“Last Words of Calvin Blanchard” (1868)

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Mr. Calvin Blanchard, recently deceased, aged 60, was a remarkable man. Thirty-five years ago, when he and we were journeymen printers in this City, he was currently nicknamed “Anti-Christ” by his associates—his creed being what most of us deemed infidelity, though he gave it a different designation. He afterward became an author, bookseller and publisher, giving currency to many works which were condemned as immoral as well as irreligious, though no one who knew him could doubt that he thought them otherwise. Dying, he left the following letter, which we print at his request, and refrain from comment, beyond stating the fact that his views differ widely from ours. But as he could not rejoin, we let him have the last word:

To the Editor of The Tribune:

Sir: At a time like this, when the leaders of “the People,” whether in church or state, in monarchies or republics, are utterly confounded and hopelessly divided on the great question—What’s to be done, I earnestly ask if any proposition that is intelligible and new, and shortly and concisely stated, is not entitled to a hearing in the columns of The Tribune?

Aided by the social architects who have preceded me, I have fully discovered and demonstrated that the whole world will be united under the government of those who will be guided by the constitution manifested in Human Nature, and by the laws—which they will thoroughly acquaint themselves with in relation thereto—to the entire exclusion of all other so-called constitutions and laws. The fidelity of these rulers will be secured by that now terrible bugbear—Selfishness; by studying the said true constitution and laws they will find out and put into practice the great Art of Arts whereby the perfect happiness of every then and thenceforth human being will be completely secured, as they will also find out that only by continuing that practice can they secure their own happiness. So intimately are mankind connected. They form one unitary being.

The “Philosophers” and “Literati” will hardly believe my asseveration that within a few years past I have set forth among unassuming, common sense people books and pamphlets to the above purpose, written by myself, to the extent of more than two hundred and fifty thousand.

Art, that has now progressed so far as the Ocean Telegraph, tends to fulfill Human Nature. All the “laws” that churchmen, and statesmen, and philosophers have devised and “enacted” aim to repress Human Nature. Art will finally triumph, not only over these ignorance-engendered machinations, but over all physical obstructions, from pole to pole. Physical obstructions removed, philosophy will be defunct forever. “Heaven” will be realized. All human beings will be all they wish to be, do all they wish to do, and live as long as they wish to live.

Here permit me to recite my creed, if that which is positively known can properly be called a creed. On thorough analysis this creed will be found to be the creed of every human being. I have simply dug it out of the enormously thick shell of foolishness in which is has lain incrusted ever since “the beginning.”

I believe in Nature, omnipotent, self-acting, self-developing, self-progressive to All-Sufficiency.

Nature’s highest organ is Mankind—the great continuous Being who will never die.

Nature’s highest function is being (and has been ever since the advent of Mankind) manifested in Science and Art.

The Science of Sciences and Art of Arts—the crowning triumph of Nature through Art—will be the organization of the whole world, including it and all its human inhabitants, in one Joint Stock (not common stock) Corporation that will guarantee perfect happiness to every human being who shall then exist, or thenceforth come into existence.

Rulers in Church and State! until you shape your course according to the above creed and politics, government will continue to be what it always has been, a triumphant brigandage, varied by monarchy and sham freedom. You must begin by devoting the stupendous amount of money you sacrifice to war and its causes to physically situating the whole people, even from their begetting, in accordance with their nature.

Calvin Blanchard, Positivist,

but falsely and libelously called a skeptic and an infidel.

“Last Words of Calvin Blanchard,” New York Tribune 27 no. 8408 (March 21, 1868): 3.


About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.