was bright, your step was light, and you just put on the very best look you could. Do you know that it is insuperable egotism in you to suppose that a woman is going to love you always looking as bad as you can? Think of it! Any woman on earth will be true to you forever when you do your level best. (Laughter) Some people tell me, "your doctrine about loving and wives and all that is splendid for the rich, but it won't do for the poor." I tell you to-night there is on the average more love in the homes of the poor than in the palaces of the rich, and the meanest hut with love in it is fit for the gods, and a palace without love is a den only fit for wild beasts. That's my doctrine! You can't be so poor but that you can help somebody. Good nature is the cheapest commodity in the world; and love is the only thing that will pay 100 per cent to borrower and lender both. (Applause) Don't tell me that you have got to be rich! We have all a false standard of greatness in the United States. We thank here that a man to be great, he must be notorious; he must be extremely wealthy or his name must be between the lips of rumor. It is all nonsense! It is not necessary to be rich to be great, or to be powerful to be happy; and the happy man is the successful man. Happiness is the legal tender of the soul. Joy is wealth. A little whale ago I stood by the grave of the old Napoleon, a magnificent tomb, fit for a dead deity almost, and gazed in the great circle at the bottom of it. In the sarcophagus of black Egyptian marble at last rest the ashes of that restless man. I looked over the balustrade, and I thought about the career of Napoleon. I could see him walking upon the banks of the Seine contemplating suicide. I saw him a Toulon. I saw him putting down the mob in the streets of Paris. I saw him at the head of the army of Italy. I saw him crossing the bridge at Lodi. I saw him in Egypt fighting the battle of the pyramids. I saw him cross the Alps and mingle the eagles of France with the eagles of the crags. I saw him in Austerliz. I saw him with his army scattered and dispersed before the blast. I saw him at Leipsic when his army was defeated and he was taken captive. I saw him escape. I saw him land again upon French soil, and retake an empire by the force of his own genius. I saw him captured once more, and again at St. Helena with his arms behind him, gazing out upon the sad and solemn sea; and thought of the orphans and widows he had made. I thought of the tears that had been shed for his glory. I thought of the only woman who ever loved him, who had been pushed from his heart by the cold hand of ambition; and as I looked at the sarcophagus, I said, "I would rather have been a French peasant and worn wooden shoes; I would rather have lived in a hut, with a vine growing over the door and the grapes growing and ripening in the autumn sun; I would rather have been that peasant, with my wife by my side and my children upon my knees twining their arms of affection about me; I would rather have been that poor French peasant and gone down at last to the eternal promiscuity of the dust, followed by those who loved me; I would a thousand times rather have been that French peasant than that imperial personative of force and murder; and so I would ten thousand thousand times. (Great applause)
It is not necessary to be great to be happy; it is not necessary to be rich to be just and generous, and to have a heart filled with divine affection. No matter whether you are rich or poor, use your wife as though she were a splendid creation, and she will fill your life with perfume and joy. (Applause) And do you know, it is a splendid thing for me to thank that the woman you really love will never grow old to you. Through the wrinkles of time, through the music of years, if you really love her, you will always see the face you loved and won. And a woman who really loves a man, does not see that he grows older; he is not decrepit; he does not tremble; he is not old; she always sees the same gallant gentleman who won her hand and heart I like to think of it in that way, I like to thank of all passions; love is eternal, and, as Shakespeare says, "Although time with his sickle can rob ruby lips and sparkling eyes, let him reach as far as he can, he cannot quite touch love, that reaches even to the end of the tomb." And to love in that way and then go down the hill of life together, and as you go down hear, perhaps, the laughter of grandchildren, and the birds of Joy and love will sing once more in the leafless branches of age. I believe in the fire-side. I believe in the democracy of home; I believe in the republicanism of the family I believe in liberty and equality with those we love.
If women have been slaves, what shall I say of children; of the little children in the alleys and sub-cellars; the little children who turn pale when they hear their father's footsteps; little children who run away when they only hear their named called by the lips of a mother; little children-the children of poverty, the children of crime, the children of brutality wherever you are -flotsam and jetsam upon the wild, mad sea of life, my heart goes out to you, one and all I tell you the children have the same right that we have, and we ought to treat them as though they were human beings; and they should be reared by love, by kindness, by tenderness, and not by brutality. That is my idea of children. When your little child tells a lie, don't rush at him as though the world were about to go into bankruptcy. Be honest with him. A tyrant father will have liars for children, do you know that? A lie is born of tyranny upon one hand and weakness upon the other, and when you rush at a poor little boy with a club in your hand, of course he lies. I thank Mother Nature that she has put ingenuity enough in the breast of a child, when attacked by a brutal parent, to throw up a little breast work in the shape of a lie. (Laughter) When one of your children tells a lie, be honest with him; tell him you have told hundreds of them yourself. (Laughter) Tell him it is not the best way; you have tried it (Laughter.) Tell him as the man did in Maine when his boy left home: "John, honesty is the best policy, I have tried both." (Laughter) Just be honest with him imagine now, you are about to whip a child five years of age. What is the child to do? Suppose a man, as much larger than you are larger than a child five years old, should come at you with liberty-pole in his hand, and in a voice of thunder shout, "Who broke the plate?" There is not a solitary one of you who wouldn't swear you never saw it, or that it was cracked when you found it! (Laughter and applause) Why not be honest with these children? Just imagine a man who deals in stocks putting false rumors afloat! (Laughter.) Think of a lawyer beating his own flesh and blood for evading the truth when he makes half of his own living that way! (Laughter) Think of a minister punishing his child for not telling all he thinks! Just thank of it! (Laughter and applause) When your child commits a wrong take it in your arms, let it feel your heart beat against its heart; let the child know that you really and truly and sincerely love it, yet some Christians, good Christians, when a child commits a fault, drive it from the door and say, "Never do you darken this house again." Think of that! And then these same people will get down on their knees and ask God to take care of the child they have driven from home. I will never ask God to take care of my children unless I am doing my level best in that same direction (Laughter) But I will tell you what I say to my children "Go where you will; commit what crime you may; fall to what depth of degradation you may; you can never commit any crime that will shut my door, my arms, my heart to you, as long as I live you shall have no more sincere friend." (Great applause) Do you know, I have seen some people who acted as though they thought when the Savior said "Suffer little children to come unto me, for such is the kingdom of heaven," that he had a rawhide under his mantle and made that remark to get the children within striking distance. I don't believe in the government of the lash. If any one of you ever expect to whip your children again after you hear me, I want you to have a photograph taken of yourself when you are in the act, with your face red with vulgar anger, and then the face of the little child, with eyes swimming in tears and the little chin dimpled with fear, like a piece of water struck by a sudden cold wind. Have the picture taken. If that little child should die, I cannot find a sweeter way to spend an autumn afternoon than to go out to the cemetery, when the maples are clad in bright colors, and little scarlet runners are coming, like poems of regret, from the sad heart of the earth-than to go out to the cemetery and sit down upon the grave and look at this photograph, and think of the flesh. now dust, that you beat I tell you it is wrong, it is no way to raise children! Make your home happy. Be honest with them, divide fairly with them in everything. Give them a little liberty, and you cannot drive them out of the house. They will want to stay there make home pleasant. Let them play any game they want to. Don't be so foolish as to say "You may roll balls on the ground, but you must not roll them on green cloth. (Laughter.) You may knock them with a mallet, but you must not push them with a cue. (Laughter) You may play with little pieces of paper which have 'authors' written on them, but you must not have 'keerds;'" Think of it! "You may go to a minstrel show where people blacken themselves up and degrade themselves and imitate humanity below themselves, but you must not go to the theatre and see the characters of immortal genius put upon the stage "Why ? Well, I can't think of any reason in the world except "minstrel" is a word of two syllables and 'theatre' has three. (Laughter.) Let children have some daylight at home if you want to keep them there, and don't commence at the cradle and yell, "Don't!" "Don't!" "Stop!" That is nearly all that is said to a young one from the cradle until he is 21 years old, and when he comes of age other people begin saying "Don't!" And the church says "Don't!" And the party that he belongs to says "Don't!" (Laughter.) I despise that way of going through this world. Let us have a little liberty, just a little bit.
There is another thing. In old times, you know, they thought some days were too good for a could to enjoy himself in. When I was a boy, Sunday was considered altogether too good to be happy in (laughter), and Sunday used to commence then when the sun went down Saturday night. That was to get good ready (laughter), a kind of a running jump (laughter); and when the sun went down a darkness ten thousand times deeper than that of night fell on that house. Nobody said a word then; nobody laughed; and the child that looked the sickest was regarded the most pious (Laughter) You couldn't crack hickory nuts, you couldn't chew gum, and if you laughed it was only another evidence of the total depravity of man. (Laughter) That was a solemn night; and the next morning everybody looked sad, mournful dyspeptic-and thousands of people think they have religion when they have only got dyspepsia-thousands! (Great applause and laughter) But there is nothing in this world that would break up the old orthodox churches as quack as some specific for dyspepsia-some sure cure. (Laughter.) Then we went to church, and the minister was up in a pulpit about twenty feet high, with a little sounding board over him, and he commenced with firstly and went on to about twenty-thirdly, and then around by way of application, and then divided it off again once or twice, and after having put in about two hours he got to Revelations. We were not allowed to have any fire, even if it was in the winter. It was thought to be outrageous to be comfortable while you are thanking the Lord, and the first church that ever had a stove put in it in New England was broken up on that account (Laughter) Then we went a-nooning then came catechism, the chief end of man. We went through that; and then this same sermon was preached commencing at the other end and going back (Laughter) After that was over we started for home, solemn and sad-"not a soldier discharged his farewell shot;" not a word was said (laughter) and when we got home if we had been good boys they would take us up to the graveyard to cheer us up a little (Prolonged laughter and applause) It did cheer me! When I looked at those tombs the comforting reflection came to my mind that this kind of thing couldn't last always (Laughter) Then we had some certain books that we read just by way of cheerfulness. There was Milner's "History of the Waldenses," Baxter's "Call to the Unconverted," and Jenkins' "On the Atonement." I used to read Jenkins' "On the Atonement," and I have often thought the atonement would have to be very broad in its provisions to cover the case of a man who would write a book like that for a boy to read. Well, you know, the Sunday had to go at last, and the moment the sun went down Sunday night we were free. About four or five o'clock we would go to see how the sun was coming out (Laughter.) Sometimes it seemed to me that it was just stopping from pure cursedness (laughter), but finally it had to go down (laughter), and when the last rim of light sank below the horizon, out would come our traps, and we would give three cheers for liberty once more (Applause) In those times it was thought wrong for a child to laugh on Sunday. Think of that! A little child-a little boy-could go out in the garden, and there would be a tree laden with blossoms, and this little fellow would lean up against the tree, and there would be a bird singing and swinging and thinking about four little speckled eggs, warmed by the breast of its mate, singing and swinging, and the music coming rippling out of its throat, and the flowers blossoming and the air full of perfume, and the great white clouds floating in the sky, and that little boy would lean up against that trunk, and thank of hell (Laughter) That's true! I have heard them preach when I sat in the pew, and my feet didn't come within eighteen inches of the floor, about that hell. And they said, "suppose that once in a million years a bird would come from some far distant planet, and carry off in its bill a grain of sand, the time would really come when the last atom composing this earth would be carried away," and the old preacher said, in order to impress upon the logs the length of time they would have to stay "it wouldn't be sun up in hell yet. (Laughter) Think of that to preach to children! I tell you, my friends, no day can be so sacred but that the laugh of a little child will make it holier still; no day! And yet, at that time the minds of children were polluted by this infamous doctrine of eternal punishment, and I denounce it today as an infamous doctrine beyond the power of language to express. Where did that doctrine of eternal punishment for the children of men come from? It came from that wretch in the dug-out. (Laughter.) Where did he get it? It was a souvenir from the animals, and the doctrine of eternal punishment was born in the eyes of snakes when they hung in fearful coils, watching for their prey. It was a doctrine born of the howling and barking and growling of wild beasts; it was born in the grin of the hyenas, and of the depraved chatter of the baboons, and I despise it with every drop of my blood. Tell me there is a God in the serene heaven that will damn his children for the expression of an honest belief! There have been more men who died in their sins, according to your orthodox religion than there are leaves on all the forests of this world ten thousand times over. Tell me they are in hell! Tell me they are to be punished forever and ever! I denounce it as an infamous lie! (Great applause) And when the great ship containing the hope and aspiration of the world, when the great ship freighted with mankind goes down in the night of death and disaster, I will go down with the ship. I don't want to paddle off in any orthodox canoe. I will go down with the ship; and if there is a God who will damn his children forever, I had rather go to hell than to go to heaven and keep the society of such an infamous Deity. (Applause.) I make my choice now. I despise that doctrine and I tell you why. It has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. It has polluted the hearts of children. It has been a pain and terror to every man that ever believed it. It has filled the good with horror any fear, but it has had no effect upon the infamous and base. I tell you it is a bad doctrine. I read in the papers to-day what Henry Ward Beecher, who I regard as the most intellectual preacher in the pulpit of the United States, (applause) -I will read in the paper what he said yesterday-and you will see an abstract of it in the New York Times of to-day-what he said. And he has had the courage, and he his had the magnificent manhood to say add say to you and I swear to you, by the wounds in the hands of Christ, I swear to you by the wounds in the body and feet of Christ, that this doctrine of eternal hell is a most infamous nightmare of theology. It never should be preached again." (Applause.) What right have you, sir, you, minister as you are, to stand at the portal of eternity, or the portal of the tomb, and fill the future with horror and with fear? You have no right to do it. I don't believe it, and neither do you. You would not sleep one night. Any man who believes it, who has got a decent heart in his bosom, will go insane. Yes, sir, a man that really believes that doctrines and does not go insane has got the conscience of a snake and the intellect of a hyena. O! I thank my stars that you do not believe it. You cannot believe it, and you never will believe it. Old Jonathan Edwards, the dear old soul, he is in heaven I suppose, said: "Can the believing husband in heaven be happy with his unbelieving wife in hell? Can the believing father in heaven be happy with his unbelieving children in hell? Can the loving wife in heaven be happy with her unbelieving husband in hell? I tell you yea. Such will be their sense of justice that it will increase rather than diminish their happiness" (Laughter) Think of these infamous doctrines that have been taught in the name of religion! Do not stuff these into the minds of your children. Give them a chance. Let them read. Let them think. Do not treat your children like posts to be set in the orthodox road, but like trees that need light and sun and air. Be honest with them. Be fair with them. In old times they used to make all children go to bed when they were not sleepy, and all of them got up when they were sleepy (Laughter) I say let them go to bed when they are sleepy and get up when they are not. But they say that will do for the rich, but not for the poor. Well, of the poor have to wake their children early in the morning, it is as easy to wake them with a kiss as with a club. I believe in letting children commence at which end of the dinner they want to (Laughter.) Let them eat what they want to. It is their business. They know what they want to eat. And if they have had their liberty from the first, they can beat any doctor in the world. All the improvement that has ever been made in medicine has been made by the recklessness of patients. (Laughter) Yes, sir. Thousands and thousands of years the doctors wouldn't let a man have water in fever. Every now and then some fellow got reckless and said: "I will die, I am so thirsty," and drank two or three quarts of water and got well. (Laughter) And they kept that up until finally the doctors said, "that is the best thing for fever you can do." I have more confidence to agree with nature about these things than any of the conclusions of the schools. Just let your children have freedom, and they will fall right into your ways and do just as you do. But you try to make them and there is some magnificent, splendid thing in the human heart that will not be driven. And do you know it is the luckiest thing for this world that ever happened that people are so. What would we have been if the people in any age of the world had done just as the doctors told them? They would have been all dead. (Laughter) What would we have done, if at any age of the world we had followed implicitly the directions of the church? We would have been all idiots, everyone. It is a splendid thing that there is always some fellow who won't mind, and will think for himself. And I believe in letting children think for themselves. I believe in having a family like a democracy. If there is anything splendid in this world it is a home of that kind. They used to tell us "Let your victuals close your mouth." We used to eat as though it was a religious performance. I like to see the children about, and every one telling what he has seen and heard. I like to hear the clatter of the knives and spoons mangling with the laughter of their voices. I had rather hear it than any opera that has ever been put upon the boards. Let them have liberty, let them have freedom, and I tell you your children will love you to death.
Now, I have some excuses to offer for the race to which I belong. I have two. My first excuse is that this is not a very good world to raise folks in anyway (Laughter) It is not very well adapted to raising magnificent people. There's only a quarter of it land to start with. It is three times better fitted for raising fish than folks, and in that one-quarter of land there is not a tenth part fit to raise people on. You can't raise people without a good climate. You have got to have the right kind of climate, and you have got to have certain elements in the soil, or you can't raise good people Do you know that? there is only a little zig-zag strip around the world within which have been produced all men of genius. The southern hemisphere has never produced a man of genius, never, and never will until civilization, fighting the heat that way and the cold this, widens this portion of the earth capable of producing great men and great women. It is the same with men as it is with vegetation, you go into a garden, and find there flowers growing. And as you go up the mountain, the birch and the hemlock and the spruce are to be found. And as you go toward the top, you find little stunted trees getting a miserable subsistence out of the crevices of the rocks, and you go on up and up and up, until finally you find at the top little moss-like freckles. You might as well try to raise flowers where those freckles grow, as to raise great men and women where you haven't got the soil. I don't believe man ever came to any high station without woman. There has got to be some restraint, something to make you prudent, something to make you industrious. And in a country where you don't need any bed-quilt but a cloud, revolution is the normal condition of the people. You have got to have the fireside; you have got to have the home, and there by the fireside will grow and bloom the fruits of the human race. I recollect a while ago I was in Washington when they were trying to annex Santo Domingo. They said: "We want to take in Santo Domingo." Says I: "We don't want it." "Why," said they, "it is the best climate the earth can produce. There is everything you want." "Yes," said I, "but it won't produce men. We don't want it. We have got soil enough now. Take 5,000 ministers from New England, 5,000 presidents of colleges, and 5,000 solid business men and their families and take them to Santo Domingo; and then you will see the effect of climate. The second generation you will see barefooted boys riding bareback on a mule, with their hair sticking out of the top of their sombreros, with a rooster under each arm going to a cockfight on Sunday." You have got to have the soil; you have got to have the climate, and you have got to have another thing you have got to have the fireside. That is one excuse I have for us.
The next excuse is that I think we came up from the lower animals. Else how can you account for all this snake and hyena and jackal in man? Not, when I first heard that doctrine, I didn't like it. I felt sorry for people who had nothing but ancestors to be proud of. It touched my heart to think they would have to go back to the Duke Orang-outang, or the Duchess Chimpanzee. I was sorry, and I hated to believe it. I don't know that it is the truth now. I am not satisfied upon that question; I stand about eight to seven. (Laughter.) I thought it over. I read about it. I read about these rudimentary bones and muscles. I didn't like that. I read that everybody had rudimentary muscles coming from the ear right down here-indicating that the most intellectual people in the world have got them. I say what are they?" "Rudimentary muscles." "What kind of muscles?" "Muscles that your ancestors used to have fully developed." "What for?" "To flap their ears with." (Laughter.) Well, whether we ever had them or not, I know of lots of men who ought to have them yet. (Laughter.) And finally I said, "Well I guess we came up from the lower animals." I thought it all over, the best I could, and I said, I guess we did." And after a while I began to like it, and I like it now better than I did before. Do you know that I would rather belong to a race that started with skulless vertebrae in the dim Laurentian seas, wiggling without knowing why they waggled, swimming without knowing where they were going; but kept developing and getting a little further tip and a little further up, all through the animal world, and finally striking this chap in the dug-out. (Laughter.) Getting a little bigger, and this fellow calling that fellow a heretic, and that fellow calling the other an infidel, and so on. For in the history of the world, the man who is ahead has always been called a heretic. Recollect this! (Laughter.) I would rather come from a race that started from that soulless vertebrae, and come up and up and up and really produced Shakespeare, who found the human intellect wallowing in a hut and touched it with the wand of his genius and it became a palace dome and pinnacle. I would rather belong to a race that commenced then and produced Shakespeare, with the eternal hope of an infinite future for the children of progress leading from the far horizon, beckoning men forward, forward and onward forever, I had rather belong to this race and commence there with that hope, than to have sprung from a perfect pair, on which the Lord has lost money every day since. (Applause and laughter.)
These are the excuses I have for my race. Now, my friends, let me say another thing. I do not pretend to have floated even with the heights of thought; I do not pretend to have fathomed the abyss. All I pretend is to give simply my honest thought. Every creed that we have to-day has upon it the mark of whip and chain and faggot. I do not want it. Free labor will give us wealth, and has given us wealth, and why? Because a free brain goes into partnership with a free hand. That is why. And when a man works for his wife and children, the problem of liberty is how to do the most work in the shortest apace of time; but the problem of slavery is how to do the least work in the longest space of time. Slavery is poverty; liberty is wealth. It is the same in thought. Free thought will give us truth, and the man who is not in favor of free thought occupies the same relation to those he can govern that the slaveholder occupied to his slaves, exactly. Free thought will give us wealth. There has not been a generation of free thought yet. It will be time to write a creed when there have been a few generations of free brained men and splendid women in this world. I don't know what the future may bring forth; I don't know what inventions are in the brain of the future, I don't know what garments may be woven, with the years to come; but I do know coming from the infinite sea of the future, there will never touch this "bank and shoal of time" a greater blessing, a grander glory, than liberty for man, woman and child. Oh, liberty, float not forever in the far horizon, remain not forever in the dream of the enthusiast and the poet and the philanthropist but come and take up thine abode with the children of men forever.
MR. BEECHER'S ORTHODOXY.
Col. Ingersoll having referred in his lecture last evening to Mr. Beecher's sermon of the previous Sunday, we print the synoptical report of it as published in the New York Times.
Mr. Beecher's text yesterday (Sunday) morning was the ninth verse of the first chapter of Ephesians, and the theme of his discourse was the background of mystery which surrounds, or rather obscures, all attempts to teach or understand the attributes and nature of God. Men must learn these things by their own experience, and, in illustrating the difference between God and man, he said that man's essential faculties are precisely similar to those of God, and differ only in degrees, just as the child of four years, setting on his father's knee, has the same powers of reasoning as his father only that power in the father is matured, while in the child it is weak and obscure. A man would not hold a candle out of the window and say it was sunrise, and yet the same light and the same warmth exist in the candle that exist in the sun, though in an immensely different degree. Speaking of the Trinity, Mr Beecher said that he believed there were three persons united in one Godhead, but that if any one should ask him why he believed it, he should tell him frankly that he did not know anything about it, only that at was easier to believe that which he thought coincided with the doctrine of the New Testament than to contradict it. But he could not attempt to explain it. Orthodoxy says that men must believe in the Trinity or they cannot come into the church. That is called orthodoxy, but he called it heathenism. It is not an easy thing, said Mr Beecher, for an honest, conscientious man to know Just what to preach and what not to preach. A man who values morality, and who has the god of his fellow-men at heart, cannot be careless as to the things he ought to teach His own head had often reeled, and his mind had been greatly troubled, when he rejected upon his responsibility in this matter. It was no easy matter to remove the rotten timbers and replace them with sound ones and not stop the voyage of the ship. It was said that Adam was created perfect. It was also said that Adam sinned, and that in consequence of that sin the whole human race fell. The human race had existed on the earth for thousands and thousands of years, and had gone on propagating and multiplying until all the waves of the ocean which had rolled in upon the shore during those centuries did not contain drops enough, nor the sands of the sea particles enough, nor all the figures of the arithmetic numbers enough to compute the preface, to say nothing of the body, of the great history of the human race. The numbers of the human race were actually beyond computation and for thousands and thousands and thousands of years they had been born into the world, had lived, and struggled, and finally died, and gone-where? "If you tell me that they have all gone to heaven, my answer will be that such a sweeping of mud into heaven would defile its purity, and I cannot accept that. If you tell me that they have gone to hell, then I swear by the Lord Jesus Christ, whom I have sworn to worship forever, that you will make an infidel of me. The doctrine that God has been for thousands of years peopling this earth with human beings, during a period three-fourths of which was not illuminated by an altar or a church, and in places where a vast population of those people are yet without that light, is to transform the Almighty into a monster more hideous than Satan himself, and I swear by all that is sacred that I will never worship Satan, though he should appear dressed in royal robes and seated in the throne of Jehovah. Men may say, 'You will go to heaven.' A heaven presided over by such a demon as that, who has been peopling this world with millions of human beings, and then sweeping them off into hell, not like dead lies, but without taking the trouble even to kill them, and gloating and laughing over their eternal misery, is not such a heaven as I want to go to. The doctrine is too horrible. I can not believe it and I won't. They say the saints in heaven are so happy that they do not mind the torments of the damned in hell; but what sort of saints must they be who could be happy while looking down upon the horrors of the bottomless pit? They don't mind-they're safe-they're happy! What would the mother think of the sixteen-year-old daughter who, when her infant was lying dead in the house, should come dancing and singing into the parlor, and exclaim, 'Oh! I am so happy mother! I don't care for the dead baby in the coffin!' Would she not be shocked? And so with this doctrine; and by the blood of Christ I denounce it; by the wounds in his hands and side I abhor it; by his groans and agony, I abhor and denounce it as the most hideous nightmare of theology."