Helen M Lucas.

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a people and yet not able to command their love!
Think of the author of all mercy imbruing his
hands in the blood of helpless men, women and
children, simply because he did not give them in-
telligence enough to understand his laws. An earth-
ly father who cannot govern by affection is not
fit to be a father; what, then, shall we say of an
infinite being who resorts to violence, to pestilence,
to disease, and famine, in the vain effort to obtain
even the respect of a savage? Read this passage,
red from the heart of cruelty: 'If thy brother, the


son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or
the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as
thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let
us go and serve other gods which thou hast not
known, thou nor thy fathers . . . thou shalt not
consent unto him, nor hearken unto him, neither
shalt thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare,
neither shalt thou conceal him, but thou shalt sure-
ly kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him
to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of
all the people ; and thou shalt stone him with stones,
that he die.' . . . This is justified on the ground
that 'blasphemy was a breach of political allegiance,
and idolatry an act of overt treason/ We can un-
derstand how a human king stands in need of the
service of his people. We can understand how
the desertion of any of his soldiers weakens his
army; but were the king infinite in power, his
strength would still remain the same, and under
no conceivable circumstances could the enemy tri-

Mr. Lambert (in justification of the law for ston-
ing a wife to death if she should say, Let us wor-
ship the sun). "The traitor should be removed
from the body politic as you would remove a can-
cer from your jaw, your mawkish sentimentality
to the contrary notwithstanding."

"Religious toleration meant liberty of treason."


"There is a huge fallacy in all this cant about
freedom of thot, thinking as we please, etc. The
intellect I mean, of course, the sane intellect
is governed by motives and principles of reason,
not by the whims of the will. Will to think that
two and two make five, or that parallel lines will
meet, and see if your reason will tolerate it."

"The only liberty of thot which he [God] does
not allow is the liberty to think error, to meditate
evil, to plan crime. Do you insist on this kind of
thinking? If so, be wise and keep it carefully with-
in your thot, for if you reduce this liberty to act
it may lead to the penitentiary, where there are
many philosophers of liberty of thot."

"By liberty I, of course, mean the right to do
right. . . . There are individuals, of course, who
claim the liberty to do wrong, but they are com-
paratively few. Some of them have died suddenly
and prematurely by dislocation of the neck, and
some others are in the penitentiary. Poor encour-
agement for disciples of liberty and license and
heroes of freethot."

"You content yourself with giving a half page
of the softest and silliest kind of gush ..."

Comment. Anyone who is impolite enough might
retort that It is a pity light does not penetrate Mr.
Lambert's skull to show him the difference between
stoning people to death for religious opinions and


going to war to keep our states united; for the
war of '61-65 was not to punish the slaveholder
for putting in practice his liberty of conscience,
as he so playfully represents it.

Lambert. "The slaveholder's conscience told him
that secession was right. As long as his conscience
was purely speculative, the government of the Uni-
ted States allowed him to amuse himself with it.
But when he formulated that conscience into overt
acts, such as firing on Fort Sumter, the govern-
ment sent Col. Ingersoll and other embryo Caesars
down to interview him and inform him that liberty
of conscience was a good thing in its way a some-
thing to keep his mind busy but if he was such
a consummate ass as to imagine that the United
States government intended him to practice that
liberty publicly he would have to readjust his ideas
about it on a more solid basis."

Comment. No Freethinker could take offense
at the joke about "disciples of liberty of license
and heroes of freethot," as "license" does not apply
to them and they are not hung or put in peniten-
tiaries, but the contemptuous suggestion will prob-
ably serve its purpose, for people who admire the
Lambert kind are not critical when their leaders
strive to please them.

Thinking as we please cannot describe freethot
On the contrary, it is their critics who argue as


if we could think as we please, which must be
what they think it is right to believe; this leaves
out all individual thot and leaves the government
of belief to the authority of others. Freethot
reasoning is looked on as criminal by those who
think belief should be governed by authority. They
speak on the supposition that people can believe
anything- they are told to believe. Says Mr. Lam-
bert: "The intellect ... is governed by principles
of reason, not by the whims of the will. Will that
two and two make five," etc. I do not see what
"whims of the will" can mean in the case of
thot. We might will that we might govern our
minds by not allowing ourselves to examine a ques-
tion, and think that by shutting out evidence we
might lead ourselves to believe as we wish; but
it does not seem to me that whatever we might ad-
vocate under such circumstances could really be
our belief, if we feared evidence would change it.
There are those who allow the expression of their
thot to be governed by the will of other people;
who give up to others the right of investigating
other people's thots on certain subjects. Sometimes
they freely give up their right to think on those
subjects; sometimes they think they have no right
to think, and in such a case they do believe, ac-
cepting belief from the authority of others, and
not allowing themselves to reason. But when we


have the reasons for and against beliefs, we do
not will what to believe, we accept what seems
reasonable to us. When the advocates of any par-
ticular beliefs prevent, as far as possible, any pres-
entation of an opposing belief it is a confession of
the weakness of the cause they advocate. When
they allow those under their authority to see op-
posing arguments only as "reviewed" by themselves
we may be sure they have no adequate answers
for those arguments, and that they fear to give
those under their authority the opposing arguments
as they have really been made. Those who give
up their right to inform themselves of the thot of
the world can be kept in the belief that two and
one are one, if a mystery of religion is concerned,
and make a merit of believing tho they can not
understand it.

Who but Mr. Lambert would speak of common
criminals as philosophers of freethot, or phil-
osophers of any kind, and why does he write such
a thing? Does he expect his readers to believe
that Ingersoll, Darwin, Spencer, the Mills, Pro-
fessors Draper and Oswald, A. D. White, and peo-
ple of that kind go to penitentiaries? It seems
plain that this review of Ingersoll is written to
spread the idea that the beautiful, moral life of his
subject was really one of shame and dishonor.

No; Ingersoll does not mean by religious liberty


the right to commit treason. Does anybody be-
lieve that Mr. Lambert thot he meant that? If
he were writing for those who are expected to get
anything like a correct idea of Ingersoll he would
probably base his criticisms on inferences drawn
naturally from the author's simple, plain and clear
language, if he criticized him at all. If he favored
the reading by religious people of the debate be-
tween Ingersoll and Black it would show that there
was a probability of his wanting to be fair. When
will a religious representative in a debate publish
his own arguments and those of his opponents at
his own expense, and in the same book? That is
what Ingersoll did. What shall we say of the man
who tries to keep people from reading the argu-
ment of his adversary?

What should be said of the man, even if he were
fair enough to not misrepresent his opponent's
position, who continually applied to him opprobrious
epithets without any reason? This man, who is
described by his biographer in the preface of the
volume now under consideration as of "quiet,
gentlemanly and courteous ways, while his scholar-
ly attainments, good judgment in matters, both
public and private, and his genuine Christian char-
acter command the respect of all," characterizes
Mr. Ingersoll's protests against intolerance as


"your mawkish sentimentalism," and "softest and
silliest kind of gush."

He quotes "such a God would know the mists
and clouds, the darkness enveloping the human
mind"; and remarks: "Some pages back you ex-
alt the human mind, and claim for it the right to
rejudge the justice of God, and now you deplore
the clouds and mists and darkness which enshroud

Exercising the mind drives away clouds, mists
and darkness. Accepting everything, no matter
how unreasonable, without thot dulls the intellect,
and allows the clouds to thicken around us.

He recommends Ingersoll to "hear the words of
God and obey them, and not misuse the little light
it [the mind] has left in denying his existence,
or making him the subject of his blasphemous

This is misleading. In all of Ingersoll's earnest
and dignified argument there is no jest, blasphe-
mous or any other kind. His accuser makes some
efforts which could hardly be called jests, because
of their malice. It seems to me malapert sayings
would be the most appropriate phrase by which
to designate them.

He repeats in substance what Mr. Black said
about the manner of carrying on war with an op-
posing force; that they were justified in doing "as


their enemies did. In your treatment of hostile
barbarians, you not only may lawfully, but must
necessarily, adopt their mode of warfare. If they
come to conquer you they may be conquered by
you; if they give no quarter they are entitled to
none ; if the death of the whole population be their
purpose, you may defeat it by exterminating theirs."
(By the way, all this is quite irrelevant, for the wars
instanced by Ingersoll were aggressive, for the ex-
termination of the people, and the conquest of their
country.) He says Ingersoll affects to believe that
Black means certain atrocities, which he mentions.
Why should he say affects, when those atrocities
were the subject of the article which Mr. Black
is supposed to be answering? It would be nat-
urally supposed Mr. Black meant the same thing
unless he announces the introduction of something

Mr. Lambert criticizes Ingersoll for trotting out
infants in his writings and lectures.

Lambert. "You trot them out on all occasions,
and in all conditions of deshabille. Those infants
waddle and crawl and so forth, thru your articles
so promiscuously as to remind one of a foundling
asylum, with yourself as peripatetic dry nurse in
ordinary. By the way, were you not once a
colonel of infantry? An old soldier loves to dwell
on the reminiscences of the past. But heaven help


you if those infants ever live to take revenge for
your worse than Herodian cruelty. When you
want to reason with men on great questions, you
should send the children to the nursery with or-
ders to have them well supplied with what the old
Dutch women used to call bread and milk 'poul-
tice.' This will keep them in good condition until
you want to trot them out again in your next lec-
ture on Christianity."

Comment. His humor has an elephantine grace,
and his puns the mellowness of a ripe old age. He
repeats the quotation, "If they kill the infants in
our cradles, must we brain theirs?" and goes on,
"Here they are again yes, by all means, brain
them, tear them limb from limb, salt them, ship
them to the Cannibal Islands, make them read your
article on the Christian religion, or your lecture
on 'Skulls' do anything with them to keep them
from muddling your brains when you are reason-
ing with men on subjects that require all your at-

After this unmeaning entr'acte look back at the
sane and touching protest against barbarity in war-

Ingersoll. "If they [the American Indians] take
our captives, bind them to trees, and if their squaws
fill their quivering flesh with sharpened faggots
and set them on fire, that they may die clothed


with flame, must our wives, our mothers, and our
daughters follow the fiendish example?"

Lambert. No, we must use quicker and cheaper
methods, that the burden of the taxpayer may not
be increased; if, we suppose, a hundred of our
captives are to be bound to undergo the death tor-
ture, and by braining one of their infants we could
cause them to desist, then we see what Mr. Black
meant by adopting their mode of warfare.

Comment. Not at all; there was no question
of preventing further cruelty. Ingersoll pointed
out the atrocious inhumanity of the wars of the
Old Testament. Black tried to justify them by
saying we must adopt the mode of warfare of our
enemies, apparently losing sight of the moral view
presented by Ingersoll and not noticing they were
purely aggressive and by command of Jehovah.
Lambert holds up the hands of Mr. Black with the
cool hardihood of a brutal murderer, ignoring all
humane considerations. His supposed reason for
braining the babe is impossible, for the torturing
could not take place unless the captives were com-
pletely in the power of their enemies, and the
friends of the captives would not be where they
could brain Indian babes any more than they could
free the victims.

Ingersoll. "Is this the conclusion of the most
enlightened Christianity?"


Lambert. "Yes, sir, and the conclusion of
the most enlightened common sense, too. Life
is practical, it is neither poetry nor effeminate
philosophy. The passions of human nature,
civilized or barbarous, make stern alternatives
necessary, and lugubrious cant will not change
man's nature or the necessities that arise
from it. If those fiendish squaws had lived in
Palestine in the days of Jesus and had been put
to the sword by the Jews, you would have accused
the latter of murder and made God the abettor
of the crime. Much depends on the point of view
from which we look at a thing."

Comment. Mr. Lambert seems to understand
that much depends on whether we look at a thing
at all or allow our attention to be diverted to
something else which has been substituted for the
question in debate.

At any time when there were not supposed to
be any exigencies for giving an incorrect represent-
ation of an Agnostic author to those who are not
intelligent enough or fair enough to read the work
for themselves, no one would think of such a thing
as writing as tf civilized people should become
savages to force their enemies to civilized war-
fare; no one would think of justifying savagery
even, much less holding it up as an example of


moral teaching. They know that barbarity cannot
under any circumstances be a civilizing force.

Can anyone who believes in a just God who is a
loving father to all his creatures read Deuteronomy
xx, 10-17, and still believe he is truly represented

"When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight
against it, then proclaim peace unto it.

"And it shall be if it make thee answer of peace
and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the
people that is found therein shall be tributaries unto
thee and they shall serve thee.

"And if it will make no peace with thee, but
will make war against thee, then shalt thou be-
siege it.

"And when the Lord thy God hath delivered it
into thine hands thou shalt smite every male thereof
.with the edge of the sword; and the women, and
the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in
the city, even all the spoil thereof, thou shalt
take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of
thine enemies, which the Lord thy God hath given

"Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which
are very far off from thee, which are not of the
cities of these nations.

"But Of the cities of these people, which the Lord


thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou
shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
"But thou shalt utterly destroy them."
The author of the "Notes" accuses Mr. Ingersoll
of misrepresentation of Mr. Black, "which," he
says, "it is hard to imagine to have been accidental
or unintentional," and gives examples of some
things Mr. Black said in other places to prove his
accusation. "It is not true that Mr. Black justifies
wars of extermination because the American peo-
ple fought for the integrity of their government."
Then why did he mention the last in connection
with the first? He couldn't consistently do it, any-
how, for he does not justify the federal union,
at least without slavery the abolitionists, who
were "not a very respectable portion of the civil-
ized world" succeeded, "I need not say by what
means, or with what effect upon the country." If
that does not mean that the war was wrong and
one of the outcomes (the end of slavery) bad in
moral effect, what does it mean? "Subordination
of inferiors to superiors is the groundwork of hu-
man society." "The improvement of our race
. . . must come from obedience to some master,
better and wiser than ourselves." Mr. Black would
probably like to choose his master, and that was
not possible under slavery. I never knew who was


his master, whether he had his choice of masters,
or whether his subjection was willing.

Mr. Black wrote, "I do not say the war was either
better or worse for his [Ingersoll's] participation
and approval. But if his own conduct (in going
out 'a-coloneling'), for which he expresses neither
penitence or shame, was right, it was right on
grounds which make it an inexcusable outrage to
call the children of Israel savage criminals for
carrying on wars of aggression to save the life of
their government." Does not this make it plain
that Ingersoll did not misrepresent Mr. Black ? Mr.
Black continues: "These inconsistencies are the
necessary consequences of having no rule of
action, and no guide for the conscience. When a
man throws away the golden metewand which God
has provided, and takes the elastic cord of feeling
for his measure of righteousness, you cannot tell
from day to day what he will think or do."

We have just seen, in the extracts from the Bible,
the golden metewand which Mr. Black declares to
be God's ; now let us consider the conscience, which
Mr. Black pronounces an elastic cord of feeling,
as shown in Mr. Ingersoll's defense of the war in
which he had a part.

Ingersoll. "Mr. Black justifies the wars of ex-
termination and conquest because the American
people fought for the integrity of their own coun-


try ; fought to do away with the infamous institu-
tion of slavery; fought to preserve the jewels of
liberty for themselves and their children. Is it
possible that his mind is so clouded by political
and religious prejudice, by the recollections of an
unfortunate administration, that he sees no differ-
ence between a war of extermination and one of
self-preservation? that he sees no choice between
the murder of helpless age, of weeping women, and
sleeping babes, and the defense of liberty and na-
tionality ?

"The soldiers of the Republic did not wage a war
of extermination. They did not seek to enslave
their fellow men. They did not murder trembling
age. They did not sheathe their swords in wom-
en's breasts. They gave the old men bread, and
let the mothers rock their babes in peace. They
fought to save the world's great hope to free a
race and put the humblest hut beneath the canopy
of liberty and law.

"Claiming neither praise nor dispraise for the
part taken by me in the civil war, for the purposes
of this argument, it is sufficient to say that my
record, poor and barren as it is, should be com-
pared with his.

"Never for an instant did I suppose that any re-
spectable American citizen could be found willing
at this day to defend the institution of slavery ; and


never was I more astonished than when I found
Mr. Black denying that civilized countries passion-
ately assert that slavery is and always was a hideous
crime. I was amazed when he declared that 'the
doctrine that slavery is a crime under all circum-
stances and at all times was first started by the
adherents of a political faction in this country less
than forty years ago.' He tells us that 'they
denounced God and Christ for not agreeing with
them' but that 'they did not constitute the civil-
ized world; nor were they, if the truth must be
told, a very respectable portion of it. Politically
they were successful ; I need not say by what means,
or with what effect upon the morals of the coun-

"Slavery held both branches of Congress, filled
the chair of the Executive, sat upon the supreme
bench, had in its hands all rewards, all offices ; knelt
in the pew, occupied the pulpit, stole human beings
in the name of God, robbed the trundle-bed for
love of Christ; incited mobs, led ignorance, ruled
colleges, sat in the chairs of professors, dominated
the public press, closed the lips of free speech, and
polluted with its leprous hand every source and
spring of power. The abolitionists attacked this
monster. They were the bravest, grandest men of
their country and their century. Denounced by
thieves, hated by hypocrites, mobbed by cowards,


slandered by priests, shunned by politicians, ab-
horred by the seekers of office these men of whom
the world was not worthy, in spite of all opposi-
tion, in spite of poverty and want, conquered in-
numerable obstacles, never faltering for one mo-
ment, never dismayed accepting defeat with a
smile of infinite hope knowing they were right
insisted and persisted until every chain was
broken, until slave-pens became schoolhouses, and
three millions of slaves became free men, women
and children. They did not measure with 'the gold-
en metewand of God,' but with 'the elastic cord
of human feeling.' They were men the latchets
of whose shoes no believer in human slavery was
ever worthy to unloose, and yet we are told by
this modern defender of the slavery of Jehovah
that they were not even respectable; and this
slander is justified, because the writer is assured
'that the infallible God proceeded upon good
grounds when he authorized slavery in Judea."

"Not satisfied with having slavery in this world,
Mr. Black assures us that it will last thru all eter-
nity, and that forever and forever inferiors must
be subordinated to superiors. Who is the superior
man? According to Mr. Black he is superior who
lives upon the unpaid labor of the inferior. With
me, the superior man is the one who uses his
superiority in bettering the condition of the inferi-


or. The superior man is strength for the weak,
eyes for the blind, brains for the simple; he is the
one who helps carry the burden that nature has
put upon the inferior. Any man who helps an-
other to gain and retain his liberty is superior to
any infallible God who authorized slavery in Judea.
For my part I would rather be a slave than a mas-
ter. It is better to be robbed than a robber. I
would rather be stolen from than be a thief.

"According to Mr. Black, there will be slavery
in heaven, and fast by the throne of God will be
the auction-block, and the streets of the new Jerusa-
lem will be adorned with the whipping-post, while
the music of the harp will be supplemented by
the crack of the driver's whip. If some good Re-
publican would catch Mr. Black, 'incorporate him
into his family, tame him, teach him to think, and
give him a knowledge of the true principles of
human liberty and government, he would confer
upon him a most beneficent boon.' [This last sen-
tence quoted from Black's excuse for slavery, page
43 of the discussion.]

"Slavery includes all other crimes. It is the joint
product of the kidnapper, pirate, thief, murderer,
and hypocrite. It degrades labor and corrupts lei-

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Online LibraryHelen M LucasView of Lambert's Notes on Ingersoll → online text (page 4 of 13)